Tuesday, October 17, 2017

delicious cheese sticks

We got home from dance this evening and my oldest had these made about 3 minutes after we walked in the door.  I rarely eat fried foods but these are delicious! One of my weaknesses is cheese.  The more cheese the better!  We enjoyed these with homemade salsa.  I asked her if she found this idea on Pinterest and she said no- she saw some egg roll wrappers that had been sitting in our fridge for weeks so decided to try this out.  Brilliant!

delicious cheese sticks
12 string cheese sticks
12 egg roll wrappers
water to seal the edges

Roll up each cheese stick in an egg roll wrapper.  Seal the ends with a little water.  Pour enough canola oil in the bottom of a pan to coat the bottom.  Heat to medium.  Cook the cheese sticks until light brown and bubbly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

stuffed pork chops with butternut squash and figs

Hall of Fame.  Seriously!  It's been killing me that it's taken so long for me to post this after making it and enjoying it so much.  Posting delicious dishes sort of seals the deal for me; makes it official.  Will life slow down?  No.  It just speeds up and gets more complicated.  That's okay if you can slow down long enough to enjoy a dish like this.  Thanks, Erin, for the great recipe!

stuffed pork chops with butternut squash and figs (my friend Erin K found it at skinnytaste, slightly adapted)
3 thick boneless pork chops
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch diced (I used 1/2 package from Trader Joe's)
5 black mission figs, chopped (I picked out 5 from bulk foods section)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup baby spinach
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped (next time I'll add a few more)
1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
cooking twine
cooking spray

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Add onions and saute for 2 minutes.  Add squash and 2 tablespoons water and cover; cook on low for 10 minutes.  Remove lid and add figs, garlic, spinach, salt, sage and pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
Cut a pocket into the sides of the pork chops, careful not to cut all the way through at the ends.  Season the inside and outside of the pork with salt.
Stuff each with about 3/4 cup of squash mixture. Cut cooking twine long enough to tie each with twine.  Cut off extra twine.
Preheat oven to 375.  In the skillet over medium-high heat, carefully sear each pork chop on each side- 3 sides.  If your skillet is oven-safe, cover with foil and place in the center of the oven.  If not then transfer to baking dish and cover with foil.  Place skillet or baking dish directly into the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to sit 5 minutes before cutting off twine.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

green tomato salsa verde

I love my backyard but there are two "problems" if you want to grow anything.  The first is the deer.  Our yard is the home to many deer who absolutely love our property.  They love the lichen that drops from our 100 foot tall, 100 year old beautiful oak trees that block the sun which is the other problem.  I love the deer and the trees but it's hard to grow anything edible or beautiful.  My very determined husband secured a garden area but those oak trees don't let a lot of sun in.  Thanks to his persistence and creativity we ended up with a lot of tomatoes very late in the season but many never turned red.  He asked if I could make some salsa verde so here it is!  My kids absolute loved it.  My husband will get to try it when he gets home.

green tomato salsa verde (adapted from allrecipes.com)
3 pounds green tomatoes, cores removed and quartered
2 large onions, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 jalapenos
1/2 cup cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt or to taste
6 cups water

Place tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapenos into a big pot.  Add cilantro, cumin and salt; pour in water.  Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables into a blender in batches.  Puree until smooth.

Monday, September 18, 2017

really easy and delicious vegetarian chili

It's unlike me to post vegetarian main dishes and now I've posted two in a row!  My oldest wants to eat less meat so I'm trying some new recipes.   This looked easy and had great reviews so we gave it a try.  My family loved it!  Two family members ate theirs before the rest of us got home.  When I asked if they had pulled out the shredded cheese, cilantro and sour cream they said it didn't need it!  This is good stuff.  And SOOO easy.

really easy and delicious vegetarian chili (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1 onion, diced (I used 1/2 red onion and 1/2 white)
1 (28 ounce) can pureed tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
2 can great northern beans, drained
2 cans chili beans with spices, undrained
2 cans kidney beans, drained
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (or 2 packets)
1 packet ranch dressing mix (I found one without MSG, it was store brand)

toppings: shredded cheese, cilantro, sliced green onions, sour cream (all optional)

