200th Blog Post!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I can't believe this is my 200th blog post! I had so much fun recapping our favorites in my 100th Blog Post I had to do it again! This last year has been busy, I can't believe I've even had time to cook! The older my boys get the busier they become with friends, activities, and sports. This is also my 5th year teaching with my school district and Justin's 8th year working with his company (4th year as a manager) and it seems we gain more responsibilities with every year that goes by. We work more but sleep less, cook less, exercise less, see each other less... it's exhausting (and depressing). I can honestly say the one time we get to see each other and talk is when we eat breakfast and dinner. We have a strict "eat at the kitchen table together" policy when it comes to breakfast and dinner time. Even if we grab food on the go while driving we turn the radio off in the car and eat and talk. It's our time together as a family and it's very important to me.
The look of my blog changed again this year from the purple tiled background... to the new green background... I am so lucky to have a techo-savvy husband with mad Photoshop skills, he creates the best blog layouts for me!

Justin's pick-
Chad's Sesame Ginger Grilled Chicken Salad
Justin had a really hard time picking a favorite, he really wanted to pick his Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder that he picked as his favorite 100th blog post recipe. After much deliberation he picked his brother's salad. This really is an exceptional salad! This salad helped Justin broaden his horizons. He now eats salads with things like eggs, avacados, and tomatoes... things he NEVER would have eaten on a salad a year ago. This salad sparked Justin's new found love for salads, I am eternally grateful Chad!

Carrie's pick-
Mom's Chicken Tetrazzini
For my 100th blog post I listed my favorite as my Grandma's Chicken and Noodles and then here I am at 200th blog post and my favorite is my Mom's Chicken Tetrazzini! I love those comfort food recipes I grew up on! Chicken Tetrazzini is my absolute favorite, this was an easy choice! I LOVE making it on a Sunday and eating the leftovers all week long!

Andrew's pick-
Szechuan Shrimp
Hot sauce flows through A
ndrew's blood. We always get on to him for eating condiments as snacks, he likes to drinks packets of Taco Bell hot sauce and Cholula hot sauce. He's crazy! This SPICY Szechuan Shrimp wasn't a hit with the family but Andrew loved it!

Abbott's pick-
Easy Noodle Soup
Abbott loves comfort food! If we need to pick up a quick dinner Abbott always asks for
Kentucky Fried Chicken. If I ask him what he wants me to make for dinner he will ask for mashed potatoes and gravy or this noodle soup... he actually calls it "fat noodle soup" because the noodles are plump and delicious! This soup is good but I LOVE that it only takes 20 minutes to cook!

Family Favorite Dinner
Beefy Bean Burritos
These burritos are quick, easy, and filling! It's hard to find a dinner everyone will happily eat but this is a winner at our house! The best part is that they're just as good reheated! We store all the extra burritos in a ziploc and fight over them the next day!

Family Favorite Breakfast
Cheese Omelets
Like I said before it's important to me that we eat breakfast together each morning, I make these for weekday breakfasts all the time. It only takes me 10 minutes to whip out 4 cheese omelets and they're great! I never knew how to roll an omelet before I made these, our world is forever changed for the better!

Family Favorite Dessert
Soft Sugar Cookies
These cookies are melt in your mouth delicious! They are exactly like the Lofthouse cookies you can buy at the supermarket, but those cookies are $3 a dozen and these are around $5 for 4 dozen! They're fairly easy to make and a HUGE success with our family and friends!

Family Favorite Quick and Easy
Cherry Dump Cake
I know this is a dessert as well, but we've been known to eat this for breakfast and snacks too ,-) This recipe is ridiculously easy and SO GOOD!

So, as of today my blog has had 49,115 visitors. That's incredible! I've learned so much these last 4 years, I can't wait to see what recipes I find in the next 100 posts... maybe I'll even conquer yeast!

