Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Creamy Pesto Pasta

I am all over any pasta dish that involves pesto.  So when the Pioneer Woman made a list of things you can do with pesto, and one of them included adding cream to it and putting it over pasta...I was a done deal.  My kind of dinner for sure.  Next time I'm going to throw some grilled chicken on top for the hubby.  It took some convincing to get the kids to try it, but once they did, they loved it.

1 1/2 cups basil pesto (I used Costco's)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs. butter
16 oz. pasta of your choice
2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
salt/pepper to taste

*Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add cream and stir well.  Add pesto and heat over medium-low, stirring often.  When it's nice and hot, pour over your cooked pasta and toss to coat pasta.  Add the diced tomatoes and toss again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Brazilian Lemonade

My new friend Ashley is an amazing cook. Every time she has us over, she creates some yummy new thing I have never had. One Sunday she made us this delicious drink. Dave loved it and has been begging me to make it ever since. So I finally did and it was a hit!

Brazilian Lemonade
Serves 4-ish

4 juicy limes (try and find ones with thin, smooth skins; they’re the juiciest and the thin skin cuts down on the chance of your drink being bitter)
1 cup sugar
6 cup cold water
6 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk

Mix cold water and sugar very well and chill until ready to use. This step can be done ahead of time.

Wash limes thoroughly with soap (I just use hand-dishwashing soap or regular hand soap); you need the soap to get the wax and pesticides off of the limes because you’re using the whole lime. Cut the ends off the limes and then cut each lime into 8ths.

Place 1/2 of the limes in your blender.

Add 1/2 of the sugar water, place the lid on your blender, and pulse 5 times. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a pitcher (the one you’ll serve the lemonade in) and pour the blended mixture through the strainer and into the pitcher. Use a spoon to press the rest of the liquid into the pitcher. Dump the pulp and stuff in the strainer into the trash. Repeat with remaining limes and sugar water. Add sweetened condensed milk; DO NOT leave this step out unless you will die of a horrible sweetened condensed milk allergy because this is the secret ingredient! You may want to taste test it at this point; If it’s bitter, just add some more sugar and maybe a little more milk.
Serve immediately over lots of ice. This does not keep well, so don’t make this in advance (although you can cut the limes, mix the sugar water, and measure the sweetened condensed milk in advance).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Skillet Chicken and Green Beans

 The other day, I felt like making a skillet dinner.  I love dinner in a skillet.  It's one pan, which makes for easy clean up, which is always a good thing!  I had some thin sliced chicken breasts, chicken broth and fresh green beans that needed to be eaten, so I googled skillet dinners and found this recipe.  It took about 30 minutes start to finish and made for a tasty, healthy dinner.  I love dinner in a skillet!!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbs. lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can low sodium chicken broth
2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen

Mix flour, lemon pepper, and salt in a shallow bowl.  Dredge chicken in flour mixture and place in lightly greased skillet.  On high to medium heat, brown chicken on both sides.  Lower heat to medium and pour chicken broth over chicken.  Put green beans on top and cover with lid.  Simmer for 20 minutes until chicken is done.  Serve over brown rice.

*Recipe from

Saturday, August 27, 2011


This recipe came from my dear friend Brooke's mother, Ana Maria, fondly known as "Nani". Nani was born in Spain and raised in the Phillipines. She is the cutest, sassiest most adorable lady you could ever meet and if you ever visit her, she will feed you until your eyes bulge! This is a great, hearty enchilada recipe that is easy and can be frozen for future use. If you choose to freeze it for use a a later time, freeze it unbaked. Take out of the freezer and let it sit for about 20 minutes before baking at 375 for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check to make sure it is done in the middle.

I hope you like this as much as we do and I really wish all of you could meet Nani!!


1 lb. ground beef
1 small chopped onion
1 15 oz. can refried beans
1 3.8 can sliced black olives
1 large can Macayo's Enchilada Sauce (comes in mild or hot--your preference)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15-20 count package corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend or your choice)

Brown ground beef, and add chopped onion, Cook a little with onion in the beef then drain. Add olives and refried beans. Let mixture cool a little as you will be rolling this into the tortillas..

Heat to medium heat about 2 inches of oil in a medium frying pan. Dip tortillasinto hot oil, just to soften. Do not cook crisp. Drain on paper towels.

In a 9x13 baking dish, place about 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce and coat bottom of dish. Dip tortillas into enchilada sauce and place approx. 3 T. of meat mixture into the center of the tortill and roll. Place seam side down and repeat until all tortillas or mixture is used. Lay in rows in pan. Make sure you place them tightly in the dish, or they will not fit. You may have to use 2 pans. Pour remainder of enchilada sauce on top and top with shredded cheese.

