Monday, December 21, 2015

orange fluff jello salad

When I made this for a dinner party along with a green salad, my family couldn't identify it because I've probably only made a salad like this once and it was most likely over 10 years ago.  Surprisingly enough my family liked it so well I'm making it again for Christmas dinner.

orange fluff jello salad (adapted from Six Sisters Stuff)
1 large package cook and serve vanilla pudding (4.6 ounces)
1 large package orange jell-o (6 ounces)
2 cups water
1 (16 ounce) Cool Whip
20 ounces pineapple tidbits, drained
22 ounces mandarin oranges, drained 

Mix together pudding, Jell-o and water over medium heat until it boils.  Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.  Refrigerate until mixture has thickened, about an hour.  Beat until creamy.  Fold in Cool Whip and fruit.  Chill about an hour before serving.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

chicken stew with roasted sweet peppers

Everyone ate it and enjoyed it!  It's easy, healthy and delicious.  We served crusty sourdough bread on the side.

chicken stew with roasted sweet peppers (
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 small can green chiles
3/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup chopped roasted red peppers (I bought a jar of roasted red peppers, no sugar added)
4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro (whoops- forgot that!)

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add chopped onion and chicken; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Add zucchini and all ingredients through the broth; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.
Add peppers and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with cilantro.
Store stew in fridge up to 2 days.  Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated; sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

singapore chicken stew

Hall of Fame.  And that is coming from my husband who gives that title out sparingly.  I agree- this soup was mighty tasty and I wish I had doubled the recipe because there aren't any leftovers for tomorrow.  So glad I found this recipe!!

singapore chicken stew (
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice (I used curry powder)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 can (13.5 ounces) light coconut milk
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
2 cups lightly packed washed baby spinach leaves
1 can (14 ounces) baby corn, drained
2 roma tomatoes, rinsed, cored and chopped
1/4 cup sliced can water chestnuts (I used sliced bamboo shoots- loved them!)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Rinse chicken, pat dry and cut into chunks.  In a ziplock bag, mix flour, salt, chili flakes and five spice.  Add chicken pieces and mix to coat.
Pour oil into a 4-5 quart pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken mixture, garlic and ginger.  Stir frequently until chicken is cooked on the outside but still pink in the center, about 3 minutes.  Add coconut milk and broth and bring to a simmer.  Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
Stir in spinach, corn, tomatoes, water chestnuts (or bamboo shoots!), green onions and lime juice and cook, stirring often, until spinach is wilted.  Sprinkle with cilantro before serving from pan.

easy oven stew

I threw this together last night and it was delicious.  The meat was SOOO tender.  We had Trader Joe's blend of jasmine rice and wild rice already made and in the fridge so we put the stew on top of that.  Next time I'll serve it over mashed potatoes.

easy oven stew (pass the peas, please)
1 1/2 pounds stew meat
salt and pepper
1 (15 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
1 packet McCormick beef gravy mix (I always look for the brand with no MSG)
1 small can V8 juice
handful of baby carrots, cut in half
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 small onion, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Using a casserole dish that has a lid, mix the tomatoes and gravy mix inside.  Add the V8 juice and combine.  Add everything else and stir.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the lid on top.  Bake at 275 for 4 hours.  Serve over mashed potatoes.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

ward party- dessert waffle bar

Primary was in charge of food for our ward's Christmas party.  We anticipated serving 200 people which we came very close to doing.  Being in charge of food is always tricky- will we have enough food?  Will it meet expectations?  Will the event be beautiful and festive?  Can we stay within our budget??!  We decided on a dessert waffle bar.  Waffles were cooked in the kitchen and on the buffet line.  Luckily they we had a bunch made in the kitchen because we blew 2 circuits in the cultural hall. :)  We served waffles with vanilla ice cream, homemade hot fudge, homemade caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, mini chocolate chips, toasted coconut, crushed peppermint sticks, holiday sprinkles and whipped cream.  We had bottled water for beverages.  The decorations on the buffet line were simple- a rectangular plastic tablecloth, a string of white lights over the top then tulle over the lights.  I really liked the effect (before our short circuit, ha ha).  For the serving dishes I bought glass bowls and glass candlesticks at the dollar store and my husband epoxy glued them together.  There was a lot of interest in those! I really wanted the food to be simple and elegant and I think it worked out in the end.  For invitations, paper goods, 200 gold place mats, 9 plastic tablecloths for the buffet tables, extention cords, scrapbook paper to cover the whipped cream canisters, all the food and ice it cost about $450.  Relief Society spent about $35 on table decorations.  They were creative in their decorations and much of it was homemade.  Here are some pics before the event:

