Cream Cheese Chicken and Vegetable Soup

I found this recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe while I was looking at her cornbread recipe. (Also very yummy!) The soup has cream cheese in it and I said to myself...."If it has cream cheese in it, it can't be bad." ;) In short, my family LOVED it. It makes a good size batch and I barely had 1 bowl leftover. It was nice that I always have all the ingredients on hand. It will definitely be going on our list of favorite soups.

2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP minced onions (can use yellow onion, but I prefer dry minced)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 cup diced carrots (I used my ones I freeze each fall)
3 cups chicken broth
2-3 potatoes (Mel suggests leaving the peels on the reds if you use them)
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons flour
1 (8 oz. package) cream cheese (light can be used)
About 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I seasoned with salt & pepper also)
Salt and pepper (I had to add about 1 tsp+ after it was all done)

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Saute, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender and the onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. In a liquid measuring cup, vigorously whisk the flour and milk together until smooth. Whisk the mixture into the soup, stirring quickly, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir often to ensure the soup doesn’t burn. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave until it is very soft/melty. I usually place the unwrapped cream cheese on a plate and microwave it for one minute at 30% power. I like it really, really soft so it doesn’t leave lumps in the soup. Add the cream cheese to the soup in small tablespoon-size pieces. Let the pieces sit in the soup and warm through then whisk or stir the soup until the cream cheese melts and mixes in well. Add the cooked chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Memphis Dry Rub Ribs

from Renee

2 racks baby back ribs (4 to 5 pounds)

For the rub:
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wash the ribs and blot dry. Remove the thin papery skin on the back of each rack of ribs. (Pull it off in a sheet with your fingers, using a corner of a dish towel to gain a secure grip.)
Combine the ingredients for the rub (the paprika, black pepper, sugar, salt, celery salt, cayenne, garlic powder, mustard, and cumin) in mixing bowl and stir with your fingers to mix. Rub 2/3 of this mixture on the ribs on both sides. Transfer the ribs to a roasting pan and let marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Cover cookie sheet with tin foil and place on pan. Bake at 350 oven for 2-3 hours. Enjoy with your favorite BBQ sauce!

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Chicken Stir Fry

Courtesy of
This recipe is very yummy and passed onto me from my Sister-in-Law Amy.

I don't do this recipe exactly like the website since it was too much for my family, so here is my version and you can put in the vegetables that you prefer. You could do this with a frozen bag of veggies... but fresh is SO much better!

Chicken and marinade
2 medium-large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Other Ingredients
3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
1 1/2-2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 c snow peas
10 asparagus with 2-3 inches of bottoms cut off
1/4 c onion sliced (I do mine big enough to find them and take them out for the kids)
1/4-1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch


1.Cut chicken into 1/2-in. strips; place in a resealable plastic bag or bowl with lid. Add cornstarch and toss to coat. Combine soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder; add to bag (or bowl) and mix/shake well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2.In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil; stir-fry chicken on a medium heat until no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and keep warm. Don't be alarmed if the bottom is coated with the cornstarch and marinade... it will come off later and coat the veggies.

Add remaining oil; on medium heat, stir- fry broccoli, asparagus, carrots and onion for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender then add the pea pods because they cook faster than the other veggies. Mix water and bouillon and add to the veggies (this softens the buildup on the bottom of the pan and it thickens and coats the food). Reduce heat to medium low or low heat. Return chicken to pan. Mix the soy sauce, ginger, and garlic again with the cornstarch and pour over the chicken and veggies. Cook and stir until thickened and well coated. You can put the lid on to help your veggies to cook through a little bit more, you don't want them to be too limp, but not too crunchy either.

Serve over rice. *I like it with Brown Rice which you will need to start before you begin cooking the chicken since it takes 45 minutes to cook brown rice*

Note: I have tried it with bell peppers before and it was good, but I like this combo of veggies the best of all the ways I have tried it! The asparagus really is quite good for those of you that are hesitant... my kids LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Surprisingly enough! ;)

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Sour Cream Waffles

These waffles are so easy. They cook up great every time. They're the perfect texture. And I've never had complaints from the kids when I make them.
from "Back to the Table" by Art Smith

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cube butter, melted
1 cup milk (if desired, add a little more to help thin the batter)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl to combine and make a well in the middle. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined and pour into well. I use my Pampered Chef whisk for this. But you can use a mixer, too. Just be careful not to over mix it.

Pour onto hot waffle iron. I like to use my belgian waffle. Cook until golden and enjoy!

