Monday, November 24, 2008

FAIL: Elfin Shortbread Cookies I discovered these cookies via Tastespotting, and the woman who posted them had such a rockin' picture of them, I HAD to make them. And I decided to make them this weekend as a "trial" for whether or not I'd make them for Christmas.

Thank goodness I did. If I'd have had this much trouble with them while baking a dozen other kinds of cookies, I'd have had a meltdown.

Mine did not come out nearly as cute as Elle's. She does warn in her post that if you work the dough too long, it'll turn pink from the sprinkles. I was aware of this.

But if I HADN'T worked the dough that long, it would've remained in crumb form, rather than ball form as requested. It fought me on being a 'ball' right down to the end, to be honest.

I don't know -- was it the temperature of my butter? I used cold butter, like I always do for shortbread.

The only thing I can come up with is -- I don't have a food processor. Maybe it really does help this recipe come together??
Regardless...I don't think I want to fuss with this one again for Christmas.
Elfin Shortbread Cookies
1 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 TB red and green sprinkles
- If using a food processor:
- Pulse the flour and sugar until blended.
- Add in the butter until it all resembles fine crumbs
- Add the sprinkles and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. (Don't overdo it, or the dough will turn pink from the red sprinkles like mine)
- Remove to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the dough forms a ball.
- Pat the dough out into an 8x5 inch rectangle on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Cut the dough into 1/2 inch squares, and separate them on the baking sheet. (A bench scraper works really well for cutting them.)
- If you're not using a food processor:
- Mix the flour and sugar in a medium bowl.
- Cut in the butter until you get fine crumbs, stir in the sprinkles and knead until smooth.
- Continue with cutting and baking the cookies
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 12-14 minutes, and then transfer the cookies on the parchment to a cooling rack.
- Store in a tightly covered container at room temp for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.
-This is supposed to make about 160 little cookies, but neither Elle nor I got that many!

And sorry for all of the really bad pictures lately -- our new kitchen has terrible picture lighting! I guess I'm going to have to make a lightbox after all.

Menu Mondays

Well folks -- it's time! It's Thanksgiving week!
Since we just moved into our house 3 weeks ago, I'm not hosting. (Secretly, I am thrilled about this. I love cooking -- just not when there's pressure to perform!)

We'll be headed back to my hometown to have Thanksgiving with my family. Which makes this week short...

Sunday: Shortbread Cookie Bites (as a trial for whether I want to make them for Christmas), Tacos with Rice/Black Beans for dinner
Monday: Steak and steamed broccoli
Tuesday: Taco leftovers
Wednesday: On the road -- headed for Butler, Pa
Thursday: Thanksgiving with Mom and Grandma -- 3 generations sharing a kitchen (SAVE ME!)
Friday: Still in Butler visiting family

I do have a project for the (few) readers I have, though...

I'm trying to decide which types of Christmas cookies I'll make this year. I'll have to make them all the weekend prior to Christmas, though, because I can't take any time off from work that week to do so.

So... what's your favorite Christmas cookie? (And if it's one that keeps well for 1 week+, even better!!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Zuppa Toscana

I'm not a terribly huge Olive Garden fan, but I DO love their Zuppa Toscana soup.

DH had mentioned he was hungry for "soup, salad, and breadsticks" so instead of trying to wrestle our way into the constantly-full-takes-no-reservations Olive Garden in our town, I just made it at home!

This soup was very tasty. I liked it better than the restaurant version since I could control the fat and salt involved.

I pre-cooked the sausage on Sunday, and tossed it in a container in the fridge. Then all I had left to do was the basic 'soup' aspect on Tuesday, and while it simmered I chopped up our salad and tossed breadsticks in the oven (since it was a weeknight, Pillsbury saved the day on the breadsticks). Worked out to be a great weeknight meal.

The original recipe only served 3 people. I'm not even going to post that recipe here, because when I make soup, I make way more than that (regardless of the soup). I doubled the recipe, we ate it 2 nights for dinner, with some left over for lunches (or freezing, if that's your preference).

