Wednesday, December 15, 2010

puppy chow

Seriously addicting!

You'll need:
  • 1 12 oz box of Chex cereal (12 Cups)
  • 1 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 C peanut butter
  • 1.5+ C powdered sugar
What you'll do:

In a large sauce pan (I use a stock pot) over low heat, melt the chocolate chips. Stir in the peanut butter. Once smooth, remove from heat and add the cereal. Gently stir the cereal to coat it with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture. After it's coated, dump half of the powdered sugar into a gallon ziploc bag. Dump the cereal into the ziploc bag, and then dump the rest of the powdered sugar on top. Seal the bag and shake it to coat the cereal with powdered sugar. You may have to add more powdered sugar. At some point, it's usually easier to dump the cereal into a plastic container that you'll store it in - save room in the container to shake it up some more. You'll want to use a spoon to break up any huge chunks of cereal so it can all be coated evenly. That's it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

cream cheese pickles

Yes, really. These are perfect for the holidays since they're red and green, but they're great all year too! I'm not sure the first time I had these, they're very 80s to me, kind of like Porcupine Balls.

Anyway, the recipe!

You'll need:
2 - 32oz jars whole dill pickles (or so - it depends how many you want to end up with) (it works better if you don't get the super gigantic pickles)
1 - 8oz brick cream cheese
3 - 2oz packages thiny sliced lunch meat (I use those 80 cent packages of Carl Budding)

What you'll do:

Let the cream cheese come to room temperature so it is spreadable. Drain 1 jar of pickles and lay them between a few layers of paper towels to absorb the surface moisture. On a cutting board, place two slices of meat side by side, overlapping a few inches. Spread the meat with a layer of cream cheese (don't be too thin with the cream cheese, but don't go overboard either or the pickle will fall out). Place the pickle on one end of the meat and roll it up. Slice off the ends of the rolled pickles (you can eat those yourself, you deserve it) and then slice the remaining pickle and place them on a serving tray.

1 pickle makes approximate 5 half inch slices.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

  • 2 boxes of Kraft Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (original/Cheddar)
  • 1 16 oz block of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beat
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 sticks of butter, melted
  • milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Boil the macaroni for 6 minutes. It will not be completely tender. Grate the cheddar cheese into a large bowl.  Add the cheese from the box mix, the eggs, salt, pepper, and butter to the bowl.  With a large spoon, mix the cheese mixture with the noodles and pour into a large baking dish. Slowly mix in milk until the mixture is slightly soupy.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes until the top is golden brown and a fork comes out clean.

Tim loves this reheated the next day with milk added to it (blech)!

Vanilla Cream Pie

Vanilla Cream Pie

  • 2 deep dish pie crusts (baked according to manufacturers directions)
  • 2 boxes cook & serve vanilla pudding
  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients except pie shells. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Pour into completely cooled cooked pie crusts. Allow to cool completely.

Beat the eggs whites until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar two tablespoons at a time. Continue to beat and add vanilla extract.

Pour meringue over the pies. Bake at 350 degrees until the meringue is golden brown.

Cool & serve!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quick and Easy Chicken and Rice

Quick and Easy Chicken and Rice
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 chicken bouillon cubes, crumbled
2 cups milk
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms sliced (We liked more than this)
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Blend in flour and chicken bouillon cubes. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken and mushrooms. Spread cooked rice in a buttered 9x13 baking dish. Spoon chicken mixture over rice. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, covered @ 350 for 30 minutes or until casserole and bubbly.

Monday, October 25, 2010

taco pizza

We have a regional chain here, Godfather's Pizza, who makes our favorite pizza, which just happens to be taco pizza. The best part about this taco pizza is that there's no refried beans to be found - something that my picky husband refuses to eat. Sparked by a craving, I concocted my own taco pizza and think it rivals the original!