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Firehouse BBQ Grilled Chicken

I first saw this recipe on Real Mom Kitchen's blog. She found it on Picky Palate. My family loves this chicken. I had to reduce the Frank's hot sauce to 2 tbsp for my small children. (Three tbsp to 1/4 cup is just right for my husband and I.) After making it several times, I realized I hadn't posted it to our recipe blog. And since this blog is used as a portable recipe box for family and friends, it needs to be on here. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

14+ thawed boneless skinless chicken tenders (you can use breasts, they just take longer to cook)
2 Tbsp - 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
4 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Place all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag and marinate for one to two hours.If you are not grilling these outside, HI broil works great, too. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place cooling racks over the foil. Place chicken across the racks. DISCARD the marinade!Broil chicken for about 5 or 6 minutes on each side, turn over and repeat. The tenders cook fast so this can be done in about 10 minutes.Super simple. Super fast. My kind of dinner!

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Quickie BBQ Chicken Pizza

I realize this is hardly a recipe. But we've enjoyed making them so much I figured I might as well post them on the blog.

This is a great recipe to use left over chicken. Plus, it is a nice for a quick lunch for the kids or a snack after school. I think they'd even be okay for a casual appetizer with friends.

Chicken, cooked and shredded
BBQ Sauce
Grated cheese
Tortillas (these were the small size)

Cook chicken. Shred it. Pour BBQ sauce over it until it has the desired amount. Place tortillas on a rack and place under HI broil for 1 minute (or a little less) on each side. This helps them to dry out a little bit so the chicken doesn't make them dough.

Remove from oven and spread chicken over the tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over top.Broil on HI for about 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and entirely melted.
Cut into triangles and serve!

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Turkey Meatballs

from Kelly

l lb ground turkey
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp worcestershire
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 egg

Mix with hands, roll. Fry them until cooked through. Place in pan.

1/2 package of onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom
fill can 3/4 full of milk

Whisk together, pour over meatballs, cover and put in the oven for 60 min at 350.

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Tuscan Chicken

from Joni

1 lb boneless skinless chicken cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cans italian stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can red kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 jar sliced mushrooms
1 med green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
6 oz thin spaghetti, broken in half

Add all ingredients except pasta. Put in crockpot on low 4 hours or until veggies are tender.

Stir in noodles. Cook on high 10 min, stir. Cover and cook 35 minutes or until pasta is tender.

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Teriyaki Rice Bowls

One night my husband and I wanted something different for dinner. I suggested teriyaki. He suggested steak and this is what we came up with. He did a great job cooking the meat. I think it might be his job from now on! ;) I'll stick with the rice on this one. It's hard to screw up rice!

This teriyaki sauce is so versatile. We use it for chicken. We use it for beef. But one night I wanted a rice bowl. It hadn't crossed my mind to use it for the beef for that! It was super simple and way yummy! And it could just have easily had chicken if you're not a beef person.

Teriyaki Sauce (click for recipe)

2 lbs steak cut up into pieces

Veggies (we did just carrots this time but next time we'll do carrots, broccoli, onions, peppers, asparagus, and snow peas)

Long Grain Rice

Cook steak in a small enough pan so that the juices don't cook out. Add veggies and allow them to get soft and cooked in the meat juices. Add teriyaki sauce and cook until sauce is about half cooked out (gone into the steak and veggies).

Cook rice as desired. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Note: You can marinate the meat in half of the sauce (reserving the other half for when you cook it). For me, it worked to just cook it all in the pan together. But if you want a more subdued teriyaki flavor, marinate it, taste the meat when it is cooked and decide if you want to add the remaining reserved sauce. Don't worry, the sauce keeps well in the fridge for awhile.

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Mexican Lasagna

This is a repost of a recipe I put on here 2 years ago! (I can't believe this blog is that old!) It is a family favorite but I never remember to take pictures. Super easy, a kid favorite and if there are leftovers, it reheats well. Plus, it can be made ahead and frozen. My kind of meal!

