Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baked Garlic Chicken

I REALLY liked this chicken a lot. This recipe came from a Taste of Home cookbook. The recipe below is to serve 4. (The original was to serve 8, so I cut it in half.)

1 c sour cream
1 Tbl lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp celery salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 c crushed butter flavored crackers (about 25)
1/4 c butter or margarine, melted
1/8 c vegetable oil (I used canola)

In a large, shallow glass dish, combine the first seven ingredients. Add chicken; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. Place cracker crumbs in a shallow bowl; roll chicken in crumbs until coated. Transfer to a greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Combine butter and oil; pour over the chicken. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

The girls were hungry for cookie dough, and I just wasn't in the "Christmas Cookie" kind of mood quite we made these. They were really good. The "double" part of the title comes from two types of chocolate chips (NOT chocolate dough). The original recipe actually only called for 2 SIZES of chips (regular semi-sweet AND mini semi-sweet), but I changed it to be two different flavors of chips. I'm thinking "triple" would be good too, including white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips...This recipe was adapted from Crisco (but we added less chips AND the two different flavors...we go for the "less is more" approach when it comes to chocolate chips, m & m's etc. in cookies). These cookies are darker in color because of the generous amount of vanilla & brown sugar.

1 1/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c butter flavored Crisco
2 Tbl milk
1 Tbl vanilla extract
1 egg
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c milk chocolate chips

Cream sugar with shortening, milk and vanilla. Add egg. Add flour, salt & soda. Stir in chips.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 375.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Crockpot Potato Chowder

I got a new crockpot and a Taste of Home Crockpot cookbook for my birthday recently. Yesterday was a total soup day, so I tried this since we had all the ingredients on hand. I wondered if this soup would be bland, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was sooooooo good. We of course topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese as well!

8 c diced potatoes (we left the skins on)
1/3 c chopped onion
3 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (8 oz)cream cheese (cubed)
1/2 pound bacon (cooked and crumbled)
snipped chives
shredded cheddar cheese to top, if you'd like

In a slow cooker, combine the first five ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until potatoes are tender. Add cream cheese; stir until blended. Garnish with bacon and chives if desired. We topped our bowls with some shredded cheddar!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pork Chops

These pork chops were delicious. Should have made more because both of the girls ate their fair share. (Usually, we only make 2 to 3 servings and the girls share with us since they aren't huge meat eaters. I only made two (large)chops and it simply wasn't enough.) This recipe came from a family at church.

4 loin pork chops
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger (I used fresh ginger)
1/2 c soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used refrigerated minced)

Combine all marinade ingredients and soak the pork chops for at least 4 hours. Broil for 20 minutes or until done. Also great on the grill.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes (Loaded)

These potatoes were awesome! And the "make ahead" factor makes them even more appealing. I made them for Ellie's bday. I try to find all "make ahead" recipes and cook the day before. That way, my house/kitchen is nice and clean on the actual day!
These came from "Taste of Home" magazine, Feb/March 2011.

3 lbs potatoes (about 9 medium) peeled and cubed
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c butter, cubed
1/4 c 2% milk (I still used skim)
1 1/2 tsp onion powder (I omitted)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
6 bacon strips, chopped
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped

Place potatoes in boiling water and cook until tender.


Mash potatoes with cream cheese, sour cream and butter. Stir in milk and seasonings.

In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain.

Transfer potato mixture to a greased 13 X 9 in baking dish; sprinkle with cheese, onions and bacon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until heated through.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

These are super easy...and delicious. I got these from a MOPS cookbook. We even made them with a group of 20 preschoolers! (And surprisingly, everyone tried them. More surprisingly, all but a few LOVED them!) Such an easy, fun, fall treat.

1 Spice Cake box mix
1 can pumpkin
1 c chocolate chips

Disregard preparation instructions on cake mix box and ONLY add the can of pumpkin to the dry mix. (This was a perk for me, as I have mentioned before that we have an egg allergy in our family...)

