Sunday, September 18, 2011
I slightly changed the original recipe, decreasing the peanut butter and adding some regular butter/margarine to make them a little less rich/dense. Thanks to my sister-in-law Tiffany for fabulous original recipe!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Coconut-Almond Crusted Tilapia
Parmesan-Garlic Tilapia Sticks
Fish and Chips (I actually modify this recipe somewhat so I'll have to post that sometime)
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
When it came to meal planning, I cut myself a lot of necessary slack before, during, and after our move. But I can only take so much eating out and so many pre-packaged foods. My kitchen is fully unpacked, and although we still have tons of boxes around the house to tackle, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of "real" food--including a lot more made from scratch meals and fresh veggies and fruits.
One thing I struggle with when planning dinners, is that I tend to choose recipes that require a lot of preparation and time. I enjoy cooking. However, I have a lot of other things to do, and the hour before dinner tends to be a busy (and needy) time around here. So, my new goal when planning a menu for the week (or two? or the month? I think that might be better!) is: for every time-consuming meal I have planned, include two that are relatively simple.
This will be a challenge for me. One thing that will help is making large batches of whatever I am making (sauce, dough, etc.) and freezing for later use. So I'm going to try and implement that more often too.
I've been going through my Google bookmarks, and here are a few meals I am excited to try out in the next month or so. I have rated them on a scale of 1-5 stars for ease of preparation - 1 star being very simple to throw together, and 5 stars being pretty time-consuming. It seems I need a few more simple meals to add to this list. Ideas, anyone?
Garlic Chicken Bow Tie Pasta ***
Chinese Orange Chicken *** (We love the stuff from Panda but I've never had much luck making my own - I have high hopes for this one)
Pesto Chicken ** (one star if using jarred pesto, but I like to make mine)
Beef Cheddar Baked Flautas ** (Use the leftover beef for sandwiches or shepard's pie)
Coconut Almond Crusted Tilapia ***
Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos ***
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna ****
Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna ****
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese ***
Caprese Panini (add turkey to make more filling for those who want it) **
Crispy Southwest Wraps ***
Spinach Curry Soup ** (recipe from my sis-in-law)
Homemade Granola Bars *** (This is a new recipe I'm really excited to try!)
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (in a can in the Asian section)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1 t vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
1 cup whipped topping
In a large bowl, combine half-and-half, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Microwave on high, stopping to whisk it every minute or so, until thickened. Stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut and the vanilla extract.
Pour into pie shell and chill 2 to 4 hours, or until firm. Top with whipped topping, and with remaining 1/4 cup of coconut.
Note: To toast coconut, spread it in an ungreased pan and bake in a 350 degree oven 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 slices swiss cheese
4 slices ham
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Pound chicken breasts to flatten if they are thick. Place a cheese and a ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces well.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and/or bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm with mashed potatoes.
Stay tuned for dessert!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
#4 Lovely Domestic Diva! She said:
Our favorite simple meal is a big salad with all sorts of chopped veggies and diced leftover chicken or boiled egg or nuts for protein. No cook, yummy, and my little one loves it (especially if he can pick the veggies).
Frittatas [baked omelets -- so there's no flipping] are another favorite.
Those are both great ideas! Thanks Lovely Domestic Diva! I will email you your gift code for CSN stores right away.
And thanks everyone else who contributed. Since Mr. J is starting his new job down south soon, and I'll be single-parenting for a little while until school gets out and we can join him, I'm going to need lots of easy meals to throw together. No slaving away on anything complicated ... the kids usually appreciate simple foods more anyway. I'll probably do a post soon with all of my (and your) simple kid-friendly ideas so I can have them in one place.
Meanwhile, I do have one extra special meal in mind that I'm going to cook for Mr. J before he moves. So stay tuned for that!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I discovered these granola bars a few years ago and like to whip them up every now and again. They are a great alternative to the store bought variety--more nutritious plus easier on the budget. Even better, everyone enjoys them, kids and grown-ups alike. Adapted from here.
