Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cathy Riggin's Spanish Rice

I took the holidays off. I didn't mean to but Lee worked a ton of overtime which really was a blessing, but also a cramp in my style :)
My brother asked for a recipe for Spanish Rice so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone. We got this recipe from Cathy years ago. Cathy was my Sunday School teacher many times growing up. I also babysat her 6 kids quite often. She died from cancer a while ago. I love to make this because while I make it I can think of how kind and good she always was to me. Don't you love recipes like that? It is that kind of Spanish rice that tastes like the kind you get in a restaurant. It really will become your favorite.

Restaurant Style Spanish Rice
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup rice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup FINELY diced onion
2 c chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
Heat oil, add rice and stir till kinda brown. Add garlic, onions and salt and cook until the rice is golden brown and the onions translucent. Stir in broth and sauce. Boil for 4 minutes. Turn to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Monday, December 7, 2009


photo from "Gourmified"
I have been friends with Lisa for YEARS. We share a lot of interests but probably our most common interest is cooking. We both started a recipe blog at the same time. Lisa shared this recipe with me years ago when she was featured on Good Things Utah. I never tried it. Tonight I thought I would give it a whirl. My family LOVED them. We tried to get my brother and his wife to come share with us...but we were too late. This is not the kind of recipe you can eat everyday but it is a great "company" or special occasion dish. I used fat free milk and it was great. I also used very lean ham. I also doubled the green chili like she suggested.
Go ahead on over to Lisa's site and check it out. To get this recipe click here. Thanks LISA!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

BBQ pulled chicken and THE BEST sweet potato fries

My sister-in-law made this cooking light pulled chicken sandwich first. It is really good. I served it on the new wheat sandwich thins. If you do weight watchers the bun is only ONE point...gotta love it.
To make the BBQ pulled chicken (there are additional ingredients in caps in the directions):
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper

Rub on 1 lb boneless skinless CHICKEN breasts (I cut up the breasts I had because they were huge and I wanted more surface area for the rub).
Cook 2 minutes on each side with 2 tsp OLIVE OIL. Remove from pan.
Add 1 cup thin sliced ONION to the pan, cook until tender stirring constantly. Add 1 cup CHICKEN BROTH and put chicken back in. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Take chicken out and shred with 2 forks. Return to pan one more time and bring liquid to a boil. Let simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1 Tbsp BALSAMIC VINEGAR. Super quick, super yummy.

Now for those sweet potato fries. I need to tell you my 4 year old was a jerk the day I made this dinner. Sometimes we just have those days. He LOVED these sweet potato fries. After dinner he was back to his nice self. I asked him what changed...he said, "Mom if you make good dinner like that I will ALWAYS be nice." Now I am not promising it will work for your kids but...worth a try?

Sweet Potato Fries
Preheat oven to 425. Peel and cut up your sweet potato. Put in a gallon ziptop bag with a BIT of Olive oil (I went really easy on it, maybe a TBSP for the whole gallon bag). Add salt, garlic and cinnamon (YES, cinnamon). I used a bit more salt then garlic or cinnamon. Put on a baking sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes on one side then flip. Cook another 10 minutes or until tender. These are the best we have ever had!

One more thing. I needed to include this picture we took the other night of my 9 mos old daughter. We have been really blessed with kids that are not picky eaters. I would like to say it is because we NEVER cater to pickiness but I am smarter then that and I know some kids are just more picky then others. Savannah decided the other night it was time to try some steamed spinach off my plate. I thought this was pretty funny :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pineapple chili

My lil sister Meesha commented about a great pineapple chili she made. She is a dumper (she always just throws stuff in and doesn't measure so it took a while to get it out of her). I have made it 2 times and it is great. In the picture I served it on Paula Deens Cornbread Waffles . I thought the concept was kinda a Navajo Taco without the deep fry. I wasn't wild about the recipe though...too bread like, not enough cornbread like. I think next time I will just try throwing my own cornbread recipe on the waffle iron and see what happens. My little boy liked the cornbread waffles and chose to dip his in a bowl of soup instead (it was nice to not have them load up the cornbread with butter and honey).
Well, without further ado here is the best Chili recipe you will ever try :)
Meesha's Pineapple Chili (with a few minor adjustments)
3 cans of chili beans (these are just beans in a little bit of spicy red sauce, I tried using my own cooked beans and they needed LOTS more seasoning then but are do-able)
Large can of chopped tomatoes (I used peeled chopped and frozen ones from my freezer)
1 Can of chunk pineapple plus most of the juice (I chopped them in thirds so there was pineapple in more bites)
1 big onion chopped and sauteed
1 big green bell chopped and sauteed with the onion
1 lb of lean ground hamburger (browned)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 chili seasoning packet
*she also added a little BBQ sauce for a smokey taste, I did not.
Dump it all in a pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes. It is also GREAT leftovers, it tastes better the second day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chicken Shreds