What you'll need:
  • 10 fluid ounces warm water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 Cup taco sauce, approx. (spiciness depending on your taste, we used mild)
  • 1+ T chili powder
  • 2+ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies, optional
  • 2+ C monterey jack or Mexican combo cheese, divided
  • 1+ C cheddar cheese, optional
  • shredded lettuce, optional
  • chopped tomatoes, optional
  • sliced black olives, optional
  • sour cream, optional
  • additional taco sauce, optional
What you'll do:
Making the dough in a bread machine is easiest, but you could do it by hand also. Into the bread machine, dump in this order: water, salt, oil, flour, and yeast. Meanwhile, combine the tomato paste, 1 C taco sauce, chili powder, and ground cumin. You can add more sauce if you want the sauce thinner or spicier; you can add additional chili powder for more spiciness, and more cumin for a more robust flavor.

Add the ground beef, onion, and green chilies to a skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook until beef is brown. Drain the beef mixture.

When the dough finishes, pat it out on your greased pan(s) (if it's sticky, use some flour on your fingers). I used a rimmed 15x10 cookie sheet for a deeper dish crust, but you could spread it out more thinly and do two pizza rounds. Spread with the taco sauce mixture to your liking (you may have extra sauce). Sprinkle sauce with 1/4 C monterey jack cheese. Top with beef mixture. Add remaining monterey jack cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25min for a thicker crust, 15-20 min for two thin crusts. Pizza will be done when the edges are golden brown.

Serve with sour cream and sprinkled with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, and additional taco sauce, if desired.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grandma Micki's Dark Chocolate Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (softened)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Do not preheat oven.
  2. Grease & flour bundt pan.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Beat butter & sugar on low speed until fluffy. (8-9 minutes)
  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix well after each.
  6. Mix in milk.
  7. Gradually mix in dry ingredients.
  8. Beat in vanilla.
  9. Pour into pan and back at 325 degrees for 1 hour 20 minutes.
  10. Allow cake to cool in pan for 1 hour before removal.
  11. Cool 3 more hours before serving.
It is very important to follow all the directions and measurements exactly!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dutch Apple Pie

We made these from scratch (except the pie crust) in my moms' group recently as our "craft." It was such a fun idea, and it turned out that they were tasty, too!

Dutch Apple Pie

(1) deep-dish pie crust
6-8 apples (peeled and sliced)
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs butter

Crumb topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup butter (I was math-challenged and just used the rest of the stick missing from the 2 Tbs above)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place apples in 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Add sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Mix (shake) until apples are well-coated with sugar mixture. Place apples in pie crust. Dot apples with butter.
In small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, and butter with pasty blender or fork. Cover apples with crumb topping.

Bake approximately 1 hour.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Jeans" Apple Bread

Bread Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1cup sugar
2 cups finely chopped apples (peeled, cored)
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon shredded lemon peel (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Bread Crumb Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter (half a stick)


Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8x4x2 inch loaf pan; set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.

In another medium mixing bowl combine sugar, chopped apples, cooking oil, egg, and lemon-mix well.

Add dry mix to apple mix and stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).

Fold in walnuts or pecans

Spoon Batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 at 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick in center comes out clean.

Place crumb topping on bread before baking.

Cool completely before removing from pan.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Poppy Seed Chicken

Who doesn't love a casserole covered in buttery Ritz crackers?

5 cups chopped cooked chicken
(1) 10.5 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1.5 cups crushed Ritz (I use 1.5 sleeves)
1 tsp poppy seeds (rumor is it's just as good without them, and they're kind of pricey)
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Place the chicken into a 9x13" baking dish. In a medium bowl, stir together, the condensed soup and sour cream. Pour over the chicken. In a separate bowl, stir together the crushed crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter. Sprinkle over the chicken and sauce.
3. Bake for 30 minutes , or until the top of the casserole is browned and the sauce is bubbly.

We like it served with rice!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cottage Pie

This is what we're eating for dinner tonight. It's in my Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer book, so it's meant for making in large batches and freezing. It's a bit more labor intensive than the other meals I make to freeze, because of the mashed potatoes, but it's worth it!