Once cake mix and pumpkin are nicely blended together, stir in 1 c chocolate chips. (We used milk chocolate chips, but I think semi-sweet would be better, personally.)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bean Dip

Delicious AND Nutritious! Ellie has been saying that lately about "healthy snacks"! I LOVE this dip. It is my "new craving". We had it a few weeks ago while at some friends' house. I had her send me the recipe and I made it pronto. I've been snacking on it on and off all day! But because it is so healthy, I'm not feeling a bit guilty. Maybe if I keep this in the house, I won't eat ridiculous amounts of Halloween candy this month (or next)!

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can shoepeg corn, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes w/green chilies, rinsed and drained (next time I will use regular diced tomatoes)
green onions chopped, about 1/2 a bunch
cilantro, about 1/2 bunch
garlic, 1 spoonful of refrigerated minced
small can sliced black olives, drained
a little lemon pepper
(I also added a splash of lemon juice AND a splash of lime juice)

mix well and serve with Frito type corn chips OR dipper of your choice

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Cinnamon Rolls"

These. Were. Awesome. However, I'm thinking they were more like "sticky buns". My in laws were here to share these. We were splitting 24 rolls between 4 adults & 2 children. I hate to admit that over the course of the weekend, I MAY have had half of them, or pretty close to it. Yep. They are THAT good.

24 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls (the "raw" dough...not "heat and serve")
1 small pkg. regular butterscotch pudding (we assumed "regular" meant the old fashioned "cook and serve")
1 stick butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c brown sugar
additional melted butter

Grease 9 X 13 pan. Lay pecans over the bottom. Place dinner rolls on top of pecans. In saucepan, bring pudding, stick of butter, cinnamon and sugar to a boil. Pour over the rolls. Cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight. Remove foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Brush top with additional melted butter. Turn over to serve.

I love that you prep the night before and just pop directly in the oven the next day. I also love that you do not need to knead or let rise, but still get that great homemade taste.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

A co-worker passed this along. Who doesn't love Mac and Cheese?

16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1/2 c melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
12 oz can evaporated milk
10 3/4 oz can undiluted cheddar cheese soup
1 c milk
1/8 tsp paprika
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Place macaroni in greased slow cooker. Add butter. In a bowl, combine eggs, evaporated milk, 3 cups of cheese, soup and milk. Pour onto macaroni and stir. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Sprinkle with the last cup of cheese. Cook 15 minutes longer, until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with paprika.

Oatmeal Crackles

Ellie insisted on making cookies with oatmeal. But, she didn't want chips of any kind OR as I looked through our church cookbook, I found these.

1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 c oil
1 T vanilla
2 eggs
2c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 c quick oats
1/4 c sugar

Beat first four ingredients until smooth. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until well blended. Stir in the oats with a spoon. Measure level tablespoons of the dough, form into a ball, and roll in the 1/4 c sugar in a small bowl. Place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Leave on pan for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baked Tenderloin

This is such a simple, yet flavorful steak recipe. I rarely make it though, because whole tenderloins are expensive. I've also made it with other cuts of meat and individual steaks, but it is best with a whole tenderloin.

whole beef tenderloin
1/2 stick margarine
2 tsp beef bouillon granules
salt, pepper, garlic salt

Place tenderloin in pan. Melt margarine and bouillon. Pour over meat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Let stand 1 hour. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down to 350 degrees. Put meat thermometer in thickest part of meat and bake. (For medium, about 30 minutes) Slice and serve.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Spicy Beef Bundles with Fiesta Rice

Spicy Beef Bundles? Silly name, I know. My mom found this recipes YEARS ago, while I still lived at home. I have never come across any recipe even similar to these. I would describe it as chimichanga-ish. But, it is baked, not deep fried. My husband is not an olive fan, so these were coined "crappy olive bundles" until I started omitting the olives. I made them last night for friends and they LOVED them. I even added the olives, but used chopped, and Derek was none the wiser. The "Fiesta Rice" paired nicely.

