Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey Fajitas

I hope every on had a Happy Thanksgiving! I know at our house we had a great day filled with family and good food, and for that I am thankful. Now I love just about every dish at Thanksgiving and many of them I enjoy them for days after-wards. My favorite leftover meal has always been a cold turkey sandwich, to the point that I often think I would ask for it as part of my last meal. But if you want something other then cold turkey sandwich and reheated mashed potato's, Campbells has a great recipe for Turkey Fajitas and even puts that left over gravy to use.

I was skeptical of a fajita recipe that askes you to mix salsa and gravy together. It just doesn't sound that appetizing to me, but I'm glad I tried this recipe because it was delicious! It's full of flavor and keeps you coming back for more.

2 jars (12oz each) Campbell's Slow Roast Turkey Gravy
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 small green or red peppers, cut into 2 inch long strips (about 2 cups)
2 medium onions, sliced, (about 2 cups)
3 cups cooked turkey or chicken strips ( I used chicken strips, as I fixed this before Thanksgiving, and was very pleased with how it tasted)
12 flour tortillas (6 inch), warmed
Sliced pitted ripe olives

Stir the gravy and Picante sauce in a 2-quart saucepan.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and onions and cook until they're tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 cups gravy mixture and the turkey. Reduce the heat to low. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

Spoon 1/3 cup turkey mixture down the center of each tortilla. Fold the tortillas around the filling. Heat the remaining gravy mixture over medium heat until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve with the filled tortillas. Garnish with olives.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cheesy Beef-Corn Chip Skillet

I first started cooking when I got married and I only had so many things I knew how to cook. The one recipe that was quick and was always easy were tacos, and my wife loved them so much she requested them every week. Well needless to say doing this blog has really pulled us out our newly wed recipe rut. But when I saw this recipe that offered something new by adding Velveeta, I had to at least try it. This recipe did not disappoint and is a great alternative to regular old tacos.

1 lb. ground beef (I this recipe twice, once with beef and once with ground turkey. I liked them both.)
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup water
1 pkg. Taco Bell Home Originals Taco seasoning
2 cups corn chips
1/4 lb. Velveeta (4 oz.) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes, chopped

Brown meat with onions in large skillet; drain. Add water and seasoning mix; cook as directed on package.
Cover meat mixture with chips and Velveeta; cover. Cook on low heat 5 min. or until Velveeta is melted.
Top with lettuce and tomatoes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Today marks the beginning of the end in the Harry Potter movie series, something I've both looked forward to and dreaded at the same time. I have enjoyed every movie just as much as I enjoyed reading the entire series. So for those who have not read the book, and will be going into these final two movies in  the dark, I will not give away any details accept for one. That one thing simply revolves around their wands. As you remember Harry Potters and Voldemort's wands are brothers, which makes their battles special. In the final movie you will see Voldemort going to great lengths to defeat Harry Potter, sadly we will have to wait another year to see if he does so or if Harry Potter will triumph over evil. So for the final movie I give you Chocolate Covered Pretzel Wands!

I had intended on doing all 6 movies leading up today, but due to time and the splitting of the final movie. I have chosen instead to do the first three and reserve the final three for the final movie.
10 ounces pretzel sticks (Pretzel RODS)
12 ounces milk chocolate chips (or melting discs)
1/2 cup wihite chocolate chips (optional)
candy sprinkles (optional)
miniature M&M's chocolate candies (optional)
mini Reese's pieces (optional)
chopped peanuts (optional)

1.Melt milk chocolate chip in double boiler or in microwave (be careful not to burn in the micro).
2. If you are using the white chocolate, wait until later before melting unless you can keep it over warm water.
3. Dip each pretzel rode about 2/3 of the way up in chocolate.
4. Lay on wax paper lined baking sheets, lining up the rods but leave a bit of space between them.
5. Allow to set a little, but not completely dry (while waiting, make sure your white chocolate is ready).
6. Dip a fork into the white chocolate and drizzle over the milk chocolate by gently swishing the fork back and forth over the rods but not touching them.
7. Place your sprinkles or candies on a paper plate and roll each pretzel rod in desired topping (or jus sprinkle on).
8. Lay back on wax paper to set completely.
9. These look great displayed in, or given in, a unique glass or mug.

