Sunday, September 13, 2009

More tid bits...

To keep potatoes from sprouting eyes :) just put an apple in the bag with them and it will stop this from happening. I hate buying bags of potatoes because it seems I don't use all of them before they have sprouts coming off of them. I got this fun fact when I was watching the food channel the other day. He had put a green apple in his bag of potatoes, but I don't think it should matter which color of apple it is.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Root Beer Cookies

Root Beer Cookies

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup packed Brown Sugar
1 Cup Butter or Margarine
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
2 Eggs
2 Tsp. Rootbeer Concentrate
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 Cups Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp. Salt

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, butter, buttermilk, eggs, rootbeer concentrate, and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add your flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Drop heaping teaspoon full about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes - you may want to experiment with the cooking time... They usually turn out better if you take them out before they look too done. Cool completely before frosting them so that the icing doesn't melt and run off.

Rootbeer Icing:

2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tbs. Half and Half
4 Tsp. Softened Butter or Margarine
2 Tsp. Rootbeer Concentrate
Combine all the ingredients and beat at low speed until the icing is smooth. Spread the icing on the cookies after they have cooled and then wait until the icing sets before storing and stacking them.
Yields approximately 4 dozen cookies. Recipe can be doubled.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Simple Oriental Salad

I got this recipe from my mom, who in turn got it from one of her clients... It's almost too simple, and it was a hit at the latest family gathering. :-)

Oriental Salad
1 Bag of Shredded Cabbage
1 Small bag of Slivered or Sliced Almonds
1 Bundle Green onions (as desired)
1 Package Chicken flavored Ramon Noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste (optional)

For the Dressing:
2 Tbs. Sugar
2 or 3 Tbs. Garlic Herb Vinegar
1/2 Cup Oil
Seasoning packet from the ramon noodles

Make dressing, I let it sit for a while in the fridge to let all the flavors mix. Toss together the cabbage and onions. Right before you serve, add the noodles and almonds to the mix and then add the dressing. Mix well to coat all the ingredients...and there you go, an impressive oriental salad in a snap! :) The crunch doesn't keep so that's why you don't want to add the noodles, almonds, and dressing until you're ready to eat.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crockpot Chicken

This recipe is AWESOME!! My sister-in-law made this and it was so good I called her for the recipe. But I forgot to ask what it was called, so I don't have a name for it but I believe it's a recipe her husband got while serving his mission in South Africa.

4 chicken breasts
1 can corn, drained
1 15oz can black beans, drained
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 5 oz can tomato paste
1 4 oz. can green chiles
1 Tablespoon ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 lb. pepperjack cheese, grated (Yes the cheese goes in the same time as all the ingredients)

put all ingredients in a crockpot / slowcooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours until chicken is no longer pink in center and shreds easily. Stir occasionally. When the chicken is done remove the breasts from the pot and shred with forks. Put back into pot and stir together.

The great thing about this is the different ways it can be eaten. You can serve it over rice, in tortillas as burritoes, or with tortilla chips as nachos. This does make a lot so if you have lots of leftovers I suggest freezing some so you don't have to eat it for every meal for a week.

The Best Meatloaf Ever!

If you're like me the word meatloaf conjures up images of a meat brick. I've never found a recipe I liked or that turned out well ... until recently. A friend of mine (who ironically enough originally started this blog) gave me this recipe. It turns out good every time, I have almost everything to make it, and it is really delicious. I challenge you to try it even if you've never liked meatloaf before.

Diner Meatloaf
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 celery rib, chopped (I usually do about 3)
2 garlic cloves, minced

Saute onion, celery and garlic in 1 Tablespoon of oil until tender.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup ketchup
3/4 cup soft breadcrumbs (TIP: For easy breadcrumbs toast a few pieces of bread and then blend them in the blender.)
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 lb. hamburger

In a large bowl combine eggs, ketchup, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg and onion mixture. Add beef and mix well. Place in a greased bread pan. Bake uncovered @350 for 1 hour. Top with desired amount of sauce.

