Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Lighter Loaded Potato Soup.

Today is Halloween which means tomorrow kicks off the start of the Thanksgiving season. This is absolutely one of my favorite times of the year. The anticipation of seeing family members that live far away, decorating the house, cooking (& eating) wonderful food, hearing the fireplace crackle, filling my home with the scents of the season, and pulling warm sweaters and boots out of storage to wear....not to mention the sounds of Christmas music that will soon penetrate the house. I love it! A few years ago, I invited some friends and family over the day before Thanksgiving. I fixed a huge pot of potato soup, mini mexican corn muffins, and my favorite salad (recipe in September archives). It was really very simple to put together. We did it at lunch so the kids were free to run and play outside and the adults stayed inside and visited. I had a chocolate pound cake for dessert, but hardly anyone wanted it because the soup was so hearty and filling. It was just a wonderful time and really kicked the Holiday season off for me. I hope to do something very similar this year. The fact is, you can't go wrong with potato soup. It's a proven crowd pleaser. Today I'm giving you a recipe for a lower fat version of the soup I made. It is just as good and filling with the added health benefit.  I recently read a book called The Reluctant Entertainer (I bought off of Sandy, the author, gives some great ideas to take the fear out of entertaining. Plus, she's got a wonderful website called I hope you can plan to do something like this over the course of this month, even if it is just inviting your next door neighbor over. Practice hospitality. It's a dying art in our culture today. Make your company feel wanted and welcomed. That's all that really counts. Your house doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to have a culinary degree. Just be yourself and let your guests know they are important to you. Isn't that the purpose of having people over? Okay, enough of that. Here's the recipe for Lighter Potato Soup adapted from Cooking Light October 2010. I got the photo and adapted recipe from Tessa at This recipe serves four. However, it can be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled to accommodate your group, but cook the potatoes as outlined in batches of 4 so that they will be properly done. You will need 4 (6 ounce) red potatoes, 2 t. olive oil, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, 3 T. all-purpose flour, 2 cups 1% low-fat milk (divided), 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. black pepper, 3 bacon slices (fried & crumbled), 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and 4 t. thinly sliced green onions. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave on high for 13 mins. or until tender. Cut in half; cool slightly. While potatoes cook, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute′ 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cups milk and add to broth and onion mixture. Then add in remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil; stir often, being careful to not let the milk boil over. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper. Scoop potato in soup and discard skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup using a potato masher. It's important to taste it at this point. It may need more salt. Under seasoning is probably one of the biggest mistakes made when cooking. Potatoes are about as bland as you can get. They need salt. Make sure it's seasoned to your liking, but don't go overboard. Remember your toppings (like the bacon and cheese) will add a little salt too.  Ladle soup into four bowls and top with cheese, green onions, and bacon. You can even put various toppings out in bowls and let your guests decide how they want to garnish their soup. This is a good one to serve on a cold day. After all, it's the most wonderful time of the year. Right? Let's start acting like it and spread some of our blessings around.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Peak at What I'm Giving as Christmas Gifts.

It's that time of year again. Halloween is approaching at the speed of light and then you know the rest of the story. Christmas will be here... like... tomorrow. Seriously, there's less than 2 months to go till the big day. I, for one, am asking myself "Where did 2010 go?". Wasn't I just cooking black eyed peas for our New Year's Day meal? Yes, time is rocking on by. This year I'm going to make a conscious effort to get all the hustle and bustle out of the way in November so that I can concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas during the month of December. You want to hear something sick? My sister gets all of her Christmas shopping done in January. She hits all the after Christmas sales with list in hand and wipes everyone off her list. And yes, she has already purchased my 2011 and 2012 birthday presents. No kidding. So, enough of that silly talk. Let me tell you what I've decided a few ladies on my list will be getting from me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A "Smart" Lunch.

