Amazing Ranch and Dill Oyster Crackers

I’ve been a very bad blogger lately and have neglected writing posts. But, I’m back!

Below is a super-easy and extremely good recipe for an oyster cracker snack that is perfect for just keeping around the house or for parties and/or other events. It’s been popular all over the web for awhile and it used to frequently be on the back of oyster cracker packages — but even something that’s been done deserves repeating, especially when it’s so good!

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Amazing Ranch and Dill Oyster Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1 box/package of plain oyster crackers
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 package Ranch dressing mix (for example: Hidden Valley)
  • 1 teaspoon Dill Weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Equipment:

  • 1 large bowl
  • Spoon
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Baking pan
  • Small whisk

 

Instructions:

1. Pour the package of oyster crackers in the large bowl.

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2. In a liquid measuring cup, pour one cup of vegetable oil. To the oil, add the Ranch Dressing mix, garlic, and dill. Whisk thoroughly.

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3. Pour the oil mixture over the oyster crackers, mixing the crackers with a large spoon to make sure all the crackers are evenly coated.

4. Place the coated oyster crackers on a baking sheet and bake them for approximately 10 minutes at 280 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Remove the oyster crackers from the oven, let cool, serve or store, and enjoy!

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Let me know what you think! This is definitely one of my favorites.

Also, if you don’t like oyster crackers, substitute them for pretzels!

 

 

Fresh & Delicious Chicken Pesto Burgers

Sometimes, you just want something different for dinner. It doesn’t have to be way outside the box, but sometimes you just need to use a little creativity. Hence this recipe, which is a different take on one of my favorite sandwiches that I like to order at a local cafe. The sandwich that I love to order is a Chicken Pesto Panini which has strips of grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, and provolone cheese on grilled white panini bread.

While I have made my own version of the panini before, I wanted to see try an equally good but less time consuming version that I could easily make for a weeknight meal. And that is what this recipe is: Easy and Fast. It only requires a few ingredients and one pan.

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Chicken Pesto Burgers

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 3  tablespoons of Pesto
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese

Kitchen Tools:

  • 1 grill pan (or a skillet)
  • Medium size bowl
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Wooden spoon (for mixing)
  • Meat thermometer

Instructions:

1. In your medium size bowl, combine the ground chicken, pesto, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Use the wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients together.

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2. To make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mix, use your hands to completely combine everything together.

3. Spray your grill pan (or skillet) with non-stick cooking spray and heat the pan on medium heat.

4. One pound of ground chicken will yield 4 quarter pound burgers. Divide the meat into four and form 4 burgers. Place them in the grill pan.

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5. Cook the burgers on each side for approximately 5 minutes.

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6. Cooking chicken burgers can be a little tricky — you want to make sure they are cooked through, but you don’t want to overcook them. Be aware that chicken burgers dry out faster than ground beef. To be safe, check the burgers with a meat thermometer. Each burger should have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Remove the burgers from the pan, serve on buns or on bread of your choice with either Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese.

8. Enjoy!

I decided to serve my chicken pesto burger with some shredded mozzarella cheese.

I decided to serve my chicken pesto burger with some shredded mozzarella cheese.

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Easy Taco Stack-Up

Spring’s almost here!

You know what that means? Picnics. Yeah, I know, I know…who wants to think about picnics when it’s still snowing…but warm weather will be here before you know it.

So, today, I’m offering up one of my go-to picnic and/or party recipes: Easy Taco Stack-Up.

While it may not look like much, Taco Stack-Up is definitely a delicious little casserole that is easy to make and really versatile. You can dress it up or dress it down however you like! And, it’s not just good for a picnic or a party — it’s also a really great and easy dinner recipe too!

