Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fabulous Italian Chicken

This recipe is a family favorite. I got it from JaNae who was a member of the recipe swap group I belonged to in Maryland. I love it because I am assured of a whine-free dining experience when I make it and if I make garlic bread or rolls to go with it my kids are almost worshipfully grateful. Sometimes you just want a peaceful, happy dinner were you don't have to coax anybody into taking 5 bites...

Fabulous Italian Chicken

4 cups cooked and cubed chicken (I use a Costco rotisserie chicken)
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese
1 packet Italian dressing mix
1 cup chicken broth, if desired for thinning sauce
cooked vermicelli pasta

Combine chicken, soup, cream cheese, and dressing mix in a pot, bring to a boil and stir till smooth. Add chicken and enough chicken broth to get sauce to desired consistency (I usually add about 1 cup) and heat through. Serve over vermicelli.

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

This recipe might not seem worth writing down because it is so simple, but I must share it and this is the reason: for years I've tried to make oatmeal in my crockpot overnight and each morning woke up to very yummy oatmeal, but a horrible, stuck-on, almost impossible to clean, burnt oatmeal mess on the sides of my crockpot. It hardly seemed worth it. So anywho, I found this recipe over on allrecipes (actually the recipe was in a review of another crockpot oatmeal) and I thought I would try it. It worked - perfect oatmeal, no burnt on mess. Lovely.

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups water
2 cups milk

Throw it all in the crockpot and turn it to the "WARM" setting. Let it cook all night and in the morning you have yummy oatmeal all ready and waiting for you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meatballs and Pasta Skillet

This is a tasty and easy alternative to spaghetti and meatballs. The kids loved it, but that was a given, I can't remember the last time they didn't enjoy a pasta dish.

Meatballs and Pasta Skillet

2 cups or 8 oz penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. frozen Italian meatballs (I really like the Armour brand)
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add pepper and onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in meatballs and spaghetti sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until meatballs are hot.

Drain pasta. Stir into meatball mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cook for 5 minutes. Top with mozzarella and serve.

Cinnamon Rolls

This is an awesome cinnamon roll recipe. It's "cinnamon rolls III" from It's their top rated cinnamon roll recipe with almost 600 great reviews and I agree with them. So yummy!! We had these for breakfast this morning (I let them rise in the fridge overnight) and they were, of course, very well received - everyone loved them!

*BTW I figured out the calories and fat in these, out of morbid curiosity - they are about 300 calories and 14 grams of fat if you get about 19 rolls from the recipe like I did. Hey, if you limit yourself to one it's really not that bad, right??! And since I made these for breakfast I sent the rest to work with my hubby for his coworkers so that they aren't sitting around tempting me with their ooey gooey wonderfulness all day - I know the limits of my will power.:)

Cinnamon Rolls

1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix (that's 1/4 cup)
1 cup warm milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour (+ 1/4 cup for high altitude)
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon

4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar (I ended up adding a bit more)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

In the pan of your bread machine, combine water, melted butter, vanilla pudding mix, warm milk, egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, bread flour, and yeast. Set machine to "dough" cycle and let run.

When dough cycle is finished, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 17x10 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter. In a small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle brown sugar cinnamon mixture over dough.

Roll up the dough, beginning with long side. Slice into 1 inch slices (I ended up cutting off the ends and getting 18 evenly sized rolls). Place rolls in a greased 9x13 pan (I got 6 rows with 3 rolls in each row). Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Or cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and let sit in refrigerator overnight.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. While rolls bake, mix together ingredients for icing: cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk; beat together until smooth. Remove rolls from oven, let sit a few minutes and then spread with icing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Easy Lemon Cheesecake Pie

This recipe is my mom's. I grew up loving this yummy lemon cheesecake and tonight my kids all loved it for our FHE treat.

Easy Lemon Cheesecake Pie

2 cups warm milk
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 small box lemon instant pudding
1 graham cracker crust
Cool Whip or whipped cream, for topping

In a mixer combine milk, cream cheese and lemon pudding mix. Beat for 2 minutes at a high speed, mixture should be smooth with no lumps, may need to beat a little longer if its not smooth. Pour into graham cracker crust and refrigerate for about 3 hours to set. Top individual serving with Cool Whip or whipped cream.

Beef Ramen Stir Fry

This is what we had for dinner in honor of Chinese New Year (though I admit this is sort of pseudo-Chinese, at least I tried). This is very much like my Chicken Ramen Stir Fry, but with beef and a couple different vegetables. 3 out of the 5 of us liked it with the 9 and 5 year olds being the dissenters this time - too many visible vegetables as always, but someday if I keep trying they'll like their veggies, right?? I thought it was very good.