Today I am going to share with you what I have for lunch like 4 days out of the week. My beloved Smart Ones mini pepperoni pizzas. Smart Ones is a trademark company for Weight Watchers. All of the Smart Ones products list WW points on them.  Here's a few reasons why I like this particular product. First of all, I am a big advocate of Weight Watchers. I think it is one of the most sensible approaches out there to losing weight and promoting healthier lifestyles. I am an online member right now and am enjoying some success through that venue. Second, I don't normally like frozen meals like this, especially those prepared in the microwave. They are usually not very appealing to me and what the microwave does to the texture of pizza is...well...a crime. I had not found a frozen pizza that I really cared for until now. I bake these in my oven and they come out perfect. Crispy, yet slightly chewy. I have a pan that kind of looks like a pizza pan except that it's square. It's got little holes in the bottom and allows for these pizzas to really crisp up (also chicken nuggets and french fries bake up wonderfully in this way). Finally, this is very affordable. A box costs $2.50 at Wal-Mart and you get 2 servings per box. I'm no math expert, but that comes out to $1.25 per meal. There are four mini pizzas per serving and it's really enough for me for lunch. Occasionally, I'll add a salad or green beans, but usually I just enjoy my four little pizzas. My little sidekick, EC, loves these as well. It's just simple, good, and healthy. Now don't go out to Wal-Mart and buy every last one of them. What would I do for lunch? Haha! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Rice Casserole.

Today's recipe and photos come from Can I get that on a bumper sticker please? Yes, mennonite girls can cook. If you've ever been fortunate enough to happen upon a mennonite bakery then you know exactly what I'm talking about. I found this recipe on there for rice casserole and it rocks! I mean it. It makes a wonderful side dish for chicken especially. Of course it does, right? Chicken & Rice....Anyway, it meets my criteria for being simple, having accessible ingredients, and tasting delicious. Here's the recipe from Annaliese's kitchen for Rice Casserole: 2 cups Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, 4 cups Water, 1 Red Pepper (chopped), 1 Pkg. Onion Soup Mix, 1 can Mushrooms with water, 3 T. Soy Sauce, 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup, and 2 T. oil. Begin by mixing all ingredients (except water) in a 9x13 Pyrex pan or large (3 Qt.) casserole dish. Stir in the water. Bake @ 350˚ for 1 hour. Sometimes I cover it and sometimes I don't. If the dish has a lid I put it on and uncover it once it's cooking good. If it doesn't, I cover it with tin foil once it looks like it might dry out. And really, I don't know too many people who don't like rice. This one should appeal to a wide variety of people so don't be afraid to make it for potlucks, company, etc....I am planning on making this for my church potluck this coming Sunday. What do you think? I would love to hear your comments. Lol! I'm the only one who ever comments. What does that say about me?.....You know, probably better just to leave that one unanswered.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Fancy Looking Chicken Dish.

I suppose I've become a blog troller or stalker or whatever you want to call it. I love reading other people's blogs and getting ideas off of them. I guess that's the purpose of blogging. At least it is for me. I would never take credit for someone else's picture that I use or post they've written. It's not how I roll. You will find very few "original" posts from me because I am...umm...not very creative. The chicken recipe I'm giving you tonight is a prime example. I was trolling along and came across it and thought it sounded relatively easy and soooo good. I can't speak from personal experience about how it tastes because I've not made it yet. However.... How could it not be good? It's got chicken, cream cheese, shredded cheese, and crescent rolls in it. I'm not going out on a limb here. I feel I can say with confidence that this one is going to be Mmm. Mmm. Good. So here's the recipe for Chicken Packets: 4 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded), 4 tubes of crescent rolls, 6 green onions (chopped), 2 (8 oz.) bars of cream cheese softened, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup milk, and bread crumbs. Begin by preheating oven to 350˚. In a bowl, combine chicken, onions, and cream cheese. Roll out crescent rolls and spread a spoonful of mixture on top. Then roll up each roll & dip into bread crumbs. Bake on cookie sheet for 13 minutes or whatever the crescent roll package recommends. For the Sauce, heat up soup, milk, and cheese over low heat on stovetop. Drizzle cheese sauce over the top of the cooked crescent rolls. This recipe is courtesy of Kasey Trimble and the photo and recipe post was taken from Lots of good ideas on her site so you will want to check her blog out soon. I thought this looked like something that would be perfect to serve to company with a beautiful salad, dressed up green beans, and crusty french bread. What do you think? Sounds like a winner to me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Trick or a Treat?

