Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mexi Can Pie

This is super easy. It's nothing more than chili really, but it was super good. The additions make it a little zippy! 

2 - 15 oz cans Turkey Chili
1 - 12 oz can of beer (We skipped this part)
1 - 4 oz can of chopped green chiles
1 - package of Grands! refrigerator biscuits

-preheat oven to 350
-Mix Chili, beer, and chilies, in a casserole dish
-Place the biscuits on top
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes

P.S. The biscuits didn't cook all the way through when they were on top of the chili. You might cook them separately, then place them on the chili for like the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Menu: November 22 - 28

I'm back! I've been out of the loop for awhile, but I'm FINALLY settling down into a routine...which means I can start planning menus again! This week's menu is an ode to food storage! We don't have much in our food storage, but I figured a lot of these meals can easily be made from lots of canned foods and other items around the house.

Sunday: Pot-luck Pasta
Monday: '50s - style Creamed Chicken
Tuesday: Mexi Can Pie
Wednesday: Bird on a Biscuit
Thursday: Thanksgiving in Scipio!
Friday: Bombay Chicken 'n' Rice
Saturday: Extremely Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu: November 17 - November 23

You won't believe it. I cooked ALL six meals that I planned last week! I must be entering the second trimester or something... ;)

Since last week went well, I'm going to try the same thing this week. Here are the six meals I have planned (sorry, they are all already posted here except one):

Pork and Bean Chalupas (from The Frosted Cupcake)
Chili and Cornbread

Here's to two good weeks in a row!

Friday, November 13, 2009


I read and love The Pioneer Woman's blog. Not only does she make me laugh constantly, but she also makes me hungry. I have enjoyed with complete success every recipe of hers that I have tried. Yesterday her cookbook FINALLY arrived in the mail!

"The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl"
I'm salivating all over the place just looking at it. The book is full of personality, great photography (not just of food but ranch life), funny stories, and of course lots and lots of pictures to explain how to prepare her recipes.

This morning for breakfast I tried out the easiest recipe from the "In the Morning Section". Egg-in-a-hole. I'm a lover of runny eggs, and I'm amazed to say this is my new favorite way to eat them.

1 piece of bread
1 egg
salt and pepper

cut out a circle in your bread (I used a glass) I didn't want to waste the circle, so that bread went into the pan too.
heat skillet- melt some butter
add bread
after about a minute add the egg into the hole
salt and pepper liberally

wait 1 minute
wait another minute or longer is you don't like runny
All done-

Eat and enjoy.

you can find her book on Amazon for 14.95 (instead of 27.50)
Her entire website is worth you time too

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Cafe Rio" Sweet Pork Salads (Complete Recipe)

I finally did it! I've been wanting to try and recreate Cafe Rio salads at home for quite some time. Then, I got a huge craving (really huge, pregnancy style) for them a few weeks ago which was only partially satisfied by going to Chipotle. At that point I knew it was only a matter of time before I decided to be brave and give it a try.

There are a lot of recipes out there that claim to replicate various aspects of the Cafe Rio salad (a quick google search for Cafe Rio recipes will give you a glimpse of what is out there), so after looking at a bunch of them, I decided to try the recipes at Favorite Family Recipes because she had collected all the recipes in one place (the pork, rice, beans, and dressing). Also, I've made things from FFR before, and they've always turned out well!

These recipes absolutely did not disappoint! It was amazing. I took my first bite, and it was like I was back in Provo. Maybe it was a little bit enhanced for me because I'm pregnant, but it was seriously good stuff!

Here's the complete recipe! (Click on the individual components for recipes.)

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salads
large tortillas (I hear the uncooked ones at Costco are really good, but I've never tried them)
grated cheddar cheese (a small handful for each tortilla)
lettuce (not iceberg, I just bought a bag of romaine)
parmesan cheese
tortilla strips (you can buy these at a grocery store next to the croutons in the produce section)

cilantro for garnish
lime sections for garnish
sour cream

Place one tortilla in the bottom of each serving dish (oven safe). You can buy foil dishes like Cafe Rio uses at the grocery store, but we just went with metal pie tins that I had on hand. Sprinkle a small handful of cheese on each one and bake at 375 degrees for about five minutes, or until cheese is melted. Scoop a generous amount of Cilantro Lime Rice and Black Beans on top of the tortilla.

Next, add the shredded pork. If you're silly like me (or if you just really miss Cafe Rio) yell "Extra Meat!" when making your husband's salad. ;)

On top of that add a generous amount of lettuce. And then top it all off with a scoop of pico de gallo, some tortilla strips, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and a sprig of cilantro for garnish. Serve with tomatillo sauce on the side so that (if you're me) you can keep adding it to your salad as you go because you can never get enough. ;)

I was in a big hurry to eat, so please ignore the sauce splatters and other messes in my pictures. I usually try to avoid showing off the messy-after-cooking kitchen in my pictures. My excuse this time is that Paul was the photographer, and he just doesn't notice these things. ;) Hopefully you will all forgive me once you give these amazing recipes a try!

Oh, and big thanks to Erica over at Favorite Family Recipes! She has provided all of us non-Utah residents a great service by mastering these recipes for us.

Note: I gave this recipe a 1-2 hour time length because I decided not to count the slow cooker time. It was a rather big production, but in the end, I put most of it together in two hours. And I know I'll be a bit faster next time (not looking up recipes at the last second and all that). Enjoy!

Pico de Gallo

I was just going to chop up some tomatoes and onions for our salads last night, but at the last minute, I decided that I wanted to find out how to make pico de gallo. I did a quick search on I found a recipe that was easy, highly rated, AND I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. It was supposed to refrigerate it for at least 3 hours before serving, and I only had 1 1/2, so I just threw it together as fast as I could.

I'm glad I did it, though. It was delicious and just added to the authenticity of our whole makeshift "Cafe Rio" experience. :)

Pico de Gallo
3 roma tomatoes, diced (I only had two, and we survived ;) )
1/4 onion, diced (the recipe specified red onion, but I had a white one and it worked fine)
1 1/2 T. fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 jalapeno, seeded, diced (I just stole a tiny bit of the jalapeno I used for the tomatillo sauce)
juice from 1/4 lime (I just used what I had leftover from the lime I used for the rice)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and refrigerate until needed (at least three hours according to the recipe, but it was still good after 1 1/2). Feel free to taste and add spices as desired.

