Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jalapeño avocado salad

I really liked this salad.  The dressing had a very strong lime flavor, but I really liked that.  It made the avocado edible.  (Normally I don't like it unless it is spiced up and smashed in guacamole.)  I did cut down on the onion and only used 1 jalapeño.  I think I'd add back in the second jalapeño, but not more onion if making this again.


  • 2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I used only 3-4 rings of a large)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped (I only used one, but would use 2 next time)
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 8 cups torn salad greens
  1. In a large bowl, combine the avocados, tomatoes, onion, jalapeños and lime juice; let stand for 5 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1/3 cup juice.  Stir sugar into reserved juice;  add to avocado mixture.  Place greens in a salad bowl;  add avocado mix and toss to coat.

Taco soup

I tried a new taco soup recipe today.  It made me realize that we haven't had taco soup in ages.  We used to rotate it in every other month or so because it was simple and yummy.  I don't even have it on my blog, so we haven't had it in a long time.  I prefer my other taco soup to this one, but this one wasn't bad.  It was tasty.  I had used a mild taco seasoning packet, and I think I should have used a regular one, but it was still fine.  It was simple and it was good.  What I really liked was the salad that was paired with this recipe in my simple and delicious magazine.  Since I liked the salad more than the soup, I'm going to make a separate post for it.
The great thing about this soup is that everyone seemed to like it.  I'm noticing a pattern here - both soups this week, everyone has eaten very well.  Hmm.  Maybe I should make more soup.  I just find it hard to want to make soup in the summer.  Brandon had just been asking for soup for a couple of weeks now.  Should listen to him more often I guess.  :)
This soup was super simple and quick.  (even quicker if you have precooked beef) I thought it was unusual because none of the canned foods it used were drained.  I think this is the first recipe I've added an undrained can of corn to.

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I only used 1 and it was still fine.)
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning.  
  • 2 cans (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 2 cans (15 oz.)  Ranch Style beans
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Crushed tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and/or flour tortillas for sides or toppings
  1. In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain (Or use precooked)  Stir in the taco seasoning, corn, beans and tomatoes.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.  (I actually didn't cover it because I thought it had plenty of liquid and didn't mind if some boiled off.) 
  2. Ladle soup into bowls.  Serve with your choice of toppings.  We used tortilla chips and shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.  One son added sour cream as well.

Bacon-Chicken club pizza

We've decided to have pizza more often because everyone likes it.  However, in sticking with my -don't repeat the same foods in a month routine, I've been looking for different types of pizzas to try.  Sunday we tried way to many new things for one day.  Luckily, we had started some of the stuff the night before.  We had just run out of time and decided to finish it for Sunday dinner.
First, Brandon decided to make some homemade Italian sausage.  (recipe to follow.)  We decided to try that on a new type of crust.  It was supposed to be the thinnest you can make.  Basically you make a large pita, cut it in half,(into 2 rounds) and then use 1/2 the pita as the crust.  It wasn't either of our favorite crusts, so I'm not posting more about that.  It was good, but we like Roman dough better.  We topped that crust with our regular sauce, and either mozzarella, homemade sausage and/or pineapple.
Along with that I decided to try a non red sauce pizza.  It is from my simple and delicious magazine.  However, it calls for a prebaked 12 inch pizza crust.  I tried a new crust recipe that I found on the sisterscafe.  It was a bit thick for my liking normally, but I think it paired well with this particular pizza because it was a hefty pizza with lots of toppings.  I'll write the pizza recipe followed by the crust I used.


  • 1 prebaked 12-inch pizza crust (can use recipe below.  I cooked it for 3-5 minutes before adding toppings)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used neufchatel)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I used my pre-cooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (ended up using white cheddar here)
  • 8 slices ready to serve bacon (Fried my own, but would be quicker to use pre-cooked)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (fat free)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk (I used skim)
  • 2 teaspoons ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  1. Place crust on an ungreased pizza pan (we put it on our pizza peel and baked it on our pizza stone at 550 for only 5 more minutes)  Combine cream cheese and shallot;  spread over crust.  Top with chicken, cheeses and bacon.  
  2. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cheese is melted.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sour cream, milk and dressing mix.  
  4. Sprinkle lettuce and tomato over pizza; drizzle with dressing.