Tonight I ate too much meatloaf (thanks Tonya) and so...hmmm....I don't know what that has to do with this post. Maybe it just points to the fact that sometimes I don't feel like cooking or really even using my limited brain cells to think about food. Sometimes I just want to buy a bakery cake at Wal-Mart and throw it on my cake stand and just act like I baked it. Raise your hand if you've been there. I love the old Rice Krispy commercial where the woman is reading a magazine and gets up and throws a little flour on her face as she grabs the pan of Rice Krispy Treats and walks out to her awaiting family looking as if she slaved over dessert. Haha! Classic. I found the cutest idea on another blog that I recently discovered and want to share it with you. Best part, it requires minimal effort and the result is soooo cute.
Remember the $5 wire baskets that I told you all about a few weeks ago? I found them at Wal-Mart. Well came up with the cutest idea for them. She ran ribbon through the perimeter of the basket and tied it in a beautiful bow. Next, she found bags of pre-made popcorn balls (see below).

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Hot Crawfish Dip.

Yay! Friday is finally here. I'm happy about that on many, many levels. And I am also super excited that our tailgating event is tonight. I'm hearing that there's going to be lots of wonderful food there. Can't wait to check it all out. I'm ending my game day recipe series with none other than a chip and dip post. How could I not? I wouldn't even think of having people over to watch a game and not have something to dunk a chip in. I've decided to go with a hot crawfish dip for tonight. The temps will be dipping down and we will all be wearing our sweaters and designer jeans (totally kidding about the designer part). This will be perfect. It's got a bar of cream cheese in it and as far as I'm concerned that already makes it a winner, but to toss in crawfish, green onions, and mayonnaise.....well sublime is the word that comes to mind. Here's what I'll be throwing together in just a little while: 2 bunches of green onions (chopped), 1 T. butter, 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 T. dried parsley, 16 oz. frozen crawfish tail (juice and all, thawed), 1 T. chopped garlic, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, 1/8 t. black pepper, 1/4 t. crushed red pepper, and 1/2 t. salt. Now you can also throw in mushrooms, black olives, etc...whatever you like to make it your own. Begin by cooking onion in butter, until nice and brown. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Simmer until completely warm. Serve with corn or tortilla chips. I love using pita chips for this too. Soooo good. Sooo easy. Sooo me. Enjoy!------Photo credit: *this is actually a picture of her hot artichoke dip* I couldn't find a decent picture of my recipe. Deal with it. Haha!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another Tailgate Treat: Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

You knew it was coming didn't you? I couldn't post a tailgating series and not include my number one food category. I got this recipe and photo from one of my favorite sites, This is the best chocolate batter I've found. It's moist, chocolatey, and hits all the right notes. As if that wasn't enough, to then dunk them into silky, creamy chocolate ganache is just.....walking on the edge between oh so right and oh so wrong. Don't you love how shiny the ganache makes them too? If anything can bring me back around from my little romp with the stomach virus, it's these little babies. So, here's the recipe for the cupcakes: 2 cups sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 t. salt, 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 whole eggs, 1 t. baking soda, 1 t. vanilla, 2 sticks butter, 4 heaping T. cocoa powder, 1 cup boiling water, and 18 whole Hershey's Kisses (unwrapped). Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Spray 18 muffin cups with baking spray. To make the cake batter, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir to combine and set aside. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add boiling water, allow to bubble for a few seconds, then turn off heat. Pour chocolate mixture over flour mixture. Stir a few times to cool the chocolate. Pour buttermilk mixture over the top and stir to combine. Pour 1/4 cup cake batter into each muffin cup. Lightly set one kiss in the middle of each cupcake; do not press down. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove the cupcakes and allow to cool on a baking rack. Now for the Ganache: 8 ounces, weight bittersweet chocolate, 1 cup heavy cream, 6 T. corn syrup, and 2 t. vanilla extract. To make the ganache, heat cream and corn syrup over medium heat. Chop chocolate and put in a separate bowl.  Add vanilla to cream mixture, then pour cream mixture over the top of chopped chocolate. Whisk together until melted, smooth, and glossy. Dunk the tops of the cupcakes in the ganache. Allow to cool before serving..... Friday cannot get here quick enough for me to make these. If you're at the tailgate, stop by and say "Hi" and you might just score one for yourself. Haha! Get it? Score one? Ok...don't worry I cook better than I make jokes. Well, most of the time anyway.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Game Day Recipe: BLT Wrap.

