Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Christmas Treat Plates and a Recipe

Just thought I would give you a round-up of what we are putting on plates for our neighbors this year! Last year was the first time I did this and our neighbors were surprised and happy to get the treats! I loved it! So we're doing it again!

Last year's plates included...

PW's Spicy Molasses Cookies

PW's Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

Mindee's Chocolate Coconut Candy

Mindee's Monster Cookies (because I had these coming out of my ears!)

I was a little less ambitious this year on account of doing homemade gifts for almost everyone, but these are all still yummy!

Our plates this year will include...

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Chocolate-Dipped Ritz Peanut Butter Sandwiches (one of my all-time faves!) - no recipe required - just dip them in chocolate almond bark!

Rolo Cake Mix Cookies

And since I have seen the Rolo Cake Mix Cookie recipe ALL OVER the internet and can't decide where it originated from, I will just post the recipe here for your enjoyment!

Rolo Cake Mix Cookies

1 box Devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
30 individual Rolo candies (more or less depending on the size of your cookies)

Mix the first three ingredients together and then roll into little balls with 1 rolo inside each ball (fairly small so there is lots of rolo per cookie!). Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. Makes about 30 cookies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Potluck Survival Guide


This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by:

Five Star Publications for this review.

Potluck Survival Guide by Cherie Kimmons

Price: $18.96, regularly $24.95 - go here to order!

I love cookbooks.

No, I really LOVE cookbooks.

I know I can find millions of recipes online and I do use the internet quite often to find them, but there is nothing quite like looking through a cookbook.

I was thrilled to get this cookbook - really so much more than a cookbook - to review!

Potluck Survival Guide: Care and Feeding of the Athletic Supporter by Cherie Kimmons is a manual for feeding large groups of people - athletes, adults, kids, anyone! The book is full of tried and true recipes and tips for hosting any gathering - even feeding the kids at the ballpark after a game!

Now, my children are not old enough to be involved in organized sports yet, but this book actually makes me excited for the day I have a team dinner at our house or organize the band potluck.

I could make a whole post on the yummy recipes in the Potluck Survival Guide, but I will just name a few that peaked my interest:

*Nana's Garlic Brisket
*Flank Steak Pinwheels
*Chicken Paella
*Fried Bread
*Nutty Cereal Snack
*Apple Pockets

Now, an experienced soccer mom might say that the ideas in this book aren't anything new - but that's not the point. For someone like me who is new to this style of cooking for the masses, this is EXACTLY the book I need.

I love the suggestions for food bar ideas - Baked Potato, Chili, Waffle, Sundae, etc. - as well as buffet tips and guidelines for feeding athletes. There are basic recipes with lots of listed variations and helpful notes on every recipe page.

One of the most useful sections to me is the "Numbers Game" - a guide for calculating the amount food based on the amount of people! How many times have I tried to figure that out, only to be WAY off in one direction or the other?!

The only downfall to this book for me is the lack of food pictures. I really enjoy seeing a picture of what I am making, and while this book is very colorful and well illustrated, it does not include pictures of the recipes.

Other than that, I find the Potluck Survival Guide to be a very useful tool for any large event involving food! I cannot wait for the next church or MOPS potluck to try something out! Maybe even over Christmas with my family!

Thank you to Ms. Kimmons and Five Star Publications for including me in this review tour!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Homemade Granola

This is such a yummy snack to have around when I need to nibble. It also tastes great with milk!

I had never attempted homemade granola before this, but I found a recipe that sounded good, tweaked it to fit my tastes, and I've stuck with it ever since! It is so easy!

Homemade granola is great because you can totally customize it for your own family AND you know exactly what is going in it! What would you put in yours?

Homemade Granola

6 cups oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp salt
1 cup olive oil
1 cup honey (or maple syrup)
-add nuts, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla to taste if you choose - I always add sunflower seeds, but next batch will have some pecans and vanilla I think!

Place on a baking sheet and cook for 50 minutes at 250 degrees, stirring the granola four times while cooking.

Cool, then add any dried fruit that you want. I really enjoy dried pineapple and craisins.

Store in a large zip lock bag or small snack size portion bags.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gifts from the Kitchen

Wow! We are back from a long Thanksgiving vacation and it it time I get back on track here!

I have tons of recipes lined up to post - just need to put the finishing touches on, so watch out! Thanks for your patience!

But for now, I wanted to share with you some homemade edible presents I plan on making this year!

Cranberry Hootycreeks (love this name!)

Do you have a favorite gift in a jar? Please pass it along!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Sesame Street: Elmo Cupcakes

I've seen Elmo cupcakes ideas all over the internet and they are the perfect treat for a special Sesame Street day - the start of the 40th season!

There are so many variations out there, so I pulled ideas from many of them when making these.

You can make any variety of cupcake you choose - I just happened to have an extra white cake mix on hand, but I think the Funfetti would have been even better!

Here is what we started with...

I used:

Wilton Ready-to-Decorate Red Icing (fabulous!)
Regular-sized marshmallows
Chocolate-covered apricots (looked just like an orange nose so I couldn't pass it up, but in hindsight, I could have done orange peanut M & Ms)
Chocolate chips

And I had a "helper."

For Elmo's fur, I used the star tip with the icing and made it look "fuzzy."

For his eyes, we cut marshmallows in half and my helper put them on.

And the noses were the chocolate-covered apricots but save yourself a few dollars and go with the peanut M & Ms.

