April 26, 2008

One Skillet Sausage & Zucchini

One Skillet Sausage & Zucchini © 2008 

1 onion, finely diced

1 can diced tomatoes any flavor that tickles your taste buds

2 medium zucchini, sliced

1/2 c parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 lb. smokes sausage or Kielbasa in large chunks

5 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped into bite size, and boiled till tender I used small white potatoes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder Next time I'll use a clove, but I didn't think about it in time - would definitely make this a better recipe

1 teaspoon dried cloves

salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown sausage in 1/2 cup water.  Add onion, tomatoes, zucchini and seasonings and sliced potatoes.  Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove lid and sprinkle with both cheeses.  Allow cheese to melt before serving.

April 24, 2008

100% whole wheat bread

This bread is SOOOO good! I think we'll be trying french toast with it Saturday morning. It is the first 100% whole wheat recipe I've found that is not overly coarse and dense....great for toasting, sandwiches, etc...even Elizabeth and Kate approve!

To give credit where credit is due...my hubbie found the original recipe here. (I tweaked measurements, etc. to make it more appropriate for the amount of bread we might actually consume in a week!)

To start...
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
2 cups warm water--typically I let my tap get quite hot and use that...I haven't had success with "warm" water
2 cups whole wheat flour
Mix these ingredients together and let sit until double. (Usually 15-30 minutes.) This step is called a sponge and is very important to allow the yeast to get a head start.

Add...1/4 cup vegetable
1/3 cup honey or molasses (I used honey)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups whole wheat flour

Mix this in a large stand mixer with a dough hook (or you can mix it and then knead by hand) until smooth and elastic. (I used my kitchen aid and then did a bit of kneeding at the end!) Place in oiled bowl, cover and let rise again until double (I let it rise in my oven with the light on and bowl of steaming water below it!). (About 30 minutes) Punch down and shape in pans. Cover and let rise again until double (again, I do this in my oven with the light on and a steaming bowl of water). (20-30 minutes).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Oil top of bread for a nice shiney (and softer) crust.

Creamy Baked Spaghetti

I made this last night...and while we decided we would tweak it a little for next time, we also thought it was quite tasty.

12 ounces of angel hair spaghetti (we use whole wheat)
1 lb. ground beef (I used 1 1/4 lb)
1 small onion--chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (I will use more garlic and perhaps add some other italianish seasonings next time!)
salt and pepper to taste
26 oz. spaghetti sauce (I would use more than this...perhaps 32 oz.)
8 oz sour cream (I didn't have sour cream...substituted some mozzarella cheese instead)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. cottage cheese
*the recipe doesn't call for this, but I added parmesan cheese!

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.

2. Brown meat with onions and garlic. Drain excess grease and add salt and pepper. Add spaghetti sauce and mix well.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese, and cottage cheese (this is where I tossed in some parmesan cheese). Mix well until combined.

4. Put half of pasta in bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Layer half of the cheese mixture and half of the meat mixture. Add remaining mixtures in same order (pasta, cheese, meat)--so that meat sauce mixture ends up on top.

5. Bake uncovered at 375 for abbout 35-35 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

I made the full recipe and then split it into two baking dishes...one for our dinner and one for the freezer (we do this often with meals that can be frozen--which I'm finding is most anything!)...nothing like cooking once and eating twice (or more...since we still have leftovers from both meals!)

I served this with some home-made french bread (made it garlic bread tonight) and a fresh green salad.

April 22, 2008

Garlic & Herb Tomatoes

Garlic & Herb Tomatoes © 2008 

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

2 pints cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley

2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh basil

2 Teaspoons chopped, fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt I used 2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper I left this out for the kids

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan large enough to hold all the tomatoes in one layer. Add the garlic to the oil and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to loose their firm round shape. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped basil and parsley and serve hot or at room temperature.

Found on Food Network's Barefoot Contessa

Marinated Mushrooms

Marinated Mushrooms © 2008 

These are SO GOOD! So EASY! And SO FAST!

2 packages whole fresh mushrooms (8oz each) I wound up using 3 pkgs of mushrooms because I wanted a lot...I love marinated mushrooms!
1 stick butter I used real butter
1 package Italian dressing mix

Rinse and drain mushrooms. Place and dressing mix in crock pot and mix with gently. Slice or cube butter and sprinkle over top - just so it melts more evenly. Cook on high about 2 hours or until mushrooms darken and become very tender. Lower crock pot heat to low to keep mushroom warm during serving.

