Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fiesta Chicken Tacos

I threw this in my crock pot this morning and let it simmer on low all day. By 5 pm, we were ready for hot chicken tacos. I will use the leftover meat for quesadillas, enchiladas or nachos later in the week.
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 12-15 chicken tenders)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1-2 cups salsa
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning Mix
Fixings for tacos (shells, lettuce, tomato, cheese, cilantro, etc.)
Place chicken breasts in crock pot. Pour chicken soup on top, then salsa on top of that, then sprinkle taco seasoning all over the top of that. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours. Shred the meat and serve with taco fixings.
**I usually put my chicken in the crock pot when it is still frozen and it turns out great!

Taylor's Peanut Butter Pie

I love it when I can get my kids in the kitchen with me and this past Sunday Taylor was my cookin' buddy. She made this entire pie by herself. It is extra rich and goes a long way. Isn't it beautiful?!

1 prepared graham cracker pie crust
1 small box chocolate pudding
1 small box vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 medium carton Cool Whip
4 oz. cream cheese (half of an 8 oz. brick)

TIP: I never buy store-bought pie graham cracker crusts because I like homemade so much better. For this pie, I just mixed 3 cups crushed graham crackers with 1/2 cup melted butter and then pressed it in the pan.

Mix chocolate pudding and one cup milk with whisk for about a minute until it starts to thicken. Pour into bottom of pie crust and carefully spread across the bottom and up the sides. Next, mix the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Using the other cup of milk, slowly add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the cream cheese and blend until smooth, then add a little more and a little more until it is smooth and creamy (if you try to add the milk all at once to the cream cheese, you will get big lumps of cream cheese). Add the vanilla pudding mix and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Slowly blend in the peanut butter, then fold in half of the cool whip. Pour this in to pie shell and spread around. Top with remaining Cool Whip. Drizzle the top with melted chocolate and melted peanut butter. Refrigerate before serving.

***TIP: An easy way to melt the chocolate and peanut butter for drizzling on top is to place a small amount of chocolate chips (or a tablespoon or two of peanut butter) in a ziploc baggie and then microwave it 10-20 second intervals until melted. Simply snip a small corner off the baggie, squeeze and drizzle all over the top, then discard the baggie for easy clean up.

White Chocolate Snack Mix

This is a recipe that I just made up on the spot with some leftover white chocolate I had melted for another recipe. It was crunchy, sweet, and creamy. A definite keeper.

white chocolate or almond bark (1 - 2 cups melted)
marshmallows (1-2 cups)
rice krispies (1-2 cups)
dry roasted peanuts (1-2 cups)
Melt chocolate in microwave for about 1 minute, then stir until smooth. If it needs more time, microwave in 10 second increments until melted. Pour in desired amount of the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is lightly coated with the chocolate. Place by tablespoons onto parchment paper, or in to cupcake liners. Allow to cool and harden.
***I used the dipping chocolate that looks like little white disks (you can find them at craft stores, Walmart, and at WinCo grocery store in the bulk food section). This would also be really good with milk chocolate.
*** IDEA: It is also fun to pour the mixture out on to a cookie sheet, allow it to cool, then break into pieces and place in a clear baggie tied with a ribbon to give as a gift.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Pumpkins & Bats

This year I found pretzels that were shaped like pumpkins and bats at Sam's Club. I got an idea to dip them in white chocolate, then sprinkle them with colored sugar. I served them in a snack dish at our Halloween party, but also stuck a few in the top of my homemade brownies.

Pumpkin shaped pretzels
White Chocolate Chips OR Almond Bark
Orange and Purple sanding sugar
Green licorice pieces
Melt chocolate in microwave for one minute. Stir until smooth. Dip each pretzel in the chocolate and then lay it on waxed or parchment paper. Quickly sprinkle with sanding sugar before the chocolate sets. For the pumpkin, stick a small piece of green candy (I used green licorice) on top to resemble a stem.
**If you don't have pumpkin shaped pretzels, you can still make these with regular pretzels. Just turn them sideways and they look like a little pumpkin!

Chocolate Pudding Ghost Cups

My mom brought the cute little ghost cups to our Halloween party for the grand kids. Shhh... don't tell, but I hid two of these puppies in the back of the fridge and ate them secretly throughout the rest of the week.

