Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Party Punch

This punch is wonderful for any special occasion.

1 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
1 (12oz) can of lemonade
1 (46 oz) can pineapple juice
1/2 gallon cranberry juice
1 2-liter ginger ale

Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add all ingredients and stir. The recipe makes a bright red punch.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Special Chicken Salad

6 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/4 tsp salt
dash of white pepper
2 tsp onion juice
2 (11 oz cans mandarin oranges)

Combine chicken and celery in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine next four ingredients. Pour over chicken and celery mixture. Toss. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Fold in oranges when ready to serve.

Baked Chicken Sandwiches

These baked chicken sandwiches are a wonderful finger food for a shower or group gathering. They are ALWAYS a hit!

3 oz cream cheese
2 T of milk
2 cups cooked chicken, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 (8 oz) cans crescent dinner rolls
1/4 cup plus 2 T melted butter
1 1/2 cups croutons, crushed

Combine cheese and milk, beat on medium speed of electric mixer until smooth. Mix in chicken, salt, and pepper. Place all the crescent rolls on a baking sheet in a large rectangle. Cut out into smaller rectangles after pressing the perforated pieces together. Fill small rectangles with mixture and seal up the sides. Dip sandwich in butter and coat with crushed croutons. Place on lighty greased baking shet. Bake at 350 degrees until browned - approximately 10 minutes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's now easier to find Easy Meals for Moms. Just go to www.easymealsformoms.com! Don't forget to update the site in your favorites!

New Feature ~ Submit a Recipe



My husband asked me why there wasn't a way to submit a recipe on the blog. So, VOILA! You'll now find a link to send in a recipe in the top right corner! Please send your favorite recipes our way by just typing an email. Please including your first name and location (if you want). We'll get your recipe on here as soon we can.

Banana Cream Supreme

I got this recipe from my friend, Heidi. It's a Pampered Chef recipe.

1 container of frozen whipped topping thawed
1 cup sour cream
1 package (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding
3 medium bananas - sliced

Combine whipped topping and sour cram until blended. Add pudding mix, wisk or stir until mixture is well blended and smooth. Spread half of the filling over crust. Slice bananas and arrange over filling. Spread remaining filling over bananas. Keep refrigerated.

Orange Chicken Rice Bowl

I made this recipe last night that I got on Kraft Foods . I thought it was pretty good. We thought it could use a little more flavor in the chicken, so next time I will marinate the chicken in the sauce. It was easy and quick.

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
1/4 cup orange juice
3 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables (I only used broccoli)
3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice (I used instant brown rice)
1/4 cup Peanuts
*I also just bought a lot of shrimp, so I added some shrimp into our stir fry.

Directions:

HEAT large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; stir-fry 5 to 7 min. or until cooked through. (I used a little olive oil to cook the chicken.)

*STIR in dressing and juice. Bring to boil. Add vegetables; cook 5 to 7 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally. (I added the peanuts with the veggies to cook in the sauce.)

SERVE over rice. Sprinkle with nuts.

*Next time I may try to marinate the chicken in the sauce for a little while to give a little more flavor.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Stroganoff

1 lb frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can fat free cream of mushroom soup
16 oz carton fat free sour cream
1 envelope dry onion soup mix

Put frozen chicken in bottom of crockpot. Mix soup, sour cream and soup mix and pour over chicken. Cook on low for seven hours or on high for four hours. Serve with rice or noodles. Makes six servings. I often double this recipe and have leftovers the next day.

