Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Menu Dec 31-Jan 6

OK, I'm going to start writing down my menu on my blog to save my sanity. I'm forever misplacing it. Sometimes I'm very good, stick it to the fridge and it stays there nicely, but other times, it just grows legs and walks away. I was thinking I'd just type in my recipes for the week right now, but then I couldn't write all the things I change as I make them, so I'm just going to write myself a menu here. Then if I can't find it, it will be right here easy to get to.
I got a new cookbook for Christmas, so many of these come out of that cookbook this week. The new book is The food nanny rescues dinner. We'll see this week if the recipes are any good.

Fish tacos, lime rice, black beans, red peppers. P. 95, 123
Chicken noodle over mashed potatoes. P. 38
Lumpias - mom's recipe
sweet potatoes and pork chops, (saving dinner p. 314)
spaghetti carbonara alla mario p. 60
chicken fajita soup p. 52
slow cooker sweet and sour pork (taste of home p. 45)

Also planning on trying blueberry croissant french toast from p 99 and whatever else I find that looks good to try.
I have some crescent rolls to use up, so I'll try this recipe for Danish rolls too.
I also want to try this microwave granola.
and this breakfast casserole

This is way easier that what I was doing - saving a word document with links to recipes I found online that I wanted to try. I'm liking the menu on the blog option.


We had Lumpias and fried rice for New Years' eve dinner. I usually like Lumpias (eggrolls) more that this night, but I didn't use the sausage that came in the tube, and it lacked in flavor from the norm. It was still good though - it just needed the sweet and sour sauce more than it usually does.
I did NOT like the egg roll wrappers I had this time. They were too floury. Made my fingers a mess. Yuck.

  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded (I used more)
  • 1 cup potato, shredded (1 medium potato)
  • 3/4 cup carrots, shredded (I used 3 medium carrots)
  • 1 lb. ground sausage (I used mild italian sausage in the package from the grocery store this time. It was too mild. It needed the sausage in a tube.)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced (I used 2 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup green peppers diced (I used 3/4 of a green pepper)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • salt, pepper, soy sauce
  • egg roll wrappers
  • sweet and sour sauce for dipping

Chop/shred veggies in the food processor. Brown meat; drain. Add onion, celery and green pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and enough water to cook the vegetables until tender. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce. (It needs a good amount of soy sauce. I actually don't put any extra salt in it. I find it plenty salty from the soy sauce.) Drain any juice and cool. Put 1 Tablespoon meat mixture in each wrapper. Fold and seal wrappers. Fry filled wrappers in hot grease just until brown. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

Sausage and rice casserole

This is an old recipe from my mom. We didn't go grocery shopping today, and we had some sausage from last week that needed to be used, so we made this casserole. I made some changes to it today, and it was tasty. I wrote the original recipe, but also put what I did today. I forgot to take a picture again though. I have to get better at remembering again if I want pictures of my food. I guess it just isn't as important to me on my old recipes I grew up with. I know what they look like.

  • 1 lb sausage (today we used mild italian. It was more mild than whatever I usually use.)
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup onions. chopped
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup rice (today I used 1 1/2)
  • 1 envelope lipton onion soup
  • (today I used 1 can beef broth to add flavor since I doubled the rice but not the onion soup)
  • 3 cups water (I used just shy of 3 because I had used the beef broth - nearly 2 cups and I was 1 1/2 timesing the rice)
Brown sausage, add veggies, and saute. Add rice and brown lightly. Add soup, water, and broth if using. Bring to boil. Simmer about 1 hour until rice is tender. (I covered it today and it was ready in less than 1 hour. I checked it at about 35 and it was still crunchy, but at 50-55 it was almost burned. It had a nice crunchy bottom that was actually quite delicious.)

Baked Chicken with a twist

This came from a ward cookbook. It was not a favorite recipe. I probably wouldn't make it again without some sort of modifications. The chicken flavor was good, but I wasn't impressed with the noodles. I thought of adding pepper, but didn't think that would help much. They were too greasy for my taste, and we did drain all of the fat off after the first 45 min of cooking.

  • 3 lb. chicken pieces. We used 3 large split breasts
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 oz twost macaroni (we had shells)
Arrange chicken in 9X13 pan. Cut bacon in 2 inch lengths; lay over chicken. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes. Pour off some of the drippings if desired. (we poured them all off and it was still way too greasy for me.) Blend soup and sour cream; pour over chicken. Continue baking another 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Meanwhile, cook macaroni as directed; drain. Transfer chicken pieces to a serving dish. Mix macaroni with the mushroom soup sauce; arrange on dish with chicken. Makes at least 6 servings.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

harvest chicken with walnut gremolata

This is another taste of home slow cooker recipe. We had some difficulties with it. First, the chicken didn't cook, even though I turned up the crock pot to high for the last hour. I'm thinking this is because we doubled the amount of chicken in the recipe. We ended up pan frying it in the end. Second, I wasn't a fan of the butternut squash texture. I thought it seemed a bit crunchy when I was breaking up pieces for the baby. However, when eating it, I thought it was way too mushy. I didn't mind the flavor, just couldn't handle the texture. (but I have texture issues.) Brandon who was hesitant to try it because it was a squash and he is not a squash fan liked it and had seconds. I did think the flavor was good, and really liked the Gremolata that went on top. I may try it again, but not in the slow cooker. Maybe in 2 separate dishes baked in the oven?

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 lps) peeled and cubed
  • 1 14 1/2 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. (we had none, so made up some with oregano, basil, thyme)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (we used 3/8)
  • 1/4 cup flour (we used 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (we used 2)
  • 6 chicken drumsticks skins removed (we used 12)
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  1. In a 5 qt slow cooker, combine the squash, tomatoes, onion, celery, broth, garlic, Italian seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  2. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, seasoned salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time and shake to coat.
  3. Place chicken on top of vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 5 hour or until chicken juices run clear. REmove chicken and keep warm.
  4. Stir orzo into the vegetable mixture; cover and cook 15-20 minutes longer or until orzo is tender. Meanwhile, combine gremolata ingredients.
  5. Transfer vegetable mixture to a serving platter, top with chicken. Sprinkle with gremolata. (We just served it on individual plates.)

