Sunday, December 28, 2008

Brownie Roll Out Cookies

(image from Smitten Kitchen)

More experimentation for my son's upcoming first birthday party. Instead of a cake we're doing a build your own ice cream sandwich station with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and these from Smitten Kitchen.

They really do taste like brownies in cookie form. I tried them smeared with a little vanilla ice cream and they were absolutely heavenly.

The best part is that they require nothing but the bare baking essentials. To quote Deb,

There’s no sea salt in them, no melted 70 percent chocolate. There’s no brown butter or vanilla bean pulp or pinch of espresso powder. There is not a single thing in them we’d probably jazz them up with today, and instead of fighting this simplicity, I encourage you to revel in it.
Woooo simple cookies!

Recipe copied and pasted for your convenience:

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies*
Recipe from Deb’s mom

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter, softened (Deb note: I don’t really see “lightly salted” much these days, so I used one stick salted, one stick unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used the “good” stuff–Droste or Galler–but I can assure you that my mother only used Hershey’s growing up, so your choice)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

* According to my mother’s recipe, they’re called chocolate sugar cookies but I do not feel that it does them justice.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cafe Rio-esque Chile Lime Rice

My sister pointed me toward this recipe on her sister-in-law's blog. Copied and pasted here for your convenience:

saute in pan:
2 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion chopped
4 cloves garlic
in large pot bring to boil:
6 2/3 cup water
8 tsp. chicken bullion
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
2 tsp cumin
2 small cans diced green chilis
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt

*add onion and garlic to boiling water. Add 3 cups long grain rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes

It was definitely much better than the cilantro lime rice, but it still could use some tweaking. Next time I make it I'm going to halve the cumin. 2 teaspoons is a could really taste it and my house smelled like cumin for 3 days. Also, I think I might reduce the bouillon by one or 2 teaspoons and increase the salt. But I did like this rice and it would probably do well as a stand alone side dish. It worked really well as a burrito filler with the shredded beef. The tastes seemed to be more complimentary than with the cilantro lime rice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ginger Snaps from the Kitchen of Jeannie McC

Ginger Snaps - Adapted from an All Recipes Recipe - yummmmmmmm

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
5 cups unbleached all-
purpose flour
1 T+ 1.5 t.  ground ginger
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped crystallized
ginger (chop in food processor until a ball of mush)


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Cream the butter and the brown sugar until fluffy. Add molasses and eggs and mix well.

Combine flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture. Blend in candied ginger. Roll into 1 inch balls and dip in chunky sugar.  Bake about 2 inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and BARELY cracked... Cool.


*Very spicy  and flavorful!  You can buy Candied Ginger in bulk at HEB Plus for super cheap.... best when served about 30 minutes after baking*

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Semi- homemade cheddar broccoli soup

Ok so i realize that this is cheating a little bit but oh well.

1 bag cheddar broccoli soup mix (Bear Creek)
diced potatoes
frozen or fresh broccoli
season to taste
Ham (optional)

So this is something that I usually keep on hand for cold days. I try to crockpot pretty much everything so I turned this into a crockpot meal too. I put the soup in the crockpot with 8 cups of water as directed then I just add extra stuff to make it extra yummy. I just add whatever i have, and i add a little salt and pepper and just cook it for like 4 or 5 hours.It is delicious. I usually serve it with fresh rolls or bread bowls. Yumm. We are having this tonight since we have like a foot of snow it really sounded good!

Monday, December 15, 2008


I'm on a burrito kick right now. It's kind of ridiculous actually...I've even started dreaming about them. I kind of wish I were pregnant so I could justify a burrito a day ("The baby demands a chili shredded beef burrito!") but, alas.

We're doing a burrito bar for my son's 1st birthday party in January so the next few weeks are going to be spent testing recipes. Here's what I tried tonight:

Whole wheat tortillas - was really excited about this since it's so highly rated on AllRecipes but turns out the dough needs to be covered with a damp cloth. My beautiful little dough balls dried out during the resting period. Good thing I bought back up tortillas. But I think they're worth a shot for anyone who has ever had the desire to make their own tortillas. I'll try again at some point.

Shredded Beef - This was excellent. I took the advice of several of the AllRecipes commenters and went with the cheaper and easier-to-shred chuck roast instead of rump roast. Also, since some commenters complained that it tasted a little bland, I added a 3rd can of hot tomato sauce (the brand I used was called El Pato and came in a yellow can) plus 2 cans of water to submerge the roast, as suggested. It definitely had a kick and Aaron and I both enjoyed it. I just need to learn to be patient and let roasts cook longer since I kept trying to shred it before it was ready and said bad words at the people who swore that chuck roast would be easier. It really was easy after it had cooked thoroughly. I shredded it and then left it in the juices in the crockpot for another hour or so. Delish.

Cilantro Lime Rice - I didn't realize that this is supposed to be a copy of Chipotle's rice, which I don't actually like all that much. It was ok and if you like Chipotle's rice you might like this. It was fine as a burrito filler, but I didn't care for it on its own. What I'd really like is a recipe for Cafe Rio's green chile rice. Anyone have that?? Google searches are not bringing up anything promising.

I just used bottled green sauce since I was too lazy to go searching for tomatillos to make my own (they're going out of season). It was good, as per usual.

We threw some cotija and monterey jack in there and voila! Burritos. Sans beans. We don't do beans around here, good for your heart or no.

The burritos were excellent, though I wouldn't have minded a change of rice. We had plenty of leftovers so we made a couple more, wrapped them in foil and plastic and threw them in the freezer for easy lunches. I'll probably eat them both tomorrow since the imaginary baby requires them.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Teriyaki Ranch Chicken

Another winner from Kayla's other blog ( I added some mushrooms to cook with the chicken, it got rave reviews from Blaine! I had whipped peaches (recipe? Open can of peaches, pour in blender, whip, add ice if you want, eat with spoon). Blaine has spent his night trying to convince me that this is a healthy recipe so we can have it often, he really liked it!

I think this baby has a thing against chicken, it just doesn't sound good, so I stick to fruit. And cookies.

Teriaki Ranch Chicken

I thought this chicken was sooo yummy. It does take a little time though, so for me it's going to be more of a company/special dinner recipe.

2 T vegetable oil
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (flatten w/meat mallet if desired)
1/2 cup teriyaki basting sauce
1/2 cup Ranch salad dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped (optional)
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

Pour flour (1 cup?) into a ziplock bag or a bowl. Press each piece of chicken in flour, then shake off excess. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown chicken breasts in oil for 4-5 min on each side.

Place browned chicken breasts in a 9X13 baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce, then spoon on the Ranch. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions, and bacon bits.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes, removing foil for last 10 minutes of baking time.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

(image from Simply Recipes)

I recently made these enchiladas for Aaron and I. The enchiladas themselves were ok (I thought the chicken filling was a bit dry..probably because I didn't have the thighs the recipe calls for on hand and used white meat instead) but the real standout was the sauce.

I luuurve Mexican green sauce and this one is easy and so very good. I always see tomatillos at our local farmers market and wondered what they were. Now I know. They are a food of the gods and they exist for making delicious delicious green sauce.

