Festive Chicken Asparagus

Asparagus is one of my new favorite things so I was excited to try this recipe. I thought the bleu cheese gave this sauce a great, yet different flavor. LOVED it! How can you go wrong with the word "festive" in the name :-)?!
(this is the last recipe I'm trying from the Lone Star cookbook for now)

-1 package (10 oz) frozen asparagus (I was going to use frozen asparagus since I didn't see fresh on sale anywhere, but then I never found frozen so used fresh anyway and they worked great)
-2 chicken breasts, halved
-2 T. flour/cornstarch
-3 T. oil (I used 1 1/2)
-1/4 c. dry white wine (I used white cooking wine)
-1/4 c. bleu cheese
-1 can cream of chicken soup (I used 98%FF)
-1/2 t. salt
-1/4 t. pepper

-Thaw asparagus. Coat chicken with flour and brown lightly on all sides in oil.
-Meanwhile, in shallow casserole, combine wine, bleu cheese, soup, salt and pepper.
-Place chicken in soup mixture and spoon sauce over chicken. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
-Separate asparagus into individual stalks. Remove casserole from oven and arrange asparagus between chicken pieces.
-Spoon some sauce over the chicken and asparagus. Cover tightly and bake an additional 30 minutes.
*We served over rice.

Zucchini Tomato Bake

I'm making the last of my marked recipes from the Lone Star Legacy cookbook this week, so I can finally return it to my mom :-). I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this dish!!! I could have just eaten the whole thing for my meal...and nearly did. Zucchini, mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes...you can't go wrong! A delicious summertime side!

1 onion, chopped
4 T. butter (I used 2)
4 zucchini, sliced in rings
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced (I used some extra!)
1/2 t. basil
3 T. parsley, chopped
Garlic salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 lb. Cheddar cheese, grated

-Saute onion in butter until soft. Add zucchini and saute until tender.
-Add tomatoes and mushrooms. Saute briefly, then add seasonings.
-Put in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Toss with Parmesan; top with Cheddar cheese.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
(A good option for summer: saute everything longer, approx. 10 minutes. Right before serving add cheese and stir to melt.)

Sesame Chicken

This is another recipe emailed to me from Camille and it was great! My mom and sister came to babysit for us last night and they agreed :-)! Thank you for sharing some of your favorites with me!!! It's fun to have some new suggestions to try out!

3 chicken breasts
1/4 c flour
2 T peanut or sesame oil
salt and pepper
1/3 c soy sauce
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c green onions chopped

(I toasted my sesame seeds in the pan first...no oil, just with heat)
Cut chicken into pieces and add flour and salt and pepper in a bag to coat.
Brown in of oil.
Mix the soy sauce, sugar and green onions and pour the mixture over the chicken.
Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
Top with sesame seeds and serve over steamed rice.

Beef Tips

I saw this recipe on Melissa's Bargain Blog and thought it sounded good. We eat so much chicken around here that it's nice to throw in some beef every once in awhile. This had a great flavor...it tasted like a yummy roast but in bite size pieces. The recipe calls for egg noodles, we served it over rice, and I think next time I'll serve it on mashed potatoes! Our leftover Parmesan Breadsticks were a perfect match!
(and as I'm posting the recipe I'm realizing I didn't follow it very well...I threw the cornstarch and water in at the beginning of the day too...woops. It turned out fine, but may have been thicker had I done it correctly)

1 lb. beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 to 3 medium carrots, chopped
1 to 1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 can condensed golden mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 to 1 cup white wine or beef broth (I used white cooking wine)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Hot cooked egg noodles (we ate it on rice)

In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the beef, carrots, celery, onion, soup and wine or broth. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until meat is tender.
Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into cooking juices. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes or until thickened. Serve with noodles.

Cilantro Chicken

My mom posted this recipe that she saw on Holly's blog awhile back and I finally got around to trying it. You can't go wrong with cilantro and Monterrey jack cheese in my opinion! As we sat down to eat I remembered we had some leftover avocado from our rice and beans, and as we all know, avocadoes make EVERYTHING better! The flavor of the chicken was superb and only enhanced by the creaminess of the avocados. TASTY!!!

2 T lime juice
2 T vegetable oil
1 T honey
4 chicken breasts
1 C finely crushed tortilla chips
16 oz. thick-n-chunky salsa (I didn't use it all)
2 T minced fresh cilantro (I used extra)
1 C shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese


Combine lime juice, honey, and oil. Dip chicken in lime juice mixture then coat with crushed chips.
Place in ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake uncovered @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
Combine Salsa and Cilantro.
Pour over and sprinkle with Cheese, bake for 20 more minutes or until the cheese melts.

