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Monday, December 17, 2012

Chili's Skillet Queso

Note: Velveeta is in the crackers section, not the refrigerated section with the other cheeses! For this recipe I used ground turkey, I'm not much of a beef eater. 

The recipe calls for cutting the Velveeta into squares so it melts better, but I had not trouble melting it as it came. 

As the chili and Velveeta melt together, keep on simmer until your ground beef/turkey is fully cooked. Add to the mixture and stir together. 

  • Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Velveeta cheese
  • 1 (15 oz) can Hormel No-Bean Chili
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 1/2 lb cooked Ground Beef (optional)

In a large skillet or large pot cut the Velveeta into cubes, this will make it easier to melt. Mix in the Hormel Chili. When the cheese and Chili is melted and mixed together add the paprika, lime juice, cayenne pepper and cumin. Keep on simmer. If you choose to add ground beef or ground turkey in another skillet add around 2 tbs olive oil, add ground beef or turkey until fully cooked, around 5 min. Stir frequently and add to the Velveeta and chili mixture. Serve with hot tortilla chips! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sweetheart Strawberry Pies

Use your favorite pie dough (I used store bought) and using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out your shape.
Be sure to put flour on your dough
Cut strawberries into little pieces. Make them small, so it's easier to fill.
Sprinkle with a hefty amount of sugar, you want these pies to taste sweet :)
Fill half of your pie cutouts with the strawberry mixture
Place a spoonful of Ricotta on top
Seal to press with a fork
Brush top with melted butter. 
Bake in oven for roughly 15 min. Depending on the thickness of your dough and the strength of your oven it may take longer. Keep a close watch! When they are done, sprinkle with powder sugar and serve warm! Yum!


  • pie dough
  • fresh cherries, chopped
  • ricotta cheese
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • 1 TBSP butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Roll out your pie dough (I bought a store bough pie crust and didn't need to roll it out much)
  3. Flour your dough
  4. Cut out shapes with cookie cutter.
  5. Cut strawberry into tiny piece and sprinkle with sugar
  6. Lay out your star cookie cut outs on the baking sheet. Spoon on your strawberries and riccotta. Lay down the top dough, seal to press with a fork.
  7. Brush the top with melted butter.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. The baking time will largely depend on the thickness of your pastry dough and your oven. Just keep close watch.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to plate. Dust with powdered sugar if desired

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cheesecake Factory's Chicken Madeira

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. 

Sautee chicken breast for 4 min on each side or until brownd and cooked thru. 

Take chicken off skillet and cover the chicken in a pot or pan to keep warm

Chop of mushrooms and place on the uncleaned skillet. Sautte for about 2 min. 

Add the Madeira wine, beef stock and butter to the mushrooms. Bring to boil and let simmer for 20 min. 


4 tablespoon olive oil (used at different times during the recipe) 
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts ( I used two in my recipe, since I was cooking it for two) 
8 asparagus spears 
4 slices mozzarella cheese ( I used shredded mozzarella, since that is what I had in my fridge) 
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bella)
3 cups madeira wine (I found it in the wine section at Safeway, it was only $5 ) 
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup cornstarch (optional) (or as much needed to help sauce thicken)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat 2 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
cover each chicken breast with plastic wrap and using a mallet flatten to about 1/4 inch thick.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Saute chicken for 4 minutes on each side or until the chicken has browned just a bit.
Remove from pan and keep warm, I just put mine in a pot and covered
Do not clean pan.
Keeping the heat on medium, add two Tablespoons olive oil to the skillet.
Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for about two minutes.
Add the Madeira wine, beef stock, butter and pepper
Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
The sauce will be done when it has thickened and turned a dark brown in color.
(optional-Make a paste from cornstarch and some of the sauce. Stir into sauce until thickened.).
Once the sauce is ready, I let the chicken marinate in the sauce for about 5 min. This really lets the juices into the chicken.
Prepare the dish by arranging the cooked chicken fillets on a baking pan.
Take the chicken out of the sauce and place on your serving dish

Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on top and put in microwave for 20 seconds or until melted
Pour sauce mixture over and serve with your favorite sides! 
I baked my asparagus for 20 min in the oven. Sprinkled with olive oil and salt and pepper. 