Recipe here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

BBQ chicken pizza

This is from a book called "Dinner, it's in the bag" by Christine Vanwagonen. She just got called to the general relief society and she wrote this book of recipes to help you cook from your food storage. so the first time i made this i made it how it was written and the second time i did mostly fresh stuff and it was amazing both ways- the smell of canned chicken gets to me, but it tasted pretty much the same as the fresh chicken. I give it four stars!

Pizza Dough
3 1/2 cups white unbleached flour
1T salt
1T sugar
2T active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (no more than 105 degrees)
3T extra virgin olive oil

-In a large mixing bowl, wisk together the flour, salt and sugar.
-In the 1 1/2 cups of warm water, dissolove the 2 rounded Tablespoons of yeast, stir well. Let rest for 5 min- then add olive oil
-Pour yeast mixture into the flour, salt and sugar. Stir withe wooden spoon until dough forms a ball. The dough will be sticky.
-Turn the dough onto a heavily floured board. Gently add flour as you begin to knead the dough. Continue adding flour until the dough stops stickingto your hands (this will take about 10 min)
-Form the dough into a ball
-pat entire ball with olive oil
-place in bowl and cover with cotton cloth, place in a warm place for 20-30 min. Remove it from the bowl and punch it dowm on a floured board and reform into ball, put back in bowl for another 20 min
-preheat oven for 45 min at 500 degrees (warming the pizza stone if you want good results)
-separate the dough into 2 balls for 2 large pizzas or 3 balls for three medium pizzas.

ingredients for the toppings

1-2 (14oz can) chicken
1 bottle BBQ sauce (sweet baby ray's is my favorite kind)
1 small bag of pregrated pizza cheese (parmesean, romano, and asiago grated cheese)
1 (8oz) can pineapple tidbits
1 1/2 T dried onion (I used fresh red onion which added nice flavor)
2 T dried Cilantro

-Reconstite onion with 1/4 cup water.
-in a ziplock bag, combine chicken and 2/3 cup of BBQ sauce. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
-Pour off marinade
-Sprinkle cheese over crust
-spoon 2/3 cup of the bbq sauce over the cheese. top with the chicken, onion, and pineapple tidbits. sprinkle more cheese on top.
-bake for 8 min at 500 degrees. sprinkle with cilantro.

Now like i said this was delicious either way, but I made it with fresh chicken last time and so i just cooked the chicken then added the bbq sauce for the last 5 min of cooking. I didnt have any marinade to pour off though. so i didn't do that. I also added fresh mushrooms and next time i am going to put precrumbled bacon on it too. and like i said, i would recommend red onions- cut up into really small pieces, i also left off the cilantro. this was sooo good though, and i even let the kids make their own pizza and they loved that.

Cranberry Chicken

Cranberry Chicken


I got this recipe from Kayla's other . I didn't actually eat any, but Blaine said it was really good! And it sure smelled good. I served with Acorn squash, which I did eat and which was very good!

Cranberry Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 can whole cranberries
1 Lipton onion soup packet
1 cup Catalina Dressing


Combine ingredients over chicken in baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over white rice.

~this recipe doesn't seem spectacular, buts its really good, kid friendly, and easy to make! Its also a nice change to the chicken/cream of...soup/rice recipes!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Apple Crisp

( not the best picture, it started melting before I found my camera)..

4 Apples, cut up
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C flour
1/2 C oats
1/3 C butter, soft
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg (I didn't add this).

Put all the apples in a greased 8X8 pan. Mix the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over top of apples. Bake 375 degrees for 30 min.

MUST serve with ice-cream :) I drizzled caramel over the top. Such a good, easy winter dessert :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Secret Ingredient

What did y'all do with your left-over Thanksgiving turkey? A portion of our was destined for a fabulous casserole. The recipe is basically, a bit of this, a bit of that, and ... a Q-tip. Sprinkle with cheese, bake at 350 until cheese is bubbly and q-tip starts to smoke. Serve to your unsuspecting family. When your husband asks, "What's that?", pointing to the fuzz on top of the casserole, just shrug your shoulders and say something casual like, "A Q-tip." Because that's what it is.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pumpkin Squares

These are also from Mom. Also very YUM.

2/3 C. oil
2 C. sugar
2 C. squash (you can use pumpkin or any kind of squash here that's mashed up)
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. flour

Pour into a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. Cool. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe: 8 oz. cream cheese block, stick of butter, 1 splash of vanilla, and powdered sugar to get it to the consistency you want (maybe 1 1/2-2 cups?). If you want to thin it some, add a splash of milk, but go easy on the milk--a little goes a long way. Trust me.

Zucchini Bread

Also from Mom. Also 5 stars.

Mix well:
3 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 C. oil
1 tsp salt

2 C. grated zucchini
1 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

Mix well and add a bunch of chocolate chips, raisins, or nuts. But really, only add chocolate chips, friends. It's the secret to this recipe. I can't say enough about chocolate and it's magical food powers. Just take my word and add the chocolate chips and don't be stingy, either. Thank me later.

Grease and flour two bread pans and pour the batter evenly between the two. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour (or, again, a little longer if you like drier bread). Cool well before removing from pan.

Grandma Griffin's Banana Bread

I also must give this recipe 5 stars. It's my Great-Grandma Griffin's and has been in the family for years. It's my favorite banana bread recipe of all time.

1 C. sugar
1/2 C. shortening (or sometimes I use canola oil to be healthy, or I have also used 1/2 applesauce to replace the shortening, and it also works if you want to be super healthy)
2 eggs
2 C. flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 crushed bananas

Grease and flour bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (or a little more if you like drier banana bread like my husband does). Makes one big loaf.

My Mom's Cinnamon Rolls

I give this 5 stars and I also give credit to my mom, who makes the same recipe but somehow ends up with yummier rolls than I ever do.

3 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
6 T. yeast
1 T. salt

Let rest 15 minutes.

Then add:
3 eggs
10 cups flour

Roll out right away on a floured surface. Sprinkle with brown sugar, white sugar, and any other kind of sugars you can dream up. Oh, and cinnamon. Throw on some raisins if that's your thing. Roll up and cut into cinnamon rolls. I use floss to cut the individual rolls. Stick the floss under the roll and cross the treads on top and pull. Voila! Cut, not smashed, cinnamon rolls. (Does everyone already know this trick?) Stick the rolls on a cookie sheet and let raise 10-20 minutes. Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Drizzle with frosting. I prefer cream cheese frosting on these, but if you want to just do a powdered sugar/milk/vanilla/maple flavoring glaze, that's fine, too.

p.s.--my cream cheese frosting recipe goes like this: 1 big block of cream cheese (8 oz?), a stick of butter, a hit of vanilla, and powdered sugar added until it's the consistency you want. If you think it's too thick, add just a touch of milk to thin it, but I rarely find I need the milk, especially if the butter is room temperature. That's it. So easy and so, so good. MAN, I miss sugar...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chocolate Trifle

I had never heard of chocolate trifle before, but the picture looked pretty so that is what I made for Thanksgiving dessert. may want to avert your eyes.

  • 1 package brownie mix
  • 1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • carmel ice cream topping
  • Toffee pieces (by the chocolate chips)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed- French Vanilla flabor
  • 1 pint whipping cream, whipped with like 3Tbs sugar
  • 1 bar chocolate candy


  1. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped cream until no streaks remain.
  3. In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, top with caramel, top with toffee, then top that with half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping. Repeat layers. Shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.
Um, Yum.

Dinner Rolls

This Thanksgiving was my first time making rolls and I was so happy that they were a success!

3 1/4 - 3 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1pkg active dry yeast
1 C milk
1/4 C sugar
1/3 C butter, margarine or shortening
1 beaten egg

I like to proof my yeast. So get some really warm water in a little bowl (maybe 1/2 C warm water) add your packet of yeast and like a tablespoon of sugar. Wait a few minutes for it to foam up.

Mix yeast mixture with 1 1/4 C of the flour. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter and 3/4 t salt until just warm (butter starts to melt) (120-130 dgs, I usually warm it up until I can hold my finger (my very very clean finger) in there for about 3-4 seconds before it gets too hot). . Add to flour mixture along with the beaten egg. Beat with an electric mixer (or Bosh, or Kitchenaid) on low speed for 30 seconds, then beat on high for three minutes. Assuming you are using some sort of mixer and not your bare hands.... start adding as much of the remaining flour as you can, if you do my little yeast proofing trick you'll probably even need a little extra flour beyond what the recipe calls for (1/4- 1/2 C more?). Knead for 6-8 minutes total. Shape dough into a ball and place in greased bowl, turn once (or just spray the top with non-stick spray too, that's my little trick : ) ). Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about an hour.

Punch dough down. Then turn out on a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest for ten minutes. Lightly grease your pan.

For dinner rolls shape the dough into 24 balls, place balls on prepared baking pan. And bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes (the second pan only took about 12 mintues...go figure, just keep checking them).

I shaped my rolls into rosettes. Here's the directions for that --- divide each portino of dough into 16 pieces (I rolled it out into a big rectangle and cut in strips. Roll each piece into a 12 inch long rope. Tie in a lose knot, leaving two long ends. Tuck top end under knot and bottom end into top center of the knot. Place two to three inches apart on prepared baking sheet.

I also lightly brushed some melted butter on top of the rolls as they came out of the oven.

They looked so pretty and tasted so good with the homemade honey butter I served them with (equal parts honey and butter whipped together).

This whole recipe makes it sound complicated, but it's really not. Please, try it, they were so good--- even Janssen liked them. That kind of makes Janssen sound picky, she's not but she said that she doesn't normally like rolls : )

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lettuce Wraps

Is this one on here yet? 'Cause wooo-baby! If it's not, here's a SE Asian dish that will, as PW says, make your skirt fly up.

1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1-2 TBS sesame oil
1/2 TBS minced garlic

Brown turkey with the sesame oil and minced garlic. Add:

1 large bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce (in Asian foods section)
1 tsp-1 TBS chili garlic sauce (ditto)
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

Prettily arrange romaine lettuce leaves in whole pieces.

Meanwhile, cook a bunch of white rice and when it's done, add a can of coconut milk and serve with sliced mango pieces over the top.

Your audience can scoop their own portions of turkey loverliness into the romaine lettuce leaves and indulge. This recipe fed 5 adults (about 2 lettuce wraps each. I think. I forget...).

Triple-Layer Pumpkin Spice Pie

Not the same as a real pumpkin pie, but still very very yummy!

2C cold milk
2 pkg (small boxes) Pumpkin Spice Flavor Pudding Mix (we used one pumpkin spice and one regular old vanilla)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping
1 graham cracker crust
1/2 C pecan halves
1 Tbsp honey

Beat milke, pudding mixes, and cinnamon with wire whisk until well blended.

Spread 1 1/2C onto bottom of pie crust.

Add 1 1/2C of the whipped topping to the remaining pudding mixture; stir gently. Spoon over layer in crust.

Top with remaining whipped topping.

Set aside in fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cook pecans and honey in skillet on med-low heat until pecans are carmelized, stirring frequently. Spread onto waxed paper. Cool. Sprinkle over pie before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie

This is our favorite pot pie recipe, especially because my kids don't like using cream of mushroom soup for the filling. My older son will eat pot pie for almost every meal as long as we have leftovers. Also, it is a great way to use that leftover turkey we will all have this week!

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1C sliced carrots
1C frozen peas
1/2C celery
1/3C butter
1/3C chopped onion
1/3C flour
1/2tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 3/4C chicken broth
2/3C milk

2- 9 inch deep dish pie crusts (unbaked)

In saucepan combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15min. Drain and set aside. (I usually boil these in chicken broth and use the reserves to the 1 3/4C chicken broth that you need later in the recipe. Also, use whatever veggies you want- but reduce the amounts of others or your pie will overflow)

In saucepan, over medium heat cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, peppter, and celery seed (don't think I ever remember the celery seed). Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place chicken/veggie mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour liquid mixture on top. Cover with top crust, seal edges. Make several small slits in top to allow steam out.

Bake in preheated oven 30-35min or until golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

One pot spaghetti

I have been on a cooking hiatus lately, we've been having boring fare like chili and baked potatoes. No one in our house is happy about it, but really I just haven't felt up to the task of making an actual meal. So the other night I was going to make spaghetti only to find I had no spaghetti sauce. So I was going to make spaghetti sauce and came across this recipe for "one pot spaghetti" and I thought, now there, there, is something I feel up to. And I thought it turned out really good and really, one pot. No complaints there. So if you're feeling lazy....

8oz ground beef or bulk pork sausage (we actually didn't have any meat, so I substituted lots of mushrooms!)
1 C mushrooms or 1can mushrooms
1/2 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic or 1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 14 oz can of chicken or beef broth
1 3/4 C water
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 t oregano
1/2 tsp basil or marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 oz dried spaghetti
1/4 C parmesan cheese

In large saucepan cook the ground beef, fresh mushrooms, onion and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender, Drain.
Stir in the canned mushrooms (if using), broth, water, tomato paste, oregano, basil and pepper, bring to boiling. Add the broken spaghetti, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Return to boiling, reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 17-20 minutes or until spaghetti is tender and sauce is of the desired consistency, stirring frequently. Serve with parmesan cheese.

As mentioned, I didn't use meat, just lots of fresh mushrooms. Also the sauce seemed extra peppery, so I think I maybe either accidentally doubled the pepper, or 1/4 pepper is more peppery than you might imagine. I actually really liked it, but if you don't like pepper maybe start out with less. Now that I think about it though I bet I accidentally doubled it. I don't know. Also 6oz of spaghetti is not a lot. I put in a lot more than that and noticed my sauce was not going to be enough for the spaghetti to cook so I added some diced tomatoes with the sauce and a little extra water. Anyway, good quick meal for those of us who forget to buy spaghetti sauce and only like to use one pan : )

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Butternut Squash

Here's another squash for you to try. Soooo good. Again, I didn't use the maple syrup in it, but I did add some butter and milk and it is creamy goodness, that's what it is. I'm a squash convert after this and the acorn squash recipes.

Here's the recipe.

Cooked Acorn Squash

This is for Kristy. I made it without the butter and brown sugar and maple syrup, just cooked it according to directions with water on the bottom of the pan, since I gave all that really yummy stuff up for Lent. It is yummy squash just on its own, but I'm sure it's even more delectable drenched in sugar and'll have to let me know.

