December 30, 2011

Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are always hectic trying to get a real meal on the table for me.  We have so many goodies and snacks that it’s easy to forget to eat well.  Then you add all the baking that’s done for friends and neighbors and at the end of the day I just don’t want to cook.  Mel’s Kitchen Café offers up this soup as the perfect solution – it pulls together so fast and if you’re like me and have a lot of leftover turkey lying around in the freezer this would be the perfect place to use it up. 

If you like things a little spicier, adjust the red pepper flakes to suit your tastes.  The 1/4 teaspoon was perfect for us since the kids still haven’t adopted my love of spicy foods.  It added plenty of flavor without much heat.

I tweaked this recipe slightly by pureeing the onions, peppers and tomatoes before adding them to the pot.  My kids aren’t very picky eaters but these three things are triggers with them for some reason.  Pureeing the vegetables first, led to zero questions about the ingredients in their dishes!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 can (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7-8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or use about 3-4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/- inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the onions, pepper and tomatoes until smooth.
  2. In a large pot heat oil over medium heat and add the pureed vegetables. Add celery, and garlic. Cook 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the diced vegetables are tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (don’t add the cooked chicken, if using, you’ll add it near the end), stir well, and bring to a low boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through.
  4. If using cooked chicken, stir it in at this point and let it heat through. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnust

These are a tradition! at our house every year at Christmas.  I always had them growing up, and when my kids came along, they adopted the love of these little addictions.  Salty, crunchy, savory and warm they’re the perfect appetizer to throw on any holiday plate.

You can use regular bacon but I prefer the leaner, much less greasy texture of the turkey bacon.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 package turkey bacon, cut into thirds
  • toothpicks
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cooking sherry

Directions

Preheat Oven 350 degrees

  1. Cut each chestnut in half then wrap a slice of bacon (a third of a piece) around the chestnut, secure with a toothpick and place in a 13x9 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix the Worcestershire Sauce and sherry then pour over the wrapped chestnuts.
  3. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the bacon has begun to brown and get a little crispy.

December 21, 2011

Egg Nog Cookies

Egg Nog Cookies

Kay, look.  It’s four days before Christmas and while we are, in general, eating real food I’m also doing a lot of baking and since most of the food that we’re eating has been Good Stuff’d already you’re going to get a few more goodies before I jump back on the real food band-wagon.  Just roll with it, have one of these cookies from The Girl Who Ate Everything and enjoy! 

If your nutmeg doesn’t have a sprinkle-top lid, just use a flour sifter!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup salted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well with a wire whisk and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined.
  3. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets, 1″ apart.  Bake for 21-24 minutes or until bottoms turn light brown.
  4. Transfer to cool, flat surface immediately with spatula. Makes about 36 cookies.

Eggnog Icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup eggnog (might need more or less)
  1. In small mixer bowl, beat the powdered sugar and butter until well blended. Gradually beat in eggnog until icing is smooth and the desired consistency. You may need less or more depending on the consistency you like.
  2. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg after you ice the cookies.

December 19, 2011

Cran-Stachio Cookies

Cran-Stachio Cookies

The Girl Who Ate Everything offered up this recipe last year and I’ve had it sitting in my “Cookies” folder ever since.  This year, I wanted to send cookies to work with The Man for no other reason than to try out the recipe.  My being “nice” has nothing to do with it.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  The original recipe says it makes about 2 dozen but I doubled the batch and it made 5 dozen.

The simple directions lead you to believe you can be slack when baking these cookies but the fact is, it’s a little bit of trial and error with this step.  My first batch was baked for 8 minutes and came out doughy-looking even after letting them sit on the cookie sheet.  The next batch was in for 9 minutes following the same directions.  In the end I went with 8 minutes in the oven, 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and about 10 minutes on the cooling rack before I was happy with the soft, chewy, result.  My point is, test the first & second batch and taste for texture.  Cook ‘em how you like ‘em!

  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
  • 1 box (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dry roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. In a large bowl stir cookie mix, pudding, and flour. Add melted butter and eggs and stir until incorporated.
  2. Add pistachios and cranberries and mix well.
  3. Drop by rounded spoonsful onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.  Freezer-bag up what you’re not going to immediately eat and store for up to four weeks in the freezer.  When you’re ready to eat, take a couple out and eat frozen or let them sit for a few minutes to soften back up.

November 15, 2011

Sausage and Zucchini Lasagna

Sausage and Zucchini Lasagna

I didn’t change a thing about this recipe that I found on All Recipes and I’m in love with everything about it!  Lasagna is one of my favorite foods but I do not like the idea of taking all that time to prepare the dish.  For some reason, this recipe seemed extremely simplistic an I was skeptical that it would turn out alright.  I added yellow squash that we’d harvested, with our own hands, from a local farm which may or may not have added to this seriously, ridiculously tasty dish!  No Stouffers required!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles, or more if needed
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Pour about 1/4 cup of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the sausage and zucchini until the meat is no longer pink and the zucchini pieces are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain excess fat from the skillet, and set the sausage mixture aside. While the sausage and zucchinis are cooking, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg white, mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in a bowl until well combined.
  3. Place 3 lasagna noodles into the bottom of the baking dish on top of the spaghetti sauce, overlapping noodles slightly if necessary. Spread half the sausage-zucchini mixture on top of the noodles. Spread half the cheese mixture over the meat and zucchini, and pour 1 cup of spaghetti sauce evenly over the cheese mixture. Spread the sauce over the cheese mixture with a spoon or spatula. Repeat layers, starting with 3 more noodles, the rest of the sausage mixture, the rest of the cheese mixture, and 1 more cup of spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the lasagna is bubbling and the Parmesan cheese has browned, about 45 minutes.