Like most people I am a busy gal. Between the kids (one being a sleepless baby), the part-time job, and a big house to clean there are never enough hours in the day. I really feel like family dinner is one priority I just can't scrimp on. That time together without any distractions is priceless. To make this happen I have had to find ways to get dinner on the table QUICK. A couple of years ago I can up with this idea and it has hands down been the best time saver for me.
Whenever boneless skinless chicken is on sale I stock up. It is good to generally have on hand. I use part of it to grill but most of it I make chicken shreds with it to keep in the freezer.
To make your shreds take your chicken and put it in the crock pot. Seriously...that is it. I have had e-mail after e-mail asking if you salt it, put water in...etc. Nope, nopey, nope. You can add seasoning in your recipe. As for the water chicken has so much in it you don't need to add any. If you are worried throw 1/2-1 cup water in the bottom. It really won't matter. Let it cook on low for about 8 hours. You will know it is done when it shreds easily with a fork. I have bought some tough tough birds in my time. If you cook it long enough they all shred.
Once it is done and you have a mound of shredded chicken let it cool for a moment. I then bag it up (I use plain old ziploc sandwich bags. We use them fast enough I don't worry about freezer bags). Don't pack your bags too full. About a cup is all you need for most recipes.
Once you have these in your freezer the possibilities are endless for getting dinner on the table in a hurry. Enchiladas, chicken soup, chicken and dumplings, tacos, wraps, panini's, casseroles...all are made easier by having your chicken pre-done. My favorite is that I don't need to worry about defrosting. I can throw it in a soup frozen or defrost it in a minute in the microwave.
Try just might be an answer for you too!

***Please note: I have heard you can throw your chicken in the crockpot frozen. I am always a little nervous about getting sick from chicken. I once heard it wasn't a wise idea and have pretty much stuck with that.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dutch baby!

I have a wonderful Aunt Lynn. She is always doing thoughtful things for me. She sent us a package the other day. Isn't that the best when you get a box you weren't expecting? She included a bunch of old Cooking Light magazines (my favorite magazine), some special Halloween prizes for Keaton and THIS lovely cookbook. I said, "why would she do such a nice thing"? Keaton answered (matter of factly), "well she met me and she really likes me". I guess he is right!
I was thumbing through this book this morning and found a recipe for a dutch baby. I have never made one so I thought it would be a nice Sunday morning breakfast (the rest of the week I have a protein shake and toast).
This recipe calls for pears. I did not have pears (although I think they would have been great) so I did apples and added some cinnamon. The only thing I think I would change was I would have done one more apple. The thing I really loved was it didn't raise my blood sugar too high. It doesn't have much sugar for being pancake like and the three eggs give it a lot of protein. It was easy and yum, click here to check it out.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Teriyaki Sauce

I try to make my own condiments. It saves money and usually tastes much better. When I find meat on sale I make up a huge batch and re-bag the meat with the marinade in a ziptop bag. I then freeze it. When I need a fast meal I can pull one out in the morning and I know all I have to do is throw it on the grill at dinnertime. How easy is that? This is one of my favorite Teriyaki Marinades. I will tell you about the weight watcher roasted potatoes on the plate I got this recipe off of Tried and True with Heidi. She has some great recipes. Teriyaki Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
Mix it all up...easy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Angie's Pie Crust

I was making a quiche the other night and I needed a pie crust. I didn't want to go to the store to buy one, didn't want to make one so I was in a pinch. My friend Angie had posted this on facebook so I thought I would give it a try. I could not believe how flaky, perfect and good this was....with NO effort. Seriously you HAVE to try this next time you need a quick pie crust. The best part is there is no clean up. It uses 1/2 cup oil instead of the 1/2 cup butter most pie crusts have. Angie suggests for a savory filling using olive oil and upping the salt to 1 tsp. For a fruit pie she suggests upping the sugar to 3 tsp. I thought it was really good. Not quite as good as my sister Amara's homemade crust but good none the less much better then the store pre-made.
Angie's Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
2 Tbsp milk
Put all those ingredients right in your pie plate (no need to pre-grease). Mix them up with a fork. Prick the bottom and sides. If using a non-bake filling bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes.
If using it for a baked pie/quiche bake as directed in the recipe.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

We love Chicken Parm here. We love Mimi's but can't afford to go there enough to cure the craving. This is not a quick meal but it is worth the effort on a special night. I serve mine with homemade marinara and pasta. You could serve it with rice, potatoes, whatever.
Chicken Parm
2 boneless skinless breasts (you will end up with 4 servings)
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup Romano (you could actually use Parmesan as the name suggests but I am partial to Romano)
1 tsp salt (you could use less or none and salt to taste after)
1 egg
Slice the chicken in 1/2 (to reduce the thickness by 1/2) then pound in a gallon Ziploc bag with a meat mallet, rolling pin, whatever you have. You are trying to go for about 1/2 inch.
Beat egg slightly in a bowl. In another bowl add the Romano, crumbs and salt. Get a frying pan ready with a Tbsp butter melted. Dip the chicken in the egg coating both sides, then dip in crumbs coating both sides. Lay in the fry pan. Fry about 3 minutes both sides until golden brown. If your chicken is thin enough they should be cooked completely. To keep warm put in a pan in the oven while you cook the others.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lion House Lemon Bars