German potato salad with sausage

This is yet another taste of home slow cooker meal. I forgot to take a picture. This having DH cook is making me forget to take pictures. It was made with sauerkraut, so I was pretty Leary of it, but it was delicious. It originally called for polish sausage. Brandon couldn't make German food using Polish sausage so we used Bratwurst. It was so good that I even had seconds.

  • 8 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound Bratwurst (we could have used a bit more for the amount of potatoes.)
  • 2 pounds medium red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 can cream of potato soup
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels. In the drippings saute onion for 1 minute. Add sausage; cook until lightly browned. Add potatoes; cook 2 minutes longer.
  2. Drain; transfer sausage mixture to slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the soup, sauerkraut, water, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over sausage mixture. Sprinkle with bacon.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until potatoes are tender.

chili con queso dip

This was another slow cooker recipe, but we never put it in the slow cooker. We also changed it up a bit to not be as spicy. The kids for the most part did not like it. I thought it was fine.
We liquefied the tomatoes for left overs and it went over a little better with the kids, but not much. I don't think we even have a picture of this.

  • 2 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can diced green chilies (original recipe had 1 can tomatoes, 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles, but those are usually too spicy for our family.
  • 1 small onion chipped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 6 oz. velveeta, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro.
Drain tomatoes reserving 1/3 cup liquid. In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Add the tomatoes, cheese, chili powder and reserved liquid. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in cilantro. (The recipe then has you transfer this to a slow cooker to serve. We just put it over nachos and served it.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cincinati chili

This was a wonderful recipe from the Taste of Home slow cooker book. We cut the ground beef down to 2 lbs, but I wouldn't recommend it. It made the chili a little soupy. We also cut the chili powder in 1/2 because of the anti-spicy kids I have. Double what I have here if you want it a pit spicier. I thought it was great the way we made it. DH just always adds hot pepper sauce to anything I've cut chili powder out of. Excellent flavor though. The baby adored this. Stuffed himself silly for dinner and again with the left overs for lunch the next day.

  • 3 lbs ground beef. (I used my precooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions (I may have still been out. DH cooked so I really can't remember. I did have the dehydrated that I always have in the precooked beef though.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 16 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/8 cup (2 Tbs.) chili powder
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 square (1 oz.) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • hot cooked spaghetti -I used a 1 lb box - this amount of food could have used more noodles)
  • shredded chedar cheese and sliced green onions (optional - I used these the first day, but not for left overs when I remembered to take a picture.)
  1. If not using precooked beef, cook beef, onions and garlic until meat is done, drain.
  2. In a 5 qt. slow cooker, combine the beans, tomato sauce, brothe, chili powder, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chocolate, cinnamon, cumin, salt, oregano, pepper, and cloves. Stir in beef mixture.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 hours or until heated through. Serve with spaghetti; garnish with cheese and green onions if desired. The first day we just dished the noodles, topped it with sauce, then cheese and green onions. I think the remaining sauce and noodles got stirred together for storage as left overs, so that is what it looks like in the picture I posted.

Chicken Athena

Getting way behind in my blogging with the holidays. I've spent my time sewing before Christmas and playing with the kids since Christmas. My goal is to at least get a few recipes on the blog even if I don't get the pictures up yet. Although I'm so far behind I have pictures uploaded that I haven't written about. Forgot to get a picture today again. That keeps happening too, and I love pictures of what I'm making.
OK, the next few are going to be from a taste of home slow cooker magazine I just got. I bought it because Realmom is always using recipes from them, so I've checked out their site, but in all honesty I'd rather look at a cookbook. The slow cooker appealed to me because I do slow cooker every Tuesday when I have piano lessons. Plus I love my new slow cooker (but that is another post.) Anyway, DH planned the menu this week and picked just about every day out of that book, soo, that is what we have had.
This was not my favorite food. I knew making it that it wouldn't be because it had Greek olives and I'm just not a fan of any olives, let alone Greek ones that are stronger that regular olives. I thought the chicken tasted just like olives. The rest of the family liked it just fine though. I was out of onions, so I used the last little bit I had and then used dehydrated. Surley that would have been better. I also used a generous amount of sun-dried tomatoes and maybe 1 1/2 times everything (except the olives.) I'm actually listing this the way it is in the recipe book, not how I made it because I can't remember exactly. (The problem with blogging so late.)

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz each) I think I had 5 and together they were 3 lbs. (Why I 1 1/2 timed the recipe)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pitted Greek olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 TAblespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Place chicken in a 3 quart slow cooker. Add teh remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 170.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Malted milk waffles

Tried these waffles from real mom yesterday for Breakfast. They were pretty good, and I really liked the flavor, but I'm still looking for a really light, fluffier recipe for my new waffle iron and this wasn't it. I think I will try the recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook next.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 -4 Tablespoons malted milk powder, to taste
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • ½ stick melted butter
I doubled it. Here are the measures to double it.
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3-1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick melted butter

Separate egg. Beat white until stiff peaks form. Set aside.Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.Whisk together butter, milk and egg yolk until well combined. Stir in dry ingredients. When batter is smooth, fold in egg white.Heat a waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions and cook waffles accordingly. Makes 3-4 waffles depending on the size of your waffle maker.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pecan rolls

This is a recipe from Real mom. She is good at finding breakfast recipes. It was a debate between this and malted milk waffles. I ended up wishing we had chosen the waffles. These were tasty enough, but entirely too sweet for me. They also took a lot longer to bake than the recipe says they should, and even at 21 minutes, the centers were still a bit doughy. You can tell in the picture to the side. I even baked them one at a time, so there is really no reason they should look like that. Any longer and I was afraid the outer ones would burn though. It is going to get a 3 star, because the rest of the family liked it more than I did. I'd prefer to just make 45 minute cinnamon rolls for the work though. These were not super easy. I never like sticking the perforation of crescent rolls together. It always wants to come undone - especially when cutting the rolls.... Many reasons they weren't my favorites. I won't choose them again, but would probably make them again if requested by a family member. The picture below is what they look like coming out of the oven before turning them over.

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Spread in two greased 8-in. square baking pans; set aside. Unroll each tube of crescent roll dough into a rectangle; seal seams and perforations. Combine pecans, sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; seal edge. Cut each roll into 16 slices. Place cut side down in prepared pans. Bake at 375° for 13-17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pans for 1 minute before inverting onto serving plates. Yield: 32 rolls.

