December 4, 2009

Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup
First of all, I feel compelled to say how much I hate taking these pictures in the winter.  Dinner is never ready before night fall and therefore I’m forced to use my flash which I despise!  But whatever, this one didn’t turn out too awful and the colors are fairly accurate.

Source: Closet Cooking

I pureed this to baby food consistency for a few reasons.  If I can keep the kids from guessing what’s in some recipes they are more inclined to try them and my oldest daughter hates cooked tomatoes.  Since cooked tomatoes are the only food she won’t eat, I like to humor her by sneaking crushed, or pureed, tomatoes in her food.

I wanted to keep this vegetarian and up until the end, I did.  It would make an excellent, filling dinner all on it’s own.  My brain tells me, however, that when we have soup we must also partake in bread.  Since I didn’t have any rolls on hand I decided to use up the rest of the thick sliced ham I’d bought for egg and ham muffins at breakfast time.  I just diced them into squares and tossed them in during the last 10 minutes of cook time.  No more vegetarian.  Oh well!  Despite a relatively basic ingredient list, this soup was full of robust flavor!

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 14 oz can pumpkin
  • 1 19 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 oz can tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped (optional, but I ran out the day before and was too lazy to hit the store for one thing)
  • 1 handful toasted pumpkin seeds (optional, but I didn’t do this, since I figured my kids would just pull them out and make a mess)
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Meanwhile, place garlic, cumin, chili powder & tomatoes in food processor then puree to desired consistency.
3.  Pour pureed mixture in with the sautéed onions and mix over medium-low heat.
4.  Add pumpkin and black beans to food processor and puree to desired consistency add to the warming pan, & add the sherry and broth.
6.  Bring just to boiling then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Serve garnished with cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds if desired.
With the five of us (one being a small portioned five year old) we each had a big bowl with enough left over for two more large portions.  If you plan on serving company or have a larger family (or teens in the house) you may want to double this.

November 28, 2009

Turkey & Cranberry Quesadillas

Turkey & Cranberry QuesadillasSource:  Closet Cooking
Obviously there are going to be leftovers after Thanksgiving and a few weeks ago I ran across Kevin’s blog and instantly knew this recipe would be a keeper.  I had no idea just how much I’d love the mix of flavors.  My kids couldn’t get enough and the hubs?  Well, let’s just say he at three quesadillas + a quarter of my son’s who couldn’t finish it all!

The flavors meld perfectly.  Let me say it again.  Perfectly.  I even used the jalapeno like it called for and just chopped it up super fine and sprinkled sparingly on the kids’.  I’m not a huge cilantro fan but this worked so well with the cranberry and subtle flavor of turkey.  So stinking easy, this has easily made it into a yearly favorite!


16 flour tortillas
2 cups turkey, (cooked, shredded)
cranberry sauce (abouuuut 1/2 cup? I just used the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner)
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (again, about 2 cups)


1. Melt the butter in a pan on low-medium heat.
2. Prepare 1 tortilla by layering turkey, onions, cilantro, jalapeno, cranberry sauce and cheese (be sure to leave the cheese for last so that when you flip it in the pan, the cheese melts easily)
3.  Carefully transfer prepared tortilla to buttered pan.
4. Heat the tortilla until bottom of tortilla is a golden brown (go ahead and use a spatula to peek).
5.  Butter one side of second tortilla then place over the first in the pan, butter side up.
6.  Carefully slide the spatula under and quickly flip over (this does take some practice!!  Kevin suggested that you can also put a plate on top of the quesadilla in the pan and then flip it onto the plate and slide it from the plate back into the pan to easily flip it without losing the contents.)
7.  Heat until second (now on the bottom) tortilla is browned.
8.  Remove from heat and cut using a pizza cutter.  Serve warm
This made 9 full quesadillas, or 36 quarters.

Best Cranberry Sauce to Date

I’ve made the same cranberry sauce for several years, always going to family’s homes for Thanksgiving dinner and I really liked it.  This year, having Thanksgiving at our house with just the five of us, I wanted something a little bit different so I pulled a few things from different recipes until it sounded right and came up with this.  It was amazing.  Definitely sweeter than a traditional sauce, but I’ll be honest, I like it sweet.  The orange peel added a huge element of tang to it and the sauce has, in one night of gorging become my new go to recipe for cranberry sauce!  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of this sauce – but plan to get one next time I make it.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Wash and pick over cranberries. Add all ingredients except cranberries to a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
2.  Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

November 19, 2009

Savory Stuffed Pork Chops

This is a delightfully filling dish, especially yummy on chillier nights :) I cook for a large family, so I halved this recipe to a more manageable size.

