Friday, December 24, 2010

The BEST Mac and Cheese EVER!

My sister made this for us when we had Ellie. LOVED getting meals delivered... Anyways, this is sooooo good.

1 lb elbow mac
2 tbl butter
1/2 pint heavy cream
8 oz mascarpone cheese (room temp)
8 oz sharp cheddar (grated fine)
salt & pepper
buttered breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs toasted lightly in butter)

boil pasta (about 10 minutes) drain and rinse

melt butter w/cream over medium heat

pour butter/cream into a bowl and add both cheeses. Combine with spatula.

Add pasta and season.

Top with buttered breadcrumbs.

transfer to casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.

The breadcrumb topping really puts it over the edge! YUM!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dreamsicle Jello

My family is crazy big on Jello Salads. This one is a favorite of mine.

large box of orange Jello
4 cups of vanilla ice cream
1 c hot water
small can of crushed pineapple
small can of mandarin oranges (drained)

Add 1 c hot water to Jello to dissolve
Add ice cream until melted
Stir in fruit.

Refrigerate until set.

No Peek Chicken

This is one of my FAVORITE dishes from growing up.

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 1/2 c minute rice
1 whole chicken cut up
1 envelope onion soup mix

mix cans of soup with rice and spread on bottom of greased baking pan
lay chicken pieces on top of rice
sprinkle with onion soup mix
cover with foil

Bake at 325 for 2 1/2 hours.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crockpot Apple Crisp

This was really good. Everyone liked it. It didn't make very much. The four of us polished it off (Ellie only having a little bit).

Whisk together:
3 Tbl. sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

toss with:
6 large apples (peeled, cored, sliced)

place in greased crockpot

top with:
(combine the following until crumbly)
1/2 c flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
4 Tbl. cold butter
1/2 c nuts (optional)

cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Turtle Pretzels

This is THE easiest candy. And oh so yummy!

Pretzel shaped mini pretzels
Pecans (or M & Ms or other small candy)

Line baking sheet with foil.
Lay out pretzels.
Top with a rolo.

Place in oven at 250 degrees for 4 minutes.

While still warm, press pecan (or candy) on warm rolo with enough pressure to force the rolo to ooze over the pretzel some.

Place in refrigerator to cool. Remove when set. (About 10 minutes) Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

The first time I had chicken cordon bleu was in middle school. My best friend's grandma would make it for her birthday every year. I LOVED it. Sadly, I don't have her recipe (hers were rolled up and fastened with toothpicks). But this one is very easy AND very yummy.

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 slices of ham
6 slices of Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 c milk
1/2 c butter, melted
2 c seasoned croutons

in greased casserole dish, layer chicken breast, ham, cheese. In small bowl, mix soup with milk. Pour over chicken. In another bowl, mix melted butter with croutons. Pour croutons over the top of the casserole.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes

I got this recipe from my friend Kristen. (This is cut down from hers since our family is smaller than theirs) The pumpkin taste is very subtle. The buttermilk makes them so nice and fluffy.

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/8 cup melted butter
1/2 cup pumpkin
chocolate chips (optional)

In mixing bowl combine dry ingredients (not including chocolate chips). In a seperate bowl, mix wet ingredients together. Heat griddle sprayed with cooking spray. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix until it is just blended. Scoop onto hot griddle using 1/4 measuring cup. Add chocolate chips to each pancake if desired. Flip and finish. Serve with butter, syrup, whipped cream, etc. We topped ours with pomegranate seeds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pilgrim Hat Cookies

The girls wanted to bring in a special treat to celebrate Thanksgiving with their classes. These were super easy.

Fudge Stripe Cookies
Mini Peanut Butter Cups
Tic Tacs or mini chiclets gum
favorite icing dyed orange/yellow/brown

lay out cookies upside down
pipe on a little bit of icing in the center (to act as "glue" for PB cup)
put PB cup upside down on icing
pipe icing around PB cup to act as "belt"
add tic tac or gum for "buckle"

That's it. Super simple AND cute. They were a hit at Preschool today. We'll be making them again tonight so that Peyton can share them with her class tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creamy Potato Soup

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe. I LOVE it.

6 medium potatoes, peeled and chunked
8 bacon slices (I cut mine into bite sized pieces with a pair of scissors)
1 onion
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
(I throw the onion, carrots and celery into a food processor.)
3 cans of cream sauce (we use 1 mushroom, 1 celery and 1 chicken)
3 tbl parsley flakes
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1 1/4 c milk
shredded cheese (optional...but we top ALL soup with cheese! Hey, I was born in Wisconsin.)

Put potatoes in a pot and add just enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil until soft. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a frying pan along with the onions, carrots and celery. Cook until bacon is done and veggies are tender.