At this point, I had blank eyes that need some pupils...

One site had suggested using food decorating markers to draw them on but I was not pleased with this outcome...

So I went with chocolate chips. Just a dab of icing (preferably white) on the marshmallow and those chocolate chips stuck right in place. I did try turning them over to have the flat side up, but they did not stick as well.

And there you go! You could always add a mouth with some black icing but I think this effect is just as good - plus, that takes more work!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Can you tell by the title that this is for chocolate lovers only?

A very good friend gave me one of her extra bundt pans this weekend – that’s right, I didn’t have my own before – and I was able to use it right away!

Another of my dear friends celebrated her birthday this weekend and her thoughtful husband asked if I would make a cake to bring to our small group for her. I inquired about the type of cake she would prefer and his response was “Chocolate.”

That left it pretty wide open so off I went to the internet and my good friend Recipezaar to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe to share. And to use the bundt cake pan, of course.

And this is what I came across.

SO happy I did. It was enjoyed by all. With some vanilla ice cream on the side.

This cake is quite simple to make – very common ingredients and no fancy equipment necessary!

And the bundt cake shape and drizzled glaze makes it look gorgeous.

But what chocolate isn’t gorgeous, right?!

So go share the chocolate love. And ONLY make this when you plan to share – it is addictive!

Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze



1 (18 1/4 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups water
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons hot water


Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour bundt pan, set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix and chocolate chips.

In another bowl, combine water, eggs, and vanilla mixing well.

Add egg mixture to dry mixture and mix with spoon until just blended. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until cake tests done when wooden pick in center comes out clean.

Cool 15 to 20 minutes before removing cake from pan. When completely cool, drizzle cake with Chocolate Glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix with spoon until smooth. Drizzle immediately on cooled cake.

Serve cake with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chipotle Chicken Citrus Salad

I am not being reimbursed by Mrs. Dash for this post in any way. Just love their stuff!

With heart disease in both of our families as I have mentioned before, I do try to find low sodium things when possible.

When looking through the seasoning and spices aisle, I discovered that Mrs. Dash had come out with several seasonings with a variety of tastes. So I bought a bunch!

There are grilling spices, Garlic Herb, Carribbean Citrus and Fiesta Lime to name a few. But my favorite so far is the Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend. It is spicy, but used in the recipe below, it is just perfect!

We have started grilling up a bunch of chicken breasts as done in this recipe, slicing them and freezing them to have on hand for salads.

The recipe below is yummy, but you can use the chicken however you want in a salad. I like mine as a chicken taco salad - with spinach, tortilla chips and taco sauce. Stephen loves his with spinach, shredded cheese, black olives and ranch dressing.

Try this recipe, then try your own twist!

Chipotle Chicken Citrus Salad

4 4 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash® Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend
11 oz. can Mandarin oranges (in light syrup), drained
1 cup red seedless grapes
1 bunch Romaine lettuce (torn)
5 Tbsp. prepared fat free honey mustard salad dressing
1 Tbsp. slivered almonds


Brush chicken breasts with olive oil, sprinkle with Mrs. Dash® Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend.

Heat grill, place chicken on grill and cook 4 minutes per side, basting when turned. Chicken is cooked when juices run clear.

Meanwhile, add mandarin oranges and grapes to lettuce, and toss with salad dressing.

When chicken has cooled, cut in 1/2 inch strips.

Place grilled chicken on top of lettuce, sprinkle with slivered almonds.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Short Order Home Fries

WARNING: This is not a healthy recipe in any way, shape or form.

WARNING: These are so delicious, you will want to eat the whole batch.

I am a big fan of meat and potatoes for breakfast. And by that, I mean bacon...mmm, bacon...sausage, and hashbrowns.

However, I have never been successful at making good hashbrowns, or home fries, at home.

Until Cook's Country (a division of America's Test Kitchen) entered my life. When watching the show one afternoon on PBS, they were making diner-style breakfast foods - omelets, home fries, etc.

The Home Fries are what caught my eye and I had to make them.

And this is where I had my revelation: the kind of potato you use makes a HUGE difference.

So I bought some Yukon Gold potatoes and got to work.

All I can say is crisp, flavorful, magnificent home fries were the result. And I once again am in awe of America's Test Kitchen.

Give these a shot for breakfast and you will not be sorry.

Short Order Home Fries

1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (4 medium), scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion , chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Ground black pepper

Arrange potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl, top with 1 tablespoon butter, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until edges of potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes, shaking bowl (without removing plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and pack down with spatula. Cook, without moving, until underside of potatoes is brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn potatoes, pack down again, and continue to cook until well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring potatoes every few minutes, until crusty, 9 to 12 minutes. Stir in onion, garlic salt, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Coffee House Knock-Off

Have you tried a Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks yet?

So yummy!

But if you haven't, don't go buy one.

"WHAT?" you ask. "You just said it was so yummy!"

It is. I'm just saying - you can make it at home.

And you can serve it to all of your friends and impress the heck out of them.

And by the way, it's so easy.

Thank you Recipezaar!

This makes a big old batch, but it is easily halved or doubled as needed.

Slow Cooker Hot Caramel Apple Cider
16 servings

1/2 gallon apple cider
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1 orange, sliced

1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping


Combine all ingredients except topping in a slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low setting 5-6 hours.

Serve in mugs, drizzling a teaspoonful of topping into each mug.

Told you it was easy.

