CHICKEN & RICE CASSEROLE

I’ve been making this recipe for many years. It’s a really easy and delicious meal that can be pulled together quickly! It’s really great comfort food for a cool evening – warm, tasty, creamy AND crunchy!  My copy was handed down by grams and was probably a Campbell’s Soup label recipe originally that was shared by her grandmother’s club.  I’ve been seeing versions of it pop up around social media and pinterest A LOT lately.  My version has been changed up A LOT, but hubby ALL but licks his plate when I make it.

WEEKNIGHT CHICKEN CASSEROLE
3 cups of diced rotisserie chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup or soup substitute
2½ cups cooked rice
½ cup sliced almonds or cashews
½ cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (optional)
¾ cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3/4 cup crushed potato chips (see notes) OR corn flakes, crushed into small pieces
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Toss chicken pieces with hot sauce.
  • Place carrots in a microwave safe bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water.  Cook 1 minute so carrots begin to soften.
  • Combine all ingredients together a spread into a greased 9×13 baking dish.
  • Combine the crushed chips with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the casserole.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until casserole is heated through.

NOTES:

  • You can really change up the flavor by using different flavored rotisserie chicken or different flavored potato chips. I also like to use sweet potato chips 😀 or sometimes, crushed saltines or rice krispies or ANY combo of the above!
  • We like to serve it with either shoepeg corn or green beans to round out the veggies 😀

WHISKEY BBQ CHICKEN

WHISKEY BBQ CHICKEN
12 chicken legs, Bone-in, Skin-on
2 tablespoons avocado Oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
1-1/2 cup Seagrams Whiskey* see notes
1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce* see notes
12 ounce jar SMUCKER’S peach preserves* see notes
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Heat oil and butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken legs, DO NOT CROWD THE PAN. Brown both sides 5-6 minutes, then remove to a plate and repeat until all chicken is browned.
  • Pour off half all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and return pan to stove.
  • Add onions to pan and stir, cooking for 3-4 minutes, until beginning to caramelize.
  • Add garlic and stir another minute or so.
  • Pour whiskey into the pot, careful of open flames.
  • Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, allowing whiskey to reduce for a minute or two.
  • Pour in barbecue sauce, peach preserves, chicken broth, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Return chicken to pan.
  • Cover and place in oven for 90 minutes.
  • Serve pieces of chicken over rice or mashed potatoes.
  • Sprinkle sliced green onions over the top.

NOTES:

  • I like Seagrams, just my whiskey of choice, but use whatever your favorite is.
  • Make your own or use your FAVORITE bottled BBQ sauce.
  • I prefer SMUCKER’S jams, but you can make your own or use another brand. I also use what I have on hand and sometimes that is apricot-pineapple which adds a GREAT flavor change.

PORK ROAST with APPLE PEAR CREAM SAUCE

PORK ROAST with APPLE PEAR CREAM SAUCE
ROAST
3 pound boneless pork roast
1 Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Place butter and onion slices in bottom of shallow roaster.
  • Generously season pork roast and place on top on onions.
  • Roast for 1 1/4- 1 1/2 hours until 165°.
  • Rest 10 minutes while finishing sauce.

SAUCE
2 Japanese pears, peeled, cored and chopped
3 large green onions, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon creamed horseradish
1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Melt butter in sauce pan.
  • Add onions and pears cooking over low heat 20-25 minutes until pear pieces are very tender.
  • Transfer mixture to food processor.
  • Add the cream, horseradish and season with FRESH ground salt and pepper, blending until smooth.
  • Return to sauce pan and reheat until cooked through.
  • Serve over prepared rice.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY – week 2 of 2019

We took a little unplanned trip to the coast for a couple days last week right after a quiet New Year’s Eve and had a wonderful time.  MY BIL and SIL were supposed to be here for the New Year and bailed last minute so we decided a little fun was in order.  Traveling on New Year’s day was actually a FUN experience.  Our biggest issue for the entire trip was that a couple places we wanted to visit were National Parks and closed due to the governmental shut-down.

