Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tamale Pie

4- Tamale's
1 can -Corn
1lb. Ground beef
1can- diced tomatoes mixed with green chilies (you can buy it separate, but it comes in one can)
2 cups- Mexican cheese-(you can also use cheddar cheese)
Olives-(optional)- topping

Brown Ground beef and Microwave Tamales. Mix 1 cup of cheese, corn, diced tomatoes, and green chilies in separate bowl. Chop up tamales into small pieces. Add both ground beef and tamales into mixture. Pour into a 13x9 dish. Top with 1 cup of cheese and olives.
Bake- 350 degrees for 30-45 mins.

note- I like to eat it with tortilla chips.

Menu: August 26 - September 2

I need a fresh start. We've been having a lot of fend-for-yourself nights and last minute Wendy runs lately. My bad! It's so easy to get into that pattern! OK, it's time to go back to cooking real things! Also, Paul and I have decided to change our shopping day to Tuesday. We decided we like to do other--more fun--things with our time on Saturdays. :)

Here's the menu for this week:
Tuesday (today): Chicken and Broccoli casserole
Wednesday: Hamburger Noodle casserole (which is funny because I planned this one before I noticed Paula had just posted the recipe)
Thursday: Crispy Breaded Pork Chops, the Chef Britta recipe I posted a little while back, except this time I'm going to try Sweet and Sour sauce instead of Dijon mustard
Friday: Chicken Chalupas
Saturday: Paul cooks Japanese food
Sunday: I haven't planned yet...we may invite some people over for dinner (if our apartment is presentable, that is)
Monday: Pa-Pa's Meatloaf, the Hansen family recipe :)

My next goal is to find more vegetarian meals. I failed at planning a vegetarian dish this week. Any ideas?

Menu: August 26- August 31

Tuesday (today): Tamale Pie, Chips and Salad
Wednesday: Chicken Chalupas, Chips and Salad
Thursday: Left overs :)
Friday: Lasagna, biscuits and Salad
Saturday: Hawaiian Haystacks!! yummy
Sunday: Left overs or maybe I'll cook something.....I haven't decided

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

This is once again one of my favorite dinners that we had a lot growing up. I know Jennie and Paul make this one a lot as well. It's so easy and so delicious. I would highly recommend giving this one a try.

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Hamburger Noodle Casserole

1 lb. hamburger
2 (8 oz.) cans of tomato sauce
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. salt, dash pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. curly (egg) noodles
6 green onions chopped (less if they're big)
3 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 c. grated cheese (we usually use more than that)

Brown beef with minced garlic and drain. Mix in tomato sauce, spices, and sugar. Cook slowly 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile cook noodles and drain. Combine green onions, cream cheese, and sour cream. Mix noodles with beef mixture. In a casserole dish layer about 1/4 of the beef mixture. Then dollop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture over that (kind of like how you do with lasagna). Repeat layers ending with the beef mixture. Cover with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until all bubbly.

*The amount of garlic depends on how much you like. The recipe actually only calls for one clove. I usually put 2 and I think Jennie puts more too.
*In my family when we use green onions we use the white part and chop part way up the green (until it gets to the really dark green part). I know some people like to use more of the green than we do...if so, use less onions.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

This is another recipe straight from Chef Britta. It was more involved than the other recipes I've tried of hers. It turned out pretty good, and we'll probably make it again with a few adjustments.

Orange Chicken Stir-Fry
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch wide strips
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 pound carrots (about 5), peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
cooked rice

Place cornstarch in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in orange juice until smooth. Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; season with salt.

In a 5-quart nonstick pot, heat oil over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken on one side until slightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate, and set aside (chicken will cook more later).

Add broccoli, carrots, and 1/2 cup water to pot. Cook partially covered, until water evaporates and broccoli is bright green, 3 minutes. Add reserved chicken and cornstarch mixture (it may need to be whisked again to reincorporate); bring to a boil. Cook until chicken is done and sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over rice.

