Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pesto Pasta & Chicken

Alright Everyone - Time to start posting again! It's fall time and we all need good ideas so let's follow Caitlyn's good example and get cooking and remember to take pictures! Don't forget the rules (see the header!).

Pesto Pasta & Chicken:


2 Chicken Breasts

Italian Seasoning or Pesto

1 LBS Bowtie Pasta

2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Cup Pesto (homemade or store bought)

1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese ( I prefer Fresh but any will do)


Slice Chicken breasts in half width wise (so you have 4 very thin chicken breasts). Now sprinkle liberally with Italian seasoning or rub with pesto. At this point I always cook the chicken on the grill, but you could also bake it or saute it - whichever you prefer.

For the pasta, Cook the pasta as directed on the box. As always, I like my pasta al dente so usually about 8 minutes in some boiling salt water will do the trick. Once the pasta has reach your desired tenderness, completely drain the water from the pasta. DO NOT RINSE!!!!!!!! In a mixing bowl mix the pasta with the pesto, olive oil, and Parmesan. Now it is all ready to eat. I generally garnish this with a little more Parmesan cheese, but it is more for looks than flavor.

Keep in mind this is not an exact science. If you want it to have a more bold pesto flavor, add more. I always end up adding more cheese because I love the Parmesan flavor. This one is awesome because it can be cooked up in 20 minutes or less and again is SUPER cheap.

NOTE: You can find delicious but cheap store bought pesto by the spaghetti sauce. It should be $2-$3 a jar. If you buy it in the prepared foods section be prepared to pay more. If you want to make your own let me know and I'll email you my own pesto recipe. ENJOY!

Chicken Rolls

Chicken Rolls:

Ingredients:1 Large/2 small Chicken Breast

6 OZ of Cream Cheese

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Pepper

1 Tube pop'n'fresh Crescent Rolls (you know like the Pillsbury kind)

4 TBS Butter - Melted

1 Cup Breadcrumbs

1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup

1/2 Cup Milk


Bake Chicken @ 350* until fully cooked. Pull out of oven and shred immediately (it is MUCH easier to shred warm). Increase oven temp to 400*. Mix chicken with Cream cheese, salt, and pepper until well blended. Now open up the crescent rolls. Separate and in the center of each triangle place about a tablespoon of the chicken/cream cheese filling in the middle. You should be easily able to make 8 rolls with this. Now wrap the crescent rolls around the filling to completely cover it and form a ball (If you are overlapping that is good - if you have gaps that is bad!). Repeat with the remaining 7 rolls. Now roll each ball in the melted butter and then in the bread crumbs so each is completely covered. I prefer homemade breadcrumbs because they are larger and make the roll crunchier, but store bought is fine too! Now place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400*20-25 minutes until golden brown.

While the rolls are baking, in a saucepan over medium heat combine one can of cream of chicken soup with the 1/2 cup of milk until hot. This will be the sauce you put over the rolls.

I love these cause they are warm and filling but go great with end of summer foods like watermelon and corn on the cob! Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Biscuits and Pancakes from Scratch

So I noticed that Caitlyn had posted two recipes involving biscuits and I have a wonderful (and easy) made from scratch biscuit recipe. I'm sorry I don't have a picture, but I think we all know what a biscuit looks like. Also from the same cookbook is an amazing pancake recipe from scratch that I love! The Fanny Farmer cookbook is one of my all time faves, Andrew's sister gave it to me two years ago for a Christmas gift and I use it all the time.

Baking Powder Buscuits

2 cups of flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup crisco/shortening

2/3 cup milk

Mix together all dry ingredients. Add in the 1/2 cup crisco and blend with a pastry blender (or your hands) until it resembles crumbs. Add in the milk all at once and stir till a ball forms around the fork and all contents are incorporated.

Flour your counter top or a board and knead the dough for a minute or so, then flatten out to 1/2 inch slab with your hands. Cut out circles with a biscuit cutter for a glass. Place in a greased 8 inch round pie pan or cake pan and bake at 425 for 12-15 mins. I like mine to be just slightly golden brown so about 12 mintues usually works just fine. Trust me, once you make these you won't ever want to eat store bought ones again!


1 cup milk

1 egg

2 Tbsp melted butter

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

1 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

Mix together all dry ingredients and then incorporate wet ingredients into mix. If the batter is too thick, add a little bit more milk. If you like really fluffy pancakes, separate the yoke from the egg white and beat the white until it has soft peaks and fold into the batter (I've never done this, but I bet it would be good). If you have a big family or really love pancakes you can double this recipe, it will make about 12. I use a 1/4 cup measure to pour my pancakes into the pan so they aren't huge. I think the melted butter is what makes these really good, also serve with real maple syrup - I am convinced it makes them even better!