I also like to add some whipped cream on top and drizzle a little more caramel on that. That is really what makes it special.

Stick some in the crock pot today, fill your house with fabulous smells and enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have some cake mix to use?

Mommy’s Kitchen

I love Mommy's Kitchen but haven't had much time to explore it lately. A good friend told me about a very special section of her site called "Cake Mix Creations." So I had to go check it out.

Do you know what I found?

Eleven different recipes using cake mix! And not just to make a cake!

I think that is brilliant, so I had just had to pass it along!

I have made the Pumpkin Crunch before and it is fabulous! So much easier than a pie and so delicious!

Let me know if you try any of these and how they work out!

Do you have any cake mix creations of your own? Would love to hear them!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Banana Crumb Muffins

I had some bananas that were at the perfect ripeness for banana bread...but I wanted something a little different.

So off to I went to find a banana muffin recipe - and I came across this!

I have always been a big fan of streusel topping on baked goods - coffee cake, muffins, etc. - so it's no surprise these sounded delicious to me.

And they are! Or else I wouldn't be posting it here!

The original recipe calls for 1/3 melted butter and claims it will only yield 10 muffins. A few of the reviews suggested substituting 1/3 vegetable oil and ending up with 12 muffins. I didn't have enough butter so I gave it a shot - and they came out perfect! No need to try the butter for me!

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


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

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1tablespoon 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.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

I get a daily recipe in my inbox from and this was the recipe yesterday. I was intrigued, loving all things pumpkin of course.

Looking at the recipe, I realized I had most of the ingredients on hand but not exactly. So I made it my own! A few tweaks here and there and I was VERY happy with the result.

This dish just screams of fall and that is perfect for me. Plus, it was super easy and very filling. Great for a cold, snuggly, lazy day - like yesterday was for us!

Stephen tried a bite and thought it wasn't bad. I ate it for dinner and will gladly eat the leftovers! Honestly, I loved it!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
2 10-oz cans Rotel Mild tomatoes with green chiles
1 15-oz can pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 dash salt
1-2 cups frozen corn


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion and garlic until tender. Stir in the turkey, and cook until evenly brown. Drain, and mix in tomatoes and pumpkin. Season with chili powder, cumin, pepper, and salt. Stir in the frozen corn. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Serve topped with Cheddar cheese, sour cream, Fritos, etc.

You could add in a 1/2 cup a yellow or red peppers with the onion and garlic - I didn't have any in the house so I skipped it. If I had them, I would have thrown them in too!

Next time, I may also add a little chicken broth to thin the chili out. I like the chili thick, but this is an option to suit your tastes!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Low-Sodium Substitute for Dry Onion Soup Mix

As I have mentioned before, heart disease and high blood pressure run in both of our families, so I appreciate low sodium alternatives when I find them.

We have several recipes we enjoy that use dry onion soup mix (French Dip, Cranberry Chicken, etc.) but WHOA does that have a lot of sodium!

So this recipe that I found on Recipezaar made me very happy.

The recipe is the equivalent to one envelope of dry onion soup mix and can be substituted in any recipe that calls for it!

Low-Sodium Dry Onion Soup Mix


1/4 cup dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons low-sodium or sodium-free beef bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper


Stir together. Use as a substitute for 1 envelope onion soup mix.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken

This is one of my favorite ways to make chicken - and it came from a heart-healthy magazine!

I used to try recipe after recipe for oven fried chicken looking for that perfect crispy exterior - I have I mentioned I love fried chicken? - but I had very little luck.

When we tried this one, I was very happy with the results and it is now on our menu every month!

I use boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips to make our own homemade chicken tenders! It's a hit with the whole family, especially with dipping sauces...Jeremiah-ketchup, me-honey, Stephen-marinara!

Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken

Vegetable oil spray
4 cups wheat-flake or cornflake cereal, lightly crushed
1 medium garlic clove, crushed (optional)
1 teaspoon ground ginger, or to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
Pepper to taste
6 pieces skinless chicken with bone (about 2 1/4 pounds), all visible fat discarded
Vegetable oil spray, butter-flavored or original

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.

In a pie pan or on a piece of aluminum foil, stir together the cereal and garlic.

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, paprika, salt if using, and pepper. Sprinkle the seasonings on both sides of each piece of chicken.

Roll the chicken in the cereal crumbs to coat. Lightly spray the chicken on all sides with vegetable oil spray and put on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown, tender and no longer pink in the center. (Timing will vary according to the thickness of the chicken pieces.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top Secret Brownies

Before you read this recipe, let me tell you that my son ASKED for these for lunch today and I sent two containers of these to his church class and most of them were gone - eaten by a bunch of three-year-olds!

One more disclaimer - a friend of mine tried them and did NOT like them. I, however, DO like them. I promise.

How's that for a lead up?

These are yet another attempt to get more veggies into my son's diet. And it works. Deceptively Delicious strikes again!

Yes, DD recipes take some prep work but again - totally worth it to know he's getting some good stuff!

If you have a chocolate lover in your house like my Big J then give these a try! He is thrilled to have brownies for snack!

Deceptively Delicious Brownies


Nonstick cooking spray
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup carrot puree (After peeling and trimming the ends, steam for 10-12 minutes and then puree in a food processor for 2 minutes)
1/2 cup spinach puree (Steam for 30 to seconds, then puree in a food processor for 2 minutes)
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup oat flour, or all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame.

