Saturday, September 20, 2008

Apple Dumplings

This is a dessert to die for! This is perfect for an after dinner dessert to impress your friends!

1 can 10 buttery, flaky biscuits
1 can apple pie filling
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 stick margarine

Roll out biscuits a little less than 1/8-inch thick. Place spoonful of apple pie filling in center and bring four corners of biscuit up over the filling and pinch shut. Place biscuit in 9x13 baking dish with pinched side down. Prepare syrup- Mix sugar, water, cinnamon and margarine. Boil for 3 minutes. Pour syrup into the dish but not over biscuits. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. When done, spoon some of the syrup over the top of the apple dumplings. Best when served warm with vanilla ice cream! Yum!

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

This is a favorite of my sisters! Hope you enjoy!

4 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup or 1 large family size can.
1 carton sour cream, 16 oz
1 roll Ritz crackers, crushed
2 Tbsp poppy seed
1 stick margarine, melted
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil chicken with salt and pepper. When chicken is done, debone and cut into bite-size pieces. Mix soup, poppy seed and sour cream well. Pour mixture over chicken and mix. Pour crushed crackers on top of chicken mixture. Drizzle margarine over crackers. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chicken Spaghetti

This is a favorite dish of mine. It is very filling and "comfort food" at its finest! I like this dish because it is very versatile, I'm going to put the full recipe as I received it but I have made it before without the peas, pimento or bell peppers, so if you do not like these items then you can leave them out!

4 chicken breasts (I have found that you get a better flavor with the chicken if you buy the chicken on the bone)
1-2 bell peppers, chopped finely
1-2 onions, depending on your taste, chopped finely
1 large can English peas
1 small jar pimento
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes (this dish has a kick to it but it you want to kick it up even more you can add the hotter variety of Ro-Tel)
1 package spaghetti noodles, 16 oz.
One large box Velveeta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil chicken with salt and pepper. After chicken is cooked debone and cut into bite size pieces.
2. At the same time the chicken is cooking, boil spaghetti noodles, onions and bell pepper until pasta is done.
3. When pasta is almost done, melt cheese in microwave. When cheese is melted, (it is okay if cheese is a little lumpy) add Ro-Tel (with the juice), pimento and English peas to the cheese. After pasta is done, drain all water and add cheese mixture to noodles. Mix well. Add chicken.
4. Pour into large casserole dish, mix well and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Another favorite from! I made this as stated and it was absolutely delicious!


  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 6 slices ham
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
  2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
  3. Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs

Another great recipe courtesy of! Jammie can back me up on this one, it is FABULOUS! I marinated the chicken separately from the veggies, more so just so the flavor of the veggies didn't overpower the chicken while marinating. I used onion, and green and red pepper the first time that I made this dish. It would also be great with button mushrooms, grape tomatoes or pineapple added into the mix! It's a very versatile recipe when it comes to the veggies.

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 small onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • skewers - Don't forget to soak them!!!


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Before adding chicken, reserve a small amount of marinade to brush onto kabobs while cooking. Place the chicken, garlic, onions and peppers in the bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (the longer the better).
  2. Preheat the grill for high heat.
  3. Drain marinade from the chicken and vegetables, and discard marinade. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto the skewers.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place the skewers on the grill. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear. Turn and brush with reserved marinade frequently.

Fire Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa

Absolutely delicious! An old friend got this out of a salsa recipe book and tweaked it a bit. He always told me that the easiest way to blacken the tomatoes was to use a torch. I picked up one from Wal-Mart for really cheap, but I'm sure you can blacken them any way that you'd like. Enjoy!

¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion Chopped
2 Pounds Roma Tomatoes Blackened
4 Clove Garlic Roasted & Peeled
½ Cup Cilantro
4 Chipotle Chile In Adobo Sauce (more or less depending on how hot you want it)
¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar

Preheat oven to 350, wrap garlic (skin on) in foil and put in the oven until the garlic is soft.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat until
lightly smoking, add the onion, and sauté until caramelized, about 10
minutes. Transfer the onion, half of the blackened tomatoes and garlic
to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed. Add
the cilantro and chipotle chilies, and pulse again to mix. Peel, and
seed remaining tomatoes. Cut into chunks. Place in food processor and
pulse a few times but not so much as to puree. You want some chunks of
tomato left. Add remaining EVOO, vinegar, salt and sugar.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Family Recipe Hamburgers

My brother is a huge griller. He loves to grill. I think he might even be a little obsessed with grilling. I love to grill as well and will grill whenever I get the chance. I used to simply use the frozen patties that you just slap on the grill...but my brother taught me a little secret recipe. Well, not the whole secret...he keeps a secret ingredient. But since I'm grilling burgers tonight I thought I'd share the recipe! It's simple..but everytime I grill for people they beg me for the recipe.

1.5 lbs of 92% lean (or higher) ground beef
1/2 cup of salsa (eyeball don't want too much)
1 tbs of McCormick's steak or hamburger seasoning (either one works)

Mix ingredients in a bowl, get your hands dirty! Form into patties (size depends on you and your choice of buns). Grill over med-med high heat or fry in a skillet. Flip only once...I flip when the tops are turning brown. But then again, I'm not the master griller like my brother. I still burn my patties once in a while. You can always break one open to check doneness.

Make sure to have fresh tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and whatever else might be your favorite dressings! I also love to mix it up by putting out shredded lettuce and guacamole to dress the burgers or whatever I feel like. :)

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole

1 can of cheddar cheese
1 can of cream of mushroom (or cream of broccoli)
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 bag of frozen chopped broccoli (cooked)
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of cooked diced chicken or Quorn chik'n tenders
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all the ingredients except shredded cheddar together in a bowl and place in a lightly greased casserole dish. Bake for 25 mins, top with cheddar, bake another 10-15 mins until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.

*Thanks to Joyce for helping me tweak and correct this recipe!*

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hashbrown Quiche

Hash Brown Quiche

3 cups, shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted 3 large eggs, beaten 1 cup half-and-half 3/4 cup diced Morning Star sausage patties 1/2 cup diced green onions 1 cup shredded Cheddar Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

Homemade Hummus

hummus recipe:

1 can of a chick peas1/2 cup of tahini sauce (i find a wide selection on the mediterranean aisle at wegmans) 1/4 cup of water1 teaspoon of sea salt or regular salt1 half of fresh squeezed lemon2 or 3 cloves of garlic (depends on how garlicky you like it!) dash of pepper or crushed red pepper (depending on how spicy you want it.)

mix all of these ingredients into a blender & puree until it is smooth. i prefer to chill mine before eating too.

to make different kinds of hummus add one red bell pepper or a handful of kalamata olives etc.

homemade guacamole

guacamole recipe:

i always squeeze my avocados to make sure they are soft but not mushy. i will buy hard ones if i am not planning on making the guacamole for a few days. the life span of an avocado is limited so you have to pick them wisely.

cut 3 (depending how much you want to make, you can add less or more avocados) avocado into fours then peel the skin back. place the pits aside & put all the halves into a bowl. mash with a hand masher to the consistency you like. i like mine a bit smooth with some lumps. you could use a blender if you want it really smooth.

dice one large tomato or 6 grape tomatoes add to the bowl.

dice a half of red (purple) onion add to the bowl.

add some salt & pepper.

mix all ingredients with a spoon.

wash off a pit or two until you get all avocado chunks off of it. dry them with a paper towel.

place the pits gently in the guac & push them down a bit. it looks nice & supposedly the pits keep the guacamole greener longer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Amazing Mac & Cheese

By far a family favorite! I've made this with the bread crumb topping and without and either way it is delicious!

Recipe courtesy of Food Network,

Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally until it is almost tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, the cayenne pepper, and a teaspoon of salt.

