Chicken Quesadilla Wraps

Today I spent the afternoon with my dad.  We are so much alike.  We have the same personality and same sense of humor.  I love spending time with him!

Also, I have been getting back into my love of crafting.  I started making a wreath today that I am in love with.  I will post pictures when it’s finished.

I made these chicken quesadilla wraps one night when my friend came over for dinner.  I really liked them and so did Zack.  She isn’t a big fan of spicy, so these weren’t really her cup of tea.

Try them, though, if you like things that have a little kick!

Chicken Quesadilla Wraps

Makes 2 quesadilla wraps

– 1 1/2 c shredded/chopped cooked chicken

– 1/2 c chopped cooked onion (sauteed until tender)

– 2 T chopped jalapeno peppers

– 6 T chopped lowfat cheddar or monterey jack cheese

– 2 9″ flour tortillas or wraps

– 1 T olive oil

Insert plates on griddler onto grill side (or preheat regular grill to high).  Preheat to high with unit closed.  In a small bowl, combine the chicken, onion, and jalapeno peppers.  Sprinkle half the cheese in the center of each tortilla.  Top with the chicken mixture, keeping the chicken mixture in a log and 1 1/2″ wide and 4-5″ long in the center of each tortilla.  Fold one side over the filling lengthwise to cover, fold top and bottom over short sides to cover, then fold last side over wraps to close.  Turn over so that the flap is on the bottom.  Lightly brush the tops and bottoms of the wraps with the olive oil.  Place quesadilla wraps on preheated grill or griddler.  Close, using medium-light pressure.  Grill for 3 1/2 – 4 minutes, until tortilla is warm with grill markings, filling is warm and cheese is melted.  Serve with salsa if desired.

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Baked Ziti Supreme

I have been waiting for Christmas for over a month for one reason (well multiple reasons but main one).  I got reindeer shaped pasta!  Yeah, totally adorable I know.

We didn’t get to have this on Christmas Eve…or Christmas Day…because we had dinners to go to on both days, so we had it December 23rd.  It was a cute way to start off the holidays.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I definitely did.  My kitchen is now fully stocked.  I got a light blue Kitchenaid stand mixer, Cusinart food processor, Cusinart Griddler, a Pressure Cooker, Bread Machine, a full size red grill, a new set of pretty white dishes, some cookbooks, and other various gadgets.

I will post pictures of everything periodically.  I have been so busy cleaning up after all the festivities and completely reorganizing my kitchen that I have not had a chance to post in a while.

Okay, back to the original matter – the delicious reindeer shaped pasta!

We rarely eat leftovers (we are weird, I know) but this is so good that we ate it twice!

I know this doesn’t really count as ziti, but you can use ziti pasta if you desire, or really any type of pasta you want.

Enjoy!

 

Baked Ziti Supreme

– 1 lb ground turkey

– 28 oz jar spaghetti sauce

– 8 oz package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

– 8 oz package ziti pasta, cooked

– 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Brown ground turkey in large saucepan over medium-high heat; drain.  Stir in sauce, one cup mozzarella cheese and cooked pasta.  Spoon into a lightly greased shallow 3-quart casserole dish; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and a Parmesan cheese.  Bake, covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Serves 6.

Red Velvet Birthday Cake

My really good friend, Demeter, turned 21 this past Friday!  Woohoo!  Since I wasn’t able to celebrate with her over the weekend, I made her a cake and took it to her at school Tuesday.

I really love the way it turned out.  I think it is a really cute cake.

She really liked it, too!

I’m in love with these character pans.  I’m so glad that my mom’s friend gave us an entire box of them!  It’s so much fun decorating cakes!

I wish I could get better at doing words, though.  I guess I will get better with practice, but right now I do not like the way it turns out at all.

I frosted the cake with vanilla butter cream frosting and the cake part is red velvet.  Zack got to sample the cake when I leveled it and he said it was really yummy.

Here it is before I iced it.

Red Velvet Birthday Cake

– 1/2 c shortening

– 1 1/2 c sugar

– 2 eggs

– 2 (1 oz) bottles red food coloring

– 1 t pure vanilla extract

– 2 1/2 c cake flour

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 t unsweetened cocoa

– 1 c buttermilk

– 1 T white vinegar

– 1 t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour cake pans and set aside.

Beat shortening at medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar, beating well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and stir in the food coloring and extract.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and cocoa and set aside.  In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, vinegar and baking soda.

At low speed, add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture.  Begin and end with the flour mixture.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.

Evenly distribute batter among prepared cake pans.  Bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove and cool completely on wire racks before spreading with frosting.

