Monday, December 14, 2009

Navajo Tacos

i've actually never tried navajo tacos...i don't know if the way we made them was legit or not, but they were pretty dang tasty nonetheless! rory was frustrated that i called them tacos. he thinks they don't fold well...i don't think you're supposed to fold them, hun. anyways, the bread was a snap to make and easy to cook as well. filling, inexpensive, and easy! three of my favorite words. ;) i just made some taco meat and added a can of pinto beans, to top them off. and of course, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and lettuce. 
  Navajo Tacos
from Chocolate on my Cranium

2 cups flour

1 TBSP baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3/4 - 1 cup hot water

oil for frying

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in mixing bowl. Add the water a little at a time to make a soft dough. Knead a few times then let rest. You can actually let this rest for up to an hour but we cook them right away.

Pinch off balls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll out each ball on a floured surface with a rolling pin until dough is about 1/8 thick.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep pan to about 375 degrees. Fry dough one piece at a time until golden. Turn to cook other side. Drain on paper towels. If done correctly the fry bread will puff up with several bubbles in the dough. Makes about 7 pieces of fry bread.

Pile them high with chili or beans, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, sliced olives, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa. For dessert you can slather them with honey and butter. YUM!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Olive Oil Pizza Dough/Garlic Chicken Pizza

so when i was a teen, friday nights, my brother and i would go to papa murphy's and get a huge garlic chicken pizza to split...and eat it all! (pretty evenly too, i might add) i always said that their garlic chicken pizza was the thing i would choose to eat if someone made me choose only one thing to ever eat again. yumm. so of course, i had to try and recreate it at home! and this was pretty darn close.

Olive Oil Pizza Dough
from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

(makes about 4 pizzas)

2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the water, yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil in a 5-quart, lidded container (or bowl).

Mix the flour in, without kneading. Use a wooden spoon, a stand mixer, or a food processor.

Cover, not airtight, and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, until the dough rises and then flattens on top.

Store in the fridge, keep it covered, but not air tight, and use within 12 days.

On the day you are going to make pizza, bring the dough out of the fridge. Dust the surface of the dough with some flour and pull off a one pound chunk (using a serrated knife or kitchen shears), a about grapefruit size. Put the rest of the dough back in the fridge to be used another day. Using floured hands quickly shape into a ball and then roll out to the thickness you like, just like you roll any other pizza dough. Using flour when needed to keep it from sticking. There is no need for it to rest, you can proceed directly with your pizza recipe! seems their garlicky sauce is a combo of ranch dressing and garlic! huh. so simple. so, mix up your sauce of ranch dressing and chopped garlic (whatever amount you need...rory doesn't eat this so it's just me, and janae if she's over. she always manages to make it over on pizza night. hmmm...) spread it on your dough, and top with cooked diced chicken (i use canned stuff to make it super easy), chopped tomatoes and green onions, and mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 525 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.
then....devour! yumm...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Black and White Bean Dip


Black and White Bean Dip
from Annie's Eats

1 can black beans
1 can white beans
1 can of corn
7 oz. salsa verde
2 cups shredded co-jack cheese
4-6 chopped roma tomatoes
garlic salt to taste
avocado – optional
Preheat the oven to 350°. Rinse and drain both cans of beans. Drain the can of corn. Squeeze the liquid out of tomatoes before chopping so the dip doesn’t turn runny. Put all ingredients except avocado in a bowl and mix together. Spray a shallow baking dish with nonstick spray before spooning in the bean mixture. Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dip is heated through. Remove from the oven and top with diced avocado. Serve with tortilla chips.

Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches

since all i've been blogging about lately is fabric and sewing (can you blame me?), i thought i'd break up the cycle a little and post that root beer pulled pork recipe i talked about last week.

this is also for the guys who read my blog. well...i know my dad and rory and my brothers do...not sure about anyone else. so, if you're a guy...who likes meat...and reads my're cool. way to stick around through the pink.

Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches
from all


1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite
barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns, split and lightly


Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

**we liked how tender the pork was...and you got a hint of root beer once in awhile but it wasn't overpowering. i think i'll keep trying out pulled pork recipes though. if you have any great ones, send them my way!

Friday, November 27, 2009

S'mores Bars

***these were scrumptious! rory downed about half last night, and i'm sure will polish them off tonight, that is, if i don't get to them first. janae and julia liked them too. anyways...for such a simple dessert, they were really amazing!

