Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Re fried Beans and Rice

So, sometimes our family gets down to that last week and the grocery budget is almost as much as is in my kid's piggy banks...this is one of those meals that is super cheap and actually pretty nutritious and quick and easy to make too.  add a simple green salad and you have a terrific, filling meal.

that being said, this is also one of our favorite meals to make regardless of where we are in the month.  :) 
try this out... and i'd also love to hear some of YOUR favorite bean dishes!

Beans
  • 3 Cans of Beans (whichever your preference... we enjoy pinto) OR 6 Cups prepared beans
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 3/4 t garlic powder
  • ~ 1 Cup Shredded Cheese (whatever you have on hand, we like a mexican blend, but have used all sorts when we get down to the bottom of the grocery budget ;)
  • some water
  1. Drain and rinse canned beans and then place in a skillet with a little bit of the water on medium heat.
  2. sprinkle your salt and garlic powder (and other seasonings if you wish) on top.
  3. using a fork, mash your beans adding water as you mash for the desired consistency that your family prefers :)
  4. when all the beans are mashed and the way you want them, add in your cheese and stir.
Rice
  • 2 C rice uncooked
  • 3 -4 cups water (depending on the rice, white: use 3, brown: use close to 4)
  • 1-2 Cups salsa
  1. Cook your rice (simple, right?)
  2. Stir in your salsa
serve your rice and then put your beans on top :) sprinkle a bit of extra cheese and away you go!
(These beans are also PERFECT for making burritos.  When I find that PERFECT recipe for tortillas i'll post that too.)

Review
Everyone in our family loves this one...

Acknowledgments:
I got the basis of the recipes and then altered them to our families liking from Crystal's I Can't Believe It's Food Storage over at www.everydayfoodstorage.net and from Miserly Mom's, the book :)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 4 quarter-inch slices of fresh mozzarella
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup fresh basil pesto (recipe follows... or use store bought stuff)
  • fresh ground black pepper
(basil pesto)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (we've used sunflower seeds as a substitute :)
  • 2 C fresh basil leaves (we put the stem in too)
  • 1 C fresh italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup parmesan or romano cheese 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 t salt
  • up to 1/2 C EVOO
Directions for pesto
  1. toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still a bit rough-textured
  2. Use either a panini press or skillet on medium heat...
  3. assemble the sandwiches by smearing the insides of the bread slices with pesto, arrange a layer of sliced tomato an season with a few turns of fresh pepper.  layer the mozzarella slices over the top and then place the other slice of bread on top.  if not using a panini press, use something to form a "press" over the sandwiches.  turn after 2-3 minutes.  they are done when golden brown and the cheese has melted around the edges.
Review
uhm, SOOOOOO delicious!  and the pesto can be used for all sorts of dishes! the possibilities are endless :)

Acknowledgement
this came from www.anediblesymphony.blogspot.com



Monday, September 19, 2011

ritzy chicken

This is a delicious favorite of ours that was introduced by my good friend wendy barlow! (thanks wendy!!!!)

i apologize for no picture but we'll get one up soon... OR if you make it and want to send me your picture I can post it too!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts (I cut them up into kid-friendly sized pieces... also helps them cook faster)
  • 20 crushed Ritz crackers (generic works fine too)
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  1. preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Melt the butter an pour just a little to cover the 9 X 13 dish, the rest will be used to coat the chicken.  
  3. combine all the other dry ingredients in another bowl.  
  4. roll the chicken in butter, then in the dry ingredients.
  5. place in the baking dish and sprinkle any remaining crumbs and butter on top.  bake for30 minutes or until chicken is done.
serve with chicken rice, salad, favorite veggie ect....

Review
seriously one of our FAVORITES and definitely good as a leftover too! EVERY family member enjoys this meal!

Acknowledgment
as i mentioned above we learned this recipe from one of my favorite friends, (she's an awesome cook and mom too...) wendy. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

French Toast and homemade syrups

French toast is soooo yummy. Especially when made with homemade bread! in fact we will NEVER go back to french toast any other way!


  • Bread
  • eggs
  • milk

So to make french toast, it's not really tricky. get your loaves of bread and cut them up, then in a bowl of some sort combine eggs and a dash of milk, i usually use 1 egg per 2-3 slices of bread.

pre-heat your griddle or pan (i love using my griddle:)

Dip slices of bread in your egg/milk mixture and cook on each side till done/crisp/toasted (hence the name french TOAST)

top with whatever you want, powdered sugar, fruit, whipped cream, or syrups!

which brings us to our next part, homemade syrups!!!!