For the original "serves 3" recipe, click the Recipezaar link below.

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb. spicy sausage -- we used turkey sausage (original recipe calls for sausage in cups. who measures sausage in CUPS!?)
4 medium potatoes, cut in half length-wise and cut into 1/4" slices
1 large (2 small) onion, diced
12 slices bacon (we omitted. i don't need sausage AND bacon in my soup)
3 teaspoons minced garlic -- we used jarred preminced (don't worry if this smells mega-strong when it's cooking. the garlic flavor will mellow out)
4 cups kale leaves, cut in half then sliced (I chose about 12 kale leaves at the store, and ended up tossing them all in)
4 tablespoons chicken base(bullion)+2 quarts water (I used 8 cups of chicken broth instead)
2/3 cup heavy cream

- If sausage is in links, remove from casings. Cook sausage until done and set aside.
- Cook bacon and onion over medium heat, and when bacon is crisp, take it out of the pan and leave the onion in. Add the garlic to the onion and cook1 minute (Since I omitted the bacon, and my sausage was already cooked and in the fridge, I just put a little olive oil in the bottom of my stock pot, and sauteed the onion in the olive oil until soft and transparent. Then I added the garlic and proceeded on)
- Add the chicken base, water, and potatoes; simmer 15 minutes
- Crumble bacon and add crumbled bacon, kale, and cream
- Simmer 4 minutes, then serve.

This was DH's first time with kale, and he's decided he likes it. Anybody have good recipes that use it??

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

Check out my crazy 1962 countertop. Nice amoebas, eh?

Okay, important stuff first. You must make these. Don't like almonds? Use pecans. peanuts, cashews. WHATEVER. Just make it.

You know when you go to the fair, or sporting events, and they have the roasted nuts covered in cinnamon sugar? Well, this is the homemade version. And they.are.awesome!

I daresay they'd even be a cute food-related gift for the upcoming holidays! Put them in a nicely decorated jar, and you're ready to go!

I will warn you I had trouble finding a big bag of plain almonds. People tell me the warehouse clubs have them, but I had trouble with my grocery store and Walmart. Just a warning!

And I think 4 cups of almonds is just shy of 1.5 lbs. If that helps.

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
(Kara's Kitchen Creations)

1 egg white
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

- Beat the egg white, water, and vanilla in a large glass bowl until frothy.
- Stir in the almonds to coat
- Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the almonds, stirring until well coated.
- Pour onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
- Bake at 250 degrees F for 60-90 minutes, stirring occasionally

- You want the almonds to be toasted, but don't let them burn!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gundy's Breakfast Casserole

I was in the mood for something "different" for our weekend breakfast this week, and when I came across this recipe at Pennies on a Platter I thought it fit the bill! (Plus, it made a lot, so I hoped I could take leftovers for breakfast during the workweek!)

This casserole was good, but it wasn't as good as I'd anticipated. I used frozen hash browns (the recipe didn't show a preference) and they stayed a little mushy under all that egg. I also think it needs some kick...this is definately a base recipe, and probably some peppers or hot sauce would be awesome with it.

It was tasty -- I just think the eggs, sausage, and hash browns would've been tastier as three separate entrees.

Gundy's Breakfast Casserole

16 ounces hashbrowns or tater tots (I used frozen shredded hashbrowns)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cream of xxx soup (I used chicken)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and a mexican blend)
1 diced onion
1 lb. breakfast sausage (I used turkey sausage links, and chopped them up finely. I also put them in uncooked...I keep thinking it'd be a better consistency if they'd have been cooked)
10 eggs
3/4 cup milk

- Spray casserole dish (I used a 9x13) with cooking spray and place hashbrowns/tater tots in the bottom of the dish.
- Mix together sour cream, cream of xxx soup, cheese, onions, and sausage
- In a seperate bowl, beat eggs and mix in milk
- Combine egg mixture with the sour cream mixture and pour over the hashbrowns/tater tots
- Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes (or until done).

First Wedding Anniversary

Today is our first anniversary. It's hard to believe we've been married a year...and bought a house within that year, as well!

