Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll up

A while ago Terra over at Barefoot Conterra, shared a recipe for a bacon cheeseburger roll up. I thought well that sounds different and interesting. Then after attending the Taste of Home Cooking School the recipe was in their magazine so it got put on our menu for tonight.

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll ups
1 lb ground meat(I used turkey)
1/2 lb bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
1 8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 recipe for no rise wheat dough
1 onion, diced(I will add in next time)
ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc

Cook onion and meat until no longer pink. Drain. Roll dough out into a very thin layer. Sprinkle dough with meat mix, bacon, and cheese. Roll up jelly roll style and stuff ends in. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 mins.

**We really liked this, but thought it lacked in flavor. So I will add in onions next time and maybe put the mustard/ketchup right inside the dough. It tasted great with the mustard/ketchup on top. Q loved it and A well was being 3! You can add any kind of toppings in it you want that you would put on a cheeseburger.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

I needed lunch for the boys one day and one of the boys was vegetarian. So I tried to make a vegetarian chili and it was quite good, it was so good that K didn't even miss the meat really, well he did a little, but he still liked it!

Vegetarian Chili

2 cups black beans
3-4 cups great northern beans
1 pkg frozen corn
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup bbq sauce or more(I used honey)
1 onion diced
1 sweet pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp oregano

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and stir. Heat on low for 8-10 hrs. Serve with corn bread. 

**K said it was delicious and didn't even miss the meat! Q loved it and A claimed it was "too spicy".

Monday, March 29, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I saw a recipe on Mennonite Girls Can Cook a while ago and then I found another version on For the Love of Cooking, so I combined the two and got this recipe! A was a bit disappointed I didn't make "baby" muffins, but he told me last time not to make them, so I can't win in his 3 year old mind!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 scant cup white sugar
1/2 scant cup brown sugar
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Place bananas in stand mixer and mix until mashed. Add in sugars, applesauce, and egg. Mixed until combined.  Add in dry ingredients. Stir to combine, fold in chips. Place in prepared muffin tins and bake for 18-20 mins until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Mocha Fudge Brownies

I got this recipe from a message board I used to frequent more than I do now. It got rave reviews and I've probably had the recipe for 2 to 3 years by now. I finally got instant coffee so I decided to give it a try!

Mocha Fudge Brownies
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
1/4 cup hot water
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1 scant cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

Mix together dry ingredients with a whisk(I used the whisk attachment on my stand mixer). Place chocolate chips and butter in microwave safe dish and heat until butter is melted and chips are stirred smooth. Dissolve coffee in hot water.

Slowly add in butter/chocolate mix. Add in vanilla. Stir in 1 egg at a time until well incorporated. Place in 8 inch pan that has been greased. Bake for 22 mins at 350.

**This orginal recipe also called for 1/4 toffee chips, so you can sprinkle them over the brownie mix before putting them in the oven. They also took a bit longer to cook, you want the toothpick to not come out clean, but you don't want it runny either. You will also want to use a good quality instant coffee, I used a cheap one and well I can't say for sure if I like the taste. Your brownies should be gooey, like the middle is! That's me and overcooking them, but they are still good!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes


Steak and Cheese Grinders
Smoked Sausage Kabobs
Blue Cheese Penne with Chicken
Bacon Cheeseburger Roll ups
Vegetarian Chili
Sailor Sandwiches with Caesar Mayo and homemade rolls
*We probably won't get to all of these


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Easter Dinner:

Bourbon Glazed Ham
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Roasted Carrots
Potatoes(maybe scalloped, not sure yet)
Sweet Milk Rolls
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Dessert for the inlaws:

White Chocolate Berry Dessert

For more menus make sure to check out orgjunkie

Smoked Sausage Kabobs

K grew up eating smoked sausage also knows as kielbasa as his mother is polish. I of course ate it growing up too, but we have a different idea of how to cook it. He always had it boiled, while we tended to grill it with bbq sauce or broiled it. We used to eat it with a box of mac and cheese because K could handle this meal, but I'm always on the look out for a new way to cook it.

Smoked Sausage Kabobs- from Taste of Home Recipes 2009
1 lb smoked sausage(I used turkey), sliced into 1 inch slices
1-2 sweet peppers, largely cubed
1 onion, largely cubed
1 pkg grape or cherry tomatoes
other veggies(zucchini, mushrooms, etc)
bamboo or metal skewers

1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced(I used the microplane)
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

*If using a gas or charcoal grill, make sure to soak bamboo skewers for at least 30 mins beforehand.

Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Alternate, ingredients on skewer until skewer is full and all ingredients have been used. Place on grill(I used our George Foreman) and baste with sauce. Let cook for 2 mins, flip and baste with sauce and continue to cook until cooked through. (I went about 7 mins on my grill, you may need less time on a gas/charcoal grill).

**We really liked the combination of the sauce. I will cook them a little longer next time as they weren't piping hot, but they were very flavorful. K couldn't believe how much flavor was on them. I will also forgo the skewers next time especially if its just us. It's too time consuming and then they just get pulled apart to eat them anyway. They would be great for entertaining!

Steak and Cheese Grinders

I have been craving steak and cheese grinders...hoagies, subs, heroes, whatever you may call them for a while now. I of course haven't been able to find any shaved steak at my grocery stores. Thankfully, my mom told me they had it on sale at her store so she picked me up 2 packages, so thanks mom!

I used to cook at a local ice cream place back in college, so this recipe is taken from there. Oh how I love Anne's...

Steak and Cheese Grinder
2 sweet peppers(i used red and orange), sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 lb shaved steak
garlic powder
italian seasoning
cheese(I used shredded cheddar)
4 grinder rolls

Saute peppers and onions, about half way through cooking add in your steak. The steak will not take long to cook so you will want your veggies almost done. Once your steak is added sprinkle in seasoning, this is done by taste, I basically just sprinkle it around the pan. Stir and continue to cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle cheese over the top and allow it to melt. Divide meat and veggies on top of grinder rolls and serve. 

**Now this should feed 4 normal people with 4 normal sized rolls...our rolls were huge and well we ate it all, just the 2 of us in one meal!(ok K, didn't finish his, but his was bigger than mine.)

Broccoli Cheese Rice

I used to love those packets of rice and powder that would make a cheesy broccoli side dish...until you read the ingredients and the sodium content. So I've been searching around for a recipe and wasn't finding much that didn't include a can of cream soup, I didn't want the cream soup, just something simple to go with dinner. Luckily I finally found one and it was pretty good, kinda tastes like the packaged stuff even smelled like it, but the sodium content was much lower!

Broccoli Cheese Rice- adapted from
2 cups of instant brown rice
2 cups of broth(I used chicken)
1 head of broccoli, coarsely chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Bring broth to a boil. Add in broccoli and cook for 5 mins, add in rice and bring back to a boil. Turn heat off, cover until rice is cooked through. Add in cheese and stir until cheese is melted, you may have to turn the heat back on.

*You can easily do this with long grain rice. Just use the broth in place of the water and cook the rice before you add the broccoli in and let the steam cook the broccoli.

**This was quite simple to make, I would have liked my broccoli a little less done, but that was due to my timing. I was also cooking the kabobs at the same time.

Cranberry French Toast

I decided to make French toast with the cranberry swirl bread I made earlier in the week. Now I do not have a recipe for french toast, as I eyeball it. But Hallee also posted her recipe for French toast this week, so I am going to share her recipe as hers has measurements and I'm sure it will be just as good!

Cranberry French Toast- adapted from Hallee the Homemaker
1 loaf of cranberry swirl bread, sliced thick
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar(which I did forget, but with the sweetness of the bread, can be omitted)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt(omitted)

Preheat griddle. Mix together all ingredients except for bread. Once everything is well incorporated, dip bread in make sure to cover both sides. Place on griddle.(You can butter the griddle if you wish, I did not.) Flip once the side is golden brown and continue cooking until the other side is done.

Spread with some butter and drizzle with either pure maple syrup, cranberry syrup, or powdered sugar and enjoy.

**I made cranberry syrup a while ago and froze the rest. It did NOT freeze well, it came out more jell like, K did try it, but never heard how it was. I will add the cranberry syrup once I find the recipe. The French toast was delicious!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Honey Wheat Rolls

This is a simple recipe that requires a bread machine, but you can also adapt it to your stand mixer or by hand. I have used this recipe a few times before and they have always come out great!

Honey Wheat Rolls from
1 1/4 cups warm milk
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp yeast

Place ingredients in the order listed into the bread machine pan. Make a well for the yeast, in the flour, before adding it. Turn machine on and press dough button. Let it work its "magic". Check the dough a few minutes to make sure it is the right consistency. You will want it to be smooth and elastic, if it seems to wet, add in more flour until the dough forms. If its too dry, add in 1 tbsp of water until consistency is reached.

Once dough cycle is done, take dough out of pan and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out so it 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut dough using a 3-4 inch biscuit cutter and place on cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for 1 hr or until doubled. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 mins until golden brown.

*You can also shape these into grinder/hoagie/hero rolls or hot dog rolls. The first picture are my MONSTER rolls, the dough was a bit thicker as I wanted to see what would happen. They will work well for the sailor sandwiches later this week!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

So here we are on a Friday night and I'm sitting here watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. If you havent' seen it, check out ABC and watch it. I highly recommend it!

So the purpose of my blog is to not eat processed foods and eat more "real" food. This is basically what the show is all about. Jamie goes into the unhealthiness town in the U.S and is trying to change their eating habits...well it is not going well so far.

One family he showed them the amount of food they eat during the week and it was all processed deep, fried...well crap. It made me sick to my stomach to see ALL that food in one spot and see the size of these people. He actually took the family to the dr to get check ups and the oldest son will probably develop diabetes if he keeps going on this diet. They claim they've made "real" food all week, but there are a lot of ingredients left in the fridge and McDonald's wrappers and cups around...

Then he went into a school to change their menu. They were going on and on about guidelines and how they needed 2 breads, but Jamie only had one in their menu. He had brown rice and he needed another one(so he ended up serving a WHITE hamburger roll) but their pizza, that was frozen and loaded with sodium and fat counted as 2 bread servings...he did question it, but only got "well that's the way it is".

Then there are the lunch ladies...they were not very nice to say the least. I was appalled by their behavior. They would much rather feed the kids the processed food rather than working a little extra hard to get them the fresh food. I couldn't believe the way they treated him and didn't support him at all!

He also went into a kindergarten class and asked them to identify veggies...they couldn't identify one! They had no idea what a tomato, potato, or cauliflower was! That really shocked me, as I'm sure A could tell you what some of those were...although he does call a red pepper a tomato, but its the same color. At least tomato is in his vocabulary. Thankfully, the teacher saw what happened and in turn taught the kids what the veggies were.

He finally showed the kids, teachers, and parents what the kids were eating. They dumped a dump truck full of fat and that was the amount of fat being consumed by the kids during the year. It certainly opened the parents eyes

 I did not find the principal very supportive of his efforts at all...they all doubted Jamie and his abilities. They are allowing him to try his experiment for a couple more weeks, but he must stay in budget.

It truly was an eye opener....

So have you seen the show? Did you like it? What surprised you the most?

Malted Milk Ball Cookies

I was on the lookout for a different cookie recipe. These cookies will be making the trek overseas and I just didn't want to send the same ol' chocolate chip, peanut butter, or sugar cookies. Hopefully they are well liked! This came from a recipe contest held in a magazine...I don't remember which one though!

Malted Milk Ball Cookies
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2-3 cups malted milk balls, chopped

Beat butter in stand mixer(or hand mixer) for 30 seconds. Add in sugars, salt, and baking soda. Beat until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well mixed. Slowly add in flour. Fold in malt balls

Drop by rounded tbsp onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 mins at 375 degrees. Transfer to cooling rack.

**If you want, hold out 1/2 cup of crushed malt balls and sprinkle them on top of the cookies when they come out of the oven. I used robin eggs, I suggest to use regular malt balls as these were hard to crush!  These are chewy on the inside and crunchy around the edges. Much more cookie like!

Maple Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

A couple weeks ago in our local paper they did an article on pure maple syrup as it is sugaring season right now. They had a couple of recipes in it and this recipe intrigued me so I decided to give it a try. The cookies are right now waiting to be sent over seas to my friend Hallee's husband and his feel troops. Hopefully they like them...

Maple Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 1/2 cups flour(your choice)
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped pecans(or walnuts)
1/2 to 1 cup m&ms(optional)

Beat together milk, syrup, eggs, and butter until well combined.(the butter will still be lumpy) Mix in flour, salt, and baking soda. Add in oatmeal. Fold in pecans and m&ms.

Place by rounded tbsp onto cookie sheet for 15 mins at 350.

**These do not have a strong maple flavor, not as much as I had thought considering there is a cup of syrup. The m&ms are not part of the orginal recipe but felt the recipe needed something...The baked cookies did redeem themselves. K says they are more cake like than a crispy,chewy cookie. Also in the original there is milk in the ingredient list but not in the recipe, so when I added the milk the dough was too soft so I added another cup of flour to get a cookie dough consistency(this has been accounted for in the recipe I posted).

While the cookies are good, just not sure they will make my list of "I must make them again".

Thursday, March 25, 2010

African Beef Curry

I am in LOVE with curry...I've never had curry at a restaurant, but have only ever made it. I know there are different types of curry too. I found this recipe while reading a cookbook my mom let me borrow...I place it all in the crock pot and the smell alone would have made me, except the beef was raw! So I'll try to be patient for dinner to be fully cooked!

African Beef Curry- from Taste of Home Recipe Collection 2009
1 lb beef stew meat
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 or 2 red or green pepper(s)(I only used one)
1 onion, sliced
1-2 tbsp curry powder

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and stir well. Cook on low for 8-10 hours until beef is tender. I will be serving this over jasmine rice.

**While this smelled really good cooking, all day long, there was something missing. I am not sure what and I'll have to try another recipe. There was just not enough flavor...the coconut I sprinkled on top helped though. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. I haven't experimented enough with curry to know what will go with it. I do make a really good peach/citrus curry but not sure how well that will go with beef.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cranberry Swirl Bread

While looking through the Taste of Home Annual Recipes for 2009, I came across this recipe. I remembered I still had some cranberries frozen in the freezer when they were on sale at Christmas and figured I should use them up sooner rather than later. This will be turned into French toast for either dinner on Friday or breakfast on Saturday.

Cranberry Swirl Bread-Taste of Home 2009
1 cup all purpose flour
2-2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup(or 5 tbsp butter)
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt

In a small saucepan, combine milk, water, butter and heat to 120-130 degrees. Meanwhile combine, yeast, flour and salt. Add in milk mixture and beat, slowly add in remaining flour until a soft dough forms(may not need all of the flour). Need for 6 mins using a dough hook or by hand until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in warm place for 1 hr or until doubled.

Punch dough down and roll into a 20X10 inch rectangle.

While dough is rising, work on filling and allow to cool.
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries(I kept mine whole)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped(omitted)
1 tbsp lemon juice(omitted)

Place cranberries, sugar, and water in smalls saucepan and and let simmer about 15 mins until cranberries start to pop. I did help mash some of the berries. Take off heat and add in lemon juice, walnuts, and butter. Allow to cool.

Spread over dough to within 1/2 inch of  the edge of the dough. Roll jelly-roll style starting with longer edge. Seal seam. Place in zig zag(or snake shape) into a bread pan loaf that has been greased. Move onto topping...

2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter, divided

Melt 1 tbsp butter. Combine sugar and flour, cut in 1 tbsp butter until crumbly. Brush melted butter over the top of "snake" and sprinkle topping over it. Cover "snake" and let rise for 40 mins. Bake at 350 for 40-45 mins until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

**This was excellent and it was so pretty too! K was throughly impressed with how good it looked and raved about how yummy it was, which isn't like him at all! I would like to try it with blueberries next time. Or any berry would work well!

3rd award!

This is technically my third award! My second one, I have yet to post, but I will now that I'm going on to #3! This one comes from my friend, Hallee, over at Hallee the Homemaker. I aspire to be like her...really I do! So thank you, Hallee! For more info on the Stiletto award, click here!

Rules for the blog are:

1.Display the Stiletto badge of honor.
2. Brag about it-post a link to the page to highlight what the award is about
3.Say thanks! Include a link to the friend who nominated you.
4. Share the love-nominate 5-10 more blogs. Leave links to their blogs and leave them a comment so they know they won!
5.Do what you do! Keep at it and keep inspiring others!

Here are my nominees:

2. Terra at Barefoot ConTerra
3. Erica at Cooking for Seven
4. Michelle at All Home Cooking. All Year Long
5. Mama Bird at  Mama Bird's Nest
6. Megan at What Megan's Making

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday pictures make sure to check out 5 minutes for mom

Sweet Bean Burritos

I am always on the look out for vegetarian dishes. I watch a little boy on Wednesday and Fridays and he is vegetarian and I get sick of always just feeding him the same thing of either grilled cheese, quesadillas, or pasta. It is also lent so I book marked this one to try and I'm in love with sweet potatoes lately!

Sweet Bean Burritos-adapted from Newlyweds
2 cups cheese(i used colby Jack)
12 flour or whole wheat tortillas(I used flatout bread so I only made 5)

Bean Mixture:
2 cans black beans, rinsed drained(I used 2 cups of cooked dry beans)
1 onion, chopped or sliced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
3 tbsp soy sauce
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil

Coat pan in oil and saute onions and garlic until tender. Add in water and beans and cook until heated through. Add in spices and soy sauce. Simmer for about 15 mins until sauce thickens.

Potato Mixture:
3-4 sweet potatoes, baked*
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced(i omitted this)

Once potatoes are done, scoop out insides and place in bowl, mash. Add in cilantro and peppers and stir.

Spread sweet potato mixture on tortilla. Place black bean mix on top and sprinkle on some cheese. Roll up and place in casserole dish(I used a 9X13). Continue until all the filling is gone. Sprinkle top of  burritos with more cheese and bake for 15 mins at 350.

*I only had 1 and 1/2 sweet potatoes as I used up 1 1/2 for some sweet potato fries. I wasn't thinking that I needed that much sweet potato, so I had some butternut squash cubes in the freezer so I quickly roasted those and mashed them in with the sweet potatoes.

**This was good...except it was very spicy to K and I. A took one bite, looked at me, and declared it was too spicy. I did only use 1 chipotle, but I had extra sauce so that could have attributed to it.I did not taste the squash at all...and I'm not usually a fan of it! Oh and pretend there is a beautiful picture of a nice burrito, in all the chaos I forgot to take a picture of the final burrito!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Creamy Sausage and Peppers

We...well K really LOVES anything with italian sausage so it makes our way into the menu when I find it on sale. Lucky for him I scored a really good sale a couple weeks ago and stocked up on it(and did again today). At the Taste of Home Cooking Show, this was one of the recipes and I knew K would enjoy it. I made it last night for dinner and it made quite a bit of food, he went on to enjoy 2 helpings last night, again for lunch, and again for dinner tonight. Needless to say, he REALLY liked it and it was so simple!