I have 3 for you, Maple, Cinnamon, and Buttermilk. (not for the non-sugar dieters or calorie watchers :)

First: Maple

  • 1 lb of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 C water
  • 2/3 C light Karo syrup
  • 2 t maple flavoring
  1. Combine all ingredients and heat until dissolved.  Keep leftovers in a jar in the fridge.  If it crystallizes just heat gently to dissolve the sugar when next used.
Cinnamon
  • 2 C white sugar 
  • 1 C water
  • 1 t vanilla
  • some good shakes of cinnamon (i prefer my saigon cinnamon)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a pan on the stove, stir well and then don't touch till it starts to bubble up to the ridge of the pan. quickly remove and let cool and enjoy!
Buttermilk
  • 1 Stick butter
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1/2 C buttermilk (or milk with vinegar or lemon juice mixture) (we also have just substituted plain greek yogurt and it works out fabulously!!!)
  • 1 t Karo syrup (I've substituted agave nectar for the syrup and LOVED the results!)
  • 1/2 t soda
  • 1 t vanilla
  1. bring everything to a roiling boil EXCEPT the vanilla for about 5 minutes.  Take of heat and add vanilla.
REVIEW: OHMYGOODNESS we just love these.  the buttermilk is best in my opinion over german pancakes, but they are all just delicious. 

Acknowledgements: the cinnamon recipe is one i learned growing up from my friend, Natalie Morris and her family.  The Buttermilk is from my friend, Wendy Barlow, and the maple syrup is from the Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook (can be found at walmart... pretty good book overall :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Strawberry Lime Riviera Bars

  • 1 1/4 C finely crushed pretzels (i used a little more than 1 1/2 C)
  • 6 T butter melted
  • 1 (14 oz can) sweetened condensed milk OR (1/2 C HOT water, 1 C sugar, 1 C dry powdered milk, 1 T butter mixed thoroughly in a blender)
  • 1 C pureed strawberries
  • 1/2 C lime juice
  • 1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed
  1. mix crushed pretzels and butter in a 9X13 inch pan
  2. press firmly into bottom of pan (refrigerate until ready to use)
  3. in a medium bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT whipped topping and mix well
  4. gently stir in whipped topping and pour mixture evenly over crust.
  5. place in freezer (doesn't have to be covered) for at least 6 hours.
  6. let stand at room temp about 20 minutes before serving
  7. store leftovers in freezer.
REVIEW
Kids loved this, as did brad... i liked the combination of the sweet with the salty of the pretzels... but still not considering this one of my absolute favorites... a good one for a potluck or taking a family a meal though.

Acknowledgement
Another Food Storage recipe from Crystal Godfrey's I Can't Believe It's Food Storage.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oven "Fried" Chicken

(after looking at the picture, i realized this was a pretty starchy dinner! oops)

Oven "fried" Chicken
  • 1 lb chicken breasts cut into pieces (the recipe calls for 3-4 pounds of chicken pieces, but i'm assuming those are with bone and such, i had boneless c.b. so that's what i used:)
  • 1 large egg (or 2 T dry egg powder and 1/4 C water)
  • 2 T milk (or 1 t dry powdered milk and 2 T water)
  • potato FLAKES for coating
  • 1/4 C (1/2 stick of butter)
  1. preheat oven to 425 F
  2. mix egg and milk together
  3. spread 2 T of butter on a pan or casserole dish with at least a 1 inch lip.
  4. dip chicken in mixture then dredge in potato flakes and place in pan.
  5. bake for 25 minutes, flip chicken then bake 20-25 more minutes. (this is for bone in, about 15-20 per side for boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  6. sprinkle with salt and pepper as the pan comes out of the oven. 
  7. serves 4-6
Potatos (i never measure stuff for my potatoes.... sorry)
  • about 2 pounds of red potatoes cut into small bite size pieces
  • EVOO
  • salt and pepper
  • your choice of seasoning... we really enjoy rosemary.
  1. mix evoo and spices together
  2. toss over potatos
  3. cook at 425 for about an hour, till soft, tender, and crispy on top :) (hint on potatoes, you can shorten your cooking time by "steaming" the potatoes in the microwave for a little while to "pre-cook" the taters... unfortunately ours died tonight while making the corn :( 
Bread
this is the same bread recipe used here


REVIEW
This got  TWO thumbs up from everyone at the table, EVEN my picky eater... (he's behind the flowers) everyone's plates were completely clean when we finished.  This has kind of a chick filet texture to it.  I think i may try doing little nugget sized chicken pieces next time. :) Brad even said this a DEFINITE repeat! (yeah for food storage :)

Acknowledgements:
The bread and chicken reicpes come from Crystal Godfrey from her website www.everydayfoodstorage.net, and her book, I Can't Believe It's Food Storage. The potato recipe is another noel original (hehe it rhymes :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Angel Food Cake and Custard

This is our absolute FAVORITE! we can't even eat the store bought stuff anymore!