Menu Mondays

Hopefully a pretty normal week before the holiday craziness begins!

Sunday: Gundy's Breakfast Casserole and Cinnamon sugar almonds
Monday: Out to dinner for our anniversary
Tuesday: Steak, broccoli, pasta
Wednesday: Soup, salad, and breadsticks night (Zuppa Toscana soup, fresh salad, garlic breadsticks -- who needs the Olive Garden?!)
Thursday: Spaghetti
Friday: Leftovers

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More "Green" Cleaning

I have a few more "green" or natural, cleaning recipes to share with you -- but these are the ones I haven't had a chance to try yet.

If you try any of them, let me know how it works!

Window Cleaner
16 oz. spray bottle
Club Soda

- My notes say this is very good for interior windows and mirrors. Depending on what has been used in the past, you may experience streaking the first time or two of use. Once the old film from previous products is gone, the glass will sparkle.

Dust to Dust (Furniture Polish)
Olive oil (light)
Lemon Essential Oil
16 oz. squirt bottle

- Put 2 teaspoons olive oil in the bottle, add 20 drops essential oil, and 1/4 cup vinegar. Fill the rest of the bottle with purified water. Shake well. Good for weekly dusting or mopping. Shake before each use.

Leather Polish
Olive oil
8 oz. Squirt bottle

- 2 parts olive oil and 1 part vinegar. Shake well. Cleans and conditions leather couches, car seats, purses, jackets, and books. Shake well, squirt, then rub. Buff dry with a soft cloth.

Brass and Copper Cleaner
Large plastic or glass bowl and spoon

- Mix 2/3 cup vinegar and 2/3 cup flour. Stir until smooth. Add 1/2 cup salt and stir until mixed.
- Spoon the mixture onto copper pots. You want a nice sticky/smooth layer to stay on the metal. Leave on at least 2 hours or even overnight.
- This goop will turn green when it is working
- Rinse off and wipe clean. Finish with a tab of olive oil to prevent further tarnishing.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Liquid Castille Soap
Baking Soda
Tea Tree Oil
22 oz. Squirt bottle

- Mix 1/2 cup liquid Castille soap and 2 cups baking soda together. Work out any lumps with a fork.
- Dilute with 1/4 cup water and add 2 tablespoons vinegar to make foam. Add 1/2 teaspoon tea tree oil, mix, and pour into a 22 oz squirt bottle. Shake well before using.
- Squirt the cleaner inside the toilet on and under the rom and on the seat. Use a high quality toilet brush inside and a sponge for the rims and seats. Rinse with a scented vinegar if you like.

Tub and Tile Cleaner
Baking Soda
Liquid Castille soap
22 oz. squeeze container

- Mix 1 2/3 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup liquid Castille soap in a bowl. Dilute with 1/2 cup water. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar last. Stir until the limps are gone. If you can pour into the container easily then you have the right consistency. Shake well before using.

Room Deodorizer
Mix in a clean spray bottle:
4 tablespoons baking soda
1 quart warm water

- Spray into the air, or onto carpets.

Citrus Surface Cleaner
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Baking Soda
2 teaspoons sweet orange essential oil

- Blending Procedure: using a small food processor, process the baking soda and borax until smooth. Add the essential oil and process further until smooth and free of lumps.
- Store in a glass or heavy plastic airtight container
- To use, dampen dirty area, put on gloves to protect your skin and nails. Scoop Citrus Surface Cleaner using your chosen cleaning utensil (rag, paper towel, etc) and clean the area until sparkling. Use more mixture for stubborn stains, less for minor stains.

Antiseptic Soap Spray
Liquid Castille soap
Purified water
Tea Tree Oil
16 oz trigger spray bottle

- Fill the bottle almost full of water and then 3 tablespoons liquid castille soap. Add 20-30 drops of tea tree ol. Shake to mix.
- Squirt on laundry, doorknobs, bathtub, toilet seats, etc.