Pizza crust Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1 scant Tb yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 4 cups flour
  1. In a large mixing bowl dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water - let sit for 10 minutes. Foam should form on top. Whisk in salt, olive oil and 1 cup flour. Whisk in 2nd cup of flour. At this point put on dough hook and turn mixer in low as you add the last 2 cups of flour. (I just used the same dough attachment on my bosch for all of it.) If your dough is too sticky, add flour a little bit at a time until dough forms a ball. Knead for 5 minutes. (Or 10 minutes by hand) Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for an hour in a warm place until double in size. Punch down dough and divide into 2 parts. Each half will make a 12 inch pizza. If you only want to make one pizza now, then put other dough ball in an oiled freezer bag and pop in the freezer for another day! Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes then roll out.
Note:  I found t his dough to be a tad sticky, but not unmanageably so.  I did not add any extra flour because it did gather together in a ball.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ham and Corn Chowder

Yet another easy recipe from my simple and delicious magazine.  I thought this was lacking something in the flavor department.  I added cheese, then sour cream, pepper helped a lot.  It wasn't bad, I just felt like it needed a little something.  The family however seemed to love it.  They all had seconds (minus the baby who wouldn't even try it.)  The seconds impressed me because it had potatoes and I have some that gripe about potatoes, but they ate this without complaint and had more.  Maybe it is because I used canned.  (was going to just use regular, but bought canned in case I had no time - this was picked because we had gone to the pool and got home late and we wanted a quick meal.
We served this with sour cream biscuits.  Definitely still a 5 star.  I hate all of the shortening in them, but it makes the outside so crisp (in a good biscuity way.)


  • 1 can (10.75 oz.) Healthy request cream of celery soup 
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free milk
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained (I missed this.  Bought it and not cream corn, but when making it, I saw cream corn and not this.)
  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 1/2 cup cubed fully cooked ham (we added more)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley (never went to the garden to grab this.)
  • 1 can diced potatoes, drained (I only found sliced to I quartered the slices)
  • Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or paprika for toppings
  1. The directions in the magazine say to combine the soup and milk and heat that then stir in everything but the potatoes, simmer 5 minutes and add the potatoes.  I just tossed in everything and heated it through. I did let it simmer a bit because I was waiting on biscuits.  It worked fine.

Crunchy Tuna Salad

I made this salad for lunch on Saturday.  It was a great salad.  I don't think I've ever made a tuna salad that was just a salad, not a sandwich.  This recipe came from my simple and delicious magazine.  I did alter some things to make it a bit healthier. (used light mayo, fat free sour cream, red leaf lettuce rather than iceburg, and cut down on the chow mein noodles.)  It was still very tasty.

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used reduced fat)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 head lettuce (I used red leaf today.)
  • 1 can (12 oz.) tuna, drained and flaked (I used 2 5 oz. cans, but I think the bit more tuna would be good.)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (I used petite peas and just rinsed them in warm water.)
  •  Chow mein noodles
  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tuna and peas.  Add mayonnaise mixture and  toss to coat.  Serve on individual plates.  Sprinkle with chow mein noodles.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Baked strawberry salmon

This has to be the best salmon I've made in the short while that I've actually been making fish, and it was easy.  It did have to marinade for 30 minutes, but that is it.  I loved the mix of flavors.  Sweet from the jam, salty and tangy from the marinade.  The marinade also seemed to take some fishiness away from the flavor.  Yum!
Picture from this turned out bad - not sure why - I'd have to guess that DH took it because I always take multiple pictures and I only have 1 of this.  Here it is.

