Monday, May 29, 2017

Hot Ham and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches

On busy nights I tend to plan crockpot or sandwich meals. And if we have kids going all different directions and I know they're going to eat at different times I definitely do sandwiches. They are easy to fix for 1 or 2 kids at a time and everyone is still happy because it's not cereal. (Sometimes it is cereal night and they just deal.) These hot ham and cheese croissants are perfect! You can make them ahead of time, wrap them in foil, and pop as many in the oven at a time as you need (or have your kids pop them in the oven when they want to eat). Did I mention they are absolutely delicious too?!

Hot Ham and Cheese Croissants

1 1/2 lbs deli ham
sliced deli cheese (we like Colby Jack, Cheddar, and Swiss)
honey mustard, sweet hot mustard, or pineapple mustard (whatever fancy mustard you like)
split croissants

Spread mustard on each size of split croissants. Place a slice of cheese, then some ham, then another slice of cheese on each bottom croissant. Top with tops of croissants and wrap each sandwich in foil. Place in fridge for later bake right away. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This is a wonderful Spring or Summer salad! It's delicious! I love all of the ingredients and together they make a great salad. I would love to use blue cheese in the place of the feta, but my kids would revolt. So I make it with feta for now. I let the pickier eaters pick out the red onion also. Let's just say this is not their favorite salad, but I love it! I like to take this salad when I'm taking dinner to someone. It's pretty!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bag baby spinach
1 bag spring mix lettuces
16 oz strawberries, sliced
4 oz feta or blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
salt and pepper
bottled raspberry or red wine vinaigrette, or poppy seed dressing

Toss together the spinach and spring mix. Add onion and strawberries and toss a little. Top with crumbled cheese and almonds. Sprinkle with a little fresh ground pepper and salt. Serve with salad dressing of choice.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Brown Butter and Mizithra Spaghetti - Old Spaghetti Factory Copy Cat

We love Old Spaghetti Factory! It is just a great Italian restaurant that we go to whenever we are in Utah. My 4 year old especially loves it because there is a trolley you can sit in and that is the coolest thing ever to her. Now I usually get the spaghetti and meatballs because I just love it, but my 17 year old and 10 year old always get the brown butter and mizithra spaghetti. I thought I'd try to make it at home because they love it so much and it turned out great. I did have to look around a bit for the mizithra cheese, which is a Greek cheese that's sorta like Parmesan, but I found it at my local grocery store's cheese counter. My kids all loved this and it was fun to recreate a favorite restaurant meal.

Brown Butter and Mizithra Spaghetti

16 oz thin spaghetti
1/2 cup butter
8 oz Mizithra cheese, finely grated
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water to al dente. Drain. While pasta is cooking melt butter in a saucepan, stirring, and heat until it turns golden brown. Remove from heat. Toss the cooked spaghetti with the butter and about 1 cup of grated Mizithra. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss again. Serve immediately.

**You could totally make this with Parmesan instead of the mizithra and it would be delicious!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Stick of Butter Rice

I bet you, like me, have seen this recipe all over the place. It is so popular. I can tell you why it is - it's delicious! This rice turns out so flavorful. It reminds me a little of the rice from my favorite chicken casserole *Oven Chicken*. I got this recipe from Thirty Handmade Days and modified it just slightly  because at my altitude I use just a little more liquid in my rice. I served it with *Crispy Cheddar Chicken*, another family favorite, and steamed broccoli. It was a great dinner that my whole family loved.

Stick of Butter Rice

1 cup long grain white rice
1, 10 oz can condensed French onion soup
1, 14.5 oz can beef broth (this is what I changed - the original recipe calls for a 10 oz can)
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, cut in slices

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a 9x9 inch baking dish or a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish, combine rice, soup, and broth. Cut butter into slices and place evenly on top of the mixture. Cover with foil (or your casserole lid) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 25-30 minutes. Fluff and serve.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Super Easy Chicken Stir Fry

This stir fry can be made in about 20 minutes if you have already made the rice to serve it with and you know I have, because I love my rice cooker. Below I'm going to talk a little about my undying love for my rice cooker, but right now let's talk stir fry. This recipe is from Lauren's Latest and it is fabulous. It is a family pleasing, 20 minute meal and that makes it a total winner. The stir fry sauce is a little sweet and a little spicy. Yum! I highly recommend this one and I know I'm gonna have lots of requests for it in the future - especially from my husband and my 4 year old that loved the baby corn.

Rice cookers! This is a link to mine, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy, on Amazon *link*. It is just wonderful. It cooks rice perfectly and starts and ends with cute little songs. It really is adorable and highly functional. I bought mine at a local Asian grocery store about 6 years ago and I have used it at least once or twice a week since. I am not great at making rice on the stove top and this really has made my life so much easier. If I'm making a dinner with rice in the evening I start the rice in my rice cooker in the morning and it keeps the rice hot and perfect until dinner time. It says it keeps it hot and ready to eat for up to 2 days set on the "keep warm" cycle. That's amazing though I never have tried to keep it that long. I have tried quite a few other rice cookers over the years that were much less expensive and none of them worked all that well. This one does. It's awesome. I'll stop now. :)

Super Easy Chicken Stir Fry

2 tablespoons oil (I used avocado, but canola or olive oil work great too)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2, 12 oz bags frozen Asian stir fry vegetables (Bird's Eye has a good one I like)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sweet Chili sauce (found in Asian section of grocery store)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch

In a large skillet heat oil. Add onions and chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes or until onion is translucent and chicken has cooked through. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add in frozen stir fry veggies and heat through.