I ran into one little problem, and that was picking the chocolate covered rods up off of the wax paper. My loving wife suggested placing them in fridge, she said she read that should help to let the chocolate release the paper and it worked. It was this sticking problem that I just sprinkled on my topping and did not try the roll method.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

In the third installment of the Harry Potter Series Harry and Hermione find themselves forced to travel back in time to save their good friend Buckbeak. Little did they know that they had all ready saved him and were now getting to witness that the executioner had only sliced a huge pumpkin from Hagrid's garden. So in honor of the life saved by the heroics of Harry and Hermione as well as the pumpkin so graciously sliced open by the executioner, I give you a Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Now I always love it when a new recipe is a hit, but this one hasn't been well received. It has to do with the simple fact that it tastes and looks some what close to pumpkin pie, but then it also has the texture and taste of a cheesecake. This has led to the reoccurring statement that one would rather have pumpkin pie or a cheesecake, not both. I have to say I'm in agreement with said statement. However, it was still enjoyable to try a new recipe for the experience, no matter what the outcome is.

28 Nabisco ginger snaps, finely crushed
1/4 cup finely chopped Planters Pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 325ºF. Mix crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9 inch spring form pan. Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, spice and vanilla; mix well. add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each just until blended. Pour into crust. Bake 1 hour 20 min. to 1 hour 30 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. refrigerate 4 hours. Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip and a dusting of nutmeg.

(Recipe was found as an advertisement in Kraft magazine)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secret's!

Here's another fun snack for second Harry Potter movie that is sure to please. This dish draws straight from the second movie when Harry and Ron must go into the spider's den to find the truth about Hagrid's innocence. Once Harry and Ron have found out the truth about Hagrid they are forced to fight their way out of the spider's nest. So what could be more fitting then a whole plate full of spiders for your little Harry Potter fan to fight through?  I found this recipe from Sandra Lee on the Food Network website and knew instantly that I wanted to prepare these.

1 (12-ounce) package semesweet morels
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups pretzel sticks

Place parchment paper on baking sheet; set aside
In a large glass microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate chips and peanut butter. Melt on high for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and stir until smooth. (I made two separate batches of the chocolate mixture and set one aside to use as a glue to hold the legs in place.)
Stir in pretzel sticks. With clean hands grab pretzel stick and drop on prepared baking sheet in clusters to look like spiders. (Be sure to crumble the pretzels in the chocolate mixture so their easier to eat.)
Place in freezer for 5 minutes or until chocolate is hardened. Remove and serve. (Be sure to serve them quickly as the chocolate will not set up like no bake cookies)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harry Potter The Sorcerer's Stone

November 19th is the release date of the first half of the final Harry Potter movie, which is sure to be a very dramatic ending to a wonderful series. In honor of this great movie series I have decided to collect a series of recipes with inspiration drawn from a few of the movies. The first stop is of course where it all started, The Sorcerer's Stone, and the owl's that helped to bring young Harry Potter back into the world of magic.
It's been some time ago that I had received the book hello, cupcake! and upon looking through it I had found directions for decorating cupcakes to look like owl's. The book does a wonderful job of explaining how to decorate these little pieces of art. Now there is a bit of a funny story to why I only have a photo of three cupcakes. You see while I was separating the Oreo's to make the eye's I was finding that there was plenty of rejects, well instead of setting them aside to eat later I went ahead and gobbled them down. This turned out to be a big mistake and after making only three cupcakes I had managed to consume a dozen or more cookies and quickly became sick to my stomach. On that note, be sure to have plenty of extra Oreo's on hand as you will be surprised at how many will not separate cleanly.

