Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The recipe was submitted by reader Kim, who lurks at us from Illinois.

Robyn’s Take:

This recipe, as mentioned above, was submitted by reader Kim in Illinois, who told us she’s a longtime lurker. The recipe came from her mother (Carolyn), who got it from someone she worked with. So basically, we don’t really know where it originated. Kim knows that if the copyright people come after us I’ll roll over on her so fast she won’t know what hit her, and she’s okay with that.

This recipe looked simple enough, and y’all KNOW I AM ALL ABOUT THE SIMPLE. Also, it’s on the Mexican side of the menu. Fred loves Mexican food the way I love Asian food, so I didn’t even have to ask him if he’d be interested. It was an automatic “HELLS YES.”

Your ingredients:

Chicken Tortilla Soup (1)

Cooked chicken, shredded. Chicken broth, Ro-tel, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, zucchini, onion, garlic, cumin. Salt and pepper. Monterey Jack cheese (I couldn’t find pre-shredded, so had to buy the block and shred it my own damn self.)

A note on the chicken – Kim mentioned that this would be a good recipe to use my canned chicken with. And it certainly would – but I ran out of canned chicken some months back, and haven’t gotten around to canning more. Luckily I had plenty of whole chickens in the freezer, so the day before I made this, I roasted a whole chicken, and used all the meat off of that. You could also buy a rotisserie chicken, or just use the 4 – 6 chicken breasts that the recipe calls for.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (2)

Saute your onion and garlic in a large dutch oven/pot until the onion is translucent. While that was going on, I took the opportunity to dice my zucchini.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (3)

I could have diced it a bit smaller, I suppose, but WHATEVAH.

Then just dump everything (except the cheese and chips) into the pot. Stir, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Kim mentioned that she likes her soup soupy rather than stewy. We’re more of a stew-loving household, so I only added one carton of chicken broth to the pot.

This is what it looked like before it started simmering.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (4)

While it simmered, I shredded my cheese. I didn’t shred any of the skin on my hand, which I’m pretty sure must be a Christmas miracle.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (5)

YUM.

Then I went and snorgled Chef Tony until he smacked me and told me to let him snooze.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (6)

When the soup is ready, dump it into bowls, top with chips and cheese, and eat.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (8)

The verdict? Thumbs way, way up. We ate it for dinner twice, and then Fred claimed the leftovers for lunches for the better part of the week. We’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks for the submission, Kim!

PS: The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of cumin. I only used one, because cumin is a stinky, stinky spice. The fact that the soup was good despite the presence of cumin means that either I’m outgrowing my cumin hatred or it was a really good recipe. Probably both.

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Nance’s Take:
I have a recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup that I seldom make because it’s full of calories and fat grams.  When I saw the word zucchini in this recipe I just assumed it would be a whole lot healthier than my cheese laden one.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is what happens when you see the word zucchini and don’t bother to read the rest of the recipe.  I figured throwing grated zucchini in there would make it gross so I left it out.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I love a one pan/pot meal.  Well, one pot and a baking sheet.  Close enough.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I baked my chicken (425 for 30 minutes) and it was hand shredded on-site. Don’t you just love pretentious snobby cooking blogs? I’ve been reading some lately and OHMYGAWD, what a bunch of bitches! Seriously. I know that they are trying to make a career out of whatever it is they feed their family, but Oy to the Vey. I bet Amanda just loves the shit outta them because they can make a production out of a piece of toast.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I tossed everything in and walked away so it could do it’s thing.Chicken Tortilla Soup
Blurry picture, but it definitely shows the purpose of a dog. Who else is going to pick up what lands on the floor? The Beagle was hoovering big time.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Waldo is always in the middle of everything. He even stands behind my mom with the 3 dogs while she gets their food ready. Poor little guy is so slow he has no idea what’s going on…he just knows he doesn’t want to miss it.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I thought it looked fabulous.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Cheese!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I didn’t have any tortillas so I had to improvise.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
The Beagle is hopeful, but I can’t even give her a Frito since she’s grain-free. Don’t feel bad. Shirley scrambles eggs for them (with cheese) and they get chicken and other meats. It makes my husband crazy because we buy special (expensive) food for them and Shirley can’t just give that to them. They have to have a little something to go with it. And I should probably note that Alex (her grandson) was here this week and she did not cook anything for him. Animals are winning.

The verdict?  Well, we didn’t care for it.  But…

My son, Trey ate the hell out of it and finished off all of the leftovers!  I remember reading that Kim’s son loves it so it must be some kind of crack for teenage boys. I’m keeping this recipe.

Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Entree
Cuisine: Souplandia!
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 4 - 6 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (or the meat from 1 small chicken)
  • 2 32 ounce cartons chicken broth (use less if you prefer a thicker soup; I only used one carton)
  • 1 10 ounce can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 12 ounce cans corn, drained
  • 2 - 3 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1½ c. chopped onion
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin (use less, if preferred)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Crushed tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Saute onion and garlic in a large dutch oven/pot until onion is translucent.
  2. Dump everything except the cheese and chips into the pot. Stir, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese and chips.

 

Simple Spinach Salad

The tandem post will be up later this week.

To tide you over, I’m sharing the recipe for a salad that we have pretty much every year at Christmas. We always spend Christmas Eve at Fred’s father and stepmother’s house (we spend Christmas Eve morning with Fred’s mother and stepfather at our house for breakfast), and we usually have spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna (I grew up eating a turkey dinner type meal for Christmas, so this was kind of weird to me the first few times). We almost always have this spinach salad with that meal, and since I’m a fan of raw spinach (forget the nutritional benefits – I just LIKE it; I know, I’m weird), I finally asked for the recipe so we could occasionally have it through the year.

It’s a salad you make ahead, and it’s even fairly good (though wilted) the next day. You can’t save it for longer than that, though – it gets way too shriveled and wilted to eat, though I guess you could always pick out the mushrooms and eat those (okay, you CAN do that – I don’t know why I’m acting like I’ve never done that.)

The ingredients:

Spinach Salad (1)

Sliced mushrooms (you could always buy whole mushrooms and slice them, if that’s what floats your boat), spinach (I use baby spinach), red wine vinegar, minced garlic, spinach, salad oil (I use olive oil). Not pictured: salt and pepper.

First, whisk the red wine vinegar, salt, garlic, and pepper together in a plastic dish.

Spinach Salad (2)

Add the mushrooms, toss, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so.

Put your spinach in a big plastic container, toss with the olive oil.

Spinach Salad (3)

Add the marinated mushrooms (including any marinade left in the dish) to the spinach, toss, and then chill for a couple of hours.

Spinach Salad (5)

This stuff is so good and so easy, I hope you give it a try and like it as much as we do  – I’m looking forward to having it again next week!

Simple Spinach Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
: Side dish, Salad
Cuisine: Italian? (We always eat it with Italian food, so that's what I'm guessing)
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic (or more, if desired), minced fine
  • freshed cracked black pepper to taste
  • 8 oz (or more) sliced mushrooms
  • 1 lb spinach (I recommend baby spinach), washed and dried (or just dump it into the bowl from the bag. I won't tell!)
  • ¼ c. salad oil (I use olive oil)
Instructions
  1. Whisk red wine vinegar, salt, garlic, black pepper together in a plastic dish with a lid. Add mushrooms, toss, and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Toss the spinach and oil together in a large bowl with a lid. Add the marinaded mushrooms and marinade. Toss, chill, and serve.
  3. The amounts of oil and vinegar can be adjusted to taste; the amounts listed in this recipe are just our personal preferences.

