Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grilled Green Beans

Yeah, I will grill anything. Especially on my new indoor grill. I first used this marinade on broccoli and it is seriously the best thing that happened to vegetables since... cheese sauce. I've used it on broccoli, asparagus, and green beans. The measurements are approximate since I usually just eyeball it, so use your best judgement.

8 oz green beans (I used haricot vert- french green beans)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder (I love garlic...)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste
parmesan cheese


1. Mix all ingredients except the parmesan cheese in a large ziplock bag. Let flavors marinate for 10 minutes or so.
2. Put on a grill over medium heat, turning frequently until crisp tender. About 10 minutes. (Use one of those special grill skillets or a cast iron skillet if you are worried about losing beans through the cracks.)
3. Remove beans from heat, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Easy!

Hey guys! If you like this grilled green bean recipe, check out my recipe for Balsamic Marinated Roasted Veggies! It's amazing! 

Grilled Marinated Pork Chops

Santa Clause got me this awesome new indoor grill and I was beyond excited to use it! I went to the store and got the thickest pork chops I could find, threw them in this marinade and waited (not so) patiently for them to be ready to grill. 

The grill was everything I could have dreamed of. I see a lot of grilling in my future.

1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 thick cut, bone in pork chops (or whatever you have)

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Put in a Ziplock bag and add chops.
2. Marinate 30 minute in the fridge, but no more than 4 hours. Seriously.
3. Pull out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Flip it around occasionally.
4. Thoroughly dry your chops. Cook on med-high heat 5 minutes on each side. 

Mom's Super Easy Cheesy Potatoes

Ok sooo... heres the thing. My mom makes cheesy potatoes twice a year: Christmas and Easter. It's not like I can't make them... but they are always so much better when my dearest mother makes them. So When I left Raleigh yesterday my mom sent me home with a bag of leftover potatoes for me and a bag for me to deliver to my sister. I ate some for dinner last night. I fell asleep. Mr. Picky thought the other bag belonged to me so he finished off my precious bag of cheesy potatoes. When he found out the truth today he felt bad. Really bad. Because I almost sobbed.

There was a time that I dropped my last helping of leftover potatoes when I pulled it out of the microwave, splattering them all over the floor at Rachel's dad's house. That time, I did sob.

This time, I pouted about it all day. Then I realized.. um I cook all the time. I am fully capable of doing this. So I pulled my depressed self out of bed and went to the store. With Mr. Picky's money, because he owed me this one. :) They're so easy, why don't you make some?

I didn't call my mom and get her recipe.. I just did it by memory. They're in the oven right now. Hopefully they're close to hers. Then I'm cut off cheesy potatoes for a while... until Easter at least.

2 lb bag hash brown potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can of milk (use it after you pour the soup in, obvi)
1/4 c sour cream
3 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese (oh yeah)
1/2 onion, diced
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, except the 1 c of cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Pour into a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining c of cheese on top. Bake covered for 45 mins at 375*. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. (See. I told ya it was easy. And oh so delicious)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Wreath- Guide Recipe

I have been so busy the past few weeks! I graduated from UNCW last weekend and Christmas this weekend, phew! I have been cooking a lot but I haven't had a chance to post. I have the luxury this year of being lazy on Christmas day with my family. My laptop has also been out of commission because the charger was not working.......but now I am on my moms and I have finally posted my recipes! I have had a wonderful Christmas with my family and I hope you all have too! 

I made this wreath last week and fell in love with it. You could literally put ANYTHING in this, and I will be playing around with this whole wreath thing a lot. All year long. I call it a wreath now because its Christmas but we can just call it a... round or something the other 11 months of the year. :) Next I'm going to try a Cuban Sandwich ring, how good does that sound?! This is what I used this time:


2 cups cooked, chopped ham
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c mayo
1/2 c ranch
1 tbsp ranch dressing powder
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled 
2 packages crescent rolls

1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl except the crescent rolls and bacon.
2. Line a pizza pan with foil and spray with Pam. (I used a large skillet because Mr. Picky did not have a pizza pan at his house. I just wrapped the handle in foil so it wouldn't melt. Worked!)
3. Arrange the crescent dough triangles in a circle on the pan with the large parts of the triangle overlapping. (see picture above) Spoon the filling in a circle over the overlapped portion of the dough. 
4. Fold the short end of the triangle over the filling towards the center and tuck underneath the overlapped dough. Sprinkle the crispy bacon evenly on top.
5. Bake for 30 minutes in a 375* oven or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before slicing.

Cream Cheese Spaghetti Bake

A different way to serve up spaghetti. So easy for a weeknight but special enough for company. I don't usually condone using jarred pasta sauce but it doesn't make much of a difference here. I used a spicy pepper sauce because I *hate* how sweet jarred sauces can be. The recipe calls for 12 oz of spaghetti which is odd, but I suggest you weigh or eyeball out 12 oz because I just used the entire box (16 oz) and it was a little dry with the extra pasta. It was still yummers!


12 oz spaghetti
1 28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Cook spaghetti al dente according to package instructions. I suggest breaking the pasta in half to make it easier to stir later.
2. Meanwhile, brown the beef. Drain the fat and add the jar of sauce. Set aside.
3. Mix warm, cooked spaghetti in a large bowl with softened cream cheese, italian seasoning and clove of garlic. Mix well until cream cheese is melted and spaghetti is well coated.
4. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and spread a little bit of the meat sauce on the bottom. Pour in the spaghetti mixture and top with the remainder of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with the cheeses.
5. Bake in a 350* oven for 30 minutes. Serve with a salad and some garlic bread!