Prep 10 minutes (it really only took that long - maybe less.)

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz. each), skin removed
  • 2/3 cup strawberry preserves (I used home made -Yum)
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard and pepper.  Add salmon; seal bad and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Place salmon in a greased 9 X 13 baking dish.  Discard marinade.  Spoon preserves over fillets.  Bake uncovered at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Cider pork chops, asparagus with mushrooms, and broiled blueberry dessert

Yesterday I started my first the meals with an added dessert.  All of it turned out really well except for the fact that I overcooked my pork trying to get my dessert ready before dinner.  I do not suggest that. :)  Other than that, all of the food turned out wonderful.  I liked the flavor of everything.  I made some minimal changes from the original recipes (which came from my Simple and Delicious magazine.)  Mostly I just upped the amounts of everything to make 6 servings, but I also added some splenda to the sour cream in the dessert, and cut the ginger in half for the veggies.  I'm actually writing all 3 portions of the meal down so that I can try and combine the directions the way I did things to make the meal go quickly.  If the meat would not have been overdone it may even have been a 5.  Veggies were about 4-4.5, blueberries - 4 -I loved the sour cream mix on top, but was wishing it was a different fruit.  The blueberries were very tart.  I think it would also be wonderful with raspberries or another type of berry.

Pork Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • just under 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 pork loin chops
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup sliced celery  
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 1/3 cups apple cider or juice (could probably cut this down to 1 cup)
Asparagus with mushrooms Ingredients
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (I actually used minced ginger from a jar)
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil (I used more like 1 1/3-1 1/2)
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (that was 1 package)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Broiled blueberry dessert ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (I used 2 containers -probably more like 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used more like 3/4 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon splenda
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (I didn't measure this.)
  1. (Pork) In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper.  Add pork chops and toss to coat.  In a large skillet, brown chops in oil.  Remove and keep warm.  In the same skillet, saute the celery, onions, garlic & thyme for 2-3 minutes or until crisp tender. (Meanwhile chop your asparagus - I actually just snap it. It is quick and easy.)    Return pork to the pan.  Add cider.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160.
  2. (Asparagus) While the pork simmers, saute asparagus and ginger in oil in a large wok or skillet for 2-3 minutes.  (Meanwhile, Stir the splenda into the sour cream.)  Add the mushrooms, salt, sugar and pepper.  Cook and stir 2-3 minutes longer or until mushrooms are tender.  (Can begin dividing blueberries between 6 custard cups while this sautes).  
  3. (Berries) Place  6 custard cups on a cookie sheet. Divide blueberries among cups.  Spread with sour cream mixture (about 2 Tablespoons on each); sprinkle with brown sugar.  Broil 4-6 inches from heat for 3-4 minutes or until bubbly and sugar is melted.

kielbasa chicken kabobs with almond pilaf

Oops, didn't get this posted the day I made it or even the next day.  The recipe comes from my Taste of Home magazine.  They turned out really well.  I liked the marinade they sat in.  I was supposed to have basted them with reserved marinade, but I forgot.  I'm sure that would have made them even better, but they were great as they were.

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (I used a 6 oz. can, but I'm wondering if you could have just used the drained juice from the unsweetened pineapple chunks.)  
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (I used splenda)
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes (I used about 1.5 lbs)
  • 1 lb smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, thickly sliced (I used a 12 oz. lighter (maybe part turkey) kielbasa)
  • 1 can (20 oz.) unsweetened pineapple chunks, drained
  • 2 medium green peppers (I used 1 green and 1 red)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes (I used 1 container of cherry)
  • 2 medium red onions, quartered.  (I used 1 cut into 1/8s then the 1/8s chopped in 1/2)
  1. In a small bowl, combine first seven ingredients.  Remove 1/2 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate.  Divide remaining marinade between 2 large resealable plastic bags.  Add chicken to one bag and kielbasa, pineapple and vegetables to the other bag.  (To the veggie bag I also added a bit of the pineapple juice from the pineapple chunks because there were so many veggies in the bag that it looked like then needed a bit more juice.)  Seal bags, and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. On 16 metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread the chicken, kielbasa, pineapple and vegetables.
  3. Coat grill with cooking spray or oil.  Grill kabobs, covered over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning frequently and basting with reserved marinade.
I served this with a simple almond pilaf.  I was told by one child that it was horribly bland.  It wasn't totally bland, and I ate mine mixed with the pieces of kabob and thought it complemented it nicely.  However, as a plain side, it would have been a bit boring in flavor.  As an accompaniment to this meal, it was great.  So I include it to go along with this meal.  The original recipe was made with instant rice, but I just put this on while my son was helping put food on skewers.  It cooked while the food grilled.