April 16, 2008

Pineapple Sausage

As usual, this is both delicious, and deliciously simple :)

What You Need:
~ One can of pineapple chunks (I buy two)

~ 1 to 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

~ Smoked beef sausage (I buy two for my family of seven, and I like Hillshire)

What You Do:
Chop sausage into bite size pieces; place in frying pan, and set on low heating. Stir occasionally until hot. Toss in pineapple chunks to heat.

For sauce~
separate pineapple and juice; save juice

pour juice in a small saucepan

heat on low setting; sprinkle in the cornstarch (if you're using two cans, then use 1 1/2 tsp. If just one can, 1 tsp should be enough)

STIR CONTINUOUSLY with a wire whisk while juice thickens; this is important, because if unattended, it gets lumpy (ew). Do this for about ten minutes. Sauce should be thicker rather than runny.

When it reaches desired consistency, it's ready to serve.

Put the sausage and chunks on a serving plate (or bowl) and drizzle sauce over.

I like to serve this with sugar snap peas or corn (on the cob), corn bread, and Pasta Roni Parmesan Cheese (flavor).

Chow Mein Chicken Salad

We just finished up a batch of this...a delish way to zestify chicken salad. credit goes to my mom...though i am not sure where she got the original recipe!

4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can sliced water chestnuts (drained)
1 can mandarin oranges (drained)
1 small can pineapple tidbits (drained)
toasted almonds (as many as you'd like...we like these a lot, so i make extra)
*to toast just place 2-3 Tbsp. sugar in a skillet with slivered almonds, heat until almonds are
toasty brown (and then remove quickly so they don't burn!)
chow mein noodles

1 1/2 cup mayonaise
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard

Combine all ingredients except almonds and noodles. Add enough dressing to blend. I typically add the almonds and noodles and additional dressing right before serving (so they are crispy!). You might want to reserve a few almonds, noodles, and a bit of dressing for left-overs!

Crock Pot Chicken Fettuccine

This recipe is so easy it's almost embarrassing to post! It's also a little bland looking so I'll refrain from posting a picture - but trust me, it's freakin' good!

1 package chicken tenderloins (6-8)

1 packet Italian dressing mix I prefer the Italian but my husband prefers a packet of Ranch. Either way it's really good so just make this twice and try it both ways!

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 package sliced fresh mushrooms

4 oz. cubed cream cheese. I tried Neufchatel Cheese ("1/3 less fat than cream cheese") and in this recipe I didn't notice a difference in taste.

1 box fettuccine - or to add a little color to the meal, use the multi colored noodles instead.

Wacky Mac Pasta © 2008

Place chicken, dressing mix, soup and cream cheese in crock pot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. The time of course depends on the size of the chicken and whether you put the crock on high or low.

Once that's done cook up the fettuccine according to package directions. Drain then dump the noodles in the crock with the chicken. Mix well - this will break up the chicken nicely!

I like to serve this with steamed carrots.

April 12, 2008

Maple Almond Apple Tenderloin Pork

Maple Apple Pork Chops © 2008

What You Need:

enough tenderloin chops for the fam (I buy six at a time)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbl spoons sliced almonds
1 large green apple, diced
1 tbl spoon butter

What You Do:

Bake or grill chops until tender :)
Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and toss in apple and sliced almonds. Let 'em cook for ten minutes, stirring often. Add maple syrup, cook for three more minutes, stirring.

Drizzle or coat the chops with maple-almond sauce before serving.
I like to pair this with wild rice and asparagus tips. Delish!!

Frog Eye Salad

Frog Eye SaladThis is one of my family's favorite recipes and I’ve been making it every summer since the kids were old enough to ask for it by name. Some people make it with tapioca instead of the Acini De Pepe, but I'm not a fan of tapioca and, since my grandma made it with the pasta, so do I! This is perfect to go along with just about any summer meal. I love it with hamburgers or hot dogs.  The best part of this recipe, besides the fact that it makes a TON (perfect for potlucks!) is it’s fun to watch the look on people’s faces when you ask them if they’d like some!  Kids who haven’t tried it before, always ask if there are real frog eyes in it and I always tell them yes, yes there is!


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 12 oz. Cool Whip
  • 2 - 20 oz. cans crushed pineapple, drained. Reserve juice
  • 3 - 11 oz. cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 lb. Acini Di Pepe
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 small bag mini marshmallows


1.  Put a strainer over a bowl and toss pineapple in to allow all the juice to be strained out.  Pour 1 3/4 cup of the juice into a separate dish and set aside.  Toss the mandarin oranges into the strainer with the pineapple and continue straining until ready to use, allowing all the fluid to strain out.

