Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Yet another muffin, yet another way to sneak in some vegetables. Any child I have given these to have loved them, you can also add some nuts for protein if you would like.

I chop the zucchini in my mini food processor to make it nice and small

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease two 12 cup muffin tins or line with paper cups.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs.
  4. Beat in sugar and oil.
  5. Add cocoa, vanilla, zucchini, and stir well.
  6. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  7. Mix just until moist.
  8. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins until 2/3 full.
  9. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
  11. Store loosely covered

Friday, January 23, 2009

Birthday Cake Cones

I was going through some old pictures and came across a picture of these cake cones I made for my daughters 4th birthday (she is going to be 8 this summer, so a long time ago !!).
I remember I loved these because they were so fun and easy for the kids to eat.

The recipe calls for butterfingers candy as the topping but you can use anything your child prefers.

Birthday Cake Cones

1 (18.25 ounces) package chocolate or yellow cake mix
30 flat bottomed ice cream cones (buy extra in case some are broken)
1 cup prepared frosting
1 (2.1 ounces) Butterfinger Candy Bar chopped, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions.
  3. Spoon 2 tablespoons cake batter into each cone. Place cones in the cups of a muffin pan or on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
  5. Decorate with frosting.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped Butterfinger or your favorite candy or topping.

The cones are best served the same day they are prepared.

Jumbo Shrimp Parmesan

This came out good. I only had smaller size shrimp in my freezer so I used them instead.

Jumbo Shrimp Parmesan

12 jumbo shrimp (10 to 12 count per lb)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 medium lemon, cut in wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact.
  3. Mix together olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Add shrimp and toss lightly to coat.
  5. Refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour.
  6. In shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Place each shrimp in bread crumb mixture and turn them to lightly coat both sides. Arrange shrimp so that they aren't touching each other in a ungreased 9 x 13 pan.
  8. Drizzle with melted butter.
  9. Place pan on the center rack of oven and bake for 10 minutes or until done.
  10. Serve immediately with lemon wedges

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Roasted Asparagus

I love asparagus but at certain times of the year it can become very expensive. Trader Joe's has the best frozen asparagus, even my chef husband who swore he would never like frozen asparagus loves it. I really prefer the frozen one because all the pieces are a nice thin size and cook evenly. Also a bag is under $4.

When using it frozen I just lay it frozen and mix with the oil, salt and I usually add in some garlic powder and pepper. The direction below about peeling are for fresh.

In my picture is one bag of the Trader Joe's brand

Roasted Asparagus

25 min 10 min prep
1 lb asparagus
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon regular table salt)

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut off the woody bottom part of the asparagus spears and discard.
  3. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin on the bottom 2-3 inches of the spears (this keeps the asparagus from being all "stringy" and if you eat asparagus you know what I mean by that).
  4. Place asparagus on foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Sprinkle with salt.
  6. With your hands, roll the asparagus around until they are evenly coated with oil and salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your stalks and how tender you like them. They should be tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
    The tips of the spears will get very brown but watch them to prevent burning

Buttermilk Muffins

My kids love these and they are a great source of extra fiber for them. I usually add some raisins to the mix also. I made these in my muffin top pan

Buttermilk Bran Muffins

10-12 servings

1 cup wheat bran (you can buy wheat brand at most grocery stores)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups white flour or whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk (can you the buttermilk recipe I posted before)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoons molasses

  1. Mix first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes.
  5. Check for doneness with a toothpick.
  6. Serve with or without butter

Got Chicken?

I just got done packaging a case of boneless skinless chicken. The one must have accessory for buying and storing in bulk is a Food Saver. Why...

Things stay so much more fresh since the air is taken out and the seal is tight.

If you forget to defrost some meat for dinner you can submerge the whole bag in cold water and it thaws so much faster then having to put it in the fridge days before to thaw. I tried this with ziplock bags and they always get water on the meat and make it gross.
The biggest complaint I hear from other moms is that they did not know what they were making or forgot to thaw their meat and now have to order out or go out to but some thawed meat at the store for dinner

Now for the cost benefit of buying in bulk.
This chicken will feed the 4 of us for 16 meals and only cost $ are talking about $3.25 per meal for the meat portion, less then $1 per person/per meal.

On a side note if you use a food saver Walmart sells the bags under the walmart brand for much less expensive then the name brand food saver bags.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tilapia Parmesan

If you have never tried or liked fish tilapia is a great fish to start with. It has a very non-fishy taste. It is also very reasonable cost wise. I bought a bag of 5 frozen pieces for under $4.

My family (minus my picky son) loves this. I usually cook at 400 for about 10-15 minutes and then broil the top for 5 minutes.

Tilapia Parmesan

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
salt (I use seasoned salt)
2 lbs tilapia fillets

  1. Set oven to broiler heat.
  2. Grease a broiler pan, then line with foil and grease the foil slightly.
  3. In a small bowl mix together Parmesan cheese, butter, mayo, lemon juice and garlic.
  4. Add in all the remaining seasonings and salt if using; mix well and set aside.
  5. Arrange the fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan
  6. Top the fish with mixture and broil a few inches from the heat for about 6 minutes (maybe more depending on how thick the pieces are) or until fish is firm, white and flaky and the top is brown

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Quiche is a great meal for brunch, lunch or dinner. It is filling and can be made easily with many ingredients. You can use any cheese or filling (veggies, bacon, ham, sausage, chicken) in the recipe below.
I often make a quiche for dinner with a side salad.

