Monday, February 13, 2017

Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta

I bought an Instant Pot a few months ago and have been collecting dinner recipes. Here's my first one! This can be a side or you can add chicken to make it a one pot meal. When I add chicken, I cook the a couple of frozen chicken breasts on high pressure with 2 cups of water for 15 min. Then I remove them and use the pot for the pasta. You can even measure out the leftover water that the chicken cooked in, and use that too. Makes a lot! Feeds my family of 6 with leftovers.

Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta
adapted from
16oz pasta (I like penne, rotini, or farfalle)
4 cups water
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk OR half and half
1 tsp of salt
Pepper to taste

1. Place pasta and 4 cups of water in Instant Pot. Dump bag of frozen broccoli on top of pasta. Do not stir.
2. Turn pot on manual HIGH pressure for 4 minutes. After it has finished, do a quick release.
3. Turn pot to saute. Add in milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.

Add chopped cooked chicken if desired.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

It's going to be in the 80's here today, but it's WINTER, so I'm posting a soup recipe! This soup reminds me of chicken pot pie filling, but with rice of course. The rice is baked in the oven, so while it's doing it's thing, you can cook your chicken and chop up all your veggies. I like to cook my chicken in my Instant Pot, and then use the leftover broth in the soup. 

Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup
1 7 oz. box of Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix (like Zatarain's pic below)
2 cups water
1 tsp chicken bouillon granuals OR 1 cube
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 TBSPs chopped fresh parsley
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine rice, water, and bouillon in a 3 quart or 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in skillet over med-high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots in butter until soft. Stir in flour and cook until bubbly.
3. Add broth and parsley. Cook and stir until thickened.
4. Add baked rice and chicken; mix well. Add cream and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Makes 6 servings

Thursday, January 19, 2017

BBQ Smoked Sausage French Bread

When I look at these pictures I think, PARTY FOOD! This would be a great super bowl party snack. It has all the major food groups, bread, cheese, meat, and BBQ sauce! ;) The recipe only uses half of the loaf of French bread, but you can definitely double it to feed a crowd. It would also be amazing to substitute chicken, and even throw some bacon in there, which I will try soon. I used beef smoked sausage and cheddar cheese, but you can use your favorites of either one. And no reason why you can't make this for dinner!

Barbecue Smoked Sausage French Bread
1 loaf French bread, sliced in half lengthwise (you only need 1 half)
1 TBSP butter
1 small onion, sliced
12oz  package of smoked sausages, chopped
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3/4 cup shredded cheese

1. Place french bread half on a baking sheet. Toast under broiler just until it starts to brown. Remove from broiler.
2. Melt butter in skillet over med-high heat. Add onion slices and cook stirring occasionally until onions are soft.
3. Add chopped sausages and continue stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, until cooked through.
4. Add barbecue sauce and cook for a few minutes until mixture is heated through.
5. When sausage mixture is hot, scoop it onto the french bread and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with cheese.
6. Place back under broiler to melt cheese. Keep your eye on it so it doesn't burn.
7. Slice into strips and serve.

I couldn't say no when he asked to be in the picture. Haha

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bacon and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

I had a biscuit like this at the Magnolia Market Silo Bakery. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I thought why not add bacon, cheese, and chives to my own biscuits, and here they are! They are fluffy and buttery with the extra goodness of bacon and cheese! Make a double batch, because you'll want more.

Bacon and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups flour
3 tsps baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
5 TBSPs cold butter, cut into cubes (or use a cheese grater)
2 TBSPs cold shortening
1 cup cold buttermilk, plus an extra 3 TBSP in case you need it
3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 TBSP fresh chives, chopped
1 TBSP melted butter for brushing on top

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper, silpat, or aluminum foil, dull side up.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together until combined. With a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until each piece is coated and the size of small peas.
3. Add bacon, cheese, and chives and mix until combined.
4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in one cup of the buttermilk. Gently mix it around until it's combined. If the dough doesn't look wet, add in the extra 3 TBSPs of buttermilk to moisten it. You don't want it runny, just visibly moist.
5. Flour your surface and gently place your dough on top. Dust the top of the wet dough with a little more flour ensuring that your fingers don't stick into the dough. Bring the dough together with your hands, gently, for about 10 seconds. Flatten into a 1-1 ½ inch thick circle. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter (I used a 2½ inch). Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and hinders rising.
6. Place each biscuit on the lined baking sheet, so that the sides are barely touching. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
Makes 6 large biscuits

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Chocolate Orange Fudge

These flavors together are one of my favorite combos! Orange extract gives this fudge it's orange flavor. I added the orange slice pieces on top just for fun. This is the easiest fudge to make, really! You can change it up by substituting a different extract like this Chocolate Peppermint Fudge or this Chocolate Fudge with nuts.

Chocolate Orange Fudge
3 cups (18 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Dash salt
1 tsp orange extract
Candy orange slices for garnish (optional)

1. Line 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.
2. Melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in extract. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Place pieces of orange candy on top, if desired.
3. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Apple Cider Syrup

I love apple cider! Trader Joe's sells a really fresh tasting Honey Crisp cider that is so good! I used it to make some syrup to go on my Apple Pie French Toast (see pic below) and it is amazing! I like the taste of it without cinnamon, but if you want a cinnamon apple syrup feel free to add cinnamon. Would also be great on crepes or ice cream.

Apple Cider Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 TBSPs cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 cups apple cider
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP butter

In medium sauce pan combine sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon (if desired); blend well. Slowly whisk in apple cider and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Add butter; stir until melted. Makes 2 cups. Serve with THIS!

Apple Pie Baked French Toast

I've made this with blueberries, peaches, and now I've added a fall spin! In between layers of cubed french bread is a layer of cream cheese and apple pie filling! Even better I've topped it with Apple Cider Syrup. Yum! I also mixed some cinnamon with powdered sugar to sift over the top too. Amazing fall breakfast and would be perfect to wow your Thanksgiving guests.

 Apple Pie Baked French Toast
1 loaf french bread (day old bakery bread works great)
1 21oz can or jar of apple pie filling
8 oz cream cheese
4 TBSPs butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups half and half
10 eggs
Powdered sugar
Cinnamon (optional)
Apple Cider Syrup (optional) or whatever you want on top

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 in baking dish with non stick spray.
2. Cube bread and layer half in prepared dish.
3. Scoop apples out of can and unto cutting board (save the gooey glaze left in the can). Roughly chop them and spread the apples in a layer on top of the bread cubes.
4. Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and drop them on evenly across the apples. Cover with remaining bread cubes.
5. Pour melted butter over the top of the bread cubes.
6. Whisk together half and half, leftover apple glaze from the can, and eggs. Pour over the top of the bread as evenly as possible. Try to cover all the bread. Press down with spatula so that the liquid is absorbed by the bread.
7. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
8. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. If it starts to get too brown, lay a sheet of foil on top until it has finished baking. Remove from oven and sift powered sugar over top and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Cut into 8-12 servings. Serve with Apple Cider Syrup.

Note: If you serve immediately, the pieces won't stay in a formed square. They'll break apart as you dish it up. For uniform looking pieces let cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.