Cottage Pie
Ingredients (for a single batch)
1 1/4 lb lean ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
(1) 15-oz can green beans or corn, drained (I use corn)
(1) 10.5 oz can tomato soup, undiluted
1/2 cup mild or medium picante sauce
4 cups mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

brown ground beef with onion. Add seasonings. Drain off excess grease from ground beef, and spread evenly in a casserole dish. Layer vegetables on top of beef, followed by tomato soup and picante sauce. Top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Freeze, using plastic wrap and foil. OR bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until heated through.

Note: I first tried these in foil "cake pans" but they were not deep enough to hold all of the layers. I switched to round 3-quart foil pans this time, and they were perfect.

Apple Pound Cake

I am still trying to work my way through my 1/2 bushel of apples. This recipe may not use a lot of them, but man is it good!

Apple Pound Cake
1 1/2 cups cooking oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups raw apple chunks, peeled
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream the oil, sugar, and eggs. Then add the vanilla. SIft flour, cinnamon, soda, and salt. Add this latter powder mix to the creamed ingredients. Add apples. (you might not want to use the mixer at this point, it's pretty thick). Grease and flour a tube pan. Pour batter into pan and bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven, for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or a little longer until done.

Try to not eat it all yourself. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

banana cake

I know what you're thinking, I do. Bananas and cake? But I promise you if you try this, it will be the most moist, delicious cake you've ever had. If you disagree, send it to me and I'll eat it. :) I'm not a huge frosting fan (I usually scrape frosting off wedding cake) but this almond buttercream frosting is SO good I'll eat the whole bowl if you let me. My grandma has been making this for us for as long as I remember!

What you'll need:
1 box white cake mix
3 medium ripe or way-too-ripe bananas (you can use 2-4 bananas, it really doesn't matter, just throw them in)

What you'll do:
Prepare the cake mix as directed on package, add the bananas to the batter last and mix well. You will probably need to bake for about 5 minutes longer than the box advises, due to the addition of the bananas. It will be done when a toothpick comes out clean.

[frosting, aka the part that makes the cake]
What you'll need:
1/2 C shortening
1/2 C (1 stick) butter (please use real butter, thank you)
2-3 tsp almond extract (depending on how almond-y you want it)
4 C powdered sugar
2 T milk

What you'll do:
Cream the shortening and butter in a mixer. Add almond extract and mix well. Add one cup of sugar at a time, mixing well. (After the sugar goes in it will be thick and pastey-looking). Add milk and beat at medium speed until it's light and fluffy.

Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and enjoy!

sloppy joes - ish

I like regular (tomatoey) sloppy joes and all, but sometimes they're just too... saucy? for me. I love love the zip and flavor of this version! I wanted to lick the pan when they were gone. This recipe is easily double-able, have the rest for leftovers or freeze it!

You'll need:

1 pound ground beef
small onion, chopped
1 (10.75 oz) can chicken gumbo soup
2 T ketchup
1 T mustard
1 1/4 C water
salt and pepper to taste

What you'll do:
Brown the ground beef with onion in a large skillet. Drain any fat off beef. Add soup, ketchup, mustard, water, and salt and pepper, stir. Simmer over medium heat for an hour or until liquid is absorbed. Serve on buns as a sandwich or open faced.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Massaman Curry Chicken

Once up a time a friend of mine took me out for dinner at a Thai restaurant. It was the first time I'd ever been and he suggested the Massaman Curry Chicken. From that moment on, I was on the search for a way to duplicate that recipe and here is what I've come up with.

picture from here

Serves 4

  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 can Massaman curry paste (from your local Asian Market)
  • 1 tsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into chunks (or fingerling potatoes work wonderfully)
  • 1 lb skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried) 
  • Jasmine rice
  1. Cook your rice according to package directions.
  2. Cut the onion into wedges.
  3. Heat a wok (or large skillet) until hot, add the oil and swirl it around. Add the onion and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, then bring to a boil, stirring. Stir in the curry paste*, fish sauce, and sugar.
  5. Add the potatoes and simmer gently, covered for about 20 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken chunks and basil and cook, covered, over low heat for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken is done and the potatoes are tender.
  7. Serve at once over Jasmine rice.
This is especially good reheated the next day!!!

