Monday, January 30, 2012

ButterFinger Cookies

Today I just have to share a recipe for Butterfinger cookies. I made these Sunday night and they are to die for not to mention super quick and super easy. I orginally wanted to make these cookies for my son because he loves Butterfinger candy bars, but I just couldn't wait for him to come home from college. Now I know I'm going to have to make them again in a few weeks, because he is going to love them.

Now the recipe I have calls for two king sized Butterfinger candy bars, but I imagine you could use four regular sized candy bars. I might even contemplate using a mess of the little bite size bars if all else fails.

When making these cookies make sure you spray cooking spray on your pans or use parchment paper, because these cookies will stick. Also make sure you let them cool a minute or two before removing to a cooling rack.

Butterfinger Cookies
2 king sized Butterfinger Candy bars- smashed
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/3 C butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/3 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

With an electric mixer the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. In another bowl mix the flour, soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until the ingredients well. Add the smashed Butterfingers. Mix until you can form the mixture into a ball. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on pan for 1 minute then remove to a cooling rack to cool further.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beef Stew

Today is a perfect day to cozy up at home with a nice warm fire. The freshly fallen snow and the chilly temperatures makes one want to cuddle up in a blanket next to a warm fire and read a good book. Now I know that not everyone can have a fire because of a lack of having a fireplace or wood stove, but one can still cuddle up in a blanket and read a good book.

Another thing that is perfect on a cold day is a piping hot bowl of beef stew. Beef stew is so satisfying on those cold wintry days. It is filling and reminds one of days when mom would make beef stew for dinner and it was amazing.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to make it in the crockpot. I have a super quick and easy recipe that you are going to just love. One can just not mess this up it is so easy to make. If you can peel and cut vegies you can make this.

Give this a try and amaze your family.

Beef Stew
1 1/2-2 lbs of beef stew meat, cubed
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C flour
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t paprika
2 C beef broth
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, sliced
4 potatoes, diced

  1. Place meat in slow cooker.
  2. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir into meat until well coated.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Cover. Cook on low 10-12 hours, or High 4-6 hours. Stir before serving.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

My husband is working nights now, so I don't get to see him very much and we don't get to sit down for dinner as a family during the week. One nice thing with him working nights is he works four ten hour days so he has a three day weekend. In these three days we do a lot of catching up on the things we can't do together during the work week.

One of the things we do is cook and eat together as a family. By Friday he was really craving as he said, "Some home cooked meals!" He was so tired of eating Lean Cuisines by the end of the week he just wanted something homemade. Now I'm not knocking Lean Cuisines by any means. We love them for our lunchtime fare. They are a quick, hot alternative when you have nothing else to bring (like leftovers) for lunch. But the guy wants something hearty and scrumptious so how could I say no.

I know that he loves Mexican, so I decided to make some chicken enchiladas. These are quick and easy to make and I usually have everything on hand without having to make a special trip to the grocery store for anything. The only thing that took a little time was I cooked the chicken breasts in my little crock for a few hours to make it easier to shred, so you do have to plan ahead a little. Of course if you are doing this last minute you could always cook the chicken using an alternative method.

Hope you enjoy this dish. Usually I don't measure out anything for this recipe I just eyeball ingredients, but I tried to give you measurements to help you out. The more you make this dish the more you can make it your own by adding or adjusting the ingredients.

Chicken Enchiladas
1 can of enchilada sauce
1 4 oz. can of green chilies
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/4 C of finely chopped onion
2-3 cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 C of cheddar cheese, shredded
6 flour tortillas

  1. Cook the chicken ahead of time preferably in a small crock pot. When done shred using two forks to pull it apart. 
  2. In a bowl add shredded chicken, green chilies, cream of mushroom soup, onion, and 1/4 C of enchilada sauce. Mix well.
  3. Spray a 8 inch pan with cooking spray then pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom.
  4. If tortillas are cold warm them in the microwave for a few seconds to make them more pliable. Add chicken mixture to tortilla, sprinkle a little cheese on them and fold sides inward to make it long and narrow. Do this with all six tortillas.
  5. Place filled tortillas seam side down in pan. Cover with the remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. No need to cover. Serve with refried beans if you desire.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Today I'm really in the mood for chocolate. I've been scouring my cupboards for something chocolate to eat and nothing really appealed to me. I mean I've got chocolate candy bars, chocolate pudding, chocolate rice cakes and chocolate M&M's, but they were all ok.

So I decided to look at my cookbooks and make some brownies or cookies or bars, just something that had chocolate in it. And then I found it! A recipe for Monster Chunk Cookies. The only problem is I didn't have everything I needed to make these, so I decided to kind of alter the recipe a bit.

