Friday, March 28, 2014

Homemade Brownies

That the only sound you can hear when people eat these brownies. Make sure they are warm when you eat them, but no worries, there will most likely be no leftovers!
The original recipe can be found here.

Homemade Brownies

* 2 sticks of butter
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. baking powder
* 1 Tbsp. vanilla
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prep: Prepheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 baking dish.

1. Add 4 eggs, 1 1/4c. cocoa powder, 1t. salt, 1t. baking powder, and 1T. vanilla to a mixing bowl.

2. In a saucepan melt the butter. Add sugar, continuously stirring about 2 minutes.

3. Add butter mix to chocolate mix, and combine.

4. Stir in 1 1/2c flour and 2c chocolate chips.

5. Pour into dish and bake about 30 minutes or until it barely passes the toothpick test.

6. Enjoy before they disappear!

Random Chicken Casserole

This recipe is originally came from...somewhere. I actually cannot find the website where I found it, but it was written out to make 4 single portion servings in foil packets. The recipe was quite intriguing, so I decided I would try it out for teacher lunch. The results blew my expectations away! I got more feedback on this dish than any other dish to date! Only one other dish came close, and it was the homemade brownies I made to go with this meal. If you are looking for an all-in-one meal, that tastes delicious, this is it! Enjoy!

Random Chicken Casserole

* 1 box stuffing mix, any flavor
* 1 1/4 cup warm water
* 1.5 lbs. shredded rotisserie chicken, skin/fat removed
* 4-5 cups frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
* 1-1 1/2 cups sharp shredded cheese
* 5 slices of pre-cooked bacon
* Ranch dressing (for drizzling)

Prep: Pre-Heat oven to 400 and spray a large pan with olive oil spray.

1. Combine stuffing mix with water and let sit about 2-3 minutes (so the bread can soak in some of the water.

2. Press stuffing into bottom of pan.

3. Top stuffing with chicken.

4. Top chicken with broccoli.

5. Sprinkle cheese over broccoli.

6. Using kitchen shears (or hands) cut bacon and scatter over cheese.

7. Drizzle ranch over top.

8. Top with foil and place in oven for 45-60 minutes, or until heated thoroughly and cheese is melted.

9. Enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lasagna Soup

This recipe was suggested to me from one of my new good friends from school, Stephanie! I believe she posted a bowl of this goodness on Facebook one day and I had to have the recipe. I decided to make it for a teacher lunch since we really don't need this much goodness in our house while me and my husband are dieting. :-P I served it up with our favorite homemade Italian bread

Lasagna Soup

* 2 tsp. olive oil (I would leave this out. The sausage produces a lot of fat)
* 1.5 lb. Italian Sausage
* 3 cups onion, chopped
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tsp. dried oregano (I used italian seasoning)
* 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
* 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
* 1 (28oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
* 2 bay leaves
* 6 cups chicken stock
* Salt and Pepper to taste

Cheesy Yum:
* 8oz. ricotta
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* Pinch of ground pepper
* 2 cups mozzarella, shredded

* 8 oz. pasta (I used rigatoni)
* 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (for topping)
* Additional mozzarella


1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the sausage, breaking it into tiny pieces. Brown for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the onions and cooked until softened, about 6 minutes.

3. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, then cook an additional minute.

4. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook 3-4 minutes or until paste turns rusty brown.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. At this point you may choose to add pasta and cook until al dente (barely cooked), but I just cooked mine separately to ensure it didn't get overcooked.

6. While the soup cooks, make the cheesy yum by combining all ingredients listed under "cheesy yum". 

7. To serve place basil, noodles, and cheesy yum into a bowl, then spoon soup over top. Enjoy!

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Another teacher lunch recipe! I've never made this, but it's always a crowd pleaser. I decided to try out the recipe in the Puffy Muffin cookbook I have (p.80), since that is one of their signature dishes and the results were AMAZING! The recipe on this page is for the actual recipe, but the photos go along with the bulk recipe I used from Pinterest that can be found here. Also, the original Puffy Muffin recipe has you add the poppyseeds into the creamy mixture, sprinkle the ritz on top, then add butter. I do it a little different below...

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole


* 2 cups chicken, cooked & shredded (I use rotisserie)
* 1 cup sour cream
* 2 (10.75oz) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
* 1 Tbsp. Poppy Seeds
* 12-15 ritz crackers, crumbled
* 1/2-1 stick of butter, melted
* Rice, prepared


Prep: Grease a 9" dish & preheat oven to 350F.

1. Combine the 1c. sour cream and both cans of cream of chicken soup in a 9" dish.

2. Add the chicken and mix.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the crumbled ritz crackers (I crumbled carefully in the package) and poppyseeds. Add the butter and mix until combined.

4. Sprinkle the cracker mix over the chicken.

4. Bake 40 min or until bubbly.

5. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole (from boxed scalloped potatoes)

So some of my favorite recipes are the ones that are semi-homemade. Box cakes, jello mixes, mac n cheese, etc. etc. It's nice to take something simple to the next level. I had been on the hunt of a good "scalloped potato" recipe since they often go on sale for less than a dollar, and this one might just be a keeper! I made it for teacher lunch, so I quadrupeled it (which is why the pictures look like there is WAY more than what the recipe calls for. I would love to link this recipe, but it was attached to a pin, but not to a website through Pinterest. Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole 


6 oz box Creamy Scalloped Potatoes 

* 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temp to soften 

* 1/2 cup sour cream 

* 2 T butter, softened 

* 1/4 cup milk 

* 1 teaspoon salt 

* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

* 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided 

* 8 slices bacon, cooked, chopped, divided 


Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X13 pan with oil. 

