Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chicken Soup

Recipe and pictures submitted by Anita Baker. (My Mom!)

Chicken Soup can cure a soul! There is just something about having fresh homemade Chicken soup on a rainy day, feeling kind of lousy day, or a cold snowy day. Mmm, the smell can just take me away . . .

Chicken Noodle Soup


1 family size pack of chicken wings
3 bay leaves
1 lb. carrots (cleaned and cut into coin size pieces)
1 Medium sized onion (half to be put in with chicken pieces and other half with the rest of the veggies)
½ stalk celery (cleaned and cut into pieces)
16 – 32 oz. Chicken Stock


In a large pot place the bay leaves, chicken (NOT frozen), and ½ onion (medium sized slices) in water so the entire amount of chicken is submerged in the water. Add a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Allow this to boil.

Boil until the chicken is almost falling off of the bone. When finished remove the chicken and allow to cool on the side. Once cooled, you will shred the chicken from the bone. DO NOT DRAIN THE WATER. YOU WILL USE THIS SAME WATER FOR THE SOUP!!!

While the chicken is cooling add the chopped carrots, ½ stalk celery, small onion into the water. You should allow this to cook until the carrots and celery are tender. Add the Chicken stock. My Mom likes to use only ½ of the box of stock; but my Dad wishes she would use the entire amount. Depends on how much sodium your diet can take. You can always add salt to it when eating. (You tend to use more salt flavoring it yourself when eating so I would suggest using the stock)

When your chicken is done cooking; now is a great time to start boiling that water for the noodles. We do about half the box for an entire pot of soup. If you like more noodles in your soup then do more noodles.
My Mom recommends to leave the noodles on the side because if you plan on saving some for a meal later on; the noodles will absorb all the broth and it will be a dry soup when re-heating. When the noodles are cooked (al dente) drain and ladle broth from the vegetables into the pan on reserve and return the noodles to this.

Once the chicken is cool and you're able to handle it, take the meat from the bone. This will be rather easy to do as the chicken is almost falling off the bone to begin with.

After you have separated the chicken from the bone, you add it directly into the soup pan with the veggies. By this time the carrots and celery are probably tender and ready to eat!

Depending on if you have the noodles on the side or mixed directly with the soup, go ahead and make yourself a bowl! We usually have one ladle of noodles to two ladles of the chicken/veggie mix. Grade a little bit of Parmesan cheese over the top and enjoy!

I was raised eating this soup during the Fall and Winter months. And like all families we have traditions. As crazy as this sounds, we ALWAYS eat this soup with peanut butter bread. Try it out, you’ll LOVE it too. But I am not disappointed if you don’t because my husband thinks we’re absolutely nuts for doing so. I mean it’s not like we’re drinking chocolate milk with fried fish or something!
I made extra soup so I could freeze some and I did so by freezing it in a muffin tin. This muffin tin is the extra large muffins and the perfect size to heat up for Zoe (my toddler) or even two of them for an easy lunch for myself. After they freeze pop them out of the molds and store them in a baggy. You can do this trick with stews in the crockpot or any other soup/chowder that you look forward to having again without the hassle of making an entire batch!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bite size mini egg omelets

So this morning I was headed to a Mom's Connection group and it was our small group's turn to bring items in for the brunch. When most items that come in are things like donuts, bagels, etc. I wanted to make something that had a bit of protein . . . on a breakfast/brunch pot luck kind of way.

Bite Size Mini Egg Omelets
On a side note, I'm totally going to make some of these for the freezer and heat up when I'm in a hurry for Zoe's breakfast
Makes 24 mini omelets!

Use of a 24 cavity mini muffin tin
8 eggs
splash of milk
5 slices of bacon
1/2 tomato
1/4 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper


Stack bacon and slice horizontally down the middle cutting the bacon in half. Then cube the bacon. Toss into a skillet and brown. This should take you no more than 4 minutes because the bacon is such small pieces!
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl add a splash of milk. (I don't really know why we add a splash of milk, I just basically do it because my Mom always did . . . ?) Salt and pepper the eggs. Whisk the eggs until there is no separation of the clear part and the yolk. If there is a separation then when you're pouring the eggs into the tins it could get clumpy.

Spray the mini muffin tin with some form of butter spray to stop the eggs from sticking. When I sprayed I made sure the spray was also on the lips of the cavity because the eggs will puff up when cooked. Put this egg mixture into a liquid measuring container and pour evenly into the 24 mini tins.
Now add your omelet ingredients. I used tomatoes (2 or 3 small cubes per tin) and bacon pieces (5 or 6 small pieces). After dropping ingredients into the tins; top with a pinch of cheese . . . because who doesn't like cheesy eggs?