We were able to get a discounted room on the beach because of the last minute holiday time for the same price as a regular room anywhere else so we were ABSOLUTELY thrilled when it came with a balcony, ocean view and fireplace. The weather was GORGEOUS, the food was WONDERFUL and the scenery was FANTASTIC.  We came home to a beautiful mild end of the week while we finished de-decorating and cleaning up from Christmas.  The timing was PERFECT because by Friday night the weather had turned into a winter storm watch with LOTS of wind and we were inside once again.  At least it was a football playoff weekend and I tried a couple new recipes and got caught up on the laundry.

How was your New Year?

Be sure to link up with
Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday

and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING The entire week looks pretty much the same – gray, 40’s, rainy, maybe some wind gusts… You know me it’s my daily Levis, a pink long sleeve t-shirt and my favorite lightweight sweatshirt with BIG fluffy socks!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE Huckleberry Green Tea, Kiwi and granola

CRAFTS / PROJECTS Don’t laugh, but I’m actually working on a couple ideas for next Christmas.  I’m also working on getting all the pictures form all our trips the past year edited and the posts completed.  We realized with this last trip that EVERYWHERE we stayed in the past year was under some form of construction which made it a bit of a pain!

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY We used up most of our back stores of Christmas gift tags, bags, ribbons and such this year so I ventured out a couple days after Christmas and into some awesome 75-90% off sales and was able to rebuild our stash for literally pennies on the dollar.  Certainly not something I do every year, but I scored BIG this year 😀

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA This little guy was obviously fed by the people before us!  The fireplace in our room worked so well that we actually had to leave the sliding glass door to the balcony open at night so we didn’t roast which LOL 😀 was such a hard ship to be lulled to sleep by the crashing waves 😀  On our first morning we awoke to this guy squawking LOUDLY!! from our balcony railing as he stared expectantly at us.  😀 LOL When it happened again on day 2 we knew he was expecting to be fed.

INSPIRATION

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS / APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY… ALL caught up 😀 though as long as you’re wearing clothes and active this is a perpetual category!  I should just say that the hamper is not overflowing 😀
  • LIVING AREAS… ALL clean and neat except for a few Christmas boxes to be put away after the rain stops – I just don’t want anything wet to go into storage.
  • KITCHEN…  need to put away the dishwasher
  • YARD… nothing
  • BLOG… need to write up a couple new recipes and I’m still adjusting the party links to downsize the ones I participate in.  So many blogs have become too commercial and the ads as well as the layer of pages to get to the content have become just too much to bother with.  Last week alone I eliminated 8 party links.  Many blogs have been on breaks so I’m still evaluating this category and how to handle it.
  • CRAFTS/PROJECTS… just a bit of prep work on the new personalized Christmas gifts ideas before I pack them away for a few months
  • APPOINTMENTS… dentist
  • TO DO… finish updating my “Where I Like to Party” list and the same old, same old paperwork….

I’M READING I didn’t get much reading done this past week so I’m still reading: The Misadventures of Catie Bloom: a romantic comedy (Bloom Sisters Book 1) by Brooke Stanton

WHAT IS ON THE DVR, I LIKE OR ON THE LIST TO WATCH Shows are just starting back up after the holidays so not much on the DVR or list right now. We rented a couple movies this past week.

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

Essential Oils really work!

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER

DESSERT

MONDAY – FRIDAY

GREEN TEA,

BANANA & YOGURT

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

MONDAY

CARAPULCRA

TUESDAY

MEXICAN PORK ROAST

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

CHICKEN with TOMATOES & HONEY

FRIDAY

CARIBBEAN TURKEY

SATURDAY

CHICKEN with BABY PEAS

SUNDAY

FARMHOUSE CHICKEN CASSEROLE

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

 

EXTRACTS vs. EMULSIONS – a TUTORIAL

Recently a friend and I were debating the flavorings I was going to use in an upcoming recipe and it led us to question a couple definitions, specifically for extracts and emulsions used in baking.

The main difference between emulsions and extracts are that the emulsions are water based and not alcohol based. Yet they can be substituted 1:1 in a recipe. So how do you choose which to use and when to use it when so many meet your flavor needs while cooking and baking?  Best answer: you should choose an emulsion when you’re concerned about the flavor baking out of a recipe. Because they are water-based, bakery emulsions don’t evaporate as quickly as extracts, resulting in stronger aromas and tastes.

