Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cheddar Beer Soup

4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. milk
3 c. shredded cheddar
12 oz. flat beer
corn starch

Melt butter in dutch oven. Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Stir in milk and cheese, stirring constantly until cheese melts. Pour in beer, heat through. Thicken with corn starch mixed with water, if desired. Serve piping hot. Serves 6-8.

Cinnamon Toasted Almonds

I first had these in Germany. They were being sold from a kiosk in a train station, and you could smell them all over the station. Then I ran across this recipe at tasteofhome.com and decided to try them as Christmas gifts. They are so easy, and make your house smell equally as wonderful! The only change I would make is add maybe 1/2 cup more almonds, as there was too much sauce.

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling

2 egg whites
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups unblanched almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy; beat in vanilla. Add almonds; stir gently to coat. Combine the sugars, salt and cinnamon; add to nut mixture and stir gently to coat.

Spread evenly into two well-greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake at 300° for 35-45 minutes or until almonds are crisp, stirring once. Cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 4 cups.

Cran-Yam Crumble

My sister gave me this yummy twist on traditionally unpopular sweet potatoes! You can mash the sweet potatoes or leave them whole, depending on your texture preference.

2 17oz. cans of yams, drained (I could not find this size, so I used 29 oz and added a little pureed pumpkin)
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 bag of cranberries
handful or so of mini marshmallows

Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon and then cut into it the butter. Mix in the cranberries. Reserve about half of the mixture to use for a topping. Mix all together with the yams and place into a 9x13 glass baking dish. Then put the reserved mix on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 min. adding the marshmallow to the top during the last 10 min. of baking.

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

As a mom of young children, I LOVE using my slow cooker, but sometimes the recipes all start tasting the same! I found this refreshingly different one on kraft.com. Of course it doesn't have the breading of traditional orange chicken but it does come out with a nice caramelized finish. My two daughters even liked it!

Prep: 10 min. Total: 8 hours 10 min.

8 small boneless skinless chicken thighs (1 lb)
3 Tbsp. flour
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. grated fresh gingerroot (I used 1 tsp. ground ginger)

Toss chicken with flour in slow cooker.

Stir in all remaining ingredients; cover with lid.

Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Laundry Soap

Okay, another recipe that's not a meal idea but one that I want to make sure to save. I made one batch of laundry soap about 8-10 months ago. The ingredients for 1 recipe probably cost me less than $1.50. (I had to purchase 2 boxes that I only used 1/2 cup and 1 cup worth of ingredients so it's hard to know the exact cost). This recipe makes quite a bit, which is why it lasted so long. Definitely a great way to save money! Although I coupon, I no longer look at purchasing laundry detergents of any kind. I use dryer balls so I don't need fabric softener either.

Here's the recipe for the soap:

Grate 1/3 to ½ bar of Fels Naptha. (can use other bar soap such as Ivory as well)
Cook over heat in 4 cups of water until dissolved.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half-way with hot tap water.
To this hot water add the pot of melted soap and water from the stove. (I just use a really huge pot that I bought for laundry soap making  at the thrift store to cook the soap and then I fill it up to the five gallon mark with water.)
Next add 1 cup of the Super Washing Soda and a 1/2 cup of the Borax Laundry Booster.

Allow to cool and then mix well and pour into your containers. I have two big containers that hold most of my laundry soap (one is a plastic, washed out kitty litter container). I then just pour some into two smaller, regular sized laundry containers that I continue to refill as they run out. I do have to shake my bottles each time I use them as it tends to separate. I used a full-bar of Fels Naptha the first time and think it was too much which is why I cut the recipe back to 1/3-1/2 bar. Two different recipes said two different things. I tried it one way and now I’m trying it the other.

I don't really like smelly stuff and when you cook the laundry soap on the stove, it WILL make your house smell like a Fels Naptha bar which is pretty strong. This was the only part of making the laundry soap that I didn't like. Thankfully, the smell disappeared within a few hours.

Pot Roast Pie

Here's another one of my favorite meals that was brought to me after I had my son. What a blessing these meals were! If you like pot roast, you will like this recipe. Honestly, my husband was a little skeptical before it arrived and it wouldn't be something I would THINK that I would like but I LOVED it and my family enjoyed it as well and Phil said I could add it to our meal idea list.

If you have a smaller family, like me, you might find it hard to make a yummy pot roast and actually eat all of it before you either get sick of it or it goes bad in the fridge. I often have these roasts that sit in my freezer for awhile because I keep waiting to make them when we have friends over and then, when we do have friends over, it's usually spontaneous and we don't have time to cook a big roast in the crock pot for 6 hours. So, here's what you do...

Cook your pot roast how you normally would. A little seasoning, possibly sear it on both sides before sticking it in your crock pot with an onion or two, carrots, potatoes and anything else you like. It doesn't really matter what recipe you follow. However you normally do it will work fine. I just looked up a pot roast recipe in a cookbook I had and basically followed that.