 

Pierogi Casserole – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Pierogi Casserole. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The recipe was submitted by reader Jamie.

Robyn’s Take:

Jamie reports that she got the original recipe for this casserole from a cookbook her mother’s law office (in Canada) puts out every few years, but that she’s changed the original recipe a lot. When she submitted this recipe, I was all about trying it. Because guess who’s never actually HAD pierogies? That’s right, as far as I can recall, I’ve never had a single pierogi. I mean, Nance can apparently make them in her SLEEP, and I’ve visited her like 3,000 times, but has she ever actually made them for me? NO, SHE HAS NOT.

Why you hate me, Nance?

Anyway, when I actually got around to making the pierogi casserole, I was a little overwhelmed with all the different layers, but once I actually started doing it, it came together easily, and worked out like it was supposed to. Pretty much what it is, is a mashed potato/bacon/onion/cheese lasagna.

Your ingredients:

Pierogie Casserole (1)

Lasagna noodles (the ones you have to boil, not the oven-ready ones!), flavored instant potatoes, cut-up bacon, diced onion, minced garlic, shredded cheddar, cottage cheese, one egg, dried chives, green onions, and a package of Kraft dinner cheese powder.

Now, I don’t know if Kraft sells their cheese powder in a packet by itself, but I certainly couldn’t find that anywhere in the store, so I bought a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese, and just used the powder from the box.

First thing, boil your lasagna noodles.

Pierogie Casserole (2)

While that’s going on, fry the bacon, garlic, and yellow onion over medium heat until the onion is cooked through (about 8 – 10 minutes).

Pierogie Casserole (3)

And also, make your instant mashed potatoes.

Pierogie Casserole (5)

In another bowl, mix the egg and dried chives into the cottage cheese.

Pierogie Casserole (4)

When the lasagna noodles are done, drain them. I didn’t get a picture of it, but once they were drained, I set each noodle down, flat, on parchment paper on the counter, so that the noodles wouldn’t stick together.

Pierogie Casserole (6)

And when the bacon, garlic and onion are done cooking, add HALF of the mixture to the instant mashed potatoes, along with the powdered cheese.

Pierogie Casserole (7)

So, to sum up: before you start putting your casserole together, you have:

ONE bowl with cottage cheese/egg/chives mixed together.
ONE bowl with instant mashed potatoes/powdered cheese/half the bacon/onion/garlic mixture, mixed together.
Cooked lasagna noodles.
Half the bacon/onion/garlic mixture still in the pan.
And a packet of cheese over on the counter, minding its own business.

Grease a 9×13 pan (I used Pam), and cover the bottom with a layer of lasagna noodles.

Pierogie Casserole (8)

Spread 1/2 of the potato mixture on top of that.

Pierogie Casserole (9)

On top of that, another layer of noodles. Then the entire bowl of cottage cheese mixture on top of THAT, and the shredded cheddar on top of the cottage cheese.

Pierogie Casserole (10)

Another layer of noodles, the rest of the potatoes, and the last layer of noodles on top of that. Top the noodles with the rest of the bacon/garlic/onion mixture, and then sprinkle the chopped green onions on top of it all.

Pierogie Casserole (15)
Chef Tony says “This very complicated, lady.”

What it looked like before it went into the oven.

Pierogie Casserole (11)

And after it came out.

Pierogie Casserole (12)

I let it cool for 15 minutes, and then we ate.

Pierogie Casserole (13)

(Note: I didn’t have any sour cream on hand, but I think it would have only enhanced the experience.)

The verdict? It was good! Jamie referred to it as comfort food, and it very much was. Fred didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, but he ate it a couple of times, so he certainly didn’t HATE it.

The things I would do differently: I’d probably cut the lasagna noodles into smaller pieces because getting the pieces out of the pan was a pan. Also, next time I’ll use the herb and butter instant potatoes that Jamie suggested, because I got the roasted garlic ones, and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, all the vampires in a 30-mile radius turned and fled en masse. That was some garlicky-ass shit, right there. I mean, I love garlic, but I don’t love smelling it coming out of my pores for two days afterward, thanks.

In summation: two thumbs up from me, one and a half thumbs up from Fred, definitely comfort food, and I recommend it. Thanks for the submission, Jamie!

Pierogie Casserole (14)
“Once again, Chef Tony not get to eat ANY of it. Y’all are some onion-eating motherfuckers.”

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Have a recipe you want us to make? Check out this page (there’s also a link to that page up there under the banner) and follow the instructions to submit a recipe!

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Nance’s Take:

Truth Game:  I discussed this recipe with Robyn last week.  If by discussed you mean that I sent Robyn an email asking her if she actually followed this recipe. She replied that she had followed the recipe and I told her that was a good thing because I wasn’t going to.  Translation: I didn’t want to listen to the family bitch.

My happy ass knows some shit about pierogies. I grew up eating and making pierogies so I can’t be playing when it comes to these things. We take our pierogies as seriously as we take our football team and yunz know how we are about our Steelers!

We have on very rare occasions made up a pierogi casserole/lasagna, but the truth is, it’s not even close to eating real pierogies. It is, however, a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Our recipe is very simple. Noodles, mashed potatoes, cheese.  Bake.
Pierogi Lasagna
My God, this babydoll is getting old! But I can still count on her to be in the middle of the kitchen floor when I have some cooking to do!
Pierogi Lasagna
I had good intentions when I started – that’s why I got the big pasta pot out. I took a picture before I noticed that I didn’t have much water in it.
Pierogi Lasagna
Turns out that it didn’t really matter since I only had a few lasagna noodles in my house. Sigh.
Pierogi Lasagna
I decided to use a bread pan in place of a casserole dish since I only had 5 motherfucking lasagna noodles.
Pierogi Lasagna
I sprayed the shit out of that bread pan with cooking spray because I didn’t want to clean up a mess. Then I threw one cooked noodle in there and slapped some potatoes in it.
Pierogi Lasagna
Spread the mashed potatoes all over the noodle and sprinkle with way too much cheese.
Pierogi Lasagna
Keep repeating until you hit the top.
Pierogi Lasagna
I baked it until my need to eat transcended my need to make it look good.
Pierogi Lasagna
I know this looks horrid and let me tell you why…
I willingly poured melted butter all over this shit because I lost my damn mind. The reason for the butter was because real pierogies are boiled and then fried in butter and onions.  I didn’t want to mess with onions, but I thought I would try just throwing some butter in there.  Don’t do that.  If you want to fry some onions in butter and layer them on top of the noodles go ahead.  Just don’t be a dumbass like me.

Between the melted butter and the greasy cheddar cheese this was probably the grossest thing I ever ate. Don’t do that. EVER. Pierogi Lasagna
You can barely see it, but even Sadie was giving me the side-eye.

