Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Caramel Apple Cider

Have you ever had the Caramel Apple Cider from Starbucks? Since Starbucks is on every corner in Seattle, we'd stop in once in a while and this is what I'd always order. It's yummy.

I've been wanting to try a copycat recipe for a while and Halloween night presented the perfect opportunity.

I used this recipe from Our Best Bites. It didn't disappoint. Brad (and others) called it "heaven in a cup".

Here is their recipe with what I did in parenthesis:
64 oz. apple cider not apple juice (but I used Simply Apple juice since it's nice and thick)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 orange
8 cloves
1/3 cup caramel sauce

Pour apple cider, orange juice, cinnamon sticks and allspice into pot. (Do not use ground cinnamon or ground cloves - it makes the cider grainy. )Thoroughly wash your orange and gently poke the 8 cloves into the skin. Gently drop the orange into the cider mixture and simmer for 60 minutes. Watch the orange: if it starts to split, immediately remove it from the pot. After 60 minutes, stir in caramel until dissolved.

Our Best Bites did the cider on the stovetop. Since we were transporting ours I used the crockpot and let it simmer for a few hours. My house smelled amazing!

To serve: ladle into cups, top with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Makes about 8 servings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Molasses Cookies

Super Delicious anytime, but these cookies always make me feel like it is fall.  They are some of the first cookies I ever learned to make.  These remind me of cool fall days and family parties.  Hope you enjoy....

Molasses Cookies


1 1/2 C oil
1 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C molasses
2 eggs
1 t ground cloves
1 t ground ginger
2 t salt
4 t baking soda
4 C flour
Extra sugar for dough balls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients except for flour and extra sugar.  Beat well!  Add the flour!  Roll dough into balls.  I use a 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon and scoop out a little more than 1 Tablespoon on dough.  Then roll it into a ball.  Roll dough balls in the extra sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  If you can, use parchment paper!  Bake cookies for 5 - 7 minutes.  They are done when the tops start to crack.  I pull them out of the oven and place the cookie rack on a cooling rack for 7-10 minutes and then remove the cookies to cooling racks to finish off.

Enjoy warm or cold with a nice tall glass of milk!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Crock Pot Corn Chowder

This is a pinterest recipe I found traced back to Crockin Girls.  We had it tonight and loved it!! This colder weather gets me in the mood for yummy soups and comfort food.  I made quite a few adjustments being dairy free and all, but I'll put the original recipe and my tweaks.

4 potatoes (I used 4 medium sized reds) peeled and diced
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn (I used sweet corn)
2 cups chicken broth (or 1 14.5 oz can will do)
8 oz. diced ham ( I used bacon diced and cooked in the chowder)
1 cup diced onions (or dried onions to taste)
1/4 cup butter
2 cups half and half

Place potatoes, both cans of corn undrained, chicken broth, ham (or bacon), and onions in crock pot.  Cook on low 7 - 8 hours or high 4 - 5 hours.

Blend 2-3 cups of soup in blender and place bak into crock pot, stir.  If you want a thicker consistency blend another 2 cups and stir back into crock pot.  Add butter and half and half, season with salt and pepper to taste, then cook 30 minutes more on high.

I used bacon (uncooked and diced), and dried onions (about 1 tbl). Instead of adding half and half I added about 1/2 a cup of almond milk so I could keep the thicker consistency.  Then I totally left out the butter.  I'm sure the original recipe is much richer and creamier :), but it was fabulous even so!

Caramel Corn

This is my favorite recipe of carmel corn.  My mom makes this every fall and it is just a must when the weather turns cold for me! This makes a huge batch so I usually half it.

6 quarts air popped popcorn with all unpopped kernels removed.
2 cups or a little less packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light Karo Syrup
1 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp butter
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 200.

In a large saucepan (if doing half batch use medium saucepan) bring brown sugar, karo syrup, butter and salt to a boil over medium heat.  Boil for 5 minutes stirring continuously.

Take caramel off heat and add butter and baking soda, stirring until completely combined.  The caramel should puff up a bit.
Poor over popcorn stirring to combine.

