Baked Chicken and Vegetable Spaghetti

Once again I have created something beyond even my own expectations, this stuff is GOOD. It is similar to tetrazinni, but different. In a totally amazing kind of way of course. I realize that I’ve been on an alfredo kick lately, but it was on sale! I might as well make the most of savings. This dish combines fresh vegetables, diced chicken, and creamy alfredo sauce to create something amazing. So, without further ado, I give you: Baked Chicken and Vegetable Spaghetti.

The Ingredients: 1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti, 1 can Prego Roasted Garlic & Parmesan sauce, 1/2 cup diced carrots, 1/2 cup diced celery, 1/2 cup diced onion, 1 15 oz. can sweet green peas, 1/2 cup grated Colby cheese, 2 tbsp. sour cream, 1 1/2 tsp. garlic, 3 tbsp. Parmesan powder, 1 tsp. dried onion, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/4 cup olive oil.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute carrots, celery, and onions in olive oil for 15 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Reduce heat to low, add alfredo sauce, sour cream, green peas, 1/2 a tsp. of garlic, and the remaining spices. Stir until combined. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the spaghetti and remaining garlic powder, cook for 8-10 minutes. Pour the sauce and noodles into a large baking dish, mix until well combined, sprinkle the top with Parmesan and grated cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Come now, don’t let the humble appearance fool you! This stuff is too good!

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Creamy Layered Cookie Cake

The Health Inspector’s birthday was yesterday, and to celebrate I made him a Creamy Layered Cookie Cake. Our family has always had a thing for chocolaty, creamy, refrigerator desserts. There’s just something about them, maybe it’s the simplicity, maybe it’s our Baptist heritage, maybe it’s our love of chocolate…..the truth is that it’s all of the above. Anyway, here is a dessert sure to wow you family, your friends, your relatives, your neighbors, your co-workers, your acquaintances, and basically everyone that isn’t on a diet! Happy Birthday Mr. Health Inspector!

The Ingredients: 3 dozen Homekist Chocolate sandwich cookies, 1 stick butter, 2 large boxes instant chocolate pudding, 3 1/2  cups coconut milk,  1 cup cream cheese, 3 cups Cool Whip, 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar.

Melt butter and pour it and 30 of the cookies into the bowl of your food processor, pulse until smooth. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a large casserole pan, place the crust into your refrigerator while you make the other layers. Pour pudding mix into the bowl of your food processor, add half of the milk and half of the pudding mix, pulse until combined. Add the remaining milk and pudding, pulse until well combined (no lumps). Spread the pudding evenly atop the crust. Combine Cool Whip, sugar, and cream cheese in the bowl of your food processor, pulse until well combined (no lumps). Add the remaining cookies to the mixture and blend until they are completely crushed. Spread cream cheese mixture atop the pudding layer. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Does this look good or does this look GOOD?

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Tomato Alfredo Bake

I’m always up for a new pasta dish, especially one that combines the unexpected to create something delicious. Both tomato and alfredo sauce go well with pasta, so why not combine them? This Easy Weekday Dinner really is easy! It only has four main ingredients, because unless you’re like me, why would you mess with simple goodness? You see, as a chef, I must create, it is my destiny, my desire….my calling…..Tomato Alfredo pasta really is delicious by itself. Today’s episode of Delicious Food 101 features Friar Tyst and El Gastronomo. So, enough talk, we must cook!

The Four Ingredients: 1 26 oz. can three cheese tomato sauce, 1 14.5 oz. can home-style alfredo sauce, 16 oz. pasta, 1 cup grated Colby cheese. The Optional Ingredients: 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes, 1 tsp. no salt seasoning, 1/2 tsp. basil.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Spoon a few tablespoons of tomato sauce into a large baking dish, spread evenly. Add half of the cooked pasta and half of each of the sauces. Repeat once. If using, sprinkle the spices evenly atop the layers. Top with the grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Cheddar Rosemary Rolls

About a month or so ago I made Whole Wheat Dinner rolls, and they were really good by themselves, but I was thinking…..wouldn’t they be EVEN better with a little more pizzazz? Flavor? Cheese? Rosemary? I’m sorry, I get a little excited about new kinds of homemade bread…..Anyway, these are just as easy as the other rolls I made, and still have the same basic recipe, but these have a few different ingredients and more of a wow factor. All you need is a couple of hours of rising time, this means patience. Remember, good things come to those who wait!

The Ingredients: 1 pkg. Fleischmann’s instant yeast, 1/2 cup very warm water, 1/4 cup honey, 1 stick softened butter, 2 eggs,  4 cups whole wheat bread flour, 1 cup almond or coconut milk, 1 cup pre-shredded cheddar cheese (it holds up better in from-scratch bread), 1 tbsp. dried rosemary, 2 tsp. salt.

Combine yeast and warm water in the bowl of your Kitchen-aid mixer, let sit for 5 minutes. Add softened butter and honey, mix until just combined. Drop in eggs one at a time (it helps to crack the eggs into your measuring cup), mixing until just combined after each one. Add the salt, rosemary, and cheese. Mix until combined. Now add alternating amounts of milk and flour one cup at a time (2 cups of flour to 1/2 cup buttermilk), when all the flour is used, change to the dough hook. Mix for 1-2 minutes on medium speed. Cover the bowl and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface, cut into equal squares, form into desired shape. Cover and allow to rise for an additional 45 minutes. When the rising time is completed, remove covering and place rolls into a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. This recipe makes 20 large or 2 dozen medium rolls. Butter the rolls and serve while warm.

