Monday, November 15, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

I originally found this recipe on All Recipes, but I've since tweaked it to make it my own. It's really quick and easy! I make mine family-sized, but you can easily cut the recipe in half.

1 refrigerated pie crust
2 12-oz. bags frozen mixed vegetables
3 cups chicken, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 c. milk
seasoning to taste (I use Tony Chachere's. Surprise!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook vegetables according to package directions. In large bowl, combine cooked vegetables, chicken, soup, milk, and seasoning.

Roll out crust onto wax paper. Place baking dish upside down onto crust and make an impression of it. Cut around the edge of the impression for a well-fitted top crust.

Pour chicken/vegetable mixture into baking dish; top with crust. Cut a few vent holes into the top.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve hot.

*I boil my chicken with trimmings from onion, bell pepper, and celery. After the broth has cooled, I freeze it for later use. It's healthier than prepackaged broth.

*I don't like a bottom crust in this because it tends to be gummy. If you prefer a bottom crust, line your baking dish with one pie crust, prebake according to package directions, then fill with chicken mixture and top with remaining crust. Or you can purchase the frozen pie crusts in the pan and use those.

*For a prettier top crust, brush with melted butter before baking.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baked Rotini

1 pkg. rotini
1 pkg. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 jar pasta sauce
1 pkg. fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 can black olives, drained and halved
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Italian seasoning, to taste
brown sugar, to taste
mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook pasts as directed on package. Brown beef and onions; drain.

In a large saucepan, combine beef and onions, sauce, mushrooms, olives, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Heat thoroughly. Add brown sugar by small handfuls until desired flavor is reached. (If you prefer a less sweet sauce, omit brown sugar.) Simmer 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add pasta to sauce and mix well. Pour into a large casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

A fresh garden salad or Caesar salad is a perfect pairing!

Vegetable Soup

2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
2 cans whole kernel corn, with liquid
2 cans sliced carrots, with liquid
2 cans potatoes, with liquid, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cans green beans, with liquid
salt and pepper to taste

Bring all ingredients to a slow boil in a large soup pot; simmer 10-15 minutes.

*I usually brown a pound of ground beef and add for some protein and a little extra flavor.

*Feel free to use fewer cans of vegetables or to add cans of different vegetables to suit your family's preferences. Be sure you always include the liquid from the can or add an equivalent amount of water to keep plenty of broth in the soup.

*You can use fresh vegetables instead of canned ones, but cooking time will need to be increased until vegetables are tender.

*Fresh, hot cornbread is a perfect complement.

Monday, June 7, 2010


2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb. link sausage, sliced, browned, and drained
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 c. water
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. uncooked long-grain rice
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Cook chicken. Saute bell pepper, onions, and garlic with sausage until sausage is browned; drain.

In large skillet, bring water, tomato sauce, rice, and seasonings to a boil. Stir in chicken and sausage with peppers and onions. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaf.

*Note: To adjust the level of spiciness, increase or decrease the amount of crushed red pepper to suit your taste. Remember though, it's better to be a little bland than too hot. You can always add a little Tabasco sauce. :o)

*For a different flavor, substitute 2-3 cups of seafood for the chicken and sausage.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chicken Artichoke Dip

2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
fresh jalapeno, to taste

Combine first six ingredients; put into microwave-safe bowl. Dust with paprika. Microwave on HIGH 4-5 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Serve with toasted French bread slices, tortilla chips, or crackers.

*This can also be baked in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

*Good hot or cold; also great as a sandwich spread.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chicken Spaghetti

3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut/torn into bite sized pieces
*chicken broth
1 pkg. spaghetti
1 rib celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 8-oz. pkg. fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 8-oz. container light sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup

Boil chicken; reserve broth. (*Add celery, onion, and bell pepper trimmings to water to flavor broth.)

While chicken is cooking, chop celery, onions, and bell pepper; slice mushrooms. Saute in olive oil until tender.

Remove chicken from broth; skim out trimmings. Cook spaghetti in broth according to package directions.

While spaghetti is cooking, cut up chicken. In a large bowl, mix sour cream, soups, seasonings, sauteed vegetables and chicken. Drain pasta; add to bowl and mix well.

This makes A LOT of chicken spaghetti, so be prepared to have leftovers - or invite someone over for dinner!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mandarin Chicken Salad

3 c. fresh spinach leaves
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/3 c. red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. red onion, diced
1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
3 seasoned, grilled chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 c. Asian salad dressing

In a large bowl, gently mix spinach, almonds, bell pepper, onion, and oranges.

In a separate bowl, combine chicken and salad dressing. Pour over salad mixture and gently toss.

Cranberry Walnut Bread

When I'm ready for some Jacked-Up Turkey Sandwiches, I make a loaf of this delicious bread in my bread machine. Make the necessary adjustments for making some to bake in the oven.

8 1/2 oz. warm water (1 c. + 1 Tbsp.)
2 1/2 c. bread flour
2 Tbsp. dry milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 1/2 tsp. bread machine/fast rise yeast (or 2 tsp. active dry yeast)
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Add warm water to pan. Add bread flour, dry milk, sugar, salt, and cinnamon to pan; tap to settle dry ingredients. Place butter into corners of pan. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add yeast. Lock pan into bread maker and being mixing.

When alert sounds, add cranberries and walnuts.

When done, remove bread from pan and cool on rack. Slice after cooling.

