Friday, December 16, 2011

Snap peas, Chicken, and Strawberry Salad

8 ounces fresh sugar snap peas, stringed/trimmed and rinsed
1 pound thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast, or regular chicken breasts pounded to a thickness of 1/4- to 1/2-inch
About 3/8 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces (1 pint) strawberries, hulled, then cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium carrot, grated (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Fill a large bowl with water and ice.

Steam or boil the sugar snap peas for 3 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain them and transfer to the bowl of ice water. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then drain and let dry. Leave small sugar snaps whole; cut medium ones in half and larger ones into 3 pieces.

Preheat the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them under the cooking area for direct heat. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill.

Sprinkle chicken with about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper to taste over the chicken pieces, then use 1 tablespoon of the oil to brush the chicken.

Place the chicken pieces on the grill; close the lid and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, turning over the pieces once, until they are cooked through and lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch strips, then into bite-size pieces, if desired. Transfer to a large bowl and add the sugar snaps, the strawberries and the grated carrot. Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt over the salad; toss gently, making sure to distribute all of the oil and vinegar. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes: This was awesome. Seriously so good. The peas were cooked to a nice, soft consistency and blended nicely with the strawberries and chicken. And yes, grilling the chicken makes such a difference; I'm sure of it. So good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2 c. 2% milk
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. peppermint extract
green food coloring
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract until the sugar has dissolved. Color to your liking with the green food coloring.

Blend the chocolate chips in a blender until mostly chopped.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. After about 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. After the ice cream has thickened, about 30 minutes later, spoon into a container, and freeze for 2 hours.

Notes: Holy moly. Best ice cream we've ever made. Reason enough to get an ice cream maker.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quinoa with Lemon and Zucchini

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
1 1/4 cups quinoa, rinsed for 1 minute under running water
2 1/2 cups water
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Lots of chopped fresh dill
Crumbled feta (optional)
Pine nuts (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove zucchini from the pan and add quinoa, water and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, until quinoa is tender but still chewy and a white spiral-like germ appears around each grain, about 15 minutes.

Toss quinoa with zucchini, zest, lemon juice, and dill. Serve warm or room temperature, topped with feta cheese if you like.

Note: I halved this because it said it made six servings and I knew my house wouldn't eat six servings. If you do this, feel free to keep the zest amount the same, but do not do 2 T. of lemon juice. Wow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bacon-Wrapped Apple-Cheddar Rolls

1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 16 (1/4-inch) slices
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
Dash salt
1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
8 slices (1/4 inch) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut in half (from 8-oz block)
16 slices packaged precooked bacon

Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with nonstick foil, parchment paper, or silicone baking mat. (Some cheese will melt out during baking so this will make cleanup easier.) In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with brown sugar; sprinkle with salt. On cutting board, unroll dough; separate dough into 8 triangles. From center of longest side to opposite point, cut each triangle in half, making 16 triangles. Place 1 cheese slice on non-point side of each dough triangle; top each with 1 apple slice. Fold sides of dough triangle up slightly; wrap dough around apple and cheese. Wrap 1 bacon slice around outside of each dough roll-up, making sure ends of bacon are on bottom and slightly tucked in. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Notes: YUM! These were really good. I didn't bother folding sides of dough, just rolled. The bacon slice will go around a couple of times. And if you don't want to use pre-cooked bacon, just use regular bacon and cook it a little bit first. You don't want it crispy because it still needs to be pliable in order to wrap around roll.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin-Ricotta Pasta Bake

I got this recipe here:

Olive oil
1 pound pasta, such as farfalle, small shells, or elbows
One 15-ounce container ricotta
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided

Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Set aside. Bring a 4-quart pot of water to boil over high heat, and stir about 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for a slightly shorter amount of time than specified by the package. (For instance, if the package specifies 10 to 12 minutes, cook for 9 to 10, or until just barely al dente.) Drain the pasta and toss lightly with olive oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, pureed pumpkin, eggs, and yogurt. Whisk in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ginger.

Stir in the pasta and coat completely with the pumpkin mixture. Stir in the pecans, chopped pecans, sage, and garlic. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over top. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


e-notes: I didn't have plain yogurt on hand (since that's what I assume is meant by "yogurt.") I used sour cream instead. I also did 1 1/2 t. salt. My husband thought it could have been a little bit more pumpkin-y with a little less of sage. I didn't mind the amount at all. I probably did 1/2 c. nuts b/c I just bought a small baggie. When I had read the comments about this, a lot of people commented about it being dry. So I did cover my casserole for all but the last few minutes. It was slightly dry, more paste-y, really. But so delicious! My husband and I thought maybe you could add some cottage cheese to help it be a little more sauce-y? Totally loved this, as well as all 4 of my kids.

