Monday, December 29, 2008

Roasted Vegetables with Linguini

This is another recipe that I used to make all the time, years ago. I kind of forgot all about it until I was skimming through an online cookbook Id entered a bunch of recipes into. This one used to be my meal to impress. I always made it for company and everyone always loved it.

Speaking of company, I was just reminded of a funny thing that happened one night when I made this recipe. My sister and I were living together in my condo in Mesa and we decided to have our grandparents on our Dad's side over for dinner. So we planned ahead and decided to make them this roasted veggies with pasta. Well the evening comes and Ive got dinner all ready and they never showed up. I tried to keep it hot on the stove for awhile, but everything got really overcooked. Finally when they were 45 minutes late I called them and they were at home and had just ate. They completely forgot about dinner with us. They felt terrible and came right over. They sat down and had another entire dinner with us. I was watching my grandfather when he was talking, and he was pouring salad dressing all over his pasta. I didn't know what to think. Tiffany and I were eyeing him with curiosity. He ate his pasta first and thought it was wonderful. Then started in on the salad and realized there was no dressing on it. We all started laughing as he realized he poured the dressing all over the pasta dish, then ate it all up. It was so funny. I will never forget that. He said the pasta was still really good. hehehe. That was a fun night.

I clipped this out of a little Lipton recipe book that I bought in the aisle of a grocery store one time. I usually add some grilled chicken breast seasoned with poultry rub to this right at the end, to make it a more hearty meal. Also, the original recipe called for the Savory Herb with Garlic soup mix and I can no longer find that in stores. Now they are all some variation of onion flavor. I just use the Onion Mushroom flavor now and it tastes pretty much the same. Sometimes I add a few drops of hot sauce and a pinch of garlic powder to give it a little more spice. Ive also had good luck adding extra cheese and cream, to make it more saucy. I like saucy stuff.

Roasted Veggies with Linguine

2-3 lbs of veggies chopped (I like to use zucchini, squash, bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, asparagus)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 packet of Lipton Recipe Secrets
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Chop veggies into large pieces and put into a big plastic bag, pour in olive oil and soup mix packet. Shake until the veggies are coated. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through. After veggies are baked, pour cream and cheese into casserole and stir to make a creamy sauce. Toss with 1 lb cooked linguine or your favorite cooked pasta.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is a really great dip that I started making back when I got my first crock pot when I was in college. This recipe is from a crock pot cook book that I had at the time. It was a great book with a ton of great recipes. I somehow lost that book over the years, but this recipe has survived. The picture really does not do this justice at all.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

16 ounces of cream cheese, room temp
1 large bag of frozen chopped spinach
1 10 ounce can of artichoke hearts
1/4 cup half and half or whipping cream
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder)

Let the spinach thaw. Squeeze out as much of the water in the spinach as you can. Roughly chop it up even more. Chop the artichoke hearts. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl till well combined. Transfer to a crock pot and heat on low heat until hot and all the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with melba toast, crackers, corn chips or sliced baguette.

Dixie Pie

When I was in high school, I worked at a restaurant called Tippins and they sold really yummy pies. One of my favorites, was their Dixie Pie, which is just a pecan pie with mini chocolate chips. Its really rich and so yummy. I usually make this every Christmas and Thanksgiving, as my family and Carl's family loves me to bring this for dessert. I usually use more pecans and chocolate chips than the recipe calls for, so use a heaping cup of pecan halves, and a heaping 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Dixie Pie

3 beaten eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping cup of pecans (halves)
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
1 unbaked pie crust

Combine the first 5 ingredients and mix well, pour into the pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ham and Cheese Rice Balls

I know this sounds like a funny thing, rice balls...especially ham and cheese rice balls. Well, this turned out so well! Definitely a keeper in my book. I was looking for another way to use up leftover rice and this came to me. I had made some cheesy scallion white rice the other night and had a ton leftover. So I decided to add some goodies to it and form it into balls and bread it and fry it up! Oh my, they were so yummy! I first just ate them plain and they were yummy. When I reheated the leftovers, I dipped them in ranch dressing and it was YUMMY! I think they would go so well with chive basil cream. These are filling and satisfying. My kids both loved them and I cant normally get them to eat rice and ham, so that was nice. They reminded me of the Croquettas you can find in Spain. You could add anything to these. I was thinking chopped spinach would be great with ham and cheese, or you can use any leftover meats and veggies you have in the fridge. Kind of like fried rice, these are so versatile! The rice I started out with already had a lot of Cheddar cheese and scallions in it, so season it accordingly. If you are using plain white rice, it will need more salt and pepper to pep it up, if the rice isn't already seasoned.

Ham and cheese Rice Balls

2 cups leftover cooked rice, refrigerated (my rice already had 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup parm cheese and 1/2 cup chopped scallions added to it)
1/2 cup minced ham (I just used lunch meat)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce, or any hot sauce would do
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
1 tbsp water
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

In a large bowl, mix the rice with the ham and soy sauce. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and any other spices you like. Form the rice into little balls. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the hot sauce and water. Pour enough oil into a skillet to be 1/2 inch deep. Heat on medium heat until hot. Season the bread crumbs with some salt and pepper. Dip the rice balls into the egg mixture, then roll into bread crumbs. Fry in oil until golden brown, a couple minutes on each side. Serve hot either plain, or with a favorite dipping sauce...ranch dressing, chive basil cream, marinara.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bacon Roasted Chicken

I just had to try out this recipe. I really do believe that bacon makes everything taste better. I wish it wasnt so bad for us! I cant resist sometimes. I love BLT's and bacon with my eggs, and even bacon roasted chicken! The bacon in this smelled so good when it was roasting in the oven. It was overcast out today and slightly cool, so it was perfect for dinner. I served this with herb roasted potatos and a green salad.

