Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

This creamy version of chicken noodle soup is perfect for those cold days when you need to warm up, or if you or someone you care about needs a little pick me up. This is definitely a soup your grandma would be proud of.

3-4 lb chicken
4 quarts water
3 tsp salt
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 celery stalks
1/2 onion

3 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp sage
1 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
egg noodles
1 (13oz) can evaporated milk
1/4 c flour

Add one whole chicken without giblets to a large pot. The fresher the chicken the better the broth. Add water, salt, chicken bouillon, onion and celery. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

While chicken is cooking, chop celery and carrots. My kids love carrots so I always add extra.
When the chicken is done, remove from liquid to cool until able to handle; de-bone and set aside.

You may need to strain your liquid after cooking to get any large pieces of chicken skin and foam.

Now before you add the rest of your ingredients you will need to taste your broth. If it does not have a good chicken favor you can add more chicken bouillon. The key to a good chicken soup is the broth.

Add carrots and celery to your broth
Next add the poultry seasoning, onion, sage, celery salt and pepper.
After adding the seasonings, add about 2 to 3 handfuls of noodles. Cover and let simmer for 35 - 45 minutes or until the noodles are done and the vegetables are tender.

I get this particular brand of noodles from Sam's Club and they take about 30-40 minutes to cook.

If you use egg noodles that only take 10 minutes to cook, you will need to add them after the vegetables are tender.
When your vegetables and noodles are done. In a small bowl add flour and a little milk and whisk together until smooth. Then add a little more milk and whisk until smooth, repeat this process until all the milk is incorporated into the flour.
Reduce heat so soup is no longer boiling. Add milk and flour mixture to soup to thicken.

Once the milk mixture is incorporated add chicken and remove from heat. Serve.

If you are going to wait a little while before serving and keep it on the stove to stay warm, don't let it start to boil or the milk will curdle. ( I learned this from personal experience)

Bob's Bow Tie Pasta

I received this recipe from a one of my in-laws sweet and dear friends. It has now become one of my favorite recipes to make. Not only is it easy but it tastes wonderful. Even if you don't do a lot of cooking, you can make this and everyone will think you are amazing.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb mild italian sausage
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/2 c diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 280z can stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 c. cream
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz bow tie pasta
3 Tbsp minced parsley
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil and pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain greaseAdd onions and garlic, cook until sausage is light brown, about 8 more minutes. Drain.

Add tomatoes, cream and salt. Simmer and sauce will thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. (if sauce starts to get to thick add a little pasta water)

Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions.

Drain pasta and sprinkle with parsley. Add tomato-sausage mixture; toss and serve.

Chili Verde

It took my husband a while to get me to make this chile verde recipe. I had been making Chile verde for years from a recipe I received from my neighbors mother. So when my husband told me about this recipe his friends wife makes. I was a bit of a snob and said that my recipe was true chile verde. Well after nagging me for a while I decided to try it, and WOW it was wonderful and soooo easy. You just throw everything into a crock pot in the morning and its done by evening. Now I have to make sure and give credit to the person who I received this recipe from. Thanks Julie, I love it!!!

1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
6 boneless Pork Loin chips (boneless chicken breasts can be substituted, if pork is not your favorite)
1 16oz. jar salsa verde
1 7oz. can diced green chilies
1 190z. can green chili enchilada sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp chipotle chili pepper or more if like lots of heat (optional)
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1 lime for juicing
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil, until softened.

In a crock pot add the pork chops, the sauteed onions and garlic. Continue to add salsa verde, green chilies, green enchilada sauce, oregano, cumin and chili peppers. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until pork is fork tender.

When pork is cooked, take it out of the sauce and cut it up into chunks or shred, and add it back into the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Right before serving squeeze lime juice over the chile verde and sprinkle chopped cilantro on top.

Mexican rice

This is the best and easiest mexican rice recipe. My sweet neighbor Ray gave this recipe to me. He is a great cook, his mom taught him well.

1/4 c. veg oil
1 small onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
1 1/2 c. rice
3 c. chicken broth
1 small can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste ( this is optional, if you don't like heat, don't add it)

Heat oil in a sauce pan. Saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent.