Poor into 2 shallow baking pans (jelly roll pans). Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

If you want sticky/chewy caramel corn boil caramel for 3 minutes and do not bake!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Puff Pastry Mini Chicken Pot Pies

We love this recipe at our house. My girls love that they are mini pot pies - just their size! Even my picky eaters have been known to eat at least two servings. It's incredibly easy, delicious, and makes a pretty plate. I like serving them when we have guests. I hope you like them as much as we do!

First you'll need these:
Bake the pastry shells according to the directions on the box. While they are in the oven, make the filling. FYI: There is a recipe for filling on the back of the box, but I've tried it and don't like it. Here is what I use for my filling:

1/3 cup butter/margarine

1/3 cup flour

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 and 3/4 cups water

3/4 cup milk

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 chicken breast, cooked and cubed

1 cup mixed vegetables (frozen)

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour, garlic, salt, and pepper. Gradually stir in water, milk and bouillon. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chicken and vegetables. Set aside. 

When the pastries are nice and puffed, pop off the lids. Fill them with the filling and take a moment to look at how cute they are. Then eat up! I usually serve them with white rice to soak up the leftover filling (also, Brad has been known to want at least three pastries and the rice helps fill in the gaps).

Serving size is about 2 mini pies per person.
(Photo at the top was taken from the Pepperidge Farm website)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Garlic Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

Hi again sisters! This blog has sat quietly for a while, so I decided to add a recipe we had last week. I love lemon-flavored chicken in the summer. It tastes so fresh and light! I found the recipe from Rachel Ray and tweaked it slightly to use the ingredients I had in the pantry. Here it is.

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in large chunks
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 450. Arrange chicken in a baking dish. Toss and coat the chicken with garlic, rosemary, olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Take dish out and turn oven off. Add lemon juice and chicken broth and combine with pan juices. Spoon over chicken and return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon juices over chicken, and serve. (We had it with a big green salad, but I'm sure it would be delicious with rice, potatoes, or pasta too.)

Also, I'm sure this recipe would translate well to the stove-top if you don't want to turn on your oven and heat up your kitchen on a hot day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Doesn't the title alone make you want to eat these? What a great summer cookie!! I found these from Pinterest which led me to the-girl-who-ate-everything.com So good!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest (for me that was the zest of 2 oranges)
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bacon, Apple, Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad

Oh my goodness, all I can say is if you enjoy salads you must try this! It's really simple and so, so good! This comes from pinterest.

2-3 Romaine Hearts, Shredded
1-2 apples chopped
1 pkg. Bacon, cooked and chopped
1 pkg. Walnuts
1 pkg Feta Cheese 
*Adjust all these ingredients according to salad portions

1 cup Sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup Red wine vinegar
1/2 small Red onion 
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp poppy seeds

*Combine 1st 5 ingredients for dressing in a blender and blend till smooth. Slowly add in oil while blender is running. Stir in poppy seeds.

Note: As you can see I just went to the store and bought my own dressing. I'm sure the homemade one is fantastic but we really enjoyed the one I bought too.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Smokey Bean soup with Ham

I fixed this for the first time tonight and loved loved loved it! I'm already looking forward to eating leftovers tomorrow. I got the recipe from pinterest and adjusted it a bit to my own liking and convenience. Here you go!


8 slices bacon
1 C diced onion
3 cloves garlic - *I just sprinkled some garlic powder in the soup
8 oz diced smoked Ham (about 2 C) - *I used the pre-sliced deli ham
2 red potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces (2-2 1/2C)
2 cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t kosher salt - *I didn't put in the extra salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 14oz. cans chicken broth- *I don't buy chicken broth in cans, I do the bouillon cubes so I did 5 cups of water with 2 cubes and it had plenty of flavor
Optional: 1/2-1 teaspoon liquid smoke- definitely did this!

Dice bacon into bite-size pieces. Cook until crispy. Transfer to paper towel. In bacon grease saute onion and garlic.
Add diced ham, beans, smoked paprika, salt and pepper to pan and stir to combine. Then add the broth and the potatoes. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and stir in bacon and liquid smoke to taste if you choose to use it. Take 3 cups of the soup (I only did 2) and place in the blender (leave the plug in the lid off to let steam escape and cover with a paper towel to avoid splashes while you blend). Blend until completely smooth. You could also use an immersion blender in place of a blender if you have one. Add blended soup back to the pot and stir to combine. Enjoy!!

