Saturday, July 11, 2009

Creamy Cauliflower Salad

Alrighty- now before you write this one off, lemme tell you a bit about the circumstances... First off, I am well on my way out of my first trimester of pregnancy. As most previously pregnant women know, cravings can be killers. You HAVE TO HAVE what you WANT- RIGHT NOW! Well, a few days ago, my craving was for chicken and cream cheese enchiladas. (No worries- I will post that recipe next!) So- I made them for dinner! While the enchiladas were in the oven, I was reminded of a ladies only dinner party I was supposed to be attending. The theme? SALAD. CRAP CRAPITY CRAPUMS! I wasn't gonna be able to have my enchiladas! So I grabbed my salad and ran for the door, wish my husband and two kids happy enchilada eating. I was pretty bummed about having salad for dinner- until I took a bite of this salad. Oh. My. GOSH! This salad is so creamy and yummy and amazing, I hounded the poor woman who brought it until she PROMISED to send me the recipe. When I got home, the recipe was in my email inbox. (Thanks Marilyn!) Now the real kicker? It's main ingredient is one of my LEAST FAVORITE ingredients in the WORLD. I HATE the stuff! So does my husband. And my kids! But we ALL love this salad. It is so good, I actually forced myself to buy a large jar of the gastly ingredient just so I can make this salad more often... Now, on with the recipe.

The ingredients:

3/4 c. miracle whip
1/2 c. ranch dressing
1/4 c. grated parm cheese (you can use the kind you shake from a can, but I used the grated stuff from the deli--either way works)
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. chopped red onion
8 oz. crumbled cooked bacon
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 c. torn lettuce

The instructions:
Mix all ingredients but the last two. Once fully incorporated, toss lightly with the cauliflower and lettuce. Serve immediately as the lettuce will wilt the longer the dressing is on it.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Vanilla Panna Cotta

I can honestly say I have never had panna cotta before this. And I am SO SAD to have missed out on such a great cool treat! Seriously! It is SO GOOD! It is light, creamy, mild, and very refreshing. This recipe was originally given to me by a lady I know (Thanks Jeri!), and though I tweaked it a bit, the recipe is still just as fabulous!

The ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 heaping cup sugar
1 (1/4 oz.) packet unflavored gelatin

The Instructions:
1. Put 3 tbsp. water in a small bowl, pour gelatin over the top and mix. Let the gelatin dissolve in the water.
2. Heat sugar, milks and cream in a saucepan until sugar dissolves (don't boil or let it get too hot).
3. Add gelatin to milk/cream mixture and whisk to make sure it is completely incorporated with no lumps. Add vanilla.

4. Let mixture sit for 15 minutes.

5. Divide cream mixture between 4-5 ramekins (or other serving dishes). Place in fridge until set- may take up to 6 hours so plan ahead!

6. Serve with fresh fruit ( 2 cups cleaned, prepared fruit, mixed with 1/4c. sugar-- refridgerate for 2 or more hours), or jam/fruit syrup. (I used some homemade raspberry jam for some, and apricot syrup for others. Both were FANTASTIC!)

To serve you can either leave it in the ramekin or place serving dish by running a butter knife around the edge before inverting it onto the plate. (Thanks to Jeri for the pictures!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sugar Cookies

Oh my goodness, these cookies are like heaven in your mouth!  I am amazed at how soft, and sweet they are!  I was introduced to these at an auction a few weeks ago.  I won a dozen frosted sugar cookies, got them home and they mysteriously disappeared in just under 48 hours!  The worst part?  I ate 9 of them...  Yeah.  They are THAT good.  I called the maker of these cookies and begged her to share her recipe, which she did without hesitation.  Thanks Natalie!

The ingredients:
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. TUB margarine or butter (not stick- must be spreadable)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 1/2 - 4 c. flour

The instructions:
In a small bowl mix sour cream and baking soda.  Set aside.  Cream together margarine and sugar.  Add the egg, vanilla and salt.  Mix well.  Add sour cream mixture, then baking powder and flour.   Freeze dough for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.  Roll out onto a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness and use cookie cutters for desired shapes.  If dough gets too soft, put back in freezer for an hour or so until it is workable again.