Angel Food Cake
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ c egg whites (about 12 eggs)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Oven @ 375
  2. Beat eggs and cream of tartar at high speed until foamy.
  3. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, scraping bowl often.
  4. Add salt, almond extract and vanilla.
  5. Mix flour and powdered sugar and add to the mixture.
  6. Fold until flour mixture disappears.
  7. Put into pan.
  8. Cut through with metal spatula.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Cool by placing upside down on top of a bottle with the bottle nose at the center of the back pan. Cool for 1 ½ hours. (we have a new angel food cake pan and it has little things on the outside of the pan so it just flips over to cool and then you pop out the center)
Custard for Angel food cake  (this is a single batch... I usually triple it since i have 12 egg yolks anyways)
  • 1 ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat.
  2. In a separte bowl mix sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and egg yolks.
  3. Gradually add cream.
  4. Cook over medium heat until custard can coat the back of a metal spoon (probably about 3-4 minutes)
  5.  Can be served over berries as well.

REVIEWS
A classic that just can't be outdone! this is light and fluffy, and just plain delish! bet you can't stop at just one bite!

Acknowledgement
This came from my mother in law... she KNOWS yummy desserts!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Black Bean Chicken Nachos

(Good news is we have BOTH a camera AND a chord now... i'll update the posts with pictures as we make the meals again, bad news... i haven't taken any pictures lately) 
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips
  • 2-3 chicken breasts frozen or thawed sliced/cut into bite size pieces
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil... or whatever you like to add to your pan to cook up your chicken)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • taco seasoning
  • shredded Monterey jack cheddar cheese
  • taco/nacho toppings that your family enjoys
  1. pre-heat oven to 375
  2. in a frying pan, add oil and warm for a few minutes.
  3. add chicken to pan and sprinkle with some taco seasoning and cook till done
  4. while chicken is cooking, line a big cookie sheet with foil and place a good layer of taco chips
  5. in a bowl, mix cheese with more taco seasoning and sprinkle on top of chips... good and thick!
  6. drain and rinse beans really well (once there are no bubbles when rinsed with water, all those fun gas bubbles will be no problem:)
  7. sprinkle beans over cheese
  8. once chicken is done, layer over the beans and add a little more cheese
  9. put in the oven until cheese is melted... about 5-10 minutes.
  10. to serve, put pan in middle of the table (careful for little fingers... it's still hot!) with choice of toppings and let everyone dish up on their plates! mmmm. soo good fresh out of the oven, AND easy clean up, just wrap up with the foil, and then pretty tasty as leftovers too! just unwrap and place back in the oven. :)
REVIEW
This is ALWAYS a big hit in our family, poor brad hadn't ever had them fresh out the oven till this last time, and despite that he still always enjoys them :)

Acknowledgment:
This is a genuine original from yours truly :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

PIZZA! (like pizza hut)

Who doesn't love pizza!!!???!!!
Every Friday night our family does some variation of pizza and a movie... our kids LOVE it and look forward to it EVERY week!  But we were still trying to perfect our homemade crust... until NOW!  I got this recipe from a sweet sister who our family just adores, but i don't know where this recipe originally comes from.

The Crust

  • 1 1/3 C warm water
  • 1/4 C non-fat dry milk
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4 C flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T yeast
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • additional vegetable oil for pans
  1. put yeast, sugar, salt and dry milk in a large (2qt) bowl.  ad water and stir to mix well.  Allow to sit for 2 minutes.
  2. add oil and stir again, add flour and stir until dough  forms and four is absorbed, turn out onto a flat surface and knead for 10 minutes. (I just put it all in my kitchen aid and kneaded for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Then divide into three balls.  in three 9" cake pans, put 3 oz of oil (i used a bit less) and spread it evenly (I also didn't have 3 cake pans so i used on big rectangle pan).
  4. using a rolling pin, roll out dough to fit your pan(s).  place in pan(s).  spray dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 1-1 1/2 hours.
  5. cover with sauce, cheese, toppings, a little more cheese. (about 9 oz total cheese)
  6. pre-heat oven to 475 and bake about 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is brown.
this makes a pan pizza crust like at pizza hut... mmmm, one of my favorites!

Make your sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed and minced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1/2 t marjoram
  • 1/2 t dry basil
  • 1/2 t garlic salt
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1 T olive oil
  • dash of red pepper (optional)
  1. mix everything together... makes enough for two pizza recipes!
REVIEW
This made a PERFECT amount for our family of 5. and tasted DELICIOUS!

Acknowledgements:
Like i said, i'm not sure where my friend got the crust recipe... and the sauce recipe I came up with after experimenting with lots of different kinds... enjoy and let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grilled Cheese and Creamy Tomato Soup

There's just something that says "COMFORT" in grilled cheese with tomato soup... now our family can NOT stand the tomato soup from a can... bleck. but this... now THIS is something else... delicious and scrumptious! Try it and let me know what you think! okay?

