Monday, November 28, 2011

24 Hour Pea Salad

I loved Thanksgiving this year...we were with some wonderful members of our ward and had some yummy food.  It is fun to have Thanksgiving with different people every year because everyone brings their own traditions to the table (literally), and they are always so yummy! 

We are blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people that we can spend such occasions with, when our families are 2,000 miles away!

This salad is one that my hubby's family always has at Thanksgiving, and it is really yummy.  The peas are my favorites part :)  The best part about this recipe is that you truly do make it 24 hours in advance, so it can save you time on the big day for other things.

24 Hour Pea Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 package frozen peas, thawed (but not cooked)
celery, sliced thin (I used about 6 stalks)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

Layer all ingredients (in order) in a 9x13 inch pan.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top.  

Then, mix:

1-1/4 c. mayo
1-1/4 c. sour cream

Spread mixture over the top of salad, sealing all the edges so air doesn't get in.  

Sprinkle with:

cheddar cheese (about 1 to 1 1/2 c. shredded)
bacon crumbles (I cooked up about 6 slices and crumbled them on top)

Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.  Enjoy :)

Recipe Source:  Rick, my Father-in-law

Friday, November 25, 2011

Traditional Pecan Pie

Every year since my hubby has gotten home from his mission, we have made it a tradition to make Derby Pie, which is a slightly more chocolatey pecan pie.  I really hadn't ever just made a traditional pie.  Well, yesterday was the day!  The hubby said this was the best pecan pie he had ever had, and it was quite delectable :)  You can check the sites below for awesome step by step instructions, if you'd like.

Traditional Pecan Pie

1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust 
1 cup White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Corn Syrup
3/4 teaspoons Vanilla
1/3 cup Melted Butter (salted)
3 whole Eggs Beaten
1 cup (heaping) Chopped Pecans

First, whip up your pie crust using "Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust" (see below) or make your own favorite crust.

Next, mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.

Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.

Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.

NOTE: PIE SHOULD NOT BE OVERLY JIGGLY WHEN YOU REMOVE IT FROM THE OVEN. If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes; sometimes it takes 75!

Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.

Recipe Source:  The Pioneer Woman

Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust

1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.

Recipe Source:The Pioneer Woman

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crescents

Super easy!  I remember seeing these on Pinterest a while back, but forgot to pin them...ooops :)  Oh well, I made them anyway and little man LOVED them!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crescents

1 tube crescent rolls (I used original)
peanut butter
chocolate chips

Roll out crescent rolls and break into individual triangles.  Smear some peanut butter on each crescent and sprinkle a few chocolate chips.  Roll up and bake according to package directions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Orange Soy Pork Chops

I am in the middle of a weight-loss war...maybe not the best idea through Thanksgiving!  So my cooking the last week or so has been a little more on the healthy side, and my poor husband has to go along with it.  I don't think this is one dish he had to "suffer" through!  It is very flavorful, and the pork was nice and juicy.  Definitely a winner :)

Orange Soy Pork Chops

2 tablespoons oil 
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (took me 6 medium oranges to get 1 cup of juice)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme 
4 pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste 

Heat oil in a skillet until shimmering. Combine orange juice, soy sauce, garlic and thyme in a small bowl. Set aside.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the pork chops to the hot skillet and sear until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Lower the heat and continue cooking, turning as needed to prevent burning, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the chops to a plate and cover tightly with foil. 

Add the reserved orange juice mixture to the pan and cook over medium-high heat until the sauce is reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the chops to the skillet; heat through, turning to coat. Serve with the pan sauce.

Recipe Source:  Taste of Home Cooking, adapted from Eating Well

Monday, November 21, 2011

Apple Pomegranate Salad

Last year Thanksgiving was spent with my aunt and uncle down in the Carolinas, and my aunt made a salad very similar to this.  It was very good, but for whatever reason I forgot about it until I saw this recipe extremely similar to it.  I knew I had to try it again!  