Creamy Sausage and Peppers-from Taste Of Home
1 lb italian sausage, sliced
1 red pepper,sliced
1 green pepper,sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp fennel seed
2 garlic cloves minced
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1-26 oz jar of pasta sauce
3-4 cups uncooked macaroni

Cook sausage until no longer pink, add in peppers, onion, and garlic. Saute until tender. Meanwhile, cook pasta.

Once sausage is done, pour in sauce and cream cheese. Stir until melted and heated through. Once macaroni is done, drain and add to sauce. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!

**You can use any kind of sweet peppers you like. I also use 1/3 less fat cream cheese.

This is linked to Potluck Sunday at Mommy's Kitchen

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

Growing up my mom always made zucchini bread, it was always really good and we all loved it! This recipe came from her that I'm sure she got from work, but I've adapted it to make it a little healthier and they are still just as good!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 2/3 cups sugar(actually it was a little less)
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 banana, mashed
2 cups packed zucchini, shredded
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350, grease or paper line cupcake pan(s). Mix together all ingredients except 2 tbsp flour and chocolate chips, until well combined. Mix the remaining flour(white flour seems to work best) and chocolate chips, and fold into mix. Place batter into muffin tins. Bake for 10-12 mins for mini muffins or 20 mins for regular sized muffins. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

This recipe made 1 dozen regular muffins and 2 dozen mini-muffins. You can also make 2 loaves of bread with this recipe and cook for 50-60 mins or until done.

**I used a banana in place of one egg. The recipe calls for 3 eggs, but I had a very over ripe banana and you can substitute a banana for each egg. You can taste the banana, but its not as strong as a banana bread or muffin. I am trying not to eat them all today...this is delicious served with cream cheese!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

Well my menu is always subject to last week's got moved around and I made different stuff. But I didn't have to run to the store for different ingredients so that is good!

-Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
-Cranberry Swirl bread
-Cranberry Swirl French toast with cranberry syrup

-African Beef Curry(and I just realized this says ABC!!)
-Steak and Cheese Grinders with homemade rolls
-Sweet Bean Burritos

For more menu ideas make sure to check out

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Parmesan Breadsticks

It seems whenever I have a soup on the menu I need some kind of bread to go with it...I couldn't decide whether I wanted a focaccia or bread sticks. I decided on this recipe!

Whole Wheat Parmesan Bread Sticks- adapted from
2 cups whole wheat flour
1-2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast(or 1 pkg)
1-1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
butter or butter flavored cooking spray

Stir water, yeast, and honey together in stand mixer bowl. Let sit for 5 mins.Slowly add in 3 cups of flour, add in additional flour(may not need all of it) and cheese until soft dough forms. Change to dough hook and need for 6-8 mins until smooth and elastic.

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Cut dough into equal pieces and roll out into breadstick form. Place on cookie sheet and cover. Let rise for 30 mins. Before placing in oven, spray/base with butter and sprinkle with salt.

Cook at 400 degrees for 10-15 mins until golden brown.

**These were fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I was glad I put the salt on them because otherwise they seemed to have been missing something. I did use shredded parm instead of grated and perhaps that made a difference, but they matched perfectly with the soup.

Roasted Tomato soup with ravioli

I came across this recipe a while ago and while it wasn't on the menu for this week, it just sounded better than what I originally planned, I even had almost all the ingredients.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Spinach Ravioli- adapted from For the Love of Cooking
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, drained juice reserved
2-4 whole garlic cloves
1 pkg baby carrots
2 onions, cut into quarters
2 cups veggie broth(or chicken)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp dry basil
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Place tomatoes on foil covered pan. Cut crosses in 2-3 tomatoes and place garlic cloves inside. Place onions and carrots on another pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast tomatoes for 30 mins and onions/carrots for about 40 mins, flipping after 30 mins. Carrots should be tender and browned. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, heat water to boiling and cook raviolis according to the pkg, drain.

In blender, puree veggies until smooth. Place broth, milk, basil, pureed veggies, ravioli, and bay leaf in slow cooker. Cook on low for 2-3 hrs.

**This was really good, even K liked it and he didn't know there were carrots in them. I did add some salt and pepper to taste and some more broth as it wasn't really "soup" like. I was hesitant on how it would taste, but we really liked it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vanilla Pudding

I was making my youngest son a birthday cake for his birthday, but I decided to try out the mini-bundt pan I snagged from my mom...and well none of them came our pretty. It was quite frustrating. So I had to figure out what to do with the cakes...and even the cupcakes didn't turn out, the chocolate chips stuck to my silicone cups, they apparently didn't have enough flour on them so they didn't sick to the bottom of the pan. So I decided to save them with a trifle...of course I have no cream to make whipped cream, so my friends said to do chocolate and vanilla pudding when I couldn't make up my mind which one to do.