Floor Cleaner
White distilled vinegar
Essential oil
16 oz. squirt bottle

- Equal amounrs vinegar and water, 15-20 drops essential oil (reccommend pure peppermint)
- Squirt onto the floor and mop or clean with a rag. Also can be used to cut soap scum in tubs and sinks.

Laundry Detergant Powder
In a large bucket with a lid , mix the following:

Equal amounts of washing soda (NOT baking soda. Washing soda is sold in the laundry aisle), and borax (reccommended ratio: 3 boxes of washing soda to 2 boxes of borax, to make it equal)
2 cups baking soda
4 bars grated Fells Naptha soap
drops of essential oil (reccommended: cedar wood, lavendar, eucalyptus, pine, spruce, and tea tree all mixed)

- Mix well with a large spoon, or close lid and shake
- Reccomended amount for use: about 1/8 cup per load.

Laundry Detergant Liquid
1 cake of soap (must be vegetable-oil based)
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
8-10 liters water

- Heat water to dissolve ingredients. Allow to cool before use. Glycerin can be added. Use vinegar in the rinse water.

Fabric Softener
2 cups vinegar
2 cups baking soda
4 cups warm water plus essential oil

-- No amount is given with this recipe per load!

Spicy Orange Air Freshener
5 drops orange essential oil
2 drops cinnamon essential oil
4 oz. distilled water

- Put distilled water in a spray bottle, add essential oils and shake well. Spray as needed in rooms or at your work desk to refresh the air.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I've said before how much I love Picky Palate. But I don't care, I'm saying it again -- I love Picky Palate!

She always takes nice photographs, and her meals are fantastic for weeknights.

This week I made her chicken cordon bleu casserole. DH says it's tasty, and to put it "on the rotation" -- we have a winner, ladies and gents!

I used all mozzerella and cheddar tonight, because it's what I had on hand...but I reeeeeeeeally think the shredded Swiss would make it taste more like actual Chicken Cordon Bleu.

And, as always...casseroles don't photograph well. Just trust me, it's tasty and it's quick (with a little prep work).

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

6-8 servings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/2 lb. diced ham
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
14 oz. can chicken broth
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mozzarella or swiss cheese (I think I would recc: 1/2 cup mozz, 1/2 cup shredded swiss)

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Heat oil in a large, rimmed skillet over medium heat
- Add onion and bell pepper; saute until softened, about 5 minutes
- Stir in garlic, ham, and chicken, cook for an additional 5 minutes
- Melt butter then stir in flour, salt, and pepper until combined (I melted the butter in the microwave and just added it to the pan)
- Slowly stir in chicken broth until well combined
- Stir in cooked rice, then transfer to a 9x13 baking dish.
- Top with cheddar and mozz/swiss cheeses
- Bake 20-25 minutes. Cover the dish with foil for the last 10 minutes for oozing cheese

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Blake Win!

Okay, so, I know I'm SUPER late on this.
I won letter trays from Sillycone Inc via BlakeMakes -- gosh -- a month ago?! But my trays arrived right smack dab in the middle of the moving process.

Today, I've unearthed them from a pile of unpacked kitchen items.

They're so cool!!!

According to Sillycone: "...colorful, educational, flexible and nonstick.Make Ice, Sidewalk Chalk, Jello, Butter, Soap, Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate, Muffins, oven safe to 550 degrees F and (-50F)..." as well!

I haven't had a chance to make anything with them yet, but soon!

I received the letters, but they also make numbers and symbol trays. Too cool!

Thanks again Blake and Sillycone!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cleaning Recipes

Our new home came with a septic system. I grew up on a septic system, but my parents never followed any of the "rules" (no bleach, no chemicals, etc) -- and our system was fine.

Nonetheless, DH begged me to not take the same approach, and to scale back on what I used to clean. So I have.

I figured I'd share a few of these "non chemical" cleaners with you here. They're pretty common and pretty simple...I don't know where they originated, but I got them from a co-worker (thanks Kim!)

