Tuesday, November 24, 2015

dirt dessert, Christmas style

We love Christmas around here and got a head start this year when one of my kids wanted to celebrate Christmas for her birthday.  She wanted dirt dessert and said we should put some trees in the dirt so we came up with these edible trees made out of waffle cones, icing and candy "ornaments".  I thought we were pretty darn clever. :)

dirt dessert
our dirt dessert recipe is HERE. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

vegetarian 5-bean soup in a jar

I am super excited about these!  It started when my husband asked for some help figuring out a service project for his 12-13 year old deacons.  I suggested they make several soup in a jar and take them to the widows at church.  He liked the idea so I found this cute idea.  I liked it so much I got enough for him to make some and for me to make some for my kids' teachers as a Thanksgiving gift.  The soup idea even came with printable labels that I had printed on cardstock at Office Max.  I love easy, fun ideas.
What to talk price?  The beans, spices and cans of petite diced tomatoes cost between $14 and $15.  The labels cost .69 per page and I printed two pages.  I used jars and ribbon I already had.

vegetarian 5-bean soup in a jar (backtoherroots.com)
this recipe was adapted to make 6 jars of soup
1 1/2 pound pinto beans 
1 1/2 pound split green peas (or green lentils) 
1 1/2 pound great northern beans 
1 1/2 pound black beans 
1 1/2 pound kidney beans 
1 1/2 tablespoon black pepper 
1 1/2 tablespoon paprika 
1 1/2 tablespoon dry mustard 
3 tablespoons dehydrated onions (found in the spice aisle) 
3 tablespoons sea salt 
3 tablespoons garlic powder 
3 tablespoons dried oregano 
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary 
12 bay leaves 
6 vegetable bouillon cubes

In each of the four Mason jars, layer 2/3 cup of pinto beans—shaking the jar gently to level the beans. Then repeat with 2/3 cup of green peas and so on ending with the kidney beans. Set jars aside.In a small bowl, combine all remaining spices except bay leaves and bouillon cubes. Using 6 little ziploc baggies, spoon 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture in each little baggie. Repeat five more times to create six total packets. Squish the packets into the top space of each of the four bean jars.  Place lids on jars.  Attach labels.
Go HERE to find the recipe and labels which give cooking directions.
Basically, the cooking label says: Remove spice packet and set aside.  Rinse beans and place in a large stock pot.  Cover with 1" water.  Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat, cover and let soak for 1 hour.  Drain and rinse beans.  Return beans to pot, add spice packet, a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes and 6 cups water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2-2 hour until beans are very tender and soup is thick. 

What I have to say- the soup is pretty but it is also pretty bland.  It needed more bouillon.  My kids preferred to eat it with sour cream on top and dipped tortilla chips into it because it was thick.  I agree that that's the best way to eat it.


Monday, October 19, 2015

slow cooker pork roast with gravy

Dinner doesn't get any easier than this or more comforting.  Throw 4 ingredients into a slow cooker and force yourself to buy a container of already-mashed mashed potatoes.  Grab a fruit tray and dinner is served!

slow cooker pork roast with gravy (adapted from dinners, dishes & desserts
3-4 pound pork loin roast
1 packet onion soup mix (I bought mine at Trader Joe's- no MSG and fewer ingredients)
2 cups chicken broth
1 packet pork gravy mix 

Place pork loin, onion soup mix and chicken stock into a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 8-10 hours.   Shred pork.  Serve over mashed potatoes.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hershey's "perfectly chocolate" chocolate frosting

This is the best chocolate frosting!  I remember when I was a kid I always requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for my birthday.  This is the same chocolate frosting my mom always made and she found the recipe on the back of  the Hershey's cocoa powder just like I did this morning.  Mmmmm!!!

Hershey's "perfectly chocolate" chocolate frosting
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Melt butter (I used the microwave).  Stir in cocoa powder.  Alternately, add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Add more milk if needed.  Stir in vanilla.  About 2 cups frosting.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

guacamole stuffed chicken breasts

Introducing my new favorite thing to eat- guacamole stuffed chicken breasts!  I took a picture before baking know that afterwards I wouldn't want to prolong eating them and I was right.  I served them with a salad and green beans.  I could eat this meal all over again.  Right now.

guacamole stuffed chicken breasts (adapted from the wholesome dish
3 giant boneless, skinless chicken breasts, filleted
1 container guacamole
2 large eggs
1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Use a mallet to pound each chicken breast thin and flat.  Set aside.
Divide the guacamole between the chicken pieces and spread it into a thin layer.  Roll up the chicken, starting with the skinniest edge. 
In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs.
In a separate bowl, add the breadcrumbs and spices.  Stir to combine.
Roll the stuffed chicken in the eggs.  Let the excess egg drip off.  Press and roll the chicken in the breadcrumbs.  Shake off the excess breadcrumbs.  Place the chicken seam-side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Discard the remaining egg and breadcrumbs.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and its coating is golden brown and crispy.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

store bought favorite: key lime cilantro taco skillet sauce

This is another amazing pouch bursting with flavors unique to the other pouches that Frontera sells.  This one was intended for shrimp and fish but I used chicken and it was a huge hit.  I always kick myself for not stocking up and buying more the first time.  Two of my very favorite foods are roasted tomatillos and green chiles so there's no wonder I loved this pouch so much.  Give it a try!

store bought favorite: key lime cilantro taco skillet sauce (by Frontera)
Cook up some shrimp, fish, or in my case chicken then simmer it in the sauce for 10 minutes.  Serve it in warm tortillas with all the fixins and you'll end up with a super healthy, super delicious meal.

Friday, September 4, 2015

mini pancake kabobs

I saw these and they were so cute I had to make them.  Next time I will replace the banana with a slice of peach or strawberry but the banana was all I had on hand this time.  The kids went crazy for them, even my husband. Wait!  I just saw on the blog I heart naptime that they used  Nutella and strawberries- I totally should've used that.  That's what I'm doing next time.

mini pancake kabobs (I heart naptime)
pancake batter (follow directions on package)
peanut butter or nutella
syrup for drizzling

There's not much to tell.  I made some Krusteaz pancake mix and used a teaspoon to drop the batter into the skillet.  I made the little pancakes then alternated pancakes, peanut butter and bananas on a fancy toothpick then drizzled some syrup on top.  Next time I will alternate pancakes, nutella and strawberries!