Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

Hello, welcome back from your Christmas Cookie Hangover. Let's make something nutritious, ok?

The first thing I made from my new Taste of Home Light Everyday Meals cookbook was their Easy Chicken and Dumplings. The recipes in the ToH cookbooks are usually pretty easy and can actually be made without you being a Master Chef.

Best part of this recipe? (besides the flavor) It only takes two dishes.

Chicken and Dumplings
serves 6

3 ribs Celery, chopped
1 c. sliced, fresh Carrots
3 cans (14 1/2 oz.) reduced sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 t. Poultry Seasoning
1/8 t. Pepper
3 c. cubed, cooked Chicken Breast
1 c. Peas
1 2/3 c. reduced fat Biscuit Mix
2/3 c. fat free Milk

I used a 12" skillet, 3" deep skillet.

Spray skillet with non stick cooking spray and saute celery and carrots for 5 minutes. Stir in broth, poultry seasoning, and pepper. If you want it thicker than your standard soup, put about 4T of flour in a container with a lid and shake well. Stir in and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered.

In small mixing bowl combine biscuit mix and milk. Drop by tablespoonfuls into skillet. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes -without removing cover- until toothpick comes out of dumpling clean.

When I served these I put a dash of paprika on the biscuits for color.

Nutritional Info (not including flour mixture or peas):
282 Cal
5g Fat
1g Fiber
28g Protien

Bisquick on FoodistaBisquick

Christmas Cookware!

I hope you all had a great Christmas. I loved spending so much time with my family, especially when my mom was in town, visiting from Alabama.

Well, I don't know about you but I sure scored some awesome stuff for Christmas. Right now I am updating from my brand new HP laptop (Thank you Daddy), and I got a Crock-Pot with a locking lid for easy travel (Thank you Sarah), some super awesome Pier 1 Imports "Tasting Party" mini flared cups (Thank you Chelle), and a 2010 Taste of Home cookbook (Thank you Mom)! I used gift money to buy myself a Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals and a 1001 Easy, Short, Inexpensive Meals cookbooks. I am very excited to use all my new stuff and let you know how things turn out.

In return, I got dad a 2c. fat separating measuring cup from It's great for low-fat gravy making. I also got him Knife Block and Cooking Utensil Set from Seventh Avenue. I helped my sister find him a set of trenched cutting boards from Kmart.

All in all, we've got some great kitchen adventures ahead of us : ). Over the past 2 weeks I have made 3 batches of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread and given it to 4 of our neighbors, 5+ friends and families, work, and our own freezer! Bring on something new.

What did you make for the holidays? What did you give and get?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sugar Cookies

It's the week before Christmas and all through Crin's house,
not a child is running, nor looking to pounce.
The children are seated 'round the table with cheer
for they know why the babysitter has seated them here.
They saw the pink box that sat hidd'n on the shelf
and felt for a moment just like Santa's elf.
Preparing for Christmas includes lots of cooking,
so into the box they started their looking.
Off flew the lid and amid all the clutter
their eyes open wide and their little hearts flutter.
There was cookies, and icing, and sprinkles, and frosting.
-Little did I realize this could be so exhausting.

Last week I was feeling adventurous and it was my friend Crin's birthday. I watch her kids a few days a week  (Girls - ages Kate 2 and Sophie 4 and Boy - Gavon 1) and I thought it would be fun to let them do some decorating of cookies for their mom's birthday! So the night before, while watching Bones on FOX, my aunt and I found an Alton Brown Sugar Cookie recipe off and we made cookies. The next morning on my way to babysit I picked up frostings, icing, and sprinkles.

The girls were so excited to decorate cookies (and devour them). We ate breakfast, then decorated some, watched some snow white, then finished them. Thankfully I thought to put plates with raised edges down, or the table and floor would have been a mess; for some ages, the wax paper place mat just doesn't cut it. They had so much fun.

I didn't get any picture of the cookies, but I have some of the kids being silly. Note: the looks on their faces have no relation to the taste of the cookie lol.

Sophie (pic #2) took my camera phone and took these pictures. I'm a bit more skilled with a camera, no worries.

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network and Alton Brown.

Sugar Cookies
makes 3 dozen... ish

3 c. All-Purpose Flour
3/4 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Salt
1 c. Butter, softened
1 c. Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
1 T. Milk
Powdered Sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add butter and milk to combine. Put mixer on low and gradually beat in flour until dough pulls from sides of bowl.

Divide dough in half, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, til firm.