Once potatoes are done, mash the potatoes, including the water, to desired consistency. Add the soups, parsley, salt, pepper and milk. Combine. Stir in the bacon/veggie mix. Cook on low to medium low for 20 to 30 more minutes. We top ours with shredded cheese.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Easy Banana Cream Pie with the BEST crust EVER

I LOVE banana cream pie. This recipe is very easy. The delicious crust is what makes it so yummy.

This seriously is THE BEST crust ever. My friend Kristen gave it to me.

For the crust:
1 c flour
1/2 c oatmeal
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter

combine flour, oatmeal, and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Press into pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

If you use it all, your crust will be on the thick side. I usually leave some out, crumble it, put on a baking sheet and toast. Then I sprinkle over the top of the pie.

For the filling:
2 small instant puddings, either both banana cream or one banana cream & one vanilla (depending on how banana-y you like your filling)

prepare according to box

pour pudding on cooled crust

add sliced bananas

Top with:
real whipped cream (I sweeten mine with a little powdered sugar)
or, to keep it simpler, Cool-whip
or, slice as is and spray a little dollop of aerosol whip cream when serving

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crunchy Onion Chicken

Two words for you:

AND, the ingredients list minimal.

1 1/3 c Durkee French Fried Onion Rings
2 Tbl flour
3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten

Put flour and onion rings in ziploc and crush
Dip chicken in egg and coat with onion ring mixture

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Caramel (Puff)Corn

Have you ever had this? I like this better than caramel corn because you have no un-popped kernels to deal with AND won't be picking pieces out of your teeth. Very addictive too!

1(8 oz.) bag "Old Dutch Puff Corn Curls" or popcorn
1/2 pound butter (not margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda

Put corn puffs in roasting pan. Melt butter with sugar and corn syrup. Add baking soda. This will cause the caramel sauce to foam. Pour caramel sauce over corn puffs. Bake at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

(You can add nuts if you'd like. We've used peanuts and we've used mixed nuts too! I LOVE the sweet/salty balance, so I prefer nuts in mine)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cat Cake...MEOW

This is not a recipe, but rather a cake decorating idea. Ellie wanted a "cat cake" for her birthday. We searched online and found one similar to this. VERY easy.

The cake is a box mix made in two 8 or 9 inch rounds. (She chose lemon). In between the layers are buttercream and raspberry preserves.

Spread dyed buttercream on sides of cake AND a very thin layer over the top. Place large marshmallows for ears and cheeks (for dimension). Cover the top with more frosting using star tip.

Use white frosting and writing tip to pipe on eyes, ear centers and cheeks. Nose is an upside down Hershey Kiss. Eye pupils are upside down chocolate chips. Mouth and whiskers are Twizzler Pull & Peels.

NOT Keeping It Simple = Homemade Waffles

OM Goodness! I got a waffle maker for my birthday and promised the girls we would have homemade waffles today since there was no school. Remember when there was the Eggo Waffle shortage? Well, I certainly could care less now. I will forever be making homemade waffles instead. This batter made 12 and we only ate 6, so I will freeze the rest and make in the toaster just as with store bought waffles. Great to have on hand when the kids want waffles but don't have the time to make them.

You are warned that they are a bit tedious (hence the title) but SOOOOOOO worth it.

Classic Waffles
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
2 tbsp cornmeal (optional, but I DID use it)
1 tbsp baking pwd
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs, separated
2 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 c milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c melted butter

In large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Whisk together egg yolks, milk and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, stir milk mixture into flour mixture, blending just until dry ingredients are moistened. (There should still be small lumps; do not over mix). Stir in melted butter. Fold in beaten egg whites until combined. Pour batter onto hot, greased waffle maker and bake.

This came from the Oster 4 slice Belgican waffle maker user guide.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bagel Dip

My sister has been making this recipe for family get togethers lately. My mom requests it all the time. And I can see why. It is sooooooo yummy. Ranks right up there with my spinach dip (previously posted). YUM-O!

16 oz sour cream
1 1/2 c mayo
2 tbls parsley flakes
2 tsp dill weed
2 tsp Accent seasoning
1 medium onion (chopped fine)
4 oz dried beef (like Carl Buddig)--cut up (I use kitchen shears to cut it into little squares)

Mix all ingredients together, chill 4 hours or overnight.

Serve with cut up bagels, crackers, breads, toasts, etc.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mexican Stew

A long time ago, a co-worker made this and brought it to share in the breakroom with all of us. She had printed out the recipe for anyone to take. It is VERY yummy, but makes a lot. I made it this weekend for a family party and it served about 10 adults with a few bowls leftover.