1 can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I always omit these)

For sauce combine ingredients in 8 in. square dish. Bake uncovered @350 for 1 hour (at the same time as meatloaf).

Let meatloaf sit 10 min. before slicing. Serve with sauce.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More tid bits...

Lots of us spend plenty of time on the road and we all have gone through construction or driven behind or by someone throwing rocks from their tires. So cracked windshields beware!!

When a rock hits your wind shield and makes a crack, put clear nail polish over it before it spiders out. We had a friend tell us about it years ago and tried it. We have done it a couple times and not one has spidered on us. Our first try was 4 years ago and it is still holding up great!! I actually have a clear nail polish bottle in our glove compartment from the time before when we went to the store quickly to make the cheap repairs... so it is close and handy:)

So give it a try the next time you get a crack in your windshield, but the key is the clear nail polish has to be applied before it spideres!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Herb Butters

You can make corn on the cob (or whatever else you can think of) even yummier serving it with a flavored butter. Here are 4 different tastes to try if you want! :)

In a medium bowl, beat 1 stick softened butter with a wooden spoon or spatula until creamy. Beat in flavor ingredients (below) blending well.

1 Tbs. prepared pesto OR
1 Tbs. prepared curry paste or sauce OR
1 Tbs. caesar salad dressing mix OR
2 Tsp. hickory barbeque seasoning mix

Give that honey a try, I bet that would be really good!!

Transfer butter to wax paper, and shape into 6-inch log. Wrap, twisting ends of paper to seal, and refrigerate until firm.

I got this recipe out of Parenting magazine years ago...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Chocolate Sheet Cake

This is another family favorite. My mom's been making it since I was a kid. If we ever need a quick and easy yet really delicious dessert, this is what we turn to! This has become my husband's favorite dessert and he describes it as a really moist brownie or like a cake brownie.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

1 cup Butter (or margarine)

1 Cup Water

Put in microwave safe bowl and boil these together. Once boiling take out of microwave and add 2 Tablespoons Cocoa


2 cup flour

2 cup sugar

Add butter mixture to flour mixture

Then add:

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

Stir until smooth. Pour onto cookie sheet with raised edges. Bake at 250 for 20 minutes. Cover with frosting while still warm.


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

3 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons Cocoa

4 Cups powdered sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

Mix with mixer and pour over warm cake.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This has been a family favorite since I was a kid. The recipe originally came out of an old Mormon Family Cookbook of my mom's. I always have everything I need to make these and they're really good.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup chopped onion

3/4 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1/3 cup milk

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Form into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place in 9X9 or 9X13 pan (depending on how many meatballs you have). Cover with Sauce. Bake about 30 min. at 350.


1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tsp. mustard

1/2 cup BBQ sauce or ketchup (either one works well)

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Combine, blend, heat in a saucepan and pour over meatballs before putting in the oven.

Serve over rice with sauce. Note: If you have more meatballs make more sauce, enough to cover the meatballs and have to put on your rice as well.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Interesting Tid Bits...

Home-made Mosquito Spray...
I got an interesting e-mail stating that listerine mouth wash can be used as misquito repellant.

This was a testimonial from a friend:)

Worth a try... I was at a deck party awhile back, and the bugs were having a ball biting everyone. A man at the party sprayed the lawn and deck floor with Listerine, and the little demons disappeared. The next year I filled a 4-ounce spray bottle and used it around my seat whenever I saw mosquitoes. And voila! That worked as well. It worked at a picnic where we sprayed the area around the food table, the children's swing area, and the standing water nearby. During the summer, I don't leave home without it.....Pass it on.

Anyways, give it a try and see how it works for you :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Green Bean Casserole

I know that green bean casserole is a pretty common dish, so you all may already have a recipe... But this one has water chestnuts in it, my whole family enjoys this one, even the little ones!