November 5, 2011

Fresh-Lime Turkey Chili

Lime Turkey ChiligThis chili adapted from the recipe at  Pink Parsley, is the perfect way to start cooking for the cooler season that has finally made it’s way here in South Texas.  With a fresh hint of lime, this still plays at flavors of summer but the hearty, meaty chili definitely says fall!  I shredded cheese on top and served with a big helping of corn bread.

Be sure to give yourself enough time to prepare this recipe; it takes about 30 minutes to prepare and two to three hours to cook.

Ingredients

  • 1 slice sandwich bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus more for serving
Options for serving:
  • fresh cilantro
  • Pepper Jack cheese
  • sliced avocados

Directions

1.  Mash the bread and milk into a paste in a large bowl using a fork.  Mix in the ground turkey.

2.  Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno, and cook until they are softened, 5-7 minutes.  Add the chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.

3.  Stir in the turkey and cook, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce, scraping up any browned bits. 

4.  Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, beans, 3 tablespoons of water, soy sauce and honey.  Cover and cook on low 2-3 hours.

5. Stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and (optional) cilantro.

September 23, 2011

Farmer’s Salad

DSC_0322 copy

In an attempt to hold onto summer a little longer I wanted a salad for dinner that wasn’t the same salad we’ve had a hundred times over the last four months. For the Love of Cooking provided this recipe and it hit the spot with creamy textures, lots of dill and plenty of garlicky goodness.   

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. container of large curd cottage cheese
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup of sugar snap peas, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled & diced
  • 4-5 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Dice all of the vegetables.
  2. Combine the cottage cheese with the yellow bell pepper, orange bell pepper, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and cucumber in a large bowl.
  3. Add the chopped dill and season with a dash of garlic powder, and sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  4. Mix until evenly coated. Taste and re-season if needed.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Ginger Snap Cookies

Ginger Snap Cookies

It’s September and despite the 100 degree temperatures that we’re still enduring here in the south, our house is outfitted in browns, oranges, pumpkins, and fall scented candles.  These cookies, found at All Recipes, were an instant hit with their chewy middles and crispy outer shell.  They are the perfect treat to herald in the harvest season. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2  cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup white sugar for decoration
Directions
Preheat oven to 375*
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil, molasses, and eggs.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Roll each ball in white sugar before placing 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven, or until center is firm. Cool on wire racks.

Makes approximately 5 dozen and they freeze amazingly well!

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September 6, 2011

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Beef Stew 

Taken from All Recipes this is an instant go-to Sunday night dinner.  Served up in big bowls and rolls from the can, (because I’m classy like that) this couldn’t be simpler to pull together.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 potatoes, diced small
  • 4 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
Directions
  1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  2. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Beef Stew

Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

September 1, 2011

Miss Rachel’s Pineapple Cake

Miss Rache's Pineapple Cake

Back in the day, when I lived in Utah, Miss Rachel used to whip up some of the best food for us!  Besides the Crunchy Lime “scrimps”, she pulled this effortless cake together and until the other day, when I stumbled on it while browsing old recipes, I’d forgotten about it!  It’s moist, sweet and completely worth making again and again!

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Mix all cake ingredients in a large bowl and pour into a 13x9 cake dish.
  2. Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  3. Mix frosting ingredients in a bowl, mix well then spread over cooled cake.

Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

August 11, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I’d never had a lettuce wrap and I was excited to give another new recipe a try.  These, found at All Recipes, cooked up really fast, with very little prep and the kids had theirs half gone before I even sat down after taking the picture; the little guy’s WAS gone.  They loved them!  The husband didn’t like the idea of it being wrapped up in a lettuce leaf, but he went back for seconds so I’m going to take the liberty of saying he got over it.  Next time, just to snob these up a little, I’ll try shredded beef rather than ground.

*update: The third time I made these, I used ground pork instead of beef and it was really good.  Much better than beef…even better than ground beef.  Worthy of changing the recipe, actually – but I won’t because I know plenty of people who love their beef.

  • 1 head of Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or pork
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
Directions
  1. Separate the lettuce leaves from the head, rinse the leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef. Drain, reserving about a tablespoon of the fat in the pan, then put the hamburger into a separate bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and vinegar to the onions, and stir. Stir in chopped water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  4. Put a spoonful of the beef mixture into a leaf of lettuce, sprinkle with the shredded carrot, then wrap the lettuce and enjoy!

Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

August 8, 2011

Key Lime Cupcakes

Key Lime Cupcakes

I was asked to make something to include in a raffle for my husband’s work so they could raise money for their Christmas party.  From Betty Crocker, these not-too-sweet, very limey cupcakes were exactly as delicious as they sound.  The kids loved them (I doubled the batch so they could decorate and eat some), the hubs said they’re the best he’s ever had and he raised $25 for the batch he took in to work.  I’d say they were a success.

Cupcakes

  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • box lime-flavored gelatin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 limes)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • lime zest

Heat oven to 350°F

  1. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, beat cupcake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
  2. Bake 19 to 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack. With toothpick or wooden skewer, pierce tops of cupcakes in several places.
  3. In small bowl, mix 1 cup powdered sugar and enough of the 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle and spread glaze over cupcakes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in vanilla and 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixed; beat on medium speed until fluffy. Frost cupcakes, mounding and swirling frosting in center. Garnish with lime peel. Store covered in refrigerator.

Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

August 3, 2011

Tex-Mex Catalina Salad

Tex-Mex Catalina Salad

I saw this recipe at Real Mom Kitchen and, given my love for Chili Cheese Fritos, I knew I had to try it.  I did change a few things including making my own Catalina dressing since it’s fast, easy and I like knowing exactly what I’m eating.  You know, like the what’s in the red and yellow bag of Fritos that I’m currently wolfing down now that dinner has come and gone.