S'mores Bars
from Amber's Delectable Delights

1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup butter (no substitutions)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
9 crushed graham crackers

1 1/2 cups small marshmallows
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

- Line an 8x8 pan with foil and spray with PAM.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, 3/4 cup marshmallows and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine the egg, butter, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly until it comes to a full boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Pour mixture in bowl with the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (Marshmallows and chips will melt a bit).
- Fold in remaining marshmallows and chips.
- Press mixture into prepared pan.Cool until set. Remove foil and bars from pan, cut and serve. - Store in airtight container either room temp or in fridge (if during warm months).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

*** i loove these cookies. that's all there is to say. they're great to freeze too! i just use my scoop and then freeze the dough, throw it in a bag, and bake off a few whenever i want a fresh, hot cookie! (add about 3-5 minutes cooking time if you use them straight from the freezer)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
from The Joy of Cooking

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lb softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled whole oats
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift (sifting is important!) flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.
  3. Beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a hand mixer at medium speed.
  4. Put flour mixture into butter mixture and mix well.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and oats.
  6. Spoon 1.5 inch balls onto non-stick cookie sheet. ( I use an ice cream scoop for even size cookies)
  7. Bake at 350°F for 6-9 minutes, rotating half way through baking. (Should be lightly firm in the center when done)

Baked Potato-and-Broccoli Soup

***wow! this was awesome. so delicious and hearty. we like soups only if they're hearty and filling, so this one fit the bill! great leftovers too! (sorry about the horrid photo!)

Baked Potato-and-Broccoli Soup
from via Amber's Delectable Delights

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 (14 1/4-ounce) cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth, divided
3 cups peeled, cubed potato (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 small onion, chopped (i left this out)
1 1/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (8-ounce) block 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
7 teaspoons shredded 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
7 teaspoons fully cooked bacon pieces
7 teaspoons chopped green onions

Whisk together flour and 1/3 cup chicken broth until smooth.
Combine remaining chicken broth and next 3 ingredients in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Cook, stirring often, 5 minutes.

Stir in milk and 8 ounces shredded cheese. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Top each serving of soup with 1 teaspoon cheese, 1 teaspoon bacon pieces, and 1 teaspoon chopped green onions.

Note - We recommend freshly shredded cheese (versus the preshredded variety) for additional creaminess and even melting.

Yield - Makes 7 servings (serving size: 1 cup) (serving size: 1 cup)

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms
from Kotori blog

24 Large Fresh Mushrooms (about 1 - 2 inches in diameter)
1/4 C Green Onions (2), sliced
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/4 C Butter
2/3 C Fine Breadcrumbs
1/2 C Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Rinse and drain mushrooms. Remove stems; reserve caps. Chop enough stems to make 1 cup.

In a medium skillet cook the copped stems, green onions and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in bread crumbs and cheese.

Spoon crumb mixture into mushroom caps. Arrange mushrooms in a baking pan. At this point you can cover the pan and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Bake uncovered at 425 for 10 - 15 minutes or until heated through. The caps should be soft and the topping should be slightly crisp.

**these were soooo good. if you're a mushroom person, at least. they're best fresh from the oven, so make sure you plan for that!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip
from Kraft Foods

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
SPREAD cream cheese onto bottom of microwaveable 9-inch pie plate.
MIX artichokes, butter and garlic; spoon evenly over cream cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
MICROWAVE on HIGH 1 min. or until heated through. Serve with crackers or sliced baguettes.

**this one i have to double, as it disappears quickly when my family is involved. also, it's not heated yet in the picture, so sorry if it doesn't look great. :)

Bacon and Onion Pinwheels

Bacon and Onion Pinwheels
from Kraft Foods

10 slices OSCAR MAYER Center Cut Bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 cans (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients except crescent rolls.
UNROLL crescent roll dough; separate into a total of 8 rectangles. Firmly press perforations together to seal. Spread bacon mixture evenly onto dough; roll up, starting from one of the short ends. Cut each roll crosswise into 4 slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Easy (Divine) Breadsticks

***wow. that's all i have to say about these. that, and i think i ate like 6. (yikes! i did hop on the elliptical that night, at least) between me, rory, justin, and sadie, we had four left out of the whole pan. they are so light and delicious, and tasted similar to the ones from olive garden, which was the plan, since i served them with the zuppa toscana. delicious meal, and it felt like we went out for it! (except i had to do the dishes)

Easy (Divine) Breadsticks
My Kitchen Cafe

*Makes about 20-25 breadsticks, depending on how thick or thin you cut them

1 ½ cups warm water

1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar

3 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted (for the baking sheet)

Mix all ingredients (except melted butter) in a large bowl or electric mixer and knead for three minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread melted butter onto an 11X17-inch baking sheet. Roll out the breadstick dough about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Twist slightly if desired and place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, herbs of choice, and parmesan cheese. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Friday, October 16, 2009

crusty french bread

***this was a major hit. i will definitely be making this again! i doubled the recipe and it made plenty for my big family! barely though. rory WAS there.

Crusty French Bread
from Recipe Zaar

50 min | 20 min prep

2 loaves
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.
  6. Punch down and divide in half.
  7. Shape dough into two long slender loaves.
  8. Grease and sprinkle with cornmeal either a french bread pan or large cookie sheet.
  9. Place loaves in pan and cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf (I use scissors).
  10. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  12. Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

cheesy breadsticks

these are my favorite breadsticks cause they don't rise for very long. (quick meal is my middle name) it's also my favorite pizza dough, and sometime i will take a picture of my BBQ chicken pizza. so easy! anyways:

Cheesy Breadsticks from parents magazine

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 pkg active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp ollive oil

In a large bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups flour with yeast and salt, add warm water and oil. Beat with a whisk for 3 minutes. (I usually don't make it past 1.5) Using a wooden spoon, stir in another 1 1/4 cups flour, or enough so mixture holds together. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead in 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour-stop once it's lump free. Cover dough and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Heat oven to 425 degrees. (i usually leave it on the oven while it's heating up)

On a greased baking sheet, press out dough into a rectangle, as thin as you like it. Prick dough with a fork lightly. Bake about 8 minutes. Melt butter and garlic salt together. Brush on top of dough and sprinkle cheese on top. (we like mozzerella and parmesan) Bake another 8 minutes or until browned. Cut into wedges and enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
adapted from Life with Little Ones

3 Chicken Breasts cut up into chunks
1 medium onion diced
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 packet taco seasoning
3 cups Chicken broth
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans
corn tortillas or chips
cilantro, chopped
shredded cheese, sour cream,avocado- for garnish

Heat the oil in large soup pot to med-high heat. Add chicken, cook until browned. Next, add onions-cook until tender. Add seasonings-garlic, chili powder, taco seasoning. Stir well. Pour in the chicken broth, and cook until boiling. Turn soup down and add the tomatoes, chilies and beans, all undrained. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, cut 7 tortillas into thin strips and bake in a 375 degree oven, or fry until crisp.

Serve soup in individual bowls, top with tortilla strips or chips, cheese,cilantro,sour cream and avocado.


***a few things i did differently: i'd probably add a second can of beans next time, just to bulk it up:)..on the garlic and chili powder i reduced it to just one tbsp of each, and i left out the green chilies cause rory's not a huge fan of them. was delicious! soo scrumptious. the fresh cilantro makes it! (though i'm biased, i loove cilantro) anyways, thanks for sharing, Corey! it was fabulous!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

chicken stir fry

i love this recipe because i love easy and quick meals, and hey-this one has quick right in the title! obviously i swapped rice for pasta, since we had a pasta-filled week. also i used a frozen stir fry veggie mix, but since rory picked out most of those veggies, i think i'll stick with just broccoli. at least he'll eat that!

link here

Speedy Chicken Stir-Fry from kraft

1/2 lb. angel hair pasta (capellini), uncooked
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. each: ground ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper
1/3 cup chopped PLANTERS Dry Roasted Peanuts
COOK pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 3 min.
MEANWHILE, spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 to 8 min. or until done, stirring occasionally. Stir in dressing, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and pepper; cook 1 min., stirring occasionally.
DRAIN pasta mixture; place in large bowl. Add chicken mixture; mix lightly. Spoon evenly into 4 serving bowls; sprinkle with peanuts.

Pumpkin Bars

***i love baking with pumpkin. end of story. the cream cheese frosting is super rich and yummy. make sure you have a lot of people to share with, they are very rich! my large family only ate about half, and then i had to send the rest with rory to work, cause i didn't want them sitting around with me at home all day! can you imagine what that would do to my (non existent) figure?! anyways, loved these, and they made my house smell sooo delicious while they were baking!