EXTRACT – an extract is a preparation containing the active ingredient of a substance in a concentrated form such as vanilla extract used in many cakes and cookies.    SYNONYMS: distillation, distillate, concentrate, essence, juice

EMULSION – I found SEVERAL definitions for emulsions:

  • A system (such as fat in milk) consisting of a liquid dispersed with or without an emulsifier in an immiscible liquid – liquids not forming a homogeneous mixture when added together.
  • A fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible.

But for me the most accurate definition I think is:

  • a mixture that results when one liquid is added to another and is mixed with it but does not dissolve into such as mixing oil and vinegar together which produces an emulsion.

Extracts and Flavors are great for both cooking and baking applications. Most extracts and flavors contain 45% alcohol by volume and require sufficient cooking time to evaporate the alcohol.

Use an extract or flavor in cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins, and other baked goods. You can also use extracts and flavors in homemade chocolates and candies.

Bakery Emulsions are water-based and alcohol-free versions of extracts. Use them the same way you would an extract but they are also especially great for flavoring frostings and other no-bake applications.

Bakery Emulsions have the same strength as extracts, so they can be substituted one to one in recipes. But conversely because they are water-based, bakery emulsions aren’t suitable for flavoring hard candies or chocolates.

I like the brands Cook’s and Lorann’s extracts and emulsions because they are fairly readily available in most specialty grocers.

Making your own vanilla extract is easy too.  Most recipes call for vodka, but I find flavored rums work really well to as do whiskeys.

VANILLA EXTRACT

6 whole Vanilla Beans
1 cup ALCOHOL of your choice

  • Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise with scissors or a knife, leaving a bit intact at the end just to make it pretty. Cut the beans down to fit the height of your jar.
  • Place beans in jar.
  • Cover with alcohol.
  • Screw the lid on tight or cork it and give it a good shake.
  • Place in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor will be. Be sure and give the jar a shake every week or so.

HORSERADISH POTATO CRUSTED BEEF STEW

Another RECIPE SCRAP recipe wins!  The horseradish and cheddar cheese combo is AWESOME! and really elevates a basic stew to the next level.

HORSERADISH POTATO CRUSTED BEEF STEW

STEW
1 1/2 pounds lean stew meat, diced small bite sized
1 cup blended red wine
1/2 cup Moscato white wine
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 orange, sliced
1/3 cup Wondra
1 large Vidalia onion, quartered and sliced
4 carrots, sliced into thick chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup beef bone broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Place half the orange slices the bottom of a non-metallic bowl.
  • Top with beef pieces.
  • Generously season with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Top with the remaining orange slices.
  • Whisk together the wines and caraway seeds.
  • Pour over beef, cover and marinade over night or at least 4 hours.

 

  • Preheat oven 325°.
  • Drain the beef WELL, discard oranges, but reserve the marinade.
  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in dutch oven.
  • Generously season the beef with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge the beef in the Wondra.
  • Sear the beef pieces.
  • Add the onions, garlic and carrots and simmer 5 minutes or so.
  • Add mushrooms.
  • Whisk together the cornstarch with the beef stock and marinade, whisking until blended. Stir into stew.
  • Season to taste.
  • Cover and cook in oven 45 minutes.

CRUST – prepare potato crust so it is ready at the 45 minute mark
1 1/2 pounds YUKON potatoes, grated
1 tablespoon Avocado oil or 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons creamy horseradish
2/3 cup grated SHARP cheddar cheese
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Blanch the grated potatoes for 5 minutes in boiling water.
  • Drain well.
  • Use a cheesecloth to squeeze any remaining liquid from the potatoes.
  • Stir in avocado oil, horseradish, cheese and season to taste.
  • Layer potatoes evenly over the stew.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 400°.
  • Cook 30 minutes more until the potato crust is crisp and golden brown.