The dressing, found at Food makes about a cup and a half of dressing and I didn’t use all of it in the salad because I don’t like a runny salad.  I used about a half a cup but you can use as much as you like.

Salad Ingredients

  • 14.5 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10.5 oz. container grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 oz. can of chopped olives
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 10.5 oz. bag of Chili Cheese Fritos

Catalina Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper

    Directions

    1. Toss all the salad ingredients together in a big bowl except the Fritos
    2. In a large measuring/pour-easy dish mix all the dressing ingredients and whisk well.
    3. Pour as much of the dressing as you like over the salad and toss well.  Refrigerate until ready to eat, pour the Fritos over top of your salad and enjoy!

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

  • July 15, 2011

    Blueberry Coffee Cake

    Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

    Nothing quite finishes off an afternoon like coffee cake straight from the oven.  Too hot to go outdoors and bored out of our gourdes, my eldest girl-child helped pull this quick treat together that I found at Joy of Baking.  It wasn’t overly sweet which we all enjoyed.  Despite the coffee mug in the photo, I opted to make up a tall glass of iced coffee rather than a hot cuppa which was even better for a summer afternoon treat.

    Streusel Topping:

    • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

    Cake Batter:

    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 2 cups fresh blueberries

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, an 8 x 8 inch square dish.

    Streusel Topping 

    1. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and ground cinnamon.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside while you make the cake batter.

    Cake

    1. In a separate small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Add the flour mixture, alternately with the milk, and beat only until combined. 
    3. Evenly spread the batter onto the bottom of an 8x8 cooking dish, coated with non-stick cooking spray or butter.
    4. Evenly arrange the blueberries on top of the cake batter and then sprinkle with the streusel topping.
    5. Bake for about 40 -50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. 

    Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    July 13, 2011

    Tortellini Spinach Bake

    Tortellini Spinach Bake

    I’m short on time this morning so I’m going to whip through this one and just say the recipe from Our Best Bites is easy to prepare, cooks up quick and was a unanimous crowd pleaser.  The pasta is found in the dry pasta aisle and  despite the fact that I love bacon, I despise cooking it (and the mess it makes!) so I used pre-cooked bacon.  If you don’t like pre-cooked, simply cook up your favorite kind of bacon, remove it from the pan, once cooked, reserving 2 tablespoons of the grease in your pan for the garlic etc. omitting the olive oil.

    Ingredients

    • 12 oz. bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortellini
    • 8 strips pre-cooked bacon, chopped
    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 2 Tablespoons flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry basil
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1 medium lemon
    • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
    • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
    • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

    1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
    2. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in small skillet.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute.  Add flour and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth.  Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes then bring sauce to a simmer.
    3. While sauce is heating, zest the lemon, then cut it in half and remove juice.  Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.
    4. Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot.  Reserve about 2 strips of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture.  Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Add sauce and gently stir to combine.
    5. Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 baking dish and top with remaining cheeses and bacon.

    Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    July 7, 2011

    Cake in a Mug

    DSC_9074 copy

    I don’t keep many sweets in the house which means I don’t have chocolate on-hand most of the time but there are times when I’d be willing to sell one of my children for just one square of the good stuff.  This “cake” comes out a little bigger than an average cupcake and hits the spot in just under five minutes! 

    Source: Instructables

    Ingredients

    • coffee mug
    • 4 tablespoons flour
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    • 2 tablespoons whisked egg
    • 3 tablespoons milk
    • 3 tablespoons oil
    • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips
    • splash vanilla

    Directions

    1. Mix everything well in your mug (make sure you mix in the flour that likes to stick to the bottom)
    2. Cook in the microwave, on high for between 3-5 minutes depending on the power of your microwave.  A good indicator is, when you can smell it, it’s probably done!
    3. Let this thing cool - it comes out very hot!  Dollop on a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream if you need an extra sugar kick.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    July 5, 2011

    Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts

    DSC_8944 copy

    We all know The Pioneer Woman turns out some mean recipes so I don’t often use her site as a reference for Maynard.  You know where she is and you’ve seen her recipes.  But I decided to make an exception for this one because she said it was a good “week-day” meal and after realizing I had all the ingredients in my cupboard & fridge I decided to give it a go.  Because it cooked up fast, was super filling and was an instant hit with the kids I couldn’t resist posting it! 

    Ingredients

    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 onion, finely diced
    • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained & quartered
    • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 pound thin spaghetti
    • 1 cup parmesan cheese
    • 2 Tablespoons chives (or other herbs) chopped

    Directions

    1. While water comes to a boil for the pasta, melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion then sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
    2. Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes, then stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
    3. At this point the pasta water should be pretty close to boiling and ready to add the pasta.
    4. Stir the cream and chicken broth into the artichokes and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.
    6. Place cooked & drained pasta in a large bowl & pour sauce over the top. Add chives & nutmeg. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.  Sprinkle with parmesan.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    July 2, 2011

    Fruit Pizza

    Fruit Pizza

    This is one of my all-time favorite desserts!  I made and posted it to Maynard a couple years ago but couldn't keep my hands off of it so I haven’t made it since.  This weekend though, I'll be making it again for our neighborhood 4th of July party and while tradition calls for red, white and blue colors for such desserts, I'm not much for following the rules and far prefer the variety of these pretty colors.  I'm crazy like that.

    The dough tends to be easier to work with when it's been opened and been allowed to sit out on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes or so before stretching over the cookie sheet. 

