Friday, April 22, 2011

April Cookie Carnival - Toasted Coconut Shortbread with Pineapple Filling

One of the Cookie Carnival recipes this month is Toasted Coconut Shortbread with Pineapple Filling by Anna Olson of the Food Network Canada.

I wasn't sure that I was going to find the time to make these cookies this month. Since it is raining today and we couldn't get out to clean and wash the car like I'd planned, I decided to make the cookies since I had everything on hand. I'm really happy that I did.

The shortbread cookies are stacked with pineapple cream filling in between and on top of the cookies. I could sit and eat the pineapple filling with a spoon! It's that good. The little cookie stacks would make a perfect Easter dessert served in single serving cups.

When reading the recipe, I thought that it might be a little more work that I really wanted to do but it ended up being a really simple recipe that came together quickly.

Toasted Coconut Shortbread with Pineapple Filling
from Anna Olson on Food Network Canada


Shortbread1/2 cup sweetened coconut, fine shred
1 cup and 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
dash salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

Pineapple Cream
1/2 cup cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2/3 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
pineapple slices (I omitted)

To make cookies:


Preheat oven to 350 °F. Spread coconut on an ungreased baking tray and toast for 10 minutes, stirring once. Allow to cool. (I did not toast the coconut first. I just added it to the dough out of the bag.)

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter in pieces and pulse just until dough is crumbly.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle toasted coconut over. Work coconut into dough until dough comes together.

Dust work surface again and roll out dough into a rectangle about 1/8 –inch thick, and cut into circles using a cookie cutter or small glass.

Use a spatula to lift cookies onto a parchment-lined baking tray and bake, on the center rack of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, just until edges of cookie color slightly.

Cool cookies on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely.

Pineapple Cream

Beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Beat in icing sugar and vanilla. Stir in pineapple and fold into whipped cream. Chill until ready to serve.

To assemble:

To plate, place a cookie on a plate with thinly sliced pineapple. Then spoon or pipe about 2 Tbsp of pineapple cream onto cookie and top with another cookie. Spoon or pipe another 2 Tbsp of cream and serve or refrigerate until ready to eat.

**Note** The recipe says it makes 12 cookies but I ended up with 14 cookies using a 3 inch cookie cutter. If you were to use a 4 or 5 inch cookie cutter to be able to hold the pineapple slice, you would most likely get 10 - 12 cookies. 

Would you like to have fun baking with us in the Cookie Carnival? Click here to find out what it's all about!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Busy Beehive Cupcake Cones

One of my kids' favorite desserts are cupcakes baked inside of ice cream cones. They are a fun grab-n-go treat. I like them because they are easy to make and they are not messy!

These busy beehive cones remind me of spring and the beautiful, sunny weather that we are experiencing now. Not too hot, not too cold. Let's get out and enjoy it while we can!

Busy Beehive Cupcake Cones

1 boxed yellow cake mix + ingredients listed
on the package
16- 18 ice cream cones
1 can of vanilla icing
1 can of chocolate icing
yellow food coloring
yellow M&Ms for decorating
milk chocolate melts

Preheat oven to 350*

Prepare cake mix according to package directions.

To make the cones easier to handle, I used my 12 cupcake, cupcake pan and stood one cone in each cup. Fill each cone 3/4 full - do not be tempted to fill them any fuller. The batter will run over the tops of the cones and down the sides. (Geez...wonder how I know this?!?)

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the cakes are light brown and a skewer stuck down into the middle of the cone comes out clean. Cool completely. Repeat the process until all of the cake batter has been used. Depending on the type of cake mix, I usually end up with 16 -18 cones.

Spread yellow M&Ms out on a piece of waxed paper. You will need 2-3 M&M "bees" for each cone. Melt 1/4 c. of chocolate candy melts in the microwave. Spoon the melted chocolate into a plastic baggie. Barely snip the tip off one corner of the baggie-just enough for a fine line of chocolate to flow through the hole. Draw the stripes and eyes on each M&M, creating the bees. Let dry before moving.

