Chicken Enchiladas

A friend gave this recipe to me in Florida about 10 years ago and Karen and I just love this recipe!!! This also freezes very well individually and heats up great in the microwave.

Chicken Enchiladas
Created on 05/01/2008

1 Lemon-Pepper Rotessiere Chicken
shred all the white and dark meat take off skin
2 cans of Enchilada Sauce (I use Hot because it will cook off and give it the zing you need)
2 cans of refried beans (black or pink)
1 package of 10-12 Flour Toritillas
2 packages of 8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
1 16 oz container of Sour Cream
Green Onions – optional
Black Olives – optional
Extra Sour Cream – optional

Mix Cream of Chicken Soup and Sour Cream together and then mix into the shredded chicken in a bowl – set aside.

To assemble the enchiladas:
1 Flour Tortilla
2 Tablespoons of Refried Beans in center of tortilla
2 Tablespoons of Chicken Mixture in Center of tortilla
2 Tablespoons of Shredded Cheese
Fold Sides and Roll Enchilada and put seam side down in a 9 x 13 dish
Repeat until you run out of all the ingredients except for the cheese

After all the enchiladas are assembled pour enchilada sauce and coat all the rolls use both cans.

Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until all cheese is melted and the enchilada sauce is really bubbling.

Serve with extra sour cream, black olives and minced green onions.



Holy Sh*t Tacos

Well, summer is here and the taco road trucks are out. A friend who is a foodie like me was ranting and raving about a local taco truck and mentioned something about strips of beef and brown sauce in a flour tortilla and some onions. We were supposed to go one day for lunch but things popped up. I went ahead and did some research because my curiosity got the best of me. Lo and behold, found a recipe and I said to myself, hmmm. I think I will make this. I emailed my friend and waited one long week for results but none. I said “hmmpmh” and went and decided to do my own. “Holy Sh*t!” the tacos were just amazing! I am so convinced these are the best ever and Taco Bell is no more a place I will frequent ever. I am such a happy camper right now. I am just Taco’d crazy at the moment. Enjoy!

Holy Sh*t Tacos!
Created on 5/18/12

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1-1/2 pounds of beef (I used Rib eye Steak but you can use any meat you like)
3 large onions
Corn Tortillas
2 Avocados
2 Plum tomatoes
Ingredients for the Brown Sauce – recipe below
1 small can of Chipotle Peppers

The “Brown Sauce”
2 tablespoons of Chipotle Pepper sauce (directions below)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of paprika
¼ cup of brown sugar (I used light)
2 tablespoons of water
3 dashes of liquid smoke
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper

Caramelized Onions
2 medium onions cut into half moon shape
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Pomegranate vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt / Pepper to taste

In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat up the olive oil and put the onions in the pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions become a little shiny and kind of limp looking. Then add the brown sugar and Pomegranate vinegar and continue to cook over low heat and sauté until the onions become a very deep brown. Stir constantly so the onions do not burn. This will take about a good 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this ahead of time and store the caramelized onions in a canning jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. Just reheat the onions in a sauté pan for a few minutes or your microwave.

Chipotle Pepper Sauce
I pureed the Chipotle Peppers in a food processor with 1 tablespoon (not the olive oil for the sauce itself, this is additional) olive oil and water and 1 teaspoon of Adobo. This made a lot so I reserved the rest in a canning jar and stored in the refrigerator for another use. The flavor had a little bit of heat and very distinct smoky flavor, love the concept.

Taco Meat – prep
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In 9”x13” stoneware or baking dish, layer the bottom of the dish with one of the sliced half moon onions. Rub both sides of the meat with ½ of the Chipotle Pepper sauce mixture and lay on top of the onions. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 1-1/2 hours. Turn meat over and some of the sauce over the top of the meat, and then the rest of the sauce on the other side. Re-cover and cook for about another 1-1/2 hours. You want the meat to be fork tender so you can shred the meat with 2 forks. Remove meat from the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Then with 2 forks, shred the beef and put the shredded meat back into the sauce. Toss the meat with cooked sauced, cover and set aside.

