Friday, November 30, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Alfredo Pizza

I loooove pizza.  It is by far one of my favorite foods.  I wish it wasn't so fattening (especially because I like extra cheese!) so I could eat it all the time.  I came across this recipe and decided that it would be awesome with a little tweaking.  And it really was delicious!  It's like eating pizza covered with the hot spinach dip appetizer that restaurants serve.  I chose to not add artichoke pieces like the original recipe stated, because I don't like eating chunks of artichoke.  If you do like them, you could certainly add those too!  Another change I made to the original recipe was adding chicken pieces.  This was mostly because I felt we needed some kind of protein on top. 

It's pretty fun to make your own pizza at home, because you get to control the toppings.  You can put on just the right amount of sauce you like, the right amount of cheese (lots), and the perfect toppings.  Try this one out for a taste of something different and delicious!

Chicken and Spinach Alfredo Pizza
Source: Adapted from The Two Bite Club

½ pint (1 cup) heavy cream
½ cup butter
2 tbsp cream cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 oz of fresh spinach, roughly chopped (I used chopped frozen-I thawed it first-and it was fine)
1 tube/recipe of your favorite pizza crust
Bite-sized pieces of cooked chicken

Preheat the oven according to the cooking instructions on the label of your pizza dough.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the cream, butter, and cream cheese until fully melted.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Continue to cook and stir for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place spinach in a saute pan with a tablespoon of water over medium high heat and saute until wilted.
I thawed a container of frozen chopped spinach in the microwave, then followed the next steps: 
Once spinach is fully wilted, place it onto a clean kitchen towel and wring out all of the liquid by twisting the towel into a ball with the spinach inside. Once you've squeezed out all of the liquid, add it to the sauce.
Spread the sauce over the pizza crust. You might have some left over for dipping depending on how saucy you like your pizza.
Place chicken pieces over sauce then top with mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes or until you start to see the cheese browning. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta

This is the soup I mentioned wanting to make in this post.  It was very good, and perfect to make nowadays, since it has been very cold and windy outside.  It's also pretty healthy!  Sorry I'm making this such a short mind is totally distracted by the fact that I want to get the Christmas decorations out...and possibly go buy some new ones.  :)

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta
Source: Slightly adapted from The Italian Dish

1 15-ounce can of white beans, drained
1 pound ground sausage- turkey or pork (I used turkey sausage)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 medium carrot, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
6 to 8 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 cup ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

In a large pot, brown the sausage. Remove from pot. If there is a lot of fat left in the pot, pour this out but do not wipe out pot. Add onion, carrot and olive oil and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add garlic and saute about a minute more. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, some salt and pepper, the drained beans and the sausage and cover the pot. Cook for an hour over low heat, at a gentle simmer.  Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick for your liking, you can add more chicken broth.
Serve with grated cheese on top.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sweet Potato Souffle

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Ours was very nice - we shared a Thanksgiving meal with our "military family" aka our neighbors.  :)  We had great fellowship, great food, and we played a game that is now one of my favorites- Apples to Apples.  It was so much fun to play with a crowd, and it kept us laughing, that's for sure!

This sweet potato souffle is a recipe that my Mema passed to my Mom and me.  We have it on Thanksgiving every year, and even though I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes, my hubby loves them, so I knew I should make them this year for him and our other friends to enjoy.  I wish I could scrape the topping onto my plate and enjoy that!  ;)

(I know you can only see the topping of this dish in the picture above.  This was something I was bringing to someone else's home, so I couldn't really scoop some out to take a picture of, lol.  I trust you all know what mashed sweet potatoes look like; just imagine some underneath that topping.)

Here are some pics of our little sweetie on her first Thanksgiving:

Sweet Potato Souffle

3 cups cooked & mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all together and put in a 2 quart casserole dish.

1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup melted butter

Mix together and spoon on top of potato mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gingerbread Popcorn

I love specialty popcorn.  Remember when I made this one?  mmmm

I also love movie theater popcorn, even though it makes regular popcorn that you pop at home taste inferior.  However, I have learned that if you take a few ingredients and spruce up your "at home" popcorn, it really makes a difference.  Plus, there are an infinite number of delicious possibilities!