Recipe adapted from:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Homemade PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps


3 tablespoons oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnut
2/3 cup mushroom
3 tablespoons chopped onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 -5 leaves iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot mustard
2 teaspoons water
1 -2 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste

Stir Fry Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar


Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.
Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.
Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve.
Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well.
Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.
Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
Keep oil in the pan, keep hot.
As chicken cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
When chicken is cool, mince it as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are.
With the pan still on high heat, add another Tbsp of vegetable oil.
Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan.
Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce"cups".
Top with"Special Sauce"

Recipe courtesy of :

Chili's Restaurant Monterey Chicken

After marinating your chicken cook it however you like. I seared mine on the stove and added all the marinade to it, very flavorful this way! 

I bake my bacon on heavy tinfoil placed on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 min turning once at 400 degrees.

Once bacon and chicken is done, layer on BBQ sauce and place a piece of bacon over it. 

Sprinkle Cheese over the bacon. Then broil or microwave so the cheese melts perfectly over the chicken. Serve and ENJOY! 


3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
5 dashes garlic
5 dashes salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of shredded monterey jack cheese
8 slices apple-smoked bacon
8 tablespoons barbecue sauce, of your choice


Mix the honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and salt together. Marinate the chicken in this mixture for at least 30 min. If you can do this the night before that would be great! 
To cook:.
Bake, Broil, Grill or Skillet Fry, either way works well. Chili's grills (and I prefer grilled). Choose your preferred method and cook until the breasts are done. Since I made this during the winter time I seared it on a pan, in the marinade and it was fabulous! 
While the breasts are cooking, fry up the bacon until CRISP! I bake my bacon. It's easy and less messy, place bacon on heavy duty tin foil on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 min. Turning them over once. 
When the chicken is done, top each breast with 2 tbsps of BBQ sauce, two strips of bacon and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Place chicken in broiler of microwave to melt the cheese on top. Enjoy!! 

Recipe courtsesy of

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl - The cream cheese is hard to mix if it's in a small bowl like the one you will serve it in.

Transfer the mixture into a smaller oven safe dish. I use the same ones I use for making French Onion Soup..         

Sprinkle a layer of shredded Mozzarella cheese on top. Place in Broiler for about 3 min. or until golden brown and melted. Serve hot and with crackers, chips or pita bread. ENJOY!!  

  • 1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  1. Mix everything and pour it into a baking dish.
  2. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top, about 20-30 minutes.

Easy Pai Tai

8 ounces dried, wide and flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 squirt (about 1/8 teaspoon) Sriracha 
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs, light beaten (optional)
1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts
  1. Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add garlic and cook. Add eggs and cook, scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Transfer eggs to a plate.
  5. Add noodles to skillet. Cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are soft (about 1 minute). Add egg mixture and toss to coat, breaking eggs up gently.
  6. Serve noodles crushed roasted peanuts

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rainbow Splattered Cupcakes

These are so fun to make! I'm not a kid by any means but I will be making these with my niece who is almost two now. You can use any color you want, I chose neon food coloring because it looks awesome when they are finished. Everyone complemented me on these! 


Using white cake mix, make batter as directed. Use several plastic/glass cups, pouring white batter in them, divide between all cups. Add food coloring to each cup for the colors desired. Mix each cup and then put a little of each color in each muffin cup in small blobs. Then drizzle other colors over the blobs. Bake as directed. My kids always wanted these for every birthday and special occasion

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk (not fat-free)
1 (1 oz) pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix
3 C. cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) lasagna noodles, cooked (I recommend reducing it to 8 oz to 12 oz)
1 1/2 to  2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 to  2 C mozzarella cheese, grated
Cook the chicken and noodles first at the same time. Once noodles are done–rinse in cold water and set aside (it keeps them from sticking together). Combine evaporated milk (don’t use fat-free version) and Ranch dressing in a 3 quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved. Stir in chicken and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes (don’t do any less), stirring frequently. Layer half of lasagna noodles, poultry sauce, and cheese in well-buttered 9×13 pan. Repeat layers again. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Gluten Free Chicken and Bacon Skewers

I have hoped on the Gluten Free bandwagon, just to see if it makes me feel any better! I found this great gluten free recipe book at Marshalls for only $7.99. Called Gluten-Free Main Dishes, Desserts and Breads by Publications International, Ltd. I cooked this for my mom and I one night and it was a huge hit! So yummy, healthy and fun to make!