2 (8pk) crescent rolls
1 lb ground beef
taco seasoning packet
green pepper (diced)
1/2 c olives, sliced or chopped (optional, I guess)
2 (3 oz) cream cheese (softened)
shredded cheddar cheese
melted butter (or margarine)
crushed taco chips (we use Doritos)

brown beef with green peppers and drain
add taco seasoning and cream cheese, combine well, add olives
break crescent rolls into 8 rectangles, pinch dough to get rid of seam
put some filling down center of each rectangle
top each with shredded cheese
fold up ends and seal to create a little closed up rectangular bundle
brush melted butter on each and sprinkle with crushed chips

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes


(This recipe is from Campbell's Soup. Really simple, but good)

1 can Campbell's Chicken Broth
1/2 c water
1/2 c chunky salsa
2 cups uncooked Minute rice

Heat chicken broth, water and salsa in saucepan to a boil. Stir in 2 cups rice. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Friday, August 12, 2011

German Chocolate Caramel Bars

F.A.B. (Derek's Favorite Aunt Beth) made these for a graduation party YEARS ago. Definitely a family favorite. I've been meaning to post this recipe since this blog began, but I always make them for a potluck, etc. and always forget to take a picture. Today, I remembered! Enjoy.

1 (14 oz) package of caramels
2/3 c evaporated milk (divided)
1 box of German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 c butter, melted
1 c chopped nuts (optional...I always omit)
1 c chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

Melt caramels with 1/3 c evaporated milk. Keep warm. Combine dry cake mix, melted butter and remaining 1/3 c evaporated milk and nuts, stirring by hand. Press half of the mixture into a 9 X 13 prepared pan. Bake 350 degrees for about 6 minutes. Pour melted caramel over baked layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel layer.

Cover top with teaspoons of remaining cake mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mmmmmm, Monster Cookies

These are seriously THE BEST cookies....EVER! My dear friend Kristen passed the recipe along years ago. I lost it, and lucky for me, she has now posted it on her blog:

Here you go! (Click on me, click on know you want to!)

I always cut the recipe in half, and even that makes A LOT of cookies. Make these. You won't be sorry.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Caramel Apple Dip

LOVE this recipe. My mother found it years ago and passed it along.

1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
1 cup brown sugar
1 jar caramel ice cream topping (we use Mrs. Richardson)
salted peanuts (optional)

beat cream cheese and brown sugar
spread into serving dish
pour caramel topping evenly over the top
sprinkle with peanuts
serve with apple wedges (toss in lemon juice to prevent browning)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shredded Beef Sandwiches

This just might be THE BEST shredded beef I've EVER had...SERIOUSLY! Derek's "favorite Aunt Beth" passed this our way and I am sooooooo glad she did. Love that you fix it and forget about it until it is time to eat.

3 lbs beef chuck roast
2 green peppers, chopped
1/2 C brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 C. chopped onions
1 (6 oz) tomato paste
1/4 C. cider vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard

Lay roast in crockpot and add ingredients in order given. Cover & cook on high 8 hrs. WITHOUT EVER mixing it. When the 8 hours is up, stir mixture with wire whisk until meat is shredded. Yep, a wire whisk is all it takes with this super tender roast. Serve on buns. YUM!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Apple Brickle Dip

Looking something a little different than caramel apple dip? Try this. DELICIOUS!

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag (8 oz) brickle chips/toffee chips/Heath bits (etc)

In bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla with electric mixer. Gently stir in brickle chips. Chill. Serve with apple wedges.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Porcupine Meatballs

When I was little, my mom used to make porcupine meatballs that had tomato soup in them. I loved them and craved them with my second pregnancy. While paging through the school fundraiser cookbook, I came across a different variation of these prickly meatballs that I think my husband and kids might actually enjoy. (They do not like the tomato soup version.)

1 pound ground beef
1/4 c milk
1 egg
1/2 c rice
1 small onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can milk

In mixing bowl, combine beef, rice, salt, pepper, onion, milk and egg. Form 1 inch meatballs. Place in greased casserole dish. In separate bowl, combine soup and one can of milk. Pour over meatballs. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Convenient to make ahead and keep warm in crockpot. We served ours over buttered egg noodles.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pepperoni Puffs

I really liked these. I saw them in our school fundraiser cookbook and adapted it some. They are to be served as an appetizer, but we ate them as our regular meal, served with a tossed salad, some watermelon and some cottage cheese.