Butternut Squash Bake

I found this lovely recipe here:

  • 1 (4 pound) butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1/3 yellow onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs


  1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the squash, onion, olive oil, 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, thyme, and blue cheese in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup bread crumbs over the squash.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned on top, 35 to 40 minutes.

e-notes: So I love, love, love this. So does my husband. We put way less blue cheese, though. We put a small amount in the mix and bake it like it says. Then we'll let people sprinkle how much or how little of blue cheese they want. A little goes a long ways in my opinion. My one boy didn't like it too much until he very lightly sprinkled it with the cheese. YUM.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Snickers Cupcakes

Makes 24-30 cupcakes

For the cake:
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs; lightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
24-30 frozen Snickers Miniatures

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line (2) 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, vanilla and water.
4. Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans. {I use a large cookie scoop from OXO to scoop my batter; it holds 3 tablespoons}.
5. Gently push a frozen Snickers Miniature bar into the center of the batter and smooth the surface making sure to cover the candy bar with batter.
6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.
7. Cool cupcakes thoroughly on wire rack.

For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup caramel topping; plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, salt and caramel syrup and combine well.
2. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, give it a taste and decide if you want to add in more caramel syrup. For thicker frosting you can gradually add in a little more sugar.
Garnish with chopped Snickers bars and a drizzle of caramel of caramel syrup.

Not a fan of Snickers? Sub in your favorite candy bar, just make sure you freeze them first.
Not a fan of vegetable shortening? No worries, simply sub in butter for the shortening.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zucchini Brownies

2 C finely shredded zucchini
2 C flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 C cocoa powder
1/2 C oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 C nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9 x 13 pan. Set aside.

Mix all wet ingredients together in a large bowl. (oil, zucchini, vanilla) In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients. Combine the two bowls. Batter will be THICK. Spread in 9 x 13. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Top will look "glazed" almost when finished. Check with toothpick.


4 T cocoa powder
2 T butter (softened)
2 T shortening
Melt in saucepan over medium heat
2 C powdered sugar
1/4 c milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine saucepan and remaining ingredients, blend well, by hand or mixer.

Frost when cooled. Enjoy.

This reminds me of my "Deceptively Delicious" recipes, but it isn't. It's from my neighbor who has grown an amazing garden and brings me all the extras. YAY. My kids (4 & 7) even ask to eat these brownies, KNOWING full well they are made with veggies.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Santa Fe Chicken Wrap

1 ¼ lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup diced onion
1 cup corn kernels
1 4oz can roasted whole green chiles (I used a can of diced)
½ cup chopped tomatillos
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup cooked long grain white rice, warm
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup sour cream
1 TBS fresh lime juice
4 10 inch flour tortillas, or flavored chipotle, or salsa

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the chicken, onion, corn, chiles, tomatillos, olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander, 1 tsp kosher salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix well.

Spread the chicken mixture evenly into a 9x13x2 inch baking pan. I used a cookie sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked, 10-15 minutes. Add the rice, cilantro, sour cream and lime juice; mix well, Season with kosher salt. Divide among the tortillas and wrap.

Note: I prefer to add the rice, cilantro, sour cream and lime juice separately on top of the chicken.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Key Lime Pie

1 9" graham cracker crust (store-bought or make your own)
3 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. sour cream (I used fat-free)
3/4 c. key lime juice
1 T. grated lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ina medium bowl, combine condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime rind. Mix well and pour into graham cracker crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until tiny pinhole bubbles burst on the surface of the pie. DO NOT BROWN! Chill pie thoroughly before serving. (I did mine on Saturday to eat on Sunday.)

Note: I bought two 14-ounce cans of the sweetened condensed milk, thinking it would be enough. It was more like 2.5 cups (instead of the three) but it worked out fine. Also I used regular lime juice, even though I think that key lime juice would give me a different flavor. But I love lime and this didn't disappoint. It was a lovely, cold dessert for a hot summer day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wraps

1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. finely chopped seedless cucumber
1 T. honey
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
ground black pepper to taste

2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into thin strips
1 c. thick and chunky salsa
1 T. honey
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 (10 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves

Mix together the mayonnaise, cucumber, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and black pepper in a bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat, and cook and stir the chicken breast strips until they are beginning to turn golden and are no longer pink in the middle.

