Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Fruit Salad

I didn't manage to get a picture of this super easy salad because it was eaten up so fast! So, I decided to just throw the "recipe" up here pictureless so that the next time I need an easy winter salad I will remember it. As an added bonus it's healthy and diet friendly.

Christmas Fruit Salad
Servings 6-8

1 lg pomengranate, seeded
4 Granny Smith apples, cubed
1/2 c. original Craisins
6 oz. lt vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. pecan pieces

Mix everything together in a large bowl until completely coated with yogurt. Chill well and serve. Can't get much easier than that!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Banana Bread

Ok, see, I cook sometimes! I had several bananas sitting on my counter that were in danger of hitting the trash can if I didn't do something with them. Enter your standard Banana Bread. Don't get me wrong, I love banana bread with Oreos, and bread with strawberries or blueberries but sometimes you just can't beat the traditional bread with nuts. Yum.

This is my fall back recipe, the one I make when I want it to turn out for sure every time. I've never had it not work so it's good for my self esteem too. The picture is not good for my self esteem but I knew if I waited until morning to take it the bread would be gone.

Banana Bread

1 loaf/16 slices

3/4 c sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 c. (2 med) mashed bananas
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped nuts, if desired
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Heat oven to 350.  Grease bottom only of loaf pan. In large bowl combine sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Add bananas, milk and vanilla; blend well.
2. In small bowl combine flour, nuts, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add to wet mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into greased pan.
3. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator.

*can also substitute 1 cup applesauce for mashed bananas and add 3/4 tsp cinnamon with flour.

Cal 190; Fat 9 g; Fiber 1 g.

Monday, November 29, 2010

French Apple Pie

Wow, it's the week after Thanksgiving and I didn't manage to post a single recipe! In my defense I caught a bug that I'm sure was directly related to bubonic plague and felt like something stuck on the bottom of a shoe for over a week but still. Fail.

Luckily, I only had to provide one pie for Thanksgiving dinner this year and I did the easiest one I could think of. Apple. I even fudged the top crust and did a crumb topping that was pretty darned tasty if I do say so myself. An added bonus was that I got to pull out the apple peeler and go crazy...I'd forgotten how fun that gadget is!

This pie was good on its own but was even better with a drizzle of caramel topping or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Seriously, try it. ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fancy Pants Mac and Cheese

I've been eyeing this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website since it was posted. 
I printed out the recipe and took it to the store like a good little wanna be chef in training because I typically follow the recipe pretty closely the first time I make it. However, after pricing the cheeses listed I folded that sucker up and put it in my purse for a day that I felt a little richer. It's been kind of haunting me though. For weeks. I love mac and cheese as long as it doesn't come out of that box...just sayin'. {shudder} So, after much pondering of the contents of my fridge and a last minute call to my neighbor so she could ponder the contents of her fridge I decided to embark upon my own Fancy Pants Mac and Cheese Adventure.

Honestly, it turned out VERY good. Everyone liked it, the whole pan was almost gone after only one meal! The leftovers weren't as great so if you aren't planning on eating a bunch halving the recipe is a good plan. We really like the combination of the peppered bacon (thanks Jen!!) and the Pepper Jack cheese. It gave it a little extra zing that you don't typically find in mac and cheese and it beat that stuff out of the box hands down, no contest.

Fancy Pants Mac and Cheese
Servings 8

1 box macaroni, whatever shape
2 onions halved and sliced thin
1/2 lb peppered bacon, cut into small pieces
1 T. ish reserved bacon grease (come on, admit it, I'm not the only one that saves it in the fridge...)
1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. milk (this would be better with some half and half or cream)
2 whole egg yolks beaten (probably could skip this without too much trauma)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. pepper jack cheese shredded
2/3 c. Italian cheese blend (I just used what I had in the fridge)
2/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook macaroni for approx 2/3 of the recommended cooking time. Drain and set aside.
  3. Fry bacon just until crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Reserve grease.
  4. Melt 3 T butter and 1 T. bacon grease or olive oil in skillet and saute onions over medium low heat for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Really, don't rush this step, it's worth the extra couple of minutes to do it right. Set aside.
  5. Melt 4 T butter with 1 T. bacon grease in pot. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Cook stirring constantly for about a minute (it will kind of turn a golden color). Pour in milk, cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Beat egg yolks and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks stirring constantly. Stir until combined.Pour egg mixture into the sauce and cook for another minute.
  7. Add cheeses and stir until melted.
  8. Combine with onions, most of the bacon pieces and macaroni. Stir until everything is mixed well and turn into a sprayed casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top.
  9. Bake for 20 minute or until sizzling and bubbly.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spicy Teriyaki Chicken`

OK, this is a purely made up concoction type of recipe that I've tweaked every time I've made it so it's still technically a work in progress. However, the fact that the only instructions I've written down are currently residing on a very cramped, stained, and splattered pink post it note I decided that I should at least write down what I have done to this point before I have to start over.

I think that if you wanted to take the time to bread the chicken this would be pretty tasty as well as just stir frying it like I've done. I am always in a hurry so I haven't done that but that certainly doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be done.

The marinade is just slightly zingy. If it were just Jeff and myself eating I would ramp up the heat a bit more with some red peppers but since we have to share with the other two this is a pretty good compromise.

Spicy Teriyaki Chicken
serves 6

1 1/2 c. pineapple juice (orange also works but I like pineapple better)
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/2 c. Teriyaki sauce
3/4 t. creole seasoning (I used Zatarain's)
4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

2 T. jalapeno pepper (all I had was pickled, it worked but fresh would be better)
Arrowroot or cornstarch
1/2 c water
2 T. oil

Combine first 5 ingredients. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour 2/3 of the marinade over the chicken and lest rest in fridge for 30-45 minutes. Stir peppers into the remaining marinade and set aside.

Heat oil in frying pan. Cook the chicken 5-6 minutes or until the chicken is done. I like to let it sear really well before giving it a stir. While chicken is cooking create a slurry with the water and cornstarch or arrowroot. Bring the reserved marinade up to a boil and mix in the slurry stirring constantly. Let boil for a couple of minutes or until the sauce thickens up. Pour over the chicken and mix well. Cook an additional 2 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

4 Packet Roast

Sunday dinner. For as long as I can remember growing up we had a roast with potatoes and carrots for Sunday dinner. When I got married I tried to recreate that Sunday dinner and it was never quite right. My gravy was terrible and even though I followed my mom's directions to the letter the roast was never very good. I decided that it must just be one of those things that only Mom could make and moved on to other Sunday dinners for my own house. When Randy was called to be in the Bishopric several years ago I decided to try again because I needed something that I could walk away from and come home and have yummy dinner. We both had callings that required more Sunday time from us than ever before.