Next time I will take the time to dice the tomatoes and onion really evenly so that it looks prettier. I was in a big hurry this time. :)

Here's a link to the original recipe (notice that I halved it): Pico de Gallo.

Creamy Tomatillo Sauce (Cafe Rio)

Recipes for this dressing are pretty consistent around the internet. While I found huge variety in the recipes available for the other components of a Cafe Rio salad, this dressing was almost the same everywhere. For that reason, I was pretty confident that it would taste just right.

And guess what? It did! :)

Creamy Tomatillo Sauce (Cafe Rio)
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (TRADITIONAL not buttermilk)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, husks removed, diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
juice from 1 lime
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced*

*If you want your dressing to be spicy, you can leave the seeds in. We prefer the sauce to be mild.

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix under sauce is smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

For me, this is what makes the salads so awesome. It's the component that ties it all together. I just love it! Oh, and this recipe makes quite a bit of dressing. I'm not sure what we're going to do with all of it or how long it saves, but I'm definitely going to try it out on pretty much anything we eat with a Mexican flavor over the next week or two!

Here's a link to the original recipe on Favorite Family Recipes: Creamy Tomatillo Sauce.

Shredded Sweet Pork (Cafe Rio)

The sweet pork at Cafe Rio was Paul's favorite. As far as meats at Cafe Rio go, the sweet pork was more at the bottom of my personal list. But again, when you search for Cafe Rio recipes, it's the sweet pork that shows up pretty exclusively. Oh well! I will keep looking, of course, and I hope to someday find a good steak or chicken recipe.

Until then, enjoy this recipe for shredded sweet pork, Cafe Rio style!

Shredded Sweet Pork (Cafe Rio)
2 lbs. pork*

about 2 1/4 c. (or 1 1/2 cans) Pepsi (not diet, but we were good since I'm pregnant and bought caffeine free and it works just as well)
1/4 c. brown sugar

To cook the pork:
2/3 c. (or 1/2 can) Pepsi
garlic salt
1/4 c. water

2/3 c. (or 1/2 can) Pepsi
1 can diced green chiles
3/4 can enchilada sauce
3/4 c. brown sugar

*I read that you should NOT use a pork roast for this recipe. The pork should be a more fatty cut. We used boneless pork shoulder ribs, but I also heard that pork butt works well.

Place pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag and add 2 1/4 c. Pepsi and 1/4 c. brown sugar. Marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight (I chose overnight). Remove pork from the bag and place in slow cooker. Discard the marinade. Pour water and 2/3 c. Pepsi over the pork. Sprinkle with garlic salt to taste. Cook on high for 3-4 hours (or on low for 8 hours) until pork can be easily shredded. Remove pork and shred (I find this easiest to do in a pie tin with two forks). Empty excess liquid from the slow cooker and place shredded pork back in it. Prepare sauce by mixing 2/3 c. Pepsi, enchilada sauce, green chiles, and 3/4 c. brown sugar in a blender until sauce is smooth. If it seems too thick, add more Pepsi (mine was not too thick). Pour sauce over shredded pork and cook on low for 2 more hours. (Although now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I left mine on high...oops!)

Wondering what Paul's verdict was? He said the flavor was spot on, but the texture was slightly different. I can only assume this is because Cafe Rio uses a different cut of meat. All in all, though, Paul absolutely loved it. I thought it was yummy, too. :)

Here's the original recipe on Favorite Family Recipes: Shredded Sweet Pork.

Black Beans (Cafe Rio)

Now, both Paul and I prefer pinto beans on our Cafe Rio salads. For some reason, though, the only recipes I have found have been for black beans. I will continue to look around for a good pinto bean recipe, but in the mean time, this one works pretty well!

I can't vouch for it's authenticity, since I really can't remember what the Cafe Rio black beans are like, but these are yummy and flavorful.

Black Beans (Cafe Rio)
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T. fresh chopped cilantro

Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cumin and stir for a minute or two (until the garlic becomes aromatic). Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Stir frequently until heated through. Add cilantro just before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon to drain off excess tomato juice.

Notes: I think the key to this recipe is to only cook it until the beans are heated through. I cooked mine too long, so the tomato juice started to thicken and didn't drain off as easily when I served them. This means that the beans should probably be the last thing you prepare for the salads. Also, I'm not sure the cilantro is necessary in this recipe. It didn't seem to add much to me. There's a lot of cilantro in these salads elsewhere, so if you would like to cut back on it in one area, this would be a good one.

Again, I got this recipe from FFR. The original can be found here: Black Beans (Cafe Rio).

Cilantro Lime Rice (Cafe Rio)

We ate well in the Peterson household last night. Oh yes. We had Cafe Rio salads! I'm going to post each recipe that I used separately, and then I'll post a complete recipe with links to the individual recipes so that they can be easily found and accessed in the future.

And believe me, you will want to access these recipes in the future. ;)

So, here's the recipe for the rice. I got it from Favorite Family Recipes, but adapted it to use my rice cooker (she cooks the rice on the stove). If you don't have a rice cooker feel free to follow her recipe, which can be found here: Cilantro Lime Rice.

Cilantro Lime Rice (Cafe Rio)
2 c. (the smaller cup used specifically for our rice cooker) uncooked rice - we used Calrose, because that's what we always have, but her recipe specifies long grain
1/2 T. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. fresh lime juice
1 can chicken broth (14 oz)
1 T. fresh lime juice
3 T. fresh chopped cilantro
2 t. sugar
If needed: water

Rinse rice in rice cooker. Add chicken broth, garlic, 1 t. lime juice, and butter. If needed, fill to 2 c. line with water (the chicken broth filled our rice cooker right to the 2 c. line, so I didn't need to add water). Push the 'cook' button and walk away. (Oh, how I love my rice cooker!) Once the rice is done cooking, combine the remaining lime juice with the cilantro and sugar. Pour over the cooked rice and fluff it to combine.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu: November 9 - November 15

Check it out! It's a menu!