This is what I buy from my Asian market!
*This is a curry, so it has some kick. If I'm making this for anyone but me I start out with 1Tbsp of curry. After I've added all my seasoning and let it cook for a minute I add more as necessary.

Monday, August 23, 2010

pasta taco salad

We've made this twice now and it just keeps getting better. Love it for a potluck or a weekend lunch as it's own meal. Yummmo!

You'll need:
(note: like most of my recipes, the amounts of eyeballed... so if you only have 1/2 C cheese and no olives, that's fine, it'll still be good)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies (they're not that hot, and I'm a giant wiener, promise)
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 2 C rotini pasta
  • 1/4 C black olives (optional)
  • 1 C halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 C cheddar cheese (you can use shredded, but I really like it cubed in this recipe)
  • 2-3 C shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 to 1 C Dor.othy Lynch salad dressing (what? you don't have Dorothy? fine, use Catalina) (but it's really, really good, you should try it if you have it near you)
  • 1/2 to 1 C salsa
  • small bag (convenience store size) Doritos, crushed
What you'll do:
Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside. Brown the ground beef with the onion and green chilies. When it's finished cooking, transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge until cool. In a separate bowl, combine cooled, drained pasta, olives, tomatoes, and cheese. Once the meat is cool (so the cheese doesn't melt), add it to the pasta mixture. Add 1/2 C each of the dressing and salsa and stir the entire salad together. You can add as much salsa as you like for a kick, but I usually stick with about 1/2 C. Add more dressing, 1/4 C at a time, until the mixture is no longer dry (but you don't want it soupy either). Add the lettuce shortly before serving. Lastly, spread the crunched Doritos over the top of the salad. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

deep dish pizza

Original recipe here

This is an awesome recipe to throw together, based on what you have on hand, and what your family likes. It got 6 big thumbs up from our fam.

note: this is for an 8x8 pan, if you're making it for a 9x13, double it.

What you'll need:
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
2 T Italian seasoning
1/2 C flour
15 ounce jar pizza sauce
1/2 C Parmesan
1-2 C mozzerella or provolone (depending on your love for cheese)
1/2 tsp salt
dash black pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 eggs
1/2 T oil

optional ingredients: browned Italian sausage, diced green pepper, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, peperoncinis

What you'll do:
Preheat oven to 350. Brown hamburger and onion. Drain well. Add any optional ingredients, garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Add pizza sauce. Stir well. Grease an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray. Spread meat mixture in pan. Sprinkle mozzerella cheese over meat mixture. In mixing bowl, add eggs, milk, flour, oil, and salt. Pour over meat in pan. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over batter. Bake 35 minutes. It won't look done, but it will be done. :)

pulled pork sandwiches

I'm a fan of easy, are you? A meal doesn't get any easier than this!

Our local grocer had pork roasts (it could have been a shoulder roast? I'm not sure, I never pay attention) on sale the other day, so I picked one up, and was craving some pulled pork sandwiches! These are by far the best I've ever had, just in terms of juicy, tender meat. I was nervous to try this because I thought the soda would flavor the meat, and it didn't whatsoever.

What you'll need:
Pork roast (you can go big or small, whatever fits your occasion)
Root beer (1-2 cans depending on how big your roast is)
Your favorite BBQ sauce (mine is DEFINITELY Rays, j likes Cook.ies)

What you'll do:
Put the roast in a crockpot. Pour enough root beer over the roast that the soda comes several inches up the sides of the roast - the roast doesn't need to be completely covered with soda. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove the roast from the crockpot and drain the liquid. Shread the meat (it will fall apart). Put the meat back in the crockpot on the "Keep Warm" setting, and add a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. It's ready to eat as soon as the sauce is heated. Serve on buns.


Crockpot Chicken

Suzy requested this recipe for the blog, and I'm happy to add it, it's SOOOO good. Seriously. So good.