Place crushed Oreos in the bottom of a cup. Fill rest of cup with pudding mixture made from 1 large pkg. Chocolate Fudge Pudding mixed (prepared according to pkg. directions) with one medium container Cool Whip (reserve some of the Cool Whip to dollop on top). Add another layer of crushed Oreos, then a dollop of whipped cream. Place two small chocolate chip "eyes" on top as a finishing touch to resemble little ghosts.

JoLynn's Mushroom Rice

You MUST put this recipe on your holiday menu for three reasons...are you ready? 1) It's easy and can cook behind the scenes while you prepare the rest of the meal. 2) It is so delicious that EVERY TIME I make it, people call for the recipe. No lie. My kids HATE mushrooms and they eat this anyway. 3) Your house will smell a-mazing while it cooks. I'm serious. You will wish you could eat the smell. You will want to lay down in your kitchen and breathe deeply.
1/2 c. butter
5-6 chopped green onions
1 tsp. oregano
1 small can mushrooms
2 c. rice (NOT instant)
3 can Campbells Beef Consumme *
2 cups water

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add onion, oregano, and mushrooms. Simmer and saute for a minute or two, then add liquids and rice. Simmer 20 minutes on medium heat. Pour ingredients into a glass 13 x 9 pyrex dish and bake in oven, uncovered for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

*Don't skimp or substitute the beef consumme for beef broth. Sometimes it can be hard to find at stores like Walmart, but I can always find it at Smiths, Harmons and sometimes Maceys. It is different from regular beef broth - it is more concentrated and flavorful. You'll find it hidden amongst all the other flavors of Campbells Soup.

Even though this dish is beef flavored, it goes great with chicken.

Sweet and Salty Cucumbers

Vinegar soaked cucumbers take me straight back to days on the farm with grandma. It's funny because I hated these as a child, but now I love them. My sister-in-law, Melissa, shared the secret of throwing in a little sugar with the salt - YUM!
**You can use any kind of cucumber for this recipe, but recently I've been LOVING those English Cucumbers that come shrink wrapped and have the little ridges on the skin. They are the BEST.

Sliced Cucumbers
White Vinegar

Slice cucumbers and place them in a bowl. Pour vinegar all over the top (maybe about a half a cup or more). Sprinkle the whole thing with salt (1-2 tsp.) and then with sugar (1-2 T.) Pour freezing cold water over the top till it just covers the cukes. Let sit for several minutes before serving.

Crispy Potato Wedges with BBQ fry sauce

These wedges are loaded with flavor and taste great dipped in our homemade fry sauce. I baked them longer than suggested because we like them extra crispy!

4-6 russet potatoes, washed and sliced in wedges
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Olive Oil

Arrange potato wedges on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with olive oil, toss to coat. In a large baggie place the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and all seasonings - mix well. Place wedges in the baggie and shake to coat. Arrange them back on the cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until browned and crispy (around 40-50 minutes).

Homemade Fry Sauce (BBQ)

Mix 1/3 part barbecue sauce with 2/3 part mayonnaise.

Homemade White Sauce for Fries

Mix equal parts mayo and buttermilk. Blend till creamy.

Fruit Pizza

Margie brought a fruit pizza to our Halloween party, so I snapped a pic and uploaded the recipe. This is simple and delicious - we've been making it for years. Don't limit yourself to strawberries and bananas. Pineapple, raspberries, sliced kiwi, blue or blackberries, and mandarin oranges are also great on it.
1 pkg. (tube) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 pkg. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 small container cool whip
Assorted fresh fruit, beautifully sliced

On a large cookie sheet, press the sugar cookie dough and bake at 350 degrees until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool. Blend the cream cheese and powdered sugar together, then fold in the cool whip. Spread on top of cooled crust. Top with favorite fruits arranged in pretty designs. ***Note: To keep bananas from going brown I sometimes glaze them with pineapple juice or fresh lemon juice.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (or Cake)

I think I put a few too many chocolate chips in this batch, but what's the harm in that, right? The gooey-er the better!

