Friday, February 26, 2010

Brownie Pudding Cake

This is a great winter dessert! Chocolatey, warm, and gooey...mmmmm! One of the best things about it is the ingredients are all things most people keep on hand. Make it tonight!
Brownie Pudding Cake
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder, divided
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup milk
4 TBSP margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 cups boiling water
Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl whisk together flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, white sugar, baking powder, and salt. In 2 cup measuring cup combine milk, melted margarine, and vanilla. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, stirring until just blended. Spread batter in an ungreased 8x8 baking dish. In a small bowl thoroughly combine brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa powder; sprinkle evenly over batter. Carefully pour boiling water evenly over mixture in baking dish; do not stir. Bake 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Serve hot with whipped cream.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

If someone were to ask me for my family's favorite and most frequently made dish...this would be it. I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, not long after I was married. It is one of my favorite casseroles!

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
adapted from Colleen
10-12 oz egg noodles
2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
8 oz sour cream
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 box of chicken  flavored stuffing
1 can (10oz) chicken broth
¾ stick butter or margarine

1. Cook noodles; drain and set aside.
2. In a large bowl mix together chicken, sour cream, cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups. Stir in noodles.
3. Spread mixture into bottom of 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle stuffing on top of chicken mixture.
4. In medium bowl melt butter. Add the chicken broth to the melted butter; stir. Pour the chicken broth and melted butter over the top of the stuffing.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Creamy White Chili

This might seem like a lot of soup/chili recipes all at once, but I'm trying to get them all on here while it's still winter. I don't make soup very often because my husband thinks it's not a manly enough meal, but he likes this one! I got this recipe from my friend Emily about 7 years ago. I made this chili for a church activity today, even doubled the recipe, and my pot was scraped clean! 

Creamy White Chili
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. chicken breast, cubed
1 lime
2 cans (15.5 oz each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ cup flour
¼ cup cold water
1 cup sour cream
½ cup heavy whipping cream

1. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, and chicken and saute until chicken is no longer pink, squirting the juice of the lime on while cooking.
2. Add the beans, broth, green chilies, and seasonings. Stir and heat through.
3. Mix flour and water together in small bowl and add to chili. Stir to thicken.
4. Just before serving add sour cream and whipping cream. Mix until combined.

Note: This chili can be made in the slow cooker. Saute the onion, garlic, and chicken like directed above, then add to the slow cooker along with beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Combine flour and water and stir into mixture in slow cooker. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Add the creams just before serving.

Serve with toppings if desired.


Double Batch

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

This soup is souper easy and great on top of a baked potato. ;) You can also substitute cauliflower.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 1/2 bunches of broccoli
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
4 cups milk
1 cup of shredded cheese (I like colby jack and cheddar) OR 4oz of processed cheese, sliced

1. Wash broccoli and cut into spears. Steam broccoli for 10 minutes or until stems are tender; set aside. 2. Melt butter in large saucepan. Add flour and salt; stir quickly until bubbly. Add milk. Stir mixture with whisk over medium heat until it thickens. Remove from heat.
3. Add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4-6

If you like small broccoli pieces, you can chop the steamed broccoli before adding it.
The soup thickens as it cools. When reheating, you can thin it out by adding a little milk.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chicken Manicotti

I served this dish for my Valentine's dinner. I got this recipe from an Italian cookbook and it was great.
Chicken Manicotti
2 tbsp olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
6 tbsp butter
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
8 oz dried manicotti, cooked
2/3 cup freshly grated mozzarella

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup olive oil

In a bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, and olive oil for the marinade. Add the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet. Drain the chicken and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring, until no longer pink. Drain and set aside. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until thickened. Reduce the heat, then add the Parmesan and stir until melted. Remove from the heat. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, and herbs. Stir in the chicken. Stuff the manicotti with the chicken mixture. Pour half the sauce into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Place the stuffed manicotti on top. Pour over the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Let the dish stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

I had this pasta dish at a friends house and really loved it. I also made it for Valentine's Day for my family and a few friends, and again it was great. This was my first time to cook with wine. I never knew, until making this recipe, that you can buy cooking wine in the vinegar section at the grocery store. The recipe is on the Williams-Sonoma website, but my friend suggested a few changes which make this dish a little easier.

