Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chicken and Blue Cheese - Stuffed Portobellos

Call it Girl Scount Cookie remorse but I've been cooking healthy.  We are not "clean eaters" at our house but my friend is the queen of yummy, healthy recipes.

I was able to find the recipe online:

-This is a good make-ahead meal.  Most of the work is in the prep of the ingredients.  You can even assemble and refrigerate.
-6 HUGE portobellos will feed 6 people.  One of these is filling!  I may halve the recipe next time. 
-We don't like quinoa so we substituted equal amounts farro (my new obsession).  That is why mine might look different.
-Used blue cheese (I had it leftover).  Hunter isn't a blue cheese eater but loved it.
-Winco had MASSIVE portobello mushrooms.  The ones at Albertsons were half the size.  So mine made 6 huge ones (literally the size of my hand)!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Diane's Blondies

I first had these blondies around the holidays at the Hodges'.  Their family friend, Diane, made them for the family.  They are one of our favorite treats.  AND, most the time when I make them I don't even pull out the mixer! 


2 sticks melted butter
1 lb (box) light brown sugar or 2 cups firmly packed
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 c. all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 c. pecans (even for Hunter who doesn't like nuts)
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I throw in what I have - sometimes add butterscotch for fun)


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Grease 9x12 UNINSULATED baking pan.  (If you use insulated, adjust your baking times accordingly.)

-Note: I do this all in a 8 cup pyrex.

-Melt butter in pyrex; add brown sugar, and vanilla.  Mix well with a whisk.

-Add baking powder and salt; mix again.

-Stir in flour with a spatula; batter will be stiff. 

-Crack eggs in small bowl; beat well; add to batter; stir. 

-Add nuts and chips.  (Even Hunter will eat nuts in this recipe!)

Note: I tend to put aside some of my chips and poke them in the top of the dough before I bake.  It helps with presentation but is totally unnecessary!

-Bake @350 in greased 9x12 pan until top becomes golden brown and blondies pull away from the sides.
-Mine bakes for approx. 40 minutes.  I use a cake tester to be sure it is cooked all the way through.

-Makes about 2 dozen.

The dough is great (ahhhem, I would know).  But I seem to like these better the day after I bake them!

I had to include this picture from when Hunter made these before we were married.  His old dishes! AND his clever make-shift cooling rack (engineer ingenuity).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Almond Butter Chicken Salad

This is for all of you who are scared, loathe or despise mayo.  It might also be paleo (I am no expert since we certainly aren't at our house :).   Even though this recipe might be different than the all-time, most popular recipe Julie and I created...I love it just as much!  

This recipe is from my friend, Ashley.  It's the same Ashley where I got the amazing ice cream recipe I use monthly to this day.

2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (~1 lb)
Granny smith apple, chopped
Clump red grapes, quartered
1/2 Red onion, diced
1 T almond butter
squeeze of lemon or lime juice (just enough to get it to mix)

I struggle when preparing chicken but for this recipe I had success with the thin sliced, hand trimmed chicken breasts from Albertstons.  I placed the salt and peppered chicken slices in the oven at 350 (pan covered with foil) for 18 minutes.  They were moist and cooked to perfection.

The rest of the recipe is a lot of chopping and dicing of the ingredients you see above.  The lighting was so pretty I had to snap a picture.  

Mix all together using just enough of the lemon or lime juice to help the almond butter mix.  Work through it for awhile.   Enjoy.  Hope you love it as much as I do!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dinner Favorites

Hunter and I came up with our "dinner favorites list." I thought I would share them, linking all I can. These are our "go-to's."

In no particular order:

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Steak and Purple Taters - all Hunter



Pot Roast


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Suzie's Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

We are in week 2 of an inversion.  Typically I wait for sunny days for betters pictures but of all days to make soup, today is the day!  This recipe is from my wonderful coworker, Suzie.  She made it for a work shower and I had no less than 3 servings. I had her write it down because it was in her head. Tweak it to your liking.  You cannot go wrong!

Suzie's Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup:


4 (3/4 to 1 lb) thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
Chives to taste (I use freeze dried ~2T)
Parsley flakes (I omit)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pint half and half
Carrots (1/2 lb matchstick or baby carrots I do)
2 T onion
8 oz fine egg noodles

Serves: 5+


-Place chicken breasts in a dutch oven.  Add water to cover the chicken (plus some).  Salt and pepper.  Simmer until chicken is tender.  Remove the chicken and let it cool.  When it cools, chop or shred.  

