Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dinner Tonight

We had THIS tonight for dinner.

If you text "mypapa" to 90210 you get GREAT coupons every week! This week was buy one get one free. (I think it is only valid for the Henderson location.)

The dilemma of what to make for dinner... solved when my phone beeps at me. I am a pizza addict- this is what I get: double sauce, chicken, tomatoes, and pineapple- no cheese. The crust is low-fat so I still feel like I get to splurge having pizza.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Tonight's dinner was from HERE. We had it with a green salad and garlic bread. I think I prefer chicken parm. that way. No pasta to make it feel too heavy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

My boys love pumpkin bread from Great Harvest but they eat it too quickly and for almost $7 a loaf, it just does not cut it! We make these all the time. I added 2 bananas to the batter and it turned out really good.

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 spice cake mix
chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Spray your cupcake tin or use liners. In a mixer, combine the pumpkin and cake mix until blended. Fill each well 3/4 full. I put 3 chocolate chips in each one and mix them with a fork.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. I have only made these in my mini-muffin tin so if you use a regular size one, check the muffins after 15 minutes to see how much longer they need to bake. Cool on wire rack.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hawaiian Haystacks

...except with yummy chicken sauce instead of blech cream of chicken soup sauce.

I'm always underwhelmed by the chicken stuff, so I phased this recipe out of our menu. Then my sister showed me the way to this new chicken sauce recipe. I was eating it plain by the spoonful. I kind of wanted to drink it. I got it from this blog.

*Makes about 4 cups chicken sauce (enough to serve 4-6 for Hawaiian Haystacks)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks (or leftover cooked chicken, cubed)
3 tablespoons butter
½ onion (about ½ cup), finely chopped
3 cloves garlic; finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion and raw chicken (if using leftover cooked chicken, don’t add it to the skillet now, you’ll add it later). Saute the onion and chicken, if using, until the onions are soft and translucent and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute, stirring, until fragrant.

(**my notes: i used the whole can of chicken broth, so in the future i would add more butter/flour thickener)

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and chicken and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for one minute – this helps get rid of the starchy, flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, and bring the sauce to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. Add the salt and pepper. If you are using leftover cooked chicken, add it now. Continue simmering, stirring the sauce frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 5-8 minutes.

Serve the chicken sauce over rice with your toppings of choice, such as olives, tomatoes, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, green onions, mandarin oranges and chow mein noodles.

(**my notes: i mixed half quinoa and half rice. it adds a spring to the rice's bland step. ratio: 4 cups water, 1 cup rice, 1 cup quinua. add the quinua 5-10 minutes after you add the rice - it cooks faster)

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crock-pot Cobbler

The best part about this cobbler is you can use any fruit that you want. My sister makes hers with candied cherries, pineapple, peach, and blueberry. You can use fruit pie filling, fresh fruit, or frozen fruit. Really, anything goes... it's all about how you like it. It's also super low fat- score!

1 cake mix- vanilla works best
1 can soda- I used Diet 7-up. Last time I used Diet Mt. Dew- YUM!
I used 2 cups frozen blueberries
1 can can of peaches; with juice

Grease your crock-pot with cooking spray. Spread the fruit evenly on the bottom. In a separate bowl, combine the cake mix and soda. Pour the batter over the fruit.

Take a paper towel and lay it over the top of your crock-pot before putting the lid on.
*This is the secret to getting it to cook*

Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Using a toothpick, check to see if the middle is done.
Serve with ice cream or cool whip.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fruit Salad

This is super easy (aside from the time consuming part of chopping the fruit) and yummy. My mother-in-law makes this but she uses canned fruit, drained. I prefer the fresh stuff, but either way is good. Our favorite fruits to use are strawberries, bananas, kiwi, apples, nectarines/peaches, and grapes (if your kids will eat this, you may want to slice the grapes in half). Also this is best if eaten with in the first couple days... it starts to get real mushy after that.

1 medium sized tub of coolwhip
1 small box of pudding, unprepared (I like cheesecake flavor the best, but banana or vanilla are good, too.)
chopped fruit (I'm guessing about 4-6 cups)

Mix the coolwhip and pudding powder together and set aside while you chop the fruit. Throw it all in a bowl and stir.

If you're making this for a large group, the large tub of coolwhip and large pudding box will work, too.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Tarts with Chocolate Mousse

Courtesy of OBB - although you won't find them on the blog or in the cookbook. They made them special just of the people that came to the cookbook launch event. They were SO yummy!

The recipe:

1 12 oz. bag mini peanut butter cups, divided
2 Tbl creamy peanut butter
10 chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos
1 1/2 Tbl butter, melted
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream

Mousse Topping:

1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tsp cold water
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1 1/2 Tbl granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unwrap 16 mini peanut butter cups and place in microwave safe bowl. Add peanut butter and microwave on 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted an smooth. Set aside.

In a food processor, process the cookies until they are crumbs. Add the melted butter and mix to combine. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with foil liners. Drop about a tablespoon of crumb mixture into each foil liner and lightly press the crumbs down to form a crust.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, and beat on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn beater speed down, and with the mixer running, add melted peanut butter cup mixture. Mix in sour cream and stir until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared foil liners, filling each one about 1/4 to 1/8 inch from the top. Bake for about 15 minutes or until very light brown and still a little jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hour or overnight. 

To prepare the mousse topping: Place gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and set aside to soften. Place chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of the cream in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 to 40 seconds. Whisk until smooth, heating more if needed. Add softened gelatin and whisk to dissolve. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes to cool until just warm. Place remaining cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add sugar and beat until medium peaks form. Add about a quarter of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture and stir. Gently fold in the remaining cream, a quarter at a time, until incorporated. If mixture is too soft to hold its shape, place in fridge for 10 minutes. Otherwise, spoon on top of chilled cheesecakes and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set up.
Makes 12 mini cheesecakes.

Garnish with additional peanut butter cups.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Microwave Popcorn

How is it I never knew you could take some regular popcorn kernels, throw them in a brown paper bag, and pop them in the microwave?! Why have I been buying popcorn bags all these years? I saw this here and tried it immediately. This morning at 8:30 in fact. Just to see if it would work... and it did! I was so excited! No more buying bags of microwave popcorn for me! I love finding little things that make my day.

What you need:
1 brown paper bag
1/4 c. plain popcorn kernels

Put the kernels in the bag, fold over a couple of times, and put in the microwave. Press the POPCORN setting..... that's it!

Roasted Veggie Pasta

Italian vegetables (I use sweet onion, zucchini, squash, mushrooms)
1/2 box of pasta (about half a pound). I like the size that is easily picked up by chubby little fingers.
2 cups of Italian cheese
salt and pepper
Italian seasoning

1. First roast your veggies. Cut them up and toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Roast at 425 for about 30 minutes.
**Some veggies roast slower than others (onions) so check them and take out the faster ones early
**I always wish for more vegetables when I make this - they shrink up pretty good, so don't be afraid if it looks like you have too many veggies.

2. When there is about 15 minutes left of roasting, start your pasta water and cook the pasta.

3. Toss the pasta, veggies, and 2 cups of cheese together. Spread it out on the baking sheet (that is lined with tin foil for easy clean up), maybe sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes (until the cheese is melty and bakey).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fresh Homemade Bread

**I like this recipe because it is really simple and the bread turns out great.

2 T yeast in 1/2 cup warm water
5 cups hot water from tap
7 cups unsifted whole wheat flour (I just buy it from the store - no wheat grinder here)
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup cooking oil
2 T salt (I don't put that much in...I do about 2 half tablespoons...I don't know why)
5-6 cups more whole wheat flour (I actually put in white flour here)

1. sprinkle yeast in 1/2 cup warm water
2. combine the 5 cups hot tap water and 7 cups of flour in your mixer (with the paddle) on low speed while you combine the oil, honey, and salt (in that order) in a separate bowl.
3. add the oil, honey, salt mixture into your mixer and continue to mix until everything is well blended.
4. by this time the yeast should have had plenty of time to brew. It should be bubbly and on the top of the water. Add it to the ingredients in your mixer and blend thoroughly.
5. this is where I swap to the bread kneader attachment. Add 5-6 cups of wheat (or white) flour. Let the dough knead on low speed for 10 minutes.
6. during this time, grease 4 bread pans and flour the counter top. Remove dough from the mixer and divide into 4 pieces. It will be kinda sticky, but will easily form into loaves with a little flour. Place dough in pans and let it rise for about 45 minutes. Don't let it rise to much.
7. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. (**I start the oven and put the bread in while the oven heats up, and let it bake for 45 minutes)

Don't let anything stand in the way of eating it fresh from the oven.

Southwest Eggrolls

Dinner tonight in the Larsen household found here.

I love these, and it is fun for kids because they get to dip the "egg rolls" in sauce. And in case you are leery, these are baked, not fried. They are actually really light and healthy.

**I don't add as much hotty hot things (jalapenos, etc.) as the author does.

Apple Sandwich

Here is what we had for dinner last night:

cinnamon bread
turkey (or any lunch meat you want)
provolone (I believe you are supposed to use Gouda, but Gouda luck finding it in my grocery store)
thin apple slice

Do it just like you would make a grilled cheese sandwich...
butter outside of the bread. Stack cheese, meat, apple, cheese, bread, and grill.
Cut into four triangles for dainty eating. You don't even add any sauce to these because the cinnamon bread is so moist and stuff.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Acorn Squash Bread

I got an acorn squash in my bountiful basket this weekend. I made a face when I got it. I don't like acorn squash. Someone on their facebook page suggested to google acorn squash bread and that's what I did. I thought I could trick my kids into eating it. But I wanted to try it too- I LOVE bread.

