Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Double- Chocolate Dream Cookies

I've made these cookies several times. I've never been a big fan of chocolate cookies, but these are really, really good. I got the recipe off a bag of Nestle Toll House chocolate chips.

Double-Chocolate Dream Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Baking Cocoa (I use dark cocoa because it makes it more chocolate-y.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz pkg) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (Last night I used mint dark chocolate chips, and they were delicious.)


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I usually get 26-30 cookies from one batch.

I've also tried adding a cup of dried cherries to the recipe, but I think I would like strawberries better. I also think caramel or peanut butter chips would be yummy too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Romano Ranch Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner

I got this recipe from Picky-Palate. I made a lot of changes to it when I made it though. I pan fried my chicken instead of baking it. I also used a red bell pepper instead of a green one. I only used half the onion, which was plenty. I didn't add the can of peas and carrots. And I just used garlic powder instead of the Lawry's garlic salt with parsley.

I really liked this recipe. When I make it again I will use a roasted red bell pepper. When Patrick took the leftovers to work, his co-worker commented on how good it looked. Sorry I didn't get a picture of it.

Romano Ranch Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 packet Ranch Dressing dry mix, divided

1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil (what I used) or you can also use veg oil

1 large onion, finely diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

6 cloves fresh garlic, minced

6 Cups fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

1 small can diced carrots and peas, drained

2 Cups steamed long grain brown rice (I cooked mine in a rice cooker)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt with parsley

1/2 Cup shredded Romano Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chicken breasts into small baking dish and sprinkle half of the ranch packet over each breast. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.

2. Heat oil in large skillet with high rimmed edges over medium heat. Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic and spinach until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in can of carrots and peas then stir in cooked rice, season with salt, pepper and garlic salt.

3. With a knife dice each chicken breast into small cubes and add into rice mixture. Sprinkle remaining ranch seasoning mix and romano cheese into rice. Reduce heat to low; taste and season as needed. Now you are ready to serve.

4 servings

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I made these taquitos the other night and they were REALLY yummy. I got the recipe from Our Best Bites. I love that site. :)The picture is also from that site.

When I made them, I used red salsa instead of green and I didn't put in the cilantro. I also made them with both corn and flour tortillas and I really liked them both. Patrick and I couldn't decide which we liked best. They are really easy and fast to make. I haven't tried this, but you could probably make a whole bunch and freeze them for later use.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken (for extra yumminess, use grilled taco chicken!)
1 C grated pepperjack cheese

small corn tortillas (and actually, flour ones are really good as well)
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

I made this pie for FHE yesterday. I tried a new crust from Melanie at melskitchencafe.com. It was good. I was a little concerned about the dough at first because it didn't have the normal pie dough consistency I am used to (I didn't read the part in her recipe that says it will resemble sugar cookie dough until after I made it). I also tried a new pumpkin filling that I found on a google search. I was intrigued by it because it uses whipping cream instead of evaporated milk and brown sugar in place of regular sugar. I thought it was really good. Nathan said it tasted "professional" (as if I would make anything less!).

Pate Brisee (aka pie dough)
by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 c. shortening
1/3 c. ice-cold water

Mix flour, salt, sugar and shortening together with your hands to form a uniform mixture. Add water. Dip your hands in flour so they won’t get too sticky (although it will still be messy) and mix well. Roll into a ball. The dough will resemble sugar cookie dough. Divide in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured surface. Bake according to pie instructions.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
by joyofbaking.com

3 large eggs
15 oz. pumpkin
1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and place on a large baking pan to catch any spills. Bake the pie for about 45-55 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust has browned (the center will still look wet) and a knife inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Click here for printable version.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce

picture: www.americastestkitchen.com
While I think this sauce took me more than 15 minutes, it wasn't much more. Hailey and Kade asked if we could save some for them to take in their lunches (they've never asked that of my spaghetti before). I think it is a really good basic sauce and since it uses grated onion and crushed tomatoes it isn't chunky (a major plus for my kids). Plus, mine looked exactly like the picture. How often does that happen?!

Quick Tomato Sauce
by America's Test Kitchen

2 tablespoons unsalted butter  
1/4 cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion (use large holes on a box grater) 
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano  
table salt  
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons) 
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (ATK says to use Tuttorosso or Muir Glen brands. Fry's had Hunts so that's what I used.)
1/4 teaspoon sugar  
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves  
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil  
ground black pepper

Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve. Makes 3 cups (enough for 1 pound of pasta).

For printable recipe click here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Pumpkin Pie Bars
1 1/3 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar, divided
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. cold butter
1 c. old-fashioned or quick oats
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (or 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. cloves)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, 1/4 c. sugar, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter. Stir in oats and nuts. Reserve 1 cup and press remaining into a foil-lined 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, 1/2 c. sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and pie spice in a medium bowl. Pour over baked crust. Crumble reserved topping over pumpkin mixture. Bake 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes then use foil to transfer bars to cooling rack. Cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in the fridge. 

