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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Waffle Cookies

These cookies have become a tradition to have at Christmas time in our family. They are delicious all year round though. The have a light vanilla flavor so are delicious on their own, with a scoop of ice cream, dipped in hot chocolate, or with a dollop of whipped cream.
6 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup softened butter, not margarine!
6 eggs, beaten

Mix all dry ingredients. Add butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix all ingredients together to form a stiff dough. Drop walnut size (or slightly larger if you have a Belgian waffle iron) pieces onto a medium heated waffle iron and bake until lightly golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Shake with sifted powdered sugar on both sides when cooled. Makes about 8 dozen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Salsa Ranch Chicken Wraps

Yields 4 wraps


  • 1 or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed.
  • 4 T. Salsa
  • 4 Tomato Basil Tortillas
  • 8 Tomato slices
  • 6 Slices swiss cheese
  • 4 T ranch salad dressing
  • 12 cucumber slices
  • 1/2 cup julienne green pepper
  • 1 T. butter, divided

  1. Pan fry chicken and season with Lawry's Montreal Chicken Seasoning with 1 T butter.
  2. Spread 1 T. Salsa and 1 T. ranch over each tortilla.
  3. Place chicken, cucumber, tomato, and green pepper down the center
  4. Top with swiss cheese
  5. Fold ends of tortilla over filling, wrap.
  6. In a large skillet melt 1 T. butter.
  7. Place filled tortillas on skillet for 3-4 minutes on medium heat, until each side is browned and cheese is melted.

Lettuce Wraps

A favorite in our household! It makes a great appetizer, or can be served with rice and a vegetable for a main dish.

Makes enough filling for 4-5 large lettuce leaves.

Ingredients for chicken mixture:
3 T. Oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (chopped finely)
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, minced
1 cup mushrooms, minced
3 T. onion, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced (about 2 small cloves)
4-5 lettuce leaves*

Ingredients for special sauce:
1/4 cups sugar, or 1/8 cup honey
1/2 cup water
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. Rice wine vinegar
2 T. Ketchup
1 T. Lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 T. hot mustard
1-2 tsp garlic and red chili paste

Ingredients for Stir fry sauce:
2 T. soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

  1. Combine ingredients for the special sauce and bring to a boil; set aside.
  2. Cook chicken breast in oil; set aside.
  3. Mix together ingredients for stir fry sauce and set aside.
  4. Saute water chestnuts and mushrooms.
  5. Add garlic, onions, stir fry sauce, and cooked chicken. Saute for a few minutes, until the garlic and onion are tender.
  6. Add special sauce.
  7. Put some filling in a lettuce leaf, wrap, and enjoy!
*The typical lettuce used in this dish is iceberg. I prefer to use romaine though because iceberg has so little nutritional value.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Salmon Rolls

This savory spring roll recipe is a nice addition to the weekly menu. I served this for James' birthday and he loved them. They have a wonderful flavor. I like to serve them with fried rice to make the meal complete.

Makes 3 Spring Rolls

  • Fresh salmon, 3 oz. (I cooked my salmon before wrapping since I don't have a true deep-fryer.)
  • Fresh Spinach, 3 oz.
  • Asian Vegetable Mix, 3 oz. (I used a mix of thinly shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • White sugar, 1/2 oz.
  • Garlic, minced, 1/2 oz.
  • Soy Sauce, 3 oz.
  • Sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Spring Roll Wrapper, (3) 6x6 wrappers
  1. Cook asian vegetables with sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and sugar, stirring until browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Take the 6x6 wrappers and coat the edges with egg wash. Place 1 oz. of fresh salmon, 1 oz. of spinach, and 1 oz. of the asian vegetable mix in the middle of each wrapper.
  3. Roll and tie edges of each with scallions to make them look like firecrackers. *As shown in the picture, I did not have success tying the ends with scallions (green onions) so I just rolled them like a typical egg roll.
  4. Deep fry in vegetable oil at 350 degrees until golden brown.
  5. Serve warm.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stuffing and Turkey Soup

Hey Taylor, Just looking to get your stuffing recipe, which if it's grandma's I have it but I know you said you have tweaked it a little so I would like to get your alterations too. Also, the leftover turkey soup with a scoop of stuffing recipe sounds so good so I would like that recipe too. Thanks. Hope you feel better soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yam Casserole

I missed out on this one as a kid--not appreciating it like I do now. It has become a must-have in my adult years. Super tasty!

Bake or boil, then mash 5 medium yams. To the mash add the following:

1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cream

Place mixture in a casserole dish.

Topping ingredients:

1/4 cup soft butter
3 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Mix topping ingredients together until like coarse meal. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Lefse is a traditional Norwegian food that is like a potato tortilla. It is definately one of those foods that it's not Thanksgiving without it. They are time consuming to make, and require special care to make a good one, which is why we only enjoy them once a year. We like to eat lefse spread with butter and sugar then rolling it up. Others like them with fillings like cinnamon, honey, stuffing and turkey, or peanut butter and jelly. This is my mom's (the expert) recipe and instructions.

17 cups Russet potatoes (10#s) *
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter, melted *
2 Tbsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
8 cups flour
*Use only Russet potatoes and do not substitute margarine for butter.

