Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chicken Acapulco...

 


The first time I had this dish it was at my mother-in-law's house for dinner, before my husband and I were married. It is delicious, to say the least.

That's a good thing, too, because this is one of the few chicken dishes that my husband enjoys. Yeah, he and chicken really aren't the best of friends. I mean, he eats it if I cook it, but would definitely prefer something else.

The creamy green chili sauce is so good and tasty... and it's topped with melted monterey jack cheese!

Am I reeling you in yet?

Let my lay it on a little bit thicker.

This dish is so easy you could make a huge batch for company. I'm not kidding you.

Now, I hope that I've persuaded you to try your hand at this dish...

... you won't regret it.


Chicken Acapulco

  • 4 Whole Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt and Pepper, To Taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Four
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Can (10.75 Oz.) Cream Of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Can ( 4 Oz.) Diced Green Chilies, With Juices
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Onion Salt
  • 2 Cups Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, Plus Some For Garnish
  • 2 Sprigs Diced Green Onion, Plus Some For Garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F.)

Place the chicken in a medium baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and place in the oven to pre-cook for 20 minutes. In the meantime, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Add the sour cream, stirring constantly until blended. Do not boil. Add the cream of chicken soup, chilies and onion salt; blend well.

Remove the pre-cooked chicken from the oven and pour the sauce over the chicken. Turn the oven up to 350 degrees and place the chicken back into the oven for 30 minutes. Finally, sprinkle jack cheese and some green onion over the chicken and cook an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with jack cheese and green onion. Serve over white rice or, how we like it, with refried beans and warm flour tortillas.

Enjoy!

I'm linking this post up to I'm Lovin' It.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Broiled Plums with Mascarpone Whipped Cream...

 
Okay, so I was craving something with a streusel like topping a few nights back for dessert. My hubbie likes to have ice cream every night, but I usually prefer desserts that aren't as filling.

I had recently bought some plums and was trying to figure out what to do with them. A big gigantic light bulb went on right over my head. I had brown sugar, oats, and butter on hand...... as well as whipped cream.

Perfect!




So, I decided to experiment and throw a dessert together with these ingredients.

Needless to say, I was very happy with how it turned out!

Initially I used store bought whipped cream to accompany my broiled plums, but I really wanted to use a mascarpone based whipped cream for a recipe post.




Look how pretty they are! I used two different types of plums and they both worked well. Oh, and the heat from the broiled plums melted the mascarpone whipped cream.... delectable. That's all I'm gonna say about that.




You could totally use regular whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream to pair with the plums. Use whatever you have on hand. Wanna add some chopped almonds to the topping?

Do. It.

Experiment, it's fun...


Broiled Plums with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 4 Whole Plums, Rinsed and Dried
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Old Fashioned Quaker Oats
  • 3 Tablespoons Cold Butter, Cubed
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
Begin by placing a medium sized mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer to chill. Next, cut the plums in half and remove the pits. Scoop or cut some of the flesh out. Place the plum halves in a 13 x 9 baking dish and set aside. 

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and oats. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the cold butter until the mixture is crumbly. Evenly top the brown sugar mixture on the plums, then set aside. 

In your oven, place the top rack about six inches from the broiler. Preheat the broiler.

Meanwhile, remove the chilled mixing bowl and beaters from the freezer. Begin beating the heavy whipping cream on high speed for about 30 seconds. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. Next, add the mascarpone cheese a little at a time, until it is all incorporated and stiff peaks begin to form. Cover and store in the refrigerator. 

Place the plums under the broiler for about one minute. Watch them closely and remove when the brown sugar topping just begins to caramelize. Serve hot with a dollop of mascarpone whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

Enjoy!

I'm posting this on I'm Lovin' It and Sweet Tooth Friday.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Easy Tuna Casserole...

 


This is the simplest dish you will ever make. EVER.