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Easy Taco Stack-Up

Makes: One 13×9 in. casserole.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cans Campbell’s condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 packages of taco seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 package of at least 8 burrito (large) size flour tortillas (If you prefer corn tortillas or another variety, feel free to change it up)
  • 1 package shredded cheddar cheese

Tools:

  • One 13×9 baking dish (I use a clear glass Pyrex dish)
  • One large skillet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Colander/strainer
  • Ladle
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Instructions:

1. Place the ground beef into the skillet and brown it over medium heat until it is cooked thoroughly.

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2. Once the ground beef is cooked through and no pink remains, drain the beef. Once drained, return the beef to the skillet.

3. Add the taco seasoning, cheddar cheese soup, and water to the ground beef and stir until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Just in case you've never used it, this is the Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup.

Just in case you’ve never used it, this is the Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese Soup.

 

4. Simmer the beef mixture on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened and is no longer watery.

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5. Once the beef mixture has simmered thoroughly, prepare your 13×9 baking dish by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.

6. Using a ladle, transfer enough of the beef mixture into the baking dish to cover the bottom. Layer one and 1/2 tortillas over the mixture and start alternating layers until you are out of beef mixture.

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7. After you have done  the last layer of the beef mixture, place two whole tortillas on top of the stack-up. (If you feel the top is not completely covered by those two tortillas, you can tear smaller pieces off another tortilla and cover open spaces.)photo(57)

8. Cover  the stack-up with aluminum foil and place it  in a 350 degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

9. After 20 minutes, remove the aluminum foil from the stack-up and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top of the stack-up. Return to the oven uncovered until the cheese is melted (approximately 5 minutes).

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10. Remove the stack-up from the oven.

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11. Cut, serve, and enjoy!

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At the beginning of this post I talked about how versatile this recipe is:

To jazz it up, add beans, onions, and/or green peppers to the beef mixture. Also serve it with your favorite taco fixings like sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

Fast and Easy Pepperoni Rolls For Every Occasion

Superbowl Sunday — one of the biggest (if not the biggest) party days in the United States is upon us this weekend. Wings and pizza are the usual fare, but sometimes you want something homemade, and lets face it, a little less expensive to get us through the game.

So, here’s my extremely easy, pretty fast, and definitely delicious recipe for pepperoni rolls to help get you through the game!

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Recipe Makes:  3 Large (approx. 14 inches in length) Pepperoni Rolls which are ideal for slicing for a crowd, or 6 smaller (approx. 7 inches in length) Pepperoni Rolls.

**For the purpose of this demonstration (and since I was making Pepperoni Rolls for a party), I made the large Pepperoni Rolls because I sliced them before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Rhodes frozen pizza dough (contains 3 loaves of dough) or any other frozen or fresh pizza dough of your choice.
  • 2 8oz bags of shredded mozzarella cheese (approx. 4 cups) Note: You may not uses all 4 cups, but it’s best to have extra just in case.
  • 3/4 lb. of sandwich pepperoni (the large, salami size pieces) Note: Again, you probably will not use all of the pepperoni, but it is better to have more than you need than to run out.
  • 1 stick margarine, melted
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 egg, beaten

Tools:

  • Pastry sheet, or appropriate surface to roll dough on
  • Rolling Pin
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 Pastry/Basting Brushes
  • Saucepan
  • 10″x 15″ baking sheet

Instructions:

1. If you are following the recipe and using the frozen Rhodes pizza dough, follow the directions on the bag to thaw the dough. You can either place the dough in the refrigerator overnight or place it in a warm place for 3 to 4 hours. The dough does not have to rise before rolling.

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2. Once the dough is thawed, set up your rolling surface. I use a Tupperware pastry sheet. Instead of using flour to coat my rolling surface, I spray the pastry sheet with non-stick cooking spray. For rolling the frozen dough, this works better than flour.

3. Separate the 3 loaves of dough. If you are making 6 pepperoni rolls, cut each loaf in half prior to rolling.

4. Place the first loaf on the pastry sheet. Spray the rolling pin with a small amount of non-stick cooking spray.

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5. Roll the dough out until it is approximately 14 inches long and 8-10 inches wide.

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6. Try to roll the dough out as straight as possible. If the edges are relatively even, the pepperoni roll will be neater and less likely to unfurl as it bakes.

7. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine and add the garlic powder and Italian seasoning (there are no particular measurements for the spices — just add to taste).

8. Using the basting brush, spread the margarine mixture on the dough.

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9. Evenly spread the pepperoni and mozzarella on the dough. (Use as much or as little as you wish.)

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10. Slowly roll the pepperoni roll as tightly as you can, leaving the edge underneath the roll. Tuck the ends under roll also.

11. Spray the baking sheet and transfer the pepperoni roll to the baking sheet.

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12. Beat the egg, and lightly brush the pepperoni roll.

13. Bake the Pepperoni roll at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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14. Let cool.

15. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

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Questions? Comments? Let me know how your pepperoni rolls turn out!

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Make Dinner Easy: Roast a Chicken in the CrockPot

Looking for something easy and inexpensive to make for dinner tomorrow night? Have a CrockPot?

If you’ve answered yes, then I have a recipe for you!

It’s no secret amongst my family and friends that chicken is probably my favorite food. Mostly, I love it because it is such a versatile ingredient. So, I’m always looking for new chicken-related recipes.

Although I don’t mind more complicated recipes, easy recipes are always great to have when you’re short on time or simply don’t feel like putting the effort into making some extravagant meal. For example, I made Chicken Paprikash a few weeks ago for the first time and by the time I was done I needed a nap (just kidding).

So, I was very excited to learn that you could roast a whole chicken in the CrockPot. Oh, I love the CrockPot…haha.

Roasted Chicken is always a good bet.

 

 

Ingredients:

— 1 whole chicken for roasting*

— 1 cup water

— Olive Oil

— Seasoning of your choice**

*Make sure you buy a roasting chicken and not a frying one. All of the roasting chickens available at my grocery store were around 6 1/2 to 7 lbs.

**I used Chef Paul Prudhomme’s “Chicken Magic” Seasoning. However, feel free to use whatever you want. Many spice brands have a rotisserie spice blend that would be good. Also, you can never go wrong with plain salt and pepper!

Tools:

— 1 Large CrockPot (Remember, you’ll need to have a CrockPot that the chicken will actually fit in. My CrockPot is oval and works really well for this kind of recipe.)

— 1 pair of tongs

— 1 basting brush

— A small oven safe dish or ramekin (to prop the chicken up with)

Instructions:

1. Place the chicken in your kitchen sink and remove it from the packaging. (This can be somewhat messy, so have your waste basket on hand.) If your chicken was frozen, it should be completely thawed prior to cooking.

2. Once you’ve removed the chicken from its wrappings, you will need to remove any of the “innards” (giblets) that have been left inside the chicken’s abdominal cavity. Sometimes the giblets are in a small bag, but sometimes they are loose. Your best bet is to use tongs to remove them. After you’ve removed these items, rinse out the inside of the chicken’s abdominal cavity.

3. Prepare your CrockPot. I wanted to prop my chicken up a little in the CrockPot, so I placed a small oven safe corning ware dish in the bottom of the CrockPot. Also, spray the inside of the CrockPot with some non-stick cooking spray.

4. Place the chicken in the CrockPot.

5. Take a small amount of olive oil and baste the chicken with it. This will help the skin brown and become crispy.

6. Sprinkle your chosen seasoning over the chicken, making sure to coat the legs and wings.

7. Before you begin cooking the chicken, pour about 1 cup of water into the bottom of the CrockPot. Feel free to use less or more, depending on your personal preferences.

8. Turn the CrockPot onto the Low setting and cook for 6 to 7 hours. If you wish to cook the chicken in a shorter amount of time, you could cook it for approximately 2 hours on High and then reduce the heat to low for another 2 to 3 hours. When it comes to cooking chicken, it is all about temperature. The chicken is done when the internal temperature of the meat is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. Once the chicken is cooked, it will look like this:

10. Carefully remove the chicken from the CrockPot. Allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the chicken to retain its moisture.v

Serve and enjoy!