I am reading again "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" again. I like that book because it helps me refocus that I am not only caring for my two little guys but also my favorite big guy. The other day I made him some lemon bars...his favorite...just 'cause. I really think this is the all-time best lemon bar recipe. I have also swapped out the rind and juice and made orange bars, and lime bars with this same recipe. Enjoy!
Lion House Lemon Bars
1/2 cup soft butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
Cream butter and powder then add flour. It will be crumbly. Spread and press in a 8x8 pan. Cook at 325 for 15 or 20 minutes (I always do 20). While crust is baking prepare this next layer:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon (actually the rind is what give it the strong lemon flavor, I grate the whole rind)
Beat eggs then mix in the other ingredients. Pour over hot crust. Bake for an additional 18-25 minutes (I do about 22) at 325. Remove and dust with additional powdered sugar.
Note: Can be doubled for 9x13 pan.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jack-O-Lantern Casserole

I have been making this casserole for the last 3 years for Halloween night. It is warm and ready when we come home from trick or treating. It is a fun tradition. I always draw a jack-o-lantern face on the pumpkin to add to the fun. Sorry I don't have a picture, maybe I will add one for later.
Jack-o-lantern casserole
1 small onion
1 small can light cream of whatever you like soup
2 c cooked rice
2 T soy sauce
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 cup carrots (I pre-cook these until they are almost done)
1 lb ground hamburger (I am sure you could use chicken)
2 T br. sugar
1 T margarine, butter, smart balance, whatever

Cut off top of medium pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds, draw a face on it. Saute onions and margarine in a skillet. Add meat till brown, drain off grease or rinse to get even more off. Add remaining ingredients (except rice) and simmer 10 minutes. Add cooked rice cook another couple minutes. Pour in pumpkin. Replace lid. Put on a baking sheet in 350 oven for 1 hour. The pumpkin should be tender. You can eat the pumpkin as a veggie along with the casserole. Your kids will LOVE it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yummiest light zucchini bread

I have decided that I love pineapple the most out of each and every fruit out there. I craved it like mad with my last pregnancy and am still loving it after. I think it has magical powers to replace the taste of fat in recipes. Does that make sense at all? A week or so ago I did a search for a good zucchini bread recipe and found one on Prudence Pennywise' blog- I used Whole Wheat flour and followed the recipe almost exactly. My only change was that I added a handful of chocolate chips and I replaced half of the 1/3 cup of oil (already amazingly small amount for 2 loaves), with white bean puree. It was so incredible. My family ate and ate and ate and ate. I made it late one night and it was gone by mid morning the next day, 2 loaves!!! Here are some pictures I snapped before they were gobbled up!

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (20 ounce) can chunk pineapple
about 2/3 cup buttermilk (I used powdered)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar (I used brown)
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 cups unpeeled shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon. In a 1 cup measuring cup, drain , the juice from the pineapple. Add as much buttermilk as you need to make 1 cup of liquid. Pour into large mixing bowl. Add sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in dry ingredients being careful to not over mix. Add the remainder. Pour into two greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pans and bake for 45-50 minutes. Cool for ten minutes and remove from pans.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shrimp Pasta

Oh, can I just tell you how much we love this dinner?!?!? I got this recipe out of Cooking Light years ago (all my real go to favorites are from there). I can make the whole thing start to table in about 15 minutes. Keaton ate 2 servings and wanted me to pack some up.."for his lunch". Try it you will LOVE it.
Angel Hair Shrimp Pasta (you notice I only had thin spaghetti...whatever)
Start your pasta, this whole thing moves pretty fast.
Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray. Add:
2 cups chopped plum tomato
1 1/2 cups chopped green onion
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
2 tsp dry dill (yes dill, odd but great)
2 cloves garlic minced (they say one I do 2 or 3)
Cook 4 minutes or until heated. Add 1 pound shrimp. I do the medium already peeled, cooked ones (Wal-mart always has them for about 5 bucks). Heat through. Combine pasta, sauce, and 1 cup of feta cheese (important). Delish!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crystal's Lazy Granola

This granola I tried off of Amy's finer things. It is a fabulous easy way to increase the whole grain. I got a 25 pound bag of food storage oatmeal for 7.50 so it works up very cheap too.

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
7 cups rolled oatmeal/ no instant (I use 1/2 cup wheat germ and 6 1/2 cups oatmeal)

1. Mix honey, oil, and brown sugar in a saucepan
2. Bring to a boil
3. Mix in cinnamon and vanilla
4. Pour over oats and mix up till coated
5. Spread on a 9x13 silpat lined pan (my first batch stuck horribly so I put the second on silpat)
6. Put in 375 oven for 10 minutes.
7. Take out and stir.
8. Turn oven off and put pan back in.
9. Go to sleep...wake up to a wonderful smelling house and breakfast ready.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

White chicken Chili

I tried to do artsy with the broken bread...I know didn't work for me, looks like Keaton ate part of it first. This soup is EASY and good. I got it awhile ago from a recipe swap. I have made so many changes to it that it is a shadow of what I was given :)

White Chicken Chili
1 med onion chopped (I pre-chop my onions and freeze them in 1/2 cup bags)
1tsp garlic powder (or 2 fresh cloves)
1 1/2 cup shredded or cubed cooked chicken (I will give you my take on this later in the week)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 15 oz cans White beans (I cooked a bag of dried beans and froze them in 1 cup bags (I used 2 bags)
1 14 oz can chicken broth
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup sour cream (I use light)
1 cup whipping cream (I never put this in but I do add a bit more broth)

Saute onion and garlic till clear. Add everything else except sour cream or whip cream. Bring to a boil simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat stir in sour cream and milk (I just mix a little sour cream in each bowl. It also cools it off a bit).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

15 minute chicken on the bone

Oh how my little guy thinks things are better "on the bone". He told me the other day that he would prefer his corn "on the bone". I got these drumsticks at my local associated food store for 49 cents a pound. You would have thought I bought Sirloin with the glee in my house. This dinner was SO easy. Total prep time was less then 15 minutes with about 30 minutes cook time.
Quick Tyler Florence Chicken Drumsticks (with my variations)
Put baking sheet in 400 degree oven to heat up oven and pan.
Rinse and dry chicken (this is really important it keeps chicken from tasting "fishy")
Put chicken in a bowl with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. I had about 12 "sticks" and coated them all with 2 Tbsp. In a ziploc put about 3/4 cup of bread crumbs (panko makes this so crispy like the best fried chicken) and about a tsp of garlic salt and onion powder. Coat chicken in bread crumbs. Take out pan and put a drizzle of olive oil on it (it will hiss and smoke). Put your chicken on there. Put in your 400 oven for 15 minutes flip after 15 minutes. It will be golden and delicious (Keaton ate THREE)!
The carrots/ potatoes go together real quick while the first 15 minutes is passing. You can also do frozen veggies and rice, or instant potatoes and then you have a 5 minute fix and can put up your feet!
For the carrots peel and slice about a pound of carrots. Steam them in a steamer or cook them with a little water in the microwave. Right before serving mix about 2 Tbsp melted butter (I used smart balance spread) 1-2 Tbsp honey, and about a tsp of garlic salt.
The potatoes are just baby white skinned potatoes we got in our produce co-op basket (for more info on that click Here ). They were really quite clean so I rinsed and boiled (with skins) then mashed the whole thing up with some smart balance, lemon pepper, salt and fat free milk.
All quick....all easy...great meal....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Barbacoa- 15 minutes

If we are talking easy burritos are an all time favorite. Everyone love Cafe Rio Barbacoa Pork. There are tons of recipes floating around there with TONS of ingredients. My sister Meesha and I have one that is a 2 minute fix.
Cook a pork loin, picnic pork, boneless pork ribs (about 3 pounds)...whatever you can get cheap in the crock pot for 8 hours on low. Shred and add 1/2 cup brown sugar and small can of enchilada sauce (you can use my recipe for homemade enchilada sauce if you want extra credit but then you loose the quickness :). Use for burritos, tacos, nachos, enchiladas, taco salad, whatever. This also freezes well for a quick second dinner.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

15 minutes prep....the series.

My good friend Lisa asked the other day if I had any quick healthy dinners up my sleeve. I am so glad she asked. When I watch Ms. Ray I often think...who has 30 minutes anymore. This week I will share what I can get on the table in 15 minutes prep. To kick if off I am sharing this great chili recipe. It is from Cooking Light. It was tucked in a corner of their magazine probably 8 years ago. I cannot even find it on their site anymore. Every time I share this recipe it is a hit. I actually ran into a girl the other day in Target that was in my ward probably 4 years ago and she was telling me she was making it again tonight. P.S. I timed myself making this....4 minutes.

Nonstop, no-chop chili

3/4 pound ground round browned (I always have some hamburger pre-browned then rinsed (to get the extra fat off) in my freezer, great time saver)

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups frozen corn (have you tried the Costco frozen corn....WOW)

1 cup bottled salsa

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 1/2 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1 can chili beans undrained

1 can diced no salt added tomatoes, undrained (I used a ziploc sandwich bag full off peeled diced fresh tomatoes I froze from our garden)

* I also added a cup of zucchini I shredded and froze from our garden for some extra veggies (it one will know)

Anyway...add it all to a pot and let it simmer until you are ready to go. How easy is that? I also have put it in the crock pot to let it simmer all day! Check back tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Popcorn the Ultimate Diet Food with snacking power

Popcorn is the ultimate diet food. It is high in fiber and low in fat (depending on how you prepare it) Here are a few ideas for "healthy" popcorn snacking.
Chocolate popcorn- melt chocolate chips slowly in the microwave, 10-15 seconds between stirring. drizzle over plain popcorn spread out on aluminum foil. I personally like dark chocolate so I use the bittersweet choc chips. I also added a few chopped almonds. You can use any kind, just add up the calories and watch them extend their "filling" power by drizzling over your popcorn.
BBQ popcorn-Like BBQ chips? Purchase some bbq seasoning at your supermarket (got mine in a big shaker at sams club). Spread out your popcorn on foil again, spray with pan spray lightly to help the seasoning stick and wa-la. BBQ snack that you can munch on practically guilt free.