Creamy and Crunchy Green Bean Casserole

1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 (10 oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 (16 oz.) packages of frozen, french cut grean beans; thawed
1 (14 oz.) can bean sprouts; rinsed and drained
2 (8 oz.) cans diced water chestnuts; drained
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 (2.8 oz.) cans french fried onions

1. Melt butter in large frying pan over medium heat; add onion and saute about 7-8 minutes or until tender.
2. Stir in soup and bring it to a boil.
3. Stir in beans and next 3 ingredients. (sprouts, chestnuts, and salt)
4. Spoon into lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. Top evenly with cheddar cheese.
5. Bake covered at 375 degrees for 25 mins. Uncover and sprinkle evenly with french fried onions. Bake 10 more minutes or until bubbly.


Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!!

I usually make the worst cookies. But I've discovered why. Here are two tips to live by when making cookies.

1. Don't melt the butter!! I always thought you were supposed to

2. After making the dough just cook 1 or two to see how they turn out. My cookies have always fallen flat making them hard and crispy. The trick is to ADD MORE FLOUR if they fall. Keep trying it until it turns out right.

These were my first successful cookies in a long time:

Rachel Potts Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2/3 cup Crisco (Shortening) DO NOT MELT

2/3 cup butter (or margarine) DO NOT MELT

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Vanilla

3 1/4 cup flour ( I think I ended up using a total of 4 cups of flour but test for yourself)

1 package chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together in mixer. spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake @ 375 for 10 minutes. Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies.

Homemade Pizza



1 1/8 cup Warm Water
3 TBS Oil
3 Cups Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Sugar
1 Tablespoon Yeast

Mix together and let raise 1 hour. This will make one Crust. Double or Triple for more pizza

Roll out onto pizza pan or cookie sheet. Cover with pizza sauce or canned spaghetti sauce and desired tppings. Bake 12 min @ 425

We usually put on pepperoni, suasage, pineapple and cheese. But add what you want or try this:

Barbecue Chicken Pizza:
Cook chicken on grill & cut up into cubes. Spread barbecue sauce on crust instead of spaghetti sauce. Top with chicken and cheese.


Here's my husband's favorite meal that I make. Homemade lasagne is actually super easy and really delicious. If you saw my earlier post about it falling you'll understand why this picture isn't a beautiful laid out lasagne. I took a picture only what was left of it so that you could get a general idea. It still makes my mouth water. The great thing about this is making the suace early in the day or whenever you have time. Then it only takes a few minutes to actually put it in the oven!!

Homemade Lasagne with Homemade Spaghetti Sauce


1 lb. Hamburger

1 med onion, chopped

2-3 bottles of tomatoes (you could use stewed, diced, or tomato puree. I use 1 diced and 1 puree but if you want, double the sauce, freeze it and use the other half for spaghetti later)

1 tsp Salt

1 Tablespoon Oregano

1 Tablespoon Sugar

1 tsp Garlic powder

2 Tablespoons Parsley

Brown hambuger with onion. Drain grease. Mix remaining ingredients in large pot with meat. If you have time let simmer all day. If not it'll be fine if you make it 10 minutes before too!!

Chesse Mixture:

2-3 Cups of Mozzarella Cheese (Hold aside one handful)

1/2 Cup Cheddar cheese (Hold aside one handful)

1 Tablespoon Parsley

1 egg

2 cups of Cottage cheese (but for me the cottage cheese is the best part so the more the better!)

To Make:

Use 9X 13 pan.

1 package of lasagne noodles (Buy the oven ready noodles, they're the same price and you don't have to spend the time cooking them. But if you buy the uncooked noodles just make sure you cook them first before putting this together.)

Cheese mixture

Spaghetti Sauce

Put one light layer of sauce, then noodles, then cheese mixture, then sauce. REPEAT. Do as many layers as you have stuff for (I can usually get in about 2-3 layers) Top with reserved handfuls of cheese!

Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ever Have a Day Like This??!!!?