Friday, December 11, 2015

butterfinger dreams

This made for a very rich and delicious birthday dessert.  As I described to my curious children how I made it before we indulged and how there are Butterfinger bits in every layer they were pretty excited to try it.  It's super easy to make especially if you cheat on the whipped cream layer like I did.

butterfinger dreams (adapted from Plain Chicken
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flour
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups Butterfinger Baking Bits, divided (found mine at Walmart)
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a 9x11 pan with cooking spray.
Stir together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and flour in a bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or fok, cut cream cheese and butter into flour mixture until crumbly.  Stir in 1 cup of baking bits.  Press mixture into prepared pan. 

Bake for 3o minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

For topping, whip cream and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar together with a hand-held electric mixer until stiff (of use a container of Cool Whip like I did!).  Fold in 3/4 cup bits.  Spread over cake.  Sprinkle remaining bits over the top.  Cut into squares.  Stir in refrigerator.

english toffee

My friend Dee-Anna brought her English Toffee to a cookie swap.  It's amazing.  English Toffee has always been a part of my Christmases because it was always one of my mother's favorite things to make around the holidays.  Dee-Anna's recipe is a little different so now I've got two great toffee recipes!

english toffee (my friend Dee-Anna)
1 pound butter
2 cups almonds, ground
2 tablespoons Karo syrup
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 bags milk chocolate chips
1 package pecans, chopped

Mix first four ingredients in skillet and cook until it smokes.  It should completely pull away from the sides and turn a slightly darker color.  Pour onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and spread it out quickly  Sprinkle milk chocolate chips on top.  Wait a minute until they get soft then spread evenly like frosting.  Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.  Completely cool for several hours before breaking into pieces.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

chocolate cherry fudge

Christmas is in full swing at our house.  We love Christmas at our house and we've had to make ourselves wait to make Christmas goody deliveries.  When we received our first plate of Christmas goodies on November 30th I gave myself permission to jump on the bandwagon.  This fudge is delicious, soft and creamy.   I love to make fudge because it reminds me of my grandma Betty Mae who made fudge every Christmas.  I love to make all kinds of fudge- this was my first time making cherry fudge.  Merry Christmas!
(Our labels this year say "Have a very Cherry Christmas!".  You could also write "Hope your Christmas is Cherry and Bright!")

chocolate cherry fudge
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup diced dried cherries

Heat sugar, butter and milk to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Boil on medium heat until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate and marshmallow creme until melted.  Stir in vanilla and cherries.  Spread in a greased 9-inch square pan.  Cool at room temperature at least 4 hours.  Cut into small squares.

creamy basil parmesan italian chicken soup

Hall of Fame!  This soup recipe was an instant hit at my home.  In fact, it's my new favorite and I can't imagine that changing any time soon.  Don't bother going out- stay in and have a bowl of heaven at home.  Enjoy with some crusty bread.

creamy basil parmesan italian chicken soup (adapted from Carlsbad Cravings)
3 large chicken breasts, chopped bite sized
1 cup whole wheat small macaroni
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken stock
2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chicken stock
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup heavy cream or half and half (I used half and half)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup ot over medium high heat.  Add chicken and cook until almost done.  Remove to a plate.
Melt butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in the now empty pot and heat over medium high heat.  Add onions and carrots and cook while stirring for 4 minutes.
Add celery, red peppers and garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Sprinkle in flour and cook, while stirring.  Gradually stir in chicken stock followed by tomatoes, bay leaves, pasta and all remaining herbs and spices.  Bring to a boil; cover and reduce to a gentle simmer.  Add the chicken and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes. 
Stir in Parmesan cheese followed by half and half.

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. 

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!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

easy homemade salsa

Don't not make this recipe simply because I am not a photographer and can't make foods look as delicious as they really are. I was so glad I had seen this recipe and purchased the ingredients because I had forgotten about it until just minutes before the missionaries came to dinner.  It's delicious.  My son asked, "Can you just always make salsa?"  With a recipe like this the answer is yes.

easy homemade salsa (dinners, dishes and desserts)
1 large can whole tomatoes
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 jalapeno, minced (I used one but I should've used two!)

