Sunday, December 21, 2008

Everything Lo Mein

My sister told me about this recipe on The Food Network. It's one of Rachael Ray's. It is really yummy. The kids ate it well, too. I made mine beef lo mein, though, because we recently got a 1/2 beef. So, it's what's for dinner at our house! It doesn't take very long and it's pretty easy!!

3 rounded tablespoon hoisin sauce
3 tablespoon dark soy
3 tablespoon water
2 teaspoon hot sauce

Lo Mein:
1 # spaghetti
1/4 c vegetable oil, divided
2 large eggs, beaten
3 chicken breast cutlets, thinly sliced into strips
3 thin cut pork chops, thinly sliced into strips
black pepper
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 inches fresh ginger, chopped or grated
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 scallions, cut into 3 inch lengths then sliced lengthwise (I used green onions)
1/2 # shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters, seeded, then sliced
1 small can sliced water chestnuts
2 cups fresh bean sprouts, 4 generous handfuls or 1/2 # shredded cabbage, your choice

Mix together sauce ingredients and reserve.
Bring pasta water to a boil, salt water and cook spaghetti to al dente.

While pasta cooks, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. When oil ripples, add beaten eggs and scramble them to light golden brown, remove and reserve.

Season the meat with salt, pepper and coriander. Heat the remaining vegetable oil to a ripple, then add meat and stir-fry 4 minutes, push meat to the side and add ginger, garlic and veggies. Stir-fry veggies 2 minutes, then drain and add pasta and eggs back to skillet. Pour sauce over the spaghetti and toss to combine. Turn off pan. Toss 30 seconds and let the liquids absorb. The recipe said this was 4 servings. I don't know who she's feeding, but we got 2 full meals out of this!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taco Ring

This is a delicious, easy, comforting meal! This is adapted from a Pampered Chef recipe. You've probably had it, but in my book, it's worth remembering! Everyone is always happy when they find out what's for dinner.

1-1 1/2 # hamburger
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 sm can tomato sauce (maybe 2 if you use more hamburger)
2-3 tubes crescent rolls
lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives, cilantro, or other taco toppings
salsa and sour cream

Cook and drain hamburger. Stir in taco seasoning and tomato sauce. On a large pizza pan, lay out crescent triangles all around the outside of the pan with the point of the crescent triangle out over the edge. (when you're done, it'll look like a sun with rays) I use 1 # hamburger with 2 tubes of rolls and it feeds us dinner with lunch the next day for me and 2 kids. If you have a bigger family use 3 tubes and 1 1/2 # hamburger. And move your roll "sunshine" closer to the edge of the pan. This works great if you have a baking stone. Press down the rolls where they overlap, then put the meat on top. Fold the points over the hamburger and tuck under on the inside. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. (I usually do 25, it makes the rolls crispy) When it's done, carefully slide the ring onto a serving platter. Put lettuce, cheese, etc in the middle of the ring and serve! It looks really cool like this. If I'm lazy (which I usually am), I just serve it from the stone and have the fixings on a separate plate!

I have seen different versions with salsa and some other stuff in the meat mixture, but I like this one because I always have everything on hand. Enjoy!

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Prize-Winning" Whole Wheat Bread

This is the bread from the other night. I got this recipe from my friend, Beth Durtschi, who lives in Driggs. This is such a yummy bread and so easy to make! It makes me feel good to make something so nutritious for my family. Enjoy!

3 T yeast
1 t sugar
5 C warm (like for a baby bath) water
3/4 C honey
3/4 C oil
2 T salt
1 t Vitamin C crystals (ascorbic acid) (can find at health food stores and maybe drug stores)
12-13 C whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground white wheat, you can also mix red wheat and white wheat. Or use all red! The white has a little lighter flavor.)

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. (I grind the wheat while this is dissolving) Add honey, oil, salt, vitamin C, and 6 cups of the flour. Mix in an electric mixer (I use a Bosch) with wire whisks on medium high for 10 minutes. (This develops the gluten needed to hold the bread together and rise.) Replace the wire whisks with a dough hook. Add 6 or 7 cups more flour (or more) until the bread dough just barely comes away from the sides (do not add too much flour!) Continue mixing in the electric mixer for 5 more minutes. Turn out onto greased surface. ( I use Pam on the counter and on my hands--oil works, too) Divide into loaves. Let rise in pans until double in size (about 30 minutes). Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes (more or less depending on your bread pans and size of loaves.) I use 2 very large aluminum pans and bake for 55 minutes. It is easy to under cook whole wheat bread, I bake for as long as possible and the tops become somewhat dark. Turn out onto cooling wire racks and smear butter over the top and sides. Let cool completely before putting into plastic bags. Freezes well. This recipe works well for a Bosch mixer. If using a Kitchen aid, cut the recipe in half.

Note from Nikki: I use the 9x5 loaf pans. I find that 3 loaves is perfect. I cook for 45 mins.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pizza Quesidillas

I make pepperoni pizza and often have leftover pepperoni and bottled spaghetti sauce (that's what I use as pizza sauce. I like Prego traditional best!) This is a great way to use the extra stuff. We all love these!

Flour tortillas
Mozzarella and/or Cheddar Cheese
Pepperoni (you can use canadian bacon or sausage if you like that better)

Heat pepperoni til sizzling. Set aside. Place tortilla in skillet, add cheese and pepperoni and fold over. Cook til cheese melts. Dip in pizza or spaghetti sauce.

You could get fancy and use leftover roasted veggies, too!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Butternut Squash Casserole

Ok, I know we have an over abundance of pumpkin and squash/sweet potato recipes on here but here is just one more! I first had this at our church "Super Saturday" holiday party two years ago and I was in HEAVEN! I got the recipe from Martha, the lady that made it and I haven't made it until yesterday for our Thanksgiving celebration with Kelly's family! It was a hit! I love the egg and vanilla in this and the crunchy, sweet topping! I'll be making it again for our Dale Thanksgiving this Thursday! Hope you all like it as much as I do!

1 butternut squash cut in half, seeds removed, baked until soft (375 for 1 hour)
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C butter, melted
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 can evaporated milk

1 C Rice Krispies
2 T melted butter
1/2 C light brown sugar
1/2 C chopped pecans

After squash is baked, scoop out and mash (I put in food processor)
Add butter, egg, vanilla, and milk. I used unsalted butter and then added a teaspoon salt. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 for 1 hour. Sprinkle topping on last 10 minutes and raise heat to 400.

Note: Bake squash face down and use a little olive oil to prevent sticking. You should get 2 Cups squash. If you have more, up the ingredients and use it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mom's Pumpkin Bars

These are so yummy I just have to make them at least once each Autumn. I had forgotten how GOOD they make your house smell while they are baking!! They taste somewhat like pumpkin pie with a toasted, nutty, crunchy topping that is wonderful! Serve with a big dollop of soft whipped cream and you're in heaven.