Our First Thanksgiving Dinner Party

AAHHH… That’s my sigh of relief and happiness.  Our dinner party couldn’t have gone any better.  I am so pleased.  My dad, mom, stepdad, Zack’s parents, two brothers and his brother, Caleb’s, girlfriend all came!

We have tons of leftovers, though.  I sent two whole trays of food home with my dad.  Next year, I won’t double the recipes like I did this time.

Everyone said everything was really good.  I’m so thankful for both of our families and for the fact that everyone gets along so that we can have dinners like this.

I spent all of today and yesterday cooking.  I am exhausted.  It feels so good to be sitting on my couch with my Zack doing nothing right now.

I’m just going to share all of the recipes from today in this post.  I hope you enjoy.

Be thankful for your families and for the time you get to spend with them.  I know I am.

Appetizer Course:

Here’s our appetizer table:


No Bones Chicken Wing Dip

Prep: 15 minutes

– 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

– 2 c (16 oz) sour cream

– 1 c ranch dressing

– 1/2 c buffalo wing sauce

– 2 1/2 c shredded cooked chicken

– 1 block (8 oz) Monterey jack cheese, shredded

– baby carrots, celery ribs, and crackers

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, and buffalo wing sauce until blended.  Stir in chicken and Monterey jack cheese.

Transfer mixture to a greased 2-qt baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve dip warm with baby carrots, celery, and crackers.

Yield 6 1/2 cups.

Main Course:

Our main table.  We used the oreo turkeys and little name cards as place cards.  I think it turned out adorable.


Roast Turkey

– 1 large turkey, neck and giblets removed

– 1/2 c butter, melted

– 2 large onions, peeled and chopped

– 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

– 4 stalks celery, chopped

– 2 sprigs fresh thyme

– 1 bay leaf

– 1 c dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thoroughly rinse turkey.

Brush turkey with melted butter.  Place breast side up on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan.  I cooked mine in an oven bag in a roasting pan.  Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf.  Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan (in the bag for me) and cover with white wine.

Roast uncovered 3 1/2 – 4 hours in preheated oven until internal temperature of thigh reaches 180 degree.  Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.

 Side Dishes:


Butterflake Rolls

1 t yeast

– 3/4 c very warm water

– 1/4 c sugar

– 1 egg

– 2 egg yolks

– 3/4 t salt

– 1/2 c buttermilk

– 2 1/2 – 3 c AP flour

– 1 stick butter, softened

Prepare a muffin tin for baking by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray, or tossing a small pat of butter into bottom of each cup.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix yeast in 1/4 c warm water until dissolved.  Add the sugar.  Whisk in the salt and eggs.  Beat in milk and remaining water until well mixed.

Use a wooden spoon to stir in about 2 1/2 cups of flour, adding more (up to 3 cups) as necessary to make a soft dough.  You want to be able to knead the dough and not have it stick to your fingers, but still have the dough be soft and pillowy.  Less is definitely more here.

Knead dough a few times.  Roll out dough to 1/2″ thickness and spread with a thin layer of butter (it should be about 2 tablespoons).  Fold dough in half, then spread with butter.  Repeat this 4 more times.

Once you’ve finished buttering, roll into 1/2″ thickness and cut dough into 1×1 inch squares.  Place 3-4 squares in each non-stick sprayed muffin tin.  Let rise about 45-60 minutes or until well-risen.

Bake in middle rack at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.


Stuffed Ham & Provolone Rolls

– 2 c herb flavored stuffing cubes

– 1/2 c boiling water

– 2 T + 2 t butter, divided

– 8 slices deli ham

– 8 slices provolone cheese

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1 T water

– 1/2 c dry bread crumbs

Combine stuffing, boiling water and 2 T butter.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Top each ham slice with a cheese slice.  Spoon 1/4 c stuffing mixture over center of cheese; roll up and secure with a toothpick.  Whisk eggs and water together.  Roll ham rolls in egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs.  In a large skillet over medium heat, saute ham rolls in remaining butter for 4-5 minutes, or until golden, turning only once.  Discard toothpicks before serving.

Yield: 8 rolls

Turkey Gravy

Prep: 10 min.  Cook: 7 min.

– 3 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth

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

– 1 t poultry seasoning

– 1/2 t black pepper

– 1/4 t garlic powder

– 1 c milk

– 1/3 + 2 T AP flour

– 2 T corn starch

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Stir in soup and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, and garlic powder.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer.

Warm the milk in the microwave and whisk in the flour and cornstarch with a fork until there are no lumps.  Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until thickened.  Be careful not to let the bottom scorch.