Heat up corn tortillas and cut up some avocado and tomatoes. Fill the corn tortilla with some meat about 2 tablespoons, some onions, and sliced or diced avocado and tomatoes. You could add anything you want but I thought these tacos with avocado and tomatos were just amazing!

Cook’s note: I made another type of tacos with pork loin steaks, and loved that flavor also. Prepare the pork the same way as the beef. Awesome tacos!

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Old-Fashioned Apple Pie Squares

This recipe is an easy and faster way to enjoy a semi-healthy dessert without going through the whole apple pie preparation. I changed some things from the original version in the Pampered Chef cookbook to suit my tastes. I often make this with an olive oil crust or if pressed for time, I buy the Pillsbury Pie Crust already made from the store. Homemade pie crust is the best but this dessert does meet my expectations of the “quickie apple pie”. One of my cousins just loves this recipe and has asked me to make it for her when she was in college. Seems like she could not focus on her studies unless she had Apple Pie Squares. Enjoy!

Old-Fashioned Apple Pie Squares
Created on 12/24/07 but made again on 11/29/11

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1 package of Pillsbury Pie Crust (will use both in the box)
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I have tested several types of apples and these are the best ones to use for this recipe)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon of sugar

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
5-6 teaspoons milk or use lemon juice

Spread the pie crust in a stoneware bar pan or a baking sheet that is at least 12″ x 15″. Stoneware is the best. The 2nd pie crust will be used to cover the apples.

Peel slice and core the apples. In a large glass bowl, mix the sliced apples, cinnamon, flour, brown sugar, salt well. Wait for about 2 minutes the sugar will disolve from the juice of the apples. Lay the sliced apples on the pie crust single layer close together.

Cover the apples with 2nd pie crust (might have to roll it out some to fit the pan).

Brush pie crust with egg /water mixture. Cut slits in the pie crust for steam to escape and prevents nice messy surprises in your oven. Sprinkle sugar on top of crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown.

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For Glaze: mix powdered sugar and milk together and drizzle over apple pie. Cut into 18 squares.

I bet you don’t have any left!


Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Cornbread I love. I like it with my vegetarian chili, sweet potato black bean hash, and in my cornbread sausage stuffing. Sometimes, I like a different flavor to the carb-loaded table at Thanksgiving time and this stuffing just hits the flavors all the way around and compliments all the other dishes such as the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and the gravy. I have made many different recipes using spicy sausage, Italian sausage, sausage in the butcher’s market but I think the Bob Evans Natural Sausage is perfect with this. What is nice is that there are no preservatives or MSG in this sausage which is what I prefer in all meats. The stuffing is full of flavor with minimal ingredients. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did on Thanksgiving Day.

Pam’s Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
Created on 11/24/11

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Make the cornbread the day before. Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish and set aside. I got this recipe from All Recipes on the internet, and tweaked it to my version. I have made it both ways and for the stuffing, this recipe is perfect. I also made this recipe with coconut milk and the bread came out really good.

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow or white cornmeal

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup honey

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup whole milk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Then mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until just all coated. Pour into the greased dish and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until a butter knife comes out clean. When the cornbread is cool, cut into 1” squares and put in a glass bowl. Cover and let set until ready to make the stuffing.

Day of to make the Sausage Stuffing:

Toasted Corn Bread Cubes

To do this: I put the 1” cubes on a cookie tray or stoneware and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until the cubes are toasted. This helps to prevent the stuffing from becoming soggy and I think it gives more flavor to the stuffing with that toasted-roasted kind of flavor. Remove from the oven and put in a large bowl.

While the cornbread is toasting in the oven, prepare the sausage filling

1 lb of Bob Evans Naturally Sausage (crumbled up) You can also substitute your favorite turkey sausage

4 celery stalks, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

About 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper

2 to 3 cups of chicken broth (depends on the consistency of the dressing)

Cook tip: Always start out small and slowly add the liquid, you can always add but cannot take out the liquid if it is too much for the stuffing

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the celery, onion, garlic mixture. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until the celery and onion is soft and caramelized. Add the crumbled sausage. Crumble the sausage with your fingers or just put the whole thing in there and break up the meat with your spoon. Cook until the sausage is fully cooked. Season the filling with salt and pepper.

