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Monday, December 14, 2009

Bernadette's Popovers

*This recipe is out of the Key Lime Pie Murder novel by Joanne Fluke.

I made these for a brunch I hosted and they were quite delicious. I've never made or had popovers before, and these were very easy to make. They turned out, light, fluffy and a pretty golden brown.

4 eggs--should measure about 1 cup
2 cups milk
2 cups flour--not sifted
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack in middle position. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. (Do not use muffin liners. I had anticipated these cooking like muffins, but they do not. They are more like muffin tops, so using a paper liner only means you get a hollow bottom and paper stuck to your popover.)
Whisk eggs by hand until they're a light, uniform color, but not yet fluffy, about 1 min. Add milk and whisk until incorporated.
Place flour in bowl and add salt on top. Using a wooden spoon, stir until all the flour has been moistened and incorporated. You will still have lumps (like brownie batter), but that's fine.
Transfer the batter to a container with a spout--like a measuring cup--and pour into muffin cups, filling almost to the top.
Bake for exactly 30 minutes. Don't peak while cooking or they will fall.
After 30 min, remove to cool rack and pierce the top with a knife to release steam. Serve with butter, jams, or cream cheese.
These are good both warm and at room temp.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nutella Croissants

I LOVE Nutella, which is a cocoa hazelnut spread. It is simply scrumptious. Most of the time I just eat it plain or on fruit, but occasionally, I like to cook with it also. This is a simple recipe that would make for a good brunch item or after dinner dessert. It may be a little too dessert-like for breakfast, but would probably be fine if served with something else.

You need:
1 jar Nutella
1 pkg refrigerated croissant rolls

Unroll the croissants from the package and spread Nutella on them.Roll up according to package directions.
Bake according to package directions. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snowball Cookies

Snowballs are one of my favorite holiday cookies, unfortunately, I lost my recipe, so I've been looking at other recipes to try and recreate it. This is one I found off of The only difference is I substituted chocolate chips for nuts. The cookies were good, but they didn't quite have that melt-in-your-mouth quality, that I was hoping for, so I think I'll keep looking and tweaking.

Here's the recipe:
Ingredients: 1 c. butter, 1/2 c. confectioners sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 2 c. sifted flour, 1c. chocolate chips. Additional confectioners sugar to sprinkle on top or roll cookies in.

Directions: Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Roll dough into golf ball sized balls. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool slightly and then sprinkle or roll in confectioners sugar.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

I love egg burritos in the morning, but I don't always have time to fix them. So this weekend I cooked up a batch to put in the freezer, this way all I have to do is pull one out and warm it in the microwave.

You need:
1 pkg tortillas (I use the taco size, so there the right size for my girls)
1lb bacon (or breakfast meat of your choice, cooked)
1 dozen eggs, scrambled
salsa, optional
Cook your meat. Scramble your eggs as you normally would. (I like to add the cheese and salsa in while I scramble mine, so that the salsa doesn't make the tortilla soggy. Also, to cut out steps when I'm rolling them.) Mix your meat and scrambled eggs together. Place a small about, approx. 1/4 c. into center of tortilla and roll.

Place rolled burritos seam side down on baking sheet and place in freezer for 30 min to an hour. This will allow them to freeze closed and then you can transfer to a Ziploc.

When your ready to eat one, just take it out and place it in the microwave for 45-50 seconds.

These can also serve as a last minute dinner.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Murder She Baked

I really enjoy cooking. Especially trying new recipes. I also love reading. Imagine my thrill when I found a series that combines the two. I was at the library looking for a book to read since I'm caught up on all the series that I read, when I found a book by Joanne Fluke from the Hannah Swenson series. She's no Janet Evanovich, but the story was good and kinda reminded me of the Stephanie Plum series. It was definately a light read; however, the most exciting part was all the recipes. I can't wait to try out several that were in the book. I picked up a book in the middle of the series, but will go back and start reading them from the beginning, if for nothing more than the recipes included. I'll post the recipe and my review of the ones I make. There's a popover recipe that I think will work just great at an event I'm hosting this month and I'm excited to try it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shredded Pork Meals

Awhile back pork roasts went on sale B1G1, so I bought two and put them in the freezer for a later date. They were quite big, so one roast made several meals for us. Because I didn't want to have the oven on, I used my crock pot to cook it. Simply place the roast in the crock pot in the morning. I don't braise mine, first, but you can if you want. I flavored mine with some Worcestershire and lime juice. I didn't measure it, sorry. You don't need a lot, because the pork itself has plenty of flavor. Probably about 3T Worcestershire and 1T lime juice. Cook on low 6-10 hours. Once cooked, set on cutting board to cool and using either a fork or your fingers shred and place in a casserole dish. Pour in some of the juices from the crock pot (not a lot, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) and drizzle with more Worcestershire and lime juice. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. This gives the pork a crispiness to it and is very delicious.
When it is done, remove it from the oven and use it in your recipes. We made taco's and BBQ sandwiches out of ours, but you could also use it for burritos or just eat it like it is.