Enter my second favorite kitchen appliance. The Crock Pot. Over the years I've assembled a collection of crock pots in various sizes and shapes, I think it's a sickness actually. Anyway, I decided that I would try throwing the roast in the crock pot and seeing if I liked it any better than my previous attempts in the oven. Hello and hallelujah! It was so easy and so good. I've fiddled around with different seasonings depending on what we are doing with the meat but this is now the only method to cook roast. So tender and best of all easy!

I found this variation on Sunday dinner on My Sister's Cafe when I was doing my weekly blog check. I found all the seasoning packets in my cupboard yesterday so this was dinner and it was delightful.

I dumped potatoes, carrots and onions in with the meat and thickened the drippings for gravy. It was definitely a do again.

4 Packet Roast

1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet Italian salad dressing mix
1 packet onion soup mix
1 roast of choice
1 cup of water

assorted veggies if desired

Place roast in crockpot. Arrange vegetables around the roast if being used. Sprinkle the mix packets over the roast. Pour water around the roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Caramel Pecan Brownies

Here's another quick variation on a boxed brownie mix. It takes a little longer to bake than a regular brownie but I think it's worth the extra time. I've made it with caramel ice cream topping and again with the Kraft caramel pieces that you can get in a bag by the chocolate chips. They both work but I liked the caramel pieces better so for me it will be worth the advance planning to pick a bag of those little goodies up.

Also, USE PARCHMENT PAPER. If you don't you will lose all the edges as they bake to the pan in a solid chunk of brownie flavored toffee. Not that I know that firsthand or anything...

Caramel Pecan Brownies

1 brownie mix, 13x9 size
1 bag caramel pieces or 3/4 jar ice cream topping
1 cup pecan chunks (we prefer the smaller cookie pieces but any pecans would work...halves would be like turtle brownies)

Mix brownie mix according to package directions.

Line pan with parchment. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the pan and spread until it's even. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 min or until the center of the brownie is firmly set.

Remove from oven and pour caramel over baked brownie. Sprinkle pecans over the caramel. Pour reserved brownie batter over the caramel and nuts and bake for an additional 25 mins.

Let cool completely before cutting.

Post linked to:
Themed Baker's Sunday

Monday, October 4, 2010

Raspberry Cheesecake Pie

I LOVE cheesecake but I am inherently lazy and if you add that to the whole "intimidated by the water bath/springform pan" issue that I had going on it adds up to I'm limited to the cheesecake I can get at a restaurant or Sam's Club. Now neither of those options is a bad one necessarily but this weekend I decided to break out of my rut and try something new. I was assigned dessert for a family dinner yesterday and after spending some time on I felt like I could venture forth without too much trauma.

I don't own a springform pan so I used graham cracker pie crusts (easy, ssshhh) and added a Raspberry Lime Sauce over the cream. I ate mine without the cream and personally I think that was better. I may have another piece for breakfast.... Oh, the sauce would also be yum over ice cream or yogurt and my dad put some over his brownie so there is definitely some versatility there.

The picture is iffy because it was my brother in law's serving that I snapped with my iPhone before it was completely gone. :) I'll work on a better one but I'm amused by this one so it may get to stay.

Raspberry Cheesecake Pie
adapted from
servings 10

1 graham cracker pie crust (use the big 10 inch one)
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
2 T. milk
2 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. flour
1/2 t. vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup raspberries divided
whipped cream if desired

In a blender, combine cottage cheese and milk; cover and process until smooth. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in cottage cheese mixture, flour and vanilla. Beat in eggs just until blended. Pour into pie crust (pie will be full). Sprinkle with 1/2 c. raspberries; gently press into filling with the back of a spoon.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the center is almost set (cover the edges with foil if they are browning too quickly). Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Top with whipped cream and remaining berries.

Raspberry Lime Sauce

1 pint raspberries (I used frozen)
1/3 cup sugar
2 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. cornstarch
1 cup cold water

Combine the berries, sugar and juice in a saucepan. Whisk the cornstarch into the cold water until smooth. Add the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil.

Simmer for about 5 minutes stirring constantly, until the desired consistency is reached. The sauce will thicken a bit more as it cools.

Puree the sauce in a blender and strain it through a fine sieve. Serve warm or cold. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Melon Salad

It's been a crazy summer around here so cooking hasn't been a huge priority. I made this salad for a BBQ about a month ago and it was really good so I figured I should throw it up here before you can't find melon anymore... I will maybe cut down on the mint just a bit next time but overall it was good, especially after it had had a chance to sit for a couple of hours. Plan ahead, it's worth it

Melon Salad
approx 8 servings
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups (approx) watermelon balls (chunks will obviously work as well)
3 1/2 cups (approx) canteloupe balls
1/3-1/2 cup mint leaves packed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp amaretto opt.

Begin by making the simple syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over med. heat. Bring to a low simmer and stir, making sure that all sugar is dissolved. It should only take a couple of minutes of simmering. The liquid will thicken slightly and should remain clear. Remove from heat and let cool. (Remember you are only using a portion of this syrup. Refrigerate the remainder for a few days for use in another recipe)

Cut melon into either balls or chunks. Place in large mixing bowl and set aside.

Once the syrup is cooled, blend 1/4 cup of the simple syrup, mint, lemon juice and amaretto in a blender until mint is finely chopped.

Pour the mixture over the melon pieces and combine well.

Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until needed.


It's been a while since I posted a recipe and I have a couple that I just haven't gotten to yet but today is salsa day and it's worthy of a repost. I rarely make the same version twice...I guess I'm still tweaking it for the perfect jar but this version is getting close. The original recipe was posted a year ago, I'll just post the orginal recipe and today's modifications for now.

10 quarts of tomatoes, skinned and chopped
6 c. onions chopped
4 cans (small) diced green chilies
1 large green pepper chopped
1 1/2 c. jalapeno peppers chopped fine (I usually leave most of the ribs and seeds)
1/2 c. vinegar
1/4 c. sugar (you may need more depending on how ripe your tomatoes are)
4 T. salt
4 t. oregano
4 t. cumin
1 large handful cilantro chopped (a couple T if using dried)
5-6 cloves garlic (sometimes I leave this out if I don't have fresh)
1/2 c. oil
12 oz. tomato paste
1 t. crushed red pepper
Tabasco (to fine tune the heat at the end if needed)

Blanch the tomatoes and slip the skins. Seed if desired. I run mine through the blender quickly because my family doesn't do chunks very well. Mix all together and simmer until desired consistency (1 1/2-2 hours). Fill jars and adjust lids. Process in water bath for 45 min or in a pressure cooker on 15 lbs for 10 minutes.

