Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spicy Mexican Brunch Eggs

Today's recipes come from my aunt, who currently lives in New Mexico. She served this to us at a family gathering and it was a breakfast/brunch hit! If you like Mexican food and enjoy a great brunch, this recipe will serve you well. Besides the great taste, another great aspect of this recipe is the fact that you can make it the night before and bake it the next day before serving. Also, you can control the spice - if you like really spicy food, use a hotter salsa. A little more a "mild" person - use a milder salsa - you choose how spicy you want your eggs!

Spicy Mexican Brunch Eggs

1 lb. sausage, crumbled
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced
1 medium red onion finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste
8 eggs
3 Tablespoons Sour Cream
6 Tablespoons Salsa (you choose - hot or mild) (I also use more than 6 Tablespoons - use what you enjoy)
8 oz. diced velveeta
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook sausage, mushrooms and onion. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Combine eggs and sour cream in blender 1 minute. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 4 - 7 minutes (until eggs are soft set). Spoon salsa over the eggs. Top with sausage mixture. Top with velveeta, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

If you are making this ahead, do all steps through topping with cheese. The next day all you have to do is heat the oven and bake.

Happy Brunch!

Quick Tip for Manicotti

One of my fellow cooks and I recently discovered a quick and easy tip that makes manicotti a much easier dish to make. I don't know about you, but usually when trying to stuff manicotti noodles, they have a tendency to break and/or tear. A great way to avoid this is to use "no-boil" lasagna noodles. Put them in warm water for 5 minutes to make pliable. Put the stuffing for your manicotti on the lasagna noodle and then roll it up. This makes great manicotti and saves you the time and effort of having to "stuff" the noodles.

That is Tuesday's tip! Make some manicotti and enjoy!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Black Bean and Couscous Salad

Want a side dish that will be a hit and is easy to make? This week our Wild Card Wednesday is a Black Bean and Couscous Salad recipe from a sweet kitchen in a small Midwestern town. This makes a great side dish for most any meal. It is great in the summer when you want a cool and tasty salad to accompany your main dish. We especially enjoy this salad when we are grilling in the summer! As the recipe says, you do want to be sure to be able to chill it before serving and it is actually better when it has been refrigerated overnight. For those of you wanting to be healthy, this works for you too!

Black Bean and Couscous Salad

1 c. couscous
1 ¼ c. chicken broth (I use fat free/low sodium)
6 T. Olive Oil
4 T. limejuice
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
6 green onions (I usually only do 3)
½ red pepper chopped
¼ c. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 can shoepeg corn (drained)
2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)

Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add couscous to broth, remove from heat and cover. Whisk together oil, limejuice, vinegar, and cumin. Fluff couscous in a large mixing bowl; add onions, pepper, cilantro, beans and corn. Pour oil mixture onto couscous and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill before serving. Keeps well for several days.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Easy Cheesy Garlicky Drop Biscuits

One of my favorite places to eat is Red Lobster. I do love seafood but mostly I crave those cheddar cheese biscuits! There have been times when I’ve asked for a fresh batch just so I could put them in my to go box. Now I neither have the pocket book to go to Red Lobster on a regular basis nor the time to try and make fresh biscuits from scratch everyday. So I’ve settled on a satisfying alternative. A wonderful recipe I found on the back of a Bisquick box for Easy Cheesy Garlicky Drop Biscuits (okay they don’t call them that, I just liked that it kind of rhymed).



2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. Milk
1/2 c. Grated Cheddar Cheese


2 tbsp Melted Butter
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder

Stir first three ingredients together. Drop by large spoonfuls (about the size of a…well a biscuit) onto a greased cookie sheet. Makes about 8 biscuits. I’ve noticed if they are too large they don’t cook right. They should only take 8-10 minutes in a 450-degree oven. Do not over bake. Mix melted butter and garlic powder. Drizzle or brush on to hot biscuits. You can experiment with the garlic depending on your families taste.