For tacos: place in taco shell, cover with cheese and put in oven until cheese melts. Top with cabbage drizzled with rice vinegar and salsa.
For BBQ pork sandwiches (no picture): Place dollop of BBQ on bun, top with pork and cabbage drizzled with rice vinegar. You could also stir the BBQ sauce into the pork if you want.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

I found this recipe from Campbell's for Chicken Enchiladas and thought I would try it. While not the best I have made, they were still pretty good.


1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. salsa
2 tsp. chili powder
2 c. chopped cooked chicken

1/2 c. shredded cheese
6 flour tortillas, warmed (I used wheat)


Stir soup, sour cream, salsa, and chili powder in bowl.
Stir 1 cup salsa mixture, chicken and cheese in another bowl. Divide chicken mixture among tortillas. Roll up and place seam side down in 2-qt. baking dish. Pour remaining salsa mixture over filled tortillas. Cover baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 min. or until hot and bubbly.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chicken Black Bean Soup

I live in Arizona and normally it doesn't become soup weather until close to Christmas; however, the last couple days have been quite chilly and a hearty soup was just what we needed to keep the chill away.
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 cloves garlic (or 1/2 t. minced garlic)
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 t. ground cumin
1 can green chilies
1 small can sliced olives (optional)
4 c. (or 2 cans) chicken broth
1 can black beans
1 c. sour cream
2 chicken breasts shredded or cubed
*If you would like this spicy add in El Pato sauce
Directions: Saute butter, garlic and onion until onion is soft. Add flour and to make a roux. Add broth slowly to avoid clumps. Add cumin and green chilies and bring to a rolling boil. Boil until soup starts to thicken. Once thickened add chicken, olives and beans and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.
The first picture is without the El Pato sauce. My girls will not eat anything spicy, so I simply leave the can of El Pato out and my husband and I add it into ours afterwards which works out quite nicely since he likes his spicier than I do.

This is the soup with the El Pato. You can add cheese on top or eat with tortilla's or tortilla chips or just by itself. This soup is a favorite for all of us and I love that I can make it spicy for my husband and I and plain for my girls.

For those who don't know, El Pato is mexican tomato sauce. So, basically it is tomato sauce with chilies. It is excellent for mexican dishes.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Seeds

With Halloween just around the corner, this is a tasty snack to make using the seeds from your jack-o-lantern.
You will need:
1 cup Unwashed seeds (clean off all the stringy gunk from them)
1/4 t. Worcestershire
1 T. melted butter
1/2 t. salt
Mix all together in shallow baking dish. Place in oven at 250 degrees for 2 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Green Pepper Soup

I found this recipe off of while looking for a new soup recipe. My husband and I thought it was good. Our kids, not so much. I served it with homemade rolls.

1/2 lb. ground beef
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup rice, uncooked
1T. brown sugar
4-5 c. water
1 beef boullion
salt and pepper
Directions: Brown ground beef and drain. In large saucepan, add all ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer until rice is done, 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Sorry, I've been neglecting this blog. I've had a busy few months. We bought a house, packed and moved in two days before school started (did a lot of eating out). I started watching a couple kids at the same time who are quite energetic to say the least, leaving me no time for anything, because if they're unsupervised for two minutes they destroy my house. But the number one reason is: we're expecting our fourth baby and I've been battling morning sickness. Food is just not appealing, so my family has been fending for themselves for dinner. Hopefully, it will ease up soon. Until then, I'm afraid my posts will be sporadic. Sorry.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

These are super delicious and a great way to use bananas that are getting too ripe.