Olive Garden Salad

Okay, so I've made this dressing a couple of times and I can't lie and say that it tastes exactly like Olive Garden's. But it is darn good and the flavors are close so I suggest you try it out.
You can put whatever you like on this salad, obviously. I didn't put black olives on mine because my roommate and I don't care for them. No sense in wasting money just to make it look like an Olive Garden salad. The real recipe here is for the dressing. 

1/2 c mayo
1/3 c white vinegar
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp corn syrup
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp parsley flakes
1 T lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add some sugar if it is too tart. It kind of was for me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chicken & Dumpling Casserole

This was an easy and delicious meal to prepare. I will say that it is not QUITE like real chicken & dumplings but it is tasty for what it turns out to be. Serve this with a nice crisp salad and some crusty bread and you've got a home cooked meal in no time.


3-4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 c unsalted butter
1 c flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c milk
1 can cream of chicken soup

1. Melt the butter and pour into a 9x13 pan. Spread it around evenly.
2. Sprinkle the chicken evenly throughout the pan on top of the butter.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, baking powder and salt. Pour mixture evenly over the chicken. Do NOT stir!
4. Whisk together the broth and cream of chicken soup. Pour over the flour mixture evenly.Do not stir!
5. Bake in a 400* preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until the dumplings are golden brown.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

I know, I know. I JUST posted a recipe for macaroni and cheese. But this one is different, and who can have too many mac and cheese recipes?! This recipe came to me through my sister. She made this for Thanksgiving and I loved it, I had to have the recipe! I made it for my class and it was so easy and still good! The kids told me I was the best cook and some of them even said my macaroni and cheese was better than their mom's ;)

Cook 2 cups of cooked macaroni (elbow noodles)
1/2 stick of butter
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese 
1 can Campbell Cream Cheddar Soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt, pepper, and dry mustard
2 eggs


Once macaroni is cooked and strained mix in with above and put in crock pot on high for at least 2 hours.  Do not cook over 3 hours(it will dry out)  I also add an extra cup of shredded cheddar while in crock pot after about 1 1/2 hours.

Holiday Cookies & Cream Pudding Cookies

My last day at Blair was on Wednesday and I got to do all of my favorite things. Well of course my TRUE favorite thing is cooking so I brought my favorite food- macaroni and cheese (recipe is coming!) and I absolutely LOVE anything cookies and cream. So I saw the recipe for cookies and cream cookies and I knew I had to try them! I did put a holiday twist in for fun though :) 

My pictures are getting slightly better, aren't they?

3/4 cup butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1 (4.2 oz) packet of Oreo cookies and cream pudding mix
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
2 1/4 c flour
14 Oreos, crushed (I used the Christmas peppermint Oreos for a twist- it was delicious!)

1. Cream the butter and sugars together until smooth.
2. Beat in the pudding packet and mix until well blended.
3. Mix in the eggs one at a time and add vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. Slowly incorporate into the butter mixture. Mix well until your dough forms.
5. Stir in the crushed Oreos.
6. Roll into one inch balls and place on a greased baking sheet.
7. Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Before football started this afternoon I was laying on the couch watching Good Eats on my favorite channel (Cooking Channel) and Alton was making all sorts of mac and cheese deliciousness. It was then I decided I needed some sort of mac and cheese today. But then again.... I have been craving buffalo chicken dip for a while and I was planning on making that for football tonight. Solution? Buffalo chicken mac and cheese. Brilliant.

It was everything I could have hoped for and Mr. Picky had 3 (BIG) servings. It is somewhat spicy so if you don't like spicy food then, well.... you shouldn't make buffalo chicken mac and cheese. :)

4 T unsalted butter
8 oz (1/2 lb) elbow macaroni
1/2 c onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 c shredded rotisserie chicken
3 oz buffalo wing sauce (I used Texas Pete)
1 T flour
1 t dried mustard
1 1/4 c half-and-half
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded pepper jack
1/3 c sour cream
3/4 c panko bread crumbs
1 T chopped fresh parsley

1. Boil pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta. 
2. Meanwhile, melt 1 1/2 T butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and 2 oz hot sauce (seriously.. just eyeball it. Cover the chicken in hot sauce). Heat through, reduce heat and keep warm.
3. Heat 1 T butter over medium heat in another sauce pan. Mix in flour and dried mustard, whisk to combine and make a roux. Slowly add half and half and a couple more tablespoons of hot sauce. Stir until thickened. 
4. Add the pepper jack and about 1 1/4 c of the shredded cheddar and stir until melted. Mix in sour cream and stir until smooth.
5. Combine pasta, chicken and cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour into a greased 9 inch baking pan. 
6. Heat 1 1/2 T butter in the microwave until melted. Mix with bread crumbs, remaining cheddar and parsley. Cover the macaroni and cheese with breadcrumb mixture.
7. Bake in a 350* oven for 35 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Bubble Up Enchilada Bake

This is a recipe I got from my new favorite food blog, Plain Chicken. She has so many good recipes, especially for tailgating! I wanted to make something different tonight and this recipe seemed to fit the bill. Laura and Mr. Picky joined me and they said that it was . A wonderful alternative on Mexican food night! Plus, it is SO easy to make and would be great on a busy weeknight. I dare you to try it!

1 Can refrigerated biscuits
1 lb lean ground beef
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 c shredded mexican cheese

1. Brown the ground beef. Drain the fat and add the enchilada sauce, tomato sauce and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir to combine.
2. Cut the biscuits into quarters. Stir into the beef mixture.
3. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Pour the mixture in and bake at 350* for 25 minutes. 
4. Sprinkle the mixture with the remaining cheese and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes for serving.

Sorry I never got a picture.. but head over to Plain Chicken and check hers out!