Baked Chicken Croquettes

   I have been wanting to try croquettes for awhile now. They've just always looked so mouth-watering good! The only problem was that the typical croquettes are deep fried, which I guess really isn't a problem. I just didnt feel like frying up a million of these little suckers. So I decided to research a few different recipes and came up with my own baked version. The end result was simply delicious. We really loved them.

   My version of  'Baked Croquettes' are filled with chicken, potatoes and some seasonings. I also added a special ingredient.... stuffing. Yep, some good ol' stuffing. If you are not a fan than feel free to leave it out. They will still be great. Also, if you dont have time to whip up a batch of mashed potatoes, than I suggest using the already made tub of  'Country Crock' mashed potatoes. You can usually find them near the Deli/Meat section in the grocery store. They taste really good, and when I'm in a hurry, they are what I like to use.

Baked Chicken Croquettes
Recipe by: Holly Lofthouse

3 cups cooked Chicken, finely chopped ( I used my food processor)
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon dried Minced Onion
1 Tablespoon dried Chives
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 cups Mashed Potatoes
1 1/2 cups prepared Stuffing ( I use Stove-Top chicken stuffing)
3/4 cup Dried Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Olive Oil cooking spray

2 packets Chicken Gravy mix
water packets call for
(Prepare according to package directions)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large skillet, over medium heat add the finely chopped chicken. Stir in the broth, minced onion and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until mixture is heated through. About 5 minutes or so.  Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, add the mashed potatoes and stuffing. Season with salt and pepper. Stir. Then add in chicken mixture. Stir together gently until well combined. Once mixture has cooled slightly, take a 1/4 cup of mixture at a time and shape into an oval log. Roll in the dried breadcrumbs and then place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, setting croquettes atleast 1 inch apart so their not touching. Once all croquettes are made generously spray them with olive oil spray.

 Bake for 15 minutes or until golden-brown and crispy. Serve with gravy!

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Lemon Velvet Pie

   I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We sure did. My little brother Doug came down from Salt Lake to spend the weekend here. It was so nice to see him again and catch up. It had been a long time. He's moving to New York City in January. It makes me sad he'll live so far away, but at the same time I'm happy for him. He has accomplished so many things in his life and I could not be any more proud of him. Love you Doug!

   As for this lemon pie, it really was amazing. It was one of the MANY we had for dessert after our Thanksgiving feast. You would not believe how many pies we had! It was so awesome. This one in particular was a huge hit! We all loved it. I've never had anything like it. It is very creamy, velvety and lemony. Totally delish!

Lemon Velvet Pie
Adapted from: Plain Chicken

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 Tablespoons cold water
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cans (14 oz cans) sweetened condensed milk (2 cups)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the crust:  Combine all ingredients and press into a the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Or you could use a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate.

In a small bowl mix together the gelatin and cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Heat in microwave for 14 seconds. Set aside.

For the filling:  In a large bowl combine egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. With an electric mixer, beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined. Beat in gelatin, whipping cream and salt on low speed. Add lemon juice and beat on low for 30 seconds. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until center of pie looks set when gently shaken. Cool for 1 hour. Cover loosely and refrigerate atleast 2 hours or more before serving.

For topping:  Place the heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip until the whisk begins to leave tracks in the bowl. Add sugar and vanilla and whip until cream holds medium peaks. Spread on top of pie and serve!


Au Gratin Potatoes

   These potatoes are creamy, cheesy heaven. My kind of side dish! This is the perfect side to compliment any meat you are serving. Beef, ham or chicken... these potatoes go with it all. The flavor is really simple. You can always add some onion and garlic to give it some more attitude, but I love them just like this.

Au Gratin Potatoes
Recipe by: Holly Lofthouse

4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Rinse/clean potatoes with water and peel. Slice into 1/4 inch slices. Layer half the potatoes in the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Mix in the flour and salt and stir with a whisk for about 30 seconds. Stir in milk. Continue to stir and cook until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Stir until cheese completely melts.

Pour half the cheese sauce over potatoes that are in the dish. Layer the rest of potatoes over the top, sprinkle again with salt and pepper, and then pour the remaining cheese sauce on top. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Carefully remove foil, and continue to bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand about 10 minutes before serving. 


Sloppy Joes

   As a kid, I was not a fan of sloppy joes. My Mom didnt make them that often, but when she did, I was not a happy camper. I remember my Grandma Jennings making them as well, but she called them 'Mormon Burgers'. I have no clue why, but she did. I also refused to eat hers.

   Now as an adult, I LOVE them! And this is the recipe that changed it all for me. It comes from my favorite cookbook I talk about all the time, The Food Nanny by Liz Edmunds. I love how simple and totally delicious these things are. This is another dinner Kelsey asks me to make from time to time. She loves them just as much as I do.

Sloppy Joes

1 Tablespoon Butter
1/4 cup chopped Onion
1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
6 Hamburger Buns

Melt the 1 Tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the ground beef and onion and cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain grease.

