Friday, August 29, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

Hey, hey, its Deb. The Cowgirls and Cupcakes giveaway is officially on its way. We have had quite a few comments as well as quite a few new recipes to add to the blog. Thank you so much for reading and contributing! This next recipe came from a good friend of mine by the name of Jennifer Billeci. Jenn and I have known each other since the womb, as I have with my buddy Kim. We have had so much fun together throughout the years and I have to say that Jennifer is one of the most fantastic cooks that I know. She also comes from one of the nicest families that I know that keep family as well as their Italian cooking heritage close to their heart. I am crossing my fingers that maybe she might also send us her fantastic pesto recipe! (Hint Hint) It's yummy. I have personally tasted it! And if you are looking to invest in some real estate, you might also want to check out Jenn and her husband Roger's website at:
So I hope you enjoy her recipe and keep on cookin cowgirls!

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore was a family staple in our house growing up. The smells it sends through the house are right up there with chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. This was my favorite meal growing up and now I share it with my own family. It is best on a crisp fall day or cold winter evening. This recipe is one that has been passed down over the years from generations who didn’t rely on recipes, so go with your senses when cooking! Serve with a good bottle of red wine, a small salad, and a good loaf of crusty French bread and you’ll have yourself a great meal . . . Buon Appetito!

Skinless chicken pieces (you can do bone-in or boneless – I think the bone adds more flavor to the sauce – I normally cook six to eight pieces, but you can adjust everything for the size of your crowd! However, make sure you don’t crowd the chicken in the pan as you will want it to brown – if they are too crowded they will just steam.)

Fill a plastic bag with flour and salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken and shake – to coat all chicken pieces.

In a large fry pan add 2-3 tbls. olive oil and equal amount butter (if you need more, add more olive oil – not butter)

Once the pan is heated, add chicken to the pan brown on both sides. Add sauce and simmer (the longer the better – the meat should be so tender it begins to pull away from the bone!)

Sauce (adjust accordingly if you use more chicken):

1 can chopped tomatoes

½ cup chicken broth

Chopped up celery (2-3 stalks)

parsley (a small bunch)


5-6 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf, basil (1 tsp. or so)

rosemary (a couple branches chopped or 1 tsp. dried or so)

4-5 sliced mushrooms

1/3 – ¼ cup red wine (don’t worry for kids, the alcohol cooks out)

salt and pepper to taste

After simmering for 1 hour or so, if you feel the sauce is too liquid add tomato paste. Let simmer (not too high) until the chicken is tender. Serve with lots of sauce on top to soak up with the French bread!

*For children who can’t yet chew, this makes a great puree!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mango Iced Tea

Kim here... I seem to be on a bit of a drink roll right now, but today since it is so hot outside (106!) I really thought this recipe was appropriate. I am a huge lover of iced tea; I drink about 3 glasses of it daily! There is a restaurant in town that serves Mango Iced Tea on their menu and I am in love with this stuff. I tried several different ways to re-create it at home and I have finally stumbled upon greatness. Yummy! My daughter is so funny because she always asks why she can't have any of this. I say, "Well Bear, it is because it has caffeine in it and you are too little to have caffeine." She responds back, "Oh, yes Mommy, I forgot...It's the caufine. When I am older I can have that caufine stuff!" Don't forget to enter a comment to be automatically entered into our giveaway!

Mango Iced Tea

4 cups boiling water
3 Lipton Tea Bags
3 Lipton Mango Tea Bags

Boil water and pour into a 4 cup measuring cup or pitcher. Add the tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Either pull the tea bags out or leave them in after your first pour (I leave them in because I love strong tea and more caffeine gets in there too!) Take a great big glass and fill to the brim with ice. Pour tea over ice and let sit for a minute to get nice and cold. Delicious!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our First Giveaway!!!!!

