Friday, December 31, 2010

Aunt Betty's Chocolate Pie

Every year at Christmas, my sweet Aunt Betty would make the most amazing chocolate pie. My cousin, Sarah, and I would get our slice of pie first to make sure that we got a piece. Over the years, Aunt Betty stopped making our beloved chocolate pie. Now my Aunt Betty is suffering in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. Sarah asked her last week for the recipe. Aunt Betty delivered. So without further ado, I give you "Aunt Betty's Chocolate Pie."

1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
dash of salt
4-6 egg yolks
4 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Meringue
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 tablespoons sugar

In heavy sauce pan, comping sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt. Beat egg yolks and add small amount of milk. Pour into sugar mixture. Pour in rest of milk. Cook over medium heat until thick. This may appear to be lumpy. Add butter and vanilla. Pour into baked pie shell. To with meringue. Bake 375 until brown.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Easy Pretzel Kisses


I love simple. I love tasty.


These are both.

Great for gifts, parties and just general holiday munching. Merry Christmas!

Holiday Pretzel Kisses
1 bag buttersnap pretzels (square kind)
1 bag Hershey kisses
1 bag Holiday M&Ms (there will be lots leftover)


Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line pretzels on cookie sheet. Unwrap kisses and place one on each pretzel. Heat in oven for 5 minutes to soften kisses, but not completely melt. Remove from oven and immediately press one M&M in center of each kiss. Put in fridge to harden. Share or keep them all to yourself!

These would make a great gift for a teacher, neighbor, babysitter, dogwalker....you get the idea.

Now go get the kids and make some!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homemade Hot Cocoa


My husband began making me homemade hot chocolate when we first were married. I had grown up with the instant packet stuff with the hard marshmallows and was reluctant to try his stove-top concoction. Now I only drink the mix stuff in a pinch (and usually the gourmet kind...I know, I know).
I think the most important part is to use milk, not water. You can't get a rich flavor with just water.
I usually just pour milk in the pot until it looks right, add in some cocoa powder and sugar and stir, tasting along the way and making adjustments. When I made it last night, I measured everything out so I could pass the recipe along. Feel free to taste along the way too and adjust to your likings.



Homemade Hot Cocoa
Makes 2-3 servings

2 1/2 c milk (any type you like, the fattier the richer)
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghirardelli makes it even more delicious)
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Toppings, optional: marshmallows, whipped cream, cinnamon
Stir all ingredients together with a whisk in a medium pot until combined. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly {it will burn if left unstirred for too long} until hot. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

EASY and fun holiday treats to make with your kids!

If you’re looking for something fun to do with your children over the holiday break or need an idea for their Christmas party, hopefully this will get you started! At my monthly MOPS meeting last week, we made all sorts of fun, and very easy, treats. These are perfect for you to make with your kids, and they will love them! Thanks Lindsey for all of the great ideas!


Nutter Butter Reindeer Cookies
*You could use a Vienna Finger cookie if your child has a peanut allergy.

1. Lay out 1 nutter butter on your plate.

2. Take 1 pretzel and very gently break the bottom (round part) of the pretzel off. You will be left with the 2 loopy parts.

3. Using white cookie icing (found in the cake decorating section) or regular icing, “glue” the pretzel antlers to the top of the cookie.

4. Use the frosting to glue either 2 chocolate chips or 2 brown (or green or blue) M&M’s for the eyes.

5. Use the frosting to glue 1 red M&M for the nose.



Edible Wreaths
1. Spread ½ of a mini bagel with cream cheese (green food coloring was added to the cream cheese and was beat with the hand mixer)

2. Add raisins and craisins to the bagel to create berries.

3. Tear apart a string from a  twizzler stick (Use the kind you can peel) and do your best to create a bow and stick it to your edible wreath.



Candy Airplane
1. Use 1 package of smarties (this will be the body of your airplane)

2. Use one 5 stick package of gum. (these are your wings). Place the gum perpendicular to the smarties…. On top of the smarties, forming a “T”

3. Get 2 lifesavers (wheels) and 1 rubber band.

4. Put the rubber band through the holes of the lifesavers.

5. Pull the rubber band ends around the ends of the gum package to hold the gum into place.



Magic Reindeer Food
Mix the following in a plastic bag:
½ cup bird seed
½ cup cheerios
½ cup oatmeal
A good shake of colored sugar (at least 1 tsp)

Tie closed with red ribbon. Your children will be so excited to sprinkle this “animal-friendly” reindeer food in your yard or driveway on Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Easy and Healthy Blueberry Muffins


I have tried many versions of homemade blueberry muffins.  I can say that these are my absolute favorite...my go-to recipe.  Not only are they easy to make, they are flavorful, healthy and my kids devour them!   {Oh, and they freeze well too!}

Hope you enjoy them!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Passionate Homemaking)

Yield: 12 regular muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sucanat or granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 TBSP butter or coconut oil, melted
3/4 c + 3 TBSP unsweetened applesauce
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1-2 tsp raw sugar (optional, but adds nice texture)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or use paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together applesauce, sucanat/granulated sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.

3. Evenly sprinkle raw sugar over each muffin. Just need a little, it gives them a nice sweet, crunch.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. These can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cornbread Dressing

This dressing was an immediate hit at our family Thanksgiving dinner. It is going in our regular menu. I had never made dressing before, and I was surprised how easy it it to make! I doubled this recipe so that I could freeze a batch for Christmas!