So...I had a little stomach bug yesterday. And food is still not so much appealing to me today.  However, I owe it to all 10 of my followers to continue with the game day series. Haha! I thought I would bring a wrap into the mix today. Wraps have become very popular in the past few years and the possibilities are endless as to what you can use for the filling. I'm choosing to go more traditional with a BLT filling, but I've seen so many flavor combinations that it would literally make your head spin. My sister brought roast beef wraps to our last tailgate and they were a hit too. Plus, flour tortillas come in a variety of flavors these days and there are even lots of tasty low-carb choices as well. I better go ahead and post the recipe while I'm still able to sip on a little bit of Ginger Ale (my new bff). I'm sure I'll be back 100% tomorrow and will feel like really getting into the series...until then, here's the recipe for BLT Wraps: 1 cup Mayo, 1/2 cup dried tomatoes in oil (drained & chopped), 8 (10 inch) flour tortillas, 1 large head iceberg lettuce (chopped), 1 medium onion thinly sliced (optional), 16 bacon slices (cooked and crumbled), 1 t. salt, and 1 t. pepper.
Combine mayo and tomatoes in a small bowl. Spread evenly over 1 side of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Then layer lettuce, onions, and bacon evenly over tortillas and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Finally, roll up tortillas; cut in half diagonally, and secure with wooden pick. Quick and easy. Couldn't be better. Enjoy!--------Recipe and Photo Credit:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Game Day Plan.

This Friday night is Homecoming at our local high school. My beloved Panthers will hopefully score their little hearts out and give us a victory. We are having a community tailgating event in honor of the homecoming festivities. I've decided to devote my posts this week to recipes that would make good tailgating grub. Why? Well, because my oldest niece is captain of the cheerleading squad & my little cousin is co-captain (and both seniors). Because I used to babysit one of the girls up for homecoming queen. Because her boyfriend, whom I've known his whole life, is a senior and plays on the offensive & defensive line. Because my nephew, who used to call me Tae Tae, is now playing in the wide receiver and punter positions. Because we get to hang on to our current quarterback for three more years. And, finally, because in 1991, I was elected homecoming queen. *sigh* I guess all those reasons really only point to one basic conclusion.....Miss T is getting old. Really old. I better get this recipe posted before my  fingers get too arthritic to type. So, here's the first finger licking recipe. Honey Glazed Chicken and Bacon Bites: 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, 20 thin bacon slices, 3 T. honey, 2 t. coarse mustard, and fresh lemon juice. Begin by preheating the oven to 425˚ F. Then, cut the chicken in thin strips and lightly salt. Grab a bowl and combine honey and mustard. Squeeze in about a T. of lemon juice. Wrap the bacon around the chicken strips and place them in a roasting pan or a foil-lined cookie sheet. Brush the chicken bites with half of the honey mixture. As soon as one side is done (approx. 10-13 mins. later), take the tray out of the oven, flip them over, and brush with the other half of the honey mixture. Put them back in the oven for another 10-13 minutes, until the other side is crispy as well. Keep an eye on them as the bacon can easily burn. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. These are super easy bites to take with you and will travel well. I hope you make them in support of your favorite hometown football team soon. Go Big Blue!-------Recipe and Photo Credit:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Saturday Craft Idea.

