If you have a question or comment, please e-mail me at marinscreations@yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Taco Puffs

I found this recipe over at Tried and True Cooking with Heidi a while back and was finally able to make it. I put this on our menu a couple weeks back but was unable to make it because the cans of crescents exploded in the car on the way home from the grocery store....that's our million degree AZ heat for ya'. Then I put it on the menu for this week and managed to drop one of the cans of crescents while putting groceries away and it popped open!!! So we had to have it last night so the dough wouldn't go to waste...AGAIN!
My kids don't typically eat tacos but they sure did eat these. They were really yummy and had a hint of sweetness from the crescent. We will definitely be making these again. Thanks Heidi!

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 tubes refrigerated crescent
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Cool slightly. Unroll crescents leaving 2 crescents together to form a square. Press seems together and place in a greased cookie sheet. Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture onto each; sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Pull crescent dough around the filling and pinch edges to seal tightly. Bake at 400° for 13 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 8.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chicken Tortellini Bake

Is it possible to take a good picture of a casserole? I personally don't think so. Don't let the picture turn you off. This is a good hearty, filling meal that my whole family loved. I recommend using Costco's 7-cheese tortellini.

16 ounce package of cheese tortellini (my advice is to use the fresh)
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups (about 2 chicken breasts), cut up into bite size pieces
3 green onions finely chopped, white and green parts
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces (1 cup) chicken broth
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
3/4 cup sour cream
8 oz (2 cups) shredded Monterrey jack cheese (to be honest, any combination of cheeses, like cheddar, mozzarella or Monterrey jack would be good)

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook tortellini according to package. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Brown the chicken for 1-2 minutes and add the fresh mushrooms and green onions, cooking until chicken is done and mushrooms are golden brown. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth and stir until thickened. Mix in sour cream until mixture is creamy and slightly thickened.
3. Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Pour tortellini in bottom of 9X13 pan. Sprinkle half the cheese over tortellini. Put cooked chicken/sauce mixture on top and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
4. Bake covered with tin foil at 350 for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for additional 15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown around the edges.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

I served these along with a side of ranch for dipping and they were great. The left overs even tasted good the next day.

5 lb bag of russet potatoes, washed, cut into 1 inch cubes
3+ Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt
½ teaspoon Fresh ground black pepper
¼ Cup grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Divide cubed potatoes onto a large baking sheet with edges. Drizzle potatoes evenly with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic salt, Lawry's seasoning salt, pepper and parmesan cheese over potatoes. With hands, gently rub ingredients together so potatoes are well coated. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender and golden brown. Take a nibble then season accordingly if it needs a little more salt.

adapted from The Picky Palate.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Greek Pizza

I found this recipe on For the Love of Cooking and knew I had to try it. I thought it was delicious, the kids cleaned their plates, and my husband said it was good- which is a good thing seeing how he doesn't like artichokes or olives. It was super simple to make, especially since I bought my pizza dough (Trader Joe's).

pizza dough
corn meal (to sprinkle under the pizza)
pizza sauce (I used an 8oz. can of tomato sauce and added 1/2 tsp. of each of the following: oregano, basil, parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and sugar)
mozzarella cheese (I used an Italian blend)
feta cheese
artichoke hearts (I used canned)
Kalamati olives, sliced in half ( I used black olives, it's what my kids like)
red onion, thinly sliced
roma tomato, thinly sliced
dried oregano

1. Lightly spray pizza pan with non-stick spray then sprinkle with corn meal. Roll dough out to desired size and place on pan. Evenly spread sauce, cheese, and toppings over pizza. Sprinkle with oregano.
2. Place in the oven for 10-14 minutes at 425 degrees. Slice and serve!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ranchero Mexi-Chicken Crostada

I know what you're thinking...Ranchero-What?I found this recipe on Picky Palate and thought the same thing....ranchero-what? Well, I don't know where its name came from but I do know that it is super good. It is so flavorful and even has a spicy kick to it so it's not one that little kids would like. Jon and I on the other hand really enjoyed it. I love recipes that allow me to use up my canned chicken from my food storage.
1 roll Pillsbury Pie crust, thawed
1 can chunk chicken (from Costco), or about 1 ½ Cups cooked shredded chicken
1 drained can Mild Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies
½ Cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon Ranch dressing seasoning, from packet that makes the dip
1 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of salt and pepper
½ Cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll pie crust and place onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray.
2. Place chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, ranch seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper into a large bowl. With a fork, stir and cut up chicken pieces until well combined. Pour chicken mixture into the center of pie crust and top with cheddar cheese, leaving about 1 ½ inch border around edges. Fold crust up over chicken forming little pleats every 2 inches or so pressing gently. Brush edges with olive oil and sprinkle crust with garlic salt.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown on edges. Let cool for 5 minutes then cut into wedges to serve.
serves 2-3