Now the dough part is your basic cookie dough, all I did is add some semi-sweet chocolate chips (all I had left in the house) and some M&M's. There is something about chocolate chips and M&M's together in a cookie that sounds so sinful. Now I'm sure that these will work just fine with satisfying my chocolate craving, so I set to work on making these chocolate creations.

They are quick and easy to mix up and they bake up in no time. They are absolutely the thing that I was looking for when it comes to satisfying my chocolate craving. I know that you're going to love these cookies so give them a try and make sure you have a nice tall glass of milk to go along with them.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 Sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
2 C flour
1 C old fashion oats 
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips
1 C M&M's

  1. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and combine well. Add vanilla and mix well. 
  2. In another bowl combine flour, oats, soda and salt. Slowly add this mixture to the butter and sugar mixture.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and M&M's with a spoon.
  4. Scoop dough with a large cookie scoop and place on an ungreased pan spacing well. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

White Chicken Chili

 Well it's Monday morning and if you're like me you're just not ready to go back to work. You're probably also thinking what am I going to make for dinner. It's bad enough that it's the first day of the busy work week and my calendar for work is whirling around in my head, but now I've got to make some plans for what I'm going to feed everyone once I get home from my hectic day at work.

I know the first question I get asked as soon as I walk in the door is, "What's for supper?" Now this is not exactly what I want to hear upon entering the door. Whatever happened to the love and adoration I use to get from my children? They use to come running to me and giving me hugs and at the very least saying "Hi, Mom!" and acting like they were happy to see me. I guess their desire to eat trumps the love and affection they use to display. Oh well, I guess I'm still loved, just in a different way. 

Now the thought of this could be a little stressful, but not today. Today I have a quick and easy supper, that will satisfy everyone's hunger. This recipe is also very easy to make,so you can feed everyone in a hurry. For most people, if you have a well stocked pantry, you will probably have most ingredients on hand. And don't fret if you forgot to take chicken out. You can always defrost a couple of chicken breasts in the microwave and it will work just fine.

 White Chicken Chili
3 Chicken Breasts
1 medium onion
Olive Oil
1 t ground cumin
2 t oregano
1 can of green chilies
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 C chicken broth
2 cans Northern White Beans, drained and rinsed
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cube chicken and chop onion. Add some olive oil to a soup kettle and heat. Add chicken, onion, cumin, oregano and green chilies. Cook until chicken is done and onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook a few more minutes.
2. In a separate bowl mash 1/2 cup of the beans. Add 1/2 c chicken broth to mashed beans and mix to form a paste. Add the remaining broth to the chicken mixture and the bean mixture. Add the remaining beans and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
3. Serve chili with a dollop of sour cream on top and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Almond Bars

Well today is the day I try something new! 
I've been looking and looking at this recipe from a church cookbook and I just couldn't resist anymore. I just had to make these bars. I guess being home by myself didn't help the cause. I know I'm trying to watch the sweets intake here, but these just sounded too good to pass up any more.

After looking over the ingredients for about the billionth time.... butter, check... powdered sugar, check.... cream cheese, check..... slivered almonds, check! All the other stuff regular staples of my pantry.

So I'm started mixing the ingredients for the crust. Going good, but make sure the butter is really soft or it is a pain to mix it well. I pop it in the oven to bake. Smells great!

Then it's filling time. I soften the cream cheese in the microwave.Add the sugar, eggs and almond extract!! Holy crap my almond extract is gone! I resolve to use vanilla extract and it proves to be just as good. No fears here. So I blend this with the mixer and pour over the crust and bake again.

Finally it's on to the frosting. I find I have to wait for the bars to cool before frosting so I step away for awhile and come back later to whip it up and add to the bars.

These bars are quick and simple to make and they taste absolutely wonderful. Now the recipe did call for almond extract and if I wasn't out I would have used it, but it still tasted great with the vanilla. I'm starting to think that maybe another flavor of extract like lemon or something like that would also taste great.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Almond Bars
1C butter
2 C flour 
1/2 C powdered sugar

Mix butter, powdered sugar and flour. Pat evenly into a 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

1-8 oz pkg. cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 t almond extract (I used vanilla)

Mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar and extract. Pour over crust while still hot. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool.

1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 T milk
1/4 C butter
1 t almond extract (I used vanilla)
sliced almonds

Mix powdered sugar, milk, butter, and almond extract. Spread evenly over bars. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chicken Stroganoff

Don't you just love going to those restaurants that have that good old home cooked food? The kind of place that makes you step back in time to the days of when your mom made those meals that just made the whole house smell wonderful. Where one just couldn't get enough or for that matter even eat fast enough because it smelled and tasted so good that it felt like heaven.

We have a little restaurant like that just down the road from my place. It's called Carol's Kitchen. It definitely has the homemade everything and smells wonderful upon entering this establishment. It's a place that makes it hard for one to make a decision on what to eat, everything is so good. This restaurant has the true home cooked meal.

