Looking for something to feed the kids? Need a great dessert to take to a gathering?
In the mood for a delicious soup, salad or whatever? Look no further.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

7 Layer Dip

This is by far the best 7 layer dip I have ever tried. It will definitely be a hit whenever you make it. It's like Jessica said about her almond sheet cake, every time I take this to a party or barbecue someone asks for the recipe.

2 cans Frito Lay dip
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
2 avocados
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 can chopped olives
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded (so the dip does not get to wet) and chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 c. shredded cheese

In a small bowl combine sour cream, mayonnaise and taco seasoning. In another small bowl combine avocados, garlic salt and lemon juice to make guacamole. (Or you can make up the guacamole however you like.) Layer in a 9x13 pan in this order:

Bean dip
Sour cream mixture
green onions

Chicken Fajitas

This is one of our default meals. We usually have the ingredients on hand, and everyone loves it. If fact it's one of Dave's favorite meals. I often stock up on bell peppers when they are on sale and then slice and freeze them. Admittedly, they aren't quite as crisp frozen, but still tasty, and it beats paying $1.50 a piece in the winter time.

Recipe adapted from Cancun Cafe

2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp season salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 sliced onion
2 bell peppers, assorted colors, cut into strips

1 dozen flour tortillas

Marinate chicken in bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic approximately 20 minutes. Pour into preheated pan over medium heat. cook until chicken is browned. Add vegetables and cook 1-2 minutes more. Serve wrapped in flour tortillas with sour cream and guacamole.

We always put Mexican rice in ours too.

Tangy Potato Salad

I am not a huge fan of traditional potato salad. I like this one because it doesn't have eggs in it, but it does have bacon. This salad is delicious when served warm or cold. I like it best served cold from the fridge on the second day, so if you have time, make this salad the day before you want to serve it. Also, this is a big salad - it fills my big Tupperware bowl - I usually make it for large gatherings.

5 pounds potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 T white sugar
3 T honey
3 T dried parsley
2 T grainy mustard (not yellow)
1 cup chopped onion (optional)
1/2 lb. of bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Cut raw potatoes into cubes and boil until tender but not mushy. While the potatoes are boiling, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, honey, parsley and mustard until well combined. When the potatoes are done, drain them and put them into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and stir until they are coated. Mix in the onions and bacon and then salt and pepper to taste.

This salad can be served right away while the potatoes are still warm, or chilled for a few hours.

The vinegar creates a tangy flavor that might be overwhelming, taste the dressing before you pour it. You can add a little more honey or sugar to lighten it up.

I use a mixture of red and yellow waxy potatoes for this salad. Sometimes I leave the potato skins on, they give the salad color. However the skins are not my favorite part of the salad and I sometimes find myself pealing them away before I take a bite.

Some people feel that potatoes should be boiled whole. I've read that you should keep the skins on while boiling to give them more flavor. The potatoes can be boiled up any way that you like, but cubing them is the fastest way to get them cooked. Also, make sure that you have enough salt in the water - this will give your potatoes much needed flavor.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Almond Sheet Cake

I have never made this cake without someone asking me for the recipe. It looks like a regular yellow sheet cake but it is so much more!
It is easy to make but get the leftovers out of your house or you will eat the whole pan. (I am not kidding)

Bring to a boil :

1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Water

Let Cool

Combine in Mixer:

2 Cups flour
2 Cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt


1/2 Cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
2 eggs

Add cooled butter and water mixture. Mix until incorporated. Pour into a 12x17 jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
Frost while still warm.


Combine in Mixer:

4 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp almond extract

Bring to a boil:

1/2 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Milk

Add to Powdered sugar mixture and beat until smooth.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad

I got this recipe out of Family Fun a few years ago. Sometimes I just crave it. I love the combination of lime and cilantro. It has been a hit whenever I take it to a function. You can serve it as a salad, or as a chunky dip with tortilla chips, which is what we do.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups fresh (don't cook) corn kernels, cut right off the cob (about 5 ears)
1 1/2 cups diced avocado; about 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 avocados)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered (I have also used Roma tomatoes)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Add the corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion and toss to mix. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4-6

Tips: To remove corn kernels for a salad or salsa, stand an uncooked ear in a shallow bowl and use a sharp, thin bladed knife. I like to get the corn from one of the stands here in town because it is super fresh.

