The Best Chicken Spaghetti Ever….seriously!

My sister and I have been making this recipe of Chicken Spaghetti for as long as I can remember.  It is worth the little extra effort (mainly sauteeing a few items and then dumping it all in a pot and letting it simmer) because the flavors are phenomenal.   It’s the best I have ever had.  

Try some and see what you think.  I bet you will ask for a second helping.   It’s even better left over.   Let me know what you think!  Just try it.   You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Spaghetti

1 large chicken

2 large onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

4 ribs celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

 1 bunch green onions, chopped

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

2 Tbsp bacon drippings

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)

1 can tomato soup (Campbell’s soup size)

1/2 can tomato paste (small can)

salt and pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 cup of chicken broth (saved from cooking the chicken)

Boil chicken in a pot of water seasoned with salt and pepper.  (save broth).  Bone chicken and cut into large pieces.  

Saute onions, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and green onions in hot bacon drippings, adding parsley just as they get soft.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, soup and seasonings.  Thin the mixture with the 2 cups chicken broth and add the boned chicken.  Cover and simmer on medium low, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour or until thick.  Serve over pasta.  

(If you had to fry a few pieces of bacon to get the bacon drippings, just crumble the fried bacon into the sauce and let it help flavor it while it is simmering.  You won’t be sorry!)

And don’t forget to serve a fresh sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top!  Yumm!!!!!!  I think I shall make some next week!  

Enjoy and have a great weekend!  

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Sausage-Cheese Wonton Cups

Made these this weekend after finding this recipe in a magazine and knew we had to try them……

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Everyone seemed to like them….and I just realized I left off the garnish… chopped green onion sprinkled on top.  Maybe it was a good thing in this case I did.  I made these for our Sunday School class and several went on to sing in the choir.  Onions and singing next to someone may not mix very well.  Onions and singing out in the congregation may not mix well, either.  When you make these (and believe me, they are easy and would make a good football-watching item – the possibilities are endless with this one!) use the garnish – it would add another layer of flavor.

Sausage-Cheese Wonton Cups

1 lb pork breakfast sausage

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (can use more if want – I used about 3/4 to 1 tsp)

1/8 tsp ground red pepper ( I used about 1/4 tsp-we like a little more heat)

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

24 wonton wrappers

Garnish:  Chopped green onions (I forgot to sprinkle these on top – bet it would have looked pretty!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium skillet, combine sausage, cumin, and red pepper; cook over medium-high heat until browned and crumbly.  In medium bowl, stir together sausage mixture, cheese, and sour cream.  Spray a 24-cup mini muffin pan (or 2 12-cups) with nonstick cooking spray.  Fit wonton wrappers into muffin pan to form cups; spray cups with cooking spray.  Divide sausage mixture among cups.  Bake for 10 minutes or until wonton wrappers are lightly browned.  Garnish with green onion, if desired.

Possible other combos for these:  1- use turkey sausage instead to lighten up the recipe.  2. Brown ground beef and season with the same seasonings, , use a Mexican blend of cheese, chop a  jalapeno pepper and add when browning the beef, and once baked- top with a dab of sour cream and a smidgen of salsa – bet those would be great!  Conjure up your own creation!  I know they would be good – and the wontons are so light and crispy – and just the right size!

In Search Of The Perfect Biscuit…..literally

No one could make biscuits like Mrs. Redmond could…I remember going to her home and wanting to stand there and watch forever her ease in getting the fluffiest, best tasting, made-from-scratch biscuits I have ever tasted from that bowl of hers.  I have tried, but I cannot get the technique.  I can make somewhat decent biscuits, but not what “I” consider that “wow” biscuit.  Now I will put my chicken and dumplings up against anyone’s any day of the week.  Not my biscuits……no way.   

I even have a cookbook “Biscuits” that has every kind of recipe from old fashioned that includes the lard, butter, etc. – they seem a little heavy to me.  I have made the infamous “7-up biscuits” floating around pinterest and while I love these light and airy biscuits, they do not depict those good country “slather on the tomato gravy” biscuits that I am wanting to achieve.