Since I half-assed this recipe I promise that Shirley and I will take a day to make real pierogies and I’ll post it on DCEP.  This way everyone can know the joy that is stuffing your piehole with our family’s version of soul food.

Pierogi Casserole - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Polish Comfort Food
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 12 lasagna noodles (don't use oven-ready)
  • 2 packs of flavored instant potatoes
  • 8 slices of bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 pkg of Kraft dinner cheese powder (I used the packet of cheese from a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese)
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 c. cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp dried chives
  • 4 green onions, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Boil the lasagna noodles according to directions on the box. Drain and set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, fry bacon, garlic and onion until the onion is transparent, about 8 - 10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, make both packages of instant mashed potatoes. Mix in powdered cheese and half of the bacon/onion/garlic mixture.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix 1 egg and chives with the cottage cheese.
  6. Place a layer of noodles in the bottom of the baking dish.
  7. Top with ½ of the potato mixture.
  8. Add another layer of noodles.
  9. Spread with all of the cottage cheese mixture, and sprinkle with shredded cheddar.
  10. Add another layer of noodles.
  11. Top with the rest of the potato mixture.
  12. Add the last layer of noodles.
  13. Sprinkle the rest of the garlic/onion/bacon layer across the top, and top that with the sliced green onions.
  14. Cover with tin foil.
  15. Bake for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  16. Let cool for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.
  17. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

 

Sweet and Sour Chicken

No tandem recipe this week because I had to use up a shit-ton of ground beef that was in my fridge.  Here’s a hint…our upcoming tandem recipe does not take ground beef.  Luckily I had an entry/recipe waiting in the wings and it’s right up Robyn’s alley!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Drain the juice from the pineapple chunks into a medium size saucepan.  Set the pineapple chunks aside (you’ll need them later).  I didn’t think to pull out the ingredients to take a picture of them like Robyn does.  That would require me to pay attention to what I’m doing and you guys already know who the flake is in this gruesome twosome.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Add the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, garlic powder, mustard powder, worcestershire sauce and ginger to the pineapple juice.  I know it seems like a lot of different ingredients, but it’s all stuff you probably already have in your cupboard so I don’t want to hear it, Shirley.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Whisk it and forget about it until after you fry the chicken.  Start heating up your Peanut Oil in another pan or deep fryer.  Make sure you use Peanut oil for this part.  Vegetable oil is just a headache waiting to happen.  And for chrissakes, be careful! Hot oil is HOT.  

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Take your pieces of chicken and dredge them in cornstarch.  Don’t even think about using flour.  It’s cornstarch and cornstarch only here.

In case you didn’t notice – the two most IMPORTANT parts of this recipe are PEANUT OIL and CORNSTARCH.  I need shit spelled out for me sometimes so I figured you might appreciate it too.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

After the cornstarch the chicken gets dunked into the beaten egg.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have no idea what temperature my peanut oil was.  I always wing it on the first piece (it’s kind of like that first pancake you make) and adjust it from there.  It doesn’t take long for the coating to get golden brown and I don’t worry about cooking the chicken the whole way through because I’ll be baking it.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Rick managed to snap a picture when I was first starting out.  You can see the plate of cut-up chicken and the bowls of cornstarch and egg.  You can also see where I dunked the hell out of that chicken in the eggs and made a mess when I dropped it in the oil.  Give the egg a second to drip back into the bowl before you go flinging it into the hot oil.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

It doesn’t take long to fill a casserole dish up if you keep at it.  This is usually when I throw an iPod in so I can focus on doing it without a million distractions.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Put the drained pineapple and pepper slices all over the top.  Cook your sauce over medium-high heat until it thickens.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Pour the sauce over everything and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Edited for clarity:  We love this dish and it’s been in our family meal rotation for a while now.

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Sweet and Sour Chicken
 
This is how I make sweet & sour chicken at home. The recipe is basically for the sauce that I use...the directions for the rest of it are half-assed because I'm not a technical writer. I just cook. Follow along with the pictures and you should be fine.
Original Source/Author:
: Dinner
Cuisine: Early American Robyn
Ingredients
  • For Sauce:
  • 20.5 ounce can Pineapple Chunks (drained, reserve juice)
  • ¾ cup Ketchup
  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup White Vinegar
  • 4-1/2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Mustard Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • For Coating:
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 4 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1-2 Green Peppers, sliced into strips
  • Drained pineapple chunks (see above)
Instructions
  1. Combine pineapple juice (save chunks for later), ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, garlic powder, mustard powder, worcestershire sauce and ginger in a saucepan. Set aside.
  2. Coat chicken breast pieces with cornstarch, then dip them in the beaten egg. Place carefully in hot peanut oil. Turn over as needed. Remove from oil and layer in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with pineapple chunks and pepper strips.
  3. Heat sauce over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until thickens. Pour over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for 25 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice.

Carrot Cake

The tandem recipe will be up later this week!

Back in the early part of this year (before his birthday in May), Fred saw a recipe entitled “Best. Carrot. Cake. Ever.”, and sent me the link to the recipe at Baby Gizmo, asking me to make it for his birthday. I did, and we both agreed that this cake is SO FRIGGIN’ GOOD that we (and by “we” I mean “I”) would be making it many more times.

Of course, the first time I made it I failed to take pictures of it, so y’all have been without this fantastic recipe due to my inadequacies as a food blogger (I almost referred to myself as a “food blogger” without rolling my eyes. ALMOST, I say. Okay, I didn’t even come close – I rolled my eyes so hard I got dizzy and almost passed out.) Last week was Thanksgiving, and when we were tasked with the job of bringing dessert to Thanksgiving, this is the cake that came immediately to mind.

(We also brought Sweet Potato Casserole and sauteed kale. I don’t have a recipe for the sauteed kale. It’s kale. You saute it. DUH.)

Firstly, gather your ingredients. These are just the ingredients for the cake part itself – there’s a whole other picture of the ingredients for the buttermilk glaze, and then a kind of half-assed picture of the ingredients for the frosting. (Why whole-ass it when you can half-ass it, I always say!)

Carrot Cake (2)

Flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, vanilla, shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, flaked coconut, chopped walnuts.

But wait! Before you make your cake, you must line two round 9-inch cake pans with wax paper, then lightly grease them. I don’t know if y’all know this, but the best and easiest way to line cake pans with wax paper is to lay the cake pan on top of the wax paper, trace around it with a pencil, and then cut just inside the line. Voila! Perfectly sized! I greased the pans with Baker’s Joy spray, because it’s easy.

Stir your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon) together in a bowl and set it aside.

Carrot Cake (3)

Then beat your eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla together until you have a smooth batter. Add the flour mixture (beat it on low, because you don’t want that shit to scatter everywhere). Fold in the carrot, coconut, pineapple, and walnuts (by the way, I expect that pecans would work pretty well in this recipe, too.)

Divide the batter between your two prepared pans, and bake. Now, here is where I ran into an issue. The recipe says to bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. It took 43 minutes for my cakes to be done. Checking the comments of the original recipe, other people ran into that same problem, so the printable recipe at the bottom is going to tell you to bake your cakes for 40 – 45 minutes.

While your cakes are baking, it’s time to make the buttermilk glaze. The ingredients:

Carrot Cake (5)

Sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, vanilla.