2 cans (15 1/2 oz) BBQ Ranch Style Beans
1 can (15 1/2 oz) Ranch Style Beans with jalapeno peppers
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn (juice included)
1 can hominy (juice included)
1 package taco seasoning
2 pounds ground beef
1 green pepper (diced)
1 onion (diced)

Brown ground beef with green pepper and onion. Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot. Simmer for 8 hours or so. Serve with grated cheese, diced onions, crackers, cornbread or tortillas, etc.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cheesy Hashbrowns

A great side dish. I like to serve it when we grill out.

20 oz pkg hash brown shreds
1 can cream of chicken soup
6 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c milk
1 tbls chopped onion

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except potatoes. Mix well. Fold potatoes into sauce mixture. Place in greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And the winner is...

...HEATHER! Congrats!

Thanks to a Random Number Generator, Heather was selected as my 100 post giveaway winner.

True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 9 Result: 3 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Thanks to all who entered. Stay tuned for more yummy and simple recipes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Maggie's Applesauce

I think that Maggie over at Smashed Peas and Carrots is my new blogging BFF. This is the third recipe of hers that I have tried and loved. Peyton didn't like the bits of skin but it didn't bother anyone else. But peeling the apples is an easy solution but more time consuming. The applesauce was delicious served warm over pancakes. Thanks again Maggie.

10-12 apples (medium to large in size)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
(We halved this and was plenty for us)

Core apples and cut into chunks. Mix apple chunks, sugar and cinnamon together and pour into your crockpot. Add the water and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5. Mash to desired consistency.

PS-Don't forget to enter the 100 post giveaway (in the previous post).

Friday, October 15, 2010

100 Post Giveaway! WHOOT WHOOT!

As promised way back at post #50, there's a giveaway marking my 100th post. Thanks to all of you who follow and encourage me with your awesome comments. It's been fun. For my 100th post giveaway, the winner will receive a subscription to Taste of Home's Simple & Delicious. All you need to do to enter is become a follower (if you aren't already) AND leave a comment answering "What is your favorite thing to do with apples?" You know, an "ode to fall". Plus, I feel like many recent posts have been "apple happy" with one more just waiting to be posted...

Good luck! Giveaway ends Monday at Midnight. Winner announced on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Strawberry Shortcakes

While I was looking at the recipe for "Ultimate Chicken Fingers", I saw the recipe for shortcakes as well and remembered my strawberries that we picked this summer just waiting in my freezer to be put to good use. So, we made these. YUM-O!

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 c sugar
2 1/3 c Original Bisquick Mix
2/3 c milk
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp butte or margarine, melted
cool whip, whipped cream, ice cream, etc.

Mix strawberries and 1/2 c sugar; set aside.

Stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 Tbsp sugar and the butter until soft dough forms. Drop by 6 spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 425 degrees. Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries, ice cream, whipped cream, etc.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ultimate Chicken Fingers

My mom decided to make these when she was watching the girls once. Apparently Peyton (my picky eater) LOVED them. So, my mom passed along the info. It is found on the back of the Bisquick mix. They really were yummy. We just ate them as is, dipped in ranch. Much better than deep fried, fattening strips. We have some left over. I'm thinking they'd be really good sliced on a salad or on some grilled sour dough bread with some pepper jack cheese.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut crosswise into strips
2/3 c Original Bisquick mix
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt or garlic salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. In plastic bag, mix Bisquick mix, cheese, salt and paprika.

Dip half the chicken strips into egg; place in bag. Shake to coat. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle butter over chicken.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes at 450 degrees, turning half way through.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Mom's" Apple "Crisp"

This recipe was soooooo yummy and soooooooo easy. All four of us gobbled it up. My husband, who complained "why do you keep making apple stuff when you know I don't really like it" ate an entire row himself. AND helped himself to some the next day too. Fall is a time for apple stuff, right? The recipe was called "Mom's Apple Crisp", however it wasn't my mom NOR was it what I would consider a "crisp". It was more like a cobbler. When you hear crisp, don't you think of oatmeal topping or crumbly topping. This topping is smoothed out and water is poured over the top, more like pie crust or cobbler topping. Well, even if the name fooled me, it was excellent. Definitely a "I'll make this again" recipe. This came from Taste of Home June/July 2005.

5 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/4 c sugar (divided)
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (divided)
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c cold butter
1 c water

In bowl, combine apples, 1/4 c sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Transfer to a greased 8 inch square baking dish. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples, pressing down to smooth top.

Slowly pour water over the top; sprinkle with remaining cinnamon. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm. We added a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Renee's Chili

This is my mom's chili recipe. I LOVE it. What you need to know is that I grew up in Sheboygan, WI where it is common to find noodles in your chili. Some may consider my chili a "chili mac" or a "goulash". Call it what you want, here's the recipe.