Cookie Dough Pie

As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it! My husband loves cookie dough so I decided it would be great for his Father's Day dessert. It was so yummy and everyone loved it! It was super simple to make and took no time at all. I do recommend refrigerating the chocolate syrup first or you'll run into the same problem I had- chocolate running everywhere! Didn't matter though, still tasted great!
Unfortunately, I cannot find the blog I got this recipe from, so if it was you, please leave me a comment letting me know so I can credit you and link back. Thanks!

15.25 ounce package Chips Ahoy Cookies- Original kind
8-12 ounces Cool Whip- I used 8 ounces
1-2 cup milk (1 cup was enough for me in a 1 cup liquid measuring cup)

Quickly dip cookies in milk, shake off excess liquid, and layer in 9 inch pie plate, breaking cookies to fill any gaps. Once the first layer is complete, top with a thin layer of Cool Whip. Repeat twice more making last layer of Cool Whip a bit thicker. Garnish with chocolate syrup if desired. Place in freezer 2-3 hours before serving. Serves 6-8.

Note- You must dip quickly or your pie will be very soggy. Make sure to shake off excess milk as well so that you do not have a puddle of milk in your pie. You will have leftover milk but you do need that amount to get the cookie completely immersed. The final product will be like a soft cookie dough-like consistency.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Garlic Knots

My husband requested Baked Ziti for his Father's Day dinner this year and I had seen this recipe for garlic knots on Delectable Dining's blog a few days ago...I knew it would be the perfect companion for my ziti (along with a yummy salad). All the ingredients were super basic ones that I always have on hand so I decided to give them a try. Yum! Everyone liked them and we will definitely be making them again! Thanks Sarah!

For the dough:
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast (if you use SAF instant yeast you can skip the first rise)
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

For the glaze:
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients. Add the olive oil, milk and water. Mix until ingredients have formed a dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 inch long rope and tie into a knot. Take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center. Take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center. Transfer shaped rolls to a baking stone, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.
To make the glaze, finely mince the garlic. Mix with the melted butter and Italian seasoning.Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls. Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Salads

Tonight was my Summer Salads Class and I have to say I was really pleased with the way it turned out. Everyone seemed to enjoy the salads and I got lots of compliments so I guess it was a success! I am kicking myself right now because I forgot to take pictures...ughh. I'll have to see how good the leftovers look in the morning and maybe snap a few pictures. The BBQ Chicken Salad seemed to be the big winner, although there wasn't much of the Layered Fruit Salad left either. I guess you'll have to try them out yourself and let me know! So without further adieu......here was the salad line up-

Summer Salad w/ Raspberry Poppy Seed Dressing
Salad Ingredients:
1 head romaine lettuce
4-5 halves of pear, sliced
½ cup pine nuts
grated goat cheese
¼ cup chopped or thinly sliced red onion
Raspberry Poppy Seed Dressing:
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. granulated onion (or powder)
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
½ cup grape seed oil

Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Chicken Salad (served on crescent rolls, see Sis. Prices dinner rolls for recipe)
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. paprika
1 ½ cups craisins
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, chopped
½ cup minced green bell pepper
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. seasoning salt
ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika and seasoning salt. Blend in craisins, celery, bell pepper, onion, and pecans, Add chopped chicken, and mix well. Season with black pepper to taste. Chill. Serve on crescent rolls.

Layered Fruit Salad
2 cups pineapple chunks
2 pt. strawberries, sliced
2 pt. blackberries
2 pt. raspberries
2 pt. blueberries
1 bunch green grapes
2-3 sliced bananas

1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup sour cream
1 ¼ cup milk
1 3oz. box instant banana pudding

In a trifle dish, layer the washed and dried fruit in the order given. In a small bowl, mix the crushed pineapple, sour cream, milk, and instant pudding mix. Mix well and pour over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour prior to serving. This will allow the pudding mixture to seep into the fruit.
(thank you Heather!)

Pasta Salad
8 oz. tri-colored rotini pasta
9 oz. cheese tortellini (Costco sells a good 7 cheese tortellini)
1 zucchini, sliced
1 small head broccoli
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 small pkg. Feta cheese, crumbled
6-10 mushrooms
1 pt. Italian salad dressing
1 can whole olives
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package; drain. Combine and toss all ingredients except Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese to your liking. Cover and chill.