Parmesan Breadsticks

My friend Camille emailed me some recipes to try and when I saw this I was excited because it looked so simple I thought even I could manage it! I'm not a baker and bread is especially scary to me :-)! My breadsticks may not be the most beautiful ones you've ever seen, but they tasted great and Mike and the girls were so excited to have some for a change! I will definitely be making them again and working on my breadstick formation :-)...thanks Camille!

-1 1/2 T. yeast
-1 1/2 c. warm water
-3 T. sugar
-1 t. salt
-3 1/2 - 4 cups bread flour
-1/4 c. melted butter,
-1/4 c. grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
-1/8 c. mayonnaise (I used low-fat)
-garlic powder and parsley

-Mix the first 5 ingredients together (yeast, water, sugar, salt & flour). Let rest 30 minutes.
-Spread and pat dough into greased 10x15 pan (I will try that next time instead of trying to form breadsticks on my own :-).
-Mix butter, cheese and mayo and spread on top of dough.
-Cook at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
-Sprinkle with garlic powder and parsley if desired (I used both).

Beans and Rice

After all our tasty meals in San Antonio, I was looking for something light when I was planning our menu yesterday. I saw something similar to this on a blog while searching around, but I don't remember where, and based this recipe off of that. The slices of avocado are what make this meal! Bites without it were pretty good, bites with it....HEAVENLY :-)!

-1 T. olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
-1 can Rotel (I used Mexican Lime & Cilantro b/c our store was out of original)
-1 T. cumin
-1 t. chili powder
-1 avocado, cut into chunks
-cheese to top and rice to serve over

-Heat oil and add garlic and onion. Saute until onion is translucent.
-Add the beans and cook over low about 5 minutes.
-Add the Rotel tomatoes and the seasonings (those were estimates, I just shook them into the pot) and heat through.
-Serve over rice and top with cheese and avocado.

Chicken Saltimbocca

I found this recipe in my latest issue of Taste of Home magazine. I have never cooked with sage before, but it was a nice fresh flavor for summer...and stuffed chicken always looks so fancy and complicated even though it isn't :-). I LOVED the rice with the sauce on top too!

2 med. onions, chopped
2 T. butter
2 c. uncooked long grain rice
4 c. chicken broth
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I used 3)
4 slices prosciutto or deli ham, halved (I used 3 slices ham and put 2 halves in each chicken breast)
8 fresh sage leaves (I used 6)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T/ olive oil
1/2 c. white wine
1/4 c. sour cream
1/2 t. sugar
1 t. minced fresh sage

-In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add rice and stir to coat. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 min. or until tender. Fluff with a fork.
-Meanwhile, cut a slit lengthwise through the thickest part of each chicken breast; fill with prosciutto and two sage leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
-In a large skillet over med. heat, brown chicken in oil for 1-2 min. on each side. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 8-10 min. or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.
-Add wine to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 min. or until slightly reduced. Stir in the sour cream, sugar and minced sage; heat through (do not boil). Serve with chicken and rice.

Perfect Enchiladas

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe and I must admit I don't usually look through her stuff mainly because there are SO many pictures. But when my friend Kirsten gave these enchiladas a rave review, I couldn't resist...they looked and sounded wonderful! Let me just say that the sauce alone was SOOO good I wanted to drink it! I drenched the enchiladas in it (which made them fall apart a little, but still taste good!) and there was still a little leftover. We poured it on our rice and dipped chips in it. YUM!!! Mike agreed that it was pretty dang tasty! Next time I will just reserve more of the sauce for such fun as that and hopefully get enchiladas that stay in one piece a little better. I'm giving the instructions as they are on her site...

Step 1: The Sauce (the best part!!!)
1 T. canola oil
1 T. flour/cornstarch
1 large (28 oz) can enchilada/red sauce
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
2 T. chopped cilantro

-In a large saucepan over med. heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for 1 min.
-Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and cilantro, and bring to boil.
-Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 min.

Step 2: The Meat
-1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (I used 1/2 that much)
-1 med onion, finely diced
-2 4 oz cans diced green chilies
-1/2 t. salt (I left this out)

-Brown meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat.
-Stir in green chilies and salt. Set aside.

Step 3: Tortillas
10-14 corn tortillas
1/2 c. canola oil

-Heat canola oil in a small skillet over med. heat.
-Using tongs fry tortillas in oil until soft, not crisp.