In the large bowl where the toasted corn bread cubes are, add the filling and kind of mix and break apart the bread and filling. Add the chicken broth ½ cup at a time until you reach the moistness desired. Remember you don’t want the stuffing to be soggy but at the same time when you squeeze the stuffing together with your fingers it should somewhat hold a shape and crumble at the same time lightly.

Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes until the top is crunchy and browned. Serve with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.


Spinach Eggs Benedict

Spinach Eggs Benedict what can I say. Sometimes I want to be bad and have something that is sinfully rich. I never made Hollandaise sauce before so this was a new experience for me. I do not know what I was so afraid of before but after making the sauce, it was a huge WOW! factor for me. The homemade version is just exquisite. I saw this recipe on one of the food blogs I follow called Simply Recipes and modified the recipe to have some healthier ingredients such as spinach, tomatoes, and avocado. I used Canadian bacon instead of bacon or ham for a lower fat version of the dish and only used 1 tablespoon of the sauce instead of dousing the whole dish with it. Enjoy!

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Spinach Eggs Benedict:
8 eggs
1 tablespoon of vinegar
8 slices of Canadian bacon (optional)
4 Multi-Grain English Muffins
1 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
1 cup of Baby Spinach

Hollandaise Sauce:
10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of salt
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Avocado Grape Tomato Salsa:
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 large ripe avocado
Fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

The hollandaise sauce: separate the egg white from the yolk and reserve egg white if preferred for an omelet for a later time. Put egg yolks in a blender with lemon juice and salt. Blend for 30 seconds or until the yolks become a light yellow color and add the hot melted butter to the egg mixture and blend until combined. Pour sauce into a bowl and set aside.

Fill a 10” non-stick frying pan with water about ¾’s full. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the water mixture. While the water is heating up in one frying pan, in another frying pan, cook the Canadian bacon till crispy around the edges in another frying pan with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil or butter and remove when edges are crispy. Set aside.

In the simmering hot water, crack an egg in a small bowl, and then use the bowl to transfer the egg to the simmering water. It is easier to use the bowl, so you do not burn your fingers while adding the egg to the water. Put all eight eggs in the water and simmer for approximately 4 minutes.

Clean grape tomatoes and halve. Remove the seed from the avocado and cut up avocado in cubes and spoon out of the skin. Put halved tomatoes and cubed avocado into a bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons over the mixture. Add freshly chopped basil and olive oil. Toss well. Season the tomato and avocado salsa with salt and pepper.

While the eggs are cooking, toast the English muffins and put on plate. Take 2 English muffins, line English muffins with about 7 to 8 leaves of baby spinach each halve. Lay the cooked Canadian bacon on top, spoon the drained poached egg on top of the Canadian bacon. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with fresh basil on top.


Spinach Dumplings

I miss eating pasta and any Italian food sometimes. I do not really eat it because it is high in carbs, fat, and it causes my sugar levels to be high. It takes a while for the levels to come back down to normal. I decided to stop eating pasta and anything made with white ingredients a while ago and have been able to keep my sugars under control. I was in the mood for Italian food so I made the dumplings instead of using pasta. The dumplings came from watching the cooking channel show Ask Aida the other day. I substituted Arugula for spinach. I love this idea, and was pleasantly surprised. Next time, I will try using more natural and healthier approach to the dumplings. This recipe is a great substitution for pasta, still a little high in fat content but was very good. Enjoy!

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Spinach Dumplings with Marinara Sauce, created 01/07/11

1 box of chopped spinach thawed and excess water squeezed out
½ cup of skim milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
½ cup of Japanese Bread Crumbs
¼ cup skim milk
1/2 cup flour
¾ cups freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 cup of freshly grated Mozzarella cheese for sprinkling on top of the dish

For Marinara Sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and add 2 gloves of fresh chopped garlic. Add one 16 oz can of your favorite tomato sauce, I happen to like Muir Glenn tomatoes so I use that brand. Add one to two teaspoons of basil fresh or dried, either one. Optional add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up. Add caramelized onions if you wish. Adjust your seasonings as needed. Set cooked marinara sauce aside.