If you're not sure how to pick out the corn I've been told to look for tightly closed, bright green husks and it should feel cool in your hand. I don't know if its true, but it has always worked for me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fried Rice

This rice definitely falls into the category of top 5 meals for me. It meets all of the important criteria:
1. Tastes great
2. Everyone in my family likes it
3. I usually have all of the ingredients on hand
4. It is really easy and fast to make
5. It makes great leftovers the next day (I recommend doubling this recipe)

Lately I have been adding small dices of chicken to the recipe so I can make the rice into a one dish meal. Usually I would serve it along side a stir fry, but when I add the chicken I guess I consider it more of a complete meal. If you decide to add chicken to this recipe, dice 2 chicken breasts into small dices. Cook the chicken before any of the other ingredients for the fried rice. Make sure your pan is hot, I mean really hot. Add a small amount of oil. Drop the chicken into the pan, but don't move it around to much. Let the chicken sear so it gets that nice brown color on the outside. Remove chicken from pan then add chicken back into the rice at the very end.

Tamari is a dark soy sauce. I really think it adds a better flavor to the rice. It does not have the overpowering salty flavor of regular soy sauce. Tamari can be found at both grocery stores in town.

2-3 c. cooked rice, cooled or cold leftover rice (leftover rice works best)
3 T. veg. or canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, grated (optional)
1/2 c. shredded carrots
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/4 c.- 1/3 c. Tamari, dark soy sauce
Sesame oil

Cook rice. Spread rice on cookie sheet to quick cool it. Heat a wok or a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tsp. oil to the pan. Add a little sesame oil whenever you add canola oil. Add eggs and scramble, then remove from the pan. Adda little more oil to the center of pan and add garlic, ginger, carrots and green onion and quick fry veggies for 2 minutes or until soft. Add rice and combine with veggies. Incorporate scrambled eggs and continue to another 2-3 minutes. Add peas and Tamari and stir fry 1 more minute.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tortilla Casserole

This is a quick dish that has great flavor. You can make it hot or mild depending on the type of enchilada sauce that you use. Really you could probably throw whatever you want into this dish and it would still be a hit.

This is how we put it together for the previously mentioned Throwdown.

2 (12.5) oz cans of chicken
1 C chopped tomatoes
3/4 C chopped zucchini
1/2 C chopped green onions
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 oz.) can of enchilada sauce
1 (8 oz.) container of sour cream
1 packet Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch dip
1 bag corn chips or 8 corn tortillas halved
2 C shredded Colby-Jack Cheese
1 can of black olives
Chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 375. Spray 13 X 9 dish with nonstick cooking spray. Reserve 1/3 C of enchilada sauce for later.

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, tomatoes, zucchini, onions and beans. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, Fiesta mix and the rest of the enchilada sauce.

To assemble: spread 2-3 T of the cream mixture to coat the bottom of the dish. Arrange corn chips or tortillas over the sauce. Spoon 1/2 of the chicken mixture over the chips. Cover with 2/3 C of cheese. Repeat layering with 1/2 of the remaining cream mixture, another layer of chips, the rest of the chicken mixture, 2/3 c of cheese and then the rest of the cream mixture. Save the last 2/3 C of cheese for later. Top cream mixture with reserved enchilada sauce. Cover dish with foil and bake @ 375 for 30-35 min. Remove dish from oven - uncover and top with the last of the cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes. Finish off the dish with the black olives and cilantro.

I hope these instructions make sense, just picture it like lasagna: Sauce-chips-filling-cheese-repeat. This is a really versatile dish - use real chicken or beef or no meat at all. Throw in some corn, green chillies or whatever you like. Endless possibilities!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Vegetable Cashew Stir Fry

I made this last night and it is SO good!! I haven't convinced my family that it is okay to eat at least one vegetarian meal a week, so next time I am going to add either chicken or beef. I doubled the recipe, and probably should have tripled it. Doubled, we all had seconds, and Rocky was supposed to take some for lunch. Tripled, it would have been for lunch today. I got it off of the fresh365 blog if you want to see a picture. It was gone before I could take one!