Step 4: Assembly
3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c. chopped black olives (we don't like olives but I chopped them very finely and I think they definitely added to the dish)
1 c. chopped green onions
1/2 c. chopped cilantro

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Pour 1/2 . red sauce in bottom of baking dish.
-Dip each tortilla in red sauce, then fill with meat, some grated cheese, black olives and green onions. Roll up and place, seam down in baking pan. Repeat.
-Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling (I broiled a minute at end).
-Sprinkle with cilantro before serving and ENJOY!

Brunch Puff

I came across this recipe in the cookbook Lone Star Legacy and thought it sounded really good. I was a little nervous about it because I was not only making it for a large family brunch, but making TWO pans of it! Luckily it was absolutely delicious and a big hit. I loved that I could make it the day before the big event so I had one less thing to worry about!

-16 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, reserve drippings
-2 onions, sliced
-12 slices white bread, quartered
-1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
-8 eggs, beaten
-4 c. milk
-1 1/2 t. salt
-1/4 t. pepper
-1/2 t. dry mustard

-Saute onion in bacon drippings until soft.
-Place 1/2 the bread in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of bacon, onions and cheese on bread; repeat these layers.
-Combine eggs, milk and spices; pour over top layer.
-Refrigerate at least 24 hours before cooking.
-Remove from refrigerator one hour before serving. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Basic Breakfast Potatoes

Well, probably no recipe needed for these, but I'm putting one anyway :-). Yum, YUM! Just looking at the picture makes me want more! In my opinion, no special breakfast/brunch is complete without some sort of potatoes to go along with it! I just happened to have bacon fat leftover from cooking the bacon for the Brunch Puff, which made these even better (although not very good for us).

5-6 Red Potatoes
1 onion, roughly diced
3-5 T. oil or bacon fat (depending on how healthy you are feeling that day :-)
salt, pepper and garlic powder

-Boil potatoes in large pot of water until tender. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
-Heat oil/bacon fat in a large skillet. Be sure it is heated so it fries the potatoes quickly. Add the onions and potatoes to the pan and season as you desire.
-Cook them until they reach your desired amount of "crispiness"...stirring occasionally, but not too often.

Patriotic Poke Cake

I was looking for a festive dessert for the 4th of July weekend and found this recipe on Kraftfoods website. It doubled as Mike's birthday cake and was SO good! The Jello makes the cake super moist and you could use any colors you wanted to. We made the cheesecake frosting (which was SOOOO delicious), so that is what I'm including, but you can also just use plain cool whip.

2 baked round white cake layers (9 inch), cooled (1 box white cake mix is what I used)
2 cups boiling water, divided
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor, or any other red flavor
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Berry Blue Flavor

PLACE cake layers, top-sides up, in two clean 9-inch round cake pans. Pierce cakes with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals.
STIR 1 cup of the boiling water into each flavor dry gelatin mix in separate small bowls 2 min. until completely dissolved. Carefully pour red gelatin over 1 cake layer and blue gelatin over remaining cake layer. Refrigerate 3 hours.
DIP one cake pan in warm water 10 sec.; unmold onto serving plate. Spread with about 1 cup of the whipped topping. Unmold second cake layer; carefully place on first cake layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve. Cut into 16 slices to serve. Store leftover cake in refrigerator.

Variation - Patriotic Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) softened PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese
and 2 cups powdered sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed or wire whisk until well blended.
Gently stir in whipped topping (1 8 oz. tub cool whip) until well blended.
Spread onto cake layer on plate as directed; top with second cake layer.
Continue as directed.


Butterfinger Cheesecake Bites

All I have to say about these...LITTLE BITES OF HEAVEN!!! (and I found the recipe on Favorite Family Recipes and doubled it, thank goodness!)

1 c. ground Vanilla Wafers
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1/8 tsp salt
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
5 Tbsp. heavy cream, divided
1/8 tsp salt
6 Fun Size Butterfinger Candy Bars, crushed
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookie crumbs, sugar, butter and salt into a bowl; mix to combine. Spoon mixture into bottoms of mini cheesecake pan or mini cupcake pan and press. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
Reduce heat to 300 degrees. In a stand or electric mixer, beat cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Beat sugar, egg, cream and salt until well combined. Slowly stir in crushed Butterfinger. Evenly pour batter over baked crust. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Let cool for 2 hours, then remove from pan.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Stir in cream until smooth and glossy. If needed, return back to microwave for 15 seconds or so until smooth. Spoon over tops of cakes then sprinkle crushed butterfinger over top.