Put half the macaroni into a buttered 2-quart casserole and top with half the cheddar cheese. Repeat. Pour the milk mixture over the macaroni and cheese.

In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the paprika, the remaining butter, and the Parmesan. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the macaroni and bake until brown and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chicken Gorgonzola

I was inspired by a meal that I saw at Trader Joe's last week and I thought to myself, "Hey, I can make that!" and my oh my I am so glad that I did and the best part...Start to table in 30 minutes!! I think the kids would love a "naked" version of this, just chicken and the cheese sauce.


  • 3 Chicken Breasts
  • Whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Portabella Mushrooms, cut into pieces
  • 1 Small Shallot, chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Cup half and half
  • 1/2 Cup Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 1 Roma Tomato, chopped
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large pan. Add in mushrooms, shallot, and garlic and cook until shallot is tender. Lightly dredge the chicken through the flour and add to the pan cooking until juices run clear. Meanwhile, heat half and half in a saucepan until warm, add in Gorgonzola cheese stirring until creamy. When the chicken is cooked through remove from pan and top each breast with the mushroom mixture and chopped roma tomatoes. Drizzle cheese sauce over top of chicken and top with parsley flakes if desired.

Cheesy Potato Casserole Supreme

I got this recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook and put my own spin on it. It was REALLY good. One of the household members described it as "cheesy potatoes in awesomeness". It originally calls for 1 can of cream of chicken soup but I replaced it with 1 can of cheddar cheese sauce. And I also added chopped Quorn Chik'n Tenders.

Prep: 15 min; Bake: 50 min

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cheddar cheese sauce
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (30-ounce) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (I used O'brien potatoes)
8 medium green onions, sliced (1/2 cup) (I omitted the green onions since I used the O'brien potatoes)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1 1/2 cup of diced cooked chicken or Quorn Chik'n Tenders (optional)

Heat oven to 350°. Grease rectangular baking dish, 13 x 9 x 2 inches. Mix soups, sour cream, milk and pepper in very large bowl. Stir in potatoes and onions. Spoon into baking dish. Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbly around edges.

Notes: You could also add chopped broccoli or carrots or other veggies to sneak veggies into your kids' dinner. I would recommend making this with frozen O'Brien potatoes since it has onions and bell peppers already added. It adds great flavor and color to the dish and saves you an extra step!

NUTRITION FACTS: 1 Serving:; Calories 325 (Calories from Fat 135); Fat 15g (Saturated 8g); Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 1,060mg; Carbohydrate 39g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 9g % DAILY VALUE:; Vitamin A 10%; Vitamin C 10%; Calcium 16%; Iron 6% DIET EXCHANGES:; 2 Starch; 2 Vegetable; 3 Fat

From "Betty Crocker's Complete Cookbook, Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today, 9th Edition." Text Copyright 2000 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cowboy Stew

2 lb. ground chuck
2 large onions
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes
2 cans cream-style corn
2 cans mixed vegetables (drained)

Brown ground chuck and onions together. Drain any excess grease. Add all other ingredients. Simmer on stove medium heat for 90 minutes or in crockpot on low for a few hours. Serve with crackers.

*Variations- You can also add two cans of Spanish rice if you like, I prefer it without the rice though. For you veggies out there you can use the ground "meat" crumbles.

My mouth is really set for this soup but it's just too hot right now! The first cold snap we have I am making this!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Baked Spaghetti & Meatballs / Baked Vegetarian Spaghetti

It's been a rough week for me this week and after eating out or ordering in way too much I decided to whip up something for dinner last night. I've been meaning to make Spaghetti and Meatballs for about a month but didn't have the ground beef and kept forgetting to pick some up. So now that I was equipped with some fresh ground beef I decided to go ahead and make it. But I didn't feel like spaghetti...I was actually more in the mood for a lasagna, of course I lacked the lasagna noodles so I compromised. Here's what I did...and remember I'm also cooking for a vegetarian so that meant I was cooking two seperate meals. However, this meal is so simple that it didn't make a difference.


