Sunday, October 24, 2010

Phirst with Phyllo Dough

I've had the phyllo dough in my freeze . . . then in my refrigerator . . .then back into the freezer . . . and finally, on this last thaw, I decided I had to conquer my fear of phyllo dough!  I searched the recipes and decided I definitely wanted something sweet! This was my attempt . . .and I must say, I'll give phyllo dough another try!  The "phirst" attempt was much better than expected -- it can only get better with practice!


2 tablespoons butter
2 cups (2 medium) apples, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 pound fresh cranberries
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup dried cherries or raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon

10 sheets Athens® Fillo Dough (9”x14”), thawed
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup almonds, ground
cinnamon and sugar mixture

Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add apples, cranberries and sugar. Cook about 5 minutes or until the cranberries burst. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the dried fruit and cinnamon. Let the filling cool.

Cover work surface with waxed paper. Layer 10 phyllo sheets on the waxed paper, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon ground almonds over each sheet as you layer them. Spread filling down the length of the top phyllo sheet, leaving a 2” border. Roll up from the long edge. Do not roll tightly, or strudel may split. Tuck or fold the edges at the ends.

Place strudel seam-down on baking sheet and brush with butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Score top into 6 equal sections. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 30 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm (when it's best) or at room temperature.

**I used 1 very large honeycrisp apple.  Because it's a very sweet apple, I cut the sugar to only 1/4 cup.  I used the dried cherries for the tartness rather than raisins and I did not put the cinnamon in the fruit because I sprinkled it on top.  The cooked fruit mixture had a bit more liquid in it than I preferred, so I added about 1 TBSP tapioca to thicken the mixture.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Leftover Salad

We're at that precarious time of the month . . . where I really need to go to the store, but I'm really not wanting to go to the store!  Since I do once a month shopping, I work hard to plan a menu;  incorporating leftovers and large quantity purchasing.  But here we are . . .at the end of the month AND the food!  This is where "instinct" kicks in and we get creative dinners!

Not too long ago we grilled lime marinated chicken and served with Spanish rice and black beans.  It was just so yummy!  Remember, when we grill I always cook a bit extra of the meat.  So today we have left over chicken, cut-up fruit, and some tasty white cheese.  I decided that a "chicken and fruit salad" will be dinner. 

Chicken and Fruit Salad

Left over grilled chicken, chopped
Fruit, chopped (I have apples, strawberries, grapes, and mandarin oranges)
Walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (only if you have them)
White cheese, cubed (mild in flavor and only if you have it)

Combine in a bowl (so that you can see how pretty it all looks) and serve with a poppy seed dressing and maybe a muffin.

Poppy seed Dressing

1/4 cup of milk
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
2 TBSP poppy seeds
2 TBSP vinegar

Place in bowl and mix well.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mom's Chicken and Dumplin's

I grew up with my mom making chicken and dumplin's.  I absolutely LOVE this comfort food and it is always my "birthday request!"  This recipe was from my great grandmother, Pearl; matter of fact, the real recipe name is "Pearl's Dumplin's."  I only put the chicken in it because it makes it healthier!  These dumplin's are stick-to-your-ribs kind of good!  They're heavy!  If you like a light, fluffy, biscuit dumplin -- well, I'm sorry!  This dumplin' will keep your wallpaper up when it starts to peel!  If you're going to make a bowl, give me a call and I'll be over by dinner time!

Pearl's Chicken and Dumplin's

1 chicken, boiled, cooled and deboned

Reserve the broth from boiling the chicken and keep warm. 

Add 1 can cream of chicken soup
If you need more broth, add canned chicken stock

In a large bowl mix:

2 cups flour
4 TBSP oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Add enough hot water to make a stiff dough.  Roll on a floured surface and cut into pieces (small pieces, but not tiny!).

Bring broth to a boil.  Drop dumplin's into boiling broth; cover and cook about 10 minutes, or until done**.  Add the cut up chicken meat and heat thoroughly.