Pop into oven for 12 minutes. When finished cooking, take out and serve warm!

I think the next time I make these, I will probably throw in some kind of green veggie like asparagus or broccoli or something. Probably asparagus.

Bacon Pasta with Corn and Tomatoes

So I have left over bacon from the sandwiches and wanted to use it up so I could have more space in my fridge for . . . well more items that have a high caloric intake that I probably don't really need in my diet :). This meal was super quick to make and didn't taste like a quick meal.

Bacon Pasta with corn and tomatoes
This recipe made 4 servings.

6 pieces of Bacon
1 clove garlic
1/2 box of any style pasta you desire. I used a fancy elbow noodle.
1/2 can of corn (or you could go above and beyond and shuck it from an ear)
1 can diced stewed tomatoes (I used the garlic style for more flavor)
1 T. Rosemary


Cook pasta al dente and toss with small amount of Olive oil assist in not sticking.

Cut bacon into cubes. I put all 6 pieces on top of each other, slice down the middle and then cube. Toss bacon into a hot skillet and cook completely through. You do not want soft bacon for this recipe! DO NOT WIPE THE PAN CLEAN, you want to use the flavor and grease in the pan for the rest of this meal.

When the bacon is cooked, remove from pan and set to the side. Put the Olive oil into the pan then press garlic into pan. Toss the corn into the pan as well. You will allow the corn to become golden cooked. (About 5 minutes) Open the can of Diced tomatoes and toss them into the mixture.

I use fresh Rosemary, as I grow it in my backyard. I've really only ever used dried Rosemary once or twice and regretted it both times. If you're using fresh Rosemary, you will remove the green from the vine and chop finely then add to the mixture.
Allow this to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Combine the mixture with the pasta. Add the 1/4 cup of Ricotta (if you really like Ricotta add 1/2 cup, that is what I did because I thought my husband really likes it, oops). Serve warm.

Now how easy was that!

Monday, September 26, 2011

BBQ Turkey Apple Bacon BLT

Looking into my pantry I saw loads of sandwich bread! Either it was on sale buy one get one free so I stocked up (which I usually freeze one) or I probably just bought bread every time I went to the grocery this week not realizing we had plenty. I decided it was time to use up some bread and go for a double decker sandwich for dinner!

BBQ Turkey Apple Bacon BLT

Turkey Bacon cooked
Turkey meat (I used deli style meat)
Sliced Tomato
Three pieces of toast (per sandwich)
Mayo (1/4 cup)
BBQ Sauce (1/4 cup)
Sliced Avocado pieces
Thinly sliced apple pieces ( I used Gala apples)


Prepare all veggies before you toast the bread! If not, the toast will get too hard.

When I make bacon, I ALWAYS put it in the oven! I never have to fight the splatter of grease onto my clothes or my little one! Plus the bacon comes out nice and flat; picture perfect! I use a cookie sheet, put the rack in it and then place the bacon nice and flat on top. This time I decided to try and flavor the bacon a bit more (since I accidentally bought the normal flavor and not the apple smoked) by placing apples underneath the bacon (it didn't work so if you have an idea let me know). I bake the bacon on 425 for about 15 minutes. I check it after about 10 minutes and usually flip it then. I have a gas oven and she's a beaut! So my cooking time may vary from other ovens.

To make BBQ mayo, you need to just have equal amounts of BBQ and Mayo. This is one of my husband’s favorite spreads. And each time I do it he always comments on how much he likes it. Put even amounts into a bowl and mix together. I usually set this in the fridge and allow the flavors to combine together while also keeping the mayo at the perfect temperature!

When all veggies are cut; toast the bread. Spread with the BBQ mayo on each piece of toast.

