Friday, October 24, 2014

Turkey Provolone Crepes

I was talking to my husband on his way home from work and he asked what was for dinner, when I told him these crepes his response was, "oh yes!" Generally I would categorize these under "chick foods" and he is definitely not a chick food kind of guy, but these are delicious enough to make the cut. Which says a lot. They are so full of flavor, whip up in a flash and for that one picky child (ahem...not naming names...) you can just roll up some plain crepes, drizzle with syrup and everyone is happy. There's a reason these have graced our table so many times over the years!

For the crepe: Spread a little butter on the pan then pour in approx. ¼ C of batter; lift and tilt skillet to spread batter

Return to heat and cook until it starts to bubble then flip it over and cook until lightly browned (about 1 min each side)

Return a crepe to the skillet over medium heat, On one half of the crepe, layer on cheese, turkey, tomatoes, avocado and spinach. Season with salt and pepper then drizzle with a little ranch dressing. Fold the other half over and heat on skillet 

Flip and cook both sides until cheese is melted

Cut in half for serving, and enjoy!

For the crepes:

1 ½ c milk
1 c flour
2 Tb sugar
1 Tb veg. oil
2 eggs

In a bowl combine milk, eggs, oil, and sugar. Slowly whisk in flour and beat until smooth. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat. Spread a little butter on the pan then pour in approx. ¼ C of batter; lift and tilt skillet to spread batter. Return to heat and cook until it starts to bubble then flip it over and cook until lightly browned (about 1 min each side). Cook all the crepes first then set aside.

Deli shaved turkey
Provolone cheese slices
Tomatoes, sliced
Avacados, sliced
Baby spinach leaves
Ranch dressing
Salt and pepper

Return a crepe to the skillet over medium heat, On one half of the crepe, layer on cheese, turkey, tomatoes, avocado and spinach. Season with salt and pepper then drizzle with a little ranch dressing. Fold the other half over and heat on skillet (flip and cook both sides) until cheese is melted.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

{real} Italian Calzones with Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

I love looking back and seeing how my cooking has evolved over the years. For calzones I used to thaw out some Rhodes dough rolls then open a can of Spaghetti sauce, spoon it on, add some cheese, fold it over and pop it in the oven. They were good, but they weren't great. These are more than great. The perfect golden crust with a creamy cheesy filling, dipped in the most delicious marinara sauce (which I learned is the legit Italian way to do a calzone, no sauce on the inside). It will make 'em drool down their chinny chin chin (any One Direction fans out there...anyone?)

Dough: (makes 3-4, can double)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil 1 egg (to brush on top)
1 ½ C ricotta
3-4 C shredded
mozzarella cheese
Optional: olives, pepperoni, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, pineapple, ham, peppers, etc.
Marinara sauce (for dipping)
To Make Dough: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 375. When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 3-4 equal parts. Roll parts out into thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Mix filling ingredients then spoon onto dough, fold over, securing edges by folding in and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with egg and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 min. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping. 

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce:
1 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 Tbs minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 C water
2 Tbs chopped basil (or 1 Tbs dried)
2 Tbs chopped oregano (or 1 Tbs dried)
2 Tbs chopped parsley (or 1 Tbs dried)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
 ¼ tsp pepper
 Add all ingredients to the crock pot and simmer on low for 3-4 hrs. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Source: Calzones-, Marinara sauce-adapted from


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Perfect Brownie

I have an embarrassing amount of brownie recipes in my file. Caramel brownies, cookie dough brownies, mint brownies...but every one needs just one perfect classic brownie recipe. It's like the black pencil skirt in your wardrobe. No matter how many trendy and colorful clothes you might have in your closet, you always go back to the pencil skirt. It's timeless. This right here is your black pencil skirt brownie. A perfectly moist and gooey brownie with just the right amount of cracking on the top that never goes out of style. This recipe also has a special place in my heart as well. Leaving everything and everyone that you love to move to the other side of the world can be a scary and lonely thing. A few weeks after we moved in, Julie (of the chocolate cake fame) showed up on my porch with a plate of the most delicious brownies and a warm embrace. My heart and my stomach were full and I knew right then that we would be just fine.

1 C butter, melted
½ C cocoa powder
2 C sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 C flour
2tsp baking powder
1 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter, add cocoa, sugar, vanilla, eggs and beat all together with an electric beater until smooth.Add the flour, baking powder and chocolate chips. Stir together and pour into 9x12 glass baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until the center is just set.

Source: my friend Julie


{updated} Lion House Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

I started this recipe blog years ago with friends and then life happened and it got put on the back burner. I'm working on getting it back and running again and will be updating some of the older posts. With over 25,000 hits this recipe has been the most popular one on the site so I'll still include the original recipe for reference, but I've made some improvements and I think you'll love it even more (it got a two spoons up from my table of critics). It's a little more sophisticated take, so without further ado, I give you Lion House Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup version 2.0...

