Archive for September 27, 2014

Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

One day recently, I hadn’t been to the grocery store yet and didn’t have a variety of things to choose from for supper. I made do with what I had and came up with this delicious casserole. All the ingredients seem to complement each other really well. My family and I definitely give it a thumbs up!!! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

Mixing all the ingredients together. (except for the Ritz crackers.)

Mixing all the ingredients together. (except for the Ritz crackers.)

After I mixed it up, I poured it into my casserole dish.

After I mixed it up, I poured it into my casserole dish.

Here I'm crushing the Ritz crackers onto the top of the casserole. Mmm, buttery goodness!

Here I’m crushing the Ritz crackers onto the top of the casserole. Mmm, buttery goodness!

The crackers are crumbled on top and the casserole is ready to go in the oven!

The crackers are crumbled on top and the casserole is ready to go in the oven!

Yummy casserole fresh out of the oven. I'm ready to chow down!

Yummy casserole fresh out of the oven. I’m ready to chow down!

Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

6 Chicken Legs (cooked, deboned & cut in chunks)

2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup (I used Campbell’s Healthy Choice.)

1 Can sliced Carrots

1 Can Cut Green Beans

1 Cup Corn (from a can or frozen & thawed)

2 Bags Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice, cooked

1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic

1/4 tsp Dried Basil

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Sleeve Ritz Crackers

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside.

2. Mix all ingredients together except for the Ritz crackers. Pour into prepared casserole dish and spread in pan. Crumble the crackers evenly on top. 

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or til casserole is browned on top and bubbly.

**RECIPE AND PHOTOS BY RENEE’S GOURMETS**

Hearty Pumpkin Muffins

These muffins good for you, but they may surprise you! They’re sweetened with honey. Also, they contain pumpkin which is loaded with vitamins A and C, it’s a good source of fiber, and contains potassium and Beta Cerotene.

Since they’re good for you, you might say “Yeah, but do those muffins TASTE GOOD??” The answer is YESSSS!!! I’ve found that a lot of good-for-you foods taste like cardboard… but not these babies!

Enjoy!!!

Whisk all the dry ingredients together til they're well combined.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together til they’re well combined.

Then, mix the wet ingredients together.

Then, mix the wet ingredients together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix til just combined. (There will still be lumps.) Don't over mix the batter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix til just combined. (There will still be lumps.) Don’t over mix the batter.

Divide batter into your prepared muffin tin and sprinkle with the cinnamon-stevia if using. I doubled the recipe.

Divide batter into your prepared muffin tin and sprinkle with the cinnamon-stevia, if using. I doubled the recipe.

These muffins are moist, good for you, and best of all...SO YUMMY!!!

These muffins are moist, good for you, and best of all…SO YUMMY!!!

Hearty Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2 Cups Spelt Flour (can use all-purpose)

2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp Ginger

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Eggs

1/3 Cup Honey

1/3 Cup Butter, melted

1 Cup Pumpkin Puree

For Topping (optional):

1 Tbls Cinnamon

1 Packet Stevia (I used Stevia in the Raw.)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin tin or line with paper liners; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients, except topping ingredients. Whisk together til well combined.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients; add to the dry ingredients and mix til just moistened. Don’t over-mix! (Batter will still contain lumps.)

4. Divide batter between the 12 muffin cups. If topping is desired, mix the tablespoon cinnamon and the packet of stevia and sprinkle the mixture over the muffins before baking.

5. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes or til they’re golden brown and spring back when lightly touched.

6. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Remove them by loosening the edges with a knife. Put them on a wire rack to cool completely.

**RECIPE AND PHOTOS BY RENEE’S GOURMETS**

DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets

Busy morning before school or work? Want a fast but filling breakfast? (or snack any time) And, want to save money at the same time?? Then, these do-it-yourself oatmeal packets are for you! They’re super easy and delicious! And, you can customize them however you like.

Measure 6 cups of quick oats into a really big bowl.

Measure 6 cups of quick oats into a really big bowl.

Then, in batches if necessary, grind the remaining 4 cups of quick oats til they're pretty fine.

Then, in batches if necessary, grind the remaining 4 cups of quick oats til they’re pretty fine.