Tint the vanilla frosting bright yellow. Tip: I use paste food coloring. I've found that using the liquid food coloring with canned frosting tends to thin the frosting out too much, making it hard to use. Frost each cupcake with the yellow icing.

Using a small paring knife, cut out the beehive entrance in each cone. Frost the hole with yellow icing.

Spoon the chocolate frosting into a plastic baggie. Snip the tip of the baggie. Trace the entrance hole of the hive with chocolate frosting. Draw the swirls around the hive with the chocolate frosting.

Carefully remove the bees from the waxed paper and using the chocolate frosting as "glue", stick the bees on the cones.

Enjoy! The cupcakes are best when eaten the same day.

My spring bug cupcakes would pair up perfectly with these busy beehive cupcakes for a fun party theme!

Linking up to:
Cupcake Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays
Muffin Monday (includes cupcakes!)
Momtrends Friday Food

Monday, April 18, 2011

Peanut Butter Cupcakes Covered in Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache

Two words....sinfully delicious!

I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate in just about any form. I decided to mix them together and then wrap them up in one pretty little package.

Just one bite and you will be hooked!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes Covered in Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache


1/3 c. butter, room temp
1/3 c. good quality peanut butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk


1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/3 c. good quality peanut butter
1 tsp. butter
4 -5 tbsp milk

To make cupcakes:

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir flour into the peanut butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat for 2-3 minutes longer on medium-high, until the batter is light and fluffy.

Bake at 350* for 22 - 24 minutes. Cool completely before dipping the cupcakes into the ganache.

To make ganache:

Melt chocolate and butter together in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate chips have melted. Stir in peanut butter. Whisk in milk, 1 tbsp. at a time, until smooth and creamy.  If the ganache starts to harden, stick it back into the microwave for 20 seconds and then stir well.

Dip the top of each cupcake into the ganache. Set on cooling racks to dry.

Store the cupcakes in a sealed container.

Linking up to:
So Sweet Sunday
Cupcake Tuesday 
Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays
Delectable Tuesdays
Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods
Foodie Friday 

Garden Veggie Muffins

These corn muffins would be perfect to serve up for an afternoon brunch. They would match perfectly with a bowl of soup, chili or some sliced ham.

You will find that kids are more willing to eat their veggies if they help to prepare the food they are eating. This is a simple recipe that will get the kids into the kitchen and cooking!

Garden Veggie Muffins

1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. California blend frozen veggie, thawed
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp. sour cream & onion chip dip

Stir together corn muffin mix, egg and milk until blended. - some tiny lumps are ok.

Squeeze the water out of of the California veggie mix by dumping the veggies into a piece of cheesecloth or 2 coffee filters. Squeeze to drain off the water. Stir the veggies into the muffin mixture.

Line 6 silicone muffin tins onto a baking sheet. Spoon the muffin mix evenly into the six cups.

Bake at 350* for 15 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick stuck in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.

For herb spread: 

Stir together the cream cheese and sour cream & onion dip. Top each muffin.

Vegetable decorations:

Thinly slice 5 rounds from a small English cucumber. Thinly slice a small radish for the middle round. Level off the top of a muffin. Spread a thin layer of the herb spread onto the muffin, using the spread a the "glue" to hold the cucumbers. Add another dot of the herb spread to the middle of the muffin and top with a radish disk.

You could also use thinly sliced radish for the flower petals and fill the middle with raisins or sunflower seeds.

Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Linking up to: 

Mouthwatering Monday
My Meatless Monday 
Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday 
Made By You Monday 
Melt in Your Mouth Monday 
Tasty Tuesdays

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Secret Recipe Club - Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars

I'm participating in a new blogging challenge called The Secret Recipe Club. My friend, Amanda, from Amanda's Cookin' is the host. The object of this challenge is that each blogger is assigned the name of one of the other participating blogs. You then pick any recipe from that blog and make it. You don't reveal whose blog that you have until the round up on the chosen date. Click here to find out how you can join in on the fun!