*See variations at the bottom of post
from a card at a grocery store

1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
1 pkg Taco Seasoning -I just do ½ pkg otherwise it can be a little too spicy
1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned salt
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
½ of a 4oz can of diced green chiles
–I put the other half in a Ziploc bag and freeze it for later. It works really well.
1 cup ricotta cheese – I use cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
10 corn tortillas
2 ½ cups (10 oz.) grated Monterey jack cheese –I just use whatever cheese I have

**Note: the pictures are of a 1/2 batch. It makes just the right amount for my little family of 4. You could make a whole batch in 2 different pans and freeze one for another time.
In a large skillet, brown ground beef, stirring until cooked through; drain fat. Add taco seasoning mix, seasoned salt, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chiles; blend well. (I leave out the chiles because my two little kids don't like the spice. But before we had kids, the chiles were in and they're great!) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
In small bowl, combine ricotta cheese and eggs. (You can leave the eggs out and just do the ricotta/cottage cheese. You'll just need a little more. I don't even measure anymore... I just make sure the tortillas are covered sufficiently.)
In bottom of 13x9x2 inch baking dish, spread ½ of meat mixture.Top with ½ of tortillas;spread ½ of ricotta cheese mixture over tortillasand top with ½ of grated cheese.Repeat layering, ending with grated cheese.Bake, uncovered, in 350 oven 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares. I know it isn't pretty, it all got eaten before I got a picture! And after this picture, it was ALL GONE!
For a half batch, I used 1lb hamburger, NO taco seasoning, 1/2 tsp Lawry's, ONE 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with chipotle chiles, 8oz tomato sauce, NO green chiles, NO eggs, cottage cheese, and extra thin corn tortillas. I liked it really well. Very easy having the tomatoes and chiles mixed together. It was the perfect spicy-ness for my family without losing any flavor. I liked the thinner tortillas and it didn't overwhelm the dish at all like some tortillas have in the past. Very good. Will probably do it this way from now on!

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Pioneer Woman's Homemade Chicken Strips

This is a "copycat recipe" for sure. I love Pioneer Woman's recipes and have made many of them. I haven't posted all of the ones I've used, but I use this blog as my portable recipe box..... So this recipe must be on here! They were so good. So easy. And a super hit!

1 pkg chicken strips (I used tenderloins and cut them into strips)
Buttermilk (can use egg, milk, cream)
1 1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
Vegetable oil

In a frying pan or skillet, pour enough oil so there is about 1 inch of oil. Preheat on medium heat.
If using tenders or strips, place them in a bowl with desired liquid (buttermilk, cream, milk, or egg). If using tenderloins or breasts, cut them into thin strips and proceed in the same step. Allow chicken to sit in liquid for at least 20 minutes. I didn't have buttermilk on hand (which is what Pioneer Woman suggests), but the cream worked well for me, too.
In a bowl, mix flour and seasoning. Carefully drizzle about 1/4+ cup of liquid, while gently stirring with a fork. This will create little crumbles of crunchy goodness later.
When oil is sufficiently hot, take a pieces at a time out of the liquid and roll chicken around in the flour mixture.Place carefully into oil. Cook until brown on each side. They don't take long at all.As each strip gets done, place on paper towl to cool.

Serve as an appetizer, main dish, on salad, in a wrap, or just for a snack!

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Baked Parmesan Cottage Potatoes

4 large potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp melted butter (for healthier option, do olive oil instead. Flavor is great, too!)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, the powdered stuff
1/2 tsp (or more if you'd like) garlic salt

Cut up potatoes and toss with melted butter in a large bowl. Sprinkle with garlic salt and stir to coat. Sprinkle parmesan all over and stir quickly to coat then pour onto a cookie sheet.
Spread them out so they're mostly on the cookie sheet and not completely piled on top of one another.See that yummy parmesan goodness!?Bake at 450 for 30-35 minutes, checking with a fork to test for tenderness.
Serve with desired main dish. We've had them with beef, chicken, ham... you name it. And they're a hit everytime!!!

Note: These will be "crusted" on the bottoms. They're NOT burnt. It's wonderful parmesan goodness!

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Pop Cake

I realize this isn't a new concept. It is used all the time in dutch oven cooking. But this cake has made an appearance so many times over the last few weeks so I decided to post it.

1 can 7up (12 oz)
1 box white or yellow Betty Crocker Cake Mix

Mix together with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Pour into floured cake pan and cook for 25-27 minutes at 350. Allow to cool.

Eat plain, with frosting, or with favorite fruit topping (i.e. strawberry shortcake).


1 can Diet Dr. Pepper
1 box chocolate cake mix

1 can Diet Cherry Coke
1 box chocolate cake mix

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Eggless Pancakes

I have been on a quest to find eggless recipes. I LOVE eggs. But my baby screams, vomits, refuses to nurse, and gets a rash when I eat them. I have missed having eggs in my diet. Mostly at breakfast time. Eggs are a staple of breakfast. I've decided I just can't live without pancakes anymore. After much trial and error, I've come up with a recipe that will satisfy my pancake need for now. It isn't exactly the same as with eggs, but it is close.... very very close. I haven't perfected a buttermilk recipe yet, but that's okay.... at least I have these!