Apparently it is a very traditional dish on many Thanksgiving tables, who knew!?  It is a light salad and doesn't make you feel like going into a food coma after eating it.  That would be the turkey's job :)

Apple Pomegranate Salad

1 large Pomegranates 
1 Jonathan, Gala or Jonagold Apple 
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
3 Tbsp. Sugar 
1 tsp. vanilla 
1/4 to 1/2 cup Roasted Pecans

Cut Pomegranates in half as you would an orange. Over a large bowl turn pomegranate inside out and let the seeds fall into the bowl. Remove all seeds and place them into bowl. Cut the apple into bite sized pieces, no need to peel. Add apple to the pomegranates. Whip Cream until stiff, add sugar and vanilla. Fold cream into pomegranates and apples, sprinkle with pecans. You can also add pineapple tidbits or bananas or mandarin oranges or even mini-marshmallows, but traditionalist only use the 4 ingredients.

Recipe Source: Good Things Utah

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crock Pot Italian Chicken

The other day I was searching through the cupboard trying to get rid of some things, and finally found some simple ingredients to make this yummy chicken.  It is super simple and very good.  I loved it over pasta.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
1 packet dry Italian dressing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 can chicken broth

Combine all ingredients in crock pot except chicken.  Then add chicken and cook on high 3 hours.  Shred chicken if desired and serve over rice or noodles.

Recipe Source:  cooking club via Sherri P.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I have now made 3 of the 4 copycat soup recipes from the Olive Garden. Our favorite hands down has to be the Zuppa Toscana, but the Pasta e Fagioli was mighty tasty as well :)
I was worried that my hubby wasn't going to be a fan of this one, but was pleasantly surprised to see how much he did like it.  Serve it up with some yummy bread and enjoy!

Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced 
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart half and half
1  can chicken broth
1 cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Freshly grated parmesan cheese  (when serving)
1 pound potato gnocchi 

Sauté the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in the butter and olive oil, over medium heat when the onion becomes translucent.  Add the flour to make a roux. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for a minute before adding the half and half. Then add chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings, simmer until the gnocchi is cooked (maybe five to ten minutes). Top with parm and enjoy!
Recipe Source:  Our Family Treat

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Chip Cream Pie

Go on over to Kiki Creates today to see me share some twists on traditional Thanksgiving pies!

Bring on the holiday!  I am so excited to celebrate Thanksgiving with some wonderful families from our ward.  When you are thousands of miles from family, it is always comforting to be able to feel "at home" with friends.    Today I'd like to share with you a yummy pie I came across recently that gives a good twist to a traditional pumpkin pie.  It reminded me of a chocolate cream pie, just pumpkin.  It would be great for someone that doesn't quite like the overwhelming flavor of traditional pumpkin pie.  The little bits of chocolate in it are a nice surprise as well :)

Pumpkin Chip Cream Pie

3/4 cup cold 2% milk
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix 
2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips 
1/2 cup canned pumpkin 
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided 1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)
Slivered almonds and chocolate curls, optional

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Stir in the chocolate chips, pumpkin and pie spice. Fold in 2 cups whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Spread with remaining whipped topping; garnish with almonds and chocolate curls if desired.

Recipe Source:  Taste of Home

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tomato Basil Soup

I am not a big fan of tomatoes, and never really liked tomato soup until I tried the homemade variety (the canned stuff just isn't my thing).  I tried a similar soup to this and since then, I just can't stop!

My hubby is out of town on a dental rotation, so I made a big pot of this up and have been eating it every night for dinner with a grilled cheese, so good :)

Tomato Basil Soup

2 cans (28-ounces each) crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbs. basil
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic (a few cloves minced)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter 

Mix together tomatoes, chicken broth, basil, sugar, and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer over low heat until you have to serve it. I've simmered for 10 minutes and it was delicious, and I've simmered for 1 1/2 hours and it was divine. In other words, the longer the better, but you can make it fast and it works just fine.

When you're ready to serve, remove the soup from the heat and stir in the cream (not pictured) and the butter. Stir until the butter has melted.

Recipe Source:  Recipe Shoebox

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baked Pork Chops

I feel like I have been making pork chops every Sunday lately :)  They were on sale buy one get one free a few weeks ago and I went a little overboard with the buying of them!  

This version was dang good, one of my recent favorites.  It reminds me of chicken parmesan in a way with how it is breaded.  The mushroom gravy was fantastic on mashed potatoes as well.

Baked Pork Chops

6 boneless pork chops
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg, beaten
3/4 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1 clove minced garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder and season salt.  Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl.
Place bread crumbs in another bowl.  Dredge the pork chops lightly in flour, followed by the egg, and then a coating of the bread crumbs.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Fry the pork chops in the oil until crisp well browned.  Transfer the chops to a 9×13 inch baking dish, and cover with foil.  Bake in the preheated oven for minutes.

