Sunday, November 28, 2010

Left Over Lasagna

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I don't know about you, but I ate wayyyy too much. We had two 12 pound turkeys, with all the trimmings... and plenty of left overs afterward.

I spent two straight days last weekend watching Food Network and show after show gave great tips on how to improve your Thanksgiving dinner and ways to make use of all the left overs, but nothing I saw tops my moms turkey lasagna. She has been making it for years and it never gets old. (Especially since we only have it once a year.) It's super easy to make and tastes so great you almost forget Thanksgiving dinner ever happened. ;)


2 cups left over turkey (White and dark meat)
1/2 box lasagna noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayo
dollop of sour cream
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 white onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 8 oz bags of shredded mozzarella

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Cook lasagna noodles as directed on box.
3) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine soups, mayo, sour cream, celery, onion, mushroom and turkey. Mix until all ingredients are combined well.
4) Once noodles are cooked, spray an 11 x 7 baking dish with Pam, then lay 3 noodles in the bottom of the dish. Cover with 1/2 of the soup/meat mixture, then sprinkle with cheese. Lay another 3 noodles on top, then add the remaining mixture and top with more cheese. Lay the last 3 noodles on top then sprinkle with cheese. (Amount of cheese is up to you. Between the layers and the topping, I always end up using 16 oz of cheese.)
5) Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, until cheese is hot and bubbling. Let cool, then enjoy!

This is one dish I do not mind eating for a few days!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What a great day it is. Time to relax with your family, watch the parade, Lion's football and over indulge on some of the most delicious food you'll eat all year! Who can complain about that?

My family lives in Michigan so I am spending my day in New Jersey with my boyfriend's family. Growing up, we always had Turkey, mashed potatoes, ambrosia, dinner rolls and GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE!! To me, green bean casserole screams Thanksgiving and oddly enough, my New Jersey "fam" has NEVER had it! I was stunned! So of course I had to make it.

My friend recently made a gluten free version of the casserole the that was absolutely amazing! But I was in no position to get crazy with the recipe since the kitchen was already full of chaos so I stuck what millions across the country love: Campbell's Classic Recipe.

How great did it look? It was definitely a hit.

If you follow my blog regularly, you know that I couldn't go to Thanksgiving dinner without dessert in hand. I wanted to bring something chocolately, since I knew pumpkin and pecan pie were being served. I found the perfect recipe on Picky-Palate for Roasted Apples N' Cream Caramel Topped Brownies! That's a mouthful right?? It was even more than a mouthful when time to eat! ;)

1 box brownie Mix, family size (13 X 9) (I used a walnut brownie mix since the original recipe called for walnuts later in the process.)
8 ox softened cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp butter
4 small to medium baking apples (I use courtland,) peeled and thinly sliced
4 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (ignore if using walnut brownie mix)
Prepared Caramel sauce, warmed in the microwave (I used the recipe I found for my Halloween Caramel Apple Cupcakes and cut it in 1/2 - 10 Kraft Caramels mixed with 2 tbsp milk, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until Caramel is smooth)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix according to package. Pour into an 11 x 7 pan (makes thicker brownies) that has been lined and sprayed with foil. Place softened cream cheese and sugar into a mixing bowl until smooth. Place dollops of cheese over brownie batter. Use a butter knife to carefully swirl cream cheese into batter, without dragging against bottom of dish. (If you're not a huge fan of cream cheese, only use half of cheese/sugar mix. I used all, and found it to be too much.)

2) Place butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat to melt. Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts (or not, if in batter.) Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour evenly over brownies. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until center of brownies are cooked through. (It's really hard to tell with this recipe so use your best judgement.) Remove brownies and let cool completely. Just before serving, drizzle the Caramel sauce on top. Cut into square and serve.

As you can see from my picture, we just dug right in! The brownies were oozing with Caramel and apple so it was nearly impossible to get perfect squares, but no one cared! These are definitely one of my favorite brownies!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

I LOVE picking up rotisserie chicken from Costo. For $4.99, you get 3 1/2 pounds of tender and flavorful chicken. My boyfriend and I will have it for dinner when we buy it, and for the next day or two he'll make sandwiches until he is sick of it, then we throw it out. We have yet to eat the entire thing, since they are so big.