In a big pot saute the onions for a few minutes.  Add the tomatoes, beans and spices.  Bring to a boil and cook until thoroughly heated.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

slow cooker indian-spiced lentils

First of all this dish is outstanding!  Second, it was exciting because I don't recall ever buying red lentils so I got to try something new.  My kids looked at it and were unsure but ate it up. Then asked for more!  My husband said it tastes a lot like what we'd get at Evergreen, our favorite Indian restaurant downtown.  I was excited to try this recipe because my teenager wants to eat less meat.  Not only is this recipe full of lentils but also an enormous bag of spinach!  This recipe is very healthy with lots of protein and iron and other good stuff I'm sure.  A big thank you to my friend Mandy for passing this recipe along!

slow cooker indian-spiced lentils (my friend Mandy found it at Our Best Bites, slightly adapted)
2 cups red lentils
10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
handful of chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
serve over cilantro lime rice- it was delicious!

Combine all ingredients except for the lime juice and cilantro in the pot of a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.  Before serving add the lime juice and cilantro.

cilantro lime rice

This is my new favorite rice.  I discovered how versatile it is when I used it for Mexican bowls one night,  Thai chicken another night and last night withIndian-spiced red lentils (a recipe you have to try!).  It complements so many dishes really well.

cilantro lime rice
2 cups brown basmati rice
5 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken broth granules
big handful of cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put rice, water and chicken broth granules in a rice cooker.  Turn on and allow to cook.  When it's done cooking add cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  That's all!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

instant pot thai chicken

This was really tasty.  I liked that the flavors were mild.  I paired it with some cilantro lime rice that was leftover from a different night and it went together perfectly.  I wasn't sure if my kids would like the peanut sauce but they did!  They ate the chicken and dipped naan bread (from Trader Joes) in the extra sauce.

instant pot thai chicken (Pressure Cooking Today)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed (I used a bag of thawed chicken thigh strips which was 2.7 pounds from Tyson)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I need to use more next time!)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, optional
green onions or cilantro chopped for garnish, optional

Select Saute and add 1 tablespoon oil to the instant pot.  When oil is hot brown the chicken in small batches.  Set the browned chicken onto a platter.
When all the chicken is browned, add chicken broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, cilantro, lime juice, red pepper and ginger.  Stir to combine.
Add the browned chicken to the pot with any juices that have collected on the platter.  Turn off Saute.  Cover pot and lock lid in place. 
Select Poultry and 10 minutes cook time.  After 10 minutes turn off pressure cooker and use quick release method.  Remove chicken thighs from the pot leaving the sauce.
In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water.  Add cornstarch mixture to the sauce in the pot stirring constantly.  Select Saute and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  After sauce thickens, add thighs and coat with the sauce (if you want a sweeter sauce, add some sugar).  Serve garnished with chopped peanuts and/or green onions.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

quick and easy fish stew

This soup is delicious!!!  It was so quick to make.  Makes me want to take a trip to the coast.

quick and easy fish stew (adapted from Simply Recipes)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons tomato paste
6.5 ounce can chopped clams with juice
2 cups chicken broth
2 pounds fish fillets (use a firm fish- I used cod), cut into 2" pieces
pinch of oregano
dash of Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add onion and saute 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Add parsley and stir 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and tomato paste and gently cook for 10 minutes.  Add clams with juice, broth and fish.  Bring to a simmer until the fish is cooked through and easily flakes apart.  Add seasoning.  Serve with crusty bread.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

instant pot meaty italian pasta dinner

All of my kids liked this one and it was easy in the Instant Pot.  I liked the flavor that the balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce gave this recipe.  It was great.

instant pot meaty italian pasta dinner (homemade food junkie)
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground sausage (I used spicy chicken sausage)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup roasted peppers, chopped
12 ounces uncooked pasta
20 ounces canned petite diced tomatoes with juice
2 1/2 cups water
6 ounce can tomato paste
15 ounces tomato sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese

Select the saute function.  After it heats add the oil.  Add the meat and break it up and cook until completely browned.  Add the garlic and peppers and stir.  Add the uncooked pasta.  Add the liquids and the tomatoes.  Stir all together.  Secure the pressure cooker lid.  Select manual for 6 minutes and seal the vent.
When cooking is done turn the instant pot off and use quick release.
Stir in the mozzarella cheese.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

instant pot ginger garlic drumsticks

I love how my new Instant Pot is inspiring me to try new recipes again.  Cooking and eating was becoming a blah experience.  I enjoy having something new to look forward to toward the end of the day.  Everyone enjoyed the chicken.  The meat is always so tender from the Instant Pot and full of flavor.  What will I try next?

instant pot ginger garlic drumsticks (Living Sweet Moments) 
12 chicken drumsticks, skin on 
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey 
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 
2 garlic clove minced1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced

In the instant pot, mix the sauce ingredients: water, soy, honey, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, and onion until combine.
Add chicken drumsticks and push them down so they are submerged in the sauce as much as possible.
Cook on high for 10 minutes.
Let the drumsticks cool for 5 minutes before releasing the steam.
Release the steam.
Remove the drumsticks and place on a cookie sheet with a lip lined with foil.
Push the saute button so the sauce boils and starts reducing.  Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water and stir into the sauce to thicken.
Pour sauce over the drumsticks and place sliced onion over the top.  Broil for 2 minutes on each side.

Note:  I doubled the sauce ingredients.  I'm glad I did because my family enjoyed the extra sauce on sticky rice.

Friday, August 18, 2017

store bought favorite: tj's enchilada sauce

My husband texted me this picture of our glass recycle bin so I would begin to comprehend my consumption of this dream sauce- Trader Joe's bottled enchilada sauce.  There's nothing like it!  It started with one innocent bottle and has led to enchilada-eating that has grown to out-of-control proportions.  I admit it- I eat an enchilada for breakfast and lunch every day.  Every single day (except when I'm on vacation and there's no Trader Joes to be found).  I know.  It's weird.  But I ask you to just try an enchilada the way I make them.  Fresh every time.  Now my kids are asking for them.  I introduced them to my mother when she was in town and she has since introduced them to my brother and his wife.  It's a thing.  I'm telling you...

trader joe's enchilada sauce enchiladas
1 tortilla (I use whole wheat tortillas)
a nice scoop of shredded chicken (cooked in the crock pot with some salsa)
shredded mozzarella cheese (my kids prefer Cheddar but I prefer lower fat)
trader joe's enchilada sauce 

Place a tortilla on a microwave proof plate.  Spread a line of chicken across one end of the tortilla.  Pour some enchilada sauce over the top and a little cheese.  Roll up.  Pour more enchilada sauce over the top.  Be totally generous with the sauce- don't hold back.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds. 

pressure cooker teriyaki chicken

I asked my friend with a pressure cooker for a favorite recipe so I don't waste any time with so-so recipes and she enthusiastically shared this recipe, which she makes weekly for her family.  My family LOVED it.  I wish I had made more because 3 pounds of chicken wasn't enough (and I didn't even have any because the sugar content would put me into a coma).  Now my family wants it weekly.
I have to say I am a huge fan of these new pressure cookers.  They are silent!  I was worried mine wasn't working because I grew up with my mom using an old school super noisy, scary one.  I was always worried it was going to explode and kill us all after she warned me not to get too close.  I feel nice and safe with my Instant Pot.  Now onto the recipe:

pressure cooker teriyaki chicken (Dee-Anna found this recipe on allrecipes.com)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 cup chicken stock
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used frozen from Costco)
2 tablespoons cornstarch, optional
2 tablespoons cold water, optional

Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic powder, pepper, crushed pineapple and juice and chicken stock and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved.
Place chicken thighs in the pressure cooker and pour in the sauce.  Stir gently to coat.  Bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, maintaining high pressure.  Cook for 20 minutes.
Stir cornstarch into cold water and set aside.
Reduce the pressure using the rapid-release method.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a serving dish; cover with foil and set aside.  Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.  Serve the chicken topped with the teriyaki sauce.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

instant pot beef gyros

My husband got me an Instant Pot for my birthday and after trying it out using this recipe...I LOVE IT!  I love this recipe and I love my new appliance.  These beef gyros were incredibly tasty.  INCREDIBLY.  I silently told myself about a million times what a good cook I am while I enjoyed my beef gyro.  Do not, I repeat do not use a store bought tzatziki sauce.  Make it using the recipe below.  You'll be telling yourself what a fine cook you are.