Minus the bacon and liquid smoke- once I got my 5 cups of water boiling with the 2 cubs of chicken bouillon I just added everything else and let it simmer. It is just soup after all, right? Everything gets mixed in anyway!

Green Beans with Bacon

Well the title pretty much says it all. Just like the simple glazed carrots I grew up loving, this has always been a favorite way to eat green beans! The bacon adds so much!

Green Beans
-No fixed amount. All to your liking!

*Cook your green beans to desired tenderness. Cook up some bacon and shred into pieces. Mix it all together with some butter and pepper and voila! It's delicious.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Unbelieveable Carrot Cake

I'm telling you right now, if you enjoy carrot cake, you have got to make this! It was my first time making it from scratch- shredding the carrots and all, and it's an understatement to say we enjoyed it. I made it after Sunday dinner a couple weeks ago and my husband mentioned several times that evening how good it was! I gave some to our neighbors and they raved about it too. This is another recipe from melskitchencafe.com

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 lb. medium carrots (6 to 7 large carrots), peeled
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil  (I honestly couldn't get myself to use that much oil so I did 3/4 cup oil       and 3/4 cup applesauce and it turned out great!!!)

Frosting: (If baking in two 9 in round pans then you might want to double the frosting)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
5 tablespoons butter softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon sour cream, light or regular
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (4 1/2 ounces)

*Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside. In a food processor fitted with large or fine shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. You can also shred by hand on a box grater if you don’t have a food processor.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil). Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer. Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 32 minutes for 9-inch round pans and 40 minutes for a 9X13-inch pan. Let cakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely (the 9X13-inch cake can be cooled completely in the pan if you don’t plan to invert and ice all the sides). At this point, once the cakes are cooled, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and put in a ziploc bag and placed in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature prior to frosting
When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla until well combined, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy. Frost and eat!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Avocado Basil Pasta

This one is another pinterest recipe :) I made it for dinner tonight and it's different than anything I've cooked before but we really enjoyed it. It's healthy, quick, and we will definitely be making it again!

(This picture is also from the original recipe site- recipe.com, my picture just didn't quite turn out as lovely)


8  ounces dried bow tie and/or wagon wheel pasta - I used whole wheat Fusilli
2  medium avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and coarsely chopped
6  slices bacon, crisp cooked, drained, and crumbled- I used turkey bacon
2/3  cup chopped fresh basil- I didn't use that much and I honestly don't think you need it all
2  tablespoons lemon juice
1  tablespoon olive oil
3  cloves garlic, minced
1/4  teaspoon ground black pepper 
1/8  teaspoon salt
1/2  cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese- I used Mozzarella

* Cook your pasta. Drain. 
Cook bacon to desired crispnness and cut into small pieces. Chop basil and avocado then mix with bacon, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a big bowl. Then add drained pasta and add cheese. Serve!

Note: I really think this pasta would be just as good served cold

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pesto Tomato Grilled Cheese

Who doesn't like pesto? My whole family loves it. Even our sweet little almost 2 year old will gobble it up if I put it on anything. As I was browsing pinterest (hooray for pinterest!) I came upon this sandwich and new I had to try it. I made it tonight for dinner and my husband told me it was a keeper.

So simple and so divine!


Bread slices- however many sandwiches you're going to make!
Pesto spread- we buy the Buitoni brand from the store and we love love love it
Cheese- whatever you prefer. We used mozzarella
Tomato slices
Extra virgin olive oil

*Spread pesto on one slice of bread per sandwich. Put sliced tomatoes on top of pesto and sprinkle with pepper. Add cheese on top of tomato. Sprinkle olive oil on frying pan or griddle and cook your sandwich- flipping halfway through so both sides get toasted. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Greens with Pears, Asiago and Cashews

As you know, I am a big fan of delicious salads.  This is a recipe for a wonderful salad that you can change to your heart's content.  This is the basic, but don't be afraid to add something else and experiment!  The dressing is divine and tastes so good with so many other salads!

4 Cups assorted greens (I love getting organic spring mix)
2 ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced (red anjou pears are my favorite)
2 oz. Asiago cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1/2 C unsalted cashews, toasted

5 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 t honey
1 t Dijon Mustard
1 T finely chopped green onion (If I don't have any on hand, I shake in some dried chives)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a cruet, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, green onions, salt and pepper.  Shake well and set aside. (If you don't have a cruet, it is easy to put this into a small mixing bowl and wisk together.)  In a large bowl, combine the greens and about 2/3 of the dressing.  At this point you can add the other ingredients and toss together (which is what I do when we are just having a family dinner and I don't want to be too fussy), or for a beautiful presentation, divide among individual salad plates.  Arrange pear slices over greens in a spiral pattern.  Drizzle additional dressing.  Top with shaved Asiago slices and toasted cashews.

Feel free to experiment with this one girls!  Use apples instead of pears, add craisins, switch the asiago cheese for feta, toast some slivered almonds instead of using cashews or do all of it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Summer's Chicken Pot Pie

A friend (Summer) made this for us after I had Leah. It was so good that I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. Then I asked for the recipe. Now it is my comfort food of choice. When I asked Brad what recipe I should share with you, this was the first one he mentioned. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

1/3 cup butter/margarine
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 and 3/4 cups water
3/4 cup milk
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 large potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed
1 cup mixed vegetables (frozen)

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour, garlic, salt, and pepper. Gradually stir in water, milk and bouillon. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chicken and vegetables. Set aside.

1 and 2/3 cups flour
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese room temperature
1/3 cup cold butter/margarine sliced into smaller pieces

Combine flour and cream cheese. Cut in butter (I use a hand mixer). Work by hand until dough starts clumping into a ball.  On a floured surface roll 2/3 dough into a 12-inch square. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish. Pour filling into crust. Roll remaining dough into a 9-inch square, place over filling. Trim and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry to allow heat to escape while baking. Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

I like to serve this with a nice salad or fresh fruit: it makes me feel better about all that butter!

Note: Don't be afraid of the pastry dough. I am a pastry novice, but it has turned out delicious every time I've used this recipe. I think the trick is to make sure your butter is cold (straight out of the fridge) and then don't overwork the dough. I don't worry about it being too perfect (I've never actually measured my rolled dough to see if it's a 12-inch square). I just eye-ball it and if it doesn't quite fit in the dish I use my fingertips to gently push it into place. Even if it isn't perfectly trimmed and fluted, it still tastes delicious!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cheese Balls!!

At my family get-togethers cheese balls and crackers are must haves!!  Here are our two favorites, one sweet and one savory.

Pimento Cheese Ball
2 jars pimento cheese spread (kraft)
2 pkgs (8 oz) cream cheese softened
minced onion and garlic or use onion & garlic salt to taste
2 shakes of paprika for color
1/4 - 1/2 cup cheddar cheese finely grated

- Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate a few hours.  It is easier to form balls once the mixture is cool and firm.
- Using plastic wrap form 1 large ball or 2 small balls and roll in chopped pecans.

Pineapple Cheese Ball
2 jars pineapple cheese spread (kraft)
2 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese softened
1 can crushed pineapple - drained and firmly patted dry (you don't want a lot of moisture)

- Same as above!  Though this cheese ball is good in both almonds or pecans.

Breakfast Surprise

I grew up having this breakfast every Christmas morning!  I love it and we only have it a few times a year which makes it special.  It's a great breakfast casserole and so easy to prepare the night before an important morning.

8 slices of french bread (cut into cubes)
1 lb Cheddar Cheese (cut into cubes)
1 lb Ham (cut into cubes)
10 - 12 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

- Mix together bread, ham and cheese, then spread on bottom of 9"x13" pan.  Beat eggs with milk, add a little salt and pepper (remember cheddar cheese and ham are both highly salty!) and pour over the bread, ham, & cheese mixture.
- Set in fridge overnight covered.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes to 1 hour

- You can use frozen cubed hash brown potatoes in place of bread or  with the bread.  Place the potatoes on bottom of pan, slice up a cube of butter and put on top of potatoes.  Continue recipe as above.
- Use a combination of Cheddar and Pepper Jack Cheese to spice it up!