**I have to try it to know if it's done -- do whatever test works best for you!

The last time I made these, I tried freezing the left-overs.  There was a tiny compromise to the dish, but not enough to worry about -- it didn't stop us from having it for dinner!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just for Ben

There is a little boy in MadisonGrace's class that I just love!  His name is Ben G.  The other day while I was at school, Ben told me that his mom liked my "website" and that he loved my chicken and noodles!  While on the field trip, we each ate our picnic lunch.  Ben was curious as to what I had for lunch. He told me it looked "delicious!"  When I told him that it was chocolate graham crackers with peanut butter, he said, "OH!  My mom would LOVE that recipe!"  I didn't bother to tell Ben that we had absolutely nothing in our cabinets and this was a make-do kind of lunch!

So!  In honor of Ben . . .and his mother, here is the recipe!

Graham Cracker Sandwich

2 whole sheets of graham crackers; chocolate, honey, cinnamon, or low fat
Peanut Butter

Smear desired amount of peanut butter on one whole graham cracker, top with the remaining cracker.  Enjoy!  Packs well in a ziplock bag and travels well!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stuffed Chicken

Oh, I could put a recipe on here for stuffed chicken . . . but really!  We'd all just look at the recipe and say, "I'm not doin' that!"  But let me tell you about a place where you can GET stuffed chickens and they are great! 

My friend, Kilie, whom I met when we moved to Dallas, introduced me to these things!  She is from East Texas and she got me h.o.o.k.e.d!  Whenever she went back to see her mom, I'd have her bring me several chickens so that I'd have them in my freezer.  They're great for company or for your very own!  Now that Kilie lives in Tennessee, I don't have a "chicken runner" anymore . . .so if any of you get a wild idea to drive to Longview; give me a call and I'll go with you!  I only have one chicken left in the freezer!

The website is  They have several things they're proud of; but I think the bonless stuffed chickens are the main thing!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pumpkin Crisp

I just love Fall! The crisp mornings and the beautiful afternoons -- there isn't much that's better than that!  It's also great to pull out those Fall recipes and enjoy some yummy morsels!

My sweet Jackson loves pumpkin . . .always has!  Today he'll be thrilled when he comes home from school and discovers 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, 6 "giant" pumpkin muffins and a pumpkin crisp cake!  That's the recipe I'm sharing today!  This is easy like a dump cake but oh, so much more delicious!

Pumpkin Crisp
1 - 15oz can of pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 box white or yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix the first 5 ingredients together.  Pour into a lightly greased 9X13 pan.  Sprinkle cake mix evenly over mixture; sprinkle pecans evenly over dry mix and drizzle butter over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, if desired.  If making your own whipped cream (which is the VERY best!), add a bit of nutmeg in the cream as you whip for a yummy twist!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Green Bean Chicken Casserole

I'll go ahead and say it for you . . .this doesn't sound so great!  But I'm tellin' ya, it's just yummy!  Just ask my kids!  And I'll warn you . . .it doesn't look so hot either!  But serve it in individual ramekins and it looks a bit more appealing.  And you know, anything in a ramekin is just more fun to eat!

I first tried a casserole similar to this from my friend, Kilie.  Her recipe is a bit different, I think, but either way they both freeze just beautifully!


Green Bean Chicken Casserole

1 package long grain wild rice, prepared according to directions
4 cups cubed chicken, cooked
2 cans green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded Colby cheese
French Fried Onions

** can add a can of chopped water chestnuts, well drained

To the prepared rice add everything EXCEPT for the cheese and fried onions.  Dump everything into your 9 X 13 pan (or don't forget about those little ramekins).  Sprinkle with the cheese and freeze.

Thaw.  Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Sprinkle the fried onions on top the last 5 minutes. 

If you're skipping the freezer part.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake about 30 minutes.  Add the fried onions the last 5 minutes.