He is Risen!

Happy belated Easter! He is risen indeed and I don’t know about you but I sure am grateful! This year for Easter I decided to incorporate southern comfort food for my sweet husband with a Midwestern touch for well…me (coming in the form of VERY cheesy scalloped potatoes with a lot of cream)! I originally had planned to serve a traditional ham for our Easter lunch but when I saw how expensive it was I was thankful to remember how not so nonchalantly my husband had recently made several requests for fried chicken.

Like the rest of America I have been on a major health kick and had pretty much  banned all fried foods from our house…but I decided to make an exception on this very special day. Make my husband happy and save a few bucks: win win. To say he was pleased was an understatement. I added some very cheesy scalloped potatoes, green beans, and dinner rolls to finish off the meal. This was also a monumental occasion, as it was the first use of our beautiful wedding china! I was also sure to purchase some beautiful tulips to lighten up our little home.

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Living far from family is certainly hard on these special days but there was one advantage…left-overs! Here are the delish recipes for my fried chicken and scalloped potatoes. Thank you Lord for the sacrifice of the cross and for beautiful days to remember and eat well!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

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Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Easy Fried Chicken

4-5 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
oil

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, remaining salt and pepper. Whisk together milk and eggs. Dredge chicken in cracker crumb mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture again.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a 12-inch skillet (do not use a nonstick skillet). Over medium high heat (more on the high side) fry chicken, in batches, 10 minutes, adding oil as needed. Turn and fry 4 to 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack in a cookie sheet. Keep chicken warm in a 225° oven.

*I cook on a gas stove that tends to brown the outside before the inside is cool. I usual end up cooking the chicken in the oven for an extra 15 minutes to make sure the chicken is fully cooked.

Scalloped Potatoes

1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Half a pint of heavy whipping cream
2 cloves garlic
2 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and monterey jack), divided
Fresh parsley sprinkled on top
4 large russet potatoes (any kind will do), skins on, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F).

To make the sauce, I melted the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Next, I stirred the flour thoroughly into the butter and added the cream and garlic . The sauce was stirred over medium/high heat until it began to bubble and thicken. I removed it from the heat and stirred in 2 cups of the grated cheese. The sauce was set aside.

Next, I sprayed a deep casserole dish with some cooking spray. I then layered the potato slices in the dish and continued until the potatoes were used up.

The sauce was then poured over the potatoes and the whole thing was given a good  shake on the counter top to get the sauce to ooze down into all the potatoes. The top was sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. I then placed the casserole dish on a baking sheet in case it bubbled over and baked it for 60 minutes until brown and bubbly.

 

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Oreo Cake

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This recipe was inspired by Bakerita’s oreo cake, she has tons of great baking ideas! I made this for my husband’s 25th birthday upon request. Happy Birthday Ben!

Ingredients

1 box of devils food cake (you will need 3 eggs and oil for this)
1 container of Oreo Cookies, finely crushed
1 large container of Whip Cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

For the Oreo whipped cream

1. Carefully cut 6 Oreo cookies in half; set aside. This is really hard to do without breaking the cookies so set aside extras in case some break.  Then use a large plastic baggy to smash the rest of the cookies into small pieces; set aside.

2.Make the Oreo whipped cream in the bowl of standing mixer fitted with whip attachment, whip 4 1/2 cups cream then add, sugar, and vanilla to soft peak.  On medium-high speed to soft peak. Add cookie mix to cream and blend well.

3.  Coat cake with cream frosting (fyi: I have found it is easier to frost with this mix when it is a litter warmer so I wouldn’t recommend storing in the fridge then frosting. I start making this mix as the cakes are cooling then frost when everything is all mixed).

4. To top it off place Oreo halves around cake for a decorative  finish.

(I found this great idea on pinterest. Trace cake pan circles on parchment paper then use when baking your cakes to help prevent your cakes from sticking to the pans. This works like a charm!)

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Chocolate Trifle

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I was so excited to get a trifle bowl for Christmas! It only took me a few days to put it to work! Trifles are so fun for serving at parties and when hosting friends. They look nice and they combine layers of yummy things together for a delicious dessert! Enjoy my chocolate trifle recipe :)!

Ingredients

1 box of fudge brownies (you will need eggs and oil for this)

1 large package of chocolate pudding (you will need 3 cups of milk for this)

1 large container of whip cream

1 butterfinger candy bar

Directions

1. Cook brownies then cut into small squares. Place about 1/3 of brownie squares on bottom layer.

2.  Add about 1/3 of pudding over 1st brownie layer.

3. Cover pudding with about 1/3 of whip cream.

4. Repeat this process two more times then top with chopped butterfinger pieces.

Easy and delicious!

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Three Stress Free Appetizers- Happy New Year!

It is hard to believe another new year is upon us! 2013 sure was a wonderful year where God really blessed our little family and took us down roads we would not have ever predicted.  It was not the easiest year, however, it was a year where we grew as a couple and continued to learn that despite our best efforts to be in control and plan our own destinies, God truly is in control and has the best plan. I am excited to see what 2014 has for us!

For New Years this year we got the special gift of my sweet sister. Danielle is currently a junior in college and we are lucky enough to have her for the last few days of her break! We spent last night watching the classic Dick Clark New Years Eve Special and enjoying each others company. We made a few fun and easy appetizers to celebrate the night as well. Isn’t it fun that food and family/friends seem to always go together? I’ve noticed food is always so much better when shared with these special people as well :).   Here are the three recipes we enjoyed last night :).

Mexican Party Pin Wheels

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Ingredients:

1 block of cream cheese

1/4 cup of sour cream

1 cup of black beans

1 cup of corn

1/2 cup of green chilies

1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 cooked and shredded chicken breast

3 flour tortillas

Directions:

1. Cook chicken breast and Shred.

2. In mixing bowl add cream cheese and sour cream. Mix until combined. Add cheese, green chilies, corn and chicken. Mix until well distributed. Add black beans and mix.

3. Add spread to tortillas. Wrap then cut into pinwheels. Repeat until spread is gone.

4. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes then serve.

Cheesy Meatballs

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Ingredients:

1 lb of Ground Beef (Can also use ground turkey or sausage)

5 saltine crackers

1 egg

1 tbs brown sugar

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of pepper

Directions:

1. Mix ground beef with egg and add salt and pepper as well as brown sugar.

2. Crush cracker then add to meat and egg mix. Add shredded cheese. Use hands to mix together.

3. Form small meatballs. Place on a greased pan in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

4. Insert toothpicks for easy serving.

Ben’s Cheese Fries

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Ingredients:

5 Russet potatoes

2 cups of Colby Jack cheese

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

1. Use a fry cutter on potatoes for best fries.

2. Salt and pepper well then place in oven at 400 degrees. Cook for 2o minutes or until fries are tender. Be sure to flip fries after about 10 minutes. You can also cook these on the stove in vegetable oil instead of cooking in the oven.

3. Add cheese and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Then serve hot.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light-brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (11 1/2 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease twelve muffin cups with no-stick cooking spray, or line with baking cups.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together flour, both sugars, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended.With the mixer on low speed, slowly add milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just to combine.

Stir in chocolate chips and spoon batter into prepared muffin cups (almost to the top of the cup for raised muffins). 

Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.  Remove muffin tin to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes.  Enjoy!
 
Adapted from food.com
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