Well now I don't really go out to eat a whole lot, so I try to make these types of meals at home. I do it for a few reasons. One I like to cook and try out new stuff. Two I just can't afford to go out to eat all the time. And three I just really like hanging out at home with friends and family.

One of my favorite meals is stroganoff. Now usually one thinks of beef stroganoff, but I have a recipe using chicken. I'm a little partial to chicken so this is perfect for me. Now I suppose one could always use beef instead of chicken if you really want to so if chicken's not your thing go ahead and use beef, but you might be missing out on something that's just super yummy.

Chicken Stroganoff
Olive oil
2 T real bacon bits
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion
2-4.5 oz cans of mushrooms
1 1/2 C chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t salt
1/8 t paprika
pepper to taste
2 T all-purpose flour
1 C sour cream
Hot cooked egg noodles

Start a pan of water to boil for the noodles. Once water starts to boil add noodles and boil for 8-10 minutes. Drain when done.
Cut chicken breasts into cubes. Chop onions and drain mushrooms. Add olive oil to skillet and heat. Add chicken onions and mushrooms and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add the broth, garlic, salt, paprika, pepper and bacon. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Combine flour and sour cream in a bowl until smooth. Add to the skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over noodles.

Adapted from The Taste of Home

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Easy Lasagna

Now that the snow is here it makes me just want to make those meals that fill the house with good smells and are super yummy to eat. One of the things that comes to mind is lasagna. I love lasagna. All that cheese and meat sauce, nice and warm and bubbly. It makes the whole house smell so good. Italian food just satisfies your hunger like no other.

In days long ago I use to cook the noodles before putting the lasagna together, but I finally figured it out and no longer do that. Even though I loved this dish I had always hated putting it together because of the prep time. With this recipe I'm going to share the prep time is minimal. No more cooking the noodles ahead of time. All you need to do is brown the meat and saute some onions and mushrooms and you're ready to put this thing together. Serve this with french bread and a salad and you have a wonderful meal that was super easy to make.

Easy Lasagna
1lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian ground sausage
1-4.5oz canned mushrooms
1 medium onion chopped
1- 28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1- 16 oz pkg cottage cheese
1 pint ricotta cheese
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1-16 oz pkg lasagna noodles (about 9-12 noodles)
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

1. In a large skillet brown beef and sausage; Add mushrooms and onions and saute. Stir in spaghetti sauce and heat well. Reserve a little sauce to pour on the bottom of the pan.
2. In a medium bowl mix cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and eggs together.
3. Put a thin layer of the reserved sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch pan. Next put a layer of noodles. A layer of the cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese (reserve 1/2 C for the top), and then meat sauce. Continue to layer until all the ingredients are used.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and add the reserved cheese and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with bread and a salad.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Banana Pecan Bread

Happy New Year!

I hope this greeting finds you well as we enter into the year 2012. This is a time to make resolutions and to start or try something new in our lives. Sometimes our resolutions don't go as planned, but I look at it not as a failure, I look at it as an opportunity to experience something new and see if it's going to work for me. After all there are just somethings I don't want to or just can't get into because either I don't like it or it's just not my style after all. So don't be afraid to try something new this year if it doesn't work Oh well, you tried and maybe it's just not the year for you to do this new adventure.

Today I thought I would try something new right away this morning. I decided to make Banana Pecan Bread. What better thing to eat on a cold snowy day than a warm slice of Banana Bread? Besides I had these really ripe bananas staring me in the face and I just hate to throw them away. So I opted to make some bread with them.

Now this recipe I found in my October issue of Taste of Home. I know, I know! What was I doing looking at a magazine from October when it's the first of January? Well I had marked this page quite awhile ago and I'm just now getting in the kitchen to make it. I did, however, add one little ingredient to the recipe in hopes of making it a little moister.

This Banana Bread has pecans in it and they absolutely give the bread a magnificent wonderful taste. My little extra ingredient that I added was a 1/4 cup of sour cream. I did this for two reasons. One I thought it would make it a little bit moister. Two I needed to use up some sour cream in my fridge. I think adding the sour cream helped, so if you want go ahead and add some.

One other suggestion I would add to making this bread is to tent foil over the top if it is getting too brown on top. I baked it for 50 minutes and then checked it. It looked like it was getting too brown so I put foil over the top so it wouldn't burn.

I hope you enjoy it!

Banana Pecan Bread
1/2 C butter, softened
1 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 C sour cream (my addition)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 C chopped pecans

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas. Add sour cream. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture. Fold in pecans.
2. Transfer batter to a greased 9-in x 5-in loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing loaf from pan to a wire rack.

Source: Adapted from the Taste of Home