Stuffing

– 4 T butter

– 1 medium onion, chopped

– 3 celery stalks, diced

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 t ground sage

– 1 t dry thyme

– 10 c dried unseasoned bread cubes

– 1 1/2 c chicken broth

– 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a large pan.  Saute onions, celery, salt, sage, and thyme for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Turn off heat.  Add bread cubes and gently stir them into the onion mixture.  Slowly pour chicken broth over the bread cubes folding everything so the bread cubes do not break apart too much.  In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and add it to the stuffing mix.  Continue to fold everything until the egg is incorporated.  Scoop uncooked stuffing into a medium casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until nice and toasty on top.

 

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

– 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

– 3/4 c evaporated milk

– 1/4 c butter

– 1 c (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Place potatoes in a large saucepan.  Cover with water; bring to a boil.  Cook over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes or until tender; drain.

Return potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk and butter.  Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth.  Stir in cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.



Sweet Potato Souffle

– 6 c mashed sweet potatoes

– 2 c sugar

– 1 t salt

– 4 eggs

– 2/3 c stick butter, softened

– 2/3 c milk

2 t vanilla

Combine with mixer and pour into greased casserole dish.

– 2 c brown sugar

– 1 c flour

– 2 c chopped pecans

– 1 stick melted butter

Mix well and distribute over potatoes.  Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

 Deviled Eggs

See Deviled Eggs for recipe.

Green Beans

Just take some green beans, I used about 3 lbs here and then add a bouillon cube (1 per lb).  Bring to a boil then simmer.  The longer you let it simmer, the better they are.

Desserts:


Pecan Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 50 minutes.

– Pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2/3 c sugar

– 1/3 c butter

– 1 c corn syrup

– 1/2 t salt

– 3 large eggs

– 1 c pecan halves broken halves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into pastry lined pie plate.  Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is set.

 


Colossal Caramel Apple Trifle (COLOSSAL = key word)

Prep: 40 minutes

– 1 package yellow cake mix

– 6 c cold milk

– 3 package (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix

– 1 t apple pie spice

– 1 jar ( 12 1/4 oz) caramel ice cream topping

– 1 1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted

– 2 cans (21 oz each) apple pie filling

– 2 cartons (16 oz each) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions using 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk milk, pudding mixes and apple pie spice for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.

Cut one cake layer if necessary to fit evenly in an 8-quart punch bowl.  Poke holes in cake with a long wooden skewer.  Gradually pour a third of the caramel topping over the cake.  Sprinkle with 1/2 c pecans and spread with half of the pudding mixture.

Spoon one can of pie filling over pudding; spread with 1 carton of whipped topping.  Top with remaining cake and repeat layers.  Drizzle with remaining caramel topping and sprinkle with remaining pecans.  Refrigerate until serving.


Pumpkin Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 1 hr 10 minutes.  Cool 2 hours.

– pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2 large eggs

– 1/2 c sugar

– 1 t ground cinnamon

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/2 t ground ginger

– 1/8 t ground cloves

– 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin

– 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

– whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Make pastry for unbaked one pie crust; before adding filling, partially bake pastry (carefully line pastry with double thickness of aluminum foil, gently pressing to bottom and sides of pastry. Let foil extend over edge to prevent excess browning.  Bake 10 minutes; carefully remove foil and bake 2-4 minutes longer or just until pastry begins to brown and has become set.  If crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon..

Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater.  Beat in remaining ingredients except whipped cream.

Cover edge of pie crust with 2-3 inch of aluminum foil to prevent excess browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.  To prevent spilling filling, place pie plate on oven rack.  Pour filling into hot pie crust.

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake about 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack 2 hours.  Serve with whipped cream.  After cooling, pie can remain at room temperature up to an additional 4 hours, then should be recovered and refrigerated.


Oreo Turkeys

– Double Stuff Oreo Cookies

– Candy Corn

– Whoppers

– Peanut Butter Cups

– Chocolate Frosting

– Writing icing (any color) for eyes

Grab a cookie and put some chocolate icing in the edge.  Stick some candy corn in.  The icing makes it stick better.  It’s easier if you do all the cookies through this step.

Next, secure the opposite end of those cookies to a bottom cookie with a gob of icing.  If they are not sturdy, you can set them against the wall until the icing hardens a little.

While they are drying, unwrap the peanut butter cups.  Take a sharp knife and cut a sliver off of one end.  It helps to gently cut in a sawing motion so you don’t break the peanut butter cup.  Cut from the bottom.

Place a gob of icing on the peanut butter cup and place it on the bottom cookie.

Glue a whopper on top of the peanut butter cup with icing.  I put frosting on the side of the whopper touching the peanut butter cup and the cookie.

Use another gob of icing and glue on the white tip of a candy corn for a beak.  Put two dots of your writing icing for eyes.


