Friday, April 27, 2012

peanut butter sheet cake

I'm not ordinarily a huge fan of cake or peanut butter.  I don't dislike either one but I don't go out of my way to eat them very often.  This cake was definitely worth trying.  It's not like your typical cake.  It's dense, rich, sweet and buttery.  It made a huge sheet so we were able to share it with lots of friends which is a great thing about a sheet cake.  Oh, and I did pick up all the soft little crumbs in the pan and ate them all up!

peanut butter sheet cake (Tasty Kitchen)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
1 cup water
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

1 stick butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 teaspoons milk
1 pound powdered sugar

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, baking soda, flour and salt.
Combine butter, water and peanut butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Pour over flour mixture.
Add milk, vanilla and eggs to your other mixture and mix.
Pour batter onto greased large rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
To make icing, bring butter, peanut butter and milk to a boil in a saucepan.  Add powdered sugar and mix.  Pour warmed frosting over cooled cake.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

hungry fruit caterpillar

At preschool today we used The Very Hungry Caterpillar as our theme, one of my all-time favorites.  We just had to eat this for our snack today.  What's better than fresh fruit?  Glaze on top of fresh fruit!

hungry fruit caterpillar (idea from Taste of Home February/March 2012)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
fruit of your choice
3 tablespoons orange juice (if you use apples to keep them from browning)
few squirts of caramel ice cream topping (not featured in photo)

In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar, milk and extract until smooth; set aside.  If you are using apples, slice the apples then toss with the orange juice in another bowl.
Place a clementine or plum on a serving platter and use toothpicks to secure grapes for eyes and an apple or lemon wedge for a smile.  Attach mint sprigs or toothpicks for antennae if desired.  
Arrange other fruits in a zig-zag pattern to form caterpillar body.  Drizzle caramel topping for legs; spoon almond glaze over fruit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

thick and creamy new england clam chowder

I happen to live with one of the biggest clam chowder fans I have ever known.  The last time we went to the coast my husband wanted to stop and grab a bowl every time we saw a sign for it.  I've tried a few recipes and finally settled on this recipe as being my very favorite.  My husband was the only huge fan until this recipe came along.  It's soooo good.  This soup went mighty fast last night with crusty rolls on the side.  Don't let the cream of celery scare you.  It doesn't over power because of the delicious bacon, clam juice and clams.   Hall of Fame.

thick and creamy new england clam chowder (adapted from
1/2 package bacon, cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 huge can (51 ounces) of clams from Costco with juice reserved (Sea Watch brand)
6-7 potatoes, cubed
2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans cream of celery soup
1 cup heavy cream

Add bacon to soup pot and cook on medium until crispy.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add clam juice.  Add potatoes.  Cook and cover until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Stir occasionally so the potatoes don't stick.  Add clams, soup and cream.  Cook for about 30-45 minutes or until thickened.  Stir occasionally.

fresh apple bars

These apple bars pack a punch.  They are spicy and tremendously flavorful.  They remind me of how every home should smell and taste at Christmas.

fresh apple bars (slightly adapted from
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg
1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice or milk
1 cup finely chopped peeled apple

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 375.  Sift flour and baking soda together then set aside.
Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer.  Blend in salt, spices and egg.  Add half the flour mixture and blend well.  Blend in half the apple cider (I used milk).  Add the chopped apples to the remaining flour mixture and stir to coat.  Add this and the remaining apple cider to the creamed mixture and stir by hand.  For cookies: Drop by very small spoonfuls on cookie sheet and bake 8-9 minutes.  Remove from sheet while still warm.  For bars: Spread in a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 25 minutes.   For glaze:  Mix ingredients together then drizzle over cookies or bars.

Monday, April 23, 2012


These are pretty magnificent if you ask me.  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous and there's nothing like citrus in the summertime.  My daughter looked cute in her apron as she made them (it's so nice when they get older and you can put them to work!).  She did inform me my blog looks rather boring and needs a new look.  Maybe she can help me.

orangebursts (Guittard)
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (colored part only)
2 cups (12 ounces) Guittard Choc-Au-Lait Vanilla Milk Chips

Preheat oven to 357.  In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light.  Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.  Gradually add flour mixture until combined.  Stir in orange zest and chips.
Roll into balls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges.  Cool for several minutes on sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container.
Note: for lemonbursts substitute lemon zest for orange zest

easy blender salsa

Do you know how hard it is to hold a camera with your right hand and a chip with salsa in your left while dying to eat that chip because you know how good the salsa is?  Oh, and while your oldest is standing behind you asking when she can get back to eating salsa because it is so good?  That was yesterday afternoon.  Nobody ate much dinner but we sure ate a lot of this salsa!

