Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

I'm sure you are all sugared out from the holidays by now.  I know I am.  Starting Monday, no sugar!  Maybe it will last longer than half a day.  Probably not.  Let's be real folks.  So before you make any rash decisions about not eating sugar and such, PLEASE make this dip!!  It is a dream come true.  And it will change your life.  Need I say more?  This would be perfect for a New Year's Eve party.  We ate it with graham crackers and apple slices.  Simply delish!  I got this recipe from a blog called How Sweet It Is


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add brown sugar and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  In another bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.  Pour in brown sugar mixture and mix until combined.  Add chocolate chips.  Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Serve with:  graham crackers, apple slices, animal crackers, pretzels

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Every year on Christmas we go to my parents' house for brunch and Brett's parents' house for dinner.
This year was different because Nat and Dave are coming tomorrow, so we are having Christmas with my family on Tuesday the 28th.  Ask me how excited my kids are that we are doing Christmas all over again.  So excited.
So my parents came to our house for a big Christmas breakfast.
We had waffles, sausage, scrambled eggs, orange slices and biscuits and gravy.
As much as I love biscuits and gravy, I don't make it very often because it just isn't a very healthy way to start out the day.
But on Christmas we aren't concerned with healthy.
I decided it was time that I made real biscuits from scratch, so I got out my Cunningham family cookbook and used one of Brett's grandma's recipes.  You can't go wrong with her recipes.

Biscuits:
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
2/3 cup milk

*Put dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix really well.  Cut in cold butter with a fork until mixture is fine and crumbly.  Stir in milk and turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently 10-12 times.  Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out biscuits (I used a glass).  Place on cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 16 biscuits.

Sausage gravy:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
half and half
milk
salt/pepper
1 lb. sausage, browned

*Melt butter on stove.  Mix in flour and stir for a minute or so.  Add about a cup of half and half, and then as much milk and as you need.  I think I added about 3 cups.  Season with salt and pepper and then add sausage.  Stir on heat until thickened.  Serve over biscuits.

Friday, December 24, 2010

White Velvet Sugar Cookies

Would you believe that Holly and I both tried a new sugar cookie recipe in the same week and we got both recipes off of "My Kitchen Cafe." 
Betty minds think alike.
I have always used the sour cream recipe and I love it, but I was so curious about this recipe since it has cream cheese in it.
I thought they were really yummy and I loved the texture.  Not as puffy as the sour cream cookies, but just as tasty for sure.

2 cups butter, softened
1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
4 3/4 cups flour

*Cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add sugar, yolks and vanilla.  Mix well.  Gradually add flour.  The dough will be very soft.  Don't worry, it firms up after chilling.  Cover in plastic wrap and chill for a few hours.  Roll out onto a floured surface and cute into desired shapes.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes on pan before placing on cooling rack.  Frost with your favorite frosting when cooled.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sugar Cookies

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is bake.  Bake, bake, bake.  I just can't get enough of it!  One of the things I love to bake are sugar cookies.  Since they are a bit time consuming, I usually only make them for special occasions or holidays.  And I always make the sour cream sugar cookie recipe.  Our favorite!  But this year, I was feeling adventurous and decided to try a recipe from one of my favorite blogs - My Kitchen Cafe.  She's got some great recipes!  This is her favorite sugar cookie recipe, so I knew I couldn't go wrong.  I loved how they turned out.  Soft and sweet with a hint of almond flavoring.  We invited some friends over to decorate them and have been munching on these ever since!  Cheers to holiday baking!


Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbs. lemon zest
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
5 cups flour

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix then add vanilla, almond and lemon zest.  Pour in baking powder and salt.  Add flour one cup at a time and mix until dough is smooth.  Chill in fridge overnight or 2 hours.  Roll out dough on floured surface.  Roll about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into shapes and place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  When done, place on cooling rack to cool then frost.

Frosting

1 box powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
little bit of milk

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar with mixer until smooth.  Add vanilla.  If frosting is too thick, add a little bit of milk until desired consistency. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blonde Brownies

I'm always looking for new treat recipes around the holidays.
I found this one in one of my favorite cookbooks, which coincidentally, is called "Favorites."