French Crepes

Brandon decided to get up and make crepes on Sunday morning. The actual crepes were plenty good. He filled them with some loganberry jam and whip cream. The first one was good, but by the second one it was too sweet for me for breakfast. Tavio absolutely loved them and is asking for them again, so I think we will be having them again soon and I will try a less sweet jam. I do love the jam. First time we have made loganberry. Yum! It ranks right up there with my favorite flavors. Not my favorite picture, but I took it after I had already eaten one, and I was trying to make it look good on my plate. Ha! DH made crepes again another day. Can't wait to post that recipe. They were delicious as well.

French Crepes (from

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Sift together flour, sugar and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together with an electric mixer. Beat in flour mixture until smooth; stir in melted butter.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 2 tablespoons for each crepe. Tip and rotate pan to spread batter as thinly as possible. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nutty whole grain waffles

This is the recipe out of the book that came with my new waffle iron. I have had a cheap round waffle maker since I got married, and it finally bit the dust about a month ago. It has been a great waffle iron for as cheap of a model as it was, but I wanted something nicer now that we were getting a new one. I also wanted square so that they could be easily heated in the toaster. I ended up buying a Calphalon. I've only used it the once, but I love it. It beeps when it is ready, I can set the amount of browning I want, and it beeps when it is done. Although somehow on the very first waffle it didn't manage to beep. (or more likely I didn't manage to hear it. I left it in thinking the little light would continue to go up on the darkness meter, but it didn't and I ended up with a pretty crispy waffle. Luckily Tavio loved it that way.) The recipe was good. I just like my other waffle recipe better. This recipe also had a berry topping which I didn't try. (I guess I ought to it looks good.) The picture has a burned waffle, and a nice medium waffle. I also thought it a bit odd that the recipe makes about 3 cups of batter since the waffle maker uses 2 cups for 1 batch. Tavio only ate 2 pieces and was full. I'm happy because it is much quicker to make them that way. It find it to be a cross between a Belgian and regular waffle. I think the holes are deeper than normal, but not as deep as a Belgian. I also think the spaces between the wholes are a lot wider than a Belgian making it a heartier waffle. I like that for the filling up the kids factor.

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow corn meal
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon satl
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup plain low fat yogurt (I used sour cream because that is what I had)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl combine the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and stir until thick and smooth. Bake in waffle iron.

Sweet corn bread

This was a recipe from allrecipes. I did my own thing to it because I really wanted a corn bread that used cream of corn. It was OK, but I like my mom's recipe better which I will post right after this. It just won't have a picture right away.

Ha! Just kidding. I have no idea what I did. I can't figure out what recipe I used as a base. I thought it was one on allrecipe that called for 1 cup of cream, and I subbed out the cream for 1 can cream of corn. It really wasn't my favorite corn bread anyway, so no loss. I'll just post my mom's. It is still my favorite flavor wise, but I'm still looking for something with more corn or cornmeal. This is also great for breakfast.

Sweet corn bread

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a seperate container combine
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
Mix wet and dry ingredients. Pour into a greased 8 X 8 pan or double and use a 9 X 13. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes (8X8) or about 45 minutes (9X13)

3 bean chili

This is a family favorite. It is one of my mom's recipes. We love it at our house and it is super easy. She used lima beans. I don't like them so I've switched them to black beans. She also uses a whole pound of bacon. I usually use 6 pieces.

  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 1 lb bacon (I use 6 pieces)
  • Onion
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (I think I only used 1/2. This is a sweet chili, but that makes it very kid friendly)
  • 1 large can pork and beans
  • 1 large can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans

Brwon hamburger and bacon with onion. (I just use my precooked beef and sometimes even precooked bacon - super speedy) Drain.
Add remaining ingredients. Simmer until flavors are combined. (or cornbread is ready.)

sugar cookies and buttercream frosting

This cookie recipe is from an old ward cookbook. It is my favorite for sugar cookies because it is easy, makes a lot, doesn't need to be refrigerated, and rolls out quite easily. It isn't the most flavorful sugar cookie, but it is good. I have another one I love for the flavor, but it is so hard to roll out and cut and it needs refrigeration, so I never use it. This is the one I always go back to. A bad thing about this recipe for my waistline is that they aren't overly sweet, so I can eat way too many of them. :) The buttercream icing is a recipe I made up and wrote at the bottom of this recipe. It makes just about the perfect amount for frosting the amount of cookies this recipe makes.
You have to enjoy the decorations. My 3 year old helped.

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (I doubled it from 1 this time around)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 cups flour
(The directions I have say you can use lard in place of shortening for easy handling of dough. I never have, and I've never had trouble with this dough. In fact, its ease of handling is why I like it.)
Cream the shortening and the sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix. Mix dry ingredients in a separate container. Add half of the milk and flower mix. Beat well. Add the rest of the milk and mix. Add the rest of the flour and mix If the dough is a bit soft, add a bit more flour. (I want to say that with the extra vanilla this time I added just a Tablespoon or 2 more flour, but I wouldn't swear to it. I know I thought about it, but can't remember if I actually did.) Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Buttercream icing

Cream together
  • 2 cubes butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
separate and color as desired.

Chocolate swirl almond toffee

This was yet another recipe from the Pillsbury magazine from December 07. It was good, but not great. Mine turned out a lot lighter than the picture in the book. The recipe didn't call for vanilla, but I think if I made it again, I would add either a teaspoon of vanilla at the end, or a teaspoon of almond extract.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate ships
  • 1/2 cup white vanilla baking ships


1. Line 15 X 10 X 1 inch pan with foil. Butter foil.
2. In a 2 quart saucepan, mix butter, corn syrup, water and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils, stirring constantly. Cook until candy thermometer reaches soft-crack stage (290). Remove saucepan from ehat. Quickly stir in almonds. Pour mixture into buttered, foil-lined pan. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes to harden.
3. Sprinkle chips over hot toffee; let stand 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to soften. With knife, swirl softened chips over toffee. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is ste. Break toffee into serving sized pieces.

I couldn't find my white chocolate chips all of a sudden, so they got on the toffee a bit late and then had a hard time melting enough to swirl. I also got mine a little past soft crack for trying to do too much at once, but it still turned out.