Add rice and saute until rice starts to brown

Stir in chicken broth, tomato sauce and seasonings.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5minutes. Serve

Tres Leches Cake

It was Cinco de mayo on Monday and every year I like to do a big Mexican feast. Everything we have at dinner is a Mexican dish, even the horchata to drink. So Sunday night I started by making the cake. Monday morning I got up and started the Chili Verde. That evening before my husband got home from work I started the Mexican rice, made the guacamole, grated the cheese, shredded the lettuce, and fried the tortillas. All the time taking pictures to put on the blog. After my husband got home from work, I put the finishing touches on dinner, got a few dishes plated and ask if he will take some pictures for me before we eat. He picks up the camera, goes to take some pictures and asked "Where is the memory card". Needless to say I had been taking pictures all day without a memory card in the camera. So for now all I have pictures of are the finished products, and as soon as I make them again I will put more instructional pictures up.

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c flour
1 c. half and half
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

2 c. Heavy cream
1 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and Flour a 9X13 baking pan

Sift together Flour, baking powder and salt

In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix to thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and mix.

Add the flour mixture to egg mixture in 3 batches mixing until just combined ( you do not want to over beat the batter)

Pour batter into baking dish. This will appear to be a small amount of batter.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 - 30 minutes or until cake is golden brown

Let cake cool for 30 minutes. Then with a fork or some skewers poke the top of the cake all over and let finish cooling.

When cake is completely cool. In a bowl whisk together half and half, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. Pour over cake and refrigerate overnight.

Before serving whisk together cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread over the cake and serve. This cake is also good with fresh fruit poured over the top.

Fried Ravioli with Marinara Sauce

I can get my kids to eat almost anything that is fried. So I try to sneak in healthy food somewhere in the process. The Raviolis are cheese and spinach and the marinara sauce has a few extra veggies added to give it just a little something special.

Marinara Sauce:

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
2 (32 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

1 (9ounce) pkg frozen ravioli
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
2 c. Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
vegetable oil for frying

Finely chopped all veggies. ( I like to use my food chopper from pampered chef )
Heat the oil over medium-high heat
Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add celery,carrots and salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minuets.
Blend one 32oz can of tomatoes in blender. You can blend both cans if you don't like chunks.
Add tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thicken, about 1 hr.

Bring water to a boil over high heat and cook ravioli for 2 minutes.
Place cooked ravioli on paper towels to drain; set aside.

Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, whisk the milk and eggs in a bowl and mix together the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl.

Working in batches, dip ravioli in egg mixture to coat completely. Allow the excess mixture to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli.

When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.

When your sauce is thickened remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. ( The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)
For something a little more decadent. In a small sauce pan add 2 c. marinara sauce and 1/2 c. cream.

Let heat through and serve.

Moist Apple Cake

The first time I made this recipe, my husband told me that apple cake wasn't really his thing. Then he ate 3 large pieces and told me "I love this cake it's apple crisp I really don't like". This recipe is a great way to get rid of any old apples or if you want to feel like you might be eating something healthy.

2 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. applesauce (no sugar added)
2 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
4 med - large apples (grated)
1/3 c. packed br sugar
1/8 c. flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter (softened)

Peel and core 4 apples
grate apples ( you can chop the apples, but I think it gives you a more even texture, if the apples are grated)

In a mixing bowl mix oil and eggs until creamy. Add the applesauce and mix well.
Mix in sugar and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.
Slowly add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until combined. Fold in the apples with a spoon.
Pour batter in to a greased and flour 9X13 baking dish.
Mix together br sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter until resembles coarse cornmeal
Sprinkle topping over batter and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 - 55 minutes
Let cake cool on a wire rack and serve with whipped cream.
My cake didn't get a chance to cool before my husband cut into it. I literally took it out of the oven, left the kitchen for just a few minutes and came back to this. The cake eaten by the man who said he didn't like apple cake.

House Seasoning (Paula Deen's)

This is Paula Deen's House Seasoning recipe. I use this for almost everything.
1 c. salt
1/4 c. garlic powder
1/4 c. black pepper
Place all ingredients into an airtight container. Close lid and shake.