After you eat your meal, take the remaining pot roast, drippings/gravy left in the crock pot, and any remaining veggies and smush everything up. I just used a fork to break apart the pot roast and cut the potatoes and carrots I had into smaller pieces. I then mixed it all together along with the drippings in the crock pot. My friend, Tracey, who made this meal for us, added a bag of frozen mixed veggies to the mixture and a few more spices. I don't know exactly what spices she used so just use a little of what sounds good to you. :)

Depending on how much you have, you can make either one or two pies. I have some small pie pans so I made two smaller pies with the leftovers which are easier for our family to eat. Make your own pie crust or use a store bought one if you'd like. Put the pie crust in your pan and then pour the pot pie mixture on top. Make a batch of mashed potatoes (which you can make with butter and cream/milk or healthy and plain). Put about a 1 inch layer of the mashed potatoes on top and freeze until later.

These pies are great reheated and taken to a family who needs a meal or for your family to eat later. A family in our church gave us the arm roast that we used so I basically used a half bag of carrots, 4 potatoes and a few misc. ingredients and made 3 tasty meals for my family!!! This is such a great way to use the leftovers for another meal. Hope you try it sometime!

Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars

This dessert was brought to me by my friend, Aubrey, after I had Brecken. I must admit I ate almost the whole pan by myself since my husband doesn't like peanut buttery foods. Since it was a whole pan and I didn't want to eat it in 2 days, I cut the bars into single servings, wrapped them in plastic and froze them. Then, when I wanted a treat, I would take one out and eat it frozen or slightly thawed. They were DELICIOUS! Thanks Aubrey!

(These are way less time consuming to make than cookies.)
1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
chocolate chips as many or few as you want!
Bake at 350 degrees until brown around the edges, use 13 X 9 pan

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Delicious Chicken Casserole

Made by Alyssa Stanley after Brecken’s birth. So yummy that Taeya & Megan each had thirds!


  • 4 skinless, bone-in chicken breast halves
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 6 ounces sour cream
  • 2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups crushed buttery round crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bring to a boil the chicken breasts, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and enough water to cover. Cover, reduce heat to medium low; simmer for 35 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Cool chicken, remove meat from bones, and cut into bite-size pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together sour cream, soup, broth, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cooked rice and chicken. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 inch casserole dish. In a resealable bag, shake together crushed crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle crackers over the top.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
Notes from Alyssa: Here is the recipe. I am glad you liked it. It is my favorite. I subbed a roasted chicken for the chicken breasts just to make it faster and then just use chicken broth for the liquid. I also do 1 can of cream of mushroom and 1 can of cream of chicken.
**Recipe can be found on Allrecipes.com

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Satay Chicken Pasta Salad

This is a Pampered Chef recipe which I originally tasted at one of their cooking shows. It is a great main dish for summer because of all the fresh veggies available, but really yummy anytime. It's a good potluck dish, too.

8 oz. uncooked bowtie pasta (I've also subbed penne or angel hair)
1 cup Asian vinaigrette salad dressing (I especially like Ken's brand)
2 Tbsp. Pampered Chef Asian seasoning mix (or 1 1-in. piece peeled fresh gingerroot, finely grated; 2 garlic cloves, pressed; 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper)
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium red bell pepper
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil
3 cups diced cooked chicken (about 1 lb.)
Add'l chopped peanuts, if desired

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to large mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, for dressing, combine vinaigrette, seasoning mix (or gingerroot, garlic and cayenne) and peanut butter in small bowl. Whisk well and set aside.

3. Cut carrots into julienne strips. Cut bell pepper lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Cut carrot and pepper strips crosswise into 1-in. pieces. Finely chop peanuts and basil.

4. Add chicken, carrots, bell pepper, peanuts, basil and dressing to pasta; mix well. Garnish with add'l chopped peanuts if desired.

If I have shelled edamame on hand, I'll throw that in (cooked) as well. Everyone in my family likes this, even my 3 and 1 year old daughters!

White Pizza

Yum! Something a little different, and incredibly fast.

1 prepared pizza crust
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 c. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, divided
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
pepperoni slices if desired
seasonsed salt to taste

Place pizza crust on a lightly greased pizza pan or baking stone; bake at 425 degrees until dough rises, about 3-5 minutes. Spread garlic over crust; sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheeses. Arrange tomato and pepperoni slices on top; sprinkle with remaining cheese and seasoned salt. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

No-Knead Parmesan-Garlic Bread

This recipe makes a beautiful, tasty loaf of bread (or two!). Great presentation and guaranteed to be enjoyed by all. Although it does take some time to make because of the rise time, it's really not very difficult to make. Try it for dinner with a great Italian meal.

Place oven rack below center of oven. Warm oven briefly.
Scald 1 cup of milk.