1 cup flour
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup + 1 Tbsp milk

Mix all ingredients well and cook on hot griddle.

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Cookie Dough Topping

In efforts to find something sweet that didn't contain eggs, I remembered my Carmelita recipe. (I am nursing my baby and for some reason or another, if I eat anything with egg in it, he vomits.) I made a batch of Carmelitas without chocolate and fell in love. I decided to make another batch a few days later but kept eating the "dough." After keeping it in the fridge, it solidified into beautiful little crumbles. It was destined to become cookie dough topping for ice cream! And it was a match made in heaven! The great thing about this cookie dough is that it doesn't contain egg and it can be versatile for what you'd like to add to it. Mini chocolate chips, raisins, dash of cinnamon, and/or nuts.

Full batch (makes quite a bit)
Half batch in italics

1 1/2 cups oatmeal - 3/4 cup
1 1/2 cups flour - 3/4 cup
1 1/4 cups brown sugar - 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp
3/4 tsp soda - 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp
1/4 tsp salt - 1/8 tsp
3/4 tsp vanilla - 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp
2 cubes butter (no substitutes) - 1 cube

Add all dry ingredients and mix with spoon. Add vanilla and butter. Mix well. I do this with a pair of plastic gloves (meant for handling food). It just works better. (A half batch is pictured.)Put in a ziploc bag and let it refrigerate for several hours. You can separate this into different bowls and put in the extras (chocolate chips, etc) so that you have different choices. But plain is really good, too.
Crumble it up and put it on your desired flavor of ice cream!Super simple but it adds such great taste to your ice cream. I like it plain or on ice cream or on yogurt. It is loaded with butter (but what great tasting recipe isn't?) but it's not like you're sitting and eating the whole batch. ;) Not that I have done that or anything! ;)
Keep any remaining topping (if there is any!) stored in ziploc bag(s) in the fridge.

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Almost Cracker Jacks

from my mom
NOTE: Recipe cannot be doubled

One Large Brown Paper Bag
4qt air-popped popcorn

½ cup softened margarine* (I like Imperial -*Do not use butter, it doesn't work)
¼ cup Karo syrup
1 cup brown sugar(for extra flavor, use 2/3 cup golden brown sugar and 1/3 cup dark brown sugar)

½ tsp salt
½ tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla

Put popped popcorn in brown paper bag. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, microwave margarine, Karo syrup, and brown sugar for 1 ½ minutes. Remove and stir. Microwave an additional 1 ½ minutes. Remove and stir. Add vanilla. Stir. In a small bowl, combine salt and soda together. Add all at once to mixture. Stir well. It will foam up a bit. Pour over popcorn in paper bag. Using long handled spoon, stir to coat popcorn somewhat evenly. Roll down top of bag. Microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Remove, unroll bag and while holding onto the top of the bag, shake the popcorn around. Roll top of bag back down and microwave an additional 1 ½ minutes. Remove, unroll top of bag, and cut off top half. This helps to get the popcorn out easier and have less mess. Using the long handled spoon, pour popcorn onto cookie sheet to cool.
NOTE: If you don't have a brown paper bag, you can use a large plastic bowl and just stir to coat the pieces well. Then stir it again between the first 1 1/2 minutes and the second 1 1/2 minutes. Stir again before pouring it onto a cookie sheet to cool. I like the paper bag though because the mess stays in the bag and goes into the trash.

If desired, you can add peanuts to the popcorn before pouring over the sauce.

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***reposting with updated pictures
from Lion House cookbook
with my changes

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs -which is 10 crackers (or I just buy the boxed crumbs)
3 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

Mix and press firmly into bottom of 9-inch spring form pan.
3 pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla

Beat cream cheese with mixer. Add sugar gradually.Then add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Pour over crust and bake for 55 to 60 minutes at 300. Topping:
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

Whip sour cream, add sugar, and then vanilla.Spread over cheesecake and cook for 10 minutes longer. Cool completely on wire rack.Run knife along edges and unlatch springform pan.Refrigerate until ready to use. I have found that letting the cheesecake "age" for a day or two (preferrably more) in the fridge before serving is best. But it is still good the first day, too. It just gets better and better each day it is allowed to "age." However, with cheesecake this good, it is sometimes hard for it to last too long.Note: Originally, this recipe called for 2 tsp lemon juice. I didn't like the taste. It changes it to have a funny taste to me, so I omitted it. Also, it calls for 2 cups sour cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 3 Tbsp sugar for the topping. But I found that it was too much, so I halved it.

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