3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar (I used dark brown)
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 package chocolate chips

*Mix melted butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add dry ingredients, mixing just to combine.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Spinach and Penne

Last week, I bought a big bag of spinach leaves to make a salad for our Branch Christmas Party.  I mean Sam's Club big.  I used about half of it for the salad and wondered what I would do with the other half.  Tuesday night came around and I had nothing planned for dinner.  I hate when that happens.  So, I scoured the pantry and fridge and came up with this concoction.  I loved it!  Even my 3 year-old liked it.  It was a tasty dinner that was easy and healthy.  I love when that happens.


1/2  box whole wheat penne pasta
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. butter
4 cups fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
garlic salt
Parmesan cheese

Make pasta according to directions on box.  In a skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add spinach and seasonings.  Cook until spinach welts.  Add pasta to skillet and stir.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bajio Enchiladas

When Holly was here visiting, I told her one day that I was making Bajio chicken in my crockpot for dinner.
She mentioned how tasty it would be to make enchiladas using the Bajio chicken meat.  I didn't have time that night but I had lots of leftovers, so a couple nights later I tried it and it was a winning combination for sure.  We licked the casserole dish clean.
Bajio Chicken recipe here.
Enchilada recipe here.
(Just substitute the Bajio chicken for the honey/lime chicken).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pumpkin pancakes

A friend was telling me that their family tradition on Thanksgiving morning was to have pumpkin pancakes with buttermilk syrup. I thought that sounded so good so I looked up a pumpkin pancake recipe and found this one on allrecipies. They we so good and it was a little bit of heaven with the buttermilk syrup. I did add quite a bit more milk because I like it a little thinner.

Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe









  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blender Salsa

I got this salsa recipe from my Mother-in-law.
It is super easy and super tasty.
A perfect neighbor gift for Christmas.


1 jar picante sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can chopped olives
1 green bell pepper, seeded
A bunch of cilantro

*Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until it's all mixed up.  You can add as much or as little cilantro as you like.  I add a lot.  Plus, you cannot taste the olives so don't worry if you are not an olive lover.  I was skeptical but now I'm a believer.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Caramel Pretzel Bites

I stole this cute idea from Book Club last week.
April was hostessing (real word?) and made some fabulous food for us to enjoy.
I love book club for a number of reasons and the food is at the top of the list.
It's like going to a bridal shower every month and eating girl food that you don't normally make for husbands and kids.
You've probably had something similar to this using Rolos and pretzel squares, but April kicked it up a notch by using Dove chocolates filled with caramel and flat pretzel chips. (Which I couldn't find so I used Ritz pretzel chips).


Pretzel chips
Dove milk chocolate caramel squares
M&M's

*Spread out pretzel chips on a cookie sheet.  Place one Dove chocolate on each chip.  Bake at 200 for about 5-7 minutes, or until the chocolates look shiny.  Remove from oven and immediately press an M&M into each square.  Let cool and then serve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bianco Recap

Was it worth the time it took to get in?
Was it as good as Oprah and Rachael Ray said it was?
Was it everything we hoped it would be and more?
Did we see any celebs?

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  No.

But...we did talk to the hostess (she used to work at LGO) and she said that since she started working there (a month ago) she had seen Vince Vaughn and Kevin James come in.  Love it.

We ordered the Farmers Market salads and three kinds of pizza.
The Rosa, the Biancoverde and the Wiseguy.
It was all so good and we finished off every last crumb.

Check out the website and the menu
here.
Check out Gayle King's review
here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pizzeria Bianco

The girls are in town.
Two birthdays are this week.  Yours truly and Momma Lana.
Called for four days a month ago to make this happen.
We're going tonight!!!
Might be more excited about this than Christmas day.
Stay tuned for a play-by-play.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cream Cheese Alfredo Sauce

I went looking around cyberspace for an Alfredo sauce that used half and half.  I found this one on Cooks.com and the cream cheese sounded too good to pass up.  Half my family loved it (me included) and the other half thought it was too rich.  You be the judge.