In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in egg whites. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

These brownies are low in calories (only 133 per brownie) and saturated fat. They're also packed with 3 grams of fiber (which is just crazy for a brownie!), while spinach and carrots provide two powerful antioxidants that help your kids' eyes stay healthy. - Note from the cookbook

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baked Chicken Parmesan

I made this recipe from the American Heart Association Cookbook for friends the other day and they loved it!

Now, I don't eat cheese, so I can't tell you how it was but Stephen was a fan as well! And he will always recommend some marinara with Chicken Parmesan :)

Proof that healthy food can be yummy!

I was also able to flash freeze the cooked chicken (laid out on a baking sheet in the freezer until frozen, then put in a freezer bag so they don't stick together) and it reheated very well. I love discovering more freezer meals!

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Vegetable oil spray
4 slices whole-wheat bread
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat buttermilk
6 Boneless chicken breast halves (approximately 4 ounces each), skinned, all visible fat removed
Vegetable oil spray


Preheat oven to 450F. Lightly spray with vegetable oil spray a rectangular baking sheet and a rectangular cake-cooling rack of a slightly smaller size. Place rack onto baking sheet. Set aside.

Place bread in a blender or the work bowl of a food processor. Process into fine crumbs. Pour crumbs into a shallow bowl. Add garlic powder, paprika, cheese, parsley and thyme. Stir to mix well.

Pour buttermilk into a shallow bowl.

Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Dip chicken into buttermilk, shake off excess and then dip into crumbs.

Place chicken on prepared rack. Spray each breast with vegetable oil spray.

Bake 15 minutes; turn chicken over and bake 10 minutes more or until done.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In Honor of Game Day: The Taco Ring Repost

Yes, I am reposting a recipe.

But this repost is in honor of a big game in Husker Nation today. Lots of people will be watching the Big Red take on the Hokies this afternoon so I think somebody needs to make this.

And invite me over to eat it.

Christian, this one's for you. Tell your mom thanks again for introducing us to this.

And I'll gladly take you on again to see who can eat more of this any day :)

Go Huskers!

The Taco Ring

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1 envelope taco seasoning (less, if desired)
2 crescent roll cans (8 oz. each)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Taco fixings (optional): lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Brown ground beef or turkey; drain fat. Season with taco seasoning according to envelope directions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles on a pizza stone or greased cookie sheet with short sides of triangles toward center, overlapping into wreath shape and leaving a round opening in center. On a pizza stone, this could make an inner and outer ring. You may also make two rows on a cookie sheet instead (tips still overlapping). Lightly press short sides of dough to flatten slightly.

Evenly distribute the taco meat along the widest part tips of the dough. If desired, sprinkle shredded cheese over the meat (cheese may also be served on the side after baking instead). Pull end points of triangles over filling and tuck under dough to form ring(Filling will be somewhat visible).

Bake according to package directions (11-13 minutes). Cut into 16 pieces and serve with taco fixings on the side.

Serves 2-4 people as a meal or more as an appetizer/snack.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Loser Fish Tacos

So every once in a while, I feel the need to throw in a recipe I like even though this site is called "Cooking for the Boys."

I adapted this recipe from one of the Biggest Loser cookbooks - hence the name - and I was pleasantly surprised.

For the record, I like fish. My husband does not. So I had that going for me when we tried this.

The original recipe was too spicy for both of us so I put a range on the seasoning so you can decide how spicy to make it.

Try this and you can be a loser too! In a good way, of course.

Loser Fish Tacos


Soft or hard shell tacos
1 pound Alaskan Pollack (mahimahi or monkfish are great too), cut into 1” pieces
1-2 Tbsp salt-free Mexican seasoning (like Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle)
Salt, to taste
Olive oil spray
Toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, etc.
½ cup fresh pico de gallo or fresh salsa (refrigerated, not jarred), drained if watery
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, or more to taste


Season the fish evenly with the seasoning and salt.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, lightly mist with the olive oil spray. Working in batches if necessary, add the fish pieces in a single layer. Cook, turning occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily in the center and is slightly browned.

Meanwhile, microwave the stack of tortillas in a damp paper towel or lint-free dish towel on low until warmed, 15 to 30 seconds or heat hard shell tacos in the oven until crispy.

Divide the fish evenly among the tortillas, placing it in a strip down the center. Top with the preferred toppings, then the salsa. Sprinkle with the cilantro, fold the tortillas to form tacos, and serve.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Apple Snack Squares

I just realized I've had apples coming out of my ears for almost a week now and I haven't made these yet!!! Are you kidding me? What was I thinking?

Mindee posted this recipe last year and I made them right away. And ate them right away.

Now it's your turn. I'm going to the store for butterscotch chips.

Apple Snack Squares

2 cups
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour*
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large tart apples; peeled and diced.
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional - but recommended!)
1 cup butterscotch chips

In a bowl, combine sugar, eggs and oil; mix well. Stir in flour and cinnamon (batter will be thick). Stir in apples and nuts. Spread into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle with chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool before cutting. Makes about 2 dozen.

*If you don’t have self-rising flour on hand and hate to go to the grocery store as much as I do, you can use this substitution:
For each cup of self-rising flour, place 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to equal one cup.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Apple Butter

Last year, I discovered a new fall favorite when I tried Mindee's marvelous Apple Butter recipe. I froze a bunch and have been eating it - and loving it - ever since.

Well, now Joshua loves it too and I have a lot of apples to use. So I thought, let's try another Apple Butter recipe!