Since fall is upon us and I wanted to bring a special popcorn to my friends on our girl's Bunco night, I decided on this flavor.  I love anything 'gingerbread' so I knew it would be yummy!  This would also make a great snack to set out for your family while you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner because it won't fill them up.

Gingerbread Popcorn
Source: Tasty Kitchen
12 cups popped Popcorn (I used Tender White)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
¼ teaspoons Cloves
½ cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
1 cup Light Brown Sugar, Lightly Packed
2 Tablespoons Molasses
1 Tablespoon Water
1 pinch Salt
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Put the popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.   
Sift together the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl and set aside.
Cook the butter, sugar, molasses, water, and salt in a medium-sized, thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until the temperature reaches 305ºF (hard crack stage), stirring occasionally. Then remove from heat. Carefully stir in the vanilla and baking soda/spice mix and then pour it over the popcorn/nut mixture.
Use 2 heat-safe rubber spatulas to toss the popcorn around to distribute the toffee throughout. Spread out the popcorn onto wax paper. Let it cool and then break it apart. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cheesy Potato and Smoked Sausage Casserole

My name is Holly and I am addicted to Pinterest.  Like, it's a serious condition.  In fact, my husband just came in here and told me for the fourth time tonight that I should get off Pinterest.  "Don't you have anything more fun to do? he asks. 

*confused facial expression*  As if looking on Pinterest isn't fun?

So, I decided to finish this blog that I'd started of this recipe that I made the other night.  I bet you can't guess where I found the recipe.  ;)  *evil grin*

Okkkk, so what really happened was that my hubby offered to go grocery shopping for me last week so I could stay with the baby at home.  Yay!  So, I made a list, including ingredients to make this amazing looking soup that I'd seen on guessed it...Pinterest.  I needed a pound of ground turkey sausage.  Instead, my hubby brought home a pound of completely cooked turkey sausage - the kind in the gi-normous round links.  He didn't understand why I just couldn't use it in the soup.  Ummm, maybe because the soup didn't call for giant looking hot dog pieces in it?  lol

I told him not to worry because I could find another recipe to use it in.  Guess where I found the new recipe?  On Pinterest.  Are you noticing a trend yet?  Anyway, it ended up being a good find!  A good ol' warm, comforting meal for these cold nights.

I still hope to try that soup recipe soon.  If it's good, I'll share it with ya, so be on the look out!

Cheesy Potato and Smoked Sausage Casserole

3 cups idaho potatoes, peeled, boiled and cut into cubes when cool, approx. 1 lb
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb skinless smoked sausage (we used smoked turkey sausage)
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Cut skinless smoked sausage in half, lengthwise, and then chop into 1/2 inch "half moon" cuts. Cook in a frying pan for about 15 minutes, turning frequently till browned.
Meanwhile, put cooked & diced potatoes in 2 quart casserole. Add cooked meat and give it a gentle toss.
Mix all remaining ingredients (except for shredded cheddar cheese & the paprika) in a saucepan over medium heat until warm, melted and smooth. (Use a whisk and stir constantly.).
Pour white/cheese sauce over potatoes and meat. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top, and then sprinkle paprika evenly over the top.
Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 35-45 minutes (watch, until golden brown on top).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Emily's 1st Month

Well, baby girl, I can't believe you're already a month old!  Time has already flown and we're only just getting started.  This month has been a huge learning and growing experience for me & Daddy.  We have learned how to care for a newborn on an everyday basis.  We have learned your likes and dislikes.  Most of all, we have learned that being your parents is the greatest gift we could've ever been given.  You have learned and grown a lot this month too!