1 cube butter
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
Ground pepper to taste

*In a medium saucepan, melt butter on stove.  Add cream cheese and stir together until cream cheese is melted and they are mixed well.  This will take a little while and a lot of whisking.  When they are mixed well, add half and half, Parmesan, garlic powder and pepper.  Stir together until it's all combined.  Take off heat and let sit for a few minutes to thicken up.  Serve over your favorite pasta with some garlic bread to dip.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jane's Favorite Chocolate Cookies

Nat e-mailed this recipe to me a while back.  She got it from her mother-in-law, Janet, who got it from a lady named Jane.  Jane is the author of a cookbook called "Favorites" (that we love) so I knew it would be a winner.  I was intrigued by the fact that it didn't use normal cookie ingredients like sugar, eggs, baking soda, etc.  It's more like a brownie-fudgie-cookie combo.  In other words, these are really good if you are a chocolate fan.

3 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup flour
1 cup pecans (halved or chopped)

*Melt butter, chocolate chips and condensed milk in a double boiler on the stove until smooth and shiny.  Stir constantly and don't overheat.  Remove from stove and quickly fold in flour and pecans.  Scoop with a cookie scoop onto a cookie sheet, two inches apart.  Let sit for 15 minutes in a cool place.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Cool on a rack before eating.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Here's what's on our "Tucker Family" Thanksgiving menu today:

Turkey (cooked all night in our neighborhood Turkey Pit)
PW mashed potatoes
Lana's gravy
Stuffing
Creamed corn
Sweet potatoes
Glazed carrots
Homemade cranberry sauce
Jen's rolls
Pretzel Jello
Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin cream pie
Bobby Flay's pumpkin bread pudding

*Cooking and baking done by Holly, Jen, Momma Lana and myself.*
**Missing Ryan Gibb, Dave, Nat and Lucy!!**

(Much too lazy today to put all the links, but the creamed corn, pretzel jello and carrots are on here somewhere.  The mashed potatoes, bread pudding and cream pie are on Pioneer Woman).

Have a great day and enjoy all the good food!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SISTER SCHUBERT'S DINNER ROLLS


Run to the nearest Sam's Club and buy these rolls! You may never make another roll in your life. And believe me...I am a homemade roll snob. These are so convenient and the added bonus--DELICIOUS!! Very reasonably priced too. $5.88 for a bag of 30 (in AZ). They are already baked--no raising. They are frozen and you place them in the oven for 5-10 minutes depending on how brown you want them. Just tell your guests you and Sister Schubert made them. (Oh--they are in the freezer aisle at Sam's). You can just heat how ever many you want and reclose the bag for later. I have been eating 1 or 2 (or maybe 3 or 4) every day with butter and jam. Yikes!! Try them. I promise you won't be sorry!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baked Spanish Rice

Holly and I both saw this recipe on "My Kitchen Cafe" and we both made it for dinner in the same week.  When we were talking on the phone and realized we had both made it, we each commented that it was an easy and healthy way to make Spanish rice.  Holly told me today that she ate the leftovers a couple days later with some melted cheese on top and it was even better.

2 1/4 cups brown rice
3 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 can rotel tomatoes with chiles, drained
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
(I also added a little salt and some fresh garlic)

*Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish.  Stir well.  Cover with foil and bake for 80 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spicy Quinoa Salad

I am trying to branch out and try new things in my cooking.
I kept coming across recipes with quinoa in them so I decided this was something I needed to try.
I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and decided it was too colorful to pass up.
I loved it.  I can't say that it's the most kid-friendly dish, because it's spicy.  But I loved it and I think it would be perfect for a bridal or baby shower, bunco night, book club or some fun get-together like that.  I do have one child who likes spicy food and he ate a whole bowl of it with some tortilla chips.
I'm also a sucker for cilantro and this has the perfect amount.
And the dressing.  Oh my gosh.  My favorite part.

1 1/2 cups cooked organic quinoa (cook according to package directions)
1 Tbs. salt (add when boiling quinoa)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (I used the frozen white corn from TJ's)
1 cup finely chopped sweet bell peppers
1 whole jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onion

*Mix these all together with the cooled quinoa and set aside.

Dressing:
5 Tbs. lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. pepper

*Mix well and toss with salad.
Salad tastes better after being refrigerated for a while.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yellow Curry


I, like Rachel, have become obsessed with TJ's. Now I have several favorites and must-haves when I go grocery shopping there. One being the yellow curry sauce. So this is my extremely easy yellow curry recipe.

1 bottle Trader Joes yellow curry
1 can coconut milk
vegetables (potatoes, peas, carrots, bell peppers)
any meat/poultry
whatever you want really...