This is the oatmeal after I ground it. In the next batch I made, I ground it a little finer.

This is the oatmeal after I ground it. In the next batch I made, I ground it a little finer.

Mixing up all the ingredients with my whisk.

Mixing up all the ingredients with my whisk.

Next, label the snack bags and put the oatmeal mixture into them. 1/2 cup is a good amount for each bag.

Next, label the snack bags and put the oatmeal mixture into them. 1/2 cup is a good amount for each bag.

I ended up with 20 bags.

I ended up with 20 bags.

I store the packets in the oatmeal container. I've seen people online put them in a basket where they can see the flavor name and choose which one they want.

I store the packets in the oatmeal container. I’ve seen people online put them in a basket where they can see the flavor name and choose which one they want.

DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets

10 Cups Quick Oats

1 tsp Salt (or to taste)

1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar (1 1/2, if you like it sweeter)

2 tsp Cinnamon

Snack-Size Zipper Seal Baggies

1. Measure 6 cups of the quick oats into a really big bowl.

2. Put the remaining 4 cups oats into a blender or food processor and grind them up til they’re pretty fine, almost powdery. Pour into the bowl with the un-ground oatmeal.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a whisk til well combined.

4. Write the oatmeal flavor on your snack bags. (You’ll need 20-22 bags.) Measure 1/2 cup of the oatmeal to each baggie and seal. 

To use oatmeal packets:

Pour contents of a packet into a bowl. Add 1/3-1/2 cup boiling water; stir. Oatmeal will thicken as it sits a minute. I like mine pretty thick so I use 1/3 cup water. You can adjust the water as you like it.

*For creamier oatmeal, you can add 1 cup powdered milk or powdered coffee creamer to all the other ingredients. Just keep in mind what I’ve read online…that powdered milk sometimes becomes moldy if the oatmeal isn’t eaten in a relatively short time.

*For fruit and cream oatmeal, you can add dried fruit (blueberries, raisins, etc) when you put in the powdered milk or creamer. Or, you can put the dried fruit into each bag as you fill them. If desired, you can omit the cinnamon for the fruit variety.

**RECIPE AND PHOTOS BY RENEE’S GOURMETS**

 

Pumpkin Pound Cake

Since Fall is rapidly arriving, I’ve been thinking about making things using pumpkin. We just harvested some from our garden and I’ve been ITCHING to get busy! So, here’s the first of who knows how many…

Enjoy!!!!

 

Here are some of the pumpkins we grew this year...along with a couple cantaloupes and a watermelon...

Here are some of the pumpkins we grew this year…along with a couple cantaloupes and a watermelon…

First, put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.

First, put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.

Then, using a mixer, blend together the butter and sugar til they're creamy.

Then, using a mixer, blend together the butter and sugar til they’re creamy.

Next, beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Next, beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Add the pumpkin and beat well.

Add the pumpkin and beat well.

Alternately blend in the flour mixture and milk.

Alternately blend in the flour mixture and milk.

Pour the batter into a Bundt cake pan or tube pan. (I think mine is a 12-cup.)

Pour the batter into a Bundt cake pan or tube pan. (I think mine is a 12-cup.)

After the cake is done and completely cool, mix the glaze ingredients and pour them over the cake. You only need to pour it over the top...it'll go down the sides nicely.

After the cake is done and completely cool, mix the glaze ingredients and pour them over the cake. You only need to pour it over the top…it’ll go down the sides nicely.

It's really moist...and SO GOOD!!! (Like I used to tell my girls when they were little...yummy yummy to my tummy!!!)

It’s really moist…and SO GOOD!!! (Like I used to tell my girls when they were little…yummy yummy to my tummy!!!)

Pumpkin Pound Cake

3 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Ginger

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

2 Cups Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Butter, softened

6 Eggs, room temp.

1 Cup Pumpkin, cooked & mashed*

3/4 Cup Milk

Glaze Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

3 Tbls Butter, softened

1/8 tsp Cinnamon

3-4 Tbls Milk

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour Bundt cake pan (or tube pan); set aside.