1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 cup lukewarm milk from above (scalded then cooled)
¼ cup softened margarine or butter
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoon salt
4-4 ½ cups all purpose flour

Parmesan-garlic filling:
          ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
          ½ cup margarine/butter softened
          3 tablespoons parsley flakes (I usually use just under 3 Tbsp)
          ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, margarine, sugar, eggs and salt. Stir in a cup of flour. Stir in remaining flour. Continue stirring scraping dough from side of the bowl, until soft sticky dough forms. Cover, let rise in a warm place until double, about one hour. (Dough is ready if indention remains when touched.) Stir down dough by beating about 25 strokes. Turn dough onto well floured surface; roll or pat in rectangle 18x12 inches. Spread Parmesan-garlic filling evenly over dough. Cut dough into 3 strips 18x4 inches. (I often make 2 smaller loaves because it makes one really HUGE loaf if not made into two and I have a hard time putting it on one cookie sheet.) Roll each strip into rope, pinch edges and ends to seal. Place ropes diagonally and close on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Braid ropes gently and loosely. Do not stretch. Pinch ends to fasten. Tuck under securely. Cover, let rise until 1 ½ times original size about 30 minutes. Mix one egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water, brush over braid. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional). Place oven rack below the center of the oven if it is not already there. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 25-30 minutes until braid is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. If braid is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chicken Bryan-Carrabba's Recipe

Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 30 mins

This meal is delicious! Very fancy looking when prepared and other meats can be substituted for the chicken. The first time I had this was with pork chops and it was amazing then as well. 


Servings: 2

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Olive Oil
4 ounces goat cheese
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2-4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
4 teaspoons onions, minced
8 tablespoons butter, divided
6 tablespoons white wine
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon's worth)


  1. Brush chicken on both sides with olive oil, season to taste with Kosher salt and cracked pepper.
  2. Grill chicken until done (internal temp of 165F) - prepare lemon butter sauce while chicken is grilling.
  3. Saute onion and garlic in 2 Tbps butter until soft and fragrant.
  4. Add white wine and lemon juice, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes to reduce.
  5. Add remaining 6 Tbsp butter, a little at a time, until it melts and mixture is emulsified.
  6. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and basil, heat until hot (but do not overheat or sauce may break).
  7. Top nearly-done chicken breasts with 2 oz each of the goat cheese until cheese warms and softens.
  8. To serve, spoon lemon butter sauce over chicken breasts.
  9. Enjoy! I serve this dish with pasta tossed in butter or olive oil (the delicious lemon butter sauce will perfect it), garlic mashed potatoes and a green salad -- yummmm!
One tip I saw on the original link was to substitute white wine for the second half of the butter to help make it a bit healthier. It will save lots of calories. I have not tried this substitute as I haven't yet made this dish myself but I'm sure I'll give it a shot when I make it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oven-baked Spanish Tortilla

Can be served hot or cold for any meal. Traditionally served in small cubes as Tapas with beer.

Oven-baked Spanish Tortilla – Tortilla Español al Horno
modified from: http://spanish-food.suite101.com/article.cfm/traditional_spanish_omelette

  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb onion (about 2 medium onions), chopped
  • 2 1/2 lbs potato (about 8 medium potatoes), peeled & thinly sliced
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 tsp pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.

  2. Boil potatoes until not quite soft (about 7 min) and drain.

  3. Heat olive oil in frying pan and fry onion until tender. Add garlic and saute a few more minutes.

  4. Let potatoes, onion, and garlic cool slightly.

  5. In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together. Add the cooled onion/garlic mixture and stir.

  6. Mix egg mixture into the potatoes.

  7. Grease a 9 x 11-inch dish fairly liberally with oil.

  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking-dish and flatten the top surface of the mix – no peaks wanted!

  9. Bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes until its golden brown - make sure its set in the center using a sharp knife to test it. When ready remove from the oven and leave it cool to cool and set a little more. (about 5 minutes)

  10. Loosen the edges with a knife and serve.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stuffed Bleu Cheese Potatoes

I discovered this wonderful food blog the other day called "Our Best Bites." When I started looking through the website, I was very impressed by the type of recipes they posted. They not only look great but appear relatively simple to make. I just found the website last week and have already made two of the recipes. I was going to use the blue cheese in this recipe but when I went to the store, the Gorgonzola was a better deal so I used it instead and they turned out delicious!! I often take about 10 baked potatoes and make a big batch of twice baked potatoes that I freeze for side dishes later. They take just a minute to reheat in the microwave or I can throw them in the oven with my main course if I have the time. I will definitely be switching my twice baked potatoes recipe to this recipe though! They were worth every calorie! 

4 medium baking potatoes
½ Cup sour cream
1 oz (1/4 cup) crumbled bleu cheese (or Gorgonzola)
¼ Cup milk or buttermilk
4 Tbs real butter, cut into chunks
¾ tsp salt
Dash pepper
½ t garlic powder
8 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (I used crumbled bacon bits from the salad section)
Grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Rub them lightly with a bit of shortening or vegetable oil (helps crisp the skin) and place directly on oven rack, or a cookie sheet. Bake for one hour or until potatoes are done.
2. Remove potatoes and let cool just a bit. Cut an opening on the top and hollow out each potato, OR cut each potato in half (as shown in photos) to make 8 servings. You may want to hold them with a potholder as they will still be hot!3. Scoop out the insides and place in a bowl. Mash, and add butter, sour cream, bleu cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic. Beat with a hand mixer until fluffy. Carefully spoon mixture back into potato shells. Place in a baking dish.
Return to hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.
4. Remove and sprinkle bacon and cheddar cheese over each potato bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Original recipe found here:

These were just a little on the soft side. I might cut back a little on the milk next time so they're not quite so mushy. Also, I usually bake my potatoes and don't have time to make the recipe while they're still warm. I often don't make them until they've completely cooled and have never had a problem. 