Bake at 375^ for 10 minutes.  DO NOT over bake them.

Frost with your favorite frosting and decorate as necessary.

The frosting I used was pretty simple, and super tasty... I used equal parts butter and shortening then added a capful of vanilla and a splash of milk followed by as much powdered sugar as I needed to get a good thick consistancy.  Add a bit of food coloring and viola!  Easy enough... but I don't use a recipe for it, so it's hard to add measurements....

Seriously, folks- these cookies are OOBER TASTY!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pineapple and Green Chile Pork Burritos

I found this recipe online this last week, and can I just tell you how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING it is?  I was very happy with how this turned out.  My only word of advice?  Make sure you are as close to right on as you can be with the weight of the meat, if you have too much it could be a bit dry...

The ingredients:
1 lb. boneless pork chops (I used thick cut chops)
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 cup salsa verde (green salsa, or tomatillo salsa- it's all the same)
1 (4 oz.) can green chiles
1/3 cup brown sugar

The instructions:
Combine all ingredients in the crockpot.  Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 8-10.  I definitely recommend cooking it on Low.  It shreds easier.  Using tongs, squeeze the chops to shred the meat.  Serve on flour or fresh corn tortillas with some lettuce, cheese, rice, and tomatoes or any other burrito toppings.  For my rice, I used white rice and added a bit of lime juice and cilantro.  

This recipe is SO TASTY!  And for those of you in my neck of the woods, it is nothing like Cafe Rio (or Costa Vida) pork, but it IS sweet and very VERY good!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Easy Creamy Lasagna

This recipe is really just an adaptation of two different lasagnas. The first was a classic lasagna as presented on the back of the Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles box. And the second was fed to me at a neighborhood dinner. Since the maker of the second lasagna doesn't use a recipe, per se, I combined her secret ingredient with a typical recipe and the result was delicious!

The ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 c. water
1 3/4 c. ricotta or small curd cottage cheese (I actually prefer cottage cheese)
2 c. shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (or 2 T. dried parsley)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream  (<--SECRET INGREDIENT)
9-12 pieces lasagna noodles, uncooked

The instructions:
Heat oven to 350^F.  In a 3-quart sauce pan over medium high heat, brown meat, and drain.  Add spaghetti sauce and water.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta,half the mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.  Pour about 1 c.  meat sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13-inch pan.  Spread 6 heaping spoonfuls of sour cream on top of the meat sauce in pan. Arrange 3-4 UNCOOKED noodles over top of sauce.  Cover with more sour cream, and 1 cup sauce. Spread half of cheese filling over sauce.  Repeat layers of lasagna, sour cream, meat sauce, and cheese filling.  Top with layer of lasagna and remaining sauce 6 more spoonfulls of sour cream. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

((Seriously, folks- the sour cream makes all the difference! It is SO GOOD!))

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This recipe is so EASY! It is also one of my favorites.  For some reason I am much more fond of brown sugar as a sweetener as opposed to honey.  So maybe that is why this recipe appeals tome.  One way or another, it is so easy and practically fool proof!

The ingredients:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. rolled oats
1 c. coconut

The instructions: 
Melt butter then stir in brown sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and pack into a 9X13 inch dish.  Bake in a 325^ oven for 25-40 minutes (depending on how crunchy you want it).  Either cut into bars, or crumble up and put in a large can to use as a snack, or yogurt topping.

((If you want you can also add raisins, flax, bran, nuts, craisins, chocolate chips, etc.))

Cheesy Eggs and Toast

This recipe was introduced to me by my husband.  His mom always called it Eggs Benedict.  Which was NOT the same.  My husband ordered eggs benedict a few years back at a restaurant and was, quite frankly, disgusted by what he was served.  The next day I made him his mom's cheesy eggs and toast.  It is an Easter tradition in our house.  As are egg salad sandwhiches. 