What you need:

6 pork chops
2 cups cooked white rice
3 TBLS olive oil
1 sm onion
2/3 C. chicken broth
1/3 C. ricotta cheese
1/3 C. mozzarella, shredded
4 TBLS Parmesan cheese, grated
3 TBLS dried savory
1 TBLS dried thyme
1 TBLS dried rosemary
1 TSP ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 375*
  • Peel and chop onion. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 TBLS oil over medium heat- add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes
  • Remove skillet from heat. Stir in the rice, 1/3 cup broth, cheeses, and herbs. Mix well.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut a deep horizontal pocket into the chops. Place chops in a large baking dish. Spoon half the rice mixture into the pockets.  Spread the rest of the rice mixture over the top of the chops. Pour remainder of the broth in the dish- add more as needed to prevent the chops from drying out during baking.
  • Bake chops for 1 hour, or until done (because I made twice as many, my cook time was 1 and 1/2 hours). Use a meat thermometer to determine of chops are cooked thoroughly. 

I served this with warm French bread and a garden salad.

November 9, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
We had company coming and I wanted something really good, really homemade, really simple and something I hadn’t made before.  I saw this recipe weeks ago but hadn’t dared my first attempt at lasagna.  You read right, until now, I’d never made lasagna before!  I figured our friends could be my guinea pigs.  I was so impressed with the way it turned out!  The colors of all the veggies were amazing and the smells coming from the oven were heavenly!
Now that my garden is shriveled up for winter, all our herbs have stopped producing.  I’ve become such an herb snob I felt I was “settling” for dried oregano in this recipe, but felt lucky that I could still find fresh basil in the store.
Don’t let the lengthy directions scare you away – it’s really all very simple, I promise!
I know I use For the Love of Cooking as a huge source of the recipes on my blog but she is such a great inspiration and the stuff I’ve tried and used here is always such a hit with my family!

Vegetable Ingredients (more below)

  • 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 orange, red or yellow baby bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli florets, chopped (smallish)
  • 1 small handful of shredded carrots
  • 6 cloves of garlic, leave the skins on for roasting
  • 1 green zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil – I used a lot, probably about 12 leaves worth
  • Dried oregano – I couldn’t find fresh so I settled for dried, it was fine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

  1. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Layer all but the zucchini and yellow squash on the sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, season with sea salt, black pepper, basil and oregano to taste and toss to coat.
  3. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add the zucchini and yellow squash to the pan, toss and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Once the garlic cloves cool down, carefully peel the skin off and slice. Add sliced garlic back in with the rest of the veggies.

Ricotta mixture:

  • 1 16 oz. container of fat free ricotta cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoon mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 3-4 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Basil, to taste
  • Dash of nutmeg

Other ingredients:

  • Lasagna noodles (cooked according to directions – I’ve never had any luck with the no cook variety!)
  • Your favorite jar of marinara sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Basil


Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees

  1. Combine the ricotta mixture ingredients and mix thoroughly. Taste and re-season if needed.
  2. Coat a large glass baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Pour a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish.
  3. Place a few lasagna noodles down to completely cover the bottom of pan. Add half of the ricotta mixture and spread evenly over the noodles. Next add half of the roasted veggie mixture. Cover the veggies with lasagna noodles then sauce. Repeat.
  4. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella, parmesan and dried basil. Bake covered for 30 minutes; remove the cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Pin It

November 4, 2009

Mashed Yams

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Since I don’t know of anyone who could take a pile of cooked mashed yams and make them look appetizing, I chose instead to show them before they were cooked in all their orange-alicious glory!  These turned out much better than I thought, being creamy and flavorful and frankly, perfect!
  • 4 medium fresh yams, peeled and cubed
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Bring large pot of water to a full boil.  Add the potatoes and retune to a boil.  Cook until tender (about 30 mins).  Drain then add butter, sugar, cinnamon and mix with hand mixer until smooth.

November 2, 2009

Mini Tomato Basil & Feta Pizzas

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Adapted from:  For the Love of Cooking
  • favorite jar of pizza sauce
  • English muffins
  • 1cup-ish of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup-ish of feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 6-7 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • Sea salt
Place sliced English muffins in side up on broiler pan and broil at 350 for approximately 3 minutes (depending on your oven) until golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, garlic (careful not to leave clumps) & basil evenly across the muffins. 
Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Top with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and pepper.
You could also prepare a regular size crust pizza following the same directions for a crust here.

