Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Butternut Squash Bisque

This is a great fall soup. We tried it the other night and loved it! Amelia even ate a bowlful.

1 T canola oil
1 T margarine or butter
1/4-1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 1 large squash)
3 cups vegetable broth (chicken would also work)
salt and pepper to taste
ground nutmeg to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Heat the oil and melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender.

Mix carrots and squash into the pot. Pour in vegetable broth and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender.

In a blender, puree soup mixture until smooth. Return to pot, and stir in the heavy cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve warm with a dash of nutmeg.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cucumber Bread

Very light and refreshing. I didn't think I like cucumbers very well, but this is a great appetizer and always gets great reviews.

French Baguette (long skinny loaf, sliced thin-you can ask the bakery to slice it thin for you)
One english cucumber, peeled and sliced into 30-36 circles (English cucumbers are seedless and usually in shrink wrap)
1-8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 C Mayo or Miracle Whip
1 Italian seas. packet
Dill weed - to sprinkle on top

Directions:Blend cream cheese, mayo and italian seasoning. Spread mixture on top on bread and top with cucumber slice and sprinkle dill on top. Refrigerate. Number Of Servings:30-36 slices

Note: The cream cheese mixture will actually make enough for 2 baguettes and 2 cucumbers, so you can either 1/2 it or make up the mixture and keep it in the lasts a while.

Chicken Potpie

Really good and easy.

2-3 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of potato soup
1/3 C chicken broth (or water)
1 pkg. mixed veggies, cooked
1 C shredded cheese
1 C french-fried onions
1/2 t. seasoned salt
Pepper to taste
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls

Cook chicken in crockpot on low for 3 hours (if frozen or 2 hours if thawed) with 1/3 C chicken broth (or water) and 1 can of potato soup. Take cooked chicken out and cube. While chicken's out, add other can of potato soup and mix until creamy. Add chicken, veggies, fried onions, cheese, and seasoned salt and pepper. Mix well. Place in bottom of 9 x 13. Lay crescent dough on top of chicken mixture until everywhere is covered (you can double up if needed). Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until it is deep golden brown. (*I test the dough to make sure it's not too doughy on the inside)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shepherd's Pie

I prepare this with leftovers from a roast and mashed potato dinner and it is fabulous. Same meal and ingredients, but it seems different.

Here's what you need:
Roast: I cook in crockpot for 6-8 hours on low with a 1/2 C water and a packet of Onion Soup sprinkled on top, cut into small pieces. You really only need like 2 cups to make this dinner and you could use more or less if you're using leftovers.

Gravy: Using leftover juice in crockpot, pour into pan and bring to boil. While it's coming to a boil, in a glass liquid measuring cup (or just a cup) put a cup of cold water. Put a heaping spoonful of flour and then whisk until somewhat smooth. Add 4-5 heaping spoonfuls total, one at a time, whisking each, until the consistency is kind of like really runny pancake batter. Then pour that mixutre into gravy a little at a time, stirring constantly (otherwise you'll get lumps). Add flour/water until the gravy gets to a good consistency. Turn heat down to low. Add Garlic salt, pepper, and more salt. It takes quite a bit of salt to make it taste just add a little a taste and then add accordingly.

Mashed Potatoes: 6 cubed and boiled in enough water to cover. I always use red potatoes and then I don't have to peel. Cook for 20-30 minutes until a fork can go through potato very easily and they fall apart. Drain water. Add 2-3 T of butter, 3-4 T of sour cream or milk, 1/2-1 t. salt (or add to taste), pepper to taste, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder if wanted. Blend until creamy.

Mixed Veggies: Cook in microwave a full bag, drain water, add 1-2 T butter, salt, pepper, seasoned salt

Directions: Mix roast, and veggies and some gravy (probably like a cup or so). Place on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan so mixture is about 1/2-2/3 high. Spread mashed potatoes evenlyover meat mixture. Top with cheese and cover with foil (or you can put cheese on for last 5 minutes of baking). If you're using hot ingredients, Bake for 20-30 minutes at 375. If it's from the fridge (like I said, I use leftovers and prepare this the night before, then just through it in the oven whenever I need a meal), bake for an hour or until heated through at 375.

KFC Chicken Bowl

This might seem like just a boring chicken dinner, but something about layering it makes it so good. My kids love it. It tastes like a different meal...a very good one.