Carrot Cake (6)

Throw everything but the vanilla in a heavy pot over med-high heat. Bring it to a boil, stirring every now and then. Once it’s boiling, boil for 4 minutes, stirring often. It’ll get all bubbly and turn a golden brown color.

Carrot Cake (7)

When the four minutes of boiling is up, remove it from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.

Carrot Cake (8)

When the cakes come out of the oven, pour the buttermilk glaze over the cakes. I used about 2/3 of the glaze – just cover each cake with a nice, thick glaze but don’t flood them.

Carrot Cake (9)

Leave the glazed cakes in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool completely on the wire racks.

Now here’s a tip from me to you – when you dump the cakes out of the pans, immediately turn them back over so that they’re top-side (sticky-side) up. Otherwise, the top of the cakes are going to stick to the wire racks and you’re going to be SO annoyed.

Carrot Cake (10)

If I had flipped this over, there would have been 75% less cursing in my kitchen when it came time to frost the cake.

*Note: the original recipe has you slice each layer in half, so that you end up with 4 layers. I didn’t do that, because I didn’t think it was necessary. You can do it if you want to, but I don’t really see the point. Ordinarily I’d be like “you get more frosting in each piece that way!”, but no. It’s pretty perfect with two layers.

Once the layers are cool, time to make the frosting! Ingredients:

Carrot Cake (11)

Softened butter, softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla.

Carrot Cake (12)

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until they’re creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add more sugar if need be – I ended up adding about another 3/4 cup of sugar before it was at the consistency I wanted.

Slap down one layer and frost it…

Carrot Cake (13)

Then the second layer.

Carrot Cake (14)

Fred was in charge of the frosting because I had other shit to do. I suggested that he color the frosting and pipe a little carrot on top to show everyone how fancy we are, but he didn’t do it. Hmph.

Carrot Cake (15)

So. Friggin’. YUMMY. And it was a hit at Thanksgiving dinner!

Carrot Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: CAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE
Cuisine: Is carrot cake a Southern thing? It might be!
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 2 c. sugar
  • ¾ vegetable oil
  • ¾ c. buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c. grated carrots
  • 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3½ oz flaked coconut
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts
  • Buttermilk Glaze:
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 T light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • ¾ c. butter, softened
  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line 2 9-inch round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour (or use Baker's Secret spray.)
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Add flour mixture (beating at low speed) until blended. Fold in carrot, coconut, pineapple, and walnuts.
  5. Divide batter between prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake at 350ºF for 40 - 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
  7. WHILE CAKE IS BAKING, make Buttermilk Glaze. Bring sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, butter and corn syrup to boil in heavy pot over med-high heat. Boil, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  8. When cakes are done baking, drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over the top of the two cakes. Use about ⅔ of the glaze.
  9. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Then remove from pans and flip over so that they are sticky-side up (so cake won't stick to racks as they cool). Cool completely.
  10. Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat butter & cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add more sugar, if needed, to reach desired consistency.
  11. When layers are completely cool, spread with cream cheese frosting.

 

Not-From-Texas Chili Pie – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Not-From-Texas Chili Pie. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe can be found over at Woman’s Day.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was submitted by Paula (who also submitted the Kung Pao Chicken from last week!) Every year around this time Fred (who loves him some chili) starts mentioning that it’s time to have chili, and so Paula’s submission came at a good time.

Ingredients, all lined up and ready to go:

Chili01

Ground beef, onion, garlic, chili powder, flour, black pepper, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, Tabasco sauce, kidney beans, diced green chiles, corn chips, scallions, and sharp cheddar.

Of note: the recipe calls for cumin, but I don’t do cumin if I can possibly avoid it (it smells like dirty gym socks, YOU KNOW IT DOES), so I left the cumin out and used some extra chili powder in its place.

Firstly, brown your ground beef. Mine was still frozen in the middle because I didn’t take out of the freezer soon enough to completely thaw. Luckily, that doesn’t matter.

Chili02

When the ground beef is cooked through, drain off the fat, add onion and garlic, and cook for another five minutes, stirring every now and again. Add the chili powder, flour, cumin (if you’re using it), and pepper, and cook for about 1 minute.

Chili03

Add the (undrained) diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and Tabasco and simmer 15 – 20 minutes, ’til it’s gotten nice and thick.

Chili04

I was standing stirring the chili, waiting for it to get thick, when I got a visitor.

Chili05

He sniffed everything on the counter, gave me a dirty look for making something that, once again, was off-limits to kitties. I bet MY kitchen is going to get an F minus on the kitty cooking blogs.

Chili06

Then he was like “Oooh, bread. I BELIEVE I’ll EAT SOME OF THIS!”, and tried to eat the bread (homemade, thank you very much – and yes, one of these days I’ll do a post for the bread, which is SO FREAKIN’ GOOD). I ejected Inspector Silvio from the kitchen for that. Keep your lips off my bread, cat!

I added the beans and chiles to the skillet, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

The recipe says to use a 2-quart broiler-proof baking dish for this next step. It seemed pretty clear to me that all that chili was NOT going to fit in my 2.5 liter dish, so I got out a big bowl. I can’t swear to it, but I’m 99% sure that’s a 4-quart bowl.  And thank god I did, because it fit perfectly (I think a 9×13 pan would work, too.)

Dump the chili mixture in a broiler-proof baking dish, top with corn chips, and then top those with scallions and then cheese.

Chili07

(That’s a pink Gooseberry Pyrex dish, which my mother passed on to me. I LOVE it. I have the whole set, and I use them all the time.)

Stick it under the broiler for 3 – 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Chili08

Then let it cool off for a little while or you will burn your lips right off your face, and I don’t want to hear about it, ya big babies.

The verdict? Two thumbs up from Fred, two thumbs up from me. But we both like chili, and so I’m not surprised that we both liked this. A LOT. We both think it could have used one more can of beans, but that’s just a personal preference. We like us some beans.

Also, the fact that it involves corn chips means that I didn’t have to make a pan of cornbread to go with it, so additional points for that.

A++, will make again – thanks for the submission, Paula!

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Have a recipe you want us to make? Check out this page (there’s also a link to that page up there under the banner) and follow the instructions to submit a recipe!

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Nance’s Take:
I like chili. But let’s face it…it’s pretty much just a beans and beef soup. Cow chowder? Steer Stew? It’s just not that big of a deal in my world. I like it, I make it, I eat it. I will never understand chili cook-offs and all that shit because in my world there is no such thing as bad chili. And there is no such thing as award-winning chili. It’s just a hearty meal for a cold day.

Which is why my soul died when I saw this recipe and it made me announce my feelings to the world…OH HELL NO. I refuse to stand there and measure out 10 million ingredients in order to make chili for this dish. I did make my own easy version that everyone in my family actually likes and will eat without complaint.

2 lbs. ground beef
3 Tablespoons A-1 Steak Sauce
3/4 cup chopped peppers
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
3 envelopes Great Value Mild Chili seasoning (WALMART Brand)

FritoCheeseChili

I browned my ground beef. You can add pepper if you want, but I don’t since all of my seasoning comes from those groovy little envelopes. Drain that shit because you don’t need all that grease in your chili. Yuck.