Chicken Ranch Pizza

I made this yesterday and it was delicious! I love Little Ceasars Chicken Garlic Pizza and wanted to make one just like it - well, this came pretty close! It was my second time making a Pizza, and first time making Pizza dough - it was easy and I'll be making this again and again.

Chicken Ranch Pizza

3 chicken thighs, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
Italian seasoning (about 1 tsp.)
1/3 – ½ cup Ranch dressing
2 Roma or 1 large tomato, diced
½ red onion, sliced
½ lb. cheese, Mozerella or Monterey Jack
and whatever other toppings you like!

Saute chopped chicken thighs in olive oil with 3 minced garlic cloves & Italian seasoning.

Make the crust and spread it out on a cookie sheet with sides.

Mix Ranch dressing with 3 minced garlic cloves, spread onto the crust. Add toppings: cooked chicken, tomatos, red onion, etc. Top with shredded cheese.

Quick & Easy Pizza Crust
4 ½ cups flour
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¾ cup ice cold water
Mix in bread machine for 7 minutes.
Makes 2 rectangle-cookie-sheet sized pizzas.
Make sure you make the crust thin as this dough does not work with a thick crust! If we only want one pizza, we put the other half rolled in flour into a zip lock bag. It can be refrigerated for about a week or frozen and later thawed.

Baking Pizza Tips
When the oven is at temp, place pizza in the center of the middle rack to allow for maximum air circulation around the pan. A simple cheese and pepperoni pizza prepared in a 12" diameter pizza pan will bake evenly and thoroughly in a 450° F oven on the middle rack in only 12 min.

Adding more toppings to the pizza adds more moisture and mass to cook through. For example, a deluxe pizza with four or five different toppings generally requires a longer baking time at a lower temperature, perhaps 325° F to 350° F for 25 to 35 minutes.

1) The cheese has melted on top and is beginning to brown,
2) The crust edge has browned, from a medium to a golden brown, and,
3) Carefully lift the edge of the pizza to inspect its bottom - should be evenly browned.

(Baking tips from: http://pizzaware.com/howtomakepizza7.htm)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fiery Volcanos

This is from my mom's kitchen, I don't know where she got it. But it's good! And easy to make. I often serve this to company.

Fiery Volcanos
1 ½ cups rice
1 lb. ground beef
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 15oz. can pineapple tidbits
1 4oz. can mushroom pieces
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
2 TBSP. vinegar
1 TBSP. cornstarch

Prepare rice.

Brown and drain ground beef. When meat is half cooked, add the onion. Then add the salt, pepper, pineapple, mushrooms, tomato sauce & vinegar.

Remove ½ cup of the broth and wisk in the cornstarch. Return it to the pan and bring to a boil to thicken. To serve, spoon over rice “volcanos”.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Enchiladas

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Enchiladas
recipe from: http://hubpages.com/hub/Scrambled-Egg-Breakfast-Enchiladas-A-10-Minute-Recipe-for-a-Great-Mexican-Breakfast

(This recipe is for one, multiply the recipe as needed.)
3 eggs whisked in a bowl with a pinch of salt
3 corn tortillas
A spicy and smooth tomato based salsa (A red chili sauce would also work here)
A bit of grated mild to medium cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey jack or other mild cheese
Sour cream
A few thin slices of white onion and cilantro sprigs (if you have any)

Heat 2 pans on the stove, both at medium. One pan should be a non stick fry pan suitable for scrambling eggs – the other needs to be a very heavy flat surfaced fry pan or skillet, suitable for dry frying the tortillas. Cast iron or something of a similar heft will shine here.

When the pans have pre heated, add a splash of oil to the non stick fry pan, and scramble your eggs. Remove the pan from the heat before the eggs are entirely cooked, as they will continue to set after you add them to the tortillas. Take them off about 30 seconds before they would look like you would want to eat them and place in a bowl off the heat.

Once your eggs are waiting at the side, take your corn tortillas and dip them to completely cover them in the spicy tomato salsa. Add another scant splash of oil to your heavy cast iron like pan, and place both tortillas face down beside each other to sear.

Let the tortillas cook for about 1 minute (checking to see that they are not burning) and then flip them over. Once you have flipped them, pile your eggs onto the tortillas, dividing evenly, and then cover the eggs with a bit of grated cheese. After another minute or so, fold the tortillas over the eggs (Don't bother trying to roll them up, just fold them like mounded quesadillas) and then move to a serving plate. The tortillas should be very softened and the sauce should be browning up and crisping in places.

The tortillas may stick a bit, but don’t worry about it. Use a heavy metal spatula and just scrape them firmly off the pan. They will look fine on the plate.

Top your finished enchiladas with sour cream and more spicy salsa and place cilantro leaves and thin slices of crispy onion over the sour cream. These are great with refried beans on the side, but quite substantial enough without them if you don't have any handy.

