Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chicken Stir-fry w/fried rice

Derek and I LOVE stir fry. I adapted a recipe that my mom sent in the mail years ago to fit our tastes.

2 chicken breasts (cut into bite sized pieces)...I suppose you could substitute pork or steak too
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups of veggies (we do pepper, broccoli, carrots, onion, mushrooms, & zucchini)
2 Tbls water
4 Tbls cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1.5 c chicken broth (I'd use beef broth if using steak)
4 Tbls soy sauce

*heat oil in skillet and add chicken and garlic. cook until browned. I usually add a little soy sauce too to flavor the chicken a bit more
*add veggies and water. Cover and cook until veggies are crisp tender
*combine cornstarch, sugar, broth, and soy sauce. Add to skillet, stirring constantly 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and thickened. You can serve over plain rice, or try my version of fried rice.

For my fried rice, I don't follow a recipe. So, here is the basic idea.

Prepare 4 servings of white or brown rice.
In frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of butter.
Whisk together two eggs and add to pan.
Add rice and combine, scrapping sides to scramble eggs throughout the rice.
I usually then add some peas, carrots, and onion.
Add some garlic salt and soy sauce and fry a bit longer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This was a dish that someone brought to a church potluck. I sensed that my husband would like it, so I called her for the recipe.

flour tortillas (10)
2 cups shredded chicken (great recipe for using leftover chicken)
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 soup can of milk
Mexican Cheese blend (the kind with taco seasoning on the cheese)

*mix soup and milk
*in 9 X 13 pan, layer tortillas, chicken, soup, cheese, tortillas, chicken, soup, cheese
*bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Tonight's menu included this casserole, taco lasagna (previous post), fiesta rice (future post), watermelon, corn casserole (previous post) and Heath Blonde Brownies (previous post). It fed 5 adults and 3 children with some leftovers.

Taco Lasagna

When Derek was finishing up Vet school, my nephew was also living in the area so we often had him over for dinner. My sister (his mom) sent me a bunch of recipes for his favorites. This was one of them. One thing I like about it is that I can make it earlier in the day, and bake it just before it is time to eat.

1 pound ground beef
16 oz of tomato sauce
1 packet of taco seasoning
flour tortillas (10)
cheddar cheese

*brown meat & drain
*add taco seasoning and tomato sauce and simmer for 20 minutes
*in 9 X 13 pan, layer tortillas, meat, cheese, tortillas, meat, cheese

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

So, this morning when Ellie was figuring out what she wanted for breakfast, she insisted on banana bread. I assured her we didn't have any and she assured me that we did (we didn't). When she finally realized that I was right, she had another idea..."Let's just make some". Well, knowing how long bread takes to bake, I made these instead.

SOOOOO quick and easy. I have been making these since we first were married. Today, I made a few variations. Hope you like them.

2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk (I used skim)
1 egg
1/3 c oil (I use Canola)
2 very ripe mashed bananas
chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Make a well in the center.

Pour milk, egg, oil, and banana into well. Mix batter until moistened. Do not overmix.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups (greased or lined with paper liners). Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on the top of each (we used it as a counting lesson and put like 5 or 6 on each).

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

We enjoyed them warm with a little bit of "Move Over Butter" spread on them. So quick! From batter to tummy in less than 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Individual Banana Cream Pies

Keebler makes these little mini graham cracker pie crusts. You get 6 in a pack. My mother in law made banana parfaits for dessert once and I adapted it to make mini pies instead.

Individual graham cracker crusts
1 small instant banana cream pudding
1 small instant vanilla pudding
chocolate syrup
"real" whipped cream, cool-whip, or whipped cream in a can

1) bake crust slightly if you want a crispier crust
2) prepare both puddings in the same bowl according to directions
3) divide pudding among tarts
4) top with sliced bananas
5) drizzle with chocolate syrup
6) finish off with whipped topping of your choice

So simple...but my little girls think "mini desserts" are "so fancy".

(*Note: I'm thinking chocolate pudding topped with raspberries would be delicious, or perhaps vanilla with strawberries...any other suggestions?)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monkey Bread

My mother in law makes this for all Holidays. The first time I had it, I was hooked. I've heard of people making it with refrigerator biscuits, but my mother in law uses frozen bread dough.

1 loaf frozen bread dough (like Rhodes), thawed (I usually put loaf in fridge the night before)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine, melted
(I've heard of people adding coconut and/or chopped nuts)

cut dough into approximately 24 pieces (smaller = better)
combine sugars & cinnamon
coat dough pieces with butter and roll in sugar mixture
place in well-greased bundt pan
cover and let rise in warm place until light or doubled in size (1.5 to 2 hours)

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes
Cool 1 to 2 minutes, loosen edges and carefully invert onto serving plate

(*Note: Bread may be baked in 2 bread loaf pans or tube pan with solid bottom Also, plan ahead for this one b/c of rising time)

Easy Chicken Legs

We try to do a lot of chicken in our house. This is really simple. Except for the chicken, you'd probably always have all the ingredients on hand.

Wash chicken legs really good. Don't dry them.

Make a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, parsley, chicken bouillon granules, seasoning salt, or whatever other spices you might like.

Roll legs in flour mixture. Place on foiled pan sprayed with cooking spray. Top each leg with a pat of butter or margarine.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees.

Tonight, I used a whole chicken that was split into 8 pieces. I put the breasts in for about an hour and a half and the rest in for about an hour.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mashed Potatoes with Ham

This recipe came from "Taste of Home's Quick Cooking Annual Recipes 2001". The gal that submitted the recipe uses it as the main dish, not as a side dish. When it is just the four of us, I use it as the main dish. When we've had oodles of company, I've used it as a side dish. This is a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. It is a nice alternative to ham and scalloped potatoes.