FritoCheeseChili

Throw in the peppers and onions. See how small these are diced? That’s because there are a few of us that like the flavor of these things, but have no appreciation for the texture. And also, ew, vegetables. Using small pieces also means there’s yummy goodness in almost every single bite. Yummy goodness that a lot of people (children) won’t recognize. It’s a win no matter how you look at it, so take a minute to dice those bitches up small. Or, do what you want. It really doesn’t matter to me unless I’m coming to your house to eat.

FritoCheeseChili

Secret ingredient. Throw that in there and for some reason people think you know some shit when it comes to making chili. I have no idea when I started doing this or why, but I make sure that I do it every single time I make chili now.

FritoCheeseChili

I use three of these bad boys and I make sure that my brain doesn’t think about the sodium because it would surely explode.

FritoCheeseChili

Even though there is only one can in the picture make sure you use TWO cans of diced tomatoes. The vegetable haters in the family don’t mind diced tomatoes for some reason. Maybe because tomatoes are really a fruit. Only one can of kidney beans because two is just too much. Just open the cans and throw it all in, but make sure you drain those kidney beans first because bean sludge is gross.

FritoCheeseChili

Throw it all together and cook on medium heat (with the lid on) for about a 30 minutes. Stir it frequently to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan because who the hell wants that cleaning nightmare? Adjust your heat as needed. The real purpose of this is to cook those freaking kidney beans because nobody wants to gnaw on a squeaky un-cooked bean. I make this chili in the morning and turn the whole thing off once the beans are cooked. Then I basically re-heat the chili for dinner. It’s even better the next day.

FritoCheeseChili

I didn’t bother to use a casserole dish, but for the purpose of this recipe I put my chili in an oven-proof dish.

FritoCheeseChili

Action shot!

FritoCheeseChili

I eat my chili in a bowl with saltine crackers so this is kind of weird for me.

FritoCheeseChili

Per the recipe, I added cheese. This is getting even weirder.

FritoCheeseChili

You will never see scallions in any recipe that I make so we’re gonna just pretend the scallions happened. This is what it looked like after I broiled it. The entire family loved it (of course, FRITOS and CHEESE).

IMG_1241

I didn’t get any pictures of the animals the day I made this so here is a picture of my grandbaby. Her name is Khaleesi and I sorta kinda forced her on Alex and Cheyenne. Cheyenne has been wanting a kitten and Alex was the brick wall asshole that was stopping it from happening. When I saw her, I picked her up out of the cage and handed her to Cheyenne. Of course she was adorable and I offered to pay for shots and spaying. Alex never had a chance. But guess who loves the shit out of the cat and talks all about her? Alex Michael.

She comes here every Sunday for dinner.

Not-From-Texas Chili Pie - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Entree
Cuisine: NOT Texan
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 lb (85 percent lean) ground beef
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (or leave out the cumin and use extra chili powder)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 c. low-sodium beef broth
  • ½ tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 15½ oz can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chiles, drained
  • 3 c. corn chips (ie Fritos)
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 4 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (Robyn used sharp Cheddar, pre-shredded)
Instructions
  1. Cook the ground beef in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a spatula or big spoon, until browned (around 5 minutes). Drain meat in a drainer, and then put back in the saucepan.
  2. Add onion and garlic to the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder, flour, cumin (if using) and ¼ tsp black pepper and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes (undrained), tomato sauce, beef broth and Tabasco and simmer until the mixture has thickened, 15 - 20 minutes.
  4. Start broiler preheating.
  5. Add beans and chiles to the saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer the meat mixture to a broiler-proof baking dish (the original recipe called for a 2-quart dish. I used a 4-quart bowl, and that's what I recommend, although a 9x13 baking dish would likely work well, too.)
  7. Top with corn chips and sprinkle with scallions and top with cheese. Broil until the cheese melts, 3 - 4 minutes.

 

Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever! – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe.

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. The recipe was submitted by Penny, who adapted it from a Nestle recipe card.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was submitted by Penny, who adapted it from a Nestle recipe card she got a few years ago (which it says right up there in the beginning of this post, so I don’t know why I feel the need to tell y’all again. But I am! So there!)

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (1)

Your ingredients: chocolate fudge cake mix with pudding in the mix, instant chocolate pudding, sour cream, corn oil (Penny says any vegetable oil will do, but she thinks corn oil gives it the best flavor), eggs, chocolate chips. Not shown: warm water.

This is a very difficult and technical recipe, so PLEASE just TRY to follow along, okay?

Throw everything in a mixing bowl.

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (2)

Mix it.

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (4)

If you’re a total klutz like me, you might accidentally bump the switch to the mixer so that some of the stuff in the bowl goes splashing out onto the counter.

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (3)

Just scrape it up the best you can, and toss it back in the bowl. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

Now, this recipe is meant for cupcakes, but I am OVER cupcakes. I am useless when it comes to making them the same size, and I have a hell of a time getting them out of the tin in one piece (and don’t even get me started on those damn cupcake liners, which I HATE peeling off of cupcakes because half the damn cupcake peels off with the liner, grrrr.) Cupcakes are just not my thing, is what I’m saying – although if YOU want to make me cupcakes and have better skills in that area than I do, you should certainly feel free to do just that.

So I made a cake instead, in a Bundt pan – lucky for me, Penny had included the baking time for a cake as well as for cupcakes.

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (5)

Lookit those scrumptious chocolate chips.

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (6)

Penny recommended using a cream cheese flavor frosting. I was going to just go ahead and use my Best Buttercream Frosting instead. But then I decided to ask Fred what he wanted, because sometimes I like to let him think he has a choice when it comes to that sort of thing. He wanted chocolate frosting, so FINE. Chocolate frosting it was – I just used the Best Buttercream Frosting recipe, added 1/2 c. Hershey’s Cocoa Powder, and an additional splash of heavy cream, and it was perfect.

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (7)

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (8)

And the verdict? Oh, holy cow. This is a damn good cake! It was perfectly moist, perfectly flavorful – and I don’t know what it is about the texture of chocolate chips in a cake that is SUPER EXTRA AWESOME good, but it was the perfect touch to this recipe. This recipe’s going into the recipe box (when I get around to it, so… sometime in 2020), and I’ll definitely be making it again!

My rating: phenomenal. Fred’s rating: “really good, but you know, I don’t like chocolate cake as much as you do, so” (and then I tuned him out.)

Best Chocolate (Cup)Cake(s) (9)
“You keep making recipes that I can’t eat, and I’m about to take that personally, stupid lady.”

Thanks for the submission, Penny!

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Have a recipe you want us to make? Check out this page (there’s also a link to that page up there under the banner) and follow the instructions to submit a recipe!

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Nance’s Take:
You should probably know that Robyn and I discussed this recipe at the beginning of the week (we were talking about how I would be late-again).  This is exactly what was said regarding this recipe (cut and pasted from emails)…

Nance: Did you make the actual cupcakes – when I saw that she said you could make a bundt cake – I did that. NO FUSSING!

Robyn: Ha – it looks like we’re both cupcake haters! I made the Bundt cake, too. I’m not skilled enough to make cupcakes. Either I make some way too small and some way too big, or I drip batter all over the damn tin. Drives me nuts!