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion (I didn't have any so I used dehydrated onion.  I used a couple Tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (I used chopped raw because I was out of slivered too.)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter.
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups long grain rice
  1. Brown onion and almonds in butter.  (I actually added a bit of extra chicken broth while browning to help rehydrate my onions a bit.)  Add rice and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Menu 8/26/10

I somehow am still behind in my catch up from vacation and my Simple and Delicious magazine has some complete meals listed, so I'm actually being lazy and using 3 complete meals from there.  I'm actually kind of excited.  Each includes the meal, veggie, and dessert.  What more could you want.  The kids will be excited for dessert.  :)  Great surprise for the first week of school.

Menu 1 -Chicken Marinara (do my own thing - slow cooker recipe - add chicken top with mozzarella), Italian Bread salad, lemon ice (p. 24)
Menu 2 -Cider pork chops, asparagus with mushrooms, broiled blueberry dessert (p. 25)
Menu 3 - Taco soup, Jalapeno avocado salad, cinnamon graham sundaes (p. 28)653
Ham and corn chowder (S&D p. 48)  make breadsticks or mufifns
Plum-good pork chops (S&D p. 30) has broccoli slaw salad
baked strawberry salmon (S&D p. 37)  serve with fabulous green beans
Pizza - try super thin crust + bacon chicken club pizza (S&D p. 51)

abc melt (english muffin, apple, canadian bacon, cheese) S&D p. 45)
Nutty maple muffins (S&D p. 45 - use sugar free syurp and ff sour cream)
Caramel apple stratta (S&D p. 59)

Crunchy tuna salad (S&D p. 49)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sara's summer rolls

I have wanted to make some spring rolls for a while because the whole family loves them.  I had seen a recipe online that I wanted to try, but I was menu planning with  magazines last week.  However, I found this recipe in my Taste of home magazine.  Funny thing is it says in the magazine that the original recipe came from watching Elmo make them on sesame street.  Ha.
I loved them.  It is a great way to get veggies into my kids because they all love them.  However, they were extremely time consuming.  The recipe said it was 30 min. prep and 15 minutes cook, but I was working on these for more like 2 hours.  Part of it is my fault - my sprouts had gone bad and I had to sent Brandon to get some new ones.  Then I couldn't find the piece I needed for my food processor to julienne cut my carrots, so really a good portion of the time delay was my fault.  However, part of the major time consumer was wrapping the rolls up.  You have to let the wrappers soak in water, then fill and roll.  (Again here I made some errors that added to my time - like not remembering more often than not to put a wrapper in the water while I was filling a wrapper.)  Anyway, all said and done, without mistakes, this would probably still take an hour.  I did double the recipe though too, so that took a bit longer as well.  All that being said, maybe a single batch would only take 45 minutes :)  I also rewrote the directions a little to have them get everything ready at the same time.
Because of the time factor for making the double batch I am writing this out as a single batch.  I did double it and serve it as dinner rather than a side though.

