Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have a Very Betty Christmas!

      Brett and Rachel         Dave and Nat          Terry and Lana             Ryan and Holly              Ryan and Jen


*Betty contributors not pictured:  Jade, Bonnie and Megan

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Restaurant Review: The Herb Box

We love to try new restaurants.  And lucky for us, we have some friends that share our love of good food.  Mary Jo (who also introduced us to Sweet Republic and changed my life forever) heard about The Herb Box in Scottsdale and suggested we give it a try for dinner.  So we tripled up with another couple (who is about to have baby #7 any second now!) and found a night in December to go on a date (Christmas miracle).

The Verdict:
Food:  Off the charts.  Everything we tried was beyond delicious.  We got sweet potato chips as an appetizer and I don't even like sweet potatoes that much but I loved these chips.  All the girls ordered butternut squash enchiladas, which were amazing, and all the guys ordered Thai baby back ribs, which were the most tender ribs I have ever seen/tasted.  And don't even get me started on the desserts we tried.  S'mores creme brulee and crack pie (appropriately named because it could easily become an addiction).  The desserts were both out of this world and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Atmosphere:  Super cool and modern.  Not too casual, not too fancy.  If you go, be sure to check out the bathroom sinks.

Price:  Not cheap.  You're looking at about $30-$40 a person if you want the three courses.  Totally worth every penny.  They do have a cheaper lunch menu (that I can't wait to try) and a happy hour menu from 3pm-6pm.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Creamy Italian Noodles

I got this recipe years ago out of a magazine and kind of forgot about it until just recently.  It's nothing fancy, but very kid friendly and easy to make.  A nice side dish for an Italian meal or a quick dinner for those busy December nights.
1 package (16 oz.) bowtie pasta
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix

*Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.  Add butter and mix until butter is melted.  Add cream and Parmesan and mix well.  Add seasoning and mix again.  Serve right away while it's creamy and hot.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Alber's Corn Bread

We have been having some chili-and-cornbread weather around here.  Rainy and cold (I know it's a relative term) for a couple of days this week.  I realized that there is a reason I live in the desert...I love the sun!  After two days of rain, I start to get a little cranky.  But we did love the chili and cornbread we had the other night and this is the recipe off the Alber's corn meal box.
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg

*Mix dry ingredients together.  Add the rest and mix well.  Pour into an 8 inch square baking pan and bake at 400 for 25 minutes.  Recipe can be doubled for a 9x13.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I usually eat Craisins in my salads but tonight I decided to try them in cookies.  I got the recipe from the back of the Craisins bag.  I was intrigued by the fact that they have no white sugar in them, just brown.  When I told my husband what kind of cookies I was baking, he said, "Vomit."  Then he proceeded to eat 3 in a row.  Vomit?  I think not.  Fabulous?  Indeed!

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup Craisins
1 cup white chocolate chips

Cream butter, brown sugar and eggs.  Add vanilla, baking soda and salt.  Mix in oatmeal and flour.  Then, add Craisins and chips.  Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375.  Cool on cooling rack.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Vegetable Soup

So far the winter hasn't been too bad here in NY.  Thank goodness!!  But this weekend it was pretty chilly.  Warm, homemade soup was calling my name.  I found this recipe on  The whole family loved it!  It makes a lot so we ate it for a few days with crusty bread.  I loved it because it's full of veggies and not too heavy.  Perfect soup for the cold winter months!

Vegetable Soup
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white part only (from approximately 3 medium leeks)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds (approximately 2 medium)
  • 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes (I used 2 cans diced tomatoes)
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed(I used 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I didn't have this so I left it out)
 Pour oil into a large stock pot and heat over medium heat.  Add chopped leeks, garlic and a pinch of salt and saute for about 7 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Add the carrots, potatoes and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes.  Then, add the chicken broth and turn stove to high heat.  Bring to a simmer, then add tomatoes, corn and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for about 25 minutes until veggies are fork tender.  Remove from heat and add parsley and lemon juice and more seasoning if needed.  Serve immediately. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

I saw this recipe a few months ago on The Girl Who Ate Everything, and I have been meaning to try it ever since.  I finally remembered to buy some chicken thighs (my new favorite kind of chicken!) and the dressing that I needed.  Talk about easy and yummy.  Perfect for this time of year when there are recitals/concerts/parties/family activities every night of the month.
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup (or more) Caesar dressing (I used Cardini's)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper (I used more)
Romaine lettuce
slider buns or rolls

*Place chicken in crock pot on low with a cup or two of water.  Cook 5-6 hours until done.  Take out chicken and drain water from crock pot.  Shred chicken on cutting board and then put back in crock pot.  Add dressing (as much as you like), Parmesan, parsley and pepper.  Mix well and cook for another 30-60 minutes.  You can turn it up to high if you need it to heat up quick.  Serve on warm buns/rolls with a little more Parmesan and some lettuce.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Paula Dean's Chicken Noodle Soup

I found this recipe for Paula Dean’s chicken noodle soup online and I knew it had to be good, because lets be real, anything Paula makes is delicious!  I had tried different chicken noodle soup recipes and they were ok, but this one is life changing!  My 2 year old even ate a whole entire bowl.  So, I suggest if you don’t have all of the ingredients then you go to the store so you can make it for dinner tonight….you won’t be disappointed.

(I did make a few changes when I made mine...I used regular lemon pepper, I did not use any sherry, I didn't put any mushrooms in it, I didn't put any parmesan cheese or heavy cream and I didn't use any season salt. Even with these changes it was still as good as ever)


4   bay leaves
3   chicken bouillon cubes
1   onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon Paula Deen Lemon Pepper Seasoning
3   cloves garlic, minced
1   2 1/2 to 3-pound fryer (chicken), cut up
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 1/2 quart water
kosher salt and pepper to taste

For Step 2:
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops
2 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
3/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/3 cup cooking sherry
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Paula Deen Seasoned Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
crusty french bread, for serving


For the stock: add all ingredients to a soup pot. Cook until chicken is tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Remove and discard bay leaves and onion. You should have approximately 3 quarts of stock. When chicken is cool enough to touch, pick bones clean, discarding bones, skin, and cartilage. Set chicken aside. 

For the soup: bring stock back to a boil, add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package. When noodles are done, add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry and rosemary. Add Parmesan and cream, if using. Cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding seasoning salt and pepper. Enjoy along with a nice hot crusty loaf of French bread.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Taco Pasta

 I made this taco pasta dish last week and it was delish!  It was a fun change to regular 'ole pasta with marinara sauce.  I loved the addition of cream cheese and sour cream.  And it tastes just like a taco!  Another great recipe from this blog.

Taco Pasta

1 pound ground beef
8-12 ounces medium pasta shells or other small dry pasta shapes, cooked and drained
1/2 cup pasta water
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained (if making this for kids, you might want to use just plain diced tomatoes)
1 packet (4 tablespoons) taco seasoning
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the meat is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet.  Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit if it is still too thin.  Toss in the cilantro right before serving.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and serve.
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