Baked Brie with Orange Cranberry

I have never been really good at finger foods or fancy appetizers. My idea of hors d’oeuvres is mini hot dogs rolled up in Pillsbury crescent rolls. (Let’s be honest, I actually use the generic crescent rolls!)

Well guess what??? I found a really fancy looking, pretty, delicious “hors d’oeuvres”. And it’s EASY too!

Simply buy a round chunk of Brie cheese and cut the rind off the top. Then bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes, and put a mixture of cranberries with wild orange essential oil on top, bake it for another 5 minutes, and serve it all melty and amazing with crackers!

So officially you will need:
1 can cranberries (whole cranberry sauce, not the stuff that is the shape of the can when it comes out)
1 round of Brie
2 drops Wild Orange essential oil
Pecans for garnish (optional)

Check out this link which is where I originally got the recipe!

I’m loyal to one specific essential oil company, because I’ve found their purity stands far above the rest, and their educational support is second to none. To learn which one is my favorite, use my contact form and I’ll reply with details.

Oregano Dip

I’ve never considered myself a big “party planner”; I would never list “hostess extraordinaire” as one of my hats! However, I do enjoy welcoming people to our home, however humble it is, and spending time with them, and helping them if I can, in whatever way I can.

I’ve now hosted two classes on essential oils at my home and let me tell you: They were a BLAST! I had so much fun preparing! It was really fun to try to come up with creative ways to use the different oils in foods for everyone to try. I have several that were a huge hit (one of them being that Chocolate Peppermint Pie) and have had requests for some of the recipes. Here is the first of those recipes!

I call this “oregano dip” simply because I use Oregano essential oil in it. Some oils are stronger than others – and oregano is one of them. It has a thicker consistency so it takes a little longer to get out of the bottle – but still be cautious because you really only need 1 drop 🙂 Now other than that, I was not super specific with this recipe. I’m listing it flexibly for you so you can adjust depending on how much you need to make.

I wish I had a nice beautiful picture of this for you, but honestly? Everyone ate it so fast there was no time 😉

Let’s say theoretically you want about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of dip.
Here’s what you’ll need, approximately:
4 oz Cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream (adjust to taste; more if you want the dip thinned out)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the grated Kraft kind, not shredded)
2 handfuls shredded cheddar cheese (I love Triple Cheddar blends)
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 dash dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 drop Oregano oil
Optional: 1 handful shredded Italian blend or cheddar cheese, freshly ground black pepper to taste

Now just adjust to taste – if you feel you need more of something, go ahead and add it! And remember these are approximations.

All you do is mix the ingredients together with a spoon – or if you’re making a bigger batch, a hand mixer works great.
Serve with crackers, pretzels, and/or fresh veggies.

I’m sure this would be even more fantastic with fresh herbs, but to be honest, this was a last minute thing I threw together using OHI (gotta love it!) which ended up being a hit! It goes so fast! My hubby wanted to keep it all to himself the second time I made it. That’s the best compliment I can get really, when people don’t want to share. 🙂

And Oregano essential oil isn’t just great for cooking. It provides natural immune support against colds & flu, candida, and warts. It’s considered a pain killer, and offers digestive support & metabolic balance. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiparasitic. You definitely want to have this in your arsenal!

I only use essential oils from one company, because their purity and standards are far above the rest, and their educational support is second to none. To learn which one is my favorite, contact me for details.

Spruce up ye ol’ Grilled Cheese

Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? It’s almost it’s own food group among kids of our generation. The best grilled cheeses have a buttery, crispy (but not too crunchy or hard!) toast, and warm, melty cheese.

As an adult I still loved grilled cheeses, but after awhile I felt I needed to make it more ‘grown up’. So I started adding ham. Grilled Ham and Cheese. Those are good too.

But today I was remembering a particular grilled cheese I made after I had A. We were living at my parents’, kind of renting their basement, and prior to this I had never really made much at our own home. My skills were limited at best – partly due to budget, partly due to having a TEENY (carpeted) kitchen, and partly due to lack of skill and practice. But at my parents’… well they had a huge kitchen full of ingredients at my disposal!

So one day for lunch, I made myself this amazing sandwich… Grilled ham, cheese, and pear. Yes, PEAR. I toasted the bread, buttered the outside of the bread, spread the inside lightly with cream cheese, sliced the pear thinly, and placed it on the cheesy bread. Then I added a slice or two of cheese and a few slices of ham, and grilled it up in a frying pan until the cheese was melty, the ham was warm, and the bread was golden. DELICIOUS!

Last night the hubs asked me to make him a ham and cheese… just on regular bread, using leftover ham steak slices, with slices of provolone… put in the microwave until the cheese was melted. Not bad, but it reminded me of the one I had made so long ago at my parents’.

So today for lunch, I made a grilled ham, cheese, and APPLE. (Sadly I had no pears.) Because a crunchy piece of sweet fruit just adds a little something special to the world of grilled cheeses!