CREAMSICLE CHICKEN – PAN SEARED CHICKEN with CREAMY ORANGE SAUCE

This recipe is tender, juicy, looks elegant and pairs wonderfully with any green vegetable.  It is truly my intention to try AT LEAST 1 recipe a week from my RECIPE SCRAPS.  I now have one more scrap of paper gone!

CREAMSICLE CHICKEN – PAN SEARED CHICKEN with CREAMY ORANGE SAUCE serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see notes)
3 tablespoons brandy
1 1/4 cups orange juice (see notes)
4 green onions, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounce orange yogurt (see notes)
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon water
scant tablespoon avocado oil
Orange slices for garnish
Jasmine rice, prepared per package

  • Heat avocado oil in a heavy skillet over medium0high heat.
  • Generously season chicken pieces with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Saute’ chicken breasts 2-3 minutes per side until golden.
    Remove chicken to plate, tent with foil and keep warm.
  • De-glaze pan with brandy.
  • Add orange juice, garlic and green onions.
  • Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to simmer 2-3 minutes.
  • Whisk together cornstarch with water.
  • Whisk cornstarch mixture into yogurt.
  • Whisk yogurt mixture into pan sauce and adjust seasoning.
  • Simmer until thickened and cooked through.

NOTES:

  • If you prefer 8 thighs can be substituted easily.
  • I sometimes use a pineapple orange juice to alter the flavor a bit.
  • YOPLAIT orange cream works beautifully.

OUT WITH THE OLD (2018) & IN WITH THE NEW (2019) – HAPPY NEW YEAR

It’s the last day of 2018. Can you believe we made it?  Sometimes I really wonder how we made it through the last several years with all the ups, downs and challenges thrown our way.  Many times it actually felt as if actual gauntlets were thrown down in BOLD FACE challenges.

There were heartbreaking losses of loved ones and fur children, major surgery and life adjustments, a MAJOR move brought on by family betrayal as well as many other happenings that have taught me just how strong I really am.  ALL and ALL I am grateful to be alive and here to learn from those lessons.  I am declaring 2019 the year of POSITIVITY and am going to embrace it with an open heart AND an open mind to learn from the lessons of the past.  That said, I obviously don’t know what is in store for me this next year, but I’m praying for a much easier and productive 2019. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and I pray your year is also filled

with JOY, HAPPINESS, HEALTH and FAMILY!

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY – week 1 of 2019

GOOD MORNING sweet ladies and HAPPY NEW YEAR. Can you believe another year has passed us by? May 2019 be one of your best years ever and fill you with happiness and joy.  We don’t celebrate out much on the new year anymore, that stopped when we had dogs and they hated the fireworks and noise so we started staying home for a quiet evening.  PLUS we never had to worry about being on the roads with ice, snow or those who had had too much to drink.  This year though the pups are no longer our reason, but it will be much the same.  I’m making a batch of black eyed pea chili with the left over prime rib from Christmas and we’ll watch movies and snuggle. WHATEVER you do this evening be safe and have fun.
There is one day a week and 2 memes that I do regularly to help keep on track;  Happy Homemaker Monday over at Sandra’s blog,  Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and Menu Plan Monday over at Laura’s blog, I’m an Organizing Junkie. I made myself 2 new, brighter and lighter badges for this year, BUT I’m also trying to add back in a bit more blogging with where I also like to blog hop for inspiration and creative ideas.  I fell a bit out of it last year with finishing the HOUSE FROM HELL and the move, but here in 2019 I will get back into the swing of things in the evenings as we watch television.  Doing this helps with my inspiration for cooking, crafts and even trips to take.  It just takes a bit of organization in the beginning and then you’re able to stay on track regularly. I just keep a spiral bound notebook where I attach a printed page of link ups where I check off the 3 links I’m sharing that week.  By checking off the blogs as I join in I also get a satisfied feeling of completing projects.  I’m including that list at the end in case you want to check any of them out and/or join in 😀

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE It’s been pretty nice the past few days since Christmas with the sun coming out in time to set and create some gorgeous sunsets!  But, that also make it much cooler at night with being clear so we’re still on the crisp side with highs in the 40’s during the day and down into the upper 20’s and lower 30’s at night.  We’re supposed to get back to rain by Friday.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE Today is Blueberry Green Tea, a banana and some rice krispies.