Frozen Hot Chocolate

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I've never been to New York City, but if I ever go the #1 thing on my to-do list is visit Serendipity 3 and get their famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate! I've seen Serendipity 3's Frozen Hot Chocolate in countless movies like One Fine Day, Serendipity, Trust the Man, etc. Well, awhile back Oprah had the owner of Serendipity 3's on her show and he gave out the recipe......woohoo! I couldn't wait to make it!

6 pieces (1/2-ounce) chocolate , a variety of your favorites
2 teaspoons store-bought hot chocolate mix
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice
Whipped cream
Chocolate shavings

Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Add the hot chocolate mix and sugar. Stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of milk until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a blender, place the remaining cup of milk, the room-temperature chocolate mixture and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Abbott what do you think? Andrew what do you think? Andrew... Andrew?! Come up for air son! Andrew bared down and didn't come up until he was finished, he loved it!

Blueberry Pancakes

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My recipe losing streak is over! These pancakes are a home run! I've had blueberry pancakes before but they've used dried blueberries or blueberry pie filling, never fresh blueberries! Holy cow these were fantastic!! I'm sure you could use frozen blueberries but if possible you should really try fresh, as I cut my fork into the pancakes the blueberries popped and oozed sweet blueberry juice onto the pancake (and my shirt). They were so delicious, we'll never be able to enjoy plain old pancakes ever again! This recipe only made 4-6 pancakes, so you may want to double it ,-)

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup blueberries

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Whisk in the egg, milk, and butter, then fold in the blueberries. If the batter is too thick you can add more milk to get the consistency you like.
Heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Friday, February 19, 2010

I've had a lot of recipe duds lately... don't worry this is the first one I've posted! One recipe I thought up myself was DISASTROUS ... I had to put the cake into a bowl because it kept slipping off the cake stand, a total catastrophe! My game is cooking and I'm on a losing streak, it's disappointing :-(
I got this frosting recipe from Allrecipes and I was really hoping it would be an amazing frosting but it was just so-so, not bad, just mediocre. I actually prefer Duncan-Hines's milk chocolate frosting to this recipe. This frosting had a cooked flavor and the outside quickly got a crunchy film. It just wasn't my favorite, I am going to keep looking for the perfect chocolate frosting. Do you have a good recipe you would suggest?

1/2 cup butter
3 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate (I used Bakers)
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave, or in the top of a double boiler. In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 1/2 cup of the milk. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture. Add remaining milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.

Mary's Roasted Vegetable Medley

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My good friend Mary (the vegetarian) told me about these roasted vegetables last week, she made them sound so delicious, I couldn't wait to give them a try! I've never met a vegetable I didn't like.... with the exception of the vegetables served in my school cafeteria (I swear there's more pepper than vegetables). My lovely husband however rarely meets a vegetable he likes. To his defense he's WORLDS better then when we first started dating, he only ate corn and potatoes back then. Now he eats any kind of salad, spinach, green beans, and avocado (ok, you caught me avocado's really a fruit), but he's come a long way in the last 14 years! This vegetable medley really pushed his tolerance though, he almost threw up twice at the dinner table, it was hilarious actually. He was really trying to eat all his vegetables but he said the mushrooms did him in, I broke out into giggles two when he dry heaved.

2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 yellow squash, cut into chunks
1 onion, halved then cut into chunks
1/2 pound button mushrooms
1 cup of sliced carrots (this was my addition, not in Mary's recipe)
4 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

You cook these vegetables in two parts because the potatoes need to cook twice as long as the other veggies. So we'll split the oil and seasonings between the two groups of vegetables. So first put the quartered red potatoes in a large ziploc, add two tablespoons oil, shake the ziploc to cover the potatoes with oil. Then, add 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the bag and shake the ziploc until the potatoes are coated and pour them out onto a baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.
Next combine zucchini, yellow squash, onions, carrots, and mushrooms in a large ziploc (I use the same Ziploc as the potatoes). Add two tablespoons oil, shake the ziploc to cover the vegetables with oil. Then, add 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the bag and toss them again to combine and spread them out onto a baking sheet with the potatoes. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes at 425 until tender.

Chocolate Fondue

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!
Justin and I haven't ever celebrated Valentine's Day, in the beginning we were too poor to do anything, then once we were able to afford a date we were too busy (or tired) to go on one. So I wanted to shake things up this year and celebrate Valentine's Day! The boys are getting old enough I thought it would be fun to surprise them with a four-course-dinner, complete with fondue dessert! They haven't ever had fondue before so this was a real treat for them! I poured the chocolate sauce into individual ramekins (so we didn't have to share the same pot) and put a tray of strawberries, angel food cake squares, bananas, and marshmallows in the middle of the table. It worked great, there was enough sauce for 5 ramekin bowls! Everyone got a wooden skewer and went to town! ...Abbott eventually gave up on the skewer, got a spoon, and just ate the chocolate sauce... that's my son ,-)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 pound of chopped milk chocolate (I used 1 1/2 bags (11.5 ounce bag) of Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips... it was HEAVENLY)

Pour the cream into a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan (or double boiler if you have one) over low heat. Bring the cream to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir or whisk until the chocolate is melted. Transfer the chocolate to dipping bowls and serve.

Here's a picture of our table before I called the boys to supper. It was an awesome night! ... I dirtied every pan and bowl I own :-)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Friday, February 5, 2010

The picture is horrible, I'm sorry! This is another picture we quickly snapped before anyone noticed what we were up to... you don't know how awkward it is to bring food to a party and get caught taking pictures of it while you're there. People look at you like you've gone crazy, it's embarrassing!
If you don't know what to serve for Super Bowl this is it! It's a spicy dip that you serve with celery sticks (my favorite) and tortilla chips (Justin's favorite)! So... we fast forward through the Super Bowl (only stopping to watch commercials and the half time show), but we enjoy the Super Bowl snack food! I couldn't imagine a better dip to serve on Sunday. I got this recipe from my cousin Jim and it is fantastic! The key to this dip is to serve it immediately after you cook it (or the cheese on top gets hard) so if you're taking it to a party have it assembled and in the pan, but bake it at the party!

1 (10 ounce) can chunk chicken, drained
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Ranch dressing (make your own, it's so much better! To make ranch-1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise, 1 cup milk, and a pack of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix)
1/2 cup cup hot sauce (I use Frank's Red Hot Sauce)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Tortilla Chips (for dipping)
Celery Sticks (for dipping)

Break chicken apart with your fingers or a fork. Stir in the cream cheese, ranch dressing, and hot sauce. Mix in half of the shredded cheese and transfer to a small/medium-sized baking dish (I use a 9x9 casserole pan). Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with celery sticks and tortilla chips.

Anniversary Chicken

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This is another Allrecipes recipe. It's been on my "to try" list for a LONG time but I never had the motivation to make it. I was worried that teriyaki and ranch wouldn't go together. However, teriyaki and ranch go together quite well, have no fear! My only complaint is that the chicken didn't have much flavor... crazy because the chicken is smothered in high calorie sauces and toppings, but it's pretty bland! There are tons of great reviews for this chicken on Allrecipes though, so maybe I'm being a complainer. I just had high hopes that it would be delicious and worthy of serving for an anniversary dinner, so I was disappointed. On a side note we are SUPER DUPER excited about the return of our favorite TV show Lost! This is the last season and unlike most shows out there the writers of Lost knew what the ending of the show would be before they even filmed the pilot episode. Lost is more like a movie than a TV show.... a 125 hour long AMAZING movie! I can't wait to see how it ends but I will savor every last second of the show!

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup teriyaki basting sauce
1/2 cup Ranch-style salad dressing
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 (3 ounce) can bacon bits

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned.
Place browned chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce. Spoon on salad dressing. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions and bacon bits. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.