Ok, first off, the Soup recipe:

  • 2 t olive oil (or coconut oil :)
  • 3-4 onions quartered or sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled (or since i had it in the fridge, i used it, minced)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 freshly ground pepper
  • 2 (35 oz) cans of whole, peeled tomatoes, drained (or 4 lbs ripe tomatoes)
  • 8 flat-leaf parsley sprigs (extra for garnish)
  • 5 C vegetable broth
  • 1 C half and half
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper; cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. transfer the onion mixture to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker.  add the tomatoes and parsley sprigs.  pour the borth over the vegetables.  cover and cook until the flavors are blended, (4-5 hours on high or 8-10 on low) (OR in a sauce pan on your stove for about 30 minutes)
  3. discard parsley sprigs and pour the soup in batches into a blender or food processor and puree.  return the soup to the slow cooker or pot; which in the half and half.  cover and cook on low until heated through (about 30 minutes, or 5-10 on the stove) Garnish each serving with extra parsley sprigs.
This makes double what we need for our family (2 adults and 3 kids 7 and under) when we add our sandwiches... if it's your main entrĂ©e, it's enough for 6 servings :)

Sandwiches
(because homemade bread makes THE BEST grilled cheese!)

  • 1 1/8 C warm water
  • 2 t active dry yeast
  • 2 T sugar
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 T vital wheat gluten
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T nonfat non-instant powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 T butter/margerine/oil  (I always use applesauce)
  • 1/4 C potato flakes (flakes... NOT pearls!)
  1. Add all the ingredients in the order listed into a mixer bowl (i use my kitchen aid)  with a dough hook and mix on low for 10-12 minutes. OR on the dough cycle in your bread machine.
  2. once dough is manageable with your hands, let rise 45 min-1 hour (My trick? i spray my bowl, add my dough back in, spray the top of my dough, cover with saran wrap, put in my oven... which while i was mixing i turned on to 350 for ONE minute... JUST ONE minute, then turned off... it makes it nice and warm in there! and shortens my rising time!) 
  3. punch down and put in your bread pan and rise until a bit over the top of your bread pan
  4. bake 375 for 20-25 (my oven goes more to the full 25 minutes)
  5. once bread is cooled, slice.  Butter one side of each slice and place on griddle or pan with a slice of cheese of your choice and cover with another slice... you know how to make grilled cheese, right?

REVIEW
This one is a FAVORITE in our house... and always gets everyone eating! like i said, when we pair it up with our sandwiches, the soup makes a TON! 

Acknowledgements:
The cream of tomato soup comes from weight watchers slow good super slow cooker cookbook, and the bread recipe comes from www.everydayfoodstorage.net (if you haven't already you should really check out crystal's site... a LOT of helpful cook from scratch tips and tutorials!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

rotisserie chicken... non-rotisserie style

I have been really craving those rotisserie chickens you can get at the grocery store... the hot n' ready ones that are warm and tender and just delectable! but they can be so expensive, and I read somewhere that you can put one in your crockpot and get the same taste and effect!


  • 1 rotisserie chicken (bought on sale makes it one tasty meal!... or two or three with leftovers:)
  • potatos (i like red the best:)

  1. wash, fork and wrap potatoes in foil, like baked potatoes. place in the bottom of your crockpot (i have an oval shaped one that fits it perfectly...)
  2. season your chicken with whatever you like, a suggestion was lowry's seasoned salt, but i found this rotisserie seasoning in one container at publix and LOVE it!
  3. place chicken on top of potatoes and set to high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-9 hours.
By putting the chicken on top of the potatoes you allow the chicken to get "crispy" for that rotisserie type of chicken, plus the potatoes get the chicken broth flavor.

REVIEW
I made mashed potatoes from the baked potatoes using some of the broth as well as some gravy too :) add some rolls and salad or another veggie and it's complete and enough so that you can use leftover meat for sandwiches the next day!

When it was done, the meat was cooked through and falling off the bone, but the skin wasn't as "crunchy" as i was hoping... it wasn't until i was trying to carve the bird when i couldn't figure out where all the white meat went when I realized that i cooked the bird upside down :)  don't make my mistake and i bet you'll get a better crunch! 

definitely a great meal worth repeating!!!! enjoy!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Granola

SO, i LURV  me some good granola... the yummy clumpy kind that i can use as a cereal AND just a quick snack... after trying 3 different recipes from here, an amish cookbook, and an email, I came up with THIS one!