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ground flax seed (or wheat germ)
3/4 t ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 t vanilla extract
chocolate chips to taste
Optional ingredients: flaked coconut, raisins, other dried fruit (I included coconut. Also, note that chocolate chips are NOT optional. Not for me. )
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
Mix together the oats, brown sugar, flax seed, cinnamon, flour, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil, and vanilla. Mix well (so much easier if you use your hands). Spread mixture evenly into pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5-10 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm (if you wait too long they will be harder to cut).
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
And now for the fun part! I have a $20 gift code to give away to one lucky reader.
Here's what you have to do to enter:
- Leave me a comment telling about your favorite simple, HEALTHY, kid-friendly meal. I want to do a whole bunch of advance meal planning the next month or so, and I want it to be simple stuff. And I'm hoping this will jump-start my planning.
- Leave your email address in the comment so I can contact you if you win.
- That's it. You don't have to subscribe or tweet or anything like that. :)
Here's a link to all of CSN Stores. And here's a link to the kitchen stuff.
- 12 speed blender
- 450 Watts
- Sleek slope design for attractive counter display
- 5-Cup scratch resistant and dishwasher safe glass jar
- Exclusive All-Metal Drive system for power and extra durability
I got this blender to replace my other Oster blender when the motor burned out (after several years). I am pretty hard on blenders--I use them a lot to make smoothies. I really like the glass jar and so far I'm just as pleased with this one as my old one. It blends quickly and uniformly. Does great with ice. I don't know if there's a blender out there that would last me more than a few years. But so far this one is working great!
Monday, March 28, 2011
1 can shoepeg corn
1 can black-eyed peas
1 can diced green chilies (I use half a can)
4-6 tomatoes, diced
1 bell pepper diced (I like orange or yellow best but I used red in this batch)
diced: cilantro, green onions, garlic (to taste)
¼-1/2 cup zesty italian dressing (sometimes I use fresh lime juice and cut back on the dressing)
1/2 - 2 jalapenos, depending on how hot you like it (optional)
Salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste (I never include Tabasco)
Mix together in a big bowl and chill overnight for best flavor (I usually can’t wait that long).
Monday, March 21, 2011
Spring break is over and with it I'm hoping some bad eating habits. We went out to eat a lot and had a lot of big family meals, which was great and what vacation is all about right? But now it's time to get back on schedule and back to meal planning. Here's what's on the menu this week:
Creamy Potato Leek Soup and rolls
Pork Chops and scalloped potatoes, broccoli (Mr. J is cooking this, can't wait for that!)
Flautas (w/leftover pork) and homemade salsa, refried beans
Homemade mac and cheese, salad, bread
Pizza/out to eat with family
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
This is another favorite from Mr. J's family. Chicken is breaded in a garlic, Parmesan, and bread crumb combo, baked in lemon butter and topped with breaded mushrooms. It cooks up tender and full of flavor; just try not to think about the amount of butter you are consuming!
4-6 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
salt and pepper
2 t garlic powder (divided)
1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup butter
1 T lemon juice
1 t parsley
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
Preheat oven to 375. Line a large baking dish (9X13) with foil for easy clean up later. Spray foil with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, beat egg, salt, pepper, and 1/2 t garlic powder. In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, 1/2 t garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese.
Flatten each chicken breast and cut into two pieces if desired (I like smaller servings). Dip each piece of chicken into egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs, pressing to coat well. Arrange in baking dish.
Melt butter with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, lemon juice, and parsley. Pour half over chicken. Bake 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining butter with mushrooms and enough remaining bread crumbs to coat the mushrooms. After the 25-30 minutes, remove chicken and cover with mushroom mixture. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
This is one of Mia's favorite recipes. It comes from my friend Bethany who always makes the best food! I've modified it just a little for convenience sake, her original recipe is here.
- 2 chicken breasts, precooked and shredded (best method is in the crock pot w/some broth, seasoned salt, and pepper)
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 1/2 C carrots, cut up (or 1/2 bag of baby carrots cut up)
- 3 stocks of celery, chopped
- 2 T. butter
- 6 chicken bullion cubes (added at different times)
- seasoned salt and pepper
- 8 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 package of small egg noodles (8-10 oz.)
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup*
Put chopped onion, celery, and carrots in the bottom of a large pot with butter, ¼ cup water, 1 bullion cube, and a dash each of seasoned salt and pepper. Stir, cover, and steam on medium heat until veggies are almost tender (about 10-15 minutes).
Add 8 cups of water and remaining 5 bullion cubes, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add noodles and boil for about 8 minutes or according to package.
Finally, add shredded chicken, canned soup, and ¼ t each of seasoned salt and pepper. Cook until cream of chicken soup has dissolved and soup is creamy. Add more water if soup is too thick.
*Here is a substitution for the cream of chicken soup when I don’t have it on hand: Melt 4 T butter in a saucepan, then stir in about 8-9 T flour. Add 1 cup milk, salt and pepper, and cook until thickened. Add this to the pot along with a few big spoonfuls of sour cream.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Once in a while I go out on a limb and throw in a veggie or two, like a carrot, with varying success. (Sometimes the kids will notice and tell me it tastes funny.)
The other night, I made what Mia called "The best yummy drink you've ever made, mom!" Again, no exact measurements, but here's how it went:
Piña Colada Smoothie
1 and 1/2 fresh bananas
several large spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt (maybe about a cup worth?)
canned pineapple juice and tidbits (I opened a large can and used all the liquid plus the tidbits that were left after making Hawaiian pizza)
cream of coconut* - squeeze for a couple of seconds
water and ice to desired thickness and texture
Blend and enjoy! Little umbrellas optional.
*The brand of cream of coconut that I have is Coco Real, and I found it in the liquor section:
Thursday, February 24, 2011
About that kitchen stuff. I'm all for appliances that make my life easier and meal prep faster in the kitchen. But sometimes I feel like there are so many "useful" gadgets that if I got them all they would quickly take over my house. Space is at a premium in my kitchen. If I'm going to be an appliance that only has one function, it better be either small, or so convenient that I just can't do without it. Thus I don't have a salsa maker, a fondue pot, or a hot dog toaster (ha!).
I am very fond of certain appliances. I use my bread maker constantly. My cooking world opened up so much when I finally bought a food processor. My blender gets a lot of use too, as does my rice maker. (I know it's easy enough to cook rice on the stove, but I just love the "push a button and forget about it" approach.)
Currently on my wish list? A new wheat grinder; I have an old stone grinder but would like to upgrade to something smaller and more convenient eventually--maybe this one? And also, a new Bosch mixer. Mr. J, in two strokes of thrift-store good luck, actually purchased our wheat grinder and our Bosch mixer secondhand. I loved the Bosch while it lasted--I used to make huge batches of cookie dough in it.
Also, I'm really debating the usefulness of a tortilla press. On the one hand, it looks a little bulky and it only has one function. Plus, I wonder how well they really work? On the other hand, I made tortillas last night and it really is a very manual, time-consuming process. A press might be worth it.
I think I'll do a little more kitchen gadget window shopping!
Monday, February 21, 2011
14 T butter, at room temperature
½-3/4 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
raspberry jam (or use lingonberry, which is a Swedish favorite)
30 medium paper cups (I use regular muffin cups)
Heat the oven to 375° F.
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour, combined with baking soda and cinnamon. Divide the dough into 30 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and put in a medium sized paper cup. With your finger, make an indention and fill it with jam.
Bake on a cookie sheet in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes.
- 6 eggs
- 10 red potatoes
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- 1/3 cup chopped dill pickles or relish
- 1 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- Place the eggs into a saucepan in a single layer and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Pour out the hot water; cool the eggs under cold running water in the sink. Peel and chop the cooled eggs.
- Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold. Peel and cube once cold.