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 c. oil
2 c. sugar
3 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
Mix together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, and sugar. In separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon. Mix wet and dry ingredients together and stir well. Pour in half the chocolate chips and mix again. Pour batter into 2-3 small bread pans, or in to one large bundt pan that has been greased and floured. Can sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips over the top. bake at 350 degrees (35-40 minutes for small loaves or 1 hour for bundt pan).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Iceberg Wedge Salad

I first had a wedge salad at Iggy's Bar and Grill in St. George. This is a simple salad, but one that looks fancy on the plate. Top it with whatever you like the most. You could easily turn this in to a main dish by adding chopped chicken, steak, or ham.

1 head of iceberg lettuce (washed & drained)
favorite toppings such as:
chopped apple
chopped tomato
chopped cucumber
chopped boiled eggs
crumbled bacon
cheese (blue cheese, feta, Parmesan, cheddar or jack)
chow mien noodles
sunflower seeds
favorite salad dressing (we like Ranch or Blue Cheese)

Cut lettuce into small wedges and place the entire wedge on the plate. Top with your favorite toppings, then drizzle with salad dressing.

Aunt Norma's Apple Crisp

My aunt Norma is a FABULOUS cook and whenever she shares a recipe, it's a keeper. She gave me this apple crisp recipe several years ago and it's a favorite.

4 cups granny smith apples (cored, peeled, and cut in thin slices)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup softened butter

Place sliced apples in bottom of a greased 13X9 pan. Mix the remaining ingredients together until butter is well incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Spread all over the top of the apples. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Drizzle the top with caramel ice cream topping!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jill's Hot Artichoke Dip in Bread Bowl

My good friend Jill use to make this scrumptious dish for faculty parties. It is a definite family favorite. Buy an extra loaf of bread to cut up and some crackers to serve alongside it.

In a mixing bowl, mix together:
1/2 a small onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 can (or 2 small bottles) artichoke hearts, chopped
Cut the top off a round loaf of sour dough dough (or a loaf of french bread). Scoop out the insides of the loaf (save the scooped out pieces to serve with the dip). Spoon the dip mixture into the bread bowl. Place the lid back on the loaf, then wrap the whole thing in tinfoil. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for at least 1 1/2 hours. Uncover the loaf, remove lid, and allow the dip to bubble and brown on top. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Serve with slices of bread, crackers, veggies, or bagel crisps.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Creamy Peach Jello Ring

Decided to walk on the wild side on Sunday and make jello....in a mold! I have tons of fresh peaches, so I found an old orange jello recipe that's been a favorite and substituted peach jello and garnished with fresh peaches. This would look just as pretty in a 13x9 dish, then cut in to squares to serve.**Remember that you can't put fresh cut peaches in jello - it won't set up.

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained (+ cold water - see below)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
cold water
1 large package (or 2 small pkgs.) peach flavored Jello
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature.

Drain pineapple, but reserve juice in a measuring cup. Add enough cold water to the juice to make 1 1/2 cups cold liquid. Stir jello in to boiling water and stir for about 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in the cold pineapple juice and water then add the crushed pineapple and mix well. Pour about 2/3 of the jello in to a mold or 13x9 serving dish. Set the other 1/3 of the jello mixture aside and keep at room temp. Refrigerate jello in dish for about 2 hours or until set, but not firm. Mix the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, then pour the remaining gelatin in and mix up. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the top of the set gelatin, then return to the fridge for several hours until set firm. Garnish with fresh peaches

*If using a mold, dip the mold into warm water for about 15 seconds, then turn out onto serving plate.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Herb & Garlic "Bubble" Bread

My kids call this bubble bread and we've been making it for years. I've never uploaded the recipe because it seemed, well,....too easy. But of late I find myself calling on many old simple stand-by recipes to get me through busy soccer and football nights. Your family will LOVE this!

