Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Easy Caesar Dressing

I got off easy. My job for new years eve was making Caesar salad. Here is an easy dressing. I do not do anchovy's as a personal preference.

Easy Caesar Dressing

2 anchovy fillets (or to taste)
2 fresh garlic cloves (or to taste) (I have used pre minced or chopped before also)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup half and half or milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
milk or half and half, for thinning if necessary

  1. In a small mini food processor, process/mince the anchovy fillets and garlic together until finely minced (do this together and firstly, otherwise it will not get minced properly with the other ingredients).
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients, and process for 30 seconds, or more until well mixed.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  4. Thin milk or half and half for a thinner consistency if desired.
  5. Store in fridge, covered in a glass container for 3 or more hours before using (the flavors become stronger when left in the fridge for a longer time).
  6. Toss desired amount of dressing with Romaine lettuce and croutons.
  7. Sprinkle with more grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas food

Just wanted to share some food porn of some of the wonderful food my chef husband prepared. No recipes since I did not do any of the cooking. My daughter made the holly leaves on the beef wellington. My mom (who is a great cook up there with my husband) made the clams casino, which are also one of my favorite.
The soup was so good. It was a hot soup and you spooned some on the baguette to eat it, it was a great combination.

Pear soup with baguettes and blue cheese

Beef Wellington

Clams Casino

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crescent Chicken Rolls

This dish is by no means diet food between the butter, rolls and cheese but it is so good !
I would have these as a kid and now my kids love them. I usually double the recipe since my kids usually eat four each.
I sometimes just put the sauce on the side and not on top when baking it

Crescent Chicken Rolls

1 (8 ounce) can Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup grated cheddar cheese or swiss cheese (or any cheese of choice)
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup half-and-half cream or milk
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely chopped onions
  1. Set oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Butter a casserole dish (any size to hold crescent rolls).
  3. In a saucepan, mix half and half cream, 1/2 cup grated cheese and undiluted chicken soup.
  4. Heat just until the cheese melts (do not boil).
  5. Pour half of the cream mixture on the bottom of prepared casserole dish.
  6. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  7. Add in the chopped chicken and onion; mix well until combined.
  8. Roll up 1 (scant) tbsp of mixture in the crescent rolls, and place seam-side down on top of the creamed mixture in the casserole.
  9. Drizzle the remaining cream sauce on top
  10. Bake for 30 minutes

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Swiss Chicken Casserole

This is one of my favorites.

Swiss Chicken Casserole

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 slices Swiss cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk (or white wine, I use white cooking wine)
2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing cubes (not stove top stuffing, these are bread stuffing cubes in a bag)
1/4 cup butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Arrange chicken in a greased 12 x 8 x 2 baking dish.
  3. Top with Swiss cheese slices.
  4. Combine soup and milk or wine and stir well.
  5. Spoon mixture over chicken and sprinkle with stuffing mix. Drizzle butter over crumbs.
  6. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crab Enchiladas

These are a family favorite. Just keep a eye on them since you do not want them to get too crisp on the outside.

Crab Enchiladas

8oz of cream cheese (softened)
2 cups of cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like…I sometime use a Mexican mix and use more than the recipe calls for since I love cheese)
8 oz of imitation or real crabmeat
8 flour tortillas
I also usually add some onion powder and chili powder (to add some spice) to the mix.

  1. mix first 3 ingredients together well (mix will be thick)
  2. spoon into 8 flour tortillas and roll to closeplace in baking dish
  3. cook @ 350 for 20 minutes
  4. Top with your preference…cheese, salsa, Enchiladas sauce, sour cream or guacamole

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pork Loin with Cranberry glaze

This was served at our mom's club holiday dinner/party. It was so good !! I am sure you could also do this with chops or boneless chicken.

Pork Loin with Cranberry glaze

1 can whole cranberry sauce
1/2 Cup soy sauce
1 Cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
4 Tbsp lemon juice
  1. mix and heat till sugar melts
  2. pour over pork loin and marinate at least 3 hours
  3. bake at 350 1 hour

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My favorite meatloaf

I am usually not a meatloaf fan but this is the best. It has a ton of flavor.