1/2 c finely chopped onion
2 tbls. butter or margarine (divided)
3 1/2 to 4 c hot mashed potatoes (prepared with milk & butter)
1 1/2 c cubed fully cooked ham (you can buy ham already cubed to "Keep it Simple". Today, I am just cutting up a ham steak)
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 c crushed cornflakes (I've left these out in the past. Still delicious even without)

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine onion and 1 tbls of butter. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Add potatoes, ham, onion salt, and pepper. Mix well. Transfer to a greased 1 1/2 qt baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and cornflakes; dot with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Guilt Free Dessert

As I mentioned in my Poppyseed Chicken recipe, I have just found out that my cholesterol is sky high. At 32 years young, I am now reading labels like crazy. I found a brownie mix that is no fat, no cholesterol (I know, sounds real feeling the sarcasm?) Anyway, you use fat free vanilla yogurt to make the batter. I made a pan of them and served the brownies still warm, topped with fat free, cholesterol free frozen yogurt. It was actually very tasty AND the girls liked it too. My husband has yet to try them. I'd definitely make them again. Just thought I'd share.

Sunrise Smoothies (and accidently, mini smoothie pops)

LOVE these...

1 c pineapple juice (or orange pineapple)
1 c vanilla yogurt (or frozen yogurt)
1 c strawberries
2 medium bananas

Combine all ingredients in blender, smoothie maker, or Magic Bullet

(The girls think it is really fun if I add some tropical umbrellas!)

PS-I doubled it and it made a little too much for a three year old and me, so I took the leftover and poured it into an ice cube tray, froze partially, added toothpick, and froze the rest of the way. Ta-da, little smoothie pops

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poppy Seed Chicken

My friend Emily gave me this recipe. Someone brought it to her after one of her children was born. I thought it sounded odd, but I LOVE it. I just found out that my cholesterol is sky high (stupid genetics!) So tonight, I'm trying a low cholesterol version of it, although you wouldn't have to.

2 lbs chicken breasts cooked & cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup (today, I am using Campbell's Healthy Request)
8 oz sour cream (today, I am using fat free)
1 roll crushed Ritz crackers (today, I'm using whole wheat)
1/2 c butter or margarine melted (I'm using margarine)
1 T poppy seeds

Mix all ingredients together EXCEPT for the crackers and butter
put chicken mixture in 9 X 13 pan, sprayed with cooking spray
combine the butter with the crushed crackers & cover the casserole with cracker/butter mixture

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min in a 9 X 13 pan

Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes (we serve over noodles, today "No Yolk" cholesterol free egg noodles)

(*NOTE: The Low Cholesterol version that I tried tonight was still good, but butter was much better and low fat sour cream may be a little better than fat free sour cream.)

Super Simple Sloppy Joes

I'm not a huge fan of Sloppy Joes, but I do make them every now and again. I've made these a few times when we've had a lot of company (easy, cheap to make in bulk, can do the day before and just stick in crockpot day of...). As simple as they are, people always have seconds. I actually get hungry for these every now and then.

2 lbs ground beef (or ground round or ground sirloin)
small green pepper
small onion
chili powder
salt & pepper
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of celery soup
American Cheese (optional)
yellow mustard (optional)

dice onion & pepper small and brown along with the beef then sprinkle with salt & pepper; drain (*note: be sure your onion & pepper is tender. Because I do mine the day ahead, the time it spends in the crockpot the following day cooks up the onion & pepper nicely)

add the canned soups and combine. If you want your Sloppy Joes to have "a little kick" add a little chili powder

serve on buns (I like a slice of cheese on mine. My dad eats yellow mustard on his. I've seen a lot of people eat these open face with a fork too)

(I'll try to remember to post a picture tonight)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Banana Cake with Banana Frosting

LOVE this as an alternative to traditional cakes. This is what I made for mine and Ellie's birthdays this year and everyone liked it. Today, I made it into cupcakes, so that is what the picture will be of, but normally, it is baked in a 9 X 13.

2 1/2 c flour
1 1/3 c sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs (if you want to go eggless, substitute one extra banana per egg)
1/2 c buttermilk OR Sour Milk (1/2 T lemon juice + 1/2 c milk)
2 ripe bananas

Combine and pour into 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Let cool and frost with this INCREDIBLE frosting:

1/4 c butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c mashed banana
1/2 tsp salt
3 c powdered sugar
yellow food coloring

cream butter & vanilla, add rest

This cake should be refrigerated.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Strawberry Spinach Salad

One of my favs...I know there are a lot of different ways people put this together. Here is what I put on mine.

Baby Spinach
Sliced Strawberries
Mandarin Oranges
Chicken Breast (IF I want it to act as an entree, otherwise, I skip it if it is served as a side dish)
Feta Cheese (I sometimes leave this out too)
Almonds (or pecans or walnuts)
Poppyseed dressing (Kraft, Newman's or Brianna's)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Strawberry Pretzel Torte

I love this dessert in the summer because there is no baking involved. AND is great b/c one of my favorite things about summer is fresh strawberries. So yummy, not too much work, and no heating up the house by turning on the oven. EVERY time I've made this, I've had to give out the recipe.

(Made in a 9 X 13 pan)

Crust: 1 1/2 c crushed pretzels (I put mine in my mini food processor)
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c + 2 tbls melted butter

*combine and press into pan

Layer 1: Sliced Strawberries

*cover crust with sliced strawberries

Layer 2: large instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 c cool whip
2 tsp almond extract

*combine and spread over strawberries
*put in refrigerator and let pudding set

Layer 3: top with additional cool whip