1 3/4c. flour
1/4c. sugar
2 1/2t. baking powder
3/4t. salt
1 egg
1/2c. milk
1/3c. vegetable oil
1/2c. ripe bananas
1/2c. unsweetened applesauce
1c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. Combine egg, milk, oil, banana, and applesauce in another bowl. Stir in dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in chips. Pour into muffin tins and bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Strawberry Trifle

This is a great dessert to use up some of those summer strawberries.
1 box strawberry cake
2 tubs whipped cream
1 1/2 pints strawberries

Bake cake according to package directions in a 9x13 in. pan.
While cake is cooking, thaw whipped cream and slice strawberries in half lengthwise.
When cake has cooled cut in half across middle and down the length, then cut each section into 1 in wide pieces about 3 in long (think lady fingers). Next use half the cake to layer the bottom of your trifle dish. Using a rubber spatula, spread the whipped cream over the cake, trying to get it into the crevices of the cake. You should not be able to see the cake on top through the whipped cream. Next top with strawberriess. Add a thin layer of whipped cream. Add another layer of cake, then whipped cream, topping it off with the strawberries.

This dessert looks beautiful and tastes delicious. I wish I had a picture, but I set it on the table and turned around to get my camera and in the moment I had my back turned, it had been divided down to the last dollop of whipped cream and everybody was eating. Maybe next time, or you could just make it yourself to see.

(repost from 3/14)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Valley Fresh Chicken Pot Pie

I enjoy homemade chicken pot pie; however, I have yet to find one with a crust I like. Unfortunately, this one was no exception. This recipe came off the can of Valley Fresh canned chicken. The filling is different from my other recipe. (It is a simpler version, that requires only opening and emptying cans.) This one uses cut up canned biscuits. I was hoping that by cutting them up, the bottoms would cook, but alas, I ended up with golden tops and soggy bottoms. If anyone has a good chicken pot pie topping, I'd be interested in it.

Here is the Valley Fresh recipe:

1 can cream of broccoli soup
1/3 c. milk
1/4 t. coarsely ground pepper
1/8 t. dried thyme
1 can chicken, shredded and drained
1 pkg. frozen vegetables
1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (6 count)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In 1 1/2 quart baking dish, combine soup, milk, pepper and thyme. Stir in chicken and vegetables. Bake 20-25 minutes. Separate biscuits; cut into quarters. Arrange biscuits over chicken mixture. Bake 12-15 minutes longer or until biscuits are golden brown.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cheese Ravioli with Vegetables


1 package frozen ravioli
1 medium zucchini, julienned
1 medium squash, julienned
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
garlic pepper
1/2t. basil
1/4t. thyme
olive oil


Put water for ravioli on to boil.

Place 1-2 T. olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add vegetables and cook until done, about 4-5 minutes. (You may also grill vegetables, if you prefer. Just slice them in half and finish slicing them once cooked.)

Cook ravioli according to directions. Add ravioli to vegetables. Add another 1-2T. olive oil, cheese and seasonings. Stir to coat.

Serve while warm.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fried Green Plantains

I tried these for the first time at a Columbian restaurant for lunch. I had never had plantains before and they were quite good and looked really easy to make. The taste is inbetween fried zuchinni and fried potatoes.

You need:

1-2 large green plantains
enough oil for frying
salt, to taste

Peel plantains and slice into 1 inch pieces.
Heal oil in skillet.
Place slices in oil and fry for about 5 min on each side.
Remove from skillet and place on paper towels. Using a plate or skillet mash each plantain slice until half its size.
Place back in skillet and fry about 1 min each side.
Season with salt.

These are good served with salsa and a nice alternative to fries.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kielbasa and Potatoes

This is a quick dish with few ingredients and a new favorite for us.

1 package kielbasa, cut into 1 inch slices
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can green beans
1 can beef broth

In a skillet, brown your kielbasa. Next add potatoes and beef broth. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Add green beans last five minutes, to allow to warm through.


Sorry I have not posted in some time. We have been traveling and are in the process of buying our first home, so I have not had much time to blog.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reuben Chicken

Last week I tried this recipe for Reuben Chicken. It wasn't bad, but none of us like the sauerkraut on it. Something about cooking sauerkraut just ruins it. So, it was ok, but not one I'll be repeating. However, if you like reuben's or sauerkraut, you may give it a shot.