Original recipe

You'll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed golden mushroom soup (or I used cream of mushroom soup)
  • 1 (8 ounce) container chive and onion cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth, I used broth)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1.Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir in the salad dressing mix, mushroom soup, cream cheese, and wine until the sauce mixture is hot, smooth and well combined. Place the chicken breasts into the bottom of a slow cooker, and pour the sauce mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook on Low setting until chicken is tender, about 4 hours.

My notes:
  • If you want to save on calories, skip the cream cheese entirely and just use 8oz fat free sour cream
  • If you add more than 4 chicken breasts, just add a little milk to the sauce to thin it a bit
  • We had this over egg noodles, YUM!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sesame Dipping Sauce

I needed a new sauce to dip my steamed artichoke leaves in that wasn't pure butter. Being a huge fan of butter, I felt a little like I was cheating on it, but after I tasted this sauce, the guilt just melted away. I think it can also be used as a Thai sauce for rolls and noodles because it reminded me of a peanut sauce that I have gotten in the past only not so obnoxiously peanutty.

Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Whisk all ingredients together well and refrigerate.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Toffee Bars

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350; In a large bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk. Stir in flour and salt. Press in ungreased 13x9x2 pan.

2. bake 25-30 minutes or until very light brown (crust will be soft). Immediately sprinkle choc. chips on hot crust. Let stand about 5 minutes, or until choc is soft; spread evenly, sprinkle with nuts. (I never use the nuts, but this time, I'm trying Heath toffee bits on top)

3. Cool bars 30 minutes in pan on wire rack.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Colorado White Chili

This recipe is from "Don't Panic: Dinner's in the Freezer." It's meant for cooking large batches of recipes and freezing them. I usually make at least a triple batch of this recipe for freezing, but I'll list the original recipe here.

1 Tbs cooking oil
1 medium onion (1/2 cup, chopped)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
(1) 4.5 oz diced green chilies (mild or hot)
1 Tbs. cumin (powder or seed)
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
(1) 15.5 oz can great northern beans (do not drain)
(1) 15.5 oz can sweet corn (or frozen)
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
5 cups chicken broth

Shredded cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips

Cooking instructions:
In a large pan, combine oil, onion, garlic, and green chilies. Saute until tender, but do not brown. Stir in spices, beans, corn, chopped chicken and chicken broth. Cook and stir until heated through. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve in bowls with desired toppings (we crush the chips and then sprinkle with cheese, and dollop of sour cream!)

When tripling this batch, I do not triple either the chilies or the red pepper, and it is just about the perfect amount of spice for us. This is a great recipe to use crock-pot chicken in. I cooked 6 chicken breasts in a crock-pot on high for 6 hours, let cool, and then it shredded really easily to add to the soup.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spaghetti & Meatballs

I use jarred spaghetti sauce because I love this brand and flavor more than any homemade I've EVER had. You can substitute any sauce you like. This recipe focuses on the meatballs.

Servings: 6


* 1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat
* 3 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced
* 1/4 cup(s) Better'N Eggs (or 1 egg)
* 1/3 cup(s) Italian Breadcrumbs
* 3 Tbsp Grated Parmesan & Romano cheese blend
* 1/4 tsp table salt
* 24 oz Classico Traditional Sweet Basil Spaghetti Sauce
* 6 oz Barilla Plus Thin spaghetti


Mix all ingredients except sauce and pasta. Form into 30 meatballs (about 1" each) and cook until browned. Add sauce and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Mix and serve! I love this with a good salad and maybe some crusty bread.