Yes, Cowgirls and Cupcakes is having a giveaway in all of our festive cowgirl style. Our closet seamstress Kim has whipped up a beautiful cupcake apron that you will kill for, as well as a cool cupcake applique from the new line of Crafty Chica products at Michaels. We love these products. Please check out her fantastic site. The giveaway also includes some retro style cupcake papers, recipe cards, etc. and maybe a few surprises too. So here's how it works: Starting August 28 - September 8th leave us a comment on our blog or send us a recipe via email and we will enter you into our giveaway. On September 8th at midnight we will have a drawing and choose the winner. So be sure to tell all of your friends and they can enter too! We really appreciate all of the people that have checked out our blog, and now, we want to hear from you!!!!! One comment per person please.

F.Y.I to those of you who are not familiar with the comments section, it is located right below a post where you will see the word "comments". You just click on that and comment away.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rookie Cookie Shake

Kim here...This milkshake goes way back when when my mama made it for my dad and me. We like chocolate in our family, as I am sure you can tell from this shake, and this definitely takes the craving away! I know Deb is a big fan of this one too since we used to have it at our house together when we were growing up!

Rookie Cookie Shake

3 Oreo cookies
1/4 cup of whole milk (more depending on how thick or thin you like your shake)
6 scoops of chocolate ice cream (more or less depending on the consistency you like)
Couple of squirts of chocolate syrup

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend. It was hard to come up with an exact recipe on this one since we all like our milkshakes different consistencies. Just keep adding more milk a little at a time if it is too thick, or add more ice cream if it is too thin. Keep tasting to add more cookies or chocolate syrup to boost up the flavor more if necessary! All in all, a delicious treat!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dairy Free/Egg Free French Toast

Our little Scout loves to be able to eat the same foods that we eat, and I always try to make an effort to cook the same thing for us as a family. The Scout as you may know by now, is highly allergic to milk and eggs. This is a little experiment that I came up with on my own, and she really likes it.

Dairy Free/Egg Free French Toast

Dairy Free Wheat Bread - I like wheat because it's healthier. I love Sara Lee products because they are so great with their labeling and also make quite a bit of their products without milk. Read your labels people!

1/2 - 1 whole banana

soy milk or vanilla soy milk- no measurements available. I just eye it.

1 tablespoon of dairy free margarine - I use Nucoa.

Topping: Cinnamon; dairy free maple syrup; powdered sugar

Grab out your food processor or blender. Slice up the banana and throw it into the processor along with a little bit of the soy milk. You will have to experiment with this to find the right consistency. Puree away until the bananas and soy milk are well combined. You are looking for a close consistency of regular french toast batter that is made with eggs and milk. Keep trying until you get it close. If you don't have a food processor or a blender, you can use a fork or a mixer. Once that is done, put the tablespoon of margarine on your grill pan or fry pan and melt it. Dip your pieces of bread into mixture and onto the pan. Keep an eye on your bread, you don't want to burn it. Pull it off, sprinkle some cinnamon, dairy-free maple syrup or powdered sugar and dig in.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Delightful Punch

Kim here...This is the standby punch I always make at birthday parties, etc. It is super easy and can make quite a bit. This recipe will definitely fit in a standard size punch bowl, or large pitcher depending on what you use. Enjoy!

Delightful Punch

1 liter of Sprite (or any lemon-lime soda)

1 frozen can of cranberry juice, do not mix with water! (if it is a cranberry blend of sorts, that works too)

1 carton of pulp free orange juice (I love Simply Orange in this)

1. Mix all together and enjoy! If you wanted to spice up your party a bit, a jigger (shot) or two of vodka in here would be divine! Hmmm...maybe I will go make some now, ha! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Easy Dairy Free Frosting

Hey, it's Deb. Just wanted to pop by and give you an easy dairy free frosting recipe for your cakes. I have been on the hunt forever for a dairy free frosting that tastes good, and with a little experimentation and some fancy substitution, here is one that I think you or your little one might enjoy! This is the birthday cake that I made for my daughter's birthday. We are cupcake crazy around here - Yeehaw!