2-4 T. butter
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning*
1 clove garlic, pressed
3-4 T. Parmesan cheese
1 pkg. Grands biscuits

In a heat-proof skillet, melt butter. Add pressed garlic and seasoning and stir until bubbly. Remove from heat and sprinkle the Parmesan over the top of the butter mixture. Open biscuits and cut each in to 4 pieces with a knife or a pair of kitchen shears. Arrange the biscuts pieces on top of the butter. Place skillet in a 400 degree oven and cook for about 13-15 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven, then invert onto a plate when ready to serve.
I love the way this is served because you can just pull pieces off of the loaf. On busy nights I cook some pasta, toss either marinara or alfredo (storebought of course) over the top and serve it with this bread a simple green salad. A perfect weeknight meal.
*You can use any type of Italian seasoning, but I love the Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning Mix or Shirley J. Pizza and Pasta Sprinkle.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

KC's B-Day Dessert Bar

Wanted to post some pics of the dessert bar I did for KC's sweet 16. Most of the recipes are posted right here on my blog.

Raspberry Limeade Cake

Had a few limes and lemons I needed to use and ran across this recipe. The cake itself is dense and moist and exactly how I like it. It is full of citrus flavor, so we found that the grown-ups liked it a lot more than the kids (the lime zest in the frosting took them by surprise). It would be the perfect dessert for a ladies luncheon or a special occasion.

3/4 c. butter
2 cups sugar
1 T. lime zest
3/4 c. frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
5 large eggs
3 3/4 c. flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. whole buttermilk

Spray 2 9"cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, sugar and lime zest at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add limeade (don't worry if the mixture looks lumpy). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl, then add them alternately with the buttermilk to the butter mixture until a smooth batter is achieved. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Raspberry Filling:
1 (10oz. pkg.) frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. butter, cut into chunks

Mix raspberries in a mixer or food processor, then strain. Discard the seeds and solids left over. In a pan combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the raspberry puree, egg yolks and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat and whisk constantly for 7-8 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in butter until smooth and glossy. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8oz. pkg) cream cheese
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 T. frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. lime zest
5 c. powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy with a hand mixer. Add limeade and lime zest, beat until just combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, beat until smooth.

To assemble cake, place one cake on bottom of serving dish. Top with raspberry filling, then place the second cake on top. Frost the outside edges and top of cake with frosting. Garnish wit fresh raspberries and slices of lime.

Strawberry Tart

Caution: You could seriously impress someone with this recipe. This tart is a WOW-er. Beautiful AND delicious, but to make it you will need a great tart pan. I found mine at Williams Sonoma for $10.
Be sure to buy a tart pan where the bottom lifts out, like this one above.

Homemade Tart Shell:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
2 cubes real butter (very cold, not softened)
1 egg +1 egg yolk

Mix powdered sugar and flour. Cut in butter until the dough is in small, pea-sized clumps. Gradually add the eggs and stir until just combined (don't over mix). *I usually make this in my food processor. Press all over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until just lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 c. powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar. Gradually fold in the Cool Whip. Spread on cooled tart shell. Top with fresh fruit or canned pie filling.

**For this recipe, I covered the top with sliced strawberries, then brushed it with strawberry jam (diluted with a little water to make a glaze).

Enchilada Casserole

This enchilada casserole is very inexpensive to make and goes a long way. It was good served with sour cream, salsa and a big green salad.

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
Large can of enchilada sauce
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
Cheddar and Jack Cheese
Corn Tortillas

In a large skillet, ground beef with onions. Drain and add enchilada sauce, cumin and garlic salt. Cook until bubbly. Spray 13x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Start with a layer of tortillas, then a layer of meat sauce, then a layer of cheese, repeat layers, ending with sauce and cheese on top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Easy Calzones

Here's a quick and easy weeknight meal. Just have to remember to thaw the dough ahead of time. My kids had fun adding their favorite toppings and watching them bake.

1 loaf of Rhodes frozen bread dough (you could also use roll dough if desired)
pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese
favorite toppings (pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, pineapple, tomatoes)

Allow bread dough to thaw, then cut in to 6 equal pieces. Using a flowered surface, roll each piece of dough out into a large circle. Top half of the circle with pizza sauce and desired toppings (be sure to leave space at the edges of the dough). Fold the top half of the dough up and over the the toppings. Use a fork and press along the edges to seal. Cut a small slit in the top of each calzone before baking to allow steam to escape. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Kaycie had a friend sleep over last night, so I decided to pretend to be one of those doting moms and got up early this morning and made a breakfast casserole. This is kind of like a frittata and has simple flavors that even the kids like. We love it with fresh salsa on the side and an orange Julius.

