Friday, November 25, 2011

Second-Time Score: Turkey Spaghetti Casserole

It was just the hubs, a friend and I for an Ohioan Thanksgiving this year, but we went ahead and got a 12-pounder because we loooove turkey sandwiches post-holiday (and I of course would not be a good hostess if I didn't send our guest home with leftovers too)! If you are over the sandwich by now and still have some "bird" leftover, go ahead and whip up this's nothing fancy but I think you'll like it. Prep time = 30 minutes! Pop it in the oven...start decorating your Christmas tree...and voila, you've taken leftovers up a notch! 

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 ½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can reduced-fat/reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 ½ cups cubed turkey breast (or dark meat if you prefer)
6 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
½ cup shredded Colby-jack cheese (or cheddar)
½ teaspoon paprika 

In small skillet, melt butter on medium-high heat; sauté the vegetables until tender, about 7-8 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the soup, broth, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Coat  a 2 ½ quart baking dish with cooking spray. Layer (two total) the turkey, [uncooked] spaghetti and vegetable mixture. Pour broth mixture over top. I promise you the noodles will cook and the liquid will thicken...don't be nervous y'all. :)

Cover and bake at 350° for 75-80 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Bake 10-12 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

A fab use of leftovers if I do say so myself!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home magazine (November 2008 issue).


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shrimp Stuffed Potatoes

One word: divine. I altered a recipe from Cooking with Paula Deen (January 2010) and combined it with one of my own, Stuffed Baked Potatoes. Paula and I both love cooking with butta' so you know this is bound to be a good one, y'all! Definitely a "splurge" dinner :)

Stuffed Baked Potatoes
3 medium baking potatoes
Olive oil
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
1 tablespoon green onions, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 slices bacon, cooked
Salt & pepper


Spicy Shrimp
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter
¼ cup minced green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400°. Wash potatoes; rub with salt and a touch of olive oil. With fork, pierce potatoes 5-6 times in different places around the potato. Place on baking sheet and cook for 1 hour or until tender. Remove and reduce heat to 375°.  Let potatoes cool for 10-15 minutes. 
While potatoes are cooling, chop green onions and prepare garlic (enough for both the potatoes and shrimp). FYI: you can always use bottled minced garlic if you don't keep fresh on hand - 1 teaspoon = 1 clove. Also, here's a helpful tutorial on garlic...usually a must-have ingredient for me!
Cut each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp leaving a thin shell.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the pulp with butter. Add in milk, cream, ranch mix, and garlic; beat until well blended. Stir in green onions, cheese and bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon into potato shells. Bake for 20 minutes.
While potatoes are baking, combine shrimp, flour, red pepper flakes and salt. Set aside.

In large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add remaining green onions and garlic; cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
Add shrimp mixture; cook for 2 minutes or until shrimp are no longer pink.  Add broth; cook for 3 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
Serve shrimp over stuffed potatoes; add some greens as a side if you need a little something extra.

Let a gal know if you make this one..I have a feeling you will agree that it is a melt-in-your-mouth delicious recipe! Also, if you need a dish to use your leftover ranch dressing mix in I've got an idea!

Slow Roasted Stuffed Peppers

This is a simple and tasty meal that cooks itself! I pull my Crock-Pot out during the weeks that are moving too quickly with (unfortunately) little time left for the kitchen. You can put this together the evening before and pop into the slow cooker on your way out to work the next day.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound lean ground beef - even better if you can get it from the family farm in AR :)
½ tablespoon black pepper
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 cube beef bouillon
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (14.5-oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 packet dry vegetable soup mix (optional)
1 can cannellini beans (optional)
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 tablespoon minced garlic out of the jar)
¼ cup water (or chicken broth if you have it on hand)
½ cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
4 green bell peppers

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high and add ground beef, garlic and black pepper and red pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes until no longer pink; drain grease from pan.
Add meat mixture back to pan; adjust to medium-low heat. Add Worcestershire, tomatoes and dry soup mix.

Microwave water for 1 minute; drop bouillon cube in to dissolve. Add to the pan.
Stir mixture well and bring to a simmer; cook for 4-5 minutes.
While simmering, wash peppers, cut tops off and remove membranes and seeds.