Here's a link directly to this recipe on Chef Britta's site: Orange Chicken Stir-Fry.

Things got a little crazy as Paul and I were making this meal. He chopped up the chicken and carrots for me and did the first part of cooking the chicken. I was taking a shower while he did this part, so I didn't get to mix the sauce part until the vegetables were already cooking. I think it would have been less stressful if we had stuck to the order of the directions Chef Britta gave. ;)

Anyway, it was quite yummy. It was on the spicy side (Paul and I are a bit wimpy when it comes to that), so we'll put in fewer red pepper flakes next time (I put in a heaping teaspoonful this time). Also, I'm not a fan of rice vinegar, so I'll probably leave it out or find some kind of substitute ingredient next time. The recipe is quite saucy as well. I might even halve the ingredients in the sauce next time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Poppyseed Chicken

Sharon Meilstrup (an old roommate for a few of us :) ) introduced me to this recipe, and it has been a regular occurring meal for us ever since. Paula and Amanda already have this recipe, but I'll post it for the rest of you. Plus, I have made some minute changes to the recipe simply for my own ease in making it (mostly in quantity of chicken since I'm only cooking for two...I like mine saucy, so I didn't decrease the amount of anything other than the chicken).

Poppyseed Chicken
1 lb. chicken, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup (cream of mushroom also works)
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 sleeve of Townhouse or Ritz crackers, crushed

Cook chicken. I usually season mine with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper or garlic salt. In a separate bowl, combine the soup and the sour cream. Add chicken when it is done cooking. Place the crackers in a large ziploc bag and crush into small pieces. Pour melted butter into the bag and toss until the broken up crackers and crumbs are well-coated. In a baking dish (I use our 11x7 dish) spread the chicken first, then pour the crackers on top and spread them out evenly. Sprinkle the top with poppyseeds. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve over rice with a vegetable on the side.

*I labeled this 40 minutes because of how long it takes to cook rice. You can have the whole meal ready (including the rice and a vegetable for the side dish) in this amount of time. The dish itself probably takes closer to 30 minutes.

Menu: August 19 - August 22

For various reasons (invited to other's houses, Paul's softball, date night, lazy fend-for-yourself night, etc), last week's menu has spilled over into this week. We actually had the Skillet chicken and vegetables with Parmesan yesterday, and it was delicious! Very quick, too. Good find, Mandy. :) We also haven't gone shopping for the week yet, because our weekend was full of fun things. (We finally saw Dark Knight!)

Here's what I have planned to get us to Saturday once again:

Tuesday (today): Enchiladas
Wednesday: Three Pepper Pasta Sauce
Thursday: Cream Cheese Chicken
Friday: Orange Chicken Stir-Fry (Chef Britta)

Menu: August 18 - August 22

Monday: Brian's day to cook because I wasn't feel well at all. I mentioned that I felt like Panda Express and that's what we had.
Tuesday: Hamburger Noodle Casserole and corn
Wednesday: Chicken a la King
Thursday: Spaghetti w/ Zesty Bolognese (I was way curious by that recipe) and green beans
Friday: Chicken Teriyaki (marinated), rice pilaf, peas
Saturday: BBQ with the Whitmer family

I'll post those couple of recipes at some point during the week. We'll see how good I am about keeping to my schedule because I'm still not feeling all the way better.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

It has been an interesting past week. I didn't get a chance to put together a menu because I had surgery! But, my mom has been in town to take care of us and she has cooked some very yummy meals. We have been very spoiled! This was another one of my favorites growing up. I know Jennie and Paul eat it a lot as well. So, I thought I would post it!

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Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

2 chicken breasts, cooked a chopped up
steamed broccoli (don't over cook because it will cook more in oven)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can milk
cheddar cheese
cooked rice

Cook chicken. My mom places the chicken on a cookie sheet with foil and sprinkles them with pepper/lemon pepper and garlic powder and then cooks them at 350 for about 20 minutes (depending on size). I always like how her chicken tastes. Combine chicken, broccoli, soup, and milk (my mom combines it all in the pot she cooked the broccoli in so she doesn't have to dirty another dish). Pour in 8X8 pyrex (or cooking dish) and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and it's bubbly (about 15 minutes). Serve over rice (we had brown this time).

*My mom said that sometimes she puts some green onion in it but that's completely optional. She didn't put any in this time and it was delicious!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I'm so lucky that Paul makes dinner for us once a week! I have really enjoyed trying more Japanese food, and this meal is one of my favorites.

Paul told me that when he was on his mission they would make this often and use whatever they had in their fridge that was going to go bad soon in it. You can use pretty much any kind of meat and any combination of vegetables. As you might predict, Paul's favorite meat to use is thinly sliced beef from the Japanese grocery store. :)

First, you need to buy some noodles. Occasionally, you can find them at a regular grocery store, but you may need to go to an Asian grocery store. They'll be in the refrigerated section. This is Paul's favorite brand:

1 package yakisoba noodles (seasoning packets included)
about 3/4 lb meat (Paul likes thinly sliced beef, but chicken or other meat works well, too)
1/2 large onion, chopped into thin slices
mixed vegetables of your choice (last night we used bell peppers and peas...though the peas didn't work very well when you're eating with chopsticks)

Start cooking your meat over medium heat. Add the onions once you've chopped them up. Stir and cook until meat is done and onions are tender. Add other vegetables and cook and stir until they are done as well. If you're using frozen vegetables, this only takes a couple minutes. If you are using fresh vegetables such as potatoes and eggplant, make sure you chop them into small pieces and cook until they are tender. Add the noodles, and mix it all together, breaking up the clumps of noodles. Once the noodles are mixed in well, sprinkle seasoning one packet at a time and toss until everything is evenly coated. Paul only uses two of the three packets of seasoning.

This recipe makes enough for Paul and I, with enough leftover for one person's lunch. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crispy Breaded Pork and Creamy Corn

I got this recipe straight from Chef Britta (thanks for introducing us to her website, Mandy!).

Crispy Breaded Pork

1 and 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs that can be found in the international foods isle)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless pork loin chops
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss panko with oil. Bake, tossing once or twice, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, place chops between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound to make 1/4-inch-thick cutlets. Dividing evenly, coat pork with mustard; season with salt and pepper. One at a time, dip cutlets into panko, pressing firmly to adhere. Place a rack on a rimmed baking sheet; place pork on rack, and bake, without turning, until opaque throughout, 15 minutes.

Creamy Corn

16 ounces frozen corn kernels
1/4 to 1/2 cup whole milk
3 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
salt and pepper

While pork is in the oven, place corn and milk in a medium saucepan, simmer over medium heat until corn is tender, 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cream cheese and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Here's the link directly to this recipe on Chef Britta's site: link

I really love her website and the way she writes recipes. They are very clear and easy to understand. I especially like that she takes pictures of the steps along the way.

As for this recipe, it was pretty good! The pork turned out great. It was nice and moist and very flavorful. The dijon mustard flavor came out a bit too strong for my taste, but Paul loved it. The corn was delicious, but very intensely creamy. I couldn't handle too much of it at once. We'll probably make the pork chops again. I even wonder if it would work with other sauces instead of dijon mustard? I might try sweet and sour sauce.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Crockpot Lasagna & CHEESE BREAD

Yum-O! Eli and I loved this lasagna. Thanks for posting that recipe Amanda. I thought I'd do it justice and post a picture of it too. It was so stinkin' easy to make. I decided that I needed some cheese bread to go along with it, so I did a search on cooks.com and found a good one. I think next time I'll make these in a muffin pan. The bread is really good with ranch or some oil w/ parmesan cheese. Thanks for all the AMAZING ideas ladies!

Cheese Bread

2 c flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c butter, melted
1 c milk
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in Cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Mix together eggs, butter and milk. Add to the dry ingredients. Stir only until moistened. Batter will be somewhat lumpy. Do not over mix.
Pour into a greased 9x5" loaf pan. Smooth down the center with a wet spatula to flatten top. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
Bake about 40 minutes.
Serve warm, or sprinkled with cheese and toasted the next day.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cream Cheese Chicken

Brian made this for me when we were dating and I was way impressed with his cooking skills. At the time I had no idea how easy it was. But, it always tastes better when he makes it! It may not look pretty...but it's delicious!

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Cream Cheese Chicken


2 cooked chicken breast, cubed
4 oz. cream cheese
I can cream of chicken soup
1 tube croissant dough (doesn't have to be Pillsbury)
cheddar cheese


Start by cooking your chicken if you haven't yet. I usually just chop it all up and cook it in the pan that I'm going to make the filling in (with a little bit of garlic powder and lemon pepper). Then add the cream cheese and soup. Heat until the cream cheese is completely melted and incorporated.

Meanwhile, flour a surface and rolling pin. When you unroll the dough it will come out in little squares like this...

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Don't separate the triangles. Pinch the seam together on both sides and then roll both directions until thin and lay over the side of a 9X13 pan like so...

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Divide filling among each square leaving enough room to fold dough over and pinch along sides (you can put as much or as little as you want). If you have extra sauce you can spread it on top or save it, thin it down and eat it over noodles/rice another day. It's yummy that way too. Fold dough over filling and pinch along the sides. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Immediately after removing, sprinkle cheese over top. This recipe obviously makes 4 servings (big servings), but is easily doubled. Just use two pans. Enjoy!

Menu: August 9 - August 15

Here's what I have scheduled for this week (thanks for some great ideas, guys!):

Saturday (today): Crispy breaded pork with creamy corn (Chef Britta - This was going to be my dinner for last night, but Paul decided we needed a date night. :) )
Sunday: Skillet Chicken and Vegetables Parmesan
Monday: Enchiladas with Mandy and Eli's rice and beans
Tuesday: Yakisoba! (Paul's night to cook. Woo hoo!)
Wednesday: Poppyseed Chicken and peas
Thursday: Three Pepper Pasta Sauce (Crockpot) and Linguini
Friday: Tentatively chili and fritos salads (It's a bit up in the air because Paul has to work late.)

This is getting a lot easier for me! I love having so many places to look for new recipes. :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ground Turkey Patties & Twice Baked Potato Bites

This dinner turned out a lot better than I expected. Eli really enjoyed it! The original recipe calls for ground pork, but I like turkey a lot more. It's a little more lean than pork. I would definitely take any extra sauce and slather the patties with it, but that's just me. I really liked it. Also, start the potatoes first. While the potatoes are cooking prepare everything else, but don't start cooking the patties until you bake the potatoes the second time. Enjoy!

Ground Turkey Patties

12 oz. lean ground turkey
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp seasoned salt (LAWRY'S)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 c apple juice
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp dried sage, crushed
3 c shredded lettuce (garnish & salad)
roma tomatoes

In a bowl combine turkey, green onions, seasoned salt, and apper. Shape meat mixture into four 1/2 inch patties. In a large skillet cook patties over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 5 minutes more. Pour off any drippings.

Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan combine apple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, and sage. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Turn patties again; brush with some of the sauce. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes more or until done.

To seve, divide shredded lettuce among plates. Add a patty to each plate. Top each with more sauce. Garnish with tomato slices.

Twice Baked Potato Bites (Chef Britta)

10-14 red new potatoes (small), halved
1 TBSP olive oil
3/4 c sour cream
1/4 c snipped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each potato half so they rest flat.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss with olive oil; season with salt and pepper, and arrange bottom side down.

Bake until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on sheet.

When cool enough, using a melon baller, scoop out about a teaspoon from the center of each potato and place in a bowl.Add sour cream and chives to the bowl with potato centers and mash; season with salt and pepper.Stuff potatoes with filling.

Bake potatoes at 450 until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I made these cookies this past Saturday for my co-workers at Barnes & Noble. We were gonna be up all night for the Breaking Dawn release party. These cookies were definitely quick and easy and delicious! I got a ton of compliments! Sorry, I didn't take a picture, I was in a hurry! Here's one from the Ocean Spray website.


2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened (I used both; see Jennie's tips for chocolate chip cookies)

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt1

6-ounce package Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Sweetened Dried Cranberries

2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips (I used Ghiradelli chocolate, YUM!)


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in sweetened dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

P.S. I like to use a small ice cream scoop from Pampered Chef to scoop the dough. I love how the cookies come out about the same and they seem to cook a little more evenly.

P.P.S. Sorry about the weird spacing. My computer is freaking out and my "U" is deciding to be difficult. Sorry if I am missing any of those! :-)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


This isn't exactly a recipe, but I noticed that a lot of us make omelets on a regular basis, and I thought we could share some ideas for toppings or other ways to spruce them up.

Here's what we had on ours last night (it was actually our first time making them!):

Tomatoes, avocado, onions (lightly sauteed), red bell peppers, and cheddar cheese. My favorite part was the avocado. :)

I think next time we'll try using green bell peppers, mushrooms, and maybe some different types of cheese.

What are your ideas?

Skillet Chicken & Veggies Parmesan

It's another late working night, so here's the recipe for what I would have made. I've made this before and it's quick, easy, and good. It's a great deal because it's a one pot mess that makes for easy clean up as well! Enjoy!

Skillet Chicken & Vegetables Parmesan (kraftfoods.com)

1/4 cup KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Reduced Fat Dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 tsp. dried basil leaves, divided
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

MIX dressing and garlic in large skillet. Cook on medium heat 1 min. Add chicken; season with 3/4 tsp. of the basil and the pepper. Cook 4 to 5 min. on each side or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF).

ADD vegetables to skillet; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. basil. Cook 2 to 3 min. or until vegetables are heated through, stirring occasionally.

SPRINKLE with the cheese.

Tips & Variations:
For a spicier flavor, substitute crushed red pepper flakes for the black pepper.

To thaw the veggies, put them in a colander and run warm tap water over them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Robin's Crockpot Lasagna

We have a 4 qt crockpot (I think that's right) and this recipe was a little bit too much for it...you can adjust accordingly for whatever size crockpot you have and how much your family eats. I also thought there was too much meat in ours, but you know me and ground beef: we don't always get along....Over all, I thought the dish was delicious and Bryce liked it too. It's a great meal to prepare for Sunday...get it all ready (you can even leave it in the fridge overnight, the noodles won't get soggy) and then turn the crockpot on before you leave for church and it's ready when you get home.

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
jar of spaghetti sauce (Prego's Traditional is my personal favorite)
can of tomato sauce (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (I used a garlic press for the first time! This probably made me more excited than it should have)
salt and pepper (to taste)
4 cups shredded cheese (your choice: mozzarella and cheddar are recommended)
1 1/2 c cottage cheese
1/2 c parmesan cheese
lasagna noodles (doesn't matter what kind)

Cook lasagna noodle according to directions on box (we used about half a box)
In large saucepan saute onion
Add beef, garlic, and salt & pepper
After the beef is browned, add jar of spaghetti sauce
In medium bowl, combine the three types of cheese
Spread a layer of tomato sauce(This is where the optional can of tomato sauce comes in: you can either save out some of the spaghetti sauce or you can use tomato sauce) in bottom of crockpot (You may want to line the crockpot with tin foil or spray with Pam first for easier clean up)
Layer noodles, cheese, and meat 3 times
Top with noodles, and then top with cheese and tomato sauce (or just tomato sauce)
Cook on low for 3-4 hours

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

I don't know about where you guys are, but it gets hot here in New Mexico. The perfect solution? Easy ice cream cake! I got this recipe from kraftfoods.com. I changed it up a little. You can use regular ice cream sandwiches and regular oreos, but I REALLY liked this one!

1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
8 OREO Banana Split Sandwich Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)
12 neopolitan ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped
additional hot fudge, warmed; for drizzle (optional)
chopped nuts (optional)
maraschino cherries (optional)

MIX fudge topping, 1 cup whipped topping and the dry pudding mix with whisk until blended. Stir in chopped cookies. Add a little more whipped topping if needed.

ARRANGE 4 ice cream sandwiches on 24x12-inch foil. Top with half of whipped topping mixture. Repeat layers, ending with ice cream sandwiches on top. If the mixture is hard to spread, heat it up a little more. Don't heat it too much though, or it will melt the ice cream!

FROST top and sides with remaining whipped topping. At this point you can either call it quits or add the extra fudge for drizzle, nuts, and cherries.

WRAP loosely in foil. Freeze at least 4 hours.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rice & Beans

(ignore the date; it's wrong)
I tried out Paula's chicken chalupas, the casserole version, and it was delicious! Since she's already posted that recipe (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), I figured I could post the recipe for my rice and Eli's beans. Be cautious with this! I've never had a recipe for the rice (neither has my mom) and Eli hasn't had a recipe for his beans , so we've tried our best!


2 TBSP oil (about)
1/2 onion, diced
1 good-sized garlic clove
2 c. long-grain, enriched, extra fancy white rice
8 oz. can tomato sauce
4 c. water
1 TBSP chicken bouillon powder
season w/ salt (cup your hand and fill the bottom of your palm)

Heat oil in pan. Add diced onion and garlic clove. Sautee until onion is clear and garlic is fragrant. Add rice. Sautee, but do not burn! Add tomato sauce. Stir until mixed well with rice. Add water. Bring everything to a boil while adding chicken bouillon and salt. When it comes to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Cook about 20 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. There should be holes in the rice. Makes about 4-6 servings.

Eli's Refried Beans

3 cans pinto beans with bacon, partially drained
about 1/2 stick of butter, softened
about 1/3 c. milk
season salt (we like Lawry's big red bottle)

Open cans of beans. Drain part of the juice from each can. Add beans to a pot on stove over med-hi heat. Add butter and milk. Everything should look kind of soupy. Be generous with the season salt and pepper. After everything has heated up a bit, taste it to see if there's enough salt and pepper. Heat through (about 5-10 min)

Take soupy, bean mess and add to a blender. Blend. Or you can use a bean masher (aka a potato smasher) and mash the beans by hand. If your beans are a little too liquidy, let it sit on the stove for a few minutes. It should thicken up. Serve with rice!

3 cans makes enough for about 6 people.

If you make too much of either, they make really great leftovers. You can make quick nachos with them or a bean and rice burrito. They're really good with sunny-side up eggs and a slice of avocado for breakfast. The beans are a little healthier because we actually don't re-fry them in oil. I hope everything turns out well for you!

Total Failure

Okay, I posted my first menu, and then besides making tacos, I haven't done any of it. I've been sick- fever, chills, headache, dizzy, tired, swollen glands, the works. My new plan:
Wed- crockpot chicken alfredo with ceasar salad
Thurs-Sat- canyoneering trip in Zions- eating "camping food"
Sunday- family potluck- haven't decided what I'll bring yet.
Monday- Chicken a la King (if I go to the grocery store) I liked reading about the quick and easy. I think Israel and Eliza will eat this- I'll let you know.

Menu: August 5 - August 8

I'm back from New York! As Paula said, it's tough to get back to the routine of things after a fun trip, but here goes nothin'. I'm just planning enough meals to get us back on our Saturday shopping day schedule. Oh, and you'll probably notice a couple duplicates from my last menu...we never got to a couple of them before we left. Too much trip preparation and not enough time. It really is dangerous to have so many great fast food places right across the street! Oops!

Today (Tuesday): Tacos
Wednesday: Omelets
Thursday: Hawaiian Haystacks
Friday: I'm going to find a new Pork Chop recipe...I'll post the recipe later this week.

Hawaiian Haystacks

This recipe is definitely up for interpretation. I like to experiment and this one definitely came out wonderful! The only reason for the long cooking time is the chicken. Enjoy! We sure did (also makes for great leftovers).

3-4 chicken breasts, boiled & shredded
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 TBSP chicken bouillon ( I like the powder)

(all diced or shredded)
green onions
pineapple chunks
mandarin orange segments
crunchy chinese noodles
whatever you would like!

cooked rice

Boil chicken until done (I didn't really check the time but about 20 minutes I think). Rinse off in cold water and shred. If you want to save on time (or cheat!) you can use the can chunk chicken (probably 3 cans) and shred that. Place chicken in a pot with 2 cans cream of chicken soup, about a can of water (more or less depending how thick you like your gravy), and about a TBSP of chicken bouillon. Season with salt and pepper. Let gravy warm up.

While your chicken is boiling, start slicing, dicing, and shredding your toppings. Like I said, get creative. Fruits and veggies totally make this meal. I've seen apples, grapes, and carrots used as well.

If you like cheating, use instant rice cooked in chicken broth instead of water. If not, I'd set your rice to cook soon after starting your chicken.

When the gravy and rice are done, eat! Start with a layer of rice and gravy mixture and then pile the rest on! Don't forget the crunchy noodles!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Menu: August 5 - 11

Tuesday: Hawaiian Haystacks
Wednesday: Date night
Thursday: Skillet Chicken & Veggies
Friday: Chicken Chalupas w/ rice & beans
Saturday: Ground Pork Patties w/sweet potato chips
Sunday: Sweet Pork w/ rice & beans
Monday: French dip sandwiches

Friday, August 1, 2008

Menu: Aug 1- Aug 7

This is my first menu...and I'm sure Bryce will be so excited when I don't ask him what he wants for dinner. (He really hates that question. It's probably as annoying for him as us being asked what's for dinner.)

Friday: Pork Chops (marinated and baked in the oven), Salad, Mashed Potatoes
Tacos and black beans
Sunday: Robin's Crockpot Lasagna, Squash
Monday: I close at work, Bryce fends for himself
Tuesday: BBQ chicken, Corn on the cob, Wild rice
Wednesday: Ravioli and salad
Thursday: Omlete

We'll see how closely I stick to the menu....

Chicken Chalupas

I grew up with this recipe. My mom would use this basic recipe for chalupas and for green chile casserole. It was one of my favorites when I was younger and is VERY easy.

Chicken Chalupas

3-4 cooked chicken breasts (depending on size), cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can milk
4 oz. can diced green chiles
sour cream (about 1 cup)
3-4 green onions chopped or grated onion
black olives (optional...I don't ever use olives because Brian doesn't like them)
grated cheese (I always use cheddar)
flour tortillas

Combine chicken, soup, milk, green chiles, sour cream, and onions (you can add the olives here or just sprinkle them on top). Spoon mixture onto tortilla, sprinkle a handful of cheese on top and roll up placing it seam down in a 9x13 cooking dish. Reserve a little of the sauce to spread on top. Sprinkle more cheese on top. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly and hot through. I like to cook for at least 20 minutes because that makes the tortillas a little crisp on the edges.

Green chile casserole is even easier. You just use a casserole dish and layer meat mixture, cheese, and tortilla, starting and ending with meat mixture (using about 4 torrillas). That also cooks for about 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. My mom never puts olives in her casserole. I guess that's the difference between the casserole and chalupas. My mom also told me that sour cream is optional with the casserole. It's not needed, but I usually put it in if I have it. Corn tortillas could also be used.

* I usually am only cooking for Brian and myself so I reduce the chicken amount to one large breast (2 small), and it makes 4 chalupas (extra saucy though). I think the full recipe makes 8...I'll check with my mom on that one.