1 c flour
1 c milk
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 c mini pepperoni (they are soooo cute, have you seen these?)
heated pizza sauce/marinara for dipping

Combine flour, milk, cheese, egg and baking powder. Stir in mini pepperoni. Grease mini muffin tins. Fill each 3/4 full. Bake at 275 for 25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm, dipped in marinara. Made 24.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Filled Cupcakes

Every now and then, I'll post a "not so simple" recipe IF I feel it is worth the time & effort. This is one such recipe. My mom has been making these for as long as I can remember. Not sure where the recipe originated. (Caution: This recipe makes 36 be ready to have THAT MANY cupcakes to devour!)

3 c flour
2 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c water
1 c oil (I used canola)
2 T vinegar
2 tsp vanilla

8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 egg
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

1/2 tsp sugar (per each)
1 tsp chopped walnuts (per each)

For cupcakes, sift dry ingredients. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. (Batter will be runny) Fill cupcake papers about 1/2 full.

For filling, beat cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop round teaspoonful of filling on each cupcake.

For topping, top EACH cupcake with 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp chopped walnuts. (I always do half without nuts to please my husband and kiddos)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

*NOTE: You can make this as a 9 X 13 cake too. Adjust cooking time accordingly.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Breakfast Sausage Casserole

(modified from Mr. Breakfast)

This seriously is the yummiest breakfast casserole I've ever had. I NEEDED to have this recipe the first time I tasted it.

16 oz day old bread, cubed or torn into bite sized pieces
16 oz sausage (cooked, drained & crumbled)
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
10 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups half & half
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard

Grease 9 X 13 pan well. Place bread in pan. Sprinkle with cheese and sausage. Combine rest of ingredients together and mix well. Pour over bread and refrigerate overnight.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees or until golden brown.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits

My in-laws were here for the weekend putting up the enormous custom playhouse they built the girls for Christmas...anyways...

So, we wanted quick breakfasts so that we could eat and get to work. But, I wanted something a little more exciting than cereal. So, I opted to "copy" McDonald's "Fruit and Yogurt Parfait".

Tub of Low-fat vanilla yogurt
(I think I would use raspberries too next time)
sugar to sweeten (optional)
Granola (I bought a box in the cereal aisle, but you could make your own)
Fun see thru dishes

I took stems off the strawberries and sliced them. Tossed them with the blueberries and added a little bit of sugar to sweeten.

In dish, I layered yogurt, fruit, granola.

They were a hit with EVERYONE (even my husband who reluctantly fixed himself one and LOVED it)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dark Chocolate Cake w/Whipped Cream & Berries

This was soooooo yummy, looked so FANCY, and was pretty simple.

1 box mix cake (dark chocolate)& egg, oil & water per instructions
chocolate chips
whipping cream (I used two of the small cartons, but had some leftover)
powdered sugar
strawberries (stems removed and sliced)
chocolate syrup

Prepare batter as directed. Add a handful of chocolate chips to batter. Bake in two 8 or 9 inch rounds as directed. (I sprinkled a few more chips on top before baking)
*tip: for BEAUTIFUL, non-sticking bottoms, trace your pans on parchment/wax paper and line your pans. When you invert/cool, the paper will just peel right off leaving you with such a nice surface to frost.

Let cool completely.

I suggest waiting until the last minute possible to frost with whipping cream so that your cream is fresh/fluffy. Prepare whipping cream, adding powdered sugar to sweeten. (*tip: put metal bowl/beaters in freezer prior to beating. The chilled beaters/bowl make for wonderful whipped cream)

Spread a layer of whipping cream on your first cake top, add strawberries. Top with second cake. Spread whipping cream on top layer. Add strawberries. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and drizzle with syrup. So delicious. Everyone had seconds (and some had thirds...) I think I would LOVE this cake with raspberries.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grilled Asparagus

This is so simple. Derek and I love asparagus.

sea salt
olive oil

prep your asparagus (snap off the bottom woody portion)
toss asparagus in olive oil until coated
sprinkle with sea salt
grill over medium heat, turning, until heated through and tender

Marinated Ribeyes

Sadly, last summer, the knobs of our grill melted off! We have yet to buy a replacement. In the meantime, I bought an indoor, cast iron stove top grill. We have been using it A TON! (Only is a pain to clean.)

My mom passed along this recipe. Yum!