(and if you're interested, each serving is 6 points)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf

I'm not a huge meatloaf fan, but after another blogger posted something on Twitter about a great meatloaf she made I thought I would try on. She sent me the recipe, but it had way more ingredients than I have around my house so I did a search on-line for one. The one I ended up with was phenomenal and I have been craving it everyday since making it. I didn't follow the recipe exactly as the onion I had in my house had gone bad (I just sprinkled a boatload of dried onion flakes). I also sprinkled a little Italian seasoning and some dried cilantro.Next time I will probably add some finely chopped veggies just to get some more into my son since he has become so picky. I think I'm adding this too a weekly rotation until I'm sick of it!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons ketchup, divided

1 3/4 pounds ground turkey, 97% lean

3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 large egg white, lightly beaten


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth, and 1 tablespoon ketchup; transfer mixture to a large bowl, and cool.
2. Add turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, egg white, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in bowl, and mix well. (Mixture will be very moist.)
3. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Form the turkey mixture into a loaf, and place on the pan. Brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake 1 hour or until thermometer inserted into center registers 170°. Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.

Zucchini Bread

2 cups raw grated zucchini

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts optional
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 -1 cup dates or raisins optional
1tsp allspice- (orig recipe calls for mace, I use allspice)
1/4 tsp cloves
Beat eggs, add sugar, oil, zucchini, mixing well. Sift together dry ingredients and beat into egg mixture. Add vanilla, and nuts, dates or raisins.
Pour into greased and floured loaf pan Bake at 350 for one hour or until done. Makes two smaller loaves or one large loaf. Depends on what type of pans you have.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Two Day Pulled Pork BBQ

This is my favorite BBQ recipe of. all. time!  I get rave review from everyone that tries it and it's the only pulled pork BBQ my husband wants anymore.

  • Bone-in Boston Butt (size of the cut depends on the amount of BBQ you want) - make sure it can fit in your slow cooker.
  • Your favorite pork BBQ sauce (I use Maurices Original BBQ Sauce)
  • Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, & Salt to taste
Day 1: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Place the roast fat side down in a shallow roasting pan.  Rub the seasonings onto the meat*.  Roast for 45 minutes per pound or until a thermometer reads 185 degrees.  Allow to cool on the counter, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2: Peel off all visible fat and place the roast into your slow cooker. Add 1 cup of water. Cover and set to low. Cook 4-6 hours or until the meat can be shredded easily with a fork.  I usually pull the bone out after a few hours and stir it up some. When mine is done I can literally stir it with a large spoon to shred it.

In my house we eat this on rolls with sauce and slaw.  Yum!!!

*Use your best judgment and your sniffer when adding the spices. You can always add more, but taking them off can be a huge pain.

Banana Chip Muffins

My boys eat a lot of bananas. A LOT. It is rare that bananas get overripe before they eat them; however, it happened when we went over 90 degrees for a week, and I had to figure out something to do with them so they didn't go to waste. This recipe was perfect, and will be my go-to recipe for using up bananas!

Banana Chip Muffins

1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/3 cups)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup miniature semisweet choc. chips

In large mixing bowl, eat egg, oil, and sugar until smooth. Stir in bananas. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; stir into the banana mixture just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

I tripled this recipe and it made exactly 4 dozen muffins. (recipe says 1 dozen). I think I baked them for 18 minutes, and they were just a tad on the overdone side (the bottoms were browner than I like); so I would check them a couple of minutes sooner. But they did freeze well, and even taste great frozen!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I just tried this recipe today and it was yummy!  Tim especially liked it.

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 4-6 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy

No need to cook the noodles first or stay home while it bakes. Just let it sit a few minutes before serving so it can firm up a bit.

1 pound uncooked lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
15 oz canned tomato sauce
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese1 1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
6 lasagna noodles,uncooked
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, strong-flavored like Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, oregano, and basil; simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella

Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture into a 5-quart slow cooker. Break 3 lasagna sheets in half and arrange over beef mixture; top with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat with another layer and finish with remaining 1/3 of beef mixture.

Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours. Remove cover; turn off heat and season to taste, if desired.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over beef mixture. Cover and set aside until cheese melts and lasagna firms up, about 10 minutes. Yields 1/6th of dish per serving.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spanish Shrimp

j and I are on a quest to eat healthier, yet we won't sacrifice flavor in the process (or I just end up completely unsatisfied and wanting a vat of ice cream). I recently subscribed to Cooking Light magazine and I'm loving all the deliciousness so far! We tried this one last night, and it's a keeper - sooooo good and so easy!

