Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken Pot Pies with Puff Pastry

This recipe is the perfect balance of tastiness and time saving. Utilizing a roaster chicken saves you time without losing any flavor. My mom has been making this recipe for a long time, but I added the puff pastry after seeing it once on tv. Totally delicious, quick and easy.

Chicken Pot Pies with Puff Pastry
Makes two pies - Serves 8-12

*Note: This recipe makes two pies

2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted.
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
8 oz container sour cream
Hungarian paprika, to taste (I usually add about 1 tsp or more)
1 bag mixed veggies (Corn, peas and carrots)
1 roaster chicken, pieces of meat removed and set aside

1. Cut each puff pastry into strips, and make into two lattices. Brush with an egg wash and bake @ approx. 405-f degrees until browned. Let cool on the pan.

2. Add cream of chicken soup and cream of celery. Add sour cream and hungarian paprika to taste. Mix with frozen veggies. Add roasted chicken and mix. Pour into two pie plates, or a 9"x13" pan. Cook until heated through at approx. 350-f degrees, about 30 minutes.

3. Once done, add your cooled puff pastry to the top and serve.

Recipe from my mom. 


Steak 'n Sheak Frisco Melts Copycat





If you are lucky enough to have a Steak 'n Shake nearby, you may have tried their delicious Frisco Melt. They are addicting and delicious. If the craving strikes you and you'd like to feed your family for much cheaper than ordering these from the store, try my adapted recipe for Frisco Melts. I love them.


Notes:  As a few comments pointed out, Frisco Melts don't traditionally have onions on them. I love caramelized onions so I always make add them.

While two patties per sandwich are delicious, for most appetites it is a lot of food. I only use one patty per sandwich. It stretches the meal a little longer anyhow. If you do this, when you add the cheese in step 2, add both slices of cheese to one patty.   

Also, in a pinch I have used only Russian dressing for the frisco sauce. If I had to choose either Thousand Island or Russian, I'd recommend the Russian dressing.


Steak 'n Shake Frisco Melts
Makes several sandwiches

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin and caramelized (optional)
  • 8 slices American cheese
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • Frisco Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp. Thousand Island
  • 1 Tbsp. Russian dressing

1. If you haven't already prepared the caramelized onions, do so first and set aside. Prepare the Frisco sauce and store in the fridge until ready to use.

2. Roll ground beef into golf ball sized balls. Heat a saute pan to medium high. Add ground beef balls, about 2-4 to a pan, 2 if you have a medium sized pan, or 4 if you have a large pan. The meat should sizzle when you add it, if not, your pan is not hot enough. Let cook for one minute, then flip over and using the back of your spatula, smash the burger flat into a thin patty. After a short time and the ground beef is mostly cooked through, flip once more, and add Swiss to one patty, and one American slice to another. Cover saute pan to help melt the cheese. Place on a paper towel to drain fat.

3. Spread butter on bread, toast in a toaster oven or in a clean saute pan until golden. Spread Frisco sauce to each piece of bread. Add warmed caramelized onions to one slice of bread. Add the patties and serve.

Adapted from a recipe at Food.com

Shrimp Louis Pasta Salad


Today I'm bringing you my favorite pasta salad recipe, Shrimp Louis Pasta Salad. I made this last summer for Jack's first birthday and I absolutely loved it.  It is important to let the finished pasta salad chill for a few hours to let the flavor develop. It really makes a big difference in flavor.

Some reviewers reported that they thought there was too much sauce in this dish, but I thought it was just right. If you have leftovers, the sauce tends to be absorbed even more into the pasta a day after preparing. If this is a worry to you, increase the amount of pasta by just a bit.

Shrimp Louis Pasta Salad
Makes about 8 servings

3 cups spiral shaped pasta, uncooked
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup seafood cocktail sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 lb medium cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato, making sure to de-seed it
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper (or green, if you prefer the flavor)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water to cool quickly; drain well.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, ranch dressing, seafood cocktail sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper.

3. Stir in cooled pasta and remaining ingredients. Let it chill in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors develop.


Recipe from Food.com

Lasagna Soup

This delicious and comforting recipe for Lasagna Soup comes from a great website, $5 Dinners. Many thanks to Erin for a tasty and economical dinner recipe. You can find many more on her website. Serve with cheesy garlic bread and a green salad.

My notes: I omitted the bay leaves since I didn't have any on hand. I also used a mix of Italian herbs as a substitute for the oregano and basil.

Lasagna Soup
Makes several servings

1 onion finely diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 lb. ground beef (or Italian sausage, meatballs, etc.)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups jarred spaghetti sauce
4 cups chicken (or vegetable or beef) stock
2 bay leaves
8 oz pasta (Rotini, Fusilli, Campanelle,Corkscrew)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
shredded Mozzarella cheese

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil to medium heat and saute onions until golden. Add garlic and let cook for 1 minute, then add meat. Cook the meat until done and drain any fat.