1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup gluten-free soy sauce (I couldn't find so I used red wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 pund bacon (I used turkey bacon)
Lemon wedges (optional)


1. Combine lemon juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and lemon pepper in large resealable food storage bag; mix well. Remove 1/4 cup marinade, set aside. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 30 min.
2. Preheat broiler. Sprinkle black pepper over bacon; gently press to adhere. Wrap the bacon around the chicken and pock through onto skewers to hold them together.
3. Broil skewers 10-15 min or until chicken is cooked and bacon is crisp. Turn occasionally. Brush several times with marinade. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Note: It using wooden skewers, soak in water 20 min before using to prevent scorching.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

French Dip Crescent Rolls

OH MY GOSH! These are some of the best apetizers I have ever made and let me tell you I have made hundreds. I literally did not sit down to eat these bad boys! I ate them directly from the stove top and kept munching until my tummy couldn't take it anymore!


  • 1 packages crescent rolls, extra buttery 
  • 1/2 pound deli roast beef, thinly sliced (I go to the counter and usually ask for as many slices as I need) 
  • 4 ounces Swiss or provolone cheese slices ( I used swiss and it was amazing!) 
  • Au Jus Sauce for dipping 

  1. Unroll crescents onto a cookie sheet (no need to grease the sheet)
  2.  Place a slice of roast beef and a piece of cheese on each crescent.
  3. Roll crescents starting from the wide end and ending at the narrow end.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes, until crescents are a golden color.
  5. Serve with A Jus Sauce 

Fantastic Cobb Salad

I've been looking for a fantastic Cobb Salad. Not only do I love to eat them! But I love them for a dinner party, they can be arranged beautifully. I found the most tasty recipe by Ellie Krieger. And it was so fun decorating the salad! Who would of thought!


For the Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

Cooking spray
1/4 pound sliced Black Forest or other smoked ham
2 hard-boiled eggs
6 cups romaine lettuce (about 6 ounces) coarsely chopped
2 cups watercress, thick stems removed
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 avocado, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup cooked diced chicken breast 1 (6-ounce) breast
1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort or Blue cheese (about 2 ounces)


In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Slice the ham into 1/2-inch strips. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat over a medium-high heat. Add the ham to the skillet and cook over stirring frequently, until the ham is warmed through and crisped, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Remove and discard the yolk from 1 of the hard boiled eggs. Chop the remaining egg white and whole egg and set aside.

In a large bowl toss the romaine and watercress with 2/3 of the dressing. Put the dressed greens onto a large serving dish. Place the tomatoes on top forming a row down the middle. In strips on either side of the tomatoes place the avocado, chicken, cheese, diced egg, and the crisped ham on top of the greens. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

Best French Onion Soup

Here are the ingredients: I use salted butter and the Sherry is what really makes this soup!

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pot. Do this while you chop your onions. Add the onions as you shop them. 

Add the onions until they turn brown. About 15-20 min. 

Add the beef stock, sherry and bay leaf. Let simmer for 30-30 min. 

So, the cold weather has started and my house is filled with the smell of Christmas Tree pine and cinnamon pine cones, what could be more perfect to pair the cold weather with some French Onion Soup. I scoured the internet trying to find the best french onion soup. I even took out some of my moms old cookbooks and looked through those dusty old things! I kept coming back to this recipe! Rachel Rey's Oh So Good French Onion Soup. I like the sound of this!! And believe me IT IS "Oh So Good!" 


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, picked and chopped or poultry seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 4 thick slices crusty bread, toasted
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese


Heat a deep pot over medium to medium high heat. Work next to the stove to slice onions. Add oil and butter to the pot. Add onions to the pot as you slice them. When all the onions are in the pot, season with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme. Cook onions 15 to 18 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender, sweet and caramel colored. Add bay leaf and sherry to the pot and deglaze the pan drippings. Add 6 cups stock and cover pot to bring soup up to a quick boil.
Arrange 4 small, deep soup bowls or crocks on a cookie sheet. Preheat broiler to high. Once soup reaches a boil, ladle it into bowls. Float toasted crusty bread on soup and cover each bowl with a mound of cheese. Sprinkle remaining fresh thyme on cheese and place cookie sheet with soup bowls on it under hot broiler until cheese melts and bubbles.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sweet Balsamic Glazed Skirt Steak

I'm a sucker for a good skirt steak and this recipe is amazing!! It makes the steak juicy and your palette craves for the salty sweet combinations. I like to pair it with zucchini and orange/red pepper melody. I usually coat the veggies in some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy! Let me know what you think.


  • Simple! Just mix all of the ingredients together and let steak marinade overnight in the fridge before you throw it on the grill!