Pistachio Pie

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Pistachio Pie

I just had to make a pie on Pi day. And because it’s also so very close to St. Patrick’s Day, I did a fun Pistachio Cream Pie. My husband loves Pistachio pudding, so it was a simple choice. I used a recipe from the Kraft website and altered it slightly. Here are the ingredients and instructions:

Ingredients:

1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) Jell-O Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding
2 cups cold 2% milk
1 tub  (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

Instructions:
Beat the pudding mixes and 2% milk with whisk 2 min. (Pudding will be very thick.) Spread 1-1/2 cups over the pie crust. Stir half the COOL WHIP into remaining pudding; spread over pudding layer in crust. Top with remaining Cool Whip.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm. Top with green sprinkles or chopped up Pistachios.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

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Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies are the most amazing cookies on earth. We just discovered them this weekend, and they are wonderful. They are super easy and fun to make too!

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Our niece was visiting us this weekend and was a huge help making these cookies. I told Kelly that the more sugar she used, the better the cookies would be. So she buried them! I think she had a good time getting all messy. This was a perfect project for a kid. She had fun and did a fantastic job too!

Chocolate Crackle CookiesJust look at all the sugary goodness! The cookies really do need a good coating of powdered sugar, so don’t be shy.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Devil’s Food Cake)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
Powdered sugar

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Instructions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
2. Mix the first three ingredients together.
3. Create tablespoon sized balls and roll in the powdered sugar. Make sure that you generously coat each cookie.
I mean generously. Use A LOT of powdered sugar. (See photos above.) If you don’t, the cookies will just be plain old chocolate cookies. And you don’t want that!
4. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 8 minutes if you want them under baked or 10 minutes if you want them more like cake.

Chocolate Crackle CookiesEnjoy your cookies with a nice cup of coffee. Or hot cocoa or milk. Or whatever you like! You can substitute the chocolate cake mix for other types of cake mix for different flavors and colors. Around Christmas time, you could use a white cake mix mixed with red or green food coloring. Or maybe you could even try a nice spice cake flavored cookie in the fall. I would bet there are no bad combinations with this recipe!

Potato Soup

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Potato Soup with Bacon

On miserably cold, snowy days, I make soup. We have a lot of days like this in Central New York, so I make a lot of soup! This is my classic potato soup recipe. We like to add bacon bits or ham. You can also add onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery or even broccoli if you’d like. It’s a classic hot and creamy soup to warm you up on a cold day. 

Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup water
1 cup half & half
4 cups 2% milk
5-6 medium potatoes, cut into small pieces
1 tsp each: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion salt
2-3 tbsp of Real Bacon bits
Potato Soup IngredientsMelt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour and stir with butter until well mixed. Dissolve bouillon cubes in about 1/2 cup of hot water and add to flour and butter mixture and stir. Add the half & half and milk into the pot and mix well. Add potatoes. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion salt. Stir well. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Add bacon bits to soup. 

Potato Soup

Turn to low heat for about an hour. Stir frequently. You may want to mash up some of the potatoes as they soften to help thicken the soup. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, serve with fresh rolls and enjoy!

Turn to low heat for about an hour. Stir frequently. You may want to mash some of the potatoes in the pot to help thicken the soup. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, serve with fresh crescent rolls and enjoy!

Cream of Broccoli Soup

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Cream of Broccoli Soup

Is there anything better on a cold winter’s night than soup? Well, maybe a trip south where it’s warm would be better, but that’s unfortunately not in the cards for me. So I make soup. One of my all-time favorites is homemade cream of broccoli. I created this recipe by using my creamy potato soup recipe, and just substituting the potatoes for broccoli. It’s the creamy base that makes this soup. (I haven’t posted my potato soup recipe yet, but I will soon!)

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 chicken bouillon cube mixed with 1/4 cup of water
1 cup half and half
4 cups 2% milk
2 Broccoli crowns, cut into small pieces
4-5 mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 small onion, diced (optional)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Instructions:
Melt the butter in a fairly large pot. Add the flour. Using a wire whisk, mix together well. Add the bouillon cube/water mixture slowly and whisk together. Slowly add the half and half. I like to make sure there are no lumps and that it’s very creamy, so I whisk constantly. Heat just to boiling. Then slowly add the milk. Mix well, add the broccoli, mushrooms and onions (or whatever else you’d like to add!) Heat until just boiling, then turn heat to low, so it is just simmering. Stir often with a wooden spoon until the broccoli is soft, but not too soft, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately, with rolls or crackers. Top with shredded cheese if you’d like. Enjoy!

