Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Aunt Nancy’s Chicken Bites

These wonderful little Parmesan and cracker crumb coated bites of chicken never last long around my house!  My husband says they are much better than anything McDonald’s serves up (yeah, of course they are made from scratch and not “pre-chewed” patties of chicken).  I was cleaning out my pantry and fridge today to make lunch.  I served them with couscous.

I got this recipe from one of my aunts.  Thank you Aunt Nancy!  I get my kids involved in the process.  Crushing the cracker crumbs in a bag and adding seasonings and cheese…

Aunt Nancy’s Chicken Bites

Serves 6-8

  • 6 large chicken breast halves, cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups Ritz Crackers, crushed with a rolling pin
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 F
  2. Cover two baking sheets with foil. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.
  3. Mix cracker crumbs with cheese, seasoned salt, thyme, basil and pepper. (You can just add them to the bag you used to crush the cracker crumbs)
  4. Dip chicken pieces into melted butter and add a few pieces at a time to the bag of crackers.  Close the zip lock and have a child shake the bag to coat the chicken.
  5. Place the chicken pieces about 1/2 inch apart from each other on the baking sheets.  Repeat process until all chicken pieces are coated and on the baking sheets.
  6. Bake uncovered until golden brown 20-25 minutes.  Yields about 9 dozen pieces.

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Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I love Olive Garden’s Chicken Gnocchi Soup.  Every time I go to Olive Garden I end up ordering it now.  Their Gnocchi are so tender and the soup is so creamy and flavorful.  I went on a quest to find a good copy cat version and I did at Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen Forum.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup-adapted from Tasty Kitchen

  • 3 Chicken Breasts, Cooked And Diced
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Diced
  • 1 Carrot, Shredded
  • 1/2 Onion, Diced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Spinach, Chopped (I used 1/2 cup defrosted frozen chopped spinach)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Thyme
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 16 Ounces Potato Gnocchi
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon, to enhance the taste at the end (optional and my addition)

Directions:

  1. Cook the onion, garlic, and carrot in oil over medium heat until onion is tender and translucent.
  2. Add the chopped chicken, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt and pepper, and thyme. Heat to boiling, then add gnocchi (homemade would be even better, but all I had was packaged on hand). Gently boil for 4 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.  I did use defrosted frozen chopped spinach and only added about 1/2 cup to the soup as I did not have fresh spinach on hand.

Recipe Notes
Source:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/soups/chicken-and-gnocchi-soup/
Added by Calamity Anne on July 31, 2009 in Creamy Soups, Soups
5.00 Mitt(s) | 3 Rating(s)

Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings 6

Becky’s notes:

I made this version and was very happy with the results. I did add a little bouillon at the end and used defrosted, chopped spinach instead of fresh and it turned out fine.  Will make again and again.  My children are not fans of gnocchi, but they don’t get much say in my house. They can eat it or not eat.

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Delicious Ham and Potato Soup

One of my favorite web-sites for recipes is allrecipes.com.  I had saved this recipe for my “to make sometime file”.  Last night, I finally made it.  It was quite good.  I followed other reviewers’ advice and doubled the recipe.  Since it only served four and we are a family of 5 and love to have left over soup.  I did change it up a bit – because that is what I do.  It did not call for the onions to be cooked, and I’m sorry- but raw onions just don’t cut it for me.  I didn’t have celery, but I added a chopped yellow bell pepper for extra texture and it was good.  My 6 year old son avoided the potatoes, my 13 year old daughter avoided the ham, my 10 year old daughter didn’t like it at all.. but we adults liked it and that is what matters to me!  Picky eaters don’t get a vote, they just get an opportunity to expand their taste buds! 🙂  I had some left over prosciutto ham that I cut up into small pieces and added to the soup along with the regular ham, and bacon would have made a lovely addition to it as well.  I felt the recipe lacked anything green.  Some topped their soup with the greens of scallions, I added about a Tablespoon of freeze dried chives that I had in my spice pantry.  It was a good soup.  Be careful adding salt, as this can be pretty salty with the ham.  I would make it again if my kids had loved it, but as it turns out they didn’t.  Boohoo!

Source:  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Delicious-Ham-and-Potato-Soup/Detail.aspx

Delicious Ham and Potato Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

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Blueberry Pancakes

For my daughter’s birthday I made pancakes for breakfast.

When I made the pancakes, I realized I didn’t have any milk.  I’d say that is a pretty vital ingredient!  Well, necessity is the mother of invention- I did have half and half and I used that instead… well they were very light and puffy.  Try it sometime…

Here is what I do:

It pretty much follows the recipe on the box of Betty Crocker Bisquick Mix:

Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Original Bisquick Mix
  • 1 cup Milk (or in a pinch half and half)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (my addition)
  • 1 large can blueberries (my addition)

Combine the above ingredients.  In a cast iron skillet over medium heat add a pat of butter and pour approximately 1/4 cup size batter in the prepared skillet.  Add blueberries. I use canned blueberries — the brand I really like is: Oregon Fruit Products.  The berries are huge – almost dime size! Allow to brown.  Turn over with a spatula.  Brown other side.  Keep in a serving dish in the oven at 250 to keep warm until you have baked all of them.  Serve with blueberry syrup, maple syrup and whipped cream — it was a birthday celebration after all!  Enjoy!

