Friday, December 24, 2010

Organized Cooking Class

I've been asked to teach a class at my church about how I organize meals. So, I'm asking anyone who reads these for some feedback. What stops you from getting dinner organized or what do you do that works?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sugar Cookies

These are the best sugar cookies I have ever had. Recipe is from Bridgette Jankowski. Bridgette recommends Betty Crocker's Rich & Creamy Vanilla frosting. I have yet to find a really good homemade sugar cookie frosting. One of those recipes I'm on the hunt for.

Add ingredients into bowl in the order listed:

1 cup salted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
6 cups flour

Chill in fridge for about an hour. Roll dough out on floured counter. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 9 min.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cookie Dough Truffles

I love these and they are easy.

* Prep: 1 hour + chilling


* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
* 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* 1-1/2 pounds dark chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped


* In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour, alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Shape into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm.
* In a microwave bowl, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating; allow excess to drip off; Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. If desired, remelt remaining candy coating and drizzle over candies. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (2 each) equals 240 calories, 12 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 46 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

This is another cookie that I like to make for Christmas plates.


* 1 cup butter-flavored shortening
* 1 cup creamy peanut butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 3 eggs
* 1 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
* 3 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract
* 5 to 6 tablespoons milk


* In a large bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition after each addition. Add vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.
* Shape into 1-in. balls and place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 3/8-in. thickness with fork. Bake at 375° for 7-8 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.
* For filling, in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread on half of the cookies and top each with another cookie. Yield: 44 sandwich cookies.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (I use regular milk)


In a small bowl, combine the oats, flours, baking soda, salt and sugar. In another small bowl, beat the egg, oil and buttermilk. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Pour batter by 1/3 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top; cook until the second side is golden brown. Yield: about 10 pancakes.

*I double this recipe for my family of 6.

Nutrition Facts: One serving (2 each) equals 263 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 44 mg cholesterol, 433 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mini Spatula

This is one of my favorite kitchen tools. The Pampered Chef mini spatula. Anytime I bake treats in a 9x13 or 8x8 dish (like brownies, bar cookies, etc) this is the best spatula to get my treats out with making a mess. It's a great little gift for anyone you know who likes to bake.
Pampered Chef Mini Serving Spatula

Monday, November 22, 2010

Streusel Topping for Sweet Potatoes

If you are not fond of marshmallows on top of your Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes try this streusel topping instead. This should make enough for a 9x13 dish. This is from Cook's Illustrated.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces and softened, plus a little extra for
greasing the pan
1 cup pecans

Butter the dish. Pulse flour, brown sugar, and salt in food processor until blended, about 4 1 second pulses. Sprinkle butter pieces over flour mixture and pulse until crumbly mass forms, six to eight 1 second pulses. Sprinkle nuts over mixture and pulse until combined but some large nut pieces remain, four to six 1 second pulses. Sprinkle topping over sweet potatoes, breaking up any large pieces with fingers. The original recipe says to bake til topping is well browned and filling is slightly puffed around the edges about 40 min and baking at 375 degrees.
Depending on what type of filling you use the baking time may vary. If you oven tends to run hot you may want to reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.

Creamy Sweet Potatoes

Servings 10-12
Prep Time: 15 min.
Bake Time 40 min.

5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cooked
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt

In a large bowl, mash sweet potatoes. Add eggs, orange juice, butter, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt; mix well. Transfer to a greased 3 qt baking dish. (I used a 9x13 pan) Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until set. Top with marshmallows; return to oven until they just begin to puff and melt about 5-10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Plans

This is a Thanksgiving tip I heard on a Martha Stewart show that I used the year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Pull out all the serving dishes or pans you plan on using/cooking with. On a little slip of paper write the name of what is going in that dish/pan and set the paper inside of it. That helps you to make sure you have enough pans and it is much easier to just look for the label instead of hunting around the kitchen the day of trying to find them. I also made a time line for myself for when things needed to be prepared and cooked. Then I just followed the plan.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

These are some of the cookies that I use for Christmas treats that I take to neighbors and friends. The orange zest in them is so yummy with the white chocolate chips and cranberries.

1 c butter/marg, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 c quick-cooking oats
1 c coarsely chopped fresh/frozen cranberries (I use Craisins)
1 T grated orange peel
1 pkg white chocolate chips (I like Nestle white chocolate chips)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, on at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture. Stir in oats, cranberries and orange peel. Stir in vanilla chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 10-12 min or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

Yield 6 dozen

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thanksgiving Stuffing

I make two batches of this. One goes in the turkey, the other gets baked separately. Then mix the two together after they are baked. This is an adaption of Cook's Illustrated Holiday Stuffing.

1 loaf bread, cubed and dried (leave out overnight to dry)
1 diced onion
1 egg, beaten
1/2 bottle rubbed sage
1 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
2 cups chopped celery
1 cube butter, melted and slightly cooled

Mix together with hands and sprinkle with a little water to moisten stuffing before placing inside turkey. After turkey is baked take the stuffing out immediately.

The stuffing that gets baked outside of the turkey is slightly different.
The ingredient list is the same plus 1 more egg and 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9x13 dish. Heat the 1 stick of butter in large skillet over med high heat, pour off 2 T. and reserve; add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Stir in sage, pepper, and cook about 1 min longer. Turn onion mix into large mixing bowl. Add bread cubes, broth, eggs, and salt and toss gently to distribute wet and dry ingredients. Turn mix into prepared dish. Drizzle with reserved melted butter. Cover tightly with foil and bake 25 min. Remove foil and bake another 15 min til top is golden brown. Serve warm.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This is by far my favorite pumpkin pie. It's a long standing tradition on my side of the family after Thanksgiving dinner.

