Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Easy Chicken Artichoke Penne

Mmmmm! I threw this together last night and it was so good I wanted to write it down so I wouldn't forget it.  It's creamy, tangy and a lovely entree! This is my quick and easy version but if you like the real deal you can use fresh chicken and fresh crumbled bacon. Either way it's super yummy!

Chicken Artichoke Penne
  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • 2 cans of chicken chunks
  • 1 can marinated artichoke hearts, halved
  • 1 pkg real bacon bits (the real bacon)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese 
  • Monari Federzoni Balsamic glaze - roasted pepper flavor  (on the vinegar shelf at Walmart)

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Kraft made with olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 drops of lemon essential oil (essential oil is very concentrated which is why I prefer it to extracts or zesting. It adds to the flavor in a way I can't describe. I use doterra brand oil) 
Boil penne according to directions on box. Rinse and place in large salad bowl. Add chicken, artichokes with juice, bacon, tomatoes, celery, green onions and spinach and cheese. Toss together. In a separate small bowl mix together dressing ingredients and pour into pasta salad. Stir together. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine Parfait

Mmmmm! This is super yummy and so beautiful. It's creamy and cold and who doesn't love cherries?

Valentine Parfait

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling divided
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (8 serving size) cherry Jell-O
1 1/2 cups cold water
4 cups angel food cake cubes
3 cups cold milk
2 pkg (4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding
1 tub (8 oz) cool whip topping, thawed and divided

Reserve 1/3 cup cherry pie filling for garnish, set aside. Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 2 minutes until dissolved. Stir in cold water and remaining cherry pie filling. Refrigerate 45 minutes until slightly thick.

Place cake cubes in 3 quart glass serving dish. Spoon gelatin mixture over cake. Refrigerate 45 minutes until set but not firm.

Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry eat with whisk 2 minutes. Gently stir in 2 cups of whipped topping. Spoon over gelatin mixture in dish. Refrigerate 2 hours until set. Top with remaining whipped topping and reserved cherry pie filling. Enjoy!

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

 Found this recipe on pinterest. I added more flour and milk when I made it to make it extra thick and creamy.I think squeezing a lime over the top adds an extra zest!

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1-½ pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, shredded
  • ½ cups Chopped Onion
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • ⅓ cup Flour
  • 4 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
  • 8-12 oz. 2% Milk Velveeta, cubed
  • 8 oz. Shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican 4 cheese blend shredded cheese
  • 1 jar fresh salsa
  • 1 cup half and half or milk
  • 1 bag Fritos
  • green onions, sliced 
  • sour cream
  • lime wedges
Place frozen chicken breasts in microwave for about 10 minutes. When chicken is white in center, shred with 2 forks. In a skillet on medium high, add 2 Tbsp butter, chicken and taco seasoning and cook until it is thoroughly cooked. Drain, and shred - set aside.

In large saucepan (or pot), saute onion in 2 Tbsp butter for 2 minutes. Stir in flour until blended, then gradually stir in the broth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for two minutes longer, or until thickened slightly. Add Velveeta, shredded cheese and salsa. Cook on medium-low until cheese is melted.

Stir in half and half. Add the chicken back in. Stir. Heat through but do not boil. Remove from heat. Garnish with Fritos, sour cream,green onions and limes. Enjoy!

Savory Spaghetti

Oh, how I love a good bowl of spaghetti! Not the canned stuff - the real stuff! This is a recipe I got from my sister in law Stacey. I added my favorite secret ingredient to it that I think enhances sloppy joes, chili and spaghetti sauce- and that's cinnamon. I also added cumin. It's so yummy you'll eat the whole pot! Also, the white cheddar cheese makes all the difference. It's sharp and perfect for this dish. SO much better than Parmesan or mozzarella - trust me!

Savory Spaghetti
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Brown all of these together in a pan. In a large pot on medium high, add the remaining ingredients (EXCEPT FOR OLIVES AND CHEESE):
  • 1 qt tomato juice
  • 2 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 package of spaghetti, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup ripe olives
  • 1 bag of Great Value shredded white cheddar cheese
Add more water if needed. Liquid should always cover spaghetti so it will boil and become tender. Once it is soft (about 12 minutes) add hamburger mixture. Cover with lid and simmer on low for 40 minutes. Top with olives and white cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Mini Cake Mix Dreams

You know me, I love my cake mix cookies!  I add fun variations on here all the time and here's my latest!

This was a last minute idea I came up with for a Valentine's Activity yesterday. It was quick, easy and from what I heard, DELICIOUS! They are creamy and oh so soft!

You can play around with this and try different options like lemon cake mix topped with raspberries. Call them raspberry lemonade cookies! Strawberry cake mix would be fun for a baby shower or Valentine's Day. Pistachio pudding (in the topping) for St. Patrick's day! Even carrot cake or red velvet cake mix would make some yummy ones using cheesecake pudding in the topping! Mmmm..and what about a banana pudding topping over chocolate cookies! Have fun and do share what you try!

Mini Cake Mix Dreams
  • 1 box of cake mix (I used white and chocolate)
  • 1 stick butter, softened 
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (or sour cream) to make them extra soft
  • 1 large tub of cool whip
  • 1 pkg coconut instant pudding (or cheesecake)
  • 1 pkg of fresh strawberries, quartered 
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl add cake mix, butter and egg. Mix well. In a separate bowl whip cream together until stiff. Gently fold into cookie batter. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours. (If you skip this step your cookies will come out thin and flat. The cold temperature of the butter in the dough helps them hold shape in the oven). Shape dough into 2 inch balls and space 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. 

Bake for 11 minutes. Cool and set aside. 

Meanwhile, open cool whip container and empty dry pudding mix inside. Blend well. Spread onto cooled cookies and top with strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to eat. The topping will turn into a thick mousse and will stay that way at room temperature. Enjoy!