I've found that most of the ingredients are available in my local grocery store. Things like tea tree oil, castille soap and lavender essential oil are also on my grocery store's organic section, but if your store doesn't have an organic section, call around to natural foods shops and see if you can find them. Or order them on the internet :-)

The rest of the items can be purchased in large quantities at a Club Store (Sam's club, Cosco, etc), or you can do like I do -- and just stock up at the dollar store :-)

All Purpose Cleaner
Combine in a clean spray bottle:
2 teaspoons Borax (found in the laundry detergent isle)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 quart water

Heavy Duty All-Purpose Cleaner
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon Borax
Hot Water
1/4 cup Castille Soap
Essential Oils (optional)

- Mix 2 tbsp vinegar with 1 tsp Borax. Fill with very hot water. Shake until borax is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup Castille Soap last. To scent, add 10-15 drops essential oil.
- How to use: Spray and wipe refrigerator, walls, shower, toilets, etc. To remove or prevent mold or mildew, use 1 tablespoon Borax in your mixture.

Window and Glass Cleaner
Combine in a clean spray bottle:
1 part vinegar
1 part water

Strong Glass Cleaner
Mix in a clean spray bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon clear, non-sudsing ammonia

Oven Cleaner
3 parts baking soda
1 part water
nylon scrubber
elbow grease

- Combine baking soda and water and use like a paste with the nylon scrubber. For really stuck on stuff, instead of 3 parts baking soda, mix half baking soda and half salt (this will increase the abrasiveness). Keep baking soda off the heating element.

Floor Cleaner
1/2 cup baking soda
1 gallon warm water
(For extra disinfecting power, add 1/2 cup Borax)

- Mix all together to dissolve the baking soda (and Borax). Apply with a rag or mop. When finished, rinse the rag/mop and go over the floor with warm, clean water so there's no residue left.

Fruit Cleaner
Mix in sink, scrub and rinse veggies/fruits well with:
3 parts baking soda
2 parts water

Drain Cleaner
Move over Drain-O!
1 cup baking soda
1 cup salt
1 quart boiling water

- Blend together and pour down drain, followed by boiling water. Let set for several hours or overnight, then run hot water down the drain.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- For scouring power, sprinkle baking soda in the toilet and scrub with your brush
- For stained toilets, try:
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar
Beware, it bubbles and fizzes a bit.

Furniture Polish
Mix together:
1 part olive oil
1 part lemon juice

- Apply lightly with a soft cloth. Don't make much more than you need; it doesn't store well.

Hardwood Floor Polish/Shine
1 part vinegar
1 part olive oil or vegetable oil

- Apply to the floor, and then rub it in well.

Lavendar and Tea Tree Spray Cleaner
1 teaspoon Borax
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cups hot water
1/4 teaspoon lavendar essential oil
3 drops tea tree essential oil

- Mic all ingredients together and stir until dry ingredients are dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle for long-term storage and use. Spray as needed on any surface except glass. Scrub and rinse with a clean, damp cloth.

Rosemary Deodorizer and Disinfectant
6 drops Rosemary essential oil
6 drops Grapefruit essential oil
4 drops Lemon essential oil
2 ounces purified water

- Combine oils and water in a 2-oz. glass spritzer bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray liberally into the air. This spray will combat oders and kill infectious organisms. During cold and flu season, add 2 drops of eucalyptus. This blend works well in a diffuser also without the water.

Apple Pie Bars

Of all kinds of pie, apple is my favorite -- by far. But really, the part I love about pie is the crust --not the fruit.

And to top it all off, I really don't like making pie crust. I can do it, I just HATE IT.

So these bars seemed like the perfect solution! Apple pie, in bar form, with more "crust" -- awesome!

They really are delicious. You could omit the nuts if you wanted, but they add a nice crunch to the strusel topping, so I recommend you use them.

Apple Pie Bars

*Julie says it makes 12 bars...I cut mine smaller and got about 18

For the filling:
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg

For the strusel:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, as I used)

- Cook the apples: In a large skillet or stockpot over medium heat, combine apples with the brown sugar, lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom. Cover the pan for 5 minutes to allow the juices to release, and then uncover and cook, stirring occasionally until the apples have turned a golden brown and there is almost no liquid left in the pan (Julie says 15-20 minutes -- but my apples were super-juicy and took a little longer). Set aside apples to cool.

- Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and butter the foil. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the brown sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix to blend. Then, on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined. With lightly floured hands, press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown.

While the crust is baking, prepare the streusel.

- For the streusel: Combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in pecans (or walnuts).

- When the crust is done, immediately spread the cooked apples evenly over the hot crust. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples, lightly pressing to adhere. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the bars for 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned and crisp.

- Let the pan rest to cool and chill for several hours before cutting. Lift the bars out of the pan with the foil and cut on a flat surface.

- Julie says to dust the bars with confectioner's sugar and serve -- I omitted the confectioners sugar

Some Notes:
- Julie reccommends granny smith apples here, but you can use your favorite baking apple
- To get nice clean lines on your bars when you cut them, you must let them cool for a few hours. Fresh out of the oven, they're too soft to stand up to a knife
- I'm sure you could omit the cardamom if you don't have it (it's pretty expensive..) but if you have it, throw it in. It adds a nice undercurrent of flavor to the apples.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Monday

Finally getting to try some new things this week...the stovetop and oven that came with the house we just bought are relatively new (2004) but they're very different from anything I've used before -- so the past two weeks I've been trying to figure out how to optimize it!

I think I've nailed down the cooktop (it's a glass flattop, but what makes it weird to me is the heat doesn't stay on consistently -- it turns on and off to maintain temperature. Drove me mad the first two weeks!!!) but the oven and I haven't quite been seeing eye-to-eye...

So this week, I'm using the oven a bit. Trying to learn about it!

Saturday: I cleaned all day -- perhaps I'll post some of my "natural cleaning" recipes, for those who don't know them yet.
Sunday: Apple Pie Bars
Monday: Nada -- out with co-workers for a "bridal shower dinner" -- DH on his own.
Tuesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Wednesday: Steak, broccoli
Thursday: Spaghetti with meat sauce
Friday: Leftovers

Friday, November 7, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Dip

If you're a hot wings fan, then you'll adore this dip.

It's been passed around -- fondly discussed as "crack dip" -- with my friends for many years. However, I don't like hot sauce, so I never made it.

DH andI had a "reunion" to go to last weekend (basically, it was DH's 10-year high school reunion, but he and a bunch of his buddies didn't want to go to the REAL event -- so they held their own!) and I knew it would go over well with the boys.

Plus -- we had just moved in the week my crockpot was about the only thing unpacked I could cook in!

You could also heat this dip up on the stovetop, or even toss it in the oven until it's bubbly, but if you leave it in the crockpot, it stays warm and ready to serve all day long.

Oh, and P.S. -- I've discovered it isn't nearly as spicy when it's cold...and I really like it cold!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
(Kelly's Recipe)

2-8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2-10oz. cans of chicken, shredded
1 cup ranch dressing (You can also use bleu cheese dressing if you prefer. It does change the flavor of the dip)
3/4 cup hot sauce (I used Frank's)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

- Toss all of the above into a crockpot; keep on low for your party, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with tortilla chips (or some people serve with celery as well)

Admittedly, it doesn't exactly photograph well...

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's back..Menu Monday

Well, we're "in" our new house! I say "in" because about 30% of everything we own is still in boxes -- just trying to figure out how to organize the place!

Next week is a pretty simple menu, because of the continued unpacking, and a few, err, "new homeowner" issues we've come across (I don't suppose anybody's an electrician?!).

Saturday: Buffalo chicken dip for a party
Sunday: Alas, probably nothing -- lots of cleaning to do. I *may* post some of my cleaning recipes...we're on a septic system now, so no more store-bought chemical cleaners for me.
Monday: Steak, steamed broccoli, baked potatoes
Tuesday: Turkey burgers, *insert veggie here?*, mac and cheese or fries
Wednesday: Parmesean pork chops, *insert veggie here*
Thursday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, fresh salad
Friday: Leftovers