I was trying to make dinner for a neighbor who had just had a baby. I decided to make it in an aluminum container so she wouldn't have to bring any dishes back to me. But when I went to take it out of the oven the pan collapsed and lasagne went everywhere!!? Luckily my husband laughed first so I was able to find a chuckle out of it. And my sweet husband even cleaned up the entire mess while I took a different dinner over to the neighbor's!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chicken Shish-Kebabs

First off, I would like to say hello and thank you for adding me to your club! I too have been wanting to do something like this, you ladies just beat me to it! :-) My family is big on camping, and I wanted to do something a little different from the hamburger and hot dog scene for our campfire dinners. I was going to post this before the weekend, but then thought that it would probably be a better idea if I tried it out on the family first, haha! This one was so simple, there aren't even any measurements to do really, and my 5 and 3 year old girls loved helping me put together their own dinner...

Chicken Shish-kebabs

Package of chicken breast; cut into bite-size pieces
3 Green Bell Peppers; cut into bite-size pieces
Pineapple Chunks and Pineapple Juice; fresh or canned
Brown Sugar
Garlic Salt
Bamboo shish-kebab sticks soaked in water

In a saucepan, heat pineapple juice and add brown sugar so that they blend together well, I didn't measure, I just went with what looked right and then did a taste test. Add the garlic salt. Then I put the chicken chunks into a baggie with the marinade and let it set in the refridgerator for about 8 hours from the time that I prepared it to the time I was putting it on the skewers. You could even put a thickening agent into the sauce and make it a glaze instead of a marinade, too. The sticks don't have to soak long, just a few minutes... Then just string on the bits of chicken, pineapple, and peppers randomly. We cooked it over a campfire, which I think made it extra tastey! But over a bbq or whatever would be great too! My kids ate them so fast and had about 3 sticks, and didn't even complain about the 'green.' Hope you all enjoy, too!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Best Darn Cake Ever!

This is our family's go-to cake. We make it for almost every birthday, and sometimes even just for fun! It's the perfect chocolate fix. It's even famous lately. I made it for a funeral in our ward recently, and was informed later that the kitchen help saved it to eat themselves! I've been approached by several ladies since, telling me how much they loved it. You wanna try it? Here you go.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. water
3/4 c. dairy sour cream
1/4 c. shortening
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, (with real shortening, not Pam spray) two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Dust with flour, (or cocoa powder) and shake off the excess. Line the bottom of the pans with waxed paper.

Combine dry ingredients and blend well. In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Blend at low speed until moistened, then on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour into pans.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove, and cool completely.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. dairy sour cream
1/4 c. butter, softened
3 Tbsp. milk
1 t. vanilla
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled.

Combine all ingredients. Blend at low speed until moistened. Beat at high speed until smooth and creamy.

To assemble cake, place first layer, top side down on cake plate; spread with 1/4 of the frosting. Top with second layer, top side up. Spread sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. ENJOY!! This cake recipe came from the Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Dinner Ideas

Here are some of the things I made for dinner this week. I promise I'll start taking pictures soon.

Penne with Vegetables in Tomato-Basil Sauce

2 Cups uncooked penne pasta (6 ounces)
1 Tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained (I buy the kind with basil, garlic, and oregano)
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 small unpeeled zucchini, chopped (1 cup)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (opt)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

1. Cook ande drain pasta
2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and carrot in oil 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook 5 minutes.
3. Stir in zucchini and basil; reduce heat to medium. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is desired consistency. Stir in parsley. Serve over pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Fettuccine and Chicken in Orange-Cherry Sauce (I love this one)

6 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1/2 pound cut-up boneless chicken breast (cut into strips or cubed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups or 1 package (9 ounces) frozen whole green beans (these are actually really good) but get the frozen, it's easier)
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup dried cherries (I wouldn't noramally buy these but one package is like $2 or $3 and you don't even use the whole thing, it's worth it)

1. Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package
2. While fettuccine is cooking, spray 12 inch skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Cook chicken and salt in skillet 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until chicken is brown. Stir in frozen green beans. Cover and cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beans are crisp-tender.
3. Mix orange juice and cornstarch in cup until smooth. Stir orange juice mixture and cherries into chicken mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until beans are tender and chicken is no longer pink in center. Add fettufccine to chicken mixture; toss.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's a Miracle!!