Stir in the salsa, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended, about 5 minutes.
Stack the tortillas, 4 at a time, in a microwave oven and heat until warm and pliable, 20 to 30 seconds per batch.

Spread each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise-cucumber mixture, top with a layer of baby spinach leaves, and arrange about 1/2 cup of chicken mixture on the spinach leaves.
Fold the bottom of each tortilla up about 2 inches, and start rolling the burrito from the right side. When the burrito is half-rolled, fold the top of the tortilla down, enclosing the filling, and continue rolling to make a tight, compact cylinder.

Notes: Although I didn't love the sauce plain, I loved the sauce mixed with the chicken. Chuck, well, not so much. But he could enjoy the "tacos" without it, so it made for a nice compromise in our house.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread

3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 c. white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. chopped walnuts (opt.)
3 eggs, beaten
1 c. veg. oil
2 c. mashed very ripe banana
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. flaked coconut
1 c. maraschino cherries, diced.

Grease two 9x5 loaf pans. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon. Add walnuts, eggs, oil, banana, pineapple, vanilla, coconut and cherries; stir just until blended. Pour batter evenly into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Notes: I haven't actually made this myself, however I have tasted it and LOVED it. I must make it for my own family soon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

3 bacon strips (or 1 T. oil and bacon bits)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. pepper
3 c. chicken broth
2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed (and YES baked first)
1 c. half and half
1/2 t. hot pepper sauce (like tabasco or something else hot and spicy)
shredded cheddar
minced fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain, reserving 1 T. drippings.

Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender.  (I didn't have bacon, so I used olive oil in place of the drippings.)  Stir in flour, salt, basil, and pepper; mix well.  Gradually add broth.  Bring to boil; boil and stir for two minutes.  Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil.  Garnish with bacon (or Bacon Bits stuff), cheese, and parsley.  This was soooo yummy.  Serves 4.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Root Beer Cookies

1 c. packed dark brown sugar
4 oz. canola oil margarine (see Note)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 c. flour
2 t. root beer concentrate, such as McCormick's brand (see Note)

2 c. confectioners' sugar
2/3 stick (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 to 4 T. water
1 t. root beer concentrate

For the cookies: In a large bowl, using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer on medium speed, beat the brown sugar, margarine, butter and egg for several minutes until well blended and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, the flour in increments, and the root beer concentrate. The batter will be stiff. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line several large baking sheets with parchment paper (or just grease some). Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls, spaced about 2 inches apart (the cookies will spread), onto the prepared sheets. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing: In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar with the butter and mix well. In a measuring cup, combine the water and root beer concentrate; add to the sugar-butter mixture and mix well, adding more water as needed to reach the desired consistency. Spread on the cooled cookies. Let set for about 30 minutes before serving.

Notes: I have no idea what the canola oil margarine is, nor did I think these would be harmed if I omitted it. So instead of the 3/4 cups of fats it told me, I used one whole stick of butter. In addition, I could not find the concentrate at home, but found some "Root Beer Flavor Oil" at a Bosch store in Utah and used that. If you do that, I suggest using 3/4 t. of that in place of the 2 t. of concentrate in the cookies because it's stronger. I didn't ice the cookies, but a good way to eat these would be as a sandwich with vanilla ice cream in between (root beer float cookie anyone?). Trust me.  It should also be noted that the recipe I was following said it would yield 24 cookies; I got 38.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Marmalade Chicken

I admit I stole this from, but it is pretty delish!

4 servings

Total Time: 20 minutes

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 pound chicken tenders
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large shallots, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

Whisk broth, vinegar, marmalade, mustard and cornstarch in a medium bowl.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 4 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and shallots to the pan and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 30 seconds. Whisk the broth mixture and add it to the pan. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer; cook until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Add the chicken; return to a simmer. Cook, turning once, until the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in orange zest.

Per serving: 213 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 68 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 27 g protein; 0 g fiber; 246 mg sodium; 55 mg potassium.

Exchanges: 1/2 other carbohydrate, 3 1/2 very lean meat

I did not use shallots, I used diced onion, and I did not add the orange zest at the end because I did not have an orange on hand.  Otherwise, we thought it was great!  I got a couple of frowns while it was cooking and even when we pre-tasted the sauce, but once you add the chicken and serve over rice, it was just right.  We'll definitely make this again!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fruit Buckle

How have I never posted this before? It's such a great dessert that Chuck and I can eat the entire thing by ourselves (I didn't say we do, just that we can).

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. milk
2 c. blueberries (1 pint) (See NOTE below)

1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
6 T. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into dice

Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

In the bowl of a electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

In a small bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the milk, mixing until smooth and blended.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread with a rubber spatula so that it evenly covers the pan. Sprinkle berries over batter.

To make topping, whisk together sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add butter and work with a fork or your fingers until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle topping over blueberries. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until berries are bubbling and topping is golden brown.

Let cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves about 6 buckle fiends.

NOTE: You can use whatever fruit you want. I've done blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and just last night, cherries. Not one has ended badly. If you're using frozen fruit, defrost first. Serve with ice cream if you want.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Some of you may have seen this on The Idea Room, but I tried it and am giving it a full endorsement by posting it here. You'll see that Rhett agrees.

Filling (and Topping):
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
5 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 c. whole milk (I used 2%), heated on stove top to 110 degrees (or microwaved for 40-45 seconds)
4 T. unsalted butter, (3 of them melted)
3 large egg yolks
4 1/4 c. flour, plus more if needed (can do half white and half wheat)
2 1/4 t. rapid rise yeast (1 pkg.)
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt

1. In a small bowl, combine your filling/topping ingredients. Measure out 1/4 cup of your mixture and set the rest aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, and egg yolks. Then, in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the 1/4 cup of cinnamon mixture, 1 T. sugar, yeast, flour, and salt.

3. Using your dough hook, mix on low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase your speed to medium and mix the dough until it is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Your dough should stick to the bottom of your bowl, but not too the sides. You may need to add more flour if needed.

4. Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a smooth round ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about an hour, or until dough has doubled in size. [If using instant yeast, you can skip this.  Note that instant is different from rapid.]

5. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, press dough into a 20 x 8 inch rectangle, with the short side facing you. Using a spray bottle filled with water, lightly spray the dough. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture (reserving about 2-3 T.), leaving a 2-inch border along the top to seal. Lightly spray the cinnamon sugar with the water.

6. Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1 T. of butter and brush over top of dough. Sprinkle with remaining sugar, and bake until top is deep brown, about 45 to 60 minutes. Turn bread out and cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Play Dough Frosting

1/3 C melted butter
1/3 C corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. powdered sugar
food coloring

Stir together then knead until smooth.

Notes: This frosting is great for little hands wanting to decorate gingerbread people with clothes and the like. Separate the dough before adding food coloring for a variety of dough to decorate with.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pizza Rolls

Begin with your favorite recipe of pizza dough. There are three published on Foodees (one, two, three), or you can use another, or buy another. Then gather all your favorite pizza makings (whether it consists of your standard marinara and pepperoni or maybe pesto with pine nuts).

Then, get
1 T. olive oil (or less)
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly-floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" x 8". You're going to then cut it into 2" x 2" squares. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough.

Place cheese (not the Parmesan, but part of your toppings) and other desired toppings on each square. (Note: marinara sauce does NOT go on at this point. It's used for dipping later.) When all squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam-side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar-sized dish).

Brush the tops of the dough balls with the oil, then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese.

Cook them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Because doughs vary, I'd start checking them after 10 minutes.  (I don't think mine were quite done, so I'd go a bit darker than this picture suggests.)

Serve warm with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

Note: We ate far more of this (re: the entire thing) than we would of a pizza made with same ingredients, so beware.  They were just so good.

Creamy White Bean Chicken Chili

1 large onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cube butter (I use less)
¼ cup flour
¾ cup chicken broth
2 cups milk or half-and-half (I use skim milk)
2 cans great northern beans, drained
1 teaspoon Tabasco (I use about ¼ tsp)
1 ½ tsp chili powder (I use about 1 tsp)
1 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 (4 oz) cans green chilies
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced and cooled
1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup sour cream

1. Cook the onions and garlic in 2 TBS of butter until softened but not browned. In a large pot melt the remaining butter and whisk in the flour. Cook whisking for about 3 minutes. DO NOT BROWN.

2. Stir in the onions, garlic and gradually add the broth and milk, still whisking. Bring to a boil and then to a simmer, stirring 5 minutes or until thickened.

3. Stir in the drained beans and all remaining ingredients except the cheese and sour cream. Cook stirring over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Serve with cheese and sour cream as a topping.

Cheesy Cornbread

1 cup melted butter (I use ¾ cup)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 can cream-style corn
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 can green chillies or chopped jalapenos, crumbled Bacon, and/or green onion

Combine butter, sugar, eggs, and corn. Next add the remaining 4 dry ingredients and the cheese. Stir just to combine. Do not over-mix.

Pour the mixture in a 9x13 inch pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then turn the temperature down to 300 degrees and bake for 50 minutes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


3 C. rolled oats
1 C. slivered almonds
1 C. cashews
1/4 C. + 2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. + 2 Tbs. honey
1/4 C. oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 C. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In large bowl, combine oats, almonds, cashews, brown sugar and cinnamon. In separate bowl combine honey, oil and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour over one or two cookie sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour, 15 min. stirring every 15 minutes to bake evenly. Remove from oven and add dried cranberries.

notes: obviously there are a lot of recipes for granola out there. this has been my favorite that i have found so far. the original recipe i used called for maple syrup instead of honey and raisins instead of cranberries but since my husband won't come within a 10 foot radius of anything maple or raisins, i made my own substitutions and they work perfectly.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lasagna Rolls

I have adapted this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network. Find her original recipe here.

1 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 C. plus 2 tbs. grated parmesan
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 lg. egg, beaten
3/4 tsp. salt plus more for boiling water
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tbs. olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 to 3 C. marinara sauce
1 C. shredded mozzarella @ 4 oz.

Whisk the ricotta, chopped spinach, 1 C. parmesan, prosciutto, beaten egg, salt and pepper in bowl to blend.

Add olive oil to large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to the bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish. Pour some of the sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Spread about 3 tbs. of the ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Sprinkle a little mozzarella on each noodle as well. Starting at one end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching atop the sauce in the dish. Spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the rolls. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan over the rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 20 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Any remaining marinara sauce can be heated and served on the side.

Notes: I do not suggest substituting cottage cheese for the ricotta, gross. Ricotta is much tastier and much more smooth. However, if prosciutto is out of your budget, you can use cubed ham. Just make sure to chop it to smithereens before you add it to the ricotta mixture. As far as the baking time, I generally watch to see the sauce inside get bubbly and then take off the foil for the last 15 - 20 min. Just fyi, the pic is of the assembled rolls, pre-baked.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pumpkin or Banana Muffins

I know, I know, there are like a thousand versions of this, but I have been trying to pack in as many healthy recipes as I can to my stash. With a husband who is borderline on his blood pressure, and now blood sugar (and no, he is not ginorm, he bikes to work daily and really is quite healthy) we are really conscious of what we eat. Here is an uber healthy version that my kids still enjoy (I think it's because we add the chocolate chips for a little fun). I love serving them at breakfast because they keep my kids feeling so full!
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax (this is optional but we add it to everything now. I buy whole seeds and grind what I need in the blender. The whole seed has a shelf life of two years. I even sprinkle the ground flax on my kids' peanut butter sandwiches and in their fruit smoothies)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. ginger (for banana) or nutmeg (for pumpkin)
1/4 tsp. salt

Put above ingredients in bowl and stir with whisk.

In blender or mixer combine:
3 ripe bananas or 15 oz can pumpkin +1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey (or agave or sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine wet and dry ingredients and add 1/2 - 1 cup chocolate chips
Cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I use a mini muffin tin. These little guys are super filling!
Makes about 40 mini muffins and they freeze beautifully!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Camping Food: Kielbasa Tin Foil Dinner

3/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
1/2 pound red potatoes, quartered
1 large onion, sliced
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces (we used turkey kielbasa)
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
2 t. butter, melted
1/3 c. water

Put everything on a sheet of foil and seal tightly with many layers of foil, leaving only a small opening. Pour water into the opening and seal. If prepping at home, don't add water until just before cooking so it doesn't spill out everywhere while in transit. Cook 20 to 30 minutes in hot coals, turning once.