Meal Preparation

I like to watch Jon & Kate + Eight sometimes. I learn alot of home management ideas from her. They have a plaque on their table. It's made of wood and the letters are carved in. It reads, "Plan Ahea". Obviously the person carving forgot to plan ahead for the "d" at the end of the word. I find myself like this OFTEN. I am discovering that planning ahead is critical in feeding my family. I have done lots of "variations" of the once-a-month-cooking. There's no way I could get a months worth of cooking done (nor would my small kitchen allow it). But, I have doubled meals to freeze one, baked ahead, and gotten better at weekly meal planning. Recently I bought 10 pounds of chicken (on sale for .99/lb) and 10 pounds ground beef (on sale for $1.99/lb). Instead of bringing it home a sticking it in the freezer (like I was tempted to do), I brought it home and cooked it all up,divided it into portions, and then froze it. Now I have enough meat/broth for about 9 meals. It only took about an hour total for all 20 pounds. And I only dirtied 2 pans! I would have spent that time worrying that I hadn't defrosted it, wrestling with the frozen packaging, trying to speed thaw in the microwave, and ultimately ending up with a mess (can you tell I've done that many times?). Now the hard part is done for chili, chicken soup, chicken quesadillas, beef stroganoff, etc. In some cases I went ahead and sauted onions, peppers, seasoning with them. These tips might not work for everyone (especially moms of nursing babies, or those with smaller families, limited freezer space etc), but they might prompt you to think what you could do to plan ahead in serving your family more efficiently in your own unique circumstances. Please add to this post with a comment if you have other tips to add that might be helpful to us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meal Prep

I like to watch Jon and Kate + Eight sometimes. I learn some home management tips from her. I love this plaque they have on their table that says "Plan Ahea ".
It's a wooden plaque where someone has carved in the letters, obviously without planning ahead for the "d" at the end of the sentence. I have found that it is becoming more and more necessary for me to plan ahead. I have been learning how to prep my meals ahead of time and to do several variations of the once a month cooking. I've never been able to cook for a whole month, but I have doubled several meals for the freezer, stored up baked breads in the freezer, etc. Recently I bought 10 pound packages of chicken (on sale for .99/lb.) and ground beef (for $1.99/lb.). Instead of bringing them home and putting them into the freezer I took both of them and cooked them entirely. With the chicken I made 3 meals and have broth now for soups. With the beef, I have enough for 5 meals. Some is cooked with green pepper/onion/chili seasoning. It took me probably an hour total to prep both types of meat. I would have spent that time worrying that I had not defrosted the meat, wrestling with the packaging stuck frozen to the meat, trying to defrost it in the microwave, etc. But, it's all done. And I only dirtied 2 pans for about 9 meals! This might not be practical for everyone especially those with nursing babies (believe me, I understand), but it may serve to remind you to plan ahead in your own way that will assist you in serving your family.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spinach Maria

This is a spinach side dish very similar to spinach dip. It is frequently requested dish for family gatherings.

2 boxes of frozen spinach - thawed and drained
1 1b Velveeta
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
onion flakes to taste
1 cup Pepperidge Farm stuffing

Topping
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup armesan cheese
1/4 cup butter

Add Velveeta, milk, cream cheese, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and onion flakes in a large sauce pan. Melt - stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add spinach and stir stuffing. Put spinach mix in a greased pan. Mix bread crumbs and cheese together. Add to top of spinach mix. Spread melted butter on top.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bean Salsa

This is a great recipe for a group gathering. Serve with tortilla chips.

2 15 oz cans black beans - rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can corn - drained
2-4 large tomatoes - chopped (Can use canned diced tomatoes)
1 purple onion - chopped
3-4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp peppper

Mix all togeter in a large bowl and serve with tortilla chips.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches

This is good to put in the crockpot for after church. I found chicken for .99/lb so I made some tonight to put into the freezer.
Ingredients:
2.5 cups cooked chicken
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (or you can make your own by mixing soy sauce & brown sugar)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
oil to saute
buns
provolone cheese
Directions:
Saute onion and pepper in oil until tender. Mix all other ingredients and heat until it comes to a boil. Serve on buns with cheese. A nice side would be Asian coleslaw and some pinapple slices. To make Asian coleslaw (I'm flying by the seat of my pants now), just mix slaw, mayo, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and a pinch of sugar.