I did come across this recipe and it comes pretty darn close – I made a batch and it was so buttery – they are good enough to eat even the next morning without re-heating.   I will be making these again….hubby said the only thing missing was the sausage gravy, or the tomato gravy (by the way if you don’t make tomato gravy, you need to).

Try some…..and if you have a recipe for those perfect biscuits, send it my way.   I know hubby would appreciate it.  

Perfect Biscuits Every time

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp salt

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 cup COLD butter (cut into cubes prior to starting recipe, and place back in refrigerator to keep really cold)

1 egg 

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Combine the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter to cut in the cold butter.  Keep the butter pieces pea size so don’t cut the butter in too much.

Add the milk and egg (I usually measure the milk, crack the egg into the milk and mix together before adding) and mix just until the ingredients are combined.    The dough will be sticky and should be – don’t keep working it – and you should still be able to see the butter pieces in the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface, and sprinkle some flour on the top of the dough so it doesn’t stick to your hands, knead around 10 times.  If the dough is super sticky, just sprinkle some additional flour on it.

Roll or pat the dough out to 3/4 or 1 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter or small glass.  You will end up with 9-12 biscuits, depending on the size of your cutter.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  

Once done, you can brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter for extra added flavor if you want.

These really are good.  And while you may think the recipe sounds detailed, it isn’t.  Try it.  

Don’t forget ……….send me any of your favorite biscuit recipes.  We’ll make them together!

A picture speaks a thousand words….and winners!

OK …let me first say congratulations to the winners of the Breadwinner breads…. we will get to those in a minute.  

Have I told you lately that I dislike technology because when I want it to work properly it won’t?   Anyhooooooo, no random.org pictures for you today showing I really did draw from random.org and random.org really did select the winners in the following order and for some reason I cannot downsize my pictures to post all three from this particular computer (don’t ask me why) so instead, I will just post the winners.  That’s what’s important anyway, right?

Winner # 1….. Betty Bozeman – she selected “Sweet Home Ala-Banana and Papa Don’t Peach for her Bunk Breads…Yummy!

Winner # 2…Kevin…He wants Papa Don’t Peach and Sweet Home Ala-Banana also…hmmm…these are popular choices.

Winner # 3…Theodorerex72.…Frankly My Dear I Don’t Give a Cran Cranberry Bread and Lemon Poppy Razzi Lemon Poppyseed Bread – Sounds great!

 

Now…. if you three will email me at tdingler@bellsouth.net and get me an address to send your Bunk Breads I will get your selection ordered and sent directly to you.  The sooner I hear from you the sooner you get your delicious choices!

Congratulations, and I foresee future orders from you to Breadwinner Breads……you are going to love it!   

Bunk Bread Buddies

Yep…..you read it right….Bunk Breads…..and a chance to win a set of these delectable breads.  If you haven’t heard of Breadwinner Breads (and I know some of you have cause you make special trips to Atlanta to visit them!!!) you need to go to their website http://www.breadwinnerbreads.com/ and look at all their wonderful breads.  I’m not talking about sandwich breads, these are sweet wonderful breads with the catchiest names, like “Papa Don’t Peach” or “Better than a Bubble Bath Mocha Chocolate Chip Bread” which is one of my favorites, or maybe you would like “Lemon Poppy Razzi  Lemon Poppy Seed Bread”.  I have grandkids who like to grab a slice as they are going out the door to school in the morning – “that good bread” as they call it.  

Because it’s almost Halloween, my least favorite holiday, (I DO NOT watch all those scary movies on TV) and since we are out, sort of, in the country, we have no trick-or-treaters, we don’t have to worry about candy (except for my next door neighbor’s kiddo and we try to keep some for her at all times) I am going to give away three (3) sets of Bunk Breads (I love that title) which is a set of 2 loaves (and these aren’t small loavess either) to three winners.   Each winner will be able to select the two flavors of their choice and I will have them shipped directly to their address straight from the company.  