Camping Food: Orange Cinnamon Biscuits

pre-made cinnamon roll

Take a large orange and slice it in half along its equator. Scoop out the halves of the orange, keeping the skin intact. Place a pre-made cinnamon roll (the ones in the tube) into one of the orange halves. Replace the other half of the orange skin and wrap the whole thing in foil (or a couple of pieces of foil). Place the foil balls into hot coals for 10 minutes, turning once during cooking. The cinnamon roll will cook, picking up the flavor of the orange.

Note: the scooping of the orange may be easier to do at home.

Camping Food: Baked Apples

brown sugar

Fill each core of an apple with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Wrap each apple in a large piece of heavy foil (or a couple of pieces, just to be sure not to burn them). Place the apple in the coals of a campfire or barbecue grill and let cook for 5 - 10 minutes (we found 8 worked well). Remove and unwrap, being careful of the hot sugar.

I'm sure this would work in an oven as well.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Velvety Pumpkin Soup. . .

My husband found this recipe last year on Here is the direct link:

2 (15 oz.) cans pumpkin
1 quart chicken stock
1 c. half and half
1 shallot, minced
1/4 c. molasses
2 T. butter
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
6 slices of bacon
1 c. crumbled blue cheese

1. Stir together the pumpkin, chicken stock, half and half, shallot, molasses, butter, spice, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large stockpot over low heat; simmer 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place bacon in a large skillet and cook until crispy, remove to paper towels to drain, then cool and crumble.

3. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with bacon and blue cheese.

We did not do the shallot. I honestly think it would not be good in this soup. My husband did 1 T. of butter instead of 2 T. (for my sake - he's so good). He did a scant less than 1/4 t. cayenne pepper. He could probably do the full 1/4 t. for his sake, but for mine and the kids he did a little bit less. It depends on how spicy you like things. I read some comments and some people thought it was the perfect amount, and others halved the cayenne. We bought bacon bits instead. Well I think last year we bought bacon bits. I just looked and this year we used a bag from Oscar Mayer called "Real Bacon" (it was already cooked and crumbled). We just let people put how much bacon and cheese they wanted into their own bowls. We did not use nearly 1 c. of blue cheese. I probably put a 1/2 t. - 1 t. in my bowl. Ben maybe a little more? The kids? None. (I had them try it first.).

But let me say I absolutely love, love, love this soup! It is soooooo good. Ben loves it every bit as much. Delicious. One of my favorite meals at the moment and my favorite soup. YUM.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chicken Sauteed with Apples

I got this recipe emailed me from I guess at one point I signed up for daily recipes. We really liked this one. Here is the direct link. It's a really great fall dinner, I think.

Here is the recipe:
4 chicken breasts
1 T. oil
1 apple, cored, halved and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 c. apple juice
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. salt
2 T. dijon mustard

Place each chicken-breast half between 2 sheets of wax paper and pound with a meat mallet until about 3/4 inch thick.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute the chicken until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Add the apple slices, apple juice, onion, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cover and simmer 6 to 8 minutes or until the chicken is fork-tender.

Remove the chicken, apple slices, and onion to a serving platter and keep warm.
Bring the sauce to a boil for about 5 minutes or until slightly reduced. Whisk in the mustard. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

e-notes: I had to cook the chicken longer until it was no longer pink. I did two apples, and frankly could have done three. We didn't have thyme and so I did "herbs de provence" which is mainly made with thyme. A lovely fall supper.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Whole-Wheat Banana Nut Muffins

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey (or 1/4 c. sugar if you prefer, or I did 2 T. sugar and 2 T. honey)
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. mashed very ripe bananas (about three bananas)
1/3 c. low-far sour cream or plain yogurt
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. nuts, chopped (pecans or walnuts)
1/4 c. packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with liners--you'll need about 15-16.

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, honey (if using), and butter. Add each egg in one at a time, combining completely after each addition but not over-mixing. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined (don't over-mix).

Divide the batter evenly (so the cups are about 2/3 full) among 15-16 muffin tins. Combine the chopped pecans and brown sugar and sprinkle them on top of the batter. Bake for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to finish cooling. Serve with breakfast or as a snack.

Note 1: My friend Julia hit me up to this lovely site, where I found the recipe for these muffins. They are really, really excellent. I was able to get a dozen regular-sized ones and a dozen mini muffins. So some for me and the husband and some for the kid! We all loved them. Also note that I love nuts IN my muffins, so I added an additional 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to the batter.

Note 2: These are similar to these, but not quite the same. I like the addition of nuts, as well as the sour cream/yogurt.