Chicken and Dumplings

I have recently learned how to make 'em. I was always so intimidated to try it. Wish I had tried it a long time ago! So go ahead, try it!
Ingredients:
Whole chicken
2 Chicken buillion cubes
enough water to cover your chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
biscuit dough (make your own or buy frozen-I like "Mary B's Southern Buttermilk Biscuits". I do not recommend canned biscuits!)
Directions:
Just place 1st 3 ingredients in a large stock pot. Boil chicken until done-maybe 25-30 minutes-just check to see if juices run clear. Remove chicken from pot. KEEP YOUR CHICKEN STOCK! Debone the chicken. Get as much as you can off the bone. Return meat to the pot along with the can of cream of chicken soup. Stir well. Make sure your biscuits are ready to go. Now bring the broth and chicken to a boil. Drop in (one at a time) your biscuit dough. DO NOT STIR the pot. Just push them under occasionally so that they all get done. After about 10 minutes you will see that they are floating at the top. Test one to see if it looks "bready" in the middle. Salt and pepper to taste. If you overcook them, they will start to disentigrate-not good. Serve right away.

Chicken Casserole

2 cups of Pepperidge Farm Herb Dressing
1 stick of butter
1 10 oz can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
2 cups of chicken - boiled and cut into pieces
1 package of fozen pea - cooked and drained
1 tablespoon minced onion

Mix butter and dressing together. Spread 1/2 of mixture on bottom of baking dish. Mix celery soup, onions, chicken and drained peas together and add milk (more milk may be needed). Pour on top of dressing layer. Add remainder of dressing mixture on top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bored

I am not a gourmet chef like my friend, Johanna, who can whip up a Martha Stewart meal with her eyes closed. Our family survives on basic meals. You know the ones I'm talking about - tacos, spaghetti, chicken casserole, etc. However, I'm bored. I don't have the desire to be a Martha (even though I benefit from Johanna's incredible cooking), but I do need a bit of variety - easy variety.

Here's our basic meals - tacos, spaghetti, chicken casserole, grilled chicken, a few crock pot chicken meals that go with rice or noodles, roast with veggies, pinto beans (if I can remember to soak them overnight), etc.

What are your basic meals that work for you every time that aren't super time consuming, but do the trick for your family?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Broccoli Salad

This is an old recipe we used to make for "Alpha" (whatever I know, I learned from Karen Landis... thanks Karen!!!)
Ingredients:
broccoli 1 cup, cut into tidbit sizes
cauliflower 1 cup, cut as above
1 red pepper chopped
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup vinegar (use whatever kind you have)
4 whole green onions, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon sugar
8 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled

And my favorite kind of instructions-mix all together in a bowl! Chill and serve. Can be made a day ahead. And, wrapped tightly, it's good for several days.

Shortcuts

Its kind of hard to get 7 grilled cheeses ready at the same time. I don't have a griddle pan (or the space to store one). I started making grilled sandwiches in the oven. Construct the sandwiches and butter them like normal. Put on a pan and heat at 350 until golden brown. To get them even you might need to flip them.
I also saw Rachel Ray cook bacon in the oven. Just slap it on the pan and heat at about 375 until its as crisp as you want. This has worked very well for me. What a great tip. No more babysitting the bacon! And it comes out flat instead of ruffled. And your clothes don't smell like fried food...