My secret blog for this month was Megan's Cookin'. Megan has a beautiful blog with so many delicious recipes posted on it. I chose bake her Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars. I actually made these at the beginning of the month for my husband's birthday. I knew that they would go over big because love sweet pumpkin desserts. When you bite into the bars, it really is like eating a slice of pumpkin pie only in bar form. Very moist and delicious with lots of pumpkin flavor.

The only changes that I made were to add more pumpkin pie spice to the filling and more spices to the topping. I omitted the white chocolate drizzle topping. I topped the bars with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars
adapted from Megan's Cookin'

Snickerdoodle Layer

3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbls. vanilla

Pumpkin Pie Layer

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin


4 tbsp. white sugar
2 tsp.cinnamon
1/2  tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice


Preheat oven to 350F.

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan and lay a piece of parchment paper across the pan, so that it extends the pan slightly. Don't skip using the parchment paper. It makes removing the bars from the pan so very easy.

To make snickerdoodle layer:

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.

Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be thick and cookiebatter-ish.)

To make pumpkin pie filling:

In a mixer bowl (you can use the same one you used to make the snickerdoodle batter) with a paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. This layer will be less thick and more pourable. Pour over the snickerdoodle layer, smoothing out the top.

To make the topping:

Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.


Bake for 33-40 minutes (maybe more depending on your oven) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.

Let the bars cool completely (about an hour). They will deflate a bit and remain a bit pie-like on the top layer. The bars that are closer to the edges of the pan will be more firm.

Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into bars.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Store in a covered container.

Menu Plan for 4/17 - 4/23

After all of the storms over the weekend, it's absolutely beautiful here today. The sun is shining and the temps are in the 70s.

My kids and I are heading to Sam's Club for their "Taste of Spring". It will probably be crazy with lots of people but my kids love to run around trying all of the samples. They are willing to try foods that they would never try at home. Funny how samples work that way.

Here's our menu for the week:

Sunday - hot turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes & gravy

Monday - ziti with hot sausage sauce

Tuesday - grilled pork chops with taco potato skins & a side of corn

Wednesday - Asian noodle bowls with chicken pot stickers

Thursday - breakfast for dinner...raisin bread French toast with turkey bacon

Friday - focaccia deli sandwiches with pasta salad

Saturday - chicken blt pizza

Enjoy the week!!

 Linking up to:

Menu Plan Monday
Marvelous Menu

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crockpot Chuck Wagon Beef Sandwiches

I love using my crock pot on busy days. Last Thursday, I had one of those days where I was lucky to spend 15 minutes at a time at home for the whole day.

I decided to try a new recipe called Chuck Wagon Beef Sandwiches from the cookbook Fix it and Forget It. The meat held up really well for the cooking and even for reheating that evening.

Chuck Wagon Beef Sandwiches

4 lb boneless chuck roast
1 tsp garlic salt ( I used garlic powder)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. oil
6 - 8 garlic cloves, minced
1 lg. onion, sliced
1 c. water
1 bouillon cube - (I used 1 c. beef broth for the water and bouillon)
2-3 tsp. instant coffee
1 bay leaf or 1 tbsp. Italian herbs (I used both)
3 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp cornstarch (I didn't use the water or cornstarch to thicken the broth)
sandwich buns
butter flavored non stick spray

Sprinkle roast with garlic powder and pepper. Brown on all sides in oil in pan. Place in slow cooker.

Saute garlic and onion in meat drippings. Add water, bouillon cube (in my case beef broth) and coffee. Cook over low heat for several minutes, stirring until drippings loosen. Pour over meat in cooker.

Add bay leaf or herbs. (I added both)

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. (I cooked it on high for 5 hours).

Remove bay leaf. Remove meat to a serving plate. Shred the meat using two forks. Cover and keep warm.