Easy Dairy Free Frosting

1 box of powdered sugar

1/4 cup of soy milk or vanilla soy milk depending on how sweet you want it

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 stick of dairy free margarine (I love Nucoa. My daughter Scout loves the taste of it. It's dairy free and usually the cheapest margarine at the grocery store, wahoo!)

Beat with mixer for about 2 minutes, scraping bowl often. If you want it thinner make sure to add a little more soy milk. It is enough to frost one 8 inch layer cake.

If you want chocolate add 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and beat an extra minute.

*Allergy Tip: One important piece of advice that I have learned when shopping for your allergy free items is: Not To Assume Anything. Always read labels! Even if you have bought the product 1,000 times and just know it has nothing in it that you are allergic to. Do yourself a favor and read it 1,001. Products frequently have ingredient changes and will really come to surprise you sometimes. I have had this happen on more then one occasion and it is never a pleasant surprise. So be sure to always read your labels!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Baked Artichoke Cheese Dip in a Sourdough Bread Bowl

Kim here...This is yumminess in a bowl! Always a hit at parties and so simple to make. I usually make it the night before to give me one less thing to do before the party. Works great and lets the flavors meld (is that a word?) together. I serve it with pita chips which are found at the grocery store in the natural food section.

Baked Artichoke Cheese Dip in a Sourdough Bread Bowl

1 sourdough round, top cut off (save!) and hollowed out
2/3 can (15 oz.) artichokes, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1 cup mayonnaise (check for Deb's future post on homeade mayo for those of you allergic to this stuff.)
1 cup shredded jack cheese
1/4 small onion, chopped finely
1 cup grated Parmensan cheese

1. Mix all ingredents together and put into the hollowed out sourdough bread. Put lid back on.
2. If making the day ahead, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator. Take out about 30 minutes prior to baking to give it a chance to get to room temperature.
3. Bake with lid on for 1 hour 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cabbage Salad

This recipe was sent to us by Linda O'Donnell a long time friend of our family. Thank you Linda!


Melt the butter/margarine in a skillet and brown together - first the sesame seeds and almonds, then add the noodles.

Cabbage Salad
1/2 cup butter/margarine (1 block but I usually use a little less)
2 packages Ramen noodles crushed
1/2 cup sesame seeds ( I use about half of this)
2 handfuls slivered almonds
1 head cabbage, shredded
2 stalks green onions, chopped (optional)

optional - try adding some dark leafy lettuce, looks pretty.
I don't see why you couldn't add a little bit of red cabbage for color.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar (I usually use a little less)
dash of pepper

Monday, August 18, 2008

Baked Ziti with Red & Cream Sauce

Kim here...Here is another recipe for Baked Ziti. We are big fans of this stuff around our house! It is very simple to make and gives you lots of leftovers. Check below for feeding tips.

Baked Ziti with Red & Cream Sauce

For Cream Sauce:
1 Tbls. Butter
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For Ziti:
1 jar marinara sauce (Big fan of Golden Grain marinara)
16 oz. package of ziti noodles (or any tubular noodle)
1 lb. ground beef
2 cups mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cups bread crumbs (take French bread you are going to use for dinner and place in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil pasta in water, follow directions on package.

2. Make the cream sauce. First heat butter and heavy cream in a saucepan. Stir frequently. When the mixture starts to bubble, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.

3. Brown the ground beef until no longer pink, add salt and pepper while it is browning. After beef is cooked, add marinara sauce. Stir together and let simmer for a few minutes.

4. Put cooked noodles, cream sauce, red sauce and mozzarella together in the pan and mix together. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake 20 minutes, until bubbling. Broil for 3 minutes until top is golden brown.

