Rachel Ray’s Bacon & Creamy Ranch Chicken Burgers

This comes from the newest addition to my cookbook collection; Rachel Ray, Express Lane Meals. The thing you need to keep in mind with Rachel Ray is to not let the long list of ingredients scare you. The meals really do come together nicely. One thing I’ve learned from her recipes that will make life little bit easier is to prep & measure all of your ingredients before you start cooking. This will make everything go much more smoothly. Try this with her Scallion sticks. It’s a pretty tasty combination.

Rachel Ray’s Bacon & Creamy Ranch Chicken Burgers

8 bacon slices (I used turkey bacon)

1 pkg ground chicken breast

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 small onion, grated

1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/4 pound dill Havarti cheese, cut into a 1/4 inch dice

2 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 lemon, zested

Salt & pepper

4 English muffins, split

Creamy Ranch dressing for spreading on toasted muffins

Place the bacon oven in a 400 degree oven and bake until done.

While the bacon cooks, in a large bowl combine the ground chicken, garlic, onion, parsley, dill Havarti chunks, poultry seasoning, the zest of 1/2 a lemon, salt, & pepper. Divide the mixture into 4 equal mounds and then form into thin patties. Drizzle with vegetable oil to coat.

Remove the bacon from the oven and set on a paper towel lined plate. Place patties in a skillet on medium-high heat, cooking for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through.

Toast the English muffins and spread creamy Ranch dressing on both halves. Set on of the cooked patties on one 1/2 with a few pieces of bacon on top. Top with the remaining English muffin 1/2 & enjoy.



Rachel Ray’s Scallion Sticks

This recipe comes out Rachel Ray’s cookbook; Rachel Ray, Express Lane Meals. Make these scallion sticks as a great side dish to the Bacon & Creamy Ranch Chicken Burgers.

Rachel Ray’s Scallion Sticks

Vegetable Oil

2 Cups of buttermilk

1 tsp paprika

All purpose flour

16 to 18 scallions, trimmed of roots

1 1/2 lemons, zested

Heat 1 ½ inches of vegetable oil in a deep sided skillet over medium heat.

In a wide mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, paprika, and the zest of 1 1/2 lemons. Place the flour in a second wide mixing bowl. (Before you go at it, take one of the scallions & hold it up next to skillet with the oil. If needed, trim off some of the green tops to allow it to fit in the skillet easily.)

Working in 2-3 batches, dip some of the scallions in the buttermilk, then into the flour, coating thoroughly. Put them back into the buttermilk mixture and then into the flour again.

Fry the coated scallions in the hot oil for about a minute on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and immediately season them with a little salt. Repeat the process until all of the scallion sticks are fried up.


Loaded Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I saw this recipe on Crista’s blog and it seemed perfect for a chilly Fall evening. It’s a great way to get in your broccoli. And well, we love cheese so it  was perfect for us.

Loaded Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1/2 cup diced onions
5 cups frozen broccoli
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 oz cream cheese
2 TBS butter
salt & pepper to taste
12 oz chicken breasts
2-3 tsp corn starch

Combine all ingredients (except chicken & corn starch) in a pot and cook over medium heat.

Meanwhile, dice and cook the chicken. Add cooked chicken to pot and bring to a boil. Mix corn starch in a few tsp. of water, then add to the pot and allow soup to thicken.

Top with additional sour cream, shredded cheese, and bacon bits if desired.


Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

This dish is great for warming you up on a chilly Fall night. Talk about comfort food. J I got the recipe from Ashley over at Delish. I added cubed ham to it to make it a full meal. Cancy really seemed to like it. I did too!! I added a little hot sauce to mine & it was perfect. Enjoy!

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 c heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded

1 ham steak, cubed (not in the original recipe)


Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 425°F. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, broth, cream, cubed ham, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves. Transfer mixture to 8-in square baking dish or other baking dish(es) as desired. Gently press the potatoes into an even layer and sprinkle cheddar over the top. Bake until cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Guinness Beef Stew

It’s officially cold in Texas! We hit 30 something degrees last night. It warmed up a bit during the day today, but it was still great weather for a stew. This is sort of an Irish Stew, I guess thanks to the Guinness & Malt vinegar. So, enjoy this on a cold night and let the Guinness help warm you up. J

Guinness Stew

1 lb cubed beef stew meat

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 C baby carrots, chopped

3 or 4 red potatoes, diced small

Malt vinegar

1 bottle of Guinness

1 box (4 C) Beef stock

Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper

About 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour

In a large Ziploc bag shake up flour, and about 1 tsp each salt & pepper. Add cubed stew meat & shake to coat. Heat olive oil and add meat, stirring until browned. Add onions and cook with beef until onions start to soften. Pour mixture into crockpot.

In same pan, brown carrots, just until they start to get a little color on them. Add to crockpot as well. In same pan, start browning potatoes. Add salt, pepper, & crushed red pepper. When potatoes seem almost browned, add a splash of malt vinegar. Add to crockpot and stir all to combine.

While pan is still on medium heat, add bottle of Guinness to deglaze. Cook beer for just a minute before pouring over crockpot mixture. Add beef broth and cook on high for 4 hours, low for 2 hours.

We served this with quartered English Muffins and it was delicious!!

Braised Chicken with Lemon & Green Olives

This is a recipe that I made before leaving for last week’s trip to Orlando. It comes together really easy and once you start it, you can just sort of forget about it for awhile.

I found this recipe on Katie’s blog. It is originally a William’s Sonoma recipe. I changed just a few things from the original. I’m not a fan of working with whole chicken, so I used a few boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Also, I didn’t have the Chardonnay Reduction on hand from William’s Sonoma so I just used regular Chardonnay.  It turned out great. It’s a nice Mediterranean light tasting dish. I hope you like it!!

Braised Chicken with Lemon & Green Olives 

3 chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 cup Chardonnay wine (The original calls for W.S.’s wine reduction, but I just used plain, straight from the bottle, Chardonnay)

30 picholine or other green olives (I used Italian green olives)

1 lemon, sliced 1/8 inch thick

2 bay leaves

3 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost smoking. Brown the chicken on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 seconds; do not allow it to burn. Add the Chardonnay wine and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom, about 2 minutes. Add the olives, lemon slices and bay leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes.


Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is very tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.


Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine with Cream Sauce

I’ve been a bad blogger and not posted anything for awhile.  After our weekend in Port Aransas, TX I ended up going to Orlando, FL for the following weekend for work. So now that I finally have a free weekend, I’m going to play catch-up.

This last week after I got back, I really didn’t cook much. Partly, because I was wiped out & well, we had no groceries. So here is one of those “use what you have on hand” meals that goes together super quick. Thanks to Elly for another yummy, easy meal.

Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine with Cream Sauce

4 oz. cooked fettuccine or pasta of your choice (I used whole wheat)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled/deveined
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 small onion, diced
1 cup sliced bell peppers (I used green and red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. flour
1/3 cup half and half ( I used fat free 1/2 & 1/2)
salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning to taste

Heat the butter over medium heat in a skillet. Sprinkle the shrimp liberally with Cajun seasoning, and then sauté in the pan for 1 minute per side (you are not cooking it through here). Remove with a slotted spoon.

To the skillet, add the onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the flour and stir it for a minute or two, to cook off its rawness. Add the half and half and stir, thickening. Put the shrimp back into the skillet to cook through. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and more Cajun seasoning, if desired). Toss with hot pasta and serve.