Vegetable Cashew Stir-fry
adapted from Gourmet, May 2007 . serves 4
3 T vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1/4 lb snow peas (apx 2 c)
1 bunch scallions, chopped (and green parts separated)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 t dried red-pepper flakes
3/4 c vegetable broth
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 t cornstarch
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 c salted roasted cashews
1 T sesame seeds

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add oil, then stir fry bell pepper, broccoli, peapods, garlic, ginger, red-pepper flakes, and scallion whites until vegetables are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper. Add to veggies in wok. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in scallion greens, cashews and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Baked Taquitos

These taquitos are a great recipe to mix up the lunchtime routine. They are very simple to put together. The best part is they can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer for a quick and easy lunch. The original recipe was posted on My Kitchen Cafe. In the original post the recipe called for chicken. I have made these a few times now and have substituted shredded beef for the chicken. Both varieties turned out great so you can make these to your families liking. I imagine you could probably even use refried beans in place of the meat too.

Makes 14-16 taquitos

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4-1/2 cup green salsa
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
1 green onion, sliced finely (white and green parts to equal about 2 tablespoons)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken, or beef (I cook large batches of chicken in my crockpot with a little chicken broth and salt, shred it and freeze it for meals like this)
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese (use pepperjack if you like a little heat)
small yellow or white corn tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. In a medium-sized bowl, mix softened cream cheese, green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well. You can prepare this step ahead of time (which I did - I made it the morning of). Just keep the mixture in the fridge.Working with a few tortillas at a time, place 3-4 between two damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds, until tortillas are soft and pliable and don't crack while rolling. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the lower third of a soft tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up as tight as you can. (A few of mine wanted to rebel and come unrolled so I stuck a toothpick through them to keep them right and tight.) Place filled taquitos seam side down on the baking sheet, making sure they don't touch each other. When ready to bake, spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and lightly sprinkle some kosher (coarse) salt on top. Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Serve immediately. Taquitos can be dipped in in salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or any other combination you can dream up (my kids liked ranch dressing - go figure).
**To freeze taquitos- Place wrapped taquitos on a plate and place in the freezer. After taquitos have hardened transfer them to a ziploc bag. When you are ready to bake the taquitos, place them on a baking sheet, (I let mine sit out on the baking sheet while the oven preheated to take some of the chill off of them before spraying them with Pam) spray with Pam and cook at 425 degrees for 15-20 min.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

These muffins are so yummy. My mom got this recipe from a magazine or newsletter a while ago and they have become a favorite. These are more of a 'special occasion' muffin, because they are more like a dessert. As my husband always says, "Muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast."

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. soft butter
1/2 c. sugar

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbl. milk (I add more like 1/2 c.)

Mix in:
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Fold in 1 c. frozen blueberries (frozen work best... the batter is pretty thick, so they hold up better).

Fill greased muffin tins and top with struesel:

Mix together (will be crumbly):
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
3 tbl. butter, softened

Cook at 400 for about 20 min (or until done). If your muffins get too dark on the outside before being completely done, lower your temp to 375. Makes about a dozen muffins.

*Note: As you can see from the picture, I used strawberries (chopped very small) last time I made these: I had strawberries that needed to be used up. I thought they were really good with the strawberries. I would suggest that if you try another type of berry that tends to be mushy, to make sure it is frozen.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pizza Panini

Heather asked for lunch ideas. I really only have one somewhat creative thing, but ALL of my kids really like it, including Hannah. We use the panini maker to make sandwiches with pizza toppings. If you don't have a panini maker, you can just make them like grilled cheese on the stove.

Bread-I like the La Brea breads because they are different from the usual stuff
Pizza Sauce- it can be any tomato sauce you like
Pepperoni or Canadian Bacon-optional
Mozzarella Cheese- grated
Any chopped pizza veggies you like-(olives, green peppers, mushrooms, etc.,.)

Put a small amount of pizza sauce on the bread (you don't want it to get soggy), then some cheese, the toppings, and a little more cheese on top to hold everything together. Cook until the cheese is melted.

The lady at The Cuckoo Cafe gave me the tip of using frozen bread to make panini. The bread holds up better.

With these its easy to make custom sandwiches without going to too much effort. I can even sneak in some veggies for my non-veggie lovers.