  • 3 Cups old fashioned rolled oats (use what ya got)
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 C chopped or sliced nut (i prefer almonds, but you can use pecans, walnuts, ect)
  • 1/2 t cinnamon, (i use Saigon cinnamon... so delicious, once you try it you'll never use regular cinnamon again!)
  • 1/2 C maple syrup, grade A or B, not the kind you buy for pancakes, but that's where you find it. it's a lot healthier (raw) than the maple syrup like Mrs buttersworth,  and spreads the flavor better than honey too.
  • 1/3 C coconut oil (again, healthier than other types of oil, and if you haven't noticed, we've been trying to get back to a more "raw" diet... )
  • 1 t vanilla (cause really, what DOESN'T vanilla go in ;)
EASY PEASY directions!
  1. preheat oven to 300 degrees. mix all except syrup, oil and vanilla, in one bowl. in a seperate bowl mix melted coconut oil (it's sometimes solid depending on the temp in your house) syrup and vanilla together then pour over dry mix.  Mix well! (you can also add dried fruits, but some in my family don't like it, so i add it after in my own servings)
  2. spread on parchment paper on cookie sheet. bake 30 minutes. slide parchment paper onto counter to finish drying.  DEVOUR  store in air tight container.
REVIEW
Like I said, i love me some good granola, and this was so delicious.  We can't keep our hand out of the canister! It was, super fast and easy to make.  I love this like i said as a cereal with vanilla almond milk, or with yogurt with or without fruit, or a plain snack.


***updated info: this recipe makes about 12 cups of granola, serving size 1/2 cup and ~ 260 calories/serving.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

(again, sorry for lack of pictures... still no camera cord :(
  • 3 c. oats (the recipe says no quick cooking, but that's all i had, it was fine)
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 c. Craisins, raisins, dried cherries, or other dried fruit
  • 1 c. milk (we used almond milk)
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted or applesauce
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs


Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and Craisins. In a smaller bowl, mis together the milk, butter, vanilla, and eggs. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and whisk to combine. Pour into a deep 9" pie plate or an 8x8" or 9x9" baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately with a splash of warmed milk. Serves 8.

I heated up 2 C milk in the microwave for about 1 minute then added about 1/3-1/2 C in each bowl. It was perfect that way!

REVIEW
This was absolutely LOVED by all in my family... EVEN TJ! he asked for 2nds! but was too full to finish it.  It was seriously like eating a soft oatmeal cookie.  And pretty filling, especially when paired with our green smoothies.  Although it wasn't as satiating as the steel oats, but definitely better than the little packets!

Acknowledgement
This recipe came from www.ourbestbites.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crispy Parmesan Shrimp with Spaghetti

This is a REALLY SUPER Duper YUMMY Dinner!
  • 3 oz parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 lb frozen large, uncooked shrimp (21-25 per pound) thawed (i actually like the medium shrimp better, and you can get them all peeled already or, if you're like me, as long as i'm distracted and talking or thinking of something else, I can peel and deviene shrimp just fine :)
  • 2 T fresh parsley
  • 8 oz uncooked spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
  • 2 C broccoli florets (I personally prefer more broccoli, so we double that)
  • 1 C Marinara sauce (We just use a whole jar of whatever spaghetti sacue we're in the mood for.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bring salted water to boil for pasta.
  2. meanwhile, for parmesan topping, lightly spray nonstick skillet with oil and heat 1-3 minutes of medm heat.  Grate cheese evenly over bottom of skillet.  Cook 4-5 minutes or until cheese is lacy and golden.  starting at edges, immediately loosen cheese carefully. Slide onto a cutting board and coll completely.  place the cheese crisp into a resealable plastic bag; coarsely crush into crumbs using the flat side of a meat tenderizer.
  3. For shrimp, whisk together egg white, pressed garlic, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. Peel and devein shrimp; remove tails.  add shrimp to egg mixture and toss to coat.  arange shrimp in a single layer in a deep dish baker (or any casserole dish you may have).
  4. Snip parsley and toss with cheese crumbs.  sprinkle cheese mixture o ver shrimp.  bake 10-12 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through.
  5. Add pasta to boiling water; cook 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut broccoli into small florets and add to boiling pasta; cook 1-2 minutes or until pasta is cooked to desired doneness.
  6. Meanwhile, heat sauce in microwave 2-3 minutes, drain pasta and broccoli.
  7. To serve, divide pasta among plates, spoon sauce over pasta mixture and top with shrimp.
Serve with french bread or some sort of garlic toast and caesar or tossed salad! mmmmmmmm.

REVIEW
Again, one that our whole family thourghouly enjoys! and it is also good as leftovers (they usually tend to be brad's lunch for the next day :)  Its also fast! the cheese crisp was a little tricky my first time, but it's so easy now that i know how.