I found this cute project on the other day. You can go to her site and click on the home section and scroll down just a little and see a step by step account of how she did it. It's so cute and is pretty easy to make (even for someone like me who is...uh..challenged in the crafting department). I'm pretty sure that if I can manage it, then anyone can. It's called a shabby chic earring holder. Amanda spent under $10 to make it too. Don't we all have some cute dangly earrings to display? I love the idea of displaying them in this way too. Here's a rundown of what she did: Go to Walmart and buy a $3 black 8x10 picure frame, 12' of picture hanging wire, some vintage white acrylic paint, and a sponge paintbrush. You will also need a staple gun. The frame did not require sanding or any kind of pre-painting treatment. Just paint on the white in a very, non-perfect, kind of way. You will have little bits of black kind of peeping through and it will end up looking antiqued. There's really no sense in painting the back of the frame because it won't be seen. She measured 1/4" from the top of the opening and marked it on the back, then came down 2.25"and marked it as well, until she had 4 rows to hang the earrings from.
She then measured the wire across the opening and folded it over twice (which made it thicker) and cut it. Next, twist the wire loosely and staple it to each side on the back of the frame. Repeat to make the other three rows. The above picture is what it looks like after it's been stapled to the back. Then take whatever bit of remaining wire that is sticking out and wrap it around the end, as she did, to avoid having any sharp pieces sticking out. She also took a small hammer after she did that and flattened it even more. I think this is such a cute project and would look fabulous sitting on your dresser or on your vanity space in the bathroom. Amanda has so many other cute ideas too. Don't forget to check out her blog, I got the pictures of the project from her site as well. Yes, I believe this is one craft that I can make and actually be proud of. How about you?

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Lemon Chicken Meal.

My favorite cooking show is Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten is so cool. She's rich, she's chic, she's got a gorgeous home, she drives a convertible, her husband adores her....and I love her recipes! Of course, none of that means anything if you don't have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. She might, I don't know, but I had to clarify that. Ina and I are different in many, many ways. She makes some of her food using caviar and imported olive oil and french sea salt. I can't do that. I can't even afford to buy one ounce of caviar and I don't think I would even want to. However, lots of her recipes are really easy and call for basic ingredients. Simply put, I just love her style. She will always be the Hostess with Mostest to me. Did I mention I have all of her cookbooks too? They are beautiful and I display them in my kitchen on a baker's rack. Her newest cookbook, How Easy is That?, is due to be released at the end of this month (I'm already on the waiting list for it). This recipe for lemon chicken breasts is in it and I got it off of her website. It's such a perfect chicken recipe. I love how the lemon flavor brightens the whole dish. This one is too simple to pass up and you probably already have all the ingredients on hand. Do you and your family a favor and serve this soon. Lemon Chicken Breasts (Serves 4): 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 T. minced garlic (approx. 9 cloves), 1/3 cup dry white wine (I substitute chicken broth), 1 T. grated lemon zest (2 lemons), 2 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 1/2 t. dried oregano, 1/2 t. dried thyme leaves ( or 1 t. fresh if you have it), Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 4 boneless chicken breasts (skin on, 6 to 8 ounces each), and 1 lemon. Preheat the oven to 400˙ F. Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute, but don't allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the chicken stock, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 t. salt and pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Next, pat the chicken breasts dry and them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with pan juices. Enjoy!-----Recipe and Photo Credit:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Chocolate Treat.

So...I've still got chocolate on my mind. Actually, that's not unusual for me. I must say, however, that I really wasn't trying to find a chocolate recipe when I came across this. I was simply trying to catch up on one of my favorite blogs, She has lots of very interesting posts on food, fashion, photography, home & garden....just good stuff. I was in the recipe section seeing what new things she had on there when I came across Chocolate Almond Frozen Mousse. And yes, I was intrigued because one of my all time favorite pairings with chocolate is almonds. And this particular recipe calls for a Hershey Bar with favorite candy bar. Bar none. Haha! Get it? Bar none. Okay, moving on. Unfortunantely, this love story has a cruel twist to it. One of my daughters has a tree nut allergy (almonds included) and I absolutely cannot keep them in the house. Because if she can't eat it, then I'm not going to make it. That would just be plain mean of me. There are, however, occasions when she's not here, like for a sleepover or summer camp or something like that. That's when I would make this recipe. Hey, you don't have any valid reason to keep you from making this so I won't make you wait any's the recipe: 1 (12 ounce) Cool Whip, 2 T. strong brewed coffee that is completely cooled, and 1 Hershey Bar with Almonds. Seriously? Yes, only 3 ingredients. *big sigh* Now you need to allow the Cool Whip to thaw on the counter for about ten to fifteen minutes. Next, gently stir in coffee until combined. Then, melt Hershey Bar in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then stir into the Cool Whip mixture. Since the Cool Whip is cold, it will solidify the candy bar in tiny particles. You can serve this soft or refreeze it and serve as an ice-cream type treat. I mean, really, does it even matter? Soft or's got the word "Delicious" stamped all over it. -----------Recipe and Photo Credit:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Chocolate Fix.