1 c flour
1/2 c oats
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, softened

-Mix and press in bottom of a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

2 c pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cloves
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger

-Mix well and pour over crust. Bake another 30 minutes.

1/2 c nuts, chopped (pecans)
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T butter, softened

-Mix and sprinkle on top. Put back in oven again for another 30 minutes.

My little Chef Boyardee

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yummy Dinner

I don't know what else to call this! It's a simple concoction that I came up with a couple years ago and has always been a huge hit with my family. It sounds basic and boring, but so good! (healthy too!)

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 red potatoes, sliced thinly
4 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 c shredded green cabbage
1/2 c water
salt & pepper to taste (I put A LOT in for good flavor!)

-In a large skillet with a lid, brown beef with onions. Add the rest of ingredients and mix well. Cover with lid and let simmer for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender.

-When serving, I top each plate with a pat of butter. My boys always like to add ketchup to theirs. Serve with some rolls and you've got dinner!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Creamy Corn Chowder

I don't know about you, but these cold, wintry days make me crave hot, soothing soups and stews. I made this soup a couple nights ago and really enjoyed it. I got it from my crock-pot cookbook and it is fairly simple to make. It's not super low-fat, but you could make it that way by using lite sour cream, lite half-n-half or milk, and lite cream of chicken. This makes a lot. My big oval crock pot was just about full (I'm not sure what size it is), so you'll have plenty of leftovers. My kids love the bacon in it.

1 lb bacon
4 c diced potato (peeled)
2 c chopped onion
2 c sour cream
2 1/2 c milk or half-n-half
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 c frozen corn (or more if you like)
Thinly sliced green onions (optional)

-Cook bacon strips until crisp. Drain, crumble, then set aside.
-Put potato, onion, and a small amount of water in a pot. Cook 15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain. Transfer veggies to a 5 qt. crock pot and add all but 1/2 c of crumbled bacon.
-Stir in sour cream, milk, soup, and corn. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Sprinkle green onions and reserved bacon on each serving.
-Serves 12.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Black Bean Enchiladas

1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 T chicken broth
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
1 1/2 cups picante sauce, divided
12 four tortillas (6 inch) I used bigger ones, and it made 7 large
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1/2 c shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
3 cups shredded lettuce
6 T fat-free sour cream

In a non-stick skillet, cook and stir onion and green pepper in broth (or just use oil) for 2-3 minutes or til tender. Mash one can of black beans. Add to the skillet with 3/4 c of picante sauce and remaining beans. Heat through.

Spoon 1/4 cup mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place, seam side down in a 9x13 pan coated with Pam. Combine tomatoes and the rest of picante sauce; spoon over enchiladas.

Cover and bake 15 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheeses. Bake 5 minutes longer. To serve, place 1/2 cup lettuce on each plate and top with 2 enchiladas Garnish with sour cream.

I actually didn't make this low fat. I used regular cheese, and used more. I put some inside each enchilada. I used a little more picante sauce, too. These are really fast, and good. My kids even liked them!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes

I got this recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine and all I have to say is Mmmmmmmm! We made this for dinner tonight and I think it's the best black bean soup I've ever had! It is a "do again" for sure! So healthy and delicious!

2T vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
freshly ground pepper
2 quarts lower-sodium chicken broth
4 (15 oz,) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (small)
sour cream or plain yogurt
8 paper thin sliced limes
cilantro garnish

Heat oil over medium heat, in large pot.
Add onions, cook until soft.
Add garlic, coriander, cumin, 1/4 t pepper and stir 30 seconds.
Add broth, beans, sweet potatoes, 3/4 t salt, bring to boil over high heat.
Reduce heat, simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender (15 min.)
Using slotted spoon, set aside 3 Cups beans and potatoes.
Puree remaining soup in blender.
Return solids to soup and season to taste with S & P
Serve with dollop of sour cream and lime, cilantro.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pumpkin Spiced Bread Pudding

If you love bread pudding or pumpkin pie then you'll love this! So comforting on a chilly autumn day! Recipe is from Good Things Utah but I altered it slightly. You can never have too many pumpkin recipes, right?

5 cups canned pumpkin puree
2 large whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
¼ t cloves, ground
1 c half-and-half
10 cups Croissants, cubed into 2-inch squares, or french bread

-In a mixing bowl, mix pumpkin with all the eggs, heavy cream, brown sugar, ¼ cup of granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.

-In a sauce pan, combine 2 tablespoons of water and remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar and heat over high heat.

-As sugar melts, swirl pan often to ensure even melting. Do not stir because it will slow down the melting process and cause the sugared water to brown unevenly. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until sugar has a deep caramel color. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk ¼ cup of the half-and-half cream into the caramel until well combined, then whisk in the remaining ¾ cup of half-and-half.

-Pour caramel mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with half the croissant cubes, then pour half of the pumpkin mixture over the top. Top with remaining bread, then remaining pumpkin mixture, making sure to soak all of the bread.

-Set aside to let sit for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake bread pudding for 30 to 45 minutes, or until pudding is set. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve bread pudding in wedges or squares and top with cinnamon flavored fresh whipped cream.

-Serves 12-15.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Erika's Chili

I came up with this concoction for our ward chili cook-off. I didn't win, but I don't think that means this stuff isn't good! I totally love it! It has a very special ingredient in it that we all love...CHOCOLATE! I took ideas from a few different recipes ( and came up with this. Enjoy and I'd love to hear what you think!

2 t olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalepenos, diced small
1 lb ground beef
1-1/2 lbs. sirloin steak, or any kind of steak, cubed small
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, or 1/2 quart jar of homemade (cut up with shears)
2 cans beef broth
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
4 T red wine vinegar
4 T brown sugar
4 T chili sauce
1 t cumin
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 square unsweetened baking chocolate (1/2 oz)
1 t mexican red pepper, ground
1-1/2 t salt, divided
1 t black pepper, divided
1 T chili powder
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans

-Heat oil. Cook meat, onions, garlic, peppers, 1/2 t of salt and 1/2 t pepper until meat is brown and veggies are tender.
-Add everything else and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for as long as you can! Best if simmers at least an hour, but you can simmer it all afternoon or put in crock pot!
-Serve with diced green onions, grated cheddar, and a dollop of sour cream on top!
-This makes a full pot. Serves at least 10.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dan's Scones

We had these delectable treats at a friend's house a few days ago and I could have eaten the whole plate of them! I forgot how divine scones are, straight from the hot pan of oil, smothered in honey and butter....Mmmmmm!