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb. sausage (Italian or country style), cooked and crumbled
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup frozen hashbrowns
7 eggs
1/3 cup milk
salt & pepper (I used about 1/4 tsp. salt and a dash of pepper)

Press the crescent rolls across the bottom of a greased 13x9 pan. Layer on the crumbled sausage, the mozzarella cheese and the frozen hashbrowns. Mix the eggs, milk, salt and pepper and beat well with a fork. Pour the egg mixture all over the top of the rest of the ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes (leave it uncovered so that it can brown well). Remove from oven. Cut into squares and serve. Great with salsa on the side.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Russian Creme with Fresh Fruit

There's a fun little restaurant here in town called "The Trolley". They use to serve this amazing dessert called Russian Creme, but I haven't seen it there for the last couple of years. I came across a recipe recently and tried it. Oh man...heaven! I've made it twice. Once topped with raspberries and blackberries...

And once topped with strawberries & kiwi fruit.

3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. boiling water
1 pkg. Knox Unflavored Gelatin

In a saucepan, heat cream and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat. Mix the unflavored gelatin in with the boiling water and stir until gelatin dissolves. Pour water mixture into cream mixture and mix well. Stir and cool completely. Pour mixture into glass or clear plastic cups. Cover with plastic wrap to keep film from forming on top. Refrigerate for several hours until firm. Top with fresh fruit just before serving.

One Batch Mini Cupcakes

I've made cupcakes twice in the last couple of weeks. Once for a baptism and once for a work party. This is a delicious recipe that is super easy to make. I was able to make two batches of cupcakes (one chocolate, one vanilla) but by topping them creatively, it made 4 different types of cupcake: Lemon, Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter, and Strawberry.

Basic Cupcake Recipe:
1 box cake mix (any flavor)
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil (the amount suggested on box)
4 large eggs

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until moistened (about 30 seconds) then increase the speed and beat 2 minutes longer. Place cupcake liners in tin(this recipe will make just under 2 dozen). Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. (If you make mini-cupcakes, decrease baking time and remove when cakes are lightly golden brown). Cool cupcakes and frost.

Basic Buttercream Frosting Recipe
1 stick butter
1-2 T. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Mix butter, milk and vanilla. Mix in powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. If it doesn't seem thick enough, add a little more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add more milk in small increments (1 tsp. at a time, mixing well between to check consistency).

Lemon Cupcakes (use white or lemon cake mix for the cupcakes):

Add 1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring and a few drops of yellow food coloring to the frosting. Top with sprinkles.

Cookies & Cream (use chocolate cake mix for the cupcakes):

Frost cupcakes with regular white buttercream. Crush 1-2 oreos and sprinkle on top. Place 1/4 of an Oreo on each cupcake (cut them in fourths with a serrated knife).

Strawberry Cupcakes (use white or yellow cake mix for the cupcakes):

Add 1/2 tsp. strawberry flavoring and 2-3 drops red or pink food coloring to the frosting (I've also mixed in strawberry jam when I don't have strawberry flavoring). Top each cupcake with a sliced strawberry or a small chocolate dipped strawberry.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes (use chocolate cake mix for the cupcakes)

Mix 3-4 T. cocoa powder into the buttercream frosting recipe to turn it chocolate. It will get a little thick with that extra powder, so you may need to add a bit more milk to smooth it out a bit. Cut a Reeces Peanut Butter Cup in fourths and stick one fourth in each cupcake.

To frost the cupcakes:

Place the frosting in a sturdy ziploc bag and snip off a corner. Squeeze the frosting on top and swirl to finish.

Navajo Tacos

We spent memorial day at the cabin and decided to make Navajo tacos. Don't know if these are a "Utah" thing, but what you're looking at is basically a scone topped like a taco. Of course the family loved eating the extra scones with honey butter too.

Meat Sauce:

1-2 lbs. hamburger
Salt & Pepper
1-2 cans Chili Beans
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning (I like Ortega)

Brown hamburger and season with salt and pepper. Drain grease and add taco seasoning packet and water suggested on the back. Cook 10-15 minutes. Add chili beans (drain first) and stir well. Basically, when I make a small batch I use 1 lb. meat and one can of beans. When I make it for a crowd I add 2 lbs. meat and 2 cans beans. You can also use kidney beans (but I like the creamier chili bean better).