Just leave a comment below and  tell me which two loaves would you select for your Bunk Bread selection if you get chosen.  That means going to the website and checking them out.  I know they would appreciate the look!  If the link (you know me and computers) doesn’t get you there, just google “Breadwinner Breads” and you can get to it that way.  

 

The three winners will be selected and posted Monday morning, October 21.   Happy bread hunting! And Happy Fall!

Some like it hot…..Hot Pepper Jelly

I love my Pepper Jelly – so does the peeps…. we like it on crackers, we like it over cream cheese with crackers….heck, I like it straight out of the jar!  And no food coloring for this old girl! I like its natural color from the bell peppers and the Jalapeno peppers… au natural!  

See these two jars?  

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They won’t last very long when they get opened.   And its not hard to make.   Get the supplies, and make you some.   The canning process is easy, too.  Or just make it and eat it.   Its that good!  This recipe came from a dear friend from church a very long time ago.   Thank you, and you know who you are.  And as you can see, I left in more seeds in the larger jar for more heat.  MY JAR!

Hot Pepper Jelly

2 large green bell peppers (cored, seeded and chopped)

2 long chile peppers  chopped, or 3-4 regular jalapeno peppers (either seeded, partially seeded or not seeded and chopped)

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

5 1/2 cups sugar

1 bottle or 1 box (both packages) Certo 

green food coloring if you want

Blend in blender 1/2 of pepper mixture with 1/2 of vinegar.  Pour into large boiler.  Blend other half of pepper mixture and vinegar and add to boiler.   Stir in sugar and bring to a rolling boil.   Add Certo, bring back to boil again and boil for one (1) full minute., stirring constantly.   Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.   Pour into hot sterilized jars. 

If you are canning, make sure you follow regular canning procedures next. 

 

Can’t wait until Thanksgiving to share with family.   But in the meantime I have some extra that we are munching on……. now let me go get a cracker…….

 

Creole Jambalaya…..Oh Yeah

I need to get out more….since hubby is fully retired, and I am not, he has taken over a lot of the grocery shopping.  This can be good and this can be bad.   On the good side, it saves me a Saturday and I get to do things I normally don’t get to do that used to get taken up by shopping.   He has learned to stick to the list, for the most part, and get the brand items on the ones I insist, (hey, I’m a Viva paper towel kind of gal) and he is free to choose to get generic on some items.   

On the down side, I went to the grocery store for the first time Friday to do the actual shopping, which was an off day for me (I had some comp time I needed to burn).  Boys howdy, have they come up with some new products!   I am so behind on stuff.  I need a full week for just “window shopping” at the grocery stores!   I drooled, I got teary-eyed, I bought some, and I savored over some for a later buy.  I’ve just got to get out more!

I did get one item on a trip out over the past several weeks, that I wanted us to try.  It would be a quick meal to fix, it would use up some extra Conecuh sausage we had on hand, and it would include chicken of which I could partake.   

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McCormick’s has a new (and then again, it probably isn’t so new, but only to me…) of seasoning packets “McCormick Gourmet Line”  and I picked up the “Smoked Sausage & Pepper Creole Jambalaya” – recipe and seasoning mix included.   How simple is that?  I did leave out the shrimp, although I did have some, we are saving it for another day.   

If you haven’t tried this line by McCormick’s, you really need to.  It was super!  Just the right amount of heat, all the right seasonings, and man was it good.  I am always leery about “season packets” as I like to mix my own most of the time but I decided to give this one a shot.  While I did not use the Andouille sausage as suggested on the package, I did use the Concecuh Sausage as that is what we had on hand, and I believe hubby liked the smokey flavor it gave the recipe.   I have made Jambalaya with the Andouille before so just pick your favorite and go with it.   But try it.  Or one of their other flavors.   I don’t think you will be disappointed.   I plan on going back and trying a couple of others – maybe their Smoked Paprika Chicken Taco or their Tuscan Beef Stew – hubby would love that one. See which ones your store carries and pick some up. Let us know which one you try.

Have a great week!