Mindee's recipe starts with applesauce and this time around I wanted a recipe that goes from apples to apple butter. And my friend Annie was kind enough to share this one, about which I have heard rave reviews.

Now, this is in the slow cooker right now so I can't tell you how I like it yet, but if smell is any indication, I'm going to LOVE it!

The recipe calls for 4 cups of sugar, and being the great planner that I am, I only had 3 cups of white sugar on hand. So I used 1 cup of brown sugar as well - hope I didn't mess it up! We'll see!

Now, for your enjoyment...

Apple Butter
Makes approximately 4 pints

5 1/2 lbs apples, peeled and finely chopped (I use 3-4 different types of apples)
4 cups sugar
2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place apples in a large bowl.
2. Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
3. Pour over apples and mix well.
4. Place in crock pot, cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
5. Decrease heat to low; cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown.
6. Stir occasionally.
7. Uncover and cook on low for 1 hour longer.
8. If desired, whisk until smooth.
9. Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch head space.
10. Cover and freeze.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Applesauce - Slow-Cooker Style

As you might have read on my other blog, we have a LOT of apples to use right now so I may be posting several apple recipes in the near future.

Including this one.

This is an incredibly easy way to make applesauce and it is very yummy. It is another great recipe shared by the Crockpot Lady - so thankful for her!

This applesauce tastes especially good when warm but is delicious cold as well.

I am trying another recipe tonight and I'll keep you posted on how that one turns out!

Crockpot Applesauce

4 large apples, skinned ,cored, and cut in quarters
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 T brown sugar
1/4 cup water

I used a 4 quart crockpot for the applesauce.

Skin, core, and cut your apples into quarters. Plop the pieces into your crockpot. Add the juice from the lemon, and the water. Pour in the vanilla (imitation or real - either works), and add the cinnamon and brown sugar.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When the apples are super tender, mash with a potato masher or large fork. 4 hours was long enough with my slow cooker, but it will vary between appliances.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Calling All Fall Lovers!

I love fall.

I mean, I LOVE FALL.

And I love fall foods - soups, chili, warm drinks.

And I love apples and pumpkins.

So I am going to be posting lots of favorite fall recipes and would love to hear (or read, I guess) your best apple and pumpkin recipes.

So won't you please share?

You can e-mail them to me or post them in the comment section.

Come on people, share the fall love.

Have a nice day :)

Grilled Cheese - the Healthy Way

Yes, I am one of those moms who hides healthy stuff in her kids' favorite foods.

Jeremiah won't eat veggies - that he can see. So Mom just sneaks them in here and there.

This recipe is a lunch staple around here because both boys love their "cheese toast!" And that makes me love it!

Hiding veggies does require some prep but I think it is totally worth it. Ice cube trays and freezer bags have become my good friends.

So here it is, from the wonderful Deceptively Delicious cookbook.

DD Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

* 1/2 cup of shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
* 1/2 cup sweet potato or butternut squash puree
* 1 tablespoon trans-fat-free soft margarine spread
* 1/4 teaspoon salt (I didn't use any)
* 4 slices of whole-wheat bread
* Nonstick cooking spray
* 1 teaspoon olive oil

1. In a medium bowl, mix the cheese, vegetable puree, margarine & salt. Spread two slices of bread with the cheese mixture & top with the other two slices.

2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray & set it over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Put the sandwiches in the pan & spray the top with cooking spray. Cook 4 -5 minutes per side, or until bread is crisps and the filling is melted. Let sit a few minutes before cutting - Jeremiah like his cut into triangles :)

Do you hide healthy things in your kids' food? Successes? Failures?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Meatloaf Muffins

To be fair, I actually like these the best in our family. But the boys will eat them so they're getting thrown on this site!

I love this recipe from Kraft Foods because it is EASY and versatile. I also like them because I am a big fan of the crunchy outside of meatloaf and with muffins, you get lots of crunch!

My favorite is the Mexcian variety - I like some spice - and no cheese of course. Stephen would prefer the Italian version with LOTS of mozzarella.

I just made a batch of Mexican and a batch of Italian today, flash froze them and now have them on hand for a quick meal!

Any other variation ideas? Let me know!

For all varitations you'll need the following...
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix
1 cup water

Then you can mix & match your recipe from these options...

Seasoning - 1 tsp Italian seasoning
Add-in - spaghetti sauce (I used pizza sauce)
Cheese possibilities - shredded mozzarella

Seasoning - 2 tsp chili powder
Add-in - salsa or taco sauce
Cheese possibilities - Mexican style

Seasoning - 1 tsp dried oregano
Add-in - chopped roasted red peppers
Cheese possibilities - crumbled feta

Seasoning - 1 tsp garlic powder
Add-in - barbecue sauce
Cheese possibilities - shredded cheddar

Heat oven to 375°F. Mix meat, stuffing mix, water and seasoning until well blended. Press into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray.

Make indentation in center of each with back of spoon; fill evenly with 3/4 cup add-ins.

Bake 30 min. or until meatloaves are done (160°F). Top with 3/4 cup cheese; bake 5 min. or until melted. Let stand 10 min.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Super Power Muffins

So I can't believe I haven't posted this yet because this is Jeremiah's FAVORITE - for snack, breakfast, anytime really.

I think they are pretty darn yummy as well!

I found this on a blog a while back in the comment section so I don't have anyone to attribute to - but whoever came up with these - THANK YOU!