Stack your sandwich like this (Bottom to top)

BBQ Mayo
Turkey Deli Meat
Sliced apple pieces
Sliced avocado pieces
BBQ Mayo
BBQ Mayo

I served this easy sandwich with homemade BBQ potato chips and a pickle. The sandwich was so big that we were all quite filled up. Zoe LOVED trying to sink her teeth into her double decker sandwich but finally gave up and dissected it into her own bite size pieces.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple cinnamon and cherry stuffed pork chops with Roasted Potatoes

HELLO FALL! Okay so really the season of Fall doesn't "officially" start until this Friday, but I can't help with the chilly weather and early sunset to begin to think that it really is Fall! Nothing says beginning of Fall like Apples, right? Tonight we're having Apple Cinnamon and Cherry Stuffed Pork Chops. Darell walked into the house tonight and even said "It smells like Fall". Good compliment. Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon and Cherry Stuffed Pork Chops
with Roasted Potatoes

1 T. Breadcrumbs (if you make your own breadcrumbs make sure there are very finely cut)
1 – small cubed skinless apple
2 T. Craisins
1 T. melted butter
½ t. Cinnamon + cinnamon sprinkled on chop
3 medium size potatoes
McCormick Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning (Grill Mates section)


Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Set the porkchop so the one inch width is facing up. Using a knife, cut a slit into the chop. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Leave about ½ in. at the bottom of the pork chop to catch the stuffing and saturate the flavors that will be released into it. The slit should also leave about ½ in. on each corner of the chop. When you open the slit it will look like a mouth. Salt, pepper, and sprinkle cinnamon on the top of the chops. Do not cover with cinnamon as the flavor goes A LONG way! Lightly sprinkle it.
In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, butter, apples, and cherries. If the mixture appears too dry, add a bit more melted butter. This mixture does not need to be overly wet.
Separate the mixture into two helpings and stuff inside of the pork chop. I have placed the pork chops on a greased pan so help it not stick. You should cover the chops and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and bake another 25 – 30 minutes. The bake time may vary depending on how thick you desire your pork chops to be. Pork chops are done when their internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.


Cut potatoes into even cubes. Boil for 8 – 10 minutes. Drain potatoes.

Using a 3 square piece of foil, spray foil to avoid potatoes from sticking. Evenly distribute the potatoes among the foils. Generously sprinkle the seasoning over the potatoes and finish with a bit of butter on top. The amount of butter is up to you. I usually use a knife and just slice a tab off of a stick. NO more than 1 T. and I’ve never even used that much. Fold the foil up into a rectangle box closing all sides of the foil.

Bake on 350 for 15 – 20 minutes. Depending on how thin you have cubed the potatoes, you may want to check the potatoes after 10 minutes. (I also took a picture of the spice, because everyone that tries it wants more of it!)

I am serving this meal with peas (Zoe's favorite!), small salad, strawberries (to get them out of my fridge before they go bad), and bread.

The Fall season is here, and I'm excited to make some more "Fall" dinners and have the incredible aromas fill our home!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sun Dried Tomato with Chicken and Mushroom Pasta

This is seriously a "Go to Quick Meal" when my schedule is all jumbled together and I don't have time to marinade and make something "extravagant" for dinner. A HUGE bonus, this is actually something that my husband, Darell, loves to eat when I make it. I make plenty so he has left overs for lunch and sometimes can even freeze some for when I'm not home to make dinner.

Sun Dried Tomato with Chicken and Mushroom Pasta

1 lb. - Cooked Farfalle pasta (bow tie for those that don't know what it is :)
1 - 12 oz. - 16 oz. container of sliced mushrooms
1 - can Classico "Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo"
1 lb. - Chicken
1 1/2 T - Butter
2 - Cloves garlic

On a side note (1) this sauce is magnificent and I dislike Alfredo sauce tremendously! (2) It's usually super cheap for a sauce I get it on sale a lot 2 for $4.00. (3) I usually also add chopped up asparagus to this dish but all of the asparagus in the grocery store looked old and wilted so I withdrew from the purchase. If you choose to add the asparagus, I cook them with the mushrooms then add to the pasta later.


In one skillet, melt the butter and add pressed garlic into the butter to flavor it. You do not want to burn the garlic! This will make it taste horrible! Allow the garlic to simmer about 30 - 45 seconds. Add the mushrooms. (I purchase pre-sliced mushrooms because there is only one thing I dislike more when prepping dinner and to clean out mushrooms is gross and very time consuming. Totally worth my extra 30 cents in my grocery bill!) Allow these mushrooms to simmer until they are cooked through. Stir occasionally to allow them to cook evenly and to not burn the garlic. Once finished cooking, place to the side. You will pour the entire mixture (garlic and butter included into the dish later)

I usually serve this dish with grilled chicken that I slice into strips. My incredible husband enjoys helping me in the kitchen so he cubed the chicken for me this time. With about a tablespoon of oil to the pan. Allow the oil and pan to heat up and then add the chicken. I only salt and peppered the chicken as the sauce has loads of flavor! When the chicken is finished cooking through, drain the oil. If you are grilling the chicken, make sure to cover the chicken with foil for 3 minutes after grilling to lock in the juices and flavor from the grill.