Beef and Ramen Stir Fry

2 tablespoon canola oil
1 lb. thinly sliced steak
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used low sodium), divided
about 2 cups broccoli florets
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 an 8oz package sliced fresh mushrooms (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup frozen peas
2 1/2 - 3 cups beef broth
2 packages Oriental or Beef flavored Top Ramen
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add beef and stir fry until cooked through. Add onions and stir fry till translucent. Add garlic and 1 tablespoon soy sauce and cook for 1 minute. Remove the beef/onion/garlic mixture to a bowl and cover. Set aside.

Add a small amount of oil to the skillet if needed and stir fry in order: carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, and peas, letting each vegetable cook for a minute before adding the next. Sprinkle vegetables with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and add meat mixture back to skillet.

In a bowl combine 2 1/2 cups beef broth, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and the flavor packets from the 2 ramen noodle packages. Add broth mixture to skillet and also add broken up ramen noodles. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 4 minutes. Stir and make sure noodles are cooked all the way, may need to cook for a 1 - 2 minutes more. Add more beef broth till sauce is desired consistency and check flavoring to see if you want to add more soy sauce.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Crockpot Red Beans and Rice

If you are looking for a cheap, healthy, and easy meal this is for you. I was worried about how my kids would respond to this, but I tried it because I've been trying work more beans into our diet (cheap and healthy right). And guess what, they actually liked it! We will be having this again (maybe next time on a Monday as is the tradition in New Orleans). I think it's an awesome winter dinner with a side of Cornbread with butter and honey. Very down home and comforting.

Crockpot Red Beans and Rice

1 lb. dry red or kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 tablespoons oil (I used canola)
1 lb. andouille or other smoked sausage, sliced (I used a smoked turkey sausage and it was great)
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I just eye-balled it with my pepper grinder)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 cups cooked rice

The night before:
Rinse dry beans. Place beans in a bowl and cover with water (beans need to be covered by at least 2 inches of water). Let sit 8 hours or overnight.

Drain beans and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute sausage slices until slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside.

Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to skillet and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Pour beans, sausage, and onion/bell pepper/celery mixture into crockpot. Add salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, crushed bay leaves, and cayenne and stir well. Add low sodium chicken broth (broth should cover beans by at least 1/2 inch; more if you like soupier red beans with your rice).Cover and cook on high for about 8 hours. At 6 hours check beans to see if its the thickness you'd like. At this point I added 3 tablespoons of Ultra Gel (cornstarch) just to thicken it more and I also mashed some of the beans with a potato masher. Serve over cooked rice.

(This is what it looks like before the broth is added. Ain't it pretty.:))

The Best Cornbread

I know it is quite a claim to say that this is "the best" cornbread, but in my, albeit limited, experience this really is the best! The recipe is from my friend Taralie and we had the cornbread tonight as a perfect side for Red Beans and Rice. Yum.

The Best Cornbread

Mix together:

1/2 cup melted butter
2/3 cup sugar

Add and Mix in:

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup of milk soured with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice)

In another bowl combine:

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour (+ 1/4 cup for high altitude)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix dry ingredients into wet mixture. Pour into a greased 8x8 inch baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. So simple. So good.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberries were on sale at Target today for super cheap, so I bought some and decided to make freezer jam. Now I have 11 jars of strawberry jam and the cost was about 50 cents each - yay!!

Strawberry Freezer Jam
(This is just the recipe from the Sure Jell Pectin box. I doubled this recipe and ended up using 3, 1 lb, containers of strawberries. My yield was 11, 8oz, jars.)

2 cups crushed strawberries
4 cups sugar
1, 1.75 oz, box fruit pectin

1. Wash and rinse jars or plastic containers with tight fitting lids.

2. Remove stems and leaves from strawberries and cut into chunks. In a bowl mash strawberries with a potato masher. Do not completely mash strawberries, there should be bits of fruit in the jam.

3. Measure out 2 cups of mashed berries and put into a large bowl.

4. Measure out exactly 4 cups of sugar and pour into another bowl.

5. Stir sugar into the mashed berries and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Stir 1 box of pectin and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

7. Stir pectin into the mashed fruit and sugar mixture. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy. Should take about 3 minutes.

8. Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Otherwise, store in the freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Homemade Pizza

Tonight I conquered one of my cooking fears - homemade pizza. I've tried and failed a number of times (always ordering Dominos rather than make my family eat the horrendous pizzas I've made), but tonight I made edible and actually quite yummy pizzas!! I must thank Jenny for giving me her pizza dough recipe, I did end up tweeking the directions a little by making the dough in my KitchenAid and it turned out great! My kids even said they liked it better than delivery pizza and my 5 year old said that it was his favorite dinner ever. Nice. Well, now that I've tackled pizza I guess I must now move on to my other cooking fear creme brulee... Well, maybe conquering pizza hasn't made me quite that confident...

Homemade Pizza
(This recipe makes 2 large pizzas - my kids scarf pizza and my husband likes leftovers for work. You can certainly cut the recipe in half to just make 1.)

2 packets or 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 cups warm water
5 3/4 cups flour (can add another 1/4 cup if dough is too sticky)
4 Tablespoons oil (I used Canola)
1 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a KitchenAid dissolve yeast in water. Add flour, oil and salt and beat with the dough hook attachment for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Form into a ball and cut in equal halves. Roll out each half to the size of your pizza pans. (I got a little crazy and tried hand tossing them for a minute, but quickly realized that's going to take some serious practice.) Place rolled out dough circles on oiled pizza pans, cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 - 45 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.

Bake pizza crusts at 375 for 20 minutes ( I had to poke down a couple spots that were getting too high during the baking). Remove from oven and spread crust with pizza sauce and toppings (I used canned pizza sauce this time, shredded mozzarella, pepperoni, and grated Parmesan). Bake at 375 for 10 - 14 minutes, until cheese bubbles and crust is desired crispness.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chicken Cordon Blue

I got this recipe from Yummy Fun and I am oh so happy I did!! It was so GOOD! The chicken turned out moist and the filling of Swiss cheese and ham was wonderful in its gooey glory! I hope you give this a try - much much better than the frozen chicken cordon blues you find in the grocery store.

Oh, and I have to record an event from tonight's dinner (not actually relating to the chicken). My 2 year old actually ate all the "leaves" off her pieces of broccoli! I think it is a momentous occasion that requires recording!

Chicken Cordon Blue

6 chicken breasts
1 stack of Ritz crackers, crushed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
3 eggs, beaten
thinly sliced ham (I used 2 slices of Oscar Meyer thin sliced Virginia ham on each chicken breast)
thinly sliced Swiss cheese
4 tablespoons butter, melted


Crush Ritz crackers into small crumbs, add Parmesan, garlic salt, and pepper, stir together and set aside.

Beat eggs in a shallow bowl or pie plate and set aside.

Butterfly each chicken breast so that a small layer of meat is still attached, layer cheese, meat and then cheese into the inside of each butterflied breast and close. Dip in egg and coat with crumb mixture. Place in a greased 9x13 baking dish and drizzle melted butter over the top of the chicken. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with Cordon Blue sauce below.

Cordon Blue Sauce:

1 can cream of chicken
3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
chicken broth (just enough to thin a little to a desired consistency)

Bring to a slight boil on stove top, make sure bouillon is completely dissolved and drizzle over chicken.

Dore's Chocolate Chip Cookies

My sister-in-law Dore makes the BEST cookies. I am serious, they are delicious and I think they turn out so well because she has a sixth sense for exactly when to take the cookies out of the oven - they are always perfectly cooked with a nice golden exterior and lovely lovely chewy inside. Well this is her recipe. Mine turned out nearly as well, though I think Dore always makes her cookies a little bigger. (Next time I'm going to try a bigger cookie scoop.)

Dore's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour (I added 1/4 cup for high altitude, so you can subtract that if you are at a lower altitude)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter flavored shortening
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
12 oz. package or 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or any other chips of your choosing)
1 cup nuts (optional, macadamia nuts are especially good in these cookies)

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat shortening, 2 tablespoon water, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a mixer until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto and ungreased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 9 - 11 minutes or until golden brown. Don't over bake. Makes from 3 to 5 dozen cookies depending on how large you make them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Luncheon Recipes

Today is Inauguration day for our 44th president, Barack Obama, and I thought it fitting on my recipe blog to celebrate the event with some of the official recipes from the Inaugural Luncheon today (the ones I could actually envision my family eating well that is if I switched the pheasant with chicken breasts in the second course:)). This is what was served:

First Course: Seafood Stew

Second Course: Duck Breast with Cherry Chutney, Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing, Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Winter Vegetables

Third Course: Cinnamon Apple Sponge Cake

Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing
Yield: 10 portions


10 Pheasant breasts, boneless, remove tenders and reserve for stuffing, cut small pocket in side of breast for stuffing
½ cup Olive oil with chopped rosemary, thyme and sage
1 lb. Wild rice, long grain
2 quarts Chicken stock or canned chicken broth
2 Carrots, diced
½ Onion, diced
½ cup Dried apricot, small diced
1 Tablespoon Salt and pepper mix
2 Tablespoons Garlic, roasted


1. Boil the rice with the chicken stock, cook until soft and most of the liquid is gone.

2. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and apricot. Cook until the vegetables are soft and all liquid has been absorbed. Refrigerate rice mixture until cold.