easy blender salsa (blog: Mountain Mama Cooks)
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 ounce) can original Rotel
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
juice of 1 lime

Put all the ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender (mine was too good and I ended up blending it too long!) and pulse to combine for 30 seconds (or much less!!) until the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency.  Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.  Serve with chips or over tacos.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

root beer float cookies

Have you ever heard of such a thing?  My kids loved them.  They had some quickly right before bed but tonight I think we'll do it right and put some vanilla ice cream between them for an ice cream sandwich.  These would make a great conversation piece at a picnic or bbq.

root beer float cookies (blog: Heat Oven to 350)
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons root beer concentrate
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place butter and sugars in large bowl.  Using electric mixer at medium speed, cream.  Beat in egg.  Continue to beat until mixture is fluffy.  Beat in oil, milk, vanilla and root beer concentrate.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter mixture and mix until combined.  Fold in vanilla chips.
Roll into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 10 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Made 4 dozen.

Friday, April 20, 2012

melt in your mouth chicken breasts

This chicken does what it says.  It is incredibly tender and flavorful and so quick to throw together.  I took some to a friend's family and they tried to determine what the flavors were.  I was hesitant to admit what they were but since they all liked it so well I figured it would be okay.  I did use light mayo...

melt in your mouth chicken breasts (
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I filleted them)
1 cup mayo (I used Kraft light made with olive oil)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix mayonnaise, cheese and seasonings.  Spread mixture over chicken breast and place in baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

one pot miso soup

I went to my favorite grocery store (Market of Choice) to hunt down some red miso paste.  Should you ever need some (for this soup, of course!) go to your specialty grocery store and look in the refrigerated section.  I needed some for a miso-ginger vinaigrette which turned out to be spectacular but I wasn't sure how to use the rest of the container since I only needed a couple tablespoons.  Lo and behold there was a recipe for miso soup on the lid!  I made it and it turned out fabulous.  My two year old fell in love with tofu because of this soup.  My husband thinks I am a true Oregonian now for buying tofu and something that says both organic and vegetarian on it.  : )

one pot miso soup (Westbrae Natural)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced & equal amount of any thin-sliced vegetable (I used cole slaw mix)
2 cups chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons Miso
1/4 cube tofu

In medium saucepan, saute onions in oil until they begin to turn translucent, then add sliced vegetables, saute until tender.  Add broth and tofu, cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Add Miso and dissolve.  Simmer for 5-10 more minutes.  Serves 2.

glazed pork kebabs

This recipe is simple and delicious.  Real Simple did it again.

glazed pork kebabs (Real Simple, May 2012)
1/2 cup hoisin suace
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 pounds pork loin, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used green, red and yellow)
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Soak 8 small wooden skewers in water for at least 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce and vinegar.
Heat broiler.  Thread the pork, bell pepper, and scallions onto the skewers and place on a foil-lined broilerproof rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with the hoisin mixture and broil, basting with the pan juices and turning twice, until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Sprinkle the kebabs with the sesame seeds and serve with the rice

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

miso-ginger vinaigrette

This dressing is soooo good and is so versatile.  This dressing was great over blanched green beans and served cold or over a shrimp salad.  However you choose to eat it you really can't go wrong.  It's worth hunting down the red miso paste (look in the refrigerated section of your specialty market).

miso-ginger vinaigrette (Kiana shared this recipe with me from America's Test Kitchen)
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons red miso paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Process vinegar, miso, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and cayenne in blender until ginger and garlic are finely chopped, 15 seconds.  With blender running, add oils and continue to process until smooth and emulsified, about 15 seconds.

garlic teriyaki endamame

This endamame has wonderful flavor and was a terrific side dish to our Asian meal at gourmet club.  Yum!! 

garlic teriyaki endamame (my friend Angeli got the recipe from
1/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) package frozen edamame in the pod
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Bring the water and garlic to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.  Stir in the edamame and cook until they are hot and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-high and stir in the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and sesame oil.  Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened and coats the edamame, about 4 minutes.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

teriyaki sauce (Our Best Bites)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and black pepper.
Combine your ingredients in the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  While sauce is heating, combine cornstarch and cold water.  When sauce comes to a full boil, add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce is thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat and use any way you'd like.  You can store it in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

california sushi rolls

I learned how to roll sushi many years ago when my Japanese friend Hazuki taught me how back in college.  It was always such a treat when she'd make it for all of us in the house.  This time Dee-Anna hosted gourmet club and had a sushi-making station laid out for each of us.  It was fun to roll sushi together.  Our sushi turned out delicious!!  I'm ready for more.