    The question here is are you a perfectionist or a get ‘er done kind of person?  The perfectionist (or the person who wants the pretty picture) will cut this into squares then add the fruit to each square, individually.  The get ‘er done’er will toss on the fruit and slice to serve.  Either way will produce a delicious can’t-keep-your-hands-off-it-dessert.  So this step, my friends, is up to you.  I know you like options.  You’re welcome.

    Ingredients

    • 16 oz. sugar cookie dough mix
    • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • fruits of your choice, chopped if needed

    Directions

    1. Spread cookie dough evenly over a greased cookie sheet, sprinkling a little flour as needed to help with stickiness.  Puncture evenly with fork to avoid bubbling while cooking.  Bake at 350* until golden brown (about 12 minutes). 
    2. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
    3. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cooled cookie crust. 
    4. Top with fruit.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    June 30, 2011

    Sausage Frittata

    Sausage Frittata

    I made this back in March and it was so good I knew I had to make it again for the picture I didn’t take the first time!  Fresh, easy and full of protein, for me this is a perfect go-to dinner choice.  I made steamed artichokes to go with it and the kids didn’t make a peep other than the sound of their chewing! 

    Ingredients

    • 8 eggs
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 pound pork sausage
    • 1 tablespoon basil, roughly chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 small zucchini, sliced thin
    • 1/2 white onion, diced fine
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 350

    Directions

    1.  Whisk eggs and water in a bowl and set aside.

    2.  Cook sausage through with basil, garlic and a dash of salt and pepper. Drain fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan to cook the vegetables in.  Remove sausage from the pan and set aside. 

    3.  Add the sliced zucchini and onions to the oil. Sauté for about 5-10 minutes until a little brown; salt and pepper. 

    4.  Add the sausage & eggs into the pan. Cook over low heat until the edges begin to get firm.

    5.  Place entire pan into oven and cook at 350 for about 30 minutes.

    After it is cooked, remove from oven and let sit for a couple minutes before cutting and serving!

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    June 28, 2011

    Easy Crockpot Pork Carnitas

    Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

    I decided to try carnitas after Kate, a mom in the Meet-up group I joined when I moved to the Dallas area, convinced me I should try them.  I’d never had them before and they sounded so good I was anxious to try my hand at them.  Unfortunately, my first attempt was a sorrowful FAIL.  Just “meh”, the recipe was deleted from my Menu folder and I was hesitant to try them again. 

    Then I saw this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything.  Easy?  Check.  Very few ingredients?  Check.  Something I can put throw together then go about my day until dinner-time?  Check!  These were juicy, tender, full of flavor and will definitely be made again soon!

    Ingredients

    • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
    • 16 oz. jar salsa verde
    • 10 oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes
    • 4 oz. can diced green chilies
    • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • lime

    Directions

    1.  Place all of the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until pork easily forks apart.  Short on time?  Four hours on high will get the job done too!

    2.  Shred pork and squeeze lime juice over the meat.

    3.  Place pork (don’t forget the saucy goodness from the crock pot!!) on flour tortillas and top with your favorites: cheese, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream and a squeeze of lime.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    June 23, 2011

    Italian Orange Cream

    Italian Orange Cream

    The Man, aka my husband, made this.  Sometimes he amazes me with his “throw together” skills.  Other times, such as the time he thought putting a can of green beans, and pork & beans together with some creamed corn?  Not so much.

    This was creamy, cold and very refreshing.  I’ll definitely be asking him to make it for us again!

    Ingredients

    • 1 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
    • 1.5 oz. DiSaronno Italian liquor
    • 8 oz. orange juice

    Pour over ice & mix.  Enjoy responsibly!

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    June 21, 2011

    Double Decker Veggie Grilled Cheese

    Veggie Grilled Cheese

    We are finally settled in our house, here in Houston, and despite the fact that I still don’t have pictures hung on the walls, I’m ready to start sharing recipes again! 

    When I started mixing the ingredients together for these sandwiches, found in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, January 2011, I had pizza in mind as a back-up plan; they did not look promising. 

    I wasn’t convinced they’d be would worth eating until one of the kids, after taking the first bite, mumbled “mmm” through a mouthful.  They were right-on!  With an inventive spin on the classic grilled cheese, these were an easy, no stove-top, meal this will definitely be a go to for summer dinners!

    Ingredients

    • 1 16 oz. jar pickled vegetables, rinsed, drained & chopped
    • 3 cups packed fresh baby spinach leaves
    • 6 oz. mozzarella cheese, chopped into cubes
    • 2 tablespoons dried red tomatoes, chopped 
    • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 12 slices buttered toast

    Directions

    1. Place all ingredients, except toast, into a microwave safe bowl.  Stirring every 30 seconds, cook uncovered for about 2 minutes or just until the mixture is warm, the spinach is wilted, and the cheese is beginning to melt.
    2. Layer half the vegetable mixture onto four slices of the toast.  Top each sandwich with a second slice of bread then add the remaining vegetable mixture.  Place a third slice of toast on top, slice and enjoy!

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    May 23, 2011

    Cowboy Dinner

    Cowboy Dinner

    I was very skeptical about this recipe found at Mel’s Kitchen Café because ground beef casseroles generally all taste the same and offer very little flavor or variety.  Seriously simple though, the recipe called for me to pull it together and give it a shot and I’m so glad I did.  Surprisingly, there was a lot of different flavors throughout this dish and the corn bread topping pulled the entire thing together so well.  It made a lot of food and could easily serve 6 adults.

    Since we were given a huge portion of a grass-fed cow I don’t feel so bad eating all this ground beef…and we have a lot of it to get through! 

    Moo.

    Ingredients

    • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
    • 12 oz. salsa
    • 1 15 oz. can black, pinto or white beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    Cornbread Topping

    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • 1 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 1/4 cup milk

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 375

    1. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan and set aside.
    2. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and onion, adding the salt and pepper, over medium-high heat until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the grease from the pan. Stir in the corn, salsa, and beans. Pour the beef mixture into the prepared 9X13-inch baking pan and set aside.
    3. For the cornbread, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and add the oil, beaten eggs and milk. Whisk together until just moistened and no dry spots remain.
    4. Sprinkle the cheese over the beef mixture and pour the cornbread batter over the cheese and beef mixture. Gently spread the cornbread to the edges of the pan, evening it out over the top of the casserole.
    5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the edges are bubbly and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    May 19, 2011

    Berry Spinach Smoothie

    Spinach Berry Smoothie

    I’d heard before that putting spinach in a smoothie is a great way to incorporate more of it into the diet.  I was skeptical because although I like spinach for a lot of things, the idea of putting it in my fruit-sweet smoothie didn’t appeal to me.  After being sick all week, any little bit of extra help getting better is worth the try! 

    Originally I left out the strawberries and I could taste enough of the spinach to know I wouldn’t finish the smoothie that way.  So I tossed a few in the blender and voila!  No more spinach flavor.  Yay, me!

    I say a small handful of spinach because that’s just what I did.  Then I got worried that there may be some of you out there panicking right now at the idea of having to guess at the measurement.  It’s ok, I do it too.  So I went back to the bag of spinach, pulled out the same amount and counted the leaves.  Just for you.  Because I’m cool like that.  I counted 18 leaves.  So give or take, it’s a small handful.

    Ingredients

    • 1 medium orange, peeled
    • 8-10 red seedless grapes
    • 5 strawberries, hulled
    • 4 heaping spoons full plain unsweetened yogurt
    • 1/4 cup raw almonds
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • small handful baby spinach
    • ice, as much or as little to get the texture you like

    Directions (in case you’re uncertain how to make a smoothie)

    1.  Pour everything into the blender and blend.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    May 17, 2011

    Tarragon Egg Salad

    Tarragon Egg Salad

    Adapted from Simply Recipes with what we had on hand; aka what I didn’t forget at the grocery store.  We had this for dinner because I love to have sandwiches for dinner.  They’re easy, fast clean-up and little or no cooking is required.  I bought some “fancy” kettle potato chips, had some grapes waiting in the freezer and called this a yummy almost-summer dinner! 

    The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of fennel which I wanted to use, but misread when I wrote my grocery list for the week and came home with fennel seed instead so I left it out, unsure how that would turn out.  I’ll give it a whirl next time!

    Ingredients
    • 12 hard boiled eggs*, peeled and chopped
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
    • 1/2 cup chopped green onions, including the greens
    • 1 Tablespoon dried tarragon leaves
    • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    * To hard boil eggs, put eggs in a large pot, cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil.  Turn heat all the way down to low.  Cover and cook for 12 minutes Drain, run under cold water to stop the cooking and to cool down the eggs.

    Directions
    Gently combine all of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    May 12, 2011

    Brown Bag Popcorn

    Paper Bag Popcorn

    Popcorn popped this way is so light and fluffy.  Full of air instead of the chemicals the microwave varieties can have.  Now I have to be honest, once I made this a few dozen times I went out and bought one of these little babies and haven’t looked back since, but the concept is the same!

    There are countless things you can do with popcorn to add tons of flavor without all the additives. 

    We also tried cinnamon sugar and salt but don’t forget plain salt.  There’s just something oddly satisfying about sitting down to watch a movie at home with a big bowl of warm, salted popcorn. 

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup popping corn, un-popped
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil, optional
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • brown paper lunch bag

    Directions

    1.  IF you choose to use oil, toss the un-popped corn, olive oil and salt, in the paper bag. Otherwise, simply place un-popped corn in the bag, then fold the top of the bag over twice (tape it if you’re worried about spillage).  I taped mine because I’m a worrier.

     

    2.  Place the bag in the microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes to 3 minutes, or until there are about 5 seconds between pops.

    3.  Carefully remove bag from microwave and give it a good shake to coat the popcorn with any loose salt.  If you didn’t use oil, pour the popcorn into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings like melted butter, seasonings (have you tried pepper on popcorn?  YUM!) or eat it all by it’s gloriously low-calorie popped self.

    May 9, 2011

    Homemade Maple Syrup

    Homemade Maple Syrup Sinzibuckwud, or ‘sweet water’ having come from the maple tree, was used by the Aborigines of North America for it’s sugar content long before European settlers arrived and began pouring it over their crumpets and porridge.*  There wasn’t any high fructose corn syrup to speak of and the all natural sweetener was used in a variety of ways to sweeten foods.  Tell me this; what’s the big deal with hfcs?  Is it because it’s processed?  I don’t get it.  I’ve Googled it to death and don’t really understand why it’s worse for our bodies than pure sugar. This turned out very well, if just a little thinner than I’m used to – but no thinner than pure maple syrup purchased in a grocery store. 

    I’d say this syrup is between imitation syrup and real maple syrup in it’s consistency; which is to say I didn’t mind that it was slightly more runny than the fake junk I regularly consume on our waffles.  Also, I don’t like how sweet real maple syrup is and this recipe didn’t turn out near as sweet as that.  Happy!

    The recipe, found at All Recipes, makes two cups and I stored it in a washed jam jar.  I haven’t refrigerated it because it will likely all be consumed this week along with the double batch of waffles that were made this morning.  Honestly I found conflicting ideas on how syrup should be stored so do a little research and do what you will with it.

    Ingredients
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon maple extract
    Directions
    1. Bring the water, white sugar, and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
    2. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the maple extract; simmer 10 minutes longer.

    Source: Wikipedia

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    May 5, 2011

    Chocolate Banana Bread

    Chocolate Banana BreadBananas are the one fruit that I wait, with enthusiasm, to go bad!  Ok, maybe not bad, but real brown and soft.  This bread, found at Savory Sweet Life hit the spot with just enough sweetness from the chocolate and the bananas kept it soft and moist.  The perfect combo for a dessert bread, in my not so humble opinion.  The recipe below makes two loaves; we broke into one and froze the other for another day.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
    • 2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

    Directions:

    Preheat over to 350 degrees.

    1. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan, with non-stick spray.
    2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla until well blended.
    3. Add baking soda, cocoa, and flour. Mix everything until well incorporated. Add chocolate chips.
    4. Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean.
    5. Remove from heat and allow bread to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes. Invert the loaf pans onto a cooling rack.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing here; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    May 2, 2011

    Pizza Pizzazz Salad

    Pizza Pizzazz Salad

    I started receiving the Better Homes and Gardens magazine back in January, recycling the unworthy issues and dog-earing several pages in others.  I’ve managed to keep only two on my shelf at a time and the 2011 BH&G Cookbook Supplement is where I found then adapted this little beauty. I’m determined not to clutter my shelves with these magazines so as soon as I’m done going through and testing the choicest recipes, I’ll be doing my earthly duty and recycling.  Unless I decide to start gift-wrapping in magazine pages.  Which isn’t entirely out of the realm of my reality.

    I served this with baby red potatoes, and after the five of us had had our fill, there was still enough left over for two day’s of lunch for myself.

    Ingredients

    • 5 oz. Spring Mix salad
    • 3 oz.baby spinach
    • 10 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 red pepper, chopped
    • 1 15 oz. can white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
    • handful of pepperoni slices (about 24-ish pieces)
    • 5 oz. crumbled blue cheese
    • 1 recipe herb dressing, below

    Dressing

    • 1/2 cup evoo
    • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

    For dressing:  In a screw-top container or salad dressing jar with tight fitting lid, mix all ingredients and shake to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

    Directions

    1. In a large salad bowl pour in tomatoes, beans, onion, red pepper salad and spinach. 
    2. Toss with dressing and top with blue cheese.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing here; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    April 28, 2011

    Oven-Roasted Veggies & Pasta

    Oven-Roasted Veggies & PastaThe first time I made this, from Real Mom Kitchen, we had just finished doing circuits with the kids and a friend and I needed something that made bunches of food and would cook up fast – but it needed to be healthy and have protein to fuel our muscles.  Because we’re cool like that.  I was starving by the time it was ready so I didn’t take the time to take a picture, knowing I’d make it a second time the following week.  And that's what I did.

    This easily hit the yum-factor, spot-on and was full of flavors from the roasted vegetables and I felt good eating it and serving it knowing all the ingredients that went in were wholesome. Except for the sausage which came from Oscar Meyer but you can be even more awesome than me, and buy fresh turkey sausage or organic sausage & whole wheat pasta or whatever healthful stuff you want!  Me?  I went with white pasta because that’s what I had.  The veggies?  Probably sprayed with pesticides – but I closed my eyes and pretended it was all organic and it was good stuff, Maynard!

    Ingredients

    • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
    • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, quartered
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 medium red or yellow pepper, chopped
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • pepper to taste
    • 1 (12 oz.) package turkey sausage of your choice
    • 12 oz. linguine, uncooked

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    1. Place zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, and bell pepper in a shallow baking pan.  Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss to coat.
    2. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly brown; stir occasionally.
    3. In the meantime, cook linguine according to package directions and drain.
    4. After vegetables are soft, sprinkle sausage on top of vegetables and bake 5 more minutes or until sausage is heated.
    5. Toss cooked pasta with the vegetable/sausage mixture,  sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing here; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    April 25, 2011

    Ham & Cheese Sliders

    Ham & Swiss SlidersDo you have any idea why we eat ham for Easter?  Neither did I.  I thought I did it because my mom did, and my grandma, and her mother before her and so in the interest of tradition, I will generally buy a ham for Easter dinner.  This year, I wondered where the tradition itself came from. 

    It seems it may have come from the Northern European Pagans who would slaughter and preserve their agricultural animals in the fall to feed themselves through the winter.  Then to celebrate the vernal equinox, the emerging plants and wildlife and to shed a few pounds for bikini season gain the sought-after state of "altered consciousness" in time for the spring festivals, they would fast.  Then in celebration of the end of their fasting they would eat the last of their cured meats from the winter which would, of course, include pork.* 

    My plan for these little sandwiches, found at Our Recipe Club, was to use up whatever ham was left over from our Easter dinner.  I decided, however, not to spend a fortune on a huge ham and opted instead for black forest ham from the deli.  Easy!  These turned out as good as the picture makes them out to be with tons of flavor and gooey cheese and salty ham.

    Ham & Swiss Sliders

    I halved the recipe from what’s shown below because I don’t need 24 to feed the five of us – but these would be SO perfect to take with you next time you’re called to bring something with you, they can be assembled a day ahead & kept in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them.

    Ingredients

    • 24 of your favorite rolls (I used a Sweet Multi-Grain)
    • 24 pieces black forest ham
    • 24 slices Swiss cheese  
    • 1/3 cup miracle whip

    Poppy Seed Sauce

    • 1 1/2 Tablespoon poppy seeds
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoon yellow mustard
    • 1 stick butter, melted
    • 1 Tablespoon minced green onion
    • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350*

    1. Spread Miracle Whip onto both sides of the center of each roll.  Place a slice of ham & a slice of Swiss inside on each roll.  Close rolls & place into a baking dish, smooshing close together.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients then pour (or brush) evenly over all of the sandwiches.  Let sit 10 minutes, or until butter sets slightly.
    3. Cover with foil & bake 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Uncover & cook for 2 additional minutes.  Serve warm.