As most of you know, I'm pregnant (woo hoo!), so my menu this week is a little different. I've been really (and I mean REALLY) bad about making dinners lately. I wonder why? ;) Anyway, fast food and other take out has gotten to be gross to me now, and I'm reaching the end of my first trimester. I'm hoping this combination will mean I'll be better about making dinner this week.

So, in order to help myself have a better chance of succeeding, I've come up with six meals that sound good to me right now--which is a miracle in and of itself--and I'll make whatever meal I want each day (and I even get a free day!). A couple of them are pretty ambitious recipes, so wish me luck! :)

This Week's Meals:
Aztec Chicken - from Favorite Family Recipes
Cafe Rio Sweet Pork salads - from Favorite Family Recipes

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Won Tons

I love to eat as well as make won tons. They are so good and addicting.

Won Tons
1 lb of ground beef
1 egg
Won ton wraps - usually by the vegetables in the produce section
Green onions, all chopped
Salt and pepper
About 1 TBL Soy sauce
A bowl of water

For every 1/2 pound of ground beef I usually use about half the won ton package.

Combine ground beef, egg, green onions, salt and pepper (sprinkle on top) and soy sauce.
Place a little spoonful in the middle of the wrap as shown in the picture above. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and get two sides wet so they stick together. Fold into a triangle. There are other ways of folding won tons, but this is the easiest way to explain.
Heat up oil (med. heat) in the wok or you can also use a po
t if you don't have a wok. Just make sure the won tons are completely covered in oil.
Cook until meat is cooked and the edges are brown.
Before and After:

Secret Sesame Chicken

I don't know why it's called Secret Sesame Chicken Maybe because it taste so good or that it is spicy!? I guess you'll have to try it out and taste for yourself.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, Jan. Where she found it I don't know, but it is yummy.
I would cook rice with this recipe.
Orange Puree- makes about 2 cups
1 med. sweet potato or yam, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 med. to large carrots peeled and sliced into thick chunks.
2 to 3 TBL water
Boil for 20 mins until soft
Blend in food processor with two TBL of wter

Sweet and Sour sauce - makes about 1 cup of sauce
3 TBL low-sodium soy sauce
3 TBL brown sugar
1/2 cup orange puree
1/4 cup pomegranate juice or apple juice
4 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 to 3/4 cayenne pepper - I thought it was really spicy so I would use less if you don't like food burning in your mouth
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup pineapple chunks

Secret Sesame Chicken
1 1/2 cup sweet and sour sauce
1/2 cup sesame seeds - these seeds are really expensive and I didn't buy them, but as I was cooking it I remembered to look on my spice rack and I had some, but honestly if you don't have any it's okay without it.
1/8 tsp salt and pepper
1 lb boneless chicken into strips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x9 inch glass baking dish with oil. Spread half the sweet and sour sauce on bottom. Pour sesame seeds on a plate, along with salt and pepper. Press chicken pieces on the plate of seeds. Cover remaining sauce. Bake 25-30 min.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I love this dish! I make it the night before so when I come home from school I can just put it in the oven. I usually have a salad and garlic bread on the sid
e. Hope you enjoy it!
1/2 (8oz) pkg manicotti pasta (7 tubes)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp parsely flakes
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups tomato sacue
Additional 3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook manicotti pasta according to pkg directions. Drain. Place on foil or wax paper to cool.
In large bowl, stir together cheeses, parsely and pepper. For easier handling, refregerate at leaste 15 min.) Fill cooled pasta tubes with mixture using a small spoon or use large decorator cylinder or disposable pastry bag without a tip to fill the tubes.
Spread 1/2 cup tomato sacue in 7"x11" oblong baking dish. Arrange filled pasta in a single layer over sauce. Pour 1 cup tomato sauce over pasta and cover with foil. Bake 30 min.
Remove foil. Top with grated Mozzarella cheese. Bake additional 10 min or until cheese is melted.
Serves 4

Make ahead directions:
After assembling manicoti, do not bake.
Cover dish tightly with foil, then plastic wrap. Freeze up to two months.
Remove plastic wrap; leave tightly covered foil. Bake 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove foil. Add mozzarella cheese. Bake additional 10 min or until cheese is melted.

Key Lime- Grilled Chicken

I really enjoyed this recipe. It's was full of flavor and we just had it on top of rice. Hope you enjoy it like we did.

Key lime Sauce:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/4 cup key lime juice
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 tsp all-purpose poultry seasoning mix

4 lbs chicken pieces (breasts or thighs)
1 Tbl all purpose-poultry seasoning mix

Set up grill for direct cooking over med. heat. Oil grate when ready to start cooking.
To prepare Key lime sauce, melt butter in a small sacuepan over med. heat. Stir in lime juice, chili sacue and 2 tsp poultry seasoning mix. Cook for 1 min. Remove from the heat; set aside.

Season chicken with 1 Tbl poultry seasoning mix. Place chicken on the hot, oiled grill and cook for 18-22 min perside, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear, basting with Key lime Sauce every few min until the last 2 min of cooking. Discard any remaining sauce.
Makes 4 servings

Tip: To cook indoors, preheat broiler. Prepare chicken and Key lime sacue as directed. Place chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet or broiler pan. Broil chicken 6-8 inches form the heat source for about 15-20 min per side, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear, basting with Key lime Sauce every few min until the last 2 min of cooking. Discard any remaining sauce.
I used the George Foreman Grill.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

I absolutely love this cake! It's very impressive looking and so simple. The best part is how it tastes though. I have made this cake twice for two different birthdays and plan to make it again many more times.




1 (18 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
4 baker’s semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
1/4 cup butter, cut up
1 (8 ounce) package Philadelphia Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups thawed Cool Whip Topping
12 Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare and bake cake mix in two 9-inch round cake pans (I used 8 inch and they turned out fine) as directed on package. Cool in pans 5 minute. Invert onto wire racks; remove pans. Cool layers completely. Place chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2 minute or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 minute. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the whipped topping and cookie crumbs; mix lightly. Place 1 of the cake layers, top-side down, on serving plate; spread with the cream cheese mixture. Cover with the remaining cake layer, top-side up. Spoon glaze over top of cake. Let stand until set (I didn't...I like the chocolate a little melted). Store in fridge.