california sushi rolls (Dee-Anna found the recipe at Taste of Home)
2 cups sushi rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoon ssesame seeds
bamboo sushi mat
8 nori sheets
1 small cucumber, seeded and julienned
3 ounces imitation crabmeat, julienned
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and julienned
reduced sodium soy sauce, prepared wasabi and pickled ginger slices (all optional)

In a large saucepan, combine rice and water; let stand for 30 minutes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.  Remove from the heat.  Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Transfer rice to a large shallow bowl; drizzle with vinegar mixture.  With a wooden paddle or spoon, stir rice with a slicing motion to cool slightly.  Cover with a damp cloth to keep moist. (Rice mixture may be made up to 6 hours ahead and stored at room temperature, covered with a damp towel.  Do not refrigerate.)
Sprinkle sesame seeds onto a plate; set aside.  Place sushi mat on a work surface so mat rolls away from you; lime with plastic wrap.  Place 3/4 cup rice on plastic.  With moistened fingers, press rice into an 8-inch square.  Top with one nori sheet.
Arrange a small amount of cucumber, crab and avocado about 1-1/2 inches from bottom edge or nori sheet.  Lifting bottom edge of the bamboo mat, roll up the rice mixture jelly-roll style, beign sure to lift plastic from rice.  Roll bamboo mat over sushi roll, pressing firmly, to make a more compact roll.  When the roll is complete, tighten it to make more compact.
Remove mat; roll sushi rolls in sesame seeds.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Repeat with remaining ingredients to make eight rolls.  Cut each into eight pieces.  Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger slices if desired.

kris's pf changs lettuce wraps

My friend Kris brought these lettuce wraps to gourmet club.  Lettuce wraps are always a hit.  I remember when my friend Annie made them for my surprise baby shower a few years ago.  Lettuce wraps have a fond place in my heart.

pf changs lettuce wraps (my friend Kris)
16 Boston, bibb or butter lettuce leaves
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian chili pepper sauce
1 can (8 ounce) sliced water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole.  Set aside to drain.
Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat.  Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar nad chill sauce.  Cook until the meat is crumbled and brown.  Add water chestnuts, pine nuts and green onions.  Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Stir in sesame oil.  Arrange lettuce leaves on the outer edge of a platter.  Spoon meat mixture in center.  Allow diners to spoon meat mixture onto lettuce leaves and eat like a taco.

oriental chicken cashew salad

My friend Amy made this salad for gourmet club yesterday.  The bowl sat in front of me on the table so I helped myself to about 4-5 servings (this little piggie...).  I loved this salad and will make it again very soon!

oriental chicken cashew salad (my friend Amy N.)
3 cups oil, for deep frying
2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (Amy used grilled chicken from the deli)
1 head of lettuce, shredded
1 pack of rice sticks cooked
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts
3-4 sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 to 1 cup cashews
1-2 cups bean sprouts

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Heat 3 cups oil in a pan to 400 degrees.  Pout in one rice stick.  If it puffs up immediately, put in a small handful.  Turn rice over to allow all sticks to puff.  Remove immediately.  Set aside, and continue until all rice is cooked.
Have all other ingredients cut and ready.
Combine all ingredients and toss with dressing just before serving.
Note: Rice sticks can be puffed ahead of time and kept in a plastic bag until ready to use.

Monday, April 16, 2012

sunshine cake

I changed the name of this cake to Sunshine Cake because that's the name this cake deserves.  It tastes fresh, light and tropical.

sunshine cake (
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil and mandarin oranges with juice.  Beat until smooth.  Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool.
To make the topping, in a large bowl beat together whipped topping, pineapple with juice and dry pudding mix until well blended. Spread on cake.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

lime and coconut chicken

Just look at this chicken for a moment.  It's saying something to you.  Do you hear what it's saying to you?  It's saying HALL OF FAME.  This chicken is so good.  It's incredibly flavorful.  I decided to use chicken thighs so it was flavorful and really juicy.  With a squirt of lime juice to top it off it's an absolute delight.  It was a hit with the entire family!

lime and coconut chicken (my friend Annie found it at Chaos in the Kitchen)
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons oil (I used 1 tablespoon)
zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar (I used 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
pinch cayenne
1 small fresh hot chili such as Thai or Serrano, minced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
fresh limes cut into wedges