1/3 c cold water
1 envelope no flavor gelatin
3 eggs, separate whites from yolks, save egg whites
4 oz can evaporated milk
10 oz canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 t. cinnamon
1/6 t. cloves
1/3 t. ginger

In a double boiler beat 3 egg yolks and add the milk, pumpkin, salt, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Cook until mix becomes very thick. About 20 min. When thick remove from heat, dissolve gelatin in cold water and add to pumpkin mix. Beat 3 egg whites with a little allspice 1/6 tsp salt and 1/3 tsp vanilla and 1/3 c sugar until stiff peaks form and fold into pumpkin mix. Pour into pre baked pie shells.

(original recipe makes 3 pies, so this was adjusted to make 1 pie…that’s why the amounts are kind of funny)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Apple Pie Jam

I think I found my Christmas gift for neighbors and friends this year.

6 cups peeled and diced granny smith apples (6-7 med size apples)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp butter
3 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 box powdered pectin

Cook apples, water and butter over low heat, stirring til apples are soft, but not mushy. Stir in pectin and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add sugars and cinnamon and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam (if there is any). If you feel the jam is not thick enough for your taste, add another small box of pectin. Start by adding half of the second box and then go from there.

Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 min. Makes 7 half-pints.

*I found that one box of pectin is fine.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Orange Zucchini Bread

This is Kim Rolfe's recipe.

2 cups zucchini, grated
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
grated zest from 2 oranges
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/2- 1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in large bowl. In separate bowl, beat eggs just until mixed. Add zucchini, orange juice, sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir til combined. Add flour mixture and stir gently. Don't over mix. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.

To get rid of excess moisture from the zucchini give it a good squeeze in paper towels before adding. Also, this recipe makes great muffins. They bake for around 20 min. To give them an extra shot of sweetness throw in chocolate chips.

When I get more zucchini that I can use before it spoils, I grate it and freeze it. The amount I use most often in recipes is how much I put into each bag. So I have it pre-measured into the freezer ready to go. I just have to thaw it in the microwave and squeeze out the extra water.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Corn and Squash Soup

I love this soup. My kids, not so much.... I need to keep trying it to see if I can get them to come around.
Click here for the recipe.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of my all time favorite cookies. I could eat them for breakfast.

2 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2c sugar
1 c canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
2 c chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Beat til light and creamy. Mix in dry ingredients until well blended. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 11-15 min.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Organized Grocery Shopping

I use Splash Shopper software on my palm pilot to keep my grocery list organized. In it I can mark what items I want, the quantity, the price and also if I have a coupon/price match for that item. I can also show what grocery store different items are at. It keeps a running total for me while I shop and I can check off each item as I put it in the cart. I have used it enough now that almost all of the items I buy are in my master list. I can make a list before I go shopping and have a very good idea of how much I'll spend before I even get to the store. This has been a huge help in general, but especially since now I shop with only cash. Check it out.They have it available for lots of different phones and PDA's. You can also use it make multiple types of lists (packing for trips, birthdays, Christmas, clothing, etc. I mostly use it for grocery shopping.
Click here to learn more about splash shopper software.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Orange Cream Fruit Salad

(Taste of Home)

1 20. can pineapple tidbits
1 16 oz. can peach slices -drained (I like to dice the peaches so they are easier to eat)
1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges- drained
2 medium firm bananas, sliced
1 small pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2c milk
1/3 c frozen oj concentrate
3/4c sour cream

In bowl comb fruits; set aside. In small bowl beat pudding mix, milk and oj concentrate for 2 minutes. Add sour cream and mix well. Spoon over fruit and toss. Cover chill for 2 hours.
*The original recipe calls for 1 apple diced, but I like it without. The dressing/sauce makes quite a bit. You can double the amount of fruit without doubling the dressing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cranberry Zucchini Wedges-Taste of Home

1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks
3 c flour
1 3/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 c vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c tightly packed shredded zucchini (squeeze in paper towels to remove excess water)
1 c fresh or frozen cranberries, halved (I use craisins)
1/2 c chopped walnuts
powdered sugar

Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 c juice (save remaining juice for another use). Place the pineapple and reserved juice in a blender; cover and process til smooth. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, vanilla and pineapple mixture; beat into the dry ingredients until blended. Fold in the zucchini, cranberries and nuts.
Pour into two greased 9 in. round baking pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min til toothpick near center comes out clean. Cool for 10 min before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

2 cakes, 8 wedges each

These also work as muffins. 350 for approx. 20 minutes

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hawaiian Dessert

This recipe makes 2 9x13 desserts.

1 pkg (18 1/4oz.) yellow cake mix
3 pkgs (3.4oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 c cold milk
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese,softened
1 can (20oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
2 c heavy cream, whipped and sweetened
2 c flaked coconut, toasted

Mix cake batter according to package directions. Pour into two greased 9x13x2 baking pans. Bake at 350 for 15 min or til cakes test done. Cool completely. In a large mixing bowl, combine pudding mixes, milk and coconut extract, beat for 2 min. Add the cream cheese and beat well. Stir in pineapple. Spread over the cooled cakes. Top with whipped cream; sprinkle with coconut. Chill for at least 2 hours. Prepared dessert can be covered and frozen for up to 1 month.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cloves,
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup chopped pecans, optional

Combine the sugar, pumpkin, vegetable oil, water, and eggs. In separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, spices and baking powder. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Fold in pecans by stirring them in gently with a spatula.
Pour into a greased muffin pan. Fill each tin 2/3 full. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oven Fries

This is from

Preheat oven to 375°.
Coat a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray.
4 med (6 oz each) baking potatoes
(also try sweet potatoes, they’re great!)
1 T oil (canola or olive)
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash or Spike seasoning (salt-free) or any seasonings you like.
salt, pepper and ketchup

Thoroughly wash and scrub—peel if non-organic potatoes. (See tip above.) Cut lengthwise into wedges. Place in bowl. Drizzle oil over potatoes and toss.
Sprinkle seasonings over potatoes and toss. Spread seasoned potato wedges over baking sheet.
Set timer and bake 50 minutes or until tender. At the sound of the timer, transfer to a serving dish.
Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with ketchup.
Note: Ore Ida now makes frozen potato wedges, which are almost exactly the same as these. Buying
their product will save you from scrubbing and slicing potatoes (about 10 minutes).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cool Lime Napoleons

Pampered Chef Recipe

1 package (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
3 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 can (11oz) mandarin orange, drained and patted dry
2 large limes
1 container (8oz) cool whip, thawed
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c sliced almonds, finely chopped
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly sprinkle baking sheet with flour. Lay out crescent rolls across pan, pinching seams together to seal. Lightly sprinkle dough with flour and roll with rolling pin to evenly cover entire pan. Prick with fork. Bake 12-15 min or until light golden brown. Cool 10 min. Transfer cooled pastry to cutting board and cut into six rows crosswise and four rows lengthwise to make 24 squares. Place one kiwi and one orange segment on each pastry square. Zest one lime to measure 1 tsp. zest. Finely chop. Juice limes to measure 2 Tbsp. juice. Combine cool whip, powdered sugar, zest and juice; mix until smooth and slightly thickened. Put lime mixture into pastry bag or decorator and pipe a rosette on top center of each pastry square. Sprinkle almonds over top and dust with powdered sugar. Can stack one on top of another to make 12 servings, but I leave them single for 24 servings. (Pampered Chef Recipe)

* I learned to not over mix the cool whip or it ends up soupy. Just gently mix together with rubber scraper.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Warm Ham 'n' Swiss Wraps

These are good for a casual weekend lunch/dinner. Instead of putting them in the oven I put the cheese on the tortilla and melt it in the microwave. Since I never have Swiss cheese around I just use mozzarella.

6 flour tortillas
1 lb thinly sliced deli ham
2 cups (8 oz) shredded swiss cheese (can sub. Mozzarella)
3 cups chopped lettuce
1 med. tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup diced cucumber
2 T. chopped green pepper
2 green onions, chopped

3/4 c mayonnaise
3 T. milk
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp celery seed

On each tortilla, layer four slices of ham and 1/3 cup cheese; roll up and secure with toothpicks. Place in an ungreased 11x7 baking pan. Cover and bake at 350 for 14-16 min or until cheese is melted. Meanwhile, combine the lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper and onions. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Unroll tortillas halfway; top each with 1/3 cup lettuce mixture and 1 T. dressing. Roll up again; serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How I Organize My Meals

In case you missed the very first post. This is how I organize dinner. I have an index card that is divided into 4 columns. Each column is for one week of the month. Under each week I have 4-6 dinners listed. I have approx. 30 meals and I can plan what we're having for the whole month . I only have to make (and the family eats) each dinner once a month. Fridays & Saturdays are leftovers/grilled cheese/homemade pizza. Sunday evening is breakfast for dinner-pancakes/waffles, fruit, scrambled eggs, etc . Some days are busier than others so I put the dinners that are the quickest to throw together on those days. The menu lists for each week are in older posts. I'm always looking for a new recipe to try and if we really like it I try to work it in to the rotation for some variety.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Herbed Roast Chicken

This is from Cook's Illustrated. It's a long one, with a little extra work, but well worth it. The recipe says it serves 3-4, but it feeds my family of six. Just depends on what type of "eaters" you have.

1 whole chicken (about 5 pounds), trimmed of excess fat, giblets discarded (see note)
1/2 cup table salt plus 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves , lightly packed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (see note)
6 medium scallions , green parts sliced thin (about 2/3 cup), whites reserved for another use
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
Ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 - 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon (I only use about 1/2 teaspoon)


1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Following illustrations below, butterfly chicken and flatten breastbone. (to butterfly a chicken, use a pair of sharp kitchen shears and cut the backbone out so that the chicken will lay flat; then using the heel of your hand push down on the breast bone to help it lay flat) Tuck wings behind back. Using sharp knife, lightly score skin of thighs and legs, making 2 shallow cuts on each part about 1/8 inch into meat and about 3/4 inch apart. Dissolve 1/2 cup salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container to make the brine. Submerge chicken in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place tarragon, thyme, scallions, garlic, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on cutting board; mince to fine paste. Transfer herb paste to medium bowl and add butter. Using fork or stiff rubber spatula, mix until combined. Transfer 2 tablespoons herb butter to small bowl and refrigerate; set aside remainder at room temperature.

3. Remove chicken from brine and rinse under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels. Following illustrations below and using fingers, carefully separate skin from each side of breast to form pocket. Place 1 tablespoon softened herb butter in each pocket. Using spoon or fingers, spread butter over breast meat. Season skin with pepper.

4. Heat oil in oven safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place chicken skin-side down in skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cook until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and roast chicken 25 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken so skin-side is facing up. Using spoon or spatula, evenly coat chicken skin with remaining softened herb butter and return to oven. Roast chicken until skin is golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest, uncovered, 20 minutes.

5. FOR THE SAUCE: While chicken rests, pour pan juices into fat separator; allow liquid to settle 5 minutes. Pour juices into 2-cup measuring cup and add enough chicken broth to measure 1 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons fat from fat separator to skillet and place over medium heat. When fat is shimmering, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 60 seconds. Add broth and bring to simmer, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Simmer rapidly until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in any accumulated chicken juices from carving board; return to simmer and cook 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat, whisk in cold herb butter and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Carve chicken and serve, passing sauce separately.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Raspberry Punch

1 bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1 can Cran Raspberry Concentrate, thawed
2 bottles Cherry 7-up
Optional Raspberry sherbet

Mix concentrate and 1 1/2 bottles cherry 7-up. Add in thawed raspberries. Optional- serve with a scoop of raspberry sherbet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Whole Wheat Bread

This is Tisha Bierman's Recipe:

This recipe is for 5 loaves of bread.
12 Cups wheat flour
2 Tablespoons yeast (instant)
5 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 Tablespoons salt
6 cups warm water
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup oil

Combine 4 cups of flour, yeast, wheat gluten, and salt. Mix well. Add water, honey, and oil. Mix until creamy. Slowly stir in remaining flour to make stiff dough. Add more flour if needed. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into 5 loaves and let rise 20 min. Bake at 350 for 30 min.

*I cut this recipe in half when I make it because my mixer can't handle 12 cups of flour.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chocolate Trifle

This one is easy, quick and yummy. Lots of variations to use like adding a layer of bananas or strawberries, or drizzling caramel sauce over the candy bar layer, or change the flavor of cake mix...etc.

1 pkg chocolate cake mix
1 lrg pkg instant chocolate pudding
1 12 oz carton cool whip, thawed
6 candy bars: snickers or heath/skor bars, diced into small pieces

Bake cake according to directions and let cool. Make pudding according to directions. When cake is cool, break up cake into crumbs and reserve 1/2 cup. Place half of remaining cake crumbs into bottom of clear glass bowl. Then layer with 1/2 pudding, and then a layer of 1/2 of cool whip. Then place 1/2 of candy bar pieces on top of cool whip. Repeat layers ending with cool whip and candy bar pieces and sprinkle rest of cake crumbs on top. Store in the fridge.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Southwest White Bean Chili

1 Tbsp. oil (opt. Pam spray)
2-4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can mild salsa
3 cans small white beans
3 Tbsp. mesquite marinade
1/3 c chopped cilantro
grated Monterey jack cheese (opt)

Saute chicken in oil or pam; add onion and garlic-saute until chicken is lightly browned. Reduce heat; add salsa, beans, marinade and cilantro. Simmer 3-5 minutes. Serve with cheese and cilantro. Makes 4-6 servings.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Food Budgeting

Okay-technically this post isn't a recipe, but it does affect what I cook. Cooking from scratch is much cheaper than buy prepared/frozen meals. This is my monthly food budget breakdown:

$520 Groceries
$50 Scott-lunch @work (it's not enough for everyday, some days are leftovers)
$50 Food storage money (3 month supply/long term food storage)
$30 School lunch money (the kids get to buy a school lunch once a week)

For a grand total of $650/month. It's exactly this amount every month because I get it all in cash. That puts a ceiling on the amount of money I spend. Food storage money is for when things like chicken go on sale, or I stock up on food at Sam's club. It also goes toward buying things at the cannery. Happy budgeting & shopping!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Banana Crush

This is a punch recipe from my mom. Thanks Mom!

4 cups Sugar
6 cups Water

5 bananas, crushed
6 oz. can orange juice concentrate, thawed
42 oz. can pineapple juice
1/2 c lemon juice

Stir sugar and water til dissolved. Crush bananas with fork. Add all remaining ingredients to sugar & water mix and freeze. Thaw to a slush. Serve in a glass with 1 part slush and 1 part Sprite.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Broccoli-Bacon Salad

2 Heads broccoli, cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 small red onion, chopped
2 T. Bacon bits/real bacon cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup sliced/slivered almonds

Toss all ingredients together.


2/3 c Miracle Whip
1 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c sugar

Mix together and pour over salad, and toss.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chocolate Carrot Cake

Click here for recipe from Taste of Home.

This is one of my favorite chocolate cakes to make. I frost it all over and top with chocolate chips. I keep it in the fridge before serving because the chocolate cream cheese frosting tends to melt a little a room temp. Sometimes I like to buy the half size pirouette cookies and place them standing up around the outside of the cake and then tie a cute ribbon around it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ham with Pinapple Sauce

This one is so easy! I buy a small sliced portion of ham. Ham is precooked, so all I do is heat it up over low to medium heat briefly either in a skillet or in the microwave. Just don't overheat it or it will get leathery and tough. I make the pineapple sauce and serve it warm to put on the ham.

Pineapple Sauce for Ham
2 small cans crushed pineapple (since my kids aren't crazy about this I use 1 can)
1/2 c brown sugar
cornstarch and water

Mix a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch with a little water. It should look like whole milk (too much water makes it look more like skim milk). It doesn't take very much water. Place pineapple and brown sugar in pot and cook til hot. Add cornstarch and water mix and bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

*I drain a little juice from the pineapple, but not all of it. The cornstarch acts as a thickener.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whole Wheat Pancakes

This recipe comes from the San Diego Cooks blog. I add extra white flour (around 1/4 cup) to make the batter a little thicker.

1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. oil
1 tsp. baking soda
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
1 1/4 C. milk
1 egg

Whisk all ingredients together, then spoon onto a hot griddle. Flip once the bubbles pop. Butter, then serve with syrup or powdered sugar. Yum!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Banana Bread

This one is from my sister-in-law, Elizabeth Earl. It's a Mrs. Field's recipe.

3/4 cup butter/marg
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups mashed bananas (about 7 bananas)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, bananas, and vanilla. Continue beating while you sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture. Add nuts. Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes for a loaf, or about 20 min for muffins.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
Serves 4

This recipe was developed using natural pork, but enhanced pork (injected with a salt solution) will work as well. If using enhanced pork, eliminate the brining in step 1 (see related How To Cook). The bread crumb mixture can be prepared through step 2 up to 3 days in advance. The breaded chops can be frozen for up to 1 week. They don't need to be thawed before baking; simply increase the cooking time in step 5 to 35 to 40 minutes.

* Table salt
* 4 center-cut boneless pork chops , 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
* 4 slices hearty white sandwich bread , torn into 1-inch pieces
* 1 small minced shallot (about 2 tablespoons)
* 3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* Ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
* 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour plus 6 tablespoons
* 3 large egg whites
* 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* Lemon wedges


* 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 1 quart water in medium container or gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Submerge chops, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Rinse chops under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
* 2. Meanwhile, pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about eight 1-second pulses (you should have about 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Transfer crumbs to rimmed baking sheet and add shallot, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. (Do not turn off oven.) Cool to room temperature. Toss crumbs with Parmesan, thyme, and parsley.
* 3. Place 1/4 cup flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk egg whites and mustard until combined; add remaining 6 tablespoons flour and whisk until almost smooth, with pea-sized lumps remaining.
* 4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray and place in rimmed baking sheet. Season chops with pepper. Dredge 1 pork chop in flour; shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chop with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chop to wire rack. Repeat with remaining 3 chops.
* 5. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of chops registers 150 degrees, 17 to 25 minutes. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pizza Dough

This recipe is from Kaci Perkins. I have substituted from one to one and a half cups of whole wheat flour for white flour and no one in my family could tell.

In a large bowl combine:
3-4 cups of flour (I start with 3 1/2 cups)
1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt

In a separate bowl combine:
1 1/2 cups warm water (I heat mine to about 105 to 110 degrees)
2 T. oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour the water/oil mix into the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula/scraper. Dough will look kind of rough/shaggy. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead til smooth. Adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. This is where the other 1/2 cup gets worked into the dough. (usually somewhere between 3-5 min) Let dough rest for 10 min on counter. I take the bowl I was mixing in and turn it upside down to cover the dough. Mostly so Paige won't steal bites of dough.

Grease the pan you'll be cooking with. I use a cooking spray. Spread dough out in pan using hands. Add toppings and bake for about 10-15 min.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Extra Recipes

I have some recipes that I love, but don't make all the time. This pot roast is one. It is a little more work and time than most recipes, but it's the best pot roast ever. This is our Father's Day dinner.

Pot Roast with Vegetables
(Cooks Illustrated)

1 boneless chuck-eye roast (abt 3 1/2 lbs)
salt and pepper
2 T. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 small carrot, chopped medium
1 small celery rib, chopped medium
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned low-sodium beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 - 1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes
8 medium carrots

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly pat roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering, but not smoking. (I don't have a dutch oven pan so I used a large stock pot or large deep frying pan). Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke, 8-10 min. Transfer roast to a large plate; set aside. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and beef broth and thyme, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; add enough water to come halfway up sides of roast. Bring liquid to simmer over medium heat, then place large piece of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook, turning roast every 30 min, until fully tender and meat fork/sharp knife easily slips in and out of meat, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

3. When roast is almost tender add 8 medium carrots, sliced 1/2 in thick; and 1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes, quartered, to pot submerging them in liquid. Continue to cook until vegetables are almost tender, 20-30 min.

4. Transfer roast to carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow liquid in pot to settle about 5 min., then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface; discard thyme sprig. Add salt and pepper to taste; boil over high heat until vegetables are fully tender, 5-10 min., Transfer vegetables to serving platter. Transfer roast to platter with vegetables.

5. I added about 1 T. of cornstarch (mixed with a little water) to liquid in pot to thicken it a little. Use like gravy.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spinach Dip

This is Zoila Schank's recipe for the dip that she brought to the piano recital.

Knorr Spinach Dip
1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 container (16 oz.) sour cream
1 cup Mayo
1 pkg Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and chopped (optional)--I left these out.
3 green onions, chopped (optional)--I usually use 4.

Combine all ingredients and chill about 2hrs.
Serve in a bread bowl with favorite dippers.

4 Cups Dip/Prep Time: 10 minutes/ Chill Time: 2hrs.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

3 Month Supply

Once you have your list of dinners for the month you can create a master list of ingredients. This helps with planning a 3 month supply. I have mine figured using amounts for a 1 month, 2 month and 3 month supply. That way when there is a sale on something I use I know how much of it to buy. I use the money I have set aside for food storage. Happy Planning!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Raspberry Vinegar Spring Salad

Mixture of lettuce ( use iceberg, red leaf, romaine, green leaf) to fill a big bowl or a total of 2 heads of lettuce cleaned and chopped.

2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled (I usually buy the precooked bacon)
1/2 c craisins
4-6 green onions, chopped
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese (not grated)
1 1/2 c sliced almonds (put on cookie sheet, spray with butter, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 325 til brown) (I never have much luck with this, so I buy a bag of salad accents)

Mix above salad ingredients well.

1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp salt
1 c oil
1/4 c sugar
1/3- 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar (could sub. red wine vinegar)
2 T. poppy seeds

Put dressing ingredients in a blender and puree well. Stir in 2 T. Poppy seeds. Pour over salad before serving. Dressing will keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

*This is also really good with a rotisserie chicken cut up and tossed in.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chicken Wings

1 pkg chicken drumettes/wings
1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten

1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c vinegar
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c ketchup

Combine flour and cornstarch in flat pan. Dip wings in flour mix, then eggs and brown in pan with a little oil. Place in pan and pour sauce over all and bake 1 hour at 350, basting occasionally and turning.

I buy two packages of chicken wings, but I don't double the ingredients. The recipe makes enough for two packages.

*For chicken broth I buy the chicken broth granules. 1 tsp of granules in 1 cup of water makes 1 c chicken broth. I heat 1/2 c water in the microwave and add 1/2 tsp. granules.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pasta with Chicken and Squash

Click here for link to recipe

This sauce for this recipe has lots of fat. I usually cut the amount of heavy cream in half or you could use half and half cream instead of heavy cream. I only add a little bit of grated cheese to the cream instead of the full amount. Since we only eat this once a month, it's not so bad. I serve each part of this on separate plates so everyone can get what they want. If you left out the noodles and just ate the chicken and squash it would be healthier. Also I leave out the savory spice cause it's expensive.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chicken Fajitas Indoors (from America's Test Kitchen)

The smell of the chicken cooking is amazing!

Serves 4 to 6
1/3 cup lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 jalapeño chile , seeds and ribs removed, chile minced (I leave this out)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of fat, breasts pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
1 large red onion (about 14 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (do not separate rings)
1 large red bell pepper (about 10 ounces), quartered, stemmed, and seeded
1 large green bell pepper (about 10 ounces), quartered, stemmed, and seeded
8 - 12 plain flour tortillas (6-inch)

1. In medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, 4 tablespoons oil, garlic, Worcestershire, brown sugar, jalapeño (optional), cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade in small bowl; set aside. Add another teaspoon salt to remaining marinade. Place chicken in marinade; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes.

2. Adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position (about 8 inches from heating element) and second rack to lower-middle position; heat broiler.

3. Brush both sides of onion rounds and peppers with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange onion rounds and peppers (skin sides up) in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Wrap tortillas securely in foil in two packets, each containing half of tortillas.

4. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels; discard marinade. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Swirl oil to coat skillet, then arrange chicken smooth side down in skillet in single layer; cook without moving chicken, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken; continue to cook until second sides are well browned, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, turning chicken once or twice, until chicken is no longer pink when cut into with paring knife or instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 160 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate and let rest 5 minutes.

5. While chicken is cooking, place baking sheet with vegetables in oven on upper rack; place tortilla packets on lower rack. Broil vegetables until spottily charred and peppers are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer peppers to cutting board. Flip onion rounds and continue to broil until charred and tender, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Turn off broiler and remove vegetables, leaving tortillas in oven until needed.

6. Separate onions into rings and place in medium bowl; slice bell peppers lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips and place in bowl with onions. Add 2 tablespoons reserved unused marinade to vegetables and toss well to combine. Slice chicken into 1/4-inch strips and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons reserved marinade in separate bowl; arrange chicken and vegetables on large platter and serve with warmed tortillas.

Per Serving:
Cal 410; Fat 19 g; Sat fat 2.5 g; Chol 570 mg; Carb 31 g; Protein 31 g; Fiber 3 g; Sodium 570 mg

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Week Four Menu

1. Lasagna
2. Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
3. Pasta with Chicken and Squash (one of Scott's favorites)
4. Taco Soup
5. Indoor Chicken Fajitas (one of my favorites)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Smashed Red Potatoes

We love these!!!

2 lbs. red potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed
Table salt
1 bay leaf
4 T. butter, melted and warm
½ c cream cheese (4 oz) room temp ( I like to use 6 oz. and you can use the 1/3 less fat cream cheese, it still tastes really good- just not as tangy)

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover wit 1 in. cold water; add 1 tsp salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently until paring knife can be inserted into potatoes wit no resistance, 35-45 min. Reserve ½ c cooking water, then drain potatoes. Return to pot, discard bay leaf, and allow potatoes to stand in pot, uncovered, til surfaces are dry, about 5 min.
2. While potatoes dry, whisk melted butter and softened cream cheese in bowl until smooth and fully incorporated. Add ¼ c of reserved cooking water, ½ tsp pepper and ½ tsp salt. Using rubber spatula or back of large spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break skins. Fold in butter-cream cheese mix until most of liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain. Add more cooking water 1 T. at a time as needed, until potatoes are slightly looser than desired (potatoes with thicken slightly with standing). Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Can make ahead and keep in crock pot on warm for up to 2 hours.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tex Mex Ravioli

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Stand Time: 5 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 servings

* 1 (16-ounce) jar mild salsa
* 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 (28-ounce) bag frozen cheese ravioli, unthawed
* 2 (19-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
* 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
* 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Combine first 3 ingredients. Pour 1/2 cup sauce mixture on the bottom of a lightly greased 2-quart oval or 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Top evenly with frozen cheese ravioli. Layer with black beans, chopped cilantro, green onions, and remaining sauce mixture; top evenly with shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove foil, and bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
-Southern Living

Monday, April 12, 2010

All American Turkey Potpie
I use turkey after Thanksgiving, but the rest of the time I use chicken. Using chicken that's been pressure canned makes this go faster.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies-you have to try these!