2. Put the first 7 ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

3. Using a mixer, cream together the 1 1/2 cups butter and 2 cups sugar in a large mixing bowl. (Beat at medium speed and scrape bowl as necessary.) Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin; beat til well mixed. Add flour alternately with milk, beating at low speed til well mixed.

4. Pour batter into prepared 12-cup Bundt pan or tube pan. Bake 60 minutes or til a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan then remove cake and place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

5. When cake is completely cool, mix together the powdered sugar and 3 Tbls softened butter. Add enough milk for desired consistency. Pour over top of cake and allow to run down the sides a little.

*Can also use 1 cup canned pumpkin

**PHOTOS AND RECIPES BY RENEE’S GOURMETS**

Scrumptious Salsa (Restaurant Style)

I read a blog by the Pioneer Woman recently and the salsa she made looked really good. I decided to adapt her recipe and it turned out SO DELICIOUS!!! I’m not a “salsa person” per se but I really love this stuff…so much so that I had just that for supper…chips and salsa!!! I hope y’all enjoy it as much as my family and I do!

 

There aren't a lot of ingredients so it doesn't take long to gather them together.

There aren’t a lot of ingredients so it doesn’t take long to gather them together.

Dice up the onion pretty in small pieces.

Dice up the onion in pretty small pieces.

Cut the jalapeno into small pieces. Make sure you use a glove on the hand that you hold it with. If not, you may feel like your hand had been set on fire...trust me, I know!

Cut the jalapeno into small pieces. Make sure you use a glove on the hand that you hold it with. If not, you may feel like your hand had been set on fire…trust me, I know!

Chop the cilantro really well. (Leave out the stems.)

Chop the cilantro really well. (Leave out the stems.)

Put everything in your food processor or blender. Pulse til it's the consistency you like. (Work in batches if your food processor bowl is small. Then, just mix everything together.)

Put everything in your food processor or blender. Pulse til it’s the consistency you like. (Work in batches if your food processor bowl is small. Then, just mix everything together.)

This is how I like mine. :)

This is how I like mine. 🙂

OH. MY. GOSH...this stuff is SOOOO GOOD!!!!

OH. MY. GOSH…this stuff is SOOOO GOOD!!!!

Scrumptious Salsa (Restaurant Style)

1 (28oz) Can Whole Tomatoes (with juice)

2 (10oz) Cans Rotel (diced tomatoes & green chilies) 

1/3 Cup Red Onion, diced small

1 Clove Garlic, minced

1 Whole Jalapeno, quartered & thinly sliced

1 tsp Sugar (more, or less, to taste)

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Ground Cumin

1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped (even more is better!)

Juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse til the salsa is the consistency you like. You can taste the salsa and add more cilantro or seasoning to your taste. 

I like mild salsa so I used mild Rotel but if you like it hot you can use the hot Rotel.

Put in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavors can mingle.

Serve with tortilla chips.

**PHOTOS AND RECIPE BY RENEE’S GOURMETS**

(adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

Oats (Part 2) Oat Flour Pancakes

Here’s part 2 in my Oats series. These nutritious pancakes’ texture is a lil different than the Bisquick ones I’m used to but they taste pretty amazing! And, they’re also easy!

Assembling the ingredients.

Assembling the ingredients.

I put all the dry ingredients into a bowl...

I put all the dry ingredients into a bowl…

...and sifted them together with my whisk.

…and sifted them together with my whisk.

Next, I whisked together the wet ingredients...

Next, I whisked together the wet ingredients…

...and poured them into the dry ingredients to whisk all together.

…and poured them into the dry ingredients to whisk all together.

I poured the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto the hot griddle and flipped them over when they were getting golden on the bottom and the edges were getting dry.

I poured the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto the hot griddle and flipped them over when they were getting golden on the bottom and the edges were getting dry.

These pancakes had a little different consistency than the Bisquick ones I'm used to but they are so good! (Oops...got a little syrup on my eggs...ewww! LOL)

The yummy finished pancakes. (Oops…got a little syrup on my eggs…ewww! LOL)

Oat Flour Pancakes

1 3/4 Oat Flour

2 tsp Packed Brown Sugar

1 Tbls Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

2 Large Eggs, slightly beaten

1 Cup Milk

1 1/2 Tbls Oil

1 tsp Vanilla

1. Preheat griddle (or skillet) to 375°F.

2. In large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients, blending together with a whisk. 

3. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining (wet) ingredients.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix or whisk til just combined.

5. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto the hot griddle. Cook til pancakes are dry around the edges. Flip them over and continue to cook til they’re golden brown and spring back when touched lightly in the center with the spatula.

**RECIPE AND PHOTOS BY RENEE’S GOURMETS**

 

Oats (Part 1) Oat Flour

Lately, I’ve been finding a lot of things to do with oats and this is a 2 part (at least) post about some of them.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to experiment with oat flour. I ran across somebody’s post about making your own oat flour and decided to give it a try. It’s really easy! All you need is whole oats and a blender! I used my Ninja Kitchen System…it worked like a champ! Here goes…

I started with good ole Old Fashioned Quaker Oats.

I started with good ole Old Fashioned Quaker Oats.

I blended the oats, a couple cups at a time, for about 30 seconds or so in my Ninja Kitchen System's bowl attachment. This got a good start on making the flour...

I blended the oats, a couple cups at a time, for about 30 seconds or so in my Ninja Kitchen System’s bowl attachment. This got a good start on making the flour…

...and to make it a finer consistency, I used the single serve attachment. This took a lil longer because I had to do the batches a lot smaller but it was DEFINITELY worth it!

…and to make it a finer consistency, I used the single serve attachment. This took a lil longer because I had to do the batches a lot smaller but it was DEFINITELY worth it!

Oat Flour 3

The clear bowl contains the whole oats, the blue bowl has the first grind, and the white bowl has the finer grind.

All you have to do is take the whole oats, in batches, and blend in your blender, food processor, or Ninja Kitchen System til they’re as fine as you’d like. That’s it!

Creamy Almond Pound Cake

I had a hard time deciding on a name for this yummy pound cake. I mean, there are so many wonderful ingredients that I wanted to show off in the title…but it’d be wayyy too long to call it Buttery Cream Cheese Sour Cream Almond Vanilla Pound Cake so Creamy Almond Pound Cake won out. At any rate, it’s SUPER DELICIOUS!!! 🙂

Creaming together the cream cheese, sour cream and butter. (Sorry the picture turned out a lil blurry...it's hard to take a pic with my left hand, let alone with the mixer vibrating me!.)

Creaming together the cream cheese, sour cream and butter. (Sorry the picture turned out a lil blurry…it’s hard to take a pic with my left hand, let alone with the mixer vibrating me!.)

I took this one after I had blended in the sugar. The mixture's light & fluffy.

I took this one after I had blended in the sugar. The mixture’s light & fluffy.

Next, I mixed in the eggs, one at a time.

Next, I mixed in the eggs, one at a time.

Next, I mixed in the flour and cinnamon. (Make sure on this step you don't over mix.)

Next, I mixed in the flour and cinnamon. (Make sure on this step you don’t over mix.)

Ready for the oven! I don't have a very big bundt cake pan, so I used the extra batter for a couple small pound cakes too.

Ready for the oven! I don’t have a very big bundt cake pan, so I used the extra batter for a couple small pound cakes too.

You gotta be careful with this stuff...you might just get addicted! Mmmmmm!!!

You gotta be careful with this stuff…you might just get addicted! Mmmmmm!!!

Creamy Almond Pound Cake

1 1/2 Cups Butter (3 sticks), softened

4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

3 Cups Sugar

1 tsp Almond Extract

1 tsp Vanilla

6 Eggs (at room temperature)

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan with cooking spray or Baker’s Joy (my preference). Set pan aside. *

2. In large bowl, cream together the cream cheese, sour cream and butter til light and fluffy. Beat in sugar, almond extract and vanilla til well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, til well incorporated. Beat in flour and cinnamon.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, or til a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Allow cake to cool 10 minutes. Then, turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5. ENJOY!!!

*Note: If your Bundt pan isn’t big enough, you can also make a “loaf” cake or two like I did.

**RECIPE AND PHOTOS BY RENEE’S GOURMETS**