Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by Kate in Soups - (0 Comments)

Its official. My favorite season is here! Soup season! You can expect to see all sorts of delicious soup coming up on here because soup is just one of those things in life we all need more of. I love chicken noodle soup, but I especially love a creamier version I found in the Lion House Cookbook. If you are looking for more of a classic version, check out Kat’s Turkey Noodle Soup here.  But I can promise you this creamy version won’t disappoint. I also love using the home style noodles for this recipe. Egg noodles work just fine, but something about the home style noodles add that much more comfort to this ultimate comfort food.

Cream Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons chicken soup base or bouillon cubes
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups cooked diced chicken
  • 2 1/2 ounces cooked noodles (about 4 cups)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I always add a sprinkle of poultry seasoning to taste as well)

Instructions

  1. Heat chicken water and chicken soup base together.
  2. Add carrots, celery and onion and simmer until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add cream of chicken soup and milk. Stir until combine.
  4. Add noodles and chicken.
  5. Add seasonings to taste.
  6. Makes about 10 one cup servings.
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Best Bran Muffins

September 27th, 2013 | Posted by Kat in Bread | Classics - (1 Comments)

These muffins are classic, full of fiber goodness, and super delicious. This recipe is one that my mother-in-law has modified, that she got from her mother. It is perfect for the fall (or any time, really) and is filling, which is nice for a muffin. This recipe makes a LOT of muffins (somewhere around 48), so you can either halve the recipe, or freeze a bunch for later.

Best Bran Muffins

Best Bran Muffins

  • 4 c. All-Bran cereal
  • 4 c. bran flakes (you can crush if you’d like, or keep them whole)
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. raisins or dates (or other dried fruit)
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 2 c. sugar (can cut back to 1-2/3 or 1-1/2 c.)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 c. buttermilk (or, measure 1/4 c. lemon juice and add regular milk until you reach 4 c.)
  • 5 c. flour
  • 5 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt

1. Mix All-Bran, Bran Cereal, boiling water and dried fruit in a large bowl. Set aside to cool.

2. In a separate bowl, cream shortening, sugar and eggs. Add to your cooled bran mixture.

3. Add the buttermilk.

4. Stir in your flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

5. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

 

Enjoy!!

The Perfectly Doctored Cake Mix Cake

September 25th, 2013 | Posted by Jen in Dessert - (0 Comments)

Doctored Cake Mix Cake

So I assume a lot of us have seen that same pin on pinterest that tells you how to take a cake mix cake and make it taste like a bakery cake. I think I’ve pinned it at least twice and seen it way more than that. The basic premise of this is that you look at the directions on the cake mix, use melted butter instead of oil, milk instead of water, and add an extra egg. Well, I took it one step further and added a box of instant pudding. And let me tell you. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I originally made this cake to be the cake part of an ice cream cake for my 2 year old’s birthday. It was the perfect ice cream cake because it is very dense and VERY moist. It froze wonderfully and I didn’t feel like I was eating a brick instead of a cake.

Fast forward a few days (after my husband and I had finished basically all of the ice cream cake and let our poor child only have a tiny sliver on his birthday…. You guys do that too, right?!?) and I started dreaming of just having a cake made this same way and frosting it and how wonderful it would be. So I made it. And I called myself the cake genius. Somebody else has probably done this at some point in time, but it’s new to me and I will never just make a plain ol’ boxed cake mix again.

Doctored Cake Mix Cake

 

Here are the ingredients my cake mix called for with the substitutions I made. Please read your cake ingredients and adjust accordingly. Again, add an extra egg, use melted butter instead of oil, and milk instead of water (I used 2%), then add a box of pudding mix. If you’re making a yellow cake, I’d suggest vanilla pudding, though I’ve never tried it.

Mix it all up. Seriously. This batter did not move. It was static like this and I reveled in it’s decadent texture and thickness. Amazing.

Doctored Cake Mix Cake

 

Bake according to package directions and then frost with your favorite frosting. I used the glaze from the eclairs recipe and it was a perfect richness to compliment the decadence of the cake. I would probably double the glaze/frosting recipe next time I use it. Enjoy. This has truly changed my cake making life.