My kids ate oatmeal this morning. And not the Gerber baby oatmeal that you just add milk to and stir. Real cook-it-on-the-stove oatmeal. This was quite an accomplishment at our house. I was worried about what to make for breakfast because this morning we were out of eggs, milk, and bread, which pretty much cuts out all of our usual breakfasts. The only thing we had was oatmeal. This is how I made it appetizing enough for my three year old to eat:
I made two servings of oatmeal according to package directions,
then added two heaping spoonfuls of brown sugar,
a teaspoon of vanilla,
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon,
and one big spoonful of peanut butter.
Stir it all together and top with sliced bananas! Yummy.
I got the idea for this from my lovely friend Ashlee Burton. I think other things that she has used in hers includes a scoop of pumpkin puree, and dried fruit and nuts. What do you put on your oatmeal? And will your kids eat it??

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Salsa... yum yum

Black Bean Salsa

Serves 4

1 can corn- Drained
1can black beans- rinsed and drained
1 lg tomato chopped
1 avocado- chopped
1pkg dry Good Seasons Italian dressing mix (made to directions on pkg)

Mix all together gently- serve with tortilla chips

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Serves 4

3 tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup onion- finely diced
3 serrano chilies-finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro- chopped
1tsp. salt
2tsp. lime juice

Put all ingredients in medium bowl, stir together, and chill for 1 hour before serving.


I have a hard time coming up with ideas for meals for dinner. All the recipe websites have tons of recipes and you have to read through hundreds of them, most of which have ingredients I don't have or would never buy. So I decided to share my meal plan for the week for those who need some ideas. So here's what I'm making this week as well as the recipes for them.

Monday-- BLT Sandwiches

Just as it sounds. I just cook some bacon in the microwave and cut up some lettuce and tomato. Toast some bread, use Miracle whip or Mayonnaise on bread, then put the as BLT on as you want. This is great in the summer time when you don't want the stove or oven to heat up the house.

Tuesday-- Super Burritos (The twist to these burritos is that they're baked)

1 lb. Hamburger
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup cooked rice
1 4oz. can diced green chile peppers
8 10-inch flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
2/3 cup chopped tomato (opt)
2 cups shredded lettuce (opt)
1 recipe guacamole (below)(opt)

1. for filling, in a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, green pepper, and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in water, chili powder, and cumin. Cook about 5 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked rice and can of chile peppers.
2. Meanwhile, wrap tortillas tightly in foil. Heat in a 350 oven for 10 minutes to soften.
3. Spoon about 1/2 cup filling onto each tortilla just below the center. Top filling with cheese and tomato. Fold tortillas into burritos and secure with toothpicks (Mine stayed close without toothpicks). Arrange burritos on a baking sheet, seam side down. Bake at 350 oven for 10-12 minutes or until heated through. Serve with lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa if desired.

2 medium ripe avocados
1/2 of a medium small onion, chopped
1/2 4oz can of diced green chile peppers, or several drops of hot sauce
1 Tablespoon of fresh cilantro or parsley, or 1 teaspoon of dried cilantro or parsley (cilantro is much better here)
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or lime juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
2/3 cup chopped tomato (opt)

1. In a food processor or blender, combine avocados, onion, Chile peppers, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover and blend until smooth. If desired stir in tomato.

Wednesday--Homemade chicken nuggets

3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (I put bread in the toaster and then in the blender to make bread crumbs)
3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 eggs beaten
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
1/ 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (opt)

Preheat oven to 375. Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese (You can also add other things like parsley, onion powder, or Italian seasoning). Place eggs in a small bowl. Dip chicken first into egg then roll chicken in bread crumbs. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Serve with barbecue sauce for dipping.