Let your imagination fly with more ideas....cinnamon, veggie seasoning etc.

Halloween Party Food

Have you been on the Best Bites Site? I love those ladies there. They have great tutorials and wonderful ideas. Keaton and I were checking out their Halloween Easy ideas. If you have kids or grandkids check it will be a HIT! Click here to go right there!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Enchilada Sauce

This is my favorite recipe for enchilada sauce. It makes a ton so we have extra in the fridge. I fill my enchiladas with crockpot cooked chicken, light sour cream, corn, and green onions. Then I can put the cheese on the top where you notice it. The guac is just avocado mixed with Costco's Jack Salsa. Making your own enchilada sauce is MUCH more tasty, not to mention less then 1/2 the cost. This is a keeper (thanks to Amy at Sisters Dish for this great recipe).
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 Tbsp flour
6 Tbsp chili powder
1 29oz can diced tomatoes (puree in blender (don't think that tomato sauce is the is not)
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp onion salt
Heat oil on med high heat. Turn down to med and add flour and chili powder. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes (you gotta stir to keep it from burning). Slowly add in tomatoes, broth, and spices. Cook for another 10 minutes until slightly thick.
This is also great mixed in beans for a great bean dip.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Better then Mickey Dee's!

Usually Sunday morning Lee makes breakfast. I am thrilled for the morning off but he usually makes pancakes, waffles, etc. They always taste real good but an hour into church or so I am HUNGRY. Not too mention the sugar gives me a headache and makes me tired.

Can I tell you about my guilty pleasure? I LOVE MC D's sausage egg mcmuffin. When I saw Rachel Ray doing Chicken sausage sandwiches I thought I would have to try it on Sunday and see how it goes. We loved them. I made a triple batch of the sausage and then froze them flat so we can have them on another Sunday for a quicker breakfast. With the chicken breast sausage and egg beaters it is much lighter then Mc D's I am sure. Keaton and I didn't have cheese, but you can. My second batch of sausage I grilled a little longer. That is what is on the plate next to it.

Breakfast Chicken Sausage
-1 pound ground chicken breast (I took a whole chicken breast and took it for a spin in my food processor (Associated has boneless skinless for $1.57 a pound so it was a much better deal))
-1 small Macintosh apple peeled and finely chopped (I used a green apple stolen off the limb of my neighbors tree hanging in my yard :)
-1/4 cup maple syrup (I am WAY too poor to afford maple syrup....I used maple flavor pancake syrup)
-1 TBSP grill seasoning blend (I used had a bit of a bite to it, Keaton the 3 year old was fine but if your kids are picky you might want to cut it back just a bit)
-1 tsp Poultry Seasoning (seriously I have had this in my cupboard FOREVER and have never used I finally had a use for it)
-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
-1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine all with your hands (I know sick make your husband do it). Patty it out into 4 patties (this was her thing, I would do them thinner next time. I still got way more out of it then her).
Cook 5 minutes on each side (I used my new indoor Food Network grill). Put on a buttered toasted English muffin with a scrambled egg, and cheese if desired (Lee melted his cheese and it was much better). Hope you like it, be sure to leave a comment if you make it (or think about making it :).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Perfect Oatmeal

This is a Tyler Florence Special. It is so good without and sweetener. It is a great idea for a "special breakfast" and is still really healthy.
Put in a pot on medium heat for 7-8 minutes until creamy and tender:
1 cup of oatmeal (I used old fashioned rolled)
2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter

blueberries (I used frozen)
toasted coconut
skim milk

It is fun for kids to pick out which healthy toppings they like. Keaton picked them too :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More great recipes!!!

We grew up in a family of 8. Convenience food was too expensive and my Mom didn't think it had the health value her kids needed. We all learned to cook from scratch and love the great flavors you can develop. My sisters are all great cooks. They all come up with great ideas. My sister Meesha asked to start posting too. I have invited all my sisters to start posting. If you see a new face around here it would be my sister :)
I have to share these "Banana crack muffins". That is Lee's name for them because he thinks they are as addicting as crack (not that he has experience in that :). I love that there is a TON of bananas in this. I usually 1/2 the recipe because we have a bad habit of eating the all up too quick.
6large or 8 medium bananas VERY ripe
4 eggs
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of oil
4 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup walnuts chopped (we do a cup of chocolate chips and eat them for desert :)
Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside. Mash bananas well. Add eggs, sugar, and oil mix until well blended. Add flour on top mix other dry ingredients into the flour. Mix until well blended. Add nuts or chips and mix briefly (overmixing causes tunnels and coarse texture). Pour into pans. Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I do muffins and cook them for about 25 minutes. ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bran muffins

When I was carrying Savannah I had gestational diabetes. Nothing I ate for breakfast kept my sugars down. One day my Mother-in-law made these and my sugars stayed down. For the next 3 mos I ate two of these, with a cup of milk blended with 3 strawberries, a handful of blueberries, some protein powder, and a tsp of splenda for breakfast. I also lost weight on this even though I was pregnant. They are really quite good. The best part is the recipe says the dough keeps well in your fridge for 6 weeks (although I have never tried that long). They are not terribly sweet just very filling and good.