Nance: ROBYN – GOD DAMMIT

I cannot believe you made the BUNDT cake.

Robyn: This is just like all those damn times when you say something and I say the exact same thing! No one who reads us is going to be the slightest bit surprised that we both made the cake! 😀

So now you know why Robyn and I were never Scout Leaders or voted President of the PTA. We just cannot be counted on to bring the damn cupcakes.

DCEP

Making this was a piece of cake (har-dee-har), but I have to admit that I was a little bit concerned about how thick this got when I was mixing it. It should probably be noted that I chose to use a sugar-free cake mix and sugar-free pudding. I don’t think they make sugar-free chocolate chips. I should correct that and say that I probably wouldn’t buy sugar-free chocolate chips anyway. Oh hell, I only bought the sugar-free cake mix because it was on sale and the pudding so Diabetic Rick could have it as a snack. Fuck sugar-free. It’s all POISON anyway.

I might be losing my mind a little bit here. Please ignore.

DCEP

Felina is concerned about my mental well-being and the fact that I have so much sugar-free shit in my home. Please note the huge can of Crisco in the background. We’re not that healthy around here.

DCEP

This bundt pan is beat to fuck, but I love it and will never get rid of it. You know what drives me crazy? That mess of cake batter on the left side of the pan. Pisses me right the fuck off. NOTHING that I do in the kitchen is neat and/or tidy. I have tried a million times to cook like those women that are comfortable in the kitchen and it always ends up looking like raccoons were having a bake sale.

DCEP

Here, look at The Beagle’s ass instead of my gross pan.

DCEP

I thought those cracks were going to make this cake a huge fail.

DCEP

But when I turned it over it came out okay.

DCEP

I didn’t bother to wait for it to cool before I started slicing it. I should have waited so the chocolate chips could have firmed-up a bit. We tried it when it was warm and, of course, everybody loved it. It’s freaking chocolate-chocolate cake! I also liked the fact that I didn’t have to make frosting for it.

DCEP

I don’t have anything else to say so here’s a picture of Felina rolling her tongue. Weird, huh?

Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever! - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe.
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: Dessert
Serves: 24-30
Ingredients
  • 1 chocolate fudge cake mix with pudding in the mix
  • 1 4-oz pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • ½ c. vegetable oil (recommend: corn oil, but any vegetable oil will do)
  • ½ c. warm water
  • 4 lg eggs (Penny reports that 3 eggs will work, too, if you realize you don't have enough eggs on hand)
  • 1 c. chocolate chips (I used semisweet)
  • 1 container of frosting, or make your own (Penny recommended cream cheese frosting)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Dump all ingredients (except frosting) in a large mixing bowl. Mix until all ingredients are combined and batter is smooth (about 3 minutes). Scrape down bowl and beater, and beat for an additional 30 seconds.
  3. Pour batter evenly into greased cupcake tins, filling each tin about ⅔ full.
  4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  5. ALTERNATELY, pour batter into a greased Bundt cake pan and bake for 50 minutes at 350ºF.
  6. Makes 24 - 30 cupcakes, depending on your cupcake tins.
  7. Alternate suggestions (from Penny) : substitute rum or Kahlua for the water.

 

Kung Pao Chicken

The tandem post will be up later this week!

A few weeks ago, Paula submitted this Kung Pao Chicken recipe (original recipe can be found at All Recipes; printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post) as a possible future tandem post. Since I think we ALL know that Nance is pretty much over Asian recipes at this point (she’s a hater), I snatched it up for myself, and told Nance she was excused.

I think y’all have come to know that I am ALL ABOUT the Asian food.

I have no picture of all the ingredients for this post, because I kind of tossed it together in a half-assed manner, as I am wont to do. So here’s a picture of the marinade.

Kung Pao Chicken (1)

And here’s a picture of the marinade being poured over a pound of cut up boneless skinless chicken breast pieces.

Kung Pao Chicken (2)

See that bottle or Sriracha sitting over there to the right? Well, see, the recipe calls for “hot chile paste.” The problem is that although we have a pretty decent “ethnic foods” section at our grocery store, I could not find one single bottle that was labeled “hot chile paste.” Paula told me that she ended up using Sriracha instead, and since the bottle of Sriracha is labeled “hot chile sauce”, I figured it was good enough.

HOWEVER.

After we had the Kung Pao Chicken (spoiler: we both liked it), Fred did some looking around online and found that the Kikkoman Sriracha is like 100 times hotter than the Huy Fong Foods version. The next time we were in the grocery store, we bought the Huy Fong Sriracha, and that’s the kind I’ll use next time we have Kung Pao Chicken, because the Kikkoman Sriracha – even though I used half of the amount called for in the recipe – was WAY too hot for my delicate self and in fact was a bit too hot for Fred, who is a lover of hot foods.

While my chicken was marinating, I mixed up the sauce and chopped the green onions.

Once the marinades and sauces are made and the chicken is done marinading, it all comes together pretty quickly. In one pan you cook your chicken, in the other you heat your sauce slowly until it’s aromatic. This is what the sauce looks like as it’s heating:

Kung Pao Chicken (4)

Once the chicken is cooked through, you add it to the sauce (assuming the sauce is “aromatic” by the time the chicken is cooked through, and I will be honest, I’m not exactly sure my sauce was all that “aromatic”, all I can tell you is that it was well heated, and I wasn’t up for sticking my face in the pan and taking a big sniff, so I called it good enough). Then you let it simmer until the sauce thickens.

Kung Pao Chicken (5)

And then you spoon it over rice and eat it.

Kung Pao Chicken (6)

Like I said up there, we liked this a LOT and will absolutely be eating it again. Next time I make it, I’ll cut my chicken pieces smaller (that’s just a personal preference on my part), and I’ll likely double the amount of sauce because I like it saucy.

A++, will eat again, thanks for the submission, Paula!

PS: The original recipe calls for chopped peanuts, which I left out because when I mentioned it to Fred, he made the “That sounds gross” face.

Kung Pao Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Entree
Cuisine: Asian (DUH)
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
  • 2 T white wine (I used chicken broth instead)
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T Sesame oil, divided
  • 2 T cornstarch, dissolved in 2 T water
  • 1 oz hot chile paste (I used Sriracha, and used ½ ounce)
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 T chopped garlic
  • 1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts
  • 4 oz chopped peanuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. To make marinade: combine 1 T wine (or chicken broth), 1 T soy sauce, 1 T sesame oil, and 1 T. cornstarch/ water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and put in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. -------------------------------------------------------
  3. To make sauce: in a small bowl combine 1 T. wine (or chicken broth), 1 T soy sauce, 1 T oil, 1 T cornstarch/ water mixture, chili paste (or Sriracha), vinegar, and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts, and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.
  4. ----------------------------------------------------------
  5. Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.

 

Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe can be found over at The Coers Family.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was submitted by Jai. (We have so many reader-submitted recipes in the queue that for the time being we’re going to do reader-submitted recipes every week. That might change in the future, we’ll see how it goes.)

