Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hmmm... Pillsbury® Brownie Batter

I got an email from Pillsbury yesterday, featuring lots of Easter recipes. There was also an introduction for the new Pillsbury® Brownie Batter. Clicking on the link, I was introduced to "the easiest way to rich, fudgy brownies in minutes. Nothing to add, mix or measure. Simply spread the soft batter in an 8x8-inch pan and bake for a moist, chewy, home-baked treat." Hmmm...

I LOVE brownies. I like to make them from scratch, but I'm also no stranger to brownies from a box. Betty Crocker, Ghiradelli's & Tastefully Simple all have great mixes. But brownie batter in a roll? I'm a little skeptical.

I had Mike pick up a roll so I could try it out. I was not impressed with the supposed ease of preparation. The batter was easy enough to squeeze out, but very hard to spread*. You really have to work at it. In all honesty, I think it would have been easier (and probably just as quick) to use a boxed mix. As for taste, they are not bad; a little dry, but not the worst brownie I've had. I don't think I'd buy them again.

I'd love to hear what you think if you try them.

*The batter might be easier to spread if you leave the roll on the counter 10 to 15 mintues before opening, taking some of the chill off.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cheesy Chicken & Noodles

My friend Mary first introduced me to Chicken Spaghetti & I immediately fell in love with it. I fixed it for my husband a few weeks ago & it has become one of his favorites, which would explain why I was fixing it again for yesterday's dinner. I've tweaked the recipe just a bit to suit our taste, exchanging the spaghetti for broad egg noodles (hence the name change) & adding shredded cheese to the sauce just before mixing with the noodles. I also use the Rotel labeled "milder" as the original is very hot. The recipe is a great way to make use of leftover chicken or you can cut up & saute chicken breasts or tenders. Some recipes call for canned chicken, but I don't recommend it.

Cheesy Chicken & Noodles
2 Tablespoons butter
1 pound chicken breast, cooked & cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2/3 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 can Rotel
8 cups chicken stock
KRAFT Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese - 2 cup bag
1 bag broad egg noodles

For noodles, bring chicken stock to boil in large pan. Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet, add onion, saute until tender. Add cooked chicken, Rotel & Velveeta cheese. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until cheese is melted. Add noodles to boiling stock, cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of stock. Return noodles to pan. Add Kraft shredded cheese to chicken mixture, adding reserved stock as needed to thin sauce. Pour sauce over noodles, stir to combine. Serve with salad & rolls.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Canasta Anyone?

What can I say? We're addicted to the game - we play every chance we get. Mike is off tomorrow & can actually stay up past his normal 9:00pm bedtime, so we're going to play tonight; Mom & Mike against me & Amy. We always have a simple menu for game night because we're ready to get down to business. Tonight is hotdog night, a very quick & easy meal. Mom is making her homemade chili, which is absolutely delicious. Throw in some weiners, buns & slaw & shuffle those cards!

*Ballpark makes the best fat-free weiners.

Monday, March 19, 2007

"Mom Cooks" Up a Little Nostalgia

Friday night has become family night at my mom's house. The crowd usually consists of my mom, sister & niece, my brother-in-law, my husband & me. We gossip (OK, Amy & I gossip), laugh, eat dinner & then it's CANASTA time!

This past Friday night, we had a meal that brings back lots of memories for my sister & me. Burgers, potato wedges & onion rings. Nothing fancy, but it's a meal that we have lots of great memories wrapped around. I can't remember how many Friday nights we ate this same meal in front of the TV, watching Pete's Dragon, Smokey & the Bandit or another much-loved movie, usually on a damp carpet that mom had just shampooed (back in her crazy-clean days). This was before we had a VCR, so movie night on TV was a real treat. The meal is a comfort food for us, as I suppose any meal that brings back good memories would be.

I don't really care to fix burgers at home, but I love the taste of mom's. I especially love the way she spoons grease over the cheese to help it melt. Hey, I never said it was a healthy meal. LOL

2# Ground Beef
Garlic Salt

Pat out 8 burgers. Season with garlic salt & pepper. Place in skillet over medium heat. Cook until well done. Place slice of cheese on top; spoon grease over cheese to help melt. Serve on buns with desired toppings.

Potato Wedges & Onion Rings
We use Ore-Ida potato wedges & Kroger-brand onion rings. Bake at temperature recommended on package until cripsy. Serve with ketchup & ranch dip.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Quick Toasted Bruschetta

Yesterday was a perfect lazy Sunday, but I still wanted to have a special treat waiting for Mike when he got home from work. I saw some beautiful french baguettes at the store, so I decided on bruschetta. I couldn't find any fresh basil, but then I remembered I had a bottle of balsamic basil dipping oil in the pantry, courtesy of Tastefully Simple. So while it wasn't my most elaborate bruschetta, it was still pretty good. Some chopped kalamati olives would have made it even better.

Quick Toasted Bruschetta
Half French Baguette, sliced into rounds
Balsamic Basil Dipping Oil
Chopped Plum Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Turn on broiler. Place bread rounds on cookie sheet, drizzle with balsamic basil dipping oil. Top with cheese & tomatoes. Broil until cheese is golden and bubbly.