Peel potatoes and boil in salted water until tender. Drain and rice potatoes while still hot. Measure and put in large container. Add all other ingredients except for the flour and mix by hand or with a spoon. NEVER use a mixer. Let stand in the refrigerator until cold (I usually do this overnight). When mixture is completely cold, mix in the flour only until incorperated - DO NOT overmix. Don't add the flour until you are ready to roll them out. Measure 1/4 cup of dough and roll out into a thin circle on a floured surface. Fry on a hot skillet (450 degreese or medium high heat) until lacey brown. Wipe loose flour from griddle after each lefse is fried and brush flour off the cooked lefse also. Cool lefse slightly before stacking and packaging. I cool on a rack while one is frying, then stack about a dozen and cover them with a paper towel to cool completely. Can be frozen but are best fresh.

Ambrosia Salad

This is a typical salad served in our family around the holidays. Kellen had it for the first time when he came to Thanksgiving in South Dakota the first year we were married and has often asked for it since.

2 cups pineapple chunks, drained well
1 cup mandarin oranges, drained well
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup sour cream

Mix all together 12 hours in advance. Stir just before serving.

Baked Corn Casserole

Shirley Bachmann made this delicious corn casserole for the Memorial Day potluck in Summit in May of 2005. We loved this baked corn so a request for the recipe was made. Thank you Shirley. Kellen often asks for this dish and specifically requested it this Thanksgiving.

1 16 oz whole kernel frozen corn (Shirley would use 2 cups of her home frozen corn)
1 16 oz. cream style corn (Shirley would process 1 bag of her home frozen corn in processor)
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
1 box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
Mix all ingredients. Bake at 350* for 1 hour in deep dish or 1/2 hour in shallow pan.
*Notes from Shirley. I use my own frozen corn (I put about 2 cups per bag). I put 1 pkg in processor to make it creamy, Also I have used 1 cup evaporated milk if I didn't have sour cream on hand. To make a larger amount, I use 3 pkg corn, and 3 eggs but other ingredients were about the same.

Savory Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing

My mom found this recipe on Food Network one year when searching for a unique stuffing recipe. It isn't your traditional stuffing but it is delicious and worth the extra expense once a year

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Yeild:10-12 Servings


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds spinach, washed (3 cups cooked and roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Emeril's Italian Essence, or other Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 (8 1/2-ounce) cans quartered artichoke hearts, any tough outer leaves removed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 12 to 14 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old French bread (1 loaf)
  • 1 pound Brie, rind removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once cool, squeeze as much water from spinach as possible, then roughly chop, and reserve.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons of Italian Essence, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Combine the eggs, cream, chicken stock, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian Essence, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the bread, spinach, artichoke mixture, brie, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and parsley and stir to combine. If bread does not absorb all of liquid immediately then let rest until this happens, about 20 minutes.
Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve warm.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pumpkin Scones

These scones are delicious, nutritious, and easy to make. I have not tried the berry butter but it looks just as good. Great fall recipes!

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled margarine or butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a mixing bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender cut in the 1/2 cup chilled margarine or butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.

2. In another bowl combine egg, pumpkin, and milk. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.

3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Quickly knead dough by folding and pressing gently for 10 to 12 strokes or until nearly smooth. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 12 wedges.

4. Place wedges 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. If desired, brush tops with additional milk. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Remove scones from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm with Berry Butter. Makes 12 scones.

For Berry Butter: In a small bowl combine dried cranberries or dried blueberries and boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain well and finely chop berries. Stir together the 1/2 cup margarine or butter, powdered sugar, and the cranberries or blueberries. Cover and let chill at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend. Makes 3/4 cup.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 252, Total Fat (g) 16, Saturated Fat (g) 3, Cholesterol (mg) 18, Sodium (mg) 321, Carbohydrate (g) 24, Fiber (g) 1, Protein (g) 3, Vitamin A (DV%) 42, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

This savory bread can be served with pasta, or other main dish, and can be made into a sandwich, as pictured here. The flavor of the herbs add some life to regular sandwich toppings. I found this particular recipe on and made a few changes to make it my own. The recipe calls for all-purpose flour and I successfully substituted 1/3 of the all-purpose flour with freshly ground whole wheat flour. Any herb, such as sage, thyme, etc. can be substituted for the Rosemary (or a combination of herbs). I also added shredded parmesan cheese to the top before baking.

  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm (110F) water
  • 2 1/2 cups room temperature water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • Italian herb of choice - sage, rosemary, thyme, etc.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt (coarse or flake)
  1. Combine yeast and warm water in a large bowl and leave until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in 2 1/2 cups water, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 cups flour and 1 Tbsp salt into the yeast mixture. Add in the remaining flour, one cup at a time, until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl into a ball. Add the herb(s) halfway through the flour additions. Move dough to flat surface and knead dough for 5-8 minutes, until the ball is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled - about 1 hour.
  3. For a rectangular focaccia: Gently lift the dough onto an oiled 11X16 jelly-roll pan (or cut in half and sue two smaller baking sheets with sides ), stretching it out slightly as you transfer it. For a round focaccia: Cut the dough into three pieces and gently lift the dough into three oiled pie pans. *FYI baking stones work great as well.
  4. Splay your fingers and press into dough, indenting it and pushing it out towards the sides of the pan, much like a cat kneading a blanket, until the pan is full. This keeps the air bubbles in the dough. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400F.
  6. Dimple dough again with your fingertips, brush with 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and garnish with herb of choice. Let dough rest until the oven is fully preheated.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Let cool in pan for 20-25 minutes before removing it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Unsloppy Joes