*Feeding Note*
Simply put into food processor to mash or puree. Add a bit more marinara sauce or water if needed to thin out puree.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vegan Cheesecake

This recipe was sent to us from Monica at Puppybird. If you have not checked out Puppybird yet, please do. "Puppy Bird offers one-of-a-kind fashions for hip and compassionate individuals."

Vegan Cheesecake

3pkgs of Tofutti "Better Than Cream Cheese"

1 cup sweetener (i.e. sugar)

Juice of 1 lemon

1Tbsp. vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients well. Pour/spoon into a ready made or home made graham cracker crust.
*(the ready made Keebler graham cracker crusts sold at any major super market are vegan - no kidding)

Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees until top starts to brown. Cool and refrigerate until completely cold.

(An interesting side note about the creator of this recipe. He is a former hunter and primate researcher turned vegan and animal rights advocate. The 1987 film "Project X" starring Mathew Broderick and Helen Hunt was based upon experiments he was involved in before denouncing such experiments and going public with the information.)

Thank you Monica for sending us several vegan recipes. We will be posting all of them on Cowgirls and Cupcakes over the next few weeks. So many people are choosing to eat vegan as well as vegetarian these days that it is nice to have some great recipes. I also love getting vegan recipes for my youngest daughter Scout. She is highly allergic to milk and eggs and vegan recipes are fantastic for her to chow down on.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mom's Manicottis

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that's AMORE." That is the song that comes to mind when I eat Italian food. I worked at an Italian restaurant for about nine years and couldn't ever get enough of their manicottis or that song that played hourly on their old jukebox. I love the cheesy goodness of that lovely stuffed noodle. My Mom makes some pretty hard to beat manicottis and I have been using her recipe for as long as I can remember. I just took a double batch of these over to my brother's new house where he had a crew of family members busy painting, texturing, cleaning and installing. They were in dire need of food and these seem to hit the spot. They got some rave reviews that day so I thought you might like to make them too and see what you think.

Mom's Manicottis

A batch of your best spaghetti sauce - if you are in a hurry like me, use a jar of Ragu!

A box of manicotti noodles

1/2 pound mozzarella (8 oz)

3/4 cup cottage cheese

2 slightly beaten eggs

2 tbsp. of Parmesan

1/4 tsp. salt and pepper

Cook your spaghetti sauce and set aside. Pull out a 9 x 13 baking pan and put about a full cup of spaghetti sauce in bottom of pan. Make sure you move it around making sure a small amount is disbursed throughout most of the pan. Then the fun begins... In mixing bowl combine the mozzarella and next four ingredients. Next, open manicotti noodles. You will not need to boil the noodles on this recipe, the magic happens with the sauce and the foil. Wash up your hands and then dive into the goo and begin stuffing each noodle with mixture from the mixing bowl. I used to try to do this neatly, but you just have to get your hands messy on this one, sorry. Set each noodle in pan leaving about an inch or so in between each one. This allows for some growing room when they cook. Lastly, you will pour the remaining sauce over all the stuffed noodles in the pan. You want to make sure that all of them are well covered. Since these noodles have not been boiled, they will be dependent on the heat and the steam of the sauce to cook them up nicely. Make sure to cover with foil (if you don't cover it, that steam won't cook your noodles) and pop it into the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve it with some sourdough bread from your local bakery and a green salad and of course some wine! Let me know how they come out.

~ Deb
Your Cowgirl in Waiting

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

Kim here...Here is an easy weeknight meal you could put together in less that 15 minutes. Good too! It also happens to be my son's favorite. He usually will eat most things, as long as they are mashed :), but this one he actually gets really excited about! He will start pumping his arms up and down after taking the first bite and open his mouth wide open in anticipation for the next one. See feeding tip below.

Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

3/4 box of ziti noodles, cooked and drained
1 jar of marinara sauce (I like Golden Grain)
1 bag of shredded mozzarella (2-4 cups worth depending on how cheesy you want it!)
1 pound ground beef

1. Boil water for noodles and cook according to directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Put beef in large pan. Start crumbling and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until there is no more pink.
3. Drain fat, then add marinara sauce. Stir and simmer for a few minutes more.
4. Mix in pasta noodles and cheese into the same pan as your beef sauce. Reserve some cheese to sprinkle on top of the casserole. Dump mixture into a 13x9 pan, spread evenly. Top with remaining cheese.
5. Place into preheated 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Cheese on top will be nice and melty!

*Feeding Note*
To puree this meal, simply place into a food processor. Sometimes the cheese makes it very sticky and clumpy, if this is the case add a little more marinara sauce if you have extra, or water, or chicken broth, or beef broth. Just add enough to get the consistency you want. The broths will give more flavor to the meal than water. The good thing is even if you use a little of the broth can it will keep in the refrigerator for about a week so you could use if for many more meals.

To mash this meal, simply place into food processor and give it a couple of whirls.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Homemade Spaghetti

Hey readers it's Deb. Please note the fun music selection to your right as you peruse the blog. These are a few songs (100 to be exact) that Kim and I have grooved to throughout the years. We hope you enjoy this little addition and hope that some of the songs can take you back to some great memories as they do for us.

Some very exciting news: it's our first official entry for Cowgirls and Cupcakes from someone other than Kim or myself. So cool! A huge "Thank You" to Hatfield Systems for being our first entry. If you are looking for reliable and affordable computer consulting services in Sacramento and Placer county, please check out Hatfield Systems at:

Homemade Spaghetti

Enough noodles for 4 people

2 cans tomato sauce

5-10 mushrooms cut into 4 slices each (more slices for less chunky, less slices for more chunky)

1 tomato (sliced and diced)

2 teaspoons sliced garlic

1 pound ground meat

1 package Italian seasoning

Brown meat on medium to high heat
Drain meat juice (this is all fat anyway)
Add tomato sauce, mushrooms, tomato, garlic, Italian seasoning
Set heat on low & cover
Let simmer for minimum of half hour, stirring every 5-6 minutes.
Once meat has been simmering for 15 minutes, cook noodles until they are soft, but not too much to make the noodles rubbery. (Follow directions on the box)
Serve hot with French Bread, salad, and Parmesan cheese and you’re ready to get full!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Breakfast Potatoes

Kim here...This recipe I dedicate to my beautiful daughter. She is absolutely in love with these things! It all started many years ago when my mom used to make these for me on Saturday morning. Oh, what a special treat they were. Now I have carried on the tradition for my little girl and she looks forward to them as well. The recipe has changed a little as the years have gone on, but it is essentially the same. Hopefully you will enjoy them as well!

Breakfast Potatoes

2 brown baking potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbls. vegetable oil
salt & pepper to taste

Optional items:
*crumbled bacon
*cheddar cheese
*wheat germ

1. Chop onion and garlic. Put these into a heated, large skillet with about 1 Tbls. of oil in it. Saute until a nice golden brown. Turn off heat when they reach this.

2. While onions and garlic are sauteing, chop potatoes into cubes (the smaller they are the faster they cook). I usually chop them into about 1/2" cubes. Leave the peel on. Put them into a dish that is microwave safe with a lid or use plastic wrap to cover them. Before putting on the lid or plastic wrap, season with salt and pepper and the Tablespoon of oil. Stir well. Cover them up and place in microwave for 4 minutes. Take out, stir and microwave for another 3-4 minutes. (All of these times may vary due to the strength of your microwave, but basically just want to cook them until they are soft all the way through. It won't take long for you to figure out how many minutes it takes for your microwave to cook them all the way through.)

3. Take cooked potatoes and dump them into the skillet with the onions and garlic. Turn heat back on to med/low and stir while cooking for a few minutes more. Basically you want the two to meld together for a little bit. Turn off the heat and serve.

