Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fajita Seasoning

My plan was to make chicken fajitas tonight. Then I took the time to check the date on my store-bought fajita seasoning packet and discovered that it was 9 months past it's prime. Whoops. I did a quick search online and saw a number of recipes to make your own fajita mix but many of them made too large an amount (ie: for future use) and I just wanted the equivalent of one packet from the store. Then I found this recipe by *Kathy* on It's perfect. Everyone loved it. I'll post instructions on how to use it as well.

by *Kathy* from

Mix together:
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. cumin

1.5 - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in strips
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup water
1 recipe fajita seasoning

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in two batches, until browned and cooked through. Remove to plate. Add bell pepper and onion to skillet and cook until tender. Return chicken to skillet and add 1/2 cup water and fajita seasoning. Stir to combine and simmer until thickened. Serve with warm flour tortillas and favorite toppings (I usually do shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Orange Jell-o Salad

This recipe is from my late Aunt Renee. It's one of my favorite Jell-o salads and it makes a lot so it's great for company.


2 large boxes (6 oz, each) orange flavored Jell-o
4 cups boiling water
1 (12 oz) can orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 small cans mandarin oranges, with juice
3/4 cup ice or cold water

In a large bowl, dissolve Jell-o in boiling water. Stir in orange juice concentrate, mandarin oranges with juice, and ice until thoroughly combined and ice melts. Pour into a 9x12 glass dish and refrigerate at least 6 hours.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicken Chili Nachos

I made these for the Super Bowl. The recipe comes from the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of Quick Cooking magazine (which I believe is now called Simple & Delicious...). I also served guacamole, sour cream, sliced olives, and diced tomatoes on the side for additional toppings. Super easy.

adapted from Quick Cooking magazine

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained (Rotel)
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15.5 oz) chili beans, undrained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 pkg. (13.5 oz) tortilla chips
8 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend

additional toppings, as desired:
sour cream
sliced black olives
diced tomatoes
sliced jalapenos
chopped green onion

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute chicken until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes; cook for 3 minutes or until tomato juice is reduced. Stir in beans, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne; cook for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Arrange the tortilla chips on microwave-safe plates. Sprinkle with a little cheese then top with chicken mixture and more cheese. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Use additional toppings as desired.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spaghetti Pizza

I loved this! It's easier than waiting around for dough to rise. I thought it was very yummy and it's easily tweaked to fit your family's tastes. I put pepperoni and olives over all but added diced onion and peppers to one half for those who wanted a more "supreme" pizza taste. Sliced mushrooms would work too. Or Canadian bacon.

adapted from Spaghetti Pepperoni Pizza on

8 oz. uncooked spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 - 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
16 oz. (2 cups) spaghetti sauce with sausage*
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)
4 oz. sliced pepperoni

additional toppings (optional):
diced onion
diced green pepper
sliced black olives
sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; rinse with cold water and drain. In a large bowl, beat egg with milk, salt, and garlic powder. Mix in spaghetti and 1/2 cup of mozzarella until evenly coated; spread evenly in bottom of greased pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spread sauce over spaghetti; sprinkle oregano, basil, fennel (if using), and remaining mozzarella. Top with pepperoni and any additional toppings. Bake again for 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

*I like Prego Italian Sausage and Garlic

Friday, February 18, 2011

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

I forgot to get a photo of this, so I borrowed the one from the Campbell's Kitchen website. They suggested making it with bow tie pasta, but I made it with penne. I really think you need more pasta than they call for in the original recipe, so I've altered it here. This is so simple and requires so few ingredients, I love it!

adapted from Creamy Pesto Chicken & Bow Ties on Campbell's Kitchen

12 oz. uncooked pasta (bow ties, penne, spirals, etc.)
2 Tbsp. butter
1+ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
salt, to taste
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse and drain.

In a large skillet or saute pan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until well browned, stirring often. Pour in soup, pesto, milk, pepper, and salt and stir until combined. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the pasta and cook until heated through. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Broccoli Salad

I had this salad at my cousin's wedding reception and loved it. My aunt Catherine was kind enough to share the recipe with me and now I'm sharing it with you. This is a great light and refreshing salad and has become one of my go-to favorites for get-togethers. If you are making it for a crowd, I recommend doubling or tripling it.


3 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup craisins
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup crumbled bacon

1/2 cup mayo
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Stir to coat. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Almond Chocolate Kiss Cookies

These are a pleasant change from the peanut butter blossoms that are so popular. The recipe came from a friend I used to work for and I've loved these cookies ever since I first tried them in her home. This time around Caralie and I made them for Valentine's Day (thought the whole "kiss" thing was appropriate) so we added a little pink food coloring. I really like the look!

I tried and tried and tried to find the cherry cordial Hershey Kisses because I think they would be really perfect for this cookie, but even with the Valentine's holiday, they were nowhere to be found. So we stuck with the original milk chocolate Kisses. I like these cookies best when the Kisses are still melty from being in the oven. Delicious!


2/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. almond extract
1 egg
4 tsp. milk
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 bag Hershey Kisses*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening, 3/4 cup sugar, and extract. Add egg and milk; beat till light and fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together and blend into creamed mixture. Roll into 1 1/2" balls; roll balls in 1/4 cup sugar until coated. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Remove cookies from oven, place a kiss in center of each cookie and then return to oven for 3 minutes more. Cool on wire rack.

*If you want to make enough cookies to use up the entire bag of Kisses, you will need to double or triple the recipe, depending on how big you make them. I made 1 1/2" balls and got 22 out of one batch.