Hot Mulled Cider

Float a few apple slices and some cinnamon sticks in the drink as it warms.

– 2 qt apple cider

– 1 orange, quartered

– 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
– 1/4 t pumpkin pie spice

– 2 (4-in) cinnamon sticks

– 6 whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on low 2-4 hours.  Remove orange sections and spices before serving.

 

Homemade Play Dough!

Although this isn’t edible, I am including it on here, because it’s made entirely out of household food items.

It’s super easy to make and would be a great project for parents to do with their kids.  The end result smells, feels, and looks exactly like the store-bought variety.

My mom and I used to make this on occasion and I always really enjoyed it.

I made this batch green, because it’s Zack’s favorite color :)~

Play Dough

– 2 c flour

– 1 c salt

– 4 t cream of tartar

– 2 c water

– food coloring

Mix all ingredients together in a heavy saucepan.  Cook over medium heat.  Stir constantly (don’t worry about lumps).  Cook 3-5 minutes or until it forms a big ball and is not sticky wet.  Do not undercook.  Remove from heat and turn onto floured waxed paper or counter.  Knead until cool.  Stir in airtight container.  It will keep this way for up to 3 months.  Keeps better in refrigerator.

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

Last night after dinner I got bored.  I didn’t have any homework or anything to do, so I decided to whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies.

Anyone can make peanut butter cookies.  They are so simple.  It took about 15 minutes from start to finish (including cleaning up).  Plus with only 3 very common household ingredients, they can be made without a special trip to the grocery store.

My mom used to make these all the time.  They probably contributed strongly to my obsession with peanut butter.

I really didn’t mind that the whole house smelled like peanut butter after these were baked either! 😉

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

– 1 cup peanut butter

– 1 cup sugar

– 1 egg

Mix ingredients together.  Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Press with fork tines.  Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.

Enjoy! :)~

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

Potato Salad is the ultimate cook out food.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to a cook out that didn’t serve this side dish.  It’s a southern staple.

However, I had never made it before.  Cook outs are a summer thing, so I knew that the one Zack was having at work would be my last chance to make some this year.

I found a recipe that seemed easy enough and decided to try it out.

Every bit of it got eaten at Zack’s cook out.  People were raving about how good it was.  I don’t like potato salad, so it didn’t appeal to me, but that’s besides the point.

I like that you slice an egg and sprinkle with paprika for the top.  Makes it look decorative and fancy.

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

Prep: 15 minutes.  Total: 1 hour 5 minutes, including cooling.  Makes 12 servings.

– 2 lb red potatoes (5-6 large) peeled, cubed

– 1 tsp. salt

– 3 hard boiled eggs, divided

– 1/2 cup mayonnaise

– 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

– 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

– 3 tbsp. yellow mustard

– 3 tbsp. sweet pickle relish

– 1 tbsp. sugar

– dash paprika

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water in large saucepan 10-15 minutes or just until tender; drain.  Cool.

Meanwhile, chop 2 eggs; slice remaining egg.  Mix mayonnaise, celery, onions, chopped eggs, relish, mustard, and sugar in a large bowl.  Gently stir in potatoes.

Top with sliced egg and paprika.

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This dish combined so many of mine and Zack’s favorite things: cheese, pasta, and buffalo sauce. Okay, Zack isn’t so big into pasta, but he loves the other two.

I made this Saturday night when Dad came over for dinner.  He’s also a big buffalo fan, so it was perfect.

This is basically like macaroni and cheese with buffalo flavor included.  YUM.

Buffalo sauce is mixed in with the cheese sauce, so I only drizzled some on top.

Up close detail of the deliciousness.  The white is Panko bread crumbs.

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Serves 4-6.

– 1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)

– 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 1 tablespoon flour

– 1 1/2 cups milk

– 4 oz grated Monterey Jack Cheese + more for topping

– 1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese + more for topping

– 1/3 cup buffalo wing pasta

– 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

– salt and pepper to taste

– optional: for garnish (I didn’t do this): 3/4 cup chopped green onions, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro

– additional buffalo wing sauce for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare water for pasta and cook according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the butter, and once it’s melted and bubbly, add in the flour.  Whisk together and cook 1-2 minutes until mixture gets a bit golden in color.  Add milk, stir and turn heat lower.  Continue stirring until milk thickens.  Add in grated cheeses and continue to stir until mixture is smooth.  Stir in buffalo wing sauce.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.  Add pasta and chicken, then pour cheese sauce over and mix thoroughly until everything is coated.  Sprinkle with additional grated cheese and bread crumbs.  Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.  Remove from oven and immediately top with extra cheese and other toppings if you wish.  Drizzle with buffalo sauce.

Yum!