Pecan-Rum Bars

I made these pecan bars out of the same Pillsbury recipe book as the mint brownies. They were also tasty. Had a couple of issues with the recipe - they are noted below with the recipe. The recipe also had an icing, but I didn't make it, so I didn't include the recipe for it.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 2 cups pecan halves

1. Heat oven to 375. Grease bottom and sides of 9X13 pan with cooking spray (do not use dark pan).
2. In meduim bowl, beat 1 cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar with electric mixer on low speed until creamy. Stir in flour. Press evenly in pan.
3. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center springs back when touched lightly. (I did 14 minutes, it wasn't golden brown. Probably needed more time, and it was a bit runny for the next step to work well, but I wouldn't change the time or it would burn.)
4. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix all filling ingredients except pecans. Stir in pecans. Pour over crust, spreading pecans evenly. (This was not easy. The crust pushed up around the edges and sunk somewhat in the middle. I had to kind of spoon the sauce around to get any on the edges. But like I said, I wouldn't cook the crust more because it would burn with the time I had to cook the filling to get it to set.)
5. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until filling is set. (This took me more like 20-25 minutes. I started with 12 minutes and added 3 minutes 3 or 4 times before it was set.) Cool completely, about 1 hour. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.

Cream cheese mint brownies

I love to bake candy and goodies for Christmas. I rarely make the same thing from year to year although I think I have made these before and the Pillsbury magazine they are from is only 2 years old. They sure are tasty, and I had no problems with the recipe.

  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 4 drops green food color
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate cunt into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9 X13 inch pan. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Add egg, mint extract and food color; mix well. Set aside.
2. In a 3 to 4 quart saucepan, melt 1 cup butter and 4 oz chocolate over very low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in 2 cups sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add eggs q at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour; mix well. Spread in pan. Carefully spoon cheese filling over brownie mixture. (I poured it carefully in a ribbon to try and cover the brownie.) Gently cut through layers with knife to marble.
3. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Cool completely.
4. In heavy saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons butter, corn syrup and water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Add 2 oz chocolate; stir until melted.
5. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and powdered sugar; beat until smooth. Frost cooled brownies. Cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Cover and refrigerate any remaining brownies. (I thought the frosting seemed like it wasn't stuck to the brownie, but it was fine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cafe rio chicken and black beans

So today I tried a cafe rio chicken recipe from a cookbook my mom had sent me. Their pork, rice, and dressing recipe are all different from what we call Karley's pork at our house. I followed my recipe for the rice, but tried theirs for black beans. I was also a bit lazy after a day full of cooking (2 types of waffles + sauce, 3 Christmas candies, chicken, sauce, rice, and beans for dinner.) Anyway, because of that I didn't make any guacamole, or pico, or even dice tomatoes for our salads. They were still good, but I prefer the sweetness of the pork. I just really like the blend of the sweet pork, lime rice, and tomatillo/cilantro dressing. Got a picture of this though. I'll have to make the pork again in the near future to add a picture to that page as well. While I liked the beans, I don't know that I would go to the trouble of making them for this meal again because of all the other steps involved. I'm not sure it added that much to the overall flavor of the meal.

Cafe Rio Chicken

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 cans diced green chilies (I found 1 large can)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I used stock)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt to taste
Combine in slow cook and cook on low 10-12 hours. Shred. (I cooked it on high for 5-6 hours because it was grocery shopping day I didn't have chicken until noon.:)

Black Beans

  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 tomato (I used 2 roma tomatoes today)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Combine and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. (I diced my veggies in the food processor, adding the tomatoes last. Then I sauteed them in some oil. I didn't want my beans soupy, so I boiled it more than simmered is so it would boil some of the juice off.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Creamy Mexican Turkey Soup

Yet another recipe from Real Mom. She got it from RecipeGirl. It was super tasty. I upped the veggies, turkey and cheese from her recipe. It still barely fed my 5, and everyone came home from the fifth grade program hungry. My turkey was also bad in the last recipe I tried, so we just used chicken. I also swapped the amounts on the cumin and chili pwd. from her recip because we have some anti-spicy people.

Creamy Mexican Turkey Soup

  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock or broth (I used stock)
  • 1 can diced green chilies, drained
  • 2 cups 1% milk (I used 2 % milk)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt - I didn't use this full amount.
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cups shredded turkey
  • 1 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

1. In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Add chiles.

2. In a bowl, whisk together milk, flour, salt, chili powder and cumin. Increase heat to high and whisk milk mixture into soup. Stir until thick and bubbly, about five minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add turkey, corn, cilantro and cheese; stir until cheese is melted and soup is hot, 5 to 10 minutes.

Servings: 6 (We got 5 servings)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Crock Navy Bean Soup

Man, this is the meal I made last Tuesday. I'm a bit behind. Been a busy week with Brandon out of town. Now I have to see if I can remember what I did to it. I know it started as a recipe in Saving Dinner. I think I can remember more or less. It was quite tasty especially when we added cheese. (Not in the original recipe, but I'm putting it here because it was yummy and really made the soup.)

  • 1 pound dried navy beans, rinsed adn drained
  • 6 cups chicken broth - I used 4 of stock and 2 of broth -stock has a better flavor
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (I think I had 2 but they were smallish)
  • 3-4 carrots - (can't remember exactly how many I used and they weren't in the original recipe.)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

I started by dicing the onions in the food processor, then trading to the slicing blade and slicing the carrots and celery. Sped things up nicely.
In a crock pot, combine the first six ingredients. Cook on high for 1 hour, turn it down to low and cook for 8-10 hours. About 1 hour before ready, add tomatoes. When beans are tender, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls, top with shredded cheese. We stirred the cheese through and it really made the soup for us.

Tator tot casserole

My nice visiting teachers brought me dinner this week since Brandon has been out of town for the past 2 weeks and life has been a bit busy with the extra holiday stuff going on in these weeks. It was really nice to have dinner done. It meant that instead of making food on Wednesday, I got my kitchen mopped (it was atrocious). Tavio was so excited about this casserole, and I thought it tasted better than the one I make, so I asked Cameo for the recipe. It was super simple, so I'm posting it. I didn't make it, so I didn't think to take a picture, but I had left overs, so I snapped a picture of the left overs. Not the most beautiful of foods, but it was tasty. I think it was super tasty because I didn't make it. :)

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 can french style green beans
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 package tator tots
Mix hamburger, green beans, and 1 can soup. Put in 9X9 pan. Put 1/2 bag of tator tots on top, then 1 can mushroom soup on top of that. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or 350 for 45 minutes.