This months total is outrageous. I knew it would be high, because we went out of town twice this month, which required us to eat out for most meals, but I wasn't quite expecting it to be this bad. My grocery budget for the month is only $400; I didn't expect to rival it. I probably wouldn't have, except our A/C was not working properly the beginning half of the month, so by mealtime our house was a furnance. It didn't make me want to add to the heat by using the stove or oven, so most nights we went out where it was cooler. I did only spend $300 out of my grocery budget because we were eating out so much, and included in the total is our date night, and dinner for my in-laws and lunch for my grandma. I wasn't quite sure how to count those, since technically, it was still eating out, but the difference of those three dinners is a little over a hundred dollars. Ah, well. Next month should be normal, so we should be able to get back on track.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ding Dong Mustard

My four year old daughter loves cooking shows. Whenever one comes on tv she watches it and repeats all the ingredients and then tells me how good it would be. She even prefers them to cartoons. The other day she came up with her very own recipe, called Ding Dong Mustard, then asked if she could have it with her chicken. I told her I didn't know what that was. I thought she was just making something up, and well, she kinda was. But here is her recipe for what she has named Ding Dong Mustard: equal parts mustard and ketcup mixed together. Yum!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crustless Blackberry Cheesecake

This is a good and easy summertime dessert. It's much simpler than regular cheesecake.

Take 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 package cream cheese, 1/3 cup lemon juice and a teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix all ingredients together until smooth.

We topped with blackberries, but you could use any fruit or pie filling. It can also be served in waffle bowls, but we just used regular bowls.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kielbasa and Sweet Potatoes

My family really likes kielbasa, and sadly, I don't make it that often. This is one dish that we really like.

1 pkg kielbasa
1 sweet potato
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup syrup
instant rice

I like to brown my keilbasa first, but its not necessary. While browning meat, peel sweet potato and place in microwave for 5 minutes (more or less depending on size, you don't need it completely cooked through, just a little soft to make dicing easier). Dice sweet potato and combine with kielbasa. Mix orange juice and syrup together and then pour over meat and potato. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve over instant rice for a meal or serve alone as a side.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chef Salad

It's started getting hotter here, we're in the 90's all week and have been now for a couple weeks. It makes cooking unbearable, especially, since the apartment we're in doesn't have good air conditioning. So, I've been trying to avoid cooking, while also not eating out. I'm hoping I get more creative. The other night I made us all chef salads. Well, I made my husband and I one and our girls a vegetable plate. They won't eat it mixed together, but are fine if it's all separate.

I used: romaine, yellow bell pepper, tomato, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, boiled egg, deli meat, cheese, olives.
You can add or leave out items given your personal preference. The picture below is one of the girls vegetable plates. They got a kick out of their "fancy" dinner.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Almost There

So, I'm a bit excited because the month is almost over and we've only spent a little over a hundred eating out. Which is so much better than we did last month. We did eat out for lunch today, but then I made stromboli for dinner. I think the big difference is this month we transferred any extra money we had immediately into savings. We left us a small amount for discretionary, but that was it. Before we would always wait to transfer money, in case we needed it for something, but then we'd always spend it eating out, so even if we did need it, it was no longer there. I'm hoping we can do as well next month. We have to travel out of town several times, so I'm worried, but hopefully we can contain what we spend.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Berry Salad

This is my all time favorite salad. I love it in the spring and summer. It consists of: baby spinach, romaine lettuce, craisins, feta cheese, sliced strawberries, and when I can find them on sale, blueberries and walnuts. I use a raspberry vinaigrette for the dressing and when I serve it as a meal, I cook grilled chicken lightly flavored in the vinaigrette dressing to serve on top. It is very delicious.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spicy Lentil Soup

Since winter seems to have reemerged, here is a healthy and delicious soup to stave off the cold. I was given this recipe a couple years ago and it completely opened me up to lentils. It is from the Conscious Cuisine cookbook. Also, if you leave out the fresh vegetables, then it makes a good food storage recipe.

1/4t. olive oil
1 cup chopped, peeled carrots (2 med.)
1 cup chopped celery (3 med ribs)
2 cups lentils (1 lb) washed
1 28oz can diced, peeled tomatoes in juice
1 cup chopped onion (1 lrg)
1/2t. ground cumin
1/2t. Cayenne
1t. minced garlic
8 cups vegetable stock
1t. Paprika
1 bay leaf
1t. chile powder
1t. dried basil

Use olive oil to coat bottom of medium stock pot over med-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onion has softened, about 2 min. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, cayenne, chile powder, cumin, paprika, and basil. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils have softened, about 20 min. Remove bay leaf before serving. Makes 12 servings.

(If you want it spicy, but not hot, then leave out the Cayenne.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

This really isn't a food recipe, but it was too good not to share. I saw a recipe for liquid laundry detergent here and it not only looked super easy, but was really cheap--like $2.50 for 160 loads. I like powdered better, so that's what I made. If you would like to make your own detergent and save a ton of money here's how:

You'll need (for approx 480 loads):
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda--$3-$4 (NOT Baking soda)
this can be found in grocery stores, the top two at Walmart
Grate the bar of Zote. Add 3 cups of Borax and 3 cups of Baking Soda. Place in food processor to chop Zote into finer pieces. (The other two help make the Zote not so waxy, so it doesn't stick to your blades.)