And there you have it delicious hot biscuits made
from start to finish in about 20 minutes!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Baked Potato Soup

On a recent trip I made back to Missouri, I was blessed to be able to attend a dinner hosted by a couple that attend church with my parents. The dinner was for the International students who attend the local college there. It was a great evening of fellowship, learning about students from other cultures, and of course - GREAT FOOD. One of the dishes served was Baked Potato Soup. I loved this soup and am excited to share this recipe with you! It comes to you from Tracy in Missouri. Enjoy!

Baked Potato Soup

4 large baking potatoes
2/3 c. butter
2/3 c. flour
6 c. milk
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
4 green onions, chopped*
12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled*
1 ¼ c. shredded cheddar cheese*
8 oz. sour cream

*These 3 items will be divided – part to be used in soup & part as garnish

Wash potatoes and prick several times with fork; bake at 400ยบ for 1 hour or until done (you may microwave if time warrants). Let cool, cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out potato pulp and set aside; discard skins. Melt butter in heavy soup pan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. (Note: A heavy, thick-bottomed soup pan or dutch oven is best, otherwise you may have trouble with the soup sticking and scorching in the bottom of the pan!) Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add potato pulp, salt, pepper and 2 T. green onions, ½ cup bacon and 1 cup cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated and stir in sour cream. Add extra milk if desired for thinner consistency. Serve with remaining green onions, bacon and cheese for garnish. Makes about 10 cups.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Want a recipe that is quick, easy and tastes great? Then this is for you! HappyHouseWife gave me this recipe and when I made it, I was amazed at how easy it was and my husband and I loved it! This would be a great dish to make when company is coming or to take to someone's house. Served with mashed potatoes, this dish is a sure hit!

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) petite diced tomoatoes, undrained
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzerella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes in medium bowl. Add stuffing miz, water and garlic; stir just until stuffing is moistened. Set aside.

Place chicken in a 13X9 inch or 3 qt. baking dish; sprinkle with basil and cheese. Top with stuffing mix.

Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each (for those doing Weight Watchers, this calculates to 6 points per serving)

Recipe from Kraft Food and Family Magazine

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Veggie Soup

For Wild Card Wednesday I’ve chosen a recipe that I personally use to hate as a kid. My dad’s Vegetable Beef Soup!! I could smell it walking in the front door and I would cringe when I’d see the cut up potatoes, onions and celery. I mean really veggies and I just didn’t get along as well back then. Mmmm…maybe this isn’t the best way to start a recipe post when the hope is you’ll want to try it. So let’s start again.

Today’s Wild Card Wednesday is my dad’s Veggie Beef Soup!!! Yummy. Seriously though I really do love this hearty, not to mention healthy, soup. It’s crammed full of all sorts of veggies and warms you up on those cold days. To top it all off it’s very easy to make.



1 lb Stew Beef
1 Yellow Onion (diced)
2 Med. Brown Potatoes (diced)
1 pkg Celery (chopped)
Salt (to taste)
1 tbs Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 tsps Italian Seasoning
16 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach
32 oz Mixed Veggies
29 oz Tomato Sauce
28 oz Diced Tomatoes (do not drain)
about 2-3 qts water

Brown beef in 1-2 tbs vegetable oil. Half way through add onion, potatoes, Montreal seasoning, Italian seasoning and salt. After meat is browned add everything except tomato sauce & diced tomatoes bring to a boil. Once boiling add tomato sauce and tomatoes, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hrs. Enjoy!!

I really like to make Garlicky Cheese Biscuits to go with it, but that’s a whole other post!!

From the Kitchen of Taffata Tadpoles

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Herb chopping tip!

This is for all of you cooks who like me dread having to chop up fresh herbs!

I began to panic last night when my meat loaf recipe called for "chopped" fresh parsley. Then I remembered a trick my good friend SJ had taught me.

My husband & I were over at her house one evening for dinner when I saw her doing something strange. She had a big plastic cup & a pair of kitchen scissors in her hands.

I asked her what she was doing & she explained she was chopping the herbs. She had cut off a portion of the herb & put it in her cup. She then took her kitchen scissors & cut the herb inside her cup until it was chopped into tiny little pieces.

