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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Veggie Pizza

Wahoo -- it's my first post on The Foodie Spot! I'm excited to be joining with a few other foodies to provide easy, delicious recipes. As a new(ish) mom, I'm definitely always on the lookout for recipes that are quick, easy, and healthy.

Just a week or two ago, I made a cold Veggie Pizza to take to potluck luncheon at a good friend's house. It was the first time I had tried a recipe like this, although I've sampled many yummy veggie pizzas at church luncheons.

I get some strange satisfaction from chopping vegetables, so I enjoyed the prep work that went into this recipe. The end result got rave reviews!

Veggie Pizza
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
1 small onion, finely chopped (I omitted the onion since we all had to go back to work after partaking of this!)
A variety of veggies (I used broccoli, red pepper, cucumber, and carrot)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Pat crescent dough into jelly roll pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Pierce with fork. Bake for 10 minutes; let cool.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese, dill weed, garlic salt, and ranch dip mix. Spread this mixture on top of the cooked crust. Arrange the veggies on top of the creamed mixture. Cover and let chill. Once chilled, cut into squares and serve.

Recipes from


Friday, February 26, 2010

Summer Squash Casserole

I got this recipe from Southern Living and it reminded me of the casserole my grandmother used to make. (It originally called for an 8-oz can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped, but I left that out.) A great casserole anytime of year, but especially in the summertime when the veggies are really fresh.

Summer Squash Casserole

1 1/2 lbs. yellow squash
1 lb. zucchini
1 small, sweet onion, chopped
2 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 cup carrots, grated
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) container light sour cream
1 (8 oz) package herb-seasoned stuffing
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar

How to Make It:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash and zucchini into 1/4-inch thick slices; place in pot. Add chopped onion, 2 tsp. of salt, and water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook 5 minutes. Drain well.
2) Stir together carrots, sour cream, soup, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt in large bowl; fold into squash mixture.
3) Stir together stuffing and melted butter and spoon half into bottom of greased 9x13 dish. Spoon squash mixture over stuffing and top with remaining stuffing mixture.
4) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. If necessary shield with foil after 20-25 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Sprinkle with cheese during last 5 minutes of bake time. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Choc-Oat-Chip Cookie Bars

This is straight off the Quaker Oat's website and they tasted exactly they way I was hoping they would! I do love nuts in cookies, but I left them out of this recipe. We didn't even miss them.

Choc-Oat-Chip Cookie Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2-1/2 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
How to Make It:
1) Heat oven to 375°F. Beat margarine and sugars until creamy.
2) Add eggs, milk and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda and salt; mix well.
3) Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts; mix well.
4) Press dough into bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely; cut into bars. Store in tightly covered container.

Variations: Substitute 1 cup of any of the following for 1 cup chocolate chips: candy-coated chocolate pieces, candy-coated peanut butter pieces, white chocolate chips, peanut butter & milk chocolate chips or butterscotch chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 9 to 10 minutes for a chewy cookie or 12 to 13 minutes for a crisp cookie. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered. Makes about 5 dozen.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Corn Salad

This salad, vibrant in both color and taste, reminds me exactly of the taste of summer. Which is precisely why I sometimes like to make it in the winter!

What You Need
3 cans corn
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped (or use a green pepper, if that's what you have, like I did for the photo)
1 large red onion, chopped
1-2 cups cilantro, chopped
juice of one lemon or lime
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

What You Do
Mix all ingredients together. Chill at least two hours before serving (so the flavors will have time to blend).

That's it! Couldn't be easier.

When my family and I lived in Israel a few years ago, an American friend of ours who had married an Israeli brought this dish to a potluck we hosted on the 4th of July. This was the same potluck, by the way, that involved the smoke from the grill on our patio drifting in the open windows of our upstairs neighbor - and that neighbor rushing down the stairs to cuss us out. In Russian. The rest of the party, however, was delightful; and this salad has been one of my favorites ever since.

Happy feasting!

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~ Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright
in Pavarotti, My Own Story


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Curried Chicken

This was a family favorite growing up and now is a family favorite in my household.  It came from the More With Less Cookbook.