Vanilla Pudding- from
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter

In medium saucepan, whisk together dry ingredients. Slowly add in milk while whisking, turn heat on. Heat mix until thickened, so that it stays on the back of a spoon. I kept whisking occasionally while it thickened. DO NOT BOIL! Add in butter and vanilla, whisk until incorporated. Cool in fridge until ready to serve. To keep a skin from forming, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the pudding.

**This was fairly simple and easy to make. It didn't really take any longer than using a boxed mix. Ok so maybe it took a little bit longer but only long enough to heat up!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

This is go along with the trifle I am making for dessert tonight. Yesterday was Q's birthday and I wanted to make a cake, but well it didn't work out, so it just goes to show that not all recipes work out! The cupcakes/bundt cakes stuck to the pan and are not pretty!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding- from
1/2 cup sugar
3 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup milk
1-2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together dry ingredients into a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk, warm mixture, while whisking until thickened. You will know its ready when it stays on the back of a spoon. Whisk in butter and vanilla. Pour into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Have it touch the pudding so that a "skin" doesn't form. Chill until ready to serve.

**It tasted pretty good too!

Corn Muffins or Corn Bread

I'm sure there may be better recipes for corn bread out there, but I've always just used this one and we've been happy with it.

Cornbread-from the back of the Quaker Cornmeal container
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together, place in muffin tin or 8x8(9x9) pan, cook at 400 degrees for 20-25 mins until golden brown.

Crock pot Corn Chowder

This is a recipe we used to always have on Halloween growing up at my grandmother's house with corn muffins. I have since adapted it to a crock pot, but my mom still does it on the stove.

Crock pot Corn Chowder
1-2 qt broth or more depending on the size cooker you use
1 onion, diced
1-2 lbs potatoes, diced(peeled if you like)
2 cans cream corn
2 cans corn, drained
1/2 lb bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled(although I have used a whole lb)
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in slow cooker, except milk and butter. Broth should come up over ingredients, may need more or less depending on the size of the crock pot you are using. Cook on low 8-10 hrs or until potatoes are cooked through. About 30-60 mins before serving add in milk, enough to fill slow cooker, butter, and bacon. Stir, once heated through. Serve with corn bread or muffins.

**You can easily adapt this to a vegetarian meal without the bacon and use veggie broth. This is not thick like a stew, but more soup like. You can also add more potatoes and corn depending on the size of your crock pot.

Greek Pizza

After coming inside from playing outside, A informed me he wanted pizza for lunch. I responded with, will you eat it?, he said yes. I knew I had some feta to use up so I quickly whipped up a pizza(or 2) for him. It was quite tasty!

Greek Pizza
1 recipe for no rise pizza crust
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 pkg feta cheese(i used tomato basil flavor)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
chopped baby spinach
2-3 roasted red peppers, chopped

Make pizza crust and cook for 5-8 mins at 400 degrees. Top with tomato sauce, spinach, feta, cheese, sprinkle or two of oregano, and peppers. Cook for 8-10 mins until golden brown and cheese is melted.

**I hid the spinach and feta from A and K(sometimes I have to be sneaky with my husband too!) A loved the pizza and informed me that I could not eat all of his yummy pizza!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Pretzels...Knots

This is another recipe I have been wanting to try for a while now, so on a whim I decided to try them today!

Cinnamon Raisin Pretzels- adapted from Taste of Home
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups cake flour(or 1 3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour)
2-2 1/4 cup sifted whole wheat flour
3/4 cup raisins
2 cups hot water
2 tbsp baking soda
3 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

In stand mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in water, add in brown sugar and salt. Mix in cake/ap flour. Add in rest of flour and cinnamon until a soft dough forms. Coat raisins in 2 tbsp of flour(from flour you are using) and add to dough. Switch to bread hook, and kneed until smooth and elastic, about 3-4 mins. Grease bowl, cover, and let rise for 30 mins.

Punch dough down and divide into 14 balls. Shape into 15 inch long ropes. In a bowl dissolve baking soda into hot water. Dip each rope into the water, drain on paper towels, shape into pretzels. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 mins at 400 degrees until golden brown. 

Combine sugar and cinnamon. Brush pretzels with butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture.

**These were fantastic and would make great bagels! I have more knots than pretzels, I need to practice the pretzel twist. They were not hard to make, just hard to twist.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meal Planning Monday-March 15

-Corn Chowder with corn muffins
-Turkeys in blankets(with homemade crescent rolls)
-Sausage and Peppers(new recipe)
-Sweet Bean Burritos

-Pumpkin Scones

Also a cake for my sweet baby's first birthday, I really have no idea how he is turning 1!