  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, finely chopped (this also took a while to chop.)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot (I used the stuff in a jar)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and chopped 
  • 1/2 cup carrot
  • 2 oz. uncooked thick rice noodles (I used thin because that is what I found)
  • 12 spring roll wrappers or rice papers (8 in.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
Directions (try to do 1, 2, and 3 at the same time.)
  1. In a large skillet, combine the first 9 ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil (I did not measure.)    Add bean sprouts, peas and carrot;  cover and boil for 3-4 minutes or just until tender.  Drain and immediately place vegetables in ice water.  (I actually just threw ice on them in the drainer and ran water over the ice and veggies.)  Drain and bat dry (I didn't pat them, but probably should have.) 
  3. Meanwhile, In another saucepan, cook noodles according to package directions. 
  4. Soak a spring roll wrapper in water for 30 seconds; place on a flat surface and pat dry (I only patted the first one.  It made it get really sticky, then it started sticking to itself...  I patted them dry when I was done rolling them up.  I also tried to soak one on one plate while rolling another on another plate.)  Place 1 heaping Tablespoon chicken mixture down the center of the wrapper.  Top with 3 Tablespoons veggie mix.  Top with noodles and cabbage.
  5. Fold both ends over filling; fold one long side over filling, then roll up tightly.  Place seam side down on a plate.  repeat.  Cover with damp paper towels until serving.  (I didn't have to do that, I started serving as I made them.  The ate them faster than I could keep up.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Waffles, Waffles, and more waffles

So my lovely Calphalon waffle iron which I talked about in this post fell over and broke not too long after we had got it.  It was only the handle that was broken, so it still worked just fine, but it was annoying to have it broken.  I finally wrote to Calphalon and they said that even though it broke because of a fall they would replace it for me, I just had to send it in.  That was back at the end of May.  We have been without a waffle iron ever since.  When we got back from vacation, it had finally arrived, so we've had a lot of waffles the last few days.  Some of them like the cheddar cheese waffles I tried today have been on my want to try list for a while, but the rest were just recipes we were trying with ingredients we had at home (we did not have buttermilk yet.)  So, here are the recipes we have tried.
The first recipe I tried were some wholegrain waffles I found over at sparkpeople.  This recipe is super similar to my wholegrain recipe, it just subbed all of the oil for applesauce and had an extra egg white.  I did add a pinch of splenda to the batter, but it was just awful.  Heavy, and I didn't like the flavor.  Not sure what went wrong because I love my recipe that is very similar.  I'm the only one who even ate any of these.  Blah

DH then tried 2 different Alton Brown recipes on 2 consecutive days last week.  The first was for whole wheat waffles.  They turned out great.  DH said he didn't follow the recipe exactly because he didn't have buttermilk at the time (and I don't think he really knows about the buttermilk powder we have.)  I'm not sure on the recipe he used exactly.  I'll have to get more info first.
I know this is the recipe he used the second day for chocolate waffles because it is still up on his browser. They were good.  In some spots the chocolate chips burned a tiny bit, and I didn't like that, but the rest of the waffle was good.  I think they would be equally good if not better without the chips.   I ate mine with cherry yogurt.

Chocolate Waffles

  • 7 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 3/4 ounces sugar, approximately 3 tablespoons
  • 1.5 ounces cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 4 ounces chocolate chips, approximately 3/4 cup
  • Vegetable spray, for waffle iron


Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl beat together the eggs and melted butter and vanilla, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir in the chocolate chips just until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the center of the iron. Close the iron top and cook until the waffle is crispy on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