Lay sandwich buns on a baking sheet. Lightly spray the buns with butter flavored cooking spray. Stick the pan under the broiler until the buns are lightly toasted.

Linked to:

What's Cooking Wednesday

What's on the Menu Wednesday

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Last week went so fast and Monday is here already.

Nothing really fancy on our menu this week. My kids and I are suffering from allergies/colds so I figured that I would just take it easy and not make anything over the top.

Last week's storms left some damage in our immediate area. We were without electricity for about 15 hrs. Even so, that's nothing compared to the baseball-sized hail some people had to deal with from storms over the weekend. We were out grocery shopping in that area but when I realized that storms were moving in faster than the forecasters were predicting, we headed home. I'm so thankful that we decided to do so. We might have been caught right in the middle of it. Storm season is here rearing its ugly head.

Sunday  - beef barley vegetable soup

Monday - 4 ingredient chicken casserole

Tuesday - chicken cacciatore over egg noodles

Wednesday - steak salad (didn't have it before) - using this marinade

Thursday - baked fish w/spinach & cheese, rice and green beans - this turned into southwest macaroni. So I think that I will move the fish to Friday and the ravioli to next week.

Friday - beef ravioli & salad

Saturday - Italian hoagies and antipasto salad

Have a wonderful week!!

Linking up to:

Ask Ms Recipe

Menu Plan Monday

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jumbo Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Let me tell how quickly I decided to make this cook recipe.....

I'd just put my daughter into the tub to play in a bubble bath. About 5 minutes later I decided to sit down at the computer to check my blog. My husband and son were moaning about not having any dessert but I told them that it wasn't happening because I didn't have time to squeeze it in. I always check my "blogging buddies" list on my blog to see what my friends are cooking or baking. My friend, Amanda @ Amanda's Cookin', baked chocolate peanut butter cookies. MMM!!! Just what I was searching for....a quick, easy recipe that would satisfy their needs for dessert.  Plus, how did she know that I'd been craving chocolate and peanut butter?

This recipe is very easy to whip up. The peanut butter definitely shines through. I had to add about 3 more tbsp. of milk to my cookies because the dough was a bit dry. I also used a large ice cream scoop to make the cookies jumbo sized. The truth is that I really didn't feel like standing in the kitchen scooping out multiple trays of cookies. I added 4 minutes to the baking time.

Here are the cookies right out of oven and still warm. So good!

The next time I make this recipe I'm going to add some chocolate chips. I might dip them into chocolate, too!

Jumbo Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from Amanda's Cookin'

1/2 cup shortening (or butter flavored shortening)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp milk + more if dough seems a little dry. I used 3 tbsp more
1 tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 375*.

Combine shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.

Drop by large tbsp (or use a large cookie scoop) 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

Bake for 10- 12 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to racks to cool completely.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

March Cookie Carnival Round Up - Chocolate Brownie Oatmeal Cookies

 It's time for another Cookie Carnival Round Up!

There were two chocolate cookie recipes to choose from this month:

Choc. Mint Sandwich Cookies 

Chocolate Brownie Oatmeal Cookies

Everyone in this round up chose to make the Chocolate Brownie Oatmeal Cookies from Quaker Oats. I must say, these cookies are so good! My cookie monsters gobbled them up quickly. This recipe is a keeper for us.

Check out what everyone else had to say...

Katrina @ Baking and Boys made some healthy changes to her cookies. She said that they were really good.

Tessa @ The Cookin Chemist - Said that she's more of a vanilla girl than chocolate but you should check out what her hubby did with them!

Shonda @ The Knowlton Nest added wheat germ to her cookies to make them healthier.

 Ana @ Anasbageri described her cookies "more like small cakes, very light, pleasant and sweet".

Barb @ Mom's Fridge said "With a name like that, how wrong could you go with this recipe? Answer: there's nothing wrong at all here--just plenty of deliciousness.".