1 (46 oz) can tomato juice
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 onion (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
1 pound ground beef
elbow macaroni OR ready cut spaghetti (cooked and drained)
salt, pepper, garlic salt, chili powder
1/2 stick butter

brown ground beef with onion and pepper, season with salt, pepper & garlic salt
drain grease

in soup pot OR crockpot, add juice, sauce, tomatoes, beans and ground beef mixture
season with salt, pepper, garlic salt and chili powder (if I want it a little spicier, I add a few tablespoons of Salsa....shhhhhhhh, that's my secret ingredient)

simmer until onions & pepper are tender

add butter

add noodles just before serving and heat through (if you add noodles too soon, they soak up all the broth)

top with cheese, onions, sour cream, etc.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fresh Apple Cake

Fall is in the air. LOVE this apple cake recipe from Midwest Living April 2009. Why in the world was it in an April issue is beyond me, but regardless, I LOVE THIS CAKE! So fall, so yummy, so not so bad for you...

3 c flour
2 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/4 c canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled & chopped (or 3 cups) (I used a different "tart" apple)
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (I used walnuts and DID NOT rebellious, I know)
Sweetened whipped cream (optional-I used Cool Whip)
apple slices for garnish (optional)

Combine flour, sugar, soda, salt & cinnamon. Make a well in the center.

Combine eggs, oil and vanilla; stir in apples and nuts. Add egg mixture to flour mixture stirring until just moistened (batter will be REALLY thick). Spread into greased 13 X 9 X 2 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Cool for at least an hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temp. We topped with cool whip and drizzled with a bit of caramel sauce.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Country Style Ribs

I rarely make ribs, but these sounded so yummy. Plus, I love it when a recipe calls for things that you already have at home. All I needed to buy for these were the ribs themselves! This recipe came form June/July 2010 issue of simple & delicious.

1 1/2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c ketchup
2 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp chili powder

Place ribs and onion in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 hours.

We enjoyed our ribs with green beans, mashed potatoes, applesauce & some pull apart bread.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots has done it again...provided us with another yummy dessert. She was also responsible for the delicious Strawberry Upside Down Cake that I posted this summer. My husband and Peyton LOVE Peanut Butter Cups so I knew I HAD to try these.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups chopped peanut butter cups

Cream together butter, shortening and sugars. Add PB. Add vanilla and eggs. Add flour and baking soda. Stir in PB cups. (Maggie recommends chopping PB cups ahead of time and freezing. That way, when you stir them into your batter they keep their form when baking rather than melting.)

Bake at 350 for 7 to 10 minutes.

(For a more detailed recipe, click on the link above to go to her post. Check out the rest of her blog too for great craft ideas, more recipes, and other fun stuff.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Minestrone Soup

As you know, I think a lot of Rachel Ray's recipes look fabulous, but never go through the work of making them (weird ingredients that I may never use again, time consuming, etc) BUT this soup is delicious. It is from her magazine. You are supposed to serve with homemade Garlic Bread Croutons, but Ellie and I made homemade French Bread instead. If you are curious about the recipe for the Garlic Bread Croutons, let me know and I will post it.

2 tbls EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/4 pound pancetta or thick cut prosciutto, finely chopped (optional)-we opted out for what we call "Meatless Monday"
1 pound zucchini, cut into bite sized chunks
2 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped (oops, I forgot this)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt & pepper
32 ounce container chicken or vegetable stock (we used chicken broth)
15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
15 oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
1/4 pound pasta (we used bow tie)
handful torn basil

Heat EVOO in soup pot over medium high heat. add pancetta or prosciutto if using and cook until browned. Add the zucchini, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in stock, beans and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Stir in the basil and lower the head to low. (I cooked pasta separately and added later.) We served with shredded mozzarella on top and some yummy homemade French Bread (recipe posted).

Perfect Fall Meal in my opinion...

French Bread

I LOVE homemade bread. This recipe sounded too easy to NOT try it, right? I didn't know it was this simple. I have all of these ingredients on hand all the time. Oh carbs, I love you. How can people go carb-less? It's just not right... Ellie enjoyed learning how to knead, turn, punch down and shape dough. And I heard that kneading bread dough is a decent workout for your arms.

2 tbsp active dry yeast
2 c warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
4 1/2 to 5 c bread flour (we used all purpose instead AND about 1 c of whole wheat)
1 tsp cornmeal
(I also added a squirt of honey)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the salt, sugar, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour)

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Shape into 12 inch long loaves.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes). Sprinkle with cornmeal. With sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ground Beef Noodle Soup

I'm a sucker for mini cookbooks hanging out at the checkout aisle... I found Taste Of Home's "Easy Back To School Meals" one day late summer. I've got a list of recipes I plan to try from it including this easy soup. I had ALL the ingredients on hand (oh, except 1). The broth was REALLY flavorful. It's hearty enough to act as a meal. We topped the soup with some shredded mozzarella and paired it with some yummy dinner rolls.