Today I made Classic Buttermilk waffles with cheese off of Mel's Kitchen cafe.  Those were good.  I ate too many of them trying to decide how much I liked them.  It made only 3 ginormous squares (or 12 small squares) in my waffle iron.  I made the first 2 with cheese - more cheese on the second one.  I made the third with no cheese just to see how I liked the waffle recipe.  All were good.  I didn't think the cheese changed the flavor as much as the texture.  It made them super crispy anywhere there was cheese.  I really liked this effect.  I mostly ate my cheese pieces plain, but did dip one bit in syrup out of curiosity.  It wasn't bad, but I preferred them plain.  I ate my small plain square with peanut butter and syrup.  I think I still prefer Tender Sour Cream waffles that I found at real mom kitchen as my favorite plain waffle to date, but these were also quite good.  I did sub out splenda for the sugar.  Really debated cutting the butter in half and subbing apple sauce, but I didn't.  As a suggestion, definitely go by weight on the flour.  I started pouring my 3/4 cup in, and it got to 7.8 and I stopped.  I had at least 1/8 cup left to go, and I should have stopped earlier.  My batter was a bit thick, and I did thin it with a bit of additional buttermilk.
If  you look closely you can see that the darker one in the center has the cheese.  The one on the right has no cheese.

Classic Buttermilk Wafflesfrom The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups (14 ounces buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt


In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla. In another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients; combine the wet and dry ingredients just until smooth.
For an 8-inch round waffle iron, use about 1/3 cup batter (adjust according to waffle iron size). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the iron stops steaming. If making cheese waffles, pour 1/3 cup batter on waffle iron and sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese over batter before closing iron.

Slow cooker tamale pie

I feel like a can food queen today.  I just made dinner and it was a ton of cans - no soup mixes or anything, just can beans, corn, tomatoes...  Then I made some jello and added 2 cans of pears.  Good thing about cans - they make for some speedy cooking.  :)
I found this recipe in my Taste of home magazine this month.  It won today because I know I have a lot of running still to do this afternoon particularly after the boys get home from their first day of school, so the slow cooker meal won.  It was originally planned for Tuesday (piano lesson day and thus slow cooker meal day) but piano lessons canceled this week.  Not a bad thing. :)  I'll have to rate it later, but decided it would be good to go ahead and blog it now while I have 2 minutes of sitting and waiting for the baby to fall asleep.
I did end up modifying this recipe - went with my 15 oz can of enchilada sauce not the 10 called for, so since upping the sauce, I added an extra can of beans.  I also did my normal switch of 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can diced green chilies for the 1 can rotel, and my other cans were larger than what was called for.  Not a bad thing to have extra food with boys right?
This turned out to be a bit too spicy for my kiddos.  The baby of course wouldn't even try it - I had hoped for him to try at least the bread, but no - he actually went and got out a cereal box and started helping himself to that (that is a first.  He usually finds something to pick at or fills up on milk.)  My 4 year old ate some, then went and took his plate to the counter (still with food on it.) I asked him where his plate was and he just claimed to be full.  I thought it was a bit spicy, but with sour cream, it was good.  I really liked the corn bread on top.
If making this again, I would go with the smaller sized enchilada sauce (don't think it needed so much juice.)  I would also probably leave out the chili powder altogether, and if making this amount, I'd be tempted to try doubling the amount of corn bread.
This is what I ended up doing

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used pre-cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies
  • 1 can (15 oz.) corn, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) enchilada sauce
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (may have been a bit short here, but it isn't my favorite thing in the world.)
  • 1 pkg. (8 1/2 oz.) corn bread/muffin mix (I used jiffy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Optional:  Sour cream, additional cilantro
  1. If using precooked meat, defrost for 2 minutes in microwave.  Place in slow cooker.  Add cumin, salt, chili powder and pepper and stir. (If not using pre-cooked, cook hamburger in a skillet until no longer pink.) Add all of the canned items and the onions and ciliantro.  Mix.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until heated through.  (I can tell you right now, I'm leaving mine on for more like 4-5 hours.  I may turn it up for the last hour if I think it needs it.
  2. In a small bowl, combine muffin mix and eggs.  Spoon over meat mixture.  Cover and cook 1 hour longer or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  
  3. sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Serve with sour cream and cilantro if desired.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Italian vegetables

  • I saw this recipe in the simple and delicious magazine.  I found it on the website, but modified it to make more veggies.  It turned out only OK.  Tavio didn't like the Italian dressing, Brandon doesn't like zucchini, Duncan tried to sneakily throw his carrots down the drain without me noticing - Aaron never touches his veggies.  Luckily Benjamin was very hungry and ate all of his without complaint.  I thought they were fine (4 star) but will give them only 3 considering the family's reaction to them.