10-2-10 Update
5 1/2  blenders full of tomatoes (1/2 bushel)
6 1/2 c. onion
4 cans green chiles
8 small jalepenos-leave ribs and seeds
2 med Anaheim peppers
4 Serano Peppers w/ribs and seeds
2 lg green peppers
1/2 c vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. lime juice
4 T. salt
4 t. oregano
5 t. cumin
1 bunch cilantro chopped
 2 t. red pepper flakes
4 heaping t. garlic powder
12 oz tomato paste

Yum. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, I'm still on a what do I do? Make cookies to torture myself! I'm taking cookies to a party on Sunday and am tired of all the same old recipes that I usually take so I decided to experiment by combining a few of them. I love peanut butter bars and peanut butter cookies so I wanted to kind of combine the 2. This is what I came up with and I think it is dead on.

This recipe makes a zillion cookies but they freeze well. Ok, maybe not a zillion but truly 7 doz or so. I think the next time I do it I am going to try freezing half of the dough to see how that works. It's awesome to be able to just pull dough out of the freezer and bake. *hmmm*

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
7 doz

3 sticks butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. peanut butter (I used creamy because that's what I had but chunky would be good too)
1 T. vanilla
3 eggs
3 c. flour
1 T. baking soda
1 t. salt (I like sea salt or Kosher)
1 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and sugars. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and eggs; mix well. Add flour, soda, and salt. Combine until blended together. Mix in oatmeal and chips just until mixed, don't over do it!
  3. Roll dough into golf ball sized balls and put on sprayed cookie sheet. Slightly flatten with a cup dipped in granulated sugar.
  4. Bake for 9-10 mins. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes so they will stay together when you put them on a cooling rack.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Slices

I'm dieting again. *sigh* So in an effort to find a snack that isn't going to break the bank calories wise and still falls into the actual "snack" category I have been looking all over the internet at different refrigerator pickle recipes. I LOVE pickles and will eat just about any kind but since I've given up sugar for a while I kind of wanted something sweet. I found a recipe over on Our Best Bites that looked like it would work so last night I gave it a whirl.

I must have used all my rice vinegar so I used a white balsamic vinegar instead and it came out more sweet than I had anticipated so next time I will double the amount of red pepper flakes (I've actually thrown them into the jar since I tasted them). The recipe below reflects the changes that I made.

This is definitely a do again. I can even see this as a side dish at a BBQ like a cucumber salad. My dad always used to eat cucumbers in vinegar in the summer and this is similar but doesn't have the sharp bite that you get from cider vinegar. I actually liked it better.

Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Slices
1 quart

3 medium-large cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (you could use rice vinegar or white wine vinegar but I think that cider or regular white vinegar would be too strong)
1/2 c water
3 T Truvia sweetner or sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 T minced red onion

Place cucumber slices in a colander sitting over a bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss well. Let sit for an hour regrigerated. Toss them a few times while they drain to evenly distribute the salt. While they are draining prepare marinade.

Combine vinegar, water, sweetner, onions and red pepper in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook until reduced to a 1/3 cup (about 10 minutes). If you boil too long just add a little more water until you have 1/3 c. Let mixture cool to room temp.

When cucumbers are done resting, pat them dry with a few paper towels and then combine with the vinegar reduction. Let chill completely before serving.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

S'more Brownies

This is not really a's too easy to be called that, it's more of a "technique". Maybe not even that but it is YUMMY!

After I put it all together and took it to my in laws thinking I was so clever my sister in law said "Oh did you see this on I didn't but when I went to check it out I discovered that I wasn't the only one with a grand idea so check it out over there as well. Here's the link:

At any rate it's super easy, just layer and go! The hardest part is waiting for it to completely cool which I discovered the hard way is absolutely necessary. Also, line your pan with parchment paper, spray the paper with PAM and then layer. You will be able to lift the whole kit and kaboodle out and cutting will be HUGELY simplified.

S'More Brownies

1 box brownie mix or your favorite recipe for 9X13 pan
graham crackers
milk chocolate chips
big marshmallows

1. Prepare brownie mix. Pour 1/2 of the batter onto the bottom of the pan.
2. Layer graham crackers directly over batter
3. Sprinkle chocolate chips all over crackers; about 1 cup
4. Line marshmallows over chocolate chips. Cute little rows...
4. Pour remaining batter over marshmallows
5. Bake 28-30 min or until toothpick comes out mostly clean
6. Let cool completely....agony.
7. Lift out of pan and cut into small pieces

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dutch Oven BBQ Beef

Ok, I'm making up for being gone and the fact that I haven't really cooked in a couple of weeks. This is the meat dish that we had with the potatoes and it was super easy. The beef was fall apart tender which is always good and it was great with the potatoes and corn on the cob. I cooked it on the stove top but you could do it on the grill, a propane stove, or with charcoal if you wanted to be super authentic.

This would be good over rice or in sandwiches as well.

Sorry the picture is less than stellar, we were so hungry that I was lucky to get this one!

Dutch Oven BBQ Beef

2-3 lb beef, cut into strips (I used a round roast)
1 can beef broth
1/4 c. honey
juice and 1/2 tsp zest from 1 orange
1 c. BBQ sauce

Lightly brown the beef in the Dutch oven. Add the beef broth, honey, orange juice, and zest. Simmer for 90 minutes or until tender. Add water as needed. Stir in the BBQ sauce and cook 5-10 minutes more.

Dutch Oven Potatoes

I bet you all thought I died!! Not dead just swamped with summer stuff like a week at Girl's Camp and all that entails. Getting ready to go was crazy but it was an awesome week!

We had some good camp food while we were there but I was so busy running around that I didn't really get to enjoy it so the Sunday after we got back I pulled out the Dutch Ovens and made my own. Being basically lazy however I didn't build a fire I just used the oven and it turned out great.

These potatoes are my favorite way to have them. There are many, many recipes out there and all Dutch Oven cooks believe their version is the best but I am here to tell you it's hard to beat this one. My Dad taught me how to make this and although I don't do it often it's easy enough even a beginner can figure it out.