Baked Ziti

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¾ cups spaghetti sauce
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes undrained
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
6 T. cup water
1 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoons dried basil
¾ teaspoons dried oregano, divided
8 oz uncooked rigatoni or uncooked medium tube pasta
1 carton (8 ounces) reduced-fat ricotta cheese (I can only find 16 oz cartons, so I freeze half for next time)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg light beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large saucepan, cook beef, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, basil and 1 teaspoon oregano. Cover and simmer for 3 hours ( I just let mine cook while the pasta is cooking-about 10 min.), stirring occasionally. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, 2 T. Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper.
In one greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dishes coated with cooking spray, spread 1 cup of meat sauce. Layer a half of the pasta, 1/3 meat sauce and a half of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers of pasta, sauce and cheese mixture. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and oregano. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until heated through.
*We eat half of this so I freeze half of this (don’t bake it) and use it another night.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


1 pkg ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c cottage cheese
1/2 t salt
1/2 c real mayo
4 oz. mozzarella cheese
1 pkg manicotti shells, cooked and drained
1 jar pizza sauce

Brown beef and garlic. Drain off fat. Add cottage cheese, salt, mayo and cheese. Spoon filling into each shell and place in lightly oiled baking dish. Pour pizza sauce over top of filled shells and sprinkle with a little extra cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 15 min. Then remove foil and bake for another 10 min.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chicken and Black Bean Tostizzas

1 can Grands biscuits
1 c diced, cooked chicken (I use a small jar of chicken that I pressure canned)
1 c canned black beans, drained
1/2 c salsa
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 c bell pepper strips (1 inch long)
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c sour cream, optional
1/2 c guacamole, optional

Heat oven to 350. Separate dough into eight biscuits. On ungreased baking sheets, press or roll each biscuit into 5 1/2 round. In med bowl, combine chicken, beans, salsa and taco seasoning mix well. Spread evenly over biscuits to withing 1/4 in of edges. Top with onions, bell pepper and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-24 min or til biscuits are golden brown and cheese is melted. To serve, top with sour cream and guacamole if desired. Makes 8 mini- pizzas.

*I roll out the biscuits on a floured cutting board. I prefer to wait and put the cheese on after they come out of the oven and just let the cheese melt. My kids don't like the salsa and black beans added in, so for their tostizzas I just take diced precooked chicken (chicken that has been pressure canned works well) and add a little taco seasoning and water. Since Scott and I are the only ones who eat the chicken/black bean/salsa mix, I just freeze half of the recipe for the next time we eat it. Then I only have to make it every other month.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Week Three Menu

1. Chicken and Black Bean Tostizzas
2. Manicotti
3. Baked Ziti
4. Turkey/chicken pot pie
5. Tex Mex Ravioli

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sloppy Joes from America's Test Kitchen

Serves approx. 4-6

1 T. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
Tabasco (optional)
Hamburger Buns

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook til lightly browned, about 5 min. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef, brown sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces Cook til meat is no longer pink.

2. Stir in the tomato puree, ketchup, and water. Cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 min. Season with tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste.

Can be made ahead up to 3 days in fridge or 1 month in freezer. Reheat over low heat, adding a little water if it seems too thick. The tomato puree I find is more than 1 cup. I freeze the leftover puree for future sloppy joes. We like these with a slice of cheddar cheese.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rav'n Ravioli

(from Pampered Chef)
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
½ c onion, chopped
1 tsp veg oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 jar (26-28oz) spaghetti sauce
2 pkgs refrigerated ravioli or one 25oz pkg frozen ravioli (we like beef)
1 ¼ c water
1 baguette
¼ butter, melted
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ c grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400. Chop bell pepper and onion. In pan heat oil over medium heat; add bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook 2-3 min til vegetables are tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce, ravioli and water. Bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile cut baguette into 12 slices, ½ in thick. Dip bread slices in melted butter to coat each side.
3. Spoon half of ravioli mix into baking dish. Top with cheese and top with remaining ravioli mix.
4. Arrange bread slices slightly overlapping, around edge of baking dish and press slightly into ravioli. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over bread and ravioli. Bake 15 min til bread is crisp and deep golden brown.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

This is April Meyers' recipe:

5 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
2 cans green chilies
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
16 oz. sour cream
1/2 bundle green onions, diced
5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt, pepper and garlic to taste
2 dozen corn tortillas

Filling: Combine chicken, chilies, soup, sour cream, onion and seasonings in large bowl. Add 2 cups of cheese. Spread this layer of filling in the bottom of 9x13 casserole dish. Spread large dollop of filling in a softened tortilla and roll. Place in pan. Repeat for 1 dozen tortillas. Spread a thin layer of filling on top of first layer of tortillas. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Reat filling and rolling for remaining tortillas, creating another layer of enchiladas, saving at least 1 cup of filling to spread on top of the second layer. Spread remaining filling on top and cover with remaining cheese. Bake at at 350 for 30 min.

** I only make a 1/2 batch of this recipe and put it in an 8x8 dish. Also, my kids don't like corn tortillas so I use both flour tortillas (for the kids) and corn tortillas (for the adults).

Monday, March 22, 2010


You can use the recipe below for the dough ( you’ll need to double the filling ingredients)
OR I just make a batch of dinner roll dough in my bread maker.

5 cups all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
2 t salt
2 pkg (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
1 1/2 c warm water (120-130 degrees)
1/2 c warm milk (120-130 degrees)
2 T butter/ marg, melted

1 lbs. bulk pork sausage
2 c (8oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 eggs
1 t minced fresh basil or 1/4 t dried basil
2 t grated parmesan cheese

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add water, milk and butter; beat on low until well combined. Turn onto a well floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 min. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink; drain and cool. stir in mozzarella, 2 eggs and basil; set aside.

Punch dough down; divide in half. Roll one portion into a 15x10 in. rectangle on a greased baking sheet. Spoon half of the sausage mixture lengthwise down one side of rectangle to within 1 in of edges. Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal. Cut four diagonal slits on top of stromboli. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Sprinkle with parmesan. Cover and let rise until doubled about 45 min. Bake at 375 for 20-25 min or til golden brown. Slice and serve warm.