Another allrecipes recipe. This is a recipe for vegetarian sloppy joes. I changed it a bit and we didn't use it on sandwiches, but as a topping on baked potatoes. It was mucho good on the potatoes, but Elliot and I weren't sure how we'd enjoy it on the sandwiches. Maybe one of you all can tell us if you feel like giving it a try. I'll italicize the changes I made.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (I used some green and some red. Nice color.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (I cut this in about 1/2)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I didn't have it, strangely, so I used 2 Tbsp. of tomato sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (I doubled this)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper (1/2-ed this)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 kaiser rolls (Omitted this)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, and garlic: saute until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in kidney beans, and cook an additional 5 minutes.***
  3. Cut a 1/4 inch slice off the top of each kaiser roll; set aside. Hollow out the center of each roll, leaving about 1/2 inch thick shells; reserve the inside of rolls for other uses.
  4. Spoon bean mixture evenly into rolls and replace tops. Serve immediately.
***Again, we topped baked potatoes with this and whatever else we had around--sour cream, etc.--and served it with fresh salad. VERY filling and nutritious. Yum.

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

I am not a huge fan of Olive Garden but I do love this soup and usually order just this, indulging in three or four bowls. I found the recipe on the Internet where they said someone who used to work at the Olive Garden sent in the original recipe. I knew it would be blog worthy but as our blog title says, we always try it for ourselves and cook then tell. So I just got done making a triple batch, for the freezer of course, and haven't stopped sampling since (I should just have a bowl or two but have to save my appetite for supper). It is as good or better than Olive Garden's and it will definitely be on my list of favorites. You can also find a recipe for Olive Garden's Salad online which makes a complete meal paired with the soup. As for freezing, I would freeze it without the kale and add that in fresh when reheating. Makes: 6-8 servings


  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 1/4 cup bacon pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale or spinach*
  1. Saute Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. In the same pan, saute bacon, onions and garlic for approximately 15 min. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Mix together the chicken bouillon and water (or 10 cups broth), then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.
  4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. Stir in the sausage.
  7. Add kale or spinach just before serving. Delicious!

* If preparing in advance, reserve cream and kale and add just before serving.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crack Salad

For those who didn't hear the story, this salad was named by my brother's mother-in-law. My mom makes it regularly for parties and such, and people get "addicted," hence the name "Crack Salad." If the name is offensive to you, you can call it Bow Tie Pasta Salad.


1 box bow tie pasta--cook 12 minutes
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 1/2 c. sliced celery
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 c. cashews, light salt
Optional, add some red grapes and/or Craisins


1 bottle cole slaw dressing
1 c. mayo

OR, if you want to make your own...
1 1/4 c. mayo
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 tsp celery seed

Mix and add 2/3 of the dressing to the salad. Let stand. Add rest just before serving.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baked Turkey Sandwich

This is a great dish for leftover turkey, or even chicken.
It makes a nice presentation for a dinner party.

Makes 10 slices


  • 2 cups diced turkey
  • 1/3 cup pepperoni, chopped
  • ¾ cup (3oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup (3oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 Loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 T water
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Combine ingredients for filling (all ingredients minus dough, egg white, water, sesame seeds).
  2. On floured surface, roll dough into a 14X11 inch rectangle. Place on greased cookie sheet. Spread filling lengthwise on center third of rectangle, leaving ½ inch on each end. Cut 10 equal strips on each side of rectangle almost to filling.
  3. To enclose filling, take a strip from each side, twist once and pinch ends together. (use a bit of water to stick dough down.) Continue with remaining strips. Press each end of loaf together and tuck under. *See video demonstration*
  4. Mix egg white and water. Brush on dough. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  5. Bake 35 minutes at 375° or until golden brown.
  6. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nancy's Chicken Enchiladas

I actually made this layered, like a lasagna, because it was easier than rolling the tortillas up, and it's what Nancy suggested. This is SUPER EASY and very good.

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cans green chiles
garlic power to taste
salt and pepper to taste
chicken (I used 2 chicken breasts, boiled and then diced.)
corn tortillas
grated cheese (I used colby jack and filled in with cheddar)

Mix the first 6 lines of the ingredients together. Layer a 9/13" pan, first with chicken mixture, then tortillas, then cheese, and repeat. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 until hot, and cheese is melted.
Elliot and I decided that this would be especially good with some extra sour cream,chopped tomatoes or salsa, olives, and shredded lettuce on the side (and whatever else you enjoy...guacamole, etc.)

April's Chocolate Mint Indulgence Cake

This is the cake that I made for Elliot's birthday, and we loved it. I might say also that it is even better the next day. mmm. I actually got the recipe from, and it is called "Double Chocolate Brownie Cake." Because I made a couple minor changes (which are in italics), Elliot renamed it. You could really do just about anything with this recipe. Add any flavors you like--change the flavors of the cake or pudding...endless possibilities. People have left many suggestions on the allrecipes site. The way I did it is really rich, so it's imperative that there be some vanilla ice cream to "cut the sweetness." I added the recipe I used for the glaze as well.