Dutch Oven Potatoes
6 qt dutch oven

10 lbs potatoes, washed and cut into thick slices
1 lb bacon cooked until crisp and roughly chopped
2-3 onions (we typically use yellow or white)
Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Butter (this is so far from healthy that there are no words....)

Wash and slice potatoes. Set aside in cold water.
Cook bacon and drain reserving some of the bacon drippings
Slice the onions in thin slices. Saute them in the bacon drippings until they are slightly translucent and starting to carmelize.
Wipe the inside of your dutch oven with a light coat of canola oil. Pam doesn't really work in this recipe. Slice a few pats of butter on the bottom and start layering.
1. potatoes
2. onions
3. bacon
4. butter
5. repeat until all ingredients are used up.
6. add a small amount of 1/2 c maybe

Bake in oven at 350 for about an hour. Pull out pan and cover with cheese. Cover and put back in oven until cheese is melted.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

I was talking to my friend the other day and she was saying how much she loved Chicken Tikka Masala at her favorite Indian restaurant and that she has made it at home. I was intrigued because 1) I have never been to an Indian restaurant and 2) because one of my Weight Watchers friends has a recipe that has been passed around and was supposed to be very good. I figured, what have I got to lose, the pizza place is close if it's a complete FAIL!

It wasn't a complete fail, it was as good as its reputation! Randy liked it and said it was a definite do again but next time maybe just a little less heat. So next time I will cut the cayenne a bit and replace it with more paprika. Other than that it was excellent. I have no idea how authentic it is but with some Jasmine rice I felt very exotic while I was eating it. :D Thanks Hope!! Oh, I did use Fat Free Half and Half in place of the cream and I do think that you could probably leave all the salt out without harming the end result

Hope’s Chicken Tikka Masala
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tsp salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

1 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.
4. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and salt.
5. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
6. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Go To Wheat Bread

I had a panic attack earlier this week when I went to make bread and realized that I'd tossed my recipe in a moment of clean up madness. Luckily I was able to recall it and get it written down before my memory goes completely. So in an effort to put it somewhere that is easy to find I'm going to put it here.

This is the recipe that I use most often for bread. It's a bit lighter and fluffier than 100% whole wheat bread and I like that it makes 4 loaves. 3 for the week and 1 to share. I've also made it with all white flour (it was 6:00 a.m. I was still asleep) and it was really good that way as well. Randy liked it better all white, Bri prefers the blend. I just like bread. Any bread. Bread made into sandwiches and toast....yum.

As far as the ratio of white flour to wheat goes I just fiddled with it until I got it where I wanted. I do usually try to use white wheat flour as it's not quite as nutty tasting but either works.

(yes I know the picture is terrible) :/

Go To Wheat Bread

5 1/2 c warm water
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
2 T. yeast
2 T salt
2 T Vital Wheat Gluten
2 T nonfat dry milk (reg is fine too)
3 c. white flour
9 c. whole wheat flour

  1. Prepare bread pans and set aside.
  2. Mix the water, sugar oil, yeast, salt gluten and milk.
  3. Add the white flour and mix well.. Continue adding wheat flour until the dough cleans the side of the bowl and is soft but not sticky. You will need more if you are mixing by hand.
  4. Knead for 10 min or until a soft, smooth dough has formed.
  5. Spray your counter with cooking spray and separate dough into 4 balls.
  6. Flatten out into a rectangle and roll up into loaf shape. Tuck ends in and put in pans.
  7. Cover and let raise until top of dough is 1 1/2 in above pans.
  8. Put in COLD oven and set to 350 degrees. Bake for 32-38 min or until golden brown.
  9. Turn out onto wire rack and cool completely

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

7, I mean 6 Layer Dip

Can this be dinner? Surely it can. It's got all the important food groups, fruits and veggies, protein, dairy, whole grains. Let's call it dinner because I'm too tired to do anything more complicated. Besides, if it's just me and the girls who is going to tell?!? Not me for sure!

Everyone has their own version of this dip and they are all good. This is actually 6 layer dip because I've not convinced my family that green onions are actually NOT poisonous so they get left off. Dig in!

7, I mean 6 Layer Dip

1 can refried beans
1/2 pkt taco seasoning (I use about 2 Tbs or 2/3 pkt)
2-3 ripe avocadoes
1/2 tsp salt
juice from 1/2 lemon
sour cream
cheese (we like a Mexican cheese blend)
green onions if you are brave

Mix the beans with the taco seasoning. Spread out onto platter.

Mash the avocadoes well with a fork. Stir in salt and lemon juice. Layer over the beans.

Spread sour cream over the guacamole so that it's almost completely covered. This will help it not go dark and ugly looking.

Sprinkle lots of cheese, tomatoes and olives over the top.

Crack open a bag of chips and enjoy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies

Can you ever have too many chocolate chip cookies recipes? I think not. It all depends on what kind of cookies you are in the mood for....cakey, extra chocolate, thin and crispy...the possibilities are endless.

These are slightly cakey, they don't bake up thin and crispy like traditional Toll House cookies but with the addition of another kind of chocolate and toffee chips and they definitely can stand on their own merits. The recipe also makes about a zillion cookies so they are good for when you have to take a bunch to a pot luck or to your visiting teaching ladies because it's the last day of the month and you forgot...not that I EVER do anything like that! :)

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies

1 3/4 c softened butter
1 3/4 c brown sugar
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
4 eggs
5 1/2 Tbs water
2 tsp vanilla
6 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 c semi sweet chocolate chips
2 c milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 c toffee chips

In large mixing bowl cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs, water, and vanilla; mix until creamy. Add flour, salt, and baking soda; mix well. Gently fold in chips mixing just until they are mixed in. Don't over mix and break up your chocolate chips or you will have dirty looking dough.

Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookied sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-11 minutes (my oven takes about 11 minutes) or until golden brown. Don't overbake, you want them to look slightly uncooked in the middle when you pull them out.

Makes about 6 doz cookies

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grilled Chicken

It's summer and life is starting to get kind of crazy. Softball games and summer activities make fixing dinner more of a challenge if you don't want to eat a hamburger or hot dog every night. Enter "Grilled Chicken". Now, I realize that this isn't anything new, most people have managed to grilled chicken without my insights but it's a staple at our house so I thought I would share the things I've learned over the past 20 years of grilling. It's taken grilled chicken from a slightly charred, mostly dried out dinner to the cornerstone of many dishes in the Jiggle household.

The chicken in the picture is your basic BBQ chicken basted with a Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. I love BBQ sauce so we have several varieties hanging out in the fridge for those days that I don't have time to make it from scratch. Two nights ago we had Chicken Alfredo with basic chicken and a jarred Alfredo sauce. Chicken sandwiches and salad are also dishes that utilize this technique.