Well, last night I tried it for myself & sure enough it was the quickest, easiest job of "chopping" herbs I've ever had!

I just rinsed out the cup & moved on.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Chicken- Chili Enchiladas

For all you Mexican food lovers out there here is a great enchilada recipe. It's fairly quick and easy to make. Enjoy with a little salsa on top and you're good to go. - Esther

6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups shredded)
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese (2 cups shredded)
1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast
3/4 cup chopped onion
12 tortillas (6 inches)
2 cups warm chicken broth
1 can chili without beans
1 can green (or red) enchilada sauce

sour cream
chopped tomatoes

1. Grease 3 qt. dish. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix cheddar cheese, half of Monterey Jack cheese, chicken and onion. Set aside.
3.Dip tortillas, one at a time in broth to soften. Fill with about 1/4 cup chicken mixture, roll and place seam down in baking dish in 2 rows of six.
4. In sauce pan over medium heat, stir chili, enchilada sauce and 1/2 cupe chicken broth until bubbly. Pour over tortillas. Sprinkle tortillas with remaining Monterey Jack cheese.
5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
6. Serve with toppings if desired.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Spring is in the Air

I love the fall and winter months. I love to decorate for harvest time and Christmas. My house feels so cozy and warm compared to the blustery and damp day outside. The anticipation of the holidays fills me with joy and I can hardly wait to see friends and family from so far away. And New Years brings the excitement of the unknown. A new year filled with endless possibilities. But with that said once the decorations are down and family and friends have gone back home there’s a kind of sadness that comes with each cold and rainy day.

I am once again looking forward to sunshine, flip-flops, pools and picnics. Long walks with my girlfriends and just sitting outside enjoying the beauty God has created. Thus the inspiration for this week Final Course Fridays. It’s perfect for those warm or even hot days because it doesn’t require heating up your kitchen by using the oven, stove or even microwave!!

Banana Pudding Squares

20 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
3 tbsp. Butter, melted
1 pkg. (8oz) Cream Cheese
½ c. Powdered Sugar
1 tub (8oz) Cool Whip, thawed & divided
3 med. Ripe Bananas
3 c. Milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) Vanilla Instant Pudding
½ square Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, grated

Mix crushed wafers & butter. Press firmly onto bottom of 13x9 inch dish.

Mix cream cheese & powdered sugar with spoon until well blended. Gently stir in 1 ½ cups of the whipped topping. Spoon mixture evenly onto crust; spread carefully.

Cut bananas in half crosswise; cut each piece lengthwise in half. Arrange bananas over cream cheese mixture.

Pour milk into bowl & add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Spoon over bananas.

Spread with remaining whipped topping & sprinkle evenly with chocolate.

Refrigerate at least 3hrs before serving.

Goes great with a large cold glass of milk!!

Now for those of you who want to make it a little healthier (after all shorts and bathing suit season right around the corner) it’s quite simple. Take every thing and substitute low fat or even fat free when available. I know you can find fat free pudding mixes, milk and cool whip, plus there are wonderful low fat cream cheeses and even Nilla wafers. So whichever way you decided to make it I hope it brings a sense of excitement of the wonderful seasons to come!

From the Kitchen of
Taffeta Tadpoles

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Final Course Friday: Sugar-Free Apple Pie

This Friday we give you a great final course that is perfect for those who want to be healthy and still have a great dessert! If you didn't know it was "sugar-free," you would never be able to tell! I used to make it for my grandpa who was diabetic and it was something we all could enjoy! There is nothing better than homemade apple pie - and if you just need some sugar - top it with some ice cream!

Sugar-Free Apple Pie

6 medium red delicious apples, peeled and sliced
1 - 6 oz. can frozen apple juice, thawed (without sugar)
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Double Pie Crust - you can do homemade or Pilsbury makes a great quick and easy refrigerator crust
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place apples and undiluted apple juice into a large pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Disolve cornstarch in water. Gently stir cornstarch into apple mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes (or until apples soften). Stir in cinnamon. Fill pie shell and cover with top crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. Baste with melted butter.

Enjoy! This recipe from a kitchen in Mid-Missouri.