Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh...NO! I totally messed up!

Danna!?! What did I do wrong? These were more complicated than I kids called them 'crap' they liked them...

So...I think I went wrong with the almond bark. I got Heath Bar Toffee pieces....and they didn't melt well at all!!! What is almond bark?...and what's the deal with melting chocolate? Maybe I did it at too high a temp...but anyway, I thought everyone would enjoy my failure pics...these tasted good!!! But looked! Happy Thanksgiving all! Bethany...that chicken looks SO delicious! Kirk said, "That's not a professional pic?"..."How did she do that?" anyway...I tried!! Hopefully Thanksgiving will be better...

Mandarin Chicken

I don't mean to keep tooting my own horn, but this recipe is a keeper. I actually found it on someone else's food blog. I think it's called sisters cafe. I don't know them or anything, but I happened upon their blog and thought this one looked yummy. (This is actually my picture- I didn't steal theirs). Anyway, I made this a few nights ago and it was so good. Dare I say that it beats the chinese food at China Town in Powell. Yes, Natalee, it's way better than their orange chicken. Do they even have orange chicken? Anyway, you guys should definitely try this one!
Mandarin Chicken
3-4 chicken breasts
1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 beaten eggs
1/2 c boiling water with 1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c vinegar
1 small can mandarin oranges
roasted, salted, sliced almonds
Mix flour with salts and pepper. Put in bag. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and dip them in eggs then put them in flour bag. Heat oil in skillet and brown chicken pieces. Mix bouillon, ketchup, worcestershire, sugar, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Put chicken in a 9x13 pan then pour sauce on top. Bake uncovered at 350 for one hour. Baste chicken a few times. When done, top with oranges and almonds and serve over rice. (Note: I didn't have the almonds, so I obviously didn't use them and it still tasted great. In fact, it didn't really NEED the oranges either, but I definitely liked having them in there.)

Chicken Parmesan

This is such a yummy recipe. I used to make one similar to this, but I would just use a jar of spaghetti sauce. Now that I've tasted this sauce I'll never go back to my old way. It's sooo much better. Also, you can cut a lot of fat out by skipping the breading and just placing the chicken in the pan raw. Just sprinkle a little bit of mozzarella and parm on top of the chicken and pour all the sauce on top. Bake it for about 40 mins instead of 30.

1-2 lbs chicken breasts
2 beaten eggs
Italian Bread Crumbs
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
8 oz very thinly sliced mozzarella
1/4 c parmesan

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Saute onion and garlic in oil until trasparent. Add rest of ingredients and simmer 10 mins.

Dip chicken in eggs then in bread crumbs. Heat oil and brown each side for 2-3 mins. Put chicken in bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Put one slice of cheese on top of each piece then sprinkle some parmesan, then put half of the sauce on top. Then repeat. Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta - I like it with linguine.

Peanut Butter Pie Clarification

Ok, so I was just re-reading over my pie recipie's and was wondering if I made myself clear or not on the peanut butter pie. I don't think I did, so hopefully you either picked up on it yourself, or else you haven't made it yet and I didn't screw you up!!!

You only bake the pie if you put the merigne on it!!! If you don't do the merigne, then you don't need to bake it, just put the whip cream on top when the pudding is cooled.

SORRY if I was confusing. I'm so used to reading my own recipes and knowing what I mean, that I just don't double check sometimes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jolie Cake

1 1/2 C flour
3 T Cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
6 T vegetable oil
1 C cold water

1/2 C butter or margarine
1/2 C peanut butter
1 C powdered sugar
1 T milk (adjust if needed)

Bake cake at 350 for 16-18 min...frost when cool. Ha ha...I was flipping my recipe card over and over, and that's all it says...but it's pretty basic. This cake is truly moist and yummy! My mom likes it with crunchy peanut butter!

Frozen Cranberry Salad it is- My (Megan's) favorite Thanksgiving recipe. Now it's going to sound like a let-down, but if I had to pick ONE thing to make for Thanksgiving...and eat...this would be it. It must be a throwback to the 50's because it uses mayonnaise...and it sounds kinda gross, but it isn't! I'm not one for canned cranberries plopped on my plate, and this is the perfect alternative. It's frozen, and compliments the turkey, stuffing, pretty much everything on the plate, and while you're eating it kind of melts, and is oh so yummy melding with all the different probably don't have time to make it if you've already done your shopping this year, but test it out sometime, and make it NEXT year, or at Christmas!