First off you have to decide if you are going to use breasts that are flash frozen or fresh. Typically the flash frozen breasts are already about the correct size and thickness for grilling. I once found a bag of "grill ready" chicken at Sam's that was truly the best chicken I'd ever to make my own fresh chicken work like that? Smash it out to a uniform thickness!
  1. Put the chicken in a bag and whack it with either a mallet or a frying pan. I use the frying pan, it's faster. Pound it out to about 1/2" thick. Trim off the raggedy edges that will burn and you are ready to go.
  2. Preheat your grill to about 350 degrees. On my grill that's about Med-ish. I typically let it preheat for about 10 minutes. If you aren't sure about how hot your grill gets you can get an oven thermometer and sit it in there for a baseline temp.
  3. I usually give the chicken a spritz of non-stick spray before I season it so I don't have to spray the grill and light myself on fire. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper or whatever you prefer. We tend to use Lowry's seasoning salt and black pepper most often. 
  5. Place chicken on the grill and shut the lid. Let cook for 6-8 minutes and turn. I like to only turn it once so give it another 6-8 minutes and whip out your meat thermometer. Your internal temp for chicken should be 165 degrees. Your juices will run clear when it's done. Don't over cook!! 
  6. Let chicken sit for few minutes before you cut into it.
  7. Frozen breasts will cook about this same length of time because they are typically smaller and thinner.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blackberry Chicken

Yum! I got my new Taste of Home magazine on Saturday and I've already read it cover to cover twice. Yes, I am a dork. :) In the magazine this sauce was over pork but we prefer chicken and I didn't have any pork chops anyway. I was afraid that using the steak seasoning on the chicken would be too overwhelming but it was actually really good and I will definitely do that again. Just use restraint when sprinkling...

We liked this and best of all it was on the table in about 30 minutes start to finish. Actually the chicken took less than that but I was waiting for the rice to finish so if you planned a bit better or had a faster side dish this could be really speedy.

Blackberry Chicken
adapted from Taste of Home magazine
servings 4

1/2 c. seedless blackberry spreadable fruit or preserves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
Dash ground cinnamon
pinch red pepper flakes
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Montreal steak seasoning
blackberries (I used frozen, they hold their shape better than most berries and are way cheaper than fresh)

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the preserves, lemon juice, soy sauce, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.
  2. Cook and stir over low heat until the preserves melt. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Lightly sprinkle both sides of chicken with steak seasoning.
  4. Grill 8 min per side on a medium flame or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Serve with sauce and blackberries

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls

I've always been intimidated by yeast. It seems like every time I attempted it I either killed it right off the bat and the dough wouldn't rise correctly or I would get impatient and try to rush the process and ended up with rolls and cinnamon rolls that bore a striking resemblance to hockey pucks. So for many years I just avoided anything that looked like it might have a yeast component.

Then, I met Joan and Becky. They are both great cooks and make the best rolls and cinnamon rolls ever. I watched them do it and even tried to write down Joan's cinnamon roll recipe once but I couldn't make it come out right. However, they inspired me to keep trying. Assuring me that practice was all I needed and that I wasn't truly as yeast challenged as I thought I was they encouraged me to keep at it.

It's been several years now since those roll making lessons and I've made many hockey puck cinnamon rolls. I've tried all kinds of recipes and haven't been in love with any of them. This recipe is in several of my "ward" cookbooks and I finally decided to give it a whirl after I saw it on My Kitchen Cafe. The thought of light fluffy cinnamon rolls was too much to resist....guess what? IT WORKED!!! These rolls are light and airy and there isn't a hockey puck in the bunch!

Now if I can just resist eating them all myself...

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
6+ cups flour

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon

8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

  1. In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not over flour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky.
  2. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  3. Roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly. With knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife.
  4. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t over bake). Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting (combine butter and cream cheese and mix well, then add vanilla and sugar and mix again, then add milk for desired consistency). Makes about 24 very large rolls.

*Freezable Recipe: After shaping the rolls and placing them on the baking sheet, cover with lightly greased saran wrap and a layer of tin foil. Store in the freezer. The night before you want to serve them take out the rolls and put them in the refrigerator. Let them thaw in the refrigerator. Take them out about 8-9 hours after being in the refrigerator and let them rise until doubled. Bake according to the recipe. (If you have less time, you can take the rolls out of the freezer and let them come to room temperature on the counter – about 4 hours, then let rise until doubled).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ABC Shrimp Salad

The season of BBQs and potlucks has begun. It seems like I don't make this salad all winter long but when it starts to warm up this is my "go to" salad, particularly if the event is a Hansen event. Maybe they don't think I can make anything else....I guess that's possible but at any rate I do this salad more than any other.

I didn't figure the NI on it because even using "light" mayo and Miracle Whip I am sure that the numbers are kind of scary.

ABC Shrimp Salad

1 pkg ABC macaroni (any macaroni works)
1 cup celery chopped fine
4 boiled eggs, mashed with a fork
1-2 cans shrimp rinsed and drained (I've been using frozen lately, 1 lb of 100-150 size)
2-3 chopped green onions

Combine and mix with the following ingredients:
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 cup mayo
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp vinegar
paprika, salt and pepper to taste

Chill well before serving.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dressed Up Banana Bread

When I'm trying to eat healthy I am ALWAYS trying to figure out how to have foods that I love fit within the healthy guidelines I'm trying to follow. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Cooking Light is one of my favorite "tools" to make this lifestyle work for me. I have never made a bad recipe that came from a Cooking Light source. Ever. So when I ran across this banana bread recipe I was psyched, I even had some nicely black bananas sitting on my counter begging to be used. So this morning, way too early for a Saturday I might add, I ran down to the kitchen and played mad scientist.