There is also a good cornbread and muffin recipe from this cookbook that I will have to post as well!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


First, a disclaimer.  I got the original recipe from here and altered it.  It's not the most attractive dinner (hence the name, which is kind of fun) but it's pretty good as is and has incredible potential for variation.  Really they're a little like mini, cheese-covered pot pies.

1lb ground turkey/ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
small onion, diced
1 to 1 and 1/2 c barbecue sauce
Cookable vegetables of choice (I used 1 med zucchini and 1/2 bag thawed frozen broccoli) chopped in small pieces
1 10 oz can refrigerated biscuit dough or 1 favorite recipe biscuit dough
2 cups shredded cheese (you may not need it all)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brown your meat in a good-sized skillet with the onion and garlic.  Drain grease and add chopped vegetables.  Cook 3 or 4 minutes or until your veg starts to get tender.  Add bbq sauce, stir, simmer for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, separate the biscuits and put them in a muffin tin, pressing a well into the center (the original recipe serves 8, I made my own dough and separated it into 12 segments so I filled the whole tin).  Try an make it so that the biscuit is even on all sides (it can stick over the top).  Drop meat/veg mixture in to the biscuit wells until they're full.  Cover the tops with cheese.

Bake 15 mins or until cheese is golden brown.

NOTE: I ended up with extra filling, and I filled mine to the top.  You could easily stretch it instead and make 18 of these to feed a group, maybe even 2 dozen.

Potential variations I've thought of in the past few minutes:
All-veg filling
Brown gravy instead of BBQ sauce
Shredded chicken filling
Egg and sausage/bacon for breakfast

You see what I mean, the possibilities are crazy!  And, on top of that, it's very kid-friendly!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Southern-style Biscuits and Gravy

It's been a long time, everyone.  I think we should resurrect this blog.

My Grandma Margaret is from the deep south.  This is her recipe; I guarantee it's as authentic as you can get and better than anything you've ever had in a restaurant.  Note: this recipe feeds an army.  You may want to halve it.


2 lbs sausage (preferably Bob Evan's, and at least one Bob Evan's Sage Sausage.  My mother forbids any other brand.)
1 can evaporated milk
A lot of regular milk
Black pepper

2 or 3 rolls of biscuits (16-18)
Note: We use Pilsbury Grands, but if you have a great biscuit recipe, go with that.  Have an assistant bake them during the extended amount of time you are stirring the gravy.

Note again: This recipe is too authentic for actual measurements, so bear with me.  ; )

Brown the sausage in a large (large) pan.  DO NOT DRAIN THE FAT.  DO NOT.  Fight those healthy instincts!  This is Southern food!

Turn your heat down to medium to not-quite-medium-high.  Put one or two heaping spoons of flour in the sausage and mix it up.  If there is still grease, put in a little more flour.  Do this until your sausage looks like it is coated in paste and there's no more grease, being careful not to add too much (or your gravy will taste like flour).

Add the evaporated milk.  Even if you're halving the recipe, go ahead and dump that whole can right in.  Now add regular milk, whatever percentage you like, until you have about the volume of gravy you want (I told you this recipe was too authentic for measurements).

Now this is the exciting part: stir.  Stand there and stir that gravy until it feels like your arm is about to fall off.  Just kidding.  Stir it until it thickens to the consistency of... well... gravy.  Don't stop stirring, or it will scorch.  This is also the point where your biscuit assistant should start his/her work.  A good sign it is done is when all of the floating grease droplets incorporate themselves into the gravy.  It takes varying amounts of time, but maybe in the ballpark of 10-15 minutes.  Maybe 20.  I'm usually talking to someone while I stir (we make this for family get-togethers), so I've never timed it.

Gravy without grease incorporated.
Gravy once all grease is incorporated.
Now taste your gravy.  It probably needs sage.  It may also need salt and/or black pepper.  Mostly, though, it will need sage, especially if only one or none of your pounds of sausage were sage sausage.  Keep seasoning until you love it.  If it gets too thick, add more milk.  If it's too thin, add more flour (I recommend doing this in small increments to avoid floury flavor) or just keep stirring.

The keys to this recipe are the sage and the fact that you don't drain the grease.

Good luck, y'all!  (I am also authentic.)