Menu 11/26 - 12/2--2010

What a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I hope yours was as good or better. We really had a wonderful time with Grannie and Pop. We even had enough leftovers for two more dinners!!
Saturday--The last of the leftovers
Sunday--Chicken Spaghetti
Monday--Zuppa Toscana I didn't try last week
Wednesday--Salisbury Steak recipe from one of my new Taste of Home cookbooks. I hope we like it and if we do, you'll see a post!
Thursday--Pork Fried Rice


Menu 11/19 - 11/26--2010

Well, I haven't posted a menu for a while, but I have tried to maintain them, for the most part. It is still a day-by-day, likely-to-change-at-the-last-moment thing though if I subbed that day.
Friday--We went to the drive in to see The Deathly Hallows, so we scrounged for leftovers before we left.
Saturday-- Ravioli Lasagna
Sunday-- Burrito Casserole
Monday-- Chicken Spaghetti
Tuesday-- I am going to try this Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana recipe I found. It's Jayme's favorite there and since we had such success with the Chicken & Gnocchi recipe, I am trying another!
Wednesday-- Not sure! We will be with Jayme's family for the evening so I am sure it will be something yummy
Thursday-- THANKSGIVING DINNER!!! My favorite meal of the year. We will be camping again this year. My parents will be with us and we have split it up like this:
Mom is making the turkey and Cornbread Dressing.
I am making the Green Bean Casserole and boiled red potatoes. For dessert I am making Kentucky Derby Pie and we will have a pumpkin pie too but I forget who is making it!


Kentucky Derby Pie

One year when we still lived in Germany, our wonderful friends Matt and Ann invited us over for Christmas dinner. Ann is from Paducah, Kentucky and she served this truly amazing pie for dessert. I left with the recipe and a new favorite thing to make for parties. I have even used the small tart-sized pie crusts to make individual pies with this recipe.

The Ingredients

2 prepared pie crusts**
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup stick margarine (I use butter, softened)
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup pecan halves or pieces
2 Tbsp bourbon (this is where the "Kentucky" comes in. Use Jim Beam instead of Jack Daniels)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Add sugar, margarine/butter, corn syrup, bourbon, salt and eggs in a medium bowl.

Whisk until well blended. Divide chocolate chips and pecan pieces between two pastry-lined pie plates.
Pour sugar/butter/bourbon blend on top of chips and nuts in pastry-lined pie plate(s).

Bake at 375 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes or until set.
This stuff is almost too good!

**If you have a deep pie dish, you could probably fit the whole recipe in one pie. I don't have one so I usually make the full recipe listed and split it between 2 crusts. This makes for an almost fudgy texture on the bottom that I just adore!

Green Bean Casserole

Here is another Thanksgiving staple for us. One of the few dishes I adore that day but cannot stand to eat leftovers of the next day. I think it's the absence of crunch the next day. In any case, the recipe I make is pretty basic. I use the one on the can of French's Fried Onions with a minor change or two.

The Ingredients *This makes a double recipe in a 9 x 13 pan.

2 cans (10 3/4 oz) Cream of Mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large can (6 oz) French's Fried Onions
1 small can (2.8 oz) French's Fried Onions
4 cans (14 1/2 oz) French Style Green Beans, drained and rinsed

Mix together soup and milk. Add pepper, green beans and large can of onions.

Stir. Pour into a prepared 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle small can of onions on top.

Return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy. It's the perfect side for your holiday feast.

Cornbread Dressing

I wanted to post a few Thanksgiving recipes this year, but since I will be in the middle of the East Texas Pineywoods with no internet when I actually cook them, I guess I should go ahead and post them now without pics and add the pics in later when I get back home. Will that work? Let's find out, shall we?
My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner (beside the turkey) is the dressing. It's a dish that we can and do have other times during the year, but on the Thanksgiving table, it has a surreal quality and tastes much better. The one I make is my mom's recipe and I am not sure where she got it. I think it may have been on the package of cornbread mix. I do know it has been around ever since I can remember. It's just not Thanksgiving without it!

The Ingredients *All amounts are for a single recipe in a 8 x 8 pan. I usually double it and use a 9 x 13 pan.

Prepared 6 ounce package of cornbread (I like the Betty Crocker kind that costs about $.38 per package)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 stick butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 1/4 cups chicken broth

Melt butter in skillet or saute pan. Add celery and onion and cook over medium heat until slightly browned and soft.

Crumble cornbread in a large mixing bowl.

Add remaining ingredients, including sauteed onion and celery with all remaining butter in pan.

Mix well and pour into casserole or baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until top is set and edges are golden brown. This stuff is even more amazing the next day, trust me!