Acknowledgements:
Pampered Chef 29 minutes to Dinner

Monday, February 14, 2011

Curried Chicken With Couscous

Chicken and Curry (4 servings)
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 t vegetable oil
  • 2 t curry powder
  • 1/2 C golen raisins
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
Couscous
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 1/3 C uncooked plain couscous
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 T snipped fresh cilantro plus additional for garnish.
  1. For chicken, cut into 1 in pieces. Heat oil in skillet over mdm-high heat for 1-3 minutes or till hot.  Mix pepper and salt together  and season chicken with half of the mix. cook chicken 2-3 minutes or golden brown, turn over and cook another 2-3 minutes or till center is no longer pink.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. While chicken is cooking, peel carrots; cut in half lengthwise, then thinly slice on a bias (or just chop up thinly like i do:) Cut onion into 1/2 inch wedges. Add more oil to skillet and saute veggies for about 5 minutes, til crisp-tender, stirring occaisionally.  Stir curry powder, raisins, coconut milk and remaining black pepper and salt mix into skillet.  Add chicken.  Simmer 3-5 minutes or till sauce begins to thicken.
  3. Meanwhile, for couscous, either microwave or stove top boil it (about 3 minutes in the microwave) stir couscous and butter into broth.  cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.  while the couscous is sitting, snip your cilantro, then fluff couscous with a fork and add in the cilantro.
  4. To serve, divide couscouse among serving plates and spoon chicken mixture over couscous.  garnish with additioanl snipped cilantro.
REVIEW
This is absolutely our most FAVORITE curry dish! the first time i made it i didn't have any coconut milk and somehow found a recipe to mimic it and it was delicious that way... but then 2nd time i made it with the canned milk and it was really good too... but i can't find the mimic recipe now, so oh well.  but everyone in our family eats this one. it really is sooooo yummy, and takes less than 1/2 an hour to make!!!! (one of the best things of all!!!!!)

ps. sorry for lack of photos... we've lost the charging cord for our camera :( super sad day here...

Acknowledgment
Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to dinner.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chicken N Dumplings

  • 1 whole chicken cut up (fryer cut)
  • 2-4 T butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 t thyme
  • 1/4 t tumeric
  • 1/2 C chopped celery (I used 3 stalks)
  • 1/2 C chopped carrots (I like lots of veggies, so mine measured close to 1 C)
  • 1 whole mdm onion chopped
  • 1/2 C apple cider (different i know... but go with it)
  • 6 C low sodium  chicken broth
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
Dumplings
  • 1 1/2 C half and half
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 C yellow cornmeal (i just used regular cornmeal)
  • 1 T (heaping) Baking powder
  • 1 T kosher salt (i used reg salt)
  • salt as needed
  • 2 T fresh minced parsley for garnish at end
(This is how I did it... a little different from the original directions)
  1. In a large pan melt butter at med-high heat. salt and pepper both sides of a chicken piece and dredge both sides in flour. Place in pan repeat for all chicken pieces (I had to do it in 2 batches).   Just brown both sides... DON'T cook all the way... maybe 5 minutes per side... if that? then remove to a clean plate.
  2. In the same pan, (after chicken is removed) add celery, carrots, onion.  cook 3-4 minutes then add tumeric and thyme.  
  3. This is where I trans  fered everything to my stock pot ( You could just begin there... but i didn't.)Then pour in chicken broth and apple cider. stir and add chicken.  cover and simmer  (SIMMER) (i forgot to turn my heat down :) for about 20 minutes.
  4. While that is simmering make the dumplings :) Sift together all the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add half and half and stir till combined (i had to add extra flour).
Back to the "soup"
  1. pull out chicken pieces and use forks to get meat off and shred.  put chicken back into pot and add the heavy cream. SMILE and stir :)
  2. drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the pot. add minced parsley then cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes.  check flavor and add salt if needed. remove from heat for 10 minutes before serving.
REVIEW
This Recipe got 5 Stars from just about everyone in our family!(out of 5 ;)  SERIOUSLY the BEST chicken n dumplings I have ever had or made! it looked a little questionable during part of the process (green chicken???) but go with it.  It's all good , and i mean ALL GOOD in the end.

After dishing up for 2 adults and 3 kiddlets, we only managed to eat about 1/3 -just under 1/2 of it. It said the serving size was about 8... We would DEFINITELY get 2-3 meals from this... OR it would be one of those really yummy filling ones to share with another family :)

the recipe says prep time and cooking time all together was 45 minutes.... I on the other hand took nearly 2 hours! this being my first time making it i can see how i could probably get it down to 1- 1 1/2, but i must say it was well worth it! definitely worth a 2 times a month meal :)  I think I will be dreaming about this tonight!

Acknowledgement
I found this recipe at www.ThePioneerWoman.com She has some really great tips and recipes here. I really suggest you check it out!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Green Smoothies


  •  


 This is what we have with breakfast, just about EVERY morning!
  • 2 Cups liquid, (we mostly use water, but sometimes we use a 100% juice of some sort)
  • about 10 oz Spinach leaves (you can use different greens but for beginners, spinach is easiest!)
  • 2-3 bananas
  • Whatever other fruit you have or want to use (we use a lot of "about to go bad fruit that we put in the freezer" fruit :)
  • oh yes, your blender!
  1. Fill your blender with your liquid and add your greens, blend on the "liquify" setting.when it looks fully incorporated turn off and look add more greens till the resting liquid level is between 3 and 4 cups.
  2. add your bananas and frozen/other fruit till your blender is full and happily green :)
  3. Serve 1 C for kids and 2 C for adults... this way you get a few servings of greens AND fruit before you've even really started your day!
The REVIEWS are in!