Cook veggies with some olive oil in a frying pan. Once they are close to being done, add the coconut milk and curry sauce. Let simmer until its all warm and veggies are done. Serve with rice! Me and Dave are really into it right now. Great for leftovers. **Obviously cook your meat and add. I usually just do veggies.

Speaking of TJ's... yesterday I bought some chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzels. Can you say YUM!

TJ's Margherita Pizza

The first few times I walked into Trader Joe's, I felt like a fish out of water.
I didn't know where anything was, I wasn't sure what was good and I felt like everyone else shopping there knew exactly what they were there to get.
But it's a small store and I've come to realize that pretty much everything they sell is good.
So now I walk in and fill up my cart with things that I can't wait to eat when I get home.
I am a Margherita Pizza lover.
If we go out to a restaurant and they have Margherita Pizza, that is what I will be ordering.
It was only a matter of time before I knew I needed this goodness in my own home.
That's where Trader Joe's comes in.
All the best ingredients to make a tasty favorite.
1 package whole wheat pizza dough
1 jar pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese (the real kind that comes in a blob)
Fresh basil
Olive oil

*Let pizza dough set out on counter for 20 minutes.  Roll out into a circle and place on stone (or pan).  Brush with olive oil.  Bake in a preheated 450 oven for 5 minutes.  Take out of oven and spread on a little sauce.  Cut Mozzarella into slices (it's juicy) and drop over sauce.  Top with fresh, shredded basil. Bake for 10 more minutes.



*Speaking of Trader Joe's, please do yourself a favor and go buy their dark chocolate, sea salt caramels.  My friend, Jill, blogged about them last year and I was immediately sold.  They only come at Christmas time, so don't wait!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jo Lene's Taco Salad

There are a few reasons why I married into the Gibb family. This, my friends, is one of them. My mother-in-law's taco salad. It is full of flavor and goodness. And it comes with it's own special dressing. It is the number one requested meal at Gibb family gatherings. Enough said.


Taco Salad

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup dry onions
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
3 cans water (use tomato sauce can)
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. accent (I don't use this)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 cup cooked rice

Brown meat and add onions. Pour in rest of ingredients and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. accent (I don't use this)
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. onion salt or powder

Put all ingredients in blender and mix well.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sweet Pork Enchiladas

We had the missionaries from our church over for dinner a few weeks ago. I made the Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas. One of the elders took a bite and asked if the meat was sweet pork. I said no it's honey-lime chicken. But then I couldn't stop thinking about his sweet pork comment. Sweet pork enchiladas!! What a great idea! So I waited 2 weeks until the missionaries were coming again and made the enchiladas with sweet pork. I have one word, AH-MAZING!!! Really. They were so good. My new favorite enchilada recipe by far! The elders loved them. Hubby loved them. And I loved them. In fact, I can't stop thinking about them.

Excuse the bad pic. This was all that was left when I remembered to snap a photo.

Sweet Pork Enchiladas

1 pork tenderloin or 1 pork roast
20 oz. coke
2 cups brown sugar
1 bottle mild salsa

Put all ingredients into a crockpot. Cook on low 6 - 8 hours. Shred meat when done.

Then combine:
1 14 oz. can green enchilada sauce (I prefer mild)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Stir enchilada sauce and cream together in a bowl. Pour half into bottom of 9x13 pan. Take 12 to 14 corn tortillas and warm in microwave to soften. Then, fill with a small amount of pork and a little cheddar cheese. Roll up and place in pan. When finished, cover with rest of sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

BUTTER CHICKEN




This is a really tasty Indian dish that my sister learned how to make in Tokyo, Japan! I know--wrong country, but there are actually so many delicious restaurants in Tokyo from every country you can imagine! Most Indian dishes are extremely spicy, but this one is just TASTY! The best way to eat it is with Naan Bread to soak up the excess sauce. I will post a Naan bread recipe later. It's an Indian staple and delicious. Actually, when I visited India I ate A LOT of Naan bread when I wasn't sure of what was being served and didn't want to go hungry! The Kasuri Methi spice gives it a really unique flavor and can be bought at Lee Lee's Market (in the Phoenix area--commonly referred to as Lee Lee's Stinky Market; it's quite smelly in there) or ordered from indianblend.com. Tandoori paste can be purchased at most grocery stores. This is best served over rice.