These are great plain, but I think a dollop of whipped cream on top would make them even better.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cookie Brittle

This recipe comes from the Tollhouse Cookie Book. It is supposed to be a cross between a shortbread cookie and a candy brittle. It's a very simple recipe. Carrigan LOVED them (but that could be because I used butterscotch chips which are her FAVORITE). 1 c. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. chips (chocolate, butterscotch, white, etc.)

Mix butter and vanilla together. Add flour, sugar, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough will be dry and crumbly. Press onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. The dough won't reach all the way to the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool and break into pieces.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Oven Baked Chimichangas

These are my current lunch obsession. ;) I made them a few weeks ago for dinner and we all (except Adam-he wouldn't try them) LOVED them. They are crunchy, filling, and flavorful. I wrapped up the remaining chimichangas (once they had cooled) individually in foil and popped them in the freezer. Mike and I had them for lunch that week... just microwave them for 1-2 minutes. They stay crunchy and perfect!

I've been making a batch every Saturday now. I always hate figuring out lunch and have loved having something quick to make (and fairly healthy to boot) on hand.

Oven Baked Chimichangas
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Note: this recipe makes use of already cooked rice and chicken so plan ahead!

*Makes 6 -12 chimis

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice (I use brown)
2-3 cups diced, cooked chicken
1-2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce*
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (I don't use this)
Salt and Pepper
6 large burrito-size flour tortillas**

Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Cook the onion until it is just softened and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the beans, rice, chicken and chipotle and cook until the mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the cheese and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave the tortillas until they are warm and pliable, about 1 minute. Top each warm tortilla with some of the chicken mixture, leaving about a 2-inch border at the bottom of the tortilla. Fold in the sides and roll up the tortilla tightly. Brush the wrapped tortillas with the remaining oil and arrange them seam side down on the hot baking sheet that has been preheating in the oven. Bake until the chimis are golden brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve.

* I don't particularly love spicy food, but 2 teaspoons do nothing for me. I keep tasting and add 4-5 teaspoons. Even then it's barely spicy (maybe it's the brand of chipotles I buy?), but perfect for the kids. So, taste it.

** I don't buy the huge tortillas, because the kids usually waste them. I used the regular size tortillas and get about a dozen chimis per batch.

Edited to add: I made these recently vegetarian style without the chicken and loved them even more (Mike liked them, but he prefers them with chicken).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

French Bread

I've tried a few French Bread recipes and felt a little so-so about them. Then I tried this one from Melanie at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It is so good. Nathan and I just snack on the bread throughout the day. Even Rachel, my non-carb loving girl, loves this bread. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to make and you kind of have to babysit it for the first hour or so, but I'd say it is worth it. It is really good.

French Bread
by Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 ¼ c. warm water
2 T. sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
5 ½ -6 cups flour-stirred before measured

Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let this proof—or sit for a few minutes until it bubbles. Then add salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and beat well. Add in 2 1/2 -3 more cups of flour. The dough should clean off the sides of the bowl and not be too sticky – but be careful not to add too much flour (I think I use about 5 3/4 cups). Knead for a few minutes.

Leave the dough in the mixer to rest for 10 minutes and then stir it down (turn on your mixer for 10 seconds) and then allow to rest another 10 minutes. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Then turn dough onto a floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Roll each part into a 9×13 rectangle (this is a little frustrating because the dough always seems to shrink back to a ball, just keep working with it). Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal. Arrange seam side down on large baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal (Mine always sticks unless I spray the pan with cooking spray and sprinkle a very generous amount of corn meal on the pan), allowing room for both loaves. Repeat with second part of dough. With a sharp knife, cut 3 gashes at an angle on the top of each (I use my fileting knife, but a nice steak knife would work also). Cover lightly; allow to rise 30 minutes. Brush entire surface with egg wash (one egg beaten slightly with 1 Tbsp of water) (In my picture you can see where the I missed the bread with the egg wash). If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees (Mine only needs 25 minutes, sometimes less, or it will burn).

For a printable version click here.

Southwestern Beef Wraps

Nathan brought these to Kelli and Patrick's family home evening in July for me. I didn't get to try them then so I decided to make them again for my family. They are so good and so easy. The meat would make great baked chimis or taquitos, I think.

The recipe is from Our Best Bites, which is becoming one of my favorite sites for recipes.

Southwestern Beef Wraps
by Our Best Bites

1 onion, chopped
2 1/2-ish lb. beef roast, trimmed of fat but left whole
1 heaping tsp. chili powder
1 heaping tsp. garlic powder
1 heaping tsp. cumin
1 heaping tsp. Kosher salt
2 bell peppers (you can use 2 green bell peppers or mix it up a little with red, yellow, or orange; just make sure one is green), chopped
1 14 1/2 oz. can Mexican-style diced tomatoes OR 1 can of Rotel tomatoes (regular or mild, depending on your preference)
Small flour tortillas
Other desired toppings: cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, etc.