Recipe here

We ate it over rice with corn on the side - enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

summer pasta salad

2 cups of your favorite pasta
1 cucumber diced
1 green pepper diced
1 tomato diced
1 bottle of Italian dressing

Cook, drain, and rinse pasta as directed.

In a large bowl mix together the pasta, cucumber, pepper, and tomato. Pour dressing over salad.

Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Stir before serving.

The great thing about this recipe is you can add whatever vegetables you like! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

good ol' chili

I learned how to make this from my mom. There's really not an exact recipe, but it comes out delicious every time! I usually dump in whatever I have on hand and leave out what I don't.

You'll need:
ground beef - 1-2 lbs (ground turkey works too)
1 big (28oz?) can diced tomatoes
1 (14oz?) can tomato sauce
3-8 tablespoons chili powder, in the bottle
2-4 teaspoons ground cumin
beans -  I usually do at least one can of chili beans and one can of kidney beans, but I've been known to add great northern or even a can of pork 'n beans from time to time.

Optional - add one item or add it all:
1 (10.5oz) can Rotel
1 small can diced green chilies
1 cup salsa

To make it:
1) Brown the ground beef
2) Dump everything except the spices in a pot or crock pot, mix together.
3) Start with the smallest amount of spices and mix those in.
4) Allow the chili to cook for a bit - once it's hot, taste test and add more chili powder if you want more heat. Add more cumin to taste.
5) Simmer on the stove for up to an hour or in crock pot on low all afternoon. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes!

** you may add more tomato sauce or water if you like a thinner consistency

Serve with shredded cheese and cinnamon rolls! :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Healthy Tzatziki Sauce

This yogurt-cucumber-garlic dip is great for dipping vegetables, pita wedges, or served with a variety of greek foods (gyro anyone?).  This is a healthy version.'s healthy-ish. Makes 1 serving.

  • 1/2 c. plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1/4 c. diced cucumber
  • 1 chopped scallion
  • 1 minced small garlic clove
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh dill
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • squirt of lemon
Mix all ingredients well. Tastes best if chilled overnight.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Paint's Chicken

This rich and creamy chicken dishes is one of my favorites! You can easily make as much or as little as you need.


  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded 1/2" thick
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, uncooked
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 4 slices provolone cheese (or white cheese of your choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray
  3. Lay chicken breasts in dish. Cover with bacon then onion slices.
  4. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes
  5. While chicken is baking, mix soup, sour cream, lemon juice, and parsley
  6. Drain grease from the chicken
  7. Lay cheese slices on top of onions then pour soup mixture on top
  8. Bake at 350 until bubbly, approximately 25 minutes
  9. Serve over pasta
I serve these over wide egg noodles. Enjoy!

Taco Pockets

1 1/3 pounds ground sirloin or ground turkey breast
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon (a palmful) ground cumin
1 tablespoon, (a palmful) dark chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
1 teaspoon (1/3 palmful) coarse salt,
1 tablespoon (1 turn around the pan) vegetable oil,
4(12-inch diameter) soft flour tortillas
1 cup mild taco sauce
1 heart of romaine lettuce, shredded
2 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups shredded monterey jack


Combine ground meat with onion, garlic, spices, and salt and form 4 patties. Pan fry patties in 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat for 7 minutes on each side.

To make a taco pocket, blister a flour tortilla on a hot griddle pan for 30 seconds on each side. Place tortilla on dinner plate and spread surface with 1 /4 cup mild taco sauce. Pile shredded lettuce, tomatoes and a handful of cheese in center of tortilla. Top veggies and cheese with cooked taco burger patty and wrap tortilla up and over patty on all four sides. Turn square pouch over and cut from corner to corner, making 2 taco pockets that will not crumble and drip like traditional tacos.

I found this recipe on the Food Network. It's one of Rachel Ray's 30 minute meal recipes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

strawberry pretzel salad

This is a family favorite! We usually have it as a salad, but it could easily be the dessert as well!