Scones -Oh-so-good savory scones

These scones were made this weekend – they were not the regular sweet, kind you think of when you have “High Tea” but these were the kind you have when you have quiches, or chicken salad, or just a plain wonderful non/sweet dessert scone.  It is a wonderful, flavorful scone that you will make, eat warm, eat room temperature, eat cold, re-warm and have a cup of coffee or a cup of tea.  I’d show you pictures but we ate them. Not all, we did share.  I must make more.

They have the name of “Panzanella Scone” but don’t let that scare you – they are not hard to make.   They can be frozen raw and baked later.  This is good to know.   We liked them (even hubby) that much.   

Try them, and while you’re at it, have a spot of tea with one……..Long Live the Queen!

Panzanella Scone

2 cups bread flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

4 Tbsp cold salted butter, cut into pieces (if all you have is unsalted, use that and just add a pinch more of salt above)

1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1/3 cup Chopped Castelvetrano olives, such as Mezzetta brand (this is a green Italian olive)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

2 Tbsp chopped green onion (green tops only)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 cup cold heavy whipping cream (plus a little more in case dough is dry)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.  (Or lightly oil the bottom of baking sheet if you do not have parchment paper.)

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, whisking well.  Using a pastry blender; cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add 1/2 cup cheese, tomatoes, olives, basil, green onion, and parsley, tossing to coat with flour mixture.  Add cream all at once, stirring to bring dough together.  (If mixture seems dry, add more cream, 1 Tablespoon at a time until uniformly moist.  Note-I did have to add approx. 2 Tbsp more heavy whipping cream)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead 2 or 3 times.  Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 1/2 inch thickness.  Using a 2 inch square cutter, cut 16 squares from dough.  (or use a round cutter if you have that shape).  Place scones 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.  Brush scones with olive oil, and sprinkle with remaining 3 Tablespoons cheese.

Bake until edges of scones are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, approximately 14 minutes.  Serve warm.  

 

I really, really hope you try these…..you will like them.  I also think they would be so good with a bowl of tomato basil soup! 

 

Pecan Praline Cupcakes…from Target

PECAN PRALINE CUPCAKE…FROM TARGET

If you haven’t tried some of the Target brands in their food section, you are missing out on some jewels!  I was there for another reason and happened upon this…….

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Picked these up to try them….who wouldn’t want a Pecan Praline cupcake with cinnamon frosting?  It really does have praline bits in the mix.  And is so easy to make…but what got my attention was that with a few extra ingredients (and yes really easy) you can transform them into this……

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I am hooked!  Had to try and boy are they good.   And easy,  and tasty,  and did I mention good?  Get a box (or two ….or three)  as Fall is here and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.   Perfect for the season!  Have to go now….off to Target!

Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes….incredible!

These Turkey Sloppy Joes were so good.  They had such depth of flavor, and were so easy.   You can make them with or without a crock pot, so it depends on the amount of time you have or don’t have.   Serve them as a lettuce wrap and forego the bread/bun and save on carbs!  Just as good!  Just make them….and soon.

 

Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes (can use Slow Cooker to make)

1 lb ground turkey (could use ground beef if you rather)

1 onion, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (if you like a little more heat, leave in some seeds to taste)

2 stalks celery, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 8-oz tomato sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp mustard

1 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar (I love this stuff – it rocks!)

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. Smoked paprika – (can I say if you have never tried the “smoked paprika,” get some and try it – it will become your best friend)

 

Directions:  

In a large skillet, add turkey, onion, celery, and green pepper, along with jalapeno and cook until turkey is no longer pink.  (if you are using the crock pot, add it to the slow cooker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray at this point) 

Add tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar along with seasonings to ingredients in skillet (or slow cooker) and stir together.

Simmer on low for 30 minutes in skillet stirring occasionally (may need to add a little water if it looks like it is getting too thick but only do this to your liking) – if you are using the slow cooker, cook on low for 4 hours and keep on warm until serving.   Serving on buns, bread, toast, or as I like, as lettuce wraps.   

This stuff is addictive, the flavors are just right.   Next time I plan on keeping more of the heat from the jalapeno.   I like to spice things up a bit!.

Enjoy!  And Happy Football Friday!