Last week my two oldest came home from school lugging two boxes full of chocolate candy bars. Their latest Beta Club fundraiser. The boxes are full of peanut butter, almond, crispy, and caramel filled chocolate bars. My first instinct was to take the chocolate and run far away to a place where I could enjoy some "alone time" with the bars. Then I came to my senses and gave the girls $1 a piece and put my two bars of chocolate in a safe place to be enjoyed a little each day for the next two weeks. Well, long story short, both bars were gone before bedtime that very night. In a sheer act of desperation, I looked for a healthier alternative that I could enjoy without guilt. That's when I discovered and I haven't looked back. If you are familiar with the Weight Watchers program, then you will appreciate this site. It gives healthier alternatives to favorite recipes and includes the nutritional and Weight Watchers points value of each recipe, in addition to providing a beautiful photo of the recipe. I found many things on there that I want to try, but first I had to find a way to combat the chocolate cravings that were getting the best of me. And thus, Chocolate Chips Clouds were discovered and seriously, they are just what I needed to help me through this recent influx of chocolate in my house. Basically, they are baked meringues. Not hard at all. I hope you will try them soon. I'm thinking a nice cup of coffee and a few of these would make an excellent chocolate "fix". Here's the recipe: 9 T. egg whites, 1/8 t. cream of tartar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 t. vanilla, 2 T. cocoa, and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat oven to 300˙F and line a cookie sheet with a silpat or nonstick silicone pad. Using a mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar together in a large bowl at a high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar a little at a time, then vanilla, beating well after each addition until you get stiff peaks, the sugar is dissolved, & the mixture is glossy. Sift cocoa onto egg white mixture and fold in until combine. Next, carefully fold in chocolate chips. Drop mixture by tablespoons onto cookie sheet. You should have approximately 30 cookies.  Bake 35-45 minutes or until just dry. Cool slightly, Remove to cool completely on a wire rack. You can store, covered, at room temperature. Each cookie has only 46 calories and is worth 1 Weight Watcher point. Maybe now my waistline can survive this chocolate fundraiser ordeal. A girl can hope. Can't she?-------Recipe and Photo Credit:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Pancake Supper.

I am so happy right now, I could literally cry. The Lord sent a wonderful rain to my neck of the woods and everything outside looks so refreshed. We are actually in a moderate drought right now and that rain was very needed. In addition to the shower, we also have cooler temps that blew in with our little storm. I love how it feels and looks outside right now. It's still cloudy and the gorgeous fall colors are everywhere I look. It makes me feel....cozy. This calls for breakfast for supper. I love to cook pancakes, biscuits, bacon, breakfast casseroles, night. It just feels like the right thing to do sometimes. I am sharing a recipe I found on (have I mentioned lately how much I love her site?). It's called pancake squares. Squares? Yes, you read right. This is made in an 8x8 casserole dish and baked in the oven. That was the first thing that caught my attention. I love pancakes, but trying to feed them to a crowd can be a little tricky. Usually, my family has to wait their turn in the line to get nice, hot ones. This recipe eliminates that and everyone can eat at the same time. It feeds 4-6, but you can double it and bake it in a 9x13 if need be. All you need is some good bacon or sausage and you've got a crowd pleasing meal. Heres the recipe: Pancake Squares- 3/4 cup milk, 2 T. melted butter, 1 large egg, 1 T. sugar, 1 cup flour, 2 t. baking powder, and 1/4 t. salt. Preheat oven to 350˙ F and lightly grease an 8x8 dish. In a mixing bowl, beat together the milk, butter, and eggs. Add in sugar, then gradually beat the flour in. Carefully stir in the baking powder & salt. Pour in prepared dish and bake for 20-25 mins until brown. Cut into squares, put on a little pat of butter, and drizzle with syrup. Oh kind of meal. A variation could be to throw in blueberries, chocolate chips, etc..into the batter and bake in. Yummy. Yummy. Yummy. That's all I'm going to say about that.------Photo Credit:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Family Favorite: Chicken Enchiladas.