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I used only 1 pound)
1/2 c EACH chopped onion, celery and carrot
7 cups water
1 envelope au jus mix
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 c uncooked egg noodles (we use "NO YOLK" b/c of my cholesterol problem)

In a large saucepan, cook the beef, onion, celery and carrots over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Add the water, au jus mix, bouillon, bay leaves and pepper; bring to a boil. Stir in the noodles. Return to a boil. Cook, uncovered for 15 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oatmeal Cherry Chip Cookies

I can't even think of a catchy name for these. Any suggestions? I was toying around with recipes I found and ingredients I had on hand and came up with these. So yummy and fall like.

1 c butter or margarine (I used a stick of each)
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 c dried tart cherries
1/2 c chocolate chips
(also, I would have added nuts if anyone else liked them...)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats, cherries and chips.

I used my large cookie scoop and it made about 24 big cookies. With this size cookie, it took about 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A few weeks, my husband and I went to a Lifetime Cookware Party. It was really fun. I'd love me some of those pots and pans if it didn't mean taking out a second mortgage on our house! So, for dessert, the guy made pineapple upside down cake. It was so yummy. Although mine sadly was not prepared in a lifetime skillet on the stove top, it still is yummy regardless.

9 oz yellow cake mix including necessary ingredients to prepare it (we used Jiffy)
1 c brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
14.5 oz pineapple rings
maraschino cherries (optional)-we did not use

1)prepare cake mix as directed EXCEPT substitute pineapple juice for water. Set aside

2)melt butter and sugar & pour into greased 10 inch round cake pan

3) add pineapple rings & cherries to bottom of pan

4) pour cake mix over pineapple

5) Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. (ours took 45 minutes) Stand 5 minutes and invert onto plate.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Strawberry "Ice Cream" Makeover

Good housekeeping has a healthy makeover recipe in each issue. This month, it was a strawberry ice cream makeover. I would consider it a cross between frozen yogurt and sorbet. And the don't even need an ice cream maker/freezer.

1 pound frozen strawberries
1 c 2% plain Greek yogurt (we used fat free)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse 1 cup strawberries until finely chopped. Transfer chopped berries to large metal bowl.

In food processor, puree yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and remaining strawberries until smooth. Transfer to bowl with strawberries; stir until well combined. Cover and freeze about 1 hour, until firm but not hard. Garnish with additional berries, whipped cream, etc.

Stuffed Mexican Pork Chops

These were soooooo yummy. My posts have been scarce b/c A) we were gone a few days and B) I've made a handful of not-so-post worthy recipes. But this one was great.

(from The Lipton Kitchens)

4 boneless pork chops
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 thick style salsa
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400. Slice chops horizontally almost to opposite edge, forming a pocket.

In shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, garlic salt, and oregano. In small bowl, combine salsa and 1/2 c of cheese. Stuff chops with cheese mixture and secure with wooden toothpicks. Dip chops into egg, then crumb mixture until evenly coated. Arrange in shallow baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

We served with corn, Spanish rice, chips and guacamole.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vegetable Barley Stew

So, I'm working on my cholesterol so that hopefully I can wean myself off my meds. I got this low cholesterol cookbook and marked a handful of recipes to try. They include lots of seasonings, so don't worry, healthy doesn't have to equal "blah". This was really good, but I'm thinking on a cool fall day or cold winter night it would be even better.

3/4 pound beef round steak
2 tbls flour
1 tsp paprika
2 tbls olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cups beef broth
4 carrots, thickly sliced
3 potatoes, cubed
8 oz package sliced mushrooms
3 cups water
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 c barley

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Turkey & Black Bean Burritos

This recipe comes to us from Mario Lopez aka Saved By the Bells very own A.C. Slater! Do you remember the episode when his ex-girlfriend comes by and everyone learns that the A.C. stands for Albert Clifford? was the "Celeb Dish" in September's issue of Good Housekeeping.

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb ground turkey breast (I used a little over a pound)
1 c canned black beans, rinsed and drained (I used the whole can)
1 c finely chopped red pepper (I used a little less)
1/2 c finely chopped red onion (I used yellow onion)
1/4 c BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
4 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
salt (I used garlic salt)
whole wheat flour tortillas
mixed greens
low fat shredded cheddar cheese
the recipe didn't call for sour cream or guacamole, but either would be a delicious addition

Heat oil in skillet until hot. Add turkey and cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally and breaking up meat.

Add beans, pepper, onion, BBQ sauce, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and salt; cook mixture 5 to 7 minutes or until turkey is cooked through.

Serve on tortilla with greens and cheese.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Almond-Banana and Skim Milk Smoothie

I was reading an article online the other day about "20 super foods" and it included this awesome, healthy, and filling smoothie.