Georgia's notes: I made this for the first time this morning. I used a mild red enchilada sauce. As I was in a hurry, I forgot the sour cream etc. on top, but it was still quite good. The top two tortillas in the package didn't hold together very well (as is often the case) but the second two turned out looking better. I'll be making this for breakfast the rest of the week! A nice change from fried eggs & toast every morning. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sarah's Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the best cookies ever. The key is to add just the right amount of flour and take them out of the oven at the right time.

1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place sugar, brown sugar and margarine in bowl and mix. Then add eggs and vanilla and mix.

Gradually add baking soda, salt and flour to the sugar mixture and beat until mixed well. Add chocolate chips and mix briefly.

Drop onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Take out of oven when outside of cookie is just turning brown (the middle will look slightly undercooked) Let sit on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes then cool on wire racks.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Boston Cream Pie

This recipe makes a beautiful and very tasty cake. It looks like it could be difficult to make but it really doesn't take very long and is not hard to make. The most difficult part is slicing the cake in half and moving the top off and back on without breaking it. Try it for a special occasion! Makes a great birthday cake. This recipe can be made and eaten immediately although I think it's best after it's been chilled for awhile so the chocolate on the top is hard and cold.

From the kitchen of Laurie Reynolds from Lee Hake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cups milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Split cake to make two layers. Fill bottom layer with cream filling. Place top layer on cream and spread the chocolate glaze over pie. Refrigerate.
Grease and flour 9 inch cake pan. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Beat batter on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed scraping bowl occasionally for 3 minutes. Pour into pan and bake until a wooden toothpick comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. Cool on cake rack.

Cream center

1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch salt in quart pan. Stir in milk gradually. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mix thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute stirring constantly to avoid burning. Stir at least half of hot mix into egg yolks very gradually. Blend into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil another 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Glaze
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
3 Tbsp margarine or butter
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ tsp vanilla
Approx. 2 Tbsp hot water

Melt chocolate and margarine over low heat until melted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in water 1 Tbsp at a time until right consistency.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I found this recipe easy to make and it turned out great! Not as tasty as a cream cheese frosting but it was a good frosting. I love peppermint frosting and I'm sure you can replace the vanilla with peppermint.

This recipe is used at a bakery although I'm not sure where online I originally found this recipe.

The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.
Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes*

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

If you are icing a 3-layer cake, use the following recipe proportions:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
8 to 10 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Restaurant Styled Salsa

From the blog of The Pioneer Woman. This salsa takes minutes to make and is sooo good! Guaranteed to be devoured if you have a party. I think it tastes best chilled so make a day or a few hours ahead of time.

• 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
• 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
• ¼ cups Chopped Onion
• 1 clove Garlic, Minced
• 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
• ¼ teaspoons Sugar
• ¼ teaspoons Salt
• ¼ teaspoons Ground Cumin
• ½ cups chopped Cilantro (more To Taste!)
• ½ whole Lime Juice
Preparation Instructions
Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like—I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I found this recipe while blog hopping and copied it down and made it for dinner. It was wonderful and everything you think of when you want a pulled pork sandwich. Enjoy!

2 ½ - 3 lbs. pork shoulder or pork butt
¾ cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. red wine or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
½ tsp. liquid smoke, optional
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Sandwich rolls

Place roast inside crock pot. Combine all remaining ingredients (except rolls) and pour over meat. Cook on low heat for 8-9 hours. Shred meat (discarding fat and bones) and return to sauce. Serve on sandwich rolls with Barbecue Table Mop.

You can easily double this recipe. The cooking time might need to be lengthened.

Barbecue Table Mop

1 cup hickory flavored bottled barbecue sauce
¾ cup ketchup
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes about 2 cups sauce.

Treasure Island Chicken “Orange Chicken”

We had dinner at our friend’s, Annette & Brian’s, home and Annette made this dish for us. Both Phil and I had seconds. It was a simple meal but it was very good.

4 chicken breasts (I’d recommend cutting them in half)
½ stick of butter
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1 ½ cup orange juice

Place the chicken breasts in a greased shallow “stove to table” baking dish. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt ½ stick of butter. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a small bowl, mix, add to butter. Stirring constantly, add orange juice. Cook slowly until thick and smooth. Pour over chicken and bake 40 minutes longer. Serve over rice.

Homemade Hummus

This recipe is originally from MckMama's Blog.

1 16 oz can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
The liquid from said can of chickpeas (I personally use just a little of the liquid so it's not too runny)
4 tablespoons lemon juice (or lime if you want to get crazy)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 crushed garlic cloves (I often use one)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Variations: I made this without the Tahini. Only used 2-4 T of liquid from chickpeas. Tasted great when finished. Might try some cumin powder next time.

This tastes amazing with homemade pitas. I'll try to post that recipe soon.

Mango Lassi

This is my version of a mango lassi. A mango lassi is a delicious Indian drink and can be found on the menu of most Indian restaurants. Some blend the ice into the drink, some just add ice to the drink but I always prefer mine blended.