1 cup oil
1 cup sugar

4 eggs beaten
1 quart low fat buttermilk

2 cups water
then add:
4 cups whole bran cereal (all-bran)
let sit 5 min

then add:
2 cups 40% bran flakes (I buy the cheap wal-mart bran flakes)
1 Tbsp salt
5 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
2 cups whole wheat flour (if you want to do all whole wheat only do about 4 3/4 total since wheat is "thirstier")

You can add raisins right before cooking although I usually don't.
15 to 20 minutes 400 degrees (mine always take the 20).
This recipe makes 60.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Yummiest Cauliflower

I was telling my good friend Lisa at Gourmified about our favorite way to use cauliflower right now. I promise you will LOVE it. Keaton thinks it is the best ever.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
3T olive oil (I used less)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (remember I always use Romano....more flavor)
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese (I have never bought this...too cheap...I have used more Romano, mozzarella, cheddar, or nothing....all good)
Heat the oven to 400. Cut up Cauliflower florets and lay on baking sheet. Toss with Olive Oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Cook them 30 minutes tossing again about 1/2 way through to keep from burning. After the 30 minutes top with cheese and put back in 2 minutes for the cheese to melt. YUMMY!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

French Bread

Have you made your own french bread? Don't or you will have a hard time enjoying the dollar loaves at the store. This easy bread will for sure be a new family treat. This is another Steamy Kitchen recipe. She sure knows bread! This recipe is a total of 3 hours so you can have it for dinner TONIGHT!
makes 2 loaves the size I have in the pic
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp active quick rising dry yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1. Put 1/4 cup of bread flour on your clean counter top and reserve. Place remaining 3 3/4 cups bread flour in your mixer bowl. Spoon the yeast on one side of the bowl, and the salt on the other side. Pour in the warm water and with your regular mixer paddle, mix on low speed until the dough comes together in a mass. Switch to the dough hook. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Dough should clear the sides but stick to the bottom. If it is too sticky, add 1 T of flour at a time. If too dry, add 1 T of water to dough to adjust. After 2 minutes, let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
2. Turn the mixer on again and mix for 3 minutes. Take the dough out and place on the counter. Remember that 1/4 cup of flour that we reserved? We’ll use it now. As you knead the dough by hand, incorporate more flour as you need. You might not need it all. Knead by hand until the dough is very satiny, smooth, tight and formed into a nice, compact ball. Place this dough in a large lightly oiled bowl (I use Pam spray). Turn dough over so that all sides have a thin coating of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place for 1 1/2 hours. Dough should almost double in size. Punch dough down and form back into a ball. Poke your finger on the surface – the dough should give into the pressure and slowly creep back up.
3. About 1 hour into the rest stage, preheat your oven to 450F (convection 425F). Place your pizza stone, inverted baking sheet or covered cast iron pot into the oven to heat up.
4. Ok, here’s the fun part. Cut the dough into half – you’ll shape one half at a time (keep the other piece under wraps) Pick up the dough – stretch it out until it forms a big rectangle. On your countertop dusted with flour, fold over the ends.
Now do a little “karate chop” lengthwise down the middle of the bread and stretch out the long ends again. Fold over in half. The karate chop helps get the middle tucked inside. Pinch all sides shut. This is important – you want to make sure that all ends including the short ends are pinched tightly to create a seal. This allows the bread to rise & expand up and out evenly. If the bread looks a little lopsided, you can try to fix it by letting it rest 5 minutes and gently stretching it out again. Just don’t knead the dough again – you’ll pop all the beautiful gas that took 1.5 hours to create!
5. Turn the bread over so that its seam side down. Cover the loaf with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat with the other dough halve. Leave the loaves to rest on your well-floured pizza peel or cutting board for 30 minutes. After resting, take a sharp paring knife and make 3-4 shallow, diagonal slashes on the surface of the loaf. This allows the steam in the bread to escape so that it expands evenly during the baking process.
Secret #1: Knead dough with dough hook for 2 minutes. Let it rest for 7 and then knead again for another 3 minutes. If you are doing this by hand, then your formula is 6 min-7 min-7 min. Letting the dough rest at this stage allows the gluten to relax, redistribute, and get all cozy. It results ultimately a smoother, well-mixed dough. After the brief rest, you’ll feel a difference in the dough. Its more supple and soft.
Secret #2: Pinch! When you form the dough into a loaf (see photo below) pinch all ends tightly to create a seal. Basically, you are creating surface tension so that the gas from the yeast (or as Alton Brown describes “When the yeast burps”) the dough expands up and out evenly. If I don’t create this surface tension, the dough in the oven will just go “blah” like Al Bundy on the couch. Something called gravity makes the dough expand down and flat.
Secret #3: Use a pizza stone, cast iron dutch oven or my favorite Pampered Chef Covered Baker. Just make sure that your loaf will fit into the vessel. Stone or cast iron retains heat and radiates the heat of the oven evenly. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, just use a good quality, thick baking sheet inverted.
Secret #4: Steam = thin, crunchy, beautiful crust. In the No Knead recipe, there is a high proportion of water to flour. Because the NK dough rests for multiple hours, lots of water in the recipe works. In this 3 hour french bread recipe, you can’t do that. To make steam (a.k.a. crust) – you have to do one of 2 things, depending on the baking vessel. -> Pizza stone or baking sheet: Once you put the bread in the oven, throw 1/2 cup of water on the oven floor (electric oven) and immediately close the door. No, it won’t harm the oven. Its a technique that professional bakers recommend for home ovens (professional ovens have a built in steamers). Once the water hits the hot oven floor, it creates steam, which creates the crust. -> Covered baker or dutch oven: You’ll need less water – about 1/4 cup. Once you put the loaf into the very hot pot, throw in the water and over the lid immediately. Put the pot directly in the oven. Because you’ve pre-heated the oven AND the pot for 1 hour, the trapped water in the pot will create steam. If you are shy about throwing water in, grab a pie pan or loaf pan, preheat it along with whatever you are baking on, and throw the water in that instead of the oven floor. Basically, cold water in hot pan + hot oven = steam. I have an electric oven (heating element is on the top of oven). Some bakers throw ice cubes in, but I prefer water.
Secret #5: Timing and temperature:
Have an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature of the bread should be 190-210F.
All ovens are different and I’m sure our loaves will be different shapes.
The timing in the recipe below is just a guide for you – this is what works in my oven and how I shape my loaves.
Please make sure that you check the internal temp of your bread to gauge doneness.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mint Brownie Bars