In medium bowl:
1 T yeast
1/2 C warm water
1 T sugar

In large bowl:
2 C warm water
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C oil
2 t salt
3 C flour (will need 8 C total)

Add one egg and yeast mixture

Slowly add remaining flour. When dough becomes very stiff, use hands. Combine and knead until dough becomes soft and smooth. Remove dough. Spray bowl and top of dough with Pam. Place in sink of warm water to rise. Shape into patties, fry in oil, drain and eat!

Chicken alla Cucina

For all of you who LOVE Cucina's Deli in the Avenues, this is for you! My sister-in-law gave me this delicious recipe (her niece worked there for a while). So easy, quick and delicious! Serve over your favorite pasta!

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 med. onion, diced
1 T chopped garlic
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 T flour
1 (15oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
2 C chicken broth
1 C white wine
1/2 C julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained)
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
1 t salt
1/2 t ground blk pepper

In large skillet, heat the butter and oil. Add onion, saute 2-3 min. Add garlic and chicken. Saute until chicken is done. Stir in the flour until incorporated in the chicken pieces. Add artichokes, broth, wine, tomatoes, and spices. Cover, simmer 10 min.

Serves 4-6

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Butternut Squash-White Bean Soup

I made this tonight for dinner and totally loved every bite! Such an interesting combo of flavors that work together really well. I got this from Cooking Light, but tweaked it a little, as always, so this is what I came up with. The wine is a must to get the wonderful flavor of this soup. If you have to, you can use cooking wine that you can get in the vinegar aisle, but real wine tastes the best. Enjoy!

8 bacon slices
1 c chopped onion
2/3 c chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and chopped small (I used 1 med. squash)
1/4 c dry white wine (I used Sake-it's what I had on hand)
4 c chicken broth or bouillon
1 t cumin
1/4 t ground red pepper
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 c heavy cream
1 t salt
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
2 (15 oz) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained

-Cook bacon in large pot until crisp. Remove from pot. Pour out bacon grease, keeping a good amount on bottom of pan (I did 5 t)and then add onion, celery, and garlic. Cook a few minutes until tender; add squash and continue cooking 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine and cook another 5 minutes to reduce a little. Then add remaining ingredients except for the cream. Simmer for maybe 15 minutes or so until the veggies are nice and tender. Add cream and bring to a boil then remove from heat.

-Crumble bacon and sprinkle on top of bowls of soup. Serves 8.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Barefoot Contessa's Brownies

Ok girls. These brownies are to die for! (I mean you literally might die from a heart attack--either from the butter coursing through your veins or just from sheer delight!!!) I got this from a show on the food network highlighting decadent desserts!

6 eggs
3 T coffee granules (you can omit, but I just used 2T. If you like mocha, use the 3. She says it richens up the chocolate flavor)
2 T vanilla
2 1/4 C sugar
Whisk together.

Melt and cool 6 oz unsweetened chocolate, 1 pound butter, and 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate. Pour into egg mixture and mix.

1 C flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
Fold into chocolate mixture.

Stir in 12 oz chocolate chips, and 3 C walnuts (I used 1 1/2 C toasted almonds cuz Chris hates walnuts). Add a little flour to the chips and nuts before adding to the mix, so they won't sink to the bottom of pan. I also leave them plain and that is good, too.

Pour into buttered and floured 13x17 (it's the one just bigger than a jelly roll) cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Halfway through baking, rap pan on oven rack to get the air bubbles out. Cool, and refrigerate before cutting and serving!

Pumpkin Creme brulee

While we're talking about pumpkin recipes, here's a fabulously easy and very tasty one! This is my favorite pumpkin treat! You better try it Em!

3 C heavy cream

1 t pumpkin spice

1/2 t salt

3/4 C sugar

8 egg yolks

1 15 ounce can pumpkin

Stir cream, spice, salt and sugar in heavy pot. On medium heat, bring to simmer (bubbles around edge) Take off heat. Whisk together egg yolk and Pumpkin. Slowly pour in hot cream mixture until fully incorporated. Pour into 4 oz. ramekins. Place ramekins in a warm water bath and bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes or until set around the edges but slightly wiggly in the middle. Take out of oven, and water bath. Let sit 10 min. then cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours. When ready, sprinkle with sugar and torch to burn the sugar or put under broiler, watching carefully. Put a spoonful of whipped cream on top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Mmm Mmmm Good!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I made these for our cider party today and I'm so glad I did! They were a joy to make. The dough had a wonderful consistency and rolled out beautifully! I found this recipe online but it had been veganized, so I changed a few things and added a couple eggs. I also made the dough last night and kept it in the fridge to save some time this morning. These are fairly simple to make, so don't think you can't do it, because you can! I'm very pleased with how they turned out! The pumpkin really makes these a beautiful color!

2 pkg. dry yeast (or 2 T)
1/2 c warm water
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1/2 c canned milk
1/2 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1/4 c sugar
7 c flour
2 1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger

1 c brown sugar
3 t cinnamon
1/2 c butter, softened

1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 T canned milk
1/2 t vanilla
dash of cinnamon

-In your mixer bowl combine yeast and water, whisk together and let stand 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, milk, butter, sugar, and eggs. Lightly mix using dough hook. Gradually add and mix on medium until smooth. Dough should be a little sticky, so careful adding the flour, you may not need it all but I did. Continue to mix on medium for 10minutes.

-At this point, you can either cover bowl with plastic wrap and stick in fridge overnight, or you can cover and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes until doubled in size.

-Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

-For filling, mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

-Turn dough onto a floured surface and cut in half. Roll each half into a 12x10-inch rectangle. Spread each half with softened butter, then sprinkle filling mixture on top covering the whole rectangle. Roll up rectangle from long side, pinch seam and ends to seal. Cut each roll into 12 slices (about 1 inch each). Place slices in 2 greased 9x13 pans (12 rolls in each pan). Cover and let rise until doubled in size. If you're doing the overnight method it will take at least an hour. Otherwise, it will take about 25 minutes.

-Bake rolls at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

-In small bowl mix glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle with fork over slightly cooled rolls.

-Makes 24.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kneaders Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the best I've had yet! I know I said I was going to stop baking, but I had to make something for our cider party tomorrow! They are so light and airy and just melt in your mouth! I really can't believe it! And yes, they do call for a lot of butter, but I think that's what makes them so good. I used 2 cubes butter, 1 cube margarine and they were absolutely wonderful! They have just the right amount of spices.

1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c butter, softened
2 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
2 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ginger
1 c chocolate chips (I used the whole bag!)

-Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, pumpkin, and cream together until color lightens. Scrape bowl and beat 1 more minute. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes (I did about 12)until just barely light golden brown edges.