Layer the following in a bowl:
*Mashed Potatoes (5-6 cubed and boiled in enough water to cover. I always use red potatoes and then I don't have to peel. Cook for 20-30 minutes until a fork can go through potato very easily and they fall apart. Drain water. Add 2-3 T of butter, 3-4 T of sour cream or milk, 1/2-1 t. salt (or add to taste), pepper to taste, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder if wanted. Blend until creamy.)
*Corn and/or Green Beans, or Mixed Veggies (canned, frozen, whatever, cook and season with a little butter, salt, pepper, and I always sprinkle a little seasoned salt on my veggies)
*Popcorn or Chicken Strips (Cooked accordingly and cut up...we love the Perdue brand of Popcorn Chicken)
*Gravy (1 pkt McCormmick's brown gravy or turkey gravy - whatever - cooked accordingly)
*Cheese (Sprinkle on top)

Enjoy! We sure did! It kind of reminds me of a chicken version of Shepherd's Pie.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gourmet Chicken Pizza

This is our favorite pizza--we make it often, probably at least once every other week. Admittedly, it takes some prep work, but I've made it so much I've gotten pretty fast. Cooking the meats ahead helps a lot.

Pizza dough for 1 pizza*
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
BBQ sauce
Ranch dressing
mozzarella cheese, shredded
cheddar cheeses, shredded
1 large chopped tomato
chopped mushrooms (optional)
1/2 pound bacon (optional)
chopped green onions (optional)

Cut chicken into small pieces. Saute in BBQ sauce over medium heat until cooked through. Set aside. Fry and crumble bacon. Set aside.

Preheat oven to temperature specified on your pizza dough mix or recipe. Lightly grease a pizza pan. Press pizza dough into pan.

Spread ranch dressing over dough. Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese. Place tomatoes, chicken, onion, bacon, and mushrooms on top. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake for amount of time specified on your pizza dough recipe, or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.

For the pizza crust, I love this recipe from I just throw all the ingredients in the bread maker in the afternoon, and let it rise for a while. It makes about 2 pizzas worth of crust, so I usually make an extra one with half pepperoni or something, and half cheese (for Amelia).

Also, the toppings can be totally modified--use whatever you like that you think goes well with chicken. I usually omit the onions. I love it with bacon but sometimes I don't have time or bacon, and it's still fabulous without.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mexican potatoes and corn

An easy, meatless but filling weeknight supper (I'll post a crock pot recipe soon too!):

1 10oz. package forzen corn kernels, thawed
1 16oz. can black beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped onion or 3 scallions, chopped white part
1 1/2 lb. potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
1 green pepper, chopped (I skip this)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/3 c. taco sauce or salsa.
2-3 cups grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or a blend.

Mix onions with corn and beans and mound in center of a large microwavable platter or casserole. Mix potatoes, green pepper, and chili powder in a bowl, then arrange around edges of corn mixture. Spoon taco sauce or salsa over all.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap, turning back on corner slightly to vent steam. Microwave on high for 12-16 minutes, rotating platter halfway through cooking time. Let stand one minute.

Carefully uncover plastic wrap. Stir gently to mix vegetables and sauce. Sprinkle dish with grated cheese. Microwave uncovered for another 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Serve with freshly chopped tomatoes, extra salsa, sour cream and a salad.

Peanut Butter Popcorn

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
mix in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, remove pan and add:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Pour over 1-2 bags of popped popcorn (I prefer Kettle corn)
Make sure the popcorn is in a large bowl, it makes a ton!!
And it is so good served hot!!

Sweetcake's Gooey Bars

1 yellow cake mix
3/4 C. nuts (optional)
1 stick butter
1 box of powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 Egg

Mix together cake mix, nuts (optional) and butter---press into a greased 9x13 pan
Mix powdered sugar, egg and cream cheese
Blend throughly and spread over bottom layer
Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 or until goldne brown
Cool and cut into squares!
This is in honor of our ward Bunco night at Sweetcakes next month, I am SOOOO excited!!

Apple Toffee Dip

8 oz cream cheese
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 C. toffee bits
Mix well, chill, then serve with APPLES!
Totally seasonal, we were talking about apple dips at playgroup last week, I came across my recipe today!

HEAVENLY Angel Chicken

6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C. melted butter
1 Pkg. Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix
1 can golden mushroom soup (I use cream of chicken, Kent doesn't do mushrooms)
1/2 C. chicken broth
4 oz. cream cheese
pinch of dried onion
1/4 tsp. ground garlic (optional)

Cut chicken breast into fourths, so the flavor can be absorbed into all the pieces. (boneless center-cut pork chops are also good). Place chicken in the crock pot. Mix together butter, dressing mix, soup, broth, cream cheese, onion and garlic. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pain au Chocolat

A rather non-authentic French pastry that's great for breakfast or dessert. Also, proof that we eat more than just Japanese food at our house. I lost the recipe for this long ago, so I'm kind of approximating. It's pretty hard to screw up though.