Doctored Cake Mix Cake

Amazing Red Eye BBQ Sauce

September 24th, 2013 | Posted by Kate in Appetizers | Dinner - (0 Comments)

If you would have been walking through my neighborhood tonight, you would have been drooling. My husband made the most amazing steaks with even more amazing barbeque sauce. I had never had barbeque sauce like this before. I kept snitching it by the spoonful before the steaks we’re ready to be smothered in it. Sorry no pictures of the cooking process here. I wasn’t planning on posting this until I had a taste and about died.

Steak & Amazing BBQ Sauce

Amazing Red Eye BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp chile powder

Instructions

  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter.
  2. Add onion and cook until the onion begins to turn brown, about three minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook one more minute.
  4. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  5. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Simmer about 10 ten minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced.
  7. Spread over delicious meal.
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

September 18th, 2013 | Posted by Jen in Breakfast - (0 Comments)

pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes

It’s official. It’s time to bust out the pumpkin recipes. The weather here is starting to cool down and it reeeeeally makes me want anything that has to do with pumpkin or soup. We’ve already made pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, and I have plans to make pumpkin chocolate chip bread this week. Without further adieu, here is this smashing recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes. You can use either whole wheat or plain ol’ delicious white flour and they will turn out delicious either way.

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl.

pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes

Mix together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes

Mix wet and dry ingredients together and add in mini chocolate chips. Please, please, please refrain from eating the batter. It is truly disgusting until it’s been cooked. I had some serious doubts when I tried the batter, but the pancakes are amazing!

pumpkin chocolate chip pancakesCook on a preheated griddle (about 350 degrees F) until done.

pumpkin chocolate chip pancakesEnjoy this tasty, easy, fast fall breakfast or dinner!

pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 C flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 3/4 C milk
  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients (this includes the pumpkin).
  3. Mix together wet and dry ingredients until moistened. Add in about 1/3 c. mini chocolate chips.
  4. Cook on an preheated griddle until done. Enjoy!
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Spinach Dip

September 10th, 2013 | Posted by Kate in Appetizers | Classics | Sides - (0 Comments)

Its officially football season! Which means all sorts of yummy football finger foods! I had been craving spinach dip for a while now, so I had the perfect reason to make it.  My team had a very disappointing first game, but this spinach dip provided some tasty comfort.

This recipe is so easy, you just throw it in a bowl and you’re done! You can get fancy and carve out a bread bowl or put it in a serving bowl. Serve with veggies or bread. Or Both!

Spinach Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (or however much you'd like)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • sat and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place spinach in a colander, rinse with cold water and mash until all the water has run out.
  2. Place spinach in a mixing bowl. Add sour cream, onions, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Chill before serving.
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Spinach Dip

Old-Fashioned Taffy

August 30th, 2013 | Posted by Kat in Classics | Dessert - (0 Comments)

Every July 24th, we celebrate Pioneer Day. As part of that celebration, the past couple of years my kids & I have made our own taffy. Yum! It is actually quite a bit of work (I think it took me 3 hours of working from start to finish with two little helpers), but is fun and yummy. If you are low on helpers, I would suggest halving the recipe….or find more friends to help! I originally found this recipe from here, and just modified the cooking temperature a bit so the candy didn’t end up quite as hard.

Homemade Taffy

Old-Fashioned Taffy

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1-1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vegetable glycerine (see note at bottom about this)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. butter
  • You will also need kitchen shears, waxed paper (pre-cut into squares – about 2″x2″ each) and a candy thermometer

Homemade Taffy

1. Mix sugar, water, corn syrup, salt and vegetable glycerine in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat.

Homemade Taffy

2. Continue boiling until mixture reaches 255 degrees. This should take around 40 minutes, give or take.

3. Take the taffy off, and add the butter and vanilla.

4. Pour onto greased (buttered) cookie sheet and allow to cool until no longer too hot to handle – this will take about 10 minutes.