Here's the recipe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The best cornbread ever. Seriously.

2 c. Bisquick
1 1/2 cubes butter
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornmeal
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix and pour in 9 x 13. Bake @ 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

We had this at a dinner party the other night and oh my! Seriously. There was a cookie salad there too and I chose this cornbread, without butter mind you, over cookie salad (well, I guess I say "without butter" kind of loosely, plenty o butter in the actually cornbread!). I loved it that much. It could be served as dessert and it should be served often. Thank me later. Well, really you should thank Janelle later, but you probably don't know her.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweet Potato Fries

Let me start this post with a sad tale: "Once there was a country girl from Idaho potato country who married a city boy from Utah who was allergic to potatoes. The End." Sad, right? But, I'm happy to announce that I was recently introduced to sweet potato fries! (Is this old news to all of you?) My husband can eat them and they are a hit with the kids, too. And so healthy! Here's what I do:

Sweet Potato Fries

2 sweet potatoes
a splash of olive oil
seasonings to taste (salt/season-all/cinnamon and paprika/whatever floats your boat)

My husband is allergic to a lot of vegetables, but if I peel the skins, he does much better. So I start by peeling the sweet potatoes, although that is totally unnecessary if you like peels on your fries. It's your choice. Then I chop them into fry shape and size, throw them on a cookie sheet and drizzle some olive oil over the top. Then I mix them around to get them all coated with oil before sprinkling seasonings on top. I usually just do salt, but I've also tried cinnamon and paprika, which were also good. Then bake them in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes or so, turning every 10 minutes or so. And, VOILA! Baked sweet potato fries. We like to use fry sauce on these (mix ketchup and mayo together to taste), but ketchup is also good. These fries can also stand alone without sauce of any kind.

Fries are back on the menu at the Jones household! Yippee!

Mexican Lasagna

Okay, I really should just refer you to PW's site, because that's where I've gotten almost all of my dinner recipe ideas lately, but here's another winner that we tried and all liked at our house.

Here's the recipe.

Chicken Spaghetti

This is another recipe I found on Pioneer Woman's site and loved. I really think you can't go wrong with any of her recipes. Except maybe the whiskey carrots...if you're LDS like I am. But, I'm not here to judge. This was a good, quick easy meal that my whole family liked. I think next time I make it I'll leave out the green peppers. I liked them, but my kids are not the green pepper eating types. We'll see how generous I'm feeling next time I make it...

Here's the recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup

Okay, I've been making a lot of soups lately, but this one has been one of my favorites. My husband felt a little indifferent towards it. I think it's more of a girly soup? After all, it has pear and cinnamon mixed in...just sayin'. I loved it. I hope you will, too. Oh, and a confession: I just added a splash of vanilla in place of the vanilla bean. I'm not that fancy.

Here's the recipe.

Zucchini Cream Soup

This is a recipe my mom made when when we were kids, but I don't think I really appreciated how yummy it really is until I became an adult. I made it yesterday for dinner on a count of I have had strep, my husband just had nose surgery, and it just sounded really soothing. Let me tell you, it totally delivered.

Zucchini Cream Soup

1 C. diced celery
1/2 C. diced onion
4 C. sliced zucchini

Cook the above in a small amount of water until tender.

Meanwhile, make the white sauce:

1 1/2 cubes margerine
1 tsp. salt
3/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 C. milk

Cook these five ingredients until thickened and bubbly. Add 1 chicken bullion cube.

Now, take your cooked zucchini mixture and blend it in a blender. I do it about a third at a time, and be super careful because it's hot and it's a blender, and well, you don't want third degree burns, Folks. When blended, add to white sauce. I always crumble some bacon in at the end. Mmmm!

Corn Casserole

I've been making this a ton lately, and I just can't get tired of it. Can I give 5 stars out of 4? I really think it's just that good. And it's so easy! I've used fresh and frozen corn for this, and although the fresh is by far superior, the frozen is not half bad itself. Gotta love the Pioneer Woman.

Click here for the recipe.

Pumpkin Cake

I made this for an inservice meeting yesterday and it was a big hit!!

Yellow pudding cake mix (a yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix, I use Betty Crocker, Super Moist cake mix)

Save 1 cup of mix

Take remaining cake mix and add
½ cup melted margarine
1 egg, beaten

Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan

1 large can of pumpkin
14 oz can of condensed milk
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla
Beat together

Pour over crust
Sprinkle with remaining cake mix (I didn’t use all of it)
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 335° and bake for 30 minutes more.

I also topped it with cool whip for some added yumminess!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Food Storage/Emergency Prep Blog

I thought y'all might enjoy this blog. It relates to food storage/emergency prep:

There are recipes there that help you rotate your food storage....

.... Um. We had spaghetti for dinner tonight.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is another regular around our house, I love it. I always half this recipe too because it makes a lot, but i will write the original recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 small cans green chili's
6 cups chicken- cooked and cubed and seasoned to taste
1 small onion
1 pkg flour tortillas
grated cheese

heat soup, add chili's, onion, sour cream. Divide chicken, cheese and sauce (2Tbs or more)in each tortilla. Place in a 9 x 13 pan. pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. cover and bake for 1/2 hour.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. ground (canned) pumpkin
1/2 c. cooking oil
1/3 c. chocolate chips

Mix together. Fill muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Stew

This is from my Grandma Kartchner. And we all know grandma's know how to make the best stew. She got it from a neighbor in the barracks during the war. The one in the 1940's. Serves 5-6 people for every 2 pounds of meat used.

Stew meat - 1 small package, cut into small cubes
1 med onion, diced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp worchesthire sauce
1 garlic clove
2 bay leaves
1 TBS salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
dash allspice or cloves
6 carrots
2 potatoes
divers vegetables

Brown meat cubes with onion. Add 4 cups boiling water and 1 tsp lemon juice (helps tenderize meat).

Add 1 tsp worchesthsirehire sauce, minced garlic clove, and 2 bay leaves.

Sprinkle the salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, and allspice (or a couple whole cloves) over the stuff.

SIMMER. Covered. Approx 2 hours.

Add 6 carrots, chopped; 2 chopped potateees, and any other veggies as desired (string beans, green peppers, peas, etc). Cook until veggies are done.

Add 4 tsp water with 4 tsp flour for thickening.

Ratatouille's Ratatouille

So this was awhile ago, but Claire wanted us to make ratatouille just like the movie. I found this fabulous recipe. Results were excellent, even if Claire still refused in the end to eat anything involving vegetables. M and I loved it. I find myself craving this all the time, but I don't own a mandoline:

There was much cutting. Good thing I have nice sharp knives.

I had a TON of extra veggies. I just couldn't find tiny veggies like I was supposed to use I guess. So I ended up making two pans and only one is pictured here. In retrospect I probably could have put it all in one 13x9, doubling the sauce, but I didn't know ahead of time that there would be that much.

We tried to serve it kinda like the movie to humor Claire. Too bad she didn't get suckered in.
The goat cheese was a FABULOUS addition, though non-essential.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chicken stuffing bake

Now I got this recipe from the back of a stuffing box but I have changed it so much I will just write it how I do it. This is my brother in laws favorite meal(he lives with us so he eats my stuff a lot)

6 chicken tenders frozen
1/3 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom
cheese grated
frozen broccoli
1/2 box turkey stuffing (i like this flavor best)
water to mix into stuffing

I know this is similar to my other casserole but this one takes like 5 minutes to prepare so i love it. Get a small casserole dish, put frozen chicken in the bottom, season it with whatever you like to season stuff with (season all, Mrs. dashes, salt and pepper. Mix together sour cream and cream of chicken, pour over chicken. Put broccoli on that and cheese then mix stuffing with some water to moisten it ( i think it is like a half of cup of water but don't quote me on that) then put the stuffing on top. cook at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until chicken is done. The original recipe has you put this in a 9 x 13 pan, but if i do that i double the sour cream and cream of chicken and do the whole box of stuffing, i just like a little extra creamy stuff. We have this one a lot, i love it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Alfredo Sauce

People, eat this and thank me later. Ours was really heavy on the garlic which may have to do that with garlic we "dump" rather than measure, so if you aren't a big fan maybe stick to what it says on the recipe or perhaps back it off a little bit. Seriously though, this is reallllly good. I used whole milk instead of non fat (tisk tisk I know, but it was right there in the fridge begging to be used!) and I also added some fresh ground pepper. Eat it and weep with delight.

  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup low fat margarine
  • 8 ounces Neufchatel cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Combine milk, cubed Neufchatel cheese, butter or margarine, garlic powder, onion powder, minced garlic, and salt. Stir until smooth. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until blended.
  2. Toss pasta with Alfredo sauce and serve warm.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Beef Stew

Remember how cold it was last Wednesday? Didn't it actually get to 32 that morning? This is my favorite beef stew. It isn't very gravy like but it is delicious. The recipe is courtesy of Kraft.

Perfect Winter Beef Stew
"With only a few simple ingredients, this foolproof hearty dish is guaranteed to become a favorite winter staple."
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:15 Total time: 2 hours

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3/4 cup Italian Salad Dressing
2 lb. Chuck Roast -- cubed
4 Slices Bacon -- chopped
3 cups mushrooms -- sliced
1 medium onion -- chopped
6 Medium Carrots -- sliced
4 Medium potatoes -- peeled, cut into large chunks (about 4 cups)
1 can Canned Tomatoes -- diced, undrained
14 1/2 ounces water
1 teaspoons Beef Bouillon

POUR dressing over meat in large resealable plastic bag. Seal bag; turn to evenly coat meat with dressing. Refrigerate 30 min. to marinate. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large saucepan on medium heat 5 min. or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from saucepan; drain drippings.

ADD mushrooms and onions to same saucepan; cook on medium-high heat 10 min. or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove meat from marinade; discard marinade. Add meat, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, broth and bacon to saucepan; stir.

BRING to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour 15 min. Uncover; simmer an additional 15 min. or until meat is cooked through and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

"10 Cups"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 443 Calories; 30g Fat (61.1% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 68mg Cholesterol; 334mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 4 Fat.

NOTES : Jazz It Up
Add 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves with the broth for extra flavor.

Prepare as directed, using Light Italian Reduced Fat Dressing.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This recipe is from I LOVE pumpkin seeds, and these are delicious! Hopefully I'm not posting this too late and a few of you will be carving pumpkins tonight to save some seeds!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/2-1 tsp salt

1/8-1/4 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

2 C pumpkin seeds, cleaned and rinsed

Preheat oven 275 degrees. Combine all ingredients; mix well. Place in greased, shallow baking dish. (I use a cookie sheet) Bake for 1 hr, stirring occasionally.

** Keep an eye on them after 30-40 minutes. Because cooking times will vary depending on how you like them... I like them crispy!! And I always do taste tests while they're cooking to make sure they end up just right! :) They can burn easily if you don't keep an eye on them too.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chicken Capri

My sister is doing the South Beach Diet and tried this recipe the other day and said it was really good. So much so that her kids even ate it! I'm going to give it a shot after I go to the store, but here you go....

Chicken Capri

1 Cup Reduced fat ricotta cheese
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
Mix this together and set aside.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 t. garlic powder\
2 T. olive oil
1 Cup crushed tomatoes (blended for those picky kids like James and Ashley)
4 slices mozzerella cheese
Sprinkle garlic powder on chicken. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Cook the chicken for about 12 minutes per side. Place chicken in baking dish and allow to cool.
preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spoon 1/4 c. of the cheese mixture and 1/4 c. tomatoes onto each chicken breast. Top with 1 slice mozz. cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.
Oh also the can of tomatoes that I used said Chili ready. So they must have had chili powder in it, It added a little extra flavor. But you don't have to use that i just thought i'd give ya another idea to sprinkle in chili powder.

Tomato Florentine Soup - YUM

I must be low on, something, whatever it is tomatoes have in them because I normally don't like tomato soup but I have tried several recipes lately because I crave it. This one was my favorite, I really liked the flavor. I just added the pasta ( I used mini shells) to the soup about 15 minutes before serving instead of cooking separately and it turned out just fine. I maybe wouldn't add the sugar, and maybe would want to add crushed red pepper flakes or chili powder next time.

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cooked macaroni
  1. Combine broth, tomatoes, juice, and soup in a saucepan with a wire whisk over medium heat. Add sugar, spinach, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste, without thawing spinach. Allow to heat gently 20 minutes on medium-low until spinach is tender. Keep hot without letting it boil.
  2. Add cooked pasta and cook for 10 minutes longer.

Mexican Pasta

Very easy and fast and uses mostly food storage. Can't go wrong with that. Blaine loved it, I thought it was okay, but Gwen scarfed it down. We topped with cheese and sour cream.

  • 1/2 pound seashell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook onions and pepper in oil until lightly browned, 10 minutes. Stir in corn and heat through. Stir in black beans, tomatoes, salsa, olives, taco seasoning and salt and pepper and cook until thoroughly heated, 5 minutes.
  3. Toss sauce with cooked pasta and serve.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quick Whole Wheat Bread

This bread recipe is so simple and easy that you can mix it up before your oven preheats!

Quick Whole Wheat Bread

3 c whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c milk
3/4 c honey or sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
3. Spray large loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour dough into pan.
4. Bake for one hour at 325 degrees.
5. Makes one large loaf.

This bread comes out tasting slightly sweet. I love that flavor, but if you want your bread to taste less sweet, just cut down on the amount of honey/sugar. I use a little bit of both (honey and sugar) when I make it. Also, you should check the bread before an hour because ovens vary.

3 stars

Monday, October 27, 2008

BBQ Ribs ****

This is by far my husbands favorite meal. I actually don't mind making it either, it is pretty simple and they come out so tender and delicious!

1 Rack of Pork back ribs ( boneless work too, I prefer with the bone)
2 or 3 bottles of BBQ sauce, any kind

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. brown meat on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. put in 9 x 13 pan (you may have to cut the ribs to get them to fit) and just pour on the BBQ sauce to completely cover ribs. Cover with tin foil. cook for 3 1/2 hours, Flip over ribs halfway through and take foil off for the last half hour. Enjoy!

First of all I need to tell you how to buy a good set of ribs. I like Albertson's meat, and I would die before I would eat meat from Walmart, but I also found out that back ribs are much more tender than spare ribs.I buy the Hormel prepackaged ones, but just ask your meat cutter man which ones are the best. I usually make this fast, so I don't brown it and I don't turn it halfway through because I am usually gone while it is cooking. Sometimes I don't even take off the foil for the last half hour. I always make this with baked potatoes so I just wrap up a few potatoes in foil and cook them with the ribs for the whole time, and heat up some corn right when we get home.(It doesn't hurt it to cook for a little longer too if you are not home) So basically you have a full meal with very little prep. We had this yesterday after church and it was sooo good. Your husband will be licking his fingers for days. I wouldn't splurge on fancy BBQ sauce either, it all tastes the same on this for some reason.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Russian Tea Cakes

Again, too lazy to type out the recipe tonight. I followed the recipe exactly and wouldn't change anything after having made them. My only suggestion is to roll the cookies in powdered sugar twice as the author suggested.
4 stars

General Tso's Tofu: Tastes like chicken :0)

I'm too lazy to type out the recipe tonight. I followed the directions from RecipeZaar exactly and it was delicious. (There are more pictures on my blog if you'd find it helpful.)
4 stars

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Turkey or chicken casserole (3 1/2 stars)

Preheat oven to 375
Spray 9 x 13 pan with some non stick cooking spray and add:
1st layer about 2 cups cooked rice (optional)
2nd layer cooked cut up turkey or seasoned chicken
Cover with grated cheese and dried or fresh onions
3rd layer fresh steamed or frozen broccoli
4th layer Mix together:
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp lemon juice (optional)
3/4 cup sour cream
5th layer Cover with stuffing ( make as directed on box or just add some water to it)
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes

This recipe is really good if you have leftover turkey, if not I just make it with chicken seasoned with season-all and a little Mrs. dash's chipotle flavoring (really great seasoning, if you don't have it you should!) I add lots of cheese too, I love cheese. It is too much work to make up the stuffing in a pan so i just add water to it. I actually only bake it for like 38 minutes too... by the way my husband really dislikes casseroles and this is one he actually likes. This makes probably 8 servings or so, so I usually do an 8 x 8 pan and just do half of everything. very yummy though and filling.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Santa Fe Veggie Wrap

Another great one from Jessica, thank you! Seriously, we loved this. Blaine was so impressed that he could like something vegetarian so well, and for those meataholics out there, I am sure you could add some grilled chicken if you want! Four stars for sure, easy and delicious. The pepperjack is a must. I didn't have jicama, but I've had it before and it is yummy so it would be fun to add, but don't shy away just because you don't have any. Oh and I didn't have wheat tortillas, just white and they were dandy (the kind from Costco where you just buy the dough and cook them up yourself, so good!).

Santa Fe Vegetable Wrap

Santa Fe Vegetable Wrap

Serves 2
This recipe, from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook, is an explosion of traditional Southwest flavors and textures. If you want to add a little heat, try mixing a teaspoon of chipotle chili in adobo sauce to the cream cheese before spreading it on the tortilla. Serve these with a bit of tomato salsa and sour cream or plain yogurt on the side for dipping.


1 (12-inch) whole wheat tortilla, any flavor
1 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 leaves red or green leaf lettuce
4 slices pepper jack cheese
4 thin slices tomato
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
4 thin slices red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced jicama
1/4 cup fresh or frozen and thawed sweet corn
1/2 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained

Spread tortilla with cream cheese. Place 2 lettuce leaves over the cream cheese. Layer the pepper jack cheese on top, then layer the tomatoes, avocados, onions and jicama over the cheese. Spoon corn and black beans evenly over the top. Top with the remaining lettuce leaf and roll up tightly. Slice in half diagonally and serve.

Teriyaki Chicken Stir-fry

I am new to this blog and am so excited! You guys all have some great recipes:) I have made this recipe many times! We had it last night and I still love it. I only add 1/4 C. soy sauce and whatever veggies I have. It is easy and delicious.

1 pound chicken breasts, cut in strips
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup baby carrots, cut in halves
1 cup fresh broccoli, cut in bite-size pieces
2 celery stalks, cut up
1 cup fresh zucchini, sliced
2 cups plus 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
Cooked rice

Cook vegetables in simmering water until crisp-tender. Cook chicken strips in a separate pan in oil, using salt and pepper to season. When chicken is cooked, add 2 cups water, the sugar and soy sauce. Mix until sugar is dissolved. After both chicken and vegetables are cooked, drain vegetables and transfer them to the chicken and soy sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Take 1/2 cup water, add flour and stir until flour is dissolved. Add to the simmering chicken and vegetable mixture. Simmer and stir occasionally for 5-10 minutes. Serve over rice.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies - easy!

We made these for family night tonight and they turned out great. I halfed the recipe and still had over two dozen cookies. They turn out kind of like little cakes moreso than cookies and very delicious! Enjoy!

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir into the pumpkin mixture. Mix in the chocolate chips. Stir in the walnuts if desired. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until edges begin to brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.


Remember to tag your recipes with some keywords, and I think it would be cool if we list our name as one of the keywords so we can look up recipes by person. Thanks! I am excited to have lots of new contributors!
Nothing much new around here, but I've revisited some old favorites (blender whole wheat pancakes, coconut lime chicken, crepes, etc!).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crockpot Lasagna

This recipe is SO simple:

12 Lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 pound ground beef, browned, drained
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 jar spaghetti sauce (28-ounces)
1/4 cup water
1 carton (16 oz) cottage cheese (I used a little more, because I love cottage cheese!!)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Brown and drain ground beef and add Italian seasoning. Grease slow cooker. Put 1/4 cup sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker. Break noodles in half. Layer noodles, sauce, cottage cheese, beef mixture, mozzarella cheese, and water. Cover and cook on low heat 4-5 hours. DO NOT cook longer than 5 hours. Makes 6-8 servings. Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Peppered tomato and bacon linguine

We had this for dinner tonight and it was really really good! With a few modifications though it could have been even better!

  • 1/2 pound peppered bacon, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (16 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving drippings, and set aside.
  2. Saute green onion and garlic in bacon drippings over medium heat for one minute. Stir in tomatoes, basil, salt and ground black pepper; simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  4. Toss hot pasta with sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Okay so. I cooked a whole pound of bacon and ate like half, so that's a good start : ) Then I drained most of the drippings, you don't need like a whole vat of bacon grease. I doubled the ingredients in the sauce and still we didn't have enough sauce. . . . so I've spent a while thinking about it and I think the solution would be that before you simmer for five minutes I would blend up half of the sauce. It was really chunky with all the tomatoes, but I like a real saucy pasta. So if I had it all to do over again I would blend half or more of the sauce and then simmer. Or add tomato sauce or something to make it more of a saucy sauce.

I served with a spinach salad and some sourdough bread broiled with parm cheese on top. DELISH.

Six week bran muffins

I made these today and I think they are quite delicious for how healthy they are ; ) I got the recipe from, the original recipe makes like a million (I am not joking) muffins. I guess the batter keeps in the fridge for six weeks so you can make fresh muffins every couple days or whatever. I scaled it back and it made about 24 muffins.

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup whole bran cereal
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole bran cereal
  1. In a large bowl, add boiling water to the first cup of bran cereal, cool.
  2. Cream shortening or margarine, sugar, eggs, and buttermilk together. Add to bran mixture. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the 2 cups of bran cereal. Stir only until moistened.
  3. Bake in a preheated 425 degree F (220 degree C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

I added a splash of vanilla and a little molasses (because really, when else am I going to use molasses). Someone also suggested topping with nuts or course sugar so they look fancy, I added some chopped nuts on top and it was great!

Enjoy! And then enjoy again for six weeks!

Buttermilk made easy

If you are tired of buying buttermilk for one recipe and then wondering what to do with the rest, I have a product for you!

This little buddy costs like $3 or $4 and can sit in your fridge for months (how many months? not sure, I've been using mine for at least six and it still is good). You just add it to the dry ingredients that you are using and mix in the amount of water it says on the back. I just barely realized it is supposed to be water you mix in instead of milk, but hey, it always turned out alright. Anyway, if you cook with buttermilk even once in a while this is way worth the investment, much cheaper than regular buttermilk.

Two Bean Tamale Pie

This is a really good recipe that can be made mostly from food storage. It's great when you haven't been to the store for a while : ) It's not like my very favorite but it is a go to often in our house and it's pretty good!

1 C chopped green pepper (easily omitted if the one you have in the fridge is rotten like mine was last night, ew).
1/2 C chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1T cooking oil
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can or 6 oz veggie juice (V8)
1 can diced green chiles
1 t chile powder
1/2 t cumin
1 pkg corn muffin mix
1/2 C cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley

Grease a square baking dish and set aside. In skillet cook sweet pepper, onion and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in beans, veggie juice, chile peppers, chili powder and cumin and heat through. Spoon mixture into prepared dish.

Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions, add cheese and cilantro, stirring until just combined. Bake uncovered in a 400 dg oven for 25 minutes. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

White Bread, easy!

Six months ago I was afraid of making bread. Now it has been about six weeks since I have bought store bread because I have a goal to only make my own (except sour dough, that takes TEN days to make, I'm not crazy). This bread recipe is easy and delicious.

5 3/4 - 6 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 1/4 C milk or buttermilk
2 T sugar
1 T butter, margarine or shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt

Proof the yeast with warm water and a little sugar. Mix with 2 1/2 C of the flour. Set aside. In pan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter and salt until just warm and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for thirty seconds, then on high speed for three minutes.

Then mix in as much of the remaining flour as you can and knead for about 7 minutes till it is a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in lightly greased bowl, turn once so the other side is lightly greased. Cover and let rise in warm place for about 45-60 minutes, or until double in size.

Punch dough down and turn out on lightly floured surface, divide in half. Cover and let rest for ten minutes (what a silly step).

Lightly grease two medium loaf pans.

Shape dough halves into loaves and place in pans, cover and let rize until nearly double in size 30-40 minutes.
Then bake at 375 oven for about 40 minutes.

Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on wire racks.

This bread slices easily for sandwiches. Love it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nikki's Cream of Cheddar Cheese & Vegetable Soup

1 c (2 sticks) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 c celery, finely chopped
1 c carrots, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
2/3 c flour
6 c chicken stock (I used vegetable)
1 c whipping cream
1/2 lb Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and finely ground white pepper
Croutons for garnish
Finely chopped parsley for garnish

Melt butter in 4 quart saucepan over low heat; add vegetables and saute until tender, but not brown, about 15 minutes. Add flour and cook roux, stirring constantly. Add chicken stock, whisking into roux until smooth. Cool slightly. Transfer to blender in batches and puree until creamy, about 30 seconds. Return to saucepan and gradually add cream and cheese. Stir over medium heat until cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garnished croutons and parsley.

Love this! 4 stars.

Fall Harvest Chowder

1/2 Pound ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 cup Chopped Onion or 1/4 cup minced onion
4 cups water
1 cup Diced Celery
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 28 oz can Diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato puree
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings

Combine all ingredients in a greased crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. for a thicker soup cook on low for 8-10 hours. makes 8-10 servings.
*Now I alter this recipe just a little bit, i put in less celery and carrots and a lot more potatoes. I also put in a ton more salt- I love salty tomato taste, so I put like a Tbs. of salt in. I love this soup, and i eat leftovers for days- it makes a ton! very yummy in a bread bowl or just eaten with rolls

Lentil Soup

This recipe is from, with some changes. I started this around 11am this morning and just transferred it to the crock pot once the lentils were softened. I'm typing it out the way I made it. Even though it's still warm out, the sky is cloudy so I am just pretending that it's fall. :0)

1 onion, chopped
1/4 c olive oil
3-4 carrots, diced
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried basil
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 c dried lentils, rinsed and drained (I used one cup of brown and one cup of green, for color)
8 c water/vegetable broth (whatever amount of each to reach 8 c)
3/4 c fresh spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced (you could actually put a lot more spinach in this)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Grated parm cheese to garnish

1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and freshly ground black pepper. Saute until onions and vegetables are tender. Add herbs and cook for two more minutes.
2. Stir in lentils, and add tomatoes, and liquid (broth & water). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least one hour (mine took much longer before the lentils were soft).
3. When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until it wilts. Stir in lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and more pepper. I like parm cheese as a garnish.This makes a huge pot of soup. Next time, I'll probably make half as much.

3 stars

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Feta and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

What's not to love here? Bacon, feta...mmmm. Blaine said this was really good! I had a bite and my piece of chicken was kinda weird, so I stuck with baked potatoes, but our guests seemed to enjoy them as did our ever-so-picky daugther, so it must be good!

Feta and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

8 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 slices feta cheese
4 slices bacon, fried and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a small bowl combine the oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix together. Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish and pour oil mixture over chicken.
Stuff each chicken breast with 1 slice feta cheese and 1 slice bacon. Secure open sides with toothpicks.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes.

I marinated the chicken in the sauce for about an hour and a half before cooking. I also layed an extra halfway cooked piece of bacon on top of each breast for extra calories flavor. I cooked a little longer than stated (7 minutes?) because I am paranoid about raw chicken.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Food Storage Friday

My goal is to learn how to use the things we have in our food storage, so I decided today that every Friday I'm going to try something in that genre. The husband seems a little disappointed in the plan, but he'll thank me later when we actually know how to use this stuff.

This recipe is from a lady (Leslie Probert) that presented a class on food storage at Education Week.

Puerto Rican Beans and Rice

3 1/2 c. soaked and cooked dry black beans (or 2 cans of black beans undrained)
1 T. dried green pepper
1 T. dried onion
2 T ketchup
1/2 T olive oil
1 t. oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt (none if using canned beans)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
hot cooked rice

Put beans and all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Serve over rice. 4-5 servings

My review of this recipe is that for what it is (beans and rice), it's pretty good. Not gourmet, but good enough that if you were in need of using your food storage, you wouldn't be sad to have this one night. 3 stars.

Muenster Chicken (How appropriate for Halloween)

Just in case it's not glaringly obvious by now, I did my weekly planning from Jessica's blog so that is where this recipe came from. I didn't have any but Blaine said it was really good!

Kelly Chicken
by Colleen Kelley (another winner, thanks Colleen!)