3. In a food processor, puree pheasant tenders to a paste consistency to use as a binder for rice mix.

4. When rice is cool, add the pheasant puree to the rice until well mixed. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and return to refrigerator until ready to stuff.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Make 10 small football shaped patties of the rice mix, stuff inside the pheasant, being careful not to overstuff the pheasant. Rub herb/oil mixture on top and bottom of the pheasant, season with salt and pepper. Place the pheasant on a heavy gauge roasting pan and then in a preheated oven for approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with lid or foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve over sauté of spinach.

*Pheasant can be substituted with chicken.

Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Yield: 2 quarts


3 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup orange juice
½ tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of molasses
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.

3. Peel the skin off of the sweet potatoes while still hot.By hand or mixer, smash potatoes until all large chunks are gone. Combine the potatoes, butter, salt, orange juice, brown sugar, ground cumin, molasses and maple syrup in a large bowl. Continue to mix all together until all lumps are gone. Adjust any of the seasonings to your specific tastes. Can be made the day before.

Winter Vegetables
Yield: 10 servings


2 bunches Asparagus, green, bottom 1/3 of stem removed
2 lbs. Carrots, peeled, cut oblong or large dice
1 lb. Baby Brussel Sprouts, fresh,cleaned or frozen can be used
1 lb. Wax Beans, ends snipped
2 oz Butter
1 each Zest from orange
4 oz. Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Asparagus: preheat grill or large heavy bottom sauté pan. Rub 2 oz of olive oil on asparagus and season with pinch of salt and pepper. Lay flat on grill or sauté pan until lightly browned. Using long fork or tongs, rotate the asparagus to brown other sides. Usually 2 or 3 minutes per side. The asparagus is done when you can use a fork to cut through. Do not overcook, this will cause asparagus to become stringy. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Carrots: bring 3 qt salted water to a boil, add carrots to water and cook until fork tender, meaning a fork will easily pass through the carrot. Drain the water from the pot and toss 1 oz butter and zest of orange and mix until carrots are coated. Season with pinch of salt and enjoy. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Brussel Sprouts: For Fresh: Bring 3 qt salted water to a boil, cut into the stem of the sprout with a pairing knife to create an X on the bottom, this will allow the stem to cook more evenly. Place sprout in boiling water and allow to cook until bottom of sprout is tender and easily cut with a knife. Preheat a heavy bottom sauté while the sprouts are cooking. Remove sprouts from water and allow all water to drain completely. Add 2 oz oil to sauté pan and add the sprouts, season with salt and pepper while tossing the sprouts around to evenly brown in the pan. If sprouts are too big, you can cut them in half, keep warm until ready to serve.

For Frozen: Bring 3 qt salted water to a boil and drop frozen brussel sprouts into water, these are precooked so you are only thawing them out. Remove from water and sauté as above.

Yellow Wax beans: bring 3 qt salted water to boil, add snipped wax beans to water and allow to cook until fork tender or to your liking of doneness. Remove from water and toss with 1 oz butter and season with salt and pepper.

Cinnamon Apple Sponge Cake
Yield: 10 servings


Apple Filling:
4 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup water
1/₃ cup granulated sugar
1/₃ cup apple sauce
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bread Crust:
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melt 10 of tablespoons
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
34 slices brioche bread (or white bread)

10 Ceramic baking ramekins or metal molds (3” diameter)

2 cups caramel sauce(store bought)
2 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored, diced small
Pinch sugar
Pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Ice Cream:
1 quart vanilla ice cream


1. Melt butter in 6-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add apples and caramelize, add water, cook, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are completely soft. Remove cover and add sugar, nutmeg and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring apples frequently, until liquid has completely evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, apple sauce and vanilla. Set aside to cool while making crust. The filling can be made one day ahead

Making crust and assembly:
1. Position oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Grease 8 ceramic dishes with 1tablespoon butter. Sprinkle sugar in dish and tilt to coat bottom and sides. Tap out excess sugar and set aside.