In a bowl whisk together: chicken broth, chili sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and cornstarch. Pour this over the cooked chicken and vegetables. Bring to a boil, stirring, and heat until sauce is thickened. Serve over rice.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tortellini Chicken Noodle Soup

I've seen this soup all over Pinterest and I can tell you why - it's great! The tortellini ends up tasting a lot like dumplings. Everyone in my family had seconds and raved about how yummy it was. I got the recipe from Cooking Classy and modified it slightly, but I think there are a lot of different blogs with similar recipes. I served it with the Perfect Dinner Rolls recipe I posted last week and it was a great dinner.

Tortellini Chicken Noodle Soup

3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots, about 5 medium carrots
1 cup chopped celery, about 3 stalks
1 cup chopped onion
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2, 1 quart boxes chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
19 oz frozen cheese tortellini
3 cups cooked and chopped chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons Ultra Gel (or you can use cornstarch mixed with a little water), optional

In a large soup pot melt the butter. Saute carrots, celery, and onion in the melted butter until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add chicken stock, Italian seasoning, parsley, bouillon, tortellini, and chopped chicken. Bring to a boil and  cook until tortellini is cooked through. Add Ultra Gel or cornstarch just to thicken up the broth a little bit (totally optional). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Perfect Dinner Rolls

This is another fantastic recipe from Your Homebased Mom. They really are the perfect white dinner roll. I have another dinner roll recipe that I really love - it's half wheat flour half white flour - but I know this will be my go-to for white dinner rolls. The dough is very easy to work. These tasted amazing with butter and jam.

Perfect Dinner Rolls

1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 cups warm milk
3 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon sugar plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 tablespoon salt
6-7 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
melted butter

1. In a heavy duty stand mixer combine water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
2. Add milk, butter, remaining sugar, and salt.
3. Add in 5 cups of flour and mix until dough forms. Continue adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough becomes smooth and pulls away from the sides of the mixer. Knead on high speed for 3 minutes. Dough should be slightly tacky.
4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double in size (30 minutes or so depending on room temperature).
5. Press dough down and roll into a 8 x 12 rectangle. Cut the dough into 4 strips the long way and then each strip into 6 pieces for a total of 24 pieces.
6. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on a greased or silpat lined baking sheet.
7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise a room temperature for 20-25 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
9. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Brush the baked rolls with melted butter if desired.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Navajo Tacos with Quick Fry Bread

Have you ever had a Navajo taco?? They are truly delicious! I have another recipe for Navajo tacos on this blog, but it uses yeast risen bread dough and this recipe is the quick bread version which uses baking powder. Both are extremely tasty. Fried bread and taco fillings. How can you go wrong really? I probably only make this about once a year, because it involves deep frying and I just don't do that all the time, but whenever I do make these my kids are so happy. And any leftover fry bread can be slathered with butter and honey, which is also amazingly delicious!

Navajo Tacos with Quick Fry Bread

Fry Bread:
4 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
vegetable or peanut oil for deep frying

1-2 lbs seasoned taco meat
large can refried beans
1 small can El Pato tomato sauce
shredded cheese
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
chopped green onion or red onion
sour cream

Directions for Fry Bread:
In a stand mixer  (or by hand) combine flour, baking powder, salt, and milk. Knead until dough comes together. You may need to add a little more flour so the dough isn't too sticky. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth add flour as needed. Cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

Pour enough oil into a heavy deep skillet so that the oil is 1 1/2 inches deep. Heat the oil to 375 degrees.

Divide the dough into 12- 20 pieces depending on how big you want your fry bread (I ended up making about 18). Roll out dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thickness ovals.

Fry the bread, about 2-3 at a time, until golden, then flip until the other side is golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Top fry bread with refried beans (how to prepare them below), then taco meat and any other toppings. Eat right away. We like to have the leftover fry bread for dessert with butter and honey - yum!