4. *Options* Here are some ways you can change these up...
*Sprinkle cheese on top of the cooked potatoes.
*Add crumbled bacon to them w/ or w/o the cheese.
*While cooking the potatoes in step 3, add a raw egg that has
been slightly scrambled. Mix together and it will cook quickly.
*Do a combination of all three.
*For my daughter, I usually skip the garlic and onions and just
cook the potatoes in the microwave for her, then top with
*Sprinkle with a little bit of wheat germ to give an invisible,
tasteless protien and vitamin boost.

*Feeding Note*
This is a great way to introduce cubes to your child/baby. I simply detach the skin on the potatoes after they are done cooking and either mash the cube a little bit or cut it into smaller cubes for my son. They are soft enough that they are easily chewed. Do have a drink nearby in case of choking/gagging. The potatoes are soft, however are not very slimy so are not easily swallowed.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dama Margie's Ginger Snaps

It's Deb. My Grandma Margie (who my daughter's now call Dama Margie) is one of the best cooks that I know. She is always in her kitchen or her sewing room whipping up fabulous things for her family to enjoy. These are some of my favorite cookies that she makes. These cookies are crunchy due to the shortening so just beware! I love crunchy cookies though, they really go good with a big glass of milk!

I am trying to find what the substitution is for shortening to butter. Unfortunately, I cannot indulge in the greasy white stuff anymore due to my soy allergy and have to go back for the butter. In all of my research, I have not yet found a good solution to this. I think it will have to be through trial and error. If anyone knows a good substitution amount for these two, please leave us a comment and let us know.

Dama Margie's Ginger Snaps

3/4 c. shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 c. molasses (Oh, how I love these ooey-gooey molasses)

2 -1/4 c. flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

Cream the first four ingredients together with mixer. I love my Kitchen-Aid! Set aside. In a separate bowl sift together next six dry ingredients and then add them to the creamed mixture. Shape dough into balls and dip tops into sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet or, my favorite little tool, the silicone baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees ten to twelve minutes. Immediately remove from baking sheet.

** Allergy Trick** Did you know that you can substitute bananas for eggs. I have been using this trick with my youngest daughter who is highly allergic to eggs and she thinks it tastes great. Of course always use your discretion as when to use bananas. Some things just don't taste right with banana flavoring. Use 1/2 -3/4 of regular size banana for 1-3 eggs. You can use this in brownies, cookies most anything that is sweet it will work. Try it, it works I'm telling you!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wheat Germ Pancakes with Blueberries aka: "Purple Pancakes"

Kim here. This recipe is loaded with great ingredients like wheat germ and blueberries. Both great for immune systems and the brain. My husband does not like "foo foo" pancakes as he calls white flour pancakes. So, I went on a quest to find non-foo foo pancakes that were edible! I adapted a couple of recipes and came up with this one. It doesn't taste like sticks and stones and is actually quite fluffy and soft! Both of my kiddos eat them up! As a tip, make sure if you are using frozen blueberries to make sure they are room temperature. This will make cooking the pancakes much easier. As an added side note on wheat germ... when trying to get your baby or child to eat thicker foods, add wheat germ. It is a great thickener and also very good for them. You can add it to yogurt, applesauce, pureed fruits and vegetables and much more.

Wheat Germ Pancakes with Blueberries aka: "Purple Pancakes"

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (You can find this with the oatmeal in the grocery store, it comes in a glass jar and is already toasted)
1 egg
1 egg white
2 cups buttermilk (fresh or powdered)
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (if using frozen, completely thaw and rinse)

1. Put flours, sugar, baking soda, salt and wheat germ into a bowl. Stir with a spoon.
2. In a separate bowl, combine egg, egg white and buttermilk.
3. Put the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir. Mix just enough for dough to be mixed , it will be lumpy.
4. Add in berries and stir gently. Don't worry, pancakes might be a little purple. This is how they came to be known as purple pancakes at our house!
5. Preheat nonstick skillet on medium heat. You can brush pan with a little butter or leave out this step. Put 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet and flip when the bubbles burst on top. Cook until done.