Homemade Taffy

Homemade Taffy

Homemade Taffy

5.Pull pieces off of the mass of taffy and hand them out to the helpers (if you are lucky!). Pull it into a “snake”, and then fold the ends on top of each other and pull it out again. Repeat the pulling and folding until the taffy is white. Keep your pulled taffy in a “snake” shape until you are able to cut it into smaller pieces, or it will harden in a lump.

Homemade Taffy

Homemade Taffy

Homemade Taffy

6. Cut the taffy “snakes” into bite-sized pieces and wrap each piece in waxed paper.

Homemade Taffy

Homemade Taffy

Homemade Taffy

Enjoy! I would recommend keeping these around room temperature. We have brought the taffy to a picnic to share the last couple of years and it has been 95 degrees outside, and we have put the taffy in full sun…..and the waxed paper eventually melted onto the taffy. Oops! The ones that were kept at home in room temperature were fine. :)

Homemade Taffy

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

August 28th, 2013 | Posted by Jen in Dinner - (0 Comments)

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is hands down my favorite food. I like to joke that anything a 5 year-old would eat, I prefer as well since I’m quite a picky eater. This is a recipe my mom made for us growing up and just tastes like heaven to me. It is simple, but such a comfort food for me.

Start by boiling 2 1/2 c. macaroni until it is just al dente. It will continue to cook in the oven, so you don’t want to start off with a soggy noodle. Rinse and drain with cold water when finished.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

 

Next, we’ll make a simple white sauce. Combine flour with a few tablespoons of milk until it has formed a paste.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Add in butter, salt, dry mustard, milk, and pepper. I almost always use a whisk until it starts to thicken up just to help break up any flour clumps.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Cook over medium heat until it comes to a full boil, stirring constantly or your milk will burn. Turn off heat and add in cheese. If you’re trying to be good, use 2 cups. If you’re trying to make something decadent and amazingly delicious, use closer to 4 cups.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

 

Next, add in macaroni and stir until well combined and noodles are nicely coated.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Pour into a 9×13″ pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

 

You may also choose to butter some bread and cut it into pieces and place those buttered pieces face up on top of the macaroni and cheese before baking. This makes fun, tasty little croutons. Enjoy!

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups dry macaroni
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. dry mustard
  • dash pepper
  • 3 1/3 c. milk
  • 2-4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • bread (optional)

Instructions

  1. Start by boiling 2 1/2 c. macaroni until it is just al dente. It will continue to cook in the oven, so you don't want to start off with a soggy noodle. Rinse and drain with cold water when finished.
  2. Combine flour with a few tablespoons of milk until it has formed a paste.
  3. Add in butter, salt, dry mustard, milk, and pepper. I almost always use a whisk until it starts to thicken up just to help break up any flour clumps.
  4. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a full boil, stirring constantly or your milk will burn.
  5. Turn off heat and add in cheese. If you're trying to be good, use 2 cups. If you're trying to make something decadent and amazingly delicious, use closer to 4 cups.
  6. Add in macaroni and stir until well combined and noodles are nicely coated. 
  7. Pour into a 9x13" pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. 
  8. Optional: You may also choose to butter some bread and cut it into pieces and place those buttered pieces face up on top of the macaroni and cheese before baking. This makes fun, tasty little croutons.
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Quick Biscuits

August 15th, 2013 | Posted by Kate in Bread - (0 Comments)

For the past couple weeks my husband has been asking that I make biscuits for dinner. I was dreading, dreading, dreading this and put it off for a few weeks, until the requests became relentless. My mother in law had a recipe that I’d seen her whip together in record time so I thought perhaps, I could maybe do it in an hour. Well, I was so excited when these were ready to pop in the oven in 15 minutes flat! It was THAT quick and easy.