1. Place potatoes in the bottom of the pan. 

2. In a bowl, mix the sauce packet and 2 1/2 cups of water. 

3. Add cream cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.

4. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and half the bacon. Spoon mixture evenly over the potatoes. 

5. Bake for 20 minutes. 

6. Top with remaining cheese and bacon. Bake for 5 more minutes to melt cheese. 

7. Serve immediately & enjoy!

Cajun Chicken & Rice Soup

This recipe is for a teacher lunch and was yummy! It was supposed to be in honor of "Fat Tuesday", but then we got a snow day, so I had to postpone it. It still was yummy though! I tripled the recipe, so it's rather large, but if you would like to make the original recipe, you can find it here. It's also gluten free! My advice: make a ton and freeze the leftovers. :-)

Cajun Chicken & Rice Soup

* 2.5 lb. chicken breast (salt, pepper, couple celery ribs & an onion)
* 3 medium onions, chopped
* 6 celery ribs, chopped
* Oil
* 1/4 cup minced fresh garlic cloves
* 2 (14.5oz.) cans diced tomatoes & green chilies, including juices
* 2 cups orange juice
* 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
* 2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
* 2 tsp oregano (I used Italian seasoning)
* 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
* 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp cayenne pepper
* 3 (15oz) cans of pinto beans (I used my black bean & corn mixture)


1. Place chicken in large stockpot and cover with water. Add everything listed next to chicken in the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover/simmer for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is tender. 

2. Remove chicken from the broth and set aside to cool.

3. Carefully strain broth from vegetables and seasonings, while saving the broth for the soup. (Skim the fat).

4. When chicken has cooled a bit, shred. (I use a stand up mixer)

5. In the large stockpot, saute onion and celery in butter until the onion is crisp-tender.

6. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.

7. Stir in the tomatoes, OJ, cilantro, seasonings and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cover/simmer 20 minutes or until veggies are tender.

8. Stir in the rice, beans and chicken; heat through.

 Yield: 24 servings (9 quarts).

Breakdown: (per 1 1/2 cup)
393 calories
12 g fat (4 g saturated fat)
120 mg cholesterol
776 mg sodium
27 g carbohydrate
4 g fiber
42 g protein

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Corn Bread Deluxe (Muffins)

This is the first recipe I've tried from my Puffy Muffin cookbook that was give to me by my Grandmother-in-law (p.30) I plan to serve it tomorrow at my teacher lunch with Cajun Chicken & Rice Soup. This recipe made about 36 muffins, though the original recipe is about half of this. Also, this recipe is gluten free!

Corn Bread Deluxe

* 3 cups self-rising cornmeal
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 2 cups sour cream
* 2 cups cream-style corn
* 1/4 cup onion, chopped
* 4 eggs
* 2 tsp. salt


1. Gently mix all of the ingredients by hand until combined.

2. Grease a muffin tin and place in the oven while it pre-heats to 350F.

3. Use an ice cream scoop to carefully place the batter into each muffin cup.

4. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.

5. Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sunday Gumbo

I had never made any sort of gumbo before this and the teacher's at school got to be my guinea pigs! I made this for Tuesday Soup day and served it up with Baked Hush Puppies. I got lots of great feedback, so I will save it to use again! To make it even is gluten free! The recipe comes from my Taste of Home: Best Church Supper Recipes book (p.157).

Sunday Gumbo

* 1 lb. italian sausage links, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
* 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
* 3 Tbsp vegetable oil (next time I will leave this out because the sausage makes plenty of oil)
* 1 medium red pepper, chopped
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 3 celery ribs, chopped
* 1 tsp. dried thyme
* 1 tsp. dried marjoram (I replaced this with more thyme)
* 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
* 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
* 3 (14.5oz) cans chicken broth (I make my own broth)
* 2/3 cup uncooked brown rice
* 1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
* 1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
*2 cups frozen sliced okra


1. In a dutch oven, brown sausage and chicken (do not completely cook) in oil. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

2. In the drippings, saute red pepper, onion and celery until tender. Stir in seasonings; cook for 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the broth, rice and sausage mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and sausage/chicken are cooked thoroughly.

4. Stir in the tomatoes, shrimp and okra; cook for 10 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. Stir occasionally.

5. Enjoy!!

Yield: 16 servings (~4 quarts)

Baked Hush Puppies

These are cute and easy bite-sized hush puppies! I found this recipe on Pinterest here. They ended up coming out more like tiny little cornbread muffins, but they did the job! I like mine just a tad bit sweeter, so I added some creamed-corn. 

Baked Hush Puppies

* 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
* 2/3 cup flour
* 2 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp sugar
* 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
* 1/8 tsp black pepper
* 1/2 cup skim milk
* 1 tsp cider vinegar
* 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
* 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup cream-style corn (optional)

Prep: Preheat oven to 425F.

1. Combine 2/3c cornmeal, 2/3c flour, 2t baking powder, 1/2t baking soda, 1/2t salt, 1t sugar, 1/3c onion, and 1/8t pepper in a mixing bowl.

2. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the 1t vinegar with the 1/2c milk.

3. Add the milk mixture to the 2T oil, 3 egg whites, and 1/2c corn to the dry ingredients and mix until corn meal is moistened (don't over mix).

4. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.

5. Spoon the batter evenly, placing one Tbsp into each muffin tin.

6. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the puppies are lightly browned.

7. Remove immediately from the tins.

8. Enjoy!