The ingredients:
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1-2 c. grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
3-4 hard boiled eggs, chopped up or diced

The instructions:
In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and stir with a whisk until the roux turns a golden color (about 2 minutes or so).  Quickly add all the milk and stir with a wisk until mixture boils.  Add salt, pepper and cheese.  Once the cheese is melted, add chopped boiled eggs.

Serve over warm buttered toast.  OH so yummy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Corned Beef and Cabbage

So for St. Patrick's day, I make Corned Beef and Cabbage every year. Last year, I made one that was (for lack of a better description) "Eh." So this year I did a bit more searching for the RIGHT recipe. And I do believe I found it! This is adapted from

The ingredients:

1 (2 1/2 - 3 lb.) corned beef
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 lb white onions, peeled (or a couple handfuls of dehydrated onion)
1 can beef (or chicken) broth
2 cups water
3-5 potatoes (I used plain ol' idaho baking potatoes), sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1 lb baby carrots
1/2 to 1 head cabbage (to taste or as much as fits!), quartered and de-cored

The instructions:

This is prepared in a pressure cooker for best results. Place water and broth in cooker with rack. Cut slits in beef and place sliced garlic in the slits. Place meat on rack. You may need to adjust the amount of water/broth based on the size of the beef and the size of the pressure cooker (the instruction manual should tell you how much). Close cover and cook on medium high until rocking. Turn down to medium(it should continue to rock) and cook for 1 hour. Run pressure cooker under cold water to release pressure. Once safe, open lid and add all the vegetables and as much cabbage as you can fit until it hits the "full line."

Replace lid and cook on medium high heat until rocking. Lower heat to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes. Run under cool water again until pressure is released, then removed lid and serve!

((I suspect this recipe would be fantastic if crock potted. I would suggest you cook the meat for 8-10 hours on low. Adding the veggies about half way and adding the cabbage an hour or so before serving since cabbage cooks quickly. If any of you try this in the crock pot PLEASE lemme know how it turned out!))

I DID make this in the crockpot, and it was fantastic!  Enjoy!

8 Can Enchilada Soup

I found this recipe online, and was pretty happy with the flavor. Spicy, but not too much. MY husband is unable to eat corn, so most taco/enchilada soups are out of the running. I was excited to finally find one I could make! Enjoy!

The ingredients:
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can corn
1 can white chicken breast
1 can northern white beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes (whichever flavor you like best- I like mild...I'm a pansy.)

The instructions:
Add all cans not drained in a large pan and heat through. Just until it boils then turn down the heat. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado, and cheese.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Creamy White Chili

This recipe has become a family favorite of ours. It is mild in spice, and has such a unique flavor for a chili. It is also pretty easy to make, and therefore is a winner in my books.

The ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 medium onion

1 ½ tsp garlic powder

2 15 oz cans white beans rinsed and drained

1 4 oz can chopped green chilies

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less as preferred)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 14.5 oz can chicken broth

1 can green beans (chopped)

1 cup sour cream

½ cup whipping cream

The instructions:

In a crockpot add chicken onion and garlic powder. Add broth, chilies, and seasonings and cook on low for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked through. Take a pair of tongs and squeeze the chicken breasts to shred them (or use two forks). Add white beans, green beans and creams. Continue cooking on low until heated through. Serve immediately.

Peanut Butter Play Dough

Ask any young child and they will all tell you the same thing... Playing with your food is FUN! This recipe is the perfect one for playing with, in fact it is highly encouraged! My kids get pretty excited when I make this. Not only do they love play dough, but is there anything better than eating your creations when you are done sculpting them?!

The ingredients:

3 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

4 cups powdered sugar

3 1/2 cups honey

4 cups dry milk powder

The instructions:

Cream together peanut butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat in honey. Fold in milk powder. More milk powder can be added if dough seems too sticky. Divide into 15 equal portions and store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. Can be refrigerated for up to five days. Do not reuse.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I have never been much of a fan of bell peppers. Though admittedly I have grown up a little and as my taste buds continue to die, I have found that I don't mind bell peppers so much these days. I DO prefer yellow or red peppers over green, though! This recipe was surprisingly simple, and OH SO TASTY. Don't believe me? Try it and see!

The ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 c prepared rice
6 medium to large bell peppers
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup honey, separated
grated cheese

The instructions:
Dice onion and place in a skillet, add ground beef and brown however you prefer seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Once the meat is cooked, add the cooked rice. Add 1 can tomato sauce and a HEAPING 1/4 cup of honey. Simmer on low while you prepare the bell pepper.
Cut the bell peppers in half and remove seeds and membrane. Cut the stem off and place side by side in a 9X13 baking dish. Pour meat mixture into each bell pepper "boat." In a small bowl combine the remaining can of tomato sauce and another HEAPING 1/4 cup of honey. Microwave for about 30 seconds to better incorporate the honey and tomato sauce. Stir well then pour the sauce over the stuffed bell peppers.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until peppers are cooked to desired done-ness. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve once cheese melts a bit.

((YUMMY! This recipe makes a lot. I cut it in half and was easily able to serve this to my small family of 4 (With leftovers for the hubby to take to work). Also, the filling freezes well, so feel free to make a full batch and freeze half if you have a small family.))

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ham and Noodles

Okay, so this one sounds a bit off, but it is SO GOOD! I mean, I was surprised by how much I liked it since in general, I don't like ham. Our neighborhood did a recipe swap a while back and this was one of the recipes that was swapped. I am so glad that Nik shared this recipe (Thanks Nikola!)

The ingredients:
2 cups uncooked wide noodles (Now I just guess on this since I have no idea how to measure two cups of noodles- I use roughly 3 ounces)
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1 cup grated American cheese
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups diced ham

The instructions:
Cook noodles as instructed by packaging. Shorten cooking time by a minute or so since you will be baking this afterward. While noodles are cooking, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Once butter is melted, stir in flour and cook over medium low heat until the mixture turns a golden brown. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until boiling. Take it off the heat and add salt and cheese to the milk; stir until cheese is melted. Once the cheese sauce is finished, and the noodles are cooked, combine them, the ham and the peas. Pour into a 7X11 baking dish (or a 9X9) and cover with foil. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Cover with buttered bread crumbs and bake for another 15 minutes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oatmeal Cake

This cake is SOOOOO GOOD! I can't even begin to describe it's goodness to you! The flavor of it is quite similar to the frosting of German Chocolate Cake, but without the nuts (which, in my case is a good thing, since I am allergic to them). Thanks for sharing this recipe with me Cynthia!

The ingredients:
1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. rolled oats (either regular or quick oats)
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick (1/2 c.)butter or margarine
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. milk
1 c. flake coconut
1 tsp. vanilla extract

The instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350^. Grease and flour a 9 X 9 pan (must be a 9 X 9 NOT 8 X 8). Combine water, and oats in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugars and oil. Mix well. In another small bowl, combine remaining ingredients w/whisk and add to wet ingredients. Add oats and stir well. Put in pan and wrap pan on counter to remove bubbles. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

15 minutes before cake is done, start making topping. Combine the butter, sugar, and milk in a sauce pan. Boil for 5 minutes. Add coconut and vanilla. Prick warm cake with a fork and pour topping over cake. Let it cool and serve warm.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This recipe was given to me by a neighbor about a year ago. It was a family favorite the moment I put it on the table. This is one of the few foods I can get both my girls to eat. Thanks Lori!

The ingredients:
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
dash of pepper
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. chopped onion
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. rolled oats

1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. barbeque sauce (I prefer Honey BBQ)

The instructions:
Combine all the ingredients for meatballs; mix well. Form into 2" balls. Place in a casserole dish in single layer. Cover with sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients and blend thoroughly. Heat and pour over meatballs. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

((Sometimes I forgo the meatballs and just brown up some ground beef, once cooked I add the sauce to the skillet and let simmer for a few minutes...))

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Homemade Big Hunks

So I remember most of my youth, and one of the memories that sticks out best is my many (MANY) trips to the neighborhood grocery store for candy and soda. Me and my siblings would walk the couple blocks to the nearby Walgreens for a treat, and without fail I would come home with one of two things. Either a half pint of Walgreens brand ice cream (it cost exactly 1.07) or more often than not a Big Hunk and Soda (also- exactly 1.07). I LOVED Big Hunks. So needless to say when I found this FANTASTIC recipe online (I don't remember where) I instantly bought the ingredients to make it.