While baking, combine the cream of mushroom soup and milk in a medium bowl.

After the pork chops have baked for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and cover them with the soup mixture.  Replace foil, and bake for another 30 minutes.

Recipe Source:  Real Mom Kitchen

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

9 am church usually ruins my ambitions for making breakfast because I am NOT a morning person.  I work graveyard shifts and if the kids would let me, I'd sleep in until at least 11 every morning!

Daylight savings was the little push I needed last week to get up and make breakfast.  These were a little twist from the Rhoades roll and butterscotch version we have had many times, and just as yummy :)

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits OR 1 tube Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 C. syrup
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. chopped pecans, opt.
1/4 C. chopped almonds, opt.

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired).

Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top.

Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring.
I used two tubes of Pillsbury Grands biscuits this morning, but won't do that again. I'll either use the smaller biscuits or one tube of the grands, as stated in the recipe list above. These had to bake for about 30 minutes. Still amazing, but I'll be doing it the other way from now on (the way they're supposed to be made).

Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures.  Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Snickers Caramel Corn

My 3 old son thinks making popcorn is a pre-requisite to watching a movie together as a family.  A few nights ago, he got out Ratatouille and said "K, Mom....time to make popcorn!"  Well alright!  I had this recipe on file for a while and thought it sounded scrumptious, so we made it and then watched our movie.  I love that we are forming little traditions like this with our little family of 4 (even if it's only popcorn with a movie...hopefully a memory he'll remember always).

Did anyone have a lot less Trick-or-treaters than normal?  Some of my neighbors and friends said they are OVERFLOWING with candy still!    So here's one way to use some of that candy (vs. sitting down and eating a whole fun-size bag of candy bars)!  It turned out delicious, and I loved the chunks of Snickers in it.  I was out of peanuts, but I'm sure that would have made it twice as good!

After we ate it all ourselves, I thought how cute it would be to give away as gifts in little baggies tied up with some ribbon.  Darn...better make it again! :)

This recipe was also posted over at Kiki Creates.

Snickers Caramel Corn

8 quarts air popped corn (about 2 cups of kernels)
1 cup salted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup salted peanuts
30 “Fun Size” Snickers bars coarsely chopped
3 oz melted semi sweet chocolate (optional)

Preheat oven to 200°

Over medium heat boil butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in your baking soda.  Pour over your popcorn and stir to coat evenly.  Transfer to waxed paper lined counter and sprinkle peanuts on top. Stir until all is coated evenly.  Transfer popcorn into a large roasting pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir in your coarsely chopped Snickers. Return to oven for 3 more minutes so the Snickers begin to melt slightly into the popcorn.  Remove from pan and transfer popcorn back to wax paper to cool.

Drizzle melted chocolate on top of popcorn if desired.  Let set and store in an airtight container.

Recipe Source:  Cookies and Cups

Monday, November 7, 2011

Candied Walnut Salad with Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette

 I had a few heads of romaine lettuce that were thinking about going bad soon, so I set out on a quest for a new salad recipe to use them up before they spoiled.  I found this yummy healthy salad and it did not disappoint.  I LOVE apples in salads, and candied nuts...I mean really, can you go wrong?!  The dressing for this salad was amazing, and I can see myself having it in my refrigerator ALL THE TIME to dress any salad.  I forgot to add the cheese to the pic above...forgive me!  

Candied Walnut Salad
From:  Our Best Bites

2 heads of leafy greens; 1 can be a bag of spinach 
3/4 c. Craisins
2 crisp apples
Orange juice (enough to toss apples in to prevent browning and add a little flavor)
2 oz. blue cheese or Gorgonzola (or even feta is good)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (I used some pecans I had around)
1/4 c. sugar
Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Wash and chop lettuce. Set aside to drain.
Anyway, to candy the nuts, combine walnuts and sugar in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly. After a few minutes, the sugar will look very fine and then a few minutes after that, it will start to liquefy. This is when you have to be absolutely vigilant about scraping the bottom of the skillet and making sure everything gets stirred around. The syrup will begin to darken and will coat the nuts. When they reach a golden brown color, remove from heat. Stir occasionally as the nuts begin to cool. After a few minutes, spread candied nuts onto a greased piece of parchment or wax paper or a greased cookie sheet and allow to cool completely. Set aside.