Trim fat from chicken breasts.  Starting on thick side of the breasts slice the chicken breasts almost in half, then open each like a book.
Place each open breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, wax paper or inside a large, open, ziploc bag.
Using a small heavy pan, bottle or smooth meat mallet lightly pound each breast into even thickness.
Mix all remaining ingredients except fresh cilantro and limes.  Add chicken and marinade to a large bowl or ziploc bag and chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours.
Once you're ready to cook the chicken, remove each breast from the marinade.  Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.  Boil continuously for at least 2 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn.
In a heavy skillet or grill pan, heat a splash of oil over high heat.  Cook the chicken in batches to prevent over crowding the pan.  Place the breasts in the hot pan and cook without turning for a couple minutes.  Flip the breasts over and cook until the other side is golden.
Place cooked breasts on a plate in a warm oven or under foil while cooking the remaining chicken.  Sprinkle with fresh lime juice and cilantro.  Serve with sauce on the side and with jasmine rice.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

chicken ravioli soup

This is a super simple soup to make and tastes simple and fresh too.  Right after my oldest took a bite she asked if I would make it again.

chicken ravioli soup
8 cups chicken broth
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 package (6 ounces) fresh spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (cooked in crock pot) 
9 ounces ravioli (I used frozen cheese ravioli)

Bring chicken broth to a boil.  Add everything else and cook until ravioli is cooked.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and serve.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

mixed greens with orange juice vinaigrette

This salad was light and refreshing.  I've had great luck with succulent oranges lately which made the salad more of a dessert than anything else.  Perfect for the nice spring-like weather we're having this week.

mixed greens with orange juice vinaigrette (Taste of Home, Feb/Mar 2012)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
dash salt
dash pepper
1 package (5 ounces) spring mix salad greens
chunks of fresh oranges (my addition to the salad)

In a small bowl, whisk the first six ingredients.  Place salad greens in a large bowl.  Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat.  Add chunks of fresh oranges.

sauteed spring vegetables

These spring veggies were delicious, especially paired with chicken cordon bleu, pasta and mixed greens with orange juice vinaigrette.  I think what I liked most about these veggies was the punch that the crushed red pepper provided.  We had the sister missionaries over to dinner and they liked it!

sauteed spring vegetables (Taste of Home, April/May 2012)
2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 cup green pepper strips
1/2 cup sweet red pepper strips

1/4 cup olive oil (I used 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon uice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Place the vegetables in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients.  Pour over vegetables; toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
In a large skillet, saute vegetable mixture in batches for 3-6 minutes or until crisp-tender.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

ressurection rolls

Every year I try to make Easter a bit more special for my family.  This year we added making Resurrection Rolls to our activities and made them together for dessert.  It was a nice time to be together and talk about the symbolism of this treat.  Like I said, they were very enjoyable to make and everyone in our family loved them.  As I've mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of marshmallow and I did not try one but everyone said they could not taste the marshmallow at all.  It truly disappeared!

Here is the symbolism:
marshmallow- body of Jesus
melted butter- oils of embalming
cinnamon and sugar mix- spices used to annoint the body
crescent roll- the wrapping of Jesus' body
oven- tomb
cavity in bun- the empty tomb

ressurection rolls (I used a combination of this blog and this blog)
1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 large marshmallows, cut in half
14 cup butter, melted

Separate rolls into 8 triangles.  Combine sugar and cinnamon.  Dip each marshmallow into butter, roll in cinnamon and sugar and place on a triangle.  Pinch dough around marshmallow, sealing all edges.  Make sure to seal well or the marshmallow will escape.
Dip tops of dough into remaining cinnamon and sugar.  Place with sugar side up in a paper liner in muffin cups.  
Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes.  Serve warm.

cinnamon-sugar toast

For preschool last week my friend Shelli had the kids help cut duck shapes in bread as part of their snack so I thought I'd take it three steps further for our Easter breakfast.  We toasted the bread, spread some butter on top then sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar.  We enjoyed our Easter eggs on the side.  This was just about the only thing my Mom could successfully get me to eat for breakfast when I was a kid.  My kids love it!

cinnamon-sugar toast
big cookie cutter
large slice of bread
teaspoon of butter
cinnamon and sugar combined 

Use your cookie cutter to cut the shape you  want.  Toast your bread.  Spread with butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar!

Friday, April 6, 2012

smoked sausage with peppers, onions and potatoes

This was a great meal that everyone in my family enjoyed (that's because my husband wasn't home; he's not a fan of this kind of sausage).  The kids loved the sausage and potatoes (and of course the rolls we served this with) and I loved everything. 

smoked sausage with peppers, onions and potatoes (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
2 packages Foster Farms turkey smoked sausage, sliced
1 pound red potatoes, cut into wedges
salt and pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup to 1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Brown sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add a little water to keep the sausages from burning on the bottom.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in microwave-safe bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high until potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes.
In the skillet you cooked the sausages in, add bell peppers and onion and heat until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant.  Stir in broth and oregano and stir to combine.  Nestle sausages and potatoes in vegetables, cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook until nice and hot, 10-12 minutes.  Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Serve with rolls.