instant pot beef gyro (My Crazy Good Life)
2 lbs. beef roast, thinly sliced (I bought the carne asada meat because it was thinly sliced)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Pitas or Naan bread, or Flat Out pitas

tzatziki sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup cucumber peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. salt and pepper
2 tbsp. fresh dill

toppings: sliced carrots, sliced onions, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, feta cheese

Directions for Instant Pot Beef Gyros:
1) Turn Instant Pot on saute and let the pan warn up. When it’s warm, add oil to the bottom of the pan and let it get hot.

2) Add meat, seasoning, garlic, and onion to Instant Pot. Sear and let onions soften for 3-5 minutes.

3) Pour lemon juice and broth over the meat. Give the meat a quick stir, then lock lid into place. Turn the steam valve to sealing. Using the Meat/Stew preset cook the gyro meat for 9 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 3 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure using the quick release method. 

Directions for Instant Pot Beef Gyros  stove top directions in italic):
1) Turn Instant Pot on saute and let the pan warn up. When it’s warm, add oil to the bottom of the pan and let it get hot. Do this on your stove top. 
2) Add meat, seasoning, garlic, and onion to Instant Pot. Sear and let onions soften for 3-5 minutes. Same directions for stove top. 

3) Pour lemon juice and broth over the meat. Give the meat a quick stir, then lock lid into place. Turn the steam valve to sealing. Using the Meat/Stew preset cook the gyro meat for 9 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 3 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure using the quick release method. Add lemon juice and broth, cover, let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

orange marmalade bbq chicken

My young son made this delicious chicken for dinner tonight.  True story.  I've been having each my kids make dinner one night per week and it's a smashing success!  If I had made this chicken myself he maybe would've eaten one drumstick.  He ate three!  He couldn't believe how delicious they were.  One of my daughters who doesn't like chicken ate it too!  Everyone loved it.  Three ingredients.  Three!

orange marmalade bbq chicken (slightly adapted from Lord Byron's Kitchen)
16 chicken drumsticks
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
1 cup Smucker's orange marmalade
salt and pepper, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray  a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with foil (that's what I did).
Position the drumsticks on the sheet, skin side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Now stir the marmalade and the barbeque sauce together in a bowl and set aside.
Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon the sauce on top of each piece of chicken.  Use half the sauce.
Return the chicken to the oven and bake another 20 minutes.
Once again, remove the chicken from the oven and spoon more sauce onto the drumsticks.
Bake 10 more minutes.
Now spread the rest of the sauce over the chicken and bake 10 minutes more.
Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

no churn two ingredient ice cream

Happy Mother's Day!  I was spoiled today from morning til evening with delicious meals from my husband.  For dessert he made crepes and my oldest daughter pulled out this no church two ingredient ice cream that she made.  The ice cream went into crepes with more strawberries and Nutella than you have probably ever dreamed of.
This ice cream is decadent. (And not overly sweet like store brand ice cream.)  My kids decided I should stop buying ice cream and stock up on whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk.  My daughter says you can add vanilla extract or other extracts to the mix or whatever add-ins appeal to you like chopped cookies or fruit.

no church two ingredient ice cream
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups whipping cream

My daughter says she poured the two ingredients into a bowl and used a hand mixer to whip it up until it formed soft peaks.  She poured it into a freezer safe bowl and froze it overnight. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

candy piano

We had a La La Land party because we had some celebrating to do so I looked online for party ideas and found this easy piano!  I didn't know where to find white chocolate kit kat bars so I texted a friend and what do you know- with her help I found them on the first attempt.  That's something to sing about.  (Tip:  Fred Meyer)

candy piano (makelifelovely.com)
white chocolate kit kat bars
mini kit kat bars 

All you do is line them up on a tray- as long as you want.  This made a really easy alternative to a birthday cake!!