October 26, 2009

Vegetarian Chili

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Adapted from Bread & Honey
This is without a doubt the best chili I’ve ever had.  It’s just the right consistency, the flavors are perfect together and I’m definitely adding this to a regular dish at our house!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (save a few slices for topping)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed or diced tomatoes (I prefer crushed)
  • 2 15 oz. cans of beans, drained - black, garbanzos, kidney, and/or pinto (I used kidney and pinto)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (kids don’t do spicy, but I wanted a little kick)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock depending on how thick you like it (I used 2 cups)
Heat olive oil over medium-high in a large pot or saucepan. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil and add chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, and stock. Stir well.  Turn heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve topped with your favorite chili toppings. I used onions, grated cheese & sour cream.

October 21, 2009

Mummy Pizza

Mummy Pizza
Source:  Kara’s Kitchen Creations
Let’s get one thing straight before you go passing judgment about these super cute dinner dead guys.  I’m so not that mom.  You know the type?  The one who does all the crafty craftiness.  I don’t cut crusts off bread, or peel fruit for my kids and I don’t make shapes out of food either.  But it’s almost Halloween and I like to do fun things every once in a while just to shake things up a little.  These were simple, fast and, while I use the term loosely here, relatively healthy. 

English muffins
pizza sauce
string cheese
olives, halved
pizza seasoning (McCormick makes some in a shaker)

Directions (in case you haven’t figured this out for yourself)

Pre-heat oven to 375*
Split the muffins and spread the sauce liberally.  Place the halved olives where the eyes would be (as you can see I forgot to put the olives on before the cheese and was too lazy to fix it so I went with it).  If you’re super concerned about the eyes matching you could trim them up so the holes match.  I liked the mismatched-matched eyes – they seemed more spooky that way and it took much less effort!  Lay the pulled string cheese across each muffin to look like the mummy’s bandages!  Cook for about 10 minutes.

October 19, 2009

Parmesan Tilapia

Parmesan Tilapia
Adapted from Allrecipes
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets
  1. Preheat your oven's broiler (I put mine at 515*). Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, yogurt and lemon juice. Season with dill and onion powder. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish. 
  4. Remove from oven and lightly sprinkle with paprika for garnish.
I served this with organic (yes, I know, I’m SO fancy!) long grain brown rice (cooked in vegetable stock instead of water – YUM!) and steamed broccoli.

October 14, 2009

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burger
Source:  Allrecipes
Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian, not Vegan and certainly not Freegan is the theme here since these burgers contains eggs and cheese.  The eggs are meant to help the everything stick together.  However, if you want to go all Vegan, and since it’s recommended that you drain the peppers very well before mixing, you could just drain them a little less to retain some of the liquid to help meld everything together.
If you’re lucky enough to have a food processor, you’ll want to pull it out for this recipe and finely chop the bell pepper, onion, and garlic.  If not, a good old fashioned sharp knife will do!
  • 2 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced & drained well of liquid
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup seasoned croutons, crushed
  • cheese for topping (optional)
  1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork or potato masher until thick and pasty.  Add egg, chili powder and cumin.  Mix well.
  3. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into patties.
  4. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side, adding cheese the last few minutes to melt. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.
Makes approximately eight, 5 inch burgers (I’m not any good at measurements, don’t hold me to that!)

October 11, 2009

Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettucini Alfredo

Adapted from:  Annie’s Eats


  • 10 chicken tenders
  • 1 package mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons McCormick Chicken Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Alfredo sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of water to boil for cooking the pasta. 

While you wait for water to boil, mix panko crumbs and chicken seasoning in large bowl.  Rinse chicken then dip in crumb mixture.  Place the chicken in a large skillet on medium heat.  Cook 7-8 minutes,turning to cook other side approximately 5 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from heat, cut into small strips and set aside.

Cook pasta according to directions.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cream, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Mix in the Parmesan cheese and stir until completely melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain cooked pasta and immediately pour Alfredo sauce over pasta; stir till coated.  Serve chicken over pasta!

October 7, 2009



Adapted from:  Bread & Honey (Love this site)

Ok, seriously? I was like, ‘Uh I’m not gonna eat this without dressing.  No. Way.’  But then I tried it and it was without a doubt the best tostada stuff.  Ever.  Don’t argue with me.  And it was WITHOUT all the fattening dressing!


Crunchy corn tortillas

3 avocados, diced

1 small white onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 can whole pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cucumber, diced

1 lime, sliced in half (seeds removed)
Bag of Spring Salad Mix


Heat beans through in a small skillet.  Remove beans and set aside.  In same skillet toss onions & red peppers in for 2-3 minutes on med-high heat to warm through and brown slightly.  Remove from heat and set aside. 

Place tortillas on a plate and pile high with lots of the Spring Mix.  Generously squeeze and sprinkle lime juice over lettuce then proceed with all the other healthy fixins!  Good stuff!

October 4, 2009

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Adapted from: Annie’s Eats

This could so easily be turned vegetarian by substituting cous cous for the sausage.  When I cook cous cous I generally use chicken broth instead of water but for a veggie dish, I’d go with vegetable broth!