This is a very good version of banana bread, even if it weren't light. The banana flavor comes through, the bread is a good texture without any weird holes in it and I was very pleased with the way it raised into a pretty loaf shape instead of caving in in the middle or not raising at all like some quick breads do. Definitely a do again and again. The sugar on the top is a nice addition but it would be good without as well. Do whatever makes you happy. :)

Dressed Up Banana Bread
adapted from Cooking Light
12 Slices 4 pts/slice

2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about three)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 Tbs brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three small loaf pans (or 2 medium, or one large) with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Beat together sugar and butter in a large bowl.
  3. Add eggs and beat well.
  4. Peel bananas & mash well.
  5. Add to sugar, butter, and egg mixture.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, & salt) stirring until mixed in a small bowl.
  8. Stir into wet ingredients and beat at low speed just until moist.
  9. Spoon into prepared pan(s)
  10. Sprinkle top with brown sugar.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour (for one loaf) - shorten the baking time accordingly for smaller loaves.
  12. Banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool about 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Turn out of pans and continue cooling.
Calories 208; Total Fat 5.0g; Cholesterol 46mg; Sodium 221mg; Total Carbohydrates 37.5g; Dietary Fiber 0.9g; Protein 3.7g

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Repost

I'm back on the diet wagon so I've been going through my collection of healthier recipes. This is one that I posted when I first started blogging without a picture. So, with the addition of a few veggies I am going to repost the recipe WITH a picture. Don't let the long ingredient list scare you off, most of things I found in my pantry as staples.

Baked Sweet and Sour  Chicken

POINTS® Value: 6
5 servings

Serve with rice; count NI for rice separately.

1 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/8 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup(s) pineapple juice
2 cup(s) canned pineapple, packed in juice
1 medium green pepper(s)
1 cup carrots
1 can water chestnuts
1/2 cup(s) Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp unpacked brown sugar
2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat 1 T oil over med high heat. Add chicken and cook about 2 min on each side or until brown. Transfer chicken to a 2 quart baking dish.

2. Drain pineapple well reserving 1/3 c juice. Spoon pineapple chunks evenly over chicken in dish; set aside.

3. For sauce in a med saucepan whisk together the reserved juice, cranberry sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, vinegar, orange juice concentrate, water, soy sauce and ginger. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

4. Pour over chicken and pineapple in dish. Bake, covered, for 25 min. Uncover and add pepper strips, stirring gently to coat with sauce. Bake, uncovered, about 5 min more or until chicken is no longer pink.

Per serving. 368 cal, 6 g fat, 82 mg chol., 589 mg. sodium, 41 g carb, 2 g fiber

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bri and I saw this recipe on the Recipe Girl website and decided that we needed to give them a whirl. She wasn't super impressed with the amount of peanuts, both the actual nuts and the peanut flavor from all the peanut butter and has decided that she would rather have Scotcharoos. I thought that they were pretty good but if I do them again I will put a caramel layer on top of the cookie, sub toasted almonds for the peanuts and use less chocolate on the top layer with a light sprinkle of sea salt. These are super rich, you will get more than the 30 pieces indicated in the original recipe.


Cookie Layer:
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
¼ cup corn syrup
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 ½ cups quick-cooking rolled oats

Candy Bar Layer:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)
1 cup peanut butter chips
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup chopped peanuts\

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup chopped peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil; spray foil with nonstick spray.

2. In a medium saucepan, stir brown sugar, butter and corn syrup over medium heat until combined. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla; stir until smooth.

3. Place oats in a very large bowl. Pour brown sugar mixture over oats; stir to combine. Press oat mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan.

4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Don’t overbake (you don’t want it to brown) or it will be on the crunchy side. Let the cookie layer cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.

5. In the same saucepan, stir chips and peanut butter over low heat until melted and smooth.

6. Sprinkle ½ cup of chopped peanuts over the baked cookie layer. Pour chocolate over the peanuts; spread to make an even layer. Sprinkle chocolate and peanut butter chips and peanuts over the top; press lightly into the chocolate layer.

7. Refrigerate until firm; cut into squares.
Yield: About 30 pieces

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mom's Lasagne

My mom is a GREAT cook. She's made it her mission in life to fatten us all up one meal at a time, and she's good at it. One of her favorite meals that I've integrated into my own family menu is lasagne. I haven't fiddled with the recipe much at all because it is so good as is. Other than adding a few more spices and using only Italian sausage this is Mom's recipe and it's so yummy. I often make it in 2's so that I can either freeze one or take it to a neighbor for dinner. Even when you get distracted and let the cheese crisp too much it's still awesome. Eat until you are sick awesome.

Mom's Lasagne

1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian sausage
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes or 1 quart if you are lucky enough to have bottled from your garden
handful dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp onion salt
1 1/2 T basil
1 1/2 T oregano
1 T parsley flakes
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 carton cottage cheese
2 tsp parsley
1 egg
parmesan cheese
Mozarella cheese
8 lasagne noodles cooked

Brown meat with onion. Drain off grease. Add spices. Simmer, uncovered 40-50 min or until sauce is fairly thick.

Mix cottage cheese, egg and 2 tsp parsley together. Assemble in the following order.

Small amount meat sauce
1/2 Meat sauce
Cottage cheese misture
Parmesan cheese
Mozarella cheese
Remaining sauce

Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 min. Remove foil and continue baking another 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. If you prefer the cheese browned skip the foil.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sugar Cookie Bars

My mom and my sister make the best sugar cookies in the world. They have figured out just how thick to roll them out and how long to bake them so that they aren't mushy or too crunchy. In all my 42 years I haven't been able to master sugar cookies. Maybe my mom taught Julie during a super secret class one day while I was sitting in my room for being mouthy.... At any rate, due to my missing that day during cookie class I can honestly say that I can count on one hand the number of times I have made sugar cookies since I got married. Then, I discovered Granny B's and Lofthouse. Why would I keep trying to make my own mediocre cookies when I could buy them and they are so good??

Jeff invited some of his friends for dinner yesterday and because I was so focused on getting the ribs etc ready I completely forgot something for dessert. Enter the sugar cookie bar...all the goodness of a sugar cookie with NONE of the hassle! Woohoo!

The texture of this cookie is very similar to a Granny B's Pink Cookie. Very rich and yummy. I didn't have any cream cheese in the fridge so the frosting is just regular frosting but it was a good balance of frosting to cookie. I ate way more than my share. *sigh* So.Good.

Sugar Cookie Bars
Servings: 32

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract (the good stuff)
5 c. flour
1 tsp salt (slightly less if using salted butter)
1/2 tsp baking soda

In mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt and soda. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet. (I sprayed my hands with PAM and pressed it out with my fingers)

Bake at 375 15-20 min or until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frost with your favorite frosting!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Asian Noodles

It's no secret that I love all food Chinese, even bad Chinese. So it's pretty frequent that we eat pseudo Chinese for dinner. This was an Asian noodle stir fry that had a little zip to the sauce. The night that I made this I didn't have any fresh veggies hanging out in the fridge but I really think it would be awesome with some celery, carrots and peppers in it. Next time that is what I'm going to do assuming I plan farther ahead than 3 minutes. :)

The original recipe that I saw used ground turkey but I had some chicken breasts already thawed out and honestly I don't think that the ground turkey can even compete.