We will also be making some cookies to send over to my friend Hallee's husband who is stationed in Afganistan.

**This of course is subject to change. For more recipe ideas, check out

Pie Crust

I've never made a pie crust...other than for a dessert that was graham cracker or oatmeal crust. Last week I was looking for suggestions on what to make my in-laws for dinner and someone suggested chicken pot pie. Well then I got a huge craving for it, so I'm making it for dinner tomorrow night. I wanted to try my hand at a crust, my grandmother always said she wasn't good at it, so I never tried it. Thanks to Hallee, I did it, its not pretty, but hopefully it will taste good!

Pie Crust- shared from Hallee the Homemaker
*This is for a 2 crust pie
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup+2 tbsp shortening
4-6 tbsp COLD water

Sift together flour and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter or fork until small peas form(they just look like peas). Slowly add in 1 tbsp of water and lightly stir until a ball forms, the dough should not feel wet.

Separate dough into 2 balls, lightly flatten out on lightly floured surface, flip so that both sides are floured. Carefully roll dough out into 11 inch circle, or rectangle in my case. Do not roll too much or start over, you want to handle this the least amount of time as possible as this makes the dough light and flaky. Fold in half and in half again. Transfer triangle to pan and unfold. Continue with second ball. Make sure you vent the top of the pie, I used a star cookie cutter, but you can also poke it with a fork.

For a baked crust, once dough is in pie plate, crimp sides, poke with fork, and bake at 475 for 8-10 mins until lightly brown. Then fill.

For one pie crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup+1 tbsp shortening
2-3 tbsp COLD water

**It actually was not as hard as I expected it to be!

Chicken Pot Pie

I had a craving for chicken pot pie ever since someone mentioned it, so I tried a new recipe! The filling is great and I tried making my own crust, it wasn't hard, I just never made it before! It's not as pretty as some, but I do hope it tastes good!

Chicken Pot Pie-shared from Hallee the Homemaker
1 recipe for 2 pie crust
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, diced
carrots, sliced(i used baby carrots and it was about 1/2 a bag)
1/2 bag frozen peas
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 3/4 cups chicken broth(i used water and 2 bouillon cubes)
2/3 cup milk
2-3 potatoes, baked(i used the microwave)

Melt butter, saute celery, onions, and carrots until tender. Sprinkle in flour and cook for 1-2 mins. Add in broth/water(and bouillon) and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer, this will thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add in chicken. Peel potatoes(I did leave the skin on mine) and dice. Add into veggie/chicken  mixture, until heated through. Turn off heat and mix in peas.

Place filling into a 9 inch pie pan(or in my case a 9x13) that has 1 crust in bottom. Top with second crust and crimp/seal. Make sure to vent pie with fork, knife, or cookie cutters. Bake at 425 for 35 mins until golden brown.

Sloppy Bbq Chicken Pizza

This is a recipe I came across, oh...3 weeks ago or longer. It has been on my menu plan for at least 2 weeks and I finally got to make it for dinner tonight with my brother in laws. We are headed there for dinner and I needed something that I could cook here and reheat there, so this won!

Sloppy Bbq Chicken Pizza- adapted from Vanderbilt Wife
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together, place in oven safe skillet(or 9x13 would work), cook at 400 degrees for 20-25 mins until golden brown

2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1.5 tsp cumin
2 tsp minced garlic(or 2 cloves)
1-2 peppers(i used 1 red,1 green) chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups shredded cheese

Drizzle pan with olive oil. Saute onion, peppers, and garlic until tender. Add in chicken, stir. Add in sauces, spices, and sugar. Mix until combined. Cook for 2-3 mins until sugar dissolves.

Once cornbread is done, take out and top with chicken mixture. Cover with cheese and place back in oven for 5 mins until cheese is melted.

**The topping itself is a bit spicy, but the spice was cut down when eaten with the cornbread. If you don't like spicy I'd cut down on the spices!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Honey Buttermilk Yogurt Waffles

As I was asking A what he wanted for breakfast he informed me he wanted waffles. I of course had none in the freezer(these I do usually buy as I have a belgian waffle maker and well they don't fit in my toaster oven.) Perhaps I need a regular waffle iron too. So I told him I'd make them for lunch, then he got McDonald's. But he still wanted waffles and so then I had to look up a waffle recipe...for some reason I didn't have a go to waffle recipe. This one sounded interesting and I had all the ingredients.

Honey Buttermilk Yogurt Waffles- adapted from Annie's Eats
3 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup buttermilk(or milk)
6 oz container vanilla yogurt(or 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla(which I forgot!)

Whisk together flour, soda, powder, oatmeal, cinnamon. Add in buttermilk, honey, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk until combined. Fold in butter. Place in waffle maker until golden brown.

