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.