1 pan of cooked cornbread - not too thick
3/4 - 1 loaf of bread
1-2 tablespoons of sage
1-2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning
1 small onion chopped
salt/pepper to taste
3-4 stalks of celery finely chopped
2-3 cans of chicken broth
3 bullion cubes dissolved with water

Lightly grease 9x13 pan. Let the bread sit out to get a bit dry so that it is easier to crumble. (I hear that some people toast their bread for the same reason.) Crumble cornbread and bread into small pieces. Place in large bowl with all other ingredients and mix until moistened. The consistency of the dressing will be somewhat soupy. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Take foil off the last 10 minutes so the top can brown.

Christmas is Coming.....

Christmas is just around the corner! We all have our "go to" recipes for special events and baked goods. If you are like me, you'd like to try some new recipes. Please share your family favorites with everyone here at Easy Meals for Mom by clicking on the link on the right "to submit a recipe."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brown Bag Turkey {AKA The Easiest Turkey You'll Ever Make!}

And no, it's not a pre-cooked turkey either. :)

A few years ago, I was given this recipe (hardly a recipe at all) and tried it. Much to my surprise, it was the best turkey I had ever had and was the easiest and quickest to prepare. So, if this is your first Thanksgiving making the turkey or if you've been doing it for years but are tired of basting and worried about a dried out turkey...this recipe is for YOU!


Brown Bag Turkey

1 stick butter, melted
12-24 lb turkey, defrosted completely
salt/pepper
large clean brown paper bag (preferably one without ink or handles)
stapler
large roasting pan


Preheat oven to 375F. Coat entire inside of bag with melted butter using a pastry brush. Rinse off bird and take giblets out of cavity (Toss or use for later). Salt and pepper bird generously. Place bird inside bag (breast side up) and staple bag shut. Put bagged bird inside roasting pan. Cook in oven for 11-14 minutes per pound (roughly 3 hours). Do not let the bag touch the heating element in the oven. No need to baste or peek at bird. Check thickest part of bird with thermometer, should read 165F to be done. A lot of turkeys with the pop-up timer overcook the bird. Those timers pop up around 180-185F. 165F is the minimum internal temperature that all poultry should be cooked to.

This method will produce a juicy golden brown roasted turkey. The butter makes the skin crisp and keeps the bird moist while cooking. This differs from the plastic oven bags because those actually steam the bird while the paper bag roasts it. After turkey is done, remove from oven and let rest in bag 15 minutes (this allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird and it won't dry out when you cut it). You can then use the drippings in the pan for gravy or check here (my blog) for a delicious Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy recipe....it is awesome and creates a stress-free Thanksgiving!

**Feel free to add any herbs or seasonings to this recipe. I haven't and it comes out great! I also have not stuffed the bird while using this recipe so I do not know what the results will be.**


I just love this time of year!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cheesy Stuffed Butternut Squash


We really enjoyed this recipe and used it as a main dish this week. I plan on serving it for Thanksgiving this year, it's that good! I did change it just a little bit from the original recipe...somewhat lighter version. We used one ~2 lb squash and it served 2 adults and 2 small children as the main dish, you could get more servings if offering as a side. Enjoy!



Cheesy Stuffed Butternut Squash (adapted from Kraft)
1 butternut squash (2 lb.)
1 cup water
1/2 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1/8 tsp.  paprika
6 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted


HEAT oven to 425ºF.

CUT squash lengthwise in half; scoop out seeds. Add water to 13x9-inch baking dish; place squash, cut-sides down, in dish. Cover. Bake 40 min. or until squash is tender when pierced with knife. Cool 10 min. Transfer squash to cutting board; drain liquid from dish.
SCOOP out squash into medium bowl, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells. Add cheese, sour cream, chives and paprika to squash flesh; mix well. Spoon into shells. Mix cracker crumbs and butter; sprinkle over squash. Return to baking dish.

BAKE 22 to 24 min. or until heated through.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Pot Chili

This recipe is so easy! I usually make my chili with McCormick's seasoning packet (one packet, 2 cans of tomato sauce, 1 can of kidney beans). But I saw this on Southern Plate, and it looked easy and good. And that it was, easy and good. It adds rice, which I've never done before. It makes a good filler. The best thing about this dish? It's in the name, one pot!


One Skillet Chili Bake
from Southern Plate

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 can red kidney beans
1 can Ro-Tel (or one small can diced tomatoes and small can chopped green chilies)
1/2 Cup uncooked rice (I recommend instant, my slow cook rice wasn't completely cooked. I also used brown.)
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Cup water, if needed (I needed the whole cup.)

Directions:
In large skillet, brown beef or turkey and drain well. Add beans, Ro-Tel, Rice, Chili Powder, and water. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until rice is done. Uncover and top with cheddar cheese. Continue cooking until cheese melts. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or french bread.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Give Away from "This Mommy Cooks"


Please check out the fun giveaway on Amber's blog, This Mommy Cooks. Amber has been contributing recipes to this blog for a good long while!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mom's Recipe Box - Pumpkin Bread


My mother made the BEST pumpkin bread in the world. It was her signature baking item along with her red velvet cake. One of my favorite memories surrounding her pumpkin bread happened during my first year teaching kindergarten. She and my dad came to visit my class for the day. She brought a mini-loaf of pumpkin bread for every child in the class. That's just how she was.

So without further, ado, Mary's Pumpkin Bread!



Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar
1 cup of oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg, ground
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin

Combine sugar and oil. Beat well and add eggs and beat again. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add the egg mixture alternating with the water. Stir in pumpkin. Put batter in 3 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Check it 5-10 minutes before time is up because it may not take an hour.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Parmean Dijion Chicken

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup Progresso® dry bread crumbs (any flavor)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 3/4 pounds)

Heat oven to 375ºF. Mix butter and mustard in shallow dish until well mixed. Mix bread crumbs and cheese in large plastic bag. Dip one piece of chicken at a time into butter mixture, coating all sides. Then place in bag of bread crumbs, seal bag and shake to coat with crumb mixture. Place chicken in single layer in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches. Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Waffles

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Waffles (adapted from Mark Bittman)
makes 10-13 waffles (depending on the size of your waffle iron)

1 c white wheat flour (this is whole grain)
1 c all purpose flour (or you can go all whole wheat, they will be a little denser)
2 TBSP sucanat (or sugar)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp cinnamon (I used 2 this time but will up it next time, love cinnamon!)
1 1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c milk
2 eggs
2 TBSP melted butter, cooled
1/2 c applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla


In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, milk and eggs until smooth. Add cooled butter, applesauce and vanilla. Batter will be thick. If you want it a little loser, add some more milk but not too much. When I made mine, I used an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter to the waffle iron. I was hesistant but they came out light and crisp. Be sure your waffle iron is preheated before adding! Enjoy!

**These are freezer-friendly too.  Just take them straight from freezer to toaster to reheat.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mom's Recipe Box - Cinnamon Bread


2 pkgs. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c chopped nuts

Glaze:
2 T honey
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 T butter

Open rolls and lay fat. Spread one side with melted butter. Sprinkle on mixture of cinnamon, sugar and chopped nuts. Roll up each triangle for the widest side. Place 8 rolls in teh bottom of a greased bread pan. Place other 8 rolls on the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from pan immediately.

Heat glaze in a saucepan and drizzle over bread.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pesto Bowties with Feta and Tomatoes

This recipe is from My Kitchen Cafe (www.melskitchencafe.com)

I made it tonight for dinner. I also added some grilled chicken slices for my husband but I chose not to add any chicken slices to mine. It is good either way. It tastes better when left in the refrigerator for an hour.

Pesto Bowties with Feta and Tomatoes

*Serves 6

1 pound bowtie pasta
1 cup basil pesto (jarred or homemade)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces (about 1 cup) crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed

Cook the bowtie pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water just until it cools slightly. Drain the pasta well.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Stir in the pesto and gently mix until the pasta is coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each). Add the halved tomatoes and feta cheese. Toss to combine.

Cover the pasta and refrigerate up to an hour before serving. If the pasta seems at all dry before serving, you can stir in the additional olive oil to moisten the pasta.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Molasses Sugar Cookies


3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg - beaten
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Melt shortening and cool. Add to 1 cup sugar, molasses and egg. Mix or beat well. Combine flour, soda, salt, and spices and add to sugar mixture, mixing until well blended. Mixture should be very thick. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll or shake in container of sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Yield: 4 dozen

Chicken Divan

Here is another meal I prepared when trying to use ingredients I already had on hand. It's simple and definitely a comfort casserole. I like the added broccoli in this dish. This was good, but the stove top chicken casserole is still my favorite chicken casserole for now.


Chicken Divan

Ingredients:
1 pkg. frozen broccoli
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 can cream of chicken soup (substitute here)
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs, soaked in 1 T. melted butter

Directions:
Cook broccoli and drain. Arrange cooked broccoli in a baking dish. Spread chicken on top. In a bowl, mix together soup, mayo, and lemon juice. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over chicken. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes covered, 5 minutes uncovered.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken Corn Casserole

This has been on my '"to try" list for a few months.  I have all ingredients on hand so need to try it out soon.  It seems fast and family-friendly.  We may have to omit the green chiles because my kids are pretty sensitive to anything with a spice factor.  :)  Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Corn Casserole (from Publix.com)


2 1/2 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 (11-oz) can Southwestern- or Mexican-style corn (undrained)
1 (10-oz) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles (undrained)
1/2 cup corn muffin mix
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

1.Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

2.Combine all ingredients (except cheese) in medium bowl. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.

3.Remove from oven, sprinkle cheese over top; bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. For best results, let stand 5 minutes before serving.

CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 320kcal; FAT 11g; CHOL 55mg; SODIUM 1330mg; CARB 32g; FIBER 4g; PROTEIN 23g; VIT A 10%; VIT C 8%; CALC 15%; IRON 4%

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This pizza dough is amazing! It's really easy to make and it makes enough for two pizza doughs. (Doughs will cover a large cookie sheet.) Even if you are anti whole wheat, which I don't know how anyone could be because it is so healthy and so yummy, you still need to make this pizza dough. Again, let me reiterate, if you've never made your own pizza dough, you need to. You'll never order another pizza or buy the frozen stuff again. I promise you, because I haven't since I made this recipe many months ago. So, here it is, in all it's yumminess.


Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
adapted from the Pioneer Woman

*Makes enough for 2 pizzas

Ingredients:
1 tsp. or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
4 cups King Arthur's Whole White Wheat Flour (You could also use half whole wheat and half all purpose. I have also used half whole wheat bread flour.)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling


Directions:
Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. *

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer (or stand mixer-using the paddle attachment) on low speed, drizzle in the olive oil until just incorporated.

In a separate bowl, gently stir the yeast/water mixture and then drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture; mix until the dough forms a ball (you can also mix by hand until the dough comes together). If your mixture is too dry, add more water or olive oil about a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Drizzle a little olive oil into a clean bowl. Toss the ball of dough in the bowl and turn over to coat in oil. (I use the same mixing bowl.)

Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.


*If you're using Instant yeast, you can mix the yeast with the flour and salt mixture before adding the oil and water. Just mix it for about 30 seconds, and then drizzle in your oil and warm water. Sometimes it's nice to not have to use an extra bowl just for the yeast!

To prepare pizza, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the dough in half. Lightly drizzle olive oil on a pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet.

Using your hands, stretch the dough to the desired shape, pressing the dough into the pan with your fingers. The thinner the better!

Lay the desired toppings over the dough and bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown.