1 1/2 cups diced fresh mango (2-3 mangoes)
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
Scant 1/4 cup sugar (or less depending on preference)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (optional)
1/2 cup-2 cups ice cubes
In a blender, combine the mango, orange juice, and sugar. Once well-blended, add ice cubes and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Bread

This bread is a tried and true good zucchini bread recipe. It tastes delicious and is very moist. It's my all-time favorite zucchini bread recipe and was found on allrecipes.com

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Yields: 24 servings

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts (or chocolate chips)

1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Megan’s notes: When I make this, I substitute pureed vegetables for about 3/4 of the oil and it was great. You can’t taste the veggies but it makes it much healthier. (Pureed veggies consist of: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash and carrots blended smooth in my blender)

Cheesecake Factory Buffalo Blasts

These are wonderful appetizers. My husband loves to eat them and even loves to make them. It’s his “show-off” recipe and it is just as good as I remember from the Cheesecake Factory.

2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup buffalo-style hot sauce
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
24 wonton wrappers
oil (for frying, peanut suggested)

NOTE: all amounts are suggested; feel free to adjust to your personal preference.

Put about a tsp into the center of a small wonton, seal edges using a little water. Keep covered until all wontons are done. You can make these with the large wontons as well. Just add more filling.

Heat oil to about 325 degrees F.

Fry wontons, a few at a time, until lightly brown and crisp.

Serve with bleu cheese or ranch salad dressing/dip.

NOTE: The filling can be made the day ahead and refrigerated, and the flavor intensifies.

Almost Too Much Chocolate Cake

This is a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. It's super easy to make and tastes delicious. It calls for a bundt pan and it tastes great made that way without frosting. However, my favorite way to make this cake is in two cake pans. I then frost the cake with homemade peppermint frosting. It's so delicious this way as it's such a moist cake and the peppermint and chocolate just go so well together.

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil (I usually use applesauce)
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate. If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

There are times when I don't have the exact ingredients and need to alter the recipe a little. I always use a chocolate cake mix of some sort whether or not it's a devil's food cake. If I don't have chocolate pudding, I've used vanilla before. Also, I've used white chocolate chips when I run out of semi-sweet chocolate chips. It's always turned out great!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Banana Bread

This recipe is from the home of one of my 5th grade students. It was one of the best banana bread recipes I've ever had. I usually omit the nuts and add chocolate chips instead. Do whatever works best for you though!!

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter
2 eggs
1 ½ cups of ripe bananas (4)
1/3 cup water
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
1 baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped nuts (I always use chocolate chips instead of the nuts)

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom only of loaf pan.

Mix sugar and butter in bowl. Stir in eggs until blended. Add bananas and water; beat for 30 seconds. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts until just moistened; stir in nuts. Pour into pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes; cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing.

I often double this recipe and make one large loaf and two small loafs that way I have one or two to freeze or give away.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chicken Fajitas

I love fajitas, but have never tried to make them before. I found these recipes on about.com and the fajitas tasted fantastic.

Fajita Seasoning Mix

  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. crushed chicken bouillon cube
  • 1-1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Pour into small glass or plastic container, seal tightly and store in a cool, dry place.
Makes the equivalent of 3 packets of commercial or purchased Fajita Seasoning Mix.

Chicken Fajitas
source: http://busycooks.about.com/od/chickenbreastrecipes/r/chickenfajitas.htm

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 3 Tbsp. Fajita Seasoning Mix
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 6 flour tortillas

Cut chicken into thin strips. Cut green pepper into strips. Heat oil in large skillet and add chicken. Cook and stir over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Then add three tablespoons of the Fajita Seasoning Mix, water, green pepper and onion. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir over medium heat until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and grated cheese in warmed tortillas.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


We just made these for a delicious summertime treat. It was a perfect ending to a great day!

This crepe recipe is from my Vita-mix cookbook. It is so quick and easy to make and can be made in any blender.

4 eggs
1 cup skim evaporated milk
1 Tablespoon sugar or other sweetener
1 cup flour

Blend. Pour a small amount into lightly greased pan. Move pan around so it spreads the crepe mixture thin. Cook for a minute until it dries out enough to flip. Flip and cook until slightly browned. Remove and fill with your favorite toppings.

For a sweet crepe, I love homemade whipping cream and fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) or whatever you like.

TIP: I also use this crepe recipe to make manicotti. It is delicious and cuts down on prep time because you can put a spoonful of filling in and roll it up rather than having to stuff the pasta shells with the cheese.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pampered Chef Lemon Blueberry Trifle

1 frozen prepared pound cake (16 oz)
2 lemons
1 1/2 cups milk
1 container (8oz) sour cream
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
2 packages (3.4 oz each) lemon instant pudding and pie filling
1 pint fresh blueberries (about 2 cups) (or 1 can blueberry pie filling)
1 square (1oz) white chocolate for baking

1. Cut pound cake into 1-inch cubes; place in large colander or bowl. Using a lemon Zester, make several lengthwise scores in one lemon, top to bottom; slice into 6 slices. Cut each slice in half and set aside for garnish. Zest remaining lemon using short strokes; set aside. Juice lemon. Sprinkle lemon juice over pound cake; toss. (I feel like this step is unnecessary as the lemon zest is overpowered by the lemon pudding. I leave it out of the next step as well)

2. In a bowl, combine milk, sour cream, half of the whipped topping and reserved lemon zest; whisk until smooth. Add pudding mix; whisk until mixture begins to thicken.