1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c green onion
1/4 c brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
4 steaks

combine all ingredients (except steak) in a ziploc bag. Add steaks. Toss to coat. Marinade 8 hours or overnight.

Grill 8 to 10 minutes per side over medium heat.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pepperoni & Cheese Bread

This was delicious. Derek ate almost the entire loaf himself!

Italian/French bread
spreadable butter or margarine
mozzarella cheese

Slice the bread (but don't go all the way through)
spread butter/margarine on both sides of each slice
put pepperoni on each slice
top with mozzarella
sprinkle with parsley

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

(Next time, I think I may heat up some marinara sauce to dip the bread into)

Skewered Marinated Flank Steak

This is the second year that we have purchased 1/4 of a cow. We used up just about everything from last year except for just a few things. I have flank steak left and the last time I made fajitas with it, the meat was really tough (and I did cut it correctly). Same thing happened when I made stir fry. So when I found this recipe, I thought I'd give it a try. They were delicious. The girls (who aren't big meat eaters) both asked for seconds. It was easy and there were no leftovers. Keeper!

* 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
* 1/2 cup dry red wine (I used beef broth)
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tablespoon dry mustard
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I used dried)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
* 1 pound flank steak, cut across grain into 1-inch strips

Whisk first 8 ingredients in small bowl. Place steak in baking dish. Pour marinade over. Cover and marinate 2 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.

Preheat broiler. Thread steak strips on skewers; discard remaining marinade. Place skewers on broiler pan and cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

B & B Salad

This was one of those dishes that I thought sounded like a gross combo until I tried it. I LOVE this salad. I've found a lot of variations on this dish and have combined bits and pieces of each until I found the one that is "just right" for me.

1/2 a large cauliflower (cut into bite sized florets)
1/2 a large broccoli (cut into bite sized florets)
1/2 red onion
1 c shredded cheddar
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
sunflower seeds

1 c mayo
1/2 c sugar
2 T vinegar

Whisk dressing ingredients together. Combine with rest of ingredients. Chill.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chicken, Broccoli and Baby Reds

When Derek was in Vet School, we became pretty tight with Alex and Susan. When Alex would be on an internship, we'd have Susan over for dinner and when Derek would be on an internship, Alex and Susan would have me over. Susan prepared this simple and tasty one dish meal for me. Serve with some rolls and viola.

chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
red potatoes (cut in half or quarters)
onion (cut into slivers)
broccoli (cut into florets)
can of cream of broccoli soup (heated in the microwave, diluted with a bit of milk)

Brown chicken
Steam potatoes, onion and broccoli until done
toss chicken, potatoes, onion and broccoli together with heated soup
season with salt and pepper

(I have a double decker steamer. I put the potatoes in the bottom basket and start them first since they take a little longer. Then I add the onion/broccoli to the top basket a few minutes later.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Dish Chicken and Rice Bake

This recipe came from Campbell's Soup. It is really simple and the chicken stays really tender and juicy.

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 cup water

3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Stir the soup, water, rice, paprika and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with the chicken. Season with additional paprika and black pepper. Cover the baking dish.
Bake at 375°F. for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tilapia with Angel Hair Pasta and Wilted Spinach

Okay, so this recipe is a little more involved than most here at "Keeping it Simple", but if you want a "fancy" and "oh so grown-up" dinner in about a half hour, then this is for you. It looked so pretty plated. And the fish was delicious. (This came from an issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine)

salt and pepper
1/2 pound angel hair pasta
4 thin tilapia
Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 c flour
1/4 c cornstarch
2 tbl olive oil
4 tbl butter
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c white wine (I used chicken broth)
2 lemons
1/4 c drained capers
handful parsley chopped
3/4 pound fresh spinach
fresh nutmeg (we skipped this)

Cook pasta al dente. Drain reserving 1/2 c pasta cooking water.

Pat fish dry and season with salt, pepper and Old Bay. Combine flour/cornstarch and coat the fish with it.

In large skillet, heat 1 tbl of oil. Add 2 tbl butter and let it foam up. Add fish turning once. (4 to 6 minutes) Transfer to serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add 1/2 tbl oil and remaining butter. Stir in garlic and wine. Add juice of one lemon. Thinly slice remaining lemon and stir the slices into the sauce, along with the capers and parsley. Spoon the sliced lemons and half the sauce over the fish.

