Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipe Roulette ~ Cheesy Chicken Rotini

 This was a recipe that apparently looked so good that I had 3 copies of it in my recipe notebook. I felt like I had actually tried it before but really couldn't remember if I had or not, sad but true! Since I couldn't remember and it was taking up 3 pages having 3 copies
I figured it was a good recipe decide once and for all if it was a keeper. It also helped that I had all of the ingredients on hand.
So here goes...
Cheesy Chicken Rotini

Ingredients 1- 1 1/2lb boneless chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces, 2 cups water, 3 cups rotini pasta, 1 16 0z frozen broccoli ( the recipe actually calls for cauliflower, carrot, broccoli blend but neither hubby nor I like cauliflower), 1 can Ro*tel undrained, 1/2 lb Velveeta cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Cook chicken in large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on med-high 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in water and bring to a boil.

once water is boiling stir in pasta, cover and simmer on med- low heat for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender

add remaining ingredients, stir. Cook covered or until Velveeta is completely melted and vegetables are crisp tender, stirring frequently.

I got slack with my picture taking towards the end so this is not a great shot of the finished product.

 I will be keeping this recipe but only copy, after a few bites hubby said we had indeed eaten it before and it did taste familiar. Next time I will use a different brand broccoli florets because the bag I had was more like broccoli spears, and to big of pieces for this particular dish. Fortunately I had let the bag sit on the counter while prepping so it was slightly thawed otherwise they would not have cooked by the time the cheese melted. The cheese sauce was nice and creamy and with the ro*tel had enough flavor to make it seem more than just a mac and cheese with chicken and veggies mixed in.  This is an easy 1 pot  simple dish for nights that your just not that into cooking.

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's a Keeper!

In continuation of my recipe roulette and because for a few more weeks I can still use being pregnant as an excuse for eating super fattening things with no remorse I decided to try a recipe for Double Chocolate Cheesecake. I had 9 taste testers including myself and it was an unanimous decision that this recipe is a keeper! I will warn you that this is not a recipe you want to make if you do not have several people to share with as it could be easy to devour the whole thing yourself and your waistline would definitely pay the price.

Two of my favorite things are the main ingredients. :) You will need  8oz semi sweet chocolate. (a whole box)
Soften four 8 oz blocks of cream cheese.

For crust 1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, I used 20 oreos.

Mix crushed cookies with 2 tbsp melted butter and pat into bottom of 9 inch spring form pan. A perfect job for little helper hands. Bake crust for 10 minutes in preheated 325 degree oven.
 While crust is baking beat softened cream cheese, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tbsp flour, 1 tsp vanilla until well blended. Melt chocolate, cool slightly.
I always use the microwave to melt my chocolate by following the instructions on the box After cooling slightly mix into to cream cheese mixture..

Let helper clean the bowl.
 After mixing in the chocolate you will need 4 room temperature eggs. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing on low speed until just blended.
After the eggs were added it had a very mousse like consistency and smelled delicious. Pour over baked crust. Bake 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set.  

Fresh from the oven, yummy! Cool before removing rim of pan, I ran a knife around the edge to loosen it it. 

Somehow while cooling a Grand Canyon of cracks formed but it popped right out of the pan.

 In non cooking related news, I have to give props to Canon Camera Service. Several months ago I dropped my camera and busted the lens. I have two lenses for the camera so I just used the other one to take my pics. Which was fine except for my spare lens is a telephoto lens so for any close up shots I needed to stand 10 feet away. When sister came to visit in Novemeber she left me her lens to borrow until I got mine fixed, which was great as it is the same exact lens as my broken one, although it just made me procrastinate even more.
Last week I finally made the efforrt to pack up the broken lens and send it off. I mailed it out snail mail late monday afternoon and canon emailed me wednesday afternoon with an estimate for repair. After authorizing the repair I had my lens back in my hands good as new Saturday morning. What a speedy turn around!
Here is the first test shot with it.
Little one ws thrilled that I was interupting her Saturday morning cartoons to test it as you can tell. I was estactic that it was back in working order. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Under theWeather

 I had such high hopes for continuing the recipe roulette this week but that went completely out the window when little one came down with a nasty bug. So instead of hitting the grocery store for lots of fun ingredients, little one hit the floor and I made myself comfy on the couch.

On the upside I managed to work my way through the last 20 magazines that have been cluttering up my coffee table. I did find about 30 more recipes to put in the note book to try once things get back on track. 

Sadly it took little one the entire week to recover. She felt so bad that she actually took an afternoon nap on the couch. I can't remember when she last took a nap.

I did send her back to school this morning, she has been fever free for about 36 hours. Unfortunately it seems that her cold decided to become my friend, I have been trying to will it away for 2 days now. I have gone into full blown cleaning mode to try to rid the house of any remaining germs.
Hopefully with the upcoming weekend to recover recipe roulette can get back on track. There are so many recipes that look delicious, I just need my sense of smell and taste to return so I can enjoy them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recipe Roulette

Last weeks new years task of sifting through a years worth of old magazines left me with a huge stack or recipes that looked worthy of trying. I have for several years cut recipes out and shoved them in two different notebooks. One for desserts and sweets and the other for random entrees and side dishes. The notebooks are now overflowing with recipes that I have yet to try. I have a bad habit of getting in a cooking rut where I will find a few super yummy things and then cook them over and over again. In order to make room for the gigantic stack of new recipes I need to eliminate some of the old. I am determined to try at least 3 new recipes each week.
So first up in the love it or leave it recipe roulette is...

Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars
the recipe was from duncan hines website, has been in the book for approx. 2 years. Caramel cake mix is not sold at all grocery stores so I just recently ran across it at our local Food Lion.
Recipe is : 2 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tbsp. butter softened
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 caramel cake mix
Mix all ingredients together, stirring in chips last. It becomes a thick cookie dough type batter.
Spread in greased 13x9 pan and bake for 24-27 minutes in preheated 375 degree oven or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan.
Share a sample with chef's helper, who says "YUMMY, can I have more?" But she is willing to wait when I determine that it would be better with the suggested chocolate frosting added to it.

It was worth the wait after I whip up some homemade chocolate icing and let her lick the spatula.
The finished product.
This recipe although tasty will not be a keeper. It was really the frosting that made it super yummy and it is a standard icing recipe I use all the time, not the store bought icing the actual recipe suggested. The caramel cake mix was somewhat bland, nothing spectacular.
Moving on to new recipe number two...
Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup
Brown 1 lb of chicken cut in pieces in sauce pot sprayed with vegetable cooking spray.
Add 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup rice
1 tsp ground cumin
Heat to boil, cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
Stir in 1 can Mexicorn
1 cup salsa
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
Heat Through
To make Crisp Tortilla Strips, cut 4 corn tortillas into  thin strips, place on baking sheet, spray with vegetable cooking spray.
Bake in preheated 425 oven for 10 minutes or until golden.

I served with an additional garnish of shredded cheddar cheese.

This recipe was a definite keeper, hubby and I both enjoyed it. It definitely lives up to its name of being a hearty soup. If I was serving more than the two of us, I would most likely make more of the tortilla strips as we both enjoyed dipping those and scooping up the rice and corn with them and finished off all of them. I will be whipping up some more to eat with my leftover soup lunch tomorrow.
All in all not a bad day in the kitchen. One keeper is not bad. The other recipe is good but just not worthy of a spot in the notebook. I'm not sure what recipes are up next, I figure it is safest to do both a dessert and entree in the same day, that way if one totally sucks hopefully the other one makes up for it!  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Date Night

For Christmas one of hubby's bosses gifted him with a gift certificate for a fancy restaurant named Manna here in town. I love to eat fancy food I just hate to pay for it. The guilt of a hundred dollar meal always gets to me. In the back of my mind I always think about the weeks worth of groceries I could have bought with that much money. So needless to say it was a super nice treat to drop the little one off at the grandparents and have a nice quiet expensive dinner out on someone else's dime.

Manna is a very small restaurant in downtown Wilmington. I stole this picture off their website but I swear it was taken from the table we sat at, which was in the front window. There is a pretty bar, but I think it's kind of frowned upon for the pregnant lady to hang out there so we skipped right to dinner. ;)
Hubby and I started with a super delish smoked prawn appitizer, I could have easily eaten about 20 of those prawn but alas it only came with two!
For my entree I had a grouper dish that was very yummy and hubby had porkshank. Neither of us shared our meals, so his must have been good because he didn't even offer one bite.  There was nothing but a pile of bones left on his plate as evidence that there had at one time been a meal there.
For dessert we had something that included the words chocolate cake, ganache, passion fruit ice cream, etc. Needless to say it was gone shortly after arriving at the table, YUM!
Our short date night was a delicous treat! It will probably be a long time before we can have a nice dinner like again,
since we will soon be bribing the grands to take on not just one kiddo but two! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Recipe and a New School

So due to a friends new obsession with Pinterest and my weakness for desserts I was compelled to try a new recipe this week. She posted a picture of a pie on her blog and overwhelmed by the power of suggestion I printed the recipe out and ran to the grocery for all the ingredients. The fact that the pie only contains 3 ingredients made it all the easier to give in.
So here it is Butterfinger Pie...

The recipe called for 6 full size bars, I used about 20 snack size.

1 8oz. cream cheese, softened.

A 12oz container of cool whip (they don't make that size anymore so I guesstimated out of 16oz container)

1 graham cracker crust
 Combine all of the ingredients and put in crust and there you have it. Ouila!
Pie needs to be refrigerated for at least a few hours before serving.

All in all for a quick simple dessert its not that bad. I have managed to eat my way through it without complaint but I think I would prefer a peanut butter pie if I was going to go to the effort which is only 1 ingredient more.  :)

In other news little one started back to school this week at her new school. She goes Mon, Wed and Friday mornings and was very excited about the fact that she gets to eat her lunch there with the other kids, as this school has extended hours. She seems to really love it already. I love that it is definitely more academic then her previous school. Today I received this month's curriculum and was impressed to see that in addition to their daily reading lessons they will be learning about such cool things as
fossils and rocks, Thomas Edison, Anarctica and one of my all time favorites...
This image stolen from some random website, Thanks!
Vincent Van Gogh and his painting Starry Night!
I hope that her enjoyment of school continues, I know I'm enjoying the 12 hours a week she's there :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Been 6 months, Oops!

So it's been a while since I've blogged. I know of a thousand excuses I could use pregnancy, moving , chasing around a preschooler, holidays, yada yada but honestly I got slack. :)
 Since it's the new year I thought what better time to get motivated to start blogging again. This upcoming year already looks to be an exciting one with the new addition due in February and the continued house hunting. Which eventually means another fun and exciting move to look forward to. I should have lots to update you all on but in the meantime I must get back to my new year's must do list which includes such fun things as unburying my desk and going through a years worth of unread magazines. Whoohoo!