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Friday, September 28, 2012

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

We are playing Survivor What's for dinner this week.  I gave my husband a choice of four different dishes for dinner this week and he got to choose which one he wanted for dinner tonight.  This is the recipe he chose.  All I gave him were titles and we had not had any of these meals previously.  I must say he made a good choice.
Starts with some basic things.  Most of them you probably have already at home except maybe the heavy cream and the recipe says you can use regular milk.  I think the heavy cream added a richness to the sauce.
Melt a 1/4 c of butter and add 1/4 c flour.  Mix this together to form a roux.
Mix the flour well.  You do not want the heat to be very high on your eye while you are doing this.  You do not want to burn the flour.
  Stir it well. You want all the lumps out of the flour.
Add the 2 cups heavy cream or milk.  Stir well.  Keep stirring until it begins to thicken.
Add a teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of garlic salt, 1/3 c ranch dressing to the sauce.  Remove it from the heat.
While you are making your sauce cook your 10 to 12 oz of penne pasta according to the directions.  Drain.  The directions said that she drizzled a little bit of olive oil over the pasta to keep it from sticking.
Add two cups cooked and chopped chicken to the pot of drained pasta.
Crumble up about 3/4 cup cooked bacon.  You can add more or less depending on what you like.
Pour the sauce on top of the ingredients in the pot.
Stir it well to coat the pasta and chicken.
Add 3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese to the mixture and stir it well.
Pour it into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with non stick spray.  Place in a preheated 350 oven for about 15 minutes.
The fully baked casserole.
I fixed green beans to go with it.  I must say our first night of Survivor dinner turned out pretty good.  I might let him chose again.

Chicken bacon ranch pasta recipe

10-12 oz penne pasta
2 c cooked and chopped chicken
3/4 c cooked and crumbled bacon
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2 c heavy cream
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic salt
1/3 c ranch dressing
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Place the casserole into the oven for 15 minutes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Turtle fondue for two

I have made this before and it appeared in my Christmas cookbook last year and it is a great way to have a little something sweet after dinner.  It doesn't make a lot so there are no left overs and you can use whatever you like to dip in it.  If you do not have a fondue pot no problem you can melt in the microwave.
Really there's only three things to this dip; chocolate, carmel, and nuts.
Add 3/4 c milk chocolate chips.  I started out with my fondue pot but had to change back to the microwave.
3 tablespoons of caramel.  If you spray the measuring cup with non stick spray it will come right out.
Clean as a whistle.
Add the nuts.
The items to dip.
The melted wonderfulness.
A fun dessert for the family.

Chocolate fondue for two

3/4 c milk chocolate chips
3 T caramel
1/4 c chopped pecans

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cheesy Baked Artichoke Dip

Continuing with our dishes to represent our trip to the west coast we enjoyed this dip for football Saturday this past weekend.  It is one of the best artichoke dips that I have had.  Most have spinach in it also.  I am glad this one did not.
This recipe has lots of cheese in it so I know it will be good.
Drain and chop 2 14 oz cans artichoke hearts that have been packed in water.  Drain them well. I found that they come in whole or quarters.  It doesn't matter which you get because you are going to cut them up even more.  Some of the outer leaves might be a little tough so you can just discard them.
Add 1/2 c plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese.  I used the bag kind but the green can kind will work just as well.
Add to that 1/4 c plus 2 tablespoons mayo.
Add 1/4 c plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
Add 1/2 t ground black pepper.
Add 1/2 t onion salt
Add 1/2 t garlic powder and a pinch of salt.
Mix all that together well.
The place in a small baking dish that you have sprayed with non stick spray.
Top with 1 c Italian cheese blend and 2 T parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle the top with paprika.  Place in a preheated 375 oven.  You can actually make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge for up to a day ahead of time.  If you have had it in the fridge you will want to bake it for 35 minutes but it you make it and then bake it for 25 minutes.
For the last couple of minutes I turned the broiler on to get it nice and bubbly on top.  Serve with baguette slices that you have toasted.  Or you can use taco chips or frito chips.
It is so good and cheesy.  I think you will like this for your next party of game day treat.

Cheesy Baked Artichoke Dip Recipe

1/2 c plus 2 T grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c plus 2 T mayo
1/4 c plus 2 T sour cream
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t onion salt
1/2 t garlic powder
2 14 oz can artichoke hearts packed in water well drained and chopped.

1/4 t paprika
1 c Italian cheese blend
French bread baguette slices toasted.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Artichoke Bites

I really don't know what to call these delicious bites.  We decided we would pay homage to our trip to California this past weekend.  We enjoyed seeing all the strawberry, artichoke and brussel sprout fields.  The brussel sprouts will come later this weekend it was all about the artichoke, strawberries and chocolate.  Oh yea we visited the mothership Ghirardelli chocolate factory too.
We had these at a Christmas party several years ago and have been saying for years we were going to make them.  We did this weekend and they were better than we remembered.  Buy canned artichoke hearts in water, bacon, and zesty Italian dressing.  Small skewers are helpful too.  You can make as many or as few as you need.  I ended up using only one can this time around.
Drain them well.
I even turned them upside down to drain them out.
Take a heart and wrap in bacon.
Secure with a skewer.
Place them in a dish.
Then pour the dressing over the hearts to marinade them.
Let them sit for a little while.  Now if you were going to fix these for a party you might want to half them and use half a piece of bacon.  They would be easier to eat that way.  It helped having a plate and a fork with these.
We used foil on the grill but if you had a vegetable basket for the grill you could use that.  Joe said he put them bottom down for about 15 minutes then turned them for around 5 minutes.  You want to make sure the bacon is cooked well.
The finished product.   I think you will enjoy them as much as we did.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Crock Pot Oatmeal

Well it is Crock Pot Monday and I have a different twist to this day.  Breakfast in the crock pot is what we will be making today.  With these cooler morning temperatures I had a craving for this oatmeal.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can add your favorite dried fruits to the oatmeal. I hope you will enjoy this recipe on these cool fall and into the winter mornings.
Steel cut oats and your favorite dried fruits and some water is all you need.
Today I am making half of the original recipe so I added one cup of steel cut oats.  You have to use steel cut and not regular oatmeal.  You might find Irish oats and they are the same as steel cut.  The oats look like little pellets.  It looks like more like a feed for animals to me.  It has a little different taste too.  The fruit helps with that until you get use to it.
A closer look at the pellets.
I started with some dried cranberries.  The recipe calls for 1/3 c but I finished out a bag that I had so it is more, but I like a lot of fruit in the oatmeal.
I chopped up the rest of my bag of apricots.  I have also added dried peaches too, but I was out of those.
Chopped up some dried cherries.  The cherries are a little bigger than the cranberries, so I just rough chop them.
Dump the dried fruit on top of the oatmeal.  I didn't measure the fruit and you don't have to either just put as much as you like in and whatever you like.  I have a friend that has made this with dried apples and some cinnamon.  Then she added some nuts after it was cooked.  I haven't added any nuts during the cooking process.  Not sure how that would work.  I have added them after.
Add 4 cups of water.  This is still a half recipe.
Everything all stirred up in the crock pot.  I use a liner for this because it can get messy on the sides. Put the lid on and cook overnight on low.
This morning this is what I found in my crock pot.  All you need to do is stir it well to mix up the fruit.  The fruit plumps up and rises to the top.
My bowl of oatmeal this morning.  The rest I store in a container and then get out what I want each morning.  I reheat it in the microwave and I add just a little butter for moisture.

Crock pot oatmeal the full recipe

2 c steel cut oatmeal
8 c water
1/8 t salt
dried fruit