  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/4 onion coarsley chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing (original recipe said fat free - I had light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
In a nonstick skillet, bring carrot and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, onion and zucchini; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Add salad dressing and oregano. Cook and stir over medium heat for 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid is reduced.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Italian pecan fish

I had fish recipe picked out from a Simple and Delicious magazine, but we got dinner started so late this evening that I chose another recipe.  This one I got  from an easy meals night we did for a church activity a month or 2 ago.   I had thought that the person who did it said you could just toss the fillets in from frozen, but I wouldn't recommend that.   It took over twice as long to cook and a lot of the crumbs ended up falling off.  The fish did end up tasting good.

Recipe Origin: HEB Grocery Store
Prep Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 15 min.

  • Salmon Fillets (or other fish, such as tilapia, halibut, etc.) (I used 2 12 oz. pkg. of mahi mahi - 4 fillets)
  • Italian bread crumbs (I just used regular and added Italian seasoning. -1/3-1/2 cup of crumbs)
  • Pecans, diced very fine (I used about 1/4-1/3 cup) 
  • Butter, melted (I used about 2 Tablespoons)

Sprinkle crumbs over salmon. Sprinkle pecans over crumbs. (I just mixed the crumbs and pecans together.)  Sprinkle melted butter over all. Bake fish at 350 for about 15 minutes. 

Strawberry spritzer

I rarely do drinks, I often see them on other blogs, but they usually seem to be so sugary that I don't ever try them.  I saw this recipe in my simple and delicious magazine, and decided to try it because it looked really good. Originally it called for regular soda (I used diet) and it called for pink lemonade concentrate, but we couldn't find any so we used limeade.  It was really good.
I didn't thaw/chill things as called for, but it worked out fine.  The frozen stuff cooled the unchilled soda.

  • 1 10 oz package frozen, sweetened sliced strawberries (thawed -I only partially thawed them)
  • 2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled (mine wasn't chilled)
  • 1 can (12 oz.) limeade concentrate, thawed (I didn't thaw mine)
  1. Place the strawberries in a blender; cover and process until pureed.  Pour strawberries, soda and limeade concentrate in a pitcher;  Stir until combined.  Serve.

Ranch Pasta Salad

So today after running around all day trying to get any last minute back to school items (mostly shoes we never found in a kids size 6.5 Wide (but that's another story.)  Anyway, after running around, nothing on my menu was going to end up getting made.  I flipped through my Simple and Delicious magazine and found this pasta salad pared with some salsa sloppy joes and a strawberry lemonade.  We made the pasta salad - (doubling the veggies) and the lemonade (although ours ended up being limeade) but just went with Mamwich sloppy joes.  I did not have enough light ranch so I made up my own with a packet of ranch mix I had on hand - but I used a recipe on the back of the package for a tuna pasta salad and used 1/2 a packet or ranch, 4 oz. of cream cheese and 1/2 cup milk.  It was a bit runnier than I would have liked, but the flavor was ok.  I think it would have been a bit better with ranch dressing because it would have stuck to the noodles better and had a better flavor, so I'm still writing it that way, but I am adding the extra veggies I put in.