tip: how to cut brownies

tip:  how to cut brownies
This double chocolate mint brownie recipe is one of my most loved and requested recipes and they're easy to make so I like to take them to parties, potlucks, etc.  The only thing I didn't like about them was cutting them into bars...until now.  I shared this recipe with a friend and she came back and asked if I had ever cut them with a plastic knife.  The answer was no.  Why would I think to use a plastic knife!  She's right- a plastic knife cuts them beautifully!  I just had to share this little tip if you should decide to make THESE wonderful brownies.  Taking two pans of these delicious brownies to school this morning for teacher appreciation was a cinch.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

coriander-crusted tilapia with brown rice and vegetables

Hall of Fame.  Again!  That's two in a row.  I felt so fancy after having made this dish.  It was soooooo good.

coriander-crusted tilapia with brown rice and vegetable (slightly adapted from Real Simple Magazine, March 2017)
6 tilapia loins (I buy them at Costco frozen then thaw them)
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup shredded carrots
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups whole grain jasmine rice, cooked and hot
3 cups loosely packed arugula and spinach

Pat tilapia dry with paper towels.  Combine coriander, pepper and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl.  Season tilapia all over with the mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tilapia and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes.  Flip and cook until opaque, about 1 minute.  
Simultaneously, heat a smaller skillet with 1 tablespoon oil..  Add carrots and green onions and cook until almost tender.  Add broth and lemon juice and cooked rice.  Cook until hot.  Add greens and cook until wilted.  
Serve tilapia with brown rice and vegetables.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

sheet pan chicken thighs with fennel and shallots

Absolutely delicious.  Hall of Fame meals are infrequent but my husband declared it Hall of Fame.  I agree. This is my new favorite way to eat fennel...and everything else in this salad!

sheet pan chicken thighs with fennel and shallots (Real Simple Magazine, April 2017)
1 large fennel bulb, sliced into 1-inch thick wedges
4 large shallots, quartered (I used 2 onions)
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips (I used red and orange)
2 lemons, halved crosswise
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided (I cut that in half)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
8 (6 ounce) bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (I used boneless, skinless chicken thigh strips)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 cups loosely packed baby arugula (I used a combination of arugula and spinach)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Toss together fennel, shallots, bell pepper, lemons, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper on a rimmed baking sheet.  On a separate baking sheet, rub chicken thighs with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.  Season with thyme and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Roast vegetable mixture on top rack and chicken on bottom rack until vegetables are tender and lightly charred, 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove vegetables from oven and transfer chicken to top rack.  Increase heat to broil and cook until chicken is cooked through and golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes more.
Add arugula to baking sheet with vegetables and toss until wilted.  Squeeze 1 roasted lemon half over vegetables; serve with chicken and remaining lemons.

Friday, April 14, 2017

hoppy easter cake

My twelve-year old "beehive" in Young Women's went to mutual last night and made this adorable bunny cake and brought it home.  Previously, she had asked if we could have carrot cake on Easter while our bunny Berkeley munches on carrots but now we certainly don't need another cake- this one takes the cake! :)
Happy Easter weekend!

hoppy easter cake
You'll need two round cakes, baked.  One cake is the face.  The other is the ears and bow tie.
misc. candy

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

broccoli chicken

Everyone wanted seconds and thirds but there wasn't enough.  That's a good sign.

broccoli chicken
1/2 bag Tyson frozen boneless, skinless chicken thigh strips, thawed (2.7 pound bag)
2 bunches broccoli, separated into florets (I think my store separates whole heads)

2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar

Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in pan over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until cooked through.  Add broccoli and sauce.  Stir fry until broccoli is bright green.  Serve with rice.  We like Trader Joe's frozen vegetable fried rice if we need something quick.

Friday, April 7, 2017

baseball cupcakes

It's baseball season.  This is our family's first experience having a player on a team and we are going to embrace it.  We'll start by taking these to practice this evening.  Thank you to my girls for helping with them!  Blue raspberry cupcakes with vanilla icing and stripes.  Yuck to the artificual blue raspberry.  I mean yum (if you're 7)! :)

baseball cupcakes
This is a see-and-do recipe.  I saw them in a magazine years ago and looked forward to the day it would come in handy. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

italian meatloaf cupcakes

I'd seen these all over the internet and wanted to make them for April Fool's Day.  I used my favorite Italian meatloaf recipe and they were quite tasty!  As I piped the potatoes onto the base my son said I was using quite a lot of icing.  When we sat down to dinner one of my daughters toasted two slices of toast- she said she thought cupcakes for dinner sounded weird.  She ended up eating one.