* I put some cookie bits on top of the cake the first time and then not the second time...both ways were delicious!
* It looks like a ton of filling when you put it in the middle, but trust me, put it all. You will like it.
* Recipe found here:

Brownie Trifle

We tried this recipe when some of my family was in town way back in April. It was a big hit! Very very easy (seems like the theme of the recipes I post) and very delicious.

Becca and Such 064

9X13 pan brownies, cut into bite size pieces
1 large or 2 small boxes of chocolate pudding (made)
1 large container of Cool Whip
1 package crushed toffee bits (I used a bag of crushed Skor)

In a trifle bowl layer half brownies, half pudding, half Cool Whip and then half toffee bits. Repeat layers using remaining of the ingredients. That's it! Yum! I want to have some now.

Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

I really, really enjoyed this recipe. I got it at an enrichment activity cooking class. I'm not sure if I've ever had the salad it was named after at Applebee's, but if it's anything like this salad, I'm sure I'd love it! The dressing is my favorite part. :) If you're not a Dijon mustard person, don't worry, I couldn't taste the mustard in the dressing.

Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad
6 T. honey
3 T. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. sesame oil

1-2 frozen, breaded chicken tenderloin(s) per person (or more, if you are Paul ;) )
2 c. green cabbage, sliced thin
2 c. red cabbage, sliced thin
6 c. romaine lettuce, chopped (I just bought a bag of it, pre-chopped.)
1 carrot, shredded
2 green onions, chopped (including the green part)
1/4 c. toasted sliced almonds (I left this out because I don't care for nuts in salads.)
2/3 c. chow mein noodles

Cook the chicken according to the directions on the package (you can also cook your own if you're feeling ambitious, or use grilled chicken to make it more healthy). Mix all the dressing ingredients together. I recommend using an airtight container and shaking it to thoroughly mix the ingredients. Toss the ingredients for the salad. You can either toss the salad with the dressing, or pour the dressing on top of each serving.* Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put it on top of each salad.

*I knew that Paul and I could never finish this much salad in one sitting, so I didn't toss the whole salad with the dressing. Instead, I saved the dressing and salad in different containers and was able to enjoy the leftovers for lunch over the next couple days! :) I don't think it would save very well with the dressing already on it (it would become soggy).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

Wow, it has been way too long since I posted a recipe! I'm going to try and do a bit of catch-up over the next week. Maybe we can revive this blog!

A couple months ago I decided to be brave and try making something I've never made before: Chicken Tikka Masala. I had eaten it at an Indian restaurant once before, and I knew I liked it, but I never would have thought to make it myself until I read Pastor Ryan's recipe for it over at The Pioneer Woman. It didn't seem too hard! So I went out and got the ingredients and gave it a try.

Despite the bad lighting in my picture, it turned out a lot like it looked in the pictures on PW. I was secretly very impressed with myself. ;) A couple words of warning, though:

First, this is a PUNGEANT dish. It smelled up our little apartment and sort of leaked out all over the place. You could smell it walking up to our front door. And the smell lingered. And lingered. I did all the dishes, sent the leftovers with Paul to work, lit candles, and sprayed Febreze. And I could STILL smell it! It took about two days for the smell to be completely gone.

Second, turmeric is the spice that makes the rice turn bright yellow. It is strong stuff! If you use it in a rice cooker, be sure to wash it immediately afterwards to keep it from staining. Also, you shouldn't use your cute little white rice scooper to serve it up. Ours is still slightly yellow. Stick with something that won't stain quite so easily.

Third, it is a spicy dish. I think I must be a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, but I didn't even add in the optional chili peppers and it was almost too spicy for me!

Overall though, it had a great flavor, and I was glad I tried it. I'll probably even make it again sometime as long as no one is coming over for a little while afterwards. ;)

It's a long recipe, so I'm not going to type it all out this time. Here's the link again, though: Pastor Ryan's Chicken Tikka Masala.

Oh, and incidentally, I use this blog basically every week when I plan my menus. I really do! It sure is handy! I don't want it to fall into inactivity. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

My sister-in-law posted this recipe on her blog and I was way curious about it.  I really like the broccoli casserole that my family makes, but I was fascinated enough that I tried this recipe.  It was really good!  I will be making it again! 



Layer the following top (1) to bottom (5):
1. 1" buttered cubes of French bread (about 1/2 loaf)
2. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3. sauce (see below)
4. 2 cups cooked cubed chicken breast
5. 2 cups steamed broccoli
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
-Mix sauce ingredients together before adding to casserole layer.
-Layer ingredients in a greased 9X13 glass dish. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes.  Bread will be toasted and cheese will be bubbly.

Roasted Red Potato Wedges

Brian requested that we have potato wedges last week, so I used the opportunity to look for a good new recipe.  This recipe is not only very simple and easy, but very delicious!  I recommend serving these with steak/chicken and salad.  We just had them with salad and called it a meal.  They're crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  I changed the recipe but here is the original.




  • 4 large red potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

  • Directions:
    Wash and slice potato in wedges and place in 9X13 glass dish.  Combine melted butter, garlic, salt, and pepper in bowl and pour over potatoes.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and toss to coat (I just used my hands and got the potatoes really coated...but it's messy that way).  Cook at 425 degrees for 40 minutes, turning the potatoes once halfway through cooking time.

    *It actually only took about 35 minutes when I made them.  Just cook them until they're brown and crisp.

    Lemon Chicken

    This is a recipe I found on a food blog of someone from my old ward.  It's really easy and quite good.  It only requires a few ingredients.  I recommend to serve it with a vegetable and biscuit/rice/roll side.


    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
    4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
    1 package (9 oz) hollandaise sauce mix
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons butter, divided


    1. In a large resealable bag, combine flour and lemon-pepper. Flatten chicken to 1/2-inch thickness. Add chicken one piece at a time, and shake to coat.