photo from
These Mint Chocolate Bars were the cover recipe for Cooking Light last March. I have had a number of requests for the recipe. It is a "go to" crowd pleaser :) I thought I would share with all.
The dense base layer is like a rich, fudgy brownie, so don't overcook it or the dessert bars will be dry. Refrigerating the mint bars allows the chocolaty top layer to set properly. You can make the dessert up to one day ahead. For a more grown-up taste, you can also use dark chocolate chips for some or all of the semisweet chocolate chips in the glaze. Also, remember these were "lightened" by 1/2 from the original but they are by no means calorie or fat free :)
Ingredients Bottom layer:
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
1 (16-ounce) can chocolate syrup
Cooking spray
Mint layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 Preheat oven to 350°.
2.To prepare bottom layer, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt; stir with a whisk. Combine granulated sugar, egg substitute, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 tablespoons water, vanilla, eggs, and chocolate syrup in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring until blended. Pour batter into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack
.3.To prepare mint layer, combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and next 3 ingredients (through food coloring) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread mint mixture over cooled cake.
4.To prepare the glaze, combine the chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring after 30 seconds. Let stand 2 minutes. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into 20 pieces.
Yield20 servings (serving size: 1 piece)Nutritional InformationCALORIES 264(30% from fat); FAT 8.7g (sat 5.2g,mono 2.5g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 2.8g; CHOLESTEROL 38mg; CALCIUM 12mg; SODIUM 139mg; FIBER 0.5g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45gMegan Patterson ,Cooking Light, MARCH 2008

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bread so easy a three year old can make it!

This recipe I saw originally on Steamy Kitchen. The whole post is of her 4 year old making this bread. Keaton is not 4 yet but LOVES to help in the kitchen. I got out the measuring cups for him. Read the recipe and he made it. I have to admit it was better then any bread I have ever made. Slightly sourdoughish, very crispy on the outside. He is thrilled now to help by "making the bread" whenever I need....SAWEEET!
Here we go:
3 cups of flour in a big bowl (it will raise and little mixers make a mess :)
1/4 tsp of instant yeast (yep, just a 1/ misprint)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
(please note you can use part wheat flour but wheat flour is more "thirsty so decrease the total amount of flour by about a 1/4 cup)
Mix it up. If the mama is doing the mixing it takes me under a minute. Keaton can mix this baby up in a couple of minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it "sleep" on the counter 12-20 hours in a cozy warm place. In the "morning" you will be amazed at how nice and holey it looks. Take it out a put it on a flour'd counter. Wet your hands (it is a sticky dough and that is how it needs to stay, the water on your hands will balance the flour on the counter). Take it up in your hands and pull and tuck the sides in to make it smooth on one side and pulled in belly button style on the other. Put it belly button side down in a greased bowl. Let it sit for 2 more hours.
30 minutes before the rest is up fire up your oven to 450 I put a camping 10" dutch oven in there to warm up too.
"The perfect pot for No Knead Bread
Let’s talk about the pot. So, you know you’re going to put the pot into a very very hot oven. Make sure that the pot can withstand 450F. Generally, if the pot is cheap, flimsy, has plastic handles and a remnant from your poor college days, it’s probably not going to be safe to use in that hot of an oven. Use a 5-qt or larger cast iron, ceramic, Pyrex, stainless steel or enamel pot.
Just check your pot collection – look for large, heavy, no plastic.
Round, oblong –does not matter. Should be at least 4″ tall. I use my Le Creuset emameled cast-iron. Yes, my cover has a thick plastic knob – but I did call Le Creuset’s customer service and they said while their literature says safe to 400F, it is still fine at 450F. Now, I don’t know whether the gal who talked with me really had the authority to tell me such a thing….but after over 30 loaves, my pot is still unblemished. After pre-heating, remove the hot pot from oven. Now plop this wobbly dough into the hot pot. Doesn’t matter how it lands – actually, the messier it lands, the more “rustic” it looks. Shake pot a bit to even out the dough.
secret: if you aren’t using a well-seasoned cast iron pan, you can put a piece of parchment paper in the pot first so that the No Knead Bread won’t stick to the bottom."
Back to me:
You then flop that bread into the pot belly button side up. If it flops out uneven no worries....think artisan. Cook covered for 30 minutes then uncovered for another 15-20 minutes. It is best warm but still yum later on :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Random Zucchini thoughts....

