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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Praline Pecan Syrup

I had this at a brunch the other day and knew I needed to get the recipe.  It is amazing on Waffles, or ice cream, or whatever your heart desires.  It is super delicious!!

7 Tbsp Butter (no substitutes)
1 1/2 C. Chopped Pecans
1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp. Flour
1 1/2 C. Corn Syrup
1 1/2 C. Evaporated Milk

In a heavy Sauce pan melt 3 Tbsp of butter over medium heat.  Add the pecans and cook for 5 minutes or until fragrant.  Remove pecans from heat and set aside in a separate bowl.  Using the same sauce pan melt the remaining 4 Tbsp. of butter.  Once melted, whisk in the brown sugar, flour, and corn syrup until well blended.  Cook on high for 6-8 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to thicken.  Then add the Evaporated milk to the pan and cook a minute more.  Mixture will thicken as it cools, but you may need to cook it a little longer if it thins out too much with the milk.  Pour into your favorite syrup container, and enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

While I know it is summer, this is still a favorite of ours to make year round.  Especially when I need a quick go to from my freezer.  You can either make the crust from scratch or when in a pinch use a pre-made refrigerated crust.  My kids gobble this up so there is little to no leftovers usually.  The filling often will make enough for 2 pot pie's, so be prepared to either make 2, or freeze half of the filling to use next time.  This recipe freezes amazing!  Hope you enjoy it!

2 C. diced peeled potatoes
1 3/4 C. sliced carrots
2/3 C. chopped Onion
4 C. cooked chicken
1 C. frozen peas
1 C. frozen corn
1 C. butter, cubed
1 C. flour
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. ground sage
3/4 tsp. pepper
3 C. Chicken broth
1 1/2 C. milk
2 refrigerated or homemade Pie crusts 

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, covered, 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chicken, peas, corn and potato mixture; remove from heat.
  3. Unroll a pastry sheet into each of two 9-in. pie plates; trim even with rims. Add chicken mixture. Unroll remaining pastry; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in tops.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. 
Often when making this I have leftover filling, and so I'll either make a second pot pie with additional crusts, or I'll freeze the filling in the shape of my pie tin in a ziploc bag to use later.  It makes for a quick meal on a night I haven't thought much about dinner in advance.

For the freezer method, cover and freeze unbaked pies. To use, remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw). Preheat oven to 425°. Place pies on baking sheets; cover edges loosely with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven setting to 350°; bake 70-80 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cafe-Rio Chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts
1/2 a small bottle of zesty Italian dressing
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 pkt ranch dressing mix (mixed with 1/2 cup of water)
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on LOW for about 5 hours or until chicken is done.
Shred with fork and serve in salads, burritos, tacos…etc.
You can also double or triple this to make extras for freezing. Then simply thaw and reheat for a fast and delicious meal.

Cafe-Rio Cilantro Lime Vinagrette

1/4 c. fresh lime juice (about 2-3 juicy limes)
1/4 c. white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 c. canola oil
1/2 c. roughly chopped cilantro, stems removed

In the jar of your blender, combine lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar. Blend until ingredients are completely combined. With the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add cilantro and blend until the cilantro has broken down but still maintains some of its texture. Serve with greens, on any type of Mexican salad, or use as a marinade.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quick and Easy Quesadillas

This recipe came from my dear friend Kristie.  It is one of the simplest meals you can make, and it tastes amazing.  So when you are in a hurry to put dinner on the table keep the following on your pantry shelves to make it seem like you have been busy all day with dinner.

2 C. Shredded cooked chicken, I use Canned
1 can corn, drained
4 green onions sliced (optional)
1can black beans, rinsed
1 C. chunky salsa
1 C. shredded cheese
8 flour tortillas (I prefer the uncooked ones from Costco)

Mix Chicken, Corn, Onions, Beans and Salsa together in a bowl.  Then place 1/2-3/4 C. of the mixture on half of a tortilla and then top with cheese.  Fold the tortilla in half and then heat in a nonstick skillet on medium high heat.for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly brown on both sides.  Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas until it is all gone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pad Kee Mao or Drunken Noodles

While in Caifornia a month or so ago, we were introduced to Pad Kee Mao, otherwise known as Drunken noodles.  It is usually called drunken noodles because it can be very spicy and requires you to drink a lot to calm the flavor.  Although this one is generally not super spicy, unless you get out of control on the red pepper flakes.  My kids love this one, and you can add different veggies to change it up or add more variety.  Hope you enjoy it.  