Put everything into the blender and process until smooth.  That's it!
Store in an air tight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.  I doubt it will last that long in this house!

store bought favorite: thai and true yellow curry paste

Lunch was fantastic today!  My oldest and I chopped up two leftover grilled chicken breasts from the fridge, sliced up some peppers, carrots and green onions.  We mixed up some yellow curry paste with a little soy sauce and garlic and stir fried all of it with a cup of cooked brown rice.  We ate every little bit that was in the pan.  I highly recommend this curry paste.  I like it even better than the green curry paste.  The yellow has a kick to it!  No need to add garlic chili sauce.

store bought favorite: thai and true yellow curry paste (Market of Choice)
Use this paste to create a terrific stir fry!
Around $5-6 at Market of Choice

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

black and blueberry crumble

My friend Deon dropped this by one evening as a thank you for my husband going to scout camp.  We saved it until the morning and when my husband returned the family enjoyed it together.  This crumble was a big hit and the consistency was perfect.  It was like dessert for breakfast.

black and blueberry crumble (my friend Deon)
3 cups fruit
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar, optional

crust and topping
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Press crust into pan and bake for 12 minutes at 375 degrees.  Add fruit minus the juice.  Add topping and bake 12-15 minutes.  Should be golden and bubbly. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

store bought favorite: frontera carne asada marinade with jalapeno and garlic

I'm telling you- these frontera pouches are GREAT!  After the first bite my husband said, "This is good.  This tastes restaurant quality."  We all thought it was fantastic.  I found this pouch at Market of Choice for $2.39.

store bought favorite: frontera carne asada marinade with jalapeno and garlic
I bought 2 pounds of bottom round sliced thin (carne asada style) and marinated it for 30 minutes before throwing it on the grill.  Like I said- fantastic!
all natural, no preservatives, no gluten ingredients used 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

orange bubble loaf

Easy enough for a child to make and super delicious.  My kids said it was very much like the citrus cream cheese pull apart rolls we make twice a year for General Conference.  They said if I added some cranberries it would be very similar.  That would certainly save a lot of time and effort!
Get ready to lick your fingers!

orange bubble loaf (oh, sweet basil)
1 bag 36 ct bread rolls (I used Rhodes)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/4 cup melted butter

Grease a bread loaf pan.  Allow for the dough to thaw.
In a small dish, melt butter.  In another small dish, combine the sugar and orange peel.
Cut each ball of dough in half then roll them into balls.
Roll each ball in the butter.  Roll that ball in the sugar/orange mixture.
Place in the greased pan.
Repeat until you have two levels of rolls.
Allow them to raise until 1-inch from the top.
Bake for 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes then lower the temperature to 300 and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  When done, turn upside down onto serving plate to cool.

What I have to say-  We used 20 rolls and had rolls overflowing out of the pan.  If you used 36 rolls you could easily make two loaves of this bread and still have a few fall over the edge.  We did not limit ourselves to two layers which could've been why pan was overflowing.  Fortunately, we'd put a baking sheet under the loaf pan so it wasn't a big deal at all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

therese's whole wheat dinner rolls

Hall of Fame!  My friend Therese and her daughter stopped by Sunday afternoon with these rolls as a thank you.  Doesn't food make the best thank you?!  I've always thought so.  It was sort of embarrassing that as we stood at the doorway chatting that my kids started eating the rolls.  My kids loved them so much I had to try them and before you knew it the entire family was eating rolls in front of them, eating while talking.  I hope instead of thinking our manners were atrocious it was more of a compliment.  I asked for the recipe right away because I know how difficult it is to find a whole wheat roll recipe that is light and fluffy and delicious.  These rolls are insanely good.

therese's whole wheat dinner rolls (my friend Therese)
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons dry milk
3 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons fast rise  yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cut into thin slices
3 cups whole white wheat flour

Add all the ingredients, except for the flour, into bread mixer. Once yeast is activated, add flour and mix for at least 8-10 minutes on high. Add more flour if dough is still sticky. Shape dough into crescent shapes and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Spray the tops of the rolls with cooking spray or butter and lightly cover rolls with plastic wrap. Let rise for 45 minutes then bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 12-20 minutes or until just slightly golden. Makes about 12 rolls. Enjoy!    
Tips from Therese's sister who developed this recipe (Therese gets the credit because she made them for us!):
*I prefer using white wheat flour instead of red wheat flour. It makes a more delicate texture for the rolls. I also grind it fresh before every batch.
*You can let the dough rise once before shaping it into rolls and then again after the dough is in the roll shape but I’m usually too busy for this extra step and I think they turn out just fine with just one rising.
* Try not to overcook the rolls.
*I always double this recipe because my kids devour them so fast!   