The other half of the dough may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days before use, or frozen for up to 6 months. I usually just pop mine in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze. It thaws quickly and tastes just as it did when I baked it immediately.

I usually use store bought pizza sauce, it is pretty good and very cheap. I use red sauce on one side with whatever toppings hubby wants, and on the other side I make what is called an alternative or white pie type of pizza. This is my favorite type of pizza because I don't like red sauce that much. I miss the alternative pizza from Memphis Pizza Cafe, oh how I miss it! You can click here for that recipe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peach Cobbler

A few weeks ago I bought some peaches at my local market. I was pondering what to make with them, and I almost pondered too long! I finally got around to using those peaches, and I decided to make a peach cobbler. It just sounds yummy doesn't it? Well this one is easy, and delicious!



Peach Cobbler
slightly adapted from Paula Deen

Ingredients:
2 cups peeled, sliced peaches
1 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup self-rising flour, substitute here
3/4 cup milk
Ground cinnamon, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the peaches, 3/4 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a baking dish (I used a 2 quart dish) and place in oven to melt.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Banana Nut Muffins

One day, a couple of weeks ago, my oldest son looked at me and said, "Mommy, will you make me some banana nut muffins?" How could you refuse a 4 year old asking you to make something? I know I can't. He hadn't even had a banana nut muffin before, that's what was so cute about it! I got this recipe from a dear friend of mine, Nancy, who also has a cooking blog called Casual Cuisine. They turned out great. They were fluffy, and airy if that makes any sense. I also used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour, and it was perfect. Give these a try, they were easy to make and really easy to eat!


Banana Nut Muffins
slightly adapted from Casual Cuisine

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cup flour (I used White Wheat Flour.)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 large or 4-5 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Adaptions- You could substituted the oil for apple sauce and substitute the sugar for honey to make this even healthier!

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Next, add in bananas, egg, and oil.
Mix well, and then add half of the nuts. Fill muffin tins or paper lined muffin tins 3/4 full. Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top of each batter filled muffin tin.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Barbecue Pulled Pork (No smoker needed!)

Have you ever made your own BBQ pulled pork? It is so easy!!! All you need are a few simple ingredients and a crock pot. If you don't know where to find liquid smoke, it's usually in the barbecue sauce section at your local store. This recipe is simple, and it turns out so delicious! Use your favorite barbecue sauce and you're all set. I've made this twice in the last week. Once I served it with french bread rolls and the other time I served it with corn bread muffins. Either way, it's fabulous!


Barbecue Pulled Pork
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Ingredients:
3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (I used about 2-3 pounds of pork tenderloin.)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
2 cups barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's.)

Directions:
Rinse the pork and pat dry. Rub salt and pepper over the pork and place in a slow cooker. Add water and liquid smoke. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid. Shred the pork using a couple of forks. Place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until the pork is hot again. Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce, or with cornbread.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

My best friend gave me this recipe years ago. My children LOVE this! They ask for seconds and thirds. I serve it with a salad or a veggie.

3 cooked chicken breast - cubed or shredded
4 oz Velveeta Cheese (I used 2% milk)
1 can cream of chicken (I used lower fat version)
salt/pepper to taste
"sprinkling" of garlic powder
1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat angel hair pasta)

Combine Velveeta and cream of chicken soup over low heat until cheese is melted. Add cooked chicken, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir well. Serve sauce over pasta.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Easy Strawberry Pie

About three years ago, we had our friends Wes and Nancy over for dinner. Nancy was in charge of bringing dessert. She brought the yummiest strawberry pie. It was so good. Fast forward three years. I'm just now getting around to making said pie. I can't believe I'm only now making it! I have thought about it many times since then, because it was that good. I love strawberries, and I really love pie crust, add in sugar and cream cheese, and yummo, a super easy pie! I served this last week when we had another family over for dinner. It was a hit for sure. So go make this before strawberries get expensive again!

Easy Strawberry Pie
adapted from Casual Cuisine

Ingredients:
1 single pie crust (I opted to use the Pillsbury store bought kind for this.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
5 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened

Directions:
Cook pie crust according to directions. set aside to cool.

Combine sugar, water, cornstarch, and strawberries. Cook on medium heat until mixture starts to bubble, then reduce to a medium-low simmer and stir frequently until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spread cream cheese on the bottom of the cooked pie crust. pour strawberry filling over cream cheese. Cool for a few hours in the refrigerator.

Serve by itself, with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of ice cream.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Great for a snack or breakfast! 

Chocolate Banana Muffins (adapted from Cooking Light)
Makes 12 muffins (edited yield)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 medium mashed ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add applesauce and bananas, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and remaining ingredients stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir just until combined. Pour into greased muffin pan cups. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan after a few minutes and cool on rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

OK. I think I have found the perfect whole wheat pie crust. I cannot, and I repeat, cannot stop eating this stuff! I made a new chicken pot pie  a couple of nights ago, and used this recipe for the crust. IT WAS DELICIOUS! I really can't stop eating it. Even cold, this is so good! It has a great flavor and was nice and thick and flaky. It didn't taste grainy at all. Remember, that whole wheat crusts don't usually turn out quite as pretty as white flour ones, or that has been my experience. I'm hoping that the more I work with them, the prettier my edges will get. They always seem to split on the edges. I'm wondering if not using shortening has something to do with that. I don't care, it's all about taste and not appearance in my house!


Whole Wheat Pie Crust
adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

*makes 1 pie crust, double recipe for a two crust pie.

