Thursday, October 1, 2009

Perfect Chili Weather!

It has been so beautiful this week here in Memphis. What a nice change from the previous 15 days straight of rain! The sun is now shining, the temperatures have cooled and the air has dehumidified. PERFECT! In fact, it's even starting to get a little cooler in the evenings. Perfect weather for a good bowl of chili!

So, I've got a good one from my dear friend Jennifer Scroggs. She served this at Bunco last night and I just had to have the recipe. It's delicious! It's also a nice change from the typical beef & bean chili. She also served a delicious avacodo dip that she calls "Ugly Dip." It may not look pretty, but it tasted great! Thanks Jennifer!! So here ya go:

White Bean Chicken Chili (apparantly a Rachel Ray contest winning recipe)
32 oz. chicken stock/broth
2 cans white beans, undrained
16 oz. salsa
8 oz. pepper jack cheese
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
pepper to taste
chicken, cooked and cut up or shredded (rotisserie chickens from the store work great!)
1/2 c corn tortilla chips, crushed plus more to garnish
sour cream for garnish
additional cheese for garnish

Combine first 9 ingredients in a crockpot and simmer on low. 30 minutes before serving, stir in crushed chips. Serve with additional chips, cheese and sour cream to garnish.

Ugly Dip
2 ripe avacados
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Mash avacados and mix with remaining ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes before serving with chips.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Go Meat!

I detest those Hillshire Farms commercials where all the hungry people are cheering for meat. But, I do love me some meat...especially when it is a delicious steak from Outback. For Jason's birthday, he asked for a steak dinner. So I lovingly obliged. Here's how I did it:

First buy your meat. Costco has really great meat so we bought a bunch there. I cooked all of it so we can have steak ceasar salads for dinner tomorrow night. Incidentally, we chose sirloins because of the price, but filets would have been even more delicious!

Then I looked up how to cook the perfect steak on the internet and found this article on I followed it to a T, except I added my own seasoning (see below), and I did not make the sauce listed. I made my own sauteed mushrooms & onions using the pan drippings instead. As the article says, this process generates a lot of smoke. I would recommend doing it outside on a grill for that reason, but we made it work indoors. The oven did just as great a job as a grill would have. Don't forget to take heed on their tip about removing the steak from the heat BEFORE it reaches the desired doneness because it does indeed continue cooking for about five minutes after you take it off the heat. I served the steak & sauteed mushrooms with a side of steamed asparagus and a wedge of iceburg lettuce drizzled with homemade balsalmic vinigrette and crumbles of blue cheese. Just as good or even better than Outback, and a lot less expensive! Enjoy!!

Outback Steak Seasoning (found somewhere on the internet)
2 tsp. coarse ground salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
dash coriander
dash tumeric

Monday, June 22, 2009

Slow Cookin'

I'm trying a new recipe in the crockpot for tonight. I put it on at 7:30 this morning and it has been simmering away all day. The house smells absolutely delicious! Here's what's for dinner tonight. What are you having?

Hungry Girl's Slow Cookin' Pulled Chicken

1 1/2 lb. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breasts, halved (I use the frozen ones and you don't even have to thaw them!)
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. garlic powder
Optional: red pepper flakes, to taste

Place all ingredients except the chicken in the crock pot. Stir until mixed. Add chicken and coat well with the sauce.Cover and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours OR on low for 7 - 8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked.Remove all the chicken and place it in a bowl. Shred each piece using two forks -- one to hold the chicken in place and the other to scrape across the meat and shred it. Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot, and mix well with the sauce.If you're serving a group, keep the crock pot on its lowest setting, so the chicken stays warm. If you like, season to taste with red pepper flakes. Eat up!


Sweet Restaurant Cole Slaw (from

1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons diced onion
2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip™)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used only 2 Tbsp canola oil)
1/2 cup white sugar (I substituted 12 packets Splenda and it was too sweet, so I'll try less next time)
1 tablespoon white vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Combine the coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl.
Whisk together the salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Muffins for my Little Muffin

Zachary loves muffins. I mean, he LOVES them! He calls them "muff-muffs." Too cute, huh? I have to say that one of our new favorite products is the new toaster mini muffin-tops made by the Eggo waffle folks. However, they are a bit pricy for muffins and Zachary goes through a box in no time flat. Plus the ingredient list is too long and filled with a bunch of stuff I can't pronounce, so I decided to make my own muffins today. I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, and I adapted it to make my own recipe. They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Zachary certainly approved!

Banana Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup plain skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (roughly two bananas)
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, applesauce, milk and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and walnuts/chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes (for standard sized muffins) or 10-13 minutes (for mini muffins), until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kids Cookbooks

My mother-in-law recently gave me (and Ethan) a couple of cookbooks for kids. Ethan loves to help out in the kitchen and we have really enjoyed making a few of the recipes. One of his favorites was this club sandwich. We didn't have skewers, so we used chopsticks that we saved from our last Chinese night instead.

Last night we made pizza roll-ups, adapted from one of their recipes. They'd be great for dinner or even as a snack or appetizer. Here's what we did:

Pizza Roll-Ups

Crescent Rolls (we used reduced fat)
Your favorite pizza toppings
Mozzarella Cheese
Pizza Sauce

Heat oven to 375. Separate crescent roll dough triangles and lay flat on a baking sheet. On each triangle, add a bit of your favorite pizza toppings (Ethan's favorites are bell peppers, onions & mushrooms, and Joel's is pepperoni!). Now top with a pinch of cheese. You don't want too many toppings or you won't be able to roll it up! Now, roll it up from the wide end to the short end, just like you would if you were making the plain rolls. Bake in the oven for about 10 to 14 minutes, until golden brown.

While rolls are baking, heat pizza sauce on stove or in microwave. When rolls are done, serve with pizza sauce for dipping. YUMM-O!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

So Christmas, and all of December for that matter, was much busier than I could have ever imagined. After enjoying Thanksgiving with my family in Texas, we wrapped things up at Ethan & Zachary's schools, finished Christmas shopping, decorating and wrapping, and went to see Jason's family in Alabama. It was a nice visit with everyone. My only wish is that we could have had more time to spend with everyone.

During this busy time we ate lots of great food! We had traditional turkey dinner at Mom's for Thanksgiving, and Faye prepared a standing rib roast for Christmas dinner. I made a special meal for Christmas Eve with a cheese lasagna (which we are still eating since it freezes really well). I also made New Year's Day dinner complete with black-eyed peas. The entree was Poulet de Normandy, a recipe that I got from Faye a few years ago from the little restaurant at which she was working at the time. So delicious! Here's the recipe:

Poulet De Normandy
1 package cornbread stuffing mix
1 stick butter, melted in a cup of hot water
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup mayonnaise
2 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup mushroom soup
Grated cheese

Mix stuffing mix with liquid. Add onions, celery, salt and mayonnaise. Put half in a 9”X13” pan. Layer chicken. Top with rest of dressing mixture. Beat eggs and milk together and pour over casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Set out on counter for 30 minutes before cooking. Spread soup on top and bake at 325° for 40 minutes. Sprinkle top with cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes.