Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Turtle Cheesecake

I made this for my Hubby's birthday and it turned out rich and DELICIOUS!  I was looking for a cheesecake that was different that I hadn't tried before.  It was very rich.  I found it on allrecipes.com here.  I made some changes, so I'll make note of them below.  If you're looking for something for a special occasion this is perfect. 

TURTLE CHEESECAKE

 

Ingredients:

2 cups vanilla wafers crumbs (I used oreos, about 20 in a food processor worked) 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (I think this was a little too much for oreos, so I would cut it down by a couple of Tablespoons next time) 
14 ounces individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped (I used Hershey's Caramel Topping) 
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips)  


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter one 9 inch springform pan. 

Toast the pecans at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 6 minutes. Remove pecans and set aside. Leave oven at 350 degrees C (175 degrees C). In a small saucepan, melt the unsalted butter. 

Combine vanilla wafer crumbs (or oreos) with the melted butter then press into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Place the pan onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove and allow to cool. 

In a double boiler, or a bowl set over barely simmering water, melt the caramels in the evaporated milk. (** see note) Stir until smooth. Pour this over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the nuts over the top. 

In a bowl, combine the cheese, sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down the bowl several times. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. Melt the chocolate chips in the double boiler and mix into the cheese mixture (Instead of mixing the chocolate in, I poured it over the top of the cheesecake mixture and swirled it in with a toothpick making designs.) Pour the batter over the caramel layer. 

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 minutes or until barely set. (This took a lot longer on mine.  Just keep an eye on it.)  Chill over night in the refrigerator before serving. 

**if you use caramel ice cream topping, do not add in evaporated milk, unless you want it to turn out different.  I added the evaporated milk and the layer of caramel wasn’t really a layer at all and just came up around the cheesecake mixture.  It wasn’t bad, just messier.  Next time I will probably go with melting caramels.
 

ENJOY!

Friday, December 10, 2010

2 Hour Rolls

Last night I was looking for a quick roll recipe to go with the roast and veggies my Hubby had put in the crock pot.  It was only 2 hours before dinner, so I needed to find something quick.  I found this recipe and adapted it a little and they turned out great!  I love homemade rolls!

 2-HOUR ROLLS


Ingredients:
 
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 Tbsp. white sugar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. yeast
4 cups flour (I used 2 cups white and 2 cups wheat)

Directions:

Place all ingredients, except flour, in a large bowl in the order listed and let sit for a few minutes.  Mix in flour and knead until combine.  If too sticky, add a little more flour.  Cover with damp cloth and let rise 15 minutes.  Punch down then let rise another 15 minutes.  Punch down and make into balls (I did a little bigger than a golf ball) and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  If you'd like, you can melt butter and lightly brush it over the top of them.  Cover with dry cloth and let rise for 1/2 hour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Makes 24 rolls.

 ENJOY!

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna (Crockpot)

I found this recipe on Parents.com a while back and never actually got around to making it until last week.  I followed the directions really closely, not really making any changes, so you can just follow the original.  It was really good.  You really couldn't tell that it was vegetarian.  I guess that you could add chicken or beef and it would work will in this recipe, but it really doesn't need them.  Sorry for the bad picture.  The one on parents.com is so much better!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Best Chili...

My husband and I both agree this is the best chili I have ever made (my hubby says it's the best he's ever had).  It was so easy and delicious!  It makes plenty and I seriously ate it for lunch every day afterward until it was all gone.  I got it from Moms Who Think.  They have a great list of easy and delicious recipes, of which I have tried quite a few.  Here's the link to the recipe.  I made some minor changes and I will make note of them below.

BLUE RIBBON CHILI
 

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef (I actually just used 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I used one small can tomato sauce and 2 cups chopped tomatoes pureed together in blender; healthier and delicious!)
1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
4 Tablespoons chili seasoning mix (I used this recipe)
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans (I used all light kidney beans and once used 1 of light kidney beans and one of black beans.  Both times it turned out great!)
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
Directions:
1.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and sauté for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired.
2. Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and kidney beans.
3. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour. 

Taco Pizza, yum!

I got this idea a while ago and have been wanting to try it.  We love homemade pizza and like to try lots of different toppings.  It turned out really well!  Really simple too!  Little B liked helping sprinkle the toppings and gobbled it up!

Taco Pizza


Ingredients:
1 pizza crust (my recipe)
1 lb.ground meat (I like turkey best)
Taco Seasoning (either from a packet or I use this recipe)
2 cups shredded cheese of choice
2 Plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 avacado
sour cream
chopped olives

Directions:
Prepare pizza crust.  While it's rising, cook meat and add in taco seasoning.  When dough is done rising, roll out and place on greased pizza pan.  Spread meat over crust and top with cheese.  Bake in preheated 450* oven for 12 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese in melted.  Spread remaining ingredients over pizza, slice, and ENJOY! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Honey Pecan Pork Chops

These were so good!  I kind of felt like I was eating dessert for dinner.  It's not overwhelmingly sweet though, just enough to make it good.  I got the recipe from Moms Who Think. They have weekly easy dinner ideas that I have been trying a lot lately.  Here's the page.  It's week 1 day 5.  I'll put the recipe below, or you can get it from there.  I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and a green salad.

HONEY PECAN PORK CHOPS


Ingredients:

1 ¼  pounds boneless pork loin, pounded thin
½  cup all-purpose flour for coating
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons butter
¼  cup honey
¼  cup chopped pecans

Directions:

1. In a shallow dish, mix together flour, salt and pepper. Dredge pork cutlets in the flour mixture.
2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add chops, and brown both sides. Transfer to a warm plate.
3. Mix honey and pecans into the pan drippings. Heat through, stirring constantly.
4. Pour sauce over cutlets.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Melt in Your Mouth" Peanut Butter Cookies

This is my favorite recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies!  I got it from the cookbook The Ultimate Cookie Book, by Catherine Atkinson.  I hope you love them too.

Peanut Butter Cookies


Ingredients:

1/2 c. butter, at room temperature, diced
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (or creamy, if you prefer)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  In another bowl, mix the egg and vanilla, then gradually beat into the butter mixture.  Stir in the peanut butter and blend thoroughly.  

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and stir into the mixture to form a soft dough.  Chill dough for at least 30 minutes, or until firm.  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease two baking sheets.  Spoon out teaspoonfuls of dough and form into balls.  Place on baking sheets and flatten with fork, making a crisscross pattern.  Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly colored.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

ENJOY!

Angel Hair Pasta with Broccoli and Herb Butter

This is a great light-tasting pasta dish.  I found it on epicurious.com  I made it just like they suggested and it came out great.  I served it with Salmon Patties which turned out well.  I'll put the recipe below or you can get it at the link above.

Angel Hair Pasta with Broccoli and Herb Butter


Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces angel hair pasta
2 cups small broccoli florets
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add pasta and cook until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add broccoli and boil until pasta is tender but still firm to bite and broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer. Drain pasta and broccoli; transfer to large serving bowl. Add herb butter and toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately if desired.


ENJOY!

Black-Bean, Cheese, and Slaw Tacos

Doesn't this look delicious?  It was!  Ben ate it well too.  I got the recipe from here, but made some changes.  The recipe with what I did is below.


Black-Bean, Cheese, and Slaw Tacos


Ingredients:

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided 
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
2 cups coleslaw mix 
2 green onions, chopped 
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
4 white or yellow corn tortillas 
Bottled chipotle hot sauce or other hot sauce

Directions:
Place beans and cumin in small bowl; partially mash.  Add cheese.  Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture and a little slaw mix onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with more slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.

