Thursday, December 27, 2012

Creamy Wite Chicken Chili

There is nothing more delicious to warm your tummy on a cold winter day than a bowl of creamy chicken chili.  This is the best recipe and makes enough to feed a big crowd.  It can be cooked quickly on the stove top or simmer all day in you crockpot.

6  (15oz.) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
32 oz. box chicken broth
3 c. Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
2 (4 oz.) cans diced green chilies
2 small onions, chopped
1 1/2 c. sour cream
1 T. olive oil
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. ground oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot.  Simmer 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Can also place ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours, or slow for 6 hours.  Serve with tortilla chips and sprig of fresh cilantro.  This recipe can easily be cut in half for a smaller family!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Caramel Apple Dip

My friend Sandi is the best homemaker and every recipe she gives me is a winner.  This is a caramel apple dip recipe that she gave me 6 years ago and I LOVE IT!  It tastes just like real, homemade caramel, but stays soft when you refrigerate it instead of getting rock hard.  Don't ignore the "Stir Constantly" directions or it will scorch and burn the bottom of your pan.

2 c. brown sugar
1 cube real butter
1 c. Karo syrup
1/8 tsp. salt

Place the above ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a slow boil, and boil 6-8 minutes, STIRRING CONSTANTLY.  Then add:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla 

Turn heat down a bit, return to a soft boil, and cook 8-10 more minutes until very thick and the mixture has that golden, caramel color.  STIR CONSTANTLY so that the mixture doesn't scorch.

Let cool about 10-15 minutes, then whisk in:

1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream

Can serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cheese Sticks Like Fat Jacks

Anyone who grew up in Payson knows about the goodness of Fat Jack's Cheese Sticks.  They were a Friday night staple at our house growing up.  I found a recipe on Pintrest that looked similar to the famous sticks and decided to try it out.  They turned out amazing!  Serve these with marinara or homemade ranch dressing.

1 ball pre-made pizza dough *see below for options
1 16 oz. package mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic, pressed
3-4 T. olive oil
Italian Seasonings (if desired)

Roll out pizza dough on to a large round pan or stone.  In a small prep bowl add the olive oil, pressed garlic, and a sprinkling of Italian seasonings.  Brush this mixture all over the top of the crust.  Spread mozzarella cheese all over the top.  Bake at 400 degrees until browned and bubbly - about 20-25 minutes. 

We also like to throw fresh sliced tomatoes and fresh basil on top sometimes.  It tastes like a Margarita pizza!

*I use to make all of my pizza dough homemade, but lately I've grown lazy and also LOVE some of the pre-made doughs that are available in my area better than my own homemade dough.  Here are some options:
1) Rigatti's Pizzeria inside Reams grocery store sells balls of dough
2) Papa Murphy's Pizza will sell you a ball of dough
3) Winco grocery store in Orem sells pizza dough in their refrigerated section by the cheese and lunch meats.

Easiest Cherry Pie

My friend Margy loves cherry pie so I made one for her birthday.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but everything was store bought and tweaked to look homemade.  Thankfully, Margy is the type of friend who probably won't mind. 

1 pkg. Marie Calendar Frozen Pie Crusts
2 cans cherry pie filling

Thaw pie crusts at room temperature for about 15 minutes.  Pour the two cans of pie filling in to the bottom of one crust.  Remove 2nd crust from pan.  When soft, lightly roll it out on a piece of saran wrap.  Lift it on top of pie and then pinch the edges together to look homemade.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-50 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Prior to placing top crust on the pie, I used a small, heart shaped cookie cutter to cut four hearts out and then repositioned them on top of the pie to make it look decorative.  If you don't cut out any shapes on the top crust, you need to cut slits in the top of the pie to vent it. 

Brazillian Cheese Puffs

My friend Caroline eats gluten free and this is one of her favorite recipes.  It calls for tapioca flour which can be pricey at the grocery store. I found it in the bulk food section at Winco and bought just enough to whip up a batch of these bite-sized cheesy buns for our Cinco De Mayo feast last week.

1 large egg
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. tapioca flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
can sprinkle garlic salt or extra grated cheddar cheese on top as well

Place egg, milk, oil, flour, and salt in a blender and blend until well mixed.  Add both types of cheese and pulse the blender 2-3 more times.  Grease a mini muffin tin and preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Fill each mini muffin cup 2/3 full.  Sprinkle additional cheese and a light sprinkle of garlic salt on the top of each muffin if desired.  Bake 15-20 minutes.  Serve warm!

