Monday, November 8, 2010

New Blog

For a while now, Jennie and I have been talking about starting a blog where we would put our family recipes along with our most used recipes. We we're thinking it would be a good way to put together all of our best recipes (not just ones we make once or twice). We finally did more than just talk and started a blog called PJ’s Recipe Box. We invite you all to check it out! We’ve been trying to post something new every day so it’s always changing.

We’re going to keep this blog going as well since it’s such a good resource and has so many recipes that I make all the time (you will notice there are a lot of repeats on the other blog). It’s also so nice to be able to see what delicious recipes other people are making.

The link to our new blog is: pjsrecipebox.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Minestrone Soup

As the weather cools down I’ve been pulling out my soup and chili recipes.  I’m so excited for fall and the recipes that come with it.  This is a recipe that I’ve made many many times.  If you like minestrone soup, you’ll like this one.  It’s very easy and involves close to no chopping.  Opening cans is as hard as this recipe gets.

We’re still getting used to the lighting in our new house.  So this isn’t the best picture, but don’t judge it!  It really is tasty. I served these cool rolls that don’t require kneading on the side.  By the way, this soup taste best the next day.  I got this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

IMG_4162

Ingredients:
3 14-oz. cans beef broth
1 15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-oz. can stewed tomatoes, undrained*
1 11.5-oz. can vegetable juice (V8 juice)
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried italian seasoning, crushed
1 1/2 frozen mixed vegetables
2 c. cooked pasta (small shell, macaroni…)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into strips
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
In a large pot combine beef broth, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, undrained tomatoes, vegetable juice, tomato paste, sugar, and Italian seasoning.  Bring to boiling; add mixed vegetables.  Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in cooked pasta and spinach; heat through.  Serve with a little parmesan sprinkled on top if desired.

* I like my tomatoes to be small so I either used petit diced tomatoes or I chop the stewed tomatoes.
* The recipe suggests making the soup the night before up to the point where you add the pasta and spinach.  Then chill over night.  After chilling, reheat the soup and add the cooked pasta and spinach.  It really is better the next day.
*This recipe makes a lot.  The recipe says it serves 8.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

Jennie recommended this recipe to me and we loved it!  It’s a really fun and delicious alternative to pizza.  I’ve made it twice already and hope to experiment with different fun toppings.

IMG_3024

IMG_3031

Ingredients:
1 roll refrigerated pizza dough or homemade  (Jennie and I both used this recipe with great results)
marinara/pizza sauce
2 T grated Parmesan cheese*
1 T olive oil or melted butter
1/2 t garlic powder*
1 t dried Italian seasoning*
mozzerella cheese
Pizza toppings of your choice

*The recipe suggested that garlic bread seasoning can be substituted for these ingredients (recipe to follow). 

Directions:
Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it's 400 degrees. If you make your own dough, 400 is usually a good heat as well.

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8". You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square (not the marinara sauce, that’s for dipping after).  You need to be able to enclose the toppings in the dough so keep that in mind.

When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish).  Brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil or melted butter and then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese (or sprinkle on garlic bread seasoning).

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

Garlic Bread Topping

Ingredients:
1/2 c. powdered Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. parsley

Directions:
Combine ingredients in a jar (preferably one with a sprinkle top) and shake.

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
6 oz. water (just use the empty tomato paste can)
3 Tbsp. garlic bread topping (recipe above)
1 Tbsp. sugar or honey
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:
Empty tomato paste into a bowl and add water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly until combined. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and allow to stand until ready to use. Covers two average-sized pizza or, obviously, can be used to dip breadstick/pizza rolls.

*Jennie and I both used the garlic bread topping and marinara sauce recipe and loved them.  But I’m sure it would be delicious without

These recipes were found at: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/06/stuffed-pizza-rolls.html
(There are some really good step by step pictures)

Teriyaki Meatballs

I love this recipe. It’s very flavorful and I had basically all of the ingredients on hand. Also, it’s easy and involves no chopping. I’ve made it twice (once on my sister’s birthday at her request) and plan to make it many times in the future.

IMG_2878

Ingredients:
Meatballs:
1.5 pounds ground beef (at least 90% lean)
2 eggs
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons milk

Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

Directions:
For the sauce, in a medium bowl mix the soy sauce, 1 3/4 cups water, ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar, and honey together. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the 1/2 cup cold water. Set both bowls aside.

For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except for the ground beef and mix well. Add the ground beef and mix until combined. Form ground beef mixture into 1 to 1 1/2-inch meatballs. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat two tablespoons oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet and brown on all sides, turning with a pair of tongs. The meatballs don’t need to be completely cooked through, just equally browned on all sides.

When the meatballs have browned, pour the sauce ingredients over the meatballs and gently turn the meatballs to coat them in the sauce. Heat the sauce until just simmering and add the cornstarch/water mixture, carefully mixing so as not to break apart the meatballs as you combine the cornstarch mixture with the teriyaki sauce. Simmer the meatballs and sauce over medium heat, maintaining a constant simmer but not cooking at too high of a boil, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thick and smooth, about 10-15 minutes, turning the meatballs every two or three minutes to ensure even cooking. Serve over rice.

*I found this recipe at: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/01/teriyaki-meatballs.html

Can’t go wrong with any of her recipes! Oh PS- it makes a lot.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Cabbage & Apple Slaw

Not much to say besides YUM! I'm not a fan of coleslaw, but this cabbage and apple slaw was good. It wasn't creamy or heavy like coleslaw, it was light and full of flavor! I got this from Health magazine.

Ingredients:
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 pork tenderloins (1 1/4 lb total)
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
3/4 tsp black pepper, divided
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 small Napa cabbage, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1 crisp red apple cut into thin wedges
1/4 c fresh cilantro sprigs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 4oo degrees.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over med-high heat. Season pork with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper; cook, turning occasionally for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned.

Put skillet in oven and roast for 12 to 14 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, combine vinegar, honey, and remaining salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cabbage and apples. Toss. Let slaw sit for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally. Fold in cilantro and serve with pork.

Honey Mustard Chicken & Rice Pilaf

The complete title of this dish is "Honey Mustard Chicken & Rice Pilaf with Kale & Red Peppers." That seemed a little long. I've never used kale before, but I'm assuming it tastes similar to spinach. It looks a lot like spinach and I didn't have kale available, so I used spinach. Spinach was good. This meal was easy and yummy. It was so good that my sister (who is the world's pickiest eater) loved it!