Saute in heavy deep skillet or kettle:
2 Tbsp fat, oil, or shortening
2 Onions, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

Blend in a small bowl:
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice or Vinegar
2-4 tsp Curry Powder

Stir curry mixture into sauteed onions and fry lightly 1-2 minutes. Add one of the following:
1-3 lb Chicken fryer, cut into 12-15 pieces
2 lbs Beef, cut into 1" chunks
2 lbs. Mutton, cut into 1" chunks
2 lbs. boneless fish, cut into chunks
3 c. any leftover cooked diced meat
2 lbs. meatballs, browned

Stir fry briefly to coat meat with spices.  Add:
1 c. Tomato Sauce or juice
1 tsp. Salt
1-2 c. Broth or Water

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 2-3 hours for beef & mutton, 1 1/2 hours for chicken, 20 minutes for fish and cooked meats.  Add more liquid during cooking as needed for thin stew consistency.  Thicken slightly with flour just before serving, if desired.

Serve with hot steamed rice and, if desired, a selection of the following condiments placed in small bowls:
-sunflower seeds
-chopped scallions, onions, tomatoes, green peppers
-pineapple tidbits
-diced apples
-banana slices
-chopped hard-cooked eggs

Alterations:  I usually just use 12 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts as my meat b/c I always have this on hand.  I cut them into pieces and boil them in water before I start everything else.


Taco Soup


This was a recipe that was given to me by my cousin.  She had all of the cousins over one night and had each person bring an ingredient for the soup.  It simmered while we socialized.  I thought that was a neat idea for everyone to bring an ingredient.  It is a very good soup for a cold winter's day.
1 lb Hamburger
1 Onion, chopped
3-16 oz. Dark Kidney Beans, undrained
1-16 oz. Can of Whole Corn, undrained
1-16 oz. can Chopped Tomatoes, undrained
1-15oz. can Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 c. Water
1-4 1/2 oz can chopped chilies
1 packet of Taco Seasoning
1 packet of Ranch dressing mix (dry)

Brown hamburger and onion together, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Boil & let simmer for 15 minutes.

Top with anything you would put on your taco salad: cheese, lettuce, tortilla chips, tomatoes, olives, etc.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cha Cha's White Chicken Chili

I found this recipe on  My family has really enjoyed this, even my meat lovin' hubby.  I will post some alterations below.

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 oz.-chopped Green Chile Peppers
2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper, ground
2 (14.5) cans of Chicken Broth
3 c. chopped/cooked Chicken breasts
3 (15 oz.) cans of White Beans
Shredded Monterey Jack/Cheddar Cheese

Take olive oil and oil and cook till onions are tender.  Then add garlic, chile peppers, cumin, oregano, & cayenne pepper.  Cook till tender.  Then mix in the broth, chicken, and white beans and simmer 15 or more minutes.  Right before serving, top each person's bowl with cheese.

Ceci's alterations:  My family does not care for how spicy the cayenne makes it.  I just put a pinch in, which is just the right amount for our family.  So use the cayenne pepper according to the tastes of your family.  Overall a VERY GOOD soup!!!


Skillet Penne & Sausage Supper

I originally got this from a friend who also introduced me to the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook which contains this recipe.  My family and I love this dish and have made a gluten-free version.  Another nice thing about this recipe is you do everything in the skillet — one pan, that is it.

1 Tbsp Oil
1 Onion, minced
1 lb Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. Oil packed Sundried Tomatoes, rinsed/chopped
2 1/2 c.  Penne pasta
2 1/2 c. Chicken Broth
1/2 c. Heavy Cream
1 (5 oz.) bag of fresh Spinach
1/2 c. Parmesan

Brown sausage with oil, onions, & salt.  Add garlic and stir till fragrant.  Sprinkle in the sundried tomatoes and penne pasta.  Pour in the chicken broth and cream.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  When pasta is soft and fully cooked, add the spinach.  Stir till wilted, then add parmesan cheese and serve.