Add the ketchup, water, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir well and let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Butter the hamburger buns, if desired, and toast them under the broiler. Watch closely so they dont burn. Spoon meat mixture onto the bottom halves and cover with tops. Serve immediately. Serves 6.


Red Velvet Cake

   I'm speechless.....

Red Velvet Cake
Recipe from: Bakerella

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz liquid red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in remaining liquid ingredients (oil, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring ) Whisk until blended. Set aside.

In a seperate large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda) Stir really well with another whisk.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients bowl, with a hand-mixer mix on medium-high speed for one minute or until completely combined.

Pour into cake pans, and then lightly drop cake pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

After about 10 minutes, remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on a wire rack. You can lightly cover the cakes with plastic wrap while they cool.
Once completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar

Sift sugar and set aside. Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla.
Slowly add sugar in batches (about 2 cups at a time) Scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Then frost cake! Store cake in refrigerator.

Linked up at Mandy's Recipe Box


Baked Spaghetti

   We invited Kale's Mom and sister over for dinner Sunday night. A few days before, I asked his sister to decide what I should make. I gave her the choice between a roast with mashed potatoes or this spaghetti casserole. Needless to say, she chose the casserole. I'm so happy she did. We all really loved it! I found the original recipe over at Plain Chicken , but changed things up a tiny bit. I was really pleased with the end result but thought next time I'm going to add more sauce. This recipe is for sure a winner. This will be added to our dinner rotation often!!

Baked Spaghetti

12 oz Spaghetti Noodles
1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1-2 (24 oz) jars of Spaghetti Sauce ( I use Ragu)
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain grease. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Remove from heat. *NOTE*( I used one jar of sauce and thought it needed more. I suggest using 1 1/2 to 2 jars if you like saucy spaghetti)

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti noodles in a large pot of water according to package directions. Drain water and place hot noodles in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and italian seasoning to noodles. Stir until cream cheese has melted and noodles are coated. 

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a small amount of meat sauce mixture in the bottom of the dish. Pour noodles over the top and spread out evenly. Pour the meat sauce mixture over the noodles and sprinkle evenly with both cheeses. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with dried basil. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8-10


Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

   We loved this casserole. It got 2 BIG thumbs up from Kelsey. I love her enthusiasm whenever she's eating something I make. "Oh Mom, this is the BEST thing I've ever eaten!" It's so cute. She wasn't always like that though. I can remember when she was little, getting her to eat was like pulling teeth. That child would not eat anything! It drove me nuts, and I would worry about her because she was just a tiny little thing.

   I remember one time when she was about 5 years old we were eating hamburgers for dinner. She kept telling Kale and I, "This hamburger is so yummy!" after every bite. We were so proud of her! Little did we know that she was actually spitting every bite into her cup when we werent looking. Once we were finished I went to put my plate in the sink and saw the evidence. There sat Kelseys cup filled with chewed hamburger stuffed to the brim. I was shocked, but couldnt help but laugh too.

  I dont have to worry about that kind of stuff anymore. She is by far my best eater. She eats everything I make. She's now starting to show an interest in cooking and loves to help me in the kitchen. I have a feeling she's going to be a great cook one day!


Cheesy Enchilada Casserole
Recipe adapted from: Just Get off your Butt and Bake

1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups Salsa
1 (15 oz) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Cheese Whiz
3/4 cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
6 soft taco size Flour Tortillas
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend ( or your favorite cheese)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain fat.

Stir in salsa, beans, cheese whiz, sour cream, taco seasoning and cumin. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon a 1/3 of meat mixture in the bottom. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese. Layer 3 flour tortillas over the top. ( you will have to cut one of the tortillas so they fit ) Spoon another 1/3 of meat mixture on top of the tortillas, then sprinkle another 1/2 cup of cheese. Do one more tortilla layer, the last of the meat mixture and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese has melted and it's hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes or so before slicing. Makes 9 servings. (This casserole is great served with shredded lettuce, sour cream and salsa on top!)

Linked up at Mandy's Recipe Box


Parmesan Garlic Chicken

   There are a lot of different versions of parmesan chicken out there. This one is my favorite! It's probably the easiest one to make too. I love that it doesnt use bread crumbs like most of the other recipes I've seen. This is one of those easy weeknight meals we all look for. It can be ready in 30 minutes and it is sure to please. Serve it up with a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce and pasta, or it would be great chopped up and put on top of a big green salad!

Parmesan Garlic Chicken

4 small boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the parmesan cheese, italian seasoning and garlic powder in a large, shallow bowl or dish. Run the chicken breasts under cold water, then roll wet chicken in the seasoning mixture to coat. Place coated chicken breasts on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve with spaghetti sauce and pasta.

Recipe Source: Kraft.Com

Linked up at Mandy's Recipe Box