For Dumplings: Bring a medium stockpot of water to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Add salt. In a bowl add the eggs and milk together, beat well. Add the breadcrumbs to the milk/egg mixture and let the breadcrumbs soak up all the liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.

Shape the dumplings into small balls using a tablespoon to measure out the dumplings. Drop 10 dumplings at a time into the hot simmering water and let them cook for about 5 minutes until the dumplings rise to the top. Spoon the dumplings out with a skimmer and put in a colander to drain the excess water.

Cook the rest of the dumplings you should have about 20 to 25 depends on how big the dumplings are. After all the dumplings are finished cooking, lay them single file in a stone or baking dish.

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Spoon the marinara sauce over on top of the dumplings, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a little bit of Parmesan cheese.

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Put in the oven set on broiler for about 5 to 7 minutes until all the cheese is melted and bubbly.


Stuffed Dates with Blue Cheese and Bacon Appetizer

This recipe idea came from a favorite restaurant of mine, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan called Mind, Body, and Spirit. The dish I ordered was called spinach salad with stuffed dates and blue cheese. I kept thinking to myself, blue cheese, bacon, and dates did not sound very appealing and BOY! Was I wrong! The sharpness of the blue cheese, the saltiness of the bacon with the sweetness of the dates just complement each other so well. The restaurant now serves the stuffed dates as an appetizer and I do not have to order the stuff dates there anymore because I found the recipe on-line and make it often at home.

Stuffed Dates with Blue Cheese and Bacon Appetizer

Recipe re-created June 29, 2010

1 dozen Medjool Dates, pitted
(You can adjust the quantity for the number of people you want to serve – for an appetizer – figure 3 per person)
6 slices of bacon, cut in half so there will be 12 halved slices
¼ to ½ cup of blue cheese crumbles
12 toothpicks

Slice the date oblong to remove the seed. Do not cut through the date completely, just enough to remove the seed. Remove the seed and repeat with the rest of the dates. Stuff the dates with ½ teaspoon to 1-1/2 teaspoon of crumbled blue cheese and close the slit up. Wrap a ½ slice of bacon around the stuffed date and secure with a toothpick. Put on a cookie tray or stone and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until the bacon is cooked. Serve warm. Enjoy!


Brownie Dessert Pizza

I think that one of the best things I have ever did was to be a Pampered Chef Consultant. Being a consultant really motivated me to increase my culinary skills and inspired me not to be afraid to experiment by trying new recipes. This recipe was tweaked from one of the recipes Pampered Chef published in one of their cookbooks. I cheated on the recipe using a store-bought brownie mix as the base with made a cream cheese filling and fresh strawberries I had on hand. I loved the look and the dessert was a hit for a party I had on Memorial weekend.

Brownie Dessert Pizza, created 05/30/2010

1 box of Ghirardelli Brownie Mix plus the ingredients as listed on the prepared mix box
Parchment Paper
1 Large Round 15” pizza stone or a round pizza sheet
8 ounces of Philadelphia Cream Cheese softened
¼ cup powdered sugar
Handfuls of fresh strawberries, sliced – or use any fruit that you like with chocolate
Melted Semi-Sweet Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips

Prepare the brownie mix as per the instructions on the box. Cut the parchment paper to the shape of the pizza stone. Line the stone with the cut paper. Spread the brownie mixture on the parchment paper within 1” of the edges. It is important to use the parchment paper because it will help prevent the brownie mixture from seeping over the stone while in the oven cooking. Cook the brownies until center comes out clean on a toothpick about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely. Flip the brownie crust over onto a cooling stone and carefully remove the parchment paper, then flip it the round brownie crust back onto the stone or a nice plate to prepare for serving.

Mix the softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar well and spread on the brownie pizza base within 1” of the edge. Layer cut strawberries evenly around the crust and then drizzle with melted chocolate. Enjoy!