Directions for Refried Beans:
In a saucepan combine refried beans from the can with about 1/2 a can of the El Pato. Stir and heat until it loosens. You might add a little more El Pato until you get the desired consistency. Add a handful of shredded cheese (maybe 1/2 - 1 cup) and heat through until the cheese melts. Serve this spread on the fry bread before topping with other toppings.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Here's another lovely soup recipe. We really love soup around here and usually have it once a week with homemade rolls or bread. It is definitely one of my kids' favorite dinners. This soup was ranked right up there with chicken noodle and corn chowder so it was a hit. It tastes so much like chicken pot pie filling in soup form. I served it with some wheat rolls and it was seriously delicious.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 stalks celery
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 cans or about 7 cups chicken broth, divided
3-4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 large potato, peeled & small dice
1 can corn, drained
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen green beans
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
pepper to taste

In a large soup pot melt 3 tablespoons butter. Saute onions, celery, and carrots until cooked, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add 2 cans chicken broth, chicken, potatoes, and vegetables and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium and cover and boil 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

In another saucepan melt 1/2 cup butter, add flour and cook, whisking for a minute. Add heavy cream and 1 can chicken broth and whisk and cook until smooth and thickened. Just before it begins to boil add to the soup pot and stir. Thin the soup to desired consistency with the last can of chicken broth. Season with salt, chicken bouillon, onion powder, Mrs. Dash, and pepper to taste.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Beef Brisket

This is a great way to cook brisket! It turns out so tender and flavorful! This recipe is from Your Home Based Mom and it is just awesome. I think it will go into regular rotation for our Sunday dinners. I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans and it was great!

Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Brisket

3-4 lb beef brisket
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Place brisket in crockpot. Mix together remaining ingredients, except for cornstarch, and pour over brisket. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours or 5-6 hours on high.

Remove brisket and slice the meat across the grain. Place on a platter and cover with foil.

Strain the juices from the crockpot into a saucepan. Mix together cornstarch and enough water to just mix it together and make it pourable; add to the juices and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and served thickened sauce over the sliced brisket.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Best Rice Pudding

I must admit that I am more of a cook than a baker. It's a weird thing that there's a difference, but I love cooking things. I love watching them change and become something different than the raw ingredients you start with. So even when it comes to desserts I love cooking them. I love eating baked goods, but when it comes to what I enjoying making myself - it's the cooking process I love. So anywho, cooking pudding is one of the most satisfying cooking experiences out there. In this recipe you start with 8 cups of liquid and during the process of making it it becomes thick, creamy, and gorgeous. Sure it takes some time, but all the best things take time and this is one of them. If you like classic rice pudding this the recipe for you! You can serve it warm or cold and you can certainly add raisins if that's your thing. It's really delicious and well to me it's the perfect dessert.

The Best Rice Pudding

6 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup uncooked medium grain rice (I used Calrose)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (if using regular salt use less)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large saucepan, add the milk, cream, rice, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and continue to simmer until the rice is tender and the pudding has thickened, about 20 - 25 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla and stir.

Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for 1 hour or overnight. Serve warm or chilled with a light sprinkle of cinnamon.

Makes 8, 1/2 cup servings

Monday, February 13, 2017

One-Pot American Goulash

This yummy, easy dinner is an American classic. And it's a one pot 30 minute meal. Yay! I have another recipe on here called macaroni and beef which is very close to this, but I love that you can cook this recipe so quickly all in one pot, so I make this one more often. I'm not sure were I got the original recipe, but I have seen so many on Pinterest. I served this with some cheese on top and homemade French bread and my family loved it.

One-Pot American Goulash

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups beef broth or water
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
2 cups elbow macaroni
salt and pepper to taste

In a large, deep skillet brown the ground beef and onion until onion is tender and beef is cooked through. Drain excess fat. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with shredded cheese on top if desired.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Sweet & Saucy Meatballs

I got this recipe years ago from my friend Brenda. We made crockpots of these meatballs using her recipe for a church activity. Its a great recipe to make in bulk to feed a lot of people because it's so easy. The meatballs taste like a cross between sweet and sour and barbecue meatballs. It comes out super yummy. I used a bag of frozen Swedish style meatballs, but you can also use Italian style meatballs and it tastes great. I served the meatballs and sauce over rice with veggies on the side and it was an easy weeknight meal that my whole family enjoyed.

Slow Cooker Sweet & Saucy Meatballs

2 lbs frozen meatballs
12 oz bottle chili sauce
1 cup grape jelly
cooked rice, for serving

Place frozen meatballs in a non-stick sprayed slow cooker. In a bowl whisk together chili sauce and grape jelly; pour over the meatballs. Cook on low for about 5-6 hours or until hot. Serve meatballs and sauce over rice.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mixed Greens Salad with Pears, Candied Pecans, and Honey Vinaigrette

This is a simple and delicious salad. I love the combination of the pears, pecans, and feta. I made this salad for our Christmas Eve dinner. The vinaigrette is also a great sweet and sour dressing that would go well with any mixed greens salad. I got this recipe from The I Heart Naptime Cookbook - which is a fantastic cookbook.

Mixed Greens Salad with Pears, Candied Pecans, and Honey Vinaigrette

1/2 cup pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups spring mix (about 1 reg size prewashed bag)
4 cups baby spinach (about 1 reg size prewashed bag)
1 large pear, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries and blueberries (or just 1/3 cup dried cranberries)
3-4 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

In a non-stick skillet combine the pecans and sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted and coated the pecans. You want to cook it on medium low and make sure you remove from heat before the sugar burns.

In a mason jar with a tight lid combine oil, honey, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Screw on the lid tightly and shake until all ingredients are fully combined.

In a large bowl mix together the salad greens. Pour dressing over and toss. Add pears and toss gently. Top with cranberries/blueberries and feta. Serve.