Asian Noodles
Serves 4-6

12 oz thin spaghetti
1 T oil
1 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp Thai red curry paste (I found it at Target)
8 oz button mushrooms, finely chopped
Sesame oil

1 T. oyster sauce
4 T. soy sauce
4 T. water
4 T. rice vinegar
3 T. sugar

In a small bowl, whish all of the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring lightly salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until desired tenderness. Drain and set aside.

While the noodles are boiling, in a large skillet over medium heat heat the oil. Brown the chicken and set aside. Add the mushrooms and curry paste and cook stirring frequently until the mushrooms are browned, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken back in and cook until it's cooked through.

Add the cooked noodles and with a pair of tongs lift and separate the noodles and incorporate them with the other ingredients. Pour the sauce over the noodle mixture and again, mix everything together with the tongs. Cook stirring frequently, until the noodles have absorbed all the flavors and all the ingredients are heated through.

Drizzle a TINY amount of sesame oil to finish. (It's really strong so don't get carried away.)

Serve immediately.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin

We love pork tenderloin for dinner on Sundays. When I saw this recipe on Annie's Eats I knew that it was one that we needed to try.

We all really liked the sweetness of the sugar and cinnamon with the heat that followed it. We will be making this one again, probably with no changes whatsoever.

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin
6 servings

Spice Rub:
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 pork tenderloins (about 2-2 1/2 lbs total)
2 Tbsp olive oil

1 /2 cup pack brown sugar
1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp

Preheat the oven too 350 degrees. Combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork to blend. Pat the mixture over the pork tenderloins.

Heat the olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Place the tenderloins in the skillet and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total. Remove from heat, leaving the pork in the skillet.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl until blended. Spread the mixture evenly over the tops of the tenderloins.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 20 minutes, until and instant read thermometer inserted in the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees (I will only roast for 17-18 min next time). Loosely tent the skillet with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

It seems like Sundays are the one day of the week that I actually have time to cook something. Sometimes it's just dinner but sometimes, like yesterday, there is time to do something fun as well. Cookies are always a hit at our house, even though I grumble about making them, and now that Jeff is home Oatmeal Raisin cookies are back on the menu! I love them but Randy and Bri are not sure that the raisins are not poisonous...the big chickens. :)

This is a recipe I found on and have made several times. Part of its appeal is that it only makes 3 doz so it doesn't take as long but if I am being honest it's the spices that bring this one out again and again. I love the combination of cinnamon and cloves in just about anything; it smells like Christmas!

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
3 doz cookies

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3 c. rolled oats
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. chocolate chips (opt)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins.
3. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets
4. Bake 10-12 min or until golden brown. Don't overbake! Let the cookies cool slightly before removing from cookies sheets to cool completely.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pumpkin Butterscotch Bars

I'm still on a quest to find the perfect bar cookie...this is pretty good. It received a unanimous "do again" from the family but I don't think that it's the ONE. It has a very moist, dense texture and the butterscotch chips are super yum. I like to eat them straight out of the bag...did I say that out loud??

Pumpkin Butterscotch Bars
adapted from Martha Stewart

2 c. all purpose flour
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. butterscotch chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with non stick spray. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Stir together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachement, beat together the butter and sugar on Med/High until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and 1 cup butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and sprinke remaining 1/2 cup butterscotch chips over the top of the batter. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35 minutes. Cool pan on wire rack. Let cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the things that taste the best aren't necessarily the most attractive foods you've ever seen? That's the case with this recipe. Add that to the fact that I'm still clueless with the camera and you've got the less than stellar photo in this post. Luckily the actual recipe itself is totally stellar! It's super easy to throw in your crock pot on your way out the door in the morning and then it's magically done when you come home after work. You can serve this over either the traditional noodles or rice, my family prefers the rice.

Beef Stroganoff
8 servings

3.5 lb chuck roast
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup (I use 98% fat free)
1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup mix
1/4 c. red wine (you can sub beef broth or water for this if you like)
1/2 c. sour cream

1. Spray crock with non stick spray. (I can't believe how much easier it is to clean up if you remember this step!)
2. Put meat, soup, dried soup mix and wine in crock pot. Cover and cook for 8 hours on HIGH.
3. Remove meat when it's tender and falling apart. Shred or cut into bite sized pieces.
4. Add sour cream and mix meat back into gravy.
5. Serve over noodles or rice.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Blondies are almost as hot at cupcakes at the moment. It seems like no matter where I look on the internet someone has a new blondie recipe. Because I'm "anti stand there and portion out cookies a dozen at a time" the whole bar cookies concept really appeals to me. However, taking that stance has up until now excluded some of my favorite flavors from our treat rotation.

As a kid snickerdoodles were my favorite cookies. I loved the sparkly, crispy, cinnamon sugar outside and the soft, not too sweet middles. I wasn't patient enough though to actually make a whole batch with the rolling them into balls and then rolling each ball into the cinnamon sugar. That hasn't really changed!

I saw this recipe at and knew that I had to try it. I did really like the ease of preparation and the bars were good made as the recipe directed but I think if I do it again I will make a cinnamon vanilla glaze and drizzle it all over. Not only would that be pretty but I think that it would be the perfect finish.

Snickerdoodle Blondies
20-24 bars

2 2/3 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnmon, nutmeg, cream of tartar, and salt; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar with a mixer. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Keep beating until mixture is smooth.
4. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. The batter will be thick. Spread it evenly into the prepared pan. Spray your hands with cooking spray and use them to pat the mixture down evenly.
5. Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly on top of batter.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Let pan cool completely.
7. If using a glaze, drizzle it onto the surface of bars and let harden before you cut into them.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chicken Taco Soup

I love soup. I could eat it every day and not get tired of it. There are so many different kinds that I worry that I'm going to miss some in my quest to try them all....and then I come back to my senses and admit that I'm slightly nuts.

This is my "Go To" soup when I am watching what I eat. It's hearty enough that I am full when I'm done but it doesn't taste at all "diety". In fact, everytime I've taken this soup to a pot luck I've handed out the recipe later because it's so good.

There are many variations of Taco Soup out there. Some have ground beef, some are meatless, this has chicken because I like to be able to pull a package of cooked chicken out of the freezer and go. It depends on what kind of beans I have in the pantry, sometimes I only use kidney beans but my favorite is the 3 bean mix. Whatever you like is great. If you aren't a fan of spice you can lower the heat level by using regular canned tomatoes and just the diced green chilies. It really is the perfect recipe!!!