We all know that I love tuna. So, needless to say, tuna casserole is a fave of mine. The only person in our household that will not eat this dish is my oldest daughter. She won't eat this, but she'll eat tuna sandwiches...... go figure.

I refuse to cook anything else for my kids, if they don't eat what I make. So, she will usually pour herself a bowl of cereal with milk or make a sandwich on the nights I make this. Sometimes I will separate some tuna for her and mix in mayo for a tuna sandwich. I really do try and plan meals that both of my girls will eat, so that they are not fending for themselves all the time. Every once in a while, though, there is a meal that either one or the other just isn't into.

If I've already planned our meals out for the week, and my kid's don't have special dietary needs, then they can eat what I cook or make something for themselves.

Harsh?

Maybe...

But I'd rather they make something for themselves than sit at the table staring at a meal they absolutely will not eat.

So, how do you handle your picky eaters?


Easy Tuna Casserole

  • 2 Cans (10 Oz.), Cream Of Celery
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Can (12 Oz.), Tuna In Water, Drained And Crumbled
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt And Pepper, Each
  • 1 Package (12 Oz.), Egg Noodles
  • 1 Package (16 Oz.), Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F.)

In a large soup pot, boil water (for the pasta).

In the meantime, combine the cream of celery, water, tuna, and salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring occasionally.

Once the water is boiling, add the egg noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and return the noodles to the pot. Add the cream of celery mixture and half of the bag of cheese. Stir until the noodles are coated.

Pour into a large casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Cook for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with a salad or bread and butter.

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chocolate Mint Cookie Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream...



While grocery shopping the other day, I saw these Mint Creme Middles. I snatched them right up with an idea to make some cupcakes. I debated whether to make chocolate cupcakes from scratch or just buy a cake mix. The latter won out.

I know it's better to bake from scratch...... blah, blah, blah, blah...... blah.

But, I just didn't feel like it. Boxed cake mixes are so much easier. Great for when you're in a pinch for time. I did make the frosting from scratch, though. I'm pretty sure that counteracts my slacker-ness in using a boxed mix...... right?

Anyway, I like adding something new or unexpected to a boxed mix. Like these Mint Creme Middles I picked up. It's fun to find a surprise in your cupcake every once in a while!


Chocolate Mint Cookie Cupcakes

  • 1 Box of Devils Food Cake (1lb- 2.25 Oz.), Plus Ingredients Listed To Make The Cake
  • 2 Packages of  Keebler Mint Creme Middles ( 9.5 Oz.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.)

Make the cake batter according to the directions on the back of the box. Fill two pre-lined muffin/cupcake pans with half of the batter, then place a mint creme cookie over the batter. Distribute the rest of the batter evenly, over the mint cremes. Bake according to the instructions. Cool completely and frost with Mint Buttercream (recipe below). Garnish with whole or crushed mint cremes. Makes 24 cupcakes. 


Mint Buttercream

  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter
  • 1 Pound Powdered Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Half and Half Or Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pure Mint Extract
  • 2-3 Drops of Green Liquid Or Gel Food Coloring (Optional)
In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add half of the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of the half and half and combine. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and half and half. Add in the mint extract and mix until
well combined. Lastly, mix in the food coloring, if using. Frosts 24 cupcakes. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting...

 


I love baking cupcakes.

I love baking anything, really.

It's therapeutic.

Yep, baking makes everything all better.

So, to relieve the stress of back-to-school madness, running my kids to activities here and there, and just the day to day happenings...... I decided to...... well, bake.




I've been wanting to come up with a banana cupcake recipe for quite a while. These have bananas in pretty much every bite. The cream cheese frosting tops them off nicely, too. I sprinkled on some chopped walnuts to finish them off. Boy, was that a good idea!

All in all, I'd have to say this therapeutic baking session was a great success.


Banana Cupcakes

  • 2-1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1/2 Cups Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Whole Large Eggs
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk
  • 5 Whole Bananas, Mashed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F.)

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix. Next, mix in the eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Mix in the buttermilk. 