Kitchen Sink Meatloaf

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the egg, ketchup, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, onion, and garlic, seasoned salt, and salt and pepper.
  4. Mix in ground beef, bread crumbs, and Cheddar cheese. Spread into the loaf pan.
  5. Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees F

Friday, December 12, 2008

Crockpot Bacon and Cheese Chicken

I found this recipe on a great blog A Year of Crockpotting

This was really tasty and easy. I like the sauce before the cheese and bacon so you could very well just do the sauce minus the cheese and bacon and serve over rice. I served it with corn and a side salad.

Crockpot Bacon and Cheese Chicken

2 T olive oil
4-6 chicken breast halves, or equivalent bird pieces (I used 8 breast tenders)
12 pieces cooked and crumbled bacon
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup Ranch salad dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Put the 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of your crock and spread it around. If you are using thighs or fattier cuts of meat, this step is probably optional.
  2. Put the chicken in the crock on top of the oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the teriyaki sauce and the ranch dressing.
  4. Pour sauce over the top of the chicken. Add the shredded cheese and the crumbled bacon to the crock, getting between the chicken pieces, if you can.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4. The cooking time will depend on how thick your chicken pieces are, and if they are fresh or frozen

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

I love this easy recipe. I usually make two whole chickens, one to eat for dinner and they other one we pick and freeze the meat for casseroles (less expensive then using boneless breasts). The broth also makes a great gravy, just thicken it up.

WARNING - The one in the picture looks very dull because I am using it to make homemade chicken stock/broth, which will be frozen in ice cube trays and then put in baggies for use in soups, gravies, casseroles. So no seasoning ..yet

Whole Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

For variety, eliminate the onion and substitute a quartered lemon or two, stuffed into the chicken cavity.

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper (I usually never use this)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large roasting chicken (with pop-up timer if possible)
1 cup onion, chopped
  1. In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  2. Remove any giblets from chicken and clean chicken.
  3. Rub spice mixture onto the chicken.
  4. Place in resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. (skip the overnight step if you are in a rush)
  5. When ready to cook, put chopped onion in bottom of crockpot.
  6. Add chicken.
  7. No liquid is needed, the chicken will make it's own juices.
  8. Cook on low 4-8 hours.

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

Easy and yummy. I made them into small balls and then pressed them down with a fork to make a bit of a pattern on the top. These taste more like a soft vanilla wafer.

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

1/2 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Homemade syrup and dip/dressing

In my goal of avoiding high fructose corn syrups I have moved to making my own syrup for pancakes/waffles and honey mustard dressing which my kids usually use to dip their meats in at dinner.
The syrup I think is so much better then most bottled brands


1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 TBS butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla (try to get one without HFCS. The Aldi brand does not have any)

Put sugars and water in to a saucepan.
Cook just until all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
Add butter and vanilla.

I keep mine in a small container in the fridge and then just put some in a mug and heat it in the microwave.

Honey Mustard Dip/Dressing

1 1/2 cups Mayo (Hellmann's is a good mayo without alot of extra junk)
1/4 cup mustard ( I used Zesty Deli Brown)
1/2 cup Honey

Wisk together. Refrigerate for 2 hours

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My favorite holiday treat

I was at a Christmas party a couple years ago and someone brought these. I could not stop eating them, they were so good. I now usually only make them during Christmas because I can eat the whole tray myself I love them so much

Easy Cracker Candy

24 candies

40 saltines
1-2 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar or packed dark brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Place the crackers side by side in a foil-lined jelly-roll pan (I spray the foil with non-stick spray).
  3. Combine the butter and brown sugar in saucepan.
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  5. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture over the crackers.
  7. Bake 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the baked crackers.
  9. Let stand 5 minutes then spread the melted chocolate over the top.
  10. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.
  11. Chill in the refrigerator until set.
  12. Invert onto a flat surface; remove the foil and break into pieces.

Store, covered in an airtight container in refrigerator.
Note: You can skip the chocolate chips- it's still delicious

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BLT pizza

We really liked this. The basil flavor was wonderful. I made the dough homemade in the breadmaker but you can also do this with a premade crust.

