Friday, February 18, 2011

Potato Casserole- Family Favorite

Another devine family favorite
A dish that is craved at all family gatherings and is always the first to run out

This is an 8x8, the recipe makes 9x13

The Good:  This recipe is simple, delicious and great for children wanting to help in the kitchen.  It is another recipe you can make ahead of time and freeze if needed.
The Bad: You shouldn't eat it the second it comes out of the oven... it will burn you.
The Ugly: I'm serious, let it cool down first or it will burn you!

Suggestions before starting:
My mother always leaves the butter out of the mixture but puts butter with extra corn flakes to spread on top.
Don't forget to buy cornflakes and account for the butter in the topping.
An interesting twist, make with french fried onions on top instead of the cornflakes.
My sister has used the frozen hashbrowns with peppers and veggies already in it and it was incredible!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hamburger Balls

These unusual ingredients make for a surprisingly delicious party favorite appetizer or meal!

The actual recipe makes 3x's this amount

The Good: This dish has been a favorite recipe in our cooking group and it freezes wonderfully.  Also, it is easy to prepare ahead of time.
The Bad: The recipe calls for 4-5 lbs of hamburger so it can be difficult to minimize the recipe.
The Ugly: It takes 2 hrs to bake these once they are prepared.

Suggestions before starting:
If you don't have any bread, saltine crackers work just as well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lattice Chicken Potpie

If you love Chicken Potpies but are intimidated by most recipes, this is the recipe for you.  Almost embarrassingly easy, delicious and cheap, this is practically a perfect recipe. 

The Good:  The 3 things I love most in a recipe: delicious, easy and cheap!
The Bad: Unfortunately it doesn't make an ever-lasting amount.
The Ugly:  Although it makes plenty for guests to join, you may quickly become asocial in fear they will eat the rest of your potpie.

Suggestions before preparing:
We simply eye-balled salt and pepper for seasoning.
If you are the type to prepare meals ahead of time, this recipe also works well frozen. Just remember to refrigerate the crescent rolls until ready to cook to make it taste fresh.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Behind the Blog

If you are familiar with Dave and I, you know things don't always go according to plan.  We are wired differently than most people and each other most days.  Add our clumsiness and we have a potential disaster at every corner so we thought cooking together was the way to go :)  If you're in the mood for a silly story, please join us for Behind the Blogs.

Tuscan Chicken Catastrophe
One bitter winters day, Dave and I returned home after a long trialing day of dreaded Christmas shopping.  My nerves had been tried by every makeup artist in the mall attacking me trying to sell me "the best makeup product ever created" and I decided to take a warm shower to relax, remove the makeup they put up and down my arms and so I would not take my frustrations out on the innocent and loving Dave. While in the shower, I suddenly began a very agitated cough and thought to myself, "Great! Getting sick is just what I need to cheer my spirits."  Little did I know Dave decided to surprise me by starting our cooking project while I was attempting to release my tension.

As I finish my shower and walk out into the apartment, I am overtaken with smoke.  Swimming through the sea of smoke, I turn the corner into the kitchen to find Dave flipping the chicken breast that has now become unrecognizably blackened.  Shocked I asked him what he was doing. His response, "Cooking the chicken."  Flabbergasted I say, "Its black! Why are you cooking the chicken that is already black?!?!"  Dave's saddened face simply says, "It's not done on the inside."

At this point I was trying desperately to remember that Dave is new to cooking and he probably did not understand that you need to turn the heat down when the inside of something isn't cooking fast enough.  As an engineer it makes sense to turn the heat up if something isn't hot enough but it was hopeless, my temper had the best of me.  Trying to hide my fury, I asked Dave to go to the store and get more chicken and the other items we needed for the week and he quickly scrambled out the door to try to amend the situation.

A long while later Dave returns home bearing only one item... Vaseline.  Sleep deprived and enraged I ask about the chicken.  I could see his heart break as he asked, "What chicken?" Instead of explaining that I had asked him specifically to pick up chicken so we could eat dinner I simply asked what we were supposed to eat.  His reply hit me like a bag of potatoes, "The chicken I cooked."  Confused tired and angry I ask, "Why on earth would we eat the blackened and now chilled chicken."  The puzzled Dave simply replied, "Its not cold, I put it in the oven at 350 before I left."  Hopeless at this point (2 am), I collapsed to the floor and said I was retiring for the evening.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuscan Chicken

This flavorful chicken in a creamy Tuscan sauce with cherry tomatoes can be a delectable surprise.  While white meats are typically served with a white wine, we chose a smooth Malbec to compliment the thickness of the sauce with a nice full flavor.

The Good:  After trouble-shooting this recipe it turned out to be a pretty tasty dish!
The Bad:  Unless you live to eat tomatoes, there is an excess of tomatoes in the original recipe.
The Ugly:  The original recipe said to cook each side of the chicken for 7 minutes... that was the worst blackened chicken I've ever seen.  Keep an eye out for my Behind the Blog for a juicy story.

Suggestions before starting:
Unless you are a huge tomato enthusiast I would cut back on the amount of tomatoes.  While they add a nice flavor, they can become overbearing especially if you're not a huge tomato fan.
Understand that while starting the chicken in the skillet, you're only goal is to brown the outside.  The inside will still be pink and will finish in the oven.
Remember to constantly stir the sauce so it does not burn in the skillet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Puppy Chow - Family Favorite

A dish you won't be willing to share with your dog!

As long as I can remember my mother has made this wicked recipe and allowed my sisters and I to help her in the kitchen.  This peanut butter treat is absolutely delicious and easy for the little ones to help with.

The Good:  This recipe is sinfully easy, cheap and everyone loves it!
The Bad:  This recipe can get messy but that's 1/2 the fun.
The Ugly: This recipe is not advised for people with peanut allergies.

Suggestions before starting:
The original recipe suggests using a grocery bag; however, with my severe case of germaphobia I would never consider it.  I use a 2 large Ziploc bags per recipe and split it up.  Once the recipe is finished I put it in a fresh bag or dish for appeal.
If you can't find 12 oz bags of peanut butter chips, don't fret! The closest you can come to 12 oz will be perfect.  This recipe does not need to be exact on any of the measurements.
I like to use a softer spatula/spoonula to mix the chex to keep from breaking too many.
The recipe has never specified an amount of powdered sugar... I've never used a whole bag.

The moment we've all been waiting for: The Recipe!