Mix together dry ingredients, then cut in shortening.

 eggrolls 399Mix in milk, knead until smooth.

eggrolls 400Roll out dough.

eggrolls 401Cut dough into circles. You can place two circles on top of one another so they pull apart nicely.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchement paper. Bake at 450 10 to 12 minutes.

eggrolls 402

Quick Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients
  2. Cut in shortening
  3. Mix in milk, knead dough until smooth
  4. Roll out dough, cut into circles
  5. Place on cookie sheet lines with parchment paper
  6. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes
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Quick, Easy Biscuits

 

Easy Homemade Eclairs

August 7th, 2013 | Posted by Jen in Dessert - (1 Comments)

eclairs

I love, love, love eclairs. They are by far my favorite dessert item. I have always been afraid to make them because they seem so difficult. I found this recipe on pinterest and I thought it was finally time to try making eclairs. There are a lot of steps, but they are so easy to make. And even better, they are such an impressive looking dessert that you are sure to please any recipients.

In a medium sauce pan, boil water and butter. Turn heat down to low and add in flour and salt. Continue stirring until your dough forms a ball.

eclairs

Remove from heat and beat in 1 egg at a time. Since the pan is hot, you will need to stir quite vigorously to make sure you don’t scramble your eggs. Your dough will be very sticky.

eclairs

Using a large spoon, spread your batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. This will make 10 giant eclairs. Try to make each batter blog about 1.5″ by 4″. They will spread, so allow some extra space.

eclairs

Bake for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 325 degrees F. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. They should be golden brown, big, and puffy. Immediately upon removing from oven, pierce the eclair from one end to basically the other to allow steam to escape. This will prevent soggy eclairs. Cool for at least 30 minutes.

eclairs

Mix together pudding mix and milk in a bowl. Place in refrigerator. Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt.

eclairs

Fold whipped cream mixture into pudding. Refrigerate until you are ready to fill your pastry.

eclairs

I chose to cut the pastries in half completely, fill with desired amount of filling using a spoon, then place the top of the pastry back on. You can use a pastry bag and fill from the end where you made the slit if you want the more traditional method. I don’t like doing any additional dishes and they taste the same no matter how you fill them.

eclairs

For ICING: Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and then continue melting at 10 second intervals. Once chocolate is smooth and melted, add in powdered sugar and vanilla. Add in water 1 T. at a time. You may need more water or powdered sugar, depending on the consistency of frosting you’d like. Spread this frosting on top of your eclairs and then bask in the amazingly delicious end product of your hard work! Store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy.

eclairs

 

My husband and I loved these and we both decided they needed to be a regular in our dessert rotation. Well worth the effort for such a delicious result.

Easy Homemade Eclairs

Ingredients

  • PASTRY:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • FILLING:
  • 1 box instant french vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • ICING:
  • 1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 T. hot water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, boil water and butter. Turn heat down to low and add in flour and salt. Continue stirring until your dough starts to form a ball.
  3. Remove from heat and beat in 1 egg at a time. Since the pan is hot, you will need to stir quite vigorously to make sure you don't scramble your eggs.
  4. Using a large spoon, spread your batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. This will make 10 eclairs. Try to make each batter blog about 1 1/2 " by 4". They will spread, so allow some extra space.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 325 degrees F. Bake for an additional 25 minutes. They should be golden brown, big, and puffy.
  6. Immediately upon removing from oven, pierce the eclair from one end to basically the other to allow steam to escape. This will prevent soggy eclairs. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
  7. For FILLING: Mix together pudding mix and milk in a bowl. Place in refrigerator.
  8. Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  9. Fold whipped cream mixture into pudding. Refrigerate until you are ready to fill your pastry.
  10. I chose to cut the pastries in half completely, fill with desired amount of filling using a spoon, then place the top of the pastry back on. You can use a pastry bag and fill from the end where you made the slit if you want the more traditional method.
  11. For ICING: Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and then continue melting at 10 second intervals.
  12. Once chocolate is smooth and melted, add in powdered sugar and vanilla. Add in water 1 T. at a time. You may need more water or powdered sugar, depending on the consistency of frosting you'd like.
  13. Spread this frosting on top of your eclairs and then bask in the amazingly delicious end product of your hard work!
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