The flavors in this dish were subtle and SO complimentary. 

The kids wolfed it down and I’ll seriously be making it again!  I bought four zucchinis, planning on two adults to eat a whole one, the big kid to get her own & the two little ones to split one. 

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

The sausage mixture made a lot more than I thought it would but I had a green pepper that was begging to be used, so I sliced the top off, removed the seeds, and packed it full as well.  I still have enough sausage leftover for at least another full zucchini, and maybe a second {red?} pepper!


  • 5 zucchini, about 12 inches long
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Extra Mild)
  • 2 tbsp. dry white wine
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise.  With a spoon, scrape out seeds and not much else leaving a thick zucchini shell.  Reserve about half of the insides.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Sauté the onion and garlic until tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and reserved zucchini insides to the skillet and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat & set aside.

Cook the sausage until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Drain excess fat then stir in the cooked onion and mushroom mixture.  Add the wine to the pan along with the basil and rosemary & mix then add cheese.  Cook for 1 more minute.  Drain of any excess fat, remove from heat and add tomatoes.

Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture.  Fill a baking dish with ¼-inch of water.  Place the filled zucchini shells in the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove the zucchini from the pan and serve immediately.

I’d planned on having rice with this, but it was filling all on it’s own.  YUM!

September 29, 2009

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bars

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bars

source: Food Network


  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups crisp brown rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup  roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup  dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup  dried figs or dates, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter, maple syrup, canola oil, brown sugar, cinnamon. Stir and cook until mixture just begins to bubble, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, combine oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, peanuts, apricots, figs and salt.

Pour peanut butter mixture over oatmeal mixture and stir gently with a spatula until well combined. Transfer to baking dish, cover with parchment paper and press firmly into dish. Allow to cool completely (will cool faster in the refrigerator). Cut into squares or bars.

September 26, 2009

Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans & Rice

Source Elly Says Opa

  • 1/2 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (I threw in a few chopped celery leaves for flavor)
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper(s)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning, divided
  • 14 oz. turkey smoked sausage
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet (something that has a lid) over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and 1/2 Tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning.  Sauté until vegetables are tender.

Add the sausage, tomato paste, parsley, bay leaves and rice.  Add the chicken broth, and beans. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until rice is done (approximately 55-60 minutes).  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Serves two adults, three kids and at least enough for three more adult meals.

September 23, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Adapted from My Kitchen Café, this was suggested as being served in a bread bowl, which would be sooo good, but we didn’t have them so I served in in a bowl with rolls on the side!  It made enough for two adults and three kids with enough left over for at least two more adult helpings and a lunch size or kid size meal.


  • 2 cans chicken broth or substitute with vegetable stock
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 4-5 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 4 c. milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 8 oz.  sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper


  1. Simmer broth and chopped onions for 15-20 minutes, covered in a small saucepan, until onions are soft.
  2. In large stock pot, steam broccoli florets until preferred doneness.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat milk in medium sauce pan over low-medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add butter and stir till melted. Slowly add flour, whisking to avoid lumps.  Stir and heat together on medium-high heat until soup starts to thicken.
  4. Pour milk mixture & chicken broth mixture into large pot with broccoli, adding grated cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted and serve immediately. 

September 11, 2009

Sweet & Smoky Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Sweet & Smokey Crusted Pork Tenderloin
This was to-die-for good.  Perfect blend of spices, crusty outer, moist and tender inner.  I served it with mashed sweet potatoes & grilled corn on the cob. 
Sweet & Smokey Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from:


  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Sweet & Smoky Rub
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins


  1. Preheat grill for medium heat.
  2. In a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, Grill Mates Rub, and brown sugar. Place tenderloins in bag then shake, toss and rub to coat meat evenly. Refrigerate for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Lightly prep grill grate with no-stick cooking spray, and arrange meat on grate. Cook for 25 minutes, turning meat every 5 minutes. Remove from grill, let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

August 28, 2009

Beef Shish-Kabobs

Beef Shish-Kabobs
1 lb super trim stew beef
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1 20 oz. can pineapple slices, chopped
McCormick Montreal Steak Grill Mates packet
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons wine vinegar
  • large Ziploc bag
1 package kabob skewers
Begin soaking skewers in a sink or bowl full of water.  Combine Grill Mates packet with water, olive oil & vinegar in Ziploc bag.  Let marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour.
Alternate chopped vegetables with meat and pineapple on the skewer then barbeque till done.  YUM!

Nearly-Chocolate Pudding Cake

Nearly-Chocolate Pudding Cake

Source: Delicious Meliscious. It was adapted for what I had on hand and was in the mood for.

If you find that you’re the only one in your house that loves chocolate (like me) this is a nice alternative to a “death by chocolate” cake recipe.  With a hint of vanilla it compliments the chocolate without overwhelming the taste buds!


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Yoplait Very Vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350*

Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (I use cooking spray).

In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix.  Pour in eggs, sour cream, oil and water. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

To remove cake from pan, a rubber or silicone spatula can be slid down the large fluted edges and this is usually sufficient to help release the cake.  To remove the cake, place a large plate over the Bundt pan and while holding the plate in place, invert the pan, the cake should drop unto the plate.

Cream Cheese Banana Bread & Orange Glaze

Orange Glazed Banana Bread

Source: Eat at Home


3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of mashed banana (about 4 medium bananas)
1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda


1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoons orange peel


If you’re lucky enough to have someone this cute and willing, let them mash the bananas in a small bowl till there aren’t any lumps.

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In a large bowl, blend together butter and cream cheese. Blend in the sugar till creamy, then the eggs, mashed bananas, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add them to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour into 2 well-greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes.  (I cooked mine for 75 minutes – the edges were juuuust about to get too brown so the time made me nervous and I removed them from the oven.  The inside was perfect!)  Remove loaves from pan onto cookie rack to cool.

For Glaze:  Start with less than the 3 Tablespoons of orange juice, stirring it into the powdered sugar until you get a nice consistency (about that of Elmer’s glue).  I recommend waiting to make the glaze until just before serving over the bread.

August 26, 2009

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee
This was perfected with the help of my mom while she was in town visiting.  The kids wanted to help taste test which lead to a lot of jumping and silliness but in the end I think it turned out as good as what you'd find in any coffee shop!  If you have the time and patience (which I don't), I also recommend making coffee ice cubes ahead of time so your drink isn't diluted when it comes time to pour it over ice!
Makes one serving, so if you plan on making more than one I recommend mixing in a blender. 

  • 1/8 cup refrigerated liquid coffee creamer - your choice of flavor – I’ve used both (Coffee Mate) French Vanilla & Vanilla Chai Spice
  • 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp (or just a sprinkle) nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 cup coffee
The glass I used holds approximately 14 oz of liquid.
1.  Start by adding coffee creamer, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg & honey.  Mix well.
2.  Add ice cubes/coffee cubes
3.  Fill your glass half full with coffee and mix well.  
4.  Add the rest of the coffee, mix again and enjoy!

August 14, 2009

Hula Joes

Hula Joes

Source:  Real Mom Kitchen

Dedicated to Jamie because I know how she loves her hamburger!!!


about 7 or 8 strips of smoked bacon, chopped (I love using kitchen shears for this job)

1 pound ground beef

1/4 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup tomato sauce

1 20 oz can pineapple tidbits

Hamburger buns



Cook bacon until crispy in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning once.*  Once cooked, remove bacon and set aside.  Drain the fat leaving the bacon drippings and about 3 Tablespoons of fat in the bottom of the pan (this can be approximate – I didn’t want a lot of fat but wanted to cook the beef in a lot of flavor.)

Return the skillet with bacon fat to medium high heat & add the ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook until the beef is no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire and tomato sauce.  Pour into the skillet and add pineapple.  Cook until warmed through and thickened. 

To serve simply pile the beef mixture over an open faced bun, slap the top on and enjoy!

(to avoid splattering I cover nearly all the way with the pan lid, cook for several minutes then turn the heat all the way down to low and wait a few minutes till the temperature drops before I stir.  Not only does this help reduce splattering (saving time in clean-up later but helps to avoid getting burned by the oil)

This will make approximately 8 Joes – depending of course on how high you pile it on!

Fry Sauce

Fry Sauce

If you live in Utah, or have ever visited Utah, you know what joy Fry Sauce is.  The savory, creamy dip that must accompany the French fry & tater tot.  To let a fry or tot go naked is a sin not many are willing to commit once they’ve tasted Fry Sauce.

What I’ve discovered, after leaving Utah, is that no one else seems to know what it is and therefore has been deprived of this lesser known comfort food.

The ingredients are simple:

3 hefty dollops of Mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)

hearty squirt of ketchup

The measurements are based solely on the number of fries or tots you have to dip.

Mix thoroughly, removing any lumps of mayo until you have a lovely shade of pink – if it’s coral in color add a little more mayo.  If it’s not pink enough, add a little more ketchup.  Mix till satisfied and enjoy your dipping!

August 13, 2009

Pasta & Chicken Sausage Bake

Pasta and Chicken Sausage Bake

Source: My Kitchen Cafe


  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 10 fresh oregano leaves, chopped (I sent my 10 year old out to pick “a bunch” of oregano and used what she brought in) – you could also use 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 2 - six ounce bags baby spinach
  • 12 ounces smoked chicken (or turkey) sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a large skillet, cook chopped onion until translucent then stir in garlic. Cook for another minute; avoid browning the garlic.

Stir in tomatoes and oregano; cook till heated through; add cream and warm through. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in the boiling water, according to package instructions. With about a minute and a half to spare on the cook time, add spinach, and cook just until wilted. Drain; return to pot.

Add tomato sauce, sausage, and 1/2 the Mozzarella to pasta; toss to coat. *Pour into 13x9 inch dish, top with remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes. and bake 20-30 minutes or until tops and sides are bubbly brown.

This served two adults and 3 small kids a second night of leftovers.

*If you want to save a second portion for another night entirely, rather than using the 13x9 inch dish, divide it evenly between two shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dishes, freezing one. To re-cook simply take the dish from the freezer, and cook approximately 30 minutes more than the original time.

August 3, 2009

Beach Street Lemon Chicken Linguine

Beach Street Lemon Chicken Linguinie
Source: My Kitchen Cafe, adapted slightly
**This recipe requires marinating the chicken for 3 hours so plan ahead**
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed (smashed with the back of a large knife or saucepan)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning (you could cut this down to 1 1/2 teaspoons if you want less heat.  I left it at 1 Tablespoon and the kids didn’t mention it being hot at all.)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (I’m a reduced sodium soy sauce convert after trying it in the Sesame Noodles)
  • 10-12 chicken tenders
Combine the marinade ingredients in a Ziploc plastic bag.  Add chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate 3-12 hours.
  • 1 lb. linguine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from one lemon (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 3 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1.  When ready to cook, pour contents of plastic bag (both marinade and chicken) into a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and sauce is reduced by half.
2.  Combine juice of one lemon, lemon zest, olive oil, green onions, Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3.  While the chicken is cooking, prepare linguine according to package directions; drain and add to pan with chicken. Pour lemon juice/olive oil/green onion mixture over pasta and mix well. Serve warm.

July 31, 2009

Greek Pizza

Greek Pizza

Source:  For the Love of Cooking

Greek Pizza:

  • Pillsbury pizza crust (in the tube)
  • corn meal (to sprinkle on pizza baking tray)
  • pizza sauce
  • 8 oz. Mozzarella cheese
  • feta cheese
  • 14 oz can artichoke hearts, very well drained & chopped
  • 5 oz. Kalamata olives, well drained & sliced in quarters lengthwise*
  • red onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (dried works too, but you’ll use much less)

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

For my pizza I used a pizza stone.  You could also use a pizza baking tray. 

Pizza Stone Directions:

You may refrain from using cooking spray and simply spread the corn meal around the stone, allowing for a crunchier crust and also discouraging any stuck corners.

Spread dough evenly over pizza stone.

Evenly spread sauce, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, tomato slices, red onions, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and oregano on top.

I cooked mine for 30 minutes but also opened the oven several times to test doneness (I’ve never made a pizza before!).  Since ovens vary, to avoid burning, I suggest starting with 20 minutes and going from there.  The center of the pizza should be hot and bubbly and begin to show browning – this is generally a great way to test doneness through and through.

Baking Pan or Cookie Sheet Directions:

Roll the dough into whatever shape and size of pizza you desire. Coat pan with cooking spray then sprinkle lightly with corn meal.

Spread dough evenly on baking tray/sheet.

Evenly spread sauce, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, tomato slices, red onions, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and oregano on top.

I recommend 18 minutes for a crispier crust, but since ovens vary you may need to monitor for doneness.

*I bought a 9.5 ounce jar of pitted olives and used about half.

July 29, 2009

Veggie Pizza

Veggie Pizza

Source (then adapted):  Pillsbury


2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations™ refrigerated flaky dough sheet

1 1/2 cup sour cream

1 Ranch Dressing packet

1 small head broccoli, chopped small

1 small zucchini, chopped small

1 yellow pepper, chopped small

1 red pepper, chopped small

1/2 package fresh mushrooms, chopped small

1 can olives, drained & chopped small


Mix sour cream and Ranch packet & refrigerate for 30 minutes

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray then unroll both cans of Crescent dough onto a cookie sheet and spread to fill to edges.  Bake as directed.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Chop all vegetables and mix gently in a large bowl. 

Spread Ranch dressing over the sheet of cooled crust then sprinkle vegetables over it pressing gently to let the vegetables settle into the dressing. 

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate before serving.

As a variation you could also use flavored cream cheese.

July 27, 2009

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Source: My Kitchen Cafe

These are so good!  An instant favorite this is creamy and warm and has the perfect amount of seasoning and kick without being spicy.  The lime juice makes it perfect!