1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
¼ t. powdered ginger
¼ t. garlic paste
1 can chopped green chiles
1 ½ cubes butter (not margarine)
2 small cartons whipping cream (smallest ones)
¼ t. cardamom
1 ¼ t. salt
½ t. black pepper
½ t. Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
4-5 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
Tandoori paste

Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces and marinate in Tandoori paste overnight or for a few hours. Mix a little water with Tandoori paste if too thick. Use about ¼ of the jar of paste. This paste is very hot. Don’t use too much.

Place tomatoes and green chile in blender and blend until smooth. Melt butter in deep pan over low heat. Add ginger and garlic, stirring well and continue heating. Add tomato mixture, cream, cardamom, salt, black pepper and Kasuri Methi. Bring to simmer over lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces to simmering sauce and cook for additional 10-15 minutes, just until chicken is done. Serve over hot rice with naan bread. You can also pre-cook and shred the chicken—then add it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boston Cream Cake

This recipe came out of a cake mix cookbook that I was looking through at my Aunt Annette's house.
Who knew you could do so many fun things with a cake mix?
I am a big fan of anything with a cream filling so this grabbed my attention right when I saw it.
Plus chocolate frosting.  Yum and yum.  


1 yellow cake mix
1 cup milk
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1 small carton whipping cream
Chocolate frosting

*Make yellow cake batter according to package directions and bake in two round cake pans.  Cool completely when done.  Make vanilla pudding with the 1 cup of milk and set aside.  Whip the whipping cream until stiff, adding a little sugar and vanilla to taste.  Combine pudding and whipped cream.  Stack the two cakes on top of each other with the filling in the middle.  (I had to slice off the top of one cake to make it flat).  Top with your favorite chocolate frosting.  (I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Veggie Stir-Fry

This isn't exactly a new recipe.  It's more like a new spin on a previously posted recipe.
Thanks to a great class I went to taught by our friend, Calli Overstreet, we are trying to incorporate more color into our meals.  We are also trying to not eat meat every single night.  Hard when you're married to a carnivore.  But this dish was a smashing success and so easy on top of that.  We love a win-win at our house.
Brown or white rice (as much as your family eats)
Stir-fry veggies, steamed (I used 2 bags from Fresh and Easy)
Sauce:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbs. canola oil

*Cook rice and steam veggies.  Put rice onto a serving platter or in a big bowl.  Put veggies on top.  Mix up sauce really well until honey is dissolved.  Drizzle sauce over the top of veggies.  It will seem like you don't have enough sauce but it is plenty.  LOTS of flavor.  Especially if you use fresh garlic.
(I used half brown rice and half white rice.  Trying to make that transition without the kids noticing).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cheesy Orzo

I make baked chicken and brown rice at least once every 2 weeks. It's easy and healthy. I was planning on making this meal for Saturday night but wanted to switch it up a bit. I decided to make orzo as the side this time. I found this recipe by Rachel Ray. It was easy, tasty and a good alternative to rice. We all liked it!

Cheesy Orzo

2 Tbs. butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
2 cups orzo pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Taco Seasoning

Last Sunday it was time to make dinner and I realized that I hadn't thought about what we were having for Sunday dinner until that very moment.  Don't you hate that?  You probably don't do that.
So we went with the old standby...tried and true...always have the ingredients on hand...Taco salad.
Then I realized that I had left my taco seasoning at my parents' cabin.
No problem.  Google to the rescue.  Can't be rocket science making taco seasoning.
So I found this recipe on allrecipes (I think) and thought it looked like a winner.
I mixed it up and added it to the meat mixture and we loved the flavor.
Better tasting than my big plastic container of taco seasoning and better yet, no weird preservatives.

2 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt

*I mixed it up in a little tupperware and used about 1/3 of it for 1 lb. of ground beef.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Favorite Crepes

We like to make crepes around here.
One child of mine loves crepes more than any other treat on earth.
I won't mention any names, but she can eat crepes like nobody's business.  We always have to tell her that she's had enough because she would never stop.  That's my girl!
I put a crepe recipe on here a while ago but we found one we like better.