Of course my healthy eater is good with these, they just can't be too cold for her or she complains of brain freeze :)

We just taught him the thumbs up!


I don't worry too much about my picky eater because He is SOOOO good about drinking his smoothies every morning :)
Even my hubby is on board :)

You really can't mess this up, and if you have annnnnyyy questions PLEASE ask me! I get so tickled talking about these :)

Acknowledgement

I've been really into reading up on "Green diets" or Raw food diets and the best way to start your family on the way to that healthy eating style is through green smoothies. I first learned about it from http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/ and checked her book out of the library, then read "Green for Life" and have conflicting issues within my own desire for yummy food for emotional reasons ;) and my desire to live healthy and teach my children this important principal.

For now, we're on our way with our green smoothies! little by little!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Steel Cut Oatmeal


  • 1 T butter
  • 1 C Steel Oats
  • 3 C Boiling Water
  • 1 C Vanilla Almond (or Soy) milk
  • fruits or nuts or toppings to your liking ;)


  1. In a large sauce pan, melt butter, add oats and stir till toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add boiling water and stir
  3. Reduce heat to simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Add milk, stir and simmer about 10 more minutes.
  5. We add about 1/3 C of brown sugar and mix then pour into bowls and top with fruit or nuts.
**** UPDATED 4/1/11
the other morning we made this breakfast and while it was cooking i took 2 apples and cut them into little pieces, put them in a microwave save dish (i used a pampered chef micro-cooker) with a little bit of water, cinnamon, and honey. microwaved till the apples were super tender, drained, added it to the oatmeal just before serving.  CAN WE DAY DELISH!!!!:) everyone went back for seconds!



Kempton liked it!
REVIEW
This has a different texture than the rolled oats that most people are used to, but It's soooo much healthier and soooo much more filling.  Our kids each ate 1/3 C and brad and i each had 2/3 C. (my 1 C measuring cup was dirty).  I REALLY loved the flavor and how full i was! I wasn't hungry until lunch! Usually with the instant oatmeal packets it takes 3 or 4 for me to "feel" satisfied, but it doesn't last...SB really liked it too.  Brad really liked it, he says he was good till lunch too! TJ however, (he's our picky eater) has a real problem with textures, he doesn't do eggs or potatoes very well, or anything really... but 4/5 aint bad!

Acknowledgment
We got this from my friend amy, you can read her post about it here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hokkaido's

Fried Rice

  • prepared white rice (cook it earlier and sit it in the fridge for a bit. this makes the texture perfect for this meal)
  • 1 T of oil for every 1 egg
  • a little more oil for rice
  • ~2 T soy sauce
  1. Scramble the egg(s) in the oil, then remove from pan.
  2. Add some more oil and then add the rice and soy sauce, mix well.
  3. Add eggs back into rice mixture and again, mix well.
  4. divide onto plates or put on a platter

Japanese Shrimp Sauce (or, as the chefs at hokkaido's call it Sexy Sauce)

  • 1 C mayo 
  • 3 T white sugar
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 3/4 t paprika
  • 3/8 t garlic powder
  1. In a small bowl, combine everything and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Take your favorite meats and vegetables and cut them into bite sized pieces and cook on your griddle, or don't cut the meat and grill till desired doneness and enjoy!

We like to use steak, chicken, shrimp, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms and onions.

REVIEW
We love going to our favorite Japanese Hibachi grill, but we don't love the price that it costs for us all to go.  So we figured out how to do it at home for special nights!  We found the sauce REALLY makes the difference and tried quite a few for just that right flavor. This is just about perfect!

Acknowledgements
The sauce recipe came from allrecipes.com 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

S'mores Sandwich Bar Cookies

Who doesn't Love Smores!?!?! but they're not always easy to do in the winter, so, this cookie type bar is the perfect alternative!


  • 1/2 C (1 stick) of butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 1/3 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 C graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/3 C (8 oz package) Hershey's Mini Milk chocolate Bars
  • 3 C mini marshmallows
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F, grease 8 inch square baking pan
  2. beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until well blended. add egg & vanilla. beat well. stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until blended. press half of dough into prepared pan. bake 15 minutes
  3. sprinkle mini choc bars over baked layer or arrange unwrapped choc bars over baked layer, breaking as needed to fit. Sprinkle with marshmallows; scatter bits of remaining dough over marshmallows forming top layer. bake 10-15 minutes or just until lightly browned.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars (approx 16 bars)
REVIEW
One of our most favorite desserts! especially with a cold glass of milk!

