Welcome to Simple Fare, Fairly Simple. This is a place for me to post recipes of all kinds...along with other miscellaneous fodder from my so-called life here in the south. Who knows what you will find here. Could be anything from my husband...known as IT Guy...to my kids and beautiful grandbabies that are growing up way too fast right before my eyes. But...mostly this will be a place for food. I hope you'll see something you like and if you decide to try something from the list...leave me a comment and let me know!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I don't go to Olive Garden very often, but when I do, I love to order their Chicken & Gnocchi Soup. I dissected it one time when I was there then came home and came up with my own version. Pretty stinkin' good! I didn't use spinach or kale in mine or carrots, either. I love red bell peppers so used those with the zucchini. Yum! And easy!! I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and also used ready made gnocchi although I have made my own before. Taking these couple of shortcuts will have dinner on the table in less than 45 minutes. Delicious!!

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

4 cups chopped, cooked chicken
2 32-ounce containers chicken stock
1 zucchini - diced
1 red bell pepper - diced
1 small onion – diced
1 clove garlic
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 16-ounce containers gnocchi with potato
1 teaspoon rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven, sauté zucchini, bell pepper, onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft.

Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Add gnocchi to the boiling chicken stock, stir to break up gnocchi and cook until gnocchi floats to the top, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Add rosemary and salt and pepper.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, heavy cream and grated parmesan.

Pour cream mixture into the gnocchi mixture and stir well.

Add chopped cooked chicken. Stir to combine. Cover and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serves 6 - 8

Here's what you need.....

...oh, and this, too. It ain't called Chicken 
and Gnocchi Soup for nothin'! I found 
this at Walmart of all places.

Saute the veggies a bit.

Then add the chicken stock, 
rosemary and salt and pepper.

Bring the stock to a boil then 
add the gnocchi. Stir to break it apart.

Allow it to cook for about 3 - 5 
minutes until it floats to the top.

Combine the ricotta, cream and Parmesan cheese.

Add the cream mixture to the pot. 
Then add the chicken. Stir to combine, 
then cover and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serve hot on a cold night 
with warm french bread....mmmm, mmmm!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm not a regular user of canned pie filling but I do keep it on hand in case of a "dessert emergency". You know those times when you need something fast and easy because your husband just told you he invited his coworker over for dinner...or when you get that late afternoon phone call from your in-laws and they tell you they're in town and will be right over? Yeah..that kind of emergency. Well...this little pie will fill the bill! It's easy to throw together and tastes great. You can use all cherry pie filling or go with the berry, like I did here.

Sunrise Berry Pie

1 9-inch graham cracker crust

1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 20-ounce can mixed berry pie filling
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (drained, 2 tablespoons juice reserved)

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, pineapple juice and vanilla.

Add in half of the drained pineapple and 1/2 cup of the berry pie filling. Stir to combine.

In another mixing bowl, whip cream with powdered sugar until soft peaks form.

Fold sweetened whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Pour filling into the pie crust. Top with the rest of the berry pie filling and remaining crushed pineapple.


Let's get going! 
You can make your own graham cracker 
crust or use one that's ready made.

Drain the pineapple. 
I only had sliced pineapple so I whizzed 
that around in my mini chopped to get crushed.

Whip the cream cheese with the 
pineapple juice and vanilla until well combined.

Then add half of the drained pineapple 
and half of the berry filling.

In a separate bowl, 
whip the cream with the powdered 
sugar until nice and fluffy.

Then fold it into the berry mixture....

...until nice and blended.

Spread it into your pie crust.

Then top with the remaining pie filling 
and sprinkle with the remaining pineapple. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our family is getting together for a Christmas breakfast at my parent's house this year. I think almost everyone will be there. We'll be missing about 4 people who because of work or distance can't make it but there should be 17 people there. We'll be having breakfast casseroles. I'm not a big breakfast person, but I do enjoy a casserole for breakfast OR dinner. This one was especially tasty. I made it with breakfast sausage but if you enjoy chorizo, use that. I put in pepper jack cheese for a little zing but green chilies could easily be added. Make it up the night before and pop it in the oven to have hot 'n ready for breakfast!!

South of the Border 
Breakfast Casserole

1 lb. sausage or chorizo
1 small onion - diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1 (8 oz.) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cook onion and sausage in medium skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain.

Line bottom of greased 13" x 9" baking dish with crescent roll dough, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Sprinkle with cooked sausage/onion and cheese.

Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl until blended; pour over sausage.

Bake covered for15 minutes and uncovered for an additional 10 or 15 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares; serve hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Our ingredients....

Line the bottom of the pan with the crescent rolls. 
Make sure and seal the edges.

