Friday, October 21, 2011

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

This casserole is one that has been a favorite of mine for years.  It is creamy and delicious, with a buttery, salty Ritz cracker topping.

Ok, I'll admit it...I'm a topping stealer.  Anytime something is made with a delicious topping (Ritz crackers & butter, melted cheese, brown sugar/cinnamon, etc) I manage to do as many "walk-by's" as possible to sneak pieces of topping.  I just cant help myself.  I only do this if it's a dish in my own home or at a family gathering (SORRY family!!), and I always seem to get caught every time.  Oh well...maybe one day I'll gather some self control, but until that day I will continue to steal toppings and feel sorry for everyone that didn't try its yumminess straight from the oven.  : )

**Whatever you do, don't tell my hubby this casserole has any sour cream in it, let alone a whole container!  He is a "hater" of sour cream, but last night he said this casserole was "even better than the regular chicken casserole"!  He then asked me what the sauce around the chicken was, and I wouldn't tell.  He said "It better not be sour cream!" to which I replied, "Yeah, it better not be!"   ; )

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

1 large packet of chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
16 oz. container of sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
1 stick butter
1 sleeve Ritz crackers (crushed)
1 TB poppy seeds
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix shredded chicken with sour cream, cream of mushroom, and poppy seeds.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spread into a 9x13 baking dish.
Crumble Ritz crackers over chicken mixture in dish.  Melt butter and pour over the top as evenly as possible.  (I like to then sprinkle some more poppy seeds over top of the crackers for the appearance.) 
Bake at 325-350 degrees until bubbly and golden brown on top.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baked Fudge

I'm sorry I've taken such a long hiatus from blogging!  Hopefully this dessert will make up for it!!

Baked fudge is a smooth-in-the-middle, crisp-on-top, decadent dessert that is amazingly easy to make.  Score!  If you ever have a serious chocolate craving, trust me, this will do the trick!  It can be made for a fancy end to a special meal or "just because" on a Wednesday night.  ; )  The taste of the baked fudge reminds me of all the many times I've made brownies and eaten way more raw batter than should be allowed...only this won't potentially give you salmonella!

Baked Fudge
Source: The Pioneer Woman

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 TB (heaping) cocoa
2 TB flour
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Beat eggs with a whisk until light in color.  Beat in sugar until just combined.
Add cocoa, flour, melted butter, and vanilla.  Mix gently until well combined.

Pour mixture into 4 ramekins.  Set ramekins into larger baking dish that is half-full of water.
Bake 40-50 minutes or until upper crust is crispy and the rest of batter is firm but not set.  Toothpick should not come out clean, but not overly runny.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For Newlyweds and Not-So-Newlyweds

Last Wednesday night, our church service was about marriage.  What are the roles of the husband and wife according to the Bible?  What does Ephesians 5 really mean in our daily lives?

First, take a look at this video.   : )

We were all laughing our butts off.  : )

Highlights from the message: (Ephesians 5:22-25)

Husbands are called to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.  Wives are called to submit to their husbands as to the Lord.  The husband is to be the head of the household.

*Verse 22:  When He (the Lord) speaks, I listen.  I'm willing to be subject to His leadership.  I wouldn't be deliberately disobedient to the Lord, so then I should show my husband the same respect according to my role as his wife.  My desire is to please the Lord and fulfill His vision.  We know that if the husband is doing his role by receiving wisdom from God that we can trust and respect his decisions.
*Verse 23:  (see Mark 10:42-45) Don't think of this authority as worldly, but as of the church.  Since the husband is called to be the spiritual head-of house, he should serve the hardest.  Compare the husband and wife to a President & Vice President of a company.  As VP, would we (wives) tell the President (husbands) that he is doing a bad job?
*Verse 25:  The husband should put aside selfish wants to do his best for his wife/family.  Love your wife as you love yourself.  If you come home from a hard day's work and see housework that needs to be done, you may only think "I need a break!!" - but understand that your wife most likely feels the same way.  Christ loved the church so much that he was brutally crucified for all of our sins.  To "lay down His life" is how the husband is called to love the wife.