    *Source: Goddess Gift

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing here; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    April 24, 2011

    Deviled Eggs

    Deviled EggsYesterday was our day to color eggs for the Easter bunny to hide.  As usual, I took the opportunity to give a lesson on why we color eggs and where the story of the Easter bunny comes from. 

    I love the story of Ostara, goddess of spring and fertility.  Arriving late for spring one year, she was saddened to find a tiny bird whose wings were frozen by the long winter’s snow.  Ostara turned the bird into a snow hare, giving him the ability of speed to avoid hunters and survive the winter but she honored his past form by allowing him to lay eggs.  His eggs were no ordinary eggs, as they were all the colors of the rainbow!

    As the story goes, however, Ostara was angered by the hare’s wild ways with the lady hares and banished him to the skies to live out the rest of his life as the constellation Lepus, forever under the careful watch of the constellation, Orion, the hunter.  Still favoring the animal, Ostara allows him one night of freedom each year, to come to earth and hide his colored eggs for the children.

    DSC_8254 copy Deviled EggsAdapted from Simply Recipes

    Ingredients

    • 1 dozen hard boiled eggs, peeled
    • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 Tablespoon green onion,minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce 
    • Salt
    • Paprika

    Directions

    1. Using a sharp knife, slice each egg in half, lengthwise. Gently remove the yolk halves and place in a small mixing bowl. Arrange the egg white halves on a serving platter.
    2. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the yolks and add mustard, mayonnaise, onion, Cholula, and salt to taste. Spoon egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Sprinkle with paprika.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing here; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    April 21, 2011

    Kicked Up Ramen Noodles

    Kicked Up Ramen Noodles

    Ramen Noodles stir up memories of the days before I had kids.  Back when sodium, preservatives and ingredients that are un-pronounceable in the English tongue were kind-of hip in a “I’m too young to care what I eat” kind of way. 

    This was delicious and I felt like I was cheating, eating all those sinfully curly noodles!  The smells coming from the kitchen were heavenly; peanuts, garlic and, well, do I really even need to mention anything after that?  Cooked up fast, the ingredients were inexpensive and I will definitely add this to my “go to” dinner file.

    The only things I changed from Mel’s Kitchen, since I didn’t have hoisin sauce (forgot to pick it up at the store), was I substituted in soy sauce.  It worked well, but I’ll definitely not want to miss out on the flavors of it next time I make this dish.  I also did not have scallions.  GRR!  So it went scallion-less and I pulled out a frozen bag of edamame to green up dinner a little.

    Ingredients

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 8-10 chicken tenderloins
    • 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
    • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (I pulled mine from a package of trail mix since the kids leave those anyway)
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • 4 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles, discard seasoning packets!
    • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 4 scallions (green onions), sliced thin

    Directions

    1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium to medium-high heat until it is hot. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Add it to the pan in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally.  As it cooks, using a plastic spatula, begin cutting it into cubes – continue cooking until cooked through.  Remove the chicken and set aside.
    2. Add the last tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat until hot. Add the red bell pepper and the peanuts then cook until the pepper is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside with the chicken.
    3. Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes to the remaining oil in the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds to 1 minutes.
    4. Stir in the chicken broth. Add Ramen noodles to the pan (you can break them before adding, but we like them long and curly!). Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, tossing the ramen constantly with tongs to separate, until ramen is just tender but there is still a bit of liquid in the pan, about five minutes.
    5. Stir in the hoisin sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil and continue to simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken, peppers and peanuts. Sprinkle with green onions before serving.

    Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing here; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

    April 19, 2011

    Banana Pudding Milkshake

    Banana Pudding Milkshake

    I won’t name names, but someone just had to go and mention the fact that they had bought, and fallen in love with, the new banana pudding milk shake Chic-Fil-A just came out with for spring.  If you know me at all you know I’m extremely susceptible to the suggestion of food and I’ve been craving that shake since!  I looked it up on their restaurant site and the list of ingredients is a mile long – some I couldn’t pronounce and others I’d have to look up in a dictionary to figure out what, exactly, it is.

    I knew that I could come up with my own version and make it, while not healthy, definitely healthier.  You could also use the fat free, sugar free Jell-O but honestly I don’t want to ingest aspartame any more than I want to ingest some of the restaurant ingredients. 

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups cold milk
    • 1 small package (3.4 oz.) Jell-O instant banana cream pudding, divided in half
    • 8 vanilla wafer cookies
    • 1 ripe banana
    • 1 cup ice

    Directions

    1. Put milk, half the package of pudding mix, banana and vanilla wafers in blender and blend till smooth.
    2. Add ice and blend till smooth.

    This will make two smaller servings or, if you’re like me, one large serving!

    Pin It

    April 18, 2011

    Broiled Grapefruit

    DSC_7996 copy
    If you haven’t noticed, Maynard is on Facebook with the rest of the human race!  Take a minute to Like Maynard and get updates right on your wall!

    When I saw this recipe at Fitter than Choc, I knew I had to try it.  We all love grapefruit in my house and this is a tasty new way to enjoy it.  Try it for breakfast with some granola, for dessert with some good vanilla ice cream or a late night snack when you’re craving something sweet. 