2. Add the spices, spaghetti sauce, chicken stock and bay leaves. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add pasta and increase heat to bring to a boil and cook for recommended time directed on the pasta box for al dente.

3. Discard bay leaves and add any salt and pepper needed. Stir in fresh parsley and serve with shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Source: $5 Dinners

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spinach, Bacon and Swiss Quiche






Quiche tends to get a bad wrap. Heck, even I wasn't a fan of quiche, until I tried this recipe. Imagine a flavorful, creamy quiche filled with small pockets of cream cheese, bacon and Swiss. To describe it in one word: Heavenly. I have made this recipe, no joke, about 1-2 times a month for the past few months. I think I may be addicted.

If you think you can handle the temptation, this would be a perfect dish to take for a brunch or breakfast get together. I try to save as much time as I can, so I utilize pre-made deep dish pie crusts.

Note: If you happen to buy regular pie crusts and not deep dish, you can split the filling between two regular pie crusts. In that situation you might a tad more Swiss cheese or cream cheese if the filling is a little low.

Check out Sally's post for very detailed instructions and pictures.



Spinach, Bacon and Swiss Quiche
Makes one deep dish pie

  • 1 Frozen Deep Dish Pie Crust
  • 10 strip bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 c. Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 c. Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed thoroughly
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, chilled and cut into little cubes or use a small measuring spoon to scoop out small amounts

1. In a bowl, combine the eggs and heavy whipping cream until thoroughly combined. Add the Swiss, Parmesan cheese, and spinach, separating the spinach a bit as you add it so it is easier to combine. Stir until incorporated.

2. Very gently add the cream cheese to the quiche mixture and stir just a bit. Be very gentle so the cream cheese doesn't break apart. Pour into deep dish pie shell.

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 350-f degrees for 45 minutes, checking at 40 minutes for doneness.  The middle of the quiche should not jiggle much when you gently shake it when it is done.

4. Let rest for 30 minutes before you cut into it or it may release the liquids. Serve immediately at room temperature (after it has rested), or store in the fridge and reheat in the microwave.

Source: My Homemade Life

Banana Cake Cookies


Time for a five star recipe. Ladies and gents, I give you my adapted recipe for Banana Cake Cookies. They were surely better than any banana bread I've ever made. They are so soft and delicious, they are almost like muffin tops. Completely delicious.

Banana Cake Cookies
Makes 2 - 3 dozen

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk or semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

2. Mix shortening and brown sugar, beating well. Add eggs, banana and vanilla. Combine well.

3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture; mix just until combined and flour is incorporated. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. After letting the cookies rest for a few minutes, remove to paper towels to cool.

Adapted from this recipe at Allrecipes.com

Amish Ground Beef and Noodle Casserole




I made a family favorite the other night, Amish Casserole. I would strongly suggest covering this casserole for at least half of the time it spends in the oven. I found that mine turned out too dry if it wasn't covered. Recently I have enjoyed putting shredded cheddar on top of the casserole, which you can add the last 10 to 20 minutes that it is baking.




I love, love, love this casserole. My mom made it growing up so it just makes me feel comforted. Ready for the recipe?

Amish Ground Beef and Noodle Casserole
Serves 6-8


  • 2 cups sour cream (a 16-ounce container)
  • 2 cups small-curd cottage cheese (a 16-ounce container)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 7- to 8-ounce package medium egg noodles
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground round or well-trimmed chuck
  • 1 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 1 small jar pizza sauce, about 14 oz.
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil, or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano, or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper


1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, onion, and parsley; set aside. In a large saucepan, cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan, over medium heat, and add the ground beef, stirring now and then until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off all liquid and discard. Stir in the tomato paste, pizza sauce, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 325-f degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan and begin layering as follows: one-third of the meat sauce, one-half of the noodles, and one-half of the sour cream mixture. Repeat these layers, ending with the meat sauce. Bake covered for 1 hour or until the casserole is bubbly. If you would like, remove the cover the last 20 minutes of baking to crunch up the topping a bit. Allow to stand for 15 minutes, then serve.

Adapted from a recipe from a fantastic cookbook that you should buy immediately, New Recipes from Quilt Country: More Food & Folkways from the Amish & Mennonites.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grilled Portobello Sandwiches with Garlic Herbed Mayo

I have a deep love for veggie sandwiches. There is just something so fresh and delicious about a stack of veggies and a cream cheese spread.  I decided to branch out a bit from my go-to veggie sandwich. I loved this recipe featuring a delicious grilled portobello mushroom on a kaiser roll with garlic herbed mayo.