1 Can Jellied Cranberry Sauce (not the whole cranberries)
2 T lemon Juice

Beat the above two ingredients together until saucy. Spoon into bottom of a loaf pan rinsed with cold water. (Watter droplets are fine...and help later for releasing this from the pan)

1 C Whipping Cream (whip until stiff peaks form, and then add...)
1/4 C Powdered Sugar

After that, fold in

1/4 C Mayonnaise, and 1/2 C Chopped nuts (my mom uses walnuts, I like pecans)

Spoon this creamy mixture over the cranberry sauce, and freeze for about 3 hours. It thaws fast, so it should probably be one of the last things on the table. I serve it in about 1 inch slices...sort of like banana bread. To loosen from the pan, I dip the bottom of the pan in hot water...but mostly it thaws so fast I don't have to. I've also doubled it and made it in a cake pan.

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

I started making this a few years ago for our Thanksgiving.  Everyone started choosing this over the pumpkin pie, so the past couple years I haven't even made a pumpkin pie.  I feel a little bad about that, since it is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but I don't want the leftovers.  So, try this one this year.  It is really yummy, and very simple.  Your guests will love you!

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup  sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2   eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp.  ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Remove 1 cup of the batter; place in medium bowl. Stir in pumpkin and spices.

 Pour remaining plain batter into a graham cracker crust (I buy a prepared one, but you could make your own); top  with pumpkin batter.

Bake at 325 for 40 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Top each serving with whipped cream. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pie Crust

So if you are feeling domestic and want to make your pies totally homemade, this is the pie crust recipe my mom uses, and I have to say, it is pretty darn good! It is also really easy! I made my first pie when I was like 12, I had to do a demonstration for Young Women's and you all KNOW that I am far from "domestic". The crust is always really flaky and yummy, plus you get about 6 pie shells out of it so you can make all kinds of yummy pies!


4 c. flour
1/4 c. maragrine
1 Tbsp. Vinegar
About 1/2 c. of water
1 1/2 c. lard (yeah I know, yuck, but this is what makes them flaky and good!)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. salt


Combine flour, salt, sugar. With a Pastry Blender cut in lard and margarine into pea-sized pieces. In separate bowl beat together egg and vinegar. Add enough water to make 1 cup of liquid. Stir liquid into your dry mixture and mix just till moistened.

Peanut Butter Pie

OK D...this seriously is about the easiest pie on the planet to make. There really is no recipe to it, so I feel a little silly even posting it. Mom used to make this with meringue on the top but I have never been a successful meringue maker so I just put whipped cream on the top, it's good either way. :)


1/2 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar
Vanilla pudding


With a pastry blender blend peanut butter and powdered sugar together. You can add more powdered sugar if you need to, but the peanut butter should be crumbly and no longer be sticky. It almost forms into tiny balls.

In the bottom of a baked pie crust sprinkle a generous amount of your peanut butter mixture on the bottom. Next pour vanilla pudding on top of the peanut butter mixture. I just use the Jell-O brand Vanilla pudding that you cook. I buy the big package. If you are going to do meringue, this is where you would top with meringue and then sprinkle the rest of the peanut butter mixture on top. If you are going to do whip cream, you obviously skip this step.

Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes. Once the pie is cool, I instead add whip cream and top with the rest of the peanut butter mixture.

See...Easy as PIE! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chocolate Cream Pie

Thanksgiving is around the corner, so I thought I should post my favorite pie recipe!  When we spend Thanksgiving with the Nelsons, I make the pies, and the chocolate is always the favorite.  It is, of course, my mom's recipe.  But in Washington, I take all the credit for this one.  :) 

Heat in a saucepan on the stove, stirring very frequently:
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 square unsweetened chocolate

Wisk together, until smooth:
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

Once the milk is heated and the chocolate is melted, add the above mixture to your saucepan.  Stir constantly until it boils and becomes thick like pudding.

Pour into prepared pie shell.  (I can post my crust recipe too, later)  Place plastic wrap directly on top of hot pudding to prevent it from forming a skin.  Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.  Top with whipped cream (has to be the real stuff, heavy whipping cream, whipped at home!  No cool whip or stuff from the can! :)  Shave chocolate on top as a garnish.

If you are like Natalee, you prefer Coconut Cream Pie.  Make this the same way, but do not add the unsweetened chocolate at the beginning.  In your prepared pie crust, put a layer of coconut, half the pudding, another layer of coconut, the rest of the pudding, and then the whipped cream.  Garnish top with more coconut.  Also really yummy!  I usually make both kinds for our Thanksgiving feast.


