April 6, 2012

Apple Monkey Bread

I'm sure I've mentioned it before but I absolutely love the smell of cinnamon and sugar!  Make a dessert using the heavenly ingredients as a main feature and put it in the oven and I'm done for!  Some of my favorites: Cinnamon Rolls, Snickerdoodle cookies, Coffee Cake.  I have been itching to try out a semi-homemade monkey bread for months now.  I had some energy and luckily the ingredients and decided it was time to give in to the temptation.  I made 4 individual servings which was really convenient.  I'll admit, if I made just one big one, I would have just eaten it all by myself in one sitting with no regrets.  None!

The caramel sauce that pools at the bottom of the dish is sinful but soooo good!  You can also make your own glaze or caramel sauce to add on top.

1 can biscuits (I used Grands flaky layers)
1 c sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 small green apple, cored, peeled and finely diced

Melt the butter in a small bowl.  In a separate small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and sugar.  Cut the biscuits in quarters so you'll have 4 pieces from each biscuit.  I set piles of 6 pieces aside for each ramekin.  I worked in batches and dipped biscuit pieces in butter, then rolled in the cinnamon and sugar.  Add to ramekins.  Then rolled the diced apple pieces in cinnamon and sugar and sprinkled about 1 tablespoon in each ramekin.   Bake for 16-18 minutes or until biscuits are cooked through.   Serves 4 individual ramekins.

April 5, 2012

Mexican Pasta Bake

Spring has definitely arrived!  The DFW area was hit by a couple of tornadoes yesterday.  The sirens started going off just after lunch while we were at work.  We took shelter in the bathrooms at least 3 times.  The boss finally decided we weren't going to get any work accomplished for the rest of the day and allowed us to go home if we wanted.  There tornadoes that touched down caused destruction in various places.  Luckily, no one I know was injured or had any damage.  My thoughts go out to those that lost their homes.  Check this out to see some crazy pictures. 

People were anxious to get home to their families so we were released from work when there was a break in the storm.  The storms in my area were finally calm to a light rain when I got home so I decided to take advantage of the extra time to make something new and hopefully delicious for dinner.  I used the same ingredients I usually throw in a crockpot and decided to make a casserole out of it.   My husband said this is better than the crockpot version.   Try it out either way.  **If you go the crockpot route, add everything to the crockpot except the pasta and cream cheese.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add pasta and cream cheese the last hour of cooking on turn on high.

1 lb pasta (Any tube or corkscrew pasta would work best, I used rigatoni)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (if you do crockpot method, you can put it in raw)
1 c chicken broth
1/2 block cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 c salsa
1 small can diced green chiles
1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 c mixed veggies (I used the frozen peas, corn, green beans and carrot mix)
2 c cheddar jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package.   Drain and add to large bowl with veggies and stir.   Set aside.  In a separate medium bowl, mix together the chicken broth, cream cheese, cumin, salt and salsa.  Stir into pasta and veggies.  Add green chiles and veggies.   Pour half the pasta mix into a buttered 9x13 baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheese.   Add remaining pasta mix and top with remaining cheese.   Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and bubbly.