Preheat oven to 375. Sprinkle flat surface with powdered sugar and roll out one half of the dough to a 1/4". Make sure dough is not sticking to counter.
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on cooking sheet. HELP: dip cutting edge of cookie cutter in powdered sugar to help with easy release, and spatula for moving dough shapes from counter to cookie sheet.

Bake 375 for 7-9 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. Let cookies sit on baking sheet 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Wacky Cake (egg-less)

When my mom was little she was allergic to eggs, so my grandma found this recipe for chocolate cake that doesn't require eggs. Wacky, right? : ) It's a very easy cake to make, and bakes up almost the same as the Pumpkin Bread a few recipes down, so, as noted in that recipe, it is great to use for a checkerboard cake, or just baking at the same time.

They make pretty tasty cupcakes.

In honor of National Cupcake Day:

Wacky Cake

3 c. All-Purpose Flour
2 c. Sugar
6 rounded T. Cocoa Powder
2 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Salt
4 T. Butter
2 c. warm Water
2 t. Apple Cider Vinegar (or regular vinegar)
2 t. Vanilla

Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl.

Melt butter and pour into warm water with vinegar and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until smooth.

Pour into 9x13 or two 9" round greased pans and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Cupcakes and Mini-Bundt cakes take 22-24 minutes.

Frost, ice, or dust with powdered sugar and serve.

This cake is so easy to throw together, and it tastes so good and is nice and moist.

Cocoa Powder on FoodistaCocoa Powder


I am on the phone with my mom _right now_ and she just informed me that it is

National Cupcake Day. 

I just thought you should know. Now I have to go bake. Next up: Wacky Cake.

What are you making?

Old Fashioned Pancakes

Pancake breakfast. How hard is it? A scoop of mix and a splash of water (and a scoop of M&Ms or chocolate chips if no one's looking) right? Not anymore. I made pancakes from scratch last week. Did you catch that? FROM SCRATCH! Who does that?

This girl.

I bought one of Dad's Christmas presents from a website you should all become familiar with: . It's awesome. There are so many great cooking utensils, pot&pan sets, measurement items, dish sets, bakeware, etc. I'd say the awesome stuff I got him, but I'm pretty sure he checks my blog.
HI DAD!! : ) 
Anyway, when they mailed the ... device... they sent a mini catalog with, and inside were a couple recipes, such as Old Fashioned Pancakes. I tried them out the next morning and it was a success! I'd never make pancakes from scratch on my own before so it was rather exciting.

Here it is, in all of it's easy glory.

Old Fashioned Pancakes
makes about 7-9 four inch pancakes

1 1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour
2 T. Sugar
1 1/4 c. Milk
3 T. melted Butter
1 T. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Salt
1 large Egg

In large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

In another bowl beat the eggs, whisk in the milk, and add the melted butter. Combine with flour and mix until batter is just smooth.

Heat lightly oiled griddle or frypan over medium-high heat. Ladle about 1/4 c. batter onto griddle. Once bubble break on the surface of the pancakes and edges begin to pull up, flip with spatula and cook an additional minute.

Serve immediately.

-OR- for new fashioned pancakes, add about 1/4 c. M&Ms or chocolate chipsM&Ms make great birthday morning pancakes : )

Chelle had already had breakfast, but when I made these she tried one bite. Then another, and another until a whole pancake was gone. I'll take that as praise.

Cook's Comments

As promised in the December 5th post, Family Reunion Oatmeal Cookies, I made cookies the next day to celebrate National Cookie Day.

Just thought you should know. I made half with just chocolate chips and half with chocolate chips and raisins. I had to make them with all-purpose flour, so they were flat, but I went out last week and bought my very own bread flour so Dad can't tell me I can't use it for cookies : )

Promise Fulfilled.

Did you make cookies? What kind?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Layered Salad

Here's a simple, pleasing layered salad. I like to make it when we have company because it's less messy and all ready when it's time to eat.

I use a decorative, clear glass bowl. so you can see the colors.

Simply layer, bottom up: Romaine Lettuce, frozen Corn, frozed Peas, (Broccoli optional), shredded Cheese, Iceburg Lettuce, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, shredded Cheese, Croutons.

Top your own serving with whatever dressing you like.

Cookie Salad!!!!

In honor of National Cookie Day, which was yesterday... I am posting my favorite salad recipe. Sorry, no picture yet.

Cookie Salad.
This makes me want to go on a salad diet. 

Happy Day-After-National-Cookie Day!

2 cans Pineapple Tidbits or Chunks, drained
2 cans Mandarin Oranges, drained
16 oz. Cool Whip
1 lg pkg Instant Vanilla Pudding
2 c. Buttermilk
1 pkg Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies.

