Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cherry Fluff

Do you ever have one of "those days" when you crave something that you KNOW you shouldn't eat? Last weekend my sweet daughter and her two precious children came to visit. We already had a houseguest for all of February, so it was indeed a full house! When I sat down to plan meals, all I could think about was Cherry Fluff. I have not made it in YEARS and have no clue why it popped into my head and stuck there! I added it to my to do list ( along with homemade pizza, chicken and dumplings and hummus with pita chips) for kid friendly meals. As it turned out, only my daugnter, my husband and I ate it. The others just didn't know what they were missing! But, that left more for us. I've had my fill now and it may be a while before I make it again....although, I'm thinking it would be good frozen.....!!!

Cherry Fluff
1 small pkg cheesecake flavor instant pudding mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can cherry pie filling
1 (15oz) can crushed pineapple ( I only had chunks and we actually liked them in it!)
1 (8oz) container Cool Whip, thawed ( or more if you like it really fluffy!)

Combine ingredients in a large bowl in the order listed. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chicken, Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

  • Today, our United Methodist Church started the Wednesday Lenten Lunches with a noon worship service followed by lunch prepared by the UMW Circles. Our Circle was responsible for lunch today and we served a variety of soups. Here is the recipe I made. I prepared it ahead, stored it in a large Dutch oven, heated it in the Dutch oven, then transferred it to a slow cooker to keep warm and serve it. I found that the rice absorbed much of the broth in the refrigerator, so I added another 3 cups chicken broth to the slow cooker. The consistency turned out just right! No need to do all of this if you are making it and serving it immediately.
  • All but a small spoonful was eaten and several folks requested the recipe, so I think we have a keeper!!

  • Chicken, Wild Rice and  Mushroom Soup
  • 2 (6-oz.) packages long-grain and wild rice mix
  • 10 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms ( I used an 8oz pkg)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken breasts
  • Garnishes: fresh parsley leaves, freshly cracked pepper

Bring rice, 4 cups chicken broth, and 1 seasoning packet from rice mix to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. (Reserve remaining seasoning packet for another use.)

 Meanwhile, melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add mushrooms, onion, and celery, and cook, stirring often, 10 to 12 minutes or until tender.

 Melt 1/4 cup butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute, or until thickened and bubbly. Gradually whisk in remaining 6 cups broth, and cook, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Whisk in half-and-half and wine. Stir in mushroom mixture, chicken, and rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. (Do not boil.) Garnish, if desired.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

We recently had a ladies luncheon at our church and this recipe was served. You KNOW I have an aversion to cream of anything soup, so I was delighted to find this one which is light (not in calories but in taste!). In a pinch, you COULD use cream of chicken soup instead of sour cream and mayonnaise. (UGH!) When testing the recipe before the event, I added 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice to brighten the flavors. I like it, but was afraid it would not appeal to the masses. I also considered (for my own version at home) adding 1/4 cup white wine). Anyway you season it, it is a delicious meal. 

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

4 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
2 cups cooked rice
1 ( 16 oz) pkg frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
16 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded ( do NOT use the preshredded, it does not melt well)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2  cup mayonnaise
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine chicken, rice, broccoli and all but 2 cups cheese in a large bowl.
Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, 1/2 & 1/2, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Combine mixtures. Spoon into a greased 9x13" or 10x14" baking pan. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 regular oven or 350 convection oven for 35-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil, top with cheese and return to oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. 

*Note: If you are making ahead and refrigerating, add 1 cup chicken broth to the mixture to prevent rice from absorbing all of the liquid. 

**Note: I used bone in, skin on chicken breasts, placed them on a foil lined baking sheet with sides, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Baked in a 375 oven for about 45 min 
( uncovered). Cooled, removed meat and chopped it. Of course, you could also use a rotisserie chicken.

*** I would NOT freeze this as neither sour cream or mayonnaise freeze well. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Easy French Bread

Fabulous French Bread
Prep Time:45 Min Cook Time:20 Min Total Time:1 Hr 5 Min 
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening ( I used butter-flavor Crisco)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. Fill a glass measuring cup with 1 cup of water. Place in microwave and heat for 3 minutes, or until water is boiling.
  • In another glass measuring cup, fill it with 1/3 cup warm water. Sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of yeast over the water. With a fork, stir yeast into the water until yeast is completely dissolved.
  • Pour the sugar, salt and shortening into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using a fork, mash these ingredients together. Pour the 1 cup of boiling water over the shortening mixture in the stand mixer. Add the 1 cup of cold water into the mixer. Then pour in the yeast/water mixture.
  • Add 3 cups of flour into the mixer, and using the dough hook, turn mixer on low speed. With the mixer still on, slowly add in the remaining 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Once all 6 cups are in, turn speed to medium and let the dough mix for 6-8 minutes. The dough should be nice and elastic. Be careful not to over-flour. I used all 6 cups, but would not use any more than that.
  • Once the dough is mixed, let it rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.
  • Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray. After the dough has rested in the bowl, dump it onto the greased cookie sheet.
  • Take a sharp knife, spray it with non-stick spray, and cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Then let it rest again for 5 minutes. (These resting periods for the dough is needed, so please do it and be patient! It’s worth the wait )
  • To shape the dough before baking: Take one section of dough and spread it out into a rectangle. Just use your fingers, you don’t need a rolling pin. Fold one long end up over half of dough, then fold the other half over that one. Then fold each side up over each other, then turn the loaf over so it is seam side down.
  • Use your fingers to tuck seams down underneath the loaf and shape it. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough. Once all 3 sections of dough are shaped cut 3 angled 1/2 inch slits onto the tops of dough.
  • Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with a fork until frothy. Spread the egg over the tops of each loaf, making sure to get inside the slits.

  • Place the loaves in the oven and let them rise for about 15 minutes (while the oven is on 170 degrees F.) Then turn oven up to 400 degrees F (while the loaves are still inside) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crisp. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and allow them to cool a bit before slicing them.
Yields: 3 Loaves
Some of you are going to think I've lost my mind! But, since eating the most incredible breads in France and Italy (and a few other European countries) I have been thinking how awful our grocery store breads are... even the bakery ones. I was excited when I came across this EASY recipe for French bread. Granted, it is NOT a baguette and does not stand up to real French breads, but it is heads and shoulders above what we get in our bakeries! AND it was quick and easy! I don't even have to tell you how scrumptious our house smelled while it was baking!
Here are my 3 loaves... look quick... they were gobbled up fast!

I've shared straight from blog. Go over and check out her recipes. She even has step by step photos to accompany this recipe.