Friday, January 30, 2009

Chicken Chimichangas

This recipe came from my sister-in-law, Val. When I made it for the first time, I was amazed at how good and restaurant-like they turned out. The best part about them is that they are really easy to make.
Here's what you'll need:
Cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1/4 package chicken taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
grated cheese
flour tortillas
sour cream
Season chicken with 1/4 package chicken taco seasoning. On a flour tortilla, spread refried beans in a row, chicken, and top with cheese. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Fry in a deep fat fryer until golden and crispy. Allow to cool slightly on a paper towel. Don't forget to take out the toothpicks! Repeat until you run out of ingredients. Serve with any or all toppings.

Doesn't that look like something you would order at your favorite Mexican restaurant?!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baby-Back Ribs

I love ribs! I love ribs! I love ribs!! I have a recipe in my white recipe box (I have a white one, a blue one, and a red one) for baby-back ribs. I have no idea where I got it, but we absolutely love it! I've tried several other recipes and there just hasn't been one that's been able to beat today's recipe. The dry rub is perfect and the sauce is perfect. It just can't be beat!

I usually make this recipe in the oven and they turn out fabulously. But this last time, I thought I'd try them in the crockpot. They also turned out great. The difference, however, was that the sauce from the crockpot was thinner than when I've made it in the oven. When it's cooked in the oven, the sauce gets a more caramalized, gooey texture to it. But one way to get that same sauce texture using the crockpot is by baking the crockpot cooked ribs for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees to set the sauce on them. Any way you do it, they still tasted REALLY GOOD!!
Here's what you'll need:
4 lbs. pork baby-back ribs
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. seasoned salt
1 t. pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
1 C. ketchup
1 C. chili sauce (not hot sauce, like I used the first time I made this - chili sauce, it is usually sold by the coctail sauce or ketchup in grocery stores)
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 T. dried minced onion
1 T. liquid smoke
1 T. molasses
To cook in the oven:
Combine garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper; sprinkle over ribs. Place ribs bone-side down in a large roasting pan. Top with sliced onion. Cover tightly and bake @ 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drain fat from pan; discard sliced onion. Brush ribs with half of the BBQ sauce and reserve the other half to eat with, or smother with all the BBQ sauce, like I do. Cover & bake 30 minutes longer or until ribs are tender.
To cook in a crockpot:
Combine garlic powder, seasoned salt, pepper, and an extra Tablespoon of dried minced onion;
sprinkle over ribs.
Arrange ribs in crockpot. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients and pour over ribs.
Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 3 1/2-4 hours.

As you may be able to see, the meat just falls right off the bones! Oh, so good!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Taco Soup

My friend, Mandy, that I go walking with, told me this morning that she likes to check my blog to get ideas of what to make for dinner. So that has inspired me to post some yummy dinner recipes this week.

One of our family's favorite soups is taco soup. I got this recipe from my oldest sister and I LOVE this recipe because it is so easy and really good too!!

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb. ground beef, browned with minced dried onion, garlic powder, and salt for seasoning
1 can corn with liquid
1 can kidney beans with liquid
1 can stewed diced tomatoes with liquid (you can get the diced tomatoes with chilies for more of a kick)
1 can tomato sauce
1 corn can of water
1 packet of taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients, not draining any of the cans, and cook on medium high until hot; simmer until ready to eat. Top with sour cream and shredded cheese and eat with corn chips. You can crush corn chips or Fritos and sprinkle them in your soup. Or you can eat your soup with those corn chip scoops or Fritos scoops - that's our favorite! Yummy, easy, and quick - perfect for those cold winter nights!!

You can also use this recipe as a freezer meal.  Just combine all of the ingredients into a gallon freezer bag and freeze.  To serve, thaw and heat through.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Monster Chocolate Chip Cookies

At Christmas time, I had made my list of people that I wanted to deliver goodies to, made the goodies, and delivered them. A couple of days later, I realized that I had forgotten someone from my list. I was NOT going to make sugar cookies again for just one family. (Making them the last time was such a horrible experience, I'm not so sure I'll ever make them again.) I wanted to make something that they, and their five young kids, would all enjoy getting and eating.