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

slow cooker citrus chicken fajitas

These fajitas are super easy and delicious!  Yes, the list of spices and seasonings is LONG but worth it.  I was excited to find out how the ingredients would work together and even more curious to find out if using frozen chicken breasts would work.  They do!  I look forward to using this chicken in a variety of ways- enchiladas, mexican bowls, burritos, etc.  Note to self: this was a big hit with the entire family.

slow cooker citrus chicken fajitas (Carlsbad Cravings
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (I used frozen chicken breasts!)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used Splenda)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4 ounce) can green chiles
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the onion and bell peppers.  Cook on high all day or until chicken is tender enough to shred.
45 minutes before ready to eat, shred chicken and add onions and peppers.  Taste and stir in hot sauce to taste.  Drain excess liquid before serving.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

nordy bars

I ran across this recipe when trying to figure out a way to use some butterscotch chips in my pantry.  It turns out that this is a great way to use butterscotch chips.  My family loves these.  At  you can see three photos and the Nordy bars all look very different in each photo.  Surprise yourself and see how yours turn out.

nordy bars (
1/2 cup butter
2 cups butterscotch chips
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13x9 pan.
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the butterscotch chips and brown sugar.  Stir until melted.  Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl.  Mix in the eggs.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix thoroughly and stir in the vanilla.  Set aside to cool.
Once cool stir in the chocolate chips, marshmallows and chopped nuts.  Spread batter into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 25 to 28 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool thoroughly before cutting into squares.

What I have to say- I was too impatient to wait for the batter to cool before adding the chocolate chips and marshmallows which is why my chocolate chips melted into everything.  That was fine with me.  If my family could rename these bars we'd name them Beaver Bars.

Friday, July 31, 2015

store bought favorite: green pan

I was at Costco the other day and noticed these pans were on sale ($7 off!).  I've been disappointed with the Calphalon set we got years ago for our wedding (talk about disappointing- they are pricey and we'd heard they're the best!) so I decided to try these.  It's Costco- you can return anything that doesn't work for you so what's the worry?!  My daughter wanted to make herself an omelet this afternoon for a snack.  She sang its praises like nobody's business.  No butter or oil in the pan, nothing!  And the omelet was cooked to perfection.  It really is a "healthy ceramic non-stick"!  I'd have to double check my receipt but you can get this two pan set right now at Costco for about $32.  If you need new pans, go for it!
(This same set is at Amazon for 56.48 plus 7.49 shipping.)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

store bought favorite: 3 citrus garlic marinade with fresh cilantro

Am I lazy?  Nope.  Just realistic.  I love these pouches.  Super easy, inexpensive and tasty.  This one is great, like the others!

frontera 3 citrus garlic marinade with fresh garlic
marinate chicken for 30 or more minutes then fire up the grill!
serve with warm tortillas, chopped onion, cilantro and salsa
or serve with warm rice 

all natural, no preservatives, no gluten ingredients used
2.5 grams fat per serving, 2 carbs, less than 1 gram sugar

Monday, July 27, 2015

store bought favorite: frontera roasted garlic chicken skillet sauce with chipotle+lime

You really must try this simmer sauce.  It's delicious and super flavorful.  It's hard to even think of a dish that tastes like it because the flavor is so original, at least to my taste buds.  I've tried this brand of sauces before and have enjoyed them so I was excited to see this particular kind at Market of Choice when I stopped in for an assortment of curry pastes.  I think this packet cost about $2.39 on sale.  A bargain!  Roast some asparagus, summer squash and onions and you have yourself a mighty fine meal.

store bought favorite: frontera roasted garlic chicken skillet sauce with chipotle + lime
Ready in 15 minutes!
You'll need 1 pouch Frontera Roasted Garlic Chicken Skillet Sauce
4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds (I filleted mine)
olive oil

Season chicken with Pappy's herbed garlic or salt.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken in a single layer.  Cook, turning, until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Simmer 2-5 minutes.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

thai green curry chicken

My husband requested thai green curry chicken for dinner this week so I hopped to it.  We went out for Thai food last week so I was excited to give it a try.  It was great!

thai green curry chicken (adapted from
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons green curry paste
2 green onions with tops, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 container fresh stir fry veggies from Trader Joe's (or chop your favorites)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups coconut milk (I used light)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar (I used 1 tablespoon Splenda)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Toss chicken first in 1 tablespoon soy sauce then in flour, coating pieces evenly.  Heat oil in a large wok over medium high heat.  Place chicken in the wok, cook and stir chicken until browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove chicken.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in curry paste.  Cook for 1 minute until fragrant then stir in green onions, garlic and ginger; cook 2 minutes.  Return chicken to the skillet and add the vegetables stirring to cat with the curry mixture.  Stir the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and sugar into the mixture.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is tender.  Serve with cilantro leaves or cook them in the mixture.