You'll need:
2 C crushed pretzels

3/4 cup melted butter
3 T sugar

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip

2 (3 oz) pkgs strawberry Jell-o
2 C boiling water
2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen strawberries - semi-thawed (take them out of the freezer when you start the crust)

To make it:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Combine pretzels, melted butter, and 3 T sugar in a 9x13 pan. Press into bottom-only of dish to form crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
3) Combine cream cheese, 1 C sugar, and Cool Whip with mixer. Pour mixture over cooled crust. Be sure to smoosh the mixture to the edges of the pan to form a "seal" with the white layer (this keeps the Jello from sinking down to the crust).
4) Combine Jello with boiling water until Jello is completely dissolved. Add frozen strawberries in and stir until strawberries are melted. The strawberries should make the Jello start to set up, but if not, stick the Jello mixture in the freezer for 5-10 minutes - you want it at a "goopy gel" stage (you'll know what I mean :) - basically so it's not sheer liquid. The pour the Jello over the white layer.
5) Cover and refrigerate until Jello is set up!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Farmer's Cobbler

This is called farmer's cobbler because farmer's always had the ingredients on hand and could "whip up" a cobbler any time. It's a familiar favorite in our family. Especially with fresh picked blackberries!

1 stick of butter
1 cup milk
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 bag of frozen fruit or 2 cups fresh fruit

  • Preheat oven at 350
  • While oven is heating, place 1 stick of butter in a 11 x 13 x 2 pan
  • Place in oven so butter can melt
  • Meanwhile, mix milk, flour, and sugar together
  • When butter has melted, pour fruit in the bottom of the pan (be careful with the hot, melted butter)
  • Pour mixture over fruit
  • Do not stir!
  • Bake in oven for 30-45 minutes until cobbler is brown
enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Dressing Marinade

I don't know if this quite constitutes a recipe, it's only 2 ingredients, but it's SO good. We have these often! And if we buy an economy pack of pork chops we'll put them with the dressing and then Food Saver them for next time!

You need:
pork chops
Italian dressing

Place the pork chops in a bowl and pour the marinade over them. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or over night, turning/stirring the pork chops every few hours. Grill the chops and enjoy!

Black Eyed Pea Salad

With my recent frustration with what to feed Cailin, I found it amusing that a simple salad I made for my Mommy & Me group was such a hit not only for the mommies but also the kids in the class... including mine. It is so simple to make.


1 Can Black Eyed Peas drained and rinsed
2 Green Onions chopped
1 Large Tomato diced or the equivalent of cherry tomatoes chopped or whole (about a cup)
1/3 cup Red Pepper chopped
1/3 cup Italian Dressing (I used Newman's Own Light Italian Dressing)
2 Avocados diced

There is no order in which to add the ingredients, but I added the avocados last just in case they might brown. I combined all of the ingredients the night before and let it sit covered in the fridge for the night and then threw in the avocados about 2 hours before class.

Hope you guys enjoy!

Easy Salmon

We're not huge fish connoisseurs at our house, but this one satisfies even my picky husband. And it's sooo easy!

What you need:
Salmon steaks
1 T fat-free mayo per steak (I use Miracle Whip Light and it's still good)
1/2 tsp lemon pepper per steak
1 tsp lemon juice per steak

What you do:
1) Pre-heat the oven to Broil
2) Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray
3) Place the salmon steaks on the cookie sheet, skin side down, if they have a skin
4) Mix the mayo, lemon pepper, and lemon juice in a bowl - don't forget to add the ingredients PER steak
5) Spread the sauce on the steaks
6) Broil for 12-15 minutes until the steaks are flakey and done

Super juicy and delish! :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Home Made Waffle Mix

When my husband said he wanted to make his own waffle mix I thought he was crazy! But after seeing how easy it was, and tasting the difference. We'll never go back to premade waffles again!

4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup

4 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour, approximately 1 cup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 whole eggs, beaten
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
16 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
Vegetable spray, for waffle iron


Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl beat together eggs and melted butter, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the iron according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Close iron top and cook until the waffle is golden on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.