    2. Prepare sauce according to package directions. Stir in lemon juice. Meanwhile in a skillet, saute chicken in 2 tablespoons butter for 4-6 minutes on each side.

    * As you can tell I cut my chicken breasts in strips.  You can use whatever cut you want but I think it works best if the chicken is in smaller pieces.
    * I am generous with the amount of lemon pepper I use.  Two teaspoons didn't seem like enough.

    Friday, July 31, 2009

    YUMMY Cinnamon Rolls

    I actually remembered this time to take pictures and not only the final product of these wonderful cinnamon rolls but a step by step process of how to make these cinnamon rolls. I honestly have to say I have been on top of it lately and I am quite proud of myself! :) Not only on this blog but on my own blog!

    Melt in your mouth Cinnamon Rolls

    Ingredients: (3 different bowls, 4 if you count your mixer bowl, such as the kitchen aid)
    First bowl: medium
    3 cups of milk
    2 cubes of butter
    Microwave for 4 minutes or until butter is melted - let it cool down for a little bit before mixing the yeast and flour mixture to it.

    Second bowl: small
    3 Tbls of yeast
    1 tsp of sugar
    1/4 cup luke warm water (make sure it's not too thick, add a tiny bit more water if it's clumpy)
    Let it rise until it literally doubles in size (it will foam up)

    Third bowl: large
    1 cup sugar
    2 tsp salt
    6 cups flour (my mom and I both use all-purpose- the blue bag?)
    Mix together thoroughly
    plus 5-6 cups of more flour later - you will add this after mixing all the bowls together*- I am just making you aware that there is 12 cups of flour total not just 6 cups like I initially thought

    If you are mixing it using a wooden spoon use the third bowl as your main mixing bowl.
    If you are using a mixing machine (kitchen aid) use that bowl and start my pouring in the Milk/butter bowl (first bowl) then the flour mixture (third bowl) then the yeast.
    * My kitchen aid is small so if you have a larger kitchen aid you should be fine, but in my experience I started in the kitchen aid and I eventually had to dump the dough back into the third bowl and finish mixing it by hand.

    Having mixing all of the bowls together the dough will be very sticky. But you are not done yet.
    Add 6 eggs to the mixture- mix well.......*then slowly add one cup at a time of flour (5-6 cups)- I usually put five cups of flour into the kitchen aid then put the dough back into the large bowl then add the last cup. If you haven't already, place the dough back into the third bowl to let it rise. Once you add the 6th cup try not to handle the dough to much.

    So try and mix the dough as gently as you can. The dough should be really soft. Not firm like homemade pizza dough. Soak a kitchen towel with very hot wa
    ter (as hot as you can stand) and place on top of bowl, over the dough. Let it rise for at least 2 hours. It will double in size

    This is my third bowl or large bowl - Can you see the difference? - it doubled in size
    Pull a third of the dough out of the bowl and place on a generously floured counter or table top. Gently roll out the dough using your hands not a rolling pin. You don't want to flatten the raised dough too much. Like I said earlier, try not to handle to much. It will look like a long oval.

    Pour melted/soft butter on top, I like to use my hands, it's faster. Sprinkle Brown sugar (with my hands) and cinnamon on top of oval dough. You can also add nuts or raisins at this time if you like.

    Roll up dough into a circle. Cut dough with dentalfloss. Just place under rolled dough, cross and slice. Do not cut with a knife, all that you will manage to do is flatten the dough. You want the dough to be soft and fluffy. I would make the slices smaller then I did. You will see how big I made them.


    Place sliced cinnamon rolls on a greased cookie sheet. Let it rise another hour. I just let it rise over night. I did everything up to the point of letting it rise some more. That way you can wake up and all you have to do its put them in the oven.

    There's not a huge difference here but you can see that they grew a little bit. I made the cinnamon rolls to the right a little too big. Unless you like them big. I was able to make 2 dozen rolls but if you were to make them smaller I am sure you could make 3 dozen.

    Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the rolls look slightly brown.
    Take out of the oven and brush melted butter on top. Drizzle glaze on top

    2 Tbl butter
    1 Tbl milk
    A little bit of vanilla extract
    Powder sugar (just keep adding powder sugar until you get a thick consistency. You don't want it too runny, but you want it runny enough to allow it to drizzle.

    The FINAL Product! YUMMY!

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    The best Quesadilla Triangles EVER!!

    These are the best quesadilla's I have ever had. Even the sauce for it is amazing. (sauce is to the left of picture)

    This recipe is made to serve 8 people - 16 flour tortillas but I've cut it down to 4 people (8 tortillas) and 2 people (4 tortillas) so it's possible. And they are so filling I am only able to eat one, if I eat two I am stuffed. I got this recipe from "In the Kitchen - The Costco way". Jeff and I went to Costco one weekend and they were handing out free cookbooks which have fantastic recipes using Costco products and this was one of them. I improvised the recipe a little bit because I don't buy everything at Costco so I will give you both recipes.

    6 MorningStar Farms* Chipotle Black Bean Burger, Garden Veggie Patties or Gardenburger The Original, thawed (I just cooked enough chicken for the amount of people eating, shredded it and sprinkled poultry seasoning on top- very simple).
    1 each red, yellow, and green bell peppers, cut in 1/8 inch dice
    1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (this I do buy at Costco- it's cheap compared to grocery stores)
    1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (also buy at Costco) ( I add 1 cup if I don't have Montery jack cheese)
    1/2 cup shredded Montery jack cheese ( I have never added this because I don't buy this cheese on a regular basis, but I am sure it will taste very if you were to add it)
    1 cup roasted tomato salsa ( I just use 1 cup of the brand Pace salsa - I actually buy a huge container of this at Costco, but you can also buy a smaller jar at any grocery store and I am sure any brand of your favorite salsa would work too)
    16 10-inch flour tortillas
    Melted Butter