**If you are making many pancakes and want to keep the cooked ones warm while you are cooking, just preheat your oven to the lowest setting (mine is 170) and plop them in there while you are cooking. Keeps them nice and warm without drying them out.**

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stove Top Fast Cass

Deb here. I love quick dinner in a dish meals. Like most of you out there, my family is always on the go. During the school year we either have soccer or baseball and Girl Scouts to juggle and during the summer it is swimming lessons, family gatherings and vacations. This dish is nice because you can make it ahead of time and serve it whenever - and it is tasty.

I believe I got this recipe out of a magazine. It is a Stove-Top Recipe so you probably could get on their website and find it too. I like to mix it up a little bit and throw in additional sour cream or change the stuffing to turkey stuffing instead of chicken stuffing. Ooooooo, now I am really living on the wild side!

Stove Top Fast Cass

1 pkg (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken (or Turkey if you are wild like me)

1-1/2lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces ( I use about two good size chicken breasts, it's just easier. I hate to measure)

1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup

1/3 cup of sour cream

1 bag of frozen peas and carrots, thawed and drained ( the original recipe calls for the mixed vegetables, but I am not a huge lima bean fan and the peas and carrots came out with rave reviews from the fam. Please use whatever you like or what you have handy) don't forget to thaw these guys first. There is nothing worse then having hard peas and carrots in this casserole. Trust me, I have learned by mistake.

O.k. so here's the deal:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; set aside.

Mix chicken, soup, sour cream and vegetables in a 13x9 inch baking dish; top with stuffing.

The directions say to bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done. My oven takes about 40-45 minutes for the chicken to be done. You may have to experiment a little.

I told you, super easy and really tasty!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Quick & Delicious Chili

What cowgirl is complete without some chili? This recipe is soooo simple and literally takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 20 more minutes to simmer. 30 minutes later; you have dinner. I used to do different chili's that would take me hours, but one day I decided to try this one. Well, my husband said it was the best chili he has had and at family get togethers I always get asked for this recipe because they like it so much. So here is my "secret" chili recipe. Forget cooking for hours and hours friends, just do this one and save yourself a headache!

*Look below for puree and mashing ideas* You are probably thinking I am crazy for feeding somewhat spicy chili to my 1 year old. However, this is great to give children who need more "heat" in their food for sensory issues. Give my son a bland food and it doesn't have enough kick to it for him to want to work on his feeding, this however, he will go crazy with. Things you learn during feeding therapy! Thanks Peri, you are the best!

Quick & Delicious Chili

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey

2 cans Hunts Chili Makin's tomato sauce (Note: I have never been able to find this at Safeway but know that Raley's & Bel Air stocks it)

1 15 oz. can pinto beans (undrained)

1. Brown ground meat in a pot seasoned with salt and pepper. Drain fat from meat. Pop open the 3 cans and dump into the meat. Stir, and then bring to a bubble. Simmer for 20 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Top with cheddar cheese, if desired.

***To puree, simply put into a food processor and blend to desired consistency. If it is still too thick, add a little water. To mash, either use your food processor for just a few whirls or mash with fork.***

Monday, August 4, 2008

Deb's "Take It Anywhere" Mac Salad

Just got back from a fun camping trip to Scott's Flat Lake with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and niece. I love to go camping. When I was growing up I remember my parents and our family friends the Kraus's spending hours meal planning for our "big" trip to the woods for the weekend. Unfortunately I was not as organized this trip as far as our meal planning went. We did do the traditional bbq'd hot dogs for lunch the first day and bbq'd hamburgers for dinner and who can forget the smores?! But the one thing I did make which is a staple for any camping trip was mac salad. This recipe for "take it anywhere" mac salad is one that has been handed down for many generations in my family and is a must at any of our family get togethers next to the potato salad. The recipe has changed over the years slightly as it has gone from person to person and this is my version of it.