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat
1/2 cup white flour (I used all purpose.)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter, sliced (or one stick)
4-6 Tbsp. cold milk

Directions:
In large bowl, mix together flours, sugar, and salt. Cut in slices of butter using a pastry cutter or two knives cutting across each other until the largest pieces resemble peas. Try not to handle or touch the dough, you want it to stay as cold as possible, this will help the crust to be more flaky. Add the milk to the mixture, one tablespoon at a time, just until moistened enough to hold the dough together. I used 5-6 tablespoons of milk. Use a fork to stir the dough after you’ve added each tablespoon of milk. Quickly form the crust into a ball. Refrigerate until ready to use. I recommend rolling the dough out before refrigerating. It was quite hard to roll out once it had been in the fridge for a couple of hours. Use in your favorite pie recipe!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cheesesteak Subs



*Makes about 4 sandwiches (more if you are serving kids and can get away with putting less meat on their sub)

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, halved and sliced into thin half moons
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons A-1 steak sauce
1 pound deli roast beef, cut into 2-inch strips
Salt and pepper
4 (6-inch) sub rolls, split partially open lengthwise
8 slices provolone cheese

Preheat the broiler in your oven and adjust a rack to the upper-middle position. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter, Add the onion and cook until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and oregano and cook for a minute, until it smells fragrant. Add the A-1 sauce and the beef, stirring well to coat the beef with the sauce and onion/butter mixture. Cook until the meat is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the sliced rolls on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide the beef mixture among the rolls. Top with the cheese and broil until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes (don’t even take your hand off the oven door handle – stand right there so they don’t burn!). Serve immediately.

*Recipe and photograph from My Kitchen Cafe

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kitchen Aid 60-Minute Dinner Rolls

I had completely forgotten about this recipe. I made it sometime last month, and never posted it. A lot of pictures I take of food get lost in my folders of pictures of my family. Anyway, I'm glad I was reminded of the recipe. It was SO easy, and SO good! If you're scared of bread making, this should be your first recipe to try. It takes just about an hour, maybe a few minutes longer, from start to finish. And they taste so yummy! I mean, who doesn't like a yeast roll, especially one that is as easy as this one to make? I used King Arthur's White Wheat flour instead of all purpose, and they tasted just as they would if I had used all purpose, but healthier! Give these a try, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Kitchen Aid 60-Minute Dinner Rolls
adapted from Lick the Bowl Good

*Makes 24 large cloverleaf dinner rolls

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter
3 packages (or 6 3/4 teaspoons) of dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (105F – 115F)
5 – 6 cups all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur's White Wheat flour.)

Directions:
In a small saucepan, stir milk, sugar, salt and butter together. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool until lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups flour to yeast mixture, and using a dough hook, mix on low speed for about 1 minute. With the mixer still going, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix about 1 1/2 minutes, or until dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all of the flour, especially if you are using wheat flour. Knead on low speed for about 2 more minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic – the dough will still be slightly sticky to the touch.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning it to grease the top. Cover the dough with a clean, dry dish towel, and let it rise in a warm place, free from draft, for about 15 minutes (I let mine rise for about 20-22 minutes).

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 24 equal pieces. Then, if you want to make cloverleaf rolls, divide each piece into thirds and roll into balls. Place 3 mini dough balls into each muffin cup. Cover the muffin pan with the dish towel, and let the dough rise for about 15 minutes. If you just want to make large, regular rolls, roll each equal piece of dough between your hands to make a ball. Place the ball on a cookie sheet. After you have done all of the dough, cover with a dish towel, and let rolls rise about 15 minutes.

Bake at 425ºF for 12 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks. Brush with melted butter if desired.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Easy Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

This was an impromptu dessert last week at our house and it received rave reviews! I had some peaches that needed to be eaten and still a bowl of fresh-picked blueberries in the fridge. This was a perfect combination! Enjoy.


Easy Peach-Blueberry Cobbler (adapted from MyRecipes.com)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh peach slices
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon


Melt butter in a 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish.

Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).

Bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar, peach slices, blueberries and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Zucchini Cakes

Looking for something to make with all of that zucchini you have growing in your garden? Well, officially, I don't have any zucchini growing in my garden, but my friend whose garden I was babysitting has tons, so for this week, I have lots of zucchini to cook with. While I was looking for a recipe for zucchini bread, I came across this one for fried zucchini cakes. It reminded me of potato cakes. Have you ever had those? Oh how I love those things. I haven't had one in years, but man does it bring back some glorious childhood memories. OK, back to the cakes. They are delicious. Let me state that again, they are simply delicious! Who ever knew that zucchini could taste so good? These are a must try. And they aren't too terribly unhealthy, you do fry them in olive oil.


Zucchini Cakes

Ingredients:
1 whole Large Zucchini (about 2 cups shredded)
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
½ cups Breadcrumbs
½ cups 4-cheese Italian Blend, Parmesan, or Romano
2 whole Eggs
Kosher Salt To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Olive Oil

Directions:
Wash and cut the end off of one large zucchini. Shred it using the large holes of a cheese grater, kitchen aid attachment, or food processor. Squeeze the shredded zucchini inside of a clean towel until you’ve removed as much liquid as possible.
Place shredded zucchini into a medium sized bowl. Add minced garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese (shredded), eggs, kosher salt and pepper to taste. Stir with a fork until well mixed.
Heat olive oil to a medium heat. When the oil is hot enough drop a spoonful of zucchini batter into the skillet and flatten it slightly. After about two minutes, turn the cakes over ( they should be nice golden-brown) and cook on the other side until done (about 2-3 minutes).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Best Chicken Salad

Seriously, this is the best chicken salad I've ever eaten. Granted, I don't eat a lot of chicken salad, but I want to eat this one. I actually made it for my son's birthday party, and I was still thinking about it the next day. The first time I had this chicken salad, I was in college. A woman in the church (it sounds weird saying that because she's not all that older than me!) had me over for lunch and she served this on croissants. This was about 8-9 years ago, and I still remember loving this chicken salad. When I served this at the party, I served it on the small sandwich thin rounds. You know, the really thin bread that is shaped in a circle? It was perfect. OK, have I convinced you to try this yet? I think I'll make another batch this week. I'm craving it, like a crazy pregnant woman, which I am not. Go make this, you're tummy will thank you!


