Saturday, December 31, 2011

Recipe #150: Stuffed Mushrooms

I saw some tempting-looking stuffing mushrooms at the store the other day, so I picked them up (and no other ingredients) to make for a snack at some point.  Luckily, I found a highly-rated recipe on that included ingredients I already had.  These were delicious and creamy, and definitely had a kick (I accidentally added more cayenne than I meant, so they were a little spicy).  It was also a relief that they were super easy to throw together too.  My changes are noted in red.


  • 12 whole fresh mushrooms (I had 15)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I used a little less than 8oz)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine, discarding tough end of stems.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems to the skillet. Fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool. (Mine were still moist and hot, and it turned out fine.  I didn't feel like waiting for dry and cool.)
  3. When garlic and mushroom mixture is no longer hot, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Mixture should be very thick. Using a little spoon (I filled a ziplock bag with the mixture and cut the corner off to pipe the filling in:  MUCH EASIER!), fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.  (I also sprinkled some cheddar cheese on top of each mushroom)
  4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven (I did 15 minutes bake, 5 minutes broil, I think that is necessary), or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recipe #149: Rumaki

I made these for a family gathering, but ESPECIALLY for my Uncle Jimmy!


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 (5 ounce) cans water chestnuts, drained
  • 10 slices bacon, cut in half


  1. Combine soy sauce and sugar. Stir in water chestnuts. Marinate chestnuts overnight.
  2. Wrap bacon slice around each chestnut. Fasten with a wooden pick. Place on a rack in shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe #148: Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole

This is NOT for someone on a diet, but oh man was it delicious.  The leftovers are possibly even better than the original!  This was Christmas morning breakfast!


  • 1 (32 ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes (I used the shredded kind)
  • 8 ounces cooked, diced ham
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of potato soup
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix hash browns, ham, cream of potato soup, sour cream, and Cheddar cheese. Spread evenly into prepared dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly brown. Serve immediately.

Recipe #147: Jenny's Apple Pie

While I was making Chicken Piccata for Christmas Eve dinner, my sister Jenny was prepping a homemade apple pie.  She used a corer/slicer from Pampered Chef that made everything a bit easier.  The pie was PERFECT, and we served it with vanilla ice cream!

For the crust:  Use a fork to mix together 2/3c shortening, 2c flour, 1tsp salt, 5-7tb water.  It should be just moist enough to roll.  Divide in half.  Roll one about 1" diameter larger than the pie pan.  Dough should cover bottom, sides, and slightly drape over edges.

For the filling:  Peel, core and thinly slice 5 large granny smith apples and place.  Mix together 1/5c sugar, 2 tbs cinnamon, 2 tbs flour.  Pour over apple slices and stir to coat.  Fill open pie shell with apple mixture.  It will be heaping.  Roll out second dough ball and cover apples.  Pinch the edges, and poke holes in top of pie with a knife.  Place pie pan on cookie sheet with edges to catch drippings.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Recipe #146: Chicken Piccata

I wanted to make something new for Christmas Eve dinner, hearty but not too heavy.  This was perfect, full of flavor and tender.  Another good one from  IMPORTANT NOTE:  I doubled the sauce.


  • 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2-inch medallions (I used thin-sliced cutlets)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley  (I used dried)


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place a serving platter into the oven to warm.
  2. Season the chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour. Shake off excess flour. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet; pan-fry the chicken pieces until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Work in batches and do not crowd skillet, adding oil as needed . Place the chicken pieces onto the warmed platter in the oven. When finished with all the chicken, drain most of the oil from the skillet, leaving a thin coating on the surface of the pan.
  3. Cook and stir the minced garlic in the skillet until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the chicken broth. Scrape and dissolve any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the lemon slices and bring the mixture to a boil. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces to about 2/3 cup, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and capers; simmer until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more. Drop the butter into the skillet and swirl it into the sauce by tilting the skillet until the butter is melted and incorporated. Add the parsley; remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Arrange the chicken medallions on serving plates and spoon sauce over each portion to serve.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recipe #145: Shrimp Scampi

I made this with ingredients I normally have on hand.  I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of angel hair.  Came together really quick and was delicious!  I also added a little bit of cracked red pepper to add a kick.


  • 1 (8 ounce) package angel hair pasta  (I used whole grain spaghetti)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup dry white wine  (I used 3/4c)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley  (I had to use dried)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in pasta and return pot to boil. Cook until al dente. Drain well.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and shrimp. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in wine and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds while stirring constantly.
  4. Mix shrimp with drained pasta in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Recipe #144: Crock Pot Stew

Best.  Stew.  EVER.  I love this and will be making it again.  I'm glad I made a ton so there would be leftovers- those are just as good!  I added peas in the last half hour of cooking and skipped the corn starch part (ok yeah I forgot that part...)  Served it up with a loaf of Tastefully Simple beer bread!


  • 3 pounds cubed beef stew meat (I bought already-cubed meat at the store)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 large potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (1 ounce) envelopes onion soup mix
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large onions, quartered (I used two because I was running out of room)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup burgundy wine  (I used merlot)
  • 2 (6 ounce) packages fresh button mushrooms, halved
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Toss the beef, flour, and salt in a sealable bag until the beef is coated.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the beef and Worcestershire sauce in the skillet; cook until the beef is evenly browned on all sides; transfer to a slow cooker, but do not clean the skillet. Add the carrots, potatoes, parsley, and pepper to the slow cooker.
  3. Combine the boiling water and soup mix in a small bowl; add to slow cooker.
  4. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the melted butter until soft; transfer the onion and garlic to the slow cooker and return the skillet to the heat. Combine the wine and mushrooms to the skillet; cook until the mushrooms begin to absorb the wine; pour the mixture into the slow cooker.
  5. Place the cover on the slow cooker and set to High; cook for one hour. Reduce heat to Low and cook until the beef is fork-tender, 6 to 8 hours. Whisk together the warm water and cornstarch; stir into the stew; cook uncovered until stew thickens, about 15 minutes.

Full recipe in the left, half recipe in the right

Tastefully Simple beer bread made with Yuengling Black & Tan

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Recipe #143: Crock Pot Jambalaya

The name says it all.  Another winner from  I served this over rice.


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced  (I used smoked sausage to cut down on the heat)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails (Mine had tails...)


  1. In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.
  2. Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recipe #142: Ham and Potato Soup

This isn't a very photogenic recipe, but trust me, this is REALLY good.  I'm not the biggest fan of ham (well, besides Honey Baked Ham of course....) but this was rated so well I had to try it.... quite pleasantly surprised!  I was liberal on the ingredients, which I'll note below.  I found this recipe on


  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes  (I used 3 whole potatoes, skin on, diced)
  • 1/3 cup diced celery (I used about 3 stalks)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion (I used closer to a cup...)
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham  (I used two whole ham steaks by Bob Evans, I believe)
  • 3 1/4 cups water (I used mostly broth, and added more.  Judge according to how many veggies you have)
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules  (I skipped this because I used broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk


  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.