Healthy, filling, full of protein and produce - what more could a mommy want to give her boys for breakfast?!

Jeremiah especially likes them in mini-form :)

Super Power Muffins

1 cup brown sugar (I don’t pack it!)
½ cup peanut butter
1 banana
½ cup of applesauce or carrot puree
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients well and set aside.

Blend everything else and then sift in dry ingredients. Truth be told, I don't have a sifter. They still turn out great.

Spray muffin tray. Divide batter between muffin tins, filling 2/3 full.

Bake for 15-18 min. Makes 12 muffins or 24+ mini-muffins.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Lattes - in the Crockpot!

Fall is my favorite. For so many reasons. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are one of them.

In case you are unaware of this fabulous drink, they are only available at Starbucks in the fall. Which used to be a reason for sadness for me.

Until I found this recipe from the Crockpot Lady. Now I can have them all year round and they won't cost me a small fortune.

My hubby is not a coffee drinker so I have to share these with friends - a good excuse to get together often!

A couple of tips:
*I make a pot of extra strong coffee and then freeze it in ice cube trays to have on hand whenever I want to make these - very handy!
*This recipe uses a small amount of a can of pumpkin, so why not freeze the leftover in ice cube trays as well?! Works great!

Happy fall!

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes

--2 cups milk (I used 1%)
--2 T canned pumpkin
--2 T white sugar
--2 T vanilla (not a typo. it asks for tablespoons)
--1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
OR: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and a teeny tiny pinch of ground ginger
--1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
--garnish with whipped cream (optional)

The Directions.

This will make enough for 2 people to have a big mug with a bit leftover. If you are having friends over, adjust the recipe accordingly. I used a 4-quart crockpot, but as small as a 1.5 quart will work with these amounts.

Add the coffee/espresso and milk to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours if everything is cold. Whisk again.

Ladle into mugs, and garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day and Night Cookies

So Jeremiah and I tried something new.

That particular day, we were talking about how God created day and night and relating that to black and white.

He needed something to keep him occupied and he loves baking with me so I came up with this.

We took my mom's classic chocolate chip cookie recipe and mixed it up a little to make "Day and Night Cookies." I threw in a little bit of this and that I found in the cupboard. We were both quite pleased with the yummy results.

The "mix-in" proportions can be changed to suit your tastes - more Heath in my case!

Jeremiah had fun finding the black and white pieces as he ate the cookies. Hope you like them too!

Day and Night Cookies

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup mix-ins - here is my preference:
*1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
*1/4 cup white chocolate chips
*1/2 cup toffee baking bits (such as Heath)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream sugars and shortening together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blog Hop: Another Favortie Recipe

This is a repost of one of my favorite dessert recipes. Check out the blog hopping fun below!

My sister gave me this recipe and I fell in love. And now it is requested at special events all the time! It is very healthy and moist - a great combination for a cake! I usually make it as a 9x13 cake, but it works great for cupcakes as seen above. I made these for both boys' first birthdays.

And by the way, it is super easy and versatile. We have only done fruit flavors (strawberry, raspberry, peach) with a white cake mix, but you can use any kind of yogurt and cake mix combination. I might need to try chocolate next!

Yogurt Cake

Cake Ingredients:
1 box white or yellow cake mix
2 egg whites
1 cup water
8 oz. strawberry yogurt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ingredients well (I use my stand mixer or a hand mixer). Pour into a greased cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool.

Frosting Ingredients:
4-8 oz. strawberry yogurt
1 8 oz. container of Cool Whip

Mix together yogurt and Cool Whip. Apply frosting to the cake once it has cooled. Top with sliced strawberries if desired.

Refrigerate and enjoy! Thanks sis!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mom's BBQs: A Little Update

Sloppy joes. Taverns. Loose meat sandwiches.

We always called them BBQs.

And I'm a little picky about how they taste. So is my husband.

Needless to say I never made them because of this very reason.

Until last night.

I decided to use my mom's recipe which I have always loved. I only changed two things from that beloved recipe:

1. The amount of meat.
2. The type of meat.

My mom's recipe calls for 2 to 2.5 pounds of ground beef. I decided to give it a shot with 3 pounds ground turkey.


I did not take a bite until Stephen had because I really wanted to see his reaction. I was really nervous. Isn't that silly?!

He took a bite and...

"Mmmm...very good!"

And we have a winner, folks!!! (Yes, I am always this excited when I find a new food my husband really likes.)

He even asked for another one before the first one was even gone!

So it was a success for our family. Maybe it will be for you too!

Mom's Updated BBQs

3 pounds ground turkey
1 can tomato soup
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes (I actually used 1 Tbsp of Tastefully Simple's Onion Onion)
4 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
2 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom. Serve on hamburger buns - or hot dog buns just to make the kids smile!

NOTE: This meat freezes well so don't be afraid to make a lot!

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Favorite Banana Bread

Banana bread. Always making it, but never with the same recipe! I seem to be constantly in search of the perfect banana bread recipe because the boys love it so much.

And now I've found it. I'm done looking. This is the one.

I should have figured it would come from this cookbook.

Only the most wonderful cookbook on the face of the earth I do believe. If you know of one better, send it to me because I need to see it. (I'll always take a new cookbook!) But you need to get this one.

I could write a whole post on how much I love America's Test Kitchen but I'll spare you for now and move on to the recipe.