italian meatloaf cupcakes
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

mashed potatoes (homemade or store bought- great use for leftover mashed potatoes!)
gravy (I used leftover gravy from when we had a roast earlier in the week)
bacon bits

Prepare muffin cups by lining each one with a square of foil.  Lightly spray each cup of foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce and  oregano.  Make sure the ingredients are mixed well.  Use a round 1/3 cup scoop to scoop up the meat mixture and put one into each cup.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  

Warm some mashed potatoes and put them into a sturdy zip-lock bag.  Force the potatoes into one corner.  Snip the corner like a pastry bag and pipe the potatoes onto the "cupcake".  Sprinkle some bacon bits on top and drizzle with gravy.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

citrus cream cheese pull apart rolls

HALL OF FAME!  I am re-posting these because they are so extremely fantastic.  We've been making them every 6 months for General Conference for a minimum of 5 years.  Today I used mini chocolate chips instead of cranberries and I think that will be a new tradition.  We love chocolate.  These are truly amazing.

citrus cream cheese pull apart rolls (Your Home Based Mom)
1 package frozen roll dough (25 ounces)
cooking spray
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (I use chocolate chips today)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 (8 ounce) block 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon grated orange rind

1 cup powdered sugar
5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Thaw roll dough at room temperature.
Cut rolls in half. Place 24 halves, cut sides down, in bottom of each of 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray. Brush butter evenly over rolls. Cover; let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 30 minutes. Sprinkle with dried cranberries. Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar, cream cheese, orange juice and egg; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Pour cream cheese mixture evenly over rolls. Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and rinds. Sprinkle evenly over rolls. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Note:  Sometimes I stop here and refrigerate the rolls overnight to bake the next day.
Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Bake for 20 minutes. Cover with foil. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until rolls in center are done. Remove from oven; cool 15 minutes. Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over rolls.

Friday, February 17, 2017

it's about LOVE- ward party

Primary is in charge of this activity and it's going to be a fun one- we just set up this morning.  Our ward congregation is going to enjoy an ice cream buffet followed by a service project.  For the service project, in the RS room we've set up a cookie/candy buffet with cellophane bags and gift tags so we can assemble goodie bags for friends and neighbors.  There are enough bags so that 100 can be distributed after the activity.  All we need to do before the activity is put toppings into glass pedestal dishes that we made for the last ward activity we hosted and set of the ice cream, warmed Nutella and whipped cream.  I am hoping for a good turn out!
(I made 100 paper flowers using Martha Stewart kits I found 80% off on clearance at Michael's.  That find was meant to be!) 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

tender, yummy beef


My teenager said I don't serve enough beef so I made this for dinner.  It turned out to be super flavorful and versatile.  We used the beef for sandwiches the first night then my daughter made some nachos grande that looked amazing.  The beef would also make a great filling for fajitas or red enchiladas (have you tried Trader Joe's bottled enchilada sauce?  So good!).

tender, yummy beef (pass the peas, please)
1 1/2 pounds beef bottom round roast pre-sliced ("carne asada" style)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 onion, sliced into rings
1 green bell pepper, sliced into rings
1 cup water
whatever you need to make sandwiches, nachos, fajitas, etc. 

Spray slow cooker with nonstick spray.  Put the sliced meat into the slow cooker with the onion soup mix, onion and pepper rings.  Pour a cup of water over the top.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Remove meat, onions and peppers with a slotted spoon and serve it as you wish.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

yippee chippee valentines

I love Costco.  It just made Valentine's Day so easy (if I don't think about the Valentine's luncheon that I am hosting at my house that day).  Two of my kids will be passing out valentines at school so I needed 48 of something.  Sooner rather than later.  I didn't know what until I saw a box of 50 bags of chips at Costco.  I quickly Googled "valentines made from bags of chips" and what do you know- my children will have fun valentines!
I hope my kids are not disappointed that I did not consult them.  I'm pretty sure they wanted Harry Potter valentines.  Sorry kids!   If I have my way this will be our new go-to!

