Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Comfort Cake

So I got this recipe from Traci. (I have no idea where she got it from, and let's be honest, as long as good recipes get passed my way, I credit the sharer of the recipe as the original source). I haven't made this cake for awhile but Traci made it just last week for Max's birthday. It is her picture I share today along with "her" recipe.
I love this cake. Anyone who knows me knows that I am always looking for homemade, moist cake recipes. This still uses a cake mix, but for all the extra ingredients added, it is good enough for me. The best part is that it is delicious by itself. It does not need icing. But like Traci said to me the other night, "but it sure is good with icing too!" Enjoy!

Comfort Cake

1 box devils food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup pure olive oil
4 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
1 large package mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat one 9x13 inch pan with olive oil cooking spray.
2. In mixer bowl add cake mix, pudding mix, yogurt, eggs, and olive oil. Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.
3. Turn mixer onto low speed and slowly add water. Mix until well blended. Fold in Chocolate Chips.
4. Pour into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean in the center. Cool in pan and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

*Thanks Traci!*

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Easy Creamy Italian Chicken and Rice (for the Slow Cooker)

This is one of my go to recipe's when I just don't have the time to make dinner. I know it is one of JoEllen's too, because I have had it at her house more than once. The great thing about it is that it is very kid friendly.

Easy Creamy Italian Chicken and Rice

1 or 2 lbs of chicken (I just throw in frozen chicken)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1 packet of Italian salad dressing mix
Rice (follow directions on package whether minute rice or in a rice cooker)

1. In a slow cooker put the chicken at the bottom, cream cheese, soup, and dressing mix all together and put on low.
2. After a couple of hours when chicken is thawed and cream cheese is melted some, mix around with the soup and mix. Leave in the slow cooker until chicken is cooked through.
3. Before serving, cook rice and shred chicken if desired. Top rice with creamy chicken.

Cake Decorating again... Woohoo!

This is my first attempt at cake decorating since my class this summer. It was fun to "get my icing on" again for a work triple baby shower. The only difference is I actually had to make my own cake and frosting this time. Just making the frosting the right consistancy was probably the hardest part of the process.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our Favorite Tin Foil Dinner

I love tin foil dinners. I love anything that you can just throw whatever you got in your fridge or pantry into something, bake it and comes out delicious. This is a recipe that happened on accident, but I have since made it every time we are in need of a tin foil dinner to bring to a party or cook out.

Our Favorite Tin Foil Dinner

Pork Chops, thawed (one per dinner)
Some sort of pork rub, or just salt and pepper
Asparagus, chopped
Zucchini, Chopped (optional)
1/4 Onion, Chopped (good for about 2 or 3 dinners)
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 Tbsp Butter (or less if you like)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Rub pork chops with seasoning or salt and pepper, and sire all sides in a hot pan with a little bit of oil spray.
2. Tear two large pieces of tin foil. Put the prepared chop on the bottom and pile on veggies, then add some salt and pepper, then Tbsp butter and then about 1/3 cup of cream of mushroom soup.
3. Make sure you write your name on the outside. You do not want your tin foil dinner getting mixed up with someone else's, because I promise if you bring this tin foil dinner, it is better than theirs.
4. Cook over hot coals or in your oven for about 30 to 45 minutes or until done.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Nacho Night

If you haven't experienced Nacho Night, call me. I will hook you up, as I myself was hooked up. Nacho Night is the greatest invention I've experienced this month. Yes folks, this month. Here's the story:
We were in the middle of moving from the old place to the new place. Everything was in two places and not a complete kitchen in either. Ashlee and Bryce our friends from the MTC bookstore answered the call. "What can we do to help?" they said. I answered, "You can have us over for dinner tomorrow." Ashlee answered back, "Hey, I have a great idea! How about you guys come over for dinner tomorrow?!!" That was a great idea.
It was a Saturday, and on Saturday's Ashlee and Bryce head over to Ashlee's parents for Nacho Night.... They shouldn't have invited us because we invited ourselves again the next week. They were gone the weekend after that or I guarantee we would have been there again. Instead we had our own Nacho Night.
These aren't your kid's ballpark nachos. Please don't even compare. Instead have your own Nacho Night and ENJOY!