Pre-Baked Pizza Crust

I love this pizza crust recipe for having on hand pre-baked crusts, or frozen crusts.  When I went to Nevada for a week I had two of these crust pre-baked and Doug easily made his own yummy meals! Yields 2 medium crusts.

2 1/2 tsp yeast (or one package)
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
dash of garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil

- Mix warm water, sugar and yeast.  Let it foam about 5 minutes.
- Mix the flour, salt, and garlic powder together. Now add the olive oil and the yeast mixture and mix together.  (I use my kitchen aid with the bread hook.)  Mix or knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  It should not stick to your hands, so add flour if it's too sticky.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl and lightly coat in olive oil to keep from drying out.  Cover with a clean towel and let the pizza dough double in size, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Punch it down and divide into two equal balls.  Roll out on floured surface to shape crust.  At this point you may just top with toppings and bake for a fresh pizza.  Or for pre-baked crusts, bake in oven 3-5 minutes, just until the outside starts to cook and it's not golden yet.
- Cool completely. Store wrapped in plastic wrap then covered in tin foil.  Then place in freezer or fridge (if you plan to use quickly).  You could also assemble your pizza then freeze.

Cooking Instructions:
- Let the crust thaw, top and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.  You may place pizza directly on rack.

Easy Baked Mac & Cheese

So this is totally a Campbell's Soup recipe that I have tweaked a little.  I've had better mac & cheeses but this is the one we always end up reverting to and Doug never tires of it.  And I seriously love how easy it is.  Plus it makes a good main dish or side dish!
Serves 4

1 can Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/2 soup can milk
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
salt to taste
2 cups hot cooked macaroni or spiral macaroni noodles
cornflakes for topping

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a 1-quart casserole mix soup, milk, and pepper.  Then add hot macaroni and gently stir in cheese until melted.  Salt to taste.
- Top with cornflakes and bake at 400 degrees F, for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.   I have topped with more cheese as well.

Lemon Pepper Salmon

This past weekend was gorgeous grilling weather, so I whipped this up and thought it was pretty good!  Of course its all made up so there are probably better recipes out there, but I'll share it anyways.  Doug thought it was restaurant worthy.....Of course I'll let you decide. (Yes I totally ripped this picture off of the internet, but mine looked very much like it :) And recipes just look better with a picture don't you think?)

4 Salmon fillets (or any other fish)
Lemon Pepper
Dehydrated onions
Salt & Pepper
4 Tbl butter melted
1 Tsp lemon pepper (approximate)
1 Tsp lemon juice (approximate)
Dash of garlic powder
Sliced Lemon for garnish

- Heat the grill on med-high heat.
- On one or two sheets of tin foil, place fish skin side down and rub lemon pepper on meat to give it a good coating.  Sprinkle each fillet with the onions, salt and pepper.
- Place the foil on the grill for easy clean up and let fish cook for 3-5 minutes.  Turn and cook 3-5 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, melt butter and mix the lemon pepper, lemon juice, and garlic into it.  I really just whipped this up and didn't do a lot of measuring, so flavor it to taste.  After fish has cooked on both sides, pour butter mixture over each fillet and let it cook just a bit longer.
- Serve with your choice of rice and veggies. Garnish with sliced lemon.

I served this with plain brown rice and fresh cooked green beans, but I'm sure it would be great with a good rice pilaf and any choice of veggies!

Chicken Noodle Soup

I know Summer is fast approaching, but this rain has me in comfort food mode.  This recipe is a little more involved, but is our all time favorite chicken noodle soup!  It is worth the extra work and great for those rainy days.  This recipe makes 12 servings.