BLT Pizza

SERVES 6 , 1 pizza

1 (16 ounce) pizza crust or your favorite homemade pizza crusts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (Can also use turkey bacon)
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (Can also use Monterey Jack instead )
3/4 cup mozzerella, shredded
1 1/2 cups lettuce, shredded
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

  1. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, basil, garlic powder and onion powder; refrigerate for 1/2 hour or more.
  2. Place the crust on an ungreasted 12-inch pizza pan.
  3. Spread mixture over curst.
  4. Set aside 1/4 cup bacon and sprinkle remaining bacon and cheeses on crust.
  5. Bake at 425 for 8-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. If doing a homemade crust, I bake mine at 375 for about 25-30 or until done.
  6. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, and reserved bacon.
  7. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chicken Fried Pork

This was like real comfort food from Cracker Barrel. Great for a cold rainy night like today has been. You can also make this with boneless chicken if you are not a pork eater.

For the milk gravy I did add more milk to thin it a bit more and I added more pepper and a good amount of onion powder to the gravy.

Chicken Fried Pork

1 1/2 pounds of boneless pork
1 tbs of water
1 egg
28 saltine cracker squares, crushed (1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Milk Gravy (below)

  1. Beat water and egg with wire wisk
  2. Mix cracker crumbs and pepper in shallow bowl
  3. Dip pork into egg mixture and then in cracker crumbs
  4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium to high heat
  5. Cook pork in oil for 3-4 minutes turning once till brown on the outside and slightly pink in the center
  6. remove pork from skillet and keep warm
  7. Make milk gravy and serve with pork

Milk Gravy

Drippings from pork and vegetable oil

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups of milk

  1. Stir flour and salt into pork drippings. Cook over a low heat stirring constantly to loose brown particles from skillet until smooth and bubbly, then remove from heat.
  2. Slowly pour milk into skillet, stirring constantly. Heat to a boil over a low heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Boil and stir for 1 minute, then serve.

Homemade Donuts

We are working moving to making most of our meals/food from scratch. My kids have been asking for a dunkin donuts for 2 days so I promised them we would make donuts today. I was surprised how easy they were to make and the kids loved them.

Easy Do Donuts

1/3 c. sugar (Iused a bit less since I was doing a glaze with them)
1/2 c. milk
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted shortening (I used 2tbs of oil instead)
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Combine milk, egg, shortening or oil.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together and add to above.
  3. (I rolled mine out as thin as I could then used a circle cookie cutter to shape and the cap to the oil to cut the hole in the center)
  4. Gently drop donut into hot 365 degree oil and cook til nice and brown
  5. Drain on paper towels.
  6. You can while they are still warm shake in paper bag with confectionery sugar or granulated sugar mixed with cinnamon or I made my own vanilla glaze (recipe below)

Creamy Glaze
1/3 cup butter
2 cups powered sugar (I used a bit less and they were plenty sweet)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 to 6 Tbsp. hot water
Heat butter until melted; Remove from heat. Stir in powered sugar and Vanilla until smooth. Stir in water, 1 tbsp. at a time, until desired consistency.

Chocolate Glaze
1/3 cup butter
2 cups powered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 to 6 Tbsp. hot water
4 oz milk chocolate chips or semi- sweet chips
Heat butter and Chocolate over low heat until chocolate is melted; remove from heat. Stir in powered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in water 1 tbsp. at a time, until desired consistency

Monday, November 24, 2008

Homemade Bread (In bread machine)

Why I am waiting to get my own breadmaker my nice friend offered to let me borrow hers. I was so excited and made a loaf right away. It came out ok but I started with a white loaf and we usually eat whole wheat so I tried this recipe today. It came out perfect.

No more store bought bread for us. It is so easy to make my own bread why buy a loaf with a ton of additives and preservatives?

This is for a 2lb loaf and I used the regular setting

1 1/3 cups water
2 TBL butter or oil
1 egg
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar (I actually use slightly less even for 2 lb)
4 cups flour (I mix 1/2 whole wheat & 1/2 bread flour)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Remember to use a scoop to scoop your flour into the measuring cup & use a straight edge to drag across the top to level. Don't mash or tamp flour down into cup

Friday, November 21, 2008

You know you really like cooking when....

everything you want for Christmas is a cooking item.

We are getting a whole new set of pots and pans. Our current set is almost 10 years old from our wedding.

I am getting a bread maker. More then likely before Christmas because it is to hard to find any breads without too much junk in them. Plus I would like to make fresh bread for the holiday's.
I decided on this model based on its excellent reviews

Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker

I decided after my sister showed me this crockpot that I needed to have one. It seems so much more useful with 3 different size inserts but only one lid. Plus they nest into each other.
I saw this for less than $40 at walmart.

Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Slow Cooker with 2-, 4-, and 6-Quart Crocks

I have had my mini food chopper since I was married almost 10 years ago. It finally cracked so I need a new one. I use this often, usually for hiding veggies in things for my son. The only thing I disliked about my old one was it was a 2 cup, so this time I picked a 3 cup size.

Black & Decker EHC650 3-Cup 2-Speed Food Chopper

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pork with Creamy Dijon-Wine Sauce

This is a recipe that looks and taste's fancy but is very simple. Easy for a quick weeknight one pan meal or for company. My son is VERY picky and eats this.
You can also add mushrooms to the sauce or make this with chicken, shrimp or scallops.

Pork with Creamy Dijon-Wine Sauce

1.5 pounds of Pork Chops
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup white wine (I use white cooking wine)
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard

Cut pork into 2 inch slices, heat 2 tbsp butter in pan.
Cook pork in butter, then remove.
Add onion to pan and cook until soft.
Add wine. Cook 3-4 minutes, until sauce is reduced by half.
Add cream and dijon mustard. Cook until thick, stirring constantly.
Once thick, remove from heat and add remaining butter while still stirring.
Top pork with sauce. (I added pork back into pan, reheated and coated it with the sauce).

This is my husbands plate for when he comes home from work, I put some extra sauce on the side for if he wants to dip his broccoli

Friday, November 14, 2008

Who needs Jello pudding??

I bought some Jello brand chocolate pudding to make pudding pie with my kids. Well imagine my surprise when I just happen to look at the box and see Red, Yellow and Blue dye in the ingredients !! Why in the world do they need to put dye's in pudding is beyond me.
So we made homemade pudding...which was even better then Jello brand and was not as hard as I thought.

Creamy Chocolate Pudding

5 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso or instant coffee (I did not use either and it tasted fine)
2 cups low fat milk (can use regular milk, if desired)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Sift all dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Place mixture in a medium saucepan.
  3. Stir in just enough milk to create a smooth paste.
  4. Gradually mix in remaining milk.
  5. Cook over medium heat and stir slowly and constantly until mixture thickens and starts to boil. Let it boil another 30 seconds or so, gently stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from the heat and gently stir in vanilla.
  7. Pour pudding into 3 or 4 dessert dishes and chill until set, about 4 hours

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fluffy Old Fashioned Pancakes

I prefer to make pancakes and waffles instead of buying frozen. I made these for the kids this morning and they really enjoyed them.
I also added some ground flaxseed meal to add some fiber. It can be added to any baked goods unnoticed. You can usually find it in most food stores.
Any homemade batter can always be premade and put in the fridge to use later in the week. Or for those who think this takes too much time check out the cool Batter Blaster below.

Fluffy Old Fashioned Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  3. Heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
  4. Pour the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot

Batter Blaster

I saw this product and thought it was a neat idea. Organic pancake and waffle mix in a aerosol container (similar to whipped cream container).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

This is another wonderful recipe that I sneak veggies in and the kids have no clue. I do not add the chocolate chips or nuts, I just serve each piece with some whipped cream on top.
This is a hit with kids and adults

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (see easy recipe below so you do not have to buy any)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups flour (I use whole what flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups zucchini, peeled and grated (I use my mini food processor to make it super small and make sure you squeeze any excess water out of the grated zucchini)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts
  1. Cream butter then add oil and sugar; mix.
  2. Add next 8 ingredients; mix well. Fold in the chips and nuts by hand.
  3. Put in a greased 9 x 13 pan.
  4. Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until done

Substitute for Buttermilk

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar

Combine ingredients and let stand 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, mix together well and use as buttermilk in any recipe!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Everything Cookies = more fiber

My son wanted to bake this morning on his day off from preschool. I was limited on what I had so I tried this recipe because I had All Bran extra fiber cereal and most of the other ingredients (I did not add the coconut or pecans). It was nice that this was a one bowl recipe so it was less dishes for me to clean. I also only made 1/2 the recipe because who needs 53 cookies?? So I just cut all the ingredients by half.

I like to use All Bran extra fiber cereal when I make some treats for the kids to add some extra fiber to their diet why at the same time giving them a tasty treat. BUT I noticed this morning when I looked at the label it contains HFCS so I will be getting rid of the box and trying to find a more natural bran cereal to cook with

Everything Cookies
53 cookies

1 cup applesauce (I use Motts Natural, no sugar added)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup oats
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all-bran cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  1. Mix all ingredients together and drop onto light greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350

My son said these were the best cookies ever (I am sure that really means best for now !!). I thought they were good for cookies with lots of fiber.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Quickest Swedish Meatball Recipe

These are super easy and my kids love them. We usually serve them over brown rice or whole wheat egg noodles with a salad or green veggie on the side. You can use turkey meatballs or even make your own.

The Quickest Swedish Meatball Recipe
  1. 1 package frozen meatball
  2. 2 cans cream of mushroom soup (you can mix and match the soups; like cream of celery, cream of chicken, golden mushroom soup, etc)
  3. 8 ounces sour cream
  4. 2 teaspoons reduced/low sodium soy sauce (can use regular but it tends to make it too salty)

Place all ingredients in a crock pot.
Cook on low for at least 5 hours

This is my daughters plate, not mine

Monday, November 3, 2008

Green "Enchilada" Chicken Casserole

6-8 servings

4 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey
2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning (I use mild for my kids)
8 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon minced chives, optional
7 ounce can Green Mexican Salsa
4 ounce can chopped green chiles
6 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
4 green onions, chopped (optional)

  1. Grease an 11x7" baking pan.
  2. Put the chicken in the pan and toss with the taco seasoning to coat.
  3. Soften the cream cheese and whisk well with the chives and green sauce in a medium bowl.
  4. Stir in the chiles.
  5. Pour the sauce evenly over chicken. You can mix it in if you like, but it's not necessary.
  6. Top with the cheese.
  7. Bake at 350ยบ 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
  8. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the green onions.
    Do not freeze

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Easy Apple Dumplings

These are so easy and always a favorite during apple season (and beyond)

Easy Apple Dumplings

2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples (see notes below)
Cut apples into 8 slices each (see notes below)
Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll
Place in a 9 x 13 greased pan.
Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir.
Add vanilla to butter mixture, stir, and pour over apples.
Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Can be served with ice cream
Note :I use this neat apple corer and slicer. It is great because it does it all. My kids also love to eat apple slices

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No Bake Granola Bars

My kids enjoy these and they are great to make together with your kids. You can do raisins or even mini chocolate chips.

No-Bake Granola Bars

8 min 8 min prep
24 bars

2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup peanut
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. In large bowl, combine cereal, rolled oats and raisins; set aside.
  2. In small saucepan, combine brown sugar and corn syrup.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla; blend until smooth.
  5. Pour over cereal mixture; mix well.
  6. Press into ungreased 13"x 9" pan.
  7. Cool; cut into 24 bars.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chardonnay Chicken

This is a great dish for the family or even adult company. You can even get it all together in advance and then just pop it in the oven. It looks fancy but is really easy and almost a one pan meal. It can be served over rice.
I also added some mushrooms to my onions when I was cooking them and did not do the almonds this time.

Chardonnay Chicken
¼ cup butter or margarine
6 chicken breast halves, skinned and boned
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1¼ cups Chardonnay White Wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese
½ cup sliced natural almonds, toasted

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add chicken, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from skillet, put pan aside with the reserve; place chicken in a 2-quart casserole. Set aside.
  3. Sautee onion and garlic in the pan with the reserve until the onions are tender.
  4. Add flour , stirring until smooth.
  5. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Gradually add wine and broth; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly , until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
  7. Add cream cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.
  8. Spoon cream cheese mixture over chicken.

TO STORE: Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

TO SERVE AFTER STORING: Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Yield: 4-6 servings

Sneaking vegetables in

My 4yo son hates all veggies, luckily he likes some fruits but I like him to have some veggies so being the mean mom I sneak them in. He is very picky and will not even try anything that looks or smells weird or may have a different texture. So I consider a recipe a success when he eats it, veggies and all without giving me a hard time. I made these both yesterday and everyone liked them.

Cheesesteak Manicotti

I usually follow a low carb diet but you can also easily make this recipe with pasta shells stuffed with the filling. I also added in some minced zucchini to the recipe. I used my mini food processor to get it small so my son would not noticed it. I also added some garlic power and onion powder, salt and pepper to the cheese filling mix for some more flavor. Served with a tossed salad on the side.

