Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ham and Potato Soup

Oh how I love this creamy, warm, perfect-for-winter soup. My husband, who is not a fan of soup, particularly likes this one because it is thick and creamy and actually fills him up. I have made it before, but I decided it would be divine for my family Christmas Eve dinner this year. And it was. It does take a bit of time, not terribly long, but not super quick either. There's a bit of chopping and a couple of different steps to put this soup together, but it is worth it! I only make a couple of changes to the original recipe when I make it too. Instead of using water and bouillon, I just use one can of chicken broth and one cup of water. That is because I usually have chicken broth on hand, plus bouillon is not gluten free, so I have to be careful about that. But either way works just fine. I usually double this recipe for big get togethers, but if it's just for a small family, then it works great the way it is. I also leave out celery- not a huge fan. :) I think adding more ham than what it calls for is also wonderful, but that's because I absolutely love ham! Also, it is yummy with shredded cheddar cheese and green onion on top if you want to add a little extra flavor and color- if not, it is great the way it is. If you are a soup fan (even if you're not), then definitely give this wonderful winter soup a try!

3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

Gluten free: use chicken broth instead of bouillon and GF flour.

Original recipe from allrecipes.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Me and my husband really enjoyed this dish! Anything creamy and cheesy is good by us! :) Nothing bad to say about it at all. It was super easy to assemble- took no time at all. I used minute rice so that was very easy and quick too. Lovely! The only changes I made were to make it gluten free. I also omitted the milk and just doubled the sour cream because my cream of chicken soup was not condensed, so it was a bit thinner. I used the sour cream to help cream it up a bit. And it worked! Oh, I did add a bit more rice too. I didn't think two cups was enough, so I doubled the rice as well. Over all we were very pleased with this dish. I think it would taste delicious with a monterey jack cheese too. Play around with your white cheeses! Definitely will be making this one again.


2 cups cooked rice
3 cups cooked chicken pieces
6 slices of swiss cheese (the pre-sliced squares)
10 slices of cut up ham
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
10 saltine crackers
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. parsley


Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray.

Now the layers:
1) Rice
2) Chicken
3) Swiss cheese
4) Ham
5)Combine the cream of chicken soup, milk and sour cream, then spread on top of the ham.
6) Crush saltines and add the paprika, garlic salt, and parsley, mix. Sprinkle on top of the soup mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Gluten free: use GF cream of chicken soup and crackers. I used the Glutino plain crackers.

Original recipe from: organizeyourstuffnow.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

Twice Baked Red Potato Casserole

It's the most wonderful time of the year...for holiday cooking. There are so many family and friends' gatherings where yummy food is prepared and enjoyed! This past weekend, I brought this delicious red potato casserole to one of many family Christmas parties. It was a hit! My dish was scraped clean! I loved using the red potatoes too. Not only are they my favorite potatoes to eat in general, but they gave such wonderful color to the dish- perfect for Christmas time! Then there's all the cheesey, bacon goodness that goes along with it. :) There are very little ingredients and it is incredibly easy to assemble. Me and my husband did it together in a matter of minutes. Can't go wrong with this one. Enjoy!

1-1/2 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium), baked
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, sliced

Cut baked potatoes into 1-in. cubes. Place half in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper and bacon. Top with half of the sour cream and cheeses. Repeat layers.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cheeses are melted. Sprinkle with onions. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Gluten free: just double check to make sure your bacon is gluten free, other than that, you are set!

Recipe from tasteofhome.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Southwest Pasta Bake

I liked this dish- it was pretty tasty. I have two things to say about it: 1)I think it needs a little bit more noodles, like 12 oz. or so instead of 8 oz. so they don't get lost in all the other yummy stuff in the dish and 2)It does take a bit more time to prepare because of all of the different steps...but still not too long. (maybe 30 min or so) Other than that I have nothing bad to say about it! It was yummy and something different for me to try! Personally, I think it comes out looking very pretty too. I love the southwest flavor, mixed with the creamy cheesy goodness. I will definitely make this again, just with more noodles next time. :)

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
1 can (8 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 can (6 ounces) no-salt-added tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in milk. Stir in spinach and oregano; set aside.
In a nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the picante sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain pasta; stir into meat mixture.
In a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer half of the meat mixture and all of the spinach mixture. Top with remaining meat mixture.
Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives and onions. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

Gluten free: use GF pasta noodles.