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt

*Blend in a blender until smooth.  Heat a small frying pan on medium-low.  Spray with some oil spray and put about 1/4 cup batter in and turn pan around until the batter coats bottom.  Cook for a minute or so, flip over for a few more seconds and then serve with whatever you fancy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oatmeal Scotchies

I'm not the biggest fan of butterscotch. I prefer chocolate whenever possible. But back when we lived in Wisconsin, one of my co-workers brought these to work and I loved them. I couldn't stop thinking about them for weeks. She said she just used the recipe on the back of the bag of butterscotch chips. So, the other day I was at the store and decided to buy a bag of butterscotch chips to make those unforgettable oatmeal scotchies. They were so good!! I will have to start making them more often.

Oatmeal Scotchies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla (I used 2 tsp.)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 bag butterscotch chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix then add dry ingredients and chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Butterscotch Bars

How much do you love it when friends/neighbors drop a treat by unexpectedly?
One of my favorite things ever.
Treats taste so much better when someone else makes them.  Don't you think?
Our friend Wendi brought these to us the other night and I ate two of them before she could even drive away.
I asked her for the recipe and she directed me to our ward cookbook.  I should have known.  Only good things come out of that book.
(The recipe was submitted by our friend, Marlene)

3/4 cup oil
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

*Combine oil, honey and brown sugar.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Spread out thin on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. milk
3 cups powdered sugar

*Melt butter over low heat.  Stir in sugar and salt.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add milk.  Stir hard.  Put back on heat, boil again and then cool until warm.  Stir in powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Spread over bars.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kiss Cookies

Oh. my. gosh. Do yourself a favor this Fall and go straight to Target and get yourself a bag of these beauties. They will bring you happiness. I promise. Buy 2 bags. One to snack on and the other to make these delicious cookies. I'm obsessed!! Recipe from Picky Palate.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 cup pumpkin
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (I didn't have nutmeg so I used pumpkin pie spice instead)
1 bag chocolate chips
35 pumpkin spice kisses, quartered

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin. Then, add dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour in chocolate chips and kisses. Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spinach Apple Salad

One time I read that Jennifer Anniston ate the same salad everyday for lunch while taping "Friends."
I thought that was weird...until I started eating the same salad everyday for lunch.
This is my new favorite salad.

Baby spinach
Diced up apple
Grated parmesan
(My favorite parmesan is the Grana Padano from Costco)
Chopped up almonds
(I use dry roasted almonds and chop them with my chopper)
Balsamic vinaigrette
(My favorite is the one from Fresh and Easy)

*Start with the spinach in a bowl and then add as much apple, parmesan, almonds and dressing as you like. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Crock-pot BBQ Beef

A few weeks ago, while visiting my aunt in Utah, I came across this recipe while browsing through one of my grandma's cookbooks.  It was a Rival crock-pot cookbook and had lots of good recipes.  We have a favorite bbq sauce that we buy (Sweet Baby Ray's) but it was fun to try out a homemade sauce and it was really good.  We liked the flavor a lot.  Perfect for feeding a big group during this Fall season of parties and gatherings.

1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 Tbs. worcestershire
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

*Mix well and pour over a roast in the crock-pot.  Chuck roast is my favorite for shredded beef.  Cook all day on low and serve on warm rolls.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sweet Republic

A couple of weekends ago, we went on a fun date night with our friends, Trent and Mary Jo.  It started with dinner at "The Backyard," and ended with ice cream at Sweet Republic.  Mary Jo's sister told her about the ice cream place.  It was featured in bon appetit magazine, on the food network and a whole lot of other places that recognize amazing food.  I was so excited when she was telling me about it and we knew that we had to go there as soon as possible.  I thought about it all week.  It's located in north Scottsdale off of Shea so it took a little time to get there but I'm here to tell you that it was WELL WORTH THE TRIP!  Please, for the love of all things sweet and creamy, do yourself a favor and go to Sweet Republic.  100% natural, handcrafted, artisan ice cream.  Flavors that you've never heard of and flavors that you already love. Sundae creations straight from Heaven and sauces that will blow your mind.  Not to mention the fresh baked cookies and homemade marshmallows.  Is it cheap?  No.  Is it worth every single cent?  Yes.  