Put onion in bottom of crock pot. Combine chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and salt. Rub all over meat. Put meat in crock pot. Add peppers and tomatoes. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8-9 hours. Shred meat and serve with desired toppings.

Both times I've made this I used one green and one red bell pepper. I also have some of the leftovers in my freezer waiting to be used another day. According to Our Best Bites, you can assemble the ingredients in a freezer safe container (but do it backwards; ie. tomatoes, peppers, meat, onions) and freeze. When you're ready to use it just add 1-2 hours onto the cooking time.

Click here for printable version.

No Fry Refried Beans

So these are a little harder than just opening a can and microwaving them, but they are better than the canned variety (which really isn't that hard to do in my opinion). I don't have a picture, but they looked just like refried beans. :) Nathan couldn't stay out of them and Rachel would eat them forever if I'd let her.

I originally got the recipe from Allrecipes, but I've adapted them a little

Refried Beans

1 onion, peeled and cut in half
3 c. dry pinto beans
1 fresh jalepeno, seeded and chopped
12ish cloves garlic, smashed
1-2ish tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cumin
3 1/2 c. (2 cans) chicken broth or stock
5 1/2 c. water

Put all ingredients in crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on high for 8 hours. Drain beans, reserving liquid. Mash, adding liquid to desired consistency.

I use my immersion blender to blend the beans to our desired thickness (or thinness, as the case may be). It works great. Allison said she blends them in her blender.

Click here for printable version.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This is a picture of the breadsticks I made the other day. They were wonderful. I got the recipe from Our Best Bites (LOVE their site). This dough was terrific for homemade pizza too. Check out their Pizza 101 cooking class.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

This is our go to pancake recipe. The kids love these and we have them OFTEN!!

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 egg
1 egg white

Mix all together and cook.

Meatballs in Cream Sauce


1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 c. oats
1 egg
1/4 c. diced onion
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp.pepper
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
3 Tbsp. flour


2 Tbsp. butter
3 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
14 oz. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
2 tsp. dried parsley

For meatballs-- Combine all ingredients except flour. Mix well and roll into 24 balls. Roll in the flour. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, shaking the pan occassionally so that they brown evenly.

For sauce-- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and seasonings until smooth. Gradually add broth and milk; stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add parsley. Drain meatballs on paper towels; transfer to a serving dish. Top with sauce. Serve over hot pasta.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Honey Lime Enchiladas

I'm not a big enchilada fan (it's a texture thing), but I'm posting this recipe because a) everyone else in my family loves this recipe and b) the honey lime filling. The filling is really, really good on soft tacos or in a taco salad. Yum!

Honey Lime Enchiladas
adapted from The Sisters Cafe

1.5 lbs pork or chicken, cooked and shredded
1/3 c honey
1/4 c lime juice
1 Tb chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 (10 oz) cans green enchilada sauce
Monterey jack cheese (I normally use about 12 oz)
flour or corn tortillas

Mix together the honey, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder. Add to shredded pork or chicken. Let the sauce soak into the meat for about 30 minutes.

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Pour 1 can green enchilada sauce into pan to coat the bottom. Fill tortillas with shredded meat and desired amount of cheese. Roll and place in dish.

Pour remainder of sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle more cheese on top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

OR do what I like best and make just the filling part and roll it in a soft taco-sized tortilla with cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and sour cream. So good!

Caramel Cake

Last year on my birthday we started a new tradition. The kids make my cake. I told them that I wanted a cake I had seen on Our Best Bites. And so, they made it for me! And man was it goooood! It is piled high with frosting. Now the original recipe didn't call for caramel bites but I thought they might be fun for the kids to use to decorate. Also, I'm the only fan of nuts around here so only a portion of the cake has pecans. And... for anyone who was wondering...no, the house did not burn down from ALL of the candles! ha!
1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 8-oz. container of sour cream
1 c. oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. butter flavoring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract

1 c. butter
2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 3/4 c. powdered sugar
About 1 c. toasted, chopped pecans

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the cake ingredients and beat on medium-high for 3 minutes. Pour the batter into a 9x13" pan and bake according to the times on the cake mix box. When the cake is finished baking, remove from heat and allow to cool. While cooling, prepare the caramel frosting.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Carefully stir in the whipping cream and vanilla (be careful of splatters because they'll be HOT!) and then bring this mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 1/2 hour. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and sift in the powdered sugar. Beat on high for 2-3 minutes or until creamy and fluffy. Spread the icing over the cake and sprinkle with toasted chopped pecans.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Onion Strings

This has become a favorite side when we have hamburgers. They are sooo good piled on the burger, if they last long enough. I can't keep my girls out of them.
1 whole Large Onion
2 cups Buttermilk
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon (scant) Salt
¼ teaspoons (to 1/2 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
1 quart Canola Oil
Black Pepper To Taste

1. Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk and soak for at least an hour. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