Add the reserved pasta water and pasta to the skillet. Add the remaining butter sauce and season with salt and pepper; toss. Transfer the pasta to a platter.

Add remaining oil to skillet. Add spinach, season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg and cook to wilt.


Peanut Butter Cut Outs

I was pretty excited when I found this cookbook on clearance at Target: "The Great Cookie Book: 50 Recipes for All Occasions" (from the creators of the Original Bundt Pan - Nordic Ware)

I was even more excited when I came across a recipe for Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies.


1.5 c flour
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 large egg

Beat butter and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugars. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in rest.

Chill for about 3 hours.

Cut in sections on lightly floured surface. Decorate with colored sugars if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Icy Mocha

My mom clipped this from a magazine because she knew I'd LOVE it.

A) It is far less expensive than any fancy cafe drink.

B) I can make it at home in my Magic Bullet in minutes.

C) It has only 84 calories and 1 gram of fat.

1 cup low fat chocolate milk
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 c ice cubes
2 tbl fat-free aerosol whipped topping

Add milk, coffee, granules & ice cubes to blender (or similar gadget). Blend on high until mixture is smooth and frothy. Divide evenly between 2 glasses and top each with 1 tbl whipped topping.


French Dip

Maggie over at Smashed Peas and Carrots has provided me with another wonderful recipe. Her blog is so fun. She has great recipes, great craft ideas and a great sense of humor!

4 pound roast (chuck, rump, etc.)
10.5 oz can beef broth
10.5 oz can French Onion Soup
12 oz can/bottle beer
rolls (we used sub buns)
cheese (we used provolone)

place roast in crockpot with broth, soup, and beer
cook on low 7 to 8 hours
remove roast and shred
add meat back to crockpot and cook 30 more minutes
serve on rolls with cheese

(Maggie suggests toasting rolls with cheese on to melt)

Serve with a side of the Au Jus to dip

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Heath Bar Cookies

Ellie insisted we make cookies the other day, so I took my Butterscotch Chocolate Chip recipe and changed it up a bit to make these delicious cookies.

1 c sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2 c oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c chopped Heath Bar (you can buy them already in bits in the baking aisle)

Combine sugars, butter, shortening, eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in Heath. I make them "Monster Sized" using my large Pampered Chef cookie scoop or about 1/4 c per cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Adjust time accordingly if making normal sized cookies.

Chunky Dried Apple and Cranberry (or Cherry) Muffins

2 cups flour
3/4 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c milk
1/2 c oil
1 egg
1 c dried apples (chopped)
1/2 c dried cranberries (I used dried cherries)

Combine first 5 ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg until just moistened. Stir in apples and cranberries (or cherries). Spoon into muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 24 minutes.

These were really good. The cherries added a nice tartness. This recipe was found on the back of my dried apples.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day French Toast

Because D and I recently spent 10 wonderful days together in Costa Rica, we didn't go out for Valentine's Day. Instead, I made a kid friendly celebratory meal. Here is my heart shaped french toast. I just used a cookie cutter. (For my batter, I use eggs, a splash of milk, some vanilla and some cinnamon.)

We topped it off with strawberries, whipped cream and Smuckers Red Raspberry Syrup.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pork Tenderloin in Cream Sauce

This was our grocers recipe for this week. Pretty simple, small ingredient list and yummy! Derek quite possibly may have eaten an entire tenderloin himself.

2 pork tenderloins
2 T butter
15 oz jar Alfredo sauce (we used Ragu)
1/2 pound sliced button mushrooms
1/2 c dry white wine (I used chicken broth instead)
salt and pepper

In a skillet, melt 1 T butter and brown tenderloin. Transfer tenderloin to a 9 X 13 baking dish.

Saute mushrooms in remaining butter for about 3 minutes and divide over tenderloins. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Deglaze skillet with wine/chicken broth. Add Alfredo sauce and mix well.

Pour over pork. Cover tightly with foil and bake 1 1/2 hours.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs

Now I don't know if these tasted so awesome because I did lo-cal breakfast AND lunch so that I could splurge on these for dinner, or if they were really that good. I didn't follow a recipe yet these were the best ribs I've ever made.