Updated Recipe:

2 chicken breasts (plus 1/2 c broth for crockpot)
7 C chicken broth
1 package egg noodles (Mrs. Kluskies is my favorite- I usually don't use the whole package because it absorbs a lot of the liquid, adjust according to your preference. I would recommend about 8 oz)
2 Tbs butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1-2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 med potatoes, peeled and diced
¾ C frozen peas
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs flour
2 C milk
2 tsp chicken boullion
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in crockpot with ½ C broth and cook on low 5-6 or high 3-4 hrs then shred. Prepare vegetables, heat butter in a large pot then add carrots, onion and celery then saute for about 5-7 minutes, adding parsley and thyme for the last few minutes. Add broth, noodles, potatoes, peas and shredded chicken to pot and heat over medium heat. In a separate pan, melt 2 Tbs butter then add 2 Tbs flour to make a roux. Whisk for 2 minutes, then slowly whisk in milk and add 2 tsp boullion. Stir over medium heat until thickened. Whisk into large pot and let simmer over med-low heat or until vegetables are tender (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Original Recipe:

2 Chicken Breasts
5 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Cup Carrots, Chopped
1 Cup Celery, Chopped
1 Cup Potatoes, Diced
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 C Milk
8-12 oz Noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste
Boil the chicken in a pot of water then shred. In a large pot add the chicken broth, shredded chicken, veggies, cream of chicken soup, milk and noodles. Cook on medium to low heat for about 30-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

*Source: adapted from the Lion House recipe book

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

{Copy Cat} Garrett's Chicago Style Popcorn

It's like Madonna or Brittney, it only needs one name and you know exactly what I'm talking about, at least if you've ever been to Chicago. Garretts. It's well worth the 40 minute wait in line and chances are you'll get an extra scoop to save for breakfast the next morning. Or maybe that's just me. It's divine and will leave you craving it for days, weeks, or in my case, even years. When you live 8,300 miles from Chicago then thankfully this recipe is enough to satisfy that craving. And even if you haven't had Garrett's before, I can pretty much guarantee this will be the best caramel corn recipe you've ever tried!  (I can't get the ingredients for the cheese popcorn here in New Zealand, so I only have a picture of the caramel. Make them both and enjoy it for me!)

Caramel Corn:

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
Preheat oven to 300. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Pop popcorn kernels. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tsp salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Pour popcorn into lined pan, sprinkle a little more salt on top and place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow popcorn to cool on a parchment lined counter.

Cheese Corn:

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
4 Tbs butter, melted
3/4 C cheddar cheese powder (easiest to just use the packets from a few boxes of Mac & Cheese)
2 tsp ground mustard powder
Pop popcorn kernels, pour butter over popcorn and stir. Mix cheese powder and mustard powder then stir into popcorn until evenly coated.

Mix the popcorn together and devour. I mean, enjoy. And save some for breakfast.

*source: caramel corn: adapted from, cheese corn:


Monday, October 20, 2014

The Ultimate Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Bake

It's taken me years to finally land the perfect chicken broccoli and rice bake. There are so many out there and this has the best of all of them mixed into one creamy, cheesy delicious dish. I have very picky eaters, when the kids ask what's for dinner chances are I'll be met with at least one groan. Unless I'm making this. I think this is the only dish that every single kid gets excited about when I tell them what I'm making. And it even has broccoli in it. And the husband devours it. You can't get much better than that. It's a good thing it makes lots because everyone will be going back for seconds!

2 tablespoons butter
1-2 heads of broccoli
1 1/4 cups long grain white rice
 4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cups heavy cream
½ C half-and-half (or milk)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 C shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
¾ C bread crumbs
3 Tbs butter

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat, add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, cream, half-and-half, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer 20-25 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Add 3 Tbs water and broccoli florets in a microwave safe bowl, cover then microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. When the rice is done, remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese, cayenne, chicken and broccoli florets. Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish. For the topping, melt butter in small pan and sauté bread crumbs until lightly brown. Sprinkle shredded cheese then bread crumbs on top then bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Red Chile Sauce Chicken Enchiladas

One of our favorite missionaries was getting transferred so we invited him over for dinner and this was his request. These enchiladas have become quite a legend among all the missionaries. They are just that good. I've been making them for years and they still hit the spot every single time. The flavor of the sauce is incredible, I use the same one in these shredded beef enchiladas if you're more of a red meat enchilada fan.

1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine (optional)
1 Tbs canola oil
 ½ tsp salt
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2  Tbs chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sugar
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
3 largechicken breasts
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
10-12 flour tortillas

Cook the chicken in the crockpot then shred. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large saucepan, combine the onion, jalapeno, salt, and oil. Saute over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer. Remove about half the sauce and set aside for the top. Stir the chicken into the remaining sauce in the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and add 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese and the cilantro. Toss to combine. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high about 40-60 seconds. Spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake 20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, shredded lettuce, olives or diced tomatoes.

*source: unknown