Oreo Truffles

So here is the yummy, yet evil, Oreo truffle recipe that I teased you all about.  They are really easy, and a great holiday treat to deliver to friends.  Or, just make them and refuse to share! :)

1 pkg Oreo Cookies (3 sleeves) - crushed very well, I put them in a large ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin
1  8 oz pkg cream cheese - softened to room temperature
Almond bark (1 lb)
Milk chocolate 

Mix crushed Oreo pieces with the cream cheese (I use a pastry cutter for this part) until it forms a "dough".  Roll into small balls, place on wax paper, and chill for 45 minutes.  

Dip chilled balls into melted almond bark, and place back onto waxed paper.  Drizzle with melted milk chocolate.  (You can also dip in milk chocolate, and drizzle with the almond bark - whatever sounds best to you.)  Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Enjoy!  You will love them!  

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some Ideas for Danna...

My friend Jamie posted what looked like a healthy recipe. Click here for it.

and try the pan fried chicken with tarragon...from this post I did a while back. It had too much garlic, but...the tarragon was a spice I hadn't really used before, and I liked it! Click HERE for that post. The orange cornmeal pancakes were good too. (Just scroll down...the recipes are towards the bottom.)

I made the pumpkin bars! And they were such a hit! Mattie had it as his birthday cake! I can't wait to get the Oreo recipe!! I just gagged down a bunch of plain yogurt, and cottage cheese. Ick! I'm on a mostly protein diet, and it's killing me!

Healthy Recipe Ideas?

So Brady and I have taken about a 2 month break from eating healthy.  It has been nice, but the pants are starting to get a little tight. :)  So, we decided today that we are going to try to be better.  Just wondering if any of you have any "healthy" recipes you would like to share.  I think the hardest thing about dieting is knowing what to cook!  I get stumped and end up rotating between salmon and taco salad every night.  Gets kind of old.  I am going to make Meg's chicken recipe from her trainer tonight, but I would love other ideas.  P.S.  I am not trying to make this into a healthy recipe blog or anything.  I'm going to post my Oreo truffle recipe soon - they are so good and oh so evil!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pina Colada's

I just made these tonight, but I totally stole the Recipe from Trisha. She posted it on her blog last summer, and Chris and I have made them like 4 times since then! I figured since she had already posted it on her blog, I would put it up on here for those of you who didn't get it off of hers last summer.

When Chris and I went on our Cruise we got hooked on pina colada's. We have tried to find some since then that tasted like the ones on the cruise, and this recipe is the only one I have tried where they taste EXACTLY like them! They are SO YUMMY and so easy! I can't make them fast enough to satisfy Cameron! He drinks them till his tummy can't hold anymore! :)


7 oz of Pineapple Juice
2 oz of Coconut Milk (They sell this at Wal-mart, but it's kind of hard to find. It's over in the mixed drinks section in a little soup like can.)
1 cup of Crushed ice

Blend together and top with Whip Cream and Maraschino Cherry.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce

My good friend Meghann found this Rachel Ray recipe and was raving about it.  I got it from her and we had it for dinner tonight.  Let me tell you - it was SO good!  While it took me a bit longer than 30 minutes, it was still quick, and it tasted good enough to be served in a restaurant for $20 a plate.  Really, you have to try it.  My grocery store didn't have the three kinds of mushrooms it called for, so I just used two different kinds, and about a total of 20 instead of 36.  Also, I used milk instead of cream, but that's just me.  :)

  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 6 ounces
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 12 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, a couple of sprigs, chopped
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, eyeball it
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half, a couple turns of the pan
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a generous handful


Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add orzo pasta. Cook to al dente.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

Return the skillet to the heat, turn heat back a bit, and add the butter. Once the butter melts add the mushrooms and brown stirring occasionally for about 4 to 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms are brown season with salt and pepper then add the garlic, thyme and shallots. Cook stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes or until the shallots are wilted. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook 2 minutes more. Whisk in the stock, balsamic vinegar and the cream. Turn the heat up to high and simmer for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice the chicken on an angle. Add the parsley and the chicken back to the skillet to heat up, about 1 minute.

To serve, pile orzo on dinner plates and top with the sliced chicken and sauce.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We're trying recipes!

Just wanted to let everyone know that for dinner today we had Natalee's Cream Cheese Chicken and for dessert Bethany's pumpkin bars.  Both were delicious!  I highly recommend them.  FYI: For the chicken, I used fat-free cream cheese and the 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, and it was great!  If I hadn't been the cook, I would have never known that it was "reduced calorie."  Now tomorrow, it is Megan's Sticky Chicken.  Can't wait!  Thanks for all the great recipes.  It is making me excited about cooking again. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cheesy Potato Soup (Crockpot)

Last year we had an enrichment where you were supposed to bring a crockpot dish to share with everyone, and then you were all supposed to vote for your favorite one. So, I found this recipe online and brought it. Well, I don't mean to brag or anything, but I definitely won. My prize was a ladle, and everytime I use it I think about my glorious win :) This is another good fall/winter meal. I love using my crockpot when it's cold outside.

Cheesy Potato Soup
1 bag of southern style hashbrowns (the ones that are in cubes), or 6 c. diced, peeled potatoes
5 c. water
2 c. diced onions (I actually only do about one cup)
1/2 c. diced celery (I don't do the celery)
1/2 c. chopped carrots
4 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1/4 tsp pepper
2 c. cooked, diced ham (I just buy one of those packages of hormel cubed ham)
12 oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. cubed velveeta

Combine all ingredients except milk and cheese in the the crockpot. Cook on low 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Stir in milk and cheese until cheese melts. This is really good with a fresh batch of Rhodes Rolls.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

This is a really yummy fall treat. I've made it several times for parties and people always ask me for the recipe. I like these even better when they're served chilled, but they're pretty tasty either way.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing
2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cloves
4 beaten eggs
15 oz can of pumpkin
1 c oil

In a large mixing bowl stir flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, soda, salt, and cloves. Stir in eggs, oil and pumpkin until combined. Spread in ungreased 15x10x1 pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins. Cool for at least 2 hrs on wire rack and then frost.

Cream Cheese Icing
6 oz cream cheese
6 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
3 c powdered sugar

Beat together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Poppy seed Ham and Swiss Sandwiches

My mother in law makes these, and they are so good!  They are perfect on a cold day, especially with your favorite soup.

1 package dinner rolls (I like the ones from Safeway - but if you don't have that store, any SOFT dinner roll would do.  Costco rolls are good too.  
Deli Ham
Swiss Cheese

Assemble sandwiches by spreading mayo on the roll, then adding the ham and cheese.  Line assembled sandwiches on a cookie sheet.  

Sauce:  Mix the following together
1 stick butter (melted)
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp. poppy seeds (can eyeball it, depending on how much you like)
2 tsp. deli mustard (again, adjust this depending on your liking.) 

Spoon sauce over top of sandwiches.  Let sit 30 minutes.  Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.  This recipe is for about a dozen sandwiches, but it really depends on much sauce you want on each roll.  I usually make it go farther... but they are better (and more fattening) with more sauce. :)   

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cafe Rio Chicken Salad

If you have not been to UT or AZ to get hooked on Cafe Rio, you may not appreciate this recipe as much as I do.  Since I am 600 miles from the real thing, I have to make my own, and this is pretty close.  Not the real thing, but very yummy!  This is pretty labor intensive, and it serves 20 if you make it as directed, so save this one for when you have company.  

Suggestion: If you are not up for all the work, but want a quick, easy, and yummy meal, make just the chicken.  It is so easy and tasty.  Then, use it in tacos or enchiladas.  I make quick enchiladas all the time this way.  (I got this idea from my brother Collin, who made them for me when I visited.)  Just roll the chicken with some cheese (Collin used black beans too) in tortillas.  Top with red enchilada sauce and more cheese (I use canned sauce for convenience - but Collin made his from scratch.  It was better, so if you have the time, do it that way.  I don't have his recipe, sorry.)   Bake at 350 until cheese is melted.  So yummy and super easy!  But, don't let this idea sway you from trying the whole recipe below!  It's worth it!


5 lbs chicken breast, boneless/skinless

1 sm. Bottle zesty Italian dressing

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

3 garlic cloves, minced

Mix all ingredients together in a large crockpot.  Cook on high for 5-7 hours.  Remove chicken and shred with fork.  Reserve a small amount of juice and pour over shredded chicken to keep moist.  Keep warm.

Tomatillo Dressing

1 pkg Hidden Valley buttermilk ranch dressing mix

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup mayo

2 tomatillos

1 garlic clove minced

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tsp lime juice

1 small jalapeno, seeds removed

Blend ingredients together in a blender.  Add additional mayo if dressing is too thin.  Keep refrigerated.