Viola! You are now done. Place it in a sealable container. Use 1 tablespoon for small and medium loads and 2 tablespoons for large loads. Also, the dry detergent works best washing in warm or hot water (the soap may not dissolve all the way in cold), so if you wash in cold a lot you might try the liquid.

You will still have enough Washing Soda and Borax to do another batch, you will just need to get another bar of Zote.

(I took pictures, but am having trouble getting the camera to upload, so when I fix that I'll add them.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chicken Gumbo

I was looking for something a little different for dinner and found this recipe for chicken gumbo. I substituted the summer sausage for kielbasa, since my goal wasn't to only use food storage items. My husband and I both enjoyed it. Both my girls ate it, but they complained the whole time and only finished so they could have dessert. It did make a LOT. I was able to separate two more meals into zip locks and freeze them for future dinners. I did leave out the cayenne pepper because I worried it would make it too spicy (for kids) and next time I will decrease the oregano. If you don't mind spicy and like oregano, then you could leave it. It would also be really good with shrip or prawns instead of chicken.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Beef with Rice and Vegetables

This is a variation on stir-fry and a good change.
1 pkg stir-fry meat, either cut in strips or diced
(we prefer diced)
1 can chicken broth, beef would also work
1/2 pkg snap peas
1/2 pkg baby carrots
2 cups instant white or brown rice
1T Worcestershire
Directions: Add Worcestershire and meat to skillet and cook until no longer pink. Bring chicken broth and vegetables to boil in sauce pan. Once meat is cooked, add to sauce pan. When broth has reached rolling boil for 1-2 minutes, add rice, cover and remove from heat. Let set 5 minutes (or amount indicated on box to cook rice) and then serve.
Sorry I don't have a picture, I couldn't find my camera.

Monday, March 30, 2009


The new thing in all the fast food restaurants right now seems to be sliders. I like the idea of mini-burgers mainly because they are fun for my kids. I decided to cook some up for dinner.
1 1/2lb hamburger
1 bell pepper (or 1/2 c. onions)
2T Worcestershire
1 pkg hot dog buns
12 slices cheese
If you have a meat grinder, then grind the hamburger and bell pepper together, otherwise, you can but the bell pepper in the food processor and then mix it in. Mix in Worcestershire to hamburger. Place hamburger in 9x13 dish and pat down. It should be about 1in thick. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until no longer pink.
Cut hot dog buns into thirds while waiting and then separate the tops from bottoms.
Cut cheese slices into fourths.
When hamburger is done, cut into squares. Place one piece of cheese on each square and top with top of hot dog bun. Place bottom of bun on top. Cover with foil and bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish with your favorite condiments and enjoy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Out of Control

Ack! I can't believe how much we spent eating out this month. We completly fell back into our old habits. This month I wasn't updating everytime we ate out and I think that made it harder. I wasn't constantly aware of how much we were spending on fast food, which is never good anyway. I think next month I'll try pulling out cash and having a fast food fund and when it's gone it's gone.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Corned Beef

For St. Patricks Day, I made corned beef. This was my first time ever making it and thankfully, it turned out fine.
I used:
1 pkg corned beef w/ seasoning pkt
1 bag baby carrots
1/2 cabbage head
4 red potatoes
I put everything in the crockpot in the morning and filled with enough water to cover the meat. I cooked it on low for about 9 hrs. If you're home while this is cooking, I hope you like the smell of cabbage, because it will be quite strong.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tortellini Alfredo

A quick easy dinner is Tortellini Alfredo. We've had this twice in the last couple weeks.
Frozen cheese tortellini, ravioli would also work
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 can chicken or leftover chicken shredded
1 bag peas or broccoli (optional)
Cook tortellini according to directions.
If you are adding vegetables, cook them according to package directions also. Warm chicken and alfredo in large saucepan (if using peas, add to same pan after peas have cooked). When tortellini is done add to sauce. We have to keep our peas or broccoli separate because my children won't eat them mixed in, so we mix them into our own individual servings. Serve with a salad and bread.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vegetable Skillet