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt, or a combination of the two)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I did one cup semisweet and one cup mint chocolate chips--it was just enough mint, not overwhealming)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, sour cream, oil and water. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool (for a minute or two). note: be sure not to overcook. It might not look done, but test it after 50 minutes. Besides melted chocolate chips, the tester came out clean, and it was perfect.
  4. Empty cake to platter. If desired, sift some powdered sugar over to top for looks.

Satiny Chocolate Glaze for cake


  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.
  2. Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

White Bean Chicken Chili

When the hearty goodness of chicken, corn and beans mixes with the colorful flavors of tomato, cilantro and cumin, your mouth will never be the same again. This one is a must make! A big thank you to Analisha Peterson for the recipe!!

2 Tbs vegetable oil or canola oil
1 lb diced, cooked chicken
1 onion
1 can chicken broth
4-6 tomatillos, pureed
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green chiles, diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 bunch cilantro chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 can great northern beans
1 can butter/lima beans
1 can white corn (optional...I use frozen corn)

chicken, onions and garlic in oil. Add all ingredients except for the beans. Simmer 10 min. Add beans, simmer 5 min. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips. Enjoy!

***This is a great freezer cooker! Especially when ingredients are on sale, just double, triple, or 'even more' the recipe and then bag up the extra meals. Perfect for a fast, yet substantial meal worthy of company.***

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This is a summer dessert that is just yummy! I know we are heading into fall, but I wanted to make it at least once this summer and just got around to it. It is the best with fresh peaches, but frozen or canned will work as well.

Peach Dessert

Makes a 9x13 pan


2 packages graham crackers (about 20 crackers), crushed
1 square melted margarine or butter
4 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 Cup sugar
2 Cups water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 small package peach jello
4 Cups sliced fresh peaches
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
2 Cups Cool Whip, plus extra for topping (I substitute whipped cream)


Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted margarine or butter, and 4 Tablespoons powdered sugar. Set some crust mix aside to sprinkle the top of the dessert. Pack into pan and place in the freezer for the crust to set until ready for use.

2. Boil sugar, water, and cornstarch (be sure to make a cornstarch slurry before adding the cornstarch; ie. mix cornstarch with a bit of water before adding); Add jello, stirring to dissolve. After mixture has cooled a little, add fresh peaches. Set aside.

3. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cool whip.

4. Layer in the following order:
a. Graham cracker crust
b. Cream cheese mixture
c. Peach mixture
d. Frost with cool whip (only after jello has set)
e. Sprinkle with crust mixture.

5. Chill until ready to serve.

Macey's SALE on Butter!

For those in the Utah County area, Macey's has butter on sale for 3# for $5. They have this sale occasionally (though it seems less often lately) and I stock up and freeze the butter in their original containers. They keep fine. When I'm running low in the fridge, I just pull one out of the freezer and put it in the fridge so that it's ready when I need it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rich and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

This flavorful soup is perfect for using up fresh garden tomatoes and basil, and it is delicious with grilled or broiled sandwiches. Between Austin making dinner suggestions, or friends hoping to make it for their own families, this recipe is requested often. Thanks to Jami, our newest author, for the picture!

4 tomatoes--peeled, seeded, and diced
4 cups tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil
1 cup heavy whipping cream*
1/2 cup butter*
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return to the stock pot (It also works well to puree in the pot if you have a Bamex or hand-held blender). Over medium heat, stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.

*If you wish to cut back on the fat, reduce the butter by 1/3 and consider using half and half instead of the heavy whipping cream.

Pizza Topping Mix

This is a flavorful topping that can help use up some fresh garden produce. Our family quite likes the rich flavor. This is similar to a calzone filling, but is just spread on top of the pizza dough. There's no need for pizza sauce!

Makes topping for 1 large pizza.


1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan Cheese

2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped

2 Tablespoons – ¼ Cup* Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

3-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (no need to skin)

2 Cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

*I never need to use more than 2 Tablespoons dressing.


Mix above ingredients and spread across pizza dough.

Bake at 400-425° for 15-20 minutes.

Pizza Dough

Makes 1 large round or rectangle pizza


1 Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast

3/4 Cup warm water

½ Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon Italian herbs

½ Teaspoon honey or sugar

2 Cups flour

1 Tablespoon oil

1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded


1. Stir yeast and honey into warm water. Allow 5-10 minutes to grow. Add half the flour (I like to use at least 1 cup of whole wheat*), the salt, italian herbs, parmesan cheese and oil; mix well. Mix additional flour in until dough clings to hook.

*Whole wheat makes a stickier dough; do not exceed recommended amount of flour or the dough may dry out. It is ok if the dough sticks to the bowl a bit.

2. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Place in oiled bowl, turning once to cover all surfaces. Cover and let rise 1 hour**, or until nearly doubled. Punch down and form into pizza shape. Add desired toppings and bake at 400-425° for 15-20 minutes.

**To help the dough rise faster pour some water into an oven safe bowl and place in oven. Turn oven to 400° for 1 minute; turn off. Place dough in oven to rise and check after about 20 minutes to check progress.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Grandma's homemade ice cream is a favorite in our family. I italicized her instructions about things to add---I don't think I've ever had to add anything, and it's been just right.

