Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chicken Lasagna

The original recipe came from Lynn and Lynn's Kitchen Adventures. But if you've noticed anything about how I cook, I never really follow a recipe to a "T". However, this was really good, and I'm sure Lynn's original version is just as delicious! I liked that I was able to sneak some veggies into the casserole, since my husband always promises to take some with his seconds, but always ends up too full! The only problem I came across is that I used oven ready lasagna noodles and my top layer of noodles didn't cook right. I'm sure this is because I didn't use enough sauce on top of the noodles, so if you are making this, make sure you cover the top of your lasagna with lots of sauce so the noodles cook right.

Chicken Lasagna

4 cups of cooked chicken (I used 3 cans of chicken from my food storage and seasoned it with a little bit of pepper)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1 cup grated parmesan cheese; this recipe calls for the stuff in the green can not the real stuff :) (I didn't have this, so it was left out :( )

1 can olives, 4 ½ ounce, chopped (left these out due to my husband's preference, but I did use about 1 to 1-1/2 cup of chopped broccoli to layer in the casserole)

½ tsp garlic salt

Mix all together and set aside.

You also need:

4 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 box of lasagna noodles, 10 ounces, cooked (I used oven ready and didn't cook them ahead of time)

In a 9×13 pan spread about ½ cup of chicken/cheese sauce. Then spread a layer of noodles and a layer or cheese and then sauce again (don't forget the broccoli or other vegetable if you are using it). Continue until you have three layers of noodles. Make sure to end with sauce and cheese on top.

Bake at 350 covered for 40 minutes then uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

Swiss Chicken

This is a recipe my made frequently when I was growing up. It is really yummy! I've found that it doesn't really matter what type of cheese you use, even though the recipe calls for swiss cheese. I like swiss, but I never have it on hand due to budgeting. I've used cheddar, monterey jack cheddar, and mozzarella as substitutions and it's been delicious everytime. So give it a try with what you have on hand. You can even use shredded cheese if that's what you have. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Swiss Chicken

4 chicken breasts
4 slices of swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 box of chicken flavored stuffing mix
2 Tbl butter, melted

Place chicken in baking pan and cover with cheese. Mix soup and milk together and then pour on top of chicken. Top with stuffing mix. Drizzle butter over stuffing and bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Chicken "G"

I found this recipe when I was entering a contest on Pioneer Woman. I don't know why I ever try, there are always thousands of people who enter before I even hear about the 1-day long contests. But her prizes are always so cool! Oh well, my kitchen isn't really big enough for lots of cool kitchen gadgets. Anyways, back to the recipe. It comes from the recipe search engine that PW started called Tasty Kitchen and it was really good! I've never made chicken cutlets before, but it was really easy and since the chicken is thin, it doesn't take very long to cook. The only thing I'll change for next time is to make more of a sauce by adding around 2 cans of tomato sauce. I served it over spaghetti and the pasta just needed a little more of a dressing than the original recipe made. I'll definitely be making this again!

Chicken "G"

  • 1 pound (2 Pieces) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ cups Chopped Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • ½ teaspoons Lemon Pepper Seasoning (didn't use)
  • 1 cup Canned Diced Tomatoes, Any Flavor Or Brand (I used Italian Stewed tomatoes that I chopped)
  • 1 can (8 Oz. Can) Mushroom Pieces & Stems, Undrained (I chopped the mushrooms)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning (I didn't use since my tomatoes had it already)
  • ½ cups Halved Stuffed Green Olives (I didn't use these)

Place the chicken breast halves between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Pound flat to a little more than 1/4 inch with the flat side of a meat mallet or heavy fry pan. (At this point, I cut each of the cutlets in 1/2 so I ended up with 4 smaller pieces of chicken)

In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken with the lemon-pepper seasoning. Saute quickly over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Add tomatoes, mushrooms, onion-garlic mixture, and Italian seasoning to pan. Warm through. Add chicken. Cover and cook over low heat until juices run clear, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the olives. Warm through. If the juices are too thin, make a slurry out of 1 tablespoon flour and 1/4 cup of water. Whisk in, and cook until thickened.

To complete this meal, serve with a salad and garlic bread.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Skillet Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

I am never disappointed when I visit My Kitchen Cafe. There is always something yummy posted on Melanie's blog. This dish was no exception. It appealed to me because my family loves homemade macaroni, but the version I make requires making a sauce and then combining the sauce with the noodles and then baking it. Which of course takes a ton of time and creates a lot of heat in my kitchen. So I gave this a whirl. It was great! I added frozen peas and carrots and ham (sorry I didn't take a picture- I was running late for taking my husband his lunch at work but if you really need to see one click the link above). I think you could easily add any cooked meat with any complimentary veggie to make a more complete meal, or you could easily just serve the macaroni plain. Also, when I made this dish, I cut down on the amount of cheese I used. Not only does this cut down on the calories, it also cuts down on the cost- but I promise, you won't miss the extra cheese! I'm sure it's even more delicious with all of the cheese, but what I'm saying is it is ok to cut down on the amount. So if you're looking for a last minute dinner idea, give this a try!