- Stir together the mayonnaise, ranch dressing, pickles, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and celery salt in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, potatoes, and celery; stir until evenly mixed. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Whole Wheat Bread
1 1/4 cup hot-ish water (not hot enough to kill the yeast--use your wrist to gage heat)
1/2 T yeast
2 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup self-rising bread flour
1/6 cup oil
1/6 cup honey
1/2 T salt
1/2 T gluten (optional)
Measure ingredients into bread maker in the following order:
1 1/3 cup wheat flour
oil and honey
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup self-rising flour
gluten (if using)
Mix on "dough" setting. After cycle is complete, shape dough into a loaf, place in greased bread pan, and let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Brush top of finished loaf with butter. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan.
*Notes: For the oil and honey, I use a 1/3 cup measure and fill it half full with oil, then to the top with honey before dumping it all in. The honey slides right out that way and you don't have to scrape it.
- 6 slices of bacon
- 1 1/4 lb. fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
- 2-3 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- red onion, finely chopped (to taste - I only use a little as it tends to be overpowering otherwise)
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 t cider vinegar
Thursday, January 27, 2011
When it comes to dough, I am all about having my bread machine do most of the work whenever possible, which is one of the reasons I love this pizza crust recipe. The other reasons are: 1) it's delicious and 2) I can get two pizzas (one regular round and one slightly smaller) out of it.
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
Combine water, olive oil, sugar, salt in pan of bread machine Add flour, then sprinkle garlic on flour. Lastly add yeast. Turn machine on dough cycle. As the dough mixes, sprinkle on oregano and basil until it suits you for color and taste.
Let mix for at least 20-30 minutes, then let the dough rest from 5 to 30 minutes (longer is better. To be honest I often just let it run the whole dough cycle which is 1 and 1/2 hours total).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Divide dough and press into two pizza pans. Add sauce, cheese, and toppings, and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Monday, January 24, 2011
4 tomatoes - peeled, seeded and diced (drop tomatoes in boiling water for a minute, then they peel easily)
4 cups tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste
Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return the puree to the stock pot. Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.
Spaghetti and meatballs, breadsticks (meatballs pre-cooked already in the freezer)
Split pea soup (leftover ham in the freezer to use up)
BBQ chicken pizza
Southwestern BBQ chicken salad (crock-pot cooking a bunch of chicken in BBQ sauce to use for this and the pizza)
Grilled salmon, baked potatoes
Chili (canned) and cornbread (the kind with creamed corn--I need to find a recipe)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Grilled Chicken Grande bowl (my take on the one at Rubios)
Chicken Tortellini soup (from a new recipe book I got for Christmas - it's a compilation of recipes from my mom's women's group at church--my favorite kind of recipe book!)
Roast in the crock pot with mashed potatoes
Monte Cristo sandwiches and Tomato soup
Other non-dinner recipes on the menu:
Mini Cheesecakes - I'm making these for the ladies at book club - lucky them!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour (I used 1 cup all purpose, 1 cup white whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 cup blueberries
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
- In large bowl beat eggs. Gradually add sugar while beating. Continue beating while slowly pouring in oil. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda.
- Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with sour cream. Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Here's what we're eating this week:
Clam Chowder and rolls
Roasted chicken and veggies (a modified version of this) - This is cooking at my house right now and oh my does it smell GOOD!
Copycat Applebees salad, corn bread
out to eat/leftovers
Non-dinner recipes on the menu:
Egg/cheese/ham on English muffins (my version of a McMuffin)
Monday, January 3, 2011
We call one of our Christmas food traditions "Christmas around the World." Every Christmas Eve we make food from a different country or culture. In past years we've done Switzerland (fondue--yum!), Greece, and India. This year, we did France. What is not to love about French food? (The answer is NOTHING, in case you were wondering.)
We made Supremes de Volaille a Blanc (Breast of Chicken with Cream), pasta, and French baked beets. We purchased the baguette and the brie, and we received the sparkling cider as a gift.
We topped it all off with these delicious cream puffs (minus the heart shape) for dessert. There are several steps to making the cream puffs, but they weren't too tricky, and the results were worth the time.
I love our Christmas around the world tradition, but I think this is going to be hard to top next year. Maybe we should quit while we're ahead and just make it a Christmas in France tradition??