Chop blue cheese or Gorgonzola very finely. You want crumbles, not chunks.

Chop apples and toss in orange juice.

When ready to serve, toss lettuce, cranberries, walnuts, apples, and blue cheese in a large bowl. Add dressing if desired; it really is better all mixed together rather than on top, but the dressing will wilt any leftovers.

Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette
From:  Our Best Bites

1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. honey
1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (really, that’s pretty optional; it all goes in the blender)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 c. canola oil

In a blender, combine vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place lid on blender and blend on high. While blender is running, add oil in a steady stream. Store in refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks. Shake well before serving.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Pesto Panini

Every Monday, our ward has the opportunity of picking up the leftovers from Panera (they bake everything fresh everyday).  So members take turns picking up the "donations" and you can take as many bagels, loaves of bread, pastries, etc that you want.  I hadn't gone in a while and thought this week would be a good week to go!

Among my many things I brought home, I got a loaf of bread that was studded with yummy asiago cheese and thought it would make a great panini.  I remembered a recipe I had on my list to try, and thought it was about time we gave it a whirl.  It turned out great, lots of yummy flavors to devour :)

Chicken Pesto Panini

This Pesto Panini has pesto spread on the inside of both pieces of Italian bread (I used my crusty, chewy bread from Panera). Then I layer grilled chicken (I grilled mine with some lemon pepper on it), tomatoesavocadoroasted red peppers, and fresh mozzarella cheese (the kind that comes in a ball). I also added some baby spinach.  I spread a little butter on the outsides of the bread (this is optional) and then grill it in a George Foreman-type of grill for five minutes. Serve immediately. 

To make roasted red peppers, half the bell pepper and remove seeds and stem. Place face down on a sheet of tinfoil and place under the broiler. Broil until the skin is black all over, about 8 or so minutes. I cover the tops of the pepper with some tin foil when it gets black and continue to broil it so the remaining sides will blacken. Once the skin is black, fold the tinfoil around it to seal in the heat (or place in a bowl and cover with Saran wrap) and let sit for 20 minutes (I’ve scrimped on the time before, and I think it still tastes good). Then peel off the black skin and cut into slices.
Recipe Source:  The Sisters Cafe

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ham and Broccoli Perogie Casserole

Hey y'all!  Just wanted to mention I am hanging out over at Kiki Creates today, check out some yummy ways to use up that leftover candy!  

I love pierogies.  I never had really hard of them up until a few years ago and have been enjoying them various ways ever since.  Here is my latest pierogie attempt, and it was so simple and tasted great :)

I love it when you find recipes in unexpected places.  I'm usually not one to try recipes on the back of boxes, but I was pressed for time last week and happened to see this one and thought we'd give it a whirl.  It turned out wonderfully :)

Ham and Broccoli Pierogie Casserole

1 box frozen pierogies (12 count) I used potato and cheddar flavor
about 3 cups broccoli florets
1-1 1/2 cups precooked cubed ham
26 oz. jar alfredo sauce
Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a 9x13 pan.  Top with panko bread crumbs. Bake for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbling.  Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese, if desired.

Recipe Source:  on the box of Mrs. T's pierogies

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crockpot Peanut Butter Pork

I love peanut sauces...LOVE them!  This Thai Chicken Pasta was great, and this Spaghetti with Chicken and Peanut Sauce was mighty tasty as well!  

This pork is very flavorful, and please don't leave out the peanuts, they are the best part!

Crockpot Peanut Butter Pork

1.5-2lbs pork tenderloin (I used 4 boneless chops, about 1.5 lbs)
1 onion, sliced in rings
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (garnish; optional)
1 lime, cut in wedges (garnish; optional)
cilantro, chopped (garnish; optional)

1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2-1 Tbsp Siracha 

Use a 4-6 quart crockpot. Put onion slices into the bottom of your crockpot. Put the pork on top. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, Siracha and peanut butter. No need to stir–the peanut butter needs to melt before you can do so. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4-6. The pork will be more tender the longer you cook it. 1 hour before serving, add chicken stock, stir. Then flip the meat over in the crockpot to allow the other side to soak up the peanutbuttery goodness. Garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and serve with lime wedges.