This originally started out as a pot pie recipe, but I adjusted it enough, it's more of a skillet meal.
You need: 1lb ground hamburger or turkey
1T brown sugar
2T Worcestershire
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 c. salsa
1/4t. chili powder
1/2t. mustard
First, brown your meat. Once meat is brown add your frozen vegetables. When vegetables are cooked through, about 3 minutes, add the rest of your ingredients. Mix together and let simmer about 1-2 minutes.
We had this with biscuits, but it would also be good with mashed potatoes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ranch Sweet Potato Slices

Last night I decided to try something new with my sweet potato. The ingredients are fairly simple: 1 med-lrg sweet potato, sliced; 1T Ranch; dash of salt, pepper, and thyme.In a bowl, mix sliced sweet potatoes with ranch and seasons. You want just enough ranch to coat.
Spead out on a baking sheet and place in oven for 20-30 minutes (until fork tender) at 350 degrees.
These were surprisingly good. You couldn't really taste the ranch, though. The slices weren't really crisp, so if you want crisp you might try grilling or frying. That may also bring out the ranch flavor more. I think it would work better if you used russet potatoes or a mixture of both.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cranberry Water

To give your water some flavor--and color--add 1 cup craisins to a pitcher of water and steep over night in the fridge.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fried Bologna Sandwich

One of my childhood lunch favorites is fried bologna sandwiches. I'm not a big fan of bologna in general, in fact, this is the only way I will eat it.

I like to fry my bologna first. Make sure to place a couple slices around the edges, otherwise the bologna will curl. When it has cooked to desired doneness, I take two pieces of bread and spread them with either butter or mayonaise (if you want a more even brown look, use mayo. It doesn't effect flavor whatsoever.) Place one slice bread butter side down, top with fried bologna and a slice of cheese and the other slice of bread, buttered side up. When first side has browned, flip over and brown the other side.
If you want, finish with mustard, lettuce and tomato.

What best is this is quite inexpensive. Package of bologna-$1, loaf of bread-$.88, package of sliced cheese-$1. Three dollars and you can have it for more than one day making it quite a prize.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spinach and Olive Omelet

Omelets are great because you can make them as complicated or easy as you like. Also, you can just add whatever you have. The hard part of omelets, of course, is the technique. If you get it wrong you end up with either one ugly omelet or scrambled eggs. Rest assured, both will still taste good.
In my omelets, I like to scramble my eggs in a bowl and add a little milk. I think the milk makes for a fluffier omelet, but that's just me. This is also where I add the mix ins, in this case spinach, olives, and cheese. You would also add your spices now.
Heat up a small non-stick skillet. Try to use one the same size you want your omelet to come out. Coat the bottom with olive oil, this will make it easier to flip and will also add flavor.
Pour a thin layer of your mixture onto the hot skillet. Let it set until it looks like the edges have formed. (Sorry I don't have pictures for this, but it's hard to be camera man and chef with omelets.) Now take your spatula and pull the edges away while tipping the pan so the runny liquid on top runs to that spot. Continue to do this until there is no more runny liquid--the top of the omelet will still be uncooked, but the bottom should be done and the edges formed. Gently loosen the edges and bottom of the omelet. When it is loosened gently flip over and let the top finish cooking. Slide out of pan onto place and fold in half with spatula.
Top with extra cheese or chives. Serve with salsa or ketchup.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Corn Zucchini Saute

This dish makes a nice side and is great for spring/summer. You need: 3 zucchini, sliced--yellow squash would also work or a combination of the two; 1 can corn, drained; 1 plum tomato, diced or 1/2 can diced tomatoes, drained; cheese; dash of thyme, salt and pepper.In a large skillet, add a bit of olive oil and zucchini. Cook until zucchini is mostly tender.
Add corn, tomato thyme, salt and pepper. Mix together and heat through.
Top with cheese and let sit until cheese melts. Serve.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Product Review: Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken

I really enjoy chinese food, unfortunately I have yet to come across an "authentic" recipe I can make at home that tastes anything similar to what I find in the restaurants. Chinese food can also be expensive. Since, we are trying not to spend extra money eating out, and since there is little at Chinese places my children like, and because I had a coupon for a dollar off and it was already on sale, I decided to try this.

I will admit I had low expectations, generally ethnic foods purchased pre-made are not that tasty. Sweet and sour frozen dinners come to mind. So I was surprised to find that this was actually not all that bad. It wasn't altogether spicy, but then again, I didn't "break" the peppers to make it hotter. Since I hadn't had it before and was unaware of its spice factor I chose to err on the side of caution. While I like spicy, I didn't want it so hot all I could taste was the heat.