Your ingredientses:

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 1

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, bacon, cream of chicken soup, Monterey Jack cheese, spiral pasta, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

The first thing you need to do is make your bacon. Luckily, there’s a simple step-by-step instructional post on the easiest way to make bacon in the oven. You don’t have to make your bacon like that, if you don’t mind walking around with spatters of bacon all over your shirt front and tiny little burned-oil spots on your hands and arms, then you go on with your bad self and make your bacon on the stovetop. You could also make it in the microwave. Whatever works for you works for me. You do what you feel is right (even if it’s wrong.) No judgement here! Who am I, Amanda? As long as you don’t make me clean up the grease spatters, I don’t care how you make your bacon.

(But if you’re making your bacon in the oven, these cooling racks are perfect. I actually got that cooling rack as part of a package – a “value pack” – but I like that cooling rack way more than the stackable ones I’ve had forever and which are kind of flimsy. Also, what’s the point of having stackable cooling racks when you never actually stack them?)

While the bacon is cooking, chop your chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 2

Raw chicken! Is there anything less appetizing? I don’t think so.

Also, at some point, make your pasta using the directions on the back of the box. I think I waited ’til the bacon was done to put the pot on, but then I was stuck waiting for the pasta to be done cooking. Kitchen timing: I suck at it.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 3

When your bacon is done, put it on paper towels to cool so that you don’t burn your fingers when you crumble it, and then dump all (or at least some) of the bacon fat from the cookie sheet you baked the bacon on, into a large skillet. Let it heat, and then toss your chicken in there.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 4

While the chicken is cooking, once your bacon has cooled, crumble it into smallish pieces. Try not to cram it all in your face instead, because then you won’t have it for the casserole and then everyone will be very very sad.

When the chicken is cooked through and your pasta is cooked and drained, then throw everything (chicken, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, cream of chicken soup, pasta) except the bacon and 1 cup of the Monterey Jack into the pot you used to make your pasta. Mix it together well.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 6

Once it’s well mixed, dump it into a 9×13″ baking dish, which you have already sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle the top evenly with your crumbled bacon, and then top with your remaining 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 7

Bake until the cheese is melted and starting to brown on the top. I might have let mine bake a little too long.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 8

While it’s cooling enough to be eaten, go snuggle with your resident ham-hog kitty.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 9
“I know you gots bacon in there.”

Annnnd then eat it.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 10

The verdict? I wasn’t crazy about it, and I don’t know why. I like all the components that went into it, but just didn’t really care for it all together. IT IS A MYSTERY. Fred said it best when he said that it was “Edible, but not memorable.” In other words, he’ll eat it if it’s put in front of him, but he’d never ever ask for it.

I won’t be making it again (and the way things usually go around here, Nance will be all “OMG BEST THING EVER, A++++!” Damn her.)

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Have a recipe you want us to make? Check out this page (there’s also a link to that page up there under the banner) and follow the instructions to submit a recipe!

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Nance’s Take:

Everybody in the house loved this recipe.  Oops…Spoiler!

Come on. We knew this recipe would not be a fail since it had bacon, cheese, chicken and pasta in it. My bitch was not with the taste, but the fact that your ass will be stuck in the kitchen for a while making it.  Casseroles are suppose to be EASY.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

You have to fry the bacon in a skillet. I didn’t do it because Shirley is the queen of frying bacon. Had Shirley not been around I would have used Robyn’s baken method. And if it would have messed up my stove I would have made Robyn fly up here and clean it. She needs to come visit anyway.  We’ve got things to talk about. Like how to avoid the fucking Food Blogging Illuminati and shit.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

This part upset me because I am trying to watch what I eat and damn, frying chicken up in bacon grease just got to me. Shirley didn’t drain the bacon grease out before she did this so those motherfuckers were deep fried in bacon grease. If I have a heart attack, MOM.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

My mother drives me ape-shit because she never uses the right tools when she’s cooking. Here she is frying chicken with a bowl scraper/spatula that you use for cake mixing and such. I have no idea how I learned to cook when I have a mother like this. Thank God for cable and cooking shows.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Shirley was handling the casserole because I was busy doing other things. Rick came home from a work trip with goodies! A massive amount of pretzels from a pretzel factory in Reading, Pa.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

I don’t have a banana for scale, but I do have the husband. That’s a lot of motherfucking pretzels, man! And oh my God, so freaking good.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

I suppose it should be noted that I once again over-cooked the pasta. Remember that kitchen trick where people say to throw spaghetti at the wall? WTF? I never understood it. If I threw food at the wall, Shirley would kick my ass. No throwing food, dammit.

I know those aren’t Rotini. I have 10,000 boxes of pasta back on my shelf and not one of them was Rotini (we call them springs).  I made an executive decision to USE WHAT I HAVE because The Beagle killed my money tree* this summer.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Here’s a little secret nobody knows about me. I have never crumbled bacon in my life. I have always used kitchen scissors. I cannot even fathom what crumbling bacon is like and I don’t want to find out.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Uh-oh, a cat creeping up on my bacon!  KILL IT.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

You throw everything into a bowl and mix it together. Shirley used her bowl scraper/spatula again. GAWD.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

And then you throw it into the casserole dish. That’s not hard at all.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Bacon and another freaking cup of cheese go on top.  Now toss that bad boy in the oven for 20 minutes.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Beagle is always appalled at how much bacon is wasted on The Humans. This picture was snapped while she was trying to get that bacon-creeping cat to play with her.  It did not end well and feelings were hurt.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Everybody got really excited when this came out of the oven. Rick was especially excited because he loves it when the cheese gets brown. Yes, those are more bags of pretzels back there.  I wonder when I’ll start craving potato chips.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

It’s not a pretty dish, but it tasted really good (of course!). My problem is that this reminds me of a dish Pioneer Woman would make and that pretty much sums up why it’s not going into our rotation. It’s just too much for me to be comfortable serving on the regular.  My family drives me crazy, but I wanna keep them around for at least a little while longer.

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* Vet bills are a bitch so I’ve been staying at home and window shopping via the Internet.  As I come across things that I think are interesting or unique, I’ll post them as an affiliate link here.  Robyn and I want beach mansions so feel free to shop till you drop, baby!  

Flexible measuring cups – They’re microwaveable (melting butter or cheese). And I love the idea of having control when I’m pouring something.  Okay, honestly.  I want these because I think they’ll be perfect to drizzle butter all over my popcorn. I really like popcorn.

This Breakfast Sandwich Maker is the shits!  I would totally get this for Trey if he would ever decide what he wants to do with his life.  Trade school, college…COME ON, man!  Perfect gift for that male (or female) that doesn’t have much of a clue in the kitchen.  I just think it’s neat.

If you’re making a sandwich without a spreader, you’re doing it wrong.  Look, I spent 40 years making sandwiches and smearing butter all over my toast with a butter knife and dammit, they are useless.  Get one of these and you’ll realize how pathetic your life really was before I told you what to do.  Make sure you buy two because you’re going to be pissed if one’s in the dishwasher when you’re wanting to make a sandwich.

Chop and Drop Silicone Cutting Boards.  Where have you been all of my life? God, I’ve had Shirley dropping raw chicken all over my hands while trying to put it in freezer bags for years.  I had no idea, but you can bet your ass I’m asking Santa for this.