BBQ Chicken Salad w/ Cilantro Ranch Dressing
1 head thinly sliced leafy green lettuce
1 can corn
1 can black beans
15 grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 cooked chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
favorite BBQ sauce
mozzarella cheese

1 packet prepared Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (1 cup mayo/ 1 cup milk)
½ bunch chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime

Place lettuce in a serving bowl. Layer with corn, black beans, and tomatoes. Mix cooked chicken in BBQ sauce and top over salad (I crock potted my chicken- 4 chicken breasts on low for 4-5 hours covered in BBQ sauce, I used KC Masterpiece Original). Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top.
Place ranch dressing, cilantro, lime juice and minced garlic in a blender or food processor and mix well. Drizzle over salad.

Simple Strawberry Lemonade
1 12oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
4 ½ cups water
1 10oz. pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed

In a large pitcher mix together lemonade and water. Puree strawberries (keeping a few for garnish) in a blender. Pour into lemonade, stir, and serve.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Green Chili Chicken Burros

(yummy chicken mixture straight out of the crock pot)
This recipe was adapted from a recipe my mom shared with me the other day. She made this same green chili chicken mixture and mixed it with cheese and egg noodles, topped it with corn bread, and put it in a casserole dish and baked it as a casserole. She used salsa verde instead of green chilis which makes it a little spicier.
I thought this would be good as a burrito too so I gave it a try and we really liked it. It was nice change from the normal beef or bean burrito. I made rice to serve on the side but we ended up putting it in our burros and it made it even yummier! I highly recommend trying it. You can find my Spanish Rice recipe here.
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 10.75oz can cream of chicken soup
1 4oz. can green chilis (or salsa verde, if you like it hot)
shredded cheese
toppings of choice, ie: lettuce, tomato, black olives, sour cream
1. Place chicken breasts in crock pot, thawed or frozen.
2. Mix green chilis and soup together, pour over chicken.
3. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, 6-7 hours if chicken was frozen.
4. Shred chicken and mix in cheese.
5. Serve in warm tortillas (I recommend the uncooked), and add toppings of choice.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Amazing Pulled Pork

I found this super yummy recipe on Tidy Mom's blog a few weeks ago and she raved about it so I knew I needed to try it. It really is amazingly good! Your supposed to put bbq sauce on it and serve it on a bun but that didn't happen in our house....it was so good as is. I did serve it with a side of Joe's BBQ sauce for dipping but ended up eating more of it without.

4-7 pound pork butt roast, bone in
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. salt & pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1. Rinse roast and pat dry. Spray roasting pan really well with non-stick cooking spray. Place roast in roaster.
2. Place all other ingredients in a food processor until blended well.
3. Rub mixture all over roast making sure to get it into all creases and folds.
4. Place about 1 cup water in the bottom of roasting pan, cover, and bake for 4-6 hours (roughly 1 hour per pound) at 300 degrees. Turn every hour.
5. Once roast is fork tender, remove lid and crank the temperature to 400 degrees. Let the roast cook an additional 15-20 minutes, skin side up. This should make it nice and crispy.
6. Let roast sit for 10 minutes, then remove bone and shred with two forks. Pour the remaining juice from the pan back over the roast and serve!
(You can serve this with a side of bbq sauce or on a bun covered in bbq sauce.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Biscuits N' Gravy

Biscuits and gravy are a favorite at our house. We had this last night for dinner and everyone cleaned their plates. They always taste best made from scratch and the ingredients are so basic that they are usually ones I always have on hand.

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup shortening (I use butter flavored)
1 cup milk

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, you may not need the whole cup. Mix well.
2. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Roll out to 1" thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet.
3. Bake for 13-15 minutes at 425 degrees.

Sausage Gravy
3/4 lb. sausage roll
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Crumble and cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over hot biscuits.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad w/ HoneyMustard Dressing

Kara over at Kara's Kitchen Creations posted this recipe on my salad request post and it is SO YUMMY! Thank you so much Kara, my family loved it, including the kids. This chicken can be eaten alone or on a salad, it's that delicious! I do recommend drizzling the honey mustard over top, salad or not. The dressing is so good. This is a must try recipe!