In blender/Magic Bullet combine:

1 c skim milk
1 banana
1 1/2 tbls almond butter
2 tsp flax seed

(366 calories)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tomato Bacon Pomodoro

One year when Derek was training for a marathon, I sought out pasta recipes for him to carb load the week before the main event. I came across this and we deemed it "a keeper".

1 package frozen Ravioli or Tortellini (we used cheese filled tortellini)
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz bacon, finely diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
5 Tbsp tomato paste
2/3 c chicken broth
1/2 Tbsp parsley

Prepare frozen pasta as directed.

Meanwhile, for sauce, place oil and bacon in pan Heat and cook bacon until brown. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over prepared pasta.

We topped with some shredded cheese (and served with french bread and "savory zucchini stix" (a separate post))

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Savory Zucchini Stix

I LOVED these. And because they are baked, you use just the egg white, and I used skim milk, they're probably pretty healthy. (Got this out of a "Silly Snacks" cookbook)

2 small zucchini, quartered (We used one large and I cut them into spears)
3 tbls seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbls grated Parmesan cheese (I used shredded)
1 egg white (I used the whole egg)
1 tsp milk
marinara and/or ranch dressing for dipping

combine bread crumbs and cheese in one shallow dish
combine milk and egg in the other

dip zucchini sticks in crumbs, then egg mixture, and back into crumbs

place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray

spray sticks with cooking spray as well

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.

Serve with warm marinara and/or ranch dressing for dipping.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ham and Cheese Stromboli

I was going through my cookbooks, looking for something simple to make this week and also something post worthy. I've never made a Stromboli before. Yum-O! And REALLY easy.

1 tube refrigerated crusty French bread loaf
2 c shredded cheese (we used cheddar)
1/4 lb. thin sliced ham (we actually used cubed instead)
1 tbls butter, melted
1 tbls grated Parmesan cheese (I was out and used shredded Parmesan instead)

Spread dough out and roll to size of jelly roll pan. (I wasn't able to roll it quite that big, but did my best.) Sprinkle with cheese and add ham. Roll up tightly. Pinch seam together. Place seam side down. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (I also sprinkled with some garlic salt too.) Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until it rises and is golden and dough is done inside. Slice.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blueberry Oat Muffins

These were really tasty, quick & easy, and low in fat/cholesterol free. (This recipe came from a Taste of Home cookbook)

1 1/4 c flour
1 c oats
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites (or 1 egg if you don't mind a little cholesterol)
1/2 c water
1/3 c oil
1 c blueberries (if using frozen, don't thaw)

TOPPING (I didn't add the topping)
2 tbls sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, beat egg whites, water and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill paper-lined muffin cups. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Beautiful Baked Ziti

This recipe is from Johnsonville Sausage. It really is pleasing to the eye...and tummy.

1 pkg Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage, cooked according to package directions and coin sliced. (we actually have used ground beef or ground Italian Sausage instead, browned and drained)
8 oz penne or rigatoni dry pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 jar pasta sauce
3/4 c water
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pkg frozen garlic bread, thawed and sliced into 12 slices (we use fresh french bread instead)
3 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c olive oil
12 fresh whole basil leaves
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 12 slices

In a large bowl, mix sausage, pasta, sauce, water, chopped basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and pepper. Toss gently. Place mixture into a greased 9 X 13 pan. Place twelve slices of garlic bread on top of mixture and cover with mozzarella. Dip tomato in olive oil and place on each bread slice. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until heated through. Tuck basil leaf slightly under each tomato. Let stand ten minutes to help set before slicing and serving.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Shells

Something a little different from the traditional stuffed shells with beef, spinach, ricotta, and marinara. They were very good. My mom shared this recipe with me. Not sure where it came from.

1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo Sauce
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
21 jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained

(serves 7)

In a large bowl, combine the Alfredo sauce, broccoli, chicken and the cheeses. Spoon into pasta shells. Place in a greased 13 X 9 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until heated through.

We served this with a tossed salad and some french bread.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

This recipe was so easy. Ribs were fall off the bone tender.

3 1/2 pounds ribs
salt & pepper
1/2 c cherry cola (we used Cherry Pepsi)
BBQ Sauce (we used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ)

Put ribs in slow cooker and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour soda over. Cook on low for 8 hours. Place ribs on broiler pan, brush with BBQ sauce and broil in oven until BBQ is glazed.

We served with a baked potato and corn on the cob.

Pork Tacos

This came from an issue of Woman's Day. Thought I'd try a little something different in the "taco department" and these sounded easy enough. And let me tell you, they were REALLY good. Meat was super, duper flavorful.

2 tsp oil
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c salsa verde (green salsa)
1/2 c chopped cilantro
8 corn tortillas (heated according to package directions)
1 c shredded lettuce
other toppings (tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, cheese, etc)

The recipe claims it takes 15 minutes from start to finish which sold me. However, I feel it took a tad longer. By the time I cut the pork & cilantro, etc. I think it was closer to 30 minutes. But still, not bad. The shredding is what took the longest.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cumin. Cook until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Stir salsa into skillet; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Stir in cilantro. Using two forks, pierce and shred cubes of pork.