The keys to this recipe are...
-VERY ripe bananas
-plain yogurt
-very gently mixed batter

And don't forget to save those overripe bananas in the freezer so you have them on hand when you want to make banana bread! Just peel them and stick them in a freezer bag. Set them out to thaw before you start baking and you're ready to go!

Give it a try - I think you'll enjoy it as much as the boys and I do!

ATK Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse (optional)

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt together in large bowl; set aside.

Whisk the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, yogurt and vanilla together in a separate bowl.

Gently fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. DO NOT OVER MIX!!! Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cool for one hour.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pizza Pasta Casserole

Another great freezer meal! This is especially great for families with kids - what kid doesn't like spaghetti sauce mixed with fun-shaped pasta, cheese and topped with pepperoni?! And it is SO easy to assemble! Love that!

Sorry, no step-by-step pictures this time. Just a shot of the finished product.

Pizza Pasta Casserole

• 2 pounds ground beef
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 jars (28 ounces each) spaghetti sauce
• 1 package (16 ounces) spiral pasta, cooked and drained
• 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
• 8 ounces sliced pepperoni

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and pasta.

Transfer to two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange pepperoni over the top. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months.

Bake the second casserole, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until heated through. I like to write these directions right on the foil so they are helpful wherever they end up!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chicken Stuffing Casserole

I've been searching for great freezer meals lately. Lots of babies being born, friends in need and freezer space! I love the feeling of having meals in the freezer ready to help out.

This one has been a hit, especially with new moms - not spicy or tomato-based. I cannot say I have tried it because I do not eat cheese - pause for the gasps - but I have had requests for the recipe. That has to be a good sign!

I experimented with taking pictures of each step a la the Pioneer Woman but I have to say that it was a little more stressful than I thought! I may do it again, but definitely not all the time!

Here it is...Chicken Stuffing Casserole!

• 2 packages (6 ounces each) chicken stuffing mix
• 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
• 1 cup milk
• 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
• 2 cups frozen corn
• 2 cans (8 ounces each) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
• 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare stuffing mixes according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine soup and milk; set aside.

You'll need two 8-in. square baking dishes. No, those are not square. The circles were all I had. And it worked. Either way, your dishes will be very full. Just preparing you.

Grease the pans.
Spread the stuffing equally into each pan.

Then layer chicken...

soup mixture...
and cheese.

I told you it would be full!

Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the second casserole at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Note: I usually just freeze them both but you could make one for yourself for dinner and freeze the other!

To use frozen casserole: Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw). Bake at 350° for 1-1/2 hours. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Recipe Site to Check Out

If you didn't know already, the Pioneer Woman has started her own recipe site called Tasty Kitchen and I am in love!

First of all, I totally trust her taste because her recipes have never failed me!

Secondly, it is organized very well - I like that :)

And lastly, pretty pictures, pretty designs and recipes from normal people like me!

You should check it out!

I had Triple Chocolate Banana Bread with peanut butter on it for lunch today. Not super healthy but super yummy.

Trust me. And Tasty Kitchen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is in the crock pot right now. I know most people don't like soup in the summer but this just sounded good to me so it was put on the menu. Plus, it's really easy. Do I say that too much?

The recipe came from my good friend Ci, who made it for our small group once.

She would probably hate these pictures (which are from a year ago), but I love them because they show how fun she is! She is super good with the kiddos - I love that. And she loves the Lord - I really love that.

She is also amazingly (is that a word?) talented and creative. She took these photos, which I am in love with. And not just because they are of my son :)

Did I mention she has a beautiful voice? She does. I could go on and on. Really.

Anyways, the recipe.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 cans chicken broth
1 can tomato soup
1 can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes (undrained)
1 large can chunk chicken breast (today I used 2 cups of cubed chicken breast)
2 cups frozen corn

Are you ready for this?

Dump these ingredients into a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3.

Didn't even break a sweat, did you?

You can top with whatever you like, but we especially like colorful fried tortilla strips. Plain old crushed tortilla chips will have to do for today - still yummy, just not as pretty. Stephen tops his with cheese and I know several in our small group added sour cream.

Enjoy. Thanks Ci!

Friday, July 10, 2009

MOM: July 2009

Darn vacations. Just throw me off.

Here is our July Month of Meals - finally.

July 1: Sandwiches
July 2: CHICK-FIL-A on the road!!!
July 3: Mom's Wonderful BBQs at the cabin (actually made by Mom!)
July 4: Amazing pork sandwiches at the cabin (made by my uncle and cousin)
July 5: I don't even remember - how horrible!
July 6: Turkey Tacos
July 7: Grilled Salmon
July 8: Sandwiches
July 9: Grilled Italian Chicken
July 10: Homemade Pizza
July 11: Burgers
July 12: Leftovers (Mommy to a wedding!)
July 13: Culver's for a MOPS fundraiser
July 14: Chicken Tortilla Soup
July 15: Salads
July 16: Spaghetti
July 17: Godfather's for Guys Night (Mommy has a retreat)
July 18: Steak
July 19: Small Group
July 20: Brinner (Breakfast for Dinner)
July 21: Cajun Chicken Strips
July 22: Sub Sandwiches
July 23: Chicken Marinara
July 24: Small Group Vacation!
July 25: Small Group Vacation!
July 26: Small Group Vacation!
July 27: Homemade Pizza
July 28: Pork Chops
July 29: Grilled Chicken Salad
July 30: Cornflake Chicken
July 31: Steak Kabobs

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

MOM will be a little late...