Vivian @ Let's Try These said "I kid you not, this is one killer cookie recipe.".

and  my cookies Tami @ Tami's Kitchen Table Talk said "These cookies are soft and chewy and down right delicious!".

WAIT!!  We have 3 more bakers to include this month! The first two became victims of the Internet in outer space. Not sure if they just disappeared or if I'm having trouble with my email address again. For this reason, I am changing the email address connected with the Cookie Carnival - details to follow! I will email everyone about it and you will see the changes here on my blog. The last baker to be shown is Krista. Somehow I overlooked her entry. I apologize!! I have all of the entries for the month staring me in my face when I do the round up but I just skipped it and marked it "read". I'm a dork for doing this. I'm so sorry!!

Juliana @ Horneando Algo used mini M&Ms in place of the nuts. Oh yeah! A girl after my own heart!!

Tiffiny @ The Bake - Off Flunkie added chocolate chips to her recipe but that's not all...she froze the cookie dough and then bake them for a wonderful chewy cookie. Check out her results. Clever!

Krista @  Meet the Swans added peanut butter cups to her cookies. Who could resist these?

 Please take a few minutes to check out the blogs from all of these great bakers. Share some bloggy love!!

Thanks for this AMAZING round up!!

If you would like to join us in baking with the Cookie Carnival, click here to read more about it.
Everyone is welcome here!!

Happy Baking!

Menu Plan Monday - April 3 - 9

Can you believe that I've actually finished our menu for the week already? I have a lot to do in the next couple of days so I'm posting this now before I get busy and can't find the time to do it.

I managed to follow most of the menu last week, although I did switch out a couple of meals.

This week we're having: 

Sunday - *new* southwestern pasta & cheese & salad

Monday - hubby's birthday dinner - we're grilling steaks

Tuesday - *new* grilled Asian pork burgers, grilled veggies, & French fries - we will have dessert at McD's for my daughter's school fundraiser. I'll be working there for the school.

Wednesday - beef barley vegetable soup & egg salad sandwiches (hubby requested egg salad)

Thursday - *new* crockpot chuck roast sandwiches, 3 cheese mashed potatoes and stuffing. (I'm ending up with a super busy day. We are catering dinner at the elem. school for the teacher's parent conferences. I have to be there for delivery and clean up. In between, I will need to go to the middle school to train for proctoring for the EOGs and then after clean up of the food, my son has a soccer game. What a long night)

Friday - *new* Pizza Cordon Bleu and salad

Saturday - open right now

Menu Plan Monday

If you're checking out my menu plan, stop by and say "hi!" I love to talk!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs

I found this wonderful recipe for Chinese chicken wings Wings on the blog Easy to be Gluten Free. Although we are not a gluten free family, there are many wonderful recipes on her blog that everyone can enjoy.

I decided to use the sauce portion of her recipe on the boneless chicken thighs that I had planned on making for dinner. I parboiled the chicken for 10 minutes and then broiled it in the oven for the remaining cooking time. I would've grilled it but my husband just cleaned the grill and he was not happy with the idea of me using a sugary glaze on it tonight. The next time I will grill it because I think that the caramelizing of the sauce will give it one more layer of flavor to enjoy!

My kids and husband raved about this dish. It's easy to make and definitely a keeper!

Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. five spice powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

(I doubled the sauce recipe)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Add chicken thighs to a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium-high to cook for 10 minutes. Drain.

In a large bowl combine sauce ingredients. Toss the chicken thighs with the sauce mixture.

Place thighs on a foil lined cookie sheet. Pour any remaining sauce over the wings.

Broil until cooked through - about 8 minutes, turning and brushing every 3 minutes with the sauce.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quick & Easy Strawberry Shortcake

I ran into Aldi a couple of days ago to pick up a couple of things. They were having a sale on strawberries - large containers for .99. Great deal! I picked up 3 boxes with bright, juicy berries. For this time of year, these strawberries were surprisingly sweet. Still, I cleaned them, put them into a container and dumped some Splenda on them. There are foods that we like the taste of Splenda on better than sugar. They sat on the kitchen table for a couple of hours after dinner.