The Best Chicken Salad
from Allison Stanley

Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts, boiled and then shredded or cubed
3/4 cup of mayo
3 stalks of celery, diced small
2 green onions, chopped
red grapes, sliced in half (about a 1/2 to whole cup depending on preference.)
half of lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
First, boil and shred or cube the chicken. Next, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add celery and green onions to chicken and mix well. Squeeze half of lemon over the chicken mixture and mix again. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour. I actually let mine sit over night and it tasted perfect. Before serving, add the mayo and grapes. Stir well and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Easy Baked Crab Cakes

At my house we love anything in pancake form. I think I've stated that before. My boys especially love my go to crab cake recipe. My oldest son has eaten 3 in one sitting before! But, I'm on the lookout for a new crab cake recipe. I want something with a tad more flavor. I combined two different recipes I found on All Recipes and changed some other things to come up with what I have below. I also served it for myself with Trader Joe's Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce. When I was shopping there a couple of months ago, they were sampling their crab cakes with this sauce. I've been thinking about it ever since. Tonight was the night I popped open the jar, and it was so yummy! You only need a little bit, because the flavor is really strong, but I think it adds a great kick. These are great even without the sauce. And do you know what else is great about these? They are baked. Yes, you heard me right, I baked these babies. You could fry them in a couple of tablespoons of oil, but I decided to try and make them slightly healthy and bake them. I baked them at 350, but I think you could easily cut the time down and bake them at 400 and it would work great.


Easy Baked Crab Cakes
adapted from All Recipes


Ingredients:
3 cans crab meat, drained
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP spicy brown mustard
3/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
2 green onions, green part only, chopped
4 oz crushed Ritz crackers

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together, except for the crackers. Form small balls, roll in crackers, and place on greased baking sheet. (I lined mine with tin foil for easy clean up.) Smoosh slightly to make a patty. Do this until all the crab mixture is gone. I made about 13. Bake in oven for 15 minutes and then gently flip them, and bake them on the other side for 15 minutes. You could up the oven temperature to 400 and cut the time down, but I didn't think to do that until after I realized it was going to take 30 minutes in the oven! Serve with mustard sauce if you desire, or alone.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Andes Mint Brownies


I am a sucker for anything chocolate and mint. This looks SO good!

*Makes one 9X13-inch pan

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 package Andes mints (24-28 mints)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.

Unwrap all the mints and coarsely chop. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring well to combine. Whisk in the vanilla and then the eggs. Blend well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Gently stir in the chopped Andes mints. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 32-35 minutes, until the brownies are set in the middle but not overbaked. Let cool completely, slice into squares and serve.

Magic Vanilla Ice Cream

Want to make ice cream, but don't want to buy an ice cream maker? I've got a recipe for you! I've really wanted to try making my own ice cream, but didn't want to purchase an ice cream maker I would only use a handful of times. When Melanie posted this recipe on her blog last week, I knew I had to try it. It looked super simple, which it is, and it looked just like regular ice cream you would buy at the store. This ice cream is delicious. It is creamy, not icy like some ice cream can tend to taste. I'm betting you could add different things to it to flavor it to your liking, but I'm not sure. And like I said, it is VERY easy. Absolutely anyone could make it, and then you can boast that you made it yourself! It is so good, and easy, that I'm planning on making up a couple of batches for my little one's birthday party on Saturday. This is one to try, definitely. Do it. And do it early, or you won't be able to have it for dessert after dinner.
Magic Vanilla Ice Cream

*Makes 1 quart of ice cream

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 ounce white chocolate chips (I used Nestle.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream

Directions:
In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the sweetened condensed milk and the white chocolate until the chocolate melts, about 1 minute on 50% power. Stir. If the chocolate isn’t completely melted, microwave for 20 second intervals at 50% power until the mixture is combined. I have a small microwave and I had to continue microwaving it for awhile longer after the initial one minute. Set mixture aside and let it cool. When cooled, stir in the vanilla, salt and sour cream. Blend well. I used a whisk.

In another bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture, combine well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the rest of the whipped cream into the white chocolate gently until it is fully incorporated.

Place the mixture in an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 2 weeks. If you are going to store the ice cream for several days before serving, press plastic wrap or wax paper directly on the surface of the ice cream before freezing it. I did use plastic wrap on the surface of the ice cream and it worked perfectly.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Looking for a stove top macaroni and cheese that is easy to prepare and tastes yummy? I've got one for you! I've tried making my own mac and cheese before, but most recipes are baked, and my kids don't like them as much, frankly, neither do I. I like the good old Kraft shells and cheese, but it isn't all that healthy so I found a great alternative in this recipe. This makes enough to feed an army if you're using it as a side dish, so either half it, or plan to use it in another meal within a couple of days. I froze the second half of mine, and baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes covered and then an additional 15 minutes uncoverd and it tasted great. The original recipe calls for evaporated milk and a tad of hot sauce, I didn't use either. Below is what I did, and I won't change a thing!

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from The Food Network

Ingredients:
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
3 ounces cream (The original recipe calls for 6oz evaporated milk, I used cream and milk instead.)
3 ounces milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
1/2-3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
8-10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (I only used 8oz, because that's all I had.)