I found this recipe:


I made two small loaves. For my boys loaf, I added 1/4 cup chocolate chips. They will eat anything with a bite of chocolate in it.

To change it to something I would eat, I used applesauce in place of the oil and egg beaters in place of the eggs. I didn't add the nuts- but I don't like nuts in bread anyways. I used 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice in place of the nutmeg and ground cloves. I made the cream cheese sauce using fat-free cream cheese.... pure heaven!!! I can not wait to get another acorn squash!

**tip for cutting it**
Place squash in the microwave for 1-2 minutes to soften then cut. It will save your hand.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Let's Get Moving

Hey my pregnant friends - looking for a way to avoid postpartum constipation? I have the muffins for you. This recipe makes a TON, so either half it or store the leftovers in the freezer for when you are having a "hard" day.

Oatmeal Bran Muffins
1 3/4 C boiling water
1 tsp salt
2 C honey
1 qt buttermilk
6 tsp baking soda
2 C Kellogg's All Bran
2 C Kellogg's Bran Buds
1/2 C butter
4 eggs
2 1/2 C flour
2 1/2 C wheat flour
2 C oatmeal

Pour boiling water over bran buds in a separate bowl.
Cream honey and butter in your mixer.
Add eggs, buttermilk, and the now soggy bran buds.
Sift in dry ingredients - salt, soda, flour.
Add the all bran and oatmeal.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

These babies are potent but delicious.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chicken & Rice a la Rice Cooker

I have been kinda busy this week and needed a quick and easy meal- my go to gadget- my rice cooker. I have 2! I usually throw in whatever vegetables I have on hand- one reason I LOVE Bountiful Basket!

So for dinner tonight, I used my large rice cooker and added:

2 cups chicken broth
2 cups long grain rice
1 yellow squash; quartered
1 c. broccoli
1 c. asparagus; cut in half
1 chicken breast; cooked and cubed
1/2 c. teriyaki sauce
Seasonings: garlic salt and red pepper

Give it a quick stir, push the cook button and that's it!

Asian Grilled Salmon

We had this tonight and it was quite tasty. With only 4 ingredients, it's my type of cooking! Even both my kids gobbled this up and asked for seconds.

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
6 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Teaspoon minced garlic (I just threw a little garlic salt in)

Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Place the salmon skin side down on the hot grill; discard the marinade the fish was sitting in. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes. The salmon will be slightly raw in the center, but don't worry; it will keep cooking as it sits.

Transfer the fish to a flat plate, skin side down, and spoon the reserved marinade on top. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and serve warm. Yum!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spinach Salad with Strawberries

This one I got from Megan Smith, anyone remember her? She used to be in our ward a few years ago and alway had awesome recipes!!
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup sugared cashew pieces (I use plain or honey roasted, whatever I can find at the store)
1/3 cup bacon pieces
1 purple onion, Sliced
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 package fresh spinach

2 tblsp Red Wine Vinegar
3 tblsp white sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup dry mustard
1/2 teasp salt
1/2 cup strawberry jam

Combine all salad ingredients and toss together. Combine dressing ingredients and beat together. Drizzle dressing over salad. Serve and enjoy.

*tip: One of the best ways I have to get the onion smell off my hands when I chopped an onion is to run my metal knife under cool water and using the flat part of the knife rub it back and forth against the metal...I do cut my onions with a big, almost butcher size knife. This gives me lots of metal to rub! It works like a charm every time!

Smothered Pork Chops in Mushroom Gravy

Pork Chops or Pork Steaks
Butter 4 tblsp
Sour Cream (16 oz)
Cream of Mushroom Soup, 3 cans

*I always use light sour cream and try to use the reduced fat mushroom soup when ever possible, just to ease the guilt*

To prepare pork chops take frying pan add 4 tblsp butter (I don't use this much, just enough to coat the bottom of my frying pan), while butter gets hot season pork chops with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops on both sides until brown. Remove and put into baking dish. Do not pour out butter from pan. After meat has been removed, add sour cream and mushroom soup to butter, stirring until blended well. Remove from heat pour gravy over pork chops in baking dish. Put pork chops into oven at 350 degrees for 60 min.s

Serve over mash potatoes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chippy Dinner!

I was so happy last night when all of my kids actually ate dinner! A whole 9x13 pan was gone without throwing any in the trash. That is a rare occasion at my house :)

1 pound ground beef
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese, divided
1 cup salsa
tortilla chips or tortillas

Brown ground beef, drain grease. Add soup, milk, salsa, and half of the cheese. In 9x13 pan, spread chips or tortillas. Pour mixture over top, then sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 400 for 15 minutes.