Saute the onion then add the sausage until it's all cooked.

Sprinkle the meat/onion over the rolls.

Then sprinkle the cheese over the meat.

Combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper.

Pour the egg/milk mixture over the cheese.

You're going to think it's not enough egg mixture, but it is. 
You can give the pan a little shake to make sure that the egg mixture is distributed well.

Bake it up then allow it to cool for a few minutes. Yummy!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

I found myself staring down the barrel of some ground beef and green chilies the other day and wondered what on EARTH I was going to do with it that I haven’t done before. I can’t believe I even THOUGHT of meatloaf, but I did. Not a fan. Blech. But…I know IT Guy likes it and if it involved green chilies then he would like it even more. The end result got a big “thumbs up” and I even managed to eat a piece. Still not a fan but if you’re a meatloaf lover like IT Guy is, then apparently this is for you.

Mexican Meatloaf

1 pound ground beef
½ onion – diced
2 cloves garlic - minced
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup water
1 egg
4 tablespoons El Pato Mexican sauce (or regular tomato sauce if you prefer)
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cilantro

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.

Shape in a loaf and put in a greased pan.

With your finger, make diagonal grooves across loaf. Pour in extra El Pato.

Here's the goods for a loaf of meat. ;-)

Combine everything in a bowl and mix it well.

Put the mixture into a greased pan.

Make 3 or 4 grooves across with loaf 
and fill the grooves with extra El Pato.

Bake it up!!

IT Guy loved this!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This recipe came from a friend of mine in CA. (Hi Melody!) I remember the first time I had this at her house. She had a bunch of goodies sitting on her kitchen island and when I tasted this, I don't think I left the kitchen all night long. I hovered around in there snacking on this dip until it was gone. So, so good! Well...I made this for the cookie exchange I had last week and when the evening was over, there was not one tiny bit leftover. Everyone raved over it and I had numerous people ask me for the recipe. Yep...it's pretty crowd pleasing!

Chicken Hot Dip

2 chicken breasts - cooked and shredded OR 2 cans chicken breast meat
1 8-ounce package cream cheese - softened
8 ounces (1 cup) sour cream
8 ounces (I used a bit more) shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon chicken bullion granules
dash garlic powder
1 large round of sourdough bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well blended.

Cut the top off of the bread bowl and hull out the inside, reserving all the bread. Fill the hollowed out bread with the chicken mixture.

Place filled bread bowl on a cookie sheet.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 - 45 minutes until mixture is hot and bubbly.

Cut up reserved bread to use as dippers.

You can also bake this in a baking dish and serve with crackers.

Here's the stuff you'll need. You can use 
chicken you've cooked yourself or use the 
canned chicken like I did here.

Slice off the top of the bread.

Tear out the bread inside and reserve.

Stir the sour cream, cream cheese, 
grated cheese, garlic salt and bullion.

Then pile it into the hollowed out bread.

Cut up the leftover bread to use as dippers. Crackers work, too!

Bake it up...serve it hot!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sometimes I think ideas are better in my head than when I execute them. Such was the case when I made this dish the other day. I had a different spin on enchiladas I wanted to try. I think this dish tasted great, but I will assemble it differently next time I try it...and maybe add some water to help cook the rice. Yeaaahhhh...nothing worse than a little bit of crunchy rice in an otherwise yummy casserole. Oh well, live and learn, I guess. Here's the corrected version of what I made the other day. I think this one is  MUCH better!

Green Chili Chicken Casserole

1 27-ounce can Hatch whole green chilies
1 16-ounce can red enchilada sauce
1 cup water
1 cup rice
8 - 10 chicken tenders
Salt to taste
1/2 small onion - diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

Drain green chilies and pat dry.

Cover the bottom of the prepared pan with the uncooked rice. Sprinkle with diced onion.

Wrap each chicken tender with a green chili. Salt to taste. I feel like the salt really brings out the flavor of the green chili so don't skip this step if you can help it.

Lay each wrapped chicken tender on top of the rice.

Combine the water and enchilada sauce and pour over the chicken/chili/rice combo in the pan.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes until hot and bubbly...AND THE RICE IS COOKED!!! ;-)

Here's the line-up. 
I show a 28-ounce can of enchilada sauce but you'll 
want to use a 16-ounce can with a cup of water.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with the 
rice and then the diced onions.

Wrap a chicken tender up in a whole green chili. 
Don't forget to salt!

Lay them in the pan on top of the rice and onion.

Then pour the enchilada sauce/water 
over the chicken/chilies.

Sprinkle with a couple of cups of shredded cheese. 
Bake it up until it's nice and hot. 
Let it stand for a few minutes before serving.

Very tasty..even if mine did have some crunchy rice!!