  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used 10 chicken tenderloins)
  • 12-14 flour tortillas
  • 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 16 ounces green enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream

    Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate*. 

    Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking baking dish. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and any leftover marinade. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

    *You could easily let this marinate for as long as you have time for but after cooking the chicken and mixing it in the bowl, I let it sit while I washed the chicken pan (and a few other things that were lingering in my sink) and it was long enough to let the juices soak in.

July 25, 2009

Lemon Butter Asparagus

Steamed Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus

1/4 cup butter

3 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1 hard boiled egg

After prepping the asparagus, simply add to a shallow pan of water (I used a small skillet) and bring to boil then cook for about 5 minutes.

Using a metal strainer, push the egg through it to shred. 

Meanwhile melt 1/4 cup of butter in a microwave safe dish. To that, add approximately 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice & mix.

Once the asparagus is cooked, drain the water then drizzle the lemon butter sauce over top and sprinkle the eggs over top and garnish with paprika.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

I have no idea how I found the blog where I saw this recipe, but  Delicious Meliscious is a great source of new recipes at my house!


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 cups strawberry jam
2/3 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray and flour; set aside.

Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  On medium speed, add eggs and peanut butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

Sift together salt, baking powder, and flour.  Add to bowl of mixer on low speed; combine.  Add vanilla.

Transfer two-thirds of mixture to prepared pan; spread evenly with spatula.  Using spatula, spread jam on top of peanut-butter mixture.  Crumble remaining third of peanut-butter mixture on top of jam.  Sprinkle with peanuts.

Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool;

July 20, 2009

Crispy Zucchini Coins

Crispy Zucchini Coins

Found at BigOven


  • 1 1/2 half zucchinis - thinly sliced
  • 1 cup seasoned Italian croutons, crushed
  • 5 tablespoon Parmesan cheese - grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 each egg whites - lightly beaten
  • cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and pepper; mix well. Dip the zucchini slices in egg whites; dredge in bread crumb mixture. Place zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn zucchini over; bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until outside is crispy and browned.

Note: Baking time might be a bit long check after 8-10 minutes on first side, second side may only need about 5 more minutes.

I served mine with Seafood Manicotti.  They’d also be tasty served as a snack with a dip like Ranch dressing.

July 18, 2009

Zucchini Brownies

Zucchini Brownies

Found at Allrecipes, I needed a way to use up the gorgeous zucchini Stefanie gave us.  I’d planned on using half for the brownies and the other half for crab cakes…but after my oldest daughter spent 45 minutes making them & baking them, she removed them from the oven and they CRASHED to the floor leaving glass and chocolaty goo everywhere.  Needless to say they smelled too good not to use the rest of the zucchini to remake them and they were worth it!

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (left these out, eww!)


  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 (we went 45 minutes till the toothpick in the center came out clean.) minutes.

Frosting Directions

  1. Melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

July 12, 2009

Gazpacho: Make it Mango

Mango Gazpacho
Found at Allrecipes then adapted to suit our tastes.  As summer continues to heat up, I’m trying my hand at cool, no cook dishes.  I served this with beef shish-kabobs cooked on the grill.


2 & 2/3 cups diced fresh mangoes (about 4)
2 & 2/3 cups orange juice
1 cucumber sliced lengthwise – (seeds scraped out), diced
2 Tablespoons onion
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded*
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (could also use parsley or cilantro)
Sea salt & black pepper


Process mangoes, orange juice, onion & jalapeno in a blender or food processor until pureed.  Pour into a medium bowl, along with remaining ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste & mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until chilled. (Can be made several hours before serving.)
*This added nice flavor but not any heat – the kids didn’t notice at all.
Served our family of 5 with enough for a couple bowls the next day for lunch. 

June 22, 2009

Avocado Tomato Basil Sandwich

ATB Sandwich

So tired of hot foods after a long hot, summer day, I pulled a few things together, leftover from last night’s dinner, some rolls from the freezer & basil from the garden – voila!  Dinner is served!


4 ciabata rolls, split

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

1 to 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced thin

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thin

sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper


Preheat oven broiler to high. Under the broiler, toast bread halves on a baking sheet until golden brown. Remove from oven.  Top each half with sliced cheese and return to broiler till melted and bubbly.  Remove from oven.

On one half of each layer with avocados and sliced; lightly salt.

Sprinkle chopped basil over the tomatoes.  Top with black pepper.  Replace top half and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings.