12 standard chocolate cupcakes bake in brown paper liners (I used banana bread muffins for something different)
24 mini chocolate cupcakes baked in brown paper liners
24 chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies (Oreo's)
48 mini chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies (Mini Oreo's)
2 Tbsp. vanilla frosting
2 cans (16 ounces each) chocolate frosting
12 banana-shaped hard candies (Runts)
24 yellow chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
24 mini chocolate-covered mints (Junior Mints)
48 brown mini candy-coated chocolates (M&M's Minis)

1. Microwave a few regular and mini cream-filled sandwich cookies at a time for several seconds (this will help keep the cream filling on one half when you separate the cookies). Be careful no to microwave the cookies for too long, or the filling will melt. Immediately twist each sandwich cookie apart so that you have a cream-covered side and a plain cookie side. Use a paring knife to remove any excess crumbs from the cream filling. Continue until all the cookies have been separated.
2. Using a serrated knife, make 2 parallel cuts 1/2 inch in from the edge on each regular plain cookie half. The 2 outside pieces with the rounded edges will be used for the ears on the mama owls. Cut the mini plain cookie in half.
3. Spoon the vanilla frosting and 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate frosting into separate zip-lock bags, press out the excess air, seal, and set aside. Spread the remaining chocolate frosting on top of the cupcakes and smooth.
4 Using a little chocolate frosting, attach 2 of the larch ear pieces, rounded sides in and about 1 1/2 inches apart, on top of each of the 12 standard cupcakes. Angle the ears slightly away from each other and allow them to extend about 3/4 inch beyond the edge of the cupcake. Repeat the process with the mini cookies and the mini cupcakes, placing the ears about 1/2 inch apart and allowing a 1/2-inch overhang.
5. Place 2 regular cream-sided cookie halves, cream side up, on the upper half of each standard cupcake to make the eyes. Do the same with the mini cream sided cookie halves and the mini cupcakes.
6. Snip a 1/8 inch corner from the bags with the chocolate and vanilla frosting. Pipe lines of chocolate frosting along the length of the cookie ears to cover. Starting with the edge at the top of the cupcake, pipe the feathers with the chocolate frosting using the squeeze-and-pull fur technique(Page 15 of the book). Work inward from the edge in slightly overlapping rows until the section above the eyes is covered. On the standard cupcakes, pipe a few feathers on the edge just below each eye. On the mini cupcakes, pipe several small feathers along the edge beside each eye.
7. Press a yellow candy in the middle of each cupcake to make the beak: the banana-shaped candies on the standard cupcakes, the sunflower seeds on the mini cupcakes.(I used some yellow writing frosting and used it to fill in a nose shape) Use a dot of vanilla frosting on the cream of each cookie to attach a chocolate-covered mint to the eyes on the standard cupcakes and a brown chocolate candy to the eyes on the mini cupcakes,. Place the eyes in different positions to give the owls character. Using the vanilla frosting, pip a whit highlight on each eye.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Philadelphia Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake

My wife and I LOVE cheesecake, so when my wife came across this recipe in our Kraft Magazine she quickly thrust the magazine at me and said "Make this please!" This was my first attempt ever at a cheese cake and guess what, I didn't get a picture of it. How sad is that! I will say it was very tasty and definitely worth fixing, but I'm sure there has got to be some simpler recipes out there.

50 Nilla Wafers, crushed (about 1 1/2 cups) (I put them in the blender and pulsed it till coarse)
1 cup chopped Planters Pecans, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup Breakstone's or Knudsen Sour Cream. (I used the Target brand)
3 Tbsp. Flour
1 Tbsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

Heat oven to 325°
Mix wafer crumb, 1/2 cup nuts and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Beat cream cheese ans sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream, flour and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
Bake 45 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Erfrigerate 4 hours. Drizzle with topping; top with remaining nuts. Let stand until topping is firm.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pizza Pasta Salad

The past week and a half has been super busy at home and work, which has limited me from working on posting some really tasty recipes. I also have been putting some thought into doing a special post for an upcoming movie release, so be on the look out for that as well. But in the mean time here is a wonderful recipe form Kraft that can pull double duty as either a hot main dish or a cold side dish depending on your needs. I substituted smoked turkey sausage for the hard Salami and it came out wonderful. This dish is full of flavor and does actually have a pizza flair.

3 cups penne pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
4 tomato's (1 1/2 lb.), chopped
12 slices Oscar Mayer Hard Salami, chopped
1 cup Kraft Natural Italian Cheese Crumbles
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Kraft Roasted red Pepper
Italian with Parmesan Dressing

combine ingredients
Refrigerate 1 hour.
Serving Suggestion: This dish is also great served hot. Just toss the hot cooked pasta with the remaining ingredients. Serve Immediately.
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