2. Grab a handful of onions (I use my tongs), throw into the flour mixture, tap to shake off excess.

3.Put into hot oil (375 degrees). Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown. Repeat until onions are gone.
4. EAT! YUM!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Strawberry Sauce

I got this recipe from Our Best Bites. It is yummy! We've eaten it on cheesecake, ice cream (even cookies and cream), in our lemonade (also from Our Best Bittes), pancakes (didn't go over as well as I had hoped), and Matt and Ray will eat it by the spoonful. It freezes really well, too. It is kinda hard, but well worth the effort. ;)

Strawberry Sauce

1 pt. strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered if they are large
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract (I prefer it with vanilla)

Combine strawberries, sugar and extract in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, breaking up berries with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and cool slightly (if you have a glass blender) or a lot (if you have a plastic blender). Pour berries into blender and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.

P.S. I was just teasing about it being hard.

Click here for printable version.


This is a recipe I got from Tiffin. I made them this past Sunday and took them to Mom and Dad's. Caleb kept telling me how good they were and Dad hid about 10 of them in the pantry for a late night snack. Rachel and Hailey really like them, too. In fact, Rachel cried when I told her she couldn't have a second cookie until after dinner. They look crunchy but they are not. The recipe calls for shortening, but I don't think I have ever made them with shortening. This last time making them I used half shortening and half butter. They were fine. I think Tiffin's stay a little more fluffy--maybe she uses shortening--I don't know.


3/4 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 c. sugar, to roll cookies in

Cream shortening and brown sugar. Add molasses and egg. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda and spices. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture. Shape into walnut sized balls, roll in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes at 375. Remove to wire rack to cool. Makes 3 dozen.

Click here for printable version.

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Kade loved these enchiladas (even though he insists he HATES gree chiles). Nathan said they were better than the cream of chicken/sour cream enchiladas that I normally make. I thought they were pretty good, but I think I actually prefer corn tortillas to the flour. And, I put too much cheese on top. I think they are a little labor intensive, but not so bad that I wouldn't make them again.

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

*Serves 4-6

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
2 (4 oz.) cans of green chiles, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained (you can really use any type of bean you prefer here)

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chile enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream

8 ounces (about 2 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full (I can easily fit 8 enchiladas in one pan).

Pour the white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe (melskitchencafe.com)

Click here for printable version.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chipotle Cashew Chicken

This is one of our family favorites... I can't believe that I haven't posted it yet! It takes a little prep, but once you get everything chopped, it comes together quickly. Also, it can be WAY spicy or kid-friendly spicy based on how much chipotle peppers you add in... for our kids, I only put in one (with the sauce). Those little peppers pack a lot of spice... once I put in three and wow! ;)

Chipotle Cashew Chicken
adapted from Rachael Ray

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pieces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo (2 peppers and their sauce)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 cup raw cashews, plus a some for garnish

Cooked rice (optional: cook rice in chicken broth for some extra flavor)

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan, then the chicken. Season the chicken with grill seasoning. Brown the chicken on both sides, season with soy sauce then, move off to one side of the pan. (Note: I cook the chicken through at this point, and put it on a plate to the side). Add a little more oil to the pan and add the onions, cook until they start to get translucent. Add garlic and peppers. Cook 2 to 3 minutes then add water chestnuts and green peas and mix vegetables and meat together (add the chicken back in). Add the chipotles and cumin. Toss to coat. Glaze the mixture with honey and maple syrup and turn off the heat. Add in cashews.

Top rice with cashew chicken and serve. Sprinkle with additional chopped cashews. Adam and Grace like to drizzle theirs with a little extra honey.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Banana Frosting

A few years ago Nathan's mom gave me some cookbooks for Christmas. One of them is called Cookies, Brownies and More. It is one of those cookbooks that uses particular brands to make the recipes. It doesn't have any pictures in it so I can't see what things are supposed to look like. Thus, I don't really use it a lot because I need the picture to entice me into trying something.

Anyway, I think Tiffin actually tried this recipe first and then I made them a couple of times. That was way back before we moved, though.

I had some bananas sitting in my kitchen and they were really ready to be used. I also had some leftover cream cheese frosting from the cinnamon rolls I made earlier this week. I was going to make banana bars, but then, as I was getting the recipe out, I saw this cookbook and remembered this recipe.

These cookies taste like banana bread with a little crunch around the edges. They are really yummy. I had just enough left over mashed banana to make 1/2 recipe of the frosting. No big deal though, because I was going to use the leftover cream cheese frosting. Honestly, if I hadn't made the banana frosting and just used the cream cheese it would have been ok. But, the banana frosting takes these cookies to a whole other level. Seriously.

One other thing. I wouldn't really call the dough a dough. It is more of a thick batter. It is really soft and gooey. I'm not sure you can tell from this picture, but I took it to give you an idea of its softness. Still, even though it is so soft, it doesn't spread much at all. I think my chocolate chip cookies spread more than these did.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Banana Frosting

3/4 c. butter flavor shortening (I only had regular so that is what I used.)
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 3/4 c. quick oats (not instant or old-fashioned)
1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts (I didn't add these because I don't have them.)