Homemade Veggie Wash

It's my favorite time of year-when new fruits and veggies that have been on vacation for months once again appear on the grocery store shelves. I have used commercial veggie washes, but they can be expensive (as can organic produce). I really don't like eating pesticides or waxes...
Here's what a quick 15 minute search of some blogs/websites/forums yielded:

Veggie Soak
1/4 cup vinegar
2 T salt
Soak veggies for 15 minutes

Veggie Spray
1 cup water
1 T baking soda
1 T fresh lemon juice
Hey guys just wanted to let you know that the categories will be back tomorrow - sorry for any inconvience!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ball

This recipe is a wonderful and simple idea that is great for Care Group, showers, or just because you are in the mood to stuff your face! It is super yummy, and I'm sure the kiddos will love it too.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ball

Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Chocolate or honey graham crackers for dipping

Directions:
In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in confectioner's sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Gently stir in mini chocolate chips.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Shape chilled cream cheese mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Roll the cheese ball in finely chopped nuts before serving. Serve with your favorite flavor of graham crackers for dipping. (I use the graham cracker sticks).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Honey BBQ Ham with Roasted Potatoes

Here's another yummy crock-pot recipe! I found this one on Parent.com. I didn't have dark brown sugar, so I used light brown, I used dried parsley instead of fresh and I used a 2.5 lb ham. It turned out yummy!! Hope you enjoy!! Not sure why I keep getting a funny little square on my posts. It probably has to do something with me taking the pictures from the websites! Oh, well.


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3-1/2 pounds fully cooked boneless ham
  • 3 pounds potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, stir together ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, 1 teaspoon oil and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Score surface of ham, making diamond shapes 1/2-inch deep. Place ham in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker and brush generously with the barbecue sauce.

3. In a large bowl, stir together potatoes and remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place potatoes around ham in slow cooker. Cook for 2 hours on HIGH or 5 hours on LOW, brushing ham generously with sauce once every hour.

4. Remove ham from slow cooker and set aside. Stir parsley, salt and pepper into potatoes and serve with ham and remaining sauce.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

As usual, I changed a recipe from recipezaar. It actually called for pumpkin instead of banana, but since I had tons of frozen bananas, I was looking for a way to use them (besides smoothies). I will try them next time with pumpkin. Also, substituted some whole wheat flour instead of all white.
Ingredients:
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1.5 c ripe, mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c oil
3 c flour (I used 2 whole wheat, 1 regular)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
12 oz mini semi-sweet morsels
Directions:
In bowl, combine eggs, sugar, banana, vanilla and oil-mix well. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients. Combine two bowls and fold in chocolate chips. Pour into oiled muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 16-20 minutes.

Beef with Mushrooms and Red Wine

This recipe came from Family Circle Magazine and it is so good!! It was even better as leftovers! I couldn't find the pearl onions, so I just cut up half an onion. Also, I didn't use cremini mushrooms. I just used whatever was in the produce section that were already cut and I used stew beef instead of chuck steak.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chuck steak (1 inch thick), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 package (10 ounces) cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, shopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (1 pound) frozen pearl onions
  • 1-1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 6 ounces cholesterol-free egg noodles, cooked (optional)

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak to skillet and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to slow cooker bowl.

2. Add mushrooms and garlic to skillet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

3. Scrape contents of skillet into slow cooker bowl with beef. Stir in onions, broth, red wine and 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 7 hours.

4. Remove lid and stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme and green beans. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes. Serve on top of egg noodles, if desired.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cool Veggie Pizza

This is a pampered chef recipe I've adapted. My girls (and sometimes my boys) love to help with this. It's easy, quick, kinda healthy, and tasty.
Ingredients:
Crescent roll dough (I use 2 large or 4 small cans for our family)
block of cream cheese (or Neufchatel, or Laughing Cow french onion wedges-entire box)
teaspoon minced garlic
1 heaping T mayo
dill weed to taste
cheddar cheese, shredded
variety of raw veggies (we like mushrooms, brocolli, tomato, carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers, green onion)
Directions:
Unroll crescent dough and piece it together to form a large rectangle on an oiled pan. Flatten it out well piching together any seams. Bake until golden brown (see package instructions). In the meantime, finely chop any fresh veggies you like. Mix cream cheese, mayo, garlic, and dill in a bowl. When dough is golden brown and cooled, spread cream cheese mixture over entire crust. Sprinkle with raw veggies. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and eat.