Chicken Taco Soup
10 servings

1 lb chicken, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces (canned works too)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomatoes with green chilies or RoTel
8 oz tomato sauce
4 oz diced green chilies
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
2 cups frozen corn
3 T. taco seasoning (1 pkt)
3 T. Ranch dressing (the dry mix kind)

In a large pot or Dutch oven mix chicken, tomatoes, chilies, and tomato sauce. Rinse the beans well under running water and add to pot. Bring to a bubble and add the taco seasoning, ranch dressing and corn. Stir well and add water until it's the consistency you like. I usually add about 1 cup.

Let simmer for 20 min. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza

It's been a crazy week or so getting ready for Jeff's return from Madagascar and I feel like we've eaten more pizza in the past 10 days than we have in 10 months, probably because we have. We've had drive thru pizza, delivery pizza, and fundraiser pizza but the best pizza by far was this Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza that was thrown together from things in the pantry and freezer.  (Yes, I know that the picture is terrible but what can I say?)

The crust was made from half a recipe of the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day "Boule" recipe. This book has been worth its weight in gold; the dough is easy, consistent and best of all versatile. By halving the original recipe I had enough dough to make either 2 pizzas or 1 pizza and a half a doz breadsticks, just enough for our little family.

The toppings are just things I had in the freezer and pantry. Originally I wanted pepperoni but when I discovered that I had imagined that package of pepperoni and found a half full pouch of chopped ham instead I improvised. Bottled Alfredo sauce and some frozen grilled chicken just begged to become something cordon bleu. I really  like pasta with those flavors so how bad could pizza be??

It turned out very tasty and is something that I will do again. Even picky Bri ate it and liked it! Super easy!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza
8 servings
1 1/2 c warm water
1 T. yeast
1 T. kosher salt
3 1/4 c. all purpose flour

Mix the water, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Don't stress about getting it all dissolved. Add flour and quickly mix together until a shaggy dough is formed. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes. Remove from bowl and knead together a couple of times. Divide into two balls. Use one for pizza crust and the other for breadsticks.

Press the dough out onto a baking pan; let rest for a few minutes. You can partially bake the dough at this point if you are making a thicker crust, I usually do a fairly thin crust and skip this step.

1/2 c. Alfredo sauce
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts grilled and chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
chopped green onions, opt.

Spread Alfredo sauce onto pizza crust. Top with chicken, ham and cheese. Bake in 450 degree oven for 20 min or until crust is crusty and golden brown. Garnish with chopped green onions if desired.

Cal: 246, Fat: 10 g, Fiber: 1 g

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is this thing on??

Tap, tap, testing, one, two, this thing on?

No one ever comments anymore, just wondering if anyone is actually out there. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tortellini Pasta Salad

My brother is blessing his baby tomorrow morning and my assignment is pasta salad. Now, I love the traditional pasta salad with the corkscrew pasta and lots of veggies dressed with Zesty Italian but I wanted to try something different.

This recipe has a warm lemon vinaigrette instead of the bottled dressing and it's yum. Not just a little yum but a lot YUM. Definitely a do again. This would be good with summer cucumbers and peppers too I think...

Tortellini Pasta Salad
Servings: 10

1 lb refrigerated tortellini
1 cup grape tomatoes halved
5 carrots sliced
1 can olives, halved
8 oz mozzarella chunked
1 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
2 lemons, zested
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 T. white wine vinegar
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 bottle McCormick Salad Supreme
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Cook the pasta per directions on package.
  2. Toss pasta, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and carrots in large bowl. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan and add thyme, garlic, and lemon zest. Cook over low heat for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk together.
  4. Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and toss.
  5. Stir in grated Parmesan just before serving.
Calories: 422
Fat: 29.8
Carbohydrates: 24.9
Fiber: 2.6
Protein: 14.8

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bri's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know those cookbooks that are the backbone of your menu rotation? The ones written by ladies in your church or work or neighborhood? That's where this recipe came from; a stake cookbook that I just happened to buy about 2 weeks after we moved in. Lucky break on my part as I've used it a ton but this particular recipe is Bri's favorite cookie recipe. She made them all by herself and they were awesome!

Bri's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
6 doz cookies

2 c. butter flavor Crisco (we used a combo of Crisco and butter)
2 c. sugar
2 c. packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. ground oatmeal (grind in blender)
4 c. flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 bag chocolate chips

Cream Crisco, sugar, and brown sugar together. Add eggs one at a time. Add all other ingredients in the order listed. Mix well. Add chips or whatever else you would like to include (nuts, craisins, etc) and stir together. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

Cupcakes seem to be all the rage right now and I have to confess that I don't really get it. Maybe that's because I'm not a cake person or maybe it's because I tend to forget to set the timer and end up with baked goods that are too done, I'm not really sure. I do think they are super cute and have succumbed to the cute factor and bought a cupcake cookbook. Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.

I tend to shy away from Martha's recipes as a rule because she is so fussy and the ingredient list is always as long as my arm but this one has sucked me in. I've been looking at it for 2 weeks now and today's the day. Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes here we come. Of course I added more spices because it just felt like I should and I'm not sure that the browned butter was really worth all the time it took to hover over the pan until it finally turned brown but the result was a pretty darned good pumpkin cake that smelled divine. Add to that the Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting (it's yum on graham crackers too) and we have a winner. I guess Martha knows what she's talking about after all!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

1 1/2  sticks unsalted butter, room temp (I didn't have unsalted butter so I just reduced the salt)
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 4 tsp cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325. Line muffin tin with paper liners (I've never had real success with the foil ones). In a saucepan melt the butter over med-low heat and continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter begins to turn golden brown. Skim the foam (this is the butter fat separating from the rest) from the top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop cooking (you can go from golden brown to black before you realize it even happened if you aren't paying attention...but I don't know anything about that). Let cool.

In another bowl blend together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. In your mixer blend the eggs, sugar, and pumpkin until smooth. Pour in the butter and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, fill each about 3/4 full. The batter isn't runny like a typical cake batter, it's kind of fluffy and stiff so don't get in a hurry, just be patient as you are divvying it out. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick come out clean. Set your timer, do as I say not as I do! :)

Cool on wire racks completely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
1 8 oz cube cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer until fluffy. Reduce speed to low (this is critical or you are going to have a giant mess). Add sugar slowly, 1 cup at a time until fluffy and mixed well. Add cinnamon and vanilla. Frost away!