Rhodes or Terrell's frozen roll dough
Oil for frying

2-3 hours before dinner, place desired amount of dough on a greased cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Once dough is totally thawed, press each roll out into the shape of a small scone and allow to rest on cookie sheet and rise some more (30 minutes to an hour). Heat oil to about 350 degrees in either a deep frying pan, dutch oven, or electric fry daddy. Fry the scones until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove from grease and place on paper towels.


shredded cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce
chopped green onion
chopped tomato
chopped olives
Sour Cream

Creamy Chicken Penne

Before you make this recipe, go out and buy some Romano Cheese (the kind you grate yourself). I know you're more comfortable with Parmesan, but the Romano will take the taste from "Mom made it" to "Olive Garden". I promise.

2 cups penne pasta, uncooked
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 T. Olive Oil
1 small red pepper, chopped small
1 pkg. snow peas (optional)
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
4 oz. cream cheese, cut in cubes
1/2 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 T. chopped parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot. Drain pasta but reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Meanwhile, cook chicken and onions in olive oil for 6-8 minutes in a large skillet. Add the pepper, peas and garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Remove mixture from pan and cover to keep warm. Melt butter in skillet, then add flour, stir well, cooking for an additional minute. Then add milk. Bring to boil and cook until thickened (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Add cream cheese, grated Romano cheese and season with salt and pepper. Once bubbly and creamy, stir in the chicken mixture and the drained penne pasta. Stir to coat everything. If the mixture seems thick, add a little bit of pasta water to thin. Top with additional grated Romano and chopped parsley.

Homemade Cheesy Mac

This recipe makes the BEST homemade macaroni and cheese you've ever tasted...but I have to warn you that I used a sauce mix and I'm going to shamelessly plug it here (see below). I used a curly pasta in this picture and added some tomato sauce, but I also made it last week with elbow macaroni and topped it with breadcrumbs. My picky kids LOVED both versions.

3 cups water
3/4 cup Shirley J Universal sauce mix
12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. elbow macaroni (cooked in salt water and drained)
2 T. melted butter
1 cup breadcrumbs (regular or Italian style)

In a saucepan, bring the water and the sauce mix to a boil. Boil 2-3 minutes until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheddar cheese, stirring until melted. Pour in the cooked macaroni. Pour into a casserole dish. Mix the butter and breadcrumbs together and spread over the top of the mac & cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. May want to cover it with foil at first, then remove the foil the last 10 minutes or so, otherwise the breadcrumbs get really browned.


I can't begin to tell you how much I love the Shirley J products. Their chicken bullion and beef bullion is the BEST I've ever tried. Here is a picture of the Universal Sauce Mix which can be used in hundred of recipes. Visit their website to see about ordering (www.shirleyj.com) or if you live in the Springville area, they sell the complete Shirley J line of products at Shaybee's on main street.

Cinnamon Apple Bread Wedges

This bread was made with the Shirleyj muffin mix. It is the BEST mix ever. Simply add in a few ingredients to the basic dough and you are set to go.

3 cups Shirleyj Universal Muffin Mix
1 1/4 c. water
1 cup apple pie filling (cut apples into smaller chunks)
1/2 c. walnuts
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. oats
2 tsp. brown sugar

Mix water and muffin mix for about a minute. Stir in pie filling, walnuts and cinnamon. Pour in a greased pan. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

My friend Janet gave me a Mapleton Ward Cookbook for Christmas and I've just loved it. There are so many fabulous recipes. My picture here didn't turn out great, but the cookies did. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, just the way I like em!

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
5 c. Quaker Oats
2 c. Craisins (soak them for 20 minutes in warm water to plump them, drain)
2 c. chopped nuts (I have used either pecans or walnuts)

Mix softened butter with both kinds of sugar and beat well. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix the flour and soda together and add it to the creamed mixture and beat again. Stir in oats, pecans, and drained craisins. Drop by spoonful onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Peanut Butter Puff Rice Squares

They use to serve these tasty little treats for school lunch. They are easy to make, but sometimes finding the plain puffed rice cereal can be a challenge. I always get mine at Macey's in Spanish Fork.