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I only used 3)
1 egg
3/4 c milk
2 c bread crumbs, seasoned with fresh garlic
12 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
8 slices Muenster cheese
4 tsp flour
1 1/2 c beef broth

Cut each chicken breast into 3 pieces. Beat egg and add milk. Soak the chicken in the egg mixture for 3 hours. Shake chicken in bread crumbs and let sit for 1/2 hour. Brown chicken pieces in a hot skillet with olive oil, browning both sides. Place in a 9x13 inch baking dish (I used a smaller one because I was cooking less chicken). Cover chicken with sliced mushrooms and Muenster cheese. Mix beef broth and flour until smooth. Pour over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 8.

Oh and please, I didn't even look at the recipe until I was like ready to eat. So none of this soaking for three hours and sitting for half an hour business. I soaked for approximately two seconds and let sit about one second (while I moved from the bread crumbs to the pan) and it turned out great. It may have been better with the soaking, not sure.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Come take the poll!

I know it seems like a weird poll, but I am just curious about your "eating foods prepared with wine" tendencies. I know people are kind of all over the board with this one which is why I put a poll instead of asking for comments, so you can be all anonymous and stuff.

Personally, I guess I just don't know. When we went to the melting pot, after much reassurance that the alcohol all "cooks off" we placed our order. . . I think every single option had wine in it. But then I wanted to make a recipe that called for beer battered fish and I was all in angst. : ) Anyway, just curious about all of your thoughts on the topic.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Asparagus Cashew Rice Pilaf

Another recipe from Jessica Krohn ( We made this tonight and I thought it was de-lish. Very easy to prepare and very good to eat. Loved the cashews! I didn't change anything except I had to add some extra broth/water to make sure the rice didn't burn.

Asparagus Cashew Rice Pilaf

This was a complete dinner for us. I'm trying out more vegetarian recipes and this is a nice one because you've got your veggies, grains, and some extra protein from the cashews in one dish. Recipe from I made a couple of adjustments and will write out the recipe as I made it.

1/8 c butter
2 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken (I used whole wheat)
1/2 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 c uncooked jasmine rice
1 1/4 c vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 c cashew halves

1) Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium and stir in spaghetti, cooking until coated with the melted butter and lightly browned.
2) Stir onion and garlic into the saucepan, and cook about 2 minutes, until tender. Stir in jasmine rice, and cook about 5 minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and cook 20 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.
3) Steam asparagus until tender but firm.
4) Mix asparagus and cashew halves into the rice mixture and serve warm.

California Grilled Veggie Sandwhich

This was a simple, yummy dinner we made the other day. I couldn't find focaccia bread at the store, but I think it would have been awesome to have it! I got this recipe from Jessica Krohn ( Thanks Jessica!

California Grilled Veggie Sandwich
For a smoky and sumputuous veggie-filled grilled sandwich, try this easy recipe. All it takes is some veggies, focaccia bread, lemon-mayonnaise dressing, and crumbled feta.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1 cup sliced red bell peppers
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
2 (4-x6-inch) focaccia bread
pieces, split horizontally
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Set aside in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat the grill for high heat.
3. Brush vegetables with olive oil on each side. Brush grate with oil. Place bell peppers and zucchini closest to the middle of the grill, and set onion and squash pieces around them. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes. The peppers may take a bit longer. Remove from grill, and set aside.
4. Spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on the cut sides of the bread, and sprinkle each one with feta cheese. Place on the grill cheese side up, and cover with lid for 2 to 3 minutes. This will warm the bread, and slightly melt the cheese. Watch carefully so the bottoms don't burn. Remove from grill, and layer with the vegetables. Enjoy as open faced grilled sandwiches.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Here's what we had for dinner last night. Prep time is about 30 minutes. Baking also 30 minutes so start one hour before you want to eat. I like meals that bake because I can do the prep whenever my baby is asleep.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Homemade Mac and Cheese
"Few Foods have the universal kid appeal of macaroni and cheese from a box. But make it from scratch, with extra-sharp Cheddar, and the dish becomes a rich, creamy treat that appeals to the whole family."

Recipe By :Emily Page
Serving Size : 10 Preparation Time :0:30

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 cups elbow macaroni
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cans evaporated skim milk
12 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese -- shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp dijon mustard
3/8 tsp pepper
3 slices bread
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese -- grated
2 tbsp butter or margarine

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cook pasta to box directions, drain put in large bowl. Stir in water, set aside.

3. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Sprinkle in flour and stir constantly until it browns slightly. (About 2 minutes)

4. Whisk in milk and reduce heat to low. Melt in cheese and add salt.

5. Pour pasta in a sprayed 9x13 baking casserole dish, and pour cheese sauce on top.

6. In separate bowl, toss bread, garlic salt, butter and Parmesan cheese together. Crumble on top of mac and cheese casserole.

7. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 181 Calories; 8g Fat (37.7% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 21mg Cholesterol; 352mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES : With its bread crumb topping and cheesy sauce, our casserole is a master of disguise when it comes to sneaking veggies into your child's diet. Just stir 1 to 2 cups of broccoli florets, frozen peas, or sliced peppers into the boiling noodles about one minute before they reach al dente, then drain both and combine with the sauce before baking.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chocolate Cinnamon Pound Cake

I say Chocolate Cinnamon instead of Chocolate banana because people who don't like bananas will probably still like the cake. The bananas just add moistness not really flavor. I got this recipe for Janssen. She and Ralphie I think like it more than I did, but I thought it was a fun twist and pretty darn good, and an excellent way to use those bananas you have sitting around. Good luck finding cinnamon chips. : )

Chocolate Banana Pound Cake

(1 bundt cake)

2 ripe bananas
1 package plain German chocolate cake mix (psh, don't give me grief about using a cake mix)
¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cinnamon chips

Glaze:½ cup sugar
5 Tbsp butter
¼ cup milk
3 Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2/3 cup cinnamon chips
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350. Peel bananas and place them in a large mixingbowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend them until mashed. Add the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Blend on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a spatula and beat 2 more minutes on medium speed. Fold in the cinnamon chips, making sure theyare well-distributed. Bake until cake springs back when pressed with finger (38-40 minutes). Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, place sugar, butter and milk for glaze in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until it boils. Still stirring, let it boil for 1 minute and remove pan from heat. Stir in cocoa powder, cinnamon chips and vanilla until the cinnamon chips are melted and the glaze is smooth. Stir and let cool for a few minutes until it thickens a little. When cake is cool, drizzle over the top. Save extra glaze in fridge and eat like fudge.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Refrigerate After Opening

The other night I pulled out my Cool-Whip from the fridge to serve with an awesome dessert Janssen brought over (hmmm, maybe she will post the recipe....). All of my guests were puzzled by the fact that I store Cool-Whip in the fridge. Is that weird? One time I accidentally kept it in the freezer and dang, it was good. I thought, however, that you were supposed to keep it in the fridge. Then I read on the package "keep frozen". My whole world shifted. Who knew?

It begs an interesting question though. What do you do with those "questionable items" that no one knows if they should be refrigerated or not. Like say....vinegar? Soy Sauce? Worcester? I'm just curious. I keep my vinegars on the shelf. I hope you will still eat at my house!