The best part about this for me was that you use your own meat, allowing you to skip all those pieces in other brands where the chicken piece is mostly fat. I would suggest adding vegetables, such as sliced carrots, celery, water chestnuts, etc.

I would buy this again, but only if I had a coupon and it was on sale. It's a bit expensive for me otherwise (I believe it's about $6 a box plus the cost of chicken). Also, even though it says family size, it really only serves two.

Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5. currently has a coupon for $1.10 off if you want to try it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sweet Potato and Spinach Chicken Risotto

We had this earlier in the week. I originally found this recipe when I was looking for a dish that used both chicken and sweet potato and it has easily become one of my favorites.


2c. aborrio rice (risotto rice)

5c. chicken broth

2T. butter

2c. diced sweet potato (about 2 medium)

2c. chopped chicken
(I like to put my chicken in the crockpot in the morning when I am cooking this. It saves time at dinner, shreds easily and I can use the stock in the recipe)

1c. chopped fresh spinach

1/4t. salt

1/4t. thyme

1/2c. cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add butter, rice, sweet potatoes, and chicken stock to casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove from oven. Stir until creamy and add the chicken, spinach and seasonings. Top with grated cheese. Return to oven for 5 minutes.

March Goals

A new month and a chance to try again. We overspent last month by about $75.oo. However, included in this is my husband and my Valentine dinner.

Saturday's seem to kill us. It is the one day we have where we are all together and we generally spend it running errands or doing something together as a family. Unfortunately, that means we are usually not home for lunch or dinner. I am still troubleshooting our Saturday's for a way to avoid this.

Ideally, we wouldn't be eating out at all. But I figure baby steps are better. My main motivation being we are trying to pay off our debt this year and this is the one area in our spending that really isn't necessary. Therefore, it simply has to go. I have been doing my best, but apparently I need to up my best. We are still working on our emergency fund and are half way there. If we are diligent, we should be able to finish it this month.

We have budgeted three big eat out days this month: our date night, our trip to the Temple, and a family dinner. Those three days will be about $60.00. If we do our half rule (reduce last months spending by half as the new goal), that leaves us with $35.oo to spend eating out the rest of the month. I suppose that averages to about once a week.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Foldovers are a cross between a burro and a tostada. Sometimes we have them for lunch and other times for dinner. You need: tortilla (one for each person), 1 can refried beans, 1 can olives, cheese, butter, taco meat (optional). Suggested toppings: salsa, sour cream, guacamole.First butter one side of a tortilla. Place butter side down on a skillet. Spread refried beans on one side. Top with olives and cheese. Sometimes I will add taco meat if we have any leftover.
Cook until it is a golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Spinach Egg Scramble

We have breakfast for dinner quite often. It's my favorite backup when I forget to take meat out of the freezer. It's also inexpensive. Last night I put yellow bell pepper and fresh spinach in the scrambled eggs, as well as salsa and cheese. If you're a fan of "Green Eggs and Ham" you can omit the bell pepper and salsa and add a couple drops of green food coloring and you'll have your own green eggs. All you need to do is add the ham.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chicken in Rice

This is a super easy recipe that my kids really enjoy. It can be served as a main dish or as just a side depending on who and how many you are feeding.
You need:
3 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces, cooked
1 box Chicken Rice-A-Roni
Broccoli florets (optional)
Follow the package directions on the rice and add the chicken and broccoli when you add the water and seasonings.
Serve with a salad and rolls.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hominy Casserole

