Friday, February 27, 2015

French Onion Soup (with Chicken Broth)

This soup can be finished on the stove or in a slow cooker. The longer it cooks the softer the onions and richer the flavor. This recipe is a great variation from the traditional recipe made with beef broth. Serves 6 people. 

4 large onions, sliced into thin rings
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 quarts chicken broth
French bread, sliced and toasted
mozzarella or romano cheese, shredded

Melt butter in large soup pot. Add onions and cook over medium heat, for at least 15 minutes, stirring often until onions are tender and golden brown. Add sugar and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Add broth, cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 15 minute or transfer to slow cooker and cook until ready to serve. Ladle into bowls and top with toasted french bread slices and shredded mozzarella or romano cheese.

Adapted from here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Baked Chicken Strips

This is one of my favorite recipes! It's so easy and they turn out perfect every time. You can also cut the chicken into cubes to make chicken nuggets or add some cayenne pepper to spice them up. Serves 4-6 people.

2/3 cup Heart Smart Bisquick
1/2 cup dried parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1-2 eggs, beaten
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into strips or nuggets)
3 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 450. Mix dry ingredients in ziplock bag. Dip half of chicken pieces into the egg, using a fork, letting excess drip off, and place in the ziplock bag. Shake and transfer to a parchment paper or foil lined cookie sheet. Repeat with other half of chicken. Drizzle melted butter over the chicken. Bake for 6 minutes, turn and bake for 6 minutes more, or until chicken is done. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Slightly adapted from

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Summer Squash and Carrot Wheat Muffins

You can use zucchini or yellow squash in this recipe, both are great. and you can omit the carrot if you don't have any on hand. This is a fairly healthy recipe that tastes moist and delicious. I cannot even tell they have wheat flour in them. This is my new go to recipe and lately I've been making them almost every week. I have even frozen 2 cup quantities of shredded squash and carrot so that I can quickly whip up a batch.
Servings: 10-12 muffins

2 cups shredded zucchini (or 1.5 cups if using carrots)
1/2 cup carrot, finely shredded (optional)
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

*additional water if needed

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl combine zucchini, oil, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. Sprinkle flours evenly over the top and stir with a long fork until well combined.

3.Depending on how much water the zucchini releases, you may need to add some additional water if your batter is too dry.

4. Divide the batter into 10-12 muffin cups until about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Slightly adapted from

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6.7g9%
Saturated Fat 0.7g3%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 194mg8%
Total Carbohydrate 26.7g10%
Dietary Fiber 1.8g6%
Total Sugars 10.5g
Protein 4g

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentines Chocolates - Peanut Butter Filled

Will make 30-60 chocolates depending on size of mold. I use Aldi brand semi sweet chocolate chips. They are very good and affordable. Quite easy to make and fun to give to friends. 

1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine
24 ounces chocolate, chips or chopped (or more)

Make peanut butter filling in small bowl with hand mixer. Prepare peanut butter filling inserts and set on wax paper. Melt and temper chocolate (I would only temper 10-12 oz at a time). Fill piping bag with tempered chocolate. Fill bottom of mold. Place peanut butter filling on top of chocolate and fill rest of mold with chocolate. Tap the mold to settle and smooth out the melted chocolate. Look underneath mold to make sure the peanut butter filling is not showing but completely covered with chocolate. Place molds in fridge until hardened (doesn't take more than 30-60 minutes). Pop out of mold and store in airtight container in fridge.

How I tempered my chocolate:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thomas the Train Cake

The picture below shows the basic construction. I used a skinny loaf, a small loaf, and one cupcake. I cut the small loaf into three pieces. I used my cake paint for the blue and gray but used frosting dye for the black, red, and yellow. I used cream cheese frosting (had cream cheese and butter, no shortening) and discovered that the cake paint did not work well on it and the cream cheese frosting was hard to spread out completely smooth. The cake paint might have worked better if I let the frosting dry out overnight, but I think straight buttercream just works better since it crusts more and faster. I used mini chocolate chips for the eyes and double stuff fudge oreos for the wheels. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Elmo Birthday Cupcakes

I made these this weekend to take to my son's preschool class for his birthday. Made zuchinni muffins instead of cake to make them a little bit healthier and used a cream cheese buttercream frosting.

Mouth - 1/2 of a oreo cookie (gently) sawed in half with a sharp steak knife
Nose - 1/2 of an orange smile fruit snack (walmart brand)
Eyes - mini chocolate chip pressed into a mini marshmallow

Frosting - used a #17 star tip

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Summer Squash Bake Over Rice

5 cups thin sliced, quartered summer squash (zuchinni or yellow mix)
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons melted melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
herb seasoning blend (fish spice or other favorite other herb medly)
French-fried onions (optional)
white rice (cooked)

Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle bottom of little smaller than 9X13 casserole dish with herb seasoning. Combine squash, minced onion, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, melted butter, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Pour over seasoning in the casserole dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle top with herb seasoning. Sprinkle top with fried onions. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Let sit at room temp for at least 5 minutes with lid off before serving. Spoon over white rice.

Alternate version: use 1 box stuffing mix instead of herb seasoning mix and omit all onions and rice.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bradford Brownies

These brownies are slightly cake like but still dense and have a very rich cocoa flavor. This is my favorite homemade brownie recipe that I have tried. We call them Bradford brownies because my husband got the recipe from a friend with the last name Bradford. They are WAY TO EASY to make when you get a chocolate craving and they turn out perfect every time. Serves 12

1 cup melted butter (can also use 1/2 cup, 1 stick, and they will turn out fine)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 eggs, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cup flour
2.25 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350. Combine cocoa powder and melted butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients then combine with wet ingredients. Spread into a 9X13 greased pan. Bake 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Baked Tomatoes

My favorite summertime meal when our garden tomatoes are in abundance! Also works well for tomatoes from the store that aren't fully ripe and juicy, it will literally transform them!

8 medium or large tomatoes
olive oil
garlic salt
Italian seasoning
dried Italian bread crumbs
dried parmesan cheese
fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Cut top 1/4 of tomatoes off and discard and a tiny slice off the bottom if they don't sit flat. Remove very center core of each tomato and discard. Place in lightly greased baking dish. Brush tops with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and fresh cracked pepper on top of each tomato. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until very soft and starting to brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan cheese on top. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or broil for 2 minutes. Serve immediately over a bed of pasta.