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY I saw an image on INSTAGRAM I immediately fell in love with, so I made myself one to work on being more productive, positive and happy… and then I saw another one I also made for myself and together they will work in tandem to keep me focused.

I’m also doing a “THANKFUL” jar again this year.  You jot down one thing you’re grateful each week, place it in the jar and then read them all on New Year’s eve next year.

And then I also saw this one.  While I can no longer have sugar I LOVE the inspiration behind it. 😀

FAVORITE PHOTO(S) FROM THE CAMERA

Sunset December 28th 2018

Munchkins Christmas Eve 2018

INSPIRATION

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS /  APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY… sheets, towels and casuals
  • LIVING AREAS… vacuuming, dusting
  • KITCHEN… straighten pantry
  • YARD… nothing
  • BLOG… party links, pinterest updates and some recipe updating
  • CRAFTS/PROJECTS… nothing this week
  • APPOINTMENTS… nothing this week
  • TO DO… paperwork

I’M READING

  • The Misadventures of Catie Bloom: a romantic comedy (Bloom Sisters Book 1) by Brooke Stanton

WHAT IS ON THE DVR, DVD OR ON THE LIST TO WATCH – we rented a few Netflix movies over the weekend

  • ALPHA – pretty good coming of age move
  • RIVER RUNS RED –  we had trouble getting into this as it moved very slow and actually didn’t even finish it.
  • A SIMPLE FAVOR –  scary movie (in a really weird way)!

shows I like to watch in general:
COMEDIES – Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, The Good Place, American Housewife

MILITARY, POLITICAL & CRIME DRAMAS and a couple that qualify as comedies – NCIS, NCIS New Orleans and NCIS LA, Criminal Minds, S.W.A.T., Madam Secretary, Seal Team, Blindspot, Macgyver, Law & Order SVU, Blue Bloods,Elementary, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, 911

DRAMAS & REALITY – The Good Doctor, This Is Us, The Resident, the Amazing Race, Dancing With the Stars, American Ninja Warrior

SYFY – Z Nation, the Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Flash, Supergirl, DC Legends, Orville, Midnight Texas

COOKING – Guy’s Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay, Dessert Wars, Worst Cooks in America, Kid’s Baking Championship, Master Chef Jr., Master Chef, Southern at Heart, Best Baker in America

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER

DESSERT

MONDAY – FRIDAY

GREEN TEA,

BANANA & YOGURT

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

MONDAY

BLACK EYED PEA CHILI

TUESDAY

R.E.D. recipe experiment dinner night COWBOY GOULASH

WEDNESDAY

C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night

THURSDAY

Potato Crusted Beef Stew

FRIDAY

Chicken Lasagne

SATURDAY

Chicken Biriani

SUNDAY

C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

WHERE I LIKE TO PARTY

SUNDAYS
DISHING IT & DIGGING IT at Rustic & Refined
INSPIRE-BE-INSPIRED Sunday Features at Denise Designed
NIFTY THRIFTY SUNDAY at Meet Our Life
OVER THE MOON at Marilyn’s Treats
SOUPER SUNDAY at Kahakai Kitchen
SUNDAY’S BEST at Mother 2 Mother
SUNDAYS AT HOME at Celebrating Everyday Life, Love of Home, Starfish Cottage, Little Farmstead and My Soulful Home
THAT DIY PARTY at DIY Show Off

MONDAYS
AMAZE ME MONDAY at Dwellings The Heart of Your Home
CELEBRATE YOUR STORY at Celebrate & Decorate and Sweet Sensations
COOKING & CRAFTING with J&J at Julie’s Creative Lifestyle
CRAFTASTIC MONDAY at Sew Can Do
HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
INSPIRATION MONDAY at I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom, Our Southern Home, What Meegan Makes, Inspiration for Moms and Refresh Restyle
INSPIRE ME MONDAY at Domestically Speaking, Create with Joy and My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
MADE BY YOU MONDAY at Skip To My Lou
MAKE IT PRETTY MONDAY at The Dedicated House
MELT IN YOUR MOUTH MONDAY at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and
MENU PLAN MONDAY at I’m an Organizing Junkie
MERRY MONDAY at Where The Smiles Have Been and Our Crafty Mom
MIX IT UP MONDAY at Flour Me With Love
MOTIVATE ME MONDAY at Keeping It Simple, Rae Gun Ramblings, Pieces by Polly and Housewife Eclectic
PROJECT INSPIRED at The How To Home and Yesterday on Tuesday
SHOW and SHARE at Coastal Charm
SHOW AND TELL at Flamingo Toes
TUTORIALS & TIPS at Home Stories A to Z