June 21, 2009

Avocado & Olive Quesadillas

Avocado & Olive Quesadillas

I believe these are being presented as appetizers over at For the Love of Cooking, but I love having light dinners in the summer so I thought I’d give them a go.  They’re much more filling than you’d think and I’ve adapted it slightly to make enough for myself, hubby and my oldest daughter to have two each, leaving enough for the younger two to have one and for them to exclaim, “I’m fuuull...  “


1 6 oz can black olives, drained & diced
5 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, &
3 small baby bell peppers, finely chopped (I used 1 yellow pepper and a tomato because I didn’t have a red pepper on hand)
1 Tablespoon cilantro leaves (fresh is good but I already had the dried on hand)
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Flour tortillas
Mexican blend of shredded cheese


Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
Chop all of the vegetables, & stir together.   Toss with lime juice & salt.

Put tortillas on the baking sheet and broil until pale golden brown.  Turn tortillas over and cover with cheese; broil until melted and bubbling.  Divide avocado mixture among the tortillas, cut each tortilla into 4 wedges and serve immediately.

June 18, 2009

Asian Noodle & Chicken Salad

Asian Noodle & Chicken Salad
Like so many others, this was found (and slightly adapted) at For the Love of Cooking.  Simply put, this was amazing.  Perfect blend of flavors and textures. 

10 chicken tenderloins 
6 Tablespoons of seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
(about) 1 Tablespoon dried ginger
5 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce

Other Ingredients:
1 handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
2 green onions, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup of snow peas, cut in half (I left these out, but will include them next time!)
2 14 oz. cans mandarin oranges, well drained
3/4 cup cashews
14.5 oz spaghetti noodles, cooked per instructions

Combine marinade ingredients and chicken in a Ziploc bag and mix thoroughly then let it marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.  
1.  Star water boiling for spaghetti.
2.  Pour chicken and marinade from bag into skillet and cook, covered, on medium high until chicken is cooked through.  Using spatula, chop chicken into pieces directly in pan.  Turn off heat and cover to prevent the marinade from evaporating.
3.  Chop and prepare vegetables.  Combine all the veggies in the skillet with chicken, mix and return heat to medium heat.  Cover.
4.  Drain cooked spaghetti.
5.  Add chicken, veggies and mandarin oranges to the spaghetti.  Mix thoroughly and enjoy!

This made enough for my family of five with enough for leftovers for another night.

June 11, 2009

Thai Satay

Thai Satay
This recipe was given to me by Jenny, another friend I’ve made here in Texas!
2 lbs chicken
1 1/2 teaspoons curry
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce

1.  Put chicken in large glass or metal bowl.
2.  Combine curry,and sugar in small bowl.  Add to chicken and marinate at room temp for 5 minutes.
3.  Add 1/2 cup coconut milk and rice wine vinegar to mix and marinate at room temp for 1 hour.
4.  Grill while sprinkling with coconut milk until done.

Quick Satay Sauce
  1.  Cook onion in 1 tbsp oil until softened.
2.  Stir in peanut butter,  soy sauce, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and sweet chili sauce.
3.  Cook gently until smooth and heated through.

Because my kids are nuts for couscous, it’s our staple of choice with chicken!

June 1, 2009

Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette

Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette

Found at Our Best Bites, this was SO good!  I used it on my Strawberries & Orange Spinach Salad but it could definitely become a favorite for all my veggie salads!

  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (really, that's pretty optional; it all goes in the blender)
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. canola oil

In a blender, combine vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place lid on blender and blend on high. While blender is running, add oil in a steady stream. Store in refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks. Shake well before serving.

May 31, 2009

FruMexiVeggy & Fiesta Cornbread

FruMexi Veggy & Fiesta Cornbread

Ya, I don’t know about the title, but when I found the original recipe at Eat at Home (thank you for providing yet another dish for my family!!), I knew I had to try it.  When I made this my kids decided that since most of the ingredients weren’t vegetables and were in fact fruits (you know, cuz fruit has seeds?) it shouldn’t be called a vegetable dish!  So the title is what we came up with together. 

You’ll want to prepare and bake the bread first so it’s ready since the vegetables cook up so quickly!

‘Fiesta Cornbread’

1 cup corn meal

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 cup corn (I used frozen variety: thawed of course)

1 small can green chilies, drained

1/2 teaspoon chili powder


Pre-heat oven 425*

Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well.  Add milk, egg corn green chilies and chili powder.  Mix lightly just until moistened – avoid over mixing!

Pour into greased 8 inch square baking dish. 

Cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown.



2 yellow zucchini, chopped bite size

1/4 cup grated carrots

1 green pepper

1/2 half red onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tomato, diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

shredded cheese (topping)


Chop all the vegetables.  Sauté the onion and garlic in a large skillet.  Add all vegetables at once, sprinkle with seasonings.  Toss to coat then cover and cook on medium high about 5 minutes.  

Sprinkle shredded cheese over a slice of cornbread then top with hot vegetables – YUM!