Just look at these scrumptious bread and butter pillows! The sideways picture shows how tall they are.:)

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Magic Cookie Bars

Magic Cookie Bars is a Southern Baptist recipe passed down through several generations of our family. I still can’t comprehend how such an unexpected collection of ingredients is so delicious. I remember Queenbee teaching me how to make these when I was a little girl. They are fun to make and to eat! We don’t usually make them more than a couple of times a year because they are so rich, and anyway, if we ate them too often they would lose their novelty.:) So here it is: Magic Cookie Bars, guaranteed to clog your arteries, but don’t let that simple fact scare you off!

The Ingredients: 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1 stick butter, 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes,    1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, 1/2 to 3/4 cup finely minced pecans (optional), 1 14 oz. can condensed milk.

Melt butter, add it and two packages of cinnamon graham crackers to the bowl of your food processor, pulse until smooth. Melt the butter in your microwave and add it to the crumbs, pulse until just combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a baking dish. Cover the crumbs evenly with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. If using, sprinkle the minced pecans evenly over the top. Now pour half the condensed milk across this layer. Gently press the coconut over the top of the first layer. Cover the coconut with the remainder of the condensed milk and chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Mm-mm…toasted coconut, melted chocolate, buttery graham crackers…..this shot was taken hastily (hence the blurriness) before the vultures swooped in to destroy..

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Christmas Dinner 2015

Every year for Christmas we have done a breakfast-themed meal, but this year we are breaking that tradition and starting a new one. As far as I know, from now on we will be doing whatever type of dinner we prefer each year, so each year I will post the different dinners we come up with on this blog. In my opinion, it really is best to do a different Christmas meal each year for variety, but to keep the Thanksgiving meal the same. This year we are making Potatoes Au Gratin, Lemon Pepper Roast Chicken, Southern Style Coleslaw, and Buttermilk Biscuits. I hope that you enjoy making these recipes for your family. have a Merry Christmas!

Lemon Pepper Roast Chicken

The Ingredients: 1 fresh chicken, 1 stick softened butter, 3-4 lemons, lemon zest from 2 of the lemons, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning, 1 tsp. garlic, 2 tbsp. dried onion. In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together butter, lemon zest, spices, and dried onion until smooth. Rub the butter mixture all over the inside and outside of the chicken. Squeeze the juice of the zested lemons all over the outside of the chicken. Slice the remaining lemons and pack the slices into the bird’s cavity along with an additional teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

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Potatoes Au Gratin

The Ingredients: 6-8 red potatoes, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 stick butter, 1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese (any flavor), 3 tbsp. flour, 1 to 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 tsp. dried onion, 1 tsp. garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cumin. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Slice potatoes in 1-2 inch thick slices, when the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender. Meanwhile, melt 3 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, reduce the heat slightly, add the flour and whisk constantly. Slowly add the milk until the gravy has reached the desired consistency. Add the spices and cook for 1-2 minutes over low heat. Drain the cooked potatoes and stir in the remaining butter and sour cream (the butter should be soft). Layer half of the potato mixture in a baking dish, top with half of the gravy, repeat this layer once. Top with grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

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Southern Style Coleslaw

The Ingredients: 1 16 oz. bag Publix pre-shredded coleslaw, 1 cup diced pickles, 2 tbsp. olive oil mayonnaise dressing, 1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard, 1 tbsp. sour cream, 1 tbsp. chipotle ranch dressing. Using a rubber spatula, combine all ingredients in a large serving bowl. Chill in your refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

Buttermilk Biscuits

The Ingredients: 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached Cake Flour, 6 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks,  1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 cup buttermilk (milk with 1/2 tbsp. vinegar). Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, using a pastry cutter, blend together the butter and the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together gently with a fork until almost combined. The mixture will appear under-mixed. Turn the mixture out onto a sheet of wax paper. Push the mixture together by hand until it forms a circle. Form the biscuits by hand and bake at 360 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

 

 

Food Coloring: Red

Many of us seem to be under the illusion that artificial coloring is the only way to go. However, the healthy chefs among us have proven that homemade food coloring is cheaper, better for you, and if done the right way, produces the same results! Today I am going to show you how to make red food coloring with raspberries. This food coloring worked well in the Red Velvet Cake.

What You Need: A food processor, a stove top, a small pot, a rubber spatula, a 6 inch strainer, a small bowl (that the strainer can fit on), 1 heaping cup of fresh raspberries, 1/4 cup of water.

Puree raspberries and water in the bowl of your food processor until smooth, add the raspberry puree to the small pot. Turn your burner to high heat, when the mixture comes to a boil, stir it gently but constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the pot as you go. Reduce the heat to medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes. The puree should form a pink foam on the top and be a deep red color. Place the strainer atop the small bowl and pour the raspberry mixture through it. Using your rubber spatula, press the liquid through the holes of the strainer. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to finish draining. Dispose of the pulp and seeds when the time is up. This makes 1/2 cup of all natural food coloring (you will need all of it for a cake).