Ingredients:
2 c brown rice
olive oil cookng spray
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1/4 c diced white onion
1 large bunch kale, stems removed and finely minced
1/2 diced red bell pepper
2 tbsp honey
1/4 c dijon mustard
1/8 c apple cider vinegar
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley

Directions:

Cook rice according to package.

Heat a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Reduce heat to med-high, mist pan with spray, and saute chicken for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Mist same pan with cooking spray. Add onion, kale and red pepper and saute for about 3 minutes. Add rice to veggies and saute until warm. Remove all from pan and keep warm.

In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, mustard, vinegar, oil, garlic, and 2 tbsp water. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat pan over med-high heat, add chicken and sauce to pan and saute for about 3 minutes.

Divide rice among four plates, top with chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Serve!

Salmon & Vegetable Skewers


I'm not a big fish person. In fact, to be honest, I am not a fish person at all. Eli loves fish and I feel guilty sometimes for not making it, so I made this dinner. This salmon was so tasty! I barely remembered that it was actually fish I was eating. Yum!

Ingredients:
2 c brown rice
1 lb wild-caught salmon fillets, cubed
1 white onion cut into square pieces
1 zucchini, sliced
8 oz whole white mushrooms
olive oil cooking spray
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
fresh parsley, for garnish

metal or wooden skewers (if using wooden, soak in water for 20 minutes before using)

Directions:
Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside

Preheat broiler to high. Thread salmon and veggies onto separate skewers, filling 4 skewers of each). Mist salmon and veggies with cooking spray, then brush with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parsley.

Broil skewers at least 2 to 4 inches from heat source for 3 minutes. Flip skewers over and broil for another 3 minutes or until just tender. To serve place 1 salmon skewer and 1 veggie skewer over 1/2 cup of rice.

*Tip: I placed tin foil under the skewers because some of the veggies dropped and some of the fish juice fell off. Even though these were yummy, I did not like the smell of fish every time I turned on the oven.


Beef & Broccoli Orange Stir-Fry


This was so delicious! I got this recipe from Clean Eating Magazine (March/April 2010) I made this ages ago, but since I have time now, here's the recipe.

Ingredients:
12 oz soba noodles (in the international food aisle)
olive oil cooking spray
1 lb lean round steak, pounded to 1/4 inch, sliced into strips
1/2 c diced white onion
2 c fresh broccoli florets, bite-size pieces
1/2 julienned red bell pepper
3 tbsp soy sauce
juice of 1 medium orange
1 tbsp orange zest
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp honey
2 tsp whole-wheat flour (works with white flour)

Directions:
Cook noodles according to package and set aside.

Heat large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to med-high, mist with cooking spray and saute steak for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove steak, leaving juices in the pan.

Mist same pan with cooking spray. Add onion, broccoli and pepper and saute over med-high for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.

In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, orange juice, zest, garlic and honey.

Add steak back to veggies in pan and pour in sauce. Saute over med-high heat for about 2 minutes, then whisk in flour to thicken for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add noodles to pan and cook until warmed.

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Yes, I know we have a lot of chicken and broccoli casserole recipes on this blog. I can't help but share this one, though! It has a great, light flavor. It doesn't have any condensed soup in it (I've been minimizing my use of condensed soup lately). And it's just a bit different than any that I've tried before now. I very much enjoyed it. James even liked it (he loves pasta and broccoli :) )!

I found this recipe at Lillian's Food. It's the same blog where I found the recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara. The flavors of her recipes are sophisticated and light. I like them a lot.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
adapted from Lillian's Food


Ingredients:
1 lb. uncooked pasta (I used bowtie, but penne or rotini would work well, too)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 broccoli heads, cut into small florets*
vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, diced (other types of onions work, too)
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
3 c. milk
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c. panko (or other bread crumbs)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 T. minced fresh flat leaf parsley

*Lillian said that this casserole can be made with almost any vegetable. She listed asparagus and zucchini as good options.


Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to directions on package.

Steam broccoli for a couple minutes (longer if you like your broccoli very tender). This casserole doesn't cook in the oven for very long, so you want your broccoli to be almost the way you like it before putting it with everything else.

Heat a little bit of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned on all sides and fully cooked in the middle. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes. Add flour, stirring constantly, and cook for a minute or two. Slowly add milk, whisking continuously. Whisk frequently until sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Once pasta is finished cooking, drain and return to pot. Add chicken, broccoli, and white sauce to the pot and combine. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Turn oven on to broil.

In a small bowl or ziploc bag (I prefer ziploc bags since it's so easy to shake up all the ingredients), combine panko, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Place casserole under the broiler until bread crumbs are golden brown and casserole is bubbling around the edges. Check frequently so that it doesn't burn (it goes fast). Mine took about 5 minutes.


Like I said, I really enjoyed this casserole because it's slightly different from others out there. Be sure to season it with enough salt and pepper so that it isn't too bland. Here's a link to the original recipe: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.

Chicken Milanese

I got this recipe from my friend, Claudia. I've tried several different breaded chicken recipes, but she said this one was really good, so I thought I would give it a try. I'm so glad I did! The mixture of the spices with the Parmesan cheese makes the breading just packed with flavor. And the breading seals in the juices of the chicken, so it's nice and tender. Paul and I both loved it. It will be making repeat appearances at our dinner table in the future for sure!

Chicken Milanese
Ingredients:
1/3 c. flour
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. plain bread crumbs (I used panko, but any style will work)
2/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 t. dried basil
1 t. dried thyme
4 (6 to 8 oz) chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/3 c. vegetable oil


Directions:
Prepare your assembly line by getting out three wide and shallow bowls (I use metal pie pans, and they work great). Place flour in the first one. Place eggs in the second one and beat them slightly with a fork. In a small bowl or ziploc bag (I like to use a bag because I can just shake it up to mix it), combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, and thyme. Pour mixture into your third pan.

Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to about 1/2 inch thick. I actually just sliced my fat chicken breasts in half to make them thinner instead of pounding them, but you'll get more for your money if you pound them. :)

Pat chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour first, then eggs, and then coat in breading mixture, pressing lightly to adhere as much of the topping to the chicken as possible.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, place breaded chicken pieces in the skillet and cook until chicken is done, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil. If you can't fit all your chicken in the pan at once, cook it in batches and keep finished pieces warm in the oven (heated to 150 degrees) on a baking sheet.

Serve with rice or pasta. You can top it with any kind of sauce if you like, but it really stands on it's own legs very well.


I highly recommend this chicken! It is SO flavorful and pretty easy. I also like that I usually have all the ingredients on hand. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hot Artichoke Dip

This was another of my appetizers for my Valentine's Day feast this year. Artichoke dip is one of Paul's favorite things, and this recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook, so I just knew it would be a hit. :) It's nice, simple, and flavorful.

I served it with blue tortilla chips and some tiny bread slices (I think it's called cocktail size or something...I can't remember). I preferred the bread, and Paul preferred the chips. ;)

Hot Artichoke Dip
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Ingredients:
2 cans (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 c. mayonnaise
2 green onions, chopped (the whole thing)
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
dash of salt
cayenne pepper, to taste
black pepper, to taste


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place one can of artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mayonnaise, green onions, and cayenne pepper in a food processor (batches in a blender will also work). Pulse mixture 6 or 7 times until well combined but not liquefied. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Roughly chop the second can of artichokes into bite sized pieces. Stir chopped artichokes into the dip gently. Spread mixture into an oven safe dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly.


Fruit Dip

This recipe goes way back to Valentine's Day. :) I wanted to have a fruit plate with dip as one of our appetizers (for some reason I thought the two of us needed three appetizers...who knows what I was thinking!). I did a quick search on allrecipes.com, and found literally hundreds of options. I knew Paul wouldn't like anything that had marshmallow fluff in it, so that narrowed things down quite a bit.

I finally settled on this recipe. It was very easy, very quick, and very yummy! I just tried to find the original recipe on allrecipes so that I could link to it, but I couldn't find it. Sorry!


Fruit Dip
Ingredients:
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix (smaller size, 3.4 oz)
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping (like Cool Whip), thawed
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. whole milk

Directions:
Whip all ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Chill until ready to serve.

I thought this dip was especially good with grapes and tart apples. It's not exactly good for you--ha ha--but it is definitely fun! :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cheesecake Bars

I made these for my Oscar party this year, and they are GOOD. Simple and tasty! You can garnish them however you want, and if you aren't in as big a hurry as I was, you can make them much prettier. ;) At first, slicing them didn't go very well, but then I ran the knife under warm water between cuts, and it worked magic!

Yet again, this recipe comes from the ever reliable My Kitchen Cafe! :)


Cheesecake Bars
Ingredients:

Crust:
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
8 T. butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. flour
1/8 t. salt

Filling:
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c. sour cream
2 t. lemon juice
1 t. vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with foil (allowing edges to hang over the sides), and grease the foil.

Combine all ingredients for the crust. (I like to do this in a big ziploc bag and moosh everything together with my hands, but you can also do it in a bowl.) Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and press down evenly. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until it is beginning to brown. Cool crust on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Gradually add sugar, and beat for about 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until completely combined. Beat in sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Pour filling over crust and bake 35-40 minutes, until sides are set and center is slightly jiggly.

Cool completely, uncovered, on a wire rack for 2 hours. Then, cover with foil and chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours (can refrigerate overnight). Before serving, remove bars from pan using the foil on the sides, and slice into squares. Like I mentioned, running your knife until warm water between cuts can work miracles.

Enjoy plain or garnish as desired! :)

Here's a link to the original recipe: Cheesecake Bars.

Chicken Spaghetti

This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook. When I first looked through the cookbook, I knew I had to try this recipe because the pictures of it just made my mouth water for some reason. Then, I read through the ingredients, saw that it asked for a cut up fryer chicken, and got scared away for a couple months. I just kept coming back to it for some reason, though, so I finally bit the bullet one day and did it. And boy am I glad I did! It was so yummy!

Working with the fryer chicken was a little yucky (so much of it isn't edible!!), but I figured I'd give it a try. The result is very tasty since it's not just white meat.


Chicken Spaghetti
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Ingredients:
1 cut up fryer chicken
1 lb. spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces
1 jar (4 oz) diced pimientos, drained
1 small onion
1/4 c. finely diced green bell pepper
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
2 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 t. seasoned salt (Lawry's)
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
pepper to taste


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place fryer chicken into a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes. Remove chicken from the pot with tongs or a slotted spoon, keeping the water in the pot. Set chicken aside to cool.

Remove 2 cups of the water (now broth) and set aside. Bring the rest of the water back to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain spaghetti and discard remaining water.

Remove chicken from the bones and shred or cut into bite sized pieces. I found this easiest to do with my fingers.

Drain the pimientos, finely dice the onion and the bell pepper. Place the spaghetti, cream of mushroom soup, and 2 cups of the cheese in a large bowl. Add the pimientos, onion, and bell pepper. Then, add the seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Last, add the chicken and the reserved broth. Stir together well and adjust spices if needed.

Pour into a large baking pan (it completely filled a 9x13 dish), and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. cheese. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until bubbly.


This really is a flavorful casserole. It's quite different from any others I have tried. I think next time I will experiment and use chicken breasts and then chicken broth instead of reserved water. It may not be as yummy, but it will be less hassle and probably cheaper (I was surprised at how much a cut up fryer chicken cost!). I'll let you know. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Banana Bars with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

There are so many wonderful desserts over at My Kitchen Cafe! I have tried several of them, and have yet to be disappointed. This is another winner! Who doesn't need another idea for what to do with those overripe bananas? And the frosting? It's so light and fluffy (far from healthy, of course ;) ), I may keep using it on all sorts of things in the future!


(Sorry for the dark picture! It was a stormy day, and I had trouble finding a good place to take a picture.)

Banana Bars
Ingredients:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. mashed, ripe bananas (about three bananas worth)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a jelly roll pan (you can also use a 9x13 pan with an additional 8x8 pan).

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla and sour cream. Stir in baking soda and salt. Stir in flour. Last, mix in the mashed bananas.

Spread evenly into prepared pan(s), and bake for 20-25 minutes (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

*Note: If you want something less sweet or complicated, I think these bars would be delicious on their own with a light dusting of powdered sugar. :)

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar (granulated and powdered both work, though powdered dissolves better)
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until smooth.

Oh man, I could go for a big one of these right now (okay maybe two or three ;))! They are so very tasty! Here's a link to the original recipe (with a much better picture!): Banana Bars with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting.

Tortellini Salad with Asparagus and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

This salad is so yummy! It makes a nice, light weekday meal. Both Paul and I found it hearty enough to stand alone as a meal, but it would also make a nice side dish for a bigger meal.

I love the flavor of the fresh basil and the shallot. And James really gets a kick out of the tortellini. :)

Tortellini Salad with Asparagus and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette
from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook


Ingredients:
6 T. olive oil
1/2 c. fresh basil, finely chopped
3 T. lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
1 lb. asparagus, tough ends broken off and sliced on the bias (about 3/4 to 1 inch pieces)
2 packages (9 oz each) fresh cheese tortellini*
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 c.)
1/4 c. pine nuts**, toasted (optional)

*You can find fresh cheese tortellini with the fresh pastas in the same aisle as the cheese. It can be pricey, but since there is no meat in this dish, the cost is still comparable to other meals.

**OK, pine nuts are extremely expensive! Who knew? I have left these out both times we've had this salad, and it's still been delicious. I'm sure the pine nuts would add a nice texture and flavor to the dish, though, so if you're in the mood to splurge, go for it!

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with 1 T. salt.

In a large bowl (big enough for the whole salad), whisk together the olive oil, chopped basil, lemon juice, minced shallot, minced garlic, 1/2 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper.

When water is boiling, add asparagus and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Scoop out asparagus with a slotted spoon and transfer to a colander, do not discard the water. Return the pot of water to the stove and return to a boil. Rinse asparagus under cold water until cool. Toss asparagus in the bowl with the salad dressing.

When water returns to a boil, cook tortellini according to directions on the package. When pasta is tender, drain and toss with the asparagus and dressing while still hot. Refrigerate salad until chilled (at least 30 minutes).

Just before serving, toss salad with halved tomatoes and Parmesan cheese (and toasted pine nuts, if using). Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spicy Mac and Cheese

This recipe is one of my favorites that I've tried recently. I've made it twice now, and I liked it even more the second time. It comes from one of my favorite food blogs: Annie's Eats.

I'm a big fan of homemade mac and cheese, but Paul tends to find it a little bland for his tastes. He likes this recipe because it is packed with flavor. Definitely not bland at all! It's not too spicy, but it has a nice kick and a wonderful flavor. The combination of the different types of cheese and the spices and vegetables is just really yummy. :)

If you love cheese, you should definitely give it a try!

Spicy Mac and Cheese
Ingredients:
4 c. pasta shapes (this time I used mini bowties, and it was fun)
1/3 c. onion, finely chopped
1/3 c. roasted red peppers*, finely chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (If you want it to be spicier, you could leave in some seeds...I prefer the flavor of the jalapeno without the overwhelming spiciness, so I scrape the seeds and membranes all out with a spoon.)
6 1/2 T. butter, divided
2 1/2 c. milk, plus additional to thin out sauce if needed
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
8 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded
4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. baguette or crusty Italian bread (or about 1 1/2 c. bread crumbs)

*Roasted red peppers are sold in jars in the same aisle as the pickles and olives. They are a little on the expensive side, but one jar can make this recipe twice. You can also roast your own if you are talented that way. I am not. ;)


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta according to directions on package. When the pasta is done, drain and return to pot. While waiting for water to boil, saute the onion, red peppers, and jalapenos in 1/2 T. butter for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Set aside until needed.

Then, while pasta cooks, melt 4 T. butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour and stir continuously for about two minutes. Be careful not to burn the mixture. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until mixture boils and thickens, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Whisk in spices, and then whisk in the cheeses until well incorporated. If the sauce seems too thick, add some milk to thin it out a bit. (I added 1/2 c. this time, and it was still thick and creamy, but not overly so.)

Combine pasta, vegetables, and cheese sauce. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan (or 2 quart casserole dish).

Cut baguette into chunks and pulse in a food processor until coarse crumbs are formed. Melt the last 2 T. butter in the microwave and pour over bread crumbs. Pulse a few times to distribute the melted butter. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over the pasta and cheese. Bake for 25 minutes (or until mixture is bubbly and topping is golden brown). Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before serving.


Here's a link to the original recipe: Spicy Mac and Cheese.

This is definitely one that will be making repeat appearances in our household. :)

Apple Cider Pudding Cake

Alright folks, today starts a massive effort for me in catching up with posting my recipes. I have tried so many wonderful new recipes in the past couple months! I really would like to post them all here! I'm calling it my version of nesting (I'm not prone to the real kind, unfortunately. ;) )

What better way to start than with a glorious dessert from the ever-reliable My Kitchen Cafe! (By the way, check out her newly redesigned site. It's pretty slick!)

I made this on Valentine's Day as the finale to my lavish and over-the-top dinner that I prepared for Paul. I overdid things that night, that's for sure. Two people do NOT need three appetizers, FYI. ;)

This dessert was delicious, though! I know the season for apple desserts is pretty much over now, but if you ask my husband, he would say apple desserts are wonderful all year long! So, here it is.

Apple Cider Pudding Cake


(Please forgive the messy counter. Like I said, I did a LOT of cooking that night. And by the time I was dishing this out and taking pictures, I was SO ready to crawl into bed and go to sleep!)

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 egg
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. milk
2 T. butter, melted
1 t. vanilla
2 c. Granny Smith apples, chopped

Boiling mixture:
1 c. apple cider (apple juice works too, that's what I used)
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. brown sugar

Streusel:
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. butter (cold)

Directions:
Grease 8x8 pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cake batter by whisking together the egg, brown sugar, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg) until just combined. You can combine the dry ingredients separately first like the original recipe calls for, but I rarely do. Gently fold in chopped apples, and spread into your prepared pan.

In a small saucepan, bring the apple cider, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar to a boil. Carefully pour boiling mixture over cake batter in prepared pan, and bake for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare streusel topping by combining the flour, brown sugar, and cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can do this using a pastry cutter, two forks, two butter knives, a food processor, or--my preferred method--your hands. After the cake has baked for 35 minutes, sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the cake and bake for 8-10 more minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the top cake layer comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream! :)

The pudding layer gets somewhat absorbed into the cake layer as it cools, so this dessert is much better immediately after being cooked. Paul and I, of course, couldn't finish the whole thing by ourselves, so we had leftovers. It was still tasty, just not quite as good as the first day.

Here's a link to the original recipe: Apple Cider Pudding Cake.

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Menu: April 1 - April 7

My good streak continues! I haven't been posting my menus every week, but I have been planning and using them. :)

Here's this week:

Thursday (Today): BBQ Chicken Pizza (from Pioneer Woman)
Friday: Chinese Haystacks (using a new recipe for the gravy that doesn't use condensed soup from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
Saturday: Creamy One Pot Pasta (from Paula :) Thanks!)
Sunday: Easter Dinner with friends! Chicken Cordon Bleu (MKC) and Cauliflower Bake (MKC) are my contributions, plus this Banana Cream dessert. :)
Monday: Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli (from a website on frugality that I've been reading: Frugal Wife=Wealthy Life)
Tuesday: Crockpot Beef Stroganoff (also FW=WL)
Wednesday: leftovers!

Also on the docket for this week: Banana Bars with Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting from MKC for Paul's work get together, and Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls for Saturday morning General Conference. :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

This is a recipe that Brian and I tried when we were first married from the back of the bisquick box. The recipe is actually just for the dumplings and you just add them to whatever soup you want (with a chicken broth base). We love this recipe, especially during the winter (which seems to be ending here...maybe).

IMG_2531

Ingredients:

2 cups bisquick
2/3 cup milk
chicken broth soup

Directions:
Mix bisquick and milk until combined. Drop heaping spoonfuls of dough into boiling broth, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes uncovered and then 10 more minutes covered.

This is how I make our chicken soup base:
Bring however many cups of water to boil you are going to need (about 10). Add boulion cubes (one for each cup of water). When dissolved add chopped onions, carrots, celery and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes then add shredded chicken. At this point I add the dumpling dough.

*If you're making this for a small crowd like I usually am do half of this recipe. Half this recipe would feed about 2-3 people. And just so you know, leftovers of this aren't the best so make what you think you'll eat.

* We've found that really small dumplings don't cook as well. They don't fluff and cook through. Weird, but true.

Creamy One Pot Pasta

I made this recipe recently when my family was in town and everyone went back for seconds. So yummy, but also very basic and healthy. The sauce is very light and flavorful and mixes great with the veggies. It's also nice to have another meatless meal (since most of the meals I make have meat in them and that gets expensive at times). I got this recipe from my sister-in-law and I believe she got it from the pampered chef website or something like that.

IMG_2797

Ingredients:
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 jar of sun dried tomatoes*
3 cans (5 and 1/4 cups) chicken broth
1 lb. uncooked pasta (I used bow tie)*
1 head broccoli (2 cups)
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
grated parmesan

Directions:
Cook garlic in 1 tbsp. oil in stockpot for a couple minutes. Add broth, cover, and bring to boil. Stir in pasta, cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, chop broccoli and carrots and slice tomatoes. Cut cream cheese into cubes. Add veggies, cheese, salt and pepper to pot. and stir until cream cheese is melted (do not drain pasta). Reduce heat, cover and cook 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

* Sun dried tomatoes are pretty pricey ($6 a jar at my store)...so I substituted chopped red pepper and I loved how it turned out. I think you can use pretty much whatever veggies you feel like.
* The recipe actually calls for penne or ziti, but I used bow tie pasta because that's what my sister-in-law used the time she made it and I really liked it with that kind of pasta. So I altered the amount of time to cook the pasta (penne would take longer).
* If you like your pasta more on the firm side, I would put the veggies in a bit sooner so they have time to get tender before the pasta gets too soft.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Menu: March 20 - 25

Saturday: Pork Tenderloin w/ Cabbage & Apple Slaw
Sunday: Mom's House
Monday: Blackened Salmon w/ Broccoli & Raisins
Tuesday: Mediterranean Chickpea Patties
Wednesday: Spaghetti w/ Quick Meat Sauce
Thursday: Chicken w/ Brussel Sprouts

Finally! I think I'm starting to get things together...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meatballs with Cream Sauce

I made this recipe a couple months ago and it was a hit! It had good flavor and was a fun change from the normal meatball recipe I use. And the sauce was flavorful and creamy, but light. I will definitely make it again. I found this recipe at my kitchen cafe. I really do like basically everything I try from this website.

IMG_2474

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
2 T. ketchup
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
3 T. flour

Cream Sauce:
2 T. butter
3 1/2 T. flour
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
14 oz. can chicken broth (If you want your sauce thicker, cut down the chicken broth to 1 cup)
2/3 cup milk
2 T. minced fresh parsley

In a bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients except the beef and flour. Add beef and mix well. Shape into balls. Roll in flour, shaking off excess (I actually forgot to do this step and mine turned out great). Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet and bake, uncovered, at 400 for 10 minutes. Turn meatballs, bake 8-10 minutes longer or until no longer pink. Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add broth and milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. If using the full can of chicken broth, the sauce doesn’t thicken overly much, but it is delicious that way. If you want it slightly thicker, cut down the chicken broth to 1 cup. Drain meatballs on paper towels; transfer to a serving dish. Top with sauce and parsley. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

So good!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Menu: February 18 - February 24

This menu was tough to put together for some reason. I have a few time constraints during the week, and I was just struggling to come up with ideas. I'm really excited about a few of these recipes, though!

Thursday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup (can you tell this is the biggest time constraint night? ;) )
Friday: Breakfast for Dinner (I'm thinking pancakes!)
Saturday: Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pizza (Pioneer Woman)
Sunday: Chicken Spaghetti (Pioneer Woman)
Monday: Chicken Enchiladas (Annie's Eats)
Tuesday: Garlic Tuna Pasta with Asparagus (My Kitchen Cafe)
Wednesday: leftover night

Phew! I feel so accomplished! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu: February 15 - February 21

I have some meals I didn't make last week because, as always, things came up. So, there are some repeats. And, once again, I'm making a few kitchen cafe recipes. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday: Italian Crescent Bake
Tuesday: Super Bean Burritos (My Kitchen Cafe)
Wednesday: Barbeque chicken with rice pilaf and peas
Thursday: Chicken Enchilada Pasta (MKC)
Friday: We may be on the road...
Saturday: Chicken Stir-Fry (Dine and Dish)
Sunday: Cream Cheese Chicken Soup (MKC)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Menu: February 11 - February 17

Here's this week's menu!

Thursday: Homemade Cheeseburgers and salad
Friday: Valentine's Day Surprise (Paul and I are pretending Friday is Valentine's day instead of Sunday. I have quite the menu planned, but you'll have to wait to see it because it's a surprise for Paul. :) )
Saturday: Chicken with Asparagus and Roasted Red Peppers (allrecipes.com) with rice
Sunday: Meatloaf, Potatoes Au Gratin, Carrots (we didn't end up having this last weekend...my parents surprised me by coming with Natalie, so our plans changed! :) )
Wednesday: leftover night

I've got a few great recipes to post. I'll try to catch up over the next couple days!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicken a la King Wrap


This is tasty! I probably wouldn't put the mushrooms in again (Eli would), but it is YUMMY!

Ingredients:
  • cooking spray (I prefer olive oil)
  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
  • 1/4 c white onion, diced
  • 1 c white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c fresh carrots, diced
  • 1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tbsp whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 c low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3/4 c skim milk
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 whole-wheat tortillas (medium)
Directions:
Heat nonstick skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Reduce heat to med-high, mist pan with cooking spray and saute chicken for about 5 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from pan.

Mist same pan again with cooking spray. Add onion, mushrooms, and carrots and saute until cook through, about 5 minutes. Add peas and saute until cooked, about 3 minutes.

Add chicken back to panand stir in flour. Add stock and milk, 1/4 c at a time. Stir constantly until sauce is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour chicken-veggie mix into tortilla and roll it up. Enjoy!

Clean Eating Magazine March/April 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu: February 8 - February 14

Though I dreaded coming up with a menu, I did it, and here it is...

Monday: Chicken and Dumplings
Tuesday: Quesadillas with leftover white chili
Wednesday: Pasta Primavera
Thursday: Broccoli Cheese Soup in bread bowls
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Italian Crescent Bake
Saturday: Barbeque chicken, rice pilaf, peas
Sunday: Cream cheese chicken, green beans, maybe a fruit

I have some yummy recipes to post and hope to get them up in the next couple days!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Menu: Feb. 7 - Feb. 13

I have recipes to post, but I wanted to post my menu first before I forget! Last week was insane (I had to work late nights at school), but my husband is amazing and cooked most of our dinners this week! Gotta love him! I'm back to cooking this week and am SUPER excited. All but Monday's dinner come from the new March/April issue of CLean Eating Magazine!

Sunday: Dinner @ Mom's house (Super bowl pasta bar)
Monday: Spicy Leek & Sun-dried Tomato "Pasta" (Better Recipes)
Tuesday: Chicken a la King Wrap
Wednesday: Salmon & Vegetable Skewers
Thursday: Beef & Broccoli Orange Stir-Fry over Soba Noodles
Friday: Tuna Nicoise Stovetop Casserole
Saturday: Honey Mustard Chicken & Rice Pilaf

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Menu: February 4 - February 10

For some reason I feel very accomplished and proud of this menu. :) Maybe it's because my sister, Natalie, is coming to town. Whatever it is, I'm way excited for these meals!

Thursday: Going out to eat with Natalie! (Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake for dessert)
Friday: Chicken Pot Pie (Pioneer Woman...recipe coming soon, I made this last night, but it made enough for two pies! Woo hoo!)
Saturday: Papa's Meatloaf, Potatoes Au Gratin (Pioneer Woman), Rolls, Carrots (we're having our typical Sunday dinner a day early since Natalie is leaving Sunday afternoon)
Monday: Spicy Mac and Cheese (Annie's Eats)
Tuesday: Meatball Soup
Wednesday: leftover night!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Meatball Soup

I made this soup last year and kept forgetting to post the recipe. This is a delicious and very healthy soup. We served breadsticks on the side for a perfect meal! This recipe was found in what my family called the checkerboard cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook).

IMG_0710

Ingredients:
1 beaten egg white
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs*
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 oz. lean ground beef
2 14-oz. cans beef broth
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dried small bow tie pasta
3 cups torn fresh spinach or 1/2 of 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

Directions:
In medium bowl combine egg white, bread crumbs, onion, garlic powder, and pepper. Add ground beef; mix well. Shape meat mixture into thirty-six 3/4-inch meatballs (sounds really precise...I just made small meatballs)

Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook meatballs over medium heat about 8 minutes or until no pink remains, turning occasionally to brown evenly. Set meatballs aside

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan stir together broth, undrained tomatoes, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, and water. Bring to boil; add pasta. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in meatballs and spinach. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or just until fresh spinach wilts or frozen spinach is heated through.

*I used regular bread crumbs and I think my meatballs were a little more fragile because of it. I'm not sure. But it turned out with regular bread crumbs.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Turkey & Spinach Roll-ups


I ended up making dinner for my family tonight. My mom was gone for the weekend with my sister and my other sister and I decided to take care of dinner for her. I totally forgot to take a picture, but here is the picture from Clean Eating magazine's website. Tasty and totally worth the time!

Ingredients:
1 tsp EVOO
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes with juice
1 tsp salt
8 pieces whole wheat lasagna
1 10 oz bag frozen spinach, thawed
1 15 oz tub of ricotta cheese
1 egg
3/4 c grated reduced-fat mozzarella

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Turn heat to medium-high and add ground turkey, breaking it up with a spatula until meat shows no sign of pink. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg, then add tomatoes and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring and breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse and allow to cool in a colander.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Squeeze all remaining moisture from thawed spinach and place in large bowl. Add ricotta cheese, egg and a 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese to bowl. Stir until combined.

Spread 1 cup of cooked tomato sauce into bottom of a 9" x 10" casserole dish. Lay a cooked lasagna noodle flat in front of you. Use your fingers to spread 1/8 of ricotta mixture across the noodle and roll it up. Place the rolled pasta seam side down, into the casserole dish. Repeat with remaining noodles. Spread remaining tomato sauce over roll-ups, then top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.

Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for 5 minutes or until the rollups are browned and bubbly.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Black Bean, Avocado & Chicken Wrap

I planned this on a menu I forgot to post. This was tasty (although the avocados weren't quite ripe). One was enough for me, but Eli did have two. He loved 'em. And although the recipe didn't call for it, we seasoned the chicken with a little bit of salt-free Cajun seasoning. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/4 avocado, smashed with a fork (I used 1/2)
1/4 c. salsa
2 oz. roasted or baked chicken breast, chopped
1/4 c. low sodium canned black beans, rinsed and smashed slightly
2 6-inch whole wheat tortillas

Directions:
Mix salsa with avocados.

Spread avocado-salsa mix on tortillas. Layer with beans, then chicken.

Roll it up and eat it!

This recipe is from Clean Eating Magazine May/June 2009.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Menu: Jan. 30 - Feb. 5

Things have been going fairly well with sticking to our menus. So far we've lost almost 12 pounds each (woo-hoo) since Jan. 4th! We've also felt much more energetic and healthier. We've decided to do a detox at the beginning of each month, so our menu starting Monday is all vegetarian. I'm including some new ones I found! We're excited!

Saturday: Sweet Potato Beef Stir-fry (Clean Eating Mag)
Sunday: Dinner at Mom's
Monday: Veggie Jambalaya (Busy Cooks)
Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers (didn't get to them last week)
Wednesday: Black Bean Soup (Better Recipes)
Thursday: Curried "Chicken" and Spinach (Better Recipes)
Friday: Spicy Leek & Sun-dried Tomato "Pasta" (Better Recipes)

Nutella Banana Pockets

This photo doesn't do this treat justice. I was totally craving something sweet, but didn't want to go too far off the deep end, so I found this simple recipe at Off the Wall and it was perfect! I think I need more experience with Phyllo dough.

Ingredients:
6 phyllo sheets
3 tbs butter, melted (I just used PAM)
Nutella
Banana, sliced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

Put down one sheet of dough, spray with PAM. Place another sheet of dough on top, spray and repeat one more time.

Use a pizza roller or knife to divide the dough into 5 strips. Spoon some Nutella on one side of the strip, place a banana slice on top, and then cover with a little more Nutella.

Wrap the dough up into a triangle, like you were folding a flag. Spray with a little more PAM, stick in the oven, and bake for about 10 minutes!

Here's the original recipe. I summarized a little, but they have really good pictures. P.S. they have some more yummy looking food too!

Turkey Meatloaf & Turnip-Cauliflower Mash

Delicious! The only other meatloaf that I have ever really liked was a cheeseburger meatloaf, but this was YUMMY! We also really liked the Turnip-Cauliflower Mash. I was a little worried about that because I've made cauliflower mashed "potatoes" before and they weren't very good. This mash had the same texture as potatoes and it was SO filling! We will definitely make it again!

Ingredients (for meatloaf & mash):
1 lb. ground turkey
1 c. onion, diced
3/4 c. natural oatmeal
1/2 c. carrots, grated
2 egg whites, whisked
2 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I would use 1, maybe 1 1/2 next time)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp agave nectar
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed and cut into pieces
2 turnips, skin removed and cut into pieces
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. In a med. bowl, mix turkey, onion, oatmeal, carrots, egg whites, 1 tsp Italian seasonings and cayenne. Place mix in a 9-inch loaf pan (I just shaped in a loaf).

In another med. bowl, whisk together tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and agave. Spread sauce over meatloaf. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Place turnips in a pan with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes. Steam Cauliflower for 15 minutes in a steam cooker or steamer over a pot filled with 2 inches of water over med-high heat.

In a large bowl, mash together cauliflower, turnips, oil, basil, salt and pepper (I added a little bit of minced garlic to this too). We actually just stuck everything in the blender and pulsed for a bit.

This recipe came from Clean Eating Magazine, July/August 2009. Love this Mag!

Creamy White Chili

I really enjoyed this chili! I keep accidentally calling it soup, though, because it's on the thin side for a chili. It was very flavorful, just spicy enough, and nice and filling.

Creamy White Chili
Ingredients:
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 t. garlic powder (it seemed like a lot to me, but I went with it, and it was delicious!)
1 T. oil
2 cans (about 15 oz each) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (or about 1 3/4 c.) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz. each) chopped green chilies
1 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. cream


Directions:
In a large saucepan saute chicken, onions, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cream. Serve immediately.

Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired. Also, it tastes really good served with tortilla chips. We only had a tiny bit of chips in the bottom of a bag, and we were going for every last little crumb. ;)

Once again, it's a big hit from My Kitchen Cafe. Her site is really full of great ideas! Here's a link to the original recipe: Creamy White Chili.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

I thought these wraps were very tasty! The recipe made six wraps, so I had the leftovers for dinner while Paul was out of town. I heated them up in the oven so that they'd be crispy instead of soggy. I'll definitely make these again (though not as often as I'd like because for some reason Paul gets headaches from flour tortillas :( ). James even liked them...well, he opened them up and picked out the insides, but still!

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps


Ingredients:
1 c. rice, cooked (I actually made 1 1/2 cups because we like rice ;) )
1 c. cooked, shredded chicken (just boil the chicken until it's done and then shred it with two forks)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, chopped (use whole onion, I actually used two)
1/2 red or green bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. garlic salt
2 c. shredded cheese (I probably used way more than this...oops)
sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix together rice, chili powder, cumin, and garlic salt. Add chicken, beans, onion, bell pepper, cilantro and lime juice.

Preheat skillet or griddle (I actually used my griddle and it was perfect!) to medium heat. Assemble wraps by sprinkling cheese on a tortilla leaving a one-inch margin (it's important to spread the cheese out because as it melts, the cheese holds it all together). Place a generous amount of rice/chicken mixture in the middle. If desired (you'd be crazy not to ;) ), dot the mixture with sour cream. Tuck in edges and roll up tortilla.

Spray the outside of the tortilla with cooking spray, and place seam-side down on heated skillet or griddle. Cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.


A couple notes: If you are pretty sure you're going to have leftovers, don't add sour cream to the extra ones. The sour cream kinda dries out and doesn't do very well for reheating. Then, after you reheat them, you can put sour cream on top. Also, it may be nice to have some salsa to dip them in or spread on top. They verge on a tad dry otherwise.

This is yet another great recipe from My Kitchen Cafe! Here's a link to the original recipe: Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps.

Menu: January 29 - February 3

My schedule for the last couple weeks has been different because Paul has gone out of town twice. I've still done pretty well for myself, though, and I've pretty much cleared the fridge of all previous leftovers. :)

Paul comes home tonight, so things can finally get back to normal! Woo hoo!

Here's the plan:

Saturday: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (My Kitchen Cafe)
Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie (Pioneer Woman)
Monday: Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Tomato Vinaigrette (My Kitchen Cafe)
Wednesday: leftovers night!

It kinda turned into a Chicken week unintentionally. It's ok, though, because our grocery budget could use a light week. ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu: January 21 - January 29

It has been a year since I last posted a menu! I can't believe how long it has been. It's really quite silly because I have been writing weekly menus for most of this time, I just kept forgetting to post them. I really like reading what other people are making for the week and stealing ideas from them. So, basically, I'm going to attempt to be better at putting mine online.

Thursday: Chili with cornbread (I never get tired of this chili recipe!)
Friday: Chili mac and cheese (I just make a box of mac and mix leftover chili with it...it's seriously one of my favorite foods)
Saturday: Cream cheese chicken soup (My Kitchen Cafe)
Sunday: Dinner with Brian's family
Monday: Sweet and Sour Chicken (I love my recipe...but I'm trying a new recipe from My Kitchen Cafe for fun)
Tuesday: Burritos (grilled on our George Foreman)
Wednesday: Chicken a la King
Thursday: Meatballs with Cream Sauce (My Kitchen Cafe)

As you can see, I'm a little obsessed with my kitchen cafe right now. I just really like the recipes she posts. I haven't disliked a single thing I've tried from her website! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I've been really bad about taking pictures of the food I've been cooking lately! Tonight, the missionaries came over for dinner, and I just couldn't bring myself to say, "Could you hold off a second? I want to take a picture." Too embarrassed. Oh well! This picture comes from My Kitchen Cafe, and it's even served in a fancy schmancy bread bowl. I definitely didn't do that. Though I did serve it with homemade rolls (using this recipe Paula shared with us a while back).

The soup was delicious! The two types of cheese gave it a wonderful flavor. And I was very pleasantly surprised with how easily and quickly it came together. I know I'll be making this one often in the future. :)

Broccoli Cheese Soup


Ingredients:
1 small onion, diced
1 3/4 c. chicken broth (or 1 can)
fresh broccoli (to taste)
1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
pepper, to taste (I'm always very generous with my pepper)
2 c. milk (I used James' whole milk for the creaminess, but you can use any variety)
1 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c. shredded swiss cheese

Directions:
Place onions and chicken broth in a medium saucepan, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, steam your broccoli. Heat milk in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and pepper, and cook for a minute or two. Gradually whisk in warmed milk. Stir mixture until it thickens. Pour in broth and onions, and stir to combine. Add cheese and broccoli and stir until cheese melts and soup is smooth. Serve immediately.

Note: This recipe doesn't make a whole lot of soup. I didn't have enough broccoli to double it, so I multiplied everything by 1 1/2 instead. Even then, with the two missionaries (so four adults and one toddler) we finished the whole pot of soup, and there are no leftovers.

It's so yummy! Even without meat, this soup is hearty and filling enough to stand on its own as a main dish. It filled me up faster than I expected...though that could have something to do with the pregnancy thing. ;)

Here's a link to the original recipe on My Kitchen Cafe: Broccoli Cheese Soup. Enjoy!

Menu: Jan. 18 - Jan. 23

So, Eli and I are done with our Detox stage. We're moving on, sticking to our schedule of eating and staying vegetarian 3 nights a week. We're also limiting the amount of meat we're eating and the cuts of meat; we're sticking with very lean cuts. This week will be yummy!

Wednesday: Chicken, Spinach & Ricotta Quesadillas (Clean Eating mag)
Thursday: Stuffed Peppers
Friday: Chicken & Pineapple w/ Sweet & Sour Sauce (Clean Eating mag)
Saturday: Blueberry Strudel (b) & Turkey Meatloaf w/ Turnip-Cauliflower Mash (CE mag - d)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Simple, Perfect Enchiladas

That's what the Pioneer Woman calls them. And I'm pretty sure I agree with her. Well, about the perfect part anyway. They are not quite as simple as enchiladas I've made in the past (can you really get more simple than a can of enchilada sauce, some cheese, ground beef, and tortillas?), but the additions she makes are all for the better. They're so tasty that I had them for lunch the next day and then for dinner again, too!

I served ours with refried beans, but I probably should have also made some Mexican rice to round out the meal.

Simple, Perfect Enchiladas (from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook)


Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 T. canola oil
2 T. flour
1 large can (28 oz) red enchilada sauce
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. cilantro, chopped

Filling:
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (4 oz) diced green chilies
1/2 t. salt

Assembly:
10-14 corn tortillas
canola oil (for frying)
1/2 c. chopped black olives
1 c. chopped green onions
3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
cilantro, chopped

Directions:
First, prepare the sauce by whisking together the flour and canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow to bubble for about a minute. Add the enchilada sauce, chicken broth, slat, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until ready to assemble.

Meanwhile, brown the beef with the onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the grease. Add the green chilies and salt. Stir to combine, turn off the heat, and set aside.

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Lightly fry each tortilla just until soft. This only takes a few seconds if your oil is hot. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.

Next, dip each tortilla in the sauce carefully using tongs (I had a couple of mine tear, so be gentle ;) ). Set the sauce soaked tortillas on a cookie sheet. Then, assemble enchiladas by placing some of the meat mixture, some olives, some green onions, and a generous amount of cheese on each tortilla. Roll up each one and place in the baking sheet seam side down. (Maybe it's because I'm pregnant and clumsy, but this ended up being a rather messy process. ;) I recommend having all the assembly ingredients readily accessible because your hands will get very messy.)

Once you've assembled all the enchiladas, add the chopped cilantro to the remaining sauce and pour over enchiladas. Top with a generous amount of grated cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle extra cilantro on top before serving.


I'm pretty sure I could eat the whole pan full of these on my own if I let myself. They're addictive!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fast and Easy Pizza Dough

In the past when I've made pizza I always buy the dough and the sauce. I always figured, hey, pizza is supposed to be a quick meal on those days when I don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I came across a dough recipe on My Kitchen Cafe and she sure made it sound easy and delicious. So I tried it and it was in fact, easy and delicious! What I like about this recipe is you don't have to make it in advance at all. It doesn't have to rise. That's my kind of dough!

IMG_2406

IMG_2401

Ingredients:
3 cups flour, more or less
1 tablespoon honey, heaping
1 tablespoon oil, heaping
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. (If using a pizza stone, let stone heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven before baking pizza.) Mix all pizza dough ingredients together, except the flour. Add flour and knead for a bit then put into pan. If baking in a sheet pan, bake for about 12 minutes (checking often) until crust is browned and cheese is golden and bubbly. If baking on the preheated pizza stone, slide pizza onto stone and bake for about 8 minutes. Makes 1 large pizza.

* I only needed about 2 and 1/2 cups of flour. I used a wooden spoon and stirred in a couple cups of flour and then I kneaded in another half cup until it was smooth and just slightly sticky to the touch. I probably packed the flour a bit or something. Three cups would probably be right for those who measure flour correctly.
* If you're going to use a pizza stone there are more directions for that on the website.

It really was the easiest yeast dough I've ever made and I plan on using it for pizza in the future! It was yummy! The original recipe is found here.