Fill warmed tortillas with pork mixture, then add lettuce. Add additional toppings of your choice.

We served our tacos with Spanish Rice and watermelon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Zucchini and Onion Saute

This tastes similar to what you'd get at a Japanese Hibachi style restaurant. A friend of mine gave me some zucchini from her garden so we made bread with one and this with the other.

1 onion, cut into slivers
1 medium zucchini (about 3 cups) cut into strips or chunks
soy sauce
garlic salt
sesame seeds

Melt butter in pan. I used about 3 tbls. Add onion and zucchini. Sprinkle with garlic salt and sesame seeds. Drizzle over soy sauce until lightly coated. Saute until onions and zucchini are crisp tender. You could add mushrooms too, but I didn't have any on hand.

Ranch Chicken

I have no picture to post because I didn't make enough. They were gobbled down before I even had time to think about grabbing my camera. But that's a good thing. ALL four family members gave them a thumbs up.

3/4 c crushed cornflakes
3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese (I was out and used shredded mozzarella)
3 Tbls dry ranch powder
1/2 c melted butter/margarine
8 chicken breasts (We used chicken tenders instead. Also, I don't feel there would have been enough breading to cover 8 breasts)

Combine cornflakes, cheese, and ranch powder in shallow dish.

Dip chicken in butter. Roll in cornflake mixture to coat.

Place on cookie sheet. I drizzled with leftover butter and sprinkled leftover breading over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. (The chicken tenders took about 20 minutes)

These were sooooo yummy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What to do with leftover beef roast?

When I make beef roast, I put it in the crockpot on low, all day long. I usually sprinkle with a packet of Lipton Onion Cup of Soup and add a can of beef broth. About half way through, I add cubed potatoes and baby carrots. With only four of us AND two being kids, I always have leftovers. I make one of three things:

1) Hash-I chop up the meat REALLY small (my mother-in-law uses a meat grinder, but I do not own one). I cut up the leftover potatoes into bite sized pieces. Chop up an onion. Melt butter/margarine in skillet. Add onion and saute. Add meat and potatoes. Fry until crisp. We serve with eggs (over easy) and toast.

2) Barbecued Beef Sandwiches-Shred beef. Put in saucepan. Add your favorite bottled BBQ sauce and heat through. Serve on toasted buns. We serve with chips, fruit, raw veggies, and a pickle.

3) Italian Beef-Shred beef. Add some beef broth and an Italian Seasoning packet. Heat through. Serve on buns w/Mozzarella or Provolone cheese. Reserve some "juice" for dipping into if you'd like.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Philadelphia Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake

Saw this in a magazine ad. It was in an issue of Every Day with Rachel Ray. There is nothing "simple" about the recipes in her magazine. Don't get me wrong, they look REALLY tasty, but just not practical in our household. Hard to find ingredients, lots of prep, ingredients my kids probably wouldn't be willing to try, ingredients that I may never use the rest of... anyways I find it comical that the only recipe that I will probably ever make from her magazine was just an advertisement. Oh well. Enjoy!

PS-I'm usually hesitate about cheesecake. I've had trouble with it before, being underdone or overdone, cracking, etc. But this was super easy. And it even looked pretty too.

40 NILLA Wafers, crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 Tbls butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg (8 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened, divided (I used the 1/3 less fat)
1 c sugar, divided
1 Tbls plus 1 tsp vanilla, divided
3 eggs
1 tub (8 oz) COOL WHIP, thawed

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix wafer crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9 inch springform pan.

Beat 3 pkg cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbls vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool completely in pan.

Beat remaining cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in COOL WHIP; spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate 4 hours. Remove rim of pan before serving cheesecake. Garnish with fresh berries if desired.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Banana Split Link

Check this out...

Monkey Lover's Split

YUMMY! And supports a great cause. Her statistics were unbelievable.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taco Hot Dish (Casserole)

I LOVE casseroles b/c you have everything all in one. No need to come up with you side dishes. No need for all the extra dishes, pots, and pans.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 pkg dry taco seasoning
1 (8 oz) bag Doritos, crushed
1 (12 oz) cottage cheese
1 (8 oz) sour cream
1/2 c sliced black olives
2 c shredded Monterey Jack
2 c shredded cheddar

Combine meat and onion in skillet. Drain. Add tomato sauce and taco mix. Stir well. Place crushed Doritos in bottom of a greased 9 X 13 pan. Top with meat. Combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Sppread over meat. Top with olives followed by the shredded cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

We served this with my corn casserole (recipe posted previously).