Ceci's alterations:  We have wheat/gluten allergies in our household.  So we use the Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne Pasta .  The kids can't tell a difference neither can my hubby.  When using the Gluten Free pasta you want to add another 1/2 c. of chicken broth and simmer for 5 extra minutes.  Another alteration has been the oil packed sundried tomatoes.  It has been extremely hard to find these in my area, so I make it without them.  I had finally found them at Martin's Food the other week and put them in.  The whole household agreed that they did not need to be in there next time.  They do have a different flavor and can be a little "spicy" as my 6 yr old can say.  So we omit the tomatoes, but still love the flavor.  Enjoy!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Lighter-Than-Air Pancakes

We're usually Krusteaz buttermilk pancake's just good stuff! But this morning I wanted to try this recipe. With resounding approval, I think I'll be making these again soon! Lots of, "yum! they're SO good!"

What You'll Need

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 tespoon cream of tartar
vegetable oil for pan

What to Do

  1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, sour cream, egg yolks, and melted butter together, In a large bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the whites to soft peaks, about 1 to 3 minutes. 
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the buttermilk mixture into the well, and gently whisk together until just incorporated with a few lumps remaining (do not overmix). Carefully fold in the whipped whites using a rubber spatula until just combined with a few streaks.
  3. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Brush the pan bottom with a thin layer of oil.  Using 1/8 cup of batter per pancake, add batter to skillet. 
  4. Flip pancakes and continue to cook until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Serve the pancakes immediately, while repeating with the remaining batter.

Recipe from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Burrito Pie

Or Burrito casserole. Or Burrito lasagna. Whatever you want to call this recipe, it was a huge hit with the family!

What You'll Need

2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (2 ounce) can black olives, sliced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
1 (16 ounce) jar taco sauce
2 (16 ounce) cans refried beans
12 (8 inch) flour tortillas
9 ounces shredded Colby cheese

What to Do
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 5 more minutes. Drain any excess fat, if desired. Mix in the olives, green Chile peppers, tomatoes with green Chile peppers, taco sauce and refried beans. Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Cover with a layer of tortillas followed by more meat mixture, then a layer of cheese. Repeat tortilla, meat, cheese pattern until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese.
  4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This recipe was a pleasant surprise — the filling has so much flavor — fresh oregano along with red pepper flakes and garlic. And as an added bonus, it's a kid-friendly recipe!!

serves 4 to 6
Makes 2 large Calzones

Basic Pizza Dough

4 1/4 c. bread flour
2 1/4 t. instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 c. water, warm

1. Mix 4 c. flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor until combined. With the processor/mixer running, pour oil and then water in until a rough ball forms, 30-40 seconds. Let dough rest for 2 minutes, then process/mix for 30 seconds longer.
2. Knead dough by hand on a floured surface, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic, wrap, and let rise in a warm oven 1 to 1.5 hours.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (15oz) container while milk ricotta cheese (1 3/4 c)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 c)
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (3/4 c)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds pizza dough
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Cook the oil, garlic, and pepper flakes together in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and cool to a room temperature; when cool, stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg yolk, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, divide it into 2 equal pieces, and cover with greased plastic wrap. Working with the once piece of dough at a time (keep the other piece covered), press and roll the dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured counter. Transer the dough to a prepared baking sheet and reshape as needed.
  4. Mound 1 1/2 coups of the filling onto one side of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Brush the bottom edge of the dough with some of the egg wash. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the bottom uncovered, then press and crimp the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough, filling, and second baking sheet. 
  5. Score the top of the calzone with a sharp knife and brush lightly with the remaining egg wash. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Transfer calzones to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. 
I added the pepperoni for added goodness! You can add broccoli or sausage! A fun recipe to get creative with.

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen Baking Book.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Best Banana Bread

All I need to say about this banana bread is that it's my mama's and it is fabulous. The banana and butter flavors really make it great!

Best Banana Bread

2 cups bread flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. banana flavor
1/2 tsp. butter flavor
2 eggs
1 cup bananas, mashed (3 large)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup shortening, melted
1 cup pecans, chopped

How to Make It:
1) Sift together the first four ingredients in a large bowl.
2) Beat the remaining ingredients (except the nuts) together in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.
3) Mix in 1 cup pecans.
4) Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (or until toothpick comes out mostly clean).
5) Cool 5 minutes before serving warm with butter.