I have so many other recipes I want to get to so we will with this say a fond farewell to the noble zucchini. Just a couple of extra ideas.... first remember those baggies I grated and put in our freezer to use through the year? I have gone through most of them. Where have they gone? I have snuck them in spaghetti sauce, lasagna, soup, taco meat, stir fry, the list goes on and on. If your kids fight you on eating veggies.....sneak it past them :) Another idea we tried was for zucchini cobbler. I cannot say we loved it. I have been blessed with a kid that eats anything. I decided we will save the cobbler for delicious fruit. IF you ARE trying to get your kids to eat veggies it did taste remarkably like apple cobbler. If you live nearby you can even come over and try it. We have PLENTY left over. The idea of the day if from Our Best Bites. Have you checked them out? They are a great tutorial site. They come up with the most wonderful fresh ideas and walk you through them. This week they posted grilled stuffed zucchini. YUMMY. Click HERE for that great one. Come back tomorrow for Keaton's bread recipe. It is a great no knead bread that is slightly sourdough, extra yum. The recipe is so easy he can mix it up himself in about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day Three...good old grilled Zuchinni

We will get to the chicken over cous cous (if you haven't tried cous cous it is one of the worlds best quick fixes) but today we are talking about the grilled summer squash. My Mother-in-law does it this way and it is DELICIOUS.
Here you go:
marinate your lengthwise sliced zucchini all day in:
2TBSP Balsamic vinegar
2TBSP Olive Oil
2TBSP Good Seasons Dry Italian mix
Squish it all up in Ziploc gallon bag. Grill 5-6 minutes on each side.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zucchini day two- Zucchini bread dressed up!

My friend Lisa started a food Blog recently too. One of her first posts was for THIS wonderful bread. I was looking for something that I could possibly make with frozen shredded zucchini. I had one or two of those HUGE zucchini a neighbor gave me weeks ago. They are not great for eating so I shredded them up, put them in 1 cup portions in my freezer and hoped for the best. I made this recipe using those. I took 2 out and put them in the micro for about a min and a half. They were VERY watery. I know you need that moisture to make the bread good so I threw it in and hoped for the best. I also used frozen blueberries. I have fresh ones from my produce co-op last week but those are Keaton and I's favorite treat so we used frozen ones. Lisa's Mom suggested coating them with flour if using frozen. I did and it was perfect. I have to tell you the recipe made not only the perfect 4 mini loaves but also a dozen mini muffins. Those are not pictured. Keaton and I will not tell you why :)
P.S. We hurried and shared the rest with neighbors. They were not safe in our house :)
Blueberry-Zucchini Bread
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries
DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans. Lightly sprinkle the tops with sugar.
Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Zucchini day one- Zucchini Aubergine

Welcome to my new new new blog! I am excited for a place to store my recipes and to send friends who would like to borrow a recipe. I have had a ton of requests for zucchini recipes in the last week so I thought I would start with....ZUCCHINI WEEK!!!

When I found a recipe for Zucchini Parmigiana I thought I would have to give it a try (it's that time of year). The recipe was from Prudence Pennywise (click on the link to get the parm recipe). She had fried her zucchini. I really wanted to make it a little more healthy. I immediately thought of my Eggplant Aubergine recipe I got out of Cooking Light Magazine years ago. I made it both ways, 1/2 with the fried, 1/2 with the Aubergined (is that a word) Zucchini. Honestly, I fought Lee for the Aubergine leftovers for my lunch. It was SO much more flavorful. I want to use some more zucchini and not worry about the parmigiana and just consume to zucc's. Hope you enjoy!

1/2 cup light mayo
1Tbsp minced onion
1lb eggplant peeled and sliced (1/2 " slices)/ OR ZUCCHINI
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 grated Parmesan cheese (I never use Parm, I buy a big block of Romano at Costco and use it for months. It has so much more flavor so you use less and taste it more)
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
Vegetable cooking spray
-mix mayo and onion
-mix bread crumbs, cheese, and Seasoning
-dredge in mayo mix then in crumbs
-put on silpat, or sprayed pan
Cook at 425 for 12 minutes, then turn and cook another 12 minutes.