Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Menu: December 31 - January 6

This time, our return from a long vacation wasn't as hard because Paul decided to take the day off yesterday. :) We planned the menu together and went shopping first thing. I like this way much better. Here's what we planned:

Wednesday (today): Potato Soup
Thursday (Paul's Birthday): Hawaiian Haystacks (or Chinese Haystacks, as Paul's family calls them) and wantons
Friday: Golden Porkchops
Saturday: Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas (Chef Britta)
Sunday: Meatloaf, carrots, mashed potatoes, and homemade rolls
Monday: Yakisoba
Tuesday: Chicken quesadillas

Happy New Year, everyone! :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Found: New Blog of YUMMINESS!

I'm not sure if that's how you spell yumminess, but it works for me. I was poking around blogs today and found a food blog belonging to a friend of mine from high school. Here's the site www.thefrostedcupcake.blogspot.com. Don't let the name fool you! She has yummy dinners posted in addition to her frosted treats. I can't wait to try them when I have some time. I'm proud of you Jennie for sticking to your meal planning. You're a shining example to us all! Use the site well!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Menu: December 9 - December 15

I have a bunch of great recipes to share, and I'll try to get caught up in posting them over the next couple days.

Until then, here's this week's menu! It was much easier than last week, but that's because I'm only using one new recipe (and by new I mean it's not already posted here). It's been a while since I've used so many recipes I already have. :) Sorry guys!

Tuesday: Italian Crescent Bake (this is the recipe leftover from last week's menu because Paul spontaneously decided to take me on a date! :) )
Wednesday: Chicken Cutlets
Thursday: unplanned...we have a conflict of events here, one is Paul's company Christmas Party
Friday: Chili and Cornbread
Saturday: Potato Soup
Sunday: Easy Chicken Roll-Ups (FFR)
Monday: Golden Pork Chops

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Menu: December 3 - December 8

What a wake up call it is to come home from an almost two-week vacation and have to plan a menu once again! This was hard! I discovered a cookbook of Paul's that I've never looked at before, so a lot of this week's meals come from there. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday: Chili Chicken Tacos (Chef Britta)
Thursday: Hamburger Stroganoff
Friday: Suzy's Italian Chicken
Saturday: BBQ Beef Bowls
Sunday: Italian Crescent Bake
Monday: Easy Vegetarian Lasagna

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chicken Cutlets

I haven't posted for a really long time, so I figured it was about time!
Chicken Cutlets is a really easy, yummy, and looks fancier than how long it actually took me.
from: the "I DO" cookbook

Sorry I wasn't able to get a good picture. I already put in my leftovers for lunch in a container before taking the picture, but you can see the Mornay sauce and parsley flakes on top.

Ingredients:

- 4 chicken breasts or 8 small chicken strips depending on what kind of chicken you buy. You can be your own judge, but I usually use more chicken than what it says and you'll see why later, but I don't like to waste ingredients and it makes great leftovers.
- 1 cup buttermilk or I use just a half a pint- it's a little over 1 cup, and I am talking about 1 Tbl. so I just use it all
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1-1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs- I don't really measure, I just pour a little at a time on a plate and coat the chicken, so I may use more than what they say.
- 2 Tablespoons of butter- I honestly don't think I use this much butter, but it is used to coat the top of the chicken, so again use your best judgment

Instructions:
Mix buttermilk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in bag or bowl. Add chicken and marinate for 30-1 hour, they say overnight taste better, but I have never tried it. Drain chicken, chicken should still be fairly coated. Coat chicken with bread crumbs, melt butter and coat chicken with brush or pour on top. Cook in oven for 20-25 mins or until golden brown at 350 degrees.

I enjoy eating this on top of spaghetti noodles, I am sure any type of noodles would taste great. I also add a Mornay sauce on top of chicken and sprinkle parsley flakes on top of sauce.

Mornay Sauce:
- 2 Tbl. butter - I use all this butter
- 1 1/2 Tbl. flour
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup half n' half milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese - I use grated Parmesan cheese and it taste great, so use whatever is convenient for you.

Instructions:
Melt butter in sauce pan. Stir in flour. Using whisk, stir in chicken broth and half n' half. Bring to a gentle boil (I use medium heat the whole time) - about 2 mins. Add Parmesan cheese - simmer for 2 mins (It makes 1 1/2 cups)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie

This is from Todd Wilber's Top Secret Recipes. It takes a little while to make, but it is worth it. I made this for Sunday dinner and did all the work Sat. night while we watched a scary movie, so all I had to do was roll out the top crust and pop it in the oven.

Crust
1 &1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks
3 TBS ice water
2/3 c cold butter
(1 beaten egg to brush on crust) optional

Filling
1 c sliced carrots
1 c sliced celery
2 c frozen peas
1 c chopped white onion
4 chicken breasts
4 TBS butter
5 TBS flour
2 &1/2 C chicken broth
2/3 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper

I just make sure I have 5 cups of vegetables- usually a frozen medley of sorts then I don't have to do any cutting at all.

Mix dry crust ingredients, make well in center and all wet ingredients, mix with fork and then your hands to finish. Make into disk- put in fridge for at least an hour

Steam veggies and poach chicken (cook in slightly salted water for 8 to 10 min)
in seperate pan melt butter and whisk in flour- add chicken broth and milk- stir until mixture comes to a boil, then cook for 1 more minute before reducing heat to low. Add all the chicken and the veggies and salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Put into casserole dish (I like to spray dish with Pam first for easy cleaning)

Roll out dough the shape of the dish- seal on top of dish folding edges under. brush with egg if desired. His recipe calls for cooking in 6 individual ramekins, but I'm to lazy for that (and don't have the ramekins).

Bake 425*F for approx. 30 minutes (he says 30-45, but mine is always done by 30)

I can't find my picture, but will add it as soon as I've located it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Menu: Nov 12 - Nov 17

Wednesday: Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Thursday: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole over rice
Friday: We're going on a date with Brian's brother and his wife. I love eating out :).
Saturday: Turkey sandwiches
Sunday:
Hungarian Goulash with green bean beans on the side. I love this recipe! I will definitely post it.
Monday: Personal size pizzas...I bought some pepperoni and a green pepper.

Tuesday we're off to Colorado!! We are leaving Brian for a week :(. I'm sad that I won't get to make him dinner. We're going to miss him so much.

As you can tell from my menu, I have been trying to plan cheap meals. So, it's kind of a boring menu, but I will have better ones in the future!

Tomato and Pesto Pizza

So, Paul and I switched around our meals for the week because we needed something quick last night. And oh my goodness. This pizza was so yummy! It has so much flavor! The pesto combined with the tomatoes and cheese just works. It's simple and fast, and it's DEE-vine. Seriously.

Tomato and Pesto Pizza
Ingredients:
pizza dough (I used the Pillsbury kind in the tube...it was very yummy!)
1/4 c. pesto (I think I ended up using more than that...I just spread a thin layer over the whole crust...I didn't measure)
2-3 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
2-3 fresh tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese
dried basil


Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (the original recipe says 400, but the pizza dough I used said 425). Roll out your pizza dough onto a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Spread pesto evenly on top of the dough. Sprinkle generously with mozzarella cheese. Place tomatoes on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Next, sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese (as you can see from my pictures we ran out of mozzarella, so I had to use cheddar), parmesan cheese, and finally, basil. Bake for 12-15 minutes, checking after 10. Ours was actually perfect after 10 minutes.