2. In a small sauce pan, combine sugar, flour, salt , reserved pineapple juice & beaten eggs. Cook over medium heat, about 10 minutes, until thick. Add lemon juice. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. Toss drained oranges & pineapple into a large bowl.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse until cool and drain thoroughly.

5.  Add cooled pasta to the fruit, pour sauce over & lightly stir. Add pudding, vanilla, marshmallows & Cool Whip. Stir gently & mix well.

Chill until ready to eat.

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April 5, 2008

Sweet 'n' Spicy Chicken Breasts

This is only, like, the easiest thing ever. And it is SO good :) Always a winner, in my book!

What you need:

~ chicken breasts enough to feed the fam
~ jar of apricot preserves
~ jar of chili sauce (yes, really)

What you do:

~ Pre-heat oven at 350* (or whatever you prefer to bake chicken breasts)

~ Line a cookie sheet with tin foil! This is really important; forget at your own peril (or rather, your cookie sheet's peril...)

~ Mix 3/4 of the apricot preserves with 1/4 of the chili sauce. Coat chicken breasts liberally with the mixture, and place on the cookie sheet. Place in pre-heated oven and bake until chicken is deliciously moist, about 30 minutes :)

I like to make pasta and salad with this one, and French bread. This is also spectacular grilled, with corn on the cob and a fruit salad.

It is fan-tas-tic, I swear!! To quote the good Doctor (Suess, that is), "Try it, try it, you will see!!"

April 4, 2008

Parsley Parmesan Chicken

No picture...but I will take one next time I make it! This is a great meal to make ahead and freeze--just double the ingredients and stick half in the freezer!

2-3 lbs. fresh fryer parts (or boneless chicken tenders)
1/4 cup italian dressing
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
2 T parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Place chicken parts and salad dressing in a bag to marinade...in the fridge (for an hour or so).
2. Combine the parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, parsley flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper.
3. Roll chicken one piece at a time in the crumbs (or just put it all in a bag and shake!). Then place the chicken in a greased 9x13 pan or on a cookie sheet. (If desired spoon excess dressing over chicken--I don't do this step, but others have told me it is good.) Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the thickest part is done.

**To freeze and cook later...Pour dressing and chicken parts in a gallon sized freezer bag. Then combine crumbs, parmesan, and spices in a quart sized freezer bag. Put both bags into a large freezer bag...and voila...all you need to do is pull the bag out the day before you want to enjoy this dinner, thaw it completely and follow instruction #3!

We enjoy this with a salad or green beans...and perhaps some mashed sweet potatoes.

April 3, 2008

Sausage Sauerkraut & Apples

Sausage, Sauerkraut & Apples Crockpot © 2008

  • 1 lb fresh sauerkraut or canned sauerkraut

  • 1 lb smoked sausage or smoked turkey sausage(for a low-fat version)

  • tart cooking apples, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • 3/4 cup apple juice or cider
    Rinse sauerkraut and squeeze dry.

    Cut sausage into 2-inch pieces.
    Put 1/2 the sauerkraut in the slow cooker.
    Add the sausage pieces on top.
    Continue to layer remaining ingredients in slow cooker in the order listed.
    Top with remaining sauerkraut.
    Do not stir the layers.
    Cover. Cook on high 4 hours, or low 6-7 hours.
    Stir before serving.
    I serve this with baked baby red potatoes & fresh green beans.
  • April 1, 2008

    Macaroni & Cheese

    Macaroni & Cheese © 2008This recipe from Beyond Macaroni and Cheese, by Mary Beth Lagerborg, comes from my very first cook book that I purchased after I had my first child and realized that I needed to learn how to cook.

    • 1 lb. macaroni (I like to use Barilla Plus Multigrain Pasta) 
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
    • 2 tablespoon hot water
    • 7 oz. package sharp cheese, grated
    • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained thoroughly
    • 1 cup, roughly chopped spinach
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 6 oz. package seasoned croutons, crushed
    • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, grated

    Preheat oven to 350*.

    1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
    2. While the pasta is cooking roughly chop the spinach and drain the tomatoes thoroughly.
    3. In a small bowl, combine mustard, salt, water and eggs, then mix until combined. Set aside.
    4. Pour the egg mixture into cooked and drained macaroni.
    5. Add the sharp cheddar cheese, then mix in spinach and tomatoes.
    6. Pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish; add milk, sprinkle with croutons and pepper jack cheese.
    7. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the custard is set and the top crusty. Serves 8.