2. Using a bread knife, remove crusts from bread. Center the bottom of mold over one of the bread squares. Cut around mold to form circle to use as the top. Make a total of 20 of these round pieces. Ten will be for the bottom and 10 will be used for the top. Dip each one in melted butter and place at the bottom of mold.

3. Cut each of the 15 remaining slices of bread into four rectangular pieces. Dip one side of each strip in the melted butter and arrange strips, upright, around the inside of molds, buttered-sides against mold and overlapping by about 1/2” to completely line mold. Use 6 rectangles to line the mold.

4. Spoon the apple filling into bread-lined molds, mounding it slightly in center.

5. Take the remaining ten rounds of bread and dip pieces of bread into the melted butter and place on top of filling, buttered-sides up. Press down lightly.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, then cover top loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until top is deep golden brown and side slices are golden brown (slide a thin-bladed knife between bread and pan to check). Remove from oven, uncover, and let rest for 15 minutes on wire rack. Run thin-bladed knife around edges of molds to be able to flip the mold out onto serving plates.

7. For the apple cinnamon caramel sauce, sauté 1 cup of peeled and diced Granny Smith apples in butter, add a pinch of sugar and cinnamon. Allow to cook until apples are lightly browned and all sugars have dissolved. Remove from heat and add 2 cups caramel sauce to the apples and stir to coat apples.

To Assemble:
Pour caramel apple sauce over warmed apple cakes and serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Caramel Pull Apart Loaves

This recipe is from my friend Cami and it is SO yummy!! I nabbed the picture above from Cami's blog because my picture didn't turn out (hope you don't mind that I stole your picture Cami!). We had them for breakfast this morning along with scrambled eggs and turkey sausage links and everyone individually thanked me for making such a yummy breakfast - I'm not sure that has ever happened before. The rolls really end up tasting like donuts. Mmmm....

Caramel Pull Apart Loaves

24 Rhodes frozen rolls
1 (3.5 oz) box "cook and serve" butterscotch pudding mix
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
powdered sugar
melted butter

Using 2 greased loaf pans, place 12 frozen rolls in each pan. Sprinkle the pans of rolls evenly with the butterscotch pudding mix. Bring 1 stick of butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar to boil on stove, then pour over rolls (half of mixture on each pan of rolls). Cover with plastic wrap, place in a cold oven and let rise all night. When ready to bake them, heat oven to 350. Remove plastic wrap from loaf pans and bake for 30 minutes. Turn loaves out onto a platter and make a glaze of powdered sugar, water, and a little melted butter then spread this over rolls.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Au Gratin Sausage Skillet

This is another recipe from Clouse Cousins - thanks again! It is a fast dinner to put together and everyone, all 3 kids included, really liked it. We had it tonight with salad and my friend Cami's pumpkin bread.

Au Gratin Sausage Skillet

1 lb fully cooked Polish sausage, sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
1 (4.9 oz) box au gratin potatoes
2 3/4 cups water
1 (12 oz) package frozen California blend vegetables
1 cup shredded cheese (I used colby jack)

In a skillet cook sausage in oil until lightly browned. Drain. Add potatoes, contents of sauce mix from potatoes, and water. Bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add vegetables and a little more water if needed, cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until potatoes and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese and let it melt.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Curly Dogs

I got this recipe from Clouse Cousins Cooking and the kids loved it. Thanks Clouse Cousins! It's great because I usually have frozen roll dough and hot dogs on hand, but not hot dog buns all the time. We had it using turkey dogs with chili and chips. Great for a busy day.

Curly Dogs

hot dogs
Rhodes frozen roll dough

Thaw roll dough (it took me about 2 hours with it just sitting out on a plate covered with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap). If short on time you can throw roll dough in an open zip lock bag and microwave for about a minute to thaw. When dough is thawed, but still cold roll it into a long snake and wrap 1 roll around each hot dog. Put on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Deluxe Dirt Dessert

This was our FHE treat tonight. We came up with the "deluxe" part because this time I added a cream cheese/cool whip layer and everyone loved it. It's almost funny to even write this recipe down because it is so easy, but I will anyway.:) This is probably my kids' favorite treat.