Craisin and Sugared Pecan Salad

I think this was the biggest hit of our 4th of July BBQ! I found the recipe on Tastebuds and it was a perfect summer salad! Such a great combination of flavors and super easy to make as well. I used at least twice as much lettuce (I bought a big bag of pre-torn romaine lettuce) and doubled the dressing recipe but probably only used 3/4 of it. This is definitely one you should try out this summer!

1 large head romaine lettuce; rinsed & chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup craisins (I like the cherry flavored)
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
6 oz whole pecans
1/3 cup sugar

In a med skillet heat pecans & sugar over medium heat, stirring to coat, until sugar has melted & adhered to pecans. Remove from heat, cool, chop. Combine all ingredients & toss.


1/4 cup sugar
scant 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (measure out 1/2 cup & take out 1-2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 of a small red onion; diced (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 cup canola oil

Put everything except oil in the blender & pulse to combine & chop onion. Add oil and blend until well mixed & thick.
Pour over salad right before serving.

Diane's Classic Potato Salad

I am a girl who LOVES potatoes, so naturally I LOVE potato salad...HOMEMADE potato salad that is :-). Mike's mom makes a great potato salad so I asked her if she would be kind enough to make it for our BBQ and she kindly agreed. It is one of those recipes she just makes to taste, so here is a best guess at measurements after watching her make it. It is oh so good!!!

-Potatoes, about 1 medium per person (she usually uses russet you can use red if you prefer)
-Eggs, 1 for every 2 people
-Mayonnaise, a large spoonful per person
-Red Onion, finely diced
-lots of Dill Pickles, chopped (and some pickle juice)
-Celery Seed

-Boil eggs and potatoes, with skins on (I prefer peeling first). While they are boiling prepare sauce.
-Mix together mayonnaise and mustard. Add enough mustard until when mixed with mayo it is a good potato salad color...you know yellow-ish, but not too yellow :-).
-Add red onion (we used between 1/4 and 1/2 c. for 15 people). She says not to use too much because you don't want the onion flavor too strong.
-Add dill pickles (we used 1 1/2 16-oz. jars), LOTS of celery see and enough juice to make it a good creamy consistency with a tart flavor.
-Peel potatoes and dice. Peel eggs and mash. Add both to large bowl with sauce until they are well coated. Taste, adjust, etc.
-Make it the day before for extra tastiness :-)! (and one less thing to make the day of)

Vegetable and Cheese Soup

Yet another yummy recipe from Lone Star Legacy...did I mention YUMMY?! I LOVED it! It was so creamy but not too heavy at the same time. (I can't get a good picture of soups!)

-2 1/2 c. water (I added 2 t. chicken bouillon)
-1 c. diced, peeled potatoes (I added some extra)
-1/2 c. chopped onion
-1/2 c. finely chopped celery
-1/2 c. chopped green pepper
-1/2 c. chopped carrots (I added extra)
-seasoned salt to taste
-2 T. butter
-2 T. flour
-1 c. milk
-3/4 t. seasoned salt
-scant t. pepper
-1/4 t. dry mustard
-1 t. Worcestershire sauce
-1 c. grated American cheese (I bought a 6 oz. pack of Am. cheese slices and just tore them up)

-In large pot, cook veggies slowly in water, adding a dash of seasoned salt. When tender, cool slightly.
-Melt butter in skillet and add flour, blending well. Cook slowly 2-3 min.
-Combine milk with 3/4 t. seasoned salt, pepper, dry mustard and Worcestershire. Blend well; then add gradually to butter-glour mixture. Cook until mixture thickens, stirring often.
-Add grated cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Add cheese mixture to veggies. Heat well but do not boil. Serve while hot.

Tostada Granadas

This is another recipe from the Lone Star Legacy cookbook and they were great! The meat had a great flavor and it was a perfect summer meal! The girls loved them too because they got to top them as they pleased.

1 recipe Taco Filling (recipe below)
1 can (15 oz) refried beans (I used FF)
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cumin
1 T. bacon drippings (I left this out)
8 large flat tostada shells
1 1/2 c. lettuce, shredded
1 c. tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c. sour cream
other toppings...avocados, salsa, cilantro, etc.

Taco Filling:
2 lbs. ground beef (I used 1 lb.)
1 t. garlic powder
2 t. cumin
2 t. chicken bouillon
1 t. pepper
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/3 c. onion, chopped
1/3 c. green pepper, chopped
**Combine all ingredients and simmer slowly for 1 hour.

-Season refried beans with garlic powder, cumin and bacon drippings. Heat slowly.
-Heat taco shells at 250 degrees for 10 minutes (I totally missed this when I made it, but they were still good).
-Spread each with beans and taco filling, cover with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and toppings.