Remove pan from heat and stir in one cup of cheese. Fill peppers with meat and cheese mixture; sprinkle remaining cheese over tops. Place in crock, cover and cook on low for 8 hours (if you prefer to use the oven I would cook on 250°- 275° for 3 hours, or until peppers are tender). Serve with rice if desired. Enjoy, y'all!

Recipe adapted from The Everyday Low-Carg Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Southwest Cheesecake

If you enjoy entertaining like I do, you are always looking for simple but impressive appetizers to serve to your guests. This savory cheesecake is a perfect choice...I will warn you that it is addicting! Can you tell by now I don’t always count the calories in my cooking? :)

Note: a springform pan is a necessity for making this (or most any cheesecake for that matter).

2 tablespoon butter
2 small yellow onions, chopped
3 packages (reduced fat) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
2 (10-oz) cans diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup whole-kernel corn
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix (suggested: Hidden Valley)
Dash of red pepper flakes
Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped green bell peppers
Tortilla chips

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until combined.

Add diced tomatoes and green chilies, 2 cups cheese, corn, taco mix, ranch mix and pepper, beating until well combined. Add cooked onions, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Insert toothpick and remove to check consistency; cook 5-10 minutes longer if needed. 

Garnish with cheese, tomatoes and peppers, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips

Enjoy, y'all!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Game Day Spicy Chicken Chili

Nothing beats a good pot of chili on a football Saturday in the fall! Even better when cheering on the Razorbacks :) The hubs is usually a beef chili kind-of-guy but this one rated pretty high on his scale. Let a gal know what you think!

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 chicken breasts (uncooked), cut up in small cubes
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-oz) can Cannellini beans
1 (15-oz) can Great Northern beans
1 (15-oz) can Pinto beans
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (4-oz) can diced green chilies
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
Salt & pepper
Red pepper flakes, based on your need for an added kick!
3 cups chicken broth, extra may be needed
For garnish: avocado, tomato, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla strips

Dice the onion.
And the green pepper.

Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté  onion and green pepper until translucent; about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Add the chicken...
...and cook on medium heat until no longer pink, about 7-8  minutes.
While waiting for the chicken to cook wash your beans, y'all!
Then seed and slice your jalapeno.
Now add your green chilies, jalapeno, beans and corn to the pot! Don't forget your spices...

Next, start pouring on the chicken broth until you cover the chili mixture and then some. Turn on medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook 5-7 minutes. 

Turn to medium-low heat and cook for 1-1½ hours until thickened, stirring occasionally; add more broth if necessary and additional spices if desired (I always add in a dash of red pepper flakes for good measure)!

When you're ready to grab a bowl and watch the game, garnish your chili with all the fixins'. The avocado really complements the spiciness; it is a must-have. And don't forget your cold beverage, football fans! Touchdown time!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits

Happy November y'all! Here in the Fry house it's never to early to start planning our Thanksgiving menu. For the past several years Scott and I have spent this holiday together in North Carolina with family, friends or just the two of us. We always make the huge spread no matter how many visitors we have at our dinner table!

We both love making things that remind us of holidays while growing up...Sheri Lee's (my mama) Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars always make the cut. They are a special treat for the hubs - he is capable of eating the whole pan :) - because I only bake them once a year!

Here's a quicker version that is super cute for entertaining anytime this fall!


1 (8-oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (16-oz) can of pumpkin
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Nilla Wafers 
Chopped pecans (optional)

Beat cream cheese in large mixing bowl until fluffy.  Slowly add in sweet condensed milk while mixing. Beat in egg until smooth.  Mix in can of pumpkin; stir in pumpkin pie spice.
 Pour mixture into 9"x 13" greased glass pan.  

Bake at 
350° for 30-35 minutes. Take out and let cool on baking rack until ready to assemble (you can also refrigerate overnight and assemble the next day).

While cheesecake is cooling, crush Nilla Wafers in food processor.
Layer crushed wafers and cheesecake filling.  
Cool in the refrigerator for a couple hours and before serving top with chopped pecans or a vanilla wafer.  Enjoy!

Check out the Pier 1 Tasting Party collection here. Love to use these items for gatherings!