What I have to say- you may not need to cook 2 packages of smoked sausage.  My kids LOVE it so to make sure I get some I have to cook up 2 packages.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

strawberry pretzel salad

This was delicious...and we are not a Jello family.  I have made Jello for my family maybe a handful of times over the last decade.  This salad is different and that's pretty obvious.  I mean who came up with the idea combining pretzels and Jello?  It took me a long time to try this recipe but I'm glad I did.  I thought a 9x13 would be way to big for my family so I made two 8x8 pans and shared some.  That was the perfect amount for us.

strawberry pretzel salad (Ezra Pound Cake)
2 cups crushed pretzels (you want small pieces but don't pulverize them in a food processor)
3/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

1 (8 ounce package) cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 (8 ounce) container whipped topping (I had some freshly whipped in the fridge!)

2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix
2 cups boiling water
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple
whipped topping or whipped cream to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For the crust, grab a medium bowl, add the pretzels, butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar and mix them together.  Press into a 9x13-inch pan.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
For the filling, mix together the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Fold in the whipped topping and spread over the cooled crust.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until well chilled.
For the topping, dissolve the gelatin in boiling water and allow to cool slightly.  Add the strawberries and pineapple and pour over the cream cheese mixture.  Refrigerate until serving time.
Serve slices with a dollop of whipped topping.

What I have to say-  my friend Annie says she sometimes uses raspberry Jello and fresh raspberries.  Doesn't that sound even better?!

chicken pot pie

I've been making my chicken pot pie the same way for years and without a recipe.  It just worked the first time so I've been doing the same ever since.

chicken pot pie (makes 2)
2 Marie Callendar's deep dish pie crusts (because I cannot make a good pie crust to save my life!)
2-pack of Pillsbury pie crusts (the unrollable kind)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I do this in the crock pot for the best flavor)
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 bag frozen peas and carrots
1 1/2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup cream of celery soup
1- 1/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook onion in a bit of water.  When the water evaporates, add a little more until onion is cooked to translucent.  Add peas and carrots.  Add soups, milk, sage and pepper and cook until bubbly.  Add the chicken and parsley and stir until thoroughly combined.  Remove from heat.
Pour an equal amount of chicken filling into each deep dish pie crust.  Place one unrollable pie crust on top of each chicken pot pie and trim with kitchen shears.  Use a fork to press the edges of the crusts together.  Use the fork to poke the top of the pie.  I usually "poke" the first letter of our last name.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about an hour.

Monday, April 2, 2012

mexican chicken noodle soup

With all the extras like shredded cheddar, guacamole and sour cream this soup is top notch.

mexican chicken noodle soup (adapted from
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons McCormick taco seasoning mix
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced onions
1/2 cup minced celery
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups water
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 to 1 cup Herdez medium salsa
6 ounces dry spaghetti noodles, broken into pieces
shredded cheddar cheese
light sour cream

Place chicken breasts in a crock pot and sprinkle 1 tablespoon taco seasoning over the top.  Cook on high until done and shred chicken then set it aside.
Heat oil in a pot and cook the onions and celery until soft.  Stir in the water and chicken broth.  Season with cumin, black pepper and remaining taco seasoning mix.  Simmer for 30 minutes for the flavors to mingle.  Add the salsa and uncooked noodles.  Raise the heat until the noodles are cooked.  Add the  chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, guacamole and sour cream.

homemade butterscotch pudding

If you haven't ever tried homemade butterscotch pudding, you should definitely try it.  It tastes real unlike the store bought kind that you simply add milk to or spoon out of the cup.  My mom just gave me a subscription to Taste of Home magazine and I have a rule of thumb- I have to try at least one new recipe from each magazine that comes in the mail so I started with this one.  It was very rich for my kids but they ate as much as they could.

homemade butterscotch pudding (Taste of Home, February/March 2012)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups 2% milk
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
fresh whipped cream, optional

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the first five ingredients.  Stir in milk until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly.  Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.  Remove from the heat.
Stir a small amount of hot mixture into the egg yolks; return all to the pan.  Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly; cook 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove form the heat.
Stir in butter and vanilla.  Cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to six dessert dishes.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Garnish with shipped cream if desired.

What I have to say- don't let my goblet fool you; there's 2-3 servings inside!