Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tonight's baking spree

mom's little cake decorator

Zach's Cake!!

Because tomorrow's going to be super busy with our homeschool group's halloween party and I have no idea what is on the agenda for Saturday,I decided to do a little fun baking tonight with the kiddo. We made chocolate chip cookies and halloween cookies (pillsbury ready bake) and we made 2 small pumpkin shaped cakes. I let the kiddo decorate one any way he wanted. Of course he had to put his name on it and declare that it was HIS CAKE LOL. What fun.


I found a new product that I thought I would share with my readers. **HELLO,READERS** I am always on the look out for anything quick,easy,and of course it has to taste good. I found some stuffed chicken breasts at Sam's club (sorry,I don't remember the brand name) that are just fabulous! They are stuffed with brie cheese and cranberries--right up my alley! You must try them! They also come in cordon bleu (stuffed with ham/cheese) and broccoli and cheese. I have tried the broccoli and cheese and they are good enough,but the brie/cranberry is just divine! The portions are kinda small-that's the only thing I would change.


A few weeks ago,a friend (***HI NICHOLE!!!**) mentioned something about how she had only spent like $30 something on groceries that week. I was like OK,What are you doing? LOL She said she had joined E-Z Meals and that they send you a shopping list and menu plan each week. I checked it out and joined. It's $5/month. I have only used 1 recipe off the menu from last week.The husband didn't really like it,but it's a nice idea. (I tried an asian chicken salad with "raw" cabbage-hubby didn't really like it.) I need to get organized so that I can see if by going by the menu that it will save us money or not. I still haven't gotten the hang of menu planning-have been "trying" for years LOL. Something always happens and throws me off track and I get mad/frustrated and give up and just cook whatever I pull out of the freezer! LOL Anyway,I thought I'd share the link in case anyone might be interested.

E-Z Meals

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's for dinner?

Tonight's Clean Out the Refrigerator Night......leftover chicken/dumplings. There wasn't much meat left so I added in a package of chopped chicken tenders and 2 small packages of chicken/cheese stuffed tortelinni. YUM!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spicy Sausage Cheese Balls

I've never made sausage balls before-always been lazy and bought them from the frozen appetizers section LOL. So this is my project for this evening:

Spicy Turkey Sausage Cheese Balls
16oz spicy turkey sausage
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk (think I needed more)
3 cups baking mix

mix well and shape into balls---place on lightly greased baking dish and bake at 350*F for about 25-30 mins.

**I just peeked in and checked on mine while they were baking away and they look like some are falling apart---I think I should have used more milk (or less baking nmix)--the "dough" was kinda sticky.....will try that next time.....

****These tasted good,but not spicy at all (even though the package was marked HOT and spicy turkey sausage).Next time I think I will use another recipe-one that doesn't call for so much baking mix-and maybe a little more milk.

original recipe at kraft foods

chicken noodle casserole

I really played with this recipe-just using the "outline" as my guide.I didn't have any broccoli rabe (or regular broccoli for that matter) so I used long,thin,green beans.I didn't have any onions on hand or any of the major spices so I just used salt/pepper--I really need to build my spice collection back up.Basicly,I boiled the noodles until they were about done and drained them.I mixed the beans in with the shredded rotisserie chicken (meat only).I layered the chicken mixture and the noodle mixture in a large casserole dish and ended up with noodles on top as the last layer. I made a roux using about 1/4 cup of olive oil and about the same amount of whole wheat flour. Once that was cooked,I added in about a whole can of condensed milk. The roux was still a little thick and gloopy so I ended up adding more water until it was "loose" enough but still thick enough for a sauce.I added in a little chicken gravy powder mix and a pinch of salt/pepper to the roux also. I poured this over the casserole making sure it was good and soaked. I mixed a few handfuls of panko breadcrumbs and mozzarella cheese and put that as the final layer of the casserole.I dotted on some butter to get the breadcrumbs nice and crunchy. I baked about 30+mins at 425*F. This turned out very good-even though it wasn't the original recipe--even the hubby said that was "GOOD" LOL.

original recipe here from Rachael Ray's Week in a day Chicken Divan Egg Noodle Casserole

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

trying out ratatouille

I saved some zucchini for me and topped with some italian cheeses.YUM-I just love zucchini!!