2 pounds ribs (I used pork spare ribs)
salt & pepper
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Here's what I did:

lay ribs in shallow roasting pan. Add a little bit of water to the bottom. Salt and pepper the ribs. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, remove, flip, salt & pepper the other side, recover and bake for 30 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, ketchup and mustard in a small saucepan. Heat on low until combined and warmed through.

After the ribs have cooked (covered for an hour) remove foil and add BBQ sauce. Bake for another 15 minutes, until BBQ has caramelized.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pepper Steak

Week 2 of our grocers' recipes was another winner. The only other time I've had Pepper Steak is at the Chinese restaurant in town. Simmer the meat in broth for an hour + really gave the meat a lot of flavor. Always thought round steak was tough and lacking in flavor but it was very tasty in this recipe.

1.25 pound Round Steak (ours was a bit bigger...1.61 pounds)
2 Tbls butter
2 cloves garlic
1 can beef broth (15 oz)
1 c green onions
2 green peppers cut into strips (I only used 1 because my peppers were HUGE)
2 large tomatoes
1 Tbls corn starch
1/4 c water
1/2 c soy sauce

Pound steak until 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with paprika. Let stand 15 minutes. Using large skillet, brown meat in butter. Add garlic and broth. Simmer for 1 hour.

Then, add onions and peppers. Simmer 5 minutes more or until peppers are tender.
Add corn starch, water, soy sauce and tomatoes. Heat through. Cut steak and serve over rice. (I actually took the meat out, cut in strips, then added it back to the skillet.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cheesy Chicken

Our local grocery store takes really good care of its loyal customers. Every few months, we get a flier in the mail with weekly coupons. For every $10 we spend, we get an item for free (5 items total). The items go together to help create a meal. This flier included a recipe for each week. With my FREE chicken, cheeses and mayo, I made this:

4 chicken breasts
1 c mayo
1 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese (in the can)

Mix mayo and cheeses together. Pound chicken breasts down to 1/4 inch thick. Spread cheese mixture over breasts. Fold sides over and roll tightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Tortellini Soup

Say that three times real fast...Anyways, I LOVE this soup. The original was from a mini "check-out aisle" book of Soups & Breads by Betty Crocker and I changed it to fit our tastes.

1 tbl olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 (10 oz) box frozen cut broccoli in cheese flavored sauce
1 (9 oz) package refrigerated cheese filled tortellini
2 chicken breasts, cubed and cooked
1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes (NOT drained)
shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for topping
croutons for topping are also delicious

Heat oil and add onion. Cook until tender.
Stir in broth, water, Italian seasoning, broccoli, tortellini and tomatoes. Heat to a boiling, stirring occasionally and breaking up broccoli.

Stir in chicken. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until tortellini is tender.

Serve topped with cheese and croutons.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beer Bread

It is snowy and cold out so two loaves of beer bread sounded comforting. This is really easy. So yummy warm with butter. (We brought it to a friends' house and it was a hit all around!)

(This makes ONE loaf....)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 can beer
2 tbl melted butter

Mix flour, sugar, salt & baking powder. Add beer and butter. Mix until just moistened. It will be lumpy.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes in a greased 8 X 4 loaf pan. Cool completely. Slice and serve. (Delicious with cheese and sausage too.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

I'm back! Between the holidays and 10 days in Costa Rica, I hadn't posted in quite some time. But here I am with a wonderful, low fat, soup recipe.

One medium bulb of garlic (top trimmed off)
6 large baking potatoes
4.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp pepper (I'd use less)
mix-ins: fat free sour cream, turkey bacon, green onion or chives, low fat/fat free shredded cheddar cheese

wrap garlic in foil & pierce potatoes once with a fork
place garlic and potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes
remove garlic and let cool, bake potatoes for 15 minutes longer or until tender

Squeeze garlic bulb into soup pot, peel 3 of the hot potatoes and add to garlic, mashing until smooth

slowly at chicken broth and pepper and heat through

take remaining three potatoes and cube, leaving peeling on

add to soup and heat through

serve with bacon, sour cream, chives/green onions and cheddar cheese