TUESDAYS
DIY TUESDAYS at DIY Dreamer
INSPIRE ME TUESDAY at A Stroll Through Life
LOU LOU GIRLS FABULOUS PARTY at Lou Lou Girls
THE SCOOP at Confessions of a Plate Addict, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, Stone Gable and Worthing Court
TALK OF THE TOWN at My RePurposed Life
TREASURE BOX TUESDAY at Memories by the Mile
TUESDAYS AT OUR HOME at Our Home Away From Home
TUESDAYS WITH A TWIST at Stone Cottage Adventures, Back To The Basics and God’s Growing Garden

WEDNESDAYS
SHARE YOUR STYLE at 21 Rosemary Lane and Kingsbury Brook Farm
WINTER BLUES WEDNESDAYS aka SWING INTO SPRING at DIY by Design
WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY at Eclectic Red Barn, Ducks in A Row, Marilyn’s Treats, My Life Abundant, Mom Resource, Engineer Mommy, Simple Steps for Living Life, 2JustByou
WOW ME WEDNESDAYS at Ginger Snap Crafts
WOW US WEDNESDAY at Savvy Southern Style with A French Twist

THURSDAYS
CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS at Embracing Change
DAGMAR’S PARTY at Dagmar’s Home
FAVORITE THINGS at Katherine’s Corner, Vintage Mama’s Cottage, Eclectic Red Barn, Shoestring Elegance, Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Petite Haus, Marilyn’s Treats
FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage
GRACE AT HOME at Imparting Grace
HOME SWEET HOME at The Charm of Home
I’M LOVIN’ IT at Tidy Mom
PIN JUNKIE PIN PARTY at The PIN Junkie
SHARE YOUR CUP at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
THIS IS HOW WE ROLL THURSDAY at 31 Organized

FRIDAYS
BLOGGERS PIT STOP at The Blogger’s Lifestyle
FOODIE FRIDAY at Back to My Southern Roots
HANDMADE HANGOUT at A Glimpse Inside, Gardners to Bergers, Too Much Time on My Hands and Twin Dragonfly Designs
HOME MATTERS at Life with Lorelai
PRETTY PINTASTIC PARTY at Coffee with Us 3, Annie’s Noms, My BIG Fat Happy Life, Divas Run for Bling, A Princess and Her Pirates, The Whole Serving, This Scattered Life, As for Me and My Homestead, Lynchburg Mama, Phoenix Mom Blog, Pop Shop America, Beyond Mommying, Sparkle Living, Frugal Family Adventures, Sword Fights and Starry Nights and Candace Woesch

SATURDAYS
SATURDAY SPARKS at Pieced Pastimes
SHARE IT ONE MORE TIME at Everyday Home
SWAY SHAREFEST at The Sway Life
WEEKEND COOKING at Beth Fish Reads
WHAT TO DO WEEKENDS PARTY at Crafts a la Mode

GRASSHOPPER BROWNIES

GRASSHOPPER BROWNIES
11 ounce package dark chocolate pieces
1/2 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Creme-de-Menthe Filling (BELOW)
Dark Chocolate Ganache (BELOW)

  • In a medium saucepan, melt and stir 4 ounces (3/4 cup) of the dark chocolate pieces, butter, and the unsweetened chocolate over low heat.
  • Remove from heat; cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Grease foil; set aside.
  • Stir sugar into the cooled chocolate mixture in saucepan.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon JUST until combined.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring just until combined.
  • Stir in the remaining 7 ounces (1-1/2 cups) dark chocolate pieces. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  • Spread Creme-de-Menthe Filling over cooled brownies.
  • Place uncut brownies in the refrigerator while preparing the Dark Chocolate Ganache.
  • Spread slightly cooled Dark Chocolate Ganache over Creme de Menthe Filling, spreading to the edges with a spatula.
  • Cover and chill about 1 hour or until set. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut brownies out of the pan. Cut into bars.
  • Place brownies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