I want to make ratatouille for am upcoming get together I'm "hosting". So tonight,I made it for the guys-I can't eat it because I'm allergic to tomatoes,so they are my guinea pigs. It smelled and looked fabulous,so here's hoping it was a hit.

Basicly,chopped everything and roasted in oven.For the eggplant,I peeled and salted it before cutting it into chunks and roasting.I added in a can of diced italian tomatoes and then some tomato puree-I think it's a little too soupy,so next time I won't add as much puree.I used a "lazy" version of ratatouille from THE COOKING CHANNEL .

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spicy Turkey and brown rice

I think I got the turkey TOO spicy tonight-my mouth was on FIRE!

This is one of my staples when the guys want something I can't eat-I try to have some in the fridge or freezer at all times. It can also be made with Quinoa (which honestly I prefer).

1-2lbs ground turkey
2 bags of quick cook brown rice
sam's southwest spicy mustard
salt/pepper to taste
olive oil

Add a few tbs of olive oil to a skillet and cook turkey until completely done-drain-prepare the rice according to box instructions--drain--mix with the turkey--add in enough of the mustard to make the mixture "moist" but not runny....
*sometimes I will eat this in whole grain wraps or in taco shells--it is delish!
*you can add in corn/black beans--or bell peppers-whatever you like!

Tropical Cake

I've found a recipe on a fave blog (mennonite girls can cook) that I've been wanting to try. It's for an orange cake-don't worry,I'll share the original recipe with you at the bottom of this post. LOL I didn't have any oranges but I did have some sweet,flaked coconut and some pineapple. HMMMMMM (can you hear the wheels turning?) That sounds good to me! I cheated a little and used a box cake mix,but again,it's for a good cause-I'm cleaning out the pantry!

Tropical Cake
1vanilla cake mix
1 small can of pineapple chunks (keep juice)
1 large can of crushed pineapple
1 small bag of sweetened,flake coconut

prepare cake mix--adding in a few handfuls of the coconut and all of the pineapple chunks (NOT THE JUICE-keep that for later)--bake according to box instructions--

Pour the juice from the small can of pineapple chunks into a small sauce pan and simmer to reduce--remove from heat

When cake is done,remove from oven and poke holes in it--pour the thickened pineapple juice over it--top spread some of the crushed pineapple over the cake (it's ok if some extra juice gets on the cake)--top with a few handfuls of the coconut--let cool and enjoy!

Orange Cake by Mennonite Girls Can Cook

scratching for breakfast.....

Chocolate-cinnamon rolls

Still trying to use up everything in fridge/freezer/pantry before I go shopping later this week. I had 2 tubes of pillsbury refrigerated pastry sheets in the fridge that I had planned on using as crusts for potpies but that never happened so I had an idea to make cinnamon rolls with them. I popped the tube,rolled them out on my cutting board spread a little butter on it,topped that with brown sugar and cinnamon and rolled both up and cut into "chunks" and baked at 425*F for about 20mins. They were a hit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pantry Diving

Bubbling away......stir,stir,stir......

All done and ready to eat!!

This week,I'm scrounging around in the pantry trying to use things up until I can go to the grocery store later this week. Every time I see someone on FoodNetwork making risotto I always get the urge to make it-it always look sooo complicated though. Well,tonight I pulled out a bag of brown rice and went for it! It felt like I stood over that risotto for over an hour stirring,adding more stock,stirring some more LOL. It turned out tasty for my first try. Next time I don't think I'll add in so much butternut squash. I had pureed butternut squash that I pulled out of the freezer and I think the original recipe called for chunks of the squash.