Acknowledgements
This is from a Hershey's Card box recipe that we gave my mother in law for christmas this year... so so so good!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stick Stacks

This is one of our favorite Pancake recipes!


  • 1 3/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 T packed, light brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 2 T flax meal
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 T unsalted butter melted
  • 1 C milk
  1. Mix all Dry ingredients
  2. Add Wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Place bowl in freezer for 5 minutes while you heat up the griddle.
  4. Ladel  ~1/8 cup to make mini pancakes
Serve with home made whipped cream and fresh strawberries, blueberries, and if no one in your family is allergic to kiwi like I am, add that! 

REVIEW
These are soooo delicious and fluff right up.  Plus they are the perfect size for my kiddlets! And we usually forgo the sugary syrup with these as they are yummy plain too!

Acknowledgements
This recipe is from a book I bought with Christmas money called Bean Appetit by shannon payyete seip, kelly parthen and carisa dixon.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book because it has so many great ideas on how to involve your kids in the kitchen and how to have fun with healthy food.  But don't just take my word for it. go check it out!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fondue Night!

We LOVE to do fondue! It's just so much fun.

Cheese Fondue

  • 2 5 oz Jars of kraft old english cheese (found next to velveeta in fridge section)
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 C whole milk
  • 1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 t garlic salt
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 6 oz can crab meat
  1. Mix all but the crab meat in a sauce pan.
  2. Once melted, add the crab meat and mix then transfer to your fondue pot!
  3. Serve with Crusty bread :)
  4. Also good to dip with your veggies.

Coq au vin
(this is for your meats and vegetables)

  • 3 1/2 C vegetable stock
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillion cube
  • 1/2 C dry red wine (I use burgundy cooking wine)
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  1. Put everything in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then transfer to your fondue pot!
  2. If liquid level becomes too low, just add water
We like to use steak, chicken and shrimp cut into bite sized pieces, zucchini, squash, mushrooms and broccoli.  Feel free to use whatever you like :)

Sauces for dipping
  1. Ranch 
  2. Blue Cheese
  3. Cocktail sauce
  4. Garlic Butter
  5. Curry Mayonaise (just add curry to the mayo till you like how it tastes.)
Chocolate Fondue
  • 6 oz chocolate (whichever kind you want)
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C whole milk
  1. Combine all in a sauce pan and stir till all is melted. 
  2. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN!
  3. transfer to your fondue pot and enjoy!
Our favorite dippers for dessert are Strawberries, Bananas, Pears, Apples, Marsh mellows, and Angel Food Cake!

REVIEW
This is absolutely one of our most favorite dinner party meals.  Even if the party is just our own family!
And so super easy! Just make sure you have enough pots for everyone! It's easy to get crowded.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Gourmet Stuffed Burgers & Hamburger Buns


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 Cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 Cup Ketchup
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 slices cheese
  • 4 strips of bacon, crisply cooked, drained & crumbled
  • your favorite burger toppings!

  1. In a bowl, mix onion, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper and beef.
  2. Form into 12 round patties, about 1/2 inch thick, fold cheese into quarters and place on half of the patties, top with bacon and remaining patties.
  3. Seal well, forming 6 stuffed burgers.
  4. Grill 11-14 minutes for medium doneness or till meat is no longer pink. 
  5. Enjoy yummy burgers.
Hamburger Buns in 30 minutes
(I actually cut this recipe in half for our family of 5 and it still made a ton)

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 Cups warm water
  • 1 cup oil (i use applesauce)
  • 3/4 Cup sugar (or 1/2 C honey or 3/4 C stevia)
  • 6 T yeast
  • 1 T salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 10 1/2 C white or wheat or mixture of flour
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients and let rest 15 minutes. It should get spongy and bubbly.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Knead for 5 minutes, adding flour if needed.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 425 
  5. Roll out to 1/2" thick and i like big buns, so i use a plastic bowl to shape mine. you can use a ring from a wide mouth jar for children size buns.
  6. Let rise for about 10 minutes then bake 10-15 minutes.
Review 
This was TJ's request for his "last meal" before he got his tonsil's out. (unfortunately he came down with the flu the day before and the surgery had to be postponed)  I didn't add bacon to ours, well, because i didn't have any, and it was fu-REEZ-ing so I didn't grill our burgers either.  I just cooked them in our skillet but remembered as I was almost done with he process that I could have cooked them on our griddle...  But the burgers were still super delicious. 

This was my first time using the buns recipe. The flavor was great, but they were pretty thick. We DID just eat them from the oven, so I don't know if that had anything to do with it, needs some tweaking, but Showing GREAT promise :)

Acknowledgements
The stuffed burgers recipe is from pampered chef, and the buns recipe I think is from raising olives... but I will get back to you on that :)