So I totally let this month get away from me and right about now I should be posting my Month of Meals for July but...well...I haven't even started it. And we're leaving for vacation on Thursday so I've lost all motivation to plan tonight.

I'll give you this much:

July 1: Sandwiches
July 2: Salads
July 3: At the cabin!!!
July 4: At the cabin!!!
July 5: On the road back

Happy 4th of July everyone - MOM will be back next week!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chicken Veggie Pasta

A good friend of ours brought this over after we had Joshua and it has been on our menu ever since! It is a perfect summer dish and I love that the veggies are mixed right in!

I am posting the original recipe, but our veggies usually include carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and red/yellow peppers. We've also switched over to whole wheat spaghetti - I highly recommend this! We think it is very yummy!

This was on the menu for tonight but will have to be put on hold - busy night and lots of leftovers to consume!

Chicken Veggie Pasta


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut lengthwise into strips
1 box spaghetti noodles
1 medium zucchini sliced
1 medium carrot sliced
1/2 small onion sliced
1/2 large green pepper chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bottle reduced-fat Italian dressing

Place chicken strips in a bowl or 1 gallon ziploc storage bag and cover completely with Italian dressing. Refrigerate and let marinate at least one hour before cooking.

Prepare spaghetti noodles as directed on box. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat, add zucchini, onion, green pepper and carrot. Saute until zucchini, green pepper and carrot are soft and onion is transparent. When noodles are done, drain and add them to vegetable mix in skillet. Turn heat to low.

Grill chicken (I did ours on the George Foreman, if you have one) or brown chicken in separate skillet until there is no pink in the middle. Add chicken to noodles and veggies. Pour Italian dressing over mixture to taste. Toss noodles and veggies in dressing until coated evenly.

Serve warm. Top with Parmesan cheese if you wanna!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

This is the perfect cookie recipe to make with the kids - thank you Screwed Up Texan! 3 ingredients, no messy eggs, very easy! And the cookies are actually fairly healthy - bonus!

I love pumpkin all year round, so Jeremiah and I made a double batch yesterday and they are delicious! I put some raw dough and baked cookies in the freezer - I will let you know how they come out later!

Check out the recipe here. Yum.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Calling all freezer meals!

We got a deep freeze yesterday.

I am so excited. Seriously. I got home from a MOPS Leadership meeting late, but I honestly wanted to go downstairs right then and start filling that big beautiful freezer up with all of the stuff that is overflowing out of our freezer on top of the fridge!

But I didn't. I actually showed restraint. Amazing.

The new freezer has got me thinking. I love making big batches of food and freezing it for later. Now I have the room to do that. So I need your help.

I am looking for two different kinds of recipes:

1. Freezer meals for new mommies that are not tomato-based or too spicy (I have seen what that can do to nursing babies!)
2. Freezer meals that our family - in all its picky glory - might like

I know it's a challenge but I believe in you :)

Now, enough restraint. Time to fill the freezer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chicken Marinara

This is one of Stephen's favorite meals. I've become pretty fond of it as well. Especially with some yummy garlic bread or breadsticks on the side.

This is what my plate looks like (sorry for the poor pictures - in a hurry to eat)...

And here is Stephen's plate.

He loves olives and Parmesan. I won't eat either.
And yet we still love each other :)

And here is the recipe. Enjoy.

Chicken Marinara
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 jar (28 oz.) meatless spaghetti sauce (I use Newman's Marinara - love it)
1/2 cup chicken broth
hot cooked spaghetti

In a nonstick skillet coasted with nonstick cooking spray, cook chicken for about 6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink; remove and keep warm.
Add mushrooms, garlic, basil and Italian seasoning to skillet; saute until mushrooms are tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce and broth. Add chicken; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Serve over pasta.

Confessions: I often substitute canned mushrooms pieces and stems for the fresh mushrooms and garlic powder (or Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic) for the garlic cloves. This is one of those recipes where I don't even measure out the ingredients anymore! And it still turns out yummy!

Mexican Beef and Corn Bread Pie

Mexican Beef and Corn Bread Pie


Meat Mixture
1 pound lean ground turkey

½ - 1 cup of your favorite salsa (I used Wholly Salsa Mild)

½ package taco seasoning (I used McCormick’s 30% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning)
10-ounce package frozen whole-kernel corn

Corn Bread Mixture
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whites of 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon canola or corn oil


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the turkey for 4 to 5 minutes, or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the remaining meat mixture ingredients. Reduce the heat and simmer while you prepare the corn bread mixture.

In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, and baking powder, and sugar and salt if desired. In a small bowl, stir together the egg whites, milk, and oil. Pour into the dry mixture. Mix lightly to avoid overbeating- this is VERY important!

Spoon the meat mixture into a baking pan – I used a 9x13 pan but it would work well in a 10-inch square pan. It did NOT work well for me in an 8-inch square pan. Spoon the corn bread mixture over the meat; spread lightly to cover the surface.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the corn bread is golden brown. Do not overcook!

FYI: My only complaint - the crust can get a little dry. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kabobs or kebabs?

However you spell it, they are yummy!

I marinated the meat all afternoon in Kraft's Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing & Marinade. So easy and excellent!
I think red and yellow peppers are beautiful.
I also added zucchini, mushrooms, and - my favorite - pineapple. The pineapple really completes it for me. And I convinced Stephen of the same. Small victory for me.
Nice job with the grill Stephen. The best part - very little clean-up!
So how do you spell it?