Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake

I love it when I find a yummy and easy new dinner recipe! A friend of mine brought this dish to a get together and she emailed me the recipe. I made one little addition of sundried tomato pesto. Since this recipe calls for 2 jars of Alfredo sauce, you can mix up the flavors to find a combination you like. I use Bertolli Alfredo because it has the Best Taste Award seal on it. I made this for for some of my husband's family this week and was asked to post the recipe, so here it is!

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
adapted from a Melissa Bell recipe
2 (15 oz) jars Alfredo sauce
1 jar of milk (15oz)
1 jar of water, plus 1 cup water (23oz)
1/2 cup sundried tomato pesto
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked, chopped, chicken
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained and chopped (We're not mushroom fans, so I leave these out.)
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 lb. uncooked Rotini pasta

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray large baking dish or 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl mix both jars of alfredo. Add jar of milk, jar of water plus additional 1 cup water. (Shake the fluids in jar to get all of sauce left behind.) Stir well.
3. Add pesto, chicken, mushrooms, salt, and pepper; stir. Last, add the pasta. Stir well. Pour mixture into baking dish. Spread out and level the top so pasta sticking up won't be burned while cooking. (I press it down with a slotted pancake turner to bring the liquid to the top.)
4. Leave uncovered, place in oven. Cook for 1 hour or until pasta is soft and it is bubbling hot.

Variations: add 1-2 tsp of red pepper flakes
                use 1 lb of diced italian sausage instead of chicken
                add 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cranberry Orange Bread

This is a fun festive bread I like to make every year. This year a made a bunch of mini loaves and gave them away to teachers. The recipe originally called for nuts, but I always leave those out. You can also make a glaze to go on the top after the bread cools, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're wrapping them up because mine always get too messy. For an even more orangy flavor try adding just a bit of orange extract to the batter.

Cranberry Orange Bread
adapted from 
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup of buttermilk
6 TBSPs butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 cup orange juice
1 large egg
1 TBSP grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, roughly chopped

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pan.
2. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, melted butter, orange juice, egg and orange zest.
4. Pour buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Add in cranberries and mix until combined.
5. Bake until golden brown and toothpick in the center comes out with just a few crumbs - about 1 hour (if you are baking mini loaves be sure to adjust the bake time).
6. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan onto cooling rack.

My small loaf pan makes 4 loaves with one recipe. It bakes at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
My mini loaf pan (even smaller) bakes at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Optional Orange Glaze - 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 TBSPs orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 loaf pan

Mini Loaves

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Eggnog Pancakes

Don't let these plain looking pancakes fool you. They are packed with eggnog flavor! If you love eggnog, then you should try this fun holiday breakfast recipe.

Eggnog Pancakes
adapted from
2 cups flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups eggnog
1/2 water
2 TBSPs butter or margarine, melted

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In another bowl, beat eggs, eggnog and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top; cook until second side is golden brown. Makes 12 pancakes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

Here's a yummy peanut butter cookie recipe for all you peanut butter lovers. Make it even better by adding Reese's Pieces!

Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup butter OR butter flavor Crisco
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Reese’s Pieces (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla, and peanut butter. Continue mixing until incorporated.
3. Slowly add the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix until combined. Stir in Reese’s Pieces, if desired.
4. Using large scoop (about 3 TBSPs) drop dough onto cookie sheet, leaving about 3 inches in between. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden.

I can fit 8 cookies this size on one large cookie sheet, and this recipe makes 16 cookies. You can always make smaller ones, just cut down the baking time.