*8 Steak-ums/minute steaks
*Ricotti Cheese (15 oz Container)
*1 egg
*2 cups of Shredded Mozzarella cheese
*1/3 cup of Parmesan grated cheese
*1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley flakes
*small pinch of Salt and pepper
*1 Cup of Tomato Sauce

Preheat oven to 350
Fry up the 8 minute steaks flat and let them drain on paper Towels.
In a medium bowl, combine: Ricotta Cheese, egg, Mozzarella Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Parsley flakes and salt and pepper.
Lay one Steak-um flat. Place about 3 heaping tablespoons of the Filling mixture on one side of the Steak-um. Roll it up.
Place it in a 8X8X2 Glass baking dish.
Repeat until all 8 steak-ums are filled and in the baking dish (you will have leftover filling)
Pour 1 Cup of Tomato Sauce on top of the Casserole.
Cover with Aluminum Foil and bake for about 25 Minutes.
Remove from Oven and let Sit for a few minutes (for the filling to set)
It's now ready to serve

Carrot Pineapple Muffins
Recipe 12 muffins

I use whole wheat flour for this recipe and make them in my muffin top pan. The kids always love them.

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated carrots (I chop them in my mini food processor)
1 cup drained crushed pineapple

Stir together sugar and oil.
Stir in the eggs until well combined. Stir in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. (I always used just one bowl for everything, who needs more dishes to clean?)
Stir into sugar mixture just until combined.
Stir in carrots and pineapple just until combined.
Spoon into greased muffin tin, filling to top.
Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 20 minutes or until done. Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a rack to finish cooling

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cold Drinks and Warm food on the go

I was in Target one day and came across these Foogo "bottles". Now mind you they are not what I would consider a bottle but more of a straw cup. I decided to pick up a blue and pink one for my kids and they are the best purchase I have ever made. I was so sick of stopping for drinks/water, or having warm drinks after being out a couple hours with the kids running errands. I fill them up before we leave with water and one-two ice cubes and they are ice cold up to 12 hours later. I was so impressed I bought myself one in a larger size (and more adult print).

I decided to try their food jar and again was so impressed. I could send my daughter a hot lunch that were really hot when lunch time came !!

Thermos makes the Foogo's and also the same under the name "funtainers" that come in barbie, HSM, Hannah Montana, batman, spiderman.

Foogo's also come in a more toddler friendly type cup

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

I made these yesterday with the kids for a snack. They were very tasty and all the kids loved them. The only changes I made were using whole wheat flour and I like to use Smuckers Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam to cut down on any unnecessary extra sugar (my kids have enough energy )

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

· 1 cup flour
· 1 cup rolled oats
· 1/2 cup butter
, softened
· 1/3 cup light brown sugar
, firmly packed
· 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

· 1/8 teaspoon salt

· 3/4 cup strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl, mix everything together but the jam.
Measure out 2 cups of this mixture. Leave the rest in the bowl and set aside.
Take the 2 cups of the mixture and press it into the bottom of an 8 inches square pan, coated with cooking spray. Using a large spoon, distribute jam on top of the mixture in the pan. Spread it evenly all over. (I used the squeeze-bottle spread for this and it made this part of the process a lot quicker).
Take the remaining mixture and spread it over the jam. Press down lightly.
Bake 25 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minute before cutting into bars

Some of my favorite things

I have some products I just love that help make cooking easier. Most of these items can be found at Bed, Bath and Beyond (using a 20% coupon of course) or big box stores like Walmart, Kmart

Muffin Top Pan

This is the best for baking kid friendly muffins. The are similar to the shape of cookies, easier for kids to eat and seem to make less crumbs then a traditional muffin. I make muffins often for my kids to pack in their lunch or for after school snacks

Microwave Steamer

This is great for cooking frozen vegetables fast.

Food dicer

I am not the best with a knife. I use this to dice tomato's for salads mostly but it has many other uses, plus it comes with 2 sizes small or large dice.