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degress F
    2. Cut thawed burgers into 1/4 inch diced ( like I said above I just shred chicken and add a little poultry seasoning)
    3. In a large bowl, combine burger (chicken), peppers, cheese and salsa. Mix thoroughly and set aside
    4. Cut each tortilla into a 7-inch triangle - ( I don't like to waste tortilla even if it may be a little bit easier to handle- you could try both ways - their way or I like to fold in what i would have cut off then wrap the rest of the tortilla around the filling to make a triangle. I hope that makes sense, if not I can try and explain again in the comments.
    5. Place about a little less than half a cup of filling in each triangle; fold each corner into the center, overlapping one another.
    6. Brush quesadillas with melted butter and cook in a nonstick pan over medium heat until browned, about 1 min per side. Place in the oven for 5 min (I leave it in till the cheese is melted, which takes about 10-15 min) or until heated through

    Cilantro lime sour cream Dipping sauce
    4 oz sour cream
    1 1/2 Tbls freshly squeezed lime juice
    1 oz fresh cilantro, minced
    1/2 tsp. each: ground cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper

    Combine all ingredients and mix well
    ( When I had 4 people over for dinner this was not enough so I would make double if you have more people)Here's a little bit of closer look on how I wrapped it. If you have any questions please comment.

    Trifle ( It honestly needs a new name for how good it really was)

    I made this for my 2nd anniversary and it was absolutely delicious!!!

    1 (3oz) package of strawberry gelatin (jello)
    1 (3.4 oz) package instant cheesecake pudding mix* (Jeff doesn't like cheesecake so I used Vanilla)
    1 (11 oz) angel food cake loaf
    2 cups of strawberries
    2 med bananas
    Blueberries - this wasn't in the recipe but I add some anyways- it was really good
    1/2 pint whipping cream
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    1. Mix jello according to pkg. directions. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. (I put 3/4 cup boiling water, 1/2 cup cold water, and ice cubes- it helps it thicken a lot faster - remove remaining ice cubes)
    2. Mix pudding mix according to pkg directions. Set aside.
    3. Cut angel food cake in half. Break up one half the cake and place in 3 quart trifle bowl- ( I just used a big glass bowl- whether it was trifle bowl or not I have no idea)
    4. Cap, wash and slice strawberries into halves. Sprinkle one cup berries over cake in bowl (this is also where I added the blueberries)
    5. Pour one cup thickened jello over cake and fruit.
    6. Slice one banana over mixture in bowl. Top with half of pudding.
    7. Whip cream in small mixing bowl with sugar and vanilla
    8. Spread whipped cream over pudding layer.
    9. Repeat layers, ending with whipped cream and garnish with extra berries, if desired (I also as added blueberries on top as you can see)

    *Substitute vanilla or white chocolate instant pudding mix, if preferred

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    Blueberry Cream Muffins (with streusel topping)

    Hello!! It has been far too long since there has been a new post on this blog. My excuse is that I've been having computer issues...but the truth is, like many excuses, it is only an excuse. There was nothing keeping me from looking for my lost camera cord. Ah well! I finally did find it, and that's what matters, I suppose.

    I've looked through my camera, and I have seven wonderful recipes to share with you. I think I'll start with the most recent though, because it is pretty much my favorite of them all.

    Here in Oregon, it is blueberry season! It is so cool to go and pick your own blueberries (for the fraction of what they normally cost at the grocery store)! I went picking for the first time last week, and they were delicious. I barely had enough left for baking after all the berries James and I fact, I actually didn't have enough, so I supplemented with frozen blueberries.

    Anyway, I found this recipe on I actually combined two recipes and a couple comments from users. Here's what I ended up with:

    Blueberry Cream Muffins with Streusel Topping
    4 eggs
    1 1/4 c. white sugar
    1 1/4 c. brown sugar
    1 c. oil
    1 t. vanilla
    2 c. sour cream
    1 t. salt
    1 t. baking soda
    1 t. cinnamon
    4 c. flour
    3 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)

    Streusel topping:
    1/3 c. flour
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 1/2 t. cinnamon
    1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin pan(s) by lining with paper liners or greasing the pan.

    Beat eggs. Gradually stir in sugar (both kinds), while still beating. Stir in oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until smooth. Add salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.* Gently stir in flour. Do not overmix; stir until just combined (batter will be slightly lumpy). Carefully fold in blueberries.

    Prepare streusel topping by mixing all the ingredients together. I started with a fork, but quickly set it aside and just mixed with my hands. Mix until crumbly.

    Fill muffin liners all the way to the top. This recipe makes 24 large (bakery sized) muffins, so you don't need to worry about running out of batter. Sprinkle streusel topping generously on each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I almost took my first batch out too early. I found that it took about 24 minutes in my oven. I tested the muffins by using a toothpick; when it came out clean, they were done.

    *Of course, the original recipe has you mix together the dry ingredients separately. Feel free to do this if you want. I'm just lazy. ;)

    Here are links to the main recipe that I used: Blueberry Cream Muffins. I used the suggestions of the commenter MommyFromSeattle (her comment is on the top right now).

    Thursday, May 14, 2009


    I always loved when my mom would make these. My Mom and Jennie made these when they were out here recently for the baby's arrival and we made them again this last weekend because they're just that good!


    1 cup light corn syrup
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup peanut butter
    6 cups Rice Krispies
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 cup butterscotch chips

    In saucepan mix corn syrup and sugar over heat until just starting to boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Pour over rice krispes (in large bowl) and mix until evenly coated. Spread mixture in greased 9x13 pan.

    In saucepan, melt chocolate and butterscotch chips over low heat until melted. Pour over bars and spread evenly. Let cool until chocolate sets up. If you want them to set up quickly put them in the fridge/freezer.

    Easy Empanada Salad

    I found this recipe on a blog of someone from my old ward. She posts recipes on her blog from time to time and this one looked particularly easy and interested me. So we gave it a try and it was quite good and very easy!


    1 lb. ground beef
    1 packet taco seasoning
    half of a small onion, chopped
    1/4 c. frozen corn (I used a little more)
    1 package Grands Biscuits
    salad ingredients

    Brown beef with onion then drain excess fat. Mix in taco seasoning according to package and add frozen corn. Simmer until slightly thickened. Flatten biscuits out until about 6 inches in diameter. Scoop a heaping spoonful of meat mixture into the center of the biscuit, then fold it over and press the edges to seal it (I wet my finger and ran it around edge before folding it over and then I pressed it shut with a fork around the edge). Place empanada on a greased cookie sheet. Once all of them are finished, bake the empanadas at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

    Serve over lettuce and whatever salad ingredients you want. We served ours with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, black beans, salsa, and sour cream (Brian had his with ranch). Yum!!