3. Set aside 12 blueberries for garnish. To assemble trifle, place 1/3 of the cake cubes into bottom of chilled trifle bowl or clear glass bowl. Top with 1/3 of the blueberries. Grate 1/4 of the chocolate over blueberries. Top with of the pudding mixture, pressing lightly. Repeat layers 2 more times, reserving the remaining grated chocolate for garnish. Spread remaining pudding over entire top of trifle, creating a smooth surface.

4. If desired, decorate top with whipped topping by piping 12 rosettes around edge of bowl. Place one lemon slice between rosettes and one reserved blueberry on each rosette. Or, spread remaining whipped topping over top. Place lemon slices and blueberries on top. Grate remaining chocolate in center. Chill until serving.

Yield: 10 large servings or 20 sample servings

Agua de Sandia (Watermelon Water)

I found this traditional Mexican recipe in a magazine, where the author described how the second half of her watermelon usually sits in her fridge, leaking everywhere, until it goes bad. This totally describes our family's use of watermelon, too! So I was very excited to try this recipe that uses up lots of it. I had actually had something similar on a trip to Belize once, and loved it. If it's not watermelon season, you can also try other types of chopped fruit such as mango, cantaloupe, strawberries or grapes. We've only used watermelon, and it is so refreshing on hot summer days.

2 cups diced watermelon
3 cups water, divided
sugar to taste (up to 1/8 cup)

Puree watermelon and 2 cups water in a blender until very smooth. Pour into a pitcher. Stir in remaining water and sweeten if desired with sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Chill at least 1 hour, pour over ice and serve.

I altered the amounts a little bit, because if you don't dilute it as much, you don't need to add as much sugar. My adjustments are: 3 cups watermelon, 1 1/2 cups water (total), 1 Tbs. sugar.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Laurie's BBQ Sauce

This is the BBQ sauce I grew up on. It's my all-time favorite. It's the perfect blend of seasonings and tastes SO good on the grill with BBQ Chicken. It smells a little strong of vinegar while it's cooking but doesn't taste like it when you eat it. Try it tonight!

I have doubled the original recipe because it will save in the fridge for a few weeks and then I don’t have to make it again for a while before I use it up! I usually just pour it into a canning jar and stick it in the fridge. This recipe is super easy to make and will only take about 5 minutes of prep and 20 minutes to cook.

Laurie's BBQ Sauce:
Sauté until brown:
½ cup chopped onion in 2 Tbsp bacon drippings or other fat

Add and simmer for 20 minutes:
1 cup water
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup brown sugar
2 cups catsup
1 tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp paprika

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quick and Easy Pizza

I wouldn’t say we have a great crust recipe but it’s a super fast and easy recipe to make. We throw this together all the time. For awhile, we made this pizza every Sunday right after church. Our favorite way to make our pizza is with Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ sauce, chopped cooked chicken, mozzarella and gouda cheese. Everyone loves this pizza but it’s more in the ingredients than the crust. I’ll also include our red sauce recipe as it’s easy and quick as well. The dough makes 2 large pizzas or 3-4 medium/small pizzas. Make sure you make the crust thin as this dough does not work with a thick crust! If we only want one pizza, we put the other half rolled in flour into a zip lock bag. It can be refrigerated for about a week or frozen and later thawed.

7 Minute Pizza Dough
4 ½ cups flour
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
¼ cup olive oil (optional)-we always use it
1 ¾ cup ice cold water

Mix in bread machine for 7 minutes. Makes 2-4 pizzas depending upon size.

Pizza Sauce
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
A little less than one tablespoon oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp garlic (crushed/powdered) We usually use crushed

We cook our large pizzas in the oven at 425 degrees F for between 15-18 minutes

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy


4 tenderized round steaks
1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup light canola or olive oil
2-3 eggs scrambled
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour

For Gravy:

3 T light olive oil
1 cup whole milk
3 T flour
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix 1/2 cup flour, bread crumbs and steak seasonings in a wide shallow bowl (or pie plate). Heat 1/2 cup oil in 10 inch frying pan till almost smoking. While oil heats, dredge steaks in crumb mixture, then eggs, and back into crumbs. Fry till steaks are stiff, about 6-7 minutes. Keep warm in 200 degrees oven and make gravy.

To Make Gravy:

Mix the remaining oil and drippings in pan with flour in a saucepan and whisk till smooth. Cook this mixture (roux) over medium heat until it looks grainy and becomes slightly golden in color, a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Add pepper and salt and mix well. Add cold milk, stir, and return the pan to the heat, and increase heat to high. Whisk until mixture come to a boil and thickens. Add hot water to thin, if gravy is too thick. Remove from heat to prevent scorching. The gravy should be as thick as pancake batter. Pour over chicken fried steak and serve immediately. Goes well with mashed potatoes.