Thursday-- Chicken Noodle Casserole

1 8oz package of noodles
4 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup of bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine noodles, chicken, soup, milk, and cheese. Mix well. Pour into 13x9 baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes.

Friday--Bean Salad Wraps

4 8 inch flavored or plain flour tortillas
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped green pepper or 1 fresh jalapeno finely chopped (I use green pepper)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, or 2 teaspoons of dried cilantro
1/3 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
1 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice
leaf lettuce

1. stack tortillas and wrap in foil. Heat in a 350 oven for 10 minutes to soften.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mash black beans slightly. Add green pepper and cilantro. Stir in mayonnaise and lime juice.
3. To serve, spread bean mixture evenly over tortillas. Top with lettuce leaves and roll up tortillas.

Saturday-- Cheesy Chicken Breasts

1/2 cup margarine, melted
4 chicken breasts
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups grated cheese

preheat oven to 350. Pour melted butter into shallow baking dish. Coat chicken breasts in flour, then salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken in baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. In a small bowl combine milk, soup, and cheese. Pour mixture over chicken. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes.

I hope these ideas help others. If you have any questions about any of the recipes leave a comment and I'll answer there. Happy cooking!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

$Money-Saver$ Tip #1

I have been trying to get into the coupon groove lately. It's really hard for me, because I live in a small town with only two grocery stores, and not many free coupons in the mail. But I just found the coolest thing online! For anyone that shops at a store with a shopper's card, (like a Smith's Fresh Values Card, etc.) there are websites that will load the coupons directly onto your card so you don't have to have a hard copy with you. The bonus? Because they are loaded onto your shopper's card, they function as in-store coupons, and if you can find the manufacturers coupon in print, you can add those savings on top. I am so using this for diapers! Here's the sites I've found so far:
These sites are so cool. You just click on the coupons that you want, and it loads them onto your card. Then you print your list of coupons and shop away! Happy savings!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Banana Muffins with Streusel Topping

I was feeling lazy this morning about breakfast, and went to grab a muffin mix out of the cupboard. Unfortunately we didn't have any; but we did have some ripe bananas and so I decided to make them myself. Super yummy; and a great way to use those darn bananas.

1 3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. cooking oil
3/4 c. mashed bananas (this was about 2 bananas for me)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 standard muffin cups, or line with paper cups; set aside.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Combine wet ingredients and add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened and spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Streusel Topping:
Combine 3 Tbsp. flour, 3 Tbsp. brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon. Cut in 2 Tbsp. of butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (2 Tbsp. of chopped nuts is optional) Sprinkle over prepared muffins before baking.

This recipe is courtesy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Enjoy!


At the risk of sounding desperate, I am going to ask one more time for all of my crafty, good-cookin' friends to please sign up for this blog. I think it would be so much fun to bounce ideas off of each other; and though I am totally willing to soldier on alone, a club 'aint much of a club with only one member. It's really quite lonely. Now, I know you're all busy, yada yada, and if you really can't, (or won't) fine. I still love you. But consider yourself guilt-tripped.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Party Cake

I've had birthdays on the brain lately. Parker has been so good as to remind me daily about his coming up on the 9th of July, (he's been asking about it for about a month now) and Andrew's is on the 26th. So when I saw this idea for a cake on Rookie Cookie, I had to try it. However, I really dislike boxed cake mixes, so I wanted to find a really scrumptious white cake recipe. I had tried one from a cookbook a while ago and was left a bit disappointed. Here's the recipe I tried this time. I think it turned out quite nicely; maybe a smidge too sweet with the buttercream frosting; I think next time I'd try a more mild frosting for sure.
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 large eggs whites at room temperature
3/4 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 in. round cake pans and line with waxed paper.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla; mix well. Combine dry ingredients, and add to sugar mixture. Whip egg whites and fold in.