4 c. peeled, chopped peaches
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. white sugar
the juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 pint whipping cream
1 can evaporated milk
1 pint half & half
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp(+) almond extract
1 tsp (+) vanilla extract
pinch of salt


Mash half of the peaches and puree the other half. Mix all ingredients (if needed, milk can be added to make up any difference). After mixed, taste (add up to a Tbsp of almond and vanilla if not well enough flavored--freezing takes some flavor out). Follow instructions on your ice cream maker, and enjoy!

*makes 4 quarts

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Enchilada Sauce

Chicken breasts filled with green chilies and cheese with a southwestern crust baked in enchilada sauce and corn is hot to trot! These are from a Trim and Terrific Cookbook so they are also figure friendly.
Makes 6 to 8 Servings.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened
1 (4 oz.) can green chilies, drained
2 Tbsp minced garlic
4 oz. reduced fat Monterrey Jack cheese, cut into slices
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs or seasoned breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fat-free sour cream
2 cups canned enchilada sauce
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
chopped green onions

Spread each piece of chicken with the green chilies and garlic. Top each breast with a slice of cheese and roll up. Secure with a toothpick if needed. Combine breadcrumbs, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Dip each chicken roll in sour cream and roll in crumb mixture. Chill before baking, time permitted.

To Prepare and Eat Now: Place breasts, seam side down, in a baking dish. Preheat oven to 400. Mix enchilada sauce with corn and pour over the chicken. Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with green onions before serving.

To Freeze: Wrap individually or together in a baking dish, label, and freeze. Recommended freezing time: up to 3 months.

To Prepare After Freezing: Remove from freezer to defrost. Prepare as above. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Zucchini Tomato Soup

I'm on a roll...another online recipe that we LOVED. If you want the soup thinner, you could add more broth, or add milk or cream. You can taste the soup after you've made it and add any more/other seasonings you like. I used a bit more Worcestershire and also added some more broth and penne pasta in to make it more of a meal. DELISH.


* 1 pound zucchini, sliced
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 onions, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 4 cups chicken broth (I did a mix of chicken and vegetable broths)
* 1 large tomato, chopped
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
* salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large colander, sprinkle salt over zucchini slices. Let stand 30 minutes to drain then pat dry.

2. In a stockpot, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Sautee zucchini onion and garlic in the hot oil for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. Stir in the chicken broth and tomato; simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the broth using a slotted spoon and puree them (to whatever consistency you like) in a blender or food processor.

3. Return the pureed vegetables to the stockpot and stir in the lemon juice, sugar, oregano, basil, parsley and nutmeg. Season with Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Nancy Lueck's Salsa

I put our changes and thoughts in italics.

30 tomatoes peeled and cut (we used mostly Romas, but any mixture is good, I think)
4 small onions (we used one JUMBO white onion)
4 green peppers
1 can green chilies (we used 3)
1 3oz can jalapenos or 8-12 fresh depending on how hot you like (we took the seeds out of half of them. The more seeds, the more spicy it is)
3 TBL garlic powder
1 TBL pepper
1 TBL salt or to taste
1/2 cup vinegar
*Elliot added about 1 TBL of cumin---yum
(you can add cilantro if you like)

Peel tomatoes and chop them and the other veggies. Add other ingredients. Mix together.


Cook (simmer) to desired consistency (2-3hrs)
Elliot and I liked it raw best. We did the 2nd canning method, and even the 20 minutes changed it quite a bit. Still good...but not the same texture and pizzaz.
Nancy's words:
This how my mother did and now I do my tomatoes and my hot sauce.
Your salsa is on the stove hot, you have washed your jars already in the dish washer, so they're clean, then on the stove you have two pans of water boiling.
Into 1 goes 2-4 pint jars or quart jars to sterilize the other pan you put your lids and rings into.
Then you take out a jar that is very hot ,add salsa that is very hot, put on lid and ring that is very hot, and screw on. Set aside they will seal or pop pretty quick.

Or you can mix all ingredients together (not cooked), fill jars
process for 20 mins in boiling water bath.
Ours didn't seal until we woke up the next morning, but they did seal.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stuffed Green Peppers

Again, I had some things to use from the garden, and I decided that stuffed peppers would be the best thing. Another plug for You can go there and put in any ingredients you have on hand, and it will bring up recipes with those ingredients. Very nice.
This is the recipe I used, but there are LOTS of ways to make these--vegetarian, low-fat, high-fat, southwestern...I just used this one because I had to make sure and use up tomatoes and green peppers. Brown rice would have been good if I'd had time. I also might have added a little something more for flavor, but Elliot liked them the way they were.
The recipe calls for 4 peppers, but I filled up six of them with ease.

  • 6 medium tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 4 medium green peppers
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup instant rice, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine tomatoes, onion, celery, tomato sauce, water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut tops off of green peppers and remove seeds; set aside. In a bowl, combine ground beef, rice, basil and remaining salt and pepper; mix well. Fill peppers with beef mixture. Carefully place peppers in tomato sauce. Spoon some sauce over tops of peppers. Cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until beef is cooked and peppers are tender.

A New Way to Use Cheryl's Pesto

Last night as I was looking for something to make for dinner with the ingredients I had around, I looked and found this recipe on It was perfect, since I had gnocchi to use and a new bottle of Cheryl's basil pesto. Plus, we had the veggies fresh from the garden. It was a nice, "earthy" taste, if that makes sense.

Gnocchi with Pesto Sauce
  • 1 (18 ounce) package potato gnocchi
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • Toasted pine nuts
  1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the zucchini and yellow pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Drain gnocchi; add to skillet with the pesto. Gently stir until coated. Stir in tomatoes. Sprinkle with pine nuts if desired.

Nutrition information

Nutritional Analysis: 1 cup (calculated without pine nuts) equals 371 calories, 11 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 14 mg cholesterol, 671 mg sodium, 56 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 12 g protein.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


A friend of mine recently shared an ingenious idea for teething babies. She puts fruit juice, yogurt, applesauce, fruit and veggie purees, or whatever else you want in an ice cube tray. Only fill each cube half full so it will fit in the teether and freeze. Pop out the cube and put it in the teething feeder for your baby's complete enjoyment. The babies now have a quick, healthy treat as well as cold, soothing relief for sore gums.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Homemade Yogurt

With a few household items you can make your own homemade yogurt. It is creamy and smooth and completely satisfying. I love to eat it for breakfast with granola, for dessert with fresh fruit or jam, or for a snack just as it is. I also feel much better about serving this natural yogurt to my baby. Give it a try and you will never buy yogurt from the store again!

4 quarts milk (whatever fat content you prefer, 2%, whole, half and half, or a combination)*
2 cups instant dry milk powder
2 cups sweetener of choice (fructose, sugar, honey, or none)*
2 small cartons (or 2 cups) plain yogurt
1-2 heating pads, candy thermometer, jars or other container

Get all your equipment ready before starting - plug in heating pads, have blankets or towels out, have jars and lids ready to fill. The temperatures are the touchy part of this process so you want to move quickly when the time comes.

Heat milk, dry milk, and sweetener in a large pot or double boiler to keep milk from scalding . Whisk lightly until milk and fructose are dissolved.

Using a candy thermometer check temperature constantly and heat until it reaches 180. Hold at roughly 180 for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and place the pot in a cold water bath. Reduce heat quickly to 120 by stirring the milk.

Gently whisk in yogurt (Do not add yogurt while milk is hot.  It will kill your culture). Dump into desired containers (5 quart jars).

Incubate.  I tuck it in and say a prayer over my yogurt.  This is nutritious food that will feed my family.  There are lots of methods for incubation.  Heating pad - Wrap the jars in a towel, wrap a heating pad around that, then wrap towels or blanket around all to keep insulated. Cooler - Wrap in blanket and place in a cooler.  Close lid tightly.  Oven - place jars on oven rack.  Close oven door and turn the oven light on.  Leave over night.  Incubate for 10-12 hours. Set a timer or write a note to remind you to take them off. Chill in fridge and enjoy.

*You can alter the milk and sweetener to your taste. The family I nannied for in Philly is part middle eastern. They like their yogurt very sour so I didn't add any sweetener.  I like this because it's also great to use for baking and other recipes.  Then we add honey and fruit by the bowl. I also like 1 1/2 cups powdered milk and 1 1/2 cups sweetener. To get the consistency I prefer, I use 3 quarts half and half and one quart 2% milk. Using all half and half will get you a consistency that is very thick and you can cut it with a spoon. My aunt likes to use 1 cup powdered milk, 1 cup fructose (sometimes up to 1.5 cups), and 4 containers of yogurt starter, 1/2 gallon whole milk (4%) with 1/2 gallon, or 2 quarts, of Half and Half. This just shows that you can adapt the recipe to your liking. The critical part is the temperature. Also try adding a flavored yogurt starter for a subtle flavor, or extracts for stronger flavor, or essential oils. I like to leave mine plain so I can flavor each bowl differently. You might have to experiment to get it just how you like it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oprah's Turkey Burgers

Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger

Oprah found a new favorite food when she tried this turkey burger at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's private club in Palm Beach. "I believe [it] may be the best turkey burger in the entire world," she says. The Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger will be permanently available at the Trump Bar and Grille in Trump Tower in New York City, open to the public for lunch and dinner. It will also be served during lunch in Chicago at Sixteen, the Trump International Hotel restaurant.

Ever since seeing this recipe on Oprah a couple months back, I knew I wanted to try it. With their smoky/sweet flavor, these are not your typical turkey burgers. I will definitely make them again!
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 Granny Smith apples , peeled and diced
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • 4 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Tabasco® chipotle pepper sauce
  • 1 lemon , juiced and grated zest
  • 1/2 bunch parsley , finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Major Grey's Chutney , pureed
Sauté the scallions, celery and apples in the canola oil until tender. Let cool.

Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into eight 8-ounce burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Season the turkey burgers with salt and pepper. Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Serve with a side of Mar-a-Lago Pear Chutney and your favorite toasted bread, pita or hamburger roll.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Crepes are a favorite in Kellen's family. Both his dad and brother served a mission in France and frequently enjoyed these so Mark brought the recipe home, straight from France. There they have sweet crepes, served as dessert, and salty crepes, served as the main course each with a variety of fillings. We eat them as breakfast, filled with lemon juice, powdered sugar, fruit, jam, whipped cream or Nutella. And if you are going to eat them you have to get the pronunciation right! They are crepes (rhymes with steps), not crApes!