Directions:
Cook the pasta to al dente in a large pot of boiling, salted water, and drain. Return pasta to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese.  Continue to stir over low heat for about 3 minutes or until creamy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mexican Chicken Skillet Hash


I don't normally fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants for dinner but one night this week I had to. I didn't want to spend money on take out and needed something quick because my kiddos were hungry! (My meal plan crashed when I was missing ingredients). So, I dug through my fridge and freezer and came up with the following meal....one I will DEFINITELY repeat!
Here's how it came together with pre-cooked ingredients...I'll tell you how to make it without any pre-cooked ingredients, but then it wouldn't be as quick to throw together but will still taste good. :)

Mexican Chicken Skillet Hash

(serves 2-3)

2 medium cooked baking potatoes with skins
1/4 c onion, diced
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/2 to 3/4 c cooked and shredded Mexican chicken
1/2 c Mexican 4-cheese blend cheese (or any cheese you like)
Garnish: sour cream, avocado/guacamole, salsa, fresh herbs

I started by cutting up the cooked potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks and adding those to a hot, oiled skillet along with the onions over med-high heat. Let sit several minutes before stirring so you get a nice crisp coating on the potatoes. Stir so both sides of potatoes get crispy and onions get tender and add salt/pepper. Add the cooked chicken and stir all together until chicken is heated through. Turn off heat and add cheese across top. Cover and let sit a minute until cheese melts. Serve with optional garnishes.

Now...to make this without previously cooked potatoes or chicken....there area a few ways you can do it. By the way, my Mexican chicken was only chicken breasts with a can of Ro-tel cooked in the crockpot.

~Cook a few chicken breasts/thighs and 1 can of Ro-tel in the crockpot on low 4-6 hours or just bake in oven and cook potatoes at the same time
~Use leftover cooked chicken and add some diced tomatoes and green chiles
~Cook potatoes in microwave (I think mine takes 8-10 minutes...can't remember)
~Buy those unseasoned, pre-cooked diced hash browns at the store (I think they are by Simply Potatoes) and are found in the cooler section

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pancakes


We have chosen not to buy frozen pancakes anymore and it took me awhile to find a good pancake recipe that I can make ahead and freeze. I finally found one and have been using it for a few months now! The pancakes are yummy and they freeze very well! I usually double the recipe and the kids can eat on those for about two weeks!

Pancakes (Betty Crocker Heart Healthy Cookbook)

1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
(You can also use self-rising flour and just leave out the baking powder and salt. This is what I usually do!)
3/4 cup milk
1 T sugar
2 T vegetable oil (I use canola)
3 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

1. In medium bowl, beat egg with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth. For thinner pancakes, stir in additional 1 to 2 tablespoons milk.

2. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat to 375 degrees. Grease griddle with oil, if necessary, or use cooking spray.

3. For each pancake, use slightly less than 1/4 cup batter. Cook pancakes until bubbly on top, puffed and dry around edges. Turn and cook other sides until golden brown.

To make buttermilk pancakes substitute 1 cup buttermilk for the 3/4 cup milk. Decrease baking powder to 1 teaspoon. Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. I do not use the baking powder or soda here when I use self-rising flour.

Add 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries to batter if desired!!

Enjoy!!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Easy Sloppy Joes

Photo credit: Oxmoor House

We love Sloppy Joes in our house! It is one meal I know my 5-year-old will clean his plate for. I adapted this recipe from MyRecipes.com for our tastes and we like to add a slice of cheese to ours as well.


1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c green bell pepper, chopped
1 c ketchup
2 TBSP worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste


Cook beef, onion, and bell pepper together until meat is no longer pink. You will not need to add any water if you don't drain your meat...the vegetables provide a good amount of water. Add ketchup, worcestershire and salt and pepper. Simmer covered on low for 15-20 minutes. Serve with buns or over a baked potato. You can double this recipe and freeze some for another night's dinner and also make during the day and keep warm in a slow cooker so dinner is ready when you are....enjoy!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken

Here's an easy meal with mostly pantry staples if you're in a pinch to throw together dinner without running to the store. I wasn't overwhelmed with this meal (but crockpot meals rarely overwhelm me) and it was good enough to want seconds. I loved the juice mixed in with rice. This may have turned out even better if I cooked it for a shorter time. Mine was dried out at 5 1/2 hours...so I would check it between 4-5 hours.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken

6 BLSL chicken breasts
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mustard
1/2 cup crushed pineapple w/juice
1/2 c brown sugar

Slow Cooker on low for 4-6 hours OR in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve over rice.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cake Mix Bar Cookies

1 yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips with mixer. Once mixed, stir in chocolate chips. Batter will be thick. Spread in greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Macaroni Casserole


2 cups uncooked macaroni
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small jar of pimentos with liquid
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped onions
Ritz crackers

Cook macaroni and salt to taste. Add rest of ingredients. Sprinkle top with crushed Ritz crackers . Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tex Mex Slow Cooker Chicken

We've all had those days....not much in the pantry and you have to feed your family! So, today I started rummaging through the pantry to find something to throw in the slow cooker. I was already in trouble because it was past 2:00.

Here's what I grabbed:

6 frozen chicken breasts
1 can of corn
1/2 of a large jar of salsa
1 can of Rotel

I threw it all in slow cooker and cooked it on high for 4 hours. I hoped we wouldn't be having fast food or cereal for dinner. It was so tasty! I topped it with cheddar cheese. If I had some sour cream and/or cilantro, that would have been nice, too.

My husband isn't much of a Tex Mex fan unlike me. He even said it was the best of the Tex Mex meals I make. So...it was a hit.