1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup (corn syrup)
1 cup peanut butter
6-7 cups puffed rice cereal (NOT SUGAR SMACKS!)

Bring the sugar and Karo to a boil in a saucepan. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Stir in puffed rice cereal a little at a time until it is all mixed and incorporated. Press into a pan. Cool, cut in squares.

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe makes a big pan of bars - great for a big family party or gathering. These are so soft and moist and the home made frosting is divine.


1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. mashed bananas
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour

Grease and flour a jelly roll pan (15x10). Mix sugar, sour cream, butter and eggs in large bowl at low speed. Beat in banana and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients on medium speed. Stir in nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until light brown, about 20-25 minutes. Cool and frost

1/4 c. margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
3 T. milk
2 c. powered sugar

Mix until fluffy. Spread on cooled banana bars.

Mini Tarts

This is an old 9th ward recipe that I've had for ages. You can make small little tarts or one big one. The original recipe called for blueberry pie filling for the topping, which is also very good. Here I just used fresh fruit.


1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
2 cubes butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk

Mix the powdered sugar and flour together. Add the butter and mix until crumbly. Lightly beat the egg and egg yolk. Add to flour mixture and mix until it forms a ball. Press dough into small tart shells and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. (If you use one large tart shell, you will need to cook it longer - until it is nicely browned).


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese and powered sugar until creamy. Beat in the cool whip. Fill tart shells by putting filling mixture in a sturdy Ziploc baggie and cut off the corner. Pipe the filling in to the tart shells. Top with fresh chopped fruit or canned pie filling.

Sweet BBQ Chicken Skewers w/Rice Pilaf

We fired up the grill for the first time last week. These kebobs were tangy and sweet. Pop the rice pilaf in the oven while you make the rest of the meal and it will all be ready at the same time.

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
6 T. ketchup
2 T. honey
2 T. soy sauce
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 T. brown sugar

In a saucepan place the ketchup, honey, soy sauce, lime, ginger and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Once sauce has cooled, place chicken in sauce and marinate for at least an hour. Soak skewers in water while chicken marinates. Place chicken on skewers and grill on grill, brushing chicken with additional sauce during cooking.

Rice Pilaf:

In a 13 x 9 pan place 4 1/2 cups hot water and 2 tsp. chicken bullion. Add 2 cups rice. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to an hour or until all moisture is absorbed. You can add chopped green onion before baking as well if you like a little green in your rice.

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Croissants

This is an easy family favorite. On busy nights, I make them for dinner.

croissants from Sam's Club (or sometimes I cook up a roll of Grand's Biscuits)
sliced cheddar cheese
cooked bacon slices

Fry egg in frying pan over hard. After egg is cooked, place cheese on it so it can start to melt. Assemble sandwich by placing egg, cheese and bacon on a sliced croissant or biscuit. Serve with fresh fruit.

Popeye Pancakes

I've been making this dish since I was a teenager. It tastes like a crepe, but denser and more filling. I serve it with powdered sugar, syrup, and whipped cream on top.

6 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter

Blend eggs, milk, flour and salt in the blender for 2-3 minutes. Place a cube of butter in a 13 x 9 pan and stick it in the heated oven for a few minutes until the butter melts. Remove the pan and pour the egg mixture over the butter and return to oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. It will rise in the oven and get really puffy, then settle down once you take it out of the oven. Top with powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup and whipped cream.


I've already planted my tomatoes and fresh basil this spring and can't wait for the summer harvest. I sometimes serve this bruschetta on Bagel Crisps, sometimes on soft slices of french bread, and sometimes on sliced baguettes that have been brushed with garlic-flavored olive oil and baked until golden.

3 medium ripe tomatoes
1 T. olive oil
6 basil leaves
1 clove garlic
Parmesan cheese

Halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Chop in to small pieces. Press the garlic in a garlic press and add to tomatoes. Chop basil leaves and add. Stir in the olive oil and mix well. Stir in desired amount of Parmesan cheese. Serve on toasted slices of baguette. (I like to press a garlic clove into a small dish of olive oil, then brush the baguette slices with the flavored olive oil and bake until golden brown).