Bake covered at 375 for 3-40 minutes. Each serving can be topped with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, chives, sour cream or chopped cilantro.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Skillet Parmesan Chicken

Who wants to turn on their oven when there is a heat advisory going on outside?  This recipe is all done on the stove top and only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.
10-12 chicken tenders
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
3 eggs
jar of favorite spaghetti sauce
mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
olive oil for skillet

*Heat skillet over medium-high heat with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom.  Mix together eggs in a bowl.  Combine bread crumbs and parmesan together in another bowl.  Dip chicken tenders in egg mixture and then in parmesan mixture until well coated.  Place gently in the skillet and brown for a couple of minutes on each side.  Pour sauce into skillet around chicken (I didn't use the whole jar).  Cover and simmer on low until chicken is cooked through.  Remove lid and cover with mozzarella cheese.  When cheese is melted, serve over your favorite pasta.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Peanut Butter Balls

 I love all things peanut butter.  So naturally, I love this super easy, somewhat healthy recipe for peanut butter balls.  There are so many variations of what ingredients you can add or subtract to make them just they way you like them.  Some add coconut, flax seed, malt powder, chocolate chips - whatever floats your boat.  I made the basic peanut butter ball.  My husband downed 4 immediately without even blinking.  Just promise me that you will use real peanut butter.  Thanks.

Image from

Peanut Butter Balls

1/2 cup real peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup powdered milk

Mix all ingredients with a spoon or spatula in a bowl.  Roll into small balls with your hands.  Place on a pan and chill in refrigerator until serving.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Easy Indian Fry Bread

My 12 year old daughter had Indian fry bread at girls' camp this summer and she's been craving it ever since.  So today she decided that we needed to learn how to make it ourselves.  She got online and found a really easy recipe (not sure where she found it) and then she got everything out we needed and waited until I was done scrubbing my toilet (I washed my hands after) so I could help her.  I was seriously surprised at how simple it was and it tasted good!  I kind of felt like we were at the State Fair.

1 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. powdered  milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water
oil for frying (we used canola)

*Heat about 1 inch of oil in a heavy skillet on the stove.  I put in on medium-high and that seemed to work fine.  The recipe says 350 degrees but I don't have a thermometer for oil.  Sift together all the dry ingredients.  Pour the water over the mixture and stir with a fork until it starts to clump.  Flour your hands and then begin to mix the dough so it forms a ball.  You want to mix well but you do NOT want to knead it.  The inside should be sticky and the outside floured.  Divide the dough into four pieces.  Using your floured hands, stretch the dough into a disk of about 5 inches across.  It doesn't have to be a perfect circle.  Drop the disc into the hot oil and let it cook for a minute or so on each side, or until it's a nice golden brown.  Let cool on some paper towels and then serve with honey and powdered sugar or whatever else you would like.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

S'mores Shake

 Why is it when night time rolls around, I just want to sit on the couch and eat a treat?  I usually opt for a graham cracker with peanut butter or a slice of an apple to fill my void.  You know, something about trying to be healthy.  But some nights, those snacks just won't do.  I need a treat, a real treat full of ice cream and chocolate!  So, I make my favorite late night indulgence - s'mores shake.  I had my first s'mores shake in college and it changed my life.  It's a cinch to throw together and makes my life complete!

S'mores Shake

2 heaping scoops vanilla ice cream
handful of marshmallows
handful of chocolate chips
handful of crushed graham crackers
drizzle of chocolate syrup

Put all ingredients into a mug or cup.  Stir until thick shake consistency.  May need to add a little milk if it's too thick to stir.  Devour!

*This can also be done in a blender.  Just add some milk and blend until desired consistency.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two Recommendations

I have two food recommendations for you on this fine Tuesday night.  First...if you live by a Trader Joe's, you should try this Mandarin orange chicken from the frozen section.  It tastes every bit as good as any restaurant orange chicken and has way less fat and calories.  My kids love orange chicken and were so impressed when I "made" it for dinner.  Score.
If you don't live by a Trader Joe's, I think you should move.