Once an ingredient is finished I usually toss it into my big mixing bowl. The mushrooms (with garlic and butter), the drained chicken, the entire can of Sun dried tomato sauce, cooked pasta, and Parmesan cheese. Stir until everything is well coated with the sauce and ready to serve.

I usually serve this dish with a salad and bread stick, bread and butter, texas toast, or something similar. With the veggies already mixed into the pasta, this is a great one dish meal.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chicken Cobb Salad

So my husband tells me that he wanted salad every day this week. EVERY DAY? So I thought, if I make a HUGE salad the first day . . . maybe he won't want it every day. Mission accomplished :)
Chicken Cobb Salad


Lettuce of choice (I went quick style so I picked up a mixed salad bag)
Grilled Chicken
3 Hard Boiled Eggs
Sliced Olives
Diced Tomatoes
Avacado cubed
Diced cucumbers
Cheese of choice (my husband went for the Feta, and I went for the mixed cheeses)
Sliced Almonds
Dressing of choice

There was so much flavor coming from the veggies that I chose to salt and pepper the chicken then grill it. Leaving the veggies and the dressing to flavor the meal. (and that was plenty!)

While that was grilling, I filled up two pasta bowls with the salad mix and started on my veggies.
The eggs were hard boiled (and my Mom tells me that the best way to hard boil is to just put them in the pan, with water covering the eggs, lid it, and put on the stove Med-High heat for 20 minutes TOTAL. When the timer goes off, drench in cold water and peel eggs. Perfection). I sliced the eggs with my handy dandy slicer.

The Avacado was at the perfect ripening stage! Slice it in half around the pit, once the pit is removed; carefully slice down making strips. Then turn the avocado and slice the opposite direction. If you do it this way; it will make perfect cubes of avocado and you will avoid the slippery consistency while cutting it up. When you are ready to place into the salad, gently press on the shell of the avocado and with a spoon you can place it right into place.

So when all of the veggies are prepared, you can start to load up your salad. You can make it pretty in lines or sections. Or you can just toss it all in a bowl and fill up each person's serving. There are so many more items you can add to the salad. Put whatever you like in your salad and make it as big and plentiful as your heart desires :)

I thought this was a great meal to end the summer. Here in West Virginia, the weather is still in the high 90's so eating on the deck/porch with a beautiful salad really hit the spot! But after eating that big of a salad, I'm also ready for crock pot season to come upon us.

Kid friendly you say . . . Nothing more kid friendly than a little girl eating her dinner made into a funny face. And she LOVED it! Ate it all.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chicken Cheese Lasagna Roll Ups

This is my first attempt to blog about food. I thought pictures would be helpful so I tried to take them throughout making the meal. Let me know what you think :)

So Friday afternoon I saw a friend post this on and just HAD to try it!

Chicken Cheese Lasagna Roll Ups!

3 cups chopped Chicken
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup crumbled Feta
1/4 cup grated Parmesean
1/4 cup milk
1/8 t. ground pepper
Garlic salt to taste8 lasagna noodles (cooked)
2 cups Spaghetti sauce of choice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in an oven safe pan (8 x 8 was perfect for me, but I only made 6 for my family.)

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients EXCEPT the noodles and the sauce. Mix well, but do not over mix as it will cause the ricotta to get gross.

Lay a lasagna noodle flat, and spread 1/8 of mixture across the noodle. Repeat this with each noodle. (Note: most lasagna noodles are sold now "ready for use" but you will need the noodles to be flexible in order to roll them. I cooked my noodles in boiling water for 3 - 4 minutes.)
Place each roll up in the pan on top of the spaghetti sauce. Once you have completed all of your roll ups, using a spoon spread sauce on the top of each roll up. Sprinkle additional parm. cheese on top. (I also sprinkled oregano for additional color and flavor)

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. The sauce will be bubbling from the sides and the cheese will be nicely melted on top of the roll ups.

Serve with salad, bread, and additional vegetable for a complete dinner. Absolutely incredible and easy way for quick lasagna that looks awesome! Bonus, if you have kids they will LOVE helping you make this meal. My daughter Zoe had a blast helping me stir and spread the cheese mixture on the noodles.