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
4 TBSP unsalted butter, divided
2 TBSP olive oil
3 slices pancetta, chopped
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 leeks, chopped (or 1 yellow onion, chopped)
1 carrot, peeled, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
5 fresh sage leaves
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup cream
1 lb. fettuccine
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 2 TBSP of the butter with the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until just starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the leeks, carrot and celery and sauté until aromatic and very lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the ground beef and pork, stir to break up, season with salt and pepper, and add a generous pinch of nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium and sauté until the meat is lightly browned. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost evaporated.

Add the stock and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, sage and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours. If the sauce seems thin, cook it, uncovered, until thick and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Skim the surface of excess fat. Add the cream. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and transfer the pasta to a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add the remaining 2 TBSP butter and 2 TBSP of the cheese. Toss until the butter melts. Add the sauce and toss gently. Serve immediately. Pass the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 6 to 8.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting

I had this incredible chocolate strawberry cupcake at Central Market HEB and decided to make something similar for my Valentine's Day dessert. I don't have a great dense chocolate cake recipe so I searched online and found one here: The problem was that it was all in grams and Celsius. So, after doubling and converting everything, I made them. I didn't love them at first. They have a different flavor and breadlike texture, but filled with strawberry frosting and ganache on top they were fabulous.

Dense Chocolate Cupcakes
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled a little
3/4 cup plus 2 TBSP all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in as well. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. In a separate bowl combine flour and baking soda and mix well. Add flour mixture alternating with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter. Fill 24 muffin paper cups in muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from the tins and cool on a wire rack.

Sprinkles' Strawberry Frosting
1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree; mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Using a bismarck tip, fill cupcakes with strawberry frosting.

(I just used a fork to mash the strawberries and it worked fine. I also beat the strawberry frosting until fluffy because I was piping it into the cupcakes.)

Ganache Frosting
2 cups whipping cream
4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

In a sauce pan bring the cream to a slight boil. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted. Place in refrigerator until cooled through. Transfer chocolate to bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment and beat until desired consistency. Spread or pipe on cupcakes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Ever Banana Bread

I found this recipe on I made a couple of changes to it after reading some of the reviews. I like this bread because it stays really moist and freezes well.

Best Ever Banana Bread
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.
2. Blend together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and bananas.
3. In separate bowl whisk together the both sugars, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to banana mixture and stir in pecans. Mix well.
4. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 70 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chunky Chicken Chili and Cornbread

I decided to start off with a good winter chili. I found this recipe a few years ago, in a Betty Crocker cook book. I really like it, because it's different than most chilis. It has hominy and cilantro. If you don't like spicy food, use diced tomatoes without green chilis. You can also use chicken breast, instead of the thighs. To go with it, I made some cornbread. I got this recipe from my friend Joan and we love it.

Chunky Chicken Chili
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes
with green chilies, undrained
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 package (1 ¼ ounces) mild chili seasoning mix
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) hominy or posole, drained
Sour cream, if desired
Cilantro, if desired

1. Place chicken in 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Mix tomatoes, tomato sauce and chili seasoning; pour over chicken.
2. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 9 hours or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.
3. Stir to break up chicken. Stir in hominy. Cover and cook on low heat setting 15 minutes until heated through. Serve chili with sour cream and cilantro.
Serves 8-10

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed slightly

1. Mix butter, sugar, and eggs well.
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Bake in a 9x13 inch pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bread Machine Rolls

This is my go to roll recipe. I put all of the ingredients in my bread machine, start the dough cycle, and in 90 minutes take out the finished dough that is SO easy to work with. It doesn't stick to your hands when making them into balls, and they always turn out beautiful. They freeze amazingly well too.

Bread Machine Rolls
3 cups bread flour
3 TBSPs white sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 TBSPs butter, softened
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast or 1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
1 egg white
2 TBSPs water

1. Place the bread flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, water, butter, and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Set on Dough cycle; press Start.
2. Remove risen dough from the machine, deflate, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 to 15 equal pieces, and form into balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined wih baking mat OR greased. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. In a small bowl, mix together the egg white and 2 TBSPs water; brush lightly onto the rolls. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown.