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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

FAVOR.....while I'm away!

Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know I'll be leaving in the morning, so will have no more posts until I return next Tuesday, March 30! And probably not until Thursday most likely as returning home is often chaotic right after arriving home! :) We all know this! :)

In the meantime, I have a favor! Will you become a "follower" on this blog if you haven't already so that I know who is following my blog!? :) If you don't have an account, you can still follow as an anonymous one and just put your name in the comments section of this post! :) PLEASE AND THANK YOU! :) Please also list HOW you know me, so that others know a little of who you are! :) Even if you don't "know" me, please let me know who you know that I know that got you connected with my blog! :)


THANK YOU IN ADVANCE! I can't wait to come back to see everyone that has signed up to follow or at least commented in this post!

Signing off, The Chef

Taco Pizza

So, growing up, we used to eat at a pizza joint called Godfathers Pizza, most of the time with my Aunt & Uncle and cousins, but sometimes also with some good friends of ours. And every time we ate there we had Taco Pizza! I got even MORE of a craving for Taco Pizza through all those most glorious pregnancies I went through and Casey's then became my best friend! :) Sounds disgusting, but those of you from the midwest are most familiar. Since we've moved out here to Phoenix, not ONE PLACE serves Taco that we've been able to find YET! So, with some help of my awesome sister-in-law that had the original idea, I tweaked and made it as close to the kind in the midwest that I could! PRETTY CLOSE if you ask me! DELISH!

Crust: See "Pizza Crust"


1 can refried beans
1 can Contadina Pizza Sauce
1 packet taco seasoning

Mix these three ingredients together and spread HALF of the mixture over ONE pizza crust. If you aren't going to be making two pizzas, then store the other half in a container to use the next time you make a taco pizza.


1 lb ground sausage (I use Jimmy Dean's, but any brand is fine.)
1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bag Doritos (Cheesy Nacho or Taco are our favorite for pizza.)

Brown sausage and drain. Top the sauced crust with the sausage and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden around the edges. Take out and serve hot with fresh cheddar, tomato, lettuce and chips! We do our own topping separately, that way if you have leftovers, your toppings don't get soggy. If you KNOW you're going to polish off the entire pizza, then you could just throw everything on top and serve from the pan.

Pizza Crust

2 T honey
3/4 c warm water
1 T yeast
2 c flour

I use my kitchen aid for my pizza crust. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey and flour and let the machine mix for you until it forms a ball on the beater and is not sticking to the sides any more. If it's still sticking to the sides, add very small amounts of flour at a time until it no longer does that. Roll out the dough on your pizza pan. Poke holes and bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes. Until barely golden brown. Cool.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tuna Noodle Casserole

2 - 1 lb packages of No Yolks Egg Noodles
2 cans tuna
2 c sour cream
1 3/4 c milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 c frozen peas
4-6 slices of bread
4 T butter/margarine
1/2 c Parmesan cheese

Boil noodles and let drain. In same pan, mix together tuna, sour cream and milk. Add noodles back in and stir so everything is mixed. Add the frozen peas and then pour the mix into a 9x13 pan. In a separate bowl, melt the butter an add cubed bread to coat all pieces with butter. Add the Parmesan cheese then and finish coating all the bread and then dump the bread on top of the noodle mix. Bake in 350 for 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chicken Fillets

As a child, my mom would ask each of us on our birthdays what we'd like for a special "birthday" meal! This is what I chose nearly every year! One of my favorites!

1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c milk
2 pkg Carl Buddig Corned Beef
2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Cut chicken breasts in half so there are about 6 portions. Lay in the pan. Cut corned beef and spread over the top of filets. Mix together soup, sour cream and milk and pour over the top. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 275 for 3 hours. Serve over cooked rice.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies)

1 - 12.8 oz box Rice Chex
2 c chocolate chips
3/4 c peanut butter
1/2 c butter
1 t vanilla
3 c powdered sugar

In a very large mixing bowl, dump the box of Chex and set aside. In a microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered for 1 minute. Stir until blended, then microwave on high for 1 more minute. Chocolate will still have SOME lumps in it, but continue stirring until the lumps are completely gone. Stir in vanilla. Pour over the cereal and continue mixing until every Chex has been coated. In two separate 1 gallon Ziploc bags, put 1 1/2 c powdered sugar in each bag. Dump then, half of the chocolate covered cereal in one bag, and the other half into the second bag. Shake so that each piece is coated. You can add more powdered sugar if you like them coated a little more. All in your preference. Put in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes before serving. Keep in the fridge if it isn't completely consumed in one sitting! :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

1 stick butter
1/2 c. flour
3 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, potatoes, peas
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped & cooked
1 box puff pastry

Melt butter. Saute onion and celery and mushrooms. Add flour and mix well. Gradually add broth till thickened. Precook diced carrots and potatoes 3 minutes in microwave. Add these to the soup along with chicken and frozen peas. Simmer 5 minutes. Fill 4 soup bowls. Stretch the puff pastry sheet over the bowl and bake according to pastry directions and until golden brown. One box of puff pastry will make 8 bowls. Each comes with two individually wrapped sheets. Each sheet makes four squares.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Coffee Cake

2 c flour
1 1/3 c sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
2 egg
1 1/3 c milk

4 T brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

1 stick butter/margarine

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients and put in a greased 9x13 pan. Mix the two topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the raw batter. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Pull out of the oven and poke holes with a fork in the top. Melt a stick of butter and pour over the top so that the butter drips into the holes. Eat warm! It's the best that way. We usually serve with fresh fruit.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cherry Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Crust (or store bought one)

1 pkg. grahams crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick (4 T) melted butter

Mix and spread evenly in 9x13 pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350.


8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 pkg dream whip
1/2 c cold milk

1 can Cherry Pie Filling (as you can see here, I went with Blackberries)

Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar. Should be smooth, not lumpy. In separate bowl mix dream whip with 1/2 cup milk for about 4 minutes on high until there are soft peaks. Mix dream whip mixture with cream cheese mixture. Spread on top of graham crust. Chill. Add cherries as desired.

Note: This can be made with really any type of fruit. I've seen them sell blackberries, blueberries and apples in this fruit can.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Banana Bread

1 c sugar
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
3 mashed bananas
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 3/4 c flour
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together until well blended. This batch makes 1 large loaf and 1 small, or 4 small loaves. Pour into greased pans to about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven at 325 for 45 minutes.

Spaghetti Pie

Ironically, this recipe came from a "Kids Cookbook" that my parents gave to me one Christmas when I was young! :) It's still used to this day with my OWN kids. Kind of strange to think about! :) HUGE family favorite, and I think you all too will make this regularly! We have this AT LEAST once a month, sometimes twice a month!

1 lb Angel Hair/Spaghetti
1 stick butter/margarine
1 c Parmesan cheese
4 eggs
1 lb ground beef
1 - 15 oz can Pizza Sauce (our personal favorite is Contadina)
1 lb mozzarella cheese

Boil pasta and drain. Once drained, put pasta back into the pan it was boiled in and add butter until melted. Add all eggs and Parmesan cheese directly into the pasta until everything is mixed completely. Put the pasta in the bottom of a 9x13 pan and even out. Brown and drain the ground beef. Add the pizza sauce to the cooked meat and pour this on top of the pasta layer. Top with the shredded mozzarella. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes or until cheese is golden!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chocolate Toblerone Fondue

2 - 12 oz Toblerone Chocolate Bar
1 c Heavy Whipping Cream
Pound Cake

Melt chocolate and add heavy whipping cream until blended in. Dip the strawberries, pound cake or marshmallows in the chocolate.

Green Goddess Dip

3/4 c cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 c milk
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 c parsley and chives
2 T white onion

Cream together all ingredients. Serve with steak or chicken.

Curry Sauce

1 c plain yogurt
1 t curry paste
1 T lime juice

Mix all ingredients together. Best served with Chicken.

Mustard Sauce

1/2 c sour cream
1 T Dijon
1 T yellow mustard
1 t Lemon juice
1 T sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Dip steak or chicken into it.

Chili Sauce

6 T mayo
2 T sour cream
1 T ketchup
1 T chili pepper

Mix all ingredients together. This can be served with steak or chicken.

Chicken Parmesan Fondue

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c breadcrumbs
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried basil
1 t oregano
1 T Parmesan Cheese
2 eggs
Canola Oil

Mix together dry ingredients. Whisk eggs. Dip each cubed piece of chicken in the egg mix, then into bread mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Heat oil to high heat in the fondue pot. Cook each piece for 3-4 minutes. Dip in the dips available. (See dips.)

Caesar Dressing

1/2 c grated Parmesan Cheese
1 c Miracle Whip/mayo
1 T milk
1 T lemon juice
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t Worcestershire Sauce
2 garlic clove

Mix all together and serve. This is a very thick dressing, but coats the romaine lettuce VERY WELL. I usually make a double batch and keep it in the fridge. It will last several weeks without going bad.


1 stick butter
2 clove garlic, minced
6 (3/4” slices) of French Bread
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese

Melt butter. Stir in garlic and sauté for about a minute. Throw in cubed bread to coat all pieces. Stir and coat the now buttered bread pieces in Parmesan Cheese. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until crisp and dry. Check frequently to prevent burning. Cool.

Note: To prevent an "oil" catastrophe from happening in your oven, be sure to bake these on a cookie sheet with an EDGE on it! :)

Traditional Swiss Fondue

3 1/2 c shredded Swiss Cheese & Gruyere Cheese
2 T flour
1 c white wine
2 T lemon juice
2 t finely chopped garlic
1 ounce cherry-flavored liqueur (Kirschwasser)
Dash of Nutmeg
Cauliflower, Olive Oil Rosemary Bread

Toss cheese with flour in a bowl. In a double broiler, over medium heat (once water is boiling), pour wine into the bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add half the cheese and cook until the cheese is melted. Add remaining cheese in small amounts at a time, stirring constantly in a circular motion after each addition until cheese is melted. Pour the liqueur slowly around the edge of the bowl. Pull mixture from the edge and cook for about 1 minute or until alcohol cooks off. Pour into warm fondue pot and keep warm over LOW heat. Garnish with nutmeg.

NOTE: This cheese fondue was done in a double boiler type situation. If you'll notice, there is a silver "pot" and a white "crock." This is so the cheese doesn't burn or scorch on the bottom. You don't HAVE to have a pot like mine, but definitely if doing over a stove, do it in a double boiler so as not to scorch your entire batch.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Won Ton Soup

1/2 lb fresh hamburger
2 green onions
1 pkg won ton wraps (usually found in produce or health food area)
10 c chicken broth

Mix together raw hamburger and onions. Spread several won ton wraps out on the counter at once and put 1 tsp hamburger mix in the center of each wrap. With a small bowl of water, wet your fingertip and get two edges wet. You can usually do about 4-5 at a time without it drying out too fast on you. bring the opposite corner to the other corner and seal where wet. It should now look like a triangle. Flip one corner in and dab water on its' edge, then flip other corner in and it will seal. Once all won tons are made, bring some chicken broth to a boil and once boiling, throw 10-15 of them in at a time for about 4 minutes. Garnish the soup with fresh green onions when ready to serve.

Note: If you've used FRESH hamburger and you can't eat the whole batch in one sitting, the prepared won tons can be frozen for later used. Cook them in the boiling chicken broth from frozen, only cook them 5-6 minutes instead of the 3-4 minutes in the original recipe. I typically make a double batch for this purpose!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicken Fried Rice

2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and chopped)
1 cup chopped baby carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
soy sauce to taste
1 1/2 T - 2 T sesame oil

Start rice in the rice cooker first so it's ready for when you have gotten the rest of the stuff prepped and ready to toss. Peel and chop carrots and cover in water to prepare for microwave. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, then add the peas to the carrots and microwave for 1 more minute, then drain. In a large saucepan, scramble eggs in the vegetable oil. Put scrambled eggs aside for later. Heat pan over high heat. Pour in 1 1/2-2 T sesame oil, then stir in carrots, peas, scrambled eggs and chopped chicken; stir in cooked rice, stirring constantly so everything is mixed and separated. Shake in soy sauce, and toss rice to coat. Drizzle with a little more sesame oil, and toss again. Best served HOT.

Note: Many people prepare and refrigerate their rice the day ahead so that it will separate easier when frying it up. Just another option.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cous Cous

(The picture above is how you would prepare for a FREEZER meal.)

This is a special recipe in my family. My dad grew up in Africa as a boy and this was something his mom made for he and his family. Cous Cous is a very popular African grown grain, in the same family as rice, that is really yummy! My mom made this for our family all growing up as well. Quick funny story. Shortly after I met my sweetie, my parents invited us over to their house for Sunday dinner so they could meet him and get to know him a little better for themselves. We all sat down around the table, prayed and started dishing out helpings to each person. Benjamin took one bite of the Cous Cous and said, "does this have peanut butter in it?" The original "Cowley Family Recipe" has peanut butter in it, unbeknownst to us, Benjamin is allergic to peanut butter!!!! So, we will never forget the meal my mom served the first time they met!

Stew to put over cooked Cous Cous:

1 - 46 oz can Tomato Juice
2 c carrots, chopped or sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs stew meat, cubed
2 cans green beans, drained
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
5 tsp beef bouillon

Brown stew meat with chopped onion until cooked. Pour into the crock pot and add all remaining ingredients. Let cook in the crock pot on low for at least 8 hours. It can be cooked longer than that, but at least 8 hours. Serve over cooked Cous Cous.

Cous Cous:

2 1/2 c Cous Cous
2 1/2 c chicken broth
4 T butter
1 t Italian Seasoning
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano

In a medium saucepan bring broth, butter and seasonings to a boil. Once boiling, take off the stove and add the Cous Cous, stir, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Use a fork to break it a part and fluff it up!

NOTE: This can also be made ahead and frozen for a future day of serving. The only thing you'll do different is that after cooking the stew meat with the onion, you'll add ALL OTHER INGREDIENTS listed under stew to a large Ziploc bag, MINUS the tomato juice. Freeze all ingredients and thaw the day before you plan on serving. Once thawed, put entire bag of contents, PLUS the tomato juice then into the crock pot, simmer on low in the crock pot for 8 hours and cook the cous cous as indicated above.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

Baked Pie Shell (see Pie Crust)

Lemon Custard:

1 1/2 c sugar
3 T flour
3 T corn starch
1 1/2 c water
2 T butter
1/3 c lemon juice

In a medium saucepan stir together the 1-1/2 cups sugar, the cornstarch, and flour; gradually stir in water. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks; pour yolk mixture into remaining hot mixture in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter until melted. Slowly stir in 1/3 cup lemon juice. Keep filling warm while preparing the meringue.


3 egg whites
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t cream of tartar
6 T sugar

In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites and 1 teaspoon lemon juice with an electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until soft peaks form. Gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar, beating on high speed about 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves.

Pour warm filling into cooled crust. Immediately spread meringue over filling, carefully sealing to edge of crust to prevent shrinkage. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 15 minutes. Cool on rack for 1 hour. Chill 3 to 6 hours before serving.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pie Crust

So, for the LONGEST time, pies were something I simply COULD NOT MAKE! The crusts are what got me every single time. I had "given up" on my efforts in fine tuning my crusts until I was at my Grandma Cowley's one weekend visiting and was going through her recipes!! I FOUND THE GOLDEN TICKET! :)

2 c flour
1 t salt
1/4 c water
2/3 c canola oil

In a larger bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Take 1/3 c of THAT mixture and put it into a separate tinier bowl. To the 1/3 c flour mixture, add 1/4 c water to make a paste. Set aside. To the larger bowl of flour and salt, add the oil until well blended. Once both are mixed well, mix paste into the oil mixture until well blended. This will make it firm up more into a crust dough. Viola! There you have it! This makes a DOUBLE crust for fruit pies, etc.