Heat oven to 350. Grease baking sheets with shortening. Combine shortening and sugar and beat at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg. Add banana. Beat until blended. Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed until blended. Stir in oats and nuts with a spoon. Drop 2-tbsp size balls onto the cookie sheet. (I just used my cookie scoop.) Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes. Cool 1 minute on the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

2 tbsp butter flavor shortening (I used butter)
1/4 c. mashed ripe banana
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 c. confectioners' sugar
finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine shortening, banana and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time. Beat at low speed after each addition until blended. Frost cooled cookies and sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Click here for printable version.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

I made this on Sunday and took it to Mom and Dad's for dinner. I was thinking that it was going to be sweeter than it was. I really liked it. I think Caleb and Raef ate half a loaf. Caleb's reaction was that it tasted interesting. I agree. But its a good interesting. :)

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding mix
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
1 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, lemon juice and extract. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the zucchini, poppy seeds and lemon peel. Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 2 loaves.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lasagna Rolls

I found this recipe in a magazine ad for Frigo cheeses. Really it is called Baked Chicken Lasagna Rolls, but I almost always (okay always) make them with ground beef now. I prefer them that way, but the chicken ones are really good, too.

I usually buy a big tub (32 oz) of ricotta and a big block of mozzarella and double the recipe so I can freeze half. To do that I place the rolls on a cookie sheet (without the sauce) and freeze them for a couple of hours. I put them in a ziploc bag with some shredded mozzarella and just make sure I have an extra jar of sauce on hand.

Also, something else I've found. You can use the store brand ricotta. It'll taste fine, but the brand name ricotta is smoother and creamier.

Lasagna Rolls
adapted from Frigo cheese and Cooking Light Magazine

2 cups Part Skim Ricotta cheese
1-1/4 cup Mozzarella Part Skim cheese, shredded and divided
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 egg
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I usually use a couple of TBSP dried parsley.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 lb cooked ground beef  (or 2 cups shredded baked chicken breasts)
8 cooked lasagna noodles (Cook these a couple minutes less than you should. I usually do 6 minutes.)
1 lg jar tomato sauce (I use traditional Prego, but you can use whatever sauce you like.)

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix first eight ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup of Mozzarella for baking, set aside. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on countertop.  Lay noodles on the plastic wrap so they are touching on the sides. Spread some of the cheese mixture on each noodle leaving a little (an inch or less) of each noodle bare. Then sprinkle meat over the top. Spread some sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Starting at one end, roll one noodle at a time and place seam side down in dish. Cover with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes.

Click here for printable version.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted by Our Best Bites from Allrecipes, plus my own cream cheese icing

1 c. milk
4 tbsp. butter, cut into chunks
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg

1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, softened

Icing (the original that came with the recipe)
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tbsp. milk

Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp butter, softened
3-ish c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp whipping cream

Dough: Place milk and 4 Tbs butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be at least partially melted. Stir and set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 C flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt. When milk mixture has cooled to warm (not hot) add it to the flour mixture along with the egg while the beater (paddle attachment for those using a stand mixer) is running. Beat until well combined, about 1 minute. (Switch to the dough hook now) Add remaining flour only until dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft and slightly sticky. Continue to let the dough knead for 5 minutes. If you are not using a stand mixer, turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes by hand. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and let rest for about 10 minutes while you make the filling.

Filling: make sure butter is softened well. Mix with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Assembly: Roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches. Spread brown sugar mixture (it will be slightly thick, you might have to "crumble" it) over the surface and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently spread around.(This was hard for me because it wouldn't stick to my dough. Next time I make these I will spread the butter on my dough and sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar over it.) Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and pinch edges closed. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and then cut into rolls. Place in a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover pan with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. In the mean time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When rolls have finished rising bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. If desired spread with icing while still warm. Makes 12 rolls.

Click here for printable version.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

I don't know if it's the colors or the healthy veggies or the yum factor, but this salad just makes me happy. I love it! And to be honest, the kids won't eat the salad. They like the noodles and peanuts tossed with the dressing, but they won't try the salad. They just have something against salads. So when I make it, I chop everything up, keep the veggies/noodles/sauce in separate containers and eat it everday for lunch for a week for myself (and Mike, too). Yum!!!

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
Recipe by OurBestBites.com

8 oz Linguine Fini (or regular linguine)
4 C shredded greens: any combo of napa cabbage, romaine lettuce or even spinach
2 C thinly sliced purple cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, julienned
1/2 medium cucumber, halved and sliced (I omit this, not a cucumber fan)
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
3 C diced grilled chicken (I have never added the chicken)
honey roasted peanuts (about 1/2 cup)
Thai Peanut Salad Dressing

Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add a spoonful of salt and then add your pasta. While pasta is cooking, start chopping those veggies. As soon as your pasta is done drain it and run some cold water over it until it's cool. If you're not going to use it right away, add a drizzle of the salad dressing and stir to coat. This will prevent the noodles from getting all clumpy. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.When you're ready to assemble the salad, place noodles, veggies, and chicken in a large bowl. Pour the Thai Peanut Dressing over everything, stirring as you go until you have enough to coat.