Chicken Pepper Pasta

You can make this dish with any kind of pasta you have on hand, rotini, angel hair, farafelle, or penne. The red and yellow bell peppers make the dish full of flavor and color.

6 T. butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 whole red pepper, chopped small
1/2 - 1 whole yellow pepper, chopped small
1 T. garlic, minced or pressed
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in to strips
1 T. fresh tarragon (optional)
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3/4 c. half and half
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
7 - 8 oz. pkg. pasta, cooked

Melt butter in skillet until sizzling, then add onion and peppers. Cook and stir until tender (3-4 minutes). Add garlic and saute a minute longer. Remove vegetables from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add chicken, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir 7 to 9 minutes until chicken is golden and tender. Add veggies back in. Add half and half and cheeses to chicken mixture. Reduce heat and continue cooking 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Add pasta and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Crispy Chicken

Who needs to buy chicken strips at the grocery store deli when it's this easy to make your own. These go well with baked or mashed potatoes and a side salad.

10-12 boneless chicken tenders
2 cups crushed cornflakes
1 cup parmesan cheese (the powdered kind in the green can)
1 tsp. dried parsley, crushed
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 cups flour
2-3 eggs, whisked

Create a "dredging station" by getting out 3 bowls. In the first bowl place the flour. In the second bowl crack the eggs and whisk them up. In the third bowl add the cornflakes, parmesan, parsley and garlic salt (mix well). Take each piece of chicken and coat it in flour, then in the egg, then in the cornflake mixture. Place in bottom of a greased pan. Once all of the chicken has been coated, bake at 350 degrees for about 35-45 minutes.

Hawaiian Haystacks

I've been waiting to upload this recipe for quite some time, but didn't have a picture. This is my friend Kristie's recipe and the chicken gravy is DIVINE (much better than any other I've tried).
Please Note: Usually haystacks are topped with tons of assorted nuts, veggies, pineapple, and coconut, but my picky family likes them simple (with cheese and chow mein noodles).

For the gravy:
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 tsp. chicken bullion crystals (or 1-2 bullion cubes, smashed)
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cube butter, sliced in 8 pieces
4-5 baby carrots (or 2 regular carrots, sliced)
1 stalk celery, sliced
salt & pepper
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups chicken broth (may not need to use it all)

In crockpot, place the chicken breasts, onion, carrots & celery. Sprinkle bullion over the top. Place slices of butter all over the top. Salt & pepper the top. Place lid on crockpot and cook for 3-4 hours on high.

After chicken is cooked and veggies are tender, remove all of the ingredients from the crockpot. Be sure to reserve the drippings as well (if vegetables still seem a little crunchy, remove the chicken and leave the vegetables to cook a little longer in the drippings). Shred the chicken and set aside. In a blender, place the cooked carrots, celery and onion. Pour some of the drippings in and then blend the mixture. If it's really thick, add more drippings (or chicken broth).

In the crockpot, add the cream of chicken soup & sour cream and begin to heat the mixture, stirring well. Add the shredded chicken and some of the blended veggie mixture. Use the drippings and the extra chicken broth to thin the sauce to the desired consistency. You can add as much or as little of the blended veggies as you'd like. This just gives it a delicious, homemade taste that's a notch above other chicken gravy recipes I've tried.

To Serve:

Serve gravy over a bed of rice and top with the following Haystack Toppings:
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Olives
Chow Mein Noodles
Chopped green onion
Chopped green pepper
Chopped cucumber
Chopped celery
Pineapple tidbits
Chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, or macadamia)

Grilled Chicken Salad (EASY!)

Costco now carries this delicious bagged salad that comes with everything except the chicken (cranberries, feta cheese, candied almonds, and citrus vinagarette). For a healthy meal, I've been grilling up chicken tenderloins for a complete meal.

For the chicken:
Marinate the chicken (1-6 hours) in a mixture of 1 cup sprite, 1 cup soy sauce, 1/4 c. vegetable oil, and 2 tsp. garlic salt. Grill on grill. Serve with salad.