Pecan Crusted Chicken
3 chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
heaping 1/2 cup pecans
15 Ritz crackers
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
pinch cayenne
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs

1.Combine pecans, crackers, salt, pepper and cayenne in a food processor or blender. Process until pecans are finely ground.
2. Place crumb mixture in a ziploc bag and mix milk and egg in a shallow dish.
3. Heat a skillet over medium high heat with about 1/2 inch oil for frying.
4. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then coat chicken in pecan mixture, pressing pecans into chicken.fry coated chicken in hot oil for 3-4 minutes per side.

Honey Mustard Dressing
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

1.Chop garlic in food processor. Add honey, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and mayo. Mix well and chill until ready to serve.

8 cups romaine lettuce, sliced
1 apple or pear, very thinly sliced (I used pear)
3 stalks celery, very thinly sliced
dried cranberries

1. Mix lettuce, celery, and craisins. Top with sliced chicken.
2. Drizzle dressing over top and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Newest Addition to My Kitchen

Wow, I am on a roll! I have had a link everday this week for Melissa's party! Here's another one...be and sure and check out the others! You can also check out another one of my chalkboard creations here. I've wanted a chalkboard in my kitchen for sometime now. I always thought I would paint the inside panel of a pantry door with chalkboard paint...someday when I don't have sliding pantry doors. I wanted to be able to post our weekly menu as well as things I needed to pick up at the grocery store.
So I decided to give up a framed print that hung inside this frame, already in my kitchen. I am so pathetic that I didn't even remove the picture from the inside of the frame before painting it. I just sprayed right over the glass.
Overall, I really like it. It hangs high enough that the kids can't reach it and scribble all over it. Now if only I had taken my time when writing out this weeks menu it would have looked better!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Garlic Toasted Spaghetti Bruschetta

softened butter
french bread or Ciabatta Bread, cut in half lengthwise ( I recommend Ciabatta)
Lawry's Garlic Salt with Parsley
l lb of your favorite prepared spaghetti*
shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread butter over cut sides of bread. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Top with prepared spaghetti that's been cut into small pieces with kitchen scissors then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and hot. Let cool for 5 minutes then cut into strips. Serve warm.

*I used Prego's Meat sauce as my starter sauce. I added Italian sausage (cooked), minced garlic, chopped onion, and chopped fresh parsley. Simmer for 30 minutes then pour over hot angel hair pasta.

Once again, this is a Picky Palate recipe, (I know, O.D.), you just can't go wrong!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Garlic Breadsticks

My little boy really liked helping me with this recipe. He thought making "snakes" with the dough was so fun!

1 1/8 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon butter, melted
Parmesan cheese

1.In bread machine pan, place the first nine ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. (continue to step 2)
1. Place first 9 ingredients in mixing bowl. Using dough hook, mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, you may need a little more flour or water. Once dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, knead for 5-7 minutes. Place on a lightly floured surface. (continue to step 2)
2. Divide into 20 portions. Shape each into a ball; roll each into a 9-in. rope. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Brush warm breadsticks with butter and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

M&M Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening (I used butter flavored)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup oil (I used vegetable)
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
m&m's (I used the whole big bag)

Combine first 5 ingredients and cream about 2 min. Add vegetable oil & mix well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to dough; mixing just until combined. Fold in m&m's. Place on un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 min. (I had to cook mine for 14 minutes.)

Yields 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

I got this yummy recipe from Heidi's blog, Tried-and-True Cooking with Heidi. If you haven't seen her blog, you should check it. She seriously posts something new every day. I was looking for something to make with the kids and these were perfect. Now I need to find someone to share them with so we don't eat all 4 1/2 dozen of these! Thanks Heidi.

Monday, June 1, 2009

BBQ Ranch Chicken Roll-em Ups

1 Roll Pillsbury Pizza dough in can (or use other pizza dough of choice)
1/4 Cup prepared ranch dressing (I recommend homemade)
2 Cups prepared shredded BBQ Chicken (I baked 2 chicken breasts at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, shredded, and covered in bbq sauce)
1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 Cups shredded smoked cheddar cheese

Ranch Dressing for dipping

1. Open can of dough and press into rectangle. Spread or drizzle ranch dressing evenly over dough then top with evenly with chicken, cilantro and cheddar cheese. Starting at long end roll dough into a log shape. Using a sharp knife, cut 1 inch pieces and place onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a side of ranch dressing for dipping.

*Make sure you roll the dough really tight and seal the seam. (as you can tell, I didn't roll it tight enough and some of my chicken started falling out.)

Another, no fail recipe from the Picky Palate! If you've never been on her blog before, you should check it out. She's mastered making food LOOK and TASTE wonderful. It's no wonder she's been on the Food Network several times.