1/2 C peanut butter
1 lime, juiced and zested
2 1/2 t sesame oil
1 T seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 T soy sauce
3 T honey
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T minced ginger
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro (stems and all)
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 t kosher salt*
2-3 t sriracha chili sauce* (I don't add this... I just keep forgetting to buy it)
2-4 T water*

*The need for salt may differ depending on the brand of PB you use. Taste first and then add.
*You may want more or less depending on your preference of heat levels. Again, taste first and then add.
*Lastly, the addition of the water is purely for consistency which again, depends on the PB brand you use. Add water until you get the consistency you want, or leave it out completely. Place everything in a blender and mix until smooth.

Makes about 2 cups.

Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Bowties

I've made this salad 4 or 5 times now and have forgotten to take a picture EVERY time. So, this one is from The Sisters Cafe. We love this salad... it's perfect for summer! Last night I brought it to our RS activity and it was a huge hit there, too.

Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Bowties
Adapted from The Sisters Cafe

16 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked and cooled
2 bags of fresh baby spinach
2 small cans mandarin oranges
1 cup Craisins
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup honey roasted peanuts or cashews
1/2 cup fresh parsley (optional-I don't add)
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted (optional-I don't add)
2 cups torn cooked chicken (optional)

1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2/3 cup white wine vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2/3 C. teriyaki sauce
5 Tbs. sugar

Cook bowtie pasta according to directions, drain/rinse and cool while whisking the dressing together in a large bowl. Marinate cooked bowtie pasta in the dressing for 1 hour or longer in the fridge (I also marinate the shredded chicken along with it, to give it some flavor... I also marinate it for about 4 hours, usually). Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour the teriyaki sauce and pasta over the salad, toss together and serve. If it's just a few of you, make individual salad servings; keeping the salad and bowtie sauce separate for the rest of the week.

This makes a HUGE salad. I made half for our activity last night and we are having the other half for dinner tonight. The spinach wilts quickly, so definitely keep it separate. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Another mixed review.

Matt and Ray LOVED this. I think Matt would have licked the plate if I had let him. Kade didn't care for it. I think it is good, but I actually prefer my plain cheesecake, especially if it has strawberry sauce on it. (That sauce, by the way, makes a really yummy strawberry lemonade and Nathan loves it on his ice cream.) Anyway, for me the deal breaker is the crust. I used chocolate Goldfish because Fry's didn't have chocolate Teddy Grahams and I don't like cooked Oreos. I guess I don't like twice-cooked chocolate cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake
by Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe

Cookie Dough:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp water or milk (I used milk)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. mini chocolate chips

4 tbsp butter, melted
2 1/2 c. chocolate cookie crumbs

4 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sour cream
1 c. mini chocolate chips

whipped cream
mini chocolate chips

For cookie dough: Combine butter and sugars. Add milk and vanilla. Add flour salt and chocolate chips and mix well. Form into small balls (a little larger than teaspoon size, but not too big). Place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze to harden.

Preheat oven to 325.

For crust: Combine butter and cookie crumbs. Lightly grease 10-inch springform pan. Press crust mixture into the bottom and half way up the sides.

For cheesecake: Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and flour on high until smooth. Add vanilla and sour cream. Mix just to combine. Pour half of the batter into the crust. Add cookie dough balls and chocolate chips to the remaining batter, then pour into crust and smooth out. (Mine completely filled my springform pan.) Bake at 325 for 1 hour. Then, turn off heat and crack oven door. Let cheesecake sit for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate over night. Garnish with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips.

Click here for printable version.

Chicken Cacciatore

I made this yesterday and the reviews are mixed. Hailey hated it. Kade liked the noodles and sauce, but not the chicken and peppers. Matt and Ray kinda picked at all of it. Nathan liked it and I'm lukewarm about it. I thought it was good, but it had a sweetness to it that I didn't like. The sweetness comes from the white grape juice I used instead of the white wine in the original recipe. In all fairness, the author of the recipe says that real wine makes the best sauce. I'm considering trying it again but using all chicken broth and no juice just to take away the sweetness. Anyway...I'm not chomping at the bit to make it again, but it'll probably make another appearance at our table sometime. Also, Nathan thinks he'd like it better over rice rather than pasta. (How's that for a rave review?)

Chicken Cacciatore
by Our Best Bites

1/2 c. olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed or halved (keep it nice and big)
1 lb chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 c. white wine (or white cooking wine, apple juice, or white grape juice)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. salt (omit if using white cooking wine)
1 bay leaf
1 green pepper, chopped
1 c. sliced mushrooms (or more, or if you're like me this is optional)

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions and garlic and stir frequently until onions are tender and garlic is fragrant. Remove with a slotted spoon (this is why you need to keep the onion and garlic pieces big), shake off excess oil and transfer to your blender. Increase heat to medium-high.