    Ingredients

    • 1 large grapefruit
    • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Directions

    Pre-heat the broiler

    1. Cut the grapefruit around the edge, just inside the peel, then trace each individual membrane of the grapefruit into segments.
    2. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of brown sugar on each half, then sprinkle ground cinnamon and nutmeg on each half.
    3. Broil the grapefruit, face up for 10-15 minutes, or until caramelized. 

    April 14, 2011

    Kale & Lemon Pasta Salad

    DSC_7938 copy
    First of all?  I’ve never eaten kale.  It sounded like a nasty bitter green stuff that was not making it’s way into my mouth.  This?  Was phenomenal.  The kids ate it without question, went back for seconds and even took leftovers to school for lunch.  Really.  The original recipe, found at Annie’s Eats, called for penne, but I chose tri-colored pasta just because color is good, and it makes me  happy.

    Ingredients

    Dressing

    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

    Pasta

    • 1 pound pasta
    • 1 large bunch kale, rinsed and dried, stems removed
    • lemon slices, for garnish
    • shredded Parmesan, for serving

    Directions:

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

    1. Mince the garlic cloves.  Sprinkle the minced garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and smash the garlic into a paste with a fork.  Transfer the garlic paste to a small bowl & add in the Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes.  Whisk together until well combined.
    2. Cook pasta according to directions.
    3. Chop the kale into 1/2 ribbons.  Add chopped kale to a large bowl and toss with dressing to coat.
    4. When pasta is done, quickly cool it with cold water, in a colander, draining well.
    5. Toss pasta in the bowl with dressing until well coated. Serve with sliced lemon and additional Parmesan as desired.

    April 12, 2011

    Orange & Oats Cookies

    DSC_7952 copy

    Laura, at Real Mom Kitchen, posted these way back in December and they’ve been sitting in my “to make” cookies folder since.  The kids have been begging for cookies but the temperatures here in Texas have not been bake-friendly, already reaching the 90-degree mark.  However, a spring storm blew through here a couple nights ago, dropping the temperature for the day, allowing the windows to be open and the oven to be on!  Adapted for our tastes, these cookies are chewy, sweet and delicious, these whipped up fast and easy. 

    My favorite trick with cookies is to eat a dozen or so one or two while the rest bake, then put the rest in freezer bags.  Not only does it keep the flavor better longer, they also tend to last longer out of sight, out of mind!

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups rolled oats
    • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 3 Tablespoons orange juice
    • orange zest from 2 oranges
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and oats.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter, shortening, orange juice, orange zest and eggs.
    3. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and blend.
    4. Fold in the coconut.
    5. Spoon dough onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until edges are golden brown.
    6. Cool on a cookie rack.

    April 6, 2011

    Pizza Dip

    Pizza Dip

    I love to find a new appetizer recipe and make it for dinner.  Not only is it usually pretty easy, but the kids love having something different and I like to try out the recipe before I’m asked to bring a little something with me anywhere.  This pizza dip, found at Closet Cooking didn’t disappoint. 

    Pizza DipOoey gooey, cheesy goodness popping with flavor from the pepperoni, served on top of garlic-rubbed French bread.  And hey!  With the green peppers, I can say we had a vegetable with dinner, too!

    Ingredients

    • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
    • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
    • 1 cup tomato & basil pasta sauce
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
    • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
    • handful pepperoni, sliced
    • 1/4 cup green pepper, sliced
    • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
    • 1/2 cup mushrooms

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350

    1. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan then spread it across the bottom of a pie plate.
    2. Spread the tomato basil sauce on top then sprinkle on the remaining cheeses, green pepper, mushrooms, olives & pepperoni.
    3. Bake about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

    Corned Beef & Hash

    Corned Beef & Hash

    Adapted from All Recipes

    The key to getting nicely browned potatoes is a HOT pan (as in high-heat), minimal stirring, and using your spatula to press down, eliminating air pockets and increasing the amount of potato touching the pan.  Until now?  I didn’t’ know this either.  Welcome to cooking 101, my friends! 

    I made Rueben Sandwiches the other night for dinner and had enough corned beef left over that I knew I wanted to try something I’ve never made before.  It did take some cook-time, but prep was a snap.  It turned out so good and the way it made the house smell took me back to my childhood, waiting for mom to get dinner ready after a long day at school.

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped to small bite size 
    • about 1/2 lb. cooked corned beef, chopped bite size
    • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar
    Directions
    1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
    2. Sauté onions and potatoes until slightly browned, then stir in corned beef.
    3. Season with pepper and add vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, cooking for 3 minutes between each addition.
    4. Partially cover skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

    April 1, 2011

    Strawberry Mango & Avocado Salad

    Strawberry, Mango & Avocado Salad

    Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley

    It’s definitely spring here in Texas and the thermostat hitting 80 degrees in my house today proves it!  No, I’m not ready yet to turn on the air conditioner so I threw together this spring salad instead of heating up the kitchen by cooking!  I paired it with grilled chipotle pork chops and dinner was done in less than 30 minutes.  Even my nine year old middle-child, who insists she hates mango, gobbled this up, admitting that this mango tasted better than her school’s.  I’ll take that as a compliment!

    In case you’re not in the know, this is what I used to cut the mango, then I just scored both halves with a knife, both length and cross wise and scooped squares away from the skin and set the skin aside.

    Ingredients

    • 1 Tablespoon honey
    • 1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
    • juice of 1/2 lime
    • pinch cayenne
    • 4 mangos, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 1 cup chopped strawberries
    • 5 avocados, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes

    Directions

    1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, orange juice, lime juice and cayenne. 
    2. Toss with the avocado, strawberries and mango, then allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. 
    3. Serve in the mango or avocado shells to be just a little less boring.  Top with a sprig of mint if you want to get real fancy!