Second...if you love a sweet, spinach, fruity kind of have got to make this one from Trainer Momma.  This wins my vote for best salad of 2011.  I loved it and loved it some more and then ate it until it was gone.  She will link you to the dressing recipe and the dressing was divine so make that, too.  I found the white balsamic vinegar at Trader Joe's but I'm sure there are other stores that carry it.  Happy eating!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Creamy Fruit Dip

My sister-in-law, Sherri, shared this recipe with me years ago and I can't believe I have never shared it on this blog!  It is one of my favorites and so easy to throw together.  It tastes good with every fruit I have ever tried dipping into it and you can store it in the fridge for up to a week.  It reminds me a little of eating cheesecake and honestly, how can you go wrong with a cheesecake-like flavor?
1 small carton heavy whipping cream
1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk

*Whip the cream until it forms peaks, adding a few tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla while you're whipping it up.  Set aside.  Mix cream cheese and condensed milk together until really well combined.  Fold in whipped cream and blend well.  Takes a little time to get it all nice and creamy.  Serve immediately with fruit or chill in refrigerator for later.

*You can substitute Cool Whip for the whipped cream.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rice Pudding

I was craving rice pudding the other day (what haven't I craved this pregnancy?) and I came up with this. I don't know if I am just weird and pregnant but this pudding was so good to me!

Rice Pudding

3/4 cup jasmine rice
1/2 cup sugar(I did a heaping half cup)
5 cups milk
2 t vanilla
2 shakes of cinnamon (don't go crazy on this its not supposed to taste like cinnamon it just brings out a fun flavor).
Combine and heat until boiling. Turn down to a good simmer and stir every few minutes for about 45-50 min or until most liquid is gone.

Top with berries! The first night I put frozen raspberries in the pudding while it was still hot. The next day we ate it cold with fresh blueberries. Both ways were crazy good.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I saw this recipe on my cousins blog and knew I had to try it. My husband didn't think he was going to like it by the picture he saw, but he did admit after we had it for dinner that he really liked it. I think the noodles add a fun new twist instead of using tortillas.

Red bell pepper, julienned

Green bell pepper, julienned (I used yellow)

1/2 onion, sliced

2 Tbls olive oil

1/2 bag fajita meat (or full bag depending on how big the bag is) (see picture below)

1 can Original Rotel

Angel hair pasta

*Cook pasta according to directions. Saute bell peppers & onions in olive oil. Add meat for the last 5 minutes. Add Rotel. Drain water from pasta and add to fajitas. Mix well & Enjoy!

**This meat can be found at your local grocery store, but you get more bang for your buck at Costco/Sams Club.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Carnutty Bars

Is it just me or do you feel like we've posted a lot of treats lately?
Here's my theory:
I don't leave my house in the summer unless I am going somewhere that involves a swimming pool or frozen yogurt.  Therefore, I make a lot fewer trips to the grocery store and we end up eating cheese crisps and sandwiches for dinner.  But then during the day we get bored so we make treats.  So maybe now that school is starting, I will actually go to the store and buy real ingredients to make a real dinner.
In the meantime, check out these beauties from Sweet Treats and More.  Easy to make but hard to resist.  I ate so many last night that I was still full this morning.  Happy Back to School everyone!

Friday, August 5, 2011

S'mores Bars

As I've mentioned before, I have an obsession with s'mores.  I love any type of s'mores treat.  So, when Rach posted a s'mores bar a few weeks ago, I knew had to make them ASAP.  I like to compare recipes, so I googled s'mores bars and found a few variations.  I decided to try a recipe with the same ingredients as Rach's but with a different way of making them.  They turned out delicious, just as I had hoped!  I think the pan lasted one day, if that.

Golden Graham S'mores Bars

1 bag milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup corn syrup
3 Tbs. butter
4 cups marshmallows
8 cups Golden Grahams Cereal
1 cup marshmallows

Put ingredients first 4 ingredients into a large pot.  Melt on medium heat until mixture begins to boil.  Remove and pour over cereal.  Stir until well combined.  Stir in 1 cup marshmallows.  Pour cereal mix into 9x13 pan and cover with foil until ready to eat.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

White Chocolate Popcorn

The first time I had this popcorn was 5 years ago at a family reunion in Idaho.  It's one of those treats that you can't stop eating and then you remember it forever.  Brett's super-fabulous-aunt, Joy, is the one who made it and I just found out that her recipe is in our Cunningham family cookbook.  Brett's mom made it the other day when we were all over there swimming and I remembered how much I love this stuff! 

12 cups popped popcorn (1 large bowl)
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 (16 oz.) can cocktail peanuts or Spanish peanuts
1 24 oz. white almond bark
2 Tbs. peanut butter

*In a large bowl, combine popcorn, cereal and peanuts.  In a saucepan, melt almond bark and peanut butter together over low heat, stirring constantly.  When melted, pour over popcorn mixture.  Mix well until coated.  Spread over waxed paper to dry.  Store in an airtight container.

*You can also use Baker's white chocolate or white chocolate chips or even do half bark and half chips.  I'm thinking this would be an awesome Christmas neighbor gift!
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