CREME-DE-MENTHE FILLING
3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons GREEN creme de menthe
Milk (optional)

  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.
  • Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.
  • Gradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar.
  • Beat in creme-de-menthe.
  • Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. If necessary beat in 1 tablespoon of additional milk to make the filling slightly thicker than a frosting

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 11 ounce package dark chocolate pieces

  • In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream JUST to boiling over medium-high heat.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add dark chocolate pieces (do not stir).
  • Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.
  • Cool for 15 minutes.
  • Pour over brownies and QUICKLY spread evenly.

NOTE: You can substitute 2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon mint extract, and several drops of green food coloring for the GREEN Creme-de-menthe.

CHICKEN BLT CASSEROLE

CHICKEN BLT CASSEROLE serves 6
12 ounces Barilla cellentani or rotini pasta
6 slices bacon, chopped, cooked until crispy
3 cups rotisserie chicken pieces
2 cups alfredo sauce (homemade or jar** – your choice)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups micro arugula
2 large green onions, sliced thin
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 3 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta al dente per package directions. Drain well.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss pasta with chicken pieces.
  • Add alfredo sauce and toss until well coated.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Fold in green onions, bacon pieces and tomatoes.
  • Cover and bake 25 minutes.
  • Top with cheese and return to oven uncovered for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Enjoy.

NOTES:

  • This recipe is good leftover. BUT is BEST FRESH because of the lettuce and tomato. 
  • RAGU makes a basil alfredo that is super yummy!

BANANA PUMPKIN MERINGUE PIE

When we go antiquing one of my favorite finds are old recipe boxes, BUT they have to be full of lovingly handwritten recipes!  Needless to say between these finds, cookbooks and magazines I have amassed a LARGE amount of recipes to try or if you will, scraps of recipes, hence the new meme name.

Years ago I participated in a meme called Magazine Monday in an effort to clean out magazines and cook booklets hosted over at the now defunct blog Cream Puffs in Venice. I’d love to revive that meme AND clean out ALL my scraps of paper, but as I don’t know how to contact her for her permission to use the meme, I’ve decided to create my own theme called RECIPE SCRAPS and even better it won’t be tied to a specific day 😀  I like not assigning a specific day to this theme AND even better these scraps of paper will go away forever as I try each recipe.

BANANA PUMPKIN MERINGUE PIE
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought – your choice)
1 can Libby’s pumpkin puree
6 bananas
3 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon FRESHLY grated nutmeg
pinch FRESH ground salt

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Arrange unpeeled bananas on cookie sheet and roast 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before handling.
  • Increase oven temperature to 375°.
  • Line a 9 inch pie plate with pie dough.
  • Lightly brush the edges of the pie shell with heavy cream to create a perfect, golden brown finish.
  • Peel bananas.
  • Add bananas to food processor and puree.
  • Add sugar, eggs, cream, pumpkin pie spice, butter, nutmeg and salt.
  • Add pumpkin and stir until JUST incorporated.
  • Transfer to pie plate.
  • Bake 50 minutes or until set around edges and only slightly jiggles.
  • Cool completely on rack.

MERINGUE
4 egg whites
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch FRESH ground salt

  • Preheat oven broiler.
  • Beat egg whites until frothy.
  • Add cream of tartar and powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff glossy curled peaks form.
  • Spread on filling being sure to seal the edges to the pie crust.
  • Swirl meringue with the back of a spoon to create decorative peaks.
  • Broil at least 4 inches from the heat source for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden.
  • Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.

NOTE:

  • Preparing your meringue in a freezer chilled metal bowl with freezer chilled beaters helps with the meringue success.
  • If you have a kitchen torch, you can also use this method as an alternative, but be careful to spread the flame evenly across the entire surface to achieve a uniform look.