Monday, July 13, 2015

orange julius

A couple weeks ago I pulled up to my friend Shonda's house to pick up my kids and all of our kids were lined up on the top step of the front porch sitting and sipping orange julius's out of canning jars with striped straws.  The whole scene could've made the cover of Country Living.  Our orange julius's that I made last night weren't as cute and we slurped them around the kitchen table.  BUT,  they were a huge hit especially with my husband who hadn't had one in years.  He raved about this recipe.  What I love is that the ingredients are simple and I usually have them on hand.  An easy way to please a family!!

orange julius (my friend Shonda)
6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 cups ice (I used 2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend and serve!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

white chocolate dipped waffle cones

For not having big plans leading up to the 4th of July, it turned out to be super fun thanks to some great friends who invited us over for fireworks and vanilla bean ice cream served in these festive waffle cones that they dip every year.  What a great tradition!  This would be a great alternative to birthday cake at birthday parties- oh the crumbs and all the little feet that step on them!!

white chocolate dipped waffle cones (my friend Shonda)
waffle cones
white chocolate, melted

Dip the edges of the waffle cones into melted white chocolate.  Decorate with sprinkles!  Let set on wax paper.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

coconut chicken curry

I bought a Joy of Cooking cookbook at a garage sale for $2 on Saturday and this is the first recipe I decided to try.  It was a joy to cook- my oldest chopped the vegetables as I gathered the other ingredients. My husband walked in the door just as dinner was ready and the weather was perfect for enjoying dinner outdoors.  This was a very enjoyable dish, easy to prepare and healthy.  We'll have it again sometime!

coconut chicken curry (adapted from The Joy of Cooking cookbook)
2 pounds chicken breasts (I fileted mine) seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 large carrot, sliced
1/2 cup peas, thawed if frozen
2 scallions, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (we didn't have one so used garlic chile sauce to heat up the dish)
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil over high heat.  Add chicken and brown on both sides.  Remove from the pan.  Add onions, carrot, peas, scallions, jalapeno pepper, ginger and garlic.  Cook until the vegetables are soft, 5 minutes.  Add coconut milk, raisins, curry powder and salt.  Add the chicken, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and the rice is cooked.  Serve with cooked rice.

Monday, June 29, 2015

store bought favorite: hawaiian style chicken

I picked this up at Costco hoping it would be good.  We have church from 1-4 on Sundays so coming home and putting this dish into the oven was quick and easy which was GREAT.  All of my kids enjoyed it- it was a tasty little dish.  All you do is put the chicken on a tray and heat it up in the oven and heat up the pineapple teriyaki sauce on the stove.  Throw some rice in the rice cooker and you've got dinner.

store bought favorite:  hawaiian style chicken (Costco)
Fully cooked charbroiled chicken thighs with teriyaki sauce and pineapple
Serves 10
7 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams sugar, 16 grams protein
It was around $13.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

cherry pineapple jam

Jam.  Truly a labor of love.  I made 36 half pints of cherry jam which will be put to good use this Christmas.  Yes, I think ahead that far.  This was my first time making jam using cherries.  I never even knew about cherry pitters until recently- what a terrific invention!  My cherry pitter pits 4 cherries at a time and arrived in 2 days thanks to  It really is a fun toy.  If I hadn't run out of cherries I'd still be making it...

cherry pineapple jam (adapted from kraftrecipes)
2 cups prepared fully ripe sweet cherries
2 cups crushed pineapple
1 box  fruit pectin
5 cups sugar, measured into separate bow
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Stem and pit cherries.  Finely chop of grind fruit.  Measure exactly 2 cups of the prepared cherries into a large pot.  Add 2 cups crushed pineapple.  Stir in lemon juice.  Stir pectin into fruit mixture in pot.  Bring to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.  Stir in sugar and extract.  Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; skim off any foam with spoon.  Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops.  Wipe jar rims and threads.  Cover with two-piece lids.  Screw bands tightly.  Place jars on elevated rack in steam canner.  Process 10 minutes.  Remove jars and place upright to cool completely.  After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger.  If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.