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together in a blender. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and coat with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Pour batter onto pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly with a thin layer. Let fry until the edges are crispy and pull away easily. Flip and cook the other side. Serve hot with desired fillings.

The fine art of folding: There’s no one "right" way to fold a crepe. The one thing you will want to keep in mind is that you should place the pretty side of the crepe face down while you fill. Experiment with some of the following techniques and go with whichever shape looks nicest to you …
Roll: Place filling in a narrow strip along one edge of the crepe, then roll it up fairly tightly.
Half-fold: Place the filling along one half of the crepe. Fold up the other side to enclose.
Tri-fold: Place the filling in a strip along the middle. Fold one side over the filling, then the other side over that.
Triangle-fold: Spread the filling in an even layer across the crepe. Fold the crepe in half once, then fold the semicircle in half again. This works best for crepes with a minimal amount of filling.
Layered: Spread the filling in an even layer across the crepe. Place another crepe on top and add more filling. Top with another crepe. You can create as many layers as you like, then slice it up into wedges to serve.
Blintz-style: Crepes are essentially identical to eastern European blintzes, and can be filled and folded in that tradition. Place a good dollop of filling in the center. Fold the bottom third of the crepe over the filling. Fold the two sides over. Then fold over the top to form a pocket.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Green Chili Quiche

This one is a must make! I took one taste of this dish at a bridal shower and got the recipe right then and there. I've since served it to company and it was a big hit. Thank you for sharing it, Jessica!

10 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Blend above ingredients. Pour in a mixing bowl, then add the following:

1 pint small curd cottage cheese
1 lb. Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup melted butter (I use 1/4 cup)
1 small can diced green chilies

Bake in a 9x13 inch pan for 35-45 minutes (350 degrees). Serve with sour cream and salsa. Serves 12-15 people.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Feta, Spinach, and Ham

Since having a baby I have learned that the best thing you can do for a new mom is take them food. I usually like to take one meal prepared and ready to eat and one for the freezer for another day. I have tried to find dishes that are nursing and figure friendly. This recipe is healthy yet tasty, inexpensive yet gourmet, and an easy freezer-pleaser. This is now my first choice to take to moms.

Makes 8 Servings

8 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
8 thin slices ham

With a knife, make a split along one side of the chicken breast to form a pocket. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and feta with a fork. Stuff each chicken breast with the cheese mixture, spinach, and ham.

To Prepare and Eat Now: Preheat oven to 350. Place the chicken breasts on a baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray, cover with foil, and bake for 40-45 minutes.

To Freeze: Do not bake before freezing. After chicken breasts are filled, wrap individually or flash freeze, label, and freeze. Recommended freezing time: 4 to 6 months.

To Prepare After Freezing: As directed above. Bake from frozen for 1 hour or thawed for 45-50 minutes.

* I use way more than 1/2 cup spinach. I just stuff them full. ** A tip from Rachel Ray on stuffing chicken breasts - Start cutting from the side that is fatter. When you have it cut open, place the chicken in a bag with a little water (to help it slide around) and pound it out with a fry pan or other heavy object. This is how I did it and it works great. Easier clean up too.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fortune Cookies

While planning this years family reunion, I suggested we make fortune cookies as a way for people to draw the name of who they would serve during out time together. My brother-in-law said, "That's a great idea. Where do you get something like that made?" I just laughed and told him I could make them. They were all a little skeptical but were quite impressed when I turned these out. They are easy but do require speed. I would recommend having someone help you fold them, or bake only two at a time. They get crisp and crack very quickly.
2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 by 1/2-inch fortune strips
Opt. - Add a few drops of food coloring for special events.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet thoroughly or use Silpat Mat.

Whip the egg whites on low speed until light and foamy. Blend in the sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form (this takes awhile).

Pour in the melted butter, flour, salt, and extracts; mix until well combined. Drop a tablespoon of the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon, spread the batter evenly into very thin 3-inch rounds. Alternatively, use the lid of a jar with a 3-inch circle punched out as a template, pour the batter in the ring, and remove. Because you must work quickly to shape these cookies, bake just 3 at a time.

Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes or until the edges are a light golden color.

Remove the cookies with a spatula and place on a work surface. Lay a fortune in the lower middle of the cookie, and gingerly (they will be hot) fold in half to make a semi-circle. Bend the edges up toward each other to make a crescent. Cool in muffin tins to hold shape until crisp. Repeat with remaining batter.

Chicken Pillows

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk or broth
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 lb. crescent roll dough

Preheat oven to 375. Mash together the cream cheese and butter. Beat in milk or broth; add the chicken, cheese, and green onion. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to mix.

Unroll crescent dough. Seal diagonal edges to get 4 rectangles. Fill each with 1/4 of the filling. Pull corners up and seal all edges.

Optional: Roll pillow in butter and crushed corn flakes before baking/freezing. Can't miss a chance to get some extra butter in there!

Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serves 4.

Try using a different cheese such as pepper jack, or adding bacon bits.

To Freeze: Just filling - Thaw completely, fill croissants, and bake as directed.
Assembled Pillow - Flash freeze on cookie sheet, then transfer to freezer bag or foodsaver. Bake from frozen at 375 until heated through.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stuffed Peppers

I used to make these in Philly for the family I nannied for. The grandfather liked these so much he said I could make them once a week and wouldn't get tired of them.