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Strawberry Crepes

My Aunt Helen is a wonderful cook.  I had the honor of living with her and my Uncle briefly when I was in College and she would make these wonderful Strawberry Crepes for dessert.  This was the summer that I met my husband.  I still like to make these from time to time and now my children enjoy them too!  Today I made them for breakfast.

Strawberry Crepes

Makes 12 crepes-Serves 4 (3 Crepes per serving)

For the CREPES:

  • 1 cup bisquick mix
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

For the SOUR CREAM SAUCE:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1-2 pints sliced fresh Strawberries

Grease a 6-7 inch non stick skillet lightly; heat until hot.  Beat baking mix, milk and eggs with a hand beater or whip until smooth.  For each crepe pour 2-3 Tablespoons batter into the skillet and rotate until the batter covers the bottom.  Cook until golden brown.  Gently loosen edge with spatula, turn and cook other side until golden brown.  Stack placing waxed paper between each; keep covered to prevent them from drying out.  Mix 1 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Hull and slice 1-2 pints fresh strawberries.  Place 1 Tablespoon sour cream mixture across center of each crepe.  Sprinkle with sliced berries.  Roll and place on plate or serving platter.  Repeat;  Top with additional sour cream and berries.  Enjoy!

For the crepes, I combined 1 cup Bisquick mix with 3/4 cups of milk and 2 eggs.

I use my favorite non stick pan.  As I pour in the batter I rotate the pan so it is as thin as possible.  I did add about 2 Tbps of milk in addition to the milk to make the batter a little thinner.

This helps the crepes to be very thin.

I have the sour cream and brown sugar mixture close at hand to fill the crepes.

And the strawberries as well

As I finish cooking the crepes I put them directly on the plates for serving, I find this  slightly easier to assemble and then later I do not need to transfer them from a platter.  While the next crepe is cooking I assemble the crepe and roll it and keep an eye on the crepe that is cooking so it does not overcook.

I put about 1 Tablespoon of the sour cream and sugar mixture down the middle of the crepe.

Next I put a few spoon fulls of sliced strawberries on the sour cream sauce

I roll up the crepe and place it to the side of the plate so I make room for the other 2 crepes.

After the crepes are finished I drizzle more sour cream sauce over the top of the crepes and add some more strawberries.

Set the plate aside while you finish the other three servings and present your loved ones with a treat that will keep their bellies smiling for a few hours.

This makes a great dessert for special guests, or a great brunch treat.

I did once make these for a gathering of 20 people, but my back actually started hurting from making the crepes.  I would double this recipe, but making crepes one at a time for a larger group is not something I will do again.


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Pepperoni Calzones

I made these Calzones and the Italian-Style Pasta Salad for my

Pepperoni Calzones

husband’s birthday dinner.

You can easily add your own choice of filling.  For my husband and myself we add artichoke hearts and mushrooms… play away to your heart’s desire.

The dough recipe was from a Betty Crocker Cookbook and I have made it so often now that it is fully memorized.  Yes, it is good and don’t be intimidated by making your own dough, it is easy to do and if you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a dough hook, just put it all in there and knead it.  Easy easy easy!

Pepperoni Calzones – Betty Crocker

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 package Yeast, Active Dry
  • 1 cup Water — warm
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 cups Flour

Filling:

  • 8 ounces Tomato Sauce
  • 4 ounces Mushrooms, Canned — stems and pieces
  • 1 tsp Basil, Dried
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 clove Garlic   — crushed
  • 4 ounces Olives, Ripe — sliced
  • 8 ounces Pepperoni — hormel mild
  • 1 small Green Bell Pepper — chopped
  • 1 cup Cheese, Mozzarella — shredded
  • 1 largeEgg — beaten – to brush tops of dough before baking

Instructions

Dough preparation: Disolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar, oil, salt and 1 cup of flour.  Mix together well.  Add flour ½ cup at a time to make a nice dough.  Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.  Put in a greased bowl and cover; allow to rise about 20 minutes.  Divide into six equal portions and roll out into 7 inch circle on a lightly floured board..
Mix tomato sauce, mushrooms, basil, oregano, garlic, and olives together and spread over half of each circle within one inch of the edge.  Top with pepperoni, green peppers and cheese.  Carefully fold dough over filling and pinch edges to seal securely.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and allow to rest about 15 minutes.Brush with beaten egg to give dough a nice sheen.  Bake in 375° F oven for 20-25 minutes.  Enjoy!

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Warm Italian-Style Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

I originally found a recipe in “Taste of Home” Magazine that was an Italian Pasta, but I accidentally heated it up the first time I made and we discovered we loved it that way.  Plus it had grated carrots in the original and we didn’t like it.. so a few changes later it is mine!

Italian Style Pasta Salad
Serves 6
Ingredients

  • 14 1/2    ounces Tomatoes, with garlic and onion — canned
  • 16    ounces    Caesar Dressing — Marie’s is good
  • 2        Onions, Green — thinly sliced
  • 15    ounces    Artichokes, Canned — hearts, cut up
  • 20    ounces    Tortellini pasta, Cheese — refrigerated
  • 1    medium    Green Pepper — chopped
  • 6    ounces    Olives, Ripe — drained, pitted
  • 3    ounces    Pepperoni — sliced, mild
  • 1/2    cup    Cheese, Parmesan — shredded

Instructions

In a 13x9x2 inch baking dish combine first 7 ingredients.  Add cooked tortellini pasta and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and heat at 325° F for 30 minutes.

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