This is one of my favorite meals and is easy to make in about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

3-4 servings

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. light sesame oil or vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. green onions, chopped with tops
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 - 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger (or fresh grated if preferred)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup dry roasted (or lightly salted) peanuts
4 cups cooked rice, hot

1. Combine chicken and cornstarch in small bowl, toss to coat.
2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet or wok on medium heat
3. Add chicken
4. Stir fry 5-7 min. or until no longer pink in center
5. Remove from skillet and keep warm
6. Add onions, garlic, red pepper and ginger to skillet
7. Stir fry 15 seconds
8. Remove from heat
9. Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in small bowl; stir well
10. Add vinegar mixture to skillet
11. Return chicken to skillet, stir until well coated
12. Stir in nuts
13. Heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally
14. Serve over hot rice.

This was one of the first Asian dishes I made besides stir fry. It's a good one to start with as it uses ingredients you most likely have in your cupboards. I also like it because it's so easy to adjust the flavors and heat to your liking. Thanks to my friends Kathryn and Chris for sharing it with me!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Easy Enchilada Cassarole

I went to a goodbye party for some friends tonight and someone brought this dish. It was gone quickly and I asked the lady who brought it how to make it. Here's the recipe:

Meat Layer:
Mix together and cook in a sauce pan.
Ground beef
1 can red enchilada sauce
1/2 jar salsa

Layer corn tortillas in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Add a layer of meat mixture and a layer of cheese. Repeat with the same three layers. Top with cilantro. Bake for about 30 minutes.

This was delicious and super easy. I'm planning on making two smaller pans of this and freezing one for later.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken

From Martha Stewart Living, Feb. 2009 edition.

Prep time. 5 minutes. Total time. 50 min. Serves 4.

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit if you don't want it spicy)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole chidken (4 lbs), quartered, skin on
1 lemon, quartered

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the center rack of oven, and preheat oven to 450. Mix spices, 2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper and the oil in a small bowl. Rub spice paste all over chicken.

Carefully arrange chicken in a single layer on hot sheet, and arrange lemon wedges around chicken. Bake until chicken registers 165 on an instand-read thermometer and juices run clear, 30-35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with pan juices and roasted lemon wedges on the side.

I made this the other night and it was delicious. I used chicken breasts because my husband prefers his meat without bones. I would recommend using a whole chicken as the breasts ended up a little on the dry side at such a high temp. I used frozen breasts and had a hard time getting the rub to cover only 3-4 breasts. I would probably water the paste down just a little more next time. This would have been even better with some sort of gravy but I loved the flavors and my house still smells wonderful two days later.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I have to give credit for this one to my friend Courtney who put it in our Mothers of Preschoolers newsletter. A great recipe for busy moms of picky kids! It makes a LOT...I'd estimate 8-10 servings. It freezes really well.

4 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 pkg. frozen chopped broccoli (NOT florets)
1 cup chopped raw onion (I leave this out for my onion-phobic hubby and it's still yummy)
1/2 large bag frozen cube-style hash browns
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 lb. Velveeta, cubed

1 bag frozen crinkle cut carrots
sauteed sliced mushrooms

Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water in a large pot. When dissolved, add broccoli, onion, carrots and hash browns. Boil 5 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to medium, add cream of chicken soup and Velveeta. Cook until cheese is melted. Add mushrooms, cook until heated through.

For thicker soup cook 15 min. on low. For thinner soup add up to 2 cups water.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Banana Crumb Muffins

I altered this recipe based on some of the comments shared, as well as my desire to include a little bit of "healthy" to the muffins (whole wheat flour).  They turn out so fluffy & yummy!  Even my husband, who doesn't like bananas or banana recipes, likes these muffins.  Enjoy!

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly grease, spray with cooking spray, or line with muffin papers, 12 regular muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.  In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugars, egg, oil and vanilla.  Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp flour and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pumpkin Flax Muffins

Delicious, and deceptively healthy!

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soymilk or milk
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Whisk the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine the next 8 ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix just until moistened. Fold in the blueberries and walnuts. Spoon the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups coated with nonstick cooking spray.. Bake at 375 for 25-28 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack.

A couple changes I made:
* For those at high altitude, I decreased the baking soda to 1 tsp and the baking powder to 3/4 tsp which was just right.
* I didn't have canned pumpkin on hand and can't seem to find it in stores this time of year. I had some sweet potato puree on hand, and used an equivalent amount.
* I didn't have blueberries on hand either, but substituted shredded carrot, which made the muffins so moist.

Flatbread Tacos with Ranch Sour Cream

These are a little different from the same old tacos or burritos. My husband raved about them! It is from Taste of Home magazine.

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 teaspoons ranch salad dressing mix
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 tube (16.3 ounces) large refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
Optional toppings: sliced ripe olives and shredded lettuce and cheddar cheese

1. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, dressing mix and lemon juice; chill until serving.

2. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the beans, tomatoes, taco seasoning and pepper sauce; heat through.

3. Meanwhile, roll out each biscuit into a 6-in. circle. In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook each biscuit for 30-60 seconds on each side or until golden brown; keep warm. (I use my electric griddle and do several at once - much faster!)

4. To serve, spread each flatbread with 2 tablespoons ranch sour cream; top each with 2/3 cup meat mixture. Sprinkle with toppings if desired. Yield: 8 servings.