Thursday, September 30, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

Soup season is upon us!  Hallelujah!  I would have eaten it all summer, but I would have had objections :)  To kick off my soup season, here is a favorite of my husband at a little restaraunt called the Olive Garden.  One of my favorite lunches is their unlimited soup/salad/breadstick meal.  Yum!  This is definitely one I order frequently and am excited I can now make it at home whenever I have the craving.  It is super easy, and hits the spot!  

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine to deglaze the pan
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 russett potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2.5 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Add the wine to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the potatoes, kale, chicken broth and water to the pot. Return the sausage to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on medium-low. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source:  Annie's Eats.

Cheese Bread

I sure have loved finding yummy bread/breadstick recipes to accompany my soup and pasta recipes.  This one is great as well!  Sometimes I just need that extra cheese on top of my bread to make it perfect!  This one comes from See Jane in the Kitchen.


2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water (120*F)
1 Tablespoon oil


1/4 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
dash pepper

1-2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Combine water and oil; add to flour mixture. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Punch the dough down; place on a greased 16″ pizza pan and pat into a 16″ circle. Combine salad dressing and seasonings, brush evenly over dough, all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with cheeses.

For a fluffier cheese bread, at this point, allow the bread to rest for 15 minutes or so. If you’re in a hurry, just skip this rise. (The bread will rise while it bakes, too.)

Preheat the oven to 450*F. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown. Slice. Serve warm.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole

You put "Buffalo Chicken" in front of anything, and I will be sure to try it!  Whenever we go to a restaurant, I am always drawn to the buffalo chicken pizzas or the sandwiches.  I don't know what is in that sauce, but I love it!  So when I saw this recipe, it went straight on my to try list.  This casserole is good, it didn't quite have enough of that buffalo sauce flavor that I love, but was still pretty darn tasty.  This one comes from Cassie Craves.

1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
6 cups frozen southern-style hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 10-ounce can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup corn flake crumbs (I used crumbled Ritz crackers)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 3 medium)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In medium bowl, stir together chicken strips and wing sauce.

3. In large bowl, stir together potatoes, dressing, cheese and soup. Spoon into baking dish. Place chicken strips over potato mixture.

4. In small bowl, stir together crumbs and butter. Sprinkle on top of chicken strips.

5. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes; uncover and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and juice of chicken is no longer pink when center of thickest pieces are cut. Sprinkle with green onions.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ham and Sweet Potato Hash

Fall time is in the air!  It's time for some hearty harvest meals!  Fall reminds me of apples, peaches, and sweet when I saw this yummy sweet potato recipe, I had to try!  It is definitely hearty enough for dinner, but would make an awesome breakfast as well!  This one comes from My Kitchen Cafe.

3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons heavy cream
10 ounces thinly sliced deli ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 large eggs

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting microwave-safe lid and microwave for about 6 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not overcooked – they’ll cook a bit more in the skillet later. Stir the potatoes halfway through cooking. Drain the potatoes of any excess liquid and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the chipotle and cook for about 30 seconds.

Stir in the drained potatoes and the cream. Using the back of a spatula, pack the potatoes into the pan, pressing them into a somewhat even layer. Let the potatoes cook without stirring them for about 2 minutes so they can start to get nicely browned. Flip the potato hash mixture, one portion at a time, and lightly repack into the skillet to let the potatoes brown on the other side. Continue this flipping process every few minutes until the potatoes are nicely browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Stir in the ham and lightly repack the hash into the skillet. Using a large spoon, make 6 shallow divots about 2 inches wide in the surface of the potato mixture. Crack one egg into each indentation. (I just mixed the eggs in with the hash rather than letting them cook on top.)  Season with salt and pepper and then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Let the mixture cook until the eggs are set to your liking, about 5-7 minutes. Serve.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Broccoli Beef

Once again, I'm trying to venture out better and not have chicken almost every night of the week!  I do love asian flavors, and this definitely caught my eye!  The sauce is so very tasty, I highly recommed it :)  It is definitely a quick and easy meal that will be made again at our house!  This one comes from Sister's Cafe.

¼ c. low sodium soy sauce (I just use regular)
1 T. chunky peanut butter
½ c. water
1 T. cornstarch
2 tsp vinegar
¼ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp powdered ginger
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
2 T. oil
½ lb (or more) diced or cubed beef, chicken, or pork
2 c. broccoli cut into small pieces (I just used a bag of frozen broccoli)
steamed rice

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, peanut butter, water, cornstarch, vinegar, pepper, ginger, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix well and set aside. In large skillet or wok, heat the oil. Add beef and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Add the broccoli, and cook for another 3-4 minutes (or until meat and broccoli are almost done), stirring constantly. Add the sauce and mix thoroughly, then continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Serve over steamed rice.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

So I have two lemon cheesecake bars on my "to try" list, and this one looked simpler and faster to make, so therefore, this is the one I decided to make this time around!  I'll try the other one sometime soon and see which one really is better :)  This recipe comes from Peachtree Cooking.  It really is a quick recipe and tastes great!