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 onions
1/4 cup garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp beef bouillon granular
1 1/2 Tbsp House Seasoning (salt, black pepper, garlic powder)
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup jarred cheese and salsa
1 cup sour cream
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped green onion
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups hot water
8 bell peppers, any color

Saute meets with onion, garlic, 2 tsp bouillon, and house seasoning. Drain. Add rice, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, green onion, and soy sauce. Mix and stuff peppers. Cut peppers in half the tall way for smaller portions, or cut the top off and stuff for a larger serving.

Place peppers in a baking dish. Mix hot water with remaining bouillon and pour into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon broth over each pepper. Bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes.

Filling may be frozen. Thaw completely, stuff peppers, and bake as directed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zucchini Bread

I thought this bread was not only tasty, but also beautiful, especially with the visible shreds of zucchini throughout. Enjoy!

3 eggs
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans. Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using.

Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oven Roasted Vegetables

My sister-in-law and her husband discovered this recipe while on The South Beach Diet. It is great for all phases, including the difficult Phase 1. I requested the recipe from her after having it several times and enjoying the variety of delicious, buttery tasting vegetables.

Makes 6 servings

1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 450F. Cut vegetables into bite size pieces. Mix oil, salt and pepper together in a separate bowl. Then pour over veggies and toss to coat. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 9x13 glass baking dish for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender.
Optional: can also be done in tin foil over a grill.

Per Serving: 170 cal, 5 g pro, 15 g carb, 11 g fat, 2 g sat. fat, 0 mg chol, 5 g fiber, 586 mg sodium

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Spinach Strawberry Salad

This is one of my favorite go to recipes for a summer salad. The strawberries make it refreshing, the spinach makes it healthy, and the candied almonds add a crunchy texture. I have even added chicken to make this a main dish salad. This picture is of the last bite just as it lay on my plate. It says it all.

1 lb. spinach
1 qt strawberries or raspberries
1/4 cup almonds
1 Tbsp sugar

Brown almonds and sugar in a skillet until just toasted and sugar melts onto almonds. Put on wax paper to cool.

Poppy Seed Dressing
Mix together:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (I always use 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced green onion
1/4 - 1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp poppy seeds

Drizzle over spinach and strawberries just before serving. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with candied almonds.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lemon Bars

My sister-in-law makes these delicious lemon squares. They are refreshing in the summer and probably the best ones I've tasted. Thanks Amber for letting me steal the recipe off your blog. Check out her other recipes at

2 C flour
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 C butter softened
4 beaten eggs
pinch of salt
2 C sugar
1/3 C lemon juice
1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix first three ingredients and press into bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 min. Mix remaining ingredients and pour on top of crust as soon and it comes out of the oven. Bake at 350 for 25 min. Sift powder sugar over top. Serve when cooled.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Phenomenal Flax

Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to find ways to keep our families healthy. It's important to remember that we don't have to stress and fret, or overhaul our family's diet overnight. Small efforts make a difference, and will ultimately lead to those all-important changes for the better.

Flax is a potent, powerful source of nutrition, and is SO easy to incorporate into our diets. Between flaxseed oil, ground flax meal, or the whole flax seed itself, we can really put ourselves at an advantage by consuming this super food.

I happened upon some whole grain flax seed bagels at my local grocery store, and these bagel sandwiches were SO good--both to our mouths, as well as our bodies.

Happy flaxing!!

Orange Chicken

It seems that Orange Chicken varies a great deal depending on where I try it. I've wanted to find a good recipe for quite a while so I could serve it at home in my own kitchen. This recipe offers quite a bit of 'flavors', as Austin pointed out. When I caught (a very full) Austin after dinner with his fork snatching left-over pieces of chicken from the pot, I knew we'd found a winner.

1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
*3 Tbsp olive oil

Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*Originally I tried to simply brown the chicken in the 3 Tbsp olive oil, as the recipe said, but there was not enough oil. However unhealthy, I ended up just frying the chicken pieces in cooking oil.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New York Reuben with Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

This is a fun combination and fresh option on a dinner list that may be in need of some new ideas. The flavor on this Reuben is as good as others I've ordered in restaurants, and the sweet potato fries are a real treat that is friendly not only to the palate, but also to the body.

New York Reuben:

*The typical Reuben is loaded with corned beef, but in order to create the deli favorite from the Big Apple, I used turkey pastrami.

8 slices rye bread (I used Slovak bread--much more moist than the average rye)
4 tsp course grain prepared mustard (spicy works well)
1 lb turkey pastrami
1/2 lb swiss cheese
8 oz sauerkraut, drained
1/2 cup Russian dressing
1/2 Tbsp butter

On a work surface, place 4 slices of rye bread and spread each with 1 teaspoon mustard. Layer each bread slice with 1/4 pound pastrami, then pile on the swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Spread Russian dressing on the remaining 4 slices and place dressing-side down on top of sauerkraut.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. When butter begins to sizzle, place sandwiches in the pan and toast until golden brown.--about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries:

2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 Tbsp cooking oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel potatoes, cut each in half lengthwise, and cut each half into 6 wedges. In a large bowl, combine wedges, oil, and spices. Toss until potatoes are evenly coated.

Arrange wedges on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until edges are crisp and potatoes are cooked through--about 30 minutes. For a crispier finish, place potatoes under the broiler before serving.