Serves 8

Creamy Quiche

4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup bacon (cooked & crumbled)
3/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
3/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 dash pepper
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 (9 inch) pie shells

  1. Prepare 9-inch pastry shell and bake for approximately 10 minutes until the crust seals to the bottom of the pie plate. Or follow your pie shells direction on their package.
  2. Cool completely.
  3. Beat the eggs and add all other ingredients.
  4. Pour into the cooled pie shell.
  5. Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes until custard is set (will set further as it begins to cool).
  6. Let cool for 5-10 minutes to finish 'setting', and then serve.
  7. This quiche freezes well.

Bacon and Cheese

Broccoli and Cheese

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Creamy White Chili

This was really good and a nice change from the usual chili which my kids do not really like.

Creamy White Chili

1 T. oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 onion, chopped
14-oz can chicken broth
2 15-1/2 oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 4 oz. cans chopped green chilies
1-1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. dried oregano
8-oz container sour cream1/2 pt. whipping cream
10-oz. pkg. corn chips
8-oz. bag shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add chicken and onion.
  2. Saute until chicken is cooked through; set aside.
  3. Combine broth, beans, chiles and seasonings in a large soup pot over medium-high heat; bring to a boil
  4. Add chicken mixture; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add sour cream and whipping cream; mix well, heat and serve
  6. Top with corn chips and cheese. Serves 8.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Easy Alfredo

This is really easy and tastes great. I follow a low carb diet so this is perfect for me, not so much for anyone on WW or a low calorie diet.
I made this with shrimp, pasta and a side salad for dinner (no pasta for me, too many carbs). I also put some hot pepper flakes in mine for some extra spice.

Easy Alfredo Sauce

1 Pint heavy cream
1 stick butter
2 Tbsp Cream Cheese
3/4 Cup Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Garlic Powder

  1. In a sauce pan combine butter, and heavy cream and cream cheese.
  2. Simmer this until all is melted, and mixed well.
  3. Add the Parmesan Cheese and Garlic Powder.
  4. Simmer this for 15-20 minutes on low.
  5. You may add salt and pepper if you'd like.

Homemade Oatmeal Packets

My kids are oatmeal snobs and would only eat packets of oatmeal. I was so over spending money on the packets because they are not cheap and definitely less healthy then regular 100% whole grain oats.

Well I tested this recipe on my kids and the did not even notice any difference. At first when I added the water I thought it was way too much but mix and let it sit and it will thicken nicely. Next I am going to try overnight oatmeal in the crockpot !!

Notes- After using this recipe for awhile I have made some personal changes. Instead of making mine in baggies I have just been grinding some and putting it in a container and I wrote the recipe right on the lid of my large Quick Oats container. When I need to make a bowl I just put all the ingredients you would normally put in a baggie into the bowl and add hot water. Also I realized my kids like their oatmeal a bit thicker so I have been using 1/2 c of water

Instant Oatmeal Packets
makes 8 bags

3 cups quick cooking oats (must be quick cooking)
1 teaspoon salt (1/8 tsp per bag)
Optional Flavorings
sugar (optional)
cinnamon (optional)
brown sugar (optional)
raisins (optional)
wheat germ (optional)
dried fruit (optional)

  1. Put 1/2 cup oats in a blender and blend on high until powdery.
  2. Set aside in a small bowl, and repeat procedure with an additional 1/2 cup oats.
  3. If you're using a food processor, you can do the 1 cup of oats in one batch.
  4. Put the following ingredients into each small-size zip baggie: 1/4 cup un-powdered oats, 2 tablespoons powdered oats, and 1/8 teaspoons salt.
  5. *Optional: add to each packet additional flavors.
  6. Store in an airtight container.
  7. To serve: Empty packet into a bowl.
  8. Add 3/4 cup boiling water.
  9. Stir and let stand for 2 minutes.
  10. For thicker oatmeal, use less water – for thinner oatmeal, use more water.

*Optional flavors:.

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal-.
1 tablespoons sugar.
1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons chopped dried apples.

Sweetened Oatmeal-.
1 tablespoons sugar or 1 packet'Equal' artificial.

Brown Sugar/Cinnamon Oatmeal-.
1 tablespoons brown sugar 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon.

Oatmeal w/Raisins& Brown Sugar-.
1 tablespoons packed brown sugar 1 tablespoons raisins.

Health Nut Oatmeal-.
2 tablespoons any kind of wheat germ.

Fruit& Cream Oatmeal.
1 tablespoons non-dairy coffee creamer 2 tablespoons dried fruit.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chocolate Mousse

My daughter received the Williams-Sonoma "The Kid's Cookbook" as a Christmas gift this year. This was the first recipe she picked to make. It was very easy and of course delicious.

Chocolate Mousse

1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 8oz of semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups of heavy cream, well chilled

  1. Melt chocolate either in the microwave or double boiler till smooth
  2. Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl. Using the electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the cream till slightly thickened, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the warm chocolate to the cream
  4. Continue beating on medium speed, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula until soft forms peak (about 1 minute). To test, turn off the mixer and lift the beaters, if the cream makes soft little peaks that flop over slightly, it is ready
  5. Spoon the mousse into serving cups or glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at lease 2 hours before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pear Muffins

I am home today doing some baking with the kids. Here is a recipe for pear muffins that the kids liked. As usual I am sneaking in more fruit any way I can.

We had them during our tea party that my daughter set up using her new tea set from her grandmom.

Pear Muffins

2 (15 ounce) cans sliced pears, drained and mashed (I used my small food chopper for them)
2/3 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons oil
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Mix everything together well and baked at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hangover cures and tips

Per request of my friend Mike and for all those who had a couple too many last night. Hangover tips courtesy of