In a large Ziploc bag, combine flour, salt, and black pepper. Add chicken pieces, seal bag, and shake to coat. Dump the entire bag into the hot pan and stir quickly to prevent pieces from sticking together. Saute until chicken is golden. Remove chicken with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

While chicken is draining, add wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, thyme, marjoram and salt to the onions and garlic in the blender. Blend until smooth. Place chicken and bay leaf in your slow cooker and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 3.5-4 hours. When you have about 1/2 hour to go, add the chopped green pepper and the mushrooms . Cook until pepper and mushrooms are tender. Remove bay leaf and serve over pasta.

Click here for printable version.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chewy Granola Bars

I've made these granola bars several times now and love them. Recipe is from Make and Takes and are pretty close to the Quaker Oat Bars that I like. Raef and I can eat a whole pan ourselves! We added peanut butter chips along with the chocolate chips.
  • 2 1/2 c. Oats – quick rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. Rice Krispies
  • 1/4 c. coconut
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Add all of the ingredients and mix together until combined. Press into a 9 x 13 greased pan. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars. Let it set completely and then cut into bars.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yukon Mashed Potatoes

Sorry, no picture. These were good potatoes, though.

Yukon Mashed Potatoes
Taste of Home

3 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 c. half-and-half (per Taste of Home, I used 1/2 tbsp melted butter and enough whole milk to make 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain. In a large bowl, mash potatoes. Add the cream, butter, garlic salt and pepper; beat until light and fluffy.

Click here for printable version.

Crispy Baked Chicken Strips

I was looking for something to make that used what I had in my cupboard/freezer and that I would have at least a fighting chance that my kids would eat. So, I went searching the food blogs and found this recipe on Annie's Eats. Kade declared that this was "really, REALLY good!" So, I guess it's a keeper. Next time I might add some kind of seasoning to the cornflakes (maybe even just black pepper) but it was pretty good plain. It is salty (not too salty, though) because of the brine, so no additional salt needs to be added.

Crispy Baked Chicken Strips
by Annie's Eats

1/4 c. salt
4 chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch strips (I cut tenders in half, but next time I'll cut them into bite size pieces)
1/4 c. flour
7 tbsp butter, melted (I used a full stick)
2 c. finely crushed Corn Flakes (I used my blender to crush them)

Dissolve salt in 1 quart cold water. Add chicken, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Move oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 400. Put an oven safe cooling rack on a cookie sheet. Remove chicken and pat dry. Dip chicken in flour, butter, then corn flakes, shaking off excess each time. Place on cooling rack. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Click here for printable version.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Easy Sugar Cookies

Easy Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. butter, SOFTENED
1 1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. (I think it made around 2-3 dozen)

Queso Dip

32 oz. box Velveeta Cheese Loaf
10 oz. can Rotel (original)
1 pound Jimmy Dean Hot Breakfast Premium Pork Sausage
7 oz. can Chopped Green Chilies
1 whole Yellow Onion
1 whole Jalapeno, or more to taste

Dice the onion. Using a nonstick sprayed skillet, cook sausage and onions until brown, stirring occasionally. Once browned, drain some of the fat from the skillet.
Cube Velveeta loaf. Add cubes to browned sausage and onion mixture. Add can of Rotel (juice and all), can of green chilies (juice and all), and stir over low heat.
Cut the top and bottom off the jalapeƱo, slice into matchsticks, then rotate and slice to create a fine dice. (For a spicy version, leave seeds and white membranes. For a milder option, remove them.) Add to queso and stir.
Serving tip: Use a fondue pot or crock pot to serve piping hot

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Craisin Apple Salad

I made this for our Thanksgiving a few years ago, and it's become one of our family's (and now our ward's... it's always requested at potlucks) favorite salads.

Craisin Apple Salad
Serves 4-6 (dinner portions) or 10-12 (as a side)
Adapted from According to Kelly

1 bag of baby spinach, wash & dried
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked until crispy & crumbled (I bake ours in the oven... easy and no mess)
1 green apple, cored & thinly sliced
1 small bag of craisins
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup candied pecans (or almonds), for candy-ing how-to go HERE.

Mix the salad ingredients & add the Poppy Seed Dressing (below) just before serving. Note: When I bring this to a potluck/ward dinner, I usually use romaine lettuce, because the spinach wilts pretty quickly. The romaine tastes great, too! Also, when we're having this only for dinner, I usually throw in some chopped grilled chicken.

Poppy Seed Dressing
2 T poppy seeds
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups light salad oil (I use canola)
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dry mustard

Mix all ingredients in blender. Refrigerate leftovers.