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Easy Dinner Rolls

    So, Saturday night I made the dough for Melt-In-Your-Mouth Dinner Rolls and was way excited to have rolls the next night with the yummy soup I was making. In the morning I checked the dough and it seemed really dense so I assumed I put too much flour. I really wanted rolls that night so I looked online to see if I could find a recipe that would be done by that night. I came across this recipe and it had good reviews, so we gave it a shot. They turned out great! I will definitely have to make these again. Once again, my picture isn't very good, but there are lots of pictures with the recipe online.


    • 1 cup water (110 degrees F)
    • 2 packages yeast (Do not use the quick rising in this recipe)
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4 1/4 cups flour
    Combine water and yeast in large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. With wooden spoon, stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Add flour, 1 cup at a time and beat in as much as you can (you will probably be able to use all the flour). Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Turn dough onto floured surface. Divide into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place in rows in prepared pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 17 minutes or until golden brown.

    * Brian also spread melted butter over the top before and after these were baked.
    * We used all the flour it called for
    * We put foil on top for the last few minutes so the tops wouldn't get too brown before the insides were done.

    Oh, and the other rolls turned out after all, so we had A LOT of rolls :). Here's the original link again.

    Melt-In-Your-Mouth Dinner Rolls

    This is the recipe that my parents have always used because it's really easy and makes delicious rolls. The nice thing about this recipe is that it doesn't require kneading. Also, you make the dough the night before and just keep it in the fridge until you're ready to make the rolls. I forgot to take a picture until the next day so it's not the best. These are also a little darker than I usually cook them.



    Dissolve 1 pkg. yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
    1 T. sugar
    1 tsp. baking powder
    Let stand for 20 minutes.

    Scald 1 cup milk.
    1/3 cup margarine
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    Cool then add 2 beaten eggs.

    Combine all with 4 and 1/2 cups flour. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Roll out 2 hours before serving (so that they can rise). Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes (mine didn't take quite so long because they were small).

    *Brian brushed on a little melted butter right before they went in and then right after they came out. It makes them more fattening, but definitely adds to the flavor.

    Dessert Improvisation

    On Sunday, I asked Paul if he wanted me to make something for dessert. He said, "Yes, I'd like something smooth and creamy." So, I looked in the cupboard and decided to make up a dessert. (Big step for me!) I had a graham cracker crust, bananas, pudding, chocolate chips, whole milk, and a can of Reddi Whip on hand. This is what I made:

    It was nothing fancy, but it tasted good (and it was smooth and creamy ;) )!

    Here's my "recipe":

    Quick and Easy Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
    1 large box cook and serve vanilla pudding
    2 c. milk (for pudding)
    1 graham cracker pie crust
    1 large banana, sliced
    1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
    4 T. whole milk (cream would be better, but I didn't have any)
    whipped cream or Cool Whip for topping*

    *I would have preferred cool whip or fresh whipping cream for the topping, but I didn't have any. If you use Reddi Whip like I did, you should top each slice as you eat it rather than topping the entire pie ahead of time. The canned whipped cream breaks down in the refrigerator into a puddle of melted goop. Eww.

    Prepare chocolate ganache layer by melting the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl over a pot of boiling water. Once the chocolate is completely melted, stir in the milk (or cream). Pour into the bottom of your crust. Place in the freezer for a few minutes to allow the chocolate layer to cool and harden slightly. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding over the stove using one less cup of milk than it calls for. Remove the pie from the freezer and add a layer of sliced bananas on top of the chocolate. Next, pour the pudding over the bananas and refrigerate until cool and set up. When you are ready to serve the pie, top with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

    Like I said, it's a very simple dessert. But it was fun for me to create it myself using just the ingredients we had in the cupboard. I recommend you try it sometime! (And post your recipes and pictures! :) )

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Menu: May 3 - May 9

    What's this? A menu!? Holy meatballs, Batman! (Sorry, I've got meatballs on the brain...stay tuned for a couple of great recipes on that front. ;) )

    We haven't been planning menus lately because I went out of town and then Paul went out of town. We're back and settled back down into the swing of things. And I FINALLY planned a menu on Saturday.

    Sunday: Swedish Meatballs (CFG)
    Monday: Old South Hoppin' John (CFG - don't ask me why it's called that...)
    Tuesday: Tacos
    Wednesday: Chicken and Broccoli
    Thursday: Meatball Minestrone (CFG)
    Friday: Individual Chicken Cobblers (CFG)
    Saturday: Good ol' Rice and Beans (CFG)

    *CFG=Cheap. Fast. Good! We're trying a whole bunch of recipes from my new cookbook this week. And they really were cheap to shop for!M

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Crash Hot Potatoes

    Stan is not a potato guy. He doesn't enjoy mashed or baked (unless it's twice baked with some much other that he can barely taste potato)

    So, I wanted to see if he would eat these, being a potato lover myself. The pioneer woman has it on her amazing website- check it out. The picture is hers.

    New potatoes (as many as you want)
    olive oil
    kosher salt
    rosemary or preferred seasoning
    Boil salted water
    Add new potatoes
    cook until tender
    Preheat oven to 450*
    Generously coat baking pan with olive oil
    Place potatoes evenly spaced on pan
    using potato masher mask twice
    coat each potato with olive oil (can use pastry brush)
    Add lots of kosher salt, pepper, and herb of choice
    Bake for 20-25 minutes

    btw- Stan had seconds

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Book Recommendation

    The Essential Mormon Cookbook by Julia Badget Jensen is so full of delicious recipes. I love it. I've been making their french bread now for a few months (recipe to follow). Their corn bread is my second favorite recipe. (And the Bride's biscuits I posted forever ago are from here too. ) Also, the recipes are organized into seasons and dinners, so a whole meal is there for you.

