Thursday, July 31, 2008

Robin's First Post

For those of you who don't know me I'm Amanda's older, wiser, and taller sister. She told me about this new blog and I asked to be a part of it. Thanks for letting my join Jennie. Having been married almost 8 years you can imagine how many times my husband Stan has asked "What's for dinner?" Often I look at the clock- realize it's almost 6 pm, and make pasta- it's fast and the kids will eat it (usually). So, here is the menu for the next few days (I'm not up to figuring out a whole week yet:)

Thursday- beef tacos (my other staple besides pasta)
Friday- BBQ at my Bishop's house- I don't have to cook!
Sat- chicken ceaser salad (recipe to come)
Sunday- Crockpot Chicken Alfredo (recipe to come)
Monday- leftovers

I'm excited to see and start using all of your yummy and hopefully easy meals.
On the dessert side I'm getting a recipe for the best pie I've ever had- it didn't even need ice cream and if you knew me you'd know that's huge. It's an apple pie with a twist- cream cheese and blueberries and a crumb top- WOW was it good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Menu: July 29 to August 4

It's so hard to come back from vacation! I so don't want to go shopping and do all the other chores of the day. I have found many ways to avoid doing them, but I can now hear Becca awake in her crib and it kinda motivated me to get going. So here it is...the menu for the next week:

Tuesday: Pizza (I bought some already made pizza dough...lazy!) We make little personal pizzas with whatever sauce we have on hand, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese.
Wednesday: Chicken Chalupas (recipe to come)
Thursday: Tuna sandwiches
Friday: Adobe chicken (had to try it), wild rice, and cooked carrots
Saturday: Bean burritos with spanish rice
Sunday: We will be up in West Valley for my mother-in-law's birthday
Monday: Cream cheese chicken (recipe to come)

Have a great week everyone!

Swedish Meatballs

This is a recipe that Brian has in a little book of recipes that his sister gave him before he went off to college. I was in the mood for something new, so I tried this recipe. It was pretty good. The sauce was a little heavy for my liking so next time I think I'll add a little more milk.

Swedish Meatballs

1 small onion chopped (I grated it)
1 egg
1/4 c. bread crumbs
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 lb. ground beef

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. milk (I will use more next time)
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tbsp parsley

cooked noodles

Combine meatball mixture then form into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until cooked through. Place meatballs in saucepan and pour sauce over the top. Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes. Serve over noodles.

* It was a pretty heavy meal but I think adding a little more milk to the sauce would help a ton to lighten it up.

*Oh and by the way, I don't think these are really swedish meatballs even though that's what my sister-in-law calls them. Well, duh, the recipe is obviously not Swedish, but I think I've had swedish meatballs that were VERY different than these. Meh, who knows!

Hearty Beef Stew

I'm back! A couple Sundays ago I made a yummy beef stew. I have been looking for ways to use our beef. Every Christmas we get fresh beef from Brian's grandparents (they kill one of their cows and distribute the meat to all their children and grandchildren). We love it because it means we get lots of fresh meat! We haven't used our steaks at all because we don't have a grill and I don't know how to cook it without a grill. So if any of you have ideas on how to use my steak feel free to share!

So yeah, I was excited to use this stewing meat that has been sitting in the freezer and I didn't have a stew recipe so I just used the one on my Swanson broth can. It had great flavor and could use a couple changes that I will include.

Hearty Beef Stew

1 lb. beef for stew, cut into 1" pieces
1 can (14 oz.) Beef broth (I ended up using more like 1 and 1/2 cans)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
3 medium carrots, cut into 1" pieces (I used baby carrot cut in half)
2 medium potatoes
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 cup water

Spray 6-qt. saucepot with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat for 1 min. Add beef and cook until well browned, stirring often.
Stir broth, bay leaf, thyme and black pepper into saucepot. Heat to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook covered for 1 hr. 30 min.
Add carrots and potatoes. Cover and cook 30 min. more or until veggies are tender. Stir flour and water in cup and stir into saucepot. Cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Discard bay leaf.

* When I went to add the veggies a ton of the liquid had boiled away and so I added a little more broth (I didn't think one can was going to be enough to start with). Also, the carrots took longer to cook than the potatoes so the potatoes ended up being slightly mushy and when I went to stir it, it kind of turned into more of a potato soup. So, I recommend putting the carrots in for a little bit before adding the potatoes and then watch until the potatoes are just cooked.

It was overall a very easy stew and was quite tasty.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cherry Pie

I made a pie! I was inspired by Jennie. Unlike Jennie, I do not bake. This was my first attempt at a pie and it turned out pretty good. I would like to inform you all though that the recipe calls for unsalted butter. I didn't pay attention and used salted butter. If you use salted butter, don't use the salt that the recipe calls for. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

Cherry Pie (Sunday Sweets)


2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

2 pounds Bing cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

finish work:
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
turbinado or raw sugar for sprinkling

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse briefly. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add a few tablespoons more water). Do not overmix.

Divide dough in half, and turn out onto two large pieces of plastic wrap. Fold plastic over each portion of dough; press to shape into two 3/4-inch-thick disks. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

On a floured work surface, roll one disk of dough out to a 14-inch round. Wrap dough around rolling pin; unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and sides of plate (do not stretch dough). Using a paring knife, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang all around; refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lowest position.

In a large bowl, combine cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice; toss until cherries are coated. Pour into prepared bottom crust.

On a floured work surface, roll out second disk of dough. Using a pizza cutter, cut into eight 1-inch-wide strips; discard outer strips. Weave strips over filling to form a lattice (see photo).

Trim strips so they hang over rim by 1 inch. Tuck strips under rim of bottom crust; press to seal. Crimp edges by hand or with a fork, whichever method you prefer.

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush lattice with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Lots of sugar.

Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until filling is bubbling rapidly all over, 60 to 70 minutes (tent with aluminum foil when crust starts to brown, about 40 minutes). Transfer pie to a wire rack, and let cool to room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream!

Pineapple Stuffed Chicken

So instead of the spaghetti, I made pineapple stuffed chicken (Chef Britta). I felt ambitous. We loved it! I think I might shorten the cooking time next time we try this and definitely use dried thyme, not ground thyme. Other than that, it was perfect! Oh, obviously we just had a white rice as a side. I usually cook my white rice in chicken broth (bouillon) insted of water. It adds a nice flavor! Be careful when cutting pockets into the meat!

Pineapple Stuffed Chicken

1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons sugar
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks in juice, drained
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
cooked rice, for serving
In a small bowl, combine thyme, allspice, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set spice mixture aside.

In a medium bowl, combine pineapple chunks, lime juice, scallions, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Lay chicken flat on a work surface. With a paring knife, cut a 2-inch-long slit in the thick side of each breast; insert knife, and pivot inside chicken without enlarging openening, carefully form a deep pocket. It helps to slide your finger in and see what your limits are. Be careful not to puncture through the opposite side (if you do, you can fold it over and pin with a toothpick).

Dividing evenly, tightly pack each breast with stuffing; Rub exterior of each breast with 1 tablespoon of oil, and sprinkle with spice mixture.

Heat broiler, with racks set 4 inches from heat. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; arrange chicken on sheet.

Broil until chicken is opaque throughout, 20 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.

A couple more pies...

If you looked at my family blog today, you saw that I got to make two more pies for our dinner with friends yesterday. I'm rather obsessed with dessert (another fact about me that can't possibly go unnoticed ;) ), so I want to share these ideas with you guys, too. With the amount of dessert I consume on a regular basis, it's amazing that I'm not as big as a house...and I wonder why I can't seem to lose the rest of this baby weight! ;)

First, I made this French Fruit Pie (Like I mentioned when I first posted about it, I wanted to try it with different types of fruit. It was very good!):

Then, I found this recipe at for Black-bottom Peanut Butter Mousse pie, and decided to try it out:

I made a couple adjustments to the recipe on that website. I was lazy and used a store-bought graham cracker crust instead of making my own. I saved some of the chocolate layer and thinned it out with a little milk to drizzle on top. And I used peanut butter cups on top instead of peanuts. ;) There were a couple issues that came up, though. I think I was supposed to get a bigger size pie crust because there was way too much of both the chocolate layer and the peanut butter mousse layer. Also, the pie didn't set up in the fridge in an hour like it said it would. I had to put it in the freezer during our dinner, and even then it was only just barely set up when we ate it. I think this might have to do with the fact that in the recipe it has you whip the cream for the mousse layer only until it's thick and not holding peaks. I think next time I'll beat it a little longer so that the mousse doesn't take so long to set up. It stressed me out! I was worried we'd have peanut butter soup on our hands!

Incidentally, is a pretty nice website for recipe ideas. My dad recommended it to me. :) I've found several recipes there so far, and I've had a lot of success with them. Basically all the recipes are heavily reviewed by various users of the website, so you can get a pretty good idea of how the recipe works and any changes you may want to make.

Paul's Fried Rice

Here's another recipe most of you probably have already. You probably don't have it written down, though, so here you go! We often have fried rice on Saturday mornings. :) Paul likes to spoil me.

(Paul's fried rice is intended to be a breakfast meal, but it can work just as well for lunch or even dinner. If you want a more dinner-like variation, you could change the meat from bacon to something else like chicken or thinly sliced beef.)

Paul's Fried Rice
2 c. rice, uncooked (Again, use Japanese short grain rice. Not instant. We like Calrose.)
1/2 package of bacon (about 8 strips), chopped into pieces
2 eggs, scrambled
1 c. frozen mixed vegetables (very approximate, I always estimate)
garlic salt (we use Lawry's)
sweet and sour sauce to taste (Ishimoto Family recipe to follow)

Start the rice cooking. You can be ready with all the other stuff and waiting for the rice to be done, so don't forget to get it started. If you're having this for breakfast, start the rice first thing when you get up. In a big, deep frying pan (like a wok), start cooking the bacon. While it is cooking, season with garlic salt. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare sweet and sour sauce, scramble your eggs (How ever you prefer your scrambled eggs...I prefer mine with a little milk, salt, and pepper. Paul always adds a little garlic salt.), and cook and drain your frozen vegetables. When the bacon is done (but not overdone), drain most of the grease and reduce the heat to medium/medium low. The little grease you leave behind is what you fry the rice in. Add the cooked rice to the pan, and sprinkle with garlic salt. Add the eggs and vegetables and toss everything together. Sprinkle sweet and sour sauce over the rice and toss. Paul really only uses a tablespoon or two. Taste it as you go and add sweet and sour sauce or garlic salt until it tastes the way you want it to. Let it cook for about 5 minutes on low heat (just to add a little crispness), tossing occasionally.

Ishimoto Family Sweet and Sour Sauce (Paul's mom's recipe)
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
3 T. ketchup
5 T. brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for a minute or two (be careful, the pot can boil over easily). Refrigerate any unused portion.

I categorized this recipe as Japanese only because Paul is Japanese after all, and they do eat fried rice there. However, this recipe is pretty Americanized, and also the sweet and sour sauce is more Hawaiian than Japanese. :)

Chicken a la King

This is actually Paula's recipe, and I don't know where she got it. Maybe when she gets back from California she can tell us. :)

I really enjoy this meal because I'm a big fan of biscuits and it's nice and easy.

Chicken a la King
1 tube of refrigerated biscuits (Pillsbury or other brand), or you could make your own
1 lb. chicken, cubed
2 c. (approximate, I just eyeball it) frozen mixed vegetables

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) margarine or butter
1/3 c. flour
1 can (10.5 oz) chicken broth or 1 1/3 c. chicken broth made from bouillon cubes (1 cube=1 cup)
1 1/4 c. milk
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Bake biscuits according to instructions on tube. Cook chicken on the stove. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium/large saucepan. Whisk in flour, cook and stir for a minute or two. Add broth and milk, cook and stir until it boils and thickens. Add salt and pepper, chicken, and frozen veggies. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over biscuits.

If you start the sauce while the chicken is cooking and the biscuits are baking, the whole thing can take 30 minutes or less. If you don't want to multi-task like that, you can cook the chicken completely before starting the sauce, but it will take a bit longer (obviously).

Something just occurred to me. If I cooked some cubed chicken ahead of time and kept it in the freezer, I could save myself a lot of time on days when I don't have much time to make dinner. Hmm...I wonder if that would work? Do any of you have experience with that? Interesting thought.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Spaghetti w/ Zesty Bolognese

I figured I'd get ahead of the game. Here's the recipe for a zesty spaghetti, courtesy of! It's delictious! The cream cheese and italian give it a ton of extra flavor. Serve with a salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!
Spaghetti with Zesty Bolognese
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Reduced Fat Dressing
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbsp. PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese (healthier than cream cheese)
12 oz. spaghetti, uncooked
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

COOK onions in dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Increase heat to medium-high. Add meat; cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Stir in tomato sauce and tomatoes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 min. Remove from heat. Stir in Neufchatel cheese until well blended.
MEANWHILE, cook pasta as directed on package.
SPOON sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. I like to add another little dash of Italian dressing!

Veggie Wraps

I ended up having to work Saturday night, so the chicken and spinach penne never happened. And I was kinda sick today, so the sweet pork will happen Tuesday. However, I will post the quick wrap I made for lunch on Saturday. Eli loved it! It was also simple, quick, and a fast clean. Thanks to Chef Britta!

Veggie Wraps

flour tortillas
1/2 cup hummus (I used raosted garlic)
1 yellow bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups alfalfa sprouts
1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
sliced colby jack cheese
homemade ranch for dipping

Spread tortillas with a thin layer of hummus.

Pile on the veggies and cheese (everyone can put their own together with exactly what they like)...

Season with salt and pepper. Wrap them, slice them, and dip them in homemade ranch...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Menu: July 26 to July 30

I'm going out of town (to New York!) on Wednesday night, so my menu is a little small this time. But here it is:

Saturday (today): leftovers
Sunday: Another dinner with friends from the ward! :)
Monday: Spaghetti from last week's menu (since everything got pushed back a day)
Tuesday: Tacos
Wednesday: Vegetable Omelets

Yep, not too exciting this week, but there you have it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Salami Sandwich w/ Artichoke-Basil Spread

Another Chef Britta amazing recipe! This one is super easy and I've decided that you can use the sandwich spread as a pretty good cracker dip. Just warm it up. Again, I didn't have all the exact ingredients, so I'll include the orignial ingredients and in (these), I'll put what I used. Definitely goes well with chips and a fruit.

Salami Sandwich w/ Artichoke-Basil Spread


1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained
about 15 leaves of fresh basil (2 TSP dried basil)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (crushed red pepper a la dominoes)
sandwich bread (whichever you prefer)
fontina cheese, sliced (colby jack)
dark leaf lettuce
hard salami, thinly sliced (italian dry, pre-packaged)


In a food processor (or blender), combine artichokes, basil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and red-pepper flakes; pulse until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper; pulse briefly to combine.

To make sandwiches, top bread with artichoke-basil spread, layer with salami, a slice of fontina cheese, and dark leaf lettuce.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got a craving today. :) Most of you have this recipe already, but I figured I'd post it here along with my cookie-making tips.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened (I use half butter and half margarine. See tips.)
3/4 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 T. vanilla
3/4 t. salt
3/4 t. baking soda
3 c. flour
1 bag chocolate chips

Beat butter and/or margarine until smooth. Add both kinds of sugar, mixing thoroughly. Add vanilla and eggs, mixing thoroughly. Add salt and baking soda. Add flour. If it's hard on your mixer, add flour about half at a time. Add chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Jennie's Cookie Making Tips (sorry if I've already told you these tips, I just figured it would be good to have them written down):
1. Use real vanilla. Always let the measuring spoon overflow into the bowl just a tad. ;)
2. Use dark brown sugar.
3. Use half real butter and half margarine (margarine helps keep the cookies soft, and butter makes them taste good).
4. Do your best not to overcook your cookies. I always check them after 9 minutes and add time in increments of 1-2 minutes depending on how they look.
5. Store cookies in a ziploc bag. I know cookie jars are cute, but they're not air tight. Cookies should stay soft if they are stored in a ziploc bag.

Vegetable Lasagna

Last night I attempted to make my dad's vegetable lasagna. Unfortunately, my dad doesn't really have a recipe written down for it, so once again I will attempt to create one based on what he told me and what I did last night.

Vegetable Lasagna
Lasagna Noodles (I used the no-boil kind, and it was SO easy!)
2 jars Alfredo sauce (whatever variety you prefer)
2 zucchinis, diced
1 c. (approximately) carrots, diced
fresh spinach
2 large tomatoes, sliced
dash of olive oil
1/2 large white onion (or 1 small one), diced
1 c. (approximately) sliced mushrooms (fresh)
1 container of ricotta cheese (the small one, I think it's 8 oz)
1 lb grated mozzarella cheese

Steam the zucchini and carrots. I steamed them together, but then my carrots weren't all completely done. You may want to steam them separately or else chop the carrots smaller than I did (I just chopped baby carrots in half). Meanwhile, sautee the mushrooms and onions with a dash of olive oil. Set aside. Once carrots and zucchini are done, spread them out on a layer of paper towels and pat them dry. You want to dry off the vegetables so that they don't make your lasagna runny. Move them to a medium size bowl. Steam the spinach. This goes very quickly, and you need way more than you think because it shrinks down a ton. Remove spinach to a layer of paper towels and pat dry. Set aside. Add mushrooms and onions to the bowl with the carrots and zucchini. Mix in the alfredo sauce, reserving 2 cups of the sauce for the top and bottom of the lasagna.

Spread half of the reserved alfredo sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place a layer of noodles over that. Then, spread half the vegetable mix over the noodles. On top of that, layer with tomatoes, spinach, ricotta cheese (by the spoonfuls, dotted over the top), and half of the mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of noodles, and then add the other half of the vegetable mixture followed by the rest of the tomatoes, spinach, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Top with one more layer of noodles and the other half of the reserved alfredo sauce. Cook at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Cooking time and temperature may vary according to the lasagna noodles you use. I just followed the directions on the box of lasagna.

I probably could have taken mine out sooner. The top layer of noodles was a bit crunchy, but it still tasted good!

The thing about this recipe is that you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you choose. The onions and mushrooms provide a lot of the flavor, so you should keep those. Also, in my opinion, the tomatoes are pretty crucial (they were my favorite part as I was eating). Other than that you can do whatever. You can use squash, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, or anything you can think of. You can even make your own white sauce if you don't want to use the store bought variety, but if you ask me (and my dad) this makes it unnecessarily difficult.

General Tips: Slice the tomatoes as thinly as you can and layer them so that they almost cover the whole lasagna. Also, I plan on using a whole lot more spinach next time. Since it was my first time steaming spinach, I didn't know how much it would shrink. Be generous with the cheese. :) Another thing I plan on doing next time is chopping my vegetables just a little bit smaller. But you should do whatever you prefer! Don't be scared by how long this takes. Most of the time is just cooking time.

Paul's One-Pot Curry

Paul wimped out on Tuesday when he was supposed to make curry (we went out to eat...bad bad Paul ;) ), so our dinners all got pushed back a day. He ended up making it on Wednesday. He's had people ask him how he makes his curry, but he's never written it down, so I'm going to attempt to write down the recipe from what I've seen him do and what he's told me.

First, you need to buy a curry mix such as this one:

We use this brand a lot. It's available at pretty much any grocery store in the Asian foods aisle. For this recipe (which can serve about four people, or if you're like us, two people with enough for lunch the next day), you'll need either a small box ("5 servings") or half of a bigger box ("8 servings").

Paul's One-Pot Curry (note: This is Japanese style curry. It's similar in consistency to a thick stew.)
Curry Sauce Mix (see above)
Water (measured according to box of curry sauce mix)
dash of oil
1 lb of meat (chicken works well, but Paul's favorite is to buy thinly sliced beef at the Japanese grocery store)
1 large potato (or 2 small ones), diced
1/2 large white onion (or 1 small one), coarsely diced
2 c. carrots, diced

Before you start making the curry you should start cooking your rice. No instant rice allowed. ;) If you're going for authenticity, you should use short grain Japanese rice. We like Calrose. Then, take a large pot and pour a dash of oil in the bottom. Add the diced onions and the meat and cook until meat is done and onions are tender. Next, add the water. Use the amount indicated on the package of curry mix. Paul said it always seems like not enough to him at first, but it always ends up right in the end. Add the carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat and add the curry mix. You'll want to break up the curry into small pieces when you add it. Stir until the mix has completely dissolved. The curry is ready at this point, but if you're still waiting on your rice, you might have to keep it warm by putting it back on low heat.

This time, Paul mixed half white and half brown rice, which gives the rice a slightly different flavor and texture. I like it, but I think with curry I prefer just white.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bell Pepper Turkey Burger

I got this recipe from my friend's blog. She's a great chef! You can find more amazing stuff here. Her recipe calls for ground chicken, but I couldn't find any so I used ground turkey. I also used regular colby jack cheese because it's my favorite! I would suggest chopping everything first. Use lots of napkins because you will drool. Enjoy!

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey
4 whole grain wheat hamburger buns
colby jack cheese, sliced
lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise for serving

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; cool to room temperature (reserve skillet).

Add turkey to cooled vegetable mixture in bowl; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix to combine. Shape mixture into 4 patties.

(Now would be a good time to throw some fries in the oven, if serving).In reserved skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium; cook patties until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. After first side has browned and you have flipped burgers, add cheese, so that it has sufficient time to melt.Place turkey burgers on buns and top with tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise.

Menu: July 22 to July 28

So, my work schedule is kind of weird. Sometimes I work 4 nights a week, sometimes I work 3. Just know when you're looking at this menu, some of the items might be more lunch items. I've also posted some of my recent favorite meals on the nights that I work. All good stuff though!

Tuesday: Bell Pepper Turkey Burger
Wednesday: Adobe Chicken w/ rice & veggies (Thanks Jennie!)
Thursday: date night
Friday: Salami sandwhiches w/ basil-artichoke spread
Saturday: Chicken & spinach penne
Sunday: Sweet pork w/ beans & rice
Monday: Spaghetti w/ zesty bolognese

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dessert in a Hurry

We got invited on Saturday to dinner on Sunday by one of Bryce's old roommates. Wanting to be a good guest (and not seem lame to Bryce's old roommate and his spouse), I said we would bring dessert, and then tried to think of what I could make with out going to the store. The end result was simple, yet incredibly delicious. I just stole the idea from Smart Cookie: homemade ice cream sandwiches. So much better than store bought. Now, you can probably use any combination of ice cream and cookies that you want, but we did strawberry ice cream (because we already had it) and Double Chocolate Dream Cookies. I think you guys already have that recipe, but here's a link to it, just in case: Double Chocolate Dream Cookies

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Adobe Chicken and Spinach Salad

Last night's dinner turned out pretty great. The chicken was very fast and easy, and it had a good flavor. I just assembled the salads on our individual plates while the chicken was cooking and then added the sliced up chicken on top with some of the onions when it was done. We used ranch dressing, and it tasted good, though you could experiment with what dressing to use or use none at all.

The chicken can be served as a main dish on its own, too. It was my idea to put it on top of a salad, but you could also serve it with rice or some kind of potato and have a vegetable on the side.

Here's the recipe for the chicken:

Adobe Chicken (from the Hatrack Cookbook)
1 dash olive oil
1 frozen chicken breast per person (although mine were thawed)
1/2 c. frozen pearl onions per person (I didn't have these, so I used half a white onion, coarsely chopped)
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
dried oregano
garlic salt

Heat oil in a frying pan. When it shimmers (or sizzles when you splash a tiny bit of water on it), add the chicken breasts. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with all three spices while the bottom side browns, then flip them over and sprinkle the other side while the second side browns. Add the onions and then the apple cider vinegar. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover. Cook for about 20 minutes (I flipped my chicken halfway through, but the original recipe didn't say to), or until chicken is done. Serve immediately.

This is a great dinner when you need something relatively fast, but you can't make it ahead of time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

French Fruit Pie

French Fruit Pie (from Louisville Ward Relief Society Cookbook, Crystal Farnsworth's recipe)
2 T. sugar
1 c. whipping cream
1 large package vanilla pudding mix (the kind you cook, not instant)
1 c. milk
1/4 t. almond extract
1/2 t. vanilla
1 can (1 lb 4 oz) pineapple chunks
1 can (11 oz) mandarin orange segments
1 T. cornstarch
1 banana, sliced
1 prepared graham cracker crust

Combine pudding mix, milk, and 1/2 c. cream in small saucepan. Cook following pudding label instructions. Stir in almond extract. Pour into small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until cold. In a medium bowl, beat remaining cream with sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks are formed. Beat chilled pudding until creamy and smooth. Fold pudding into the whipped cream. Pour into graham cracker crust. Chill. Meanwhile, drain and measure syrups from both the mandarin oranges and the pineapple chunks to make 3/4 cup. I used about half of each. In a small saucepan, stir a little of the syrup mixture together with the cornstarch until smooth. Add remaining syrup, and cook on medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, stirring constantly. Let cool. Arrange fruit on top of the chilled pie filling. Spoon warm glaze over fruit. You can smooth it out with the back of your spoon. Chill at least two hours.

This is another summery, light pie. As you can see from my picture, I added blueberries around the edge of the pie because a lady from our ward gave them to me from her yard. You can definitely use whatever fruit you want, though you need 3/4 c. of syrup from a can of fruit to make the glaze. Next time I want to use kiwis, strawberries, and peaches! :)

German Sweet Chocolate Pie

Yes, I know, this is not a dinner. But you know me! You shouldn't be surprised that my first posted recipes would be desserts.

Side logistics note: I talked to Paula, and desserts should just be labeled as 'Desserts' so that they don't get mixed in with all our dinner recipes.

German Sweet Chocolate Pie
1 pkg (4 oz) Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate
1/3 c. milk
2 T. sugar
4 oz (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
1 prepared Oreo crumb crust

Heat chocolate and 2 T. of the milk in saucepan over low heat, stirring until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. In separate bowl, beat sugar into cream cheese. Add remaining milk and the chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in cool whip. Spoon into crust. Freeze until firm (about four hours). Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired. Let stand at room temperature for about one hour before serving. Store any leftover pie in freezer.

This is a very light, summery pie. It has a distinctive flavor because of the German chocolate. You could also top it with more Cool Whip.

A Few Logistics (Post Labels and Comment Notification)

Here are a couple things I've learned from my other multi-contributor blog:

Labels are probably going to be the best way to organize the blog in such a way that it becomes a good resource for the future. You label a post before you publish it at the bottom of the window by typing where it says 'labels for this post'. As long as we pay attention to each other's labels and try not to be redundant, it should work well. So, if you post a menu, label it 'Menus'. If you post something like this about layout or logistics or whatever, label it 'Logistics'. Other than that, the recipes should have multiple labels like chicken/vegetarian/beef/etc., level of difficulty, time needed, or anything else you think is pertinent.

The other thing I found is that it's difficult to keep track of all the comments when people are not only commenting on the most recent entry. If you want to be notified by email when someone comments somewhere on this blog, you'll need to add your email address next to mine under 'comment notification'. You get there by clicking on the Settings tab and then Comments, and it's at the bottom of that screen.

Do you guys have any other ideas?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Menu: July 17th to 23rd

We are actually going out of town the end of next week for the Whitmer family reunion, so I thought I would post my menu from last Thursday until we leave this Thursday.

Thursday: Amanda's yummy pasta (I've never known what to call that but it's the one with alfredo sauce, asparagus, etc...
Friday: Omelets with red peppers, ham, onions, and cheese
Saturday: Leftovers from Thursday. We also had what Brian calls cheesy chips (nachos) with guacamole that night.
Sunday: Beef stew w/ kaiser rolls (I don't know what characterizes a kaiser roll, but they were yummy and store bought). I made a new recipe and I thought it was really good with a couple changes needed to be made. I'll post the recipe with the changes.
Monday: Spaghetti (w/ ground beef) and corn on the cob
Tuesday: Our Anniversary. We're eating out somewhere.
Wednesday: Swedish meatballs- I've never made them (it's one of my sister-in-law's recipes)...I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Menu: July 19 to July 25

Well, Saturday is our shopping day as of right now, so it looks like I get to be the first to post a menu! Here are the meals I have planned for the week:

Saturday (today): pork chops in store-bought marinade, rice (white and brown mix), corn on the cob, wheat rolls
Sunday: We're actually going to a barbecue with a few families from our ward.
Monday: Salad with Adobe Chicken, wheat rolls
Tuesday: Curry and rice
Wednesday: Vegetable Lasagna
Thursday: Chicken a la King (Paula's recipe)
Friday: Spaghetti with "Meatloaf Balls" (as Paul likes to call them)

I'm excited! I was telling Paula, this is the first time in a long time that I've actually been excited about planning a menu. Of course I'll report on how it goes and post recipes throughout the week.

Good times!