Ikea shredder

This is a life saver. It has a non skid bottom and come with 2 size shreds, fine or regular. It goes right into the bowl and even come with a storage lid for if you do not use all of whatever you shredded

Steam in bag microwave vegetables

These are the best. They cook right in the bag so it cuts down on extra dishes. I usually just cook them dump them in a bowl, add to salt, pepper and garlic or onion powder. My store (Shop Rite) sells their own brand which are much less expensive ($1.49 each) than the major label brands

Shark Cordless Sweeper

I know this is not a food item but I could not live without my Shark cordless vacuum. This is a must if you have young kids. I only use mine in my kitchen/dining flooring area because it picks up wet and dry food (great for mac and cheese). I use this a couple times a day to pick up all the kid food crumbs

Monday, October 13, 2008

Healthy Halloween Snacks

Last year I organized my daughter class halloween party. Her school has a healthy snack policy so my husband and I made some fun but healthy treats for the party

Carrot Fingers
With a paring knife (a parent's job), cut a flat, shallow notch in the tip of each carrot. Then use a dab of dip or softened cream cheese to glue a sliced-almond fingernail atop each notch

Cracker Spiders (not a good choice if you have a peanut free school)
Here’s what you need to make Cracker Spiders:
Round crackers
Peanut butter
Thin pretzel sticks

1. Spread peanut butter on one side of two Ritz crackers.
2. Break four pretzel sticks in half to create the eight spider legs.
3. Place the eight pretzel sticks in the peanut butter on one cracker to create spider legs.
4. Sandwich the pretzel sticks by placing the second cracker on top with the peanut butter side facing up.
5. Arrange the raisins in the peanut butter of the top cracker to make the spider’s face

Witch Brooms
Cheddar cheese
1 box of thin pretzel sticks

Directions:Cut cheese into triangles that have a two inch base. Stick pretzel stick into each cheese wedge to form the broom handle

Where do I start? The basics

Most mom's I know want to make cooking less stressful for themselves. They just are not sure how. I wanted to share a couple things that have worked for me.

  • Plan in advance.

Usually Friday evenings I go through my recipes and decide what I am going to make each night for the next week. I use a weekly agenda and fill in my "menu" for each night. Of course I try to pick the most easy type of meals for the nights I know we have alot going on. Use your store flyer to see what is on sale make your menu based on sale items.

  • Make a food shopping list

Once you know what you are making for the week make a list of what you need. Before my agenda that I use now I used a large index card (basic but works well)for my menu and shopping list. One side was my menu and the other what I needed from the store to make all my meals for the week plus anything else I needed. Post it on your fridge and that way you can add to it if you run out if anything and it also helps to see what meal is coming up and what you may need to defrost meat wise for the upcoming meals that week. Having a list also helps to control impulse or unnecessary buys.

If you would like a copy of my agenda email me and I will email you a copy.

  • Shop only 1 time per week.

I know too many mom's who are always running to the food store. This not only wastes time but money. When you do not plan in advance you end up buying usually food that is not on sale and not using coupons. I food shop one day a week ALONE with no one to distract me. I buy everything I need for my dinner meals, school lunches, snacks, milk, bread. If I forget to buy something it goes on the list for the next week.

  • Getting it all together

Who say's you have to start making dinner at 5pm? When my kids still napped I would always get dinner "prepped" why they napped (chopping, pre cooking). Now I usually start when the kids are eating their after school snack at 3:30 getting things together for dinner. Use a crockpot for all in one meals (great for working parents). If your kids are older get them to help make dinner and spend some time together making a family meal. Grill during nice weather. Make a casserole the night before so you just have to throw it in the oven when you get home.

  • Cook Healthy

Growing up my mom cooked 6 nights a week, the last night was "leftover night" when we ate everything left from the previous 6 days meals. The meals my mom made always included a entree (meat, fish, seafood), starch and a vegetable. I try to do the same with my family. With organization you can make more from scratch instead of a boxed, frozen or takeout meal. I also try to make healthy snacks for my kids. I do not keep unhealthy, sugary snacks in the house that way it is not an option for them.

  • Shop Smart

Every family should have a food budget. Using coupons, shopping the sales and stocking up when things are on sale that you usually use help stay on budget. I buy meats in bulk (this week pork is on sale for a whole loin for $1.49 per pound, I will have my husband slice it up into pork chops). The butcher at most food stores will slice meat's for you into whatever you need for your family. I usually like to buy meats when they are on sale for under $2.00 per pound, use my food saver to package it and put it in our extra freezer.A great site for matching sale flyers with coupons is . I buy my bread in bulk at a local Pepperidge Farm outlet for $1.89 per loaf where in the regular store would cost me $2.50 per loaf or more (many of their bread contains no HFCS).