Questions for wives to consider:
1. Do we negatively confront, defy, or oppose our husbands?  It is sin to try to take his role of head-of-household that God created him for.
2. Does the wife just have a stronger personality?  If so, you must adjust this so you still act respectfully.
3. Do we scorn him?
4. Do we show disappointment toward his decisions?
5. Do our actions condemn?
6. Do we honor him?
7. Do we show partiality towards him?  We should, to show love and respect.

Respect towards our husbands does not need to be earned - it is commanded.
Love towards wives does not need to be earned - it is commanded.
We are each accountable to God for our own actions.
We should each live to be the best wife/husband we can, EVEN IF we do not feel our spouse is being the best he/she can be.  Why?  If we act that way, our spouse is likely to respond the way we desire.  IRON SHARPENS IRON!!!   : )

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cinnamon Baked French Toast

So, do you remember when I made Tortellini Soup the other day?  Do you recall the toasted piece of french bread laying beside my bowl of soup?  Can you see where I'm going with this?  : )

According to the package of french bread I used, once baked, the bread would need to be eaten fairly soon before going bad.  Well, with only Jordan and me eating, there was a lot of bread left over after our meal.  What to dooooo, what to dooo???  Enter baked french toast.

It didn't take me long to decide which recipe I would use. The very first food blog I ever saw - the one that inspired me to write my own - was The Pioneer Woman.  She has so many wonderful recipes, many of which I have tried, loved, and will blog about another day.  Anyway, this is one of her recipes.  Think about making this if you have any leftover bread...or buy some bread just to make it.  : )

Cinnamon Baked French Toast
(This recipe is for a 9 x 13 pan.  I halved the recipe to fit an 8 x 8 pan for us.)

1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
8 whole Eggs
2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Whipping (heavy) Cream
3/4 cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
Fresh fruit and chopped pecans (optional)

Grease 9x13 dish with butter.  Tear bread into chunks and evenly distribute in dish. 
Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour evenly over bread.  Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.
When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove casserole from fridge and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.  (If you're using fruit, sprinkle on before crumb mixture).  Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture.  Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.  Scoop out individual portions.  Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tortellini Soup

Who doesn't love a bowl of hot soup?  It's one of my and Jordan's favorite meals to eat - any time!  Now that it's fall and the weather has cooled off, I will especially be thinking of different soups to make for our dinners. 

This tortellini soup is delicious and healthy!  Funny story - the first time I ever made this, I basically made it as healthy as possible, and it ended up being vegetarian.  I used whole wheat 3-cheese tortellini and organic vegetable broth.  While Jordan liked the soup, he voiced his opinion that he would prefer me to use a meat tortellini and chicken broth instead.  Go figure.  Men and their meat!  lol

So now, to keep my hubby happy, I make this soup with his wishes in mind.  : )  The nice thing about this recipe is that you can customize it to suit your favorite flavors.  And bonus: It comes together very quickly so it is ideal for a weeknight meal when you've had a long day, but still want a good meal!  Happy cooking!

Tortellini Soup
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (sometimes I even shred mine on a grater so the pieces are thinner)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juices
4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
9 oz. fresh tortellini (any variety - I now use Buitoni Chicken & Prosciutto flavor and it's delicious!)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated/Shredded/Shaved Parmesan Cheese (I use shaved because I love the way it melts over the tortellini like a blanket!)

In a large pot, heat 1 TB EVOO over medium-high heat.  Add onions to the pot and cook about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.  Add the minced garlic and keep stirring for about 1 minute.  Add oregano, diced tomatoes, and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add tortellini and cook according to package (mine says boil about 8 minutes).  Turn off heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm with shaved Parmesan and crusty bread on the side!