The garlic herb mayonnaise really added a lot to the sandwich, so if you are tempted to skip it to save time, I beg you not to. Ready for the recipe?


Friday, January 28, 2011

Raspberry, Honey & Lavender Freezer Jam

Once you have a handle on making basic jam recipes, the urge to branch out comes creeping in. For a delicious variation on plain raspberry jam, try adding honey and lavender. Besides toasted and buttered bread, it is also great added to cottage cheese, pancakes or waffles.

Raspberry, Honey and Lavender Freezer Jam
Makes Five - 8 oz. Jars

4 cups raspberries
1/2 cup good quality honey (My kind had a bit of honeycomb still in it, yum)
1/2 cup sugar
5 oz. dried lavender (to rehydrate, steep in warm water for a min then drain) or 1-2 Sprigs, fresh lavender
1 packet Fruit Jell - Freezer Jam Pectin
5 jam containers, ready to use (They sell specialty Freezer Jam Jars, I believe by the same manufacturer, with cute purple tops. Look here for example)

1. In a large bowl, crush raspberries until only small pieces remain and mixture is quite liquid. This may take a few minutes.

2. In a small bowl, mix Pectin and sugar together until incorporated. Add to mashed raspberries. Add honey (microwaving if necessary to get it thin enough to pour). Stir for 3 minutes. Add lavender and lightly stir.

3. Ladle into clean jam jars, leaving 1/2″ space at the top. Cap and let sit for 30 minutes. Store in your freezer until ready to use, or transfer to fridge.

Jam keeps several weeks in the fridge or up to one year in the freezer.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Strawberry Freezer Jam

One of my favorite treats ever. So simple but the flavor is amazing. You won’t buy store bought strawberry jam ever again. Ready for the recipe?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Baked Ziti with Sausage and Sour Cream




I have found the perfect baked ziti to match my tastes. It is truly an amazing pasta dish. In the past, I was never big on cottage cheese or ricotta in baked pasta dishes. Who knew sour cream was such a tasty alternative? I highly recommend using sausage instead of ground beef. That is one thing I will not budge on. I believe that an Italian sausage gives greater flavor and texture than ground beef. Okay, ready for the recipe?

Monday, January 24, 2011

World's Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

Three ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies. They are yummy, they are quick, and they satisfy a peanut butter cookie urge in a pinch. The texture is of course different than traditional peanut butter cookies, since there is no flour.  All in all they were great.

World's Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 15 cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

1. Stir all ingredients together. Form into balls. Place on baking sheet. Dip a fork in sugar and use it to make the criss cross marks.

2. Bake at 350-f degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Recipe from Bakespace

Monday, January 17, 2011

Parmesan Baked Artichokes

I prepared this delicious recipe of Parmesan Baked Artichokes for a Christmas party my family attended. I slightly adapted it after the fact to add more cheese. The original recipe, from a great blog, How Sweet It Is, called for 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan, but when I made it, it was really just a dusting of cheese and I would prefer a more substantial layer of gooey, melted cheese. Many thanks to How Sweet It Is for the recipe.

Parmesan Baked Artichokes
Makes several servings

1 14oz can artichokes in water, drained
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 to 1 1/2 cups Italian blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375-f degrees.

2. Layer artichokes in a baking dish. Drizzle olive oil on top. Season with salt, garlic and Italian seasoning. Add bread crumbs and Italian blend cheese on top. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Remove artichokes from oven and turn on broiler. Broil for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.

Adapted from a recipe at How Sweet It Is

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lemon Spaghetti

I had read many a good review on the food network about this recipe so I thought I'd give it a shot. It was much better than I had anticipated. I only had one lemon to juice, and it was still very flavorful and delicious.

Lemon Spaghetti 
Makes 6 servings

1 pound spaghetti
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Whisk the lemon juice, oil and Parmesan in a bowl to blend.

2. Drain the pasta and reserve approximately 1 c. of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and pasta water, adding 1/4 c. at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.

Recipe from the FoodNetwork.com

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cinnamon-Prosciutto Carbonara

If you are looking for a twist on the same ol' pasta dishes, try this delicious recipe for Cinnamon-Prosciutto Carbonara. The cinnamon adds a unique and special flavor that goes so well with pancetta.

Cinnamon-Prosciutto Carbonara
Makes several servings

4 slices bacon, chopped
4 slices pancetta, chopped (I used 6 slices of prosciutto instead)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
6 large egg yolks
18 ounces fresh fettuccine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1. Saute the bacon and pancetta in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat until almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the bacon and pancetta and saute until the bacon is crisp and golden, about 2 minutes longer. Cool. Whisk in the cream, cheese, and yolks to blend.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fettuccine and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Drain. Add the fettuccine to the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a large wide serving bowl. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from Foodnetwork