Italian Chicken Pasta Skillet

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Italian Chicken-Pasta Skillet

This recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight. I think it took a total of 20 minutes to prepare this meal. I cooked the chicken while the pasta boiled, combined everything into the skillet with the chicken, let it heat through for a few minutes and boom! Dinner was done.

Italian Chicken-Pasta Skillet

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5-6 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 cups ziti, cooked, drained
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Green onions for garnish

Italian Chicken-Pasta Skillet

Instructions:
Cook chicken in large skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat 5 min. Add onions and mushrooms; cook for 5 min. or until chicken is done. Drain any excess olive oil. Add sauce, stir well. Then add the pasta. Cook for a few minutes until heated through. Stir occasionally. Stir in the mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm, top with a little more shredded mozzarella and some green onions for color.

Feel free to add any other fresh vegetables or other combinations to make it your own. I would have added green peppers if it were just me, but sadly, I have a green vegetable hater in the house.

* This recipe was inspired by Kraft Foods

Crock Pot Chili

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chili2

Chili is a mainstay in our house, whether it’s a special occasion or just a cold winter night. Today is the Super Bowl, Chili is a perfect dinner for such an event. It cooks all day in the crock pot and it’s ready when you are. It goes great with tortilla chips and wings and everything else that goes along with celebrating the Big Game.

My chili is of course, very simple, with very few ingredients. My husband is a picky eater and hater of most vegetables, so I have created an excellent chili compromise. If I were to make this for myself or for others who enjoyed vegetables, I would add green peppers, onions and lots of tomatoes. However, this version has none of that. But it’s still quite delicious!

chili

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey – our favorite)
1 can red kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can chili beans
2 cans tomato sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
Hot sauce to taste (We like a lot!)

Instructions:
Spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray. Pre-cook the ground beef. While the meat is cooking, open the cans of beans and tomato sauce. Drain the kidney beans and black beans, pour into the crock pot. Do not drain the chili beans. Use that liquid in the chili, so just pour the whole can of chili goodness into the crock pot. Add the tomato sauce and chili powder. Sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired. Stir well. When the beef is done, add that to the mixture. Stir until well mixed. Cook on medium heat for 4-6 hours.

Scoop into bowls and top with sour cream, cheese and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Queso Dip

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rotel1

I’ve been trying to figure out a menu for the Super Bowl tomorrow. It will be just my husband and I. He’s not a big football fan. (But he loves the commercials!) However, I am a big fan. And I am a New England Patriots fan at that! (Haters, be nice. I have been a fan my entire life.) I am very excited that the Super Bowl is tomorrow and that my favorite team is playing! So I have to do something a little ‘extra’ special for a menu, right? Well, here’s the start. I made a tasty Queso Dip today. This will sit over night and I’ll heat it up again tomorrow before the big game. It’s so easy and only uses 4 ingredients.

Ingredients:
16 ounces of Velveeta Cheese
4 oz cream cheese
10 oz can of Rotel (diced tomatoes)
1 lb of ground pork sausage

rotel2

Instructions:
Cut the Velveeta and cream cheese into cubes. Then place in a bowl to melt in the microwave. Cook the pork sausage until it is browned. Sprinkle some salt/pepper if you’d like. Add the tomatoes, mix well and heat for a few minutes. Stir in the cheese until thoroughly mixed. Heat through. Pour into container and served with your favorite tortilla chips! This keeps well for about a week in the fridge. Melt a little in a small bowl and have with chips for an afternoon snack!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are a request of a blog reader and friend, Rebecca. I’m always looking for ideas for recipes and things to make. I will try anything! I love oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip cookies. The combination of both together is fantastic. Then again, I’m pretty sure anything combined with chocolate is fantastic!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found a ton of recipes for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. I might try a few of the other varieties sometime. A common recipe I found had vanilla pudding. Which I didn’t have on hand, so I couldn’t try that one. But it peaked my curiosity, so I might just have to try it soon. In the meantime, here’s the recipe I used for these delicious little bits of sweetness.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
2. In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until smooth. Beat the eggs, then the vanilla.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls on to baking sheets covered with parchment paper.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes in the oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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I’d like to welcome all of my new followers from the “Grow Your Blog” party yesterday! That was such a neat experience. I’m looking forward to getting to know each of you through your blogs and hope you enjoy visiting my blog as well.