The only drawback I can think of about this pizza is that pesto is pretty expensive to buy. It seems that it would be cheaper to make your own, but that would make it ever so much more difficult. The recipes for pesto I looked at all take at least 45 minutes to prepare. I guess you just have to weigh your options...splurge on the store-bought pesto, or be adventurous and make your own!

Oh, and Mandy pointed out that you could add chicken to the pizza, and it would probably be delicious, too!

Thank you Favorite Family Recipes for this amazing pizza! Here's a link to the original recipe on their site: Tomato and Pesto Pizza.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This is pretty much the easiest (and maybe even cheapest!) of the casseroles I grew up on. If you like tuna, cream cheese, and peas, you'll probably love this recipe! :)

Tuna Noodle Casserole
Ingredients:
1 can of tuna
8 oz. wide egg noodles
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can milk
grated onion (to taste)
1 c. frozen peas
cheddar cheese, grated
potato chips (a couple handfuls, crushed)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles. Meanwhile, mix together tuna, soup, cream cheese, milk, onion, and peas in a separate bowl. Once noodles are done, drain them and add them to the tuna mixture. Toss to coat. In a casserole dish, layer noodle mixture with cheese. Top with cheese and crumbled potato chips. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.


Sorry for the dark picture! I was in a hurry (I was hungry! ;) ) and I didn't end up getting any good ones. I also didn't have any potato chips, unfortunately. They really add a fun texture, but I couldn't justify buying a whole bag of them for this one recipe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu: November 10 - November 17

It's about time I have a menu planned! Here's hopin' I stick to it!

Monday (today): Chicken salads
Tuesday: Tuna Casserole
Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan (FFR)
Thursday: Taco Soup (FFR)
Friday: Creamy Italian Chicken
Saturday: Tomato and Pesto Pizza (FFR)
Sunday: Curry
Monday: Pasta Toss (Hatrack Cookbook)

Wow, it's been so long since I planned a menu! It was so hard! I don't know what made it so hard for me, but it took like over an hour. Phew!

Almond Poppyseed Mini Muffins with Glaze

Way back when we went to Crate and Barrel and bought our grill pan, we also bought a mini muffin pan. I finally used it for the first time yesterday! I needed to bring a dessert to the ward new member social, and I completely forgot about it before yesterday, so I had to make something with ingredients I already had on hand. I turned to...you guessed it! Allrecipes.com!

This recipe is for Poppy Seed Bread with Glaze, but I saw in the comments that someone had made mini muffins with batter they had leftover. So I did some research on how long to bake mini muffins, and decided to give it a shot! They were a big hit! All 72 mini muffins are already gone.


Almond Poppyseed Mini Muffins with Glaze
Ingredients:
3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3 T. poppy seeds (this was a LOT of poppy seeds...2 T. may have been enough)
1 1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
2 1/4 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 t. almond extract

Glaze:
1/4 c. orange juice
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
2 c. powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease mini muffin pan. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and poppy seeds. Add oil, eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and almond extract and mix well. Spoon into prepared muffin pan. About 1 heaping tablespoon per muffin. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze by mixing the wet ingredients and then adding powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. I used all 2 cups.

Remove muffins from pan and transfer to a wire rack. While still warm (but not too warm! don't burn yourself! ;) ) dip the top of each muffin in the glaze. Allow excess to drip off before returning muffins to the wire rack to cool.

**Spray muffin pan between each batch so the muffins are easy to remove.

**The original recipe calls for butter flavored extract. I don't even know what that is, let alone have it in my cupboard. The comments on allrecipes.com said it was ok to leave it out, so I slightly adjusted the amounts of vanilla and almond extract to make up for it.

**By the way, as you know, I always let the measuring spoon overflow into the bowl when I'm dealing with vanilla. Almond extract on the other hand, is rather strong stuff. I never let the measuring spoon overflow with it, in fact, I always slightly underfill the measuring spoon.

Here's a link to the original recipe if you'd prefer to make bread instead of muffins: Poppy Seed Bread with Glaze.

Kaylene's Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

This is a recipe I got from my friend, Kaylene. They are always a big hit with whoever I make them for. :) Even if it's just me. Ha ha. I made them for playgroup last week, and the little kids loved them even though they have oatmeal in them.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Ingredients:
1 c. (2 sticks) soft margarine or butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. peanut butter
2 c. and 2 T. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 1/3 c. oatmeal (not instant)
1 bag chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Blend butter with sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter, mixing well. Add salt and baking soda. Add flour and blend well. Add oatmeal and chocolate chips. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned.


The recipe makes tons of cookies (I was living off of them for a few days after I made them ;) ). Enjoy!

Baked Ziti

This is one of Paula's recipes. She was going to post it a little while back, but forgot to take a picture and never posted it. It's delicious! It's a variation on lasagna (similar ingredients, different noodle). I made this the other day to bring to someone in my ward, and I almost forgot to take a picture of it, myself!


Baked Ziti
Ingredients:
12 ounces ziti (small tube pasta...I actually used penne)
2 lb. ground beef (I always use less than this...probably more like 1 1/2 lbs)
1 jar spaghetti sauce of your choice
2 eggs
1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese)
2 1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. parmesan cheese

**This time I decided to add a little to the recipe. I added a chopped up onion, some fresh mushrooms chopped up, a couple small cloves of garlic, minced, about 1/4 t. basil and some pepper. These additional ingredients are unnecessary, but they add to the flavor.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta. Meanwhile cook beef (I added onion and garlic right off the bat) and drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce (this is when I added basil, pepper, and mushrooms). Simmer. In a separate large bowl, combine eggs, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Drain pasta and add it to the cheese mixture. Toss to coat.

In a greased 9x13 baking pan, spread 1/3 of the meat sauce. Top with half of the pasta mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining meat sauce. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes A LOT. It was enough for me to bring to a couple in our ward for dinner, for Paul and me for dinner that night, and for lunch for Paul for two days. I made this when I was pregnant and put it in the freezer to have when James was born. It's a nice, easy meal. But it's a bit expensive because of all the cheese.

Golden Pork Chops

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and adapted it according to a couple of the comments that people had posted about it. Here's the recipe I made (I'll link to the original recipe at the end):

Golden Pork Chops:
Ingredients:
6 thinly sliced boneless pork chops
olive oil
Lawry's or other seasoned salt
salt
pepper
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced (I don't like big pieces of mushrooms, so I chopped mine up pretty small)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans condensed golden mushroom soup (Campbell's)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork chops on both sides with Lawry's, salt, and pepper. Brown pork chops in the skillet for 1-2 minutes per side. Place pork chops in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. In same skillet, sautee onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and golden mushroom soup. Stir. Pour mixture over pork chops. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes. Serve over rice.


These pork chops were surprisingly yummy. Paul liked them a lot and said he would like this to be one of our regular recipes.

Here's the recipe on allrecipes.com: Golden Pork Chops

Country Captain Chicken

It's been so long since I made this recipe! I haven't been very successful with the slow cooker recipes like I used to be. I have a bunch of recipes I want to try though, so hopefully I bring it out again soon!

This recipe, like most slow cooker recipes, was nice because I could put it together and let it cook itself. It had a little more prep than some other recipes that I've made, but it was a really good dinner. It had a surprising flavor, and both Paul and I enjoyed it.

Country Captain Chicken

Ingredient:
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (I actually just used two boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces)
2 T. flour
2 T. oil, divided
1 c. chopped green bell pepper (I just chopped up one smallish pepper)
1 large onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped (I actually forgot to put this in when I made it)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. chicken broth
2 c. canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 c. golden raisins*
1 1/2 t. curry powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. black pepper

*Paul doesn't like raisins. But I had a feeling they wouldn't seem like raisins once they were cooked for hours and hours, and I was right. They really added to the meal, so I recommend putting these in even if you are apprehensive.

Directions:
Coat chicken pieces with flour, set aside. Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook and stir for about five minutes or until onion starts to get tender. Place vegetables in the bottom of your slow cooker. Heat remaining half of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour-coated chicken. Brown for five minutes on each side. Chicken will not be fully cooked, but it will finish cooking in the slow cooker. Add chicken pieces to the slow cooker. Pour broth into the still-hot skillet. Cook and stir, scraping off bits of chicken or vegetables at the bottom of the skillet. Pour into slow cooker. Add tomatoes, raisins, curry powder, salt, paprika, and black pepper. Gently stir the spices into the tomatoes to disperse them into the mixture. Cover. Cook on low for 3 hours. Serve over rice.


Like I said, this recipe had a surprising flavor. It was very interesting and yummy. I highly recommend giving it a try at least once.

Grace's Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs

It's me! I'm alive! I have a whole bunch of recipes to post because it's been so long since I last posted one. I don't know why, but I think I needed a little break. I'm ready to get caught up, though, so here we go!

This recipe is a family favorite in Paul's family. And I know why! These ribs are delicious and actually very easy to prepare.


Grace's Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs
Ingredients:
1 rack of pork ribs
triple recipe of Ishimoto family Sweet and Sour Sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Wrap rack of ribs generously in foil. I should have taken a picture to give you an idea of what it looks like, but you just wrap the foil around and cinch it at the top like a little tent. Make sure the foil is crimped shut all the way across.. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 2 1/2 hours. (Yes, you do not need to season the ribs at all first. Don't worry, they turn out delicious!) Prepare Sweet and Sour Sauce. After 2 1/2 hours, open up the foil and flatten the rack of ribs if needed. Pour on about 2/3 of your Sweet and Sour Sauce (be generous). Continue to cook (with foil still open) for 30 minutes. At this point, increase the temperature on the oven to broil, and pour the rest of your sauce on top. Broil for about two minutes. This gives the ribs a nice charcoaled scent and seals in the flavor.


We served our ribs with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. It was a delicious dinner! And, you may be thinking that one rack of ribs is a lot for two people. Well........


Look at those clean bones! The meat really does fall right off of them. It was so yummy.

*Note: Paul and I bought an 'extra meaty' rack of ribs (it was labeled that way at the store). I highly recommend buying that kind because I get annoyed with ribs that have hardly any meat on them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Big Noodle Soup

This is a chicken noodle soup that Brian had growing up and they called it big noodle soup, referring to the homemade noodles. As you can tell from the picture, Brian likes more stuff in his soup than broth. I always have more broth.

Dinners 102

This recipe is more for the noodles than for the actual soup. I don't have an amazing soup recipe. It always tastes good, but it's just basic. You boil a chicken breast until cooked and then shred it. Meanwhile boil some water and add the veggies/onion and how ever many bouillon cubes for the amount of water. Once you give the veggies a few minutes add the chicken and cook the noodles.

Noodles:

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
3 eggs
2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup water

Directions:
Measure flour into bowl; make a well in center and add eggs and salt. With hands, thoroughly mix egg into flour. Add water and mix. If you need more water, add it a little at a time. Knead until smooth and elastic...about 10 minutes. Roll dough paper thin (make sure to coat surface with flour). Cut noodles to desired thickness (a good way to do this is with a pizza cutter). Put into boiling soup and cook for 12-15 minutes.

*I've never made these noodles, Brian always does it. So, hopefully I got the directions right and it's not too hard.

Easy Breadsticks

We served it with breadsticks and they were delicious. You just let some rhodes rolls (one per breadstick) sit out until they are defrosted but still cold (you can microwave them a little if you're in a hurry). Then you roll them into skinny strips and line them up on a cookie sheet. Let them rise until doubled in size (just like you would with rolls). When they're ready to go in the oven you coat them with melted butter. Bake them for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until golden brown. When you pull them out put another coat of melted butter on them. There is a very similar recipe on the bag of rolls as well.

Navajo Tacos


I got this recipe from a girl in the ward. It was fast, easy to make, and kid approved. I forgot to take a picture of one topped with goodies, but here's one of the pieces of flat bread. This is a little size for my little eaters. They puff up a lot in the oil, so I'm going to flatten them even more for next time.

Flat bread:
3 c. flour
1 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
Mix all ingredients together (you may have to add a little more milk if it is on the dry side). Roll into balls and then flatten. I usually get about 7 or 8. Fry in oil until a golden brown on both sides.
Top with: chili, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, cheese, green onions, sour cream and salsa etc.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Creamy Italian Chicken

I am way behind on posting recipes! This is a recipe that I tried a couple weeks ago and it turned out great! It had a really good flavor and the chicken wasn't dry like I thought it might be. Plus, it's a crockpot recipe and is very easy. Basically, I highly recommend it.

Unfortunately the night that I made it we were in a hurry and forgot to take a picture of it until I had eaten half of it so it's not the best picture. So, if any of you try it, you could take a better picture of it and we could replace this one.

Dinners 089

Also, I served it with mashed potatoes and cooked carrots on the side. The recipe tells you to serve it over noodles or rice. I think it would be good that way, but Becca likes mashed potatoes more.

Creamy Italian Chicken
Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1/3 cup water
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup
1 can (4 oz.) mushroom stems and pieces, drained

Directions:
Place chicken in crockpot. Combine salad dressing mix and water; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours (I flipped them halfway, but the recipe doesn't tell you to do that). In a bowl whisk together soup and cream cheese until blended (soften the cream cheese first). Stir in mushrooms. Pour mixture over chicken and cook for 1 to 3 hours longer or until chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice or noodles.


* When I bought a salad mix envelope I was confused because there were different sizes. It's supposed to be about 1.25 oz. Also, I put more like 1/2 cup water. I put a little extra because it didn't seem like very much water.

* Like I said, it was good with mashed potatoes. We used the yummy sauce as gravy. But just a warning, it was a pretty heavy meal that way.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mizithra Pasta

I don't know how many of you have been to The Old Spaghetti Factory, but this is seriously my FAVORITE dish there. I was so excited to see it on FFR. This was the easiest dish to make. Here are a few things to remember: 1) start the butter before the pasta and it takes time, 2) mizithra (myzithra) is hard to find, and 3) a cube of butter is really a stick (at least in the USA). I found my cheese in Smith's Deli section. Serve this up with garlic bread and a salad. YUM YUM!

Ingredients:
1 pkg. spaghetti (1 lb)
2 cubes REAL butter
1/2 to 3/4 lb. Mizithra Cheese, grated
Italian Seasoning (optional, I added that on my own)

Directions:
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain. While pasta is cooking, start slowly melting butter over medium heat until golden brown. The butter will foam up and rise, but just keep stirring until it turns brown. Remove pan from heat and allow the sediment to settle at the bottom of the pan for a few minutes.

Do not stir up the sediments in the pan, you want the clear butter separated from the stuff at the bottom. Pour the browned butter into a separate bowl, again, keeping the butter separated from the sediment. Toss the pasta with the butter when it is ready. Sprinkle with Mizithra cheese to taste. Serve immediately. You can sprinkle Italian seasoning on it here too!

Here's the original recipe: Mizithra Pasta

Quesadillas


These were excellent! It was definitely more than your average cheese quesadilla. Eli and I both loved them. These came from Family Favorite Recipes. YUMMY stuff! My picture doesn't look as good as the one on FFR, but you can click here to see it and the original recipe. Her recipe includes zucchini, but I didn't put that in mine because we didn't have any available!
Ingredients:
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. diced jalapeno (or more if you like it hot...I used the canned pickled kind found in the mexican aisle)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1-2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
flour tortillas (if you want to be really healthy, use whole-wheat tortillas)
Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the cheese (and tortillas of course). Place mixture in a large skillet and fry until hot. In the meantime, heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan. On half of the tortilla add a few large scoops of the corn/bean mixture and a little cheese. Fold tortilla over, then flip sides. When cheese is melted, cut in half and serve!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Menu: Oct 20- Oct 27

I have been bad lately and a lot of that is due to the fact that we are trying to transition Becca into eating what we eat for dinner (we were supposed to do this a while ago). She's still not very good at eating everything and doesn't like spicy things, so I've had to alter what we eat. It's really hard to come up with meals that Becca can eat and that we want to eat. So, I'm trying to at least make a few meals a week that she can eat and then we'll get better and better at it.

Monday: Tacos/Taco salads...I had a taco and Brian had a salad.
Tuesday: We went out to eat to celebrate a business success.
Wednesday: Spaghetti w/ mixed veggies and garlic bread
Thursday: Egg salad sandwiches
Friday: Creamy Italian Chicken (it's a new crockpot recipe). I'll post the recipe and tell you how it tasted. I'm going to serve it with mashed potatoes and a veggie.
Saturday: Chicken and dumplings...we use a very easy recipe that I'll post.
Sunday: Baked Ziti
Monday: Chicken Chalupas? (I'm not sure about that one yet)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Menu: October 19 - October 25

I don't know if I said this before, but I've decided to keep cooking dinner on the nights I work. I'll just make something simple on the nights I work. I'm excited to cook this week. I found a new blog with some awesome recipes. I left her a comment to see if I could link her blog to my page, but I will go ahead and leave the address here so you ladies can check it out (Favorite Family Recipes). Highly Recommended.

Sunday: Sweet Pork Roast
Monday: Quesadillas (FFR)
Tuesday: Mizithra Pasta (FFR)
Wednesday: Tomato & Pesto Pizza (FFR)
Thursday: Veggie Melts (Chef Britta)
Friday: Bean, Avocado, & Cheese Sandwich (sounds weird, I know)
Saturday:Vegetarian Chili (Chef Britta)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Menu: October 16 - October 22

I got a little bit stuck planning my menu this week. A couple quick searches on allrecipes.com helped finish it right up, though! :)

Thursday: Grilled Chicken Pitas
Friday: Late dinner out to celebrate the end of Paul's softball season
Saturday: Curry
Sunday: Pot Roast, rolls, mashed potatoes, and steamed carrots
Monday: Amanda's pasta dish without chicken
Tuesday: Golden Pork Chops (allrecipes.com)
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken (allrecipes.com)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've always liked pumpkin cookies, but I had never actually made them before. These turned out yummy! They are very cake like as many pumpkin cookies are.

Sunday Desserts 040

Ingredients:
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:
Dissolve baking soda in milk; set aside. In large bowl add pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg; stir. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda mixture. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla. Spoon onto cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees 10-12 minutes.

Rolo Cookies

How can you go wrong with a chocolate cookie that has a rolo in the middle? The chocolate cookie has a great flavor and the rolo melts to make them caramel filled.

Sunday Desserts 043

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
48 rolos (one package)
2 tbs. sugar

Directions:
Combine flour, cocoa, and soda and set aside. Beat sugars and butter until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla. Add dry mixture and blend well. Shape cookies into small balls. Press rolo into center of ball and cover with dough (I just sort of form a dough ball around a rolo). Roll cookie in sugar. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until tops of cookies are slightly cracked. Cool on racks.

*As you can see this recipe makes about 48 cookies. So if you don't want tons of cookies you could do half of the recipe. But, the girl who gave me this recipe said that the dough balls freeze well and then you can make them whenever you want fresh cookies. I haven't tried that yet.

Potato Soup

I'm not sure where my parents got this recipe, but it's a delicious, creamy soup. I have always loved this soup. The recipe is actually a clam chowder recipe, but I don't really like clams (especially when I'm pregnant), and it's cheaper without them. But, this is a very versatile soup. You can add corn for a corn chowder and ham for a ham chowder. It's also good as just a potato soup.

Dinners 074

Potato Soup

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 cup finely chopped potatoes
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 qt. half and half
1 tsp salt
pepper
1/2 tsp sugar

Directions:
Put chopped vegetables and onions in pot with enough water to barely cover. Simmer, covered over medium heat until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes). In the meantime, in a medium pot, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook a minute or two. Add cream; cook and stir until smooth and thick, using a wire whisk to blend (it always takes longer to thicken then I think it's going to...it gets pretty thick). Add to undrained vegetables and heat.

* We usually serve it with what we call toasties. Butter bread on both sides, cut in four strips and bake on cookie sheet until brown (flip once).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Basic Chili

I know that you all have different chili recipes. I decided I would post this one though because it's way simple and so delicious. My Dad took a recipe from the checkerboard cookbook and made some little changes. It's a very good basic chili recipe and is one that Brian requests during the cold season.

Dinners 071

Chili

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
1 small can of diced green chiles
2 to 3 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
dash of cayenne pepper

Directions:
Cook beef, onions, and garlic until beef is brown and onions are tender. Drain fat. Stir together with all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer (covered) for 20 minutes.

*I forgot the sizes for the tomato paste and green chiles, but they're the smallest sized cans.
*Is delicious served with cheddar cheese and sour cream on top. We also love corn bread with our chili.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Famous Peterson Apple Pie Recipe

(Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before eating the pie, but it looked so good I got ahead of myself) :)

Ingredients:
Pie Crust (Two crusts) - Ill explain later
3/4 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. milk
2 cups flour

Pie Filling- (for one pie)- Ill also explain later
5 large green apples or 6-8 small apples
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
Butter (dot top of pie)

Pie Topping - (for one pie)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar

Instructions and explanations:
The pie ingredients were originally made for one pie with a crust on bottom, pie filling in the middle and crust on top, but my mom has her special pie topping which makes it so famous. If you want to make the traditional apple pie with crust on bottom and top you can, but of course it doesn't taste as good without the yummy sugary topping.
Crust instructions:
I always start with making the crust. I put Crisco and water in a microwavable bowl for 1 min. Then add salt, milk and flour. Mix well with hands! :) Spilt into two evenly as possible balls. Put one pie crust ball in between two pieces of wax paper and use a rolling pin to make a circle to fit your pie pan. To make the edges of the pie crust I use my thumb and index finger on my left hand and thumb on right hand and push together. It should make a triangle shape. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't look pretty because it takes a lot of practice. ALSO don't forget to take a fork and poke little holes on the bottom of pie crust. REPEAT with second pie crust.
Pie Filling instructions: (Double recipe if your making the famous Peterson apple pie)
I use an apple peeler which spins the apple into a spiral,peals the apple for me and takes out the core of the apple, which is nice! :) But if you don't have an apple peeler, make sure you peel the apple and cut apple into small pieces. Add lemon juice to the apples. Mix sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour in separate bowl and mix well. Add to apple bowl. Pour apple mixture into pie pan.
Pie Topping Instructions: (Double recipe if your making the famous Peterson apple pie)
Mix cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar in separate bowl. Put on top of Pie filling which should be inside the crust. Top with dots of butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45mins-1hour. I usually check after 30 mins to make sure the crust isn't burn. If it is starting to get brown I would take foil and cut it to cover crust only.
(I hope these directions aren't confusing, if so don't hesitate to ask questions!)

Oreo Chunk Chocolate Chip Cookies

I discovered this recipe on a blog called Baked Perfection. Everything she makes looks delicious! There are tons of recipes I want to try on her site. These became my entry for the dessert competition of the ward cook-off last night. (Unfortunately, I didn't win. :( They were all eaten though!)

This was an interesting recipe. The dough was pretty hard to handle because of all the oreo chunks. They're quite delicious, though!


Oreo Chunk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 package vanilla instant Jell-O Pudding (not prepared, the smaller size box)
1 dash of cinnamon
2 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened (I did my half butter, half margarine trick)
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips because that's what it looked like she used in her pictures, and it sounded yummy to me.)
30-40 double stuffed Oreos*, crushed into medium chunks (you really need the double stuffed kind)

*
I really think this is a ton of Oreos. One package had 36 Oreos in it, so I just used the whole pack. It was a little overwhelming, and like I mentioned, made the dough a bit tough to handle. I think next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time ;) ) I will use more like 20-25 Oreos.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat together butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add pudding mix. Add flour. (Yes, you guessed it! She has you mix the dry ingredients separately! My laziness strikes again!) Stir in chocolate chips and Oreo chunks. Usually I just use my mixer for everything when I'm making cookies, but I really did stop and use a wooden spoon to stir in the Oreo chunks and chocolate chips. The dough was very thick. Roll into balls and bake for 10-11 minutes. Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies.

It was hard for me to get my cookies to stay round, and they certainly don't look as beautiful as hers, but they sure taste good! Here's a link directly to the original recipe: Oreo Chunk Chocolate Chip Cookies. Check it out! Her pictures are wonderful.

Vegetable Quiche

Yes, I finally made my quiche! It's about time, right? Anyway, it turned out well. It was FULL of vegetables, which was surprising. The vegetables nearly filled up the crust! There was barely enough room for the eggs on top. Paul especially liked the fact that it had so many vegetables in it (he doesn't like eggs all by themselves).


Vegetable Quiche
Ingredients:
1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell*
1 1/2 c. chopped onion (I just used one medium onion)
1 medium green pepper, chopped (I used half of a really big one)
1 c. chopped tomatoes (I didn't measure, I just chopped up three relatively small roma tomatoes)
1/2 c. chopped zucchini (again, I didn't measure, I just used one small-ish zucchini)
1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms (same as above, I used half a package)
2 T butter or margarine (I just used olive oil)
1/4 t. curry powder (Funny story, I was just going to leave this out when I originally planned to make this recipe because I didn't have any...but since it took me so long to make it, I actually bought some to use in a completely different recipe. I figured I'd use it! According to reviews on allrecipes.com, you can leave it out if you want to, but it tastes good!)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
pinch ground cinnamon
5 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

*I highly recommend buying a pre-made pie shell. I think that the fact that I had to make a crust was one of my main hang-ups with making this. However, if you want to make your own crust, I very much recommend Paul's mom's recipe. It's the easiest crust recipe I have come across. I'll write up that recipe at the end of this post.

Directions:
Line unpricked and unbaked shell with foil and bake at 450 degrees for five minutes. Remove foil and bake for five more minutes. (I have no idea why the crust didn't bubble because it wasn't pricked, but it didn't!) Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sautee onions and bell pepper in butter (or, in my case, olive oil). Once they begin to soften, add mushrooms and zucchini. Finally, add tomatoes. (Okay, let's be honest, I just added the vegetables as I chopped them up. I just started with the ones I thought would need the most time to cook. I knew tomatoes break down quickly, so I did them last. It worked well, so there you go. The original recipe doesn't give an order (it just says sautee the vegetables), so I figure this is an improvement.) Stir and cook until zucchini is starting to get soft (with the order I added my vegetables, the zucchini was the last to finish cooking). Add curry powder, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Mix well. Spoon into crust.


In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and cheese, mix well. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables in the shell. This completely filled up my quiche pan. If you don't have a quiche pan, you can use a pie pan, but be careful you don't overflow the pan. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Mine was done right at 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.


Here's a link to the recipe on allrecipes.com: Vegetarian Quiche.

And for the encore! Here's the easiest crust recipe you'll ever find!

Grace's Pie Crust
Ingredients:
3/4 c. butter flavored Crisco
1/4 c. water
1/4 t. salt (Grace's recipe calls for two generous dashes, so this is an estimate)
2 T. milk
2 c. flour

Directions:
Put Crisco and water in a bowl. Melt in the microwave (it takes about 90 seconds). In a bowl, mix together melted Crisco/water, salt, milk, and flour. It's easiest to mix with your hands. Add a little extra flour if the dough is too wet to handle. Divide into two even balls (the recipe makes enough for a top and bottom crust, or two shells). Roll out one ball for one crust.

Helpful hint from my mom: When rolling out a pie crust place a piece of wax paper underneath the dough and another piece of wax paper on top. This makes it much easier to transport the crust once you've finished rolling it out, and you can make a much thinner crust successfully. When you finish rolling out the crust, peel off the top layer of wax paper and flip crust over on top of your pie pan (or quiche pan! :) ). Peel of the other layer of wax paper and press crust into pan.

Like I said, this is the easiest crust recipe I've come across. It's on the greasy side, but it turns out nice and flaky!

Oh, and by the way, I'm putting a dessert label on this post just so that the crust recipe will show up under that label as well. If I ever post the recipe for Paul's mom's Apple Pie, then I'll post the crust recipe there again and remove the dessert label from this one.

Banana Bread

Ok so, I didn't know if I should post this recipe or not, either. It's a very straight forward recipe taken straight from the checkerboard cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens), and I assume you all already have perfectly wonderful recipes of your own for banana bread just how you like it. Well, if you do, just keep using your recipe (or, post yours here, too! :) ), but just in case you don't, here's a tried and true recipe (both Paula and I use it) for basic banana bread.


Banana Bread
Ingredients:
2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. mashed bananas (I never measure, I usually just wait until I have 4 or 5 over-ripe bananas in the freezer. ;) )
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil, or melted butter (I use oil)

Streusel topping:
1/4 c. brown sugar
3 T. flour
2 T. butter, cold

Directions:
Grease sides and bottom of loaf pan (one of the bigger ones, 9x5x3). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt (Yes, this is one time I actually do mix the dry ingredients separately! Shocking!), set aside. In a medium bowl, mash your bananas. Then add sugar, oil, and beaten eggs. Mix well. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the banana mixture all at once. Stir until just moistened (it will still be lumpy). Pour batter into loaf pan.

Prepare streusel topping by mixing the flour, brown sugar, and butter together with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. I don't have a pastry blender, so I just use a fork and knife. Sprinkle topping evenly over the batter in your loaf pan.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center comes out nearly clean. If needed, cover with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning. I didn't need to cover mine this time because my rack was set right in the middle of the oven. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

*Note: As you can see, there are no nuts in my banana bread. I'm not a fan. If you are a fan, however, you can add 1/4 c. chopped nuts to the batter and 1/3 c. chopped nuts to the topping.

Hansen Family Hamburger Stroganoff

This recipe is almost exactly like the one Mandy posted the other day. I almost decided not to post it, but this one is just a tad simpler, so if you are in a hurry, this is a great recipe!



Hamburger Stroganoff
Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream
1 T. flour
garlic salt, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Sautee onions in a little bit of butter (I actually just used some olive oil because it's easier to me, but my family uses butter). Add ground beef and cook until meat is done. Drain. Add flour and season with garlic salt and salt and pepper. Add cream of mushroom soup and mix well. Mixture will be quite thick. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. This is a good time to cook your noodles (if you're serving it with rice, you should have started cooking it a while ago ;) ). At the very end, add sour cream and mix well. Heat through, but don't bring to a boil. My dad says it tastes better when you add the sour cream at the end and don't bring it back to a boil. Serve over noodles or rice!

I don't know why, but this really hit the spot when I made it on Friday. It was quite tasty!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

This recipe came from Chef Britta's dessert blog, Sunday Sweets. As soon as she posted it, I knew I had to try it. I mean, how can you beat peanut butter cookies with chocolate ganache in the middle?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
Ingredients:
1 c. flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I just used semisweet chocolate chips)
2 T. heavy cream (I used whole milk, because that's all I had)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. packed brown sugar

Note: Do you notice anything unusual about these ingredients? I didn't either until I started making them. There are no eggs in the recipe! Because of this, the cookies are not soft and chewy. They're kind of crumbly and have the texture of shortbread. That really took me by surprise.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare chocolate ganache filling by melting the chocolate in a heat-proof (pyrex glass is perfect) bowl on top of a pot of simmering water (the double-boiler method). Stir frequently until chocolate is smooth. Add cream and continue to stir until smooth. Set aside chocolate to cool and thicken for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. (This is when I noticed the recipe didn't call for eggs. ;) ) Add salt, baking soda, and flour, and mix until just blended (do not overmix). Roll dough into 1" balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. I fit all of them on one big cookie sheet (it made 24 balls). They can be close together because they don't expand very much. Flatten the balls of dough into a disc shape with the bottom of a dampened glass. Bake until golden around the edges, about 12 to 13 minutes. Now here's where my directions stray from Chef Britta's (well, aside from mixing the dry ingredients in a separate bowl...that's a given for me ;) ). She said to remove cookies immediately and transfer them to a wire rack. I attempted this, and the results were disastrous (see below). The cookies fell apart as I tried to move them. Instead I let them cool for at least ten minutes before moving them to a wire rack. They held together much better after having cooled for a little bit.

Allow cookies to cool. Stir chocolate topping and spread generously on the bottom of half of the cookies. Top with the other half of the cookies. Allow to set for about 15 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.

So, mine turned out pretty good, even though they don't look quite as beautiful as Chef Britta's:


Although, we did have two complete casualties, and one more that underwent reconstructive surgery:


All in all, the cookies were delicious! But be sure to eat them with a tall glass of milk. You also can really only eat one or two at a time. They are on the intense side, even for me. ;)

Here's a link to Chef Britta's recipe (and I recommend looking at it because she has some good pictures of the steps along the way): Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies.

Menu: October 8 - October 15

I planned this yesterday, but I didn't have a chance to post it. I've been struggling lately, but I'm trying to regain my motivation to cook each night.

Wednesday (yesterday): Skillet Vegetables and Chicken
Thursday (today): Quiche (yep, still haven't made it)
Friday: Three-Pepper Pasta Sauce (slow cooker...I really have to make this one before the peppers go bad!)
Saturday: Yakisoba
Sunday: Grace's Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and homemade rolls (We have a new goal of having special meals on Sundays. :) )
Monday: Potato Soup and Toasties
Tuesday: Hamburger Stroganoff
Wednesday: Country Captain Chicken (slow cooker)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Menu: Oct 6th - Oct 10th

Brian is back in town and I'm not sick anymore.  Hooray!  So, it's looking like I will be able to have a menu this week.

Monday: Stir-fry over rice
Tuesday: Sloppy Joes (I just made it from a can)
Wednesday: Potato soup with toasties...I've been feeling like that one for a while.
Thursday: Tacos
Friday:  Tuna salad

I'll post the recipe for potato soup and tuna salad at some point.  They're both really easy recipes.

Menu: October 6 - 11

This week is gonna be kinda of tight for me. We're trying to get a lot done (like fix our ceiling because it caved in on us. I'll post pics on my site) and so I decided to go the easy route. I am trying everyone else's recipes this week. Sorry there won't be anything new, but I am going to LOVE eating! We also have the missionaries over for dinner on Wednesday; I'll let you know how they like the food! Thanks ladies!

Monday: Paula's Cream Cheese Chicken w/ corn on the cob and salad
Wednesday: Paula's Chicken Chalupas w/ rice and beans
Saturday: Jennie's Poppyseed Chicken w/ any suggestions?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Broccoli Corn Chowder

Well, my success with making my planned dinners goes up and down. This week's meals have gotten all flipped around and some have been missed entirely. Here's one that was very delicious, though (aside from the fact that I made it at like 8:30pm...bad Jennie!). Once again, thanks to Chef Britta for her amazing recipes!

The night I made this soup I was very frazzled (because of how late it was...I was trying to hurry). I kept messing up and doing things in the wrong order. So, the directions I will write here will represent what I should have done. ;)


Broccoli Corn Chowder
Ingredients:
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth (or 3 1/2 cups of broth made from bouillon powder or cubes...which is what I did)
1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced (I was trying to hurry, so I didn't use the stalks. I probably will next time.)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 c. whole milk
shredded cheddar cheese, for serving

Directions:
In a large pot (this part is important, it's going to be the pot you use to make the soup in), cook bacon over medium-low heat until crisp, about 8-10 minutes. (If you are making chicken broth using bouillon, it would be an excellent idea to start start water boiling for that while the bacon is cooking. ;) ) Meanwhile, chop your onion. Once bacon is crisp, remove from pot with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with a paper towel. Increase heat to medium. Add onion and cook until onion starts to become tender, about 6-8 minutes. While the onion is cooking, chop your potato. Add flour, stirring constantly, and cook for about 30 seconds. Add broth and potato, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut your broccoli. Once the potato is done, add broccoli, corn, milk, and thyme. Cook until broccoli is done, about 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (although the bacon gives it enough salt for my taste). Serve topped with cheese and bacon.

Like I said, this was a really yummy recipe. I could have made my own traditional recipe for potato soup and added broccoli and corn (and taken out the celery), but I thought I'd try this new one. Paula and Amanda (and anyone else who has had my family's recipe for potato soup)- This recipe tastes different. It's not as thick, and the thyme gives it a very distinctive flavor. I liked it!

Here's a link to Chef Britta's recipe: Broccoli Corn Chowder.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hamburger Rolls

Sorry this picture isn't the best, but we definitely had another winner tonight. This one is also from the Budge Family Recipe Book. I think that next time I make this I might make the balls bigger. Eli enjoyed them, but said they weren't too filling. That could be because he only got two. We had company. I'm pretty sure this would've been enough for just the two of us though. Good Stuff! Thank you Barbara!

Hamburger Rolls

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef (I used turkey)

1/2 c canned milk (low fat)

1 TBSP catsup

1 TBSP mustard

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

onion salt (I was out and used garlic salt)

Schilling hamburger seasoning (I couldn't find, so I used Lawry's season salt)

Salt & pepper

1 package Stove Top Stuffing

1 can Golden Mushroom Soup (undiluted)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Mix first 8 items. Divide into 6 portions. Shape each portion into a circle about the size of your hand. Prepare stuffing mix according to the package directions. Place a large spoonful of stuffing in each patty and roll up and seal. Cover each roll with the Golden Mushroom Soup. Add grated cheese if desired. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

*This stuff is really gross looking when you first mix the ingredients. Eli tells me it looks like meatloaf. That made me feel a little better. Either way, be ye warned!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Caramel Cream Cake

This was also in my Budge Family Recipe Book. It was submitted by Valoy Smith, who is another great aunt. I think this cake is also called "Better Than Sex Cake," but I guess you can make your own decision. Ha ha! It was super easy and stayed super moist. Yum-Yum!

Caramel Cream Cake

Ingredients:

1 package Super Moist German Chocolate Cake mix

1 c Carmel Ice Cream topping (I used sugar-free)

1 can sweetned condensed milk (fat-free)

5 Heath candy bars (I just bought a bag of pre-crushed bars in the baking section)

Cool Whip or 1/2 pint cream whipped

Directions:

Make cake as directed on package in a 9 x 13 pan. Poke holes in the cake while it is warm. Mix the carmel topping and condensed milk and pour over the warm cake. Let cool. Crush the Heath candy bars and sprinkle 2/3 over the cake. Top with Cool Whip or whipped cream. Sprinkle the rest of the candy bars on top of cream. Refrigerate. Eat with a tall glass of milk!

P.S. Sorry about the spacing. My computer is spazzing!

Ground Beef Stroganoff

This recipe came from the Budge Family Recipe Book, submitted by Barbara Howell. I believe she is a great aunt, but you should still feel privileged to be given this recipe. You know, being a family heirloom practically. Eli and I both loved it. I did make a few changes though. I used a lot of low-fat or lite ingredients. Oh! I also made it with ground turkey instead. Like I said, delicious!
Ground Beef (or turkey) Stroganoff
Ingredients:
1/2 c chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP butter or margarine
1 LB ground beef (or turkey)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp monosodium glutamate (I used Accent)
1/4 tsp paprika
1 c sliced mushrooms (I skipped this one)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (the healthy request)
1 c sour cream (fat-free)
cooked rice or noodles (I used egg noodles)
Directions:
Saute onions and garlic in the butter in a hot skillet. Stir in meat, flour, and seasonings, and saute about 5 minutes or until meat is cooked. Add mushrooms, then soup. Simmer about 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and heat, but do not boil. Add a little milk if needed (mine was really thick, so I added a little milk straight from the jug until it looked like the consistency I wanted). Season to taste. Serve on hot rice or noodles.

Menu: October 1 - October 7

Paul and I have been doing a lot better with our menus lately and not giving in to the temptation to eat very often at all. And because of this, we were under out food budget for the month for the first time pretty much ever! I think the main reason is that I've been keeping myself interested by finding new recipes to try, and we've had such variety in our meals that the thought of trying something new at home is more exciting than eating out! It's exciting. I have a couple meals left over from last week because of unforeseen circumstances (I got free dinner before the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday, and Paul's teeth hurt too much to eat real food last night after his intense dentist appointment).

Here's the lineup:

Wednesday (today): grilled cheese and tomato soup
Thursday: Vegetable Quiche
Friday: Three-Pepper Pasta Sauce (slow cooker)
Saturday: Paul makes tonkatsu
Sunday: Brocolli Corn Chowder (Chef Britta)
Monday: Paul's Pork and Beans
Tuesday: Sweet and Sour Chicken

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Slow Cooker Mushroom Beef Stew

Another successful slow cooker recipe! This was very yummy (even though it's not very beautiful to look at), and it smelled good all day long as it was cooking.

*Note: The original recipe is called "Wild Mushroom Beef Stew" and calls for shiitake mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms were way expensive, so I just got regular ones. It was still yummy. :)


Slow Cooker Mushroom Beef Stew
Ingredients:
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 in. cubes (we bought ours already cubed at the grocery store)
2 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced (I used two ;) )
1 bay leaf
1 t. paprika
1/2 package sliced mushrooms (or 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced...see note above)
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium red potatoes, diced
1 small white onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced

*Side note: I thought all the different words used for cutting things up in this recipe were humorous. Sliced, diced, chopped...ha ha ha. Okay, maybe I'm just silly. ;)

Directions:
Place beef in slow cooker. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Sprinkle over beef and stir to coat beef evenly. Add all remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to mix well. Cover. Cook on low 10-12 hours, or on high 4-6 hours (I did about six hours on high). Stir stew and remove bay leaf before serving.

I just love slow cooker recipes! So easy! This was a nice, fall meal. Very warm and comforting. We had bread and butter with ours, but I wish I had thought of making homemade rolls. That would have been even better. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hayashi Rice

Yes, after three weeks on the menu, we finally had our Hayashi Rice! Now, after all this anticipation, I hope you aren't let down by this "recipe". I asked Paul how to make it so that I could type up the recipe, and he said, "Just like the curry recipe except with hayashi rice mix instead of curry." I said, "Exactly like that?" And he said, "Yep." So there you have it. If you want to try hayashi rice (and I highly recommend it), just buy an onion, a couple carrots, a large potato, some thinly sliced beef or some chicken, and a box of hayashi rice mix, and follow this recipe.


You may be wondering, "What is hayashi rice, and why should I try it?" Well, in consistency and taste, it's a lot like curry. It's not spicy like curry, though. It has a much milder taste. In Japan, hayashi rice is considered "kid food" (much like we consider mac and cheese kid food). It is quite delicious! In Japan it would be made only with meat and onions (the carrots and potatoes are Paul's addition). So, if you can get your hands on hayashi rice mix (you may have to go to an Asian grocery store to find it...it would be next to the curry mix), I highly recommend it!

Chicken and Spinach Penne

This meal was surprisingly fast and easy. We were a little frantic as we were throwing it together because we didn't have much time, but it came together quickly in the end, and it was quite yummy. It's another Chef Britta masterpiece!


Chicken and Spinach Penne
Ingredients:
8 oz. penne pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced (Okay, I don't know how to seed tomatoes, and I didn't have time to figure it out, so I just diced them and threw them in. It worked just fine.)
4 T. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
6 c. baby spinach
2 T. fresh lemon juice (I just had the bottled kind, so I used it. Also, it gives a pretty strong flavor, so I'd put in a bit less than two tablespoons.)

Directions:
In a large pot of boiling water, cook penne for 3 minutes. Add the chicken and continue to cook until both the chicken and pasta are done. I don't have much experience boiling chicken, so I had no idea how long this would take. I set the timer for 7 minutes (because the box of penne said it took 10-11 minutes total to cook), and it was done when the timer went off. Reserve 1/4 c. pasta water. In Chef Britta's recipe she didn't specify a measurement for the water. She just said reserve 1/4 pasta water. Since 1/4 of the total amount of water would have been so much, I just took some out and estimated when the time came. In hindsight, 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. works out well. Drain pasta and chicken. Return pot to stove and heat oil and garlic over medium high heat for about one minute. My garlic got pretty dark pretty fast. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, spinach and reserved pasta water. Stir to combine. Cook until spinach is barely wilted. I swear, this happens almost immediately. Our spinach was a little overcooked. Next time I'm going to just stir it all together and then add back the chicken and pasta immediately. Add the chicken and pasta. Add lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Toss and serve.

Here's the link directly to Chef Britta's recipe: Chicken & Spinach Penne.

Paul really liked this meal (and so did I). We were both surprised by the flavor. It's a quick and refreshing meal!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Menu: September 28 - October 4

I cooked my 3 days off last week! Woo hoo! I did change one of the recipes because I just didn't feel like making the bombay chicken. Maybe another time.

I was thinking of where I'd get some more ideas for dinners when I remembered I have like 5 billion cookbooks. I spotted the Budge Family Recipe Book on my shelf. My Grandma gave this to me and Eli for Christmas and I've tried 1 or 2 things out of it. It's a book of recipes that has been compiled by the relatives of my Great Grandma Blanche Budge. I never met her, but I hear she was a great cook and taught her kids well!

This is the perfect week for me to try some really good stuff because Eli's old mission companion is coming down to visit. I think it'd be a good chance to show off my mad cooking skills...even if it's only 3 days worth.

Tuesday: Ground Beef Stroganoff over Noodles
Wednesday: Hamburger Rolls
Thursday: Sweet Sloppy Joes

Red Beans and Rice

I tried this recipe a few years ago and kind of forgot about it until now. I forgot how easy and yummy it was! It was one of the recipes on the Discovery Health National Body Challenge. Sorry about this picture. As you read the ingredients you'll see that there's a few things different. First, I couldn't find a green bell pepper. Second, I forgot to add the beans. I was in a total hurry and forgot, but I did add them later. Still yummy!

Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients:
1/2 c red kidney beans
2 oz turkey keilbasa (or sausage)
1/2 c fresh or frozen bell peppers and onions
1/2 c diced tomatoes ( I use fresh, but you can use canned)
1 tsp oregano
1 c cooked brown rice

Directions:
Prepare rice according to package. If it isn't instant rice, prepare beforehand. You can also use white rice if you'd like instead.

Heat pan over medium heat. Cut keilbasa into 1" slices and heat in pan until browned on edges.

Once keilbasa is cooked, add drained kidney beans, vegetables, and tomatoes. Add oregano.

After cooked and heated through, serve over rice and enjoy!

*FYI* This is enough for one person. If you want to serve two, double everything! It's really filling and yummy and totally good for you!

Oven Fried Vegetable Sticks

I loved this side! I've been on a side kick I guess. Eli and I were given a ton of veggies including squash from a friend's garden. I got confused and though we had zucchini, but it was an orange squash (the one that curls around). It still tasted good, but I bet it would taste better with the zucchini.

I served this with pork that I rubbed with olive oil and an herb-bell pepper rub. It's from pampered chef. Definitely a good investment. We also had regular egg noodles with a little butter, salt, and pepper. It was all yummy and way easy.

Oven Fried Zucchini Sticks

Ingredients:
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 medium zucchini
1/2 cup milk or water
1 cup spaghetti sauce or low fat ranch dressing (I didn't use this, but I bet it would be good!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place crumbs, cheese and seasoning into plastic bag; shaketo combine.

Cut zucchini into sticks. Fill shallow bowl with milk (I used the water for less calories). Dip sticks into milk and shake in crumbs to coat. Bake on sheet 10-15 minutes or until brown.

Serve with spaghetti sauce or dressing.

Steak with Crispy Potatoes

Yum! I loved these potatoes! They had just enough hint of garlic. I think this would be good on french fries too. I have a french fry cutter, but you could just slice the potatoes.
On Britta's website she uses skirt steak cooked medium rare. I like my meat a cooked medium well. I used a dry canadian steak seasoning for my marinade. I rubbed some olive oil on the meat and the rubbed on the seasoning and cooked on a skillet.

Crispy Potatoes
Ingredients:
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound red new potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Directions:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Finely chop garlic, and sprinkle with salt. Using a chef's knife, press flat side of blade back and forth across garlic to make a paste. Transfer to a small bowl; add thyme and oil and stir to combine.
On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes with garlic mixture; bake until browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Menu: Sept 22 - Sep 25

I have been meaning to post my menu for the past couple days.  It's a short week this week because we're going out of town on Friday for the weekend. 

Monday: Chili and cornbread (in celebration of the first day of fall)
Tuesday: Pitas (w/ turkey, lettuce, cheese, tomato, and cucumbers)
Wednesday: Orange chicken stir-fry (I took 2 of Jennie's ideas this week!)
Thursday: Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches

As you can tell I have been going for mostly easy meals these days.

Soft Gingersnaps

I've been feeling festive because of the crisp fall weather here, and I wanted to try making gingersnaps. I prefer them soft, so if you're like me, this recipe is for you! I found it at allrecipes.com. They turned out really yummy, though I undercooked the first batch because I was paranoid I would overcook them.


Soft Gingersnaps
Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) butter (no substitutes), softened
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses
4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 t. baking soda
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
additional sugar (to roll the cookies in)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in molasses. Add spices, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Then add the flour and mix well. (As you might guess, the recipe has you mix the dry ingredients separately, but you know me, I'm an impatient baker.) If the dough is too sticky, you may want to refrigerate it for a bit (the recipe says to refrigerate it for an hour...again, I'm too impatient). I just put mine in the fridge between batches. It wasn't too hard to work with. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and then roll them in sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes. It takes some experimentation to get them perfectly baked. Ten minutes worked just right for me and my oven. I just waited until there were large cracks in the cookies.

Here's a link to the original recipe: Soft Gingersnaps.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Menu: September 23 - September 30

OK, so, my streak has ended. Sad, but true. It was all my fault, too. I forgot I had the car last Wednesday because I had a dentist appointment, so I forgot to pick up Paul after work. He also forgot, and didn't realize until he walked out of his office building at 5:06 to leave. By the time we forged through rush hour traffic and made it back home, it was dinner time and we were starving...the Burger King drive-thru proved too hard to resist. Sigh. That was the only eating out mess up. Otherwise, things came up on two other nights, and thus I still have three meals for next week's menu. On top of that, Paul's going to Utah tonight for a recruiting trip, so I have two dinners on my own, and I really don't like cooking big meals when they're just for me.

ANYHOW, long story with a short point, this week's menu pretty much planned itself. Here we go:

Tuesday (today): leftover chili
Wednesday: mac and cheese or some other such throw together meal
Thursday: chicken and spinach penne (Chef Britta)
Friday: Swedish meatballs
Saturday: Paul makes Hayashi rice (third time on the menu's the charm?)
Sunday: sweet and sour chicken (the recipe Paula posted)
Monday: wild mushroom beef stew (slow cooker)
Tuesday: vegetable quiche (in my new quiche pan!)