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed*
3 Hersheys chocolate bars broken along the lines
1 egg white, beaten
butter for greasing the cookie sheet
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet with butter. Unfold puff pastry on lightly floured cutting board. Dust with flour. Roll out slightly with a rolling pin.

Cut puff pastry as follows (more or got really complicated as I tried to write it out so I decided a diagram was probably preferable to my confusing instructions):

Each pastry piece should be about as wide as a piece of the broken chocolate bar is long.

Brush each piece with the beaten egg white and place a square of chocolate about 1/2 inch from the end of the pastry piece. Roll it up into a log, using your fingers to squish the end into kind of a seal. Leave the sides open. Place the log seal side down on the cookie sheet. Repeat with each pastry rectangle.

Brush tops of each log with egg white then pop them in the oven until the tops start browning. Make a note of the time because I have no idea how long these are supposed to bake (15 minutes, maybe?).

Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Kayla's Notes*

-Find puff pastry in the freezer section of the grocery store. Each box usually comes with 2 sheets. It dries out kinda fast, so make sure you wrap up the other sheet in plastic wrap and put it back in the freezer pretty quick so it doesn't get ruined. Make sure it's puff pastry and not phyllo dough (easy to confuse).

-There should be a few squares of chocolate left. Since they didn't make it into the recipe the calories don't count. Enjoy some guilt free chocolate while the the pain au chocolat bakes!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pumpkin Fluff Dip

This one is so yummy and here just in time for Fall!

* One 16 oz. container of Cool Whip, thawed

* One 5 oz. Package of instant Vanilla pudding

* One 15 oz. can of solid packed pumpkin

* One tsp. pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl, mix together instant pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed whipped topping. Chill in the fridge until serving!

Serve with apples, gingersnap cookies (recipe also on the blog),
or cinnamon graham cracker sticks

Saturday, October 6, 2007


One of my all time favorite foods. It's usually served as an appetizer but makes a good entree too. There are a lot of different ways to prepare gyoza (aka potstickers), so you can adjust the recipe to suit your tastes.

1 package won ton wrappers*
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 pound ground pork
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Heat sesame oil and soy sauce in a large skillet over medium high heat. Mix in cabbage, onion, garlic and carrot. Cook and stir until cabbage is limp. Mix in ground pork and egg. Cook until pork is evenly brown and egg is no longer runny. The filling can be a little bland, so salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger, etc. to taste.

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of the cabbage and pork mixture in the center of each wrapper. Fold wrappers in half over filling, and seal edges with moistened fingers.*

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook gyoza approximately 1 minute per side, until lightly browned.* Pour water into skillet and reduce heat. Cover and allow gyoza to steam until the water is gone.

Mix 1/4 cup soy sauce and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar for dipping sauce*. Serve with hot rice.

*Kayla's Notes

-You can find won ton wrappers in just about any grocery store in the refrigerated section. It always takes me like 20 minutes to find them, so just keep looking. They're there, I promise!

-I like my filling pretty minced, so I usually throw everything in the blender for a few pulses after cooking. It makes filling the wrappers easier since you don't have large chunks of pork or vegetables getting in the way.

-The filling does well in the fridge for a few days (probably in the freezer as well). Filling and sealing the wrappers is a little time consuming when you do the whole shebang, so we like to fill just as many as we need for that meal and throw the rest in the fridge. It's pretty quick to fill 5 or 6 at lunchtime the next day and it makes for easy leftovers.

-If you're one of those weirdos who likes their gyoza deep fried instead of steamed (I won't judge), just add a little more oil to the pan and fry. Use a slotted spoon to remove and forget about the water step.

-You can buy gyoza dipping sauce in the international foods sections of all our local grocery stores. We usually like it better than the homemade stuff and it tends to be pretty strong, so a little goes a long way.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Old-Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (in a can in the Asian section)
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1 t vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
1 cup whipped topping

In a large bowl, combine half-and-half, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Microwave on high, stopping to whisk it every minute or so, until thickened. Stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut and the vanilla extract.

Pour into pie shell and chill 2 to 4 hours, or until firm. Top with whipped topping, and with remaining 1/4 cup of coconut.

Note: To toast coconut, spread it in an ungreased pan and bake in a 350 degree oven 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Flat Bread (I buy the Trader Joe's brand, it's very well made & doesn't fall apart), Cream cheese and Mrs. Dash

optional ingredients: Tomatoes, Sprouts, cucumber, cheese (provolone), ham and turkey.

Lay the flat bread out and spread entirely with cream cheese, sprinkle with Mrs. Dash. On one side of the flat bread layer your toppings: cheese, ham and turkey...then, cucumber, tomato and sprouts. Roll it up, starting from the sides your toppings are on. When I make this for showers I slice it. But it's also great as a meal too!!