Karen’s Deviled Eggs

Why are they called deviled eggs? Here is a blurb from the internet. Today many other foods, including eggs and crab, are served “deviled.” To be considered deviled, a food has to have a kick from something like Dijon mustard, hot sauce, cayenne pepper or chopped hot peppers (Wikipedia, 2010).

I want to share a story that really happened when my sister and I lived in Florida. Every time when I make hard boiled eggs for deviled eggs, I think of my sister. My sister wanted to make egg salad for lunch and she did not know how to make hard boiled eggs. Instead of asking me, since I was in the same house with her, she decides to call long distance to Georgia to my cousin Mary to ask her how to make hard boiled eggs. She landed up talking to my cousin Mary for like 45 minutes racking up a $23.00 telephone bill. Go figure. So Karen, this recipe is named after you.

Karen’s Deviled Eggs
Created recipe on 04/04/2010

The day before:
12 eggs
A pot to hold 12 eggs
Water to cover all the eggs in the pot and some – water should be at least 2” from the top of the last egg in the pot
Add about 1 tablespoon of vinegar (I’m not sure why, my mom told me to – she says it helps the eggs from breaking)

Deviled Eggs1

Bring water to a boil; cook the eggs for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for at least 20 – 25 minutes. Run cooked eggs under cold water and peel while the eggs are still warm. Refrigerate until the next day.

The next day:
Half all 12 hard boiled eggs and pop out the yolks into a bowl
With fork, break apart the egg yolks until yolk is finely crumbled
3 to 4 table spoons mayonnaise (depends on the consistency may have to add 1 or 2 more)
1 tablespoon sweet relish
1 to 2 teaspoons mustard (you can use regular, Dijon, or spicy mustard)
Salt / Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s – I love the flavor)

Whip all ingredients with fork until creamy and blended well – adjust flavorings to suit taste. Spoon yolk into each ½’d white egg yolk and put on plate. Crack fresh pepper on eggs before serving.

Note: You can put the egg yolk mixture into a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe the yolk into the ½’d white egg if you prefer.

Deviled Eggs 2


Pappardelle with Chicken, Mushrooms and Wine

This recipe was featured in one of my favorite cooking magazines called Cuisine at Home. The pictures seemed to show this recipe as warm, hearty and filling recipe for a chilly winter day. I made this to test with some friends and the results were just absolutely amazing. The chicken basically fell apart from the bone and the sauce had a rich aromatic flavor. I must have said this dish is just amazing about 100 times during dinner. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I think the only thing I would change is the type of pasta that goes with this dish, maybe use a linguine or angel hair pasta because this type of pasta shown seemed so heavy for me.

Pappardelle with Chicken, Mushrooms and Wine
Created recipe on 03/14/2010

Pappardelle with Chicken, Mushrooms and Wine

1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red wine (I used a Merlot)
½ cup all purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cut up chicken with skin and bone
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta diced
1 medium red onion diced
½ lb fennel bulb, cut into strips
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lb dry Pappardelle or any pasta

In 2 tablespoons butter
1 lb mushrooms sliced – I used butter and baby Portobello mushrooms

Sauté mushrooms in butter in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat, stirring often. When mushrooms are soft, they will give off liquid, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the liquid evaporates.

½ cup of red wine – I used Merlot – increase the heat to high until most of the wine evaporates. Take mushrooms out of pan and put in a bowl – set aside. Wipe the pan clean and return to stove top. Dredge chicken in flour and pepper and shake off the excess. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan and put the flour coated chicken and brown all sides over medium heat. Remove chicken from pan and put on plate. Set aside.

In the drippings from the chicken – add the pancetta – sauté until the pancetta begins to brown. Add the onion and fennel, cook until the onion becomes softened and the fennel becomes a light brown. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes more. Increase the heat to high and stir in the wine and sage. Remove from the heat and add the sautéed mushrooms.

Return the browned chicken back to the pan, cover and put in oven @ 325 degrees and cook for 45 min to an hour. Remove from the heat and add the balsamic vinegar. During the last 15 min of the chicken cooking prepare the pasta. Cook according to package directions and serve with chicken and mushroom sauce.


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