I got this recipe from Allrecipes. I pretty much followed it but I used olive oil instead of butter, and I only seasoned with salt and pepper as I forgot the dry herbs completely! I also added a stalk of celery and a small quartered onion in with the carrots in the cavity. I have to say, that this is not nearly as flavorful as my other roasted chicken I did recently. While it smelled wonderfully, the flavor wasnt as strong as I was hoping. I think that rubbing an herb butter under the skin just flavors it so much better than the bacon drippings did. Im sorry that I did not get a picture of this one. I dont know how that happened...and I was bummed. I will say that it looked absolutly amazing!

Bacon Roasted Chicken (from
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (4 pound) whole chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 carrots, cut in chunks
  • paprika to taste
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 2 cups beef broth
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Rub butter over the entire chicken. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Place the carrots inside the cavity, and tie the legs together. Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan. Lay bacon strips across the top of the chicken, and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with paprika. Pour the beef broth into the roasting pan - do not pour over the bacon.
  3. Roast for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, the reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Baste with some of the broth. Continue to roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) when taken in the thickest part of the thigh. Baste every 15 minutes with the broth.
  4. Remove the bacon and discard toothpicks. Roast the chicken for 15 more minutes to brown the skin. Transfer to a serving platter, and remove the ties. You may eat the bacon, but it is best to discard the carrots.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Holiday Treat Boxes

This year for Christmas, Im giving out these cute little boxes of home made holiday goodies. I found these little boxes at Walmart in a pack of 6 for $9. They each come with 4 compartments, plus matching tissue paper and a to/from sticker. They are made by Martha Stewart and I just love them! In these ones, I did Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, Saltine Toffees, White Chocolate Holiday Bark and Spiced Chili Pecans. These cinnamon roasted almonds taste like the ones you can get at the fair. Sooo yummy and sugary. And the spiced pecans are great too, really savory with a kick.

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds (original recipe from
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white, water and vanilla until very foamy and frothy. Pour in the almonds and mix until well coated. In a smaller bowl, mix the sugars, cinnamon and salt together, pour over the almonds and mix until all coated well. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 1 hr, stirring every 15 minutes.

Spiced Chili Pecans (from
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix butter, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, salt and garlic powder. Mix in the pecans and mix until well coated. Then mix in the chili powder and toss until coated. Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, watching closely so the spices dont burn.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Blueberry Pie

We went up to my Dad's in Prescott for Thanksgiving this year. It was a nice time. I brought blueberry pie! I found these cute little leaf cutters from Williams and Sonoma. They make it so easy to dress up the pie crusts. This recipe is from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.

Blueberry Pie (Better Homes and Gardens)

Refrigerated pie crust for double crust pie
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
1 Tbsp lemon juice
5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Roll out dough for double crust pie. Line a 9 inch pie plate with half of the dough.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the 3/4 cup sugar, flour, lemon peel, and lemon juice. Add blueberries. Gently toss until coated. If using frozen blueberries, let mixture stand 15 to 30 minutes or till fruit is partially thawed, but still icy.

Transfer berry mixture into pastry lined pie plate. Trim pastry to edge of pie plate. Cut slits (or use cut outs or cookie cutters) in remaining pastry, place on filling and seal. Crimp edge as desired.

To prevent over browning, cover edge of the pie with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes for fresh fruit, or 50 minutes for frozen. Remove foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until top is golden. Cool on a wire rack. Serves 8-10.

White Chocolate Holiday Bark

Here is another holiday treat that is super quick and easy to throw together. Seriously, it took all of 5 minutes to make from start to finish. I got this recipe from Good Things Catered Her recipe has golden raisins but I didn't have any so I used semi sweet chocolate chips instead. It was so yummy. These are so pretty when they are cut up. A perfect addition to your treat gift giving.

White Chocolate Holiday Bark

16 ounces good white chocolate, chopped
chopped walnuts
dried cranberries
chocolate chips

In a microwave safe dish, add the white chocolate and microwave for 30 seconds. Take out and stir until the dish no longer feels warm. Then microwave and stir in 15 second intervals, until smooth and creamy. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread out. Top with nuts, cranberries and chocolate chips, pushing everything down into the white chocolate to adhere it. Let cool for 2 hrs at room temp, or 30 minutes in the fridge. Break or cut into the sizes you want.

Saltine Toffees

Wow I cant believe I haven't posted since Nov 19! Ive just been so busy. I have several pics taken, and I just need to write out the blog entry and get them posted! Here is a quick one that is so good! These are called Saltine Toffees. I actually got this recipe off a message board I frequent, called The Nest. This recipe was going around a few months back and I bookmarked it. I have no idea who posted the original recipe, so if its yours, let me know and I will edit my entry!

Saltine Toffees

1 package of saltine crackers
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
chopped nuts of your choice (I used almonds) about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or pieces

Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Place crackers onto baking sheet. On Medium low heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Dont stir it until its all melted. Then stir to combine and keep stirring until its bubbly and carmelized, about 3 minutes. Spoon the buttery sugar goo all over the crackers, then top with chopped nuts. Bake in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes, then take out and immediatly sprinkle chocolate chips over all the crackers. Let cool, then store in air tight containers.