1 gallon water
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, peeled and halved
3 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
2/3 bunch celery, leaves reserved
1/4 cup chicken bouillon powder
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
1/3 bunch celery, chopped & leaves reserved
1 8 oz pck dry egg noodles

- Place chicken in and water in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer, skimming fat as needed, 30 minutes.
- Place halved onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, and whole celery in the pot with chicken and simmer, covered 1 hour.
- Strain broth and reserve chicken.  When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut or shred meat into bite-size pieces.
- Return strained stock to pot over high heat, and stir in chicken bouillon, chopped celery and chopped carrots.  I usually buy a 1 lb bag of baby carrots (not the petites) and give those a rough chop.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
- Cook noodles separately according to package.  I do this so I don't loose all my good broth. Chop celery leaves and stir into pot with the cooked noodles.  Stir in chicken and heat until chicken is warmed through, about 10 more minutes.

Fancy Fruit Pizza

This is a great dessert for big get-togethers. I recently made it for the Piano Festival Luncheon and it was a big hit! Or for a fun individual serving, make regular sugar cookies and frost with cream cheese topping, fruit and glaze. So fun!

1 18 oz. pck refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 8 oz. pck cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla

bananas (dashed with lemon juice to keep from browning) strawberries
pineapple (fresh or canned)
raspberries or black berries
canned mandarin oranges

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbl cornstarch
 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tsp lemon juice

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
-On a greased 14 inch pizza pan, press the sugar cookie dough into an even 12 inch round. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
- While crust is cooling, mix the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar together. I always do the powdered sugar to taste, so the measurement is a guideline. Once the crust is cool spread the cream cheese mixture over it. and top with your choice of chopped fruit. You can make a pattern with the fruit or just mix it up and sprinkle it on. Refrigerate for one hour.
-After the pizza has refrigerated for the hour make the glaze. For the glaze, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Stir in pineapple and lemon juice until smooth. Heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until desired thickness. Cool slightly, then drizzle over pizza and refrigerate.

Jam and Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls

For my first contribution to this here blog I would like to share a super simple recipe that we use a lot. Lainy loves when I have these crescent rolls ready for her after school. She also likes to help me make them. They're great for a quick snack or a treat after dinner.

Cream Cheese (softened)
Your favorite jam (we like raspberry or apricot)
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls

Separate the crescent rolls into triangles. Spread with cream cheese and jam. Roll dough starting at wide end to tip of triangle. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm.

*you can also sprinkle the cream cheese and jam with nuts (walnuts or pecans) before rolling them up

Pork and Beans

My husband raves about this recipe. He says it's the best pork and beans he's ever had and I must agree with him. I believe it's the liquid smoke that does the trick! It gives it an extra campfire flavor that's hard to beat. Truly, he'd be happy if I fixed this every week. This feeds a large crowd- great for BBQ's. Although when I make it for my small family I still keep the portions as is because we eat it so fast!

2  31oz cans pork and beans
Large can red kidney beans, drained
Large can buttered lima beans, drained (sometimes I opt for a can of black beans instead)
1 lb hamburger
1/2 lb bacon
Chopped onion
1/2 cup brown sugar (sometimes a little less- depending on how sweet you like it)
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup ketchup

*Cook bacon til crispy. Cook hamburger with onion then drain grease. Put bacon, hamburger and onion in slow cooker with everything else for at least 6 hours on low.

Poor Man's Stroganoff

This is amazing. It's another one from melskitchencafe and we love it. Such a nice flavorful difference from the basic stroganoff but still easy to prepare!

1-2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces turkey bacon, diced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ teaspoon paprika
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried

*In a nonstick skillet heat the olive oil and saute the diced bacon over medium heat until it's crispy. Remove bacon to a paper-towel and put diced mushrooms on the skillet (add more olive oil if you need to) stirring occasionally for about a minute, then add salt. Continue cooking mushrooms until they are soft and have let go of most their juices. Then transfer them to same place as bacon.
In the same skillet, brown the meat with onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook fully and drain grease.
Stir in the flour and tomato paste to the meat mixture and mix to combine well. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the beef broth and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking to combine all the ingredients. Simmer vigorously for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Cook until flavors blend, about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add sautéed mushrooms and bacon back to the skillet. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream, mixing well to avoid lumps. Stir in the parsley. Serve over egg noodles or hot, cooked rice. So delicious!!!

Easy Chutney Chicken

This delish recipe is taken from one of my favorite cookbooks!  It is called Keeping Up Cookbook and I highly recommend this amazing collection to everyone!!!  It is a little pricey at $25, but it will become one of your standard go-to cookbooks.  You can find it and the companion volume, Favorites, at keepingupcookbook.com.  Seriously, this cookbook is amazing!  I have only found 1 recipe that I didn't love and it was still quite good.

The Mr. and I have a serious love for Indian Food!  We love finding recipes to curb our Indian cravings and this fabulous chicken dish really does the trick!  The kids like it too!!!

I did things a little differently than the original recipe, I'll note both ways here.

6 chicken breasts, each cut into 2 pieces, or 18-20 chicken tenders
3 T flour
2 T oil
1 jar (14 oz)  mango chutney (original recipe calls for 2 cups)
1/4 t cayenne pepper (original recipe calls for 1/2 t)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c water (original recipe calls for white wine)
1 t curry powder
1 t ground ginger

Coat chicken with flour, it doesn't need to be thick, a light dusting will do.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Working in as many batches as needed, brown the chicken on all sides.  Place browned chicken in a 9"x13" baking dish.  Stir remaining ingredients together and pour over chicken.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 

I served the chicken with couscous, but I am sure it would be delicious with basmati or Jasmine rice.  Add steamed or stir-fried veggies to finish off your dinner!  

I'll try to get better with my food photography skills!  I wish you could have smelled and seen it in all its glory!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Glazed Carrots

I loved it when my mom cooked carrots this way. Sweet and simple!

Carrots- as many as you please
Brown Sugar

*Cook carrots to desired tenderness. Heat a bit of butter and brown sugar until the sugar is melted. Pour over the drained carrots. If not sweet enough, add more brown sugar.

Chocolate Eclair in a Pan

As someone else said, "Just in case you need to impress anyone." This is amazing!

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs
3 cups cold milk
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding
8 oz cream cheese
12 oz cool whip
1 cup Hershey's syrup

*Bring water and butter to a boil; add flour; cook and stir until mixture cleans sides of pan; remove from stove. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one. Spread in lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Watch closely. Mix cold milk with pudding. Add really soft cream cheese then spread over crust. Top with cool whip. Drizzle with Hershey's syrup. Chill until served.

Bean Dip

When my family gets together this bean dip never lasts long! It's so refreshing, healthy, and oh so yummy. Perfect for big groups- it goes a long way!

1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can blackeyed peas
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can corn
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped green pepper
Chopped onion
Chopped avacado
Chopped cilantro
1/2 bottle Italian or Catalina dressing- whichever you prefer!

*Drain all the cans. And other ingredients then chill. Serve with tortilla chips.

Chicken Enchiladas

Growing up we always got to choose what we wanted for our birthday dinner. I remember picking this many times. The whole family loved these and my small family loves them now too! The sauce is just hard to beat!

8 flour tortillas
6 chicken breast tenders (sometimes I used canned chicken)
1 can cream of chicken
1 can evaporated milk
1 small can green chilies
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Grated cheese- as much as you desire!

*Boil chicken tenders until cooked and then shred the chicken. Combine shredded chicken with green chilies and cheese. Place a couple spoonfuls of mixture onto each tortilla. Roll them up and place in a pan. (I usually don't fold the ends in- that way the sauce can get into the tortilla) Mix cream of chicken, evaporated milk, sour cream and cumin together and pour on top of rolled tortillas. Sprinkle with more cheese and bake at 350 until cheese has completely melted and sauce is bubbling along the edges. Enjoy!


All I have to say about this is moist, moist, moist! So yummy!

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup oil

*Mix eggs, sugar, and buttermilk together then add the rest. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 pan and bake at 400 for 20-25 min.

Note: When I want to be more healthy I do 1/2 cup oil with 1/2 cup applesauce and still get great results!

Orange Salad

This is a delicious, refreshing salad that is quick and easy. Great for family get togethers or any potluck. The salty but sweet crust is the perfect combination and I have a hard time staying away when this is in our fridge :)

60 Ritz crackers crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 oz. can orange juice concentrate
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 large container cool whip

*mix crushed crackers with sugar and melted butter. Spread in a 9 by 13 in pan. Mix remaining ingredients together and spread on cracker crust. Chill for 2 hours and enjoy!