1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 c. sugar
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix cake mix in a small bowl with oil and one egg until crumbly. Reserve 1/2-1 cup of cake mixture and put aside. Mash remaining mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes (this is better underdone!). While baking, mix together until smooth- cream cheese, sugar, remaining egg, and lemon juice (no matter how much lemon juice you put in, its not a huge flavor). As soon as the crust comes out of the oven, spread cream cheese mixture evenly on top and then crumble remaining cake mixture over this. Bake in 350 degree oven for 13 minutes. Cool and cut into bars (I like mine cold, so I keep it in the refrigerator)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I have always loved to get a big spoonful of peanut butter and a banana, and have a yummy snack!  So when I saw this one on Real Mom Kitchen, I had to try!  It is really tasty, without an overpowering peanut butter flavor.  This one is a keeper!

1/3 cup butter
4 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 large or 4 small ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare one loaf pan by buttering or use cooking spray.

Place butter and peanut butter into one bowl and use microwave to melt. Using a large mixing bowl and spoon, combine peanut butter mixture and mashed bananas. Add both sugars, beaten egg and vanilla, stir to incorporate all ingredients. Then add flour, baking soda and salt. Stir just enough to combine, but do not over mix the batter.

Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour then test with toothpick. Loaf is done with toothpick comes out clean. Cool, remove from pan, slice and enjoy!

Fiesta Chicken Bake

Here's another cooking club recipe.  This one was submitted by Jami, and it is great!  I am always a sucker for Mexican food, and this was no exception...not to mention it was super easy to put together!

4 chicken breasts (or 6-8 tenders)
1 pkg Mexican rice (i use the knorr brand)
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed w/ water, drained
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 c. frozen corn
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
8 oz cheese of choice, shredded (i used cheddar)
2 heaping spoonfuls minced garlic
cumin, paprika, salt/pepper,
tobasco sauce (a few dashes...or more depending on how much spice you want)

Cook rice as directed on pkg.

In a large skillet, saute gr.pepper, onion, and garlic in oil for a few minutes. Add beans and corn, saute a couple more min.

Add tomatoes w/ juice, dashes of tobasco & prepared rice. Mix all together, then transfer mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.

Sprinkle thawed chicken with cumin, paprika, salt & pepper and rub in (I do one seasoning at a time....there's no real measurements here)

NESTLE :) the chicken in the rice mixture! Bake covered at 350 degrees for 50-55 min for breasts (or less time if using tenders)...just cut into the chicken and make sure it's cooked

Cover with cheese last 5 minutes to let melt. enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pizza

If you missed my last grilled pizza post, click here.  My recipe I've been using for pizza dough is on that last post.  This pizza I've been wanting to try for a while, and it was worth the wait.  It is VERY tasty!  I am going to miss my grilled pizza this winter, it's been so fun to try new things!
1 recipe white pizza dough, found here.
2-3 chicken breast, cooked and diced (I diced mine and cooked it in italian dressing in a skillet)
homemade or prepared pesto
1 small jar artichokes, diced
mozzarella cheese
bacon crumbles
red onions, sliced

Prepare pizza dough, and cook initially using instructions found here.  Use pesto for sauce on top of crust, place some cheese on pesto, then other toppings, then a little more cheese.  Cook on grill for a few more minutes, ensuring not to burn. Finish by putting pizza in broiler for a few minutes to cook top of pizza, until cheese is bubbling.  Enjoy!

Egg and Avocado Sandwich

Oh how I love avocados!  I saw similar recipes for this sandwich on the Picky Palate and Sweet Basil.  I took some of the ideas from each of these and came up with this sandwich.  Next time I think I will scramble my eggs instead of going for the overeasy, but this was so yummy!  It definitely works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

*Note...the second time around I scrambled my egg with a splash of milk, salt, pepper, and shredded pepperjack cheese.  I topped it with the avocado and put it on the toast, and I liked it even better!  I will leave the other directions and let you be the judge!

2 slices wheat bread, toasted and lightly buttered
1-2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 slices bacon, cooked to crispness desired
4 slices avocado
tomato slice
mayo or miracle whip, if desired
shredded cheddar cheese

Heat small non stick skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl whisk egg, milk, salt and pepper until combined. Pour into hot skillet. Scramble until cooked (or cook overeasy if you like the yolk runny). Sprinkle cheese over hot eggs to melt slightly.

Spread a light layer of mayo or Miracle Whip on each slice of toast, if desired.  Place eggs and cheese on toast. Top with avocado slices, bacon, and tomato and close with remaining piece of toast. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Smoked Sausage and Bacon Marinara

Ready for a tasty twist to the old spaghetti and meatballs...this is it!  It definitely may not be quite as good for you as regular marinara, but every now and again, change is a good thing!  I never would have thought to put bacon in marinara, but it works!  This recipe comes from Mindika Moments.

½ lb. bacon; diced
1 pkg. smoked sausage; sliced
½ large white onion; minced
3 cloves garlic; minced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can Italian diced tomatoes
1 T. dried basil (or ½ C. fresh basil; chopped)
1 t. oregano
1 T. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the bacon. When the bacon is about half way cooked, add the smoked sausage, onion and garlic. Cook until the bacon is cooked fully and the smoked sausage is browned.
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, vinegar and salt & pepper. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer, cover and allow to cook for about 15-30 minutes so all the flavors come together.

Serve over pasta or rice.

Serves 4 to 6.