People have asked me how I make my pies look pretty! I've added pictures above to show the "step" process in which to do that. The first step is by putting the dough BETWEEN two pieces of wax paper! ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL! Roll into a circle and set the pan on top to make sure it goes out about an inch to an inch and a half to be big enough to go up the sides. Once it's rolled into a large enough circle, remove JUST THE TOP piece of wax paper. Take the corners of the bottom piece (now has crust on it) and flip it over onto your pie tin. If you're careful, you have a little flexibility with a tiny bit of movement. Once you have "in place" remove the other sheet of wax paper and the crust should fall into the pie pan. Gently lift the edges to scoot into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Don't want a ton of excess dough around the edges. Just a little is perfect. Flip that tiny bit UNDER and form a smooth hump around the edge of the crust. With your thumb and index finger (as shown above) left hand move along the outside and the right thumb and index finger will "fit into" the other two fingers to make the edge you see pictured. That picture is deceiving, but I didn't have anyone to take my picture with both my hands in the picture. :) Sorry! For pre-baked crusts for pies like Lemon Meringue, chocolate pudding, etc, bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Fruit pies you don't "pre-bake" your crust.

Crescent Rolls

I hope I'm not in trouble for posting this! :) I guess I'll find out! This recipe is a LONG TIME FAVORITE of the Abuhl family. My mom's side of the family! OH MAN! These are some amazing rolls, let me tell you! And if you've had them, they are so addicting. All of us in the family would SOLELY recognize our dear, most precious and sweet Aunt Mary for this recipe and YEARS of her generosity in making these at reunions, get togethers, etc. THANK YOU AUNT MARY! LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

1/4 c. warm water
1 pkg. yeast

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside.

1/2 c. plus 2 T. milk
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. Crisco

Warm in microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside.

1 egg
1 t. salt
3 1/2 c flour

Beat together. Add one cup flour, yeast mixture and milk mixture. Mix well. Then add about 3 c flour until mixed well. Use the other 1/2 c on the counter and mix in until all blended.

Let rise once. Knead. Divide dough into two equal parts. Roll out into a circle. Cut into 8 pie wedge shapes. Roll up starting from wide end. Place on cookie sheet. Let rise another 2 hours. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. As soon as the warmth is gone from the rolls, place them into a gallon ziploc bag. Each batch this size should make 16 rolls.


Dissolve yeast and water together and put in the bottom. Add all other ingredients except the flour. Put flour ON TOP, all 3 1/2 cups, and set your machine to the Dough Cycle (usually 90 minute cycle where it just mixes, kneads and raises once). Take out of machine (I don't usually have to use any extra flour as dough is usually perfect) and knead. Divide dough into two equal parts. Roll out into a circle. Cut into 8 pie wedge shapes. Roll up starting from wide end. Place on cookie sheet. let rise another 2 hours. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. As soon as the warmth is gone from the rolls, place them into a gallon Ziploc bag. Each batch this size should make 16 rolls.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

(The picture above is how you prepare it for a FREEZER meal.)

1 1/2 lb stew meat, cubed
1 T vegetable oil
1 T minced onion
2 cloves garlic
1 t oregano
1/4 t salt & pepper
1 1/2 c beef broth
1/3 c sherry
8 oz sour cream
1/2 c flour
1/4 c water
1 bag egg noodles (I used No Yolks)

Brown stew meat and toss (juice and all) into the crock pot. Add oil, minced onion, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, prepared broth and sherry and let cook on LOW for about 6 hours (can be more). In a separate bowl, mix together sour cream, flour, water and a little bit of the broth from the beef. Whisk so that there are no lumps from the flour. Add back into the crock pot and turn up to high for 30 more minutes until it thickens. Meanwhile boil egg noodles and drain. Serve beef stroganoff over the boiled noodles.

NOTE: This recipe can also be prepared ahead and put IN THE FREEZER for a freezer meal. All you would do differently is only brown the meat and let cool some and dump it into the Ziploc along with the oil, minced onion, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, prepared beef broth and sherry. Then you'd freeze until the day before serving day. On the serving day, you'd empty all contents of bag into your crock pot and simmer on low for 6 hours. In a separate bowl, mix together sour cream, flour, water and a little bit of the broth from the beef. Whisk so that there are no lumps from the flour. Add back into the crock pot and turn up to high for 30 more minutes until it thickens. Meanwhile boil egg noodles and drain. Serve beef stroganoff over the boiled noodles.