Albertsons spoils me.  I cannot imagine trimming chicken anymore!

-Add the can of cream of chicken to the broth/water in the dutch oven.  

-Add can of chicken broth, pint of half and half, parsley (I omit), onion and carrots.  

-Simmer until carrots become tender.

-Add the egg noodles and continue to simmer.  When noodles start to look done, add the chopped/shredded chicken. 

-If it’s not “soupy” enough, add more water and stir to heat.  The longer the soup sits, the more chunky it will become. 

Enjoy.  Hope you love it as much as we do!

*Note: For a lower-fat version you can certainly use less half and half and more broth.  This recipe online looks like another similar and good alternative:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Brown-Eyed Susans

This is my Maw, my grandmother's, recipe.  It is so special and loved that Mom and I made Brown-Eyed Susans ourselves to serve at my reception.  (The caterer made everything else, don't worry.)

Not only were these cookies served at my wedding reception but the blog, Style Me Pretty, actually took my submission for their "Grandma's Favorite" recipe contest.  I didn't realize it was published until LONG after the fact.  Click the image below to see it for yourself.  Pretty cool:

Lastly, I must share the original recipe card.  Maw had a cursive typewriter!

Brown-Eyed Susans


2 sticks of room temperature butter (yes, that is oleo!)

3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon real almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (just one time even though there is a typo on the card above)
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons of hot water


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cream the butter on high speed for 2 minutes.

3. Turn to medium speed and add the sugar and almond extract.

4. Turn down to low speed and add the flour and salt.  You will have to scrape the bowl midway through.  The butter tends to stick on the sides of the mixing bowl.  The dough will be stiff so lock the tilt head or your mixer might walk off the counter.  (I know this from experience.)

5.  Grease 2 insulated cookie sheets.  Insulated is best.  You don't want these babies to brown on the bottom (easier said than done).

6. Make tablespoon-sized balls of dough.  Round in your hand until all creases disappear.  I use my pointer and middle finger to flatten the tops slightly.    This will keep the icing from running. They should be very can smooth out the cracks again after you smush if you are very particular.  

FYI: My recipe made 2 dozen.  I guess I am a little more generous on portion sizes than Maw! 

7.  Bake on 400 degrees for 12 minutes.  I did 6 minutes and swapped the top/bottom cookie sheets in order to keep them from browning.  It is better to undercook than overcook these cookies.

8.  When they come out of the oven immediately remove them to a cooking rack.  Again, you don't want the bottoms to brown!  Let cool completely.

9.  Now to make the icing...  In another mixing bowl combine 1 cup of confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 2 tablespoons of water.  If it is too thick you can add drops of water to thin.  It will harden as it sits.  You certainly can just spoon icing on the cookies.  I use some of my tools from my cake decorating days.  (wilton 12 tip)

10.  Top with almond slivers.  *It is important to add the almond slivers before the icing hardens so they stick!*

11.  Try not to eat too many yourself!  Again, easier said than done!  They literally melt in your mouth.

How beautiful is a day like today for baking?!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hot Spiced Drink

I wish I could send smells through the computer. I would.  It's cooling off here in Boise which means one spiced drink.  Mom made this growing up using a percolator.  Not many people have one (ahhem like me) so I use my aunt's Le Cruset!  Any pot will do.  One thing is for certain, your house will smell wonderful and it is EASY EASY!

2 cups cranberry juice*
2 cups apple juice* (or cider if it is fall...the only difference is the filtering and preservatives)
6 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, sliced (discarding the ends)

*You can honestly use any amount of juice.  Use equal parts.  I typically just throw in cloves and a couple cinnamon sticks.  It's not a measured science.  It is hard to mess up!

Combine all ingredients over low heat and let simmer at least 20 minutes.  The longer the better.  Many people online in similar recipes recommend taking the peels off if you are going to simmer for long periods of time or store.  It causes it to bitter.  I keep what I dont drink in a pitcher and reheat in the microwave!

Today I used these juices!  I try to get natural sugar added. 
Cloves fascinate me.
Isn't it beautiful?