NOTE: I forgot the onion and don't think I'd add it next time. Also, I used fat free cottage cheese and fat free sour cream and it was fine. I know sometimes fat free things don't always work.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Caramel Bars

Many of you probably already have this recipe somewhere, but I'll share JUST in case any of you are missing out on this ooey, gooey goodness.

3/4 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c flour
1 c oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

bag of caramels
3/4 T milk
3 T butter

6 ounces of chocolate chips
1 c chopped nuts (we do not use the nuts)

Mix crust ingredients and press HALF in a greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake for 6 minutes at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, melt caramels, milk, and butter.

Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over crust. Pour over the caramel sauce. Crumble the rest of the crust over the top.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes.

Meatball Sandwiches-2 ways

This is a quick, hearty sandwich with no prep work. It's great for one of those nights when you have a million things going on but don't want to go out. When frozen meatballs are on sale, I grab a bag or two. That way, I always have some on hand. I make them two different ways.

frozen meatballs
hoagie roll/sub bun
canned marinara sauce OR can of beef gravy
mozzarella or provolone cheese
butter/margarine (if you plan to toast your roll)

I put my meatballs in the crockpot a few hours before dinner. When there is about an hour left, I add my choice of sauce. Sometimes we use marinara, sometimes we use beef gravy. Heat through.

If you choose to toast your bun, I do that on the stovetop on a frying pan with the insides of the bun buttered. But I suppose you could use a toaster oven, the broiler, etc.

Scoop meatballs onto bun and add a slice of cheese. So easy, right?

We usually serve with something simple like chips, fresh fruit, and raw veggies/dip.

*Note: If you have leftover meatballs you are set with another meal for the week. Use them to make spaghetti w/meatballs (if you used marinara) or serve meatballs w/gravy over buttered egg noodles like Swedish meatballs. You may just need to add a little more sauce.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Crazy Kids Cuisine

Well, we are well into summer. Are you running out of ideas for you kiddos for lunch? Here are a few fun & simple ideas to get your kids excited for lunch.

1) Octopus Dogs and Seashells

Boil shell pasta and serve with sauce of choice (my kiddos like all noodles just plain with a little shredded cheese over. Boring, I know) To make the octopus, slice hot dog up center about half way up. Then cut each of those "strips" in half, then in half again to create 8 legs. Boil gently or microwave and serve over bed of seashells. Oh, we added a little mouth and eyes too, simply carved into the dog with a paring knife.

2) The "Starving Artist's Lunch"

Give each kid a white canvas (paper plate) and a variety of snack foods. Ie crackers, cut up meat, cut up cheese, baby carrots, grapes, raisins, etc. and have them create a face, design, etc. Great tool for teaching colors, patterns, etc. Who said you shouldn't "play with your food"?

3) Fun Shaped Sandwiches

Cookie cutters aren't just for cookies. My kids gobble down sandwiches like nobody's business IF they are cut into a fun shape. Our favorites are PB & J and summer sausage and cheese. For a "hot meal", make grilled cheese. Cut everyone's in a different shape and practice naming shapes. Or play a guessing game like "who's sandwich has 3 straight sides?".

4) Kid's Sushi

I saw this recipe in a parenting magazine. My girls really liked them. Take a slice of bread. Spread peanut butter and/or jelly and/or honey on it. Far to one side, place a row of sliced bananas. On top of each banana slice, place a strawberry slice. Roll it up tight starting with the fruit side, rolling it into a cylinder. Slice into little "sushi rolls".

5) Anything on a stick

Wasn't there something in the movie "There's Something About Mary" about there not being enough foods on sticks? Well, we like to do fruit kabobs. If you are worried about skewers being too sharp, try little straws/coffee stirrers. For a complete meal, serve fruit kabobs along with skewers made with cubed cheese, cubed meat, pickle chunks, olives, and pepperoni.

6) Quesadillas

My girls love quesadillas. AND it is a great way to use up leftovers in the refrigerator. We have a quesadilla maker, but a frying pan works just as well. Place tortilla in pan/maker, top with meat, rice, cheese, etc. Place another tortilla on top. Heat and flip OR close maker. Cut into triangles. A pizza cutter works great. We make a dipping sauce with half ranch/half salsa.

7) I LOVE eggs.

Do you have one of those heart shaped pancake thingys? Well, we made an egg in one the other morning. Be sure to spray the mold with cooking spray. Spray frying pan really well and heat pan. Lay down mold and crack egg into center. Cook till set. Remove mold and flip. We served it with a piece of heart shaped bread too (cut with cookie cutter) to soak up the yolk with. You can buy those molds, two in a pack for a reasonable price. We saw a two pack at Cost Plus World Market for only $3. Or, use the molds for any type of pancake too. Check out my recipe for chocolate chip banana pancakes. YUMMY!

So, hope that your kiddos like these as much as mine do.