For the crazy colors, divide the batter between a few different bowls, (I think I did 4 or 5) and add food coloring, (I've read that the store-bought cream colors give a brighter color than regular food coloring, but I'm cheap). Randomly drop spoonfuls of each color into prepared pans, (this will give a random splotchy color design; for a rainbow, drop each color into the center on top of one another until the pan is filled, and do it in reverse order in the other pan).

Does anyone out there have a smashing white cake recipe that they love? If so please share.

Friday, June 26, 2009

White Bread

Before Paige was born, I had gotten pretty good at always having homemade bread around; it's so much better than that store-bought stuff! But, alas, she came along and threw things off track for a bit. Today I ran out of Sara Lee and decided that I wasn't buying any more! Usually we prefer wheat bread, but I didn't have enough whole wheat flour on hand, and we're actually waiting to find out if Brandon has Celiac Disease, (in which case we'll be going gluten-free) so I didn't want to run out and stock up. If you like white bread, this is a pretty good recipe. The following post is an older one that I hadn't published previously for wheat bread if you'd prefer.

5-6 c. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 t. salt
2 pkg. active dry yeast, (4 1/2 tsp.)
2 c. water
1/4 c. oil or shortening
1 Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted

Combine 2 c. flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; blend well. In a small saucepan, heat water and oil to 120-130 degrees. Add warm water to flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 min. at medium speed. By hand, stir in an additional 2 1/2 to 3 c. flour until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl, (I use a wooden spoon, but I know a lot of people actually do this with their hands).

On a floured surface, knead in 1/2 to 1 c. flour until dough is sooth and elastic, about 5 min. Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise until doubled about 45-60 min.

Grease two 8x4 or two 9x5 in. loaf pans. Punch down dough and divide into 2 parts. Shape into loaves and place in greased pans. Cover, and let rise until dough fills pans and tops of loaves are about 1 in. above pan edges; 30-35 min.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover dough and bake 40-50 min. or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove from pans; cool on wire racks. Brush with melted butter.

This recipe is courtesy of the Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking.

Wheat Bread

So, I decided that in an effort to be a better mother and wife, (my husband LOVES homemade bread, and he takes such good care of me that he deserves it!) and to have more nutritious food around for my family, that I would venture out into the world of bread-baking. To be honest, the reason I had never done it before was because I was intimidated! Everyone makes it sound like an art that has to be perfected over time. It just sounded plain exhausting. But I thought I better give it a go, so I pulled out my Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking and tried this recipe. It turned out fabulous the first time! And it seemed so easy! Now, I'm not saying that those who make this an art form can't make better, but for a busy mom, I think this is more than good enough for now. My husband loved it!! He's quite picky about homemade bread, because he doesn't like the "yeasty" taste that some breads have, but this bread had great flavor.
So here's the recipe:
2 pkg. active dry yeast, (one package is about 2 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar or honey
3 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. hot water
1/4 c. butter
4 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 3/4 to 3 3/4 c. all purpose flour

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, (105 to 115 degrees). In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, hot water and butter; cool slightly. To cooled mixture, add 3 c. whole wheat flour. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Add remaining whole wheat flour and dissolved yeast; mix well. By hand, stir in an additional 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl.

On floured surface, knead in 1/2 to 1 c. all purpose flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 30-45 min.

Generously grease two 8x4 or 9x5, (I used 9x5) loaf pans. Punch dough down several times to remove all air bubbles. Divide dough into 2 parts; shape into loaves. Place in greased pans. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 30-45 min.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover dough. Bake 30 min. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake an additional 10-15 min. or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

A few things I learned; I read a few chapters from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, and while I don't pretend to understand most of what she said, (and her recipes were definitely above my level!) I picked up a few things that helped.