yippee chippee valentines
I was able to find some cute sayings and made some tags:
(I used a super cute font called Cupid de Locke which is a free downloadable font)
Classic, Sour Cream & Onion and BBQ:  Because a classic cannot be beat, I think you're super neat.
Cheetos & Doritos:  I hope this isn't too cheesy a way to say Happy Valentine's Day!
Cool Ranch: This might come across a little silly but I think you are COOL- really! 
Fritos:  This may be a little CORNY but- will you be my valentine? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

chicken alfredo soup

This is a really nice feel-good soup.  I doubled the recipe so I could take some to a friend...which I realize is risky when making a new recipe but I figured this one would be good.  I grabbed a few new cookbooks at the library last night and this is the first of several new recipes I'd like to try.

chicken alfredo soup (adapted from BH&G New Cook Book, 16th edition)
3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 jars light Alfredo sauce
1 envelope vegetable soup mix (I used Knorr Spring Vegetable Recipe Mix)
2 cups cooked broken whole wheat spaghetti 

In a dutch oven, cook chicken with carrots, celery and onion.  When chicken is no longer pink, add broth, alfredo sauce and vegetable soup mix.  Add spaghetti.  Simmer covered for 15 minutes.

meatballs with creamy mushroom sauce

It was one of those days when I had NOTHING planned for dinner. I had some meatballs in the freezer so went looking for a super speedy sauce to go with them and found this recipe.  They were a hit but honest to goodness next time I will make my own meatballs.  Packaged meatballs are just not as good as homemade.

meatballs with creamy mushroom sauce (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1 package meatball, 24 meatballs (I strongly prefer homemade!)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used Campbell's healthy request)
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley (fresh would be better but I was in a hurry, remember?)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 can milk

For the sauce, whisk the soup, parsley, pepper, Italian seasoning, chili powder and milk together in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat then turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add cooked meatballs to the sauce and coat the meatballs with the sauce.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

ice cream pie

You can use this recipe for any kind of ice cream pie.  It just so happens I made two peppermint ice cream pies last month, put them in the freezer and forgot about them! :)  It's just as well- my family has been loving them and they're better appreciated a month after Christmas when the house is not as candy-filled.  Four ingredients and you have an impressive dessert- your kids' eyes will pop out of their sockets.

ice cream pie (pass the peas, please)
1 carton of any kind of ice cream (I used peppermint)
2 pre-made graham cracker pie crust (I used chocolate)
Hershey's chocolate sauce or Nutella
whipped cream

Let the carton of ice cream sit out for about 10 minutes to soften.
Scoop half the carton of ice cream into one pie crust.  Scoop the other half of the carton of ice cream into the other pie crust.  Use a spoon (and fingers) to spread the ice cream evenly into the pie crusts.
Cover with the plastic cover that came with the pie crusts and put into the freezer.
When ready to serve, cut each pie into 8 slices.  Pour chocolate sauce over the top or a big glob of nutella and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing

My daughter and I made some desserts for a wedding reception tonight to add to a long list of homemade desserts that others have made.  I made chocolate mint fudge and sugar cookie bars.  My daughter made these smooth-as-silk chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing.  It's the icing that's special, and the recipe is all hers! 
Erin- if you're reading this, think of this as a buckeye cupcake. :)

chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing (my daughter)
46 of your favorite chocolate cupcakes, baked and cooled

3 sticks butter
2 cups smooth peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter.  Add the peanut butter and blend until thoroughly combined and creamy.  Gradually add the powdered sugar. 
Load a decorator's bag full of icing and go to town!  Add some chocolate sprinkles if you wish.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

greek honey cake

Get your taste buds ready for some good cake.  My daughter and I found this recipe for Greek Fest which is taking place today!  We made two batches of this cake this morning (6:15am) so it's fresh and warm and gooey with an orange essence.  It's going to be a hit.

greek honey cake (food.com)
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups chopped walnuts (we omitted since we made it for a school project)

2 cups sugar
2 cups honey (We used Turkish honey from Trader Joe's)
1 1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. 
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange rind. Set aside. 
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then cut into diamond shapes. 
Pour honey syrup over the cake. For the Honey Syrup: In a saucepan, combine honey, 1 cup sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.