Sunday, September 29, 2013

candy corn popcorn balls

My kids went to their friends' house for lunch bunch and were introduced to these little goodies that my friend Julie made.  My kids LOVED these.  I had to take a little nibble and was delighted that they were made with marshmallow (I cannot eat a plain uncooked marshmallow but there's something about melted or burnt marshmallow-they're delicious!).  I need to make these for my activity day girls.

candy corn popcorn balls (Julie B.)
2 bags light microwave popcorn or 1 batch air popped
1 bag mini marshmallows
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
candy corns

Pop corn.  Melt butter in microwave.  Add bag of marshmallows and heat until you can stir it all together easily.  Add vanilla.   Pour over popcorn and stir.  Add candy corn.  Put cold water on your hands and form balls.  Press hard or they'll fall apart.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

savory tomato-braised tilapia

Wow- this was great.  It was savory and spicy- exactly what I look for in a favorite dish.  A little too spicy for my kids but perfect for me and my husband.

savory tomato-braised tilapia (Taste of Home, Sep/Oct 2013)
4 tilapia loins
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained (I used mild)
3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato pasate
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
hot cooked pasta, optional

Sprinkle fillets with seasoned salt; drizzle with lemon juice.  In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion; cook and stir until tender.  Add the next 6 ingredients; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes longer.
Place fillets over the tomato mixture; cook, covered 6-8 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  If desired, serve with pasta.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

leaping lizards...or grasshoppers!

Isn't this the cutest grasshopper you've ever seen?  My kids went to a spider themed birthday party last weekend and I regretted not taking my camera.  The spider cake was incredible.  With the spider cake came some flies and grasshoppers.  The day after the party the hostess came over and delivered two grasshoppers for my kids to enjoy which they certainly did.  That's what I call a Hostess with the Mostess.

edible grasshoppers (my friend Joyce made this guy with her boys)
Hostess Twinkie
Oreo cookie
vanilla wafer cookies
green Tootsie Rolls
green icing
candy eyes (I saw some this morning at Michaels)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

back burner ratatouille

Hall of Fame!  This simple recipe blew me away.  What was crazy about this recipe is that my kids LOVED it and asked for seconds and thirds.  Maybe it's because they picked the eggplant, zucchini and basil that we used.  Whatever it was, we're keeping this recipe because it's super duper healthy and scrumptious.  Thanks, Angeli for recommending this recipe!

back burner ratatouille (my friend Angeli found it at allrecipes; I adapted it slightly)
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 yellow zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 small eggplants, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
15 fresh basil leaves
sprinkling of garlic powder
sprinkling of black pepper

Pour tomatoes into a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; add zucchini, eggplant and onion; stir once.  Sprinkle salt over vegetables.  Bring mixture to a boil and simmer until the vegetables start to cook down, 10 to 15 minutes; stir in basil, garlic powder and pepper.
Cook covered over low heat for 2 hours.  Adjust seasonings and serve.

What I have to say- I may have spelled the name of this dish wrong.  That's okay.  It's charming.

smoky braised chicken and fennel

I went out on a limb when I tried this recipe (sort of).  I don't care for fennel seeds so I have never cooked fennel.  I really wasn't sure I would like this recipe at all except the photo in Real Simple magazine was to-die-for (see above) and Real Simple recipes have never ever failed me.  They're always exceptional.  So I went for it.  I left out the fennel seeds because I bought whole seeds and not crushed seeds.  But I bought fennel seeds.  That's faith. 
This is what we're having for dinner tonight and it smells divine.  I'd show you what my smoky braised chicken looks like but it doesn't look as pretty as in the magazine.  Mine lacks the extra sauce but the flavor is nothing short of delicious and I can't wait for dinner tonight.  It's ready and I'm ready but I should probably not serve dinner at 4pm.  The next hour to hour and a half could be torture.  Maybe I should spend my time figuring out how to get a nice sauce to go with my chicken, fennel and rice.

smoky braised chicken and fennel (adapted from Real Simple, September 2013)
3 very large chicken breasts, cut in half (RS uses chicken thighs)
3 small fennel bulbs, cut into wedges plus 2 tablespoons fennel fronds
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup long-grain brown rice (I used brown jasmine)
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
kosher salt and black pepper
salad, for serving

Brown the chicken in 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  All to the slow cooker with the fennel bulbs, broth, rice, onion, paprika, fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Cook and cover until the chicken and fennel are tender on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.  Sprinkle with fennel fronds.  Serve with salad.