1. Kneading too much flour into the dough is a no-no, (you're supposed to try and stay toward the lower end of the measurements given) and it's tempting when that stuff is sticking to your hands! So instead of coating my hands and the counter with flour, and adding more every time it felt sticky, I coated the counter and my hands with cooking spray, and just reapplied every time I felt the need to add more flour. This definitely made the dough easier to handle, and it was perfectly "smooth and elastic" without using the full amount of flour.
2. Also, if I understood correctly, the temperature at which the bread rises has more to do with the actual temperature of the bread, not the room. She recommended a slower rise than a faster one, because the longer the yeast has to do it's job, the more it will get used up and the better the bread will taste, without that yeasty tang. The yeast and action of the kneading already heat up your dough to about 75 degrees. Before I read this, I had tried another recipe and was all worried about the fact that my kitchen was only about 70 degrees, and the recipe said that it needed to rise, "in a warm place, about 80-85 degrees". A tip given was to heat the oven to 400, let it stay there for one minute, turn it off and then put your bread in to rise. Needless to say, my bread rose too fast and too much and I didn't know how to salvage it. Rose suggests that merely turning on your oven light creates enough warmth for the bread to rise, and I actually just let this batch rise on the counter, and it still rose in the said amount of time with no problems. Don't roast yourself out trying to get your bread to rise. Time will do it.
3. (This tip is complements of my Pillsbury cookbook, as are those that follow) For bread that starts to brown too quickly on top, cover with foil during baking, (I always have this problem, is my oven too hot, or are my pans too cheap?)
4. Butter brushed on the bread immediately after baking makes a deliciously yummy soft crust.
5. And finally for those of you amateur bread makers like me that have no idea how to tell if the dough has doubled, poke your fingers in, (lightly!) and the indentation will remain without springing back.
That's my two cents, any other tips from more seasoned bread makers?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Leftover Makeover

I thought I'd get the ball rolling here with a recipe we tried last night. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture.....that's how good it was. By the time I thought about it, there wasn't much left for a good picture. Anyway, this recipe was a "leftover makeover", which I love because we don't eat leftovers well at my house. I made a turkey dinner for Brandon on Father's Day, and even though it was only a turkey breast, we have turkey coming out of our ears. So in addition to all the yummy turkey sandwiches we'll be eating for lunch this week, we'll also be having turkey noodle soup, and last night we had this:

Turkey Tetrazzini
8 oz. spaghetti or angel hair pasta, broken and cooked al dente
5 Tbs. butter
6 Tbs. flour
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 c. mushrooms
5 Tbs. minced green pepper
3 c. cooked turkey
1/2 c. grated parmesean
1/2 c. cheddar cheese

Melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux. Slowly add broth and milk, cooking and stirring until thick and bubbly. Add salt, pepper, spaghetti, peppers, mushrooms and turkey. Heat through. Put in casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese bubbles.

Notes: Because I don't ever cook a recipe exactly the way it says.....I'll tell you my alterations. First of all, I didn't measure out 8 oz. of spaghetti, I just eyeballed what I thought I would need to feed the four of us, (and it was probably more than 8). Second, I used about 8 Tbs. of flour, because Brandon's Aunt Mindy, (who was kind enough to give me this recipe) said that sometimes the sauce came out a little thin with only 6. Third, I sauteed the mushrooms and green pepper in some butter with about 1 Tbs. of garlic, (Mindy said that she thought she just sprinkled garlic salt for the garlic) before adding it in with the rest. Also again, I didn't measure out the green pepper, I just used a whole small one. Fourth, I forgot the salt and pepper, and it was still great, (we don't really eat much salt though, so that's probably why it didn't bother us). Fifth, Mindy said that sometimes she uses canned mushrooms; one can juice and all. I used fresh and diced them tiny so my family couldn't see them. It's all about the mind games. Last, but definitely not least.....who measures cheese? I just sprinkled on what looked good, and I can promise it was more than the recipe called for. Maybe that's why I can't seem to lose a pants size.


So, I've been thinking for a while that I wanted to start a blog to swap recipes, (as I am always looking for a good one) but then I thought why stop there? Why not swap craft ideas, cleaning tips, playgroup ideas, whatever is on your mind? If you have ideas and want to share....please join! Leave a comment with your email address and I'll get you added. Let's start sharing. And please tell your friends. The more ideas the better!