Now it's your turn.....what can YOU toss in a slow cooker and get your family to enjoy? My friend, Heidi, is always throwing sauces in hers with pork and chicken. They turn out great! Please share your creations!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread

Photo Credit: Cooking Light


Just a head's up....this recipe makes 2 LOAVES! You can eat one now and slice the other and freeze for later (up to 1 month for best taste). This makes a super moist bread, enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light...(Here's a tip, drain the liquid off your shredded zucchini so your bread isn't mushy....and if you don't have the full 2 cups zucchini, you can use applesauce to make up the difference).

Zucchini-Pineapple Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar (I used a little less)
2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 1/2 medium zucchini)
2/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 (8-ounce) cans crushed pineapple in juice, drained
Baking spray

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, salt, and next 3 ingredients (through ground cinnamon) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

3. Beat eggs with a mixer at medium speed until foamy. Add sugar, zucchini, oil, and vanilla, beating until well blended. Add zucchini mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in pineapple. Spoon batter into 2 (9 x 5–inch) loaf pans coated with baking spray. Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lasagna


1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
salt/pepper to taste
8 oz lasagna
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1. In large skillet, brown meet and onions. Drain off excess grease.
2. Stir in green peppers and spaghetti sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
4. Boil 3 qts of water with 1 tablespoon of salt.
5. Add lasagna strips one at a time, keeping water boiling. Boil rapidly, uncovered for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain in colander.
6. Lightly grease a 9 x13 dish.
7. Layer sauce, lasagna, mozzarella in dish, ending with sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Optional - Garnish with sliced olives and parsley.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Banana Split Cake


This doesn't look like the healthiest of recipes. :)

3 sticks of butter/margarine
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 large can of crushed pineapple
5 or 6 bananas
1 large container of Cool Whip
Nuts (optional)
1 bottle maraschino cherries

Melt 1 stick of butter in saucepan. Combine with graham cracker crumbs. Press into 9x13 pan. Take 2 sticks of softened butter, powdered sugar, eggs, and beat for no less than 15 minutes. Pour this over the graham cracker crumbs. Place the cut bananas on top of the mixture. Spread well-drained pineapple on top of the bananas. Spread the Cool Whip on top of the pineapple and sprinkle nuts on top. Place cherries on top of nuts. Refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Microwave Eggs

I can make eggs for my family (of 7) in 10 minutes or less with only a coffee mug to wash! Spray a mug with Pam (or use oil or butter). Crack egg into cup. I like to give it a poke to crack the yolk. Cover with plastic wrap or a paper towel. Zap for 30 seconds. If more time is needed, cook in 15 second increments. Slide the egg out and repeat as often as needed. These are great for English muffins because they stay just the size and shape you need!

Apple Pie Bread

A week or so ago, I found this recipe on the Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms blog and decided I was going to make it for Sweet Treat Tuesday. It looked easy and sounded delicious. Well, it was just that, easy and delicious. I made it last week and brought some to a friend who had invited us over for a play date. Instead of making one big loaf, I made 4 mini loaves. I'm the kind of gal that likes the crusty outside part of bread, so mini loaves are what I tend to make when making quick breads. My boys also love it, which in my book is always a winner!

Apple Pie Bread
from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms

Ingredients:
Bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup 1% milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded apples (I peeled mine.)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons cold butter

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 5 bread pan or 4 mini loaf pans with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the milk, eggs, vanilla, and apples and mix on low speed until smooth. I used my shredder attachment on my mixer to shred the apples. They were pretty mushy, but since it's getting baked into a bread, I don't think it matters.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the apple mixture on low speed until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon on low speed. With the mixer on low speed, add little pieces of the butter and mix until blended. Add the walnuts and stir well. Sprinkle the streusel over the bread batter evenly.

Bake for 60 - 70 minutes for large loaf and 30-35 minutes for mini loaves (until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Let stand for 10 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Pot Chili Mac

Last week, I wanted to make something quick, that I had all the ingredients for, and that I knew my kids would gobble up. I searched Melanie's site My Kitchen Cafe and found a one pot dish that was basically chili and macaroni, two things my boys love, so I tried it. Her recipe actually spruces up the traditional chili mac, but I stuck to straight chili mac, no frills. You can click on the link below for her recipe if you want to spruce it up. The recipe calls for ground coriander. I wasn't sure if I had that, but low and behold, my trusty spice rack had coriander, it just wasn't ground. It looks like little balls. I put them in a Ziploc and pounded the heck out of them until they were little flakes, and used that. It worked perfectly. This is a perfect week night meal for anyone, even the working mom and dad. It's ready in 30 minutes and only uses one pot! Two great things!



Skillet Chili Mac
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground turkey/beef
1/2-1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander (can substitute ground cumin for a smokier flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 cups water
8 ounces (2 cups) elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat, you can find it cheap at Walmart.)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar.)

Directions:
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, onion, chili powder, coriander or cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat or grease. Stir in garlic and brown sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce, water, and macaroni. Cover and cook, stirring often and keeping the heat at a steady simmer, until the macaroni is tender, about 12-15 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup of the cheese, and sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top. Cover and let sit off the heat until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

Last Sunday, I visited the Chattanooga Market and picked up a gallon of strawberries. They are delicious! I needed a recipe for Sweet Treat Tuesday, and I needed to use my strawberries, so strawberry muffins it is! I googled "strawberry muffins" and this recipe came up. It sounded good, and anything sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar mixture is a winner in my book. These were easy to make and super delicious.
Fresh Strawberry Muffins
from A Recipe A Day

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened (I used unsalted.)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 TSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
3 TSP sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter mixture, ending with milk. Add vanilla. Gently stir in strawberries.

Spoon batter into greased or paper lined muffin pans. I used the Pam spray with flour in it.

Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over muffins.

Bake at 400º for 18-22 minutes.

Makes one dozen muffins.