Lime Rice

In a small pan, sauté:

2 Tbsp butter

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

In a large pot, bring to boil the following:

6 cups water

2 ½ Tbsp chicken buillon

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

2 tsp cumin

2 small cans diced green chilies

1 Tbsp lime juice

½ tsp salt

Add onion and garlic to boiling water.  Add 3 cups long grain rice.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Pico de Gallo

4 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 white onion, chopped

¼ bunch cilantro, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 tsp lime juice

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Combine together in a medium bowl

Serve in the following order:

Tortilla w/ shredded cheese melted on it


Black or pinto beans

Lime rice

Red and green leaf lettuce, 

Pico de Gallo


Fresh cilantro

Parmesan cheese

Fresh lime slices 

Tomatilla dressing

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

Don't let the name scare you away! The other night my Sister in Law invited us over for dinner, and this was what she made. It was SO GOOD! This is one of those recipe's that you probably wouldn't try if you only looked at the name or the ingredients, but it was really yummy, and I'm totally going to make it and have it again. It's not at all a "diet" meal, but it's a good meal to make in the morning, and forget about until dinner time. It also makes a LOT, so you may want to cut it in half, if you don't want leftovers for awhile.


3 lbs chicken pieces
1 (2/3 ounce) package Italian salad dressing mix
4 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth


Place chicken pieces in crock pot and sprinkle Italian salad dressing mix over chicken. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons melted butter.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan and saute onion and garlic. Add Cream of Chicken Soup, cream cheese, and chicken broth. Stir until smooth.
Add this mixture to crock pot and cook on low for an additional hour.

She served this over egg noodles, which was really good. You could probably put it on top of potatoes, or rice too. It's a little rich to eat just by itself.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Banana Bread

This is my mom's recipe, and it is always a hit for me!  You'll have to try it, Megan, and let me know what you think.  The topping is what makes it so yummy!

Cream together:
3 large bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Brown sugar & cinnamon (as desired)

Cream together bananas, sugar, butter and eggs.  Mix dry ingredients and add.  Mix well.  Pour into two loaf pans.  Sprinkle tops generously with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour (or until toothpick comes out clean).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Natalee's Chicken Pot Pie...I made it...and we liked it....

Ok...I LOVED the Chicken Pot Pie Nati!!! I'm looking for a perfect Banana Bread recipe! Do you guys have one or two? Mine always come out raw in the middle....what am I doing wrong??? Welcome to our recipe blog Danna....I hope others join! I've been inspired lately by some tasty recipes! xoxo Megan

Bowtie Chicken Pasta

This is another one of those recipes that tastes like it must have been lots of work, but it is so easy and fast. Definitely one of our favorites. The recipe calls for a rotisserie chicken, but that is just for ease. I have used regular chicken breast too (enough for your family), and it is just as good.

1 deli rotisserie chicken
1 16 oz jar alfredo sauce (I use Ragu classic)
1 10 oz package bowtie pasta, cooked al dente
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
1/3 cup basil pesto
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Remove chicken from bones and cut into small pieces. In large bowl, mix alfredo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and chicken. Add cooked pasta. Mix well. Place in 9x13 pan, cover, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Normally, I am a snob about jarred alfredo, but in this recipe it is great. Also, if you prefer, you can substitute roasted red peppers for the sun-dried tomatoes. Tip: to save money, I buy the pesto at Costco and freeze smaller portions in baggies. Pesto can freeze for a year, and then I always have it on hand. Time-saving tip: I cook lots of chicken breasts in my crock pot (like a whole Costco bag), and then freeze smaller portions in freezer bags. I cook with chicken a lot, so when I need it, I just have to defrost it for a couple minutes and it is ready to add to whatever I am making that night.

Minestrone Soup

Natalee invited me to contribute my recipes, so here is one of our favorite fall meals. I got this "recipe" from my mom, and it is so easy, I don't think it can even be called a recipe. But, that is my kind of meal! So here it is:

1 package Bear Creek Minestrone Soup Mix
1 lb. Italian Sausage
Frozen Carrots

Cook the soup according to the package directions, but add desired amount carrots when it starts to boil. Cook Italian Sausage and add to soup and cook a few more minutes. Turn the heat off, cover pot with the lid, and let it sit for about an hour. Serve and enjoy a meal that everyone will think you slaved over!

Seriously, this is Brady's favorite soup. When I have guests for dinner and offer several different soups, this one is that one that everyone always wants the "recipe" for, instead of the soups I slaved over. So, try it and see what you think.