Chicken & Yellow Rice

This recipe is an old family favorite. My mother got the recipe from another army wife when my parents were living on base, and she's been making it ever since. So I can't tell you how many times I've eaten this dish, but I still love it! And for some reason, we always have it with brussel sprouts, always. It's tradition.

Chicken & Yellow Rice

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 26 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 10.75 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
yellow saffron rice (we prefer Mahatma)

How To Make It:
1) Mix both cans of soup in a deep casserole dish. Add chicken breasts and stir. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
2) When one hour is up remove chicken breasts one by one and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return to casserole dish and continue cooking until the rice is ready.

Crockpot directions: Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Put soups in crockpot and 1/2 cup milk; stirring well. Add whole chicken breasts. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Cut up chicken and stir back into to soup mixture while the rice is cooking.


Raspberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette

This was my first attempt at making salad dressing....without a recipe. I must say it turned out pretty well. Add more or less sugar, vinegar, or yogurt/mayo to your desired taste. I used light mayo for this recipe, but next time I plan on trying it with nonfat yogurt.

Raspberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette

1-1/2 cups raspberries, fresh or thawed
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (or to desired sweetness)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3/4 Tbsp. poppyseeds
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup nonfat yogurt or light mayo

How to Make It:
1) Place raspberries in food processor and blend until smooth.
2) Add sugar, vinegars, and yogurt or mayo. Blend until smooth. (This part may require several tasting to get it to your liking.)
3) Pour into a serving bowl and stir in poppyseeds.

I served this on spinach greens with mandarin oranges, craisins, and toasted almonds. Perfection.


Lemon Greek Chicken

This recipe is from The Pampered Chef cookbook "Stoneware Inspirations." It's a yummy and impressive-looking dish to make for company. One alteration I always make, I use sweet onions instead of red, but you may find you like the red better.

Lemon Greek Chicken

2 lemons, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, pressed/minced
2-3 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
4 split bone-in chicken breast halves (2 1/2 - 3 lbs.)
8 petite red potatoes
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
8 oz. whole mushrooms

How to Make It:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Zest one lemon to measure 1 1/2 Tbsp. of zest. Juice lemon to measure 2 Tbsp. juice. Combine zest, juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
2) Place chicken on center of pan. (It calls for the Stoneware Bar pan which is 10x15 1/2, but I use my stoneware 9x13 dish.) Using a pastry brush, brush chicken with a portion of the lemon juice mixture.
3) Cut potatoes. Thinly slice remaining lemon. In a large bowl combine potatoes, sliced lemon, red pepper, onions, and mushrooms. Pour the rest of the lemon juice mixture into the bowl and toss to coat.
4) Arrange vegetables around chicken. Bake 1 hour or until chicken is no longer pink, brushing chicken and vegetables with pan juices after 30 minutes.


Swiss Steak

I had heard people mention Swiss Steak for years and I had never had it until I found this recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. This recipe is so easy and it's definitely become a staple in our home.

Swiss Steak

1 lb. boneless beef round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. oil
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic; undrained
1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup sliced carrots
2 cups hot cooked noodles or mashed potatoes

How to Make It:`
1. Trim fat from meat. Cut into 4 serving-size pieces. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper. With the notched side of a meat mallet, pound flour mixture onto each side of the meat.
2. In a large skillet brown meat on both sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Add undrained tomatoes, celery, carrot, and onion. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 1 hour or until meat is tender. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.


Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever eaten. My mom originally got this from Pillsbury and it's the only recipe she's used since we were kids. Here are two tips to make sure they are perfect: 1) use bread flour instead of all-purpose and 2) cool these on foil instead of the cookie sheet.

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

3/4 cup butter flavor Crisco
1-1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
1-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)*

How to Make It:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine Crisco, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture.
3. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture just until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
4. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake one sheet at a time at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes for chewy or 11-13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to foil.

*If nuts are omitted add an additional 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.


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