This is hominy casserole. Hominy is corn that has been soaked to get rid of the outer hull, leaving it with a softer texture. I really like hominy, but it's hard to come across recipes that use it. The most common recipes are menudo or pozole, but I never make either of those. So I was excited when I found this easy recipe that uses it as one of the main ingredients.
1lb ground beef
1/2c. chopped bell pepper
1/2c. onion (optional)
1 can white hominy, drained
1 can yellow hominy, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green chiles
1/2t. salt
1/4t. pepper
1c. grated cheese
Brown the hamburger, when it is no longer pink add the bell pepper and onion (if using) and cook for about three minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients, except cheese. Spoon into baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Add cheese the last 10 minutes.
I served this with cornbread and it was very good. I think it would be good with a cornbread crust which I might attempt next time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Here is my stromboli recipe. It's similar to the calzone. The main difference is the calzone is more like a pizza and the stromboli is more like a sandwich. We had this on Thursday.
1 lb frozen bread dough, thawed or your own dough
bell pepper
*you can add whatever other deli meats or toppings you would like
First roll out the dough into a rectangle. Brush with mustard. Layer meats, and toppings. Bring sides and ends together and pinch closed. Lay seam side down on baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown at 350 degrees.
Another filling idea would be to use alfredo or other cheese sauce and layer with shredded chicken and broccoli.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Sometimes I get so caught up in "making" something, that I feel I need a recipe or else all is lost. I forget that sometimes the most basic meals can also be very delicious. Last night was one of those simple meals, that was also quite good and fairly inexpensive. I managed to get several fryer chickens on sale a couple weeks ago for 39 cents/lb. I also, got a bag of mixed vegetables on sale for $1 and a box of pasta-roni for 88 cents. So, for about $5, I fed our family of five. Pretty good deal. It was nothing complicated. No fancy herbs, no extra ingredients, just chicken with two easy sides. The best part is there was enough left over for my husband to take for lunch and for me to make another chicken dinner. I think I might use the extra chicken for taco soup later in the week. I try to space out my meats, so I don't have two chicken meals back to back, or hamburger, etc. Maybe I'm wierd for it, but I don't want to feel like I'm eating the same thing all the time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Little Crazy

So, this weekend got a little crazy. Friday, we had fry bread again, so no new recipe. Saturday, we went to Peter Piper to celebrate my daughters birthday. Sunday, we had chicken with white chedder shells and peas. Today, though is where it got really hectic. My husband went out of town and took one of our daughters and they ate out for lunch. I went shopping all day with a couple girlfriends and this entailed lunch. Then my jusband called to tell me they wouldn't make it home for dinner and since I didn't want to cook for just me and my other daughter, we ate out for dinner. Next Saturday, my husband and I are going on a date, so until then I will be cooking from home.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chicken Biscuit Bake

All right, first confessions, Thursday my husband was home for lunch so we ate out. Thursday evening I made this chicken biscuit bake. It's quite similar to chicken pot pie. I was going to do step by step pictures, but I had a little recipe mishap and had to concentrate on still making it palatable instead of food photography. So here's the recipe:

1/2c. plus 1T all-purpose flour
1/2t. baking powder
dash salt
3T cold butter
2T beaten egg (note, NOT a whole egg)
1/4c. buttermilk
2T butter
2T all-purpose flour
1c. milk
1T. chicken boullion granules
1/2c. cubed cooked chicken
1/2c. frozen mixed vegetables
1/2c. small curd cottage cheese

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir egg into buttermilk. Add to crumb mixture; stir until it forms dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide in half and roll out one portion and place in bottom of greased 1-qt baking dish.
In small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and boullion. Bring to boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes until thick. Stir in chicken, vegetables, cottage cheese. Pour into dish.
Roll out remaining dough and place on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

I had issues with the dough. I think next time I will make the filling and use canned biscuits and pour the filling over the biscuists. I've tried using the canned biscuits on top, but then the bottom of the biscuit doesn't cook. I think the filling would also be good over a baked potato.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Indian Fry Bread--Indian Taco

Tuesday night I made fry bread. Growing up I lived next to a reservation, and there were always occasions to partake of this wonderful food. It was really a treat and every year I looked forward to the occasions when they would make it for us. Many tribes make this although, the Navajos are the original tribe, I believe. Fry bread makes a great food storage recipe and can be eaten as either a main dish or a dessert, it just depends on the topping. The most common is the Indian Taco. To make your fry bread, you will need:
1 cup flour
1t. dry milk
1t. baking powder
1/4t. salt
1/2 cup water
oil for frying
(This will make four fry bread)
Mix all the ingredients together, but do NOT knead dough. Kneading will make your fry bread heavy. The dough should be sticky. Using well floured hands, divide the dough into four balls.
Using your hands flaten the dough into a circle. Don't worry if it isn't completely round.
Heat your oil in skillet. Oil should be about 350 degrees. You can test the readiness by dropping a small piece of dough in. If it bubbles and floats to the surface it is ready. Once oil is ready, gently place in your fry bread. Once bottom is golden brown, flip over and cook on other side. About 3-4 minutes each side.
Remove from oil and prepare to eat. Fry bread can be kept warm in the oven at 200 degrees for about an hour. It can be refrigerated and reheated at 350 degrees.
To make an Indian taco, top with beans, tomato, lettuce and onion. We topped ours with beans, taco meat, cheese, olives, bell pepper, and avacado.

To make a dessert, top with honey and powdered sugar.
This is really a great recipe, I hope you try it.


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