This time I promised myself that I would make chicken noodle soup from scratch. I've said it before, but today I meant it. I had nothing else going on and as it turns out, my boyfriend woke up feeling under the weather.

I went to the grocery store right after Costco, so I didn't have a chance to scope out a recipe, but I knew onion, celery and carrots were needed. I also picked up a box of Chicken Stock. Little did I know, I'd be making my own stock...and it was easy!

1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) fryer chicken, cut up
3 1/2 quarts water
- I bought 1 quart of Chicken stock so I substituted that for extra flavor, and added 2 more quarts of water
1 onion, peeled and diced

1 1/2 to 2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 bay leaves

3 chicken bullion cubes
*Since I add stock, I skipped this ingredient.
Salt and black pepper


2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops

2 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles

1 cup sliced mushrooms
(I left this out, as I did not have any on hand)
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves

Seasoning salt

black pepper


For the stock: Add all ingredients to a soup pot. Cook until chicken is tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Remove and discard bay leaves and onion (I left the onion in mine.) You should have approximately 3 quarts of stock. When chicken is cool enough to touch, pick bones clean, discarding bones, skin and cartilage. Set chicken aside.

For the soup: bring stock back to a boil, add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package. When noodles are done, add chicken, and parsley. Cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding seasoning salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sweet and Salty Cookie

I was having a total chocolate craving on Sunday, but didn't have enough eggs in my fridge to make cupcakes. I looked around for the next best thing and realized I had chocolate chips in my freezer and potato chips in my pantry! I HAD to make chocolate chip potato chip cookies! It may sound odd, but one of my former co-workers mom made them for us all the time and they are amazing!!! The potato chips add the perfect amount of crunchy salt and it just melts perfectly with the sweetness of the chocolate.

Since I'm not much of a cookie maker, it took me a while to think back to the last time I baked them and unfortunately, it was last Christmas. With that in mind, I plated mine in preparation for the Holiday. :)

One thing to point out: read a recipe completely before cooking. I literally had zero eggs in my fridge, and didn't see egg in the recipe so I got to work. A few minutes later, it was time to add the egg...the very same egg I didn't have on-hand. Luckily, I have great neighbors and was able to borrow one. Phew!! It was close. Anyway, on to the recipe.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup crushed (not too fine) potato chips
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350F.
2) In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder; mix well.
In a mixer combine butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
3) Add egg and vanilla. Gradually add in the flour mixture and combine well.
4) Stir in potato chips and chocolate chips by hand.
5) Shape cookies by forming 1-inch balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, 2 inches apart. (They spread quite a bit while baking.)
6) Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on baking sheet.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Snowy Cupcakes

I'm a little ahead of myself here, but I've been dieing to make cupcakes with coconut, and since it's getting colder and colder by the minute I whipped up a batch of snow topped cupcakes for a friends housewarming party.

Coconut could be used in a variety of ways with cupcakes, but while in Santa Monica a few months back, I tried a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting, topped with coconut. It was to die for, and I had to make a batch for myself.

I brought a dozen to the party and they were immediately devoured by all. Plus, just to be on the safe side, I made a few cupcakes without coconut, since coconut tends to be a hit-or-miss.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Getting Chili Out There!

Now that the temperature is quickly dropping, I've been doing everything I can do to stay warm. After all of the Halloween weekend festivities I knew the perfect way to do it: Make chili!! I don't eat chili often, but sometimes it just hits the spot. I've also never made it from scratch before so what better time to do it than now?

I searched numerous websites for the perfect recipe and was about to give up when I looked over at my bookshelf and remembered that I got the Better Home and Gardens New Cook Book last year for Christmas. I was not surprised when I found the perfect recipe. It was very easy to make and packed full of flavor.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I used ground turkey)
2 cups chopped onion (2 large)
1 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 large)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 15 to 16 oz cans of kidney beans, pinto beans and/or black beans, rinsed and drained
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp black pepper
shredded cheese and sour cream for topping, if desired

1) In a 4-quart dutch oven cook ground beef, onion, sweet pepper and garlic until meat is brown and onion tender; drain fat.
2) Stir in kidney beans, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, basil and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat.
3) Simmer, covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Top with your favorite chili toppings. (I LOVE making mine taste like a taco salad - loads of cheese and sour cream! Yum.)

Two bowls later, I was stuffed to the gills and did not need to use my blanket for warmth for the rest of the night. :)