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup

The PTA room mothers brought dinner to the school last week to feed the hungry teachers after a long night of Parent Teacher Conferences.  Several types of soup were served, but this was my hands-down favorite.  I stalked the PTA room moms for the recipe and made it tonight for dinner.

2 quarts chicken stock (I used homemade*see below*)
6 cups water
3 pieces bacon
1 small white onion, finely chopped
3-4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 bunch kale (or Swiss chard) cut in bite sized pieces
2/3 c. half and half
1 tsp. salt
1 dash red pepper flakes
pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to grate on top

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and water to a boil and add potatoes.  In a small skillet, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pan and crumble.  Add the onion to the bacon drippings and cook until soft and translucent.  Then add the olive oil, garlic, and sausage.  Cook until sausage is browned, breaking up as you would if browning hamburger.  Drain some, but not all of the grease and then add meat mixture to the boiling stock and potatoes.  Continue cooking until potatoes are soft.  Reduce heat and add the half and half, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Finally, add the kale.  Simmer 1-2 minutes more, then remove from heat.  When serving, grate Parmesan cheese on top.  Sprinkle bacon pieces on top as well or reserve cooked bacon for another use.

How I make homemade chicken stock:
  • Buy a rotisserie chicken at Sam's Club or Costco and use all the meat off it for your favorite recipes. 
  • Place what's left of your chicken in a large stock pot and fill 3/4 full of water. 
  • Add a celery stalk or two, a carrot or two, a large onion cut in halves or fourths and 1-2 bay leaves.  Don't peel the carrot, don't cut the leaves off the celery, and cut the bottom of the onion off, but leave the brown skin on - this will give your stock amazing flavor and that pretty yellow/golden color.  
  • Generously salt the mixture and add 2-3 whole peppercorns if desired. 
  • Bring mixture to a soft boil and boil for an hour to an hour and a half.  Taste the broth to see if it's too salty or not salty enough.  If too salty, add a few more cups of water. If too bland, add a bit more salt.  
  • Remove from heat and cool. 
  • Strain broth though a fine sieve leaving only pure broth.  Discard the solids. 
  • My favorite way to store it is to pour the broth in a freezer quality Ziploc gallon bag and freeze in the freezer.  When ready to use, simply thaw the broth and use in your favorite recipes. 

Apricot Oat Granola Bars

I was in charge of making a nutritious snack to eat on our hike at Heber Valley Camp this summer.  Some of my young women helped me throw these together a couple of days before we left.  They were SO GOOD and stayed soft for several days. 

1 3/4 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 c. oatmeal (not instant)
1 c. walnuts, chopped
1 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
8 dried apricots, chopped in to small pieces
1 1/4 c. apricot preserves

In a small bowl, mix together the preserves and chopped apricots, set aside.  In another bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, soda, oatmeal, and walnuts.  Add the butter, egg, and vanilla and stir until incorporated.  Lightly grease a 13x9 pan and line with parchment paper.  Lightly press 1/2 of the oatmeal mixture in to the bottom of the pan.  Pour the apricot mixture on top and spread around, avoiding the edges.  Place dollops of the remaining oatmeal mixture all of the top and lightly press to flatten.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool at least an hour before cutting.  Store bars in an airtight container. 

Tortellini Summer Salad

This is one of those "couldn't leave without it" recipes.  My cousin Ashley always throws unforgettable birthday parties for her little girls and this salad was served at their summer luau party.  Ashley and her friend Jessica shared the recipe with me and I made it the next day for our family reunion.  It was a hit!

Ingredient List:
1 pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini (I buy mine in a 2 pack at Costco)
1 can olives
10-12 cherry tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts
1 cup Caesar salad dressing (I use Cardini's)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook cheese tortellini according to package directions, then cool. Mix mayo and Caesar dressing in a small bowl and set aside.  When ready to assemble, halve the olives, halve the cherry tomatoes, chop the artichoke hearts, then toss it all in with the cooked tortellini.  Stir in mayo mixture until everything is coated.  Finally, stir in shredded Parmesan.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.