ENJOY!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Whipped Jello Salad

This is one of my go-to recipes when I am asked to bring a salad to a potluck.  I think it has been at pretty much every one of my mom's family gatherings I have ever been to.  You can add variety by changing the flavor of Jello or fruits that you add.  In the picture I used sugar-free Peach Jello and strawberries and peaches.  You can make more or less of this by using all big or small containers/packages of ingredients

WHIPPED JELLO SALAD


Ingredients:
1 pkg. Jello
1 container whipped cream
1 container cottage cheese
1 can fruit (or you can use fresh)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together in bowl.  Chill briefly before serving to let it thicken a little.  Garnish with fruit, if desired.

ENJOY! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken and Cream Cheese Crescents

This is an old recipe. I think my aunt was the first to make it for me. It's so simple and so delicious. I've had these pictures for a while and I decided to finally post the recipe. If you love cream cheese, you will love this. I have to say though, they are very addicting...


Chicken and Cream Cheese Crescents


Ingredients:

2 "rolls" refrigerated crescent rolls (you can also use biscuits or your own recipe)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced or 1 can chicken, shredded (I prefer cooking my own)
3 green onions, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven according to roll package directions. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, chicken and onions until combined. Lay out crescent with large end facing you. Put about 2 Tbsp. cream cheese mixture in center of large end. Fold large sides in and around the mixture and then roll it like you would a crescent (I hope that makes sense). Put finished rolls evenly apart on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven according to roll package directions, or until golden.
These are great with a nice green salad.


ENJOY!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Back...with Cheesy Eggplant Bake

It's been a while! This summer has been crazy. Baby J was born in June and with him, came family visiting. When that was all over, we moved. Then, I went on vacation. I am finally getting into a routine at home and cooking for my family again. I have been taking it easy and going with simple and quick recipes, because who knows how my kids will be acting when it is time to make dinner. I have quite a few recipes saved up, which I will be putting in here and there. I am going to take this slow for a while, but I am going to try to make at least one new thing each week.

Tonight I tried a recipe that I was actually a little skeptical about. I found it on a new cooking blog I found called Cheap Healthy Good. Here's the link to the recipe. I will reprint it below. The name does not do this recipe justice! I had never cooked with eggplant and I'm not sure I had ever even eaten it before. I had no idea how this recipe would taste, but the reviews were raving, so I decided to try it. It is mostly just a vegetables, but it makes the perfect main dish. I just served it with a side of French bread and it worked perfect. I followed the directions really closely and the only thing I did differently was not add the mushrooms (one of the few things that I just cannot stand). Try this! It is SO GOOD!


Cheesy Eggplant Bake


Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg + 2 egg whites
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
6 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


Directions:
1) Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds. Arrange rounds in a colander in your sink and sprinkle salt all over them. Walk away for half an hour. When finished, "rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels."

2) While eggplant is sitting, combine bread crumbs, garlic salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or on a plate. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk eggs. When eggplant is done, douse each slice in the egg mixture. Then dip in the bread crumb mixture to coat. Shake off any excess and/or drippy-ness.


3) In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook a few rounds until browned, about 2 minutes per side. When finished, arrange in 13x9-inch baking dish. Repeat for second batch.


4) Preheat oven to 350°F.


5) Heat last 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add green pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Cook until onion is softening and pepper is crisp/tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top eggplant with mixture. Add tomatoes on top of that, spreading evenly.


6) Cover with tin foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and take off tin foil. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake another 25 or 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and a little brown. Serve to applause.


ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Might just have to wait...

So, I know I have been slacking lately, but I do have quite a few recipes that need to be typed up and shared with some pictures. Unfortunately, in the later part of my pregnancy, I suffered from a little lack of motivation. I promise I will get better, but I might take it a little slow for a few weeks. The reason? Our new "Baby J" joined our family a couple of weeks early and I'm not sure how this whole "mother of two" thing will work for a while. I will be back though. In the meantime, if you have or find any great recipes, share them with me so I have a good list of things to try.



Friday, June 11, 2010

Asian Spinach Salad

Mmm...this was delicious. The flavors all together with the chicken and pasta made the perfect summer pasta salad. I was thinking this would be an easy something to bring to a potluck, but it also made the perfect main dish for dinner. Little B ate it pretty well and the Hubby and I gobbled it down. I found the recipe on This Week for Dinner, a new favorite cooking blog. Here's the link. Thanks for sharing Jane! I just made some minor modifications because of what I had, but nothing big. The recipe is below, with the things I did, or you can just follow the original. It's so good so you really should try this!

ASIAN SPINACH SALAD



For salad, toss together:

1 small bag of spinach
8 oz. bowtie pasta (cook, strain, cool)
2-4 Tbsp. Sesame seeds
1/2 C. Sunflower seeds
1 can sliced water chestnuts
3 chicken breasts – season heavily with lemon pepper, grill and cut into bite size pieces (I get really big chicken breasts from my grocery store, so I just cut up one of those, about 3/4 lb) (I also cooked it on the stove with a little cooking spray and lemon pepper, worked great!)
1 C. bean sprouts (I accidentally bought alfalfa sprouts, but I think they worked great)
(As to Jane's suggestion, I added about 3 green onions fresh from my garden and I think that really added to the goodness!)


Dressing:
(There was a bit of dressing left over in the bottom of the bowl once we were done, so next time I might try halving it to see if that will work)


1/2 C. Canola oil
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp Seasoned Rice vinegar (unseasoned works too)
1/2 tsp sesame SEED oil
1 tsp grated fresh garlic

Mix all dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Store in refrigerator. It was good room temperature and chilled as leftovers the next day.
ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lime Fajitas

These were so good and refreshing! I loved the lime. My whole family ate them right up. I found this recipe on my friend's blog Erica's Pantry. Here's the link to the recipe.
I followed her recipe pretty closely, having to use the frying pan with a little cooking spray to cook the chicken and veggies. Try these! You won't be disappointed!

Cheeseburger-Zucchini Pie

I grew up eating cheeseburger pie made from the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. It has been years since I had it and when I found this recipe, it looked so delicious to me. I like any recipe that has been made a little bit healthier by adding vegetables. I think my Little B even had seconds (amazing for him). I found the recipe on parents.com. I made some slight changes, so you can either use the recipe below, or just use the one at the link above.

CHEESEBURGER-ZUCCHINI PIE


Ingredients:

3/4 pound lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1
medium onion, peeled and chopped
1
medium zucchini (about 6 ounces), shredded
1/2
teaspoon salt
1/4
teaspoon black pepper
1
cup shredded Italian cheese blend (again, I just used what I had on hand, colby jack)
1/2
cup heart-healthy reduced-fat biscuit mix (I found one the Jiffy makes, and it's a little less expensive than Bisquick)
1
cup milk
2
eggs


Directions:

Heat oven to 400°. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Crumble in ground meat. Stir in onion and zucchini and cook for 6 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Spread beef mixture into the prepared 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the biscuit mix, milk and eggs until smooth. Pour mixture over beef mixture.

Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges and serve.

Homemade Taco Shells

I can't believe I never thought of this before. Such a great idea and so much tastier than the store-bought shells. They also didn't break as easily. I found the idea here on Eating Well's website, or you can follow my modified recipe below.


HOMEMADE TACO SHELLS



Ingredients:

12 6-inch corn tortillas
Canola oil cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon chili powder, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided


Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Wrap 4 tortillas in a barely damp cloth or paper towel and microwave on High until steamed, about 30 seconds. Coat both sides with cooking spray; sprinkle a little chili powder and salt on one side.

Drape each tortilla over a panel on a baked-taco rack and bake until crispy and brown, 7 to 10 minutes. (They had a tip in case you didn't have a taco rack, like me, and here it is: You prepare the tortillas the same way, and then drape them over two bars on your oven rack. You might want to remove the rack and spray it with cooking spray first, which made it easier to remove them. Also, 7-10 minutes was a little long for my oven, just keep a close eye on them.)

Remove the shells from the rack and repeat the steaming a cooking with the remaining 8 tortillas.

No-Bake Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn't love Mac and Cheese? The stuff from the box is easy, but I prefer homemade. I found this recipe on Eating Well's website, here's the link. My husband isn't a big fan of broccoli, so I put in cauliflower instead. It tasted pretty good. If I try it again I might try to find something to spice it up a little, but it was a good basic recipe.

(sorry about the low quality picture!)

Light Spaghetti Pie

This was pretty good. Maybe my family won't agree, but I don't think it was good enough to add to my list of regulars. There were some good elements to it and I'm not sure what it was that bugged me, but my family said it was good, so maybe you should give it a try and tell me what you think, or what changes you would make. I got it off of parents.com and here's the link.

Lemony Chicken and Orzo

I have been wanting to try this recipe for a long time! I actually had it scheduled for a while ago, but then half way through cooking ran into a road-block that I don't care to share. I was really good though. If you really like the taste of lemon, this is perfect. If you don't like it really strong, just add less. I used the full amount, but I think it would be good either way, depending on my mood. I got this one, again, off parents.com and here's the link. I didn't really make any changes, just cut the chicken down to about half of what it said. Try it and let me know what you think.



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Slacking

I have been slacking a little on putting up the recipes I've been making. It seems like I have been really busy, and once I got a little behind, it just gets harder to update. I have been making a lot of new things, and I will try to get it all posted in the next couple of days. I think my recent favorites have been Homemade Taco Shells, Tortellini Alfredo Casserole, and Zucchini Cheeseburger Pie. So...new things coming soon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

I had to share this, just because it was so simple and SO GOOD! My husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary last week, and part of what I did for that was make these chocolate-covered strawberries. I am so happy that strawberry season is upon us here! I tried to make them look a little gourmet, but regardless, they were tasty! Little B's favorite part of helping was eating the chocolate chips (and the final product)!

CHOCOLATE-COVERED STRAWBERRIES


Ingredients:

1 lb. fresh strawberries

approximately 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use whatever kind you want!)
desired toppings, ie sprinkles, crushed nuts, mini chocolate chips, etc.

Directions:

Wash and completely dry strawberries, leaving stems on. Using a double boiler (or, if you don't have one like me, in a small pot, boil about a cup of water over medium heat and place a glass bowl over, completely covering the top). Melt chocolate completely, stirring constantly. Place wax paper on a cookie sheet. Once chocolate is melted, dip strawberries, holding by the stems, a turn to coat completely. Dip chocolate-covered strawberry in topping(s) of choice (on only one side of strawberry), and place on wax paper topping side up. If you would like to melt another kind of chocolate to drizzle over top (in the picture I did butterscotch chips), melt about 1/2 cup of chips the same way you did the chocolate and drizzle it over your chocolate covered strawberries (you can do this before or after the chocolate has hardened). Place completed strawberries in the refrigerator until chocolate has hardened.

ENJOY!

Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Pasta

I found this recipe on EatingWell.com. You can use their recipe, or my slightly modified recipe below. Healthy, sweet and delicious. You could serve this up as a vegetarian dish or add a little grilled chicken in with it or on the side. My side of steamed asparagus, fresh from the garden, was the perfect thing to top off the meal.

SWEET POTATO AND RED PEPPER PASTA


Ingredients:

8 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta (I used thin spaghetti)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups shredded, peeled sweet potato, (about 1 medium)

1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup diced plum tomatoes
(I just cut up 2 Romas)
1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar, or lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (or Parmesan)

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes or according to package directions. Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon oil and garlic in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, bell pepper, tomatoes and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender-crisp (I like mine softer), 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and keep warm. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the vegetable mixture, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, parsley, tarragon, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and cheese; toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sinfully Rich Fudgy Brownies

Another family recipe that comes from a very old dessert cookbook. It is now out of print, but I was able to find a used one when I moved away from home. If you want to know, it's titled Cookies by Natalie Hartanov Haughton. I remember making these brownies with my Grandma for my class when I was in elementary school. They are probably SO unhealthy, but they are very very good. I had to make a dessert for a church activity so I decided on these. I hadn't made them in years, because when I do, I eat too many. The title pretty much describes them perfectly...

SINFULLY RICH FUDGY BROWNIES

Ingredients:

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (1 oz.=3 Tablespoon cocoa + 1 Tablespoon oil)
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

*Chocolate-Marshmallow Frosting-
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (1 oz.=3 Tablespoon cocoa + 1 Tablespoon oil)
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (1-lb.) pkg. powdered sugar (3-3/4 cups)
4 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions:

Brownies- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9x13 in. baking pan. In a large saucepan, combine chocolate and butter. Heat over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla and salt until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour, blending well. Spread evenly in bottom of greased baking pan. Bake 25-30 minutes; brownies should be moist. Do not overbake! Cool in pan.

Frosting - Meanwhile, prepare Chocolate-Marshmallow Frosting. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and butter. Heat over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add eggs, vanilla and powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in marshmallows. While frosting is slightly warm, spread over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Cut chilled brownies into bars. Store in refrigerator.

I did not prepare mine soon enough in advance, so the frosting was a bit runny, but still good.

ENJOY
!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mmm Mmm...Banana Bread

Anytime I go into the kitchen and start making something, Ben grabs a chair from the kitchen table and pulls it over to me. He wants to hold any measuring cup and pour everything in. Today was no exception and he was a really good helper. It was a fun morning in the kitchen.


Today we made one of my favorite family recipes. It is hand written in the recipe binder my mom has had for as long as I can remember. The page is stained from years of getting dough on it. You can tell flipping through that it is one of our favorites. It is the best banana bread recipe, in my opinion. I have tried others, but I always come back to this.

BANANA BREAD




Ingredients:
3-4 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 eggs (use 2 with 3 bananas and 3 with 4 bananas)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts and/or chocolate chips, if desired

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large mixing bowl, mash bananas. Add sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs, and mix well. Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well blended. Add nuts/chocolate chips, if desired. Pour into two well greased loaf pans. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top in golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Let cool on rack for 5 minutes and then take loaves out of pans. Enjoy immediately or sometime later. (These loaves freeze really well too.)

ENJOY!

Tater Tot Casserole

This dish hit the spot. It is definitely a comfort food. After a really long day, this was really easy and tasty. I changed the traditional Tater Tot Casserole a bit, but the result was a success. Both Hubby and Little B ate it without complaints. There's not meat in this recipe, but could be easily added or could be used to replace the chili. Try it, let me know what you think.

TATER TOT CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

1 bag frozen tater tots
16 oz. frozen vegetable of choice (I used corn this time)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup shredded cheese

Meatless Chili -
1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and coarsely mashed
1 can tomato paste + 1 can water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions:
In medium bowl, mix together chili ingredients. Pour in bottom of greased 9x13 baking dish. Spread so it covers the bottom evenly. Spread cream of chicken soup evenly over chili. Sprinkle vegetables evenly over that and then place tater tots on top in a single layer. Bake in preheated 325 degree F oven for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. In last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.

ENJOY!

Win a Beaba Babycook

Wouldn't this be an awesome thing to have in the kitchen! I spent way too much buying baby food with Little B and I have a goal this time to try and make it this time around. That way it's healthier, among other things, for baby #2. I found this awesome giveaway by Willete and thought I'd share!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Salmon Patties

I was excited about this recipe because it looked easy and I'd never tried making anything like it before. Plus, I love fish. They were really good, but getting the salmon separated from bones and skin in the can was terrible. I was afraid I'd miss some bones and I think I threw out just as much as I used. Next time, I'll probably use frozen salmon instead. After I got that done, they were done pretty quickly. Little B ate every bite of his, which is an amazing thing. It seems like ever since I started this blog, he has been eating better at dinner. I got this recipe off of this blog. They have some easy dinner ideas that toddlers will eat. Here's the recipe...

Salmon Patties



Ingredients:
1 can salmon (or about the equivalent of frozen or fresh)
2 eggs
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. bread or saltine cracker crumbs
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Drain salmon and remove any bones. Mix all ingredients together
in a medium-sized bowl. Form salmon mixture into patties and fry
in a hot skillet with a little vegetable oil. Brown on both
sides, about 5-6 minutes each side.

ENJOY!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

We love pizza around here. I hate forking out the money to buy pizza, and so we usually just make it. I have to say that my pizza crust recipe is the best I have ever had. I originally got it from my friend Kim when we were in college and would get together and make pizza and watch chick flicks with our other friends. Ever since then, I haven't used anything else. I have made Chicken Alfredo pizza before, but never completely from scratch, and I have to say, it was one of the best chicken alfredo pizzas I have ever had. I had leftover cooked chicken and bacon from previous meals this week, so the preparation was really easy. Here is my recipe.

CHICKEN ALFREDO PIZZA


Ingredients:

Dough -
1 cup warm water
1/4 + 1/2 Tablespoon sugar, separated
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 Tablespoon salt
about 2 1/2 cups flour

Sauce -
2 Tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Toppings -
1 cup chicken, cut in cubes, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and cooked.
1/2 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
about 1 cup of your favorite cheese, grated
(plus whatever else you'd like to top it with)

Directions:
1. Prepare the dough - In medium bowl, mix warm water, 1/4 Tbsp. sugar, and yeast. Proof for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 Tbsp. sugar, oil, salt, and flour. Stir and knead until well blended, adding more flour if too sticky. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for at least 30 minutes.

2. Prepare the sauce - Once the dough is about done rising, start to prepare the sauce. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt pepper and flour. Immediately add milk and whisk until mostly smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until sufficiently melted.

3. Assemble the pizza - Roll out pizza dough to the appropriate size for your pizza pan. Place on greased pizza pan. Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving about 1/4 inch around the edges. Sprinkle about 1/2 of cheese lightly over sauce. Sprinkle all the other toppings, ending with the remainder of the cheese. Note - if you like more cheese, add more. Bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees F for about 12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling, and/or the crust is a light brown.


My Little B loved it and picked all the toppings off before eating the crust.
ENJOY!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

Another sweets recipe. I got this one from my dear friend Erica's blog, Erica's Pantry. They are so so yummy. They made lots so thank goodness I had some people to take some to. Little B loved them (what child wouldn't). We had fun getting flour all over the kitchen with his help and as soon as they came out of the oven he was asking for a "ookie." They were the perfect thickness and sweetness and they were good days after I made them too. This is the perfect recipe to make with your kids help. It will be messy that way, but forget about that and have fun! Thanks Erica for sharing!

THICK AND CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS
originally from Mel's Kitchen Cafe



Ingredients:

2 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (use your preference of semisweet, bittersweet, milk, white, peanut butter…the options are endless!)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.

Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. (It took about 30 minutes in my oven) Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

ENJOY!

Apple Chicken and Couscous

This recipe seemed odd to me, but I thought it would be interesting so I wanted to try it. I found it on the Parents.com website. This was another success. My Little B absolutely loved it! If you knew him, you'd know how picky of an eater he is, especially at dinner. It is hard to get him to eat lots of things, but he just gobbled down the chicken and asked for more. He loved the sauce. It wasn't just him. These are flavors that I wouldn't have put together before, but they are so good. I loved the dijon mustard in the sauce and, since I used pre-diluted apple juice, it wasn't too sweet. Try this and I hope you love it too! You can get the original recipe here, or use mine (with my modifications) below.


APPLE CHICKEN AND COUSCOUS


Ingredients:

1 cup unprepared couscous
1 cup baby spinach, chopped

1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
(If you don't have the concentrate, you could use prepared apple juice, then just don't add water to dilute it)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or however much chicken you'll need for your family, and I used chicken breasts cut thin)

1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Directions:

* Place couscous and spinach in bowl. Heat 1/3 cup of the apple concentrate and 2/3 cup water to boiling over high heat in large nonstick skillet. Pour apple liquid into couscous. Stir and cover tightly with foil; set aside.

* Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, cook chicken 7 minutes per side or until cooked through. Fluff couscous with fork. Place chicken on top; cover.

* Whisk together remaining 2/3 cup apple concentrate, honey and mustard. Add apple concentrate mixture to skillet; cook 3 minutes over high heat. Drizzle chicken and couscous with sauce; serve with additional sauce on the side.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Butterscotch Roses

With this pregnancy, I have had a serious sweet-tooth. I cannot get enough of all things sweet! A few months ago I came across this recipe at ifood.tv, saved it as a bookmark, but I just never got around to making them. Last week I was craving something sweet again, so I decided to finally give it a try. They turned out so well! They were really easy to make, even with my extra set of little hands pouring and sticking fingers in the dough. He loves eating them too. This is on my list of things to make for my family when they come when the baby is born. The recipe, with my modifications and pictures, is below. Or you can get the original here.

BUTTERSCOTCH ROSES

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (if desired)
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening (or I used light margarine and they turned out well)

7/8 cup milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 °F (220 °C). Butter 8 large muffin pan cups (I was actually able to get a full 12 out of this recipe). Set aside. In a bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Mix in nuts, if desired. Spoon 1 tbsp (15 mL) mixture into each cup. Set aside remainder. In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in shortening until granular. Make a well in the center. Pour in milk. With a fork, gently mix to a soft dough. Flour a clean, even surface. Roll out dough to a square, 12 inch (30 cm) wide by 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) thick. Spread remaining caramel mixture over dough. Roll.


Slice into 8 rounds. Place over caramel in muffin cups. Bake in oven 20 minutes or so.


Unmold at once!!! If you don't they might just be stuck in there...

(This picture does not give them justice!)

Enjoy warm or cool with a nice glass of milk!


ENJOY!

Classic Baked Penne Casserole

I found this recipe on Living a Better Life, which is a money-saving blog. They have a section for frugal recipes and it looks like they have some great low-budget recipes there. I'll have to explore it a little more! This recipe was submitted by Michelle and it was delicious. It was so easy and it turned out so well! It's a mixture between a lasagna and spaghetti and my family loved it. I made a few changes to my liking and I hope you enjoy! I will definitely be making it again!


CLASSIC BAKED PENNE CASSEROLE
Ingredients:
8 ounces of Penne pasta, cooked and drained (I used Farfelle (bowtie) pasta instead)
1/2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained (add some spices while cooking if desired) ( I added some curry and garlic. Oh so good!)
1 26-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or about 3 cups of your homemade sauce)
2 c. Mozzarella cheese, shredded (you can also add a little parmesan cheese if you have it on hand) (I live near a cheese factory and our favorite cheese in the colby jack, so I used that instead)
Parsley, dried or fresh and chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions:
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* In a large bowl, mix together cooked pasta, beef, sauce and 1 c. of the shredded cheese.
* Place pasta mixture into baking dish and cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
* Take dish out of the oven and remove cover, top with remaining 1 c. of shredded cheese and sprinkle with parsley. Bake for another 8-10 minutes.
Makes 4-6 servings. This recipe can be double easily and cooked in a 10x13 baking pan.

ENJOY!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weekly Dinners

I am going to try every week to post what I plan to cook for our dinners. Most weeks I have at least a few new recipes that I try. If they are good, I will take pictures and post the recipe. Tonight I am planning on a Baked Pasta Casserole. I'll let you know how it tastes. It's really easy and I hope it tastes just as good! Happy Cooking!