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One side was a teensy bit overcooked (but still good!)

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making this delicious sandwich:
1. Toast 2 pieces of whole wheat bread just until firm, but not burnt.
2. Meanwhile, slice an apple thinly – Cut vertically just past the core, and cut that half into thin, about 1/4-inch slices. (The slices should still look like a circle.)
3. Butter said pieces of bread immediately after removing from toaster – just on one side. Place butter-side-down on a paper plate.
4. Heat a small skillet over medium heat.
5. Place a piece of provolone cheese on each piece of bread.
6. Place a slice of leftover ham steak (or a few slices of deli ham) on one piece of bread.
7. Place the slices of apple on the other piece of bread.
8. Put the two slices together and place in the skillet. VERY CAREFULLY and WITHOUT WALKING AWAY!, place the paper plate over the skillet to trap the heat and melt the cheese. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on this side. ****WARNING!!! If you have a gas oven I do not recommend this as it is a FIRE HAZARD! I have an electric oven and watch very closely the minute or two the plate is atop the skillet. Also, if you have a skillet with a lid, there’s no need for the plate in the first place.****
9. Remove plate and flip sandwich to the other side, leaving the skillet uncovered. Cook for another minute or two.
10. Remove from pan, slice, and serve!

It’s especially good with water, or herbal tea! (I like Sweet Apple Chamomile, Lemon Zinger, or Cherry Blossom green tea.)

Have you made a unique grilled cheese?? Share in the comments! I love new ideas. 🙂

Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Casserole

Today I’m going to share with you one of my GO TO meals on the rare occasion I don’t have anything planned for dinner, I’m low on groceries, or short on time. Part of the reason for this? It’s basically made only with OHI. Sometimes I’ll work this into my meal plan too, because it’s so easy and the whole family loves it.

This is a great Second Meal, because you can use leftovers from another chicken dinner for this casserole. When the chicken is leftover from another meal, this one should take only about 45 minutes to prepare. It’s homey comfort food at its best!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
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1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup  milk
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables – I use carrots & peas, and corn
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (or shredded chicken is good too)
About 2 cups Egg noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Triple Cheddar cheese (or more if you really like cheese!) for topping
*Sometimes I’ll add a little extra shredded cheese into the mix also
I’ve made this enough times that I usually eyeball the ingredients – except for the milk. Too much milk and it’s tasteless and watery.

Preheat your oven to 400º. Start by putting hot water in a medium pot and salting the water. Bring to a boil and cook your egg noodles according to package directions.
In the meantime…Start with the soup, milk, parmesan, and pepper and stir in a casserole dish (I think I use a 2 Quart one). Then I add the veggies (which I usually leave out a bit so they’re not frozen solid) and mix. Add the cooked, drained noodles next.
While the noodles are cooking I chop the chicken into cubes and add it last.
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Remove from oven, stir if noodles on top look hard or browned, then sprinkle cheese to cover top. Bake for another 5 minutes to melt cheese. I usually let it sit for a few minutes, then dig in!! Hope your family enjoys this as much as we do 🙂

First meal ideas for chicken:
Spinach Artichoke Chicken (if you use this, you have the bonus of additional veggies, AND it will be creamier!)
Fresh Take Italian Parmesan chicken
Stuffed Chicken

Spinach Artichoke Chicken

I have to share this recipe with you. It was so good I made it twice in two weeks. It’s great as a First Meal too!

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I can’t. It was one of Pinterest’s top 20 recipes of 2013.

The first time I made this, I used frozen chicken tenders because that’s all I had (refer to the first super freezing weather of 2014… store was COMPLETELY out of fresh poultry). I also was on the phone while in the frozen aisle, so forgot to grab the frozen spinach. Instead I chopped up fresh broccoli and mixed it in – it was really good. The broccoli florets collected all the sauce and cheese and were so good. I also thought I had mozzarella cheese, but didn’t – so I used the Italian Four Cheese blend instead. The chicken was so tender you could cut it with a spoon. My only suggestion would be to use a sheet pan or different dish to cook the chicken the first time, as it gives off so much liquid from being frozen. I did try to drain it out of the baking dish, but not enough – the sauce was still a little watery. But, it was good enough for me to make again, so I can’t really complain there!

The second time I made it, I used fresh thinly sliced chicken breast. I remembered the spinach this time, but still added broccoli just to have another vegetable. The chicken was a little tough, but again still good. Next time I’ll just use regular chicken breast like the recipe suggests! I used the leftovers in this Second Meal.

One thing I want to try is squeezing lemon over the chicken before the S&P and baking it the first time. I think it would add a little more flavor, and complement the artichokes well.

It’s really good served over angel hair pasta. It would probably also be good over lemon-butter rice, or egg noodles!

Click here to view the recipe! Happy cooking!

Update: I found this recipe on the back of a Knorr Pasta Side that I made for a work – night. If you’re in more of a hurry or want the noodles to be more incorporated in the dish, try this:
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