Deluxe Dirt Dessert

small box chocolate instant pudding
small box vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
4 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz Cool Whip
Oreo cookies (I used about a 1/3 of the package), crushed
gummy worms to put on top (optional - I forgot to buy them this time)

Mix pudding mixes and milk, beat for about 2 minutes with a wire whisk until well mixed and thickened slightly. Pour pudding evenly among ramekins or cups (I use our IKEA plastic child cups because they are just the right size) - you can do up to 8 individual servings.

Beat together cream cheese and Cool Whip until well combined and spoon evenly among the cups over the pudding. Top each cup with a layer of crushed Oreos and add a few gummy worms if desired.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quick Fruit Salad

Tonight we had breakfast burritos (just tortillas with scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, and cut up turkey sausage links inside), cantaloupe, and fruit salad for dinner. The fruit salad was a big hit and it is very easy to throw together.

Quick Fruit Salad

3 bananas, sliced
2 cups strawberries, cut into chunks (I used a 1 lb container of strawberries)
1 cup blueberries
1, 21 oz can peach pie filling

Combine all ingredients, mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, January 9, 2009


This is a superb recipe that has been going around our ward. I had these breadsticks at a get together a couple of weeks ago and had been wanting to make them ever since - they are so good!! We had them last night with Lentil Stew.


1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix together and wait for bubbles.

Then add:

1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flour

Mix for 5 minutes in an electric mixer with dough hook. Dough will be slightly sticky. Let rise for 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Punch down. Roll out dough on a floured surface into a long rectangle (I just rolled mine out as thin as I could on my tupperware pie crust sheet - next time I make them I'll measure the rectangle and update this recipe). Cut dough into strips (about 2" in width) with a pizza cutter. Fold ends together and twist to form breadsticks.

Melt 1/4 - 1/2 cup of butter (depending on how buttery you want them) and pour melted butter into the bottom of a jelly roll pan, making sure butter is evenly spread. Add breadstick twists to the pan. Brush tops of breadsticks with more melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt and Parmesan if desired. Cook for 12-14 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas Party Chicken

We had this for dinner tonight; it was the chicken that was served at my ward's Christmas party a few weeks ago. Its a sweet and moist chicken, very much like a mellow teriyaki chicken. Very good. My kids are not fans of bone-in chicken, but since it almost falls off the bone it wasn't hard to de-bone their chicken for them before serving it.

Christmas Party Chicken

2 - 2 1/2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
1 cup lite soy sauce (you can use regular if you don't have lite)
2 cups brown sugar

Mix sugar and soy sauce until sugar dissolves. Pour into the bottom of a deep 9x13 pan (I have a stoneware 9x13 that worked) or a 11x17 pan - if you use a regular 9x13 pan there might be some boil over so put a cookie sheet under pan. Lay chicken on top of sauce and cover with foil. Cook for 3 hours at 300 degrees, flipping halfway through.

Magic Rice

This is from Paula Deen and its a nice, flavorful rice side dish. It went well with the Christmas Party Chicken tonight.

Magic Rice

1, 10.5 oz can beef consomme soup
1, 10.5 oz can French onion soup
1, 6.5 oz can mushrooms with juices
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup rice
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a 9x13 baking dish mix together consomme soup, French onion soup, mushrooms with juices, and 2 T melted butter. Stir in rice and pepper. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

I LOVE asparagus! Mmmm.... And this is a fast and easy way to cook it. I got this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook. Ina Garten is amazing!!

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

2 1/2 lbs fresh asparagus (I used frozen today and it turned out softer, but still good)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If the stalks are thick, peel the bottom half of each. Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan and return to oven for another minute.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Beefy Macaroni

This is a super easy, super cheap, and super tasty meal. It's not exactly gourmet, but it's simple and good and that makes it a winner in my book. We had this last night and I do admit I let the kids put ample amounts of Parmesan cheese on top since there are visible vegetables and all. (Still waiting for that day when visible vegetables are embraced by my entire family.)

Beefy Macaroni

2 cups uncooked macaroni
1 lb ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped fairly small
1 clove garlic, minced
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Lowry's Seasoning Salt
dash of crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 large can (28 oz) "petite" diced tomatoes (or 2 small, 14.5 oz, cans)
2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or about 1 Tablespoon dried parsley)
Parmesan cheese

Cook the macaroni as per the package directions. Drain and set aside.

While macaroni is cooking in a large skillet brown the ground beef in a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir infrequently so that the beef has a chance to brown. Add the chopped onion and cook till only is translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add dash of crushed red pepper, seasoning salt, celery seed, canned tomatoes (not drained), and worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in cooked and drained macaroni and parsley. Mix well and simmer for another 5 - 10 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top.