Cheesy Garlic Chicken Parmigiana

It's my 100th post on the food blog!! They haven't all been recipes but I am so happy about reaching my 100th post so soon. Thanks to all my sweet friends who have followed along and used the recipes and let me know how they liked them. It's so much fun to hear. For this 100th post I have a long-time family favorite around Chaosville. I got the recipe off the back of a package of Lipton Noodles and Sauce (now called Knorr Pasta Sides) and that is what I usually serve with the dish. I have since discovered the recipe is also on the package of soup mix called for. Speaking of said soup mix--I very nearly thought I would have to figure out a way to recreate this dish on my own because I couldn't find the soup mix anywhere. My sweet neighbor Misty saved the day by finding some for me and letting me know where it was when she gave me a box of it. So if you like this one, thank Misty!!
The Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Savory Herb with Garlic Soup Mix
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese *as usual I use more than the recipe calls for on the cheeses
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange chicken in a 9 x 13 baking dish and top with tomato.

In a small bowl, blend together the soup mix, olive oil and water.

Pour over chicken.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Top with cheeses and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and chicken is no longer pink.

I serve it with the Parmesan flavored Knorr Pasta Sides and we LOVE it! I hope you love it too!!


Chicken & Dumplins

Okay, it's your lucky day!! I have finally remembered to take pictures so I can post this FANTABULOUSLY amazing recipe. It's simple, but time consuming. I like to have all day ahead of me with nothing else going on if I am making it "from scratch" like this time. There are some shortcuts which I will mention as we go along. For the record I started the chicken at 9:30 this morning, so we will try to keep track of the time it really takes.
The Ingredients

1 whole chicken
1 family size can of Cream of Chicken soup
1 or 2 cans of chicken broth/stock or bouillon
Bisquick and milk for the dumplins

**A note about the chicken--You can use the equivalent amount of chicken breast if you don't care for dark meat, but I really like to use a whole chicken. I have also used the shortcut of a rotisserie chicken from the deli, but my hubby did not like it as much. Too much "barbecue-y flavor" was his only explanation.
The first thing I did this morning was cook my chicken. I put it in a stockpot of water. I like to use some of the broth for my cooking liquid. This time I added some celery and carrots that I had in the fridge with no other purpose, but I don't always do that since I use bouillon cubes later. As you can see in the picture, my bird was a little large for my pot, so I flipped her over at the halfway mark. I usually bring the water to a boil and then simmer for about 50 minutes and check for doneness. If it isn't quite done I cook her a little longer. Chicken was done at 10:40 so it took exactly 50 minutes.

Now the bird needs to cool down so I can take off all the meat. I keep the broth (minus veggies and giblets) for later but I won't need it all. I waited about 30 minutes and didn't have too many burnt fingers.

Once the bird cools, I take it all off the bones and then we can finish the dish whenever you're ready. I was done with this step at 11:30. So far we are 2 hours into this dish but it hasn't been constant work by any means.

Oh, you're ready now? Fine with me! (I took a short break though to check on Raley who was home sick from school. Once you start the next step you kind of can't stop until the dumplins are all in. I started back up at 12:00) I dropped 4 bouillon cubes into the reserved cooking broth. I don't really measure the amount of broth I reserve, I just fill the stockpot to a point at which there is still room for the dumplins and meat without it spilling over. Add the Cream of Chicken soup (my mother-in-law, from whom I got this recipe, likes to use a small can of Cream of Chicken plus a small can of Cream of Celery soup) and mix well. Bring to a boil.

While the soup base is rising to a boil, mix up the dumplins. I use the recipe on the Bisquick box. For every 2 1/4 cups of Bisquick, use 2/3 cup of milk. I make at least a 1 1/2 recipe because the dumplins are the best part of this whole shebang!

**A note about dumplins--I have never used them, but I have heard you can use refrigerated biscuits and cut them up for dumplins. My mother-in-law has been known to use cut up strips of flour tortillas in a pinch.
Once the soup base comes to a boil, it's time to start adding the dumplins. Get a spoon, grab a bite sized blob of batter and dip the spoon into the pot. The batter will slide off in the soup. Keep going until all your batter is gone. I put in the last dumplin at 12:25.

Once all the dumplins are in, keep on a gentle boil for 10 minutes. The dumplins will increase in size and frankly, for my tastes, they get a little too big so I like to cut them up some as they cook.

Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes.

At this point, you are done! Have a great big bowl and be happy. This is the kind of "soup" that only gets better the longer it sits. And tomorrow? FUHGEDDABOUTIT! It is insanely delicious the next day too. You can freeze some leftovers, should you have any, for another day's happy lunch!

My bowl was ready for eating at 12:45. All told, just over 3 hours to make this stuff and worth every second!