So when I came across this recipe for these super huge chocolate chip cookies, I thought they'd be perfect. I mean really, who wouldn't like to get gigantic cookies to eat?! So we tried out this recipe and loved it as did our friends and their kids!!

Here's what you'll need:

1 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 C. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. chocolate chunks (you can buy them in a bag or just cut up a candy bar)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Move oven rack to upper third portion of the oven. In a mixer bowl, cream butter with sugars until well blended. Add the vanilla, eggs, and yolk. Fold in flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips, and chocolate chunks; blend well until you make a thick batter. Chill batter for at least 10 minutes, if possible. Using a 1 cup measuring cup, form 2 large balls and place on a baking sheet, spacing about 2 or 3 inches apart. Bake 20-24 mintutes or until cookies are nicely browned on top and just set up. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet 15 to 20 minutes before removing. When removing, use two large spatulas so cookies won't break apart. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

How fun is that?! Although, next time, I think I'll use 1/2 cup of cookie dough if it's just for my little family, just to make handling a little easier. Try it out. Your kids will LOVE you!!

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

I love muffins! It took me a while to find a blueberry muffin recipe that I really liked, but I finally did. Although, I have to say, I just got a new cookbook that has a recipe for blueberry muffins that I'm just going to have to try. I'll let you know if it is better than this one. But for now, this is my go-to recipe.

And just a note, you may notice that they don't actually have blueberries in them, but raspberries. After I made the batter I went in search for my blueberries and found that I was out and didn't have time to run to the store to get some. But I did have frozen raspberries. So we tossed those in instead. Though they were fine, I would definitely recommend using blueberries!!
Here's what you'll need:
2 C. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 eggs
1 C. buttermilk
3/4 C. sugar & extra for the tops
1/2 C. oil
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 3/4 C. frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small bowl combine eggs, buttermilk, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Do not overmix! Fold in blueberries (or raspberries if you must). Spoon batter into muffin tin. Sprinkle liberaly with granulated sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Serve warm.

Pork Chops & Rice

Here is another recipe from my mother's recipe box. This is something I remember fondly eating growing up and now I make it for my family. My kids love it just as much as I did when I was little and still do. In fact, if they could just eat the rice, they would. One of these times I really ought to just make the rice. It would make their day! This is a very comforting dish to make and easy too!

Here's what you'll need:
1 C. raw rice
1 T. dried onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 C. water
6 bone-in pork chops or 8 boneless pork chops

In a 9x13 inch baking dish, combine the rice, dried onion, condensed soups, and water. Mix well.

Top with seasoned pork chops. 

Cover with foil and bake at 350 dgrees for 45 minutes. 

Take out of oven and stir the rice. Put back into the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes more or until rice is fully cooked and soup is absorbed.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

German Pancakes

My little family LOVES breakfast foods!! We are always so excited to try different things. I had tried to make German pancakes years ago, but never found a recipe that I was super impressed with. But when my sister made these German pancakes (Hottenany Pancakes, she calls them), I had to get the recipe. It is now a favorite at our house!

Here's what you'll need:

1 C. milk
6 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 C. flour (heaping)
1/2 cube butter (1/4 C.)
Melt butter in a 9x13 pan while oven is pre-heating to 425 degrees. Mix all other ingredients together and pour into heated pan. A heaping cup of flourBake 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately with syrup, jam, or powdered sugar.
These are so easy to make, fun to eat, and taste great!

Fudge Brownies

Several years ago, I went to a family Christmas party and was asked to bring brownies. I put it off until I had to, for some reason, and made a brownie mix from a box. At the party, my brother-in-law (who is a total chocoholic) found out that I had made the brownies and he said to me, "Wow, Hannah, did you make these from scratch?!" And I was so embarrassed to tell him that, no, they were from a box.