  • 3 cups uncooked tricolor spiral pasta (we used a curly macaroni because I was out of spiral)
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets (I used frozen because that is what I had, but it would probably be better with fresh.)
  • 1 cucumber seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped and seeded
  • 1 bottle (8 oz.) ranch dressind
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (original recipe called for 1/2 cup.  I used 1/4 and put it on the table for sprinkling the top, but no one did.)
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Rinse in cold water.  (Since I used frozen broccoli I also cooked that and rinsed it in cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pecan chicken with rice pilaf

This recipe comes from my Taste of home Healthy cooking magazine.  It was paired with a green rice pilaf on the page.  While the rice looked good, it didn't seem to go with the chicken so I made up my own rice pilaf with flavors I felt matched the chicken.  For the most part I followed the recipe of the chicken.  I just simplified things a bit.
I'm still a silly person, and even though I picked a nice looking piece of chicken for my plate for a good photo, I forgot to take the picture.  I did remember before I put left overs away and got a quick picture of one of those still on the cookie sheet.

  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 3 slices light bread (I used wheatwhite) toasted
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I had 4 which weighed 2 lbs.  I cut each in 1/2)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Place bread, pecans, cheese, oregano, basil and garlic powder in a food processor.  Process until nice and crumbly.
  3. Place milk on one plate and crumb mixture on anther plate.
  4. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet.  Dip chicken in milk, then roll in crumbs, and brown in oil. (No need to fully cook, just brown it nicely.)
  5. Remove from pan and put on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.
Rice pilaf
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I actually added a lot more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender.  Add rice; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until lightly brown.
  2. Add broth, garlic powder and Italian seasonings. Bring to boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.   (I forgot to turn mine down, boiled out all of my liquid and had to add quite a bit more chicken stock, but it still turned out fine.  Just a warning - don't get busy with the rest of dinner and neglect the rice. :)
  3. When rice is tender and done, stir in cheese and serve.  (I thought about adding some fresh Italian parsley, but didn't - dinner was already too late.  It would be a good addition though.

Hamburger noodle bake

I can tell I've been on vacation.  I totally forgot to take a picture of this meal - even as left overs the next day.  I really liked it.  I liked the combination of cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cream in the middle.  I also liked the green peppers in the mix.  Of course Tavio wasn't impressed that I had added the bell peppers.  The recipe is from my recent Taste of home magazine, but I did some changing around.  It was originally sized for just 2.  I upped it for my family, added a bit of Italian seasoning, a few extra peppers...


  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (it could even use a bit more if you want more Italian flavor.)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (I used a breakstone 4 oz. cup)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (I used neufchatel)
  • 1 green onion - white and greens, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper diced
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2-4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I just sprinkled some on top.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink.  Drain.  Remove from the heat; stir in tomato sauce, garlic salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  In another small bowl, combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, green onion, green pepper, and sour cream.  (I did this while my meat and pasta were cooking.)
  3. Drain noodles; place 1/2 of the noodles in a greased 2 quart baking dish.  Spoon 1/2 of the beef mixture on top and spread evenly.  Top with all of the cottage cheese mixture.  Repeat noodle, and beef layers.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Menu 8/19/2010

Back from vacation, and back to tons of chores.  Wouldn't mind heading back on vacation.  Life is so much simpler living out of 2 suitcases and a couple of backpacks.  :)

Here is this week's menu.  Although I spent some time on vacation looking for recipes online to try, I ended up planning my menu while waiting for my son to get his wisdom teeth out so I used my newest Taste of Home magazine and my Taste of Home Healthy choice magazine.  I haven't planned snacks or lunches, but that isn't going to happen today either.  Too much to do to get the kids ready for school.  I just know I'd better post my menu before I lose it. :)

Hamburger noodle bake (TOH p. 43)
Kielbasa chicken kabobs (TOH p. 47) (has peppers, onions, serve with almond pilaf)
Slow cooked tamale pie (TOH p. 58) (has corn)
Sara's summer rolls (TOH p. 70) with Red curry carrot soup (peas, carrots, zucchini, cabbage....)
Pecan chicken HC p.14 - serve with rice
Asian pork tenderloin (HC p. 45)
Fish something (haven't picked a recipe, but I bought some mahi mahi)  with mixed veggies

chicken salad sandwich (HC p 50)


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