Bwahaha.  The Squatty Potty.  Robyn told me about this one because we both listen to Keith and the Girl and The Girl talks about how she uses a waste basket to lift her feet up when she goes to the bathroom.  And this is where you have to ask yourself the most important question of all.  Do you throw your pride out the window in order to take a better shit?   Hmm.  What Would DCEP Do?

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Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
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: Entree
Cuisine: Casserolandia
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 4 - 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 16 oz dried spiral pasta
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon. While the bacon is cooking, cut chicken into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. When the bacon is done cooking, set aside to cool. When bacon is cool, crumble it into small pieces.
  3. Cook the cut-up chicken in bacon drippings (if you made your bacon in the oven, just dump the grease from the baking pan into a large skillet.)
  4. Add garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, prepare pasta according to the directions on the back of the box.
  6. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot you cooked it in.
  7. Add chicken, both cans of cream of chicken soup, 1 cup of cheese. Stir together well.
  8. Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray; pour chicken mixture into dish. Top with crumbled bacon and then with remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  9. Bake at 400 for 15 - 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown on top.

 

BACOOOOOOOOOOON

There’ll be no tandem post this week. To tide you over ’til next week, let’s talk about bacon. BACOOOOOOOOOOON.

Until we had our first pigs processed, I was never a fan of bacon. I mean, I’d eat a piece now and then, but if given the choice, I always preferred sausage. Preferably in the form of links. Also, I thought that I preferred my bacon on the chewier side rather than on the crisp side.

I KNEW NOTHING, JON SNOW.

We had our first pigs processed, and we got all these packs of bacon. And I was like “What the what am I supposed to do with THIS SHIT? Are we supposed to CURE this shit? I DON’T EVEN LIIIIIIKE BACON, WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” (Jesus, what a whiny bitch.)

And then Fred was all “Well, the guy said that uncured bacon is THE BOMB, just cook it like you would regular bacon, and let’s try it!”

I was skeptical – I am ALWAYS skeptical, it should be my middle name – but I gave it a try. I fried up some bacon, and LO. It was AWESOME.

Then someone suggested that I cook it in the oven, under the broiler, and I liked that a LOT because I hate it when bacon grease spatters all over the stove top and the floor in front of the stove. I swear, I can scrub up the bacon grease with all kinds of grease-cutting cleaners, and we still go skating for weeks when we hit the spot in front of the stove.

The problem with making the bacon in the oven under the broiler is that the grease that is no longer spattering all over your stove top and floor is now splattering all over the inside of your oven. AND YOUR OVEN DOESN’T LIKE IT. I didn’t actually set off the smoke alarm while making bacon under the broiler, but it was only because I would run the ceiling fan on high and open the kitchen windows.

AND. THEN. I was browsing around on Pinterest as I am wont to do, and I saw a post someone did. I would be VERY happy to provide a link to that LIFE SAVING post, but the piece of paper I printed it out on was PEED UPON by a GODDAMN CAT, and so I have zero clue where it came from. If it was yours, let me know and I’ll credit you! (I did do an “oven bacon” search on Pinterest, and found 75 zillion posts, so apparently I’m the only one in the entire world who didn’t know about this method of making bacon.)

I’ve been making bacon this way for a couple of months now, and I consistently get the BEST BACON EVER this way. The bacon in these pictures is actually store-bought bacon (I needed to make it for an upcoming recipe), because that’s when I thought to take pictures, so that’s what you get.

Ready? Here we go!

Get out a cookie sheet, and cover it with tinfoil (this makes for easier clean up. If you prefer not to use tinfoil because you’re an earth-hugging hippie, then you go right ahead and skip this step. SOMEONE has to look out for Mother Earth, don’t they?)

Put a cooling rack or whatever kind of wire rack you have, on top of the tinfoil. If you don’t have a rack, it’s no problem – I just like to use a rack because it keeps the bacon out of the grease, and you don’t have to worry about blotting the grease off the bacon. (Bacon with grease blotted or drained off is actually a health food. IT IS KNOWN.)

If you use a rack, it might behoove you to lightly spray the rack with cooking spray. It’s not a definite necessity, but sometimes bacon will stick to the rack as it cooks, and if you don’t want to spend the rest of the day picking stuck bacon off the rack with your teeth, then this is a time-saving step.

Lay your bacon on the rack.

BACON01

Did you notice that at no point have I mentioned needing to turn the oven on and let it preheat? This is because you put your pan o’ bacon in a COLD OVEN.

Let me repeat this:

PUT YOUR PAN OF BACON IN A COLD OVEN.

When your pan of bacon is in the COLD OVEN, turn the oven on to 375ºF.

Now, the time your bacon sits in that oven is going to vary. The store-bought bacon I made took 20 minutes to get to the crispy perfection I needed. The home-grown (uncured) bacon I usually make takes about 35 minutes. I recommend you check your bacon at 20 minutes, and then decide from there. If it’s nowhere near done, check it in another 10 minutes. If it’s close but not quite there, give it another 4 – 5 minutes. I cannot give you an exact time to let your bacon stay in the oven (and believe me, it’s killing me not to be able to do so, because if God wanted us to stand around the kitchen peering in the oven to see if our food is done, he wouldn’t give us SO MUCH OTHER SHIT that needs to be done RIGHT NOW. Who’s got the time for hanging around the kitchen all “Oh, is it done yet? Nope. Now? Nope. How about now? NOPE.”? I know it ain’t NONE OF US, am I right?)

This was my bacon after 20 minutes:

BACON02

Note that the grease has drained away in a non-spattering way, all calmly collected in the bottom of the pan. NO smoke. NO need to turn the ceiling fan on high and open the windows and call the local fire department to let them know you’re making bacon. SO easy, SO mess-free, and SO DAMN GOOD.

(Hey, who sounds like an infomercial right now? Is it me? Send me three easy payments of $9.95 and you get a BONUS of SIX TINY KITTENS!)

BACON03

I had to crumble this bacon up for my recipe, and I had a hard time not cramming it all directly into my mouth.

So there you go. Go make yourself some bacon. BLTs for dinner tonight? Scrambled eggs and bacon rolled up in a tortilla? THE WORLD IS YOUR BACON-FLAVORED OYSTER.

Oven-Baked Bacon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: BaconBaconBaconBacon
Cuisine: BAAAAAAAAAACOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNN
Serves: 1 pc bacon per person HA HA HA HA
Ingredients
  • BACON
  • Cooking spray (such as Pam)
Instructions
  1. DO NOT PREHEAT YOUR OVEN.
  2. Line a cookie sheet or roasting pan with tinfoil (or not, you hippie).
  3. Place wire rack on top of tinfoil (rack is not strictly necessary, if you don't have one, don't sweat it, you can lay the bacon directly on the tinfoil; you just need to blot the bacon (or not) when it's done to remove some of the grease).
  4. Lightly spray wire rack with cooking spray.
  5. Lay your bacon in single slices along the wire rack (or on the tinfoil). Leave a little space between the slices of bacon so the bacon won't stick together.
  6. Place pan o' bacon in A COLD OVEN. Turn oven on to 375ºF.
  7. Depending on the thickness of your bacon, it may be done at 20 minutes, or might take as long as 35 - 40 minutes. Check the bacon at 20 minutes, and decide from there.