Ever since that Christmas day, I was on the hunt for a recipe that makes super moist, fudgy, deep chocolate brownies, just like the box mix. Well, about a year and a half ago, it happened. I was reading a magazine (it was either Martha Stewart or Paula Deen) and came across this recipe. I gave it a try, as I did with almost every brownie recipe I found, and fell in love!

This is it. This recipe is FANTASTIC!!! It is dark and rich and moist and super fudgy! Perfection, in my book.

Here's what you'll need:

1 C. butter, melted
1 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 C. dark brown sugar, packed
1 C. white, granulated sugar
1/2 t. salt
4 eggs (or if you prefer more cakey brownies, use 5 eggs rather than 4)
1 1/4 C. flour
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C. chopped nuts, opt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine butter and cocoa; mix well. Add sugars and salt; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time. Add flour; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts (if desired), and any other add-ins that you'd like (I like to add mini Reese Pieces sometimes, mmmm). Spread evenly in pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until edges pull away slightly from pan.

You'll just have to trust me when I say, "These brownies are AMAZING!!!"

Friday, January 9, 2009

Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken

Do you ever get recipes sent to you in the mail? I do and I LOVE it!! Sometimes the recipes aren't that great, but sometimes you get one that's totally a keeper. Well, that's what today's recipe is. It's from Easy Everyday Cooking, and that's just what this recipe is - easy for everyday cooking. This is one of my favorite weekday meals to make. The directions are simple, the ingredients are simple, and the same goes for the taste, simple and delicious and not to mention pretty healthy!

Here's what you'll need:
2 T. olive oil, divided
4 skinless,boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
1 C. mini carrots sliced in half lengthwise
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
4 cloves garlic, minces OR 1 t. garlic powder
1 (16 oz) pkg. angel hair pasta
1 1/3 C. chicken broth
2 t. dried basil
1/2 C. shredded Parmesean cheese
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add chicken. Cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through. Remove from skillet. Heat remaining oil in same skillet. Begin heating water for pasta. Add carrot to skillet; cook, stirring, until slightly tender. Add broccoli and garlic to skillet; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, add chicken broth, basil, and Parmesan to skillet. Stir to combine. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Drain pasta. Place in a large serving bowl. Top with chicken and vegetable mixture. Serve immediately. Yields about 8 servings.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Buttermilk Pancakes

You may be wondering why I have two pancake recipes on here. Well, let me explain. My mother's pancake recipe is great when I don't have buttermilk on hand. But if I do, or if I'm making breakfast for others (especially when my family comes to visit), this is the recipe that I go to.

I found this recipe as I was looking through some recipes that my great grandmother wrote down. She had compiled some of her favorite recipes which my grandmother copied and put in a Christmas book. I never knew that they were there until two years ago when I happened to come across them. For me, it was like striking gold. I truly treasure those recipes.

But just because they were special didn't mean that I would consider them the best. So I thought I would compare my great grandmother's recipe to the American Test Kitchen's recipe for perfect pancakes. They were VERY similar, so I tried both recipes in a side-by-side taste test. Well, my great grandmother's recipe was the winner!

This recipe has such wonderful flavor and makes the most tender, fluffy pancakes. My mom even remembers going to visit her grandma and getting to eat the best pancakes. So today, I'm sharing my favorite pancake recipe with you. This is one you MUST try!!

Here's what you'll need:
2 C. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 T. sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 C. buttermilk
2 T. melted butter or bacon fat (I HIGHLY recommend using the bacon fat - AMAZING FLAVOR!)
Combine dry ingredients into a bowl, add eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter or bacon fat, stirring only until flour is barely moistened (never mind the lumps) - as noted in the original recipe.
I actually combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and all of the wet ingredients into another, and beat the wet ingredients, then add them to the dry. I would actually recommend doing it that way so that you're not overmixing the batter.
Bake on a hot griddle, lightly greased.

YUMMMMMMM!!!! Do try!

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