Note: This makes A LOT of dressing. Enough for 3 salads, at least. Mike loves the dressing, so we just keep the leftovers in the fridge and use them on lunches; however, you could halve it if you prefer.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Strawberry Sheet Cake

Mike found this recipe and asked for it for his birthday cake. We are so glad he did... it was SO yummy! We will definitely be making it again!

Strawberry Sheet Cake
Serves 30-36 (depending on how large your pieces are)
Adapted from Homesick Texan

16 oz fresh strawberries, stems removed and chopped (about 3 cups)
2 cups of sugar plus 2 teaspoons
1/4 cup water
2 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Over the chopped strawberries, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Let them sit for an hour at room temperature so they can release some of their juices. In a blender of food processor, pulse the strawberrues for a few seconds until crushed—you want them juicy but still with some texture. Take 1/2 cup of the strawberry mixture for the frosting and leave the remaining crushed strawberries for the cake. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the sugar and flour together in a bowl. Melt the butter on low in a saucepan and then whisk it with the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and baking soda. Add the liquid to the flour and then stir in one cup of the crushed strawberries. Pour batter into greased sheet pan (I just use a large baking sheet... not an official sheet pan) and bake for 18 minutes. Cake is done when a knife comes out clean from the center. Let it cool and then frost with the strawberry cream cheese frosting (recipe below). Note: The cake will be a little brown. This because of the alkaline reaction of the ingredients. Do not be alarmed!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup crushed strawberries
2 teaspoons of lime juice (about half a lime)
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar until blended. Add the strawberries, lime juice, lime zest and vanilla. Spread over cooled cake.

Note: Depending on how juicy your berries are, your icing may be runnier than usual. If this is the case, add more cream cheese to thicken it up.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Southwestern Egg Rolls

Southwestern Egg Rolls

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
5 (6 inch) flour tortillas
quart oil for deep frying

Rub 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over chicken breast. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook chicken approximately 5 minutes per side, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until tender.
Dice chicken and mix into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix in corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.
Wrap tortillas with a clean, lightly moist cloth. Microwave on high approximately 1 minute, or until hot and pliable.
Spoon even amounts of the mixture into each tortilla. Fold ends of tortillas, then roll tightly around mixture. Secure with toothpicks. Arrange in a medium dish, cover with plastic, and place in the freezer. Freeze at least 4 hours.
In a large, deep skillet, heat oil for deep frying to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Deep fry frozen, stuffed tortillas 10 minutes each, or until dark golden brown. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I have yet to find a Pioneer Woman recipe that I don't like. This picture and the recipe are from her site. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/02/spaghetti-meatballs/
¾ pounds Ground Beef
¾ pounds Ground Pork
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
¾ cups Fine Bread Crumbs
2 whole Eggs
¾ cups Freshly Grated Parmesan
¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Minced
¼ teaspoons Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Splash Of Milk
½ cups Olive Oil

1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole (28-ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes
1 whole 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
½ cups White Or Red Wine (optional)
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Minced
pinch of red pepper flakes (opt.)
8 whole Fresh Basil Leaves, Chiffonade (optional)
2 pounds Spaghetti, Cooked To Al Dente

Preparation Instructions
To make the meatballs, combine meat, garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, and a splash of milk in a mixing bowl. Mix together well with hands. Roll into 25 1 1/2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.

To brown the meatballs, heat olive oil in a heavy pot or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs 8 at a time, turning to brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel after each batch. Set meatballs aside.

In the same pot, add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes, or until translucent. Pour in whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and wine, if using. Add salt, pepper, sugar, and parsley. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
Add meatballs to pot and stir in gently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring very gently a couple of times during the simmer.
Just before serving, stir in basil if using.

Serve over cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sweet Cheese Quesadillas

I made these for Mike and myself last night. They were yummy. They aren't very sweet, but you could definitely make them be, if you wanted. I also added bananas to ours. You could probably use whatever fruit you have and it would work great.

Sweet Cheese Quesadillas
makes 2 quesadillas

4 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese
10 strawberries, thinly sliced
2 whole wheat tortillas
1 dash ground cinnamon
1 pinch sugar

Spread 2 Tbsps of low fat cream cheese over each whole wheat tortilla. Spread thinly sliced strawberries over half of each tortilla. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Fold in half. Warm skillet on medium-low heat. Place tortillas in the skillet and cook slowly until one side is golden and crispy. Flip and repeat for the other side.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Playdough

My kids had alot of fun with this playdough. It was lots of fun to play with and yummy to eat! 1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
2 c. powdered sugar

Mix all together and play!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pollo Diablo

Nathan made this chicken for lunch yesterday and it was good. Probably a little too spicy for the kids (none of them ate it after trying one bite each), but I thought it was yummy.

Pollo Diablo

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh orange juice
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. kosher salt

3 1/2-4 lbs chicken tenders

Mix all ingredients (except for the chicken) in a medium bowl. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour in the marinade. Press air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, turning occasionally.

Grill chicken over indirect heat until juices run clear and meat is no longer pink. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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