Jacked-Up Turkey Sandwich

My friend Cheri makes this delicious sandwich in her restaurant (PawPaw's Sweet Shop and Cafe, downtown Garland). I've come up with my own version of it.

1 slice cranberry walnut bread, cut in half
fat free cream cheese
Granny Smith apple slices (thin)
fresh spinach
deli-sliced turkey

*I bet this would be wonderful at Thanksgiving with some leftover turkey...!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spanish Rice

Billy's mom gave me this recipe several years ago.

1 c. rice, uncooked
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
1/3 c. diced onion
1/4 c. diced bell pepper
1 can chicken broth
3 Tbsp. tomato sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt, pepper, and ground cumin to taste

Brown rice in oil. Add onion and pepper; saute until soft. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings (to taste). Cover and simmer until rice has soaked up liquid and is fluffy.

*Note: Minute Rice works fine and shortens the cooking time considerably. Also, I use my own frozen chicken broth, which I freeze in 2-cup containers. I don't know how that measures to a can.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Garlic Butter Shrimp II

40-50 medium shrimp*, peeled and deveined
1 stick butter
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1/2 c. frozen chopped spinach
1 pkg. pasta, your choice of size/shape
Parmesan cheese
cracked pepper, to taste

Prep onion, mushrooms, and shrimp.

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat; add onion and garlic and saute until clear. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add mushrooms and saute. Add spinach and cook until heated through; add shrimp and heat for about 2 minutes.

Cover and remove from heat for 5 minutes for shrimp to warm throughout. Serve over your choice of pasta; top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper.

*The shrimp I use is already cooked and frozen - and I wait to buy it until it's on sale. (Brookshire's Food Club brand is the best I've found.) I just thaw it out, then toss it in the skillet a few minutes before cooking is finished.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Applesauce Meatloaf

The name doesn't sound that great, but this is the best meatloaf recipe I've tasted. Being a First Place weight loss recipe makes it even better!

2 lbs. lean ground meat (Beef or turkey would be good.)
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 onion, finely diced
1 bell pepper, finely diced
6 slices whole grain bread, crumbled
1 egg
2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/2 c. tomato sauce, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients, kneading mixture with hands until well blended. Pack into loaf pan and top with tomato sauce, if desired. Bake for 2 hours.

*If you don't have whole grain bread, you can substitute an equivalent amount of crumbled whole wheat crackers.

*If you're pressed for time, you can pack the meat mixture into a 9x9 baking pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

*For a slow cooker, pack meat mixture into the bottom of the pot, cover, and cook on HIGH for one hour. Reduce heat to LOW and cook for another 6-8 hours. Lift from pot, slice, and serve.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I got this recipe from a coworker nearly 20 years ago. It's always a hit, and you can adjust the heat level to suit your taste.

1 (14.5 oz.) can whole tomatoes
1 can chunky Ro-Tel tomatoes
3/4 tsp. onion flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
5-7 jalapeno slices

Put all ingredients into blender and mix until desired consistency. Chill.

*You can substitute 1/2 tsp. garlic salt for the salt and garlic powder.

*I prefer adding fresh jalapeno slices instead of the pickled ones, but either work fine. For a mild salsa, add 3 or 4 slices; for medium, 5 or 6 slices; for hot, 7 or 8 slices.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Better Broccoli Cheese Soup

*This is the second broccoli cheese soup recipe on this blog. The first one has a sweet flavor; I prefer this more savory one.

3 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen chopped broccoli
3 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
6 Tbsp. margarine
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. milk
1 1/2 lb. Velveeta, cubed
pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, simmer broccoli for 15 minutes.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until clear.

Add flour to the sauteed onions and stir well, forming a pasty substance. Gradually add the milk and stir until thick. Add this mixture to the broccoli mixture in the pot and stir well.

Add cheese, stirring until melted. Be sure not to bring soup to a boil or the cheese will break down.

Season to taste. Serve hot.

*Note: You can substitute broccoli florets for the chopped broccoli if you like large pieces in your soup.

If you like your soup thinner, add about a cup of water to the broth/broccoli mixture. You can skip the broth and use only water, but the broth adds a richer flavor to the soup.

Pizza Dough

*This recipe is from my bread machine cookbook.

3/4 c. warm water
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 c. all purpose or bread flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. bread machine/fast rise yeast

Add water and oil to pan. Add flour, sugar, salt, cheese, and seasoning to pan; tap to settle ingredients, then level and push some into corners. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add yeast.

Lock pan into bread maker and set controls for DOUGH.

When done, remove dough from pan and place onto floured surface. Knead about 1 minute, then let rest for 15 minutes.

Roll dough out to fit 12- to 15-inch pizza pan. Press dough onto greased pizza pan, forming an edge. Let rise in warm, draft-free place for 20-25 minutes.

Prebake crust for 8 minutes at 425 degrees. Top with sauce, cheese, and toppings, then return to oven and bake for additional 8 minutes.

Recipe can be doubled for two pizzas.

Monday, January 4, 2010


These are great for holiday parties, hence the name.

1 box saltines
1 1/4 c. canola oil
1 pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix
2-3 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes, per your taste

Place crackers in large bowl with a lid that seals well.

Mix oil, Ranch mix, and pepper in 2-cup measuring cup and pour over crackers. Seal with lid. Turn bowl over every 5-10 minutes for one hour, then remove from seasoning mix.

Store in covered container.