Deb's "Take It Anywhere" Mac Salad

1 - (12-16oz pkg.) of salad macaroni - I like to use the little salad macaronis. They are getting harder and harder to find at the grocery store. So if you have a hard time, any smaller pasta will work.
1 cup of mayo
3/4 to 1 cup of sweet pickle relish
3 eggs (hard boiled and diced)
4.25 oz. can of chopped olives
4 oz. jar of diced pimientos
1-3 tbsp. dried parsley
1-3 tbsp. dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Hard boil eggs about 20 minutes or until done. Let cool in fridge. Boil noodles per package directions and then drain. Let pasta cool. If pasta gets sticky just run a little cold water over it. Add mayo and relish and thoroughly mix through. Add the rest of the ingredients mixing very well to make sure that everything has been well combined. Chill in fridge overnight and serve the next day. This salad always tastes better the next day. It really allows the mayo and relish to soak in. If it looks too dry the next day add a little more mayo and relish. Don't go overboard. A little bit goes a long way. As you can see with the parsley and minced onion, I leave you a range. I do this because everyone has different tastes. I personally load it to the max with these two ingredients. My husband, Mike, always gets so upset if I accidentally leave out the parsley. It really gives it a little zing of flavor.

Allergy Note: We will be posting a homemade mayo recipe that does not include vegetable oil for those of you out there that are allergic to soy like me! So stay tuned. I have to steal it from my Grandma's secret wonderful recipe box. The homemade mayo post will be up soon!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Breadcrumb Chicken

Kim here. One night I was going to make this fancy chicken dish for the family and then realized I had forgotten most of the ingredients at the grocery store! At first I was very frustrated because I had no idea what I was going to feed everyone for dinner. So, I started getting creative. As my mom says, "Mother Hubbard's cupboard was bare". I needed to use the limited supplies I had. Well, I had some fresh bread, eggs and staple seasonings. I put them together and came up with this recipe. It was actually really good and now have a good recipe to use when supplies are low. Enjoy! *Check out below for puree and mashing tips*

Breadcrumb Chicken

Fresh sweet bread (you know, the stuff you get warm at the grocery store)
Garlic salt
Italian Seasoning
Oil spray
2 Eggs
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Take your bread roll and mentally cut it into 3rds. If you are doing 2-4 breasts, then you just need about 1/3 of it. If you are doing more then increase accordingly. Take your bread and tear it into a food processor. You should be using the usual cutting blade. Process the bread until you get a breadcrumb consistency you like. Put in a dish (I like a pie plate).

2. Add seasonings to taste to the breadcrumbs (garlic salt, pepper, italian seasoning, parmesan). Everyone has a different palate for seasonings, so I intentionally left this up to you. A start is at about 1 tsp each of the seasonings and about 1/4 cup of the parmesan. Smell the mixture to see how it smells and this will help you adjust. Make sure they are mixed well into the breadcrumbs.

3. Beat the 2 eggs into a dish (I like using pie plates).

4. Rinse chicken and dip into egg, then in breadcrumbs and then lay on a plate.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Preheat a skillet with about 2 Tbls of olive oil in it. Once warm, place chicken into oil and let cook on that side for about 3-5 minutes on med-high heat. Flip and you should see a nice golden brown. Cook on this side for 3-5 minutes as well. Transfer chicken into a greased 13x9 pan and place in oven. Let cook for about 30-45 minutes or until juices run clear. The times will vary time to time due to thickness of chicken breast.

6. Let rest for a few minutes and then, enjoy!

*****Tip for pureeing or mashing this...*****
* Chunk chicken into your food processor. Add chicken stock to get a nice puree, or just a little to mash it. Also, if serving pasta or mashed potatoes with this, put those in there instead or with the chicken stock to get a good puree or mash. *