-Makes about 3 dozen (depends how much of the batter you eat!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Coconut Syrup

I was in the process of making syrup for french toast this weekend, only to unfortunately discover that I was all out of maple extract! So as a substitute I thought I'd try coconut extract. The results were wonderfully delicious! It's not quite like the stuff you get in Hawaii, but just as good to me!

1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c water
3/4-1 t coconut extract

-Bring sugars and water to a boil. Remove from heat and add extract. Stir well and serve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon French Toast

'Knead' I say more??? So lucious and delicious! Great for the holidays. (overnight recipe)

1 loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread cut in 8 slices (or Great Harvest)
8 eggs
3 c milk (I like 2% or richer)
1 T brown sugar
3/4 t salt
1 T vanilla
2 T butter

-Butter a glass 9x13 generously. Place the bread flat in the dish. Mix all remaining ingredients, reserving the butter, and pour over the bread. Cut butter into pieces and dot over the top. Chill overnight or at least 1 hour. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Serves 8.

1 c brown sugar
1 c heavy cream
1 c light Karo syrup

-Blend together and heat on stovetop until sugar is smooth and blended. Serve warm.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Butternut Squash Chili

This is so delicious! Yummy Yummy!

1 lb ground beef
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 (16 oz) can chili beans
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 1 1/2 c)
1 c beef broth (can use bouillon)
1 1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin (can do 1 1/2 t, but we like less cumin)
salt to taste
1 T or so of sugar (optional)

-Cook beef, pepper, and onion in large pot until meat is done. Stir in the rest of ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or more, until squash is tender.

-Serve with cheese and sour cream. Serves 8.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plain Old Banana Bread

This is the best plain old banana bread recipe! It's what I grew up with. It isn't the normal cakey, dark bread. This is a light "bready" bread. (if that makes any sense!) It's moist and yummy. The nuts are a must in it!

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 t baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
1 cup mashed bananas (I use 2 large or 3 medium, I like a little more banana)
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup nuts (toasted almonds are my new favorite)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Beat 30 seconds on medium, scraping bowl. Grease and flour pan. Bake 55-65 minutes on 350. Makes 1 big or 2 small loaves.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cheeseburger Chowder

Here is a nice comforting dish to make for dinner tonight! I love this recipe because it is simple and I usually have these ingredients on hand. It is a child pleaser, and delicious with warm homemade biscuits on the side. Autumn has begun!

1 lb. ground beef
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped onion
1 T. instant beef bouillon granules
¼ t. pepper
½ t. salt
1½ cups water
2½ cups milk
3 T. flour
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar

-In large stock pot, brown beef; drain. Stir in potatoes, celery, onion, bouillon, pepper, salt and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. In medium bowl, whisk flour into ½ cup of milk; add to pot along with remaining milk. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add cheese; heat and stir until cheese melts.

-Recipe from Good Things Utah

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Abs Diet Burger

I got this recipe off of Good Things Utah a long time ago. It's great--nice hearty, healthy hamburger patties, and if you're watching your carbs these are excellent by themselves with a little ketchup. I love them because they are very satisfying and always fill me up so I don't fill up on other junk!

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 c fresh spinach, chopped
2 T lowfat mexican blend shredded cheese
1/2 c chopped onions
1/2 c whole oats
1 egg
Steak seasoning to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Soy sauce

-Fry onions with a little soy sauce then put in a big bowl with all other ingredients. Mix well. Shape into hamburger patties and grill.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fresh Pear Cake

I found this recipe in a magazine when I was first married and have loved it ever since! It is so quick and easy and soooo good!

About 2 T butter
About 1 1/2 cups flour
3 firm, ripe Bartlett pears, (about 1 1/2 lb total)
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/8 t salt
Powdered sugar

1. Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch round pan or baking dish; set aside.
2. Peel, core, and slice pears; set aside.
3. With an electric mixer, blend eggs, granulated sugar, milk, and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups flour; continue to mix until well combined. Gently fold half the pears into batter. Spoon into prepared pan; smooth surface flat. Fan remaining pears over top of batter; dot with 2 T butter.
4. Bake in a 350 oven on bottom rack unil cake is golden brown, about 55 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve. Or cover airtight and hold until next day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Best Guacamole EVER!

Ryan brought this recipe back from Mexico. He said it's the best he's ever had. I didn't see how it could be so good until I made it and--oh my goodness! This stuff is awesome! It's the real thing.

3 large avocados, mashed
2 tomatoes, chopped (try to squeeze out extra juice and seeds)
1/4 of a white onion, diced finely
1 c cilantro, chopped (I used a little less)
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped very finely (can leave out & it's still dang good!)
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

-Mix all in a bowl and dig in!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Caramelized Onion Dip with Crostini

This is the yummy dip I made for Mom's retirement party. It's great, because you can make the crostini a day or so in advance, just keep in an airtight container. It's also great to get kids involved-Christian loves cooking, and enjoyed "painting" the little crostinis with olive oil.

1 full baguette, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Olive oil, for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 c plain yogurt
1/2 c low-fat sour cream
2 T dried onion soup mix
1 T Dijon mustard

-To make crostini, lightly brush both sides of bread slices with olive oil and place on a large cookie sheet. Season tops with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted (I had mine in longer).

-To make the dip, melt butter in saucepan and add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 6 minutes (or longer) until the onion is browned and caramelized. Set aside to cool slightly.

-In medium bowl, combine yogurt, sour cream, soup mix, and mustard. Mix well. Stir in cooled onions. Serve atop crostini or use as a dip for crudites.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday Morning Cleanse

I call this my monday morning cleanse because Sunday's always seem to be a heavy food day-well the whole weekend can sometimes be that way-so when Monday morning rolls around I want something light and refreshing as I get back to my normal diet and try to be good. So this smoothie is simple, but fills you up and gives you lots of "nutrients" (per Nacho).

1 c frozen strawberries/blueberries/or fruit
8 oz. cold water
2 packets Splenda

-Blend in blender and drink immediately. You can use any kind of frozen fruit, but I prefer berries due to their high content of anti-oxidants and all that good stuff.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Blueberry, Lemon, Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

This recipe comes from the same friend who gave me the Lime Coconut Banana Bread recipe. This is so good! All the right flavors to spice up ordinary banana bread! So don't throw away those brown bananas! I used frozen blueberries for mine but fresh is always better. I would recommend using a basic cream cheese frosting for this instead of the glaze because it is easier to slice and eat plus it will give you a bigger taste! Just add the lemon juice to it!

2 C flour
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
1 C bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/3 C reduced- fat sour cream
1 t vanilla
1 C blueberries
1 T grated lemon rind

1/4 C softened, light cream cheese
3 T powdered sugar
1 T lemon juice
2 t water

350 1 Hour
Mix butter and sugar, add eggs, vanilla, banana, zest, sour cream. Mix dry ingred. and add to wet. Gently fold in blueberries. Spray bread pan with Pam. After bread is baked, cool then glaze.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

This is another awesome "Our Best Bites" recipe (and picture) that I have absolutely enjoyed making over and over again! I've received a lot of compliments on it and have been asked for the recipe numerous times. This stuff tastes way better than store bought! I've made it in cute little jars like these, set atop a pint size Haagan Daaz or Ben & Jerry's ice cream (they're just the right size) for birthdays or the girls I visit & teach, and they are a hit! (You can get the little squat Ball jars at Walmart or Target, or check your local grocery store.)

1/4 c butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (milk are too sweet)

-Mix all over low heat in saucepan until combined. Pour into jars or other container. Store in fridge. This stuff is yummy cold right out of the fridge. I like to just eat it plain!
-I usually double this recipe for us, because it just never seems like enough!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Artichoke Stuffed Shells

You know how you can sometimes look at a recipe and just tell that it's going to be yummy by the list of ingredients? Well that's how I felt about his recipe, and sure enough it was excellent! A keeper! I couldn't find frozen artichokes so I used canned-NOT marinated, but in salt water. Christian had fun helping me stuff the shells. It was great! (they don't photo very well though! Ü)

1 (12 oz) box jumbo pasta shells
3 T olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 t kosher salt, plus 1/2 t
1/4 t fresh ground pepper, plus 1/4 t
1 (8-10 oz) pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and coarsely chopped
1 (15 oz) ricotta cheese
3/4 c fresh parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 (26 oz) jar marinara or spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 c grated mozarella

-Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook shells according to package.

-Meanwhile, in large skillet over med-high heat add oil, onions, and garlic. Cook until onions are soft and starting to brown. Add ground turkey, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper and continue to cook until done. Add artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and cool.

-In large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture, ricotta, parmesan, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Mix well.

-To stuff shells, cover bottom of 9X13 dish with pasta sauce (about a cup). Stuff shells well with turkey mixture and place in rows in dish. Drizzle with remaining pasta sauce and top with mozarella.

-Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until cheese is beginning to brown.

-Makes about 24 shells.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hamburger Bean Dip

This recipe is by mom (Judi) who had it at work the other day and loved it!

1lb ground beef, brown and season w/salt, pepper & taco season/let cool/drain

In crock pot:

Large can refried beans
Large can enchilada sauce/mild
One can cream of mushroom soup
One 8 oz sour cream
2 cups grated cheese
One small can green chili’s/mild

-Simmer all in crock pot for a couple hours.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Raspberry Almond Blondies

When I went to Raspberry days in Bear Lake, they were selling white chocolate chip cookie with fresh raspberries in them and they were so delicious! I thought I'd look for a recipe and I found this one which is way better and doesn't everyone like a bar cookie so you aren't standing by a hot stove for hours waiting for your cookies? Costco had big, beautiful raspberries so I splurged and made these yesterday and Kel loved them! Here you go!

1-1/8 sticks unsalted butter at room temp. (9T)

1-2/3 C flour (I use a little cake flour for extra chewiness)

1 t baking powder

3/4 t salt

1 C packed brown sugar

1 t vanilla

1 C sliced almonds, toasted

1 pint raspberries

Powdered sugar for dusting

White chocolate chips

325 oven for 55-60 minutes

Spray 8x8 pan with pam then line with parchment and spray again. Mix like you would cookies but only put in 3/4 C almonds, reserving the rest for the top, and do not mix in berries! Place berries on top and sprinkle with nuts. Dust when cooled! I one and 1/2ed the recipe for a 9x13 pan. You'll want alot!

Mango Colada

This recipe is from my most favorite cooking website (the picture is from their website also). This was really, really yummy! Cream of coconut is a dream! (you can find it in the alcoholic drink mixers aisle) This would be good too without the pineapple, or even just do a lime/coconut colada. Talk about yummy!!

1 c mango cubes (about 1 mango)
Generous 1/2 c. of pineapple chunks and juice (or syrup) together
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 c cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk)-we added even more!
Crushed ice
pinch of sugar to your liking (we added this)

-Mix all in blender and mix thoroughly until no chunks. Add as much or as little ice as you like.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pasta Wheels with Sausage and Tomatoes

Erin gave me this recipe when I was first married. It has become a staple. I made it again last night and thought you should all have this one if you don't already! The kids love the wheels!

1 lb mild italian sausage
1 med onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 can (14-15 oz) Italian style tomatoes
1 t oregano
1/4 t thyme and pepper
2 T each minced parsley and catsup
12 oz wheels or other fancy pasta

Remove sausage casing (I just use the stuff not in casings), chop and cook with onion, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Simmer 1/2 hour.
Boil water and cook pasta wheels to directions.
Serve sauce over pasta with grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shrimp Tacos

This recipe is from Cooking Light. This is my simplified version. It's so quick to make, and makes a simple dinner served alongside some fresh fruit. Ryan and I really enjoyed it, but it's not super kid friendly unless your kids love mexican food. My boys chowed on this, but my girls did not! While Ryan was in Mexico he acquired some awesome chile/lime seasoning that we sprinkled on ours and it was absolutely delicious! It added a nice extra kick.

1 lb medium cooked shrimp
1/2 c coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1 T minced seeded jalapeño pepper
24 (6-inch)white corn tortillas
3/4 c chopped tomato
1/2 c light sour cream
1/2 c chopped green onions
2 limes, quartered

-Heat up shrimp in a skillet with some salt and pepper, just until heated through, do not over cook since they're already cooked.
-Add to shrimp the cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeño pepper, tossing well to coat.
-Heat tortillas in large ziploc bag in microwave. Double up tortillas-one always breaks and makes a mess-so in your 2 tortillas spoon a little of the shrimp mixture; top with 1 tablespoon tomato, 2 teaspoons sour cream, and 2 teaspoons onions. We also sprinkled a little more cilantro on ours since we love it so!
-Makes 10-12 tacos.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Banana Pudding

This recipe comes from my ward cookbook but it is actually one of the desserts served at Zinn Bistro in SLC. For all you banana lovers, this is an absolute dream! Like banana cream pie! I recommend slicing plenty of fresh, ripe bananas on the side because there is never enough!