This month you:

Smiled at Mommy when I made funny faces/noises
Grew beautiful, long eyelashes
Went to your first church service
Started pulling Mommy's hair
Went to your first baby shower (for someone else)
Loved staring at your under-the-sea soother
Kept us up at night...a lot
Loved getting your hair washed
Went on your first walk around base

Daddy and I love you SO much Emily!!  I can't wait to see what this coming month has in store for us, and all the new things you'll learn.  You are a precious miracle and I hope you've enjoyed your first month here in the world as much as we have.  :)

Love, Mommy 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lemon Chicken

Hello, beautiful, crispy chicken

When I hear "lemon chicken", the first thing that comes to my mind is Debra from the show Everybody Loves Raymond; lemon chicken was the one dish that she always made.  I suppose it was the only dish that she felt confident making, considering how much smack talk she always heard from her family about her sub-par cooking skills.  I bet she was confident about it, if this was the recipe she was using.  :)

Add yet another chicken recipe to your rotation!  This chicken is juicy and the skin has such a great flavor from the lemon, butter, and seasonings.  I asked Jordan if I could just eat the crispy skin off all the leftover pieces before storing them in the fridge...he said no.  He liked it a lot!!

Lemon Chicken
Source: slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

2 TB grated lemon zest (the zest of about 2 large lemons)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (the juice from the 2 large lemons you zested; roll lemons on the counter before squeezing to get the juices flowing!)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2-4 lbs. of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
2-3 TB melted butter
Thinly sliced lemons, for garnish

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, seasoning, salt, & pepper into a large ziplock bag.  Seal the bag and shake well to blend.  Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the marinade, pressing out excess air and sealing once more.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and transfer to a baking dish, skin side up, reserving the leftover marinade.  Brush the top of each piece of chicken with melted butter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the skins are crispy and well-browned.  Halfway through baking, pour the remaining marinade over the chicken pieces in the baking dish.  Once fully baked, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before serving.  Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with lemon slices, and serve!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cheeseburger Soup

**First of all, I'd like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! to my wonderful Mom!  Jordan, Emily & I wish we could be there and celebrate with you!  I love you, Mama!**

I don't know about you, but the show "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" really depresses me.  I mean, why can't I live near some of these places with the ultra unique, fresh, and amazingly delicious food?!  Sigh...

I promise there's a lot of hamburger meat in there!  It just sinks to the bottom.

One particular episode featured a place called "Grovers" in New York who served delicious looking cheeseburger soup.  Thankfully, another blogger took it upon herself to try and copy the recipe and post it online.  Jordan & I had this for supper tonight and it was very good!  Also, it was easy to make which is always a plus.  It tasted just like a cheeseburger, especially considering the toppings that you stir into your bowl with the soup.  Don't be weirded out by adding lettuce to your hot soup - it's delicious and really gives you the "cheeseburger" experience!  :)

Cheeseburger Soup
Source: Have Pan, Will Cook!

2 lb ground beef
Hamburger seasoning or salt/pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 Tb butter
1 box (32 oz) Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
3/4 of a 2 lb log (so, 1.5 lb) of 2% Velveeta Cheese
1.5 pint (3 cups) Half & Half
1 Tb flour
1 Tb cold water (may take a bit more)
Diced tomatoes
Shredded lettuce
Diced dill pickles

In a skillet sprayed with cooking spray, brown the ground beef. Season with your choice of hamburger seasonings—I just used salt & pepper. Drain and set aside.
In a large soup pot, add 1 Tb butter, and diced onion. Allow the onion to sweat over medium heat. When the onions become translucent, you are ready to continue.
Add the chicken broth, the diced Velveeta and the half & half. Allow the Velveeta to melt into the mixture.
In a small bowl or ramekin, mix the flour and water to make a slurry. You may need a bit more of water–just add enough to make a smooth mixture, somewhat thin, but not watery. Once mixed well, add to the cheesy mixture. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly (the cheese likes to stick - try not to let it, or it will brown on the bottom of the pot).
Add the ground beef to the soup pot, turn down to medium low heat.
Stir to combine and turn to low heat until ready to eat.
Ladle into bowls and add toppings into the bowls-shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and diced dill pickles.  Stir and enjoy!