Brown Rice Risotto
1 small bag of brown rice
chicken stock (kept at a low simmer)
salt/pepper to taste
butternut squash puree (about 2 cups)
2-3 TBS of olive oil
1/2 stick of butter
parmesan cheese (grated)

Add olive oil and butter to the pan and let get hot--add package of brown rice and stir to coat all of the rice in the oil/butter mixture--let it cook a few mins---add in a few big spoonfuls of the chicken stock--stir well---let it cook until all of the stock has been absorbed---repeat and repeat LOL---When all of the stock/water has been absorbed and the rice is soft and creamy,it's time to add your squash and cheese---stirring well to mix everything-

**keep your stock simmering on low so that you won't be adding cold stock to the risotto as you cook it-you want to add warm stock/water as you cook it

Original Recipe

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Morning Muffins

My batch had enough to make a full tray of full-sized muffins and a tray of mini muffins.

Well,I had the kitchen to myself for a bit this morning while the hubby took grandpa to PT. I wanted to make muffins for sunday's breakfast but was soooo rushed that it didn't happen,so they turned into today's treat. This was the first time I've made muffins totally from scratch--I usually take the easy/quick way out and use a packaged mix. This wasn't tooo hard--and they turned out DELICIOUS! I found a recipe on FOODNETWORK,but didn't have everything so I tweaked it a bit....

Chocolatey Muffins
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I had special dark)
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I had minis so I used 2 cups)

In large bowl,wisk together the flour,cocoa,baking powder,baking soda, and salt--
In another bowl wisk together the eggs,butter,sugar,milk,oil, and vanilla---

pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until it is just combined.
Pour into greased muffin tins (or you can use the cupcake paper cups). Bake for about 25-30mins at 350*F

Original Recipe

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I have a new fave cookie recipe for you......

a box of cookies......................

Today,I had a chocolate attack and just HAD to have something good. I found this recipe online and just had to try it today. It's quick,easy,and soooo very good!

Brownie Cookies
1package chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup margarine melted
2 eggs beaten
1cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1cup rolled oats (I used quick cook oats)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. (it will be very thick-that's GOOD)--mix well--drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets and bake at 350*F for 8-10mins.

Mine didn't turn out as "pretty" as the pic on the Mennonite Girls website-mine were more "mountainy and lumpy" LOL but they were oh so good and gooey!

Brownie Cookies

Friday, October 8, 2010

FINALLY---Chicken and Dumplings

This turned out DELISH!!

Chicken and Dumplings
2 rotisserie chickens (from fave deli)
1 package of Mary B's kettle dumplings
1 stock pot of homemade chicken stock

I used the leftovers from the rotisserie chickens to make the chicken stock.I added in the shredded chicken and brought to a rolling boil.I added in the dumplings and turned to a high simmer for about 30-45 mins. Salt and Pepper to taste.

I have tried several times to make homemade dumplings and every time it all turned out to be a gloopy,nasty mess. I saw some frozen dumplings at the store and decided to give them a try. I'm so glad I did. This was soooo good! I can't wait till the hubby gets up from his nap to try it. The kitchen smells AMAZING!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

the best of plans........

Had planned on making chicken and dumplings tonight for supper but by the time we were done with the morning studies,I was just tooo worn out to shred the chicken and make stock--so that will be tomorrow's dinner.I took the time after supper tonight to do everything except add the dumplings so it won't take much time to get dinner done tomorrow--yay! That's always a good thing!! Tonight the guys had burgers with mashed potatoes and gravy. I had the left over black-eyed pea patties and salmon croquettes--I didn't really have much of an appetite. The hubby went to the doc this morning because ever since he got the flu shot monday he hasn't felt well. He didn't know if it was the shot that made him sick or if he was getting sick before the shot. Twice this week he has come home from work early. He got a shot today and by afternoon,he was saying that he felt better already. Tonight's the last night of "mids" for a while---I HOPE! LOL He has worked nights FOREVER it seems like. He will be working a more "normal" shift now. He says he's ready for a change--I know I am. I'm sooo burned out on him being gone nights. We have a play date tomorrow with our homeschool group,so it's going to be a busy morning. We're still trying to play catch up on a few things we haven't gotten done the past 2 weeks. Hopefully that will all be done this weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fried Black-eyed Pea Patties......