Nacho Night

Tortilla Chips
Nacho Cheese, heated
Refried beans, heated (canned is great)
Ground beef cooked, drained, with Taco seasoning
Pico de gallo (diced tomatoes, diced onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, Optional: diced jalapeno) or salsa
Olives, chopped
Avocado, chopped (or guac)
Sour Cream

1. Pile on what you like, and enjoy with some good stories, jokes and your favorite youtube videos.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This is a shout out to the Hawaiian Haystack

I have lived in Utah my entire life and the first time I tried a Hawaiian Haystack (believe it or not) was after my mission when I was at least 23. I remember the day clearly. I went downstairs to the St. George Temple cafeteria after completing a session and Hawaiian Haystacks was the menu item of the day. As they asked me the toppings I wanted, I thought it was the strangest mixture of food I had ever seen. I ate it. I probably didn't hate it, but was just overcome with the weirdness of the ingredients that were on top of the rice and chicken soup mixture that I didn't revisit this recipe again until after I had Lucy. Some ladies in the ward brought it to us for a dinner one night and I instantly fell in love. We have probably eaten it a dozen times since our second meeting and it will be a recipe revisited often in the Stewart home.
I feel a little silly including the recipe here, but I do so regardless, just in case you don't know what to make for dinner tonight. You should make Hawaiian Haystacks. Easy. Delicious. Done and Done.

Hawaiian Haystacks

2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
2 c chicken cubed or canned
4 c rice, cooked
1 c chow mein noodles
3 tomatoes, diced
1 c celery, chopped
1/2 c green onion, chopped
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
1 c cheese, grated
1/2 c almonds, slivered or sunflower seeds
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c green pepper, chopped
(Other optional items could be peas, cilantro, other canned fruit, etc)

1. Combine soup and chicken broth in a medium saucepan to make gravy. Stir to blend, and add chicken. Simmer about 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through.
2. Assemble rice, gravy and toppings as desired.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzones

So this recipe was mentioned as a side-note at the bottom of the pizza dough recip, but in the Stewart home came to a consensus that it deserves its own post. They are so yummy and a real crowd pleaser. So I am sorry to mention this again, but I wanted to do the recipe justice. And other than the dough, its not a recipe I found some where but the combination of ingredients just makes sense. (FYI: pictured are the calzones we made individually the first time. When I made them again, I made them all myself and they were much more uniform.... and pretty. Sorry I don't have that picture.)

Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzones

Pizza dough (recipe listed in past post)
1 or 2 lbs of chicken breasts or tenderloins (I like the frozen kind in the big bag)
uncooked bacon (I just use whatever I have available. You don't need a lot because bacon has so much flavor, I usually use about 1/4 of a package and I like to buy the stuff with more meat and less fat)
2 fresh tomatoes (diced)
1 to 2 c shredded cheese (whatever kind you have in the fridge will do)

2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp garlic salt
shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Make pizza dough, set aside. (or you could thaw some roads rolls dough that would work too)
2. Bake chicken and bacon together on 350 for about 20 minutes or until both chicken and bacon are completely cooked through. (I like to separate the bacon and lay it on top of the chicken so that it gives the chicken a nice flavor) Shred the chicken and the bacon together and set aside.
3. Roll out small pieces of the prepared dough until flat and fairly thin. Spread about 1 Tbsp or less of ranch, then a little of the chicken bacon mixture, cheese, and diced tomatoes. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Set on a greased baking sheet and repeat until dough or toppings are gone.
4. Melt butter and mix in garlic salt and spread on the top of each calzone. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 11 or 12 minutes or until calzones are a nice golden brown color.

*I would serve with a green salad and it makes for a fantastic meal.