In small batches, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, until just combined. Gently fold in the mashed bananas. Divide the batter, evenly, between two pre-lined muffin/cupcake pans. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The cupcakes will fall as they are cooling. Cool completely and frost with Cream Cheese Frosting (below) and top with chopped walnuts (optional). Makes 24-28 cupcakes. 


Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1 Block Cream Cheese (8 Oz.), Softened
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Pound Powdered Sugar
Beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. Mix until well combined. Frosts 24-28 cupcakes or two 9 inch cakes. 

Enjoy!

I'm linking this post up to Sweet Tooth Friday and I'm Lovin' It.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Papa's Buttermilk Pancakes...



If you have children, you are very much aware that there are, like, a gazillion cartoon and kid show networks out there.

When I was growing up...... way back in the 80's, we didn't have that luxury. So, that made us all the more excited for our weekly dose of Saturday Morning Cartoons. Every Saturday morning my sister and I would rise and shine, just to sit in front of the TV and watch our favorite shows.

First, if we were up super early, we would tune into re-runs of Little Rascals and The Three Stooges. Then, the really good shows would air.

Here were a few of our faves, in no particular order:
  • The Littles
  • Pac-Man
  • Smurfs
  • Alvin and The Chipmunks
  • Jim Henson's Muppet Babies
  • Ewoks
  • Snorks
  • Wuzzles
  • Pound Puppies
  • Pee-Wee's Playhouse
  • Garfield and Friends
  • Punky Brewster
  • Mr. T
  • Fraggle Rock 
As we got older, Saved by The Bell was thrown in there. I can't forget Kids Incorporated, either. Oh how I wanted to be on that show! I wanted to hang-out at The Place with Stacy, Renee, Marta, Ryan, Eric and all the other performers.

If that doesn't scream "I grew up in the 80's," I don't know what does. 

Anyway, after over-dosing on numerous cartoons within a three to four hour time frame, my dad would make us his buttermilk pancakes for breakfast. They were the perfect way to end our Saturday Morning Cartoon fun!


Papa's Buttermilk Pancakes

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Heat griddle on medium low heat and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, egg, and oil together in a separate bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Whisk until the well combined.

Pour whatever sized pancakes you prefer onto the griddle. Cook on the hot griddle, flipping when the surface of the pancake becomes somewhat dry and when most of the air bubbles have risen, about 2-1/2 minutes to 4 minutes on each side. 

Makes a batch of eight 3-1/2 inch round pancakes. Double the ingredients for a larger batch.

Enjoy!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Meat-a-balls...



We'll we've got one week of school down in our household and plenty more to go! My eldest has started the 7th grade and we decided to put her in an on-line public charter school for Middle School.

Translation:

She'll be home 3 out of 5 school days. Every. Single. Week.

Mind you, it is a little difficult adjusting to your child being home, when they previously attended school every day. Each day gets better, though. We are both new to this.

It'll all work...... It'll all work...... It'll all work. That is my daily mantra. I mean, the more I say it, the more it's apt to be true...... right? Anybody?

Anyway, all kidding aside, the curriculum is wonderful and as her learning coach I get to engage in her daily instruction. While that's great and all, it also means I better understand her lessons! I mean, I do have teacher guides for each subject to reference and I can contact her teacher with any questions. So, I'm not totally left in the dark!

Plus, I'm sorta hoping that college education I got almost 10 years ago, will kick in.


Meat-a-balls

  • 1 Pound of Ground Beef
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Season Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/3 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup of Italian Style Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Flour
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
In a medium or large bowl, combine the beef, salt, season salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, parmesan, bread crumbs, and egg. Gently roll into 1-1/2 inch balls. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to half an hour. Dredge the chilled meatballs in flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Brown the meatballs without over crowding the pan. Add more oil if needed. Place your browned meatballs in simmering spaghetti sauce to finish cooking, about 20 minutes. Serve over spaghetti or your favorite pasta. 

Enjoy!


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