The ingredients:
1 larger bottle Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts (lightly salted)
3 smaller jars Kraft Marshmallow Cream
2 1/4 cups light corn syrup
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt

The instructions:
Butter a large cookie sheet. Scatter peanuts equally on cookie sheet. Place marshmallow cream in a LARGE bowl, set aside. In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup and sugar. Place over high heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. Clip on candy thermometer. Cook to 280 degrees F, or to soft crack stage. Remover from heat and let stand 2 minutes undisturbed. Without scraping, pour entire batch into marshmallow cream and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add butter, vanilla, and salt and stir with wooden spoon until butter in incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly across peanuts. Allow to stand at room temperature until firm, about 3 hours. Cut and wrap in wax paper.

((The biggest difference here is how SOFT this candy is! It is firm enough to not be sticky, but soft enough to not break a tooth on. Clean up can be a mess, but is OH, so worth it!))

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fake Frostys (Think Wendys)

Seeing as how I had a very painful procedure done to my mouth yesterday, I get to spend the next three months on a fairly simple diet of soft foods. Or at least small enough bites that I don't need the front teeth to break it into smaller pieces... So with that in mind this next recipe is a GREAT one for a sore mouth. And if you don't have an ice cream maker than you should go buy one! (OR you could look up directions online to make ice cream without a fancy shmancy machine...)

The ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chocolate milk
¾ cup chocolate syrup
1 can evaporated milk
½ can sweetened condensed milk
Chocolate shavings (optional)

The instructions:
Combine all ingredients except shavings and chill for 4-6 hours. Pour into ice cream maker and follow ice cream maker’s directions. When ice cream is beginning to set add shavings if desired.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Coconut Cookies (or Wheatie Cookies- whichever you prefer)

This recipe is one I was raised with and will forever be my favorite cookie of all time. I know the title sounds suspicious, but honestly- you HAVE to try these cookies before you can knock em, and trust me when I say that there will be no knockin' of these babies! I am not sure where it originates from, other than the fact that it is in my great grandmother's cookbook. One way or the other, it is a fabulous recipe and I would love to know your opinion on this recipe.

The ingredients:
1 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
2 c. coconut
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. wheaties (hence the name) or other flake cereal (use bran flakes if it makes you feel better about eating them!)

The instructions:
Cream shortening and sugars. Add beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Add coconut and mix until incorporated. Sift dry ingredients (or stir with a wire whisk) and add to wet ingredients. Blend in vanilla. Stir in cereal. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE.

Enjoy them! They are so easy and chewy... Mmmmm... I may need to go make me some cookies now.

Bourbon Street Chicken

A few years ago my husband and I were lucky enough to be exposed to some fine dining at a neighboring city restaurant. It was a high-class Chinese food restaurant (I promise, such a thing DOES exist!), and I ordered the orange chicken. I will never forget that food. It was FANTASTIC, and I think one of the most amazing parts of it was the very VERY lightly breaded chicken. I had never experienced breaded food like this. It was slightly crispy, it held in the chicken's natural tenderness, but it wasn't overpowering. Now fast forward a few years to last week. I was doing my typical THANG online and ran across a recipe that sounded good... So, of course, I tried it. And WHAT DO YA KNOW?! It was lightly breaded chicken! The sauce was fantastic too. So without further ado I will pass it on to you!

The Ingredients:
2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs. oil (for frying)
4 Tbs. cornstarch

1 garlic clove (minced)
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce

The Instructions:
Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, and lightly dust with cornstarch. I used a gallon ziplock baggie. Just toss chicken and cornstarch together. Heat oil in your wok or frying pan and fry chicken until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine all sauce ingredients (I chose to NOT add the red pepper flakes since my kids are anti-spice... Oh who am I kidding- I don't like spice either). Pour into wok or frying pan and bring to a boil. Add chicken back to the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve over rice!

(picture and recipe found and adapted by Mmm... Cafe)