Keep the lunch ideas coming! My kids will be grateful and so will I!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lunchtime Ideas

So it's that time of day again. I'm starving, I don't want to spend much time in preparation, but I don't know if I can stomach the a PBJ, mac and cheese, or quesadilla. Do any of you have something in your lunch rotation that is a bit more exciting than the usual kiddie favorites?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

These are my all time favorite cookies. These cookies make an appearance at my kids' lemonade/cookie stand every year. Last year I baked 3 batches of cookies and we still sold out in 45 minutes. Now you don't have to wait for the kids' lemonade stand (or pay 25 cents) to have one of these yummy cookies.

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 c. quick oats
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine and blend flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 min.

**I really think one of the things that make these cookies so good is the length of time that you bake them. I always take them out before they look completly cooked all of the way through. As soon as the edges turn golden brown I take them out of the oven. Even if the center of the cookie does not look done, take them out anyway and leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for 5 min. After 5 min the cookies should be set up enough to transfer to a cooking rack.

Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad

I got this recipe from one of those little seasonal cookbooks you get near the grocery checkout. Its been so long I don't remember where. This salad is hearty enough to eat as a main dish, even for Mark.

1 cup ditalini noodles or small shells
1 can corn; drained or corn cut off the cob (better)
1 each red, yellow & green bell peppers; chopped
2 chicken breasts cooked and cubed ( I prefer grilled)
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 (15 oz) can black beans; rinsed and drained

2 tsp cumin
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Combine dressing ingredients and set aside. Cook pasta as directed on package. Rinse and drain well. Combine pasta, corn, peppers, beans, chicken and green onion. Toss with dressing and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

I usually double the dressing recipe, or the salad is a bit dry.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Easy Chicken Lo Mein

I got this recipe from My Kitchen Cafe and loved it! It WAS easy, which speaks to my heart. The sauce in it is very tasty, and brought two new seasonings into my home: oyster sauce and sesame oil (I know, pretty daring, right?). My boys even loved it, which is always important.

Easy Chicken Lo Mein

12 ounces Chinese Lo Mein noodles or linguine pasta
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Stir-fry Sauce (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup broccoli florets, steamed until just barely tender (they will cook longer in the stir-fry)
Unsalted dry-roasted peanut halves (optional)

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, continue with the recipe, and when the noodles are done, drain and set aside.

Make the stir-fry sauce and set aside. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Peel and coarsely chop the onion and add to skillet. Stir from time to time. While the onion cooks, slice the chicken into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Add the chicken to the skillet. Raise the heat to medium-high and stir occasionally.

While the chicken cooks, add the carrots, broccoli and mushrooms and stir to mix. Stir-fry the mixture until the chicken is no longer pink. Immediately add the stir-fry sauce and noodles. Raise the heat to high and cook until the noodles and chicken are heated through and coated with sauce, 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve, garnished with peanut halves.

Stir-Fry Sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a 1-quart bowl.

*note: The only alterations I made, which are pretty insignificant, are: 1. I didn't steam the broccoli first (saved a step) - it cooked plenty as it was stir fried and ended up being cooked just as I like it. 2. I used cashews instead of peanuts... I just prefer cashews over peanuts, and I think it was yummy. 3. I used a few dashes of ground ginger instead of fresh... I've never used fresh ginger (maybe someday).

Black Bean Salsa

I love the flavors of lime and cilantro in the summer. We've had this four times since Memorial Day.

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
6 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp lime juice

Combine. Let flavors meld in the fridge for an hour (if you have time), and serve.

Substitute 1 can white beans for black beans
Add 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles.

How we enjoy it:
  • My friend who gave me the recipe serves it as lettuce wraps. It's surprisingly good.
  • Most of the time we eat it on tortilla chips.
  • As a salad: spoon over fresh greens and crushed tortilla chips, add diced tomato and avocado, serve with ranch or Prudy's Lime Cilantro Dressing

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cheesey Bacon Deviled Eggs

Normally I'm not a big fan of deviled eggs - but these are so not your average deviled eggs. I usually only boil up eggs at Easter time, or for a potato salad. Well, if I am going to go to the work of boiling and peeling eggs, I would rather make and serve these any day over plain old potato salad. Now that reminds me that I will have to post my favorite not so plain potato salad recipe - it has bacon in it too!

I got this recipe from allrecipes, but I have changed it a little to make it even better.

12 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 C finely shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon mustard (I use stone ground)
Paprika if desired

Peel the hard-boiled eggs, and cut in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash egg yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, crumbled bacon and cheese. Fill egg white halves with the yolk mixture and refrigerate until serving.

