Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taco Cups

This is a great throw together snack that is Super Bowl Party worthy and easy for the kids to assemble.

I borrowed a friend's daughter, Lexi, to help me out since I am daughter-less and those sons of mine don't want to help much in the kitchen. (Unless it requires making food disappear!)

You will need:

1 lg. bag taco cups (dippers)
1 lb. ground beef
Onion flakes (1 T.)-optional*
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese
Sour cream
Sliced black olives
*Your favorite Mexican toppings

Brown beef with onion flakes and drain.
Add taco seasoning and add water and cook (according to package directions)
Place taco cups on a large baking sheet.

Place A spoonful of beef mixture in each cup.

Top with cheese. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven until cheese melts.
Remove from oven and add your favorite Mexican toppings.

Serve warm.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Panera Bread is one of my favorite restaurants. I love their soups. They are so comforting- and what is even more comforting is knowing that I can make one of my favorites in my own kitchen.

I found several copycat recipes, but this one I found on and  then tweaked it a bit and I think it most closely resembles the restaurant version.

Try it for yourself- you won't be disappointed.

Even the leftovers (if you have any) are delicious!

Give it a try.

You will need:

* 4 cups chicken broth
* 2 cups water
* 2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
* 1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
* 1 carrot, shredded
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup butter
* 2 cups heavy cream


In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken and carrot. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully mixed and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.

Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, another 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve with some crusty bread for dipping, or place in a bread bowl.

Perfect during the chilly time of year.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dirt Pie

No, this one isn't made with the traditional Oreo cookies...this is a meal prepared in a poor Haitian village BEFORE the earthquake. I cannot even fathom the conditions at this time.

PLEASE click over to my blog, Matter of Fact, and read a short story of a girl from my hometown,Alecia Vaughn Settle, who has been traveling there for several years and knows first hand the many needs of the people of Haiti. She also has provided several links to legitimate organizations that she KNOWS are being good stewards of the money sent to aid those in need.

What she saw there, and caught on film, transformed her life. A woman baking "dirt pies," literally baked dirt and flour that the poorest residents would eat. Children with distended stomachs and the red hair of malnutrition. Settle ended up returning to Haiti a dozen times, experiencing the death of a Haitian orphan and, in 2005, adopting another orphan girl, Angeline.

~Excerpt from Visualize

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chili Chicken casserole.

This is one of those casseroles that only needs to be made once a year, because, well, it is fat/calorie laden and it just tastes too good to eat small portions. It is also on my list of comfort foods, and you all know how I love to be comforted!

This would be my suggestion...only prepare this meal after you have had a great week dieting/starving, or have reached some sort of huge milestone or surpassed a goal or something else deserving of a splurge. Then, clean your dinner plate and don't look back. Not for at least, another year!

This delicious casserole was another winner from the Southpoint Church of God cookbook and was submitted by my friend Susan Darnell.

YOU MUST make this dish. It is rich, creamy, with a little kick of Mexican flavor.

My neighbor DJ called me the other day for the recipe and after she made it she took a photo for me so I could post this one. (Cause I still have a few months before I can make it myself!)

SO thank you Susan and DJ for allowing me to share this keeper!


1/2 chopped onion
4 T. butter
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 4 0z. can green chilies, drained and mashed
1 10 oz. pkg. wide noodles, boiled
4-6 cups diced chicken
4 cups of grated, sharp cheese
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
i small jar red pimientos
Saute onion in butter. stir in soup, pimientos, peppers and spices. Heat thoroughly. Add 1/2 cheese and heat till melted. Put into greased 9x13 baking dish. Layer noodles, chicken and soup mixture. Cover with rest of cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-40 min.

ENJOY! (Then go run about 5 miles!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Elsie's Light and Fluffy No Bake Cheesecake

My fantabulous Mother-in-law Elsie, is forced to bring this to every Murphy family gathering. It hits the spot perfectly after even a heavy meal, unlike the traditional heavier version, which I have also been known to fantasize about!

The "LIGHT" in it's title is not meant to mislead. It is not light as in fat and calories, but light as in - not heavy- this melts in your mouth!

Try it out .


1 (3 oz. pkg) lemon Jello (or lime)
1 c. boiling water
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tall can milk,(Milnot) whipped
1 sm. can crushed pineapple, drained
3 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. butter, melted

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Chill until slightly thickened. Cream together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add Jello and drained pineapple and blend well. Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter together. Pack 2/3 of mixture on bottom and up sides of a 9x13 pan. Add filling and sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Chill several hours or overnight.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mocha Mix

My good friend Debbie gave me this recipe many years ago, and I always save it for our first REAL snow (you know, the kind that sticks and cancels school and shuts down businesses).

Well, here in So. Illinois, that has usually happened already, but tonight is the weatherman's first prediction for a snow storm, so I went ahead and made it-I can't wait any longer!

Debbie's beautiful Mother, Lynn, passed away from breast cancer, and this recipe makes me think of her. So when you make yourself a cup, drink honor of Lynn, who fought a courageous battle and has left behind a wonderful family.

Lynn was a stay at home mother whose life revolved around her family. So, in her memory, make a batch for your bunch to warm up their bodies after a cold day outdoors, and give them a hug to warm their souls!

2 cups Swiss Miss powdered Mocha
2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
1 c. instant coffee granules
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sugar

Blend all till well mixed. Store in covered jar. Use 2 tsp. mix per cup of boiling water.

Stir well, top with marshmallows.
*If you'll notice in the photo, I sprinkled some little "snowflakes" I had leftover from some Christmas baking supplies I had on hand. I love the touch it added.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Oriental Salad and Egg Drop Soup

Since many of you will be starting diets to usher in the year (and you realize I'm not a diet fan, just a fan of EVERYTHING IN MODERATION, I thought I'd repost one of my delicious salad and soup recipes- not necessarily a diet recipe (check out the dressing ingredients)but still a healthier alternative to....let's say Fried chicken smothered in white gravy!

If you have already found yourself on Day Two of a Failed New Year's Resolution, don't give up or be too hard on yourself. Maybe you should try making a resolution you can actually work with like, "I can't give up all fat and sweets, but I will make healthier choices in 2010 like not having them as often, or eating smaller portions, still enjoying everything, but in MODERATION!" How's that? Works for me!

This is a recipe that I started making years ago when I first was introduced to its sweet and sour tastiness at a church social.

My friend Jennifer submitted it in the Southpoint Church of God Cookbook (the pages are falling out because I continually make recipes out of it!) and it quickly became a hit at every potluck . There is usually NONE left to take home and someone is always asking for the recipe.

SO here it is:

1 large Nappa (Chinese) cabbage. (Rinse thoroughly).
1 bunch green onions.
1/2 stick butter
small bag slivered almonds
1 container sesame seeds (yes, the entire container )
2 pkgs. Ramen Noodles


1 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 T. teriyaki sauce
dash of garlic salt

Chop Nappa and green onions. Combine in large salad bowl. On stove, melt butter and add noodles, sesame seeds and almonds. Brown till golden.

Mix all dressing ingredients together then shake vigorously. Pour over greens. Add browned mixture evenly over salad. Serve immediately.

*I served this for supper with pork egg rolls (from the freezer sections) and a quick easy egg drop soup recipe.

Egg Drop Soup

5 cups chicken broth (no fat)
2 T. lemon juice
1 whole egg, whisked
slices of green onion

Bring liquids to a boil. Add egg stirring vigorously. Heat until egg is cooked, about 1 minute. Add the onions to the soup bowl, then add the soup.