Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tomato Pie

With summer approaching I figured I better post this recipe quick. I am not a tomato eater and I love this pie! It is sort like a chunky pizza. This is another recipe from Jerrie, my M-I-L. We love to serve it with burgers, but it is really a meal in itself. Add it to your must try recipes for the summer!

Tomato Pie

1 unbaked pie crust
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella
4 0r 5 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 t garlic
1 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/4 c grated parmesean

1. Place pie crust in a 9 in pie plate. Bake according to package directions
2. Remove pie crust from oven and sprinkle with 1/2 c mozzarella then cool
3. Meanwhile, drain tomato wedges on paper towels
4. When crust is cool, arrange tomato on top of melted mozzarella
5. Sprinkle with garlic and basil
6. Combine 1 c mozzarella, mayonnaise, and parmesan
7. Spread on top
8. Bake at 375 for 35-40 min

**I tried to post a picture but the program is automatically rotating it. The picture really does the recipe justice so I will keep trying.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

This recipe is a keeper! Kris' mom starting making this dish a few years ago, and it is basically the go to family meal in their house. The chopping of all the veggies does take a little while, but that is the only labor this dish really requires. Note to those who always try to make things healthier: I tried making this pasta once by eliminating the butter and maybe using half of the cheese called for, and it wasn't fit to eat. I did make this most recent batch with the 2% Velveeta though and you definitely can't tell a difference. It is a huge casserole so try not to think about what all goes into it because it makes at least 10 servings I would say.

4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
8 oz capellini (very thin spaghetti)
6T butter
1/4 c flour
2 c chicken broth
1 14 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes (don't drain)
16 oz Velveeta (one small package or half of a big; 2% works great)
1 onion diced
1 bell pepper diced (we usually use red or green)
4 ribs of celery diced
1 jalapeno minced (remove seeds unless you like a lot of spice)
1 c parmesan cheese
Pinch of red pepper flakes (if you like the spice, I usually leave it out)
Salt and Pepper

1. Cook pasta according to instructions (the thin spaghetti cooks fast so I would save it to last)
2. Dice up the onion, peppers, celery and have ready
3. Melt butter then add in the diced veggies...saute until tender
4. Add in flour and let it cook a couple minutes
5. Add in chicken broth and bring to boil and keep stirring until it thickens up (approx 2 min)
6. Pour in can of tomatoes and juices
7. Add in velveeta (helps to cut it up a little in order to stir around), salt, pepper, and red pepper flake
8. Stir until the cheese is all melted
9. In large pot, mix the pasta with the chicken and the sauce
10. Pour into large casserole dish (13x9 pan works, but if you have bigger that's great)
11. Bake at 350 for 30 min or until it is bubble and starts to brown a little
12. Once you remove the casserole from the oven, top with parmesan cheese, or save it to sprinkle on individual servings

We typically have green beans as a side vegetable for this meal. You could easily make this casserole in advance and just not bake it until you are ready to serve.


Google Stinks

Well friends, family, unknown readers...because of your vigilant reading of my blog and visiting the advertiser links, Google is punishing me by not allowing ads on my blog anymore. Just as I was about to post a new delicious recipe they ruined my day. Guess I will have to find a new blog host that appreciates people actually visiting their advertisers.

Google = Ebeneezer Scrooge

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Strawberry Pie

Strawberries were on sale at the grocery store this past week so I went crazy and bought 3 containers. Since I am such a nice person, I decided this time I could share with Kris (I think I ate every single strawberry when I bought them a week before). He mentioned that he would like the pie his mom always makes, so I got the recipe and whipped it up. This is a super easy pie and I guess it could be adapted to any fruit you like.

Strawberry Pie

80z cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/2 T almond extract
1 c cream, whipped
Strawberries - washed and hulled
Chocolate chips - handful
1 crust - oreo, graham cracker, etc

1. Whip cream cheese, sugar, and almond extract together
2. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form (aka whipped cream)
3. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture
4. Spoon mixture into crust - we always use oreo
5. Top with strawberries
6. Melt the chocolate chips and drizzle on top
7. Keep refrigerated

I used vanilla extract because I didn't have almond
I used cool whip instead of whipping cream

Kris' review - didn't taste exactly like his mom's but close enough. :) It must have been good because he dived right in before I could take a picture.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage

I have this recipe that I love that is for an Italian sausage and cream sauce for pasta (I even submitted it to the Chi Omega cookbook we did in college). For some reason I think this is such a great meal, but I don't think my family agreed when I made it for them years ago. Due to the unhealthiness of the dish, I had only made it once or twice. However, a couple years ago I decided to make this dish and try it out with turkey sausage and the fat free half and half my mom started buying. I think this low-fat version is a winner and Kris seems to enjoy it, so maybe you will too. :)

1 lb turkey sausage (Even though my recipe calls for 1lb, I only cook 1/2lb and freeze the other 1/2)
1 can diced tomatoes (I love the ones flavored with basil/garlic/oregano but plain are good too)
1 small onion
1 c fat free half and half
2/3 c white wine
Parmesan cheese (shredded is better than the grated/fine version for this dish)
Penne pasta (or the shape of your choice)

1. Brown turkey sausage with onion and drain fat2. Add white wine and boil until it almost evaporates3. Add can of diced tomatoes, including juices, and let simmer for a few minutes4. Add half and half and then simmer on low. The sauce won't get very thick and will remain somewhat runny since we eliminated the heavy cream.5. Boil pasta and then toss with sauce and parmesan cheese

Tips - I usually make the batch of sauce and then refrigerate half since I am only cooking for 2. That way I can make fresh pasta the next night and it tastes like new again.
If I think about it when cooking I will add some garlic to the sausage while browning.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kentucky Derby

Growing up in a family where both sides are from Kentucky, you would think the first Saturday in May was a national holiday. We would often have derby parties, and I can remember when we were younger we would draw a horse's name from a bowl and that was your horse to cheer for (and hopefully it would win you the pot of money). My grandmother would always get us a derby glass, and this tradition has been carried on through my mom and my aunt. My mom says I have a collection stashed away, but I bet my brother has hoarded all of them.