    Ones we've loved so far:
    German Pancakes with Strawberries
    Cousin's Corn Bread
    Savory Pot Roast with Potatoes and Gravy (my new fav. way to do pot roast)
    Bride's Biscuits ( I even made it one time forgetting any shortning or butter and they were still good)
    Fiesta Dip
    Taco Beef Soup
    French bread
    Banana Bread
    Herb Croutons (1st time making my own and I'm not going back to store bought)
    Sloppy Joes
    Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies (my Stan's fav. cookies ever, and cookies are his fav. dessert)

    Stan and I joke that it should be added to the Standard Works.

    Please note:Everything we have tried we have LOVED except for the missionary meatloaf (way to sweet for our taste), the glazed carrots and peas (too muc work for not enough excitement), and pioneer bread (too dense and molasses-ish. (3 out of 14 isn't bad- esp. since the rest are to die for and blessedly easy)

    Buy this book.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Fiery Chicken with Vegetables

    This was the first recipe I tried from my new cookbook, Cheap. Fast. Good! And I'm pleased to say, it was delicious! It was easy to make, and the recipes are written in such a way that makes you maximize your cooking time. I like it already. :)

    Note: The recipes in the cookbook all seem to call for long grain rice. Of course, that's not what we eat in our house. :) I just skipped the instructions for preparing rice that were given in the recipe and prepared my own in our well-loved rice cooker. I'll include the instructions from the book, in case you would like to prepare the rice that way (or if you don't have a rice cooker).

    Fiery Chicken with Vegetables
    1 can fat-free chicken broth (1 c. for the rice and 3/4 c. for the vegetable sauce)
    1 c. long-grain rice (I actually made 2 cups of Japanese style short grain rice)
    1 lb. chicken breasts
    1 T. vegetable oil
    1 bag frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetable mixture (without sauce)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 T. soy sauce
    2 t. minced ginger (either fresh or bottled...I bought a jar of it)
    1 t. sugar
    1/2 t. red pepper flakes
    2 T. cornstarch

    Prepare rice by combining 1 c. chicken broth and 1 c. water in a covered medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir, and reduce heat to low. Cover the pan and simmer until rice is done, about 20 minutes. (Or, like I said, prepare rice in a rice can even substitute part of the water with chicken broth for flavor.)

    Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. While the oil heats, defrost your chicken if needed. Once oil is hot, add the frozen vegetables and stir occasionally. While the vegetables start to cook, cut the chicken into small cubes, adding them to the skillet as you go. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 5-6 minutes.

    Add garlic to the pan and stir. Next, add soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and red pepper flakes*. Stir well and cook for about two minutes to blend the flavors. In the meantime, combine cornstarch and 3/4 c. chicken broth in a small container with a lid. Cover and shake to combine until there are no more lumps.

    Drizzle mixture over the chicken and vegetables. Stir continuously until sauce thickens, about 1 minute (it really does thicken up pretty quick). Serve over a bed of rice.

    *The red pepper flakes are the reason this recipe is called "Fiery". If you like things a little less spicy you can reduce the amount of red pepper flakes. If you don't want it to be spicy at all, you can leave them out. Paul and I enjoyed the kick, and it wasn't too spicy for us. :)

    Cream Puffs

    These were the prize for our annual Oscar Ballot competition at our Oscar Party this year. (Yes, I know the Oscars were a month ago. I'm slow. ;) )

    The nice thing about cream puffs is that they aren't nearly as difficult or complicated as they seem. Here is my family's tried and true recipe (in three parts):

    Cream Puffs (the pastry part):
    1 c. water
    1/2 c. (one stick) butter
    1/8 t. salt
    1 c. flour
    4 eggs

    In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until the mixture forms a ball (this only takes about a minute). Remove from heat and cool for ten minutes (this is important because if you add the eggs when it is too hot, they will start cooking and make the dough lumpy). Add eggs one at a time. Each time, stir well with a wooden spoon until the egg is completely incorporated. This is the key to good cream puffs, and it gives your arm quite a work out.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Drop dough onto the baking sheet by the heaping spoonfuls. I like to make my cream puffs pretty small so it makes about 24 cream puffs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. Cream puffs are done when they are golden and the peaks are light brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

    This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. As you can see, there isn't any sugar in the puffs themselves, so they can be used for appetizers or lunch items if you want to fill them with chicken or tuna salad, or anything else you can come up with.

    Cream Puff Filling
    1 large box vanilla instant pudding
    1 pint whipping cream

    Prepare pudding according to the directions on the box, using only half the indicated amount of milk. While pudding chills, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the pudding gently, until the cream and pudding are completely mixed together. This makes enough filling for two batches of cream puffs. It's a lot. :)

    There are two ways to fill the cream puffs. Either you can slice them in half and scoop a generous amount into each one, or you can poke a hole in each one and fill them using a frosting bag and wide piping tube. Slicing them in half is much easier and faster, but also messier.

    If you like your cream puffs without chocolate on top, you can simply sprinkle some powdered sugar on top at this point and call them done. :) If you are a chocolate lover, like me, continue on to the final step.

    "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting:
    This recipe comes from the side of the Hershey's Cocoa container.
    1/2 c. butter or margarine
    2/3 c. cocoa
    3 c. powdered sugar
    1/3 c. milk
    1 t. vanilla

    Melt butter in the microwave. In a medium heat-safe (pyrex glass or metal works well) bowl stir together melted butter and cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk or more powdered sugar as needed. Stir in vanilla.

    At this point, the frosting is finished. However, my dad likes the frosting on his cream puffs to have a fudge-like quality (and so do I :) ). In order to achieve this, he holds the bowl of frosting over a stove burner (hence the heat-proof bowl) on medium-low heat, stirring continuously until it just begins to melt. At this point he pours the chocolate over the filled cream puffs in a thick layer. If the frosting starts setting up before he has finished topping the cream puffs he holds it back over the heat to soften it again. Because he partially melts the frosting, it sets back up and ends up having a consistency that is more like fudge than frosting.

    They end up looking great and tasting amazing! :) Enjoy!

    (Either serve the cream puffs immediately, or refrigerate them until serving. They don't last very long in the fridge, so I wouldn't make them too far in advance.)