1 1/2 lbs of beef
2 eggs
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of dry bread crumbs
1 tbs parsley
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400. Saute garlic in olive oil. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and roll into 1-1.5" balls and place into a lightly greased pan. For this recipe I recommend 1" balls. Place into oven for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.


1 package spaghetti

While cooking meatballs cook the Spaghetti noodles as directed on the package.


1 jar of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce (reserve 1/2 cup)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 tbs Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups of your fave brand of "meatless" crumbles (optional)
2 cups grated Mozzarella

Set oven to 325. Saute garlic in olive oil. If you are going for a vegetarian dish you can add the crumbles and saute with the garlic and olive oil and omit the meatballs. Once the noodles are cooked thoroughly drain the noodles and combine with all the sauce ingredients except the mozzarella and 1/2 cup of marinara. Mix well and transfer to a baking or casserole pan. Place the meatballs onto the mixture and nestle them into the spaghetti. Pour remaining sauce over the spaghetti and meatballs and top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

NOTES: Even though it's a lot of steps this actually didn't take much effort to make...and I was exhausted by the time I started. The best part is that you can make the meatballs ahead of time. This made one large pan of baked Spaghetti and meatballs and 2 small pans (bread pans) of vegetarian Spaghetti. What I did was combine the sauce with the noodles except for the meatless crumbles. I poured the mixture into the large pan then mixed in the crumbles and poured into the smaller pans. I put the extra small pan into the freezer along with a freezer bag of extra meatballs. This will help when I'm too tired to cook but too broke to order in.

Please allow me to introduce myself...

That song is stuck in my head so forgive the goofy title! I am thrilled to be a part of this blog and hope to contribute useful ideas and recipes! My name is Ashley and I am the very busy mother of 3 so my meals are usually fast! I have started making a conscious effort to make meals healthier but I am from the south soooo it's still "down home" cooking. Also, my family has been in the bakery business for years so desserts are our "speciality" so to speak. My daughter has taken to the love of cooking so I have a few kid-friendly recipes on hand already. In our homes (mine, my mom's and my grandmother's) the kitchen is always open to everyone and we try to include the kids as much as possible! Once again, thank you for having me here!

Sauce for Lasagna

As requested, a fabulous sauce for Lasagna or pasta in general (if you want to freeze some). Courtesy of

Here is the sauce that I use for Lasagna.

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, sliced
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the sausage, beef, onion, and garlic until well browned; drain fat. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Mix in sugar and season with basil, fennel seed, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Parmesan Pork Chops

I decided to make pork chops for dinner one evening and I thought Marlon was crazy when he asked if there was a way to make them "cheesy" (anyone who knows Marlon knows that he has a strange fascination for any and all cheese).

I searched through the fridge and found a block of Parmesan cheese and decided to go for it. Here is what I came up with:

1/2 inch thick boneless pork chops (we had 3)
1 egg
3/4 cup italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or from the container if that's all that you have)
Olive Oil
S&P to taste

Sprinkle the chops with S&P to taste and heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Dredge the chops through the Parmesan cheese, then through the egg and finally into the bread crumbs. Add chops to the pan and cook until internal temp reads 170 for well done and outside is golden brown.

**If you're cooking this in a stainless steel pan you may want to adjust the heat down a bit or it may burn the outside**

We serve with brown rice or rice pilaf.

Thanks For Having Me!

Another Babycenter chica here who loves to cook. However, when you work full time, are a full time student and chase around a BUSY 2 year old dinner needs to be good and it needs to be done FAST! I love a great fancy meal, but those are few and far between here these days. Occasionally you'll see me post a meal that might take a bit of time, but like most mothers time is of the essence!

I look foward to sharing recipes that are a sure hit in the Young household and I hope that you enjoy them!