* I just make a regular batch of dinner roll dough in my bread maker and use that for the dough.
I skip letting it rise once the filling is in the dough, just stick it in the oven

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

2 breaded chicken tenderloins per person
(my sister uses Tyson Breaded Chicken Breast Tenderloins from Sam's Club; I use a bag of frozen chicken tenders from Wal Mart- the tenders are smaller so each person gets around 4-5)
Bake according to package directions.

15 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 t Italian Seasonings
1/4 t garlic salt
1/4 t onion salt/powder
1/4 t marjoram
2-4 T. brown sugar

1 pkg frozen cheese ravioli (4-6 ravioli per person)
(one of my kids doesn't like cheese ravioli so I throw in a couple of beef ravioli for her)

Mozzarella/Parmesan cheese, shredded

Bake chicken according to directions. In pan heat sauce ingredients. Prepare ravioli by bringing pot of water to a boil, add frozen ravioli and boil for 3-4 min.

In dish layer pasta, chicken, sauce and sprinkle with mozz. cheese.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week Two Menu

1. Chicken Parmesan
2. Stromboli
3. Chicken Enchiladas
4. Rav'n Ravioli
5. Homemade Sloppy Joes

Recipes to come :)

Here is a link for a heavenly dessert called Mississippi Mud Cake. I got a taste of this when Kaci Perkins brought over a dessert for a bbq.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce & Meatball Sandwiches

Spaghetti Sauce:
1/4 c olive oil
1 c diced onion
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
12 oz. can tomato paste
mushrooms, optional
1/2 c chopped celery, optional
2 T. dried parsley
1 T. salt
1 T. sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. oregano
1/4 t. italian seasoning

Reserve water from cooking the noodles to thin out the sauce-optional

Brown onions and ground beef in oil. Combine remaining ingredients and add to beef. Simmer slowly for several hours to mix flavor. (or just til heated if you're short on time) Remove bay leaf before serving over noodles. This makes a thick sauce, add reserved water from cooking noodles to loosen up the sauce if desired.
Can store in freezer for about 1 month.

Meatball Sandwiches
24 (or more) frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs
1 26 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
1 15 oz. can Italian-style tomato sauce (or plain tomato sauce with approx. 1 tsp Italian seasoning added)
1 5.5 oz. can V-8
6 hoagie rolls split, but not cut all the way through and toasted
shredded mozzarella cheese

The original recipe from Southern Living says to put this in a crock pot, but it's so fast to throw together that I just combine the sauce ingredients (spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, v-8) in a pan and heat it up. Then I microwave the meatballs till there hot and stir them into the sauce. The cheese gets sprinkled on top of the meatball mixture after it's been spooned into rolls. The store bought meatballs are pretty greasy so I give them a good squeeze in paper towels to absorb the grease. Homemade meatballs would work too. My kids love this one.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Taco Salad

From my favorite, and only, sister-Becky Stevens

8 oz. lean ground beef (I use more)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz. can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz. jar taco sauce ( I leave this out)
3/4 c canned/frozen corn (whole can works fine)
1 Tbsp. Taco seasoning ( I use a little more than 1 Tbsp.)
6 cups shredded leaf lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c sliced green onions
cheddar cheese
tortilla chips, crushed
sour cream, optional
salsa/taco sauce, optional

In a med. skillet cook ground beef and garlic until juices run clear. Drain off fat. Stir in kidney beans, taco sauce, corn and taco seasoning. Cook a little longer-especially if using frozen corn. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine lettuce, tomatoes and green onions.

To serve, divide lettuce mixture into bowls. Top each serving with some meat mixture, cheese and crushed tortilla chips. If desired, serve with sour cream and salsa/taco sauce.
Makes 6 main dish servings

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Week One Menu

1. Taco Salad

2. Rio Grande Quesadillas
*I leave out the pimentos. My kids don't like refried beans, so their quesadilla
filling is precooked diced chicken breasts seasoned with taco seasoning, with
shredded cheddar cheese. I freeze any leftover filling from the recipe.

3. Pepperoni Macaroni This fills a 9x13 pan. We only eat half of this so I put half of this recipe in the oven in an 8x8 dish and the other half gets wrapped up and put in the freezer.

4. Spaghetti with Homemade Sauce

5. Meatball Sandwiches

Of course-use the recipes that your family loves. If you need some more recipes/ideas try some of these. The next few posts will be the recipes for the three dinners without links.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I've had some friends want to know how I organize dinners for the family. It's pretty simple. First I compiled a list of 30 dinners that my family will eat. 30 seems like a lot, but just ask around for recipes that other families like. I keep an index card in my recipe book. The card is divided into four columns. Each column is for one week of the month. In each column there are 5-6 dinners listed. I also have a little note on the bottom of recipes that we like, but don't make every month.
> Using my palm pilot (cause I loose little pieces of paper I make notes on) I write down which dinner I'll make each day. I cook dinner Monday -Thursday. Friday and Saturday nights are either homemade pizza/grilled cheese/ leftovers etc. Sundays are our "breakfast" dinners- pankcakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, etc. My husband and daughters even made crepes.
> Once you have all your dinners listed, make a list of all ingredients used. I use my master list to shop for my three month supply of food storage. I broke mine down into 1 month, 2 months and 3 months.
> When I need to stock up on storage items, I go to my list and see where I'm short. In posts to come, I'll list each week and the dinners I cook. If I can figure out how to post a link for recipes, there will be recipes as well.
>Sometimes a new recipe will replace an old one that we're tired of eating. This system also helps cut way down on the food bill. That makes this momma very happy!