I Heart Ginger Sauce

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I never used to buy ginger root, maybe because we were dirt poor or maybe because I had no idea what to do with it (to me it looked like a tumor, lol), but now I couldn’t imagine living without it. In the corner of my kitchen counter you will always find fresh garlic and ginger… usually there are potatoes and apples there as well, but ALWAYS ginger and garlic. I put a clove of garlic into everything I cook but the ginger I use about once or twice a week when cooking chicken. Anyways, the local Japanese hibachi restaurant has a wonderful ginger sauce that I submerge everything in, even my rice. So with tonight’s Teriyaki Chicken I thought I would give the ginger sauce another try (not to mention I got these cute little condiment bowls for Christmas that I was dying to use). Justin and I tasted it a couple dozen times while adding pinch’s more of soy sauce and vinegar, but it turned out delicious!!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons ginger root, grated
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Directions
Use a knife to slice the brown skin off the ginger root. Once it is all peeled cut it into small chucks. Stop and smell it, it smells lemony and spicy! I love the way it smells! Use a garlic press to smash the ginger chunks. Put the crushed garlic in a bowl and add the soy sauce and vinegar, taste it, and adjust the flavor to your standards (adding more soy or vinegar). It will be potent so prepare yourself… you are putting it on meat and rice so it needs to have a strong flavor.

Barbeque Beef Sandwiches

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wow, it’s a good thing I got dinner started in the crockpot when I woke up because I spent most of the day reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It’s a young adult book (takes only a couple hours to read) and I suggest that everyone call up their library and get it immediately. It was a very interesting semi-autobiographical book about a teenage boy living on a reservation. I loved it! So I spent the day reading, taking breaks to giggle at my boys playing Guitar Hero, but by dinner I finished my book; we ate and played a game of SpongeBob Life. Everyone thought these sandwiches were a perfect ending to our delightful day!

Ingredients

1 pot roast (anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds)
1 McCormick pulled pork crock-pot packet (found in the gravy mix aisle)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
Optional- 1 medium onion, sliced
Provolone cheese slices
Rolls /buns

Directions
In crockpot, mix the McCormick packet, ketchup, cider vinegar, and brown sugar then add the roast (my roast was still partly frozen). Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours (I cooked mine about 6 hours on low before adding the peppers for another hour). One hour before you plan to eat, shred the beef then slice the peppers and onions and add to crockpot. When it is finished, remove meat and veggies with a slotted spoon. Place cheese slices on buns and put under low broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Fill the rolls with the meat and veggies and enjoy!

Cinnamon Biscuits

Friday, December 26, 2008


I swiped this recipe from My Home Cafe which is a great blog with lots of yummy recipes! I chose to have these Christmas morning because they can be made in advance and popped into the oven while we are busy opening presents. Justin and the boys were disappointed because they were expecting monkey bread, this tastes like biscuits with a hint of cinnamon and sugar. I overcooked mine and I am kicking myself for it. I pulled them out at exactly 60 minutes and forked open the middle biscuit and they were just right and white in the middle… but my bacon had 4 more minutes to cook so I put them back into the oven (what’s wrong with me)! When I pulled them out not but 5 minutes later they were hard on the outside and beige in the middle. Luckily I served them with bacon and eggs or my family would have killed me… honestly, who messes up breakfast on Christmas morning (apparently I do)!

Ingredients
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 to 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 stick of butter
Cinnamon and sugar

Directions
Line a 9x13 pan with parchment, and grease the parchment and sides. Parchment isn't absolutely necessary, but it makes it easier to get the bubbly, sugary buns out of the pan once they're baked. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add 2 cups of the cream all at once, then toss and stir the mixture till the dough comes together. If necessary, add additional cream to make the dough cohesive. Gather the dough in your hands and knead it a few times to make sure there are no dry spots. Place the cinnamon sugar in a small, shallow bowl or pan; or in a plastic zip-top bag. Break off pieces of dough about the size of a ping pong ball, or about 1 1/8 ounces. Dip each piece in melted butter or milk, then roll or shake in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place the cinnamon-coated dough balls into the pan of your choice in a single layer; they'll be touching one another, which is just fine.
Cover the pan with plastic, and place in the freezer overnight, or for up to a week or so. If freezing longer than overnight wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap, then in foil. Next day, remove the pan from the freezer, and let the buns rest at room temperature while you preheat your oven to 350. The buns don't need to thaw. If you're baking the buns immediately (not frozen), bake them 30 minutes, till the buns in the center are cooked through. You can asses this by taking a toothpick and actually digging into the center bun to take a look; it should look totally baked, not doughy. If the buns have been frozen, bake them for 60 minutes, testing for doneness as instructed above. Cover them with aluminum foil after 30 minutes of baking. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, right before serving.

