Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rate the Recipes You've Tried!

I added star ratings to the blog so that you can go through and rate the recipes you try on here. So please review the ones you have made to help your fellow readers.

note: hopefully the star ratings won't offend anyone or discourage you from posting. i know i personally won't be hurt if my recipes get 0 stars, i'm just throwing ideas out there of what works for me and my family.

Hawaiian Haystacks

recipe from cooks.com

2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
1 c. chicken broth or water
2 c. chicken, cooked & cubed
4 c. cooked long grain rice
1 (9 1/2 oz.) can chow mein noodles
3 med. tomatoes, sliced
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 c. chopped green onions
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. slivered almonds (i dont use)
1/2 c. coconut (i dont use)
1 (2 oz.) jar pimiento, drained & diced (opt.- i dont use)

Combine soup and chicken broth in saucepan. Add chicken and simmer 8 to 10 minutes until heated through. On serving plates layer all ingredients. First, stack rice, chow mein noodles, chicken and gravy. Add tomatoes, celery, green peppers and green onion. Top with pineapple chunks, grated cheese and more chicken and gravy if desired. Stack almonds, coconut and pimiento on top. Makes 8 servings.

I know there are different variations to this recipe, so please share in the comments if you have a different way of doing it. When I am really pressed for time and feeling super ghetto I replace the chicken broth mixture with canned chicken and teriyaki marinade. You can omit or add toppings depending on your taste and what you have lying around.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Helpful Hints

While not a recipe, these are some great helpful hints that we put into our "Family Favorites" cookbook. I cannot personally attest to all of them, but I do know from experience that several of them work very well. Hopefully, you will find them useful as well!

Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips

Use a meat baster to “squeeze” your pancake batter onto the hot griddle…perfect shaped pancakes every time.

To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling

To get the most juice out of lemons, bring them to room temperature & roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing

When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead…no white mess on the outside of the cake.

If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato…it absorbs the excess salt for an instant “fix me up”.

Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator…it will keep for weeks.

Brush beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.

Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it back up. A piece of white bread in the sugar will help to keep it soft afterwards.

When boiling corn on the cob add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn’s natural sweetness.

To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh…if it rises to the surface…throw it away!

Ants, ants, ants everywhere…Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march…see for yourself.

To easily remove burnt-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan and bring to a boil on stovetop…skillet will be much easier to clean.

Spray tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces…no more stains.

Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.

Bruschetta 'n Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Okay so I know this picture looks kind of nasty but these were actually really tasty. Chris liked them so much that after dinner he told me to go lay down while he cleaned up the kitchen! If you are not convinced and want a good laugh at my expense you can see what they are supposed to look like on the Kraft website here . 

Prep Time: 15 min (i'm pretty sure it took me like 45 min but I struggle)
Total Time: 1 hour
Makes 8 Servings

1 can (14 1/2 oz) Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1 pckg. (6 oz) stuffing mix for chicken
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 lbs.)
1/3 cup KRAFT roasted red pepper Italian with Parmesan dressing

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the basil and dry stuffing mix; stir just until moistened.

PLACE 2 chicken breast halves in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound chicken with meat mallet or side of heavy can until chicken is 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding two at a time to bag. Place chicken, top-sides down, on cutting board; spread evenly with stuffing mixture. Starting at one of the narrow ends, tightly roll up chicken. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish. Drizzle evenly with dressing.

BAKE 40 min. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake an additional 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165°F) and cheese is melted.

I think next time I would put more bruschetta mixture on top of the chicken breasts after the dressing because the bruschetta mix is very tasty. Or, if rolling the chicken breasts is a little overwhelming for you, i think you could just lay them out flat and put the bruschetta on top. I did that on one of mine accidentally and it was really crispy and good.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tangy Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

This salad dressing is delicious, and makes a really great dish to bring to potlucks, or social gatherings. The salad looks really good because it's so colorful too.

6 Tbsp. oil
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. finely diced red onion
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

1. Mix all ingredients together well in a bowl.
2. Chill well. Pour over prepared salad just prior to serving.

For the salad I like to use: lettuce, diced red pepper, grapes, diced Gala apple, tomatoes, diced red onion, craisins, cucumber, and sometimes cubed mozzarella cheese if i have any. It's a pretty versatile salad though so a lot of different things taste good in it, mild flavored and/or sweet fruits and vegetables taste best though.
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