My mom's recipe

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can vegetable beef soup
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 package frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 bag frozen tator tots
Brown hambuger with onions, salt and pepper (or use precooked.) drain. Add soups, milk and veggies. Pute in 9X13 casserole dish. Top with tator tots. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until tots are golden brown.
I'm pretty sure this was way better because it was green beans. I may have to try mom's again but use green beans.

Zucchini Lasagna

Yet another recipe I found at Realmom kitchen. We had this this past week while Brandon was out of town since he is not a fan of zucchini. I really should have cooked it a bit longer. There were parts where the zucchini was still a bit crunchy. Those sections would only rate a 2-3 star, but where the zucchini was all the way cooked, it would rate a 4 star.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 medium zucchini (1-1/4 pounds)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream-style cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

I used a package of precooked meat. It had dehydrated onions in it and I didn't add any more. I just heated it 2 minutes in the microwave and tossed it in the skillet. Add tomato sauce and seasonings. Bring to boil; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut zucchini into 1/4-in. slices. In small bowl, combine cottage cheese and egg. In a greased 3-qt. baking dish, place half of the zucchini; sprinkle with half of flour. Top with cottage cheese mixture and half the meat mixture. Repeat layer of zucchini and flour.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and remaining meat mixture. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.

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black beans

Last night was our ward Christmas party. The theme was Christmas in Zarahemla, so we had south American themed food. They ordered tamales from some lady that were just delicious. Too bad I don't have a recipe for those. (Although I'm sure I wouldn't want to take the time it takes to make them. This lady made 840 for the party and it took her 3 days. I volunteered to make rice and beans, so I had all of the food and recipes brought to my home. Both were easy. The beans were really yummy. I've been looking for a good black bean recipe. I ate them all the time on my mission in Venezuela. I've never been able to make them to my liking, but these were quite good. I have to get it on the blog before I lose the little strip of paper it was written on.

  • 1 lb dry black beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt

1. Rinse beans and remove any debris
2. In a large pot over medium high heat, place beans in 3 times their volume of water (about 6 cups.) Bring to a boil, and lte boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Carefully pour beans and water into a slow cooker. Add bay leaves, garlic, cumin, and salt. Cover and cook for 6 hours on High, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove bay leaves and garlic cloves then serve.

DH actually did steps 1-3 because I was at the cub scout push cart races. He didn't but the crock pot on high, but I noticed early enough and turned it up. At that time, I thought it didn't have enough water, so I added 1 cup boiling water. I did stir occasionally. When I went to remove the garlic and bay leaves, I only found 1 garlic clove and it was pretty much mush. I figure the other mushed right into the beans, but I think that is what caused it to have such a great flavor. I loved that I didn' t have to chop them or anything.
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45 minute cinnamon rolls

Here is another recipe from Realmom kitchen. Love these because they can be done in an hour. Amazing for cinnamon rolls. I've already made them twice if that is any indication. The first day for the sugar mix inside I used up some extra brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice that I hadn't used in another recipe for 1/2 of the cinnamon rolls. The other half I followed realmom's the directions. This time I did them the way I have them written here. I had no vanilla the first day so to flavor the icing I used egg nog instead of milk. Tavio thinks that one was a 5 star and the regular ones from today are only a 3 star. It was a good icing, but I found the overall cinnamon rolls to be too sweet for me that way. But I think part of that was also the cinnamon, brown sugar, nut meg mix. Tavio says they are too sweet this way. I have rewritten the directions to the way I made them today because that is a good generic recipe for me to follow. I included what I do to make them super quick. I also made some ingredient changes -used a 1/4 cup less powdered sugar than real mom and still had plenty of icing. (the first time I had too much.) I melted my butter, mixed my cinnamon/sugar, and added raisins and chopped pecans because that is how I like my cinnamon rolls... Basically mixed it up a bit. I'll probably still fiddle with it some, but we'll start from here.
  • 1 1/8 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 T yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 ½ cups flour


  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon (can add more if desired -until it looks like a good mix.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • raisins
  • chopped pecans


  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • milk ( probably a couple tablespoons or so for desired consistency)

Mix 1st 4 ingredients and let rest for 15 minutes. While that is sitting, I beat my egg in a small bowl with the salt, measure the flour into a container, get 1/4 cup of flour ready where I want to roll out my dough, mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 Tablespoon cinnamon and melt my butter. Add salt and egg – gradually add flour. This is a super sticky dough. So sticky that I don't change to a dough hook. I scoop it out with a rubber spatula. Roll out into a 9 x 13 rectangle on a well floured surface. (I dump about 1/4 cup out. lay the dough in it, then flip it. That has worked pretty well.) Brush butter on dough. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Add raisins and nuts. Roll up from the long side to make a log. Then cut into 12 slices and place on a greased cookie sheet. After shaped, let rest for 10 minutes. Bake 10 – 15 minutes @400 degrees ‘till golden brown. Remove from oven and mix up icing. I really only let mine cool while I'm mixing the icing because I like them warm.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chocolate Banana Muffins

I found this on Realmom - I decreased the sugar, subbed out so whole wheat flour because I had some ground, and used a bit more banana than she did. They turned great. If you like a sweeter muffin, I'd follow her recipe, but these were sweet enough. The kids loved them, but they made a mess of the floor. Between those and the zucchini blueberry bread I made, I had to mop the floor. (OK, I already needed to mop or I probably wouldn't have made the zucchini blueberry bread.)
Here is the way I made them. Man I just realized that I didn't take a picture. I think there is 1 left, and it isn't beautiful - I think someone has picked at it, but I'll go get a picture.Not bad for a day old picked at muffin. :)

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips to coat with dry mix. In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full (mine were completely full). Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done. (Mine took more like 35-40 minutes. Not sure why.) Yield: 1 dozen.
I also thought these were better after they were cooler. 4 star warm, 5 cool

I'm making these again but trying yet again to make them a bit more healthy since I know I'm making German's Chocolate Cake this afternoon.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup splenda
  • 4 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
Same instructions.  Let's see how they turn out.
These were awesome.  I think they will get their own post - ok, maybe not because I forgot to take a picture. Definitely still 5 star, and more healthy.

Update 6/22/14

I find it a bit fun to watch my changes in what I consider healthy.  I made these again, but this time like this.   Still great

  • 1 1/2 cup wheat flour (I ground it fine - pastry flour)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3-4 mashed bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or coconut oil - I don't remember what I used)
I didn't have chocolate chips - guess what, they weren't needed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pumpkin breakfast puffs

Yesterday I was looking for something different to try for breakfast with the little boy and DH before he left out of town. I didn't want it to take a long time. I found this on Real Mom. As a bonus it used some canned pumpkin I had sitting in my fridge. They were pretty tasty, and simple to make.

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (more wouldn't hurt)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin


  • 6 Tablespoons, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar

In a small mixing bowl, beat shortening, brown sugar and egg until smooth. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice; add to the sugar mixture alternately with pumpkin. Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full (don’t use muffin liners). Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Meanwhile, combine cinnamon and remaining sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll the warm puffs in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. Serve immediately. Yield: 1 dozen.

This dough was very thick. More like cookie dough than a muffin dough. I actually scooped it out by tablespoons like I would a cookie. I also cut the butter and sugar in original recipe's topping and still had some left over, so that was plenty.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Egg nog french toast

I saw this on Real mom kitchen. But she got it from Recipe Girl. I love French toast, so we tried it for breakfast today. Yum!
I also really like that it was super simple. The egg nog is thick, and already has some spice in it so there wasn't a lot to add to make a good French toast. The egg nog "fat sauce" as we called it was a tasty bonus.

Eggnog French Toast
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup store-bought egg nog
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or ¼ tsp. cinnamon + ¼ tsp. nutmeg)
  • 12 slices bread
  • butter

1. Whisk together eggs, eggnog, vanilla and spices.

2. Preheat griddle. Dip bread in egg mixture, allowing it to soak in slightly. Butter the hot griddle and place soaked bread on griddle. Cook on each side until golden brown. Serve with butter and powdered sugar and/or regular syrup or my favorite eggnog syrup.

Servings: 6 (But I made a second batch for my family. I did end up with 1/2 a batch left over, but I'm sure no one will have trouble helping me use them up.)

Eggnog Syrup

  • ½ Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ¾ Cup store-bought eggnog
  1. Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Mix in sugar until well combined, then mix in the eggnog and bring heat up to medium-high heat.
  3. Wisk continually until mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat.
  4. Serve warm over french toast and ENJOY!

Great Greek Pasta

This was the week of try the Saving dinner book out. This also comes from that book and was excellent. Also pretty simple using my regular time savers. I'm writing it how I made it. You can of course cook your chicken after sauteing your onions.

  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 container precooked chicken
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, defrost chicken in microwave on high for 2 minutes. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion and saute till translucent but not brown. Add chicken and heat through. Reduce heat to medium low and add tomato, Feta, lemon juice and oregano. Stir to combine. Add pasta. Stir until completely heated through. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
I served it with a salad made with lettuce, tomato, red pepper, carrot, red onion and feta.

Karley's Pork

Aka Cafe Rio pork - but my sister Karley gave us the recipe, so it is forever known at our house as Karley's pork. It is an absolute favorite. Tavios ultimate favorite food. Haven't made it in a while because it takes a while, but I need to share the recipe and this is the easiest way to do it right now. I'll post a picture next time I make it.


  • 3-4 lbs pork loin
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 bottle red taco sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 can Coke
Cook pork on low in crock pot with water covering 1/2 the pork for 6 hours or until able to shred. Three hours before serving, drain liquid off pork and add coke, taco sauce, brown sugar, and cumin. Continue to cook for approximately 3 more hours.
(I find these instructions weird, never know if I'm supposed to cook for 6 hours total or 9 hours. I usually just cook the pork until shreddable, shred it, add the flavorings and let cook for another hour or so to combine flavors. I'm afraid of getting it too dry or something, but have never had that problem.)


  • White rice
  • Chicken broth
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped white onions
  • lime juice
You get to experiment on the portion sizes. Cook the rice in the chicken broth instead of water with cilantro, onions & lime juice.
(very vague again - what I usually do is put 3-4 rice cooker measuring cups into the rice cooker. I add the juice of 4-5 limes, 1 small onion chopped - probably about 1 cup - more or less if you like, and maybe 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or so - not packed in the cup or anything. After adding the lime juice, I fill the rice cooker the rest of the way to the appropriate line with the chicken broth and cook it.)

Tomatillo Dressing

  • 1 package Dry buttermilk dressing (ranch)
  • 3 tomatillos
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Liquify ingredients in blender. Dressing will be runny at first, but thickens gradually.

Actual "salad"

  • Tortillas or chips
  • cheese (monterey jack or cheddar)
  • rice recipe
  • warmed black beans
  • pork recipe
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped green onions
  • cilantro (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  • Tomatillo dressing
Stack on plate in the order listed.

We like to buy the uncooked but pre-made tortillas for this. They are really yummy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Peanut butter banana bread

This is a combination of 2 recipes. One from Real mom, but she found it somewhere else, and another one (my favorite banana bread recipe at this moment.) at allrecipes. It turned out pretty well. Light peanut butter flavor. I don't think more peanut butter would hurt it. Definitely still a good bread. Didn't need the extra sugar either of the other recipes called for.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (I used 4 today)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Cheeseburger casserole

Here is another one from Saving dinner. Again I modified it. I still found it to be lacking something though and I doubled the thyme. Maybe it was the spinach egg noodles the original recipe called for. I couldn't find those. I felt that the noodles needed something, and wanted a bit more flavor, but never could put my finger on exactly what it was. Maybe it just needed to simmer a bit (or cook in the oven) longer to blend the flavors or get a stronger flavor, I don't know. Here it is. I put it because I want to put all types of recipes. This wasn't bad, just not one of my favorites. Maybe a 2.5 star.

  • 1 lb precooked beef
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 oz egg noodles
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350
Defrost precooked meat in microwave for 2 minutes.
Make noodles according to package directions.
Chop onion and red pepper in food processor. Change to grater attachment grate the carrot into the mix. (I have a large food processor and it has been my new friend. Had it forever, but just now using it - don't know what my problem was before.)
Add the ground beef to frying pan and warm. Stir in oats till well combined. Add onion, bell pepper and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Add noodles to meat mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into baking dish and top with cheese. Bake until cheese is hot and melted (about 15 minutes.)

Crock frijoles

The thing I liked about this recipe is that it was the first time I had actually made some decent textured beans from hard beans. I also finally went and bought myself a new crock pot. DH made me throw the one I hated away after I kept complaining about it each week. Had to go to the store on crock pot day this day. Unfortunately, this was too spicy for the whole family even though I thoroughly seeded the chipoltes and cut the cayenne down from 1/2 Tablespoon to 1/2 teaspoon. Duncan did love it though and has taken it in a thermos to lunch for the last week. I didn't even make the other boys try it. I thought it was OK. The beans could have been more flavorful, and although not too spicy at first bite, it did have a bit of an afterburn.The idea is originally from Saving dinner, but I made some changes. This is of course the way I made it. She did have good suggestions on making beans. She also always gives nutritional info. Most recipes are pretty simple as well. Not a bad cookbook. No pictures though, and I usually find I like to modify spices, but not always.

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 chipolte peppers
  • 5 cups chicken broth. (I used 1 container of stock that had 3 cups and 1 can of broth.)
  • 1 14 or 15 oz. can tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound pinto beans
1. Soak beans the night before.
2. Thoroughly seed the chipolte peppers. Chop peppers (red, green, and chipolte) and onion in the food processor. In a large skillet, cook bacon. Remove from pan and crumble. Drain all but 1 Tablespoon of the bacon grease. Add vegetables to the pan and saute 5 minutes. Add garlic, chicken broth/stock, tomato puree, cayenne, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce to taste; add beans. Transfer everything to crock pto and cook on low 8 hours. When beans are tender salt to taste.
Since this was spicy, I added sour cream. I also topped them with cheddar. Bought cilantro to throw on there and then forgot to. :(

I know chipoltes are hot, but I like their flavor. If I made this again, I'd probably add a bit of the adobo sauce that they come in and maybe sub chili powder for the cayenne and add some cumin, maybe a bit or coriander.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Parmesan Drumsticks and Sweet Potato Fries

This was quite the delicious meal. The Parmesan Drumsticks were new and came from Saving Dinner. The Sweet Potato Fries we have made before. They are from I always forget that and search allrecipes first, can't find them and wonder where I found them. I had to go back to an old calendar/menu to find out where they were from. Problem no more. Now they are here. Both were delicious, and I think every child loved them - the baby didn't eat the chicken, but he LOVES the sweet potato fries.

See what did I tell you, he loves those fries. Had seconds and thirds, but you can't see how tasty the chicken looked there (it actually tasted just as good.) So here is a picture of my plate.

Parmesan Chicken

  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese (I debated the powdery stuff or real grated, bought both, and in the end opted for the powdery stuff thinking it would make a better crust. I may try real next time though.)
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste - I used about 1/2 tsp. each
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 chicken drumsticks, no skin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.
Line shallow baking pan with foil. (I used a cookie sheet.)
In a small frying pan, melt butter and oil together. Dip each drumstick in the butter mix, then in the cheese mix, and place on the foil-lined pan.
Bake for 1 hour or until chicken is completely cooked. (I think I took mine out at about 55 minutes because they were done.)

Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut (lengthwise) into strips (1/3 inch on each side)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

2. Preheat oven to 450° F.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except potatoes. Mix to evenly combine, then add the potatoes and mix to coat.

4. Place potato strips on lined cookie sheet (allow space between individual strips for even cooking). I never have space because I've always done 2 medium to large sweet potatoes. I ought to use 2 sheets, but it doesn't seem to help them get crispy

5. Bake for 15 minutes (or until potatoes become crispy) turning strips every 5 to 7 minutes (or as needed). I've never had them get crispy, and I've baked them for longer time, and then stuck them under the broiler. If you do that, just keep and eye on them or they may suddenly burn.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

chocolate cream cheese brownies

OK, so I promised my piano students a treat if they met their practice goal each week of the month, and the person who had the most practice minutes could get double treat - trying to motivate them to practice without it being totally their mom's job. I was hoping it would work well since I have 3 boys 10-11 years old. Working on a bit of healthy competition linked to their stomachs. Anyway, it didn't work as well as I hoped, but it did leave me without brownies on the day of lessons so I grabbed the old Betty crocker cookbook and picked pretty much the first brownie recipe. Wow, were they good. I think I ended up eating half of them. (OK, probably not really since all of my boys got one, and my students got one, plus one person got 2, but still, I had too many. Then I had to run 6 miles today.) Good thing I'm only making treats once a month for lessons.

  • 1 6-ounce package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (originally walnuts, but I had pecans.)
  • 1 3 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and lightly flour an 8X8X2 inch baking pan. Melt chocolate and butter; cool. Stir together flour, baking powder, adn 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a mixer bowl beat 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla; gradually add 3/4 cup of the sugar. Continue beating eggs till thick and lemon colored. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture; beat till well combined. Stir in chocolate mixture; stir in nuts. Beat cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sugar till fluffy. Stir in remaining egg and 1/2 teaspoon valnilla. Spread half of the chocolate mixtuer in pan. Pour cheese mixture over; top with remaining chocolate mixture. Swirl layers to marble if desired. Bake 45 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars (makes 16)

This chocolate mixture was quite thick. Don't know if I should have used other chocolate (I just used chips) but it made for a thick mix. It was kind of hard to spread, but doable on the bottom of the pan. The cheese mix was really runny, so spreading the chocolate on top of that was pretty messy. It needed to be swirled to hide the mess. I wondered about it and hoped they would turn out. They did. Wonderful brownies.

rolls/ cinnamon rolls

These are delicious!! They make wonderful rolls as well as wonderful cinnamon rolls. No picture yet, but I hope to make these in the next couple of weeks and post a picture.