  • 1/2-16 oz box (8 oz)  Wide Rice Noodles
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-14.4 oz can baby corn, drained
  • 4 plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed Thai basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1.Soak Rice Noodles according to directions on box. Stir to separate and set aside.
2.Heat oil in large skillet on a high temperature. Add onion, green pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper. Stir-fry until onion starts to wilt.
3.Add corn, tomatoes, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Fish Sauce and sugar. Mix until combined.
4.Drain noodles and add to skillet. Stir-fry until just tender, test after 3 or 4 minutes. Mix in basil leaves and vinegar. Stir-fry until basil is just wilted. Serve.
*Sweet soy sauce is found in any Asian store. If unavailable, make your own sweet soy sauce by mixing 3 parts soy sauce to 1 part dark brown sugar in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened. 
(Oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce and Thai basil are common products found in Asian markets)

Crockpot Thai Coconut Curry

We have been on a Thai kick around here, my son has decided it is his favorite thing to eat.  I ran across this recipe the other day and when I say you made it in the crock-pot  I was sold.  I put it in first thing in the morning and forgot about it until dinner time, and it was delicious.  My son normally does not eat anything with peanut butter, but he kept asking for more, I guess that means it was good.  It's a super easy recipe, and with all the peppers i've frozen from my garden it will be an easy one to make this winter as well.

  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon(s) natural creamy reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon(s) red or green curry paste (more if you like it spicier)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 4 cloves minced Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon(s) grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 pound(s) boneless Chicken breasts, cut into 1 1⁄2-in. pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced 3⁄4 in. thick and cubed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 pound(s) rice noodles
  • 1 cup(s) frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup(s) fresh cilantro leaves
  •  Lime wedges, for serving

  • Directions

    In a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, curry paste, soy sauce, garlic and ginger; mix in the chicken, peppers and onion.
    Cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through, on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
    Twenty minutes before serving, soak the rice noodles in hot water.  When noodles are soft, pour sauce mixture into a large frying pan and add noodles.  Stir the peas into the mixture, and cook, covered, until noddles are pan fried to desired firmness.   Remove pan from heat and sprinkle with the cilantro; serve with the lime wedges, if desired.

    Friday, September 13, 2013

    Pork Taco's

    I got the recipe from another of my cookbooks, this recipe comes from the amazing Elaine Beardshall, a friend of ours who is an amazing cook.  This is an easy recipe and works great in the crock pot if you don't want to oven roast it.  The flavor is amazing!! Seriously, I can just eat the pork and and care less about the tortilla, which says a lot for me.  My kids loved it as well and that pretty much seals the deal at our house.  This freezes great, so don't worry that it makes a ton, you can cook once and eat for several meals.

    4-7lb pork shoulder
    1 onion, cut into quarters
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
    3-4 cloves of garlic
    1 tsp oregano
    1 tsp cumin
    1-2 Tbsp salt
    Pepper to taste
    1/2 Tbsp olive oil
    2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

    Blend all ingredients except the pork in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Pour the marinade over the pork and rub it into all the nooks and cranny's of the meat.  Place into a roasting pan or dutch oven, cover tightly and roast at 300 for 4 hours.  About halfway through cooking, check to see if you need additional water added, only a small amount to keep it moist.  When the pork is done cooking, let it set for 15-20 minutes, then shred the meat, and mix it with any remaining sauce in the pan.

    Serve in tortillas with taco fixings, guacamole, salsa, cheese, beans etc..

    Saturday, August 31, 2013

    Easy Chicken Alfredo

    Anyone who knows me, will know that fettuccine alfredo is my favorite all time meal.  There isn't anything better than a good alfredo.  I got this one from our grad school cookbook as well, and it's an easy one, but doesn't go easy on the calories, so beware.  But if you are gonna splurge, go for this one, it's great!!

    3 cloves minced garlic
    8oz of cream cheese
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1/2 cup butter
    1/2-1 cup milk
    3/4 C Parmesan
    2 chicken breasts
    1 pkg fettuccine

    Cook fettuccine as directed on package.  Slice chicken breasts into thin strips.  Add a small amount of olive oil, onion powder and garlic to a skillet, heat until garlic starts to brown and is aromatic.  Then add chicken to skillet and brown.  Once chicken is brown add butter and cream cheese.  Once they are melted and mixed together, add milk and heat through.  Once the sauce is creamy add the Parmesan cheese, adding more milk if sauce becomes too thick.    Serve over pasta, adding broccoli or other vegetables if desired.

    Friday, August 30, 2013

    Skillet Chicken Parmigiana

    This recipe comes from a dear friend of mine Erica.  It is in a cookbook that I got while we were going to Grad School.  It is a super easy recipe, and it's really yummy!  It's a fast one for those nights you aren't sure what to cook.  Give it a try, and the clean up is pretty quick from this as well.  Enjoy!

    1/4 C. olive oil
    1 C chopped onions
    2 cloves of garlic minced
    1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
    2 tsp of sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp oregano
    1/2 tsp basil
    4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1/2  C. Italian bread crumbs
    1/3 C. Parmesan cheese
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

    in a 3 qt sauce pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Saute onions and garlic in oil stirring occasionally.  Stir in tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper.  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and simmer covered.  Between sheets of waxed paper pound chicken breasts to 1/4" thickness.  In a shallow dish mix bred crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip chicken into egg, then oat with bread crumb mixture.  In a 12 inch skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat.  Cook chicken in oil 10-15 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink in the center.  Pour tomatoes sauce around the chicken in skillet.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken, cover and heat until melted.  Serve over pasta.