Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

The other day I posted a picture of a dessert I made, and I had a few requests for the recipe. It's a monkey bread; those of you familiar with that will know that it's a pull-apart bread. This one is filled with cream cheese and chocolate (yum!) so for me, it was more of a dessert than your typical breakfast bread. It's perfect for a brunch or dessert, but just know that it is sticky, so use a fork to pull apart instead of just grabbing it, haha. I saw this recipe on Facebook, so I have no idea to whom to give credit for it, but thanks! :)  Be aware that this can be a bit time-consuming; I think it took me about an hour or so to get it together, plus an additional 30 minutes or so for baking, and another 10 minutes for cooling. It's not something I will make often, but it's a good recipe to have tucked away for those events that need something yummy, easy, and just a little different. 

2-16 oz containers of regular biscuits (although mine were the butter style)
8 oz cream cheese block
chocolate chips
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 3500
Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick spray.

Slice all the biscuits in half, so you get 32 pieces.

Dice the cream cheese into 32 cubes.

Flatten out each biscuit piece. Have the cream cheese and a bowl of chocolate chips at hand. Place 1 cube of cream cheese and about 4-6 chocolate chips in the middle of each flattened biscuit piece. You can sort of smush the cream cheese and the chips will stay in better. Fold the biscuit dough around them; I called this diapering the filling, because that's what it reminded me of (we have babies on the brain over here!) :) 

Shape each piece into a ball. Aren't they cute? I managed not to eat a single one before they were baked; a hard thing for this dough-loving person!

Grab a 1-gallon plastic bag, and fill it with the sugar and cinnamon. After this is combined, add 2 or 3 dough balls to the bag, seal it, and sort of roll it around to coat the dough. Do this with all the dough balls.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter, heat for about 70 seconds, and stir very well. This is your caramel glaze.

Place half the walnut pieces in the bottom of your Bundt pan (remember to have it sprayed well with nonstick cooking spray). Add half the dough balls, and pour over half the caramel glaze evenly. Repeat with the rest of the walnuts, dough pieces, and glaze.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. When it's done, remove it from the oven and invert the pan using your serving plate. Let it cool at least 10 minutes or so; this allows the glaze to drip from the Bundt pan onto the dessert. Yes, I used my pizza pan covered with foil, because I didn't have a serving plate big enough. So much for presentation. Ha!


Monday, February 1, 2016

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

I posted this picture of my King Ranch Chicken casserole the other day on Facebook and had a few requests for the recipe. This is a traditional Texas casserole, supposedly from the kitchens of the actual ranch in south Texas. King Ranch is one of the largest ranches in the U.S. and is about 825,000 acres – their website says they are bigger than the state of Rhode Island. I was told this was served to ranch hands for lunch, etc. I can’t verify that story, but I can verify that is one of the yummiest (and easiest) casseroles to make. It also freezes well. I usually just add a simple tossed salad to the side and call it a meal. My bad picture doesn't do it justice!   :)

*1 large  chicken, baked, boned and shredded
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can of Ro-Tel tomatoes
½ large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
½ bell pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
Chili powder to taste
**12 (8-inch) corn tortillas cut into small squares
2 cups store-bought grated Mexican-blend cheese (8 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, sauté the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Combine the cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, and tomatoes. Stir in salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Stir until warm, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Layer the tortillas, then the chicken, then the sauce, then cheese in the pan. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Enjoy!!!

*If you don't want to bake a whole chicken, just get some breasts and thighs, or the chicken pieces of your choice. I like to mix the white and dark meat in most of my recipes, because the dark adds extra flavor. 

**I have also used flour tortillas, which I prefer to corn. It makes a milder casserole, and I really like the flavor.