I had some biscuit mix in the cupboard so I whipped up some shortcakes to go along with the strawberries for an easy dessert.

Not a fancy recipe but it sure makes a pretty dessert.

Quick & Easy Strawberry Shortcake

strawberries, cleaned and sliced
sugar or Splenda for topping strawberries

Recipe from the back of the biscuit mix box:

2 c. baking mix
3 tbsp. Splenda
3 tbsp. margarine, melted
1/3 c. milk - I used 2/3 c.

Top strawberries with sugar or Splenda. If your berries aren't really juicy, sprinkle them with a little water, lemon or orange juice. Set aside to macerate.

For biscuits, stir together ingredients until well blended. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle the tops with Splenda. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

To serve:

Split biscuits and cover with berries. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

There must be more than 100 recipes floating around right now for chicken tortilla soup. Everyone likes to put their own spin on it. My husband and I recently ate lunch at McAlister's Deli. He had their chicken tortilla soup and loved it. He asked me if I could duplicate it at home. A challenge indeed.

After a long search, I found this copycat recipe from

Was it a dead ringer for the soup that my husband had eaten? No. However, it was very good. With a few tweaks, we will have it again. The taste was close to McAlister's but *something* was missing. This soup was not as thick as the tortilla soup from that day. You also couldn't see the chunks of salsa or chicken in the restaurant soup. None the less, the whole family liked it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onions, chopped
3 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
4 cups half-and-half
1 (10 3/4 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1 (15 ounce) cans creamed corn
3 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/2 tablespoons fajita seasoning mix
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
16 ounces tortilla chips
8 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1/8 cup green onions, chopped (I omitted)

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the garlic and onion in the butter or margarine for 5 minutes.

Add flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute more.

Add the broth and half-and-half. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Add the soup, salsa, corn, chicken, cumin, fajita seasoning and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Stir and continue to heat for 15 minutes.

Crumble tortilla chips into individual bowls, add 1/2 ounce shredded cheese to each bowl and ladle in soup. Top each bowl with more crumbled chips, remaining 1/2 ounce cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro, few chopped green onions and serve.

Linking up to:

Tuesday at the Table
Mangia Monday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday

Johnny Marzetti

Have you heard of Johnny Marzetti before? It's a dish that we ate for school lunches back when I was in school.

Where did the name come from? According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette website, Johnny Marzetti is a casserole created in the 1920s by the owner of the Marzetti Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. Who was Johnny Marzetti? According to the "American Century Cookbook" by Jean Anderson, Johnny Marzetti was the brother of the owner of the Marzetti Restaurant.

Casseroles steamrolled into the kitchen in the 1940s and have remained popular staples to this day. The Johnny Marzetti casserole was popular in the mid '50s and early '60s. It consists of meat, pasta and either tomato sauce, soup or juice.

My husband and I were talking about school lunches and comparing them to what our kids eat in school now. I decided to look up a recipe for Johnny Marzetti to see if I could duplicate the school's recipe. Did I duplicate it? No, not exactly. But the dish that I created was delicious. Like chili, it tastes even better warmed up as leftovers. The recipe that I remember had more of a spaghetti sauce sort of taste with no onion and peppers showing in it. Some say the original recipe contains cheese but I don't ever remember cheese in what I ate. There's also a controversy over whether or not it was made with egg noodles or elbow macaroni. It was always elbows for us.

This was a nice trip down memory lane.

Johnny Marzetti

1 pound ground chuck
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 teaspoon oil
1 large can tomatoes (29 ounces)
1 large can tomato juice
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Garlic salt, to taste

Brown meat, onion and green pepper in oil.

Drain, then add tomatoes, tomato juice and spices.

Add cooked macaroni to sauce. Simmer 10 minutes and serve.

Store any leftovers in a sealed container. It's even better the next day!
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