  • 1 package (2 1/3 tsp) yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs well beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water with 1 Tablespoon sugar. Melt butter and add milk -- cool to lukewarm. Add yeast mixture and stir. Add eggs, salt and sugar. Add flour and mix well. If too sticky add more flour about 1/2 cup at a time, but not more than 1 cup. This is a pretty sticky bread dough. Lightly cover with a thin sprinkle of flour, cover with towel and let rise 4-6 hours.
Roll 1/2 of the dough out in a circle 1/8" thick. Spread melted butter (1/2 cube per batch) and cut in pie fashion to 12 pieces. Roll up each piece lightly from large end to small end to form a croissant. Place on greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper) Cover and let rise 4-6 hours. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes - until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

You can cool the milk mixture by placing the pan in cold water. You can freeze the rolls after roll out stage before second rise. Then thaw about 4 hours and bake as normal.

Make cinnamon rolls by rolling out the dough and sprinkling with cinnamon, sugar, raisins and pecans. Then roll up and slice into 1 in slices and put on baking sheet. Let rise and bake just as the rolls.

Lion House rolls

OK, we used the recipe we found for lion house rolls and I was totally unimpressed. I'm sure we overcooked them because they were dryish, but I also was unimpressed with the flavor. I'm curious to try it again because DH made it this time so I'm not sure if he did something different, but since the flavor wasn't there, I'm not sure I will. It did leave me wanting to make the recipe for rolls my mom gave me but I haven't found time to do it yet. I will publish that next though once I go find it. I got the recipe at realmomkitchen. I've just copied and pasted since DH made the rolls there is no commentary. I did have fun shaping them. She has a good link for shaping rolls here.


  • 2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (instant or non-instant)
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, shortening, or margarine (I use canola oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, or bread flour

In large bowl or electric mixer, combine water and yeast; let sit 5 minutes. Add dry milk yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 2 cups flour; mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. (Dough will be getting stiff and remaining flour may need to be mixed in by hand). Add about ½ cup flour and mix again, by hand or mixer. Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff (It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour).
Scrape dough off sides of bowl and pour about one tablespoon of vegetable oil all around sides of bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so it is covered with oil. (This helps prevent dough from drying out). Cover with plastic and allow to rise in warm place until double in size, about 45 minutes.
Scrape dough out onto floured board. Shape as desired. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until light to medium golden brown. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter. Makes 2 dozen rolls.
Helpful Tips for Making Rolls
Always add flour gradually and keep dough as soft as you can handle. A soft dough will produce a lighter roll.
It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour called for in the recipe—add only enough flour to make dough manageable.

Sausage, apple and cranberry stuffing

This is the stuffing we made for thanksgiving. I got the recipe from We omitted the liver. We also didn't cook it in a bird because we had our bird on Friday and Ham on Thanksgiving so it ended up a little bit dry. It was actually better the second day. It was delicious. If we make this again though, I would add a bit more liquid to make up for not cooking it in the bird.

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
  • 3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
  • 1 pound ground turkey sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup turkey stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
  3. Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, and parsley. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill. (We baked it at 350 in a 9X13 pan)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sweet potato pie

First time I've ever made sweet potato pie and it was really good. Makes me want to make it again. You can see in my picture that I didn't take the foil off my pie before putting on the marshmallows (in fact I didn't even write it in the instructions.) My crust was already starting to brown too much. I think for next time I would cover the crust for the first 30 minutes, then take off the cover when adding the marshmallows to avoid the sticking problem I had.  This is from my whole grain cooking book - hence the barley and wheat flour crust.  Feel free to use your own recipe crust, but this was good.

Crust ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup (2 3/4 oz) whole barley flour
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/4 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon buttermilk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons cold orange juice. (3 were actually too many for me.)
Filling ingredients:
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes or yams (1 lb) peeled and cut into chunks.
  • 1/4 cup cranberry or apple juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk together the flours, buttermilk powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and work into dry ingredients. Sprinkle in orange juice a tablespoon at a time continuing to mix until dough is cohesive. (I started with 3 Tablespoons and it was too much. I had to add more flour.)
Shape dough into a disk. Roll on its edge along a floured work surface to smooth the edges out. Pat the disk till it's about 1 inch thick, wrap in plastic and refgrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
30 min before assembling the pie, remove the dough from the fridge. Allow it to warm a bit and get flexible, 15 to 20 min.
Flour your work surface and roll the dough into a 12 inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9 inch pie pan that is at least 1 1/4 inches deep. Trim and crimp the edges making a tall crimp. Place the crust in teh fridge to chill while preparing the filling.
Preheat oven to 425
Cook the sweet potatoes by placing them in a microwave safe dish. Drizzle with juice, cover and cook 12 to 14 minutes - till soft. Mash the sweet potatoes. You should have 1 1/4 cups (11 oz) I think I had a bit more than that. I put them in the food processor then added the sugar, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and allspice. Then I added the eggs.

Chop the dried pineapple and crystallized ginger into fine pieces; spread on the bottom of the cruet then pour filling over it. (I couldn't find crystallized ginger. I tried to chop the dried pineapple in the food processor, but it made a sticky mess. did sprinkle a bit of ginger on the pineapple. It wouldn't chop. I ended up rolling it out with my rolling pin - which was still sticky, but that at least made a sheet which I put on the bottom of my pie crust. Not sure flavor wise if it was worth the effort or not. It didn't take away from the pie, but I'm not sure it added enough to make it worth the effort.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 350, cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield or foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove pie, sprinkle with marshmellows. Return pie to oven and bake until a knife inserted 1 inch from teh edge comes out clean, 20 minutes or more. Remove from oven and place on a rack.

While pie is cooking, make garnish.

Place the pecan halves, sugar and salt in a large frying pan. Cook mix over medium heat stirring frequently, until sugar melts and caramelizes the pecans. Once the sugar melts and turns golden brown, remove from heat, continue to stir until the nuts are thoroughly coated with the sugar. (should take 6 to 8 minutes) Transfer the nuts to a piece of parchment or foil to cool. (This didn't work super well for me either. The sugar seemed to stick to the nuts in crystals rather than making a syrup. I've done this before, but can't remember what I did. I think I would probably start the sugar out alone in the pan and then add the nuts later. My other thought was that maybe my frying pan was too big.)

Arrange caramelized pecans on pie. The pie is best served 30 minutes to 1 hour after baking, but believe me, it was still good the next day. I didn't taste the wheat in the crust the first day. The second time I ate it I thought it tasted a bit wheaty, but the third time it tasted fine.


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