Creamy Chicken and Chile Enchiladas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We are probably an embarrassing family to go to a restaurant with… Abbott gets ill at the table, Justin mixes his own dipping sauces and orders everything “no vegetables”, and Andrew and Justin smother their Mexican food with beans and rice (see picture below). Justin used to cover his chimichangas with beans and rice when we were dating and he’s just taught Andrew to do the same with all Mexican food. Its funny how Andrew eats just like Justin, it’s like they have the same taste buds!

Ingredients
4 shredded chicken breasts (I bake the chicken in the oven and shred the chicken by hand)
8 ounce package cream cheese
4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
12 flour tortillas
1 10 oz can green chile enchilada sauce
1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
3/4 c shredded cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put cream cheese, chiles, and red enchilada sauce in a saucepan with cooked chicken. Cook and stir over medium heat until blended. Spoon filling onto tortillas. Roll up and place seam side down in a 13x9 in baking dish. Pour green chile enchilada sauce over top of rolled enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese and back for 15-20 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday, December 22, 2008

These are Deb’s favorite chocolate chip cookie so I had to give them a try! My boys made these cookies while I supervised and finished reading The Host (another novel by Stephanie Meyer that has taken over my life). When I teasingly told the boys they needed to taste the cookie dough I lost a good fourth of my batter, lol! It was yummy cookie dough though! The cookies were very good but different than your average chocolate chip cookie. There’s so little flour it’s almost like a candy bar rather than a cookie. Once the cookies have cooled you need to put them in a air tight bag/container with a slice of bread to keep them moist.

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick of butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (we used milk chocolate chips)

Directions
Preheat to 300 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips. Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place on the baking sheets. Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Store at room temperature in an airtight bag/container with a piece of bread for up to 3 days.

The Lady's Cheesy Mac (Fail)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Justin is a macaroni and cheese connoisseur, he remembers having the perfect macaroni and cheese at a church potluck when he was little but hasn’t had one he really enjoys since. So over the next couple weeks I am going to try out different mac and cheese recipes, this one is from Paula Dean. This mac and cheese was just ok, to be fair I really think I need to make it again because I put it in a 9x13 pan and it was way too dried out to be any good; it needs a deep bowl type dish to cook in instead of a pan. It didn’t have much flavor and wasn’t creamy. The search for the perfect macaroni and cheese continues…

Ingredients
4 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
4 cup cooked elbow macaroni, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while still hot and add the cheddar. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture. Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Top with additional cheese if desired.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mmm… this chicken was good! It was spicy so it’s unusual that I would like it but I ate twice my normal portion of chicken and had no room for a side! In case you haven’t noticed I love trying marinades but because this had lime juice I knew the chicken couldn’t be in this marinade longer than a couple hours. So I made the marinade in a ziploc the night before and added the chicken to the ziploc only 2 hours before cooking, but man-o-man was this flavorful! I think the marinade sitting overnight really caused the flavors to fuse. Besides fanatically trying new marinades lately I’ve also been fixated on flattening my chicken breasts and cooking them stovetop on high heat. I love the caramelized color it gives the chicken and it’s done and ready to serve in 10 minutes (which is a dream come true for a working mom)!

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of diced jalapeno (I use jarred jalapenos)
1 minced garlic clove

Directions
To make the marinade combine all ingredients except chicken in a ziploc bag or dish. Let the marinade rest in the fridge overnight. In-between pieces of plastic wrap place each chicken breast and gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Add chicken to marinade; turn to coat completely, refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook on high heat in a skillet for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through (resist the urge to flip the chicken for 5 minutes though so you get a good caramelized color). While cooking I sprinkled each side with a little salt and pepper.

Easy Mexican Quiche

Monday, December 15, 2008

There are a couple things I can’t cook.

  • Anything with yeast-I always mess up the rising process.

  • Fried foods- When I have a pot of oil on my stove I will start a grease fire, without fail (I’ve started like 3 so take my word for it).

  • Omelets and Crepes- I can’t figure out the flipping and folding.

So when we went to Colorado last year and Justin fell in love with a Mexican Omelet my heart ached because I knew I would never be able to reproduce it at home. However, I can cook a quiche so I got to thinking… I tinkered with the Bisquick quiche recipe, adding some Mexican flavors and it turned out great! Justin told me he was surprised how good it turned out (as if he has reason to doubt me, ha)! We all ate two slices and it was so easy I am already planning on having it again next week!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup Bisquick mix
1 (4 ounce) can of chopped green chiles
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon Cholula (or any hot sauce)

Directions
Heat oven to 400 and grease a 9-inch pie plate. In a large bowl wisk together milk and eggs, add bisquick and wisk until the large lumps are gone. Stir in the remaining ingredients and pour into the pie plate. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve plain or with salsa (the pepper bellied boys liked the salsa, I liked it plain).

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cake

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This simple cake is one of our favorite desserts. No icing is needed because they are full of milk chocolate chips! This is first on our list of holiday foods and snacks to take on vacations. It’s our comfort dessert that we make just for us and devour immediately. We made cupcakes this week because this was the first week in a longtime that we were all home together (aside from the evening we had to go buy a new dishwasher). We watched The Dark Knight and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian while snacking on these cupcakes; Abbott’s commentary about The Joker was hilarious!

Ingredients
A box of yellow cake mix (and the eggs, oil, etc. to make it)
1 package of instant pudding (vanilla if you want the cake yellow or chocolate if you want the cake brown, you don’t really notice a flavor difference)
1 package of milk chocolate chips

Directions
Mix the cake according to the directions on the box and stir in the instant pudding powder. Fold in the chocolate chips and cook according to the cake box!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This was my first attempt at homemade chicken noodle soup. I modified Michael’s Soup which is from Tyler Florence's cookbook. I made everything from scratch, roasted my own chicken, stewed the broth, and even made the noodles using Grandma’s noodle recipe, we liked it but it seemed like it was missing something. My friend Nick ate some and he just thought it needed pepper, so all in all I would label it a success! I finished the soup just in time for our dishwasher to break, sigh… Merry Christmas!

Ingredients
1 roasted chicken (you can buy one at the store deli or roast your own)

8 cups water
2 carrots, washed and sliced into circles
3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
2 cups pasta noodles (dried, frozen, or homemade)
1/2 lemon, juice only

Directions
Place roasted chicken in large stockpot and add water, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Place over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil to extract flavors of chicken. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, then remove chicken. Remove meat from chicken; shred meat. Discard bones and skin. Season chicken stock in pot with salt and pepper; add chicken and pasta. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked. Finish with lemon juice and parsley.

Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits

Monday, December 8, 2008

The boys and I love Red Lobster and it’s usually our restaurant of choice for birthday dinners. I have a good story from my Birthday at Red Lobster last year but I don’t think it’s for everyone (especially if you have a weak stomach), so I will post my story as a comment to this post if you are interested click “comments” below. Anyways, back to the biscuits! I found this top secret recipe on the ABC News Website and gave it a try. Of course it’s not as good as the real thing but they were the best biscuits I’ve ever made!

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
3/4 cup cold whole milk
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese
Dried parsley flakes, sprinkled on top

Directions
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine Bisquick with butter in a medium bowl, add cheddar cheese, milk, and garlic salt and mix until combined. Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I put them on non-stick foil) using an ice cream scoop. Sprinkled parsley flakes over the top of the biscuit balls and bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

Trish’s Cornflake Chicken

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Trish is my mother-in-law and cornflake chicken was Justin’s favorite type of chicken when I met him. So much so that he requested it as the meal for our rehearsal dinner at our wedding (his last dinner as a free man, dom dom dom). Justin and the boys eat it with ketchup; I like it plain or with white pepper gravy.

Ingredients
Chicken Breasts (however many you need for your family)
2-3 cups cornflakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup melted butter

Directions
In a large ziploc bag combine the cornflakes, salt, and pepper and seal. With a rolling pin or cup, crunch the cornflakes (or let your all too willing children smash the bag in their fingers). Dip the chicken in the melted butter and then put it in the ziploc bag. Shake the bag until the chicken is coated with the cornflakes. Put the chicken in an uncovered baking dish and cook at 375 for 45 minutes.

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This casserole has been one of my favorite sides for years and years. I can remember bringing this to potlucks after my son Andrew (who is now 10) was born. It easy to throw together and everyone always asks for the recipe. Ok... so I know it is terrible for you, but the irresistible comfort flavor helps you overlook the fat content.

Ingredients
1 (1.5 pound) package frozen hashbrown potatoes, thawed
1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the sour cream, soup, cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Press the excess water out of the hash browns and then add them to the soup mixture and mix well. Transfer to a 9x12 inch casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown.

Banana Dog

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


There’s really no recipe to this one, but it’s a fun snack/meal idea (especially for kids). Whenever we eat hot dogs we always have leftover buns so this is a convenient way to use them up, not to mention delicious! I love banana, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches, yum yum!

Ingredients
Banana
Hot Dog Bun
Peanut Butter
Strawberry Jam

Directions
Spread peanut butter on the inside of the hot dog bun. Put the banana in the bun and top with jam.

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch Pie

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I never posted an update on my blog but I actually won last month’s pie challenge with my Tie Dye Fashion Pie, how crazy is that! As the winner I have to pick January’s pie theme which is a lot of pressure so let me know if you have any good ideas! December’s pie challenge theme is holiday music, make a pie inspired by your favorite holiday song.
Yikes! I was at a loss of ideas for this one but my brother-in-law Chad suggested “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” so I have to give him the credit and kudos for the idea! I wish I would have had more green food coloring on hand so it would appear even more Grinch-ish, but you get the idea. This green pie is a twist on a Grasshopper Pie, it has an Oreo crust, layer of hot fudge, and a mint marshmallow filling.

Ingredients
Oreo cookies (about15 cookies)
2 tablespoons butter
1 package of marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 drops green food coloring
1 jar of hot fudge

Directions
Chop cookies finely in a food processor and mix with melted butter. Press cookie mixture into the bottom of a pie tin or spring foam pan. Microwave the jar of hot fudge and pour on top of the cookies. Place crust a in freezer to harden while making the pie filling. In large saucepan combine marshmallows, milk, and mint extract. Stir over medium heat until the marshmallows are completely melted. Chill until mixture holds its shape when dropped from a spoon. Beat the whipping cream in a chilled bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Fold whipping cream into marshmallow mixture, mine didn’t fold so easily so I beat them together for a couple seconds with the mixer. Spread into pie crust. Cover and refrigerate or freeze. My pie seemed to melt (as you can see in the picture) so I would suggest serving it semi-frozen at least.
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel.
Mr. Grinch.


You're a bad banana
With a greasy black peel.


You're a monster, Mr. Grinch.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul.
Mr. Grinch.


I wouldn't touch you, with a
thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.

Corn Casserole

Friday, November 28, 2008

This casserole is a classic family favorite served at potlucks for as long as I can remember. Justin now prefers cheesy corn but I still like the good ole corn casserole. Through the years I started getting lazy and mixing all the ingredients in the same 9x13 dish it would cook in. Let me advise against that! If you mix this well in a separate bowl and pour it in the cooking dish it yields a much better product! This was my contribution to our Thanksgiving meal yesterday, yummy!

Ingredients
1 box of cornbread muffin mix
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 egg
1 cup of sour cream,

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. In mixing bowl combine ingredients and stir well. Pour mixture into a baking dish and cook for 45 minutes - 1 hour, or until it gets golden on the top and knife comes out clean.

White Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

Monday, November 24, 2008

Justin didn’t like the idea of this recipe “you can’t improve upon perfection” he said to me (about the rice crispy treats, not about me personally) but he ate his words! I only used a 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and it added a subtle sweetness. You wouldn’t taste the white chocolate unless someone pointed it out to you but they are delicious!

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
16 ounce bag miniature marshmallows
7 cups rice crispy cereal
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions
In a large pan on medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the bag of marshmallows until they are almost melted and then add the white chocolate chips. When everything is melted add in the rice crispies and mix well. Press the mixture into a buttered 9x13 pan, the trick is to dampen your hands with water and press down on the mixture (it won’t stick to you hands this way). Let cool and serve!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Friday, November 21, 2008

These are the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had! Last year Justin’s Aunt Nancy made these for Thanksgiving and while I was waiting for the gravy I snuck a quick bite and about fell out of my chair! On my list of Top 10 comfort foods these potatoes are near the top!

Beware… this recipe uses a 5 pound bag of potatoes and feeds 4 people. My boys have 3rds of these potatoes and then come back for dessert potatoes later on! These are heavenly on their own and cross over into dangerously good when topped with gravy. You run the risk of only eating potatoes at that point (which is why I use Grandma’s Chicken and Noodle gravy and call it “dinner”).

Ingredients
5 pound bag of russet potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, cut in pieces
salt and pepper

Directions
Peel potatoes and boil in a pan until fork tender. Drain potatoes well and add cream cheese, sour cream, and butter. Mix until smooth with an electric mixer. Mix in salt and pepper (stop to taste and add in more salt and pepper). Serve quickly before you eat them all while tasting the salt and pepper!

Reaheating Directions
Who are we kidding, you aren’t going to have any leftovers… but in case you made these the night before here are directions for reheating (the potatoes are just as good reheated)!
Put mixture into a buttered 9x13 pan, dot with butter and cover. At this point, potatoes can be refrigerated for up to three days (the longest 3 days of your life). Bring to room temperature before baking. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until heated through, about 30-45 minutes.

Italian Cheesy Spinach Pasta

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ok, I know this isn’t the most appetizing picture we’ve ever taken, and to be honest this isn’t really an inviting looking dish but… this was good, sinfully good (although it has spinach I am sure it is quite fattening). Justin and I continuously popped cheesy bites of spinach shells into our mouths while we read our Twilight books (for the second read this month, it’s an awesome book). We both ate so much we feel like we’re going to be sick!

Ingredients
1 (12 ounce) package medium seashell pasta
1 (8 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 minced garlic clove (I was out of garlic today so I used 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 jar tomato pasta sauce
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente and drain. Rinse the pasta with cool water and drain again (so when you add the egg it doesn’t cook it). In a small pan saute the spinach, italian seasoning, and garlic until warm and tender. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil. Toss the pasta with the cooked spinach, egg mixture, and bread crumbs.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with 1/3 of the pasta sauce. Pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish and cover with the cheese. Pour the remaining sauce over the cheese and bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I love oatmeal! We eat pre-packaged oatmeal all the time but in the assorted flavors box there are always those 2 packets of regular leftover. Usually I just mix in some maple syrup or brown sugar but since it’s fall I thought I’d get creative!

Ingredients
2 packets of plain instant or quick oats oatmeal
2/3 cup of boiling water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions
Add boiling water to oatmeal and let it sit while you pull out all the other ingredients (about 2 minutes). Stir in the pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Warm for a minute in the microwave and enjoy!

Lemon Honey Garlic Chicken

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We love overnight marinades! When you get home late from work it’s great to be able to pull marinated chicken out of the fridge and have it cooked and on the table in 20 minutes. This is the first time we’ve tried this particular marinade and I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite. After cooking it didn’t have a lot of taste so we poured some honey over the top to give it some extra flavor.

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions
In a bowl or resealable plastic bag, combine lemon juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and chicken. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. Remove the chicken from marinade and cook on high heat in a skillet, 5 minutes on each side until cooked. At this point we tasted ours and poured an additional 1/4 cup honey on the chicken and cooked for an additional 2 minutes for the honey to glaze.

Jalapeno Cheese Soup

Monday, November 10, 2008

My husband and oldest son practically breathe fire; they are pepper bellies through and through! So when I stumbled upon a Jalapeno Cheese Soup from Chef Tom I knew I had to give it a try. I made some modifications to the recipe which included using less jalapenos than suggested and this soup was still spicy! It was too spicy for me but Justin and Andrew really liked it. They sopped the soup up with crusty bread and were all smiles. It was very cute!

Ingredients
8 celery stalks
1 cup diced onion
1 minced garlic clove
2 lb Velveeta cheese
1/2 cup diced jalapeno peppers

Directions
Dice celery stalks, onions and jalapeños. In a large pot place the chicken broth, celery, onions, garlic salt, and white pepper. Cook over high heat for 10 minutes, or until the mixture reduces and thickens slightly. In a blender or food processor puree the mixture together until the mixture is smooth. Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan, add in the cubed Velveeta and simmer it for 5 minutes.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Justin’s brother Chad makes a spectacular Spinach Artichoke Dip that has been on our minds a lot lately (I think it’s all the spinach I’ve been sneaking into our diet so our taste buds are craving it)! I’ve been sick the last couple days and this dip is one of the few things that has sounded good (I am a strange breed)! We just sat around the bowl as a family and devoured it with tortilla chips, Mmm!

Ingredients
1 (13 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (6 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 tablespoons diced jalapenos
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 1 quart baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Justin’s Honey Mustard Chicken

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Justin is a honey mustard fanatic! Some people dip everything in ranch (I admit that I am one of these people) but Justin prefers to dip everything in honey mustard. So Justin made us dinner and surprise surprise it was honey mustard chicken! It was delectable and we even used the leftover honey mustard as a dressing on fresh spinach leaves! Y-U-M!

Ingredients
3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup mustard
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

Directions
In a large skillet on high heat saute the chicken breasts for 3 minutes on each side (they will start to brown). Spoon the honey mustard over each of the chicken breasts, turn them and spoon some more (you won’t use all the honey mustard). Stir and flip the chicken while it cooks on high heat for another 3-5 minutes. The sauce should caramelize and stick to the chicken. Serve chicken with remaining honey mustard for dipping (or as a salad dressing).

Sauteed Spinach

Monday, November 3, 2008

I am hopelessly addicted to the TV show “Jon and Kate Plus 8” and although I disagree with Kate on many things (I think she is an anal retentive meany) I like her meal policy of “eat it or go hungry”. My husband Justin is the worst, the only two vegetables he says he likes are corn and potatoes (which technically… I don’t think either are really vegetables, they’re starches). So for years (10 to be exact) I have forgone the yummy green vegetables for plates of prosaic yellow. This has been to the detriment of my children because they too will only eat corn and potatoes. Well not anymore! I am taking Dr. Oz’s advice and we will have something green for every dinner from here on out! Mary’s spinach stuffed shells were such a hit a couple weeks back I decided to try spinach again. I made all three of my boys (yes this includes my husband) take at least 1 bite. Personally I thought this spinach was scrumptious but the boys thought 1 bite was enough, lol! I don’t care though, we will go for another bite tomorrow and even if it takes years I am determined to get my family to eat more vegetables!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (10 ounce) bag spinach leaves
2 minced garlic cloves
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Heat the olive oil and minced garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach to the skillet and cover; allow to cook 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper and cover again for another 5 minutes; remove from heat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.

Tye Dye Cheesecake

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I joined a new baking group called You Want Pies With That? in which bloggers bake pies with a new theme every month. Sounds fun right?!
This month’s theme “Pies as a fashion statement” was picked by Holly because she is hooked on project runway. In honor of Project Runway and the fashion world in general, she decided that the theme for November would be all about Fashionable Pies, Outrageous Pies, Colorful Pies, Pies with Texture, Pies that are Haute Cuisine as well as Haute Fashion, Pies that are Decked Out, Embellished, and Over the Top! The pie with the most fashion gets the “most creative tart” award.
Being the hippee at heart that I am I immediately thought of tye dye! So I made my cheesecake recipe, divided the batter into 5 bowls, and let the boys dye and stir. We had a blast!
We spooned the batter over the graham cracker crust taking turns putting dollops of the colors on.
After baking, the cheesecake was dark on the top and sides but the center was still vividly bright and just as much fun to eat as it was to look at! Ingredients
15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I’ve tried making fettuccine alfredo so many times because seems like an easy dinner. It hasn’t ever turned out very yummy though. So, last week I did some research and read online that the trick to making fettuccine alfredo is to buy a block of parmesan cheese and shred it yourself so I thought I would give it another try. They were correct! This was scrumptious and the whole dinner took around 20 minutes. Let’s just be happy with it being so quick and easy, try not to dwell on how fattening it is ;-)

Ingredients
10 ounces fettuccini pasta
1/2 cup butter
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
In a large skillet melt the butter and add the chopped garlic. Cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring often, making sure not to burn the garlic.
Pour about a 1/4 cup of the heavy cream into a small bowl. Add the egg yolk and beat together; put aside. Pour the remaining cream into the frying pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. As the cream starts to boil, mix rapidly using a whisk. Slowly add the cream/egg mixture. You do not want the egg to curdle. Continue whisking until well blended.
Add 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese and continue to mix the cream. Pour in the remaining Parmesan and the parsley, mix until smooth. Immediately remove from stove. Serve over cooked pasta.

White Hot Chocolate

Monday, October 20, 2008

We've wanted to try white hot chocolate for awhile but when I went looking for recipes they all called for half and half or heavy whipping cream (or both, yikes) and if I am going to make this irresistible drink for my family so close to bedtime I needed it to be less fattening (yes, this coming for the woman who made an entire cake for her family yesterday). I decided I was just going to wing it and try a white hot chocolate recipe using our non-fat skim milk and white chocolate chips. It actually turned out fantastic! It was absolutely delicious! Try it!











Ingredients
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
whipped topping
blue sprinkles (because it makes me think of snowflakes, lol)

Directions
In a small sauce pan combine 1/4 cup milk and white chocolate chips. Heat over medium heat, whisking until chocolate melts. Stir in remaining milk and heat to warm. Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped topping and sprinkles.

Marshmallow Frosting

Sunday, October 19, 2008

**Update- It's probably the egg whites but this frosting was only good for the first couple hours, so I will not make this again unless I am serving it immediatly.
I love to bake but I wouldn’t consider myself a baker. I pass over any recipe that requires yeast, I always use boxed cake mix, and I refuse to make anything that takes longer than an hour. So it is always a challenge when I go looking for dessert recipes. I saw a recipe for Marshmallow Frosting/7-minute frosting that I couldn’t resist! You have to mix for a good 7-8 minutes but it was easy and SO delicious! It really did taste like fluffy marshmallow cream!

Ingredients
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions
Combine frosting ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal/glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Mound frosting on top of cake.

Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

Saturday, October 18, 2008

**December 2008 Update- This recipe deserves an update because Justin is obsessed with it! Per his constant requests I make it once a week, he just loves it! This past week I used pepper jack cheese instead of monterey jack and he liked the extra kick it gave it. Oh, and the optional “serve with crumbled tortilla chips” really needs to be mandatory, don’t forget the chips!
It has been so cold the last couple days, I love it! I woke up extra early so that I could be sneaky and do something Justin wouldn’t approve of so early in the year… watch a Christmas movie! I can’t help it, I am just too excited, lol! So I watched “Christmas with the Kranks” and made this soup for lunch, it was heavenly! After lunch Justin checked the weather and pointed out that we have a chance of flurries on Thursday, yippee!

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 cup hot water
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups half-and-half cream
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 (14.75 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 dash hot pepper sauce
Crushed Tortilla Chips (Optional)

Directions
Bake and shred the chicken breasts. In a pot dissolve the bouillon in hot water. Stir in the shredded chicken, garlic, butter, and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cream, cheese, corn, chilies, and hot pepper sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted. Serve and garnish with crushed tortilla chips (optional).

Stuffed Shells Florentine

Friday, October 17, 2008

This recipe is from Mary (easily the nicest person I know). I asked Mary for one of her favorite recipes, but Mary doesn’t eat meat and my boys don’t eat vegetables so this was quite a feat! She gave me this stuffed shells recipe and everyone loved it! Even Justin (who is the King of disliking veggies) said we would have to make it again soon! I made 2 changes from her original recipe which I have noted below, but I think following her recipe exactly would have been delicious!

Ingredients
1/2 cup chopped onion (I omitted the onion)
2 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1- 8 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1- 16 oz container lowfat cottage cheese (I used ricotta instead of cottage)
24 Jumbo pasta shells
1 package shredded mozzarella cheese
1- 15 oz jar spaghetti sauce or homemade

Directions
Cook shells according to the directions. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, over medium-high heat, sauté onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper and olive oil. Mix in the spinach and cook until heated.
Remove from heat; stir in cottage/ricotta cheese and ¾ the shredded cheese.
Spoon into Cooked Shells.
Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce in bottom of 13X9 inch pan; arrange shells over sauce. Top with remaining sauce and cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Sprinkle some remaining cheese over the top.

Delicious Macaroni Salad

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Those recipe exchange emails made their rounds last week, I got at least 5 and gave my usual two favorite pasta salad recipes. I got a couple responses back from friends who asked why my favorite salad’s weren’t on my blog. So here’s my favorite macaroni salad that I got from a neighbor when we first moved to Gardner 7 years ago. The veggies are all shredded so not only is this salad delicious but it is very quick and easy!

Ingredients
2 (16oz) boxes of shell macaroni (2 lbs of macaroni total)
1 small onion, shredded
1 green pepper, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups salad dressing mayonnaise (Miracle Whip)
1/2 cup sugar

Directions
Cook, drain, and rinse macaroni. In a large bowl shred the onion, green pepper, carrot. Mix in the sweetened condenses milk, vinegar, mayonnaise, and sugar. Finally add the macaroni noodles, stir, and refrigerate (over night is best).

Cheesy Corn

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We went to a wedding celebration BBQ this weekend and were asked to bring a side and dessert. The dessert was easy, we made the ever popular Whoopie Pies. Justin wanted to bring his favorite side, Cheesy Corn (which can be found in some midwest BBQ joints). We found a knock off recipe a couple years back and it’s been Justin’s favorite side dish ever since!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter/margarine
4 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (Very little, don’t over do it!)
3/4 cup milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1 (3oz) pkg cream cheese, cubed
1 (32oz) pkg frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
3oz diced ham

Directions
In a large saucepan, melt margarine/butter. Stir in the flour and garlic powder and stir to make the roux paste. Add the milk and stir constantly over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese (sharp cheddar and cream cheese) and cook until melted. Stir in corn and ham and transfer mixture to a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Cheddar Bacon Potato Soup

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I have made many potato soups and burnt at least half of them! Usually you make the roux from flour and butter, add the milk, and then stir… and keep stirring for an hour until it thickens. Well, chasing after two wild and crazy boys doesn’t provide me the opportunity to stand at my stove and stir for an hour. So like I said before, I burn just about anything that involves a roux and milk! So when Justin picked this recipe out I was so excited to try it because it didn’t require the roux and milk, whoopee! It tasted just as good as any other potato soups I’ve made but it was SO much easier! We all already decided that we are having this for dinner again next week.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
6 peeled and diced potatoes (around 2 1/2 cups worth)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup chopped bacon
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
In a large pot melt the butter. Stir in the potatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. That’s right… you can actually leave the stove for 20 minutes and go enjoy yourself!!

Use a potato masher to break up some of the chunks of potatoes. I wouldn’t suggest using a mixer because you don’t want a complete puree, you want some puree and some chunks. Stir in half and half, cheese, bacon, salt, and pepper; bring to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes (you will have to stir this time, sorry).

This soup did seem a bit thin the night I made it, but I’ve always thought potato soups taste better the second day. So I put it straight in my fridge and when I warmed it the next evening it was very thick and delicious!