I use a pastry bag type dispenser to give the eggs that swirly look - but you have to make sure the tip is big enough so that it doesn't get clogged with bacon. Otherwise you can just fill the the eggs with spoons. Also, I eyeball most of the ingredients in this recipe - if ya need more mayo or mustard, toss it in - more bacon or cheese would only make these better.

P.S. Some photos on my posts are not photos that I take myself. I find them at google images and on allrecipes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

This was made for me by a neighbor after we came home from the hospital with Noah. I got the recipe and have passed it along to all the new moms I know. It is always very well received and is totally customizable. (Sorry, Danielle, it uses "cream of" soup) It is more of a cold weather dish, but it is wet and cool here today so I was thinking about it.

2 cans cream of potato soup
2 16 oz cans mixed vegetables (we use frozen, as many as look good; we also just use corn and peas because we don't like carrots; this is the really customizable part of the recipe)
2-3 cups cooked, diced chicken (the Tyson frozen, diced chicken works great too if you don't want to cook actual chicken breast, just toss it in the microwave for 4 minutes)
1/2 cup milk
2- 9 inch pie crusts
cooking spray

Combine soup, veggies, chicken and milk. Spoon into bottom crust and cover with top crust. Spray top crust with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

The leftovers are really good too. And this can be frozen.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Banana oatmeal choc chip cookies

Here's another way to use up your old bananas. I know the words "banana, oatmeal, and cookie" sound like an old person (no offense) cookie, but they are yummy and very soft (and easy).

3/4 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c mashed bananas (about 2-3)

Stir in:
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp b soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (a little extra never hurts)
1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 c instant oats
1 c choc chips

Cook at 400 for 8-10 min. Don't overcook!

Banana chocolate chip muffins

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Carla. These are easy, tasty muffins and are a great way to use up those old bananas.

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. milk
2 1/2 c. flour (I like to use 1/2 wheat flour, 1/2 white)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c choc. chips (I use mini chips for mini muffins)

Mix butter and sugar. Add bananas, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix in flour, salt, and soda. Stir in choc chips. Fill greased muffins tins almost to the top. I would recommend using greased tins instead of cupcake liners... otherwise you wouldn't get the yummy crystallized (for lack of a better word) outside - the best part.

Mini muffins: 400 for 10 min, or until done. Makes about 4 doz
Regular muffins: 375 for 16-20 min or until done. Makes about 2 doz
Loafs: 350 for 50-60 min. Makes 2 smallish loafs. I 1 1/2 the recipe to make my loafs bigger, and cook at 325.

Chicken Pasta Pie

This recipe is the second place winner of the Casserole Throw Down.

I am submitting it because 100% of the people (all 2 of them) who have taken the poll to the right have said that they are in need of main dish recipes - and because in my opinion this was the better casserole (I will go for Alfredo over Mexican any day!)

The only reason these guys didn't win was because they went over budget. Not that this is an expensive dish, just that they were not aware that there would be points cut for going over $10 so they went for primo ingredients rather than store brand.

I thoroughly enjoyed this dish and went for seconds, but it was all gone. So even though I have not made this myself, I have tasted it and loved it. I have labeled this as Neisha, but the credit goes to Lynette, Cami and Jannelle.

Chicken Pasta Pie

16 oz. uncooked thin spaghetti
8 Tbs. butter, divided
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 C Parmesan cheese (fresh is best)
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 C small broccoli florets

1 red bell pepper
2/3 C sliced green onions with tops
3-4 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
20 oz Alfredo sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9X13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add 6 Tbs of the butter, cut into small pieces and stir until melted. Add beaten eggs and black pepper. Grate Parmesan cheese over pasta and mix well. Spread mixed pasta into prepared pan and bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until set.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 Tbs butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pressed garlic, vegetables and cooked chicken and stir fry for about 4 minutes. Stir in 1/2 of the pasta sauce. Spoon chicken mixture into the baked spaghetti shell. Shred mozzarella cheese over chicken and veggies. Bake for 10 minutes then let stand for 5 minutes. Heat remaining sauce and pour over top. Cut and serve - 16 servings.

The contest rules required us to use canned chicken (from Costco) - and in my opinion, it was still quite tasty made with Costco canned chicken. I stress that it is from Costco, because their canned chicken seemed to be quite a lot better than other canned chicken that I have had in the past.