I had leftover black-eyed peas from last night's supper,so I figured I would make fried black-eyed pea patties.I had seen Alton Brown talking about them a while back,but couldn't find his recipe,so I loosely followed one that Paula Deen has listed on the FoodNetwork website.They were sooo good-I could have eaten the whole batch!

Fried Black-Eyed Pea Patties
leftover black eyed peas

Mash your black eyed peas--add just enough flour to hold the patty together (I used about 2-4 cups of black eyed peas and about 1 cup flour)---Shape into patties and fry in olive oil--drain on paper towels and serve

Paula's black-eyed pea patties

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

went on a baking spree this morning..............

The hubby's fave bean soup--16 bean soup with kelbasa.

I used the same recipe as in the loaf below,just sprinkled top with almond slices and baked in bundt pan.

I've been wanting pumpkin bread for a few weeks and today the baking bug just bit me I guess. I was going to make some strussel muffins,but got tired LOL. So I will make those later this week.The pumpkin bread was very easy to make. I was out of a few items and had to make substitutions,but in the end,you couldn't tell. It was very good. One of the loaves was devoured by the hubby and grandpa. I have one loaf that is supposed to be for the freezer but I think I might leave it out and let the guys snack on it. I split the bundt and delivered to friends and neighbors.The hubby was feeling sickly today (blames it on getting the flu shot yesterday), so I made him a feel good meal--his favorite soup-16 bean soup with kelbasa. I usually throw it in the crockpot and let it cook all day,but today I cooked it on top of the stove-it still cooked most of the day. It turned out nice too-perfect eats for a chilly evening.

Pumpkin Bread

2cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour
2teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 small can -15oz pumpkin pie mix
2 eggs
1cup splenda for baking
1/3 cup fruit juice (I used cran-strawberry)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
the peel of 1 whole orange

combine the flours,cinnamon,allspice,salt,baking powder and baking soda--
in another large bowl,combine pumpkin,eggs,splenda,honey,juice,orange peel-stir well--slowly mix in the flour mixture until it is just combined--pour into greased baking loaf pans (or bundt pan) and bake at 350*F for between 50-55mins ***if you would like you may add nuts to the mix or just sprinkle on top like I did with the bundt--

Monday, October 4, 2010

countdown till the hubby changes shifts.....

Well,the hubby's been on night-shift for about the past year (or so it feels like). Where he works,they change shifts every 4months or so,but he's stayed on nights the past few rotations. I'm burned out on it and he says he is. Since he's the only one working for a paycheck,I always tell him to work what he wants to,but personally I'm tired of him working overnight. Starting Tuesday (because of the holiday) he will go into work at 2 and get off at 10 and he will have a normal weekend with sat-sun off. He says he'll start going to church with us after schedule change. I hope so!

Tonight's dinner turned into an improv of sorts. I had planned on making "minute steaks" for the guys and scrounging for something for myself,but the hubby said that he would take quickie chimichangas and I had mentioned making a potato-ham casserole and for me to make that. Good,I won't have to scratch around for my dinner tonight. I can't handle alot of red meat,but I figured the hubby was ready for some sustinance. He is always saying that I'm going to turn him into a chicken--he's already a turkey! LOL For sides,I am making field peas with snaps-YUM. I got the recipe from another cooking blog that I follow. Check it out-she has other yummy recipes on her site. The only thing I changed in the recipe was that I sprinkled the top of mine with parmesan cheese....can't wait till it's done-the kitchen smells sooo good! Zachary will get samples of what we are eating and noodles and a grilled cheese sandwich cut into a fun kid shape with a cookie-cutter.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham Casserole

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday supper and thinking ahead to Sunday ....

I really didn't plan on cooking tonight-thought I'd make everyone FEND for themselves,but at last minute,thought I didn't want a sandwich. I made SMOTHERED TURKEY BURGERS and brown rice-added in some mixed veggies for good measure and called it a night. Instead of regular "gravy", I used 1/2 a can of cheddar cheese soup and added in a little bit of chicken gravy mix. It turned out DELISH. And since Sundays are busier for me now,I have a roast in the crockpot to help make it less stressful for me. I added in a jar of mild picante sauce and plan on making myself something with chicken LOL.