Dump cookies into a gallon zip locking bag. Break cookies against counter, floor, wooden spoon, sister's head...
Mix pudding with buttermilk, fold in the Cool Whip, add other ingredients.
Add cookies prior to serving to avoid soggy cookies (I actually prefer them with a little less crunch though). Refrigerate until ready.

Enjoy. This is a Fourth of July tradition, but it was National Cookie Day. How could I not share?

I brought this to a work potluck (Eddie Bauer's 91st Anniversary) and everyone loved it. I know of at least two people who clocked out to go home after their shift, then sat down and had another scoop : )

If you've tried it, let me know. If you've made it, tell me what you do differently. 

Family Reunion Oatmeal Cookies

I am such a failure... I failed to make cookies on December 4th, National Cookie Day. How terrible is that from an avid baker/cook? Pretty terrible.

So to make up for it, I am posting a cookie recipe and a promise to bake them this week!

So this recipe is thanks to Kelli Harris. I got it at a recipe swap when I was in YW (Young Womens) in church. It is so delicious!

The name is another story. This past July my mom's side of the family had a family reunion and Grandma volunteered 6 dozen cookies, but ended up not having enough time for all of them, so, being the wonderful person I am, I was voluntold (volunteered by someone else). So I threw this together real quick because these cookies are so easy and I had just made some earlier that week. When we got to the reunion they were such a big hit. I opened the bags of cookies around 9am and they were GONE about 4pm. No joke. 6 dozen cookies gone before you could ask for seconds. My Aunt Diane was so excited for the recipe and she just raves about it.

Family Reunion Cookies

Mix together first:
1 c. Brown Sugar
1 c. White Sugar
1 c. Butter
2 Eggs
2 t. Vanilla

1 t. Baking Powder
1 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt
2 c. Bread Flour*
2 c. QuickOats

Any of the following, alone or combinations:
coconut, heath chips, chocolate chips, raisins, craisins, etc...

Bake at 350  for 10 - 11 mins.

* I use Bread Flour. If you want a fluffy cookie, use bread flour. If you want a flat cookie that collapses around the chips/raisins (like Tollhouse) use All-Purpose. I think that I used All-Purpose for the cookies in the picture. Dad was home and doesn't like me using his bread flour :(

So this is the fantastic recipe. Hope you like it! What little treat will you stir in?

Aunt Sue's Pumpkin Bread

It's December!!!! That means cold weather and Christmas! Well, here is a Christmas tradition recipe for you.

Every year, Aunt Sue makes/gifts all the family a homemade calendar filled with pictures of her latest adventures abroad, and a loaf or two of Pumpkin Bread. A couple years ago I decided that since I love this stuff so darn much I should probably learn how to make it, so we made the Christmas loaves together. Now, every Christmas season I make it all the time, and often bring it to work. I recently brought it to a Kent FHE (Family Home Evening) and it was a huge hit, with a few recipe requests.

Let's get cooking!!

First, depending on what you are making this for, pick a pan.

Standard Loaf Pan -- 4-6 Loaves -- Bake 55 mins to 1:05 
Mini Loaf Pan -- 6-9 Loaves -- Bake 40 mins
Standard Muffin Pan -- 3+ dozen Cupcakes -- Bake 25-30 mins
Mini Muffin Pan -- ~6 dozen Cupcakes -- Bake 15-20 mins

Ok, are you ready for this? It's SOOO difficult... not. 

Aunt Sue's Pumpkin Bread

3 c. Sugar
4 Eggs
1 c. Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 1/2 t. Salt
2 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Nutmeg
1/3 c. Water
2 c. canned Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3 1/3 c. Flour
12 oz/2 c. Chocolate Chips (optional, but really? Who wouldn't want this?)
1 - 1 1/2 c. chopped Walnuts (optional)

Mix all ingredients together, ending with flour, then stir in Chocolate Chips and/or Walnuts.

Put in sprayed/greased pans and Bake at 350 according to time/pan chart above.

Standard Loaves are good for keeping at home, slicing for events, or gifting to larger families.
Mini Loaves are good for slicing for events, or gifting to smaller families or individuals.
Standard Muffins are good for potluck events, or munching on at home.
Mini Muffins are good for parties, or goodie bags.

Also, one time I made a checker board cake using this recipe and my mom's Wacky Chocolate Cake recipe and it bakes up like a cake just a tad bit more dense, but the WCC batter is thicker than normal cakes, too. If you want me to post further instruction on that, ask me.
This is how it turned out.