(My favorite flavor was the salted butter caramel)  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Homemade chicken noodle soup


My mother-in-law gave me this recipe. Its pretty easy and tastes so good on a cold or rainy day!

-Rotisserie chicken from Costco
(obviously you don't have to use this chicken but I'll explain how I use it below)
-4 Cups water
-potatoes
-carrots
-celery
-onion
1 cube bullion
1 can cream of chicken
salt/pepper

Noodles-
1 egg
1/2 C flour
**Mix egg and flour. Roll out really thin. Sprinkle with flour on top. Fold dough. Sprinkle again with flour and fold. Cut into thin strips for noodles.

I usually buy a chicken from Costco and after we have some of it, I freeze it. Then when I use it for this soup, I boil it in 4 cups of water. Once the chicken is thawed, take the chicken off of the bones and place in water used to boil chicken. Then add your noodles (I add these 1st since they take a while to cook), chopped veggies, cream of chicken, bullion, and salt/pepper to taste.

Let cook and simmer together until noodles and veggies are cooked.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Aunt Carolyn's Famous Casserole

This is actually the second time I have posted this recipe.  I put it on here last year when Brett's sweet aunt passed away.  I didn't have a picture of it then and if you're like me, you don't pay much attention to recipes that don't have a picture.  So here it is again in all it's photo glory.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can tomato soup
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
1 can corn, drained
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat penne) uncooked

*Brown beef and onion.  Add the rest of ingredients and mix well.  Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

*The recipe says to used already cooked pasta, but I'm not into that extra step.  So I just added a little water to the mix and it turned out just great.  A family favorite for sure. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

S'mores Cookies

I am kind of obsessed with s'mores. I think it started in college when my roommates and I would go to Black Angus just to get s'mores shakes. The best shakes ever! Then, Hershey came out with a s'mores candy bar, while I was in college, and I would buy one everyday at the bookstore for my snack. Sadly, they no longer make them. Actually, it's probably a good thing. Then, I made s'mores bars and man, were they good! But since I love cookies, I was out to find a s'mores cookie. I googled it and found this recipe on Erica's Sweet Tooth. They turned out really good! Tasted just right with a little bit of graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate. Yum.

S'mores Cookies

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows or large ones cut up
2 Hershey bars, chopped

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Then, add baking soda, salt, graham cracker crumbs and flour. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and push a few marshmallows and pieces of chocolate into cookies. Return to oven and bake for 3 or 4 more minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Just so you know, it's in the low 60's here in NY. And to an Arizona girl, that's COLD! All I want is to curl up in a blanket and eat soup. And cookies of course. I found this soup on a new blog that I love called Trainer Momma. She's got great exercise tips and healthy recipes. We loved this soup! It is flavorful and light. It warmed us right up!

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4 large carrots, diced or 15 baby carrots, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 or 2 cans chicken
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 can corn or 1 cup frozen corn
1 12oz can fat-free evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
bay leaf (optional)

Put olive oil large pot. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook on medium heat until tender. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add broth, chicken, rice, corn and seasonings. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Then add evaporated milk. Stir and cook on low until ready to serve.

*She added cornstarch to thicken soup, but I didn't have any and it turned out just fine.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Healthier Peachie Smoothie

I've been trying to do this post for two days now and Google keeps telling me that I am out of space and cannot upload anymore pictures.
So two nights ago I paid 5 bucks for more space because I'm not computer savvy enough to figure out things like photobucket, and the space has not become available yet.
I have no idea what that means or why it takes so long, but to make a long story even longer, I can't put my picture of my smoothie on this blog.
But the smoothie was really good and pretty and healthy, so here you go:

1 large peach (preferably Utah) cut up
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I like FAGE Total 0%)
2 Tbs. honey (eyeball it)
1/2 cup crushed ice
Splash of milk

*Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Easy Baked Brown Rice

I found this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe. She has some really great recipes over there. This baked brown rice was so easy and so good! My favorite rice recipe will always be Savory Rice, but this one is a close second and much healthier. I served it with Ritz Chicken and green beans.

picture from www.momadvice.com

Baked Brown Rice

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

Put rice and broth in greased 3 quart casserole dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove foil, fluff with fork and serve.

*I sprinkled it with garlic salt before I baked it just to add a little more flavor.
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