Frito Salad

This is perfect for any potluck get together! It's quick and has great flavor!

1 tomato
1 green pepper
1 onion
1/2 bottle Catalina dressing
1 package Fritos

*Dice vegetables. Mix in Catalina dressing. Chill. Just prior to serving, add Fritos. They should be well coated.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Honestly- the softest peanut butter cookies ever. This is another one from melskitchencafe and has become one of my husbands favorite cookie. These are simply delicious! They don't last long at our house and I'm quite picky about cookies... try them!

1 cup butter at room temp
2 cups peanut butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

*Mix butter and P.B. until fluffy. Add sugars until well combined. Add eggs and mix 1-2 min. Add milk and vanilla and mix. Add the rest and mix some more!
Let dough sit for 15 min before scooping onto sheet (Honestly I'm not sure what this extra time does but I just follow orders and they turn out delicious every time!)
*Bake at 350 for 10-11 min. Make sure not to over bake!

Parmesan Potato Wedges

Who doesn't like red poatoes? This is a fantastic way to cook them!

2 lbs red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon butter cut into small pieces
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

*Put potatoes in crock pot and then layer everything else on top except cheese. Cook on high for 4 hours then sprinkle with cheese.

note: I added Rosemary to mine and it was great that way too!

Baked Oatmeal

Yes- baked. Another fantastic recipe from melskitchencafe- you'll see a lot more of her recipes coming from me! This is such a great way to eat oatmeal and in my opinion waaaaaay better than the original microwave style. We love this!

6 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups milk
4 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoon salt

*mix together and pour into a greased 9 by 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min. Serve with fruit/milk.

Coconut Syrup

This is possibly one of the most simple, delicious syrups ever. I can't tell you how much my family loves this syrup! This has been a hit with everyone who has tried it. I got this recipe from my sister-in-law and we've had a hard time going back to regular syrup ever since. Put this on top of the whole wheat oatmeal pancake mix and you've got yourself a fine meal!

1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
*Boil for 2 min so the sugar dissolves, take off of heat, then add:
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (sometimes I add a couple more drops!)

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

I got this recipe from melskitchencafe - I use her recipes a lot. These are the best pancakes in the world! Healthy and oh so divine! We feed them to all the elders who come here, along with our coconut syrup that you also have to try and they all rave about them! Seriously, you've got to make them- you will not be disappointed.

3 1/2 cups rolled quick oats (you can blend them if you want- I personally like the chewy texture they give to the pancakes alone!)
5 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable or canola oil

*Mix all the dry ingredients together then slowly mix in the oil. (when everything is mixed- squeeze a clump in your hand and it should stay together pretty well. If not- add more oil, although I've never had to and I've made these many a times.) Ta Da! Now you have 10 batches of pancake mix ready!
* The next step: to make the pancakes you take 1 cup of the mix you just made, 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 egg. That easy! Mix it all together and start cooking!
1 batch will make about 6-7 4in. pancakes 
*Store the rest of the pancake mix in an airtight container on your counter for up to 2 weeks or indefinitely in your fridge or freezer. Go make them!

Spaghetti Pie

A fun twist to spaghetti- we love it!

6 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
2 beaten eggs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce
3 cups mozzarella cheese

*Cook spaghetti (about 3 cups). Stir in beaten eggs and parmesan cheese. For spaghetti mixture into a crust in a greased 10 inch pie plate. Spread with cottage cheese inside the crust. Spoon spaghetti sauce on top of cottage cheese.
Bake uncovered about 30 min at 350. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until melted.

note: It would be super easy to add meat to it too!

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

This has always been one of my favorites growing up and my own little family now loves it too. It is oh so yummy! Seriously, you'll love it!

4 Chicken breasts cooked (sometimes I use canned chicken)
Broccoli cooked - enough to fill the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan!
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayo
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
Cheddar cheese

*Layer the broccoli then chicken. Pour the sauce over and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Serve over rice!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome to our online cookbook

We have finally started our own version of a Sister's Cookbook.  This is a place where six sisters, living across the US share favorite recipes and other cooking successes and failures!

Get ready for YUM!!!