Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cheesecake cookies

Cheesecake cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2 (3 oz each) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add flour, beating well. Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden.  Watch carefully, these burn easily.

**My notes:  It took me the first three years that I had this recipe to ever get the batter INTO the oven after it'd been made. What wasn't eaten before the flour stage got eaten between the flour being mixed in and being put on the pan. Even now, I have to make a second batch for my brother to munch on when I make these. Oh, and I leave out the pecans.  And throw in a little splash of vanilla extract.  Sometimes a few drops of rum or peppermint extract, depending on how I feel.  I would highly recommend playing with the flavors for a little variety (cherry flavoring is to die for, but I haven't been able to find it in years), but add no more than a total of 1/4 teaspoon of extra liquid to the recipe or you'll end up with soggy cookies or have to increase the amount of flour a little bit.

[eta] Little Miss loves to throw crushed chocolate chips into the batter before we bake them. I tend to go lightly with that so that the chocolate doesn't overpower the cheesecake, but the kid always begs me to add more. I think it might be a matter of taste.

[eta2]  This year we're crushing up some candy canes and throwing them in to some of the dough.

[eta3] The candy canes were great! That will be one of the permanent additions from now on. At least during the winter holidays.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Disappearing Chicken Casserole

Disappearing Chicken Casserole
from the ezine Real Food 4 Real People

2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken
8 ounces sour cream
21 ounces cream of chicken soup (2 cans)
1 package stuffing cubes (Stove Top)
1/2 cup butter or margarine melted
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded

Coat a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Place chicken pieces in bottom of prepared pan.  Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, blend sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and shredded cheese together; spread evenly over top of chicken pieces in baking pan. Spread stuffing mix over top of soup mixture and drizzle melted butter or margarine over stuffing mix as evenly as possible. 

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree F oven for 30 - 40 minutes (chicken must be cooked through- no pink showing). 

To freeze for later use: Cover casserole after butter is added, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. To use, thaw overnight in refrigerator and bake for 30 - 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce
adapted from the recipe at gimmesomeoven.com

1 (15oz) can tomato sauce (the no salt added type, when I can find it)
1 (6oz) can tomato paste (the no salt added type, when I can find it)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried basil (yes, I use both dried AND fresh)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp red wine vinegar
splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice
sugar, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until it starts boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

This also freezes well.

Pizza Casserole

Pizza Casserole
adapted from the recipe here at tasteofhome; originally published in Taste of Home December/January 2007, p42

16 Servings (2 casseroles, 8 servings each)
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.

1 box (13oz - just a little over 4 cups) uncooked spiral pasta (I use whole wheat)
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
16oz mushrooms, sliced
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce (I use the no salt added type when I can find it)
1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce (I make my own)
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (I use the no salt added type when I can find it)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (I tend to use more)
1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni (I don't use the full package)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the mushrooms, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, tomato paste, sugar and seasonings. Drain pasta; stir into meat sauce.

Divide half of the mixture between two greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes; sprinkle each with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Top each with pepperoni and Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through.

***MY NOTES***: Not owning two 11x7-inch baking dishes, I use a 9-inch squared and a 9x13-inch baking dish. Or I could make one big 11x13-inch casserole out of this. Whatever size dishes you use, divide the meat and cheese accordingly.

These are the nutrition facts for the original recipe: 1 serving (1 each) equals 296 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 51 mg cholesterol, 616 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 23 g protein. Even before I altered it, it's not...hideous...when it comes to nutrition. With minimal effort the sodium could be cut waaaaay down and probably the cholesterol, too....except that I tend to add about a cup or two more mozzarella to the recipe.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cheese-topped Lemon Chicken Breasts

Cheese-topped Lemon Chicken Breasts
from the magazine Simple & Delicious (Oct 2009) from tasteofhome, credited to Renee Mitchell at McChord AFB, WA

Prep/total time: 20 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4oz each)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cups shredded Colby cheese

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chicken in butter on both sides over medium heat. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or until meat juices run clear.

Remove from heat. Sprinkle each chicken breast with cheese. Cover and let stand for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 4 servings

**MY NOTES** - It always seems to take longer to prep and cook these than the 20minutes the magazine said. I don't know, maybe I work slow and cook my chicken more thoroughly than is called for. Other than cooking the chicken longer than what the recipe calls for, I haven't found a need to alter this one. I think that might be the mark of a truly awesome recipe.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Golden Chicken

Golden Chicken
source unknown (I probably pulled it out of one of my many cookbooks)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 stick margarine
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) golden mushroom soup
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup water

Place chicken breasts in a greased 9x13-inch baking pan. In a saucepan, combine margarine, soup, almonds and water. Heat and mix just until margarine is melted. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done.

**MY NOTES: I use chicken with the bone in it all the time. And I use slivered almonds since, for some unknown reason, I have a huge bag of them in my freezer. I also cover the pan with tin foil (I don't have...well, any... pans with lids and very few of my baking dishes have lids) and make sure it seals very well.

Ham & Cheese Potato Casserole

Ham & Cheese Potato Casserole
from the magazine Simple & Delicious (Oct 2009) from tasteofhome, credited to Kari Adams of Fort Collins, CO


2 cans (10 3/4oz each) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
2 cups (16oz) sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp pepper
2 packages (28oz each) frozen O'Brien potatoes
1 package (16oz) Velveeta, cubed
2 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham

In a large bowl, combine the soup, sour cream, water, and pepper. Stir in the potatoes, cheese, and ham. Transfer to TWO (2) greased 11-inch x 7-inch baking dishes. **Cover and freeze one casserole for up to three (3) months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 375F degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

**TO USE FROZEN CASSEROLE: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 375F degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

MY NOTES: I don't have anything to say about this one except I'm still trying to determine if it needs garlic. Also, more than once I've just cooked that second casserole. When I've done that, I've simply set the second dish in the refrigerator until 20 minutes before the first one is due to come out of the oven. When I take it out of the refrigerator, I set it on the counter and let it come closer to room temperature before cooking it.