2 bags Pepperidge Farms shortbread cookies (Chessmen)

6-8 ripe bananas, sliced

2 C milk

1 (5 oz.) box Instant French Vanilla pudding

1 (8 oz.)pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 ctn. whipped topping, thawed or sweetened whipped cream

Line a 9x13 dish with one bag of the cookies. Layer bananas on top. In bowl, combine milk and pudding. Blend well. In another bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth. Fold in topping. Add to pudding mixture. Pour over bananas and spread well so the pudding gets into the bananas. Layer the other bag of cookies on top. Refrigerate for 7-8 hours before serving.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)

This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook. The Italians created it to use up their old bread. I'm a major crouton lover, and bread lover for that matter, and this is wonderful if it sits a little so the croutons can soak up the dressing. Great way to use up all that great summer produce coming in! (Picture courtesy of Kahakai Kitchen)

3 T olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained (not a must unless you totally love 'em)

1 t finely minced garlic
1/2 t Dijon mustard
3 T Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

-Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

-For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

-In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

-Serves 12

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chicken with Plum Chutney

This week is plum week at our house. We picked them from our tree! I have made jam, this dish and plum kuken (put that on your list to make, it's delish!) Everyone loved this chicken! It reminds me that fall is coming! It's really easy, too! From Everyday

4 bonless skinless chicken breast halves
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 T olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno (ribs and seeds removedfor less heat, if desired), chopped (my pepper was small so I used most of it)
4 red plums, (about 1#) halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-in pieces
1/3 c packed light brown sugar
2 T cider vinegar
3/4 t curry powder
1/4 t ground ginger

1 Season chicken with salt and pepper. (I cut my chicken into smaller pieces to help with kid size portions) In large skillet, heat 1T oil over medium. Add chicken and cook until opaque throughout, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
2 Make chutney: To skillet, add remaining 1 T oil, onion and jalapeno; cook until softened, about 3 mins. Increase heat to medium-high; add plums, sugar, vinegar, curry, ginger, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until plums are softened and liquid is slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes.
3 Add chicken and any juices that have accumulated on plate; simmer until heated through, about 4 mins. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve chicken with chutney spooned on top. Serves 4. (it fed my whole family with leftovers)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Creamy Fusilli with squash and bacon

8 oz fusilli (or any kind)
4-6 slices bacon
4 med zucchini or/and yellow squash (crook-necks are fabulous in this) halved lenghwise and sliced thin
2-3 garlic cloves sliced thin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4-1/2 cup fresh parmesan
salt and pepper
reserved pasta water
Boil pasta in salted water. Save at least a cup of the water. Drain. While cooking pasta, fry bacon and drain on paper towel. With the bacon grease still in the hot pan, add zucchini and garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring often, 5-7 mins till softened. Uncover and cook 2 mins till any liquid evaporates. Add cream and pasta to the pan. Cook till cream thickens slightly, 2-3 mins them remove from heat. Add parmesan and enough pasta water to make a creamy sauce that coats pasta. Serve, topped with more parmesan and crumbled bacon.
Serves 4. I left the bacon off my serving and did'nt even miss it! You could leave it out and just use butter or olive oil to sautee your squash in. I did'nt dare leave it out with a bacon-loving household! I can't wait to have the left overs for lunch today!!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Orzo Salad with Shrimp

This recipe came from my sister-in-law, Pam. She made this for "Girl's Weekend" and everyone absolutely loved it! It is a great entree for summer.

3/4 lb. orzo
1 large cucumber- seeded, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 C chopped fresh dill
1/4 C white wine vinegar
3 T Dijon mustard
1/2 C olive oil
3/4 lb. feta, crumbled
16 med. shrimp

Combine cooked orzo, cucumber, onions and tomatoes in large bowl. Blend dill, vinegar, and mustard until smooth. With motor running on low, add olive oil slowly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in feta and shrimp. Mix well.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Zucchini! (Farmer's Market Squash Saute)

Here's another great zucchini recipe! I've made it twice this week, it's that good! My kids love the cheese in it!

2 zucchini, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. fresh parmesan cheese

-Cook zucchini and squash in hot oil in large skillet on medium heat 3 min., stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook an additional 3 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

-Remove from heat; stir in mozzarella cheese and basil.

-Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

-Serves 4-6

Monday, August 4, 2008

Peach Tart

1- 1/4 C Flour
1/2 C butter-soft
2 T sour cream

6 peaches or nectarines-pealed and sliced
3 egg yolks
3/4 C sour cream
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C flour

1/2 C peach preserves
1 T frozen orange juice concentrate
mint for garnish

Mix crust ingredients in food processor. Roll out and place in 10 inch tart pan. Poke with fork, bake 375 for 15 min. or until light golden. Take out and cool. Turn oven down to 350. Place peaches in an overlapping ring around crust until the entire crust is covered. Pour the filling over the top of peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Set tart pan on cookie sheet. Bake 1 hour or until golden brown and set. Take out and let cool slightly. Paint with glaze mixture.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chicken Caesar Salad in a Shell

This is so delicious and the perfect dinner for a hot summer night! I got the recipe off of For the shell part you use Azteca shells that are pre-made in a package and raw, and all you do is bake them. Wal-mart carries them-in our store they had them in the refrigerated section over by the yogurt and dairy products. They are really good, and the nice thing about them is you can bake them ahead of time and they will keep for a couple of days. The recipe is for 2 full size salads, but I doubled it and then adjusted a couple ingredients to my liking.

1 large chicken breast, cooked & diced (I used Tyson's chicken breast strips in the bag that are already grilled and cooked!)
4 bacon strips, cooked and broken up
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into small pieces
4 c leafy greens
1/2 c shredded swiss cheese
Caesar Salad Dressing (I prefer Bernstein's-it's excellent!!)
Fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Salad shells (cooked according to package directions)

-Prepare salad shells and set aside. Layer greens, chicken, bacon, cucumber, and swiss in the shell. Drizzle dressing over the top. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.
-I actually mixed all ingredients in a big bowl and served that way, and it was perfect!
-You can also have this without the shells and just add croutons.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Speaking of Zucchini...

I have discovered a new taste sensation and can't believe I've never thought of it before! It's so simple-all you do is slice up some zucchini, toss it in a skillet with butter and garlic salt, and simply add dried dill weed! Add to your liking, but I'm telling you, it's scrumptious! I'm never doing oregano or anything else again in my zucchini! Dill it is!!

Eggplant Bolognese

This was really good! In an effort to use more zucchini (and appease my husband) I left out the eggplant. I used 3 zucchini and 1 summer squash. The kids loved it. No complaints of squash. I think it's because it is chopped up so small. And, call me uncultured, I just used hamburger instead of ground chuck. This is from Every Day Food magazine.

8 T olive oil 1 garlic clove, minced
1 lrg eggplant (about 1#) peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped
1 zucchini (about 8 oz), quartered lengthwise, sliced 1/4 inch thick crosswise
1 garlic clove, minced
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 # ground beef chuck
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 T dried oregano
1 # rigatoni or other short tube pasta
Parmesan cheese, shaved

1 In saucepan with lid, heat 6 T oil over medium-high. Add eggplant; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6-8 min. Transfer to bowl; set aside.
2 Add remaining oil to pan; reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, til veggies have softened. 7-10 min.
3 Add beef; cook stirring and breaking up meat with spoon til cooked, 5 min.
4 Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, add tomatoes, oregano and eggplant to beef-vegetable mixture; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and eggplant is tender, about 25 min. (doesn't take that long without eggplant). Season with salt and pepper.
5 Meanwhile, cook pasta til al dente, according to package directions. Drain; serve topped with sauce and parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Zucchini and yellow squash gratin

2T butter
2 med zucchini sliced
2 med yellow squash sliced
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan
Heat oven to 450. In large skillet, heat butter and add zucchini, yellow squash, shallots and garlic. Sautee over med heat 4-6 mins till crisp-tender. Add cream and cook till thickened, about 5 mins. Remove from heat, add half of Panko and half of parmesan. Stir. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle top with remaining Panko and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Bake8-10 mins. till golden and serve. I like to add more salt and pepper when eating!

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

I love chicken parmesan. It is one of those satisfying, comforting dishes. I found this excellent recipe from Cooking Light that my family really enjoyed! I know that when Ryan comes to me later after dinner and says "you really need to make that dish again" that it had to have been really good! I changed a couple things to my liking, but one thing I LOVE is the Newman's sauce with the balsamic vinegar in it. The vinegar makes it so delicious! CL recommends you serve this over orzo pasta, but I couldn't find any so I served it over angel hair pasta. This is great served with a Caesar salad (the salad kits are great!).

1/2 c fresh parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 c dry bread crumbs
1 T minced fresh parsley
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 lb. chicken breast tenders (I especially like the size for kids)
2 T butter
1-24 oz. jar Newman's Own Tomato & Basil Bombolina Sauce (this is a lot, but we like a lot of sauce on ours. It's the perfect amount if you double the rest of the recipe)
3 t balsamic vinegar
1/4 t black pepper
1 c shredded provolone cheese

-Combine 1/4 c of parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and salt in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken tender in egg white; dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Set aside.

-Combine tomato sauce, vinegar, and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; vent. Cook till heated through. Pour the sauce over chicken in pan. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/4 c parmesan and the provolone cheese. Wrap handle of pan with foil, and put under broiler for 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

-Serve over angel hair pasta. (I tossed mine with a little butter and salt).
-Serves 4. (I doubled the recipe and it made plenty for leftovers the next night!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Raspberry-Yogart Ice Pops

2 c plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c frozen raspberries (or any other fruit)

In medium bowl, whisk yogurt and sugar to combine. In a blender, place 1 cup yogurt-sugar mixture (reserve the rest) with raspberries; puree until well blended. Press raspberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl (discard solids).

Dividing evenly, layer yogurt mixtures in six 3 ounce ice-pop molds. Insert sticks, and freeze til solid, 4-5 hours. To unmold ice pops, run warm water briefly over the molds.

I let the kids help me because it was so easy. They loved it! And these are sooo good!
from Every Day Food magazine

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Best Veggie Sandwich

These puppies are absolutely scrumptious! So full of flavor, and you don't feel guilty eating them. They're not super kid-friendly, although most of my kids ate them with no problem. I love the toasted sesame seeds-a must!

4 Whole-Grain English muffins, split and toasted
2 avocados, mashed
1 c alfalfa sprouts
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/2 c Ranch dressing-Hidden Valley from mix if possible-it's so much better!
4 T toasted sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

-To toast sesame seeds, put in skillet and turn on med-high heat and stir for a couple minutes. Remove from heat once they start to turn golden. Don't let get too dark.
-Preheat oven to broil. Place each muffin open-faced on a cookie sheet. Put under broiler for a couple minutes to toast slightly.
-Place halves close together. Distributing ingredients evenly, cover each half in this order with ranch, avocado, tomato, onion, salt and peppper, sesame seeds, alfalfa sprouts, cheese.
-Place under broiler for another 1-2 minutes or so, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
-Serves 4-6

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coconut Banana Bread With Lime Glaze

We love banana bread at our house, along with coconut and anything with lime! So I think this is my favorite banana bread recipe by far! The glaze is soooo yummy!It's from Heather's ward cookbook, but I tweaked it just a tad.

2 c flour
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c apple juice
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c flaked sweetened coconut
2 T flaked sweetened coconut

1/2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 T FRESH lime juice

-Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Set aside. In your mixer bowl beat butter and sugar until blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, sour cream, apple juice and vanilla. Beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Fold in 1/2 c coconut. Pour batter into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan; sprinkle with 2 T coconut. Bake at 350 for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
-Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and lime juice, stirring with whisk. Drizzle over warm bread. This is extra moist if you let it sit and eat the next day! Freezes well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Balsamic Pasta Salad

Here's a great recipe for all that fresh basil coming on in the garden! I got this salad idea from Plates & Palates in Bountiful. It looked so good I had to recreate it, and yummy it is!

12-16 oz. Any kind of pasta (Penne preferably)-Target has cool pasta-I used their Spinach Garganelli-awesome!
Balsamic vinaigrette-I used Newman's, and then added some balsamic vinegar & olive oil for more flavor
Grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly
Fresh parmesan cheese
Pine nuts
Salt to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water until cool. Toss pasta with the rest of ingredients in a large bowl to your taste. Salad is best if it sits in fridge a while or overnight. You may want to leave out pine nuts and cheese if sitting overnight to prevent sogginess, but mine is just fine the next day with everything in it. Serves 8-10. I love this-one of my new favs!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Red, White 'n' Blue Salad

Here's a festive, fun recipe for the upcoming holiday! It's cool, refreshing, and definitely a crowd pleaser. I made mine in a 9x13, but I like the looks of it even more in the trifle dish! (from Taste of Home Magazine)

1 3 oz. pkg. berry blue gelatin
2 cups boiling water, divided
2-1/2 cups cold water, divided
1 cup fresh blueberries (or more)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3 oz. pkg. raspberry gelatin
1 cup fresh raspberries (I used 2-6 oz. containers)
Whipped cream & additional berries, optional

-In a large bowl, dissolve berry blue gelatin in 1 cup boiling water; stir in 1 cup cold water. Add blueberries. Pour into a 3-qt. serving bowl. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
-Meanwhile, in a saucepan, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Add the cream and sugar; cook and stir over low heat until gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla. Spoon over the blue layer. Refrigerate until firm.
-In a large bowl, dissolve raspberry gelatin in remaining hot water; stir in remaining cold water. Add raspberries. Spoon over cream layer. Chill until set. Garnish with whipped cream and additional berries if desired.
-Serves 14-16.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cilantro Coconut Rice

This is mom's wonderful recipe! Such a delicious blend of flavors. She uses parsley instead of cilantro (per Dad), but the cilantro is excellent in it!

3 c rice-regular or basmati
3/4 c sweetened flaked coconut
1 T finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
3 T oil + 1/2 c butter
3 c water
2 c coconut milk
1 t salt
2 c packed, fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped
1 c scallions, chopped (or green onions)

-Rinse rice and soak until almost clear, 30 mins. Drain well.
-Spread coconut on cookie sheet and toast in oven 350 degrees 10-12 mins. Cool.
-In large pot, saute ginger in oil and butter about 2 mins. Add rice and cook 2 mins. Stir in liquid and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook covered for 20 mins. Remove from heat.
-Add onions or scallions and cilantro. Toss. You can also toss in the coconut, or sprinkle on top. The coconut is a must! So good!
-Serves 10.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Raspberry Cream Cheese Bars

I made these a while back for a family gathering and was asked for the recipe, so here it is. These are great to take to a potluck. The recipe is from the Pierre Country Bakery & Cafe.

In large bowl:
2 c flour
1 1/4 c quick oats
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c butter

-Mix until resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 1/2 c of crumb mixture. Press remaining mixture in bottom of a buttered 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

In mixer:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar

-Beat until light and fluffy, then add:

2 large eggs, or 3 medium eggs
2 t fresh lemon juice
1 t vanilla

-Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled, baked crust. Then spread carefully on top of that:

16 oz. raspberry pie filling

-Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake 30 minutes or until set. Let cool. Store in fridge.

VARIATION: You may use strawberry, peach, blueberry, cherry, apple, or any other flavor filling you like. Simply delicious!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Herb Crusted Goat Cheese

This recipe makes a plain salad dressy and impressive! I love it in the summer with garden grown tomatoes and mixed greens. A balsamic vinaigrette is nice with this.

12 ounces goat cheese rolled into 1 ounce balls
4 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
2 C flour
1/2 bunch parsley
1/4 bunch or 1 ounce sage, thyme, rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups panko bread crumbs
olive oil

Finely chop herbs and garlic in food processor or by hand. Add bread crumbs and 1 ounce oil, process until distributed.

Form cheese balls into small disks. In bowl, combine eggs, half and half together. Place flour and herb mixture into separate plates. Dredge cheese in the flour, then egg, then herb mixture. Fry until golden brown. Drain. Serve immediately.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bodacious Blueberry Muffins

I found the absolute best recipe for blueberry muffins! I made them Sunday morning for breakfast and my family devoured them. Ryan even raved over them and said that I need to make them again and again, so you've got to give them a try!

1 stick UNSALTED butter, softened
1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
2 c flour, divided
2 t baking powder
1/2 c buttermilk (can use regular)
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed, patted dry (can use frozen)
2 T white sugar

-Cream together butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix together 1-3/4 c flour and baking powder. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk-do not overmix. Crush 1/4 of the blueberries and stir into the batter. Mix the rest of blueberries with remaining 1/4 c flour, and fold into batter. Scoop into paper-lined muffin cups, 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with sugar (or cinnamon sugar Ü). Bake at 375 for 25-30 mins, or until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly tapped.

-Makes 12-16 muffins

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Salmon Salad

Our cousin Danelle made this for me for lunch and I've been hooked ever since! So fresh and healthy, yet filling. Makes a great summer dinner dish! Quantity depends on how many you are serving. Usually it is just Kelly, Bailey and I. Enjoy!

Salmon Fillets (Costco), grilled or pan seared, with salt and pepper & your favorite herbs
Baby mixed greens
Avocados, sliced
Tomatoes, wedged
Feta cheese, plain or basil and garlic
mixed olives or capers, if you like them.
Lemon wedges
Paul Newman's Balsamic dressing

Roasted Chicken Thighs With Zucchini & Couscous

I made this the other night, and it was so tasty! I got it from Everyday Food magazine.

8 chicken thighs
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise
1 c couscous
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped (or less)
2 T red-wine vinegar

-Season chicken with salt & pepper; place skin side down on foil-lined baking sheet; roast at 450 for 10 mins. Then turn chicken skin side up. Scatter zucchini around chicken, and season with more salt and pepper; toss with pan juices. Continue roasting another 10 mins. or more until done.
-Meanwhile, bring 1 1/4 c water to a boil; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and stir in couscous. Cover, let stand until all liquid is absorbed-about 5 mins. Fluff couscous with fork. Stir in parsley, vinegar, roasted zucchini, and 2 T pan juices; season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve chicken with zucchini and couscous.
-Serves 4-6

Friday, May 30, 2008

Raspberry Pear Gelatin Salad

This is the recipe everyone has been asking me for. So de-lish! You can use any flavor of gelatin.

1 6 oz. pkg. raspberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 (15.25 ounce) cans pear halves in juice (I use 1 qt. home canned)
1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

Whisk together the gelatin and boiling water in a large bowl until the gelatin dissolves. Pour the mixture into a blender, and add the pear halves and cream cheese. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour back into the bowl, and gently whisk in the whipped topping. Transfer to a mold or serving bowl (I use bundt pan), cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. To unmold, dip the mold briefly into hot water to loosen the gelatin, then invert onto a plate.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is the best Oatmeal-Raisin cookie recipe I've ever found! It's from America's Best Recipes 1993.
1 Cup butter, soft
1 Cup sugar, divided
3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 quick cooking oats, uncooked
1 1/2 cups raisins
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until fluffy.
Gradually add 3/4 cup of the sugar, and all of the brown sugar, beating well.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir in vanilla.
Combine flours, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating well. Stir in the oats and raisins.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Shape dough into 1" balls. Roll in the cinnamon and sugar. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart on GREASED cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 for 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Yum!

Barbecued Steak Sandwiches

This recipe is from Cooking Light. It's so yummy, and perfect for summer! (I double this for our family)

1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed (I use sirloin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices red onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar (We like it with less sugar-1 T)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (optional)
4 (3-ounce) hoagie rolls, split (Wal-mart's hard rolls are good)

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray or oil. Sprinkle steak evenly with salt and pepper. Add steak to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Add onion to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; cool.
Combine ketchup and next 4 ingredients (through chipotle chile powder) in a large microwave-safe bowl, stirring well. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Add steak to ketchup mixture; toss to coat. Divide steak mixture evenly among bottom halves of rolls; top each serving with one onion slice. Place top half of roll on each sandwich.
4 servings. This is great to make ahead and keep warm in crock pot.