Original recipe from tasteofhome.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Seems like during the Christmas season, I find myself making more and more desserts! There are just so many wonderful recipes out there to try that help fill your home with Christmas cheer! :) This past weekend, I decided to fill my home with the wonderful aroma of Cranberry Bliss Bars. And they were divine. I know this recipe looks quite intimidating, with all of the different steps (cake, frosting, drizzle, etc.), but you do not have to do all of that if you do not want to. Mind you, it does make the bars look fantastic, but it is a bit of extra work, that even I didn't have time to do this weekend. I ended up just buying a pre-made cream cheese frosting instead and it still tasted great. I'm sure making the homemade frosting and drizzle would be amazing though...and one of these days when I have more time, I will definitely give it a shot.

I absolutely loved the cranberries and white chocolate together. It was delightful. And the brown sugar made the cake taste wonderful as well. It was so pretty too! The red cranberries just gave it that beautiful Christmas-y look and I loved it. I think these are going to become a tradition in my home every year! I have gone back for seconds everytime I dish one up for myself! :)

I did not make any changes to the recipe except for not making my own frosting. Everything else I followed exactly.

Mock Cranberry Bliss Bars
(adapted from My Little Mochi)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Drizzling icing:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1-2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt. Mix well.
Gradually add flour. Mix until smooth. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate.
Pour the batter into a well-greased 9×13-inch pan. Use a spatula to evenly spread the batter in the pan.
Bake 30-40 minutes, until edges are light brown. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: Mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until completely smooth. Set aside the cranberries.
Make the drizzling icing: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vegetable shortening. Use enough milk to make a thick but drizzly consistency. I used closer to 2 tablespoons. [at first it will seem like the vegetable shortening is just going to clump things up, but if you mix the milk in first it will all whisk together smoothly].

When the cake is fully cooled, frost. Sprinkle the top with cranberries.
Put the drizzling icing into a ziploc bag and snip off a tiny bit of the corner (or use pastry bag fitted with small tip). Drizzle the icing on top in zig-zags or whatever pattern you like.
Cut into squares or triangles and enjoy.

Gluten free: use GF flour.

*I found this wonderful recipe on foodgawker.com.*

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cherry Cobbler

This is one of my favorite cobblers to make because it is so simple and absolutely delicious. For days, when you need something sweet, but don't want to spend all day in the kitchen, this is the dessert for you. The recipe was given to my mom by a close family friend and it has been a staple in my parent's home ever since- and now in my own. :) It is wonderful at any time of the year and best served with vanilla ice cream or cool whip. Mmmm...so, so good. I have never made any changes to the recipe because it is fabulous just the way it is.

2 sticks of butter or margarine (1 cup), melted
1 Yellow Cake mix
2 cans cherry pie filling
2 cans crushed pinneapple, drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 9 x 13 dish, mix both cans of cherry pie filling and the crushed pinneapple. Pour the yellow cake mix evenly on top of the cherry/pinneapple mixture. Lastly, pour the melted butter on top of the cake mix. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving. (That way your ice cream or cool whip doesn't melt right away.) :)

And enjoy!!

Gluten free: use a GF yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker's brand).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

What a fun and super easy dinner/lunch/party snack- whatever! Took me a whole 2 minutes to whip up the ingredients. The original recipe calls for sausage as well, however, I decided to keep it simple with just pepperoni. This recipe is awesome though because you can make your own little pizzas, so put whatever you like in there! I also do not own mini muffin pans, so I just used regular sized muffin pans and baked it for 20 minutes. Easy-peasy. I loved dipping them in pizza sauce too! So fun. I served these little puffs with a salad and wa-la! These are wonderful for kids and adults! Enjoy!

3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 oz mini turkey pepperoni, (about 1/2 cup)
4 oz low-fat sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup pizza sauce

Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Gluten free: Use GF flour, meat of choice, and pizza sauce.

Original recipe from plainchicken.com.