On to the food portion of this post, Derby day isn't Derby day without Derby Pie! This sparks many memories, and really was my favorite part of the whole day. Derby pie is a delicious dessert that basically tastes like a chocolate chip cookie (with nuts) in a pie crust. Now if you know me, you will know that I am not a big nut fan, and of course I managed to find myself a husband who is allergic so I just use that as my excuse now. I can remember begging my mom to make the pie without nuts, and after a few rounds of her saying no, she usually caved. Some years she would have tart shells and make us individual pies, but mostly it was just one pie. Well now I can make things to my own liking, so my pies are definitely nut free. I tried to make my own mini derby pies (I am liking mini versions of things these days) and we shall see how they taste. I couldn't find the pre-made tart shells, so I bought the Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough and cut it into circles to fit into a muffin pan and made mine that way. I will have to wait until Kris tries it to see if they are any good.

Derby Pie
(My mom swears our recipe is the "real" derby pie recipe, so if this post disappears you know somebody hunted me down and I committed some sort of infringement)

1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c flour
3 eggs
1 stick butter (melted)
2 T bourbon (I use vanilla instead)
6 oz chocolate chips
1 c broken pecans

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Beat eggs. Add in sugars and mix.
3. Add in remaining ingredients and combine well.
4. Divide between 2 pie shells
5. Bake for 1 hour - cover with foil if the pies start to brown, because a top layer will develop before the whole pie is set
6. If you want to make mini pies, bake for 30 min.

Oops - as I am typing up this recipe I realized I forgot to put the vanilla in my batch. Hope the pies are still yummy!


After months and months of debating what I wanted our everyday dishware to be, I finally made the big purchase today! Due to the friends and family sale at Macy's, I finally committed to buying Fiestaware. I got 12 place settings in 3 colors - ivory, cobalt blue, and peacock. I know you probably could care less what dishes I have, but I am very excited so thought I would post it.

I know my Aunt Sally is a big fan of fiestaware, and I think I first learned about it while visiting her in Cali. My mom always talks about how her aunt had these dishes as well. I look forward to a lifetime of collecting fiesta and the different colors they release in the future.

Now back to food - I currently am baking some derby pies so I will post about those later (I
know I am a day late but hopefully they will still be good).

This is a picture of the aftermath of opening 12 place setting boxes. I'm still waiting for the clean-up fairy to come.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Strawberry Cake

Last night I came to the rescue for Valerie and made some emergency cupcakes for her fiance's birthday. She is my cupcake loving friend who was the lucky recipient of the red velvet cupcakes for her bridal shower (see red velvet cake post). I love to bake and not have the remnants sitting around our place, and I also jump at any chance to try to create a new recipe and decorating technique. I thought I did a pretty good job since I didn't have much time, but then I discovered they weren't as pretty upon delivery. I never even considered putting a fresh strawberry slice on top would "ruin" the frosting, but it definitely left its mark. The icing started to run a little due to the moisture of the strawberry slice, and being the perfectionist that I am, this did not make me happy. At least I learned a valuable lesson....juicy strawberries don't mix with frosting! Guess I will have to figure something else out for the future. If you have any tips let me know!!

This was the first strawberry cake I have ever attempted, other than a boxed strawberry cake (which ended up being the Easter floor cake I mentioned before). I found the recipe on the Food Network's website, and when I saw it was done by Paula Deen I figured it had to be good (I hope I don't get in trouble for posting this!!). Since I am trying to stick to my diet, I did not eat the cake but have been assured they were yummy, but you can judge for yourself. FYI - don't expect these to be a normal cake texture...I would classify them as "squishy." Obviously that is not a proper cake term, but it will do for now. :)

Strawberry Cake

1 boxed white cake mix
1 3oz box strawberry gelatin
1 15oz package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed (I couldn't find ones in "syrup" but found them labeled "sweetened")
4 large eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c water

Preheat oven to 350
Combine cake mix and strawberry gelatin.
Add in the pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water and mix until combined and smooth
Divide evenly between 2 cake pans, or I made 24 cupcakes and 36 mini cupcakes.
If making a cake, the directions say to bake for 20 min.
If making cupcakes - bake 15 min for regular sized, and 12 for mini.
Frost with your favorite icing - I used the classic cream cheese frosting, but the recipe provided a yummy strawberry cream cheese frosting. I think that may be a little too much to serve along with the strawberry cake, but I will try it with a different cake sometime in the future.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
1 box powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese together
Slowly mix in powdered sugar (otherwise you will have a cloud of powdered sugar dust floating up)
Add in vanilla and mix until smooth (confession - I never measure vanilla and usually always add more than a recipe calls for because I think it makes everything better)
**Variation - I looked for strawberry extract at the store thinking it may be better than vanilla for this recipe, but couldn't find any - try it if you have it and let me know how it tastes