**These are fluffy and moist. And if you are really lucky, your 3 year old will want sprinkles in them.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Homemade Oreos

Last sunday was my brother in law's birthday. I told him I'd make dinner and a cake, well he's now getting homemade oreos! These were not hard or time consuming, honestly the longest part was filling them. They taste delicious too!

Homemade Oreos- adapted from What Megan's Making
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 scant cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 stick butter, cut into pieces
1 egg

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl mix together soda, powder, cocoa, flour, and sugar, until well combined. Add in butter a piece at a time and then egg. Mix until a stiff dough forms. Scoop using a mini ice cream/cookie scoop 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Cook for 9 mins, rotating half way through. Cool before filling.

Cream together butter and shortening, slowly add in sugar and vanilla. Mix on med-high until light and fluffy. Place filling between 2 cookies and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicken Club Squares

For anyone in New England down to D.C knows how nice the weather is today.  That didn't really have anything to do with dinner tonight, but as I was making it, it reminded me of a nice, easy, fresh dinner idea for the spring and summer!

Chicken Club Squares-shared from What's for dinner?
6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1/3+1/4 cup miracle whip light(or mayo)
2 cups bisquick
1/3 cup milk
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, sliced(omitted)
1 cup shredded cheese

Mix together bisquick, milk, and 1/3 cup miracle whip until soft dough forms. Grease a 12x8 inch pan. Press dough into pan. This dough is VERY sticky, I advise sprinkling it with more bisquick to get it into the pan. It took a little effort! Bake for 8-10 mins at 400 degrees.

Mix together onions, chicken, 1/4 cup miracle whip, and bacon. Spread over dough. Sprinkle on tomatoes and cheese. Place back into the oven for 5-6 mins until chicken is heated through.

**I know I used bisquick, but I have some to use up! It was really tasty too!

Chocolate Syrup

Poor K wanted chocolate milk last night...until I told him we don't have any chocolate syrup. So I told him I would make some today and I did! It seems much richer than the store bought stuff, but is approved by A! **Sorry no picture as I need to purchase some mason jars, but I need to find them first! Right now it is residing in my Rainforest cafe coffee mug!

Chocolate Syrup-shared from All Home Cooking
2/3 cup water(or 1 cup if using all sugar)
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup sugar(or 1 1/2 cups if not using nectar)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

In a sauce pan combine water, nectar, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Heat to boiling. Whisk for 2 mins. Remove from heat add in vanilla, whisk until combined. Place in mason jar(or coffee mug) cover and place in fridge.

**I've been looking for dark cocoa powder and can't seem to find it anywhere. I saw it at Christmas but never picked any up thinking I'd be able to find it afterwards. I even checked Whole Foods. It is still yummy! It was really quite easy to make too!

Wordless Wednesday-Helping with dishes

For more wordless wednesday posts visit 5 Minutes for Mom

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Herb Focaccia

My friend Terra, over at Barefoot ConTerra, shared a bunch of links to what she would like to make next. One of them led me to a new recipe for focaccia bread. I've never made focaccia, but I was making soup for dinner and of course it needs bread with it, so here it is!

Herb Focaccia-adapted from Cooking for Seven
1 3/4 cup each whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tbsp olive oil(plus some for drizzling)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp italian seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
parmesan cheese

Grease 9x13 inch pan. Toss all ingredients into stand mixer bowl and mix until combine. Continue mixing for 1 min. Place dough into pan, cover, and let rise for 1 hr. Take fingers and poke holes in top of dough, do not go all the way down to the pan. Drizzle with oil. Place in 375 degree oven for 25 mins until golden brown. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top and place back into the oven for 10 more mins.

**This was super easy and delicious!

Pasta E Fagioli

This was another soup that I wanted to try went to the store and gathered all the ingredients except I forgot the spinach, so my version will be without it. I'm sure K won't mind one bit...

Pasta E Fagioli-adapted from For the Love of Cooking
1 onion, diced
1 lb hot chicken sausage, casings removed
1 qt(or more) chicken broth
1-2 cups cooked pasta(i used alphabets and elbows)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with italian seasoning
2 cans cannelini beans, rinsed, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 10 oz box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
additional italian seasoning, if needed

Brown sausage and onion, add in garlic. Puree tomatoes in blender. In a 5 qt slow cooker, add in broth, sausage mixture, and tomatoes. Add in beans and pasta. Set to low for 2-3 hours. This can cook all day in a slow cooker, the longer it sits the better the flavor will be.

**This was good, but I'm sure it would be even better with spinach! Btw, soup is hard to take a photo of! It was very spicy so if you use hot sausage you may want to hold off on the red pepper. I also didn't care for the chicken sausage, but that is just me!  Q loved it! It was too spicy for A.