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese
adapted by My Kitchen Cafe from The Best Skillet Recipes

3 1/2 cups water, plus extra if needed
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (I used reconstituted powdered milk. For instructions go here.)
12 ounces (about 3 cups) elbow macaroni
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (I left this out)
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (I also left this out)
6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks
Ground black pepper to taste

Bring 3 1/2 cups water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, the macaroni, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the macaroni is tender and the liquid has thickened, 9 to 12 minutes.

Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, the cornstarch, mustard and hot sauce together in a small bowl, then stir into the skillet. Continue to simmer slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Off the heat, stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust the consistency of the sauce (I didn't need any additional water when I made it). Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Ham and Pea Variation
Follow the recipe, adding 4 ounces deli-style baked ham, diced medium, and 1/2 cup frozen peas to the skillet with the cornstarch mixture in step 2.

Deliciously Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

First of all, what would you think if you opened a new box of butter and found this? I was a little irritated, but I quickly decided I'd just have to eye ball my measurements. Grrrrr....

This recipe came from the Sister's Cafe and they were the best homemade biscuit I've ever had. I love the honey as the sweetener because the finished biscuits taste like there is a little bit of honey drizzled on top! They were also really easy to make. The folding technique might seem unnecessary, but it's what makes them so flaky! It reminds me of when you bake Pillsbury Grands and they get really flaky. I'll definitely be making these more often! :)

Deliciously Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Chill 10 minutes.
3. Combine buttermilk and honey, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope). Reroll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut dough with a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to form 14 dough rounds. Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan; cool 2 minutes on wire racks. Serve warm.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Crunchy" French Bread

Even though french bread is pretty inexpensive, the homemade version is really easy and tastes so much better! You know how french bread from the store is really crunchy and sometimes hard to eat when it's toasted? The homemade version is not (don't let the name trick you)! Especially if you rub the top crust with butter like I did. I used my loaf to make french bread pizza and it was delicious! I'll definitely be making this bread again.

Crunchy French Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour (I used bread flour)
2 Tbl. dry yeast
2 Tbl. sugar
1 egg
2 Tbl. butter flavored shortening (I used vegetable oil)
1 tsp. salt
2 cups warm water (remember not too hot, not too cold, or else you'll ruin your yeast)
4 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour and only needed about 3-1/2 cups)

In a mixer bowl, blend together first six ingredients. Add warm water and mix well. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the flour and knead with dough hook for 10 minutes or by hand for 15 minutes.

Shape into 2 small loaves or 1 large loaf and make small slices diagonally across top of loaves. (I made 1 large loaf and it was HUGE. Seriously, I could barely fit it diagonally on my cookie sheet. So unless you need extra-large slices of bread, I'd stick with at least 2 loaves.) Allow to rise, covered, until doubled.

Sprinkle greased baking sheet with cornmeal to prevent loaves from sticking (I skipped this step, just make sure you spray or grease your pan). Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack in oven. Bake loaves on middle rack at 425 F for 15 minutes (I'd watch the color of your loaf during this step. If it's getting brown fast, allow it to brown until almost the right color and then continue onto the next step). Lower temperature to 375 and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on the top and it is lightly golden brown.

This recipe also makes great pizza curst. Will make 2 large pizzas (I'd bet even more since my loaf turned out so big).

Homemade hamburger buns

I've been trying lately to make most of our bread products from scratch to save a little extra money. I'd like to say I make all of them, but nobody's perfect! These hamburger buns were really good and soft! Plus they were easy and didn't take too much time to make. They are a little dense, but that's because of the short rise time. The whole batch makes a lot- I quartered the batch since it looked like a lot and got 5 buns, so I'd assume a full batch would make around 20, depending on the size. I got this recipe from Wheat Cookin' Made Easy by Pam Crockett.

Quick & Easy Thirty Minute Hamburger Buns

3-1/2 cups warm tap water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
6 Tbl yeast
1 Tbl salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
10-1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used regular bread flour)

Combine water, sugar, oil and yeast. Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 F. Add remaining ingredients to yeast mixture and mix well. Shape into rolls or hamburger buns.

Place on a greased cookie sheet, about 12 to a sheet, and let rise for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Devilled Eggs

I've been letting my recipes pile up on me! AAAAH! I'm really behind in blogging, so hopefully I'll be able to catch up over the next couple of days and then stay on track! :) I made these eggs for a church activity a couple of weeks ago and they were delicious! They are definitely going to be a go-to dish for an economical, yet crowd pleasing appetizer or side dish.

Devilled Eggs (from

6 eggs
1/4 tsp prepared mustard
1/8 tsp dill
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp salt
1-2 tsp milk

Boil your eggs however you like to do it. (I put my eggs in the bottom of a pot, cover them with water, let the water come to a boil over medium/high heat, cover the pot and remove the eggs from the heat. Let them sit for about 20 minutes and they'll be cooked perfectly!)

Peel under cold running water. Slice eggs in half. Place egg whites on a plate or serving tray rinsed and dried, and the egg yolks in a bowl.

Mash egg yolks with a fork and add remaining ingredients, except for paprika.

If desired, you can add more mayonnaise with a little bit of milk (small amounts at a time, as you can always add but not take out or you'll end up boiling another egg or two)

Fill each half about a teaspoon and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving.

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