I used to watch a cooking show that highlighted home cooks and their signature dishes. One episode showcased this woman's green chile chicken enchiladas. Guess where she said she got the recipe for it? Off the back of a can of Old El Paso green chile enchilada sauce. I'm serious. They did a whole show about how fabulous they were too. I, of course, dashed to my nearest grocery store to see if I could find a can for myself. And the rest is history. I keep the ingredients on hand to throw these enchiladas together in a moment's notice. I take them to church potlucks, I fix them for my bunko group, I bring them to women who have just had babies, etc....It's my "go to" recipe. I have tweaked it just a bit from the original recipe, but it's still as easy as ever. Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas: 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken meat (rotisserie is super or even 2 large cans of all white chicken will work in a pinch), 1 large yellow onion chopped, 8 ounce block of cream cheese ( I use reduced fat & I also cut it into 8 piece chunks), 1 can of diced green chiles, 1 Tbsp. chile powder, salt & pepper to taste,  a 10- count package of flour toritillas, 2 cans green enchilada sausce,  and 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Begin by cooking onion in a small amount of oil until nice and brown (almost caramel in color). Lower heat, and add in chicken, cream cheese, and diced green chiles. Let this mixture cook over low heat until cream cheese is melted. Add in chile powder and salt & pepper to taste, then remove from stovetop and set aside. Divide the mixture among 10 tortillas and roll up. Place seam side down in a greased 9x13 dish. Pour green enchilada sauce over the top and cover with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for approx. 20 mins or until cheese is melted and bubbly. It's really that simple. I like to serve this with microwave spanish rice and a green salad. Sometimes I make salsa and put a bowl out with some tortilla chips and we feel like we are in a Mexican restaurant. My kids request this often and I would say it's among my top five recipes in popularity. Now it can be one of yours too. -------Photo credit:

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Cozy Cup of Hot Chocolate.

I'm loving this weather we're having around here lately. The scorching temps have subsided and cooler conditions are so very refreshing. Tonight, I went to cheer on my Panthers wearing my favorite short-sleeve black turtleneck sweater, jeans, and boots. The short-sleeve was a mistake. There was a slight nip in the air and my arms were begging for a light cover on them. Thank goodness my Mother-in-Law brought an extra jacket. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord takes care of me.  Anyway, I got home from the football game and thought how nice a mug of hot chocolate would be. I keep the boxed mixes because they are super simple and the kids can easily help themselves when they so desire. However, when I have the ingredients on hand, I much prefer to make it myself. This recipe is the perfect balance of chocolate and cream. Not too sweet, but sweet enough and extra creamy with swirls of chocolate goodness floating through it. Mmmm.....Here's the recipe: 1 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 3 Tbsp sugar, 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 tsp vanilla, & 1/4 tsp salt. Heat milk, cream, and sugar over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Be careful not to bring to a boil. Next, melt chocolate chips into milk, still over low heat, by whisking it until it is melted. After chocolate melts, stir in vanilla and salt. Transfer to two mugs, top with delicious whipped cream or marshmallows, and enjoy. I usually triple the recipe for my family of six. It's very easy to make and blows those mixes right out of the water in the taste department. Serve a little chocolate love up to your favorite people the next time the temps drop. They will profess their undying love for you and maybe you can talk them into washing the dishes. Usually works for me. Enjoy!--------Credit: this recipe and picture is from