 

Grow Your Blog

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welcome

If you are visiting from the “Grow Your Blog” party — Welcome to “Cooking with Amanda!”  — I am Amanda and I love to cook. After 23 years in the field of graphic design, I lost my job due to a layoff last summer. While I was out of work, I was looking to keep busy and do something fun, so I created this blog! It has been a perfect distraction. I’ve actually been blogging for years. But this is my first time doing a “cooking” blog. I have a personal blog, a blog about my dog (Jenny the Corgi!) and a blog about my love for all things Aldi. But, “Cooking With Amanda” is my favorite and the one I’d really like to grow.

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Jenny the Corgi

So a little about me… aside from being a graphic designer and a self-proclaimed ‘cook’, I also enjoy photography. I’ve been learning a great deal about food photography with this blog and am hoping to become a better photographer through this endeavor. I am married to a wonderful man, who also happens to be an ‘artsy’ type. He also just happens to be a photographer, so he will give advice as needed or requested. And he’ll even let me borrow his lights or his ‘studio’ if I want to use it. Sometimes he uses some of my ‘food creations’ to take his own photos for his stock photography business.

me
Me

I grew up a Navy brat. I was born in Florida, lived in Virginia and then Puerto Rico. Then my dad retired. To Maine. Imagine moving from Puerto Rico to Maine. (It was a COLD first winter!!) I have now lived in the Northeast (aside from a brief stint in Kentucky) since 1978. I am currently living in the snow belt known as Syracuse, NY. We get A LOT of snow. If you haven’t experienced Lake Effect, you have not lived. (I kid.) I’m not a big fan of snow. Or cold. But this is home. And they do take good care of the roads here. If we get 20″ of snow, it doesn’t slow us down much.

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Upstate NY Snow

My son just entered his first year of college this past fall. I thought it would be harder, but it’s actually been an easy transition. We now have an ’empty nest’ and have been making the most of it. We even went on a vacation to our favorite place on earth (Cape Cod!) during the ‘off’ season. It was wonderful. I’m pretty sure we started a new tradition! I think the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in the ’empty nest’ era is learning how to cook for 2. We’ve had to endure lots of leftovers. But the overall food bill has been considerably lower!

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Cape Cod

I look forward to meeting new people and discovering some wonderful new blogs. Feel free to contact me if you’d like. My contact information is on the side bar. You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram as well. Or follow the blog! All the links are on the side. I try to update the blog several times per week. I went back to work full-time a few weeks ago, so I haven’t been able to post as much as I would like. But I do try to get as many posts up per week as possible. If you have any ideas or recipes to share, please send them my way!

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Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I was searching for recipes to make for the Super Bowl and came across this amazing twist on Buffalo Wings. It’s a little healthier than the typical ‘chicken wing’ and it’s got that same crispy, wonderful flavor.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce
2 cups plain Panko bread crumbs
4-6 large leaves of Boston lettuce
1 cup cooked white rice
Sliced black olives
Bleu cheese dressing
Scallions for garnish

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Marinate the chicken in a container with the 1/2 cup Buffalo sauce, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Pour the Panko breadcrumbs into a shallow dish.
  5. Coat the chicken pieces evenly with the Panko and place them in the baking pan.
  6. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes.
  7. To assemble the wraps, fill each leaf of lettuce with the rice, chicken and top with black olives. Drizzle the Bleu Cheese dressing over the chicken. And then add the scallions.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce WrapsThese lettuce wraps are fantastic for either lunch or dinner. Feel free to experiment with toppings. I saw one recipe that included avocados and another that added celery. So try some other options as well as the ones above and enjoy these fabulous lettuce wraps. I will be adding this to my regular rotation of meals, they were that good!