Pumpkin Bars
from Paula Deen via My Kitchen Cafe

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (can substitute 1/2 cup applesauce for 1/2 cup oil)
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda Icing:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.
To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

buttermilk biscuits

rory and i easily ate about 6 of these (each) last sunday. in our defense, they were breakfast. the reason they look double stacked is cause they were...i rolled the dough out a wee bit too much and wanted them to be taller. thus, stick one biscuit on top of another.

Buttermilk Biscuits from Joy of Cooking

Position rack in center of oven, Preheat oven to 450*. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together:
2c flour
2t. baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Cut 5-6 T unsalted butter into flour until largest pieces are the size of peas

Add all at once:
3/4 c buttermilk

(quick trick, mix 1 cup milk to 1 tbsp lemon juice and let it sit while you mix the other ingredients together. that's an easy sub for buttermilk)

Mix with wooden spoon until dry ingredients are moist. With a floured hand, gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead just a bit on flour board and pat dough down gently to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet. Brush Biscuits with milk or melted butter. Bake until golden brown on top and bottom, 10-12 minutes.

turkey chili

***this was fabulous! i loved it. rory didn't like the "chunks of stuff", but that didn't surprise me at all. i changed a few things, these changes are reflected above, the original recipe is via the link. very satisfying and flavorful, i thought!

Turkey Chili
adapted from

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 (1 ounce) package chili seasoning mix
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 (7 ounce) can salsa
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • sour cream
  • cheddar cheese


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble turkey into the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon to break apart as much as possible. Season with chili seasoning and tomato paste, and mix until meat is evenly coated with seasonings. Continue cooking, reducing heat if necessary, until turkey is well browned.
  2. Pour in broth, and simmer to reduce liquid slightly, about 5 minutes. Add salsa and tomatoes, and kidney beans, and continue cooking at a moderate simmer for ten minutes. Adjust the thickness at any time you feel necessary by adding water.
  3. While chili is still cooking, heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and green bell pepper, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent and bell pepper is lightly browned. Add onion and bell pepper to the chili, and continue cooking at a very low simmer.
  4. Ladle chili into serving bowls. Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese, and serve.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

grilled chicken pasta with tomato cream sauce

this is what we had for dinner last night...and it was scrumptious! i've never had a tomato cream sauce before but it was very flavorful and yum. sadie loved it too.

I used half and half instead of heavy cream cause it was a lot less $$ and i am a cheapskate. rory liked it ok. he would be happy if i baked bread every night for dinner though. or pizza. foodie he is not. i'm not either, but i like to mix it up. whatever. it's good, and i'm making it again, so there.

link here

Grilled Chicken Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Montreal Steak seasoning
1/2 pound pasta of your choice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chicken broth
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 tsp salt & pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
Rinse chicken breasts in cold water. Layer between sheets of wax paper and pound to even thickness. Season both sides with Montreal Steak seasoning. Preheat grill for medium high heat, lightly oil grate, and grill chicken breasts on medium high heat for 6-8 mins each side. OR heat 2 tbsp butter & 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter and olive oil is nice and hot, add chicken breasts and cook 5 mins each side. Set chicken aside to cool.
In a large pot, boil water with 1 tbsp salt. Add 1/2 lb penne pasta noodles and boil according to package directions.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is tender, but do not let the garlic turn brown (about 3-5 mins). Add the chicken broth to the pan and allow to reduce by half. Meanwhile, slice chicken. Once the broth has reduced, stir in tomato sauce. Add the heavy cream and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low.
Chop the parsley and basil, add to sauce and mix well. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Stir well to coat. Serve pasta on plates, top with sliced chicken.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

wow this sure was delicious! and seriously easy too. i've had this recipe tucked away for FOREVER. look at that date! 4 years ago people. sad that i've been living this long without trying this recipe. now i don't want you to suffer the same fate! so try this soon. you won't regret it. (unless you don't like sausage, or broccoli, or pasta, or parmesan cheese, in which case you are very strange.)

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage
from Real Simple Magazine Sept 05 issue

1 pound pasta (would work with any type, i think!)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound sweet italian sausage, casings removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 head broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Mean while in a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling it with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the brother and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Then add the broccoli, cover, and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the butter and parmesan and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the drained pasta, season with salt and black pepper, and toss to combine.

Polynesian Glazed Meatballs

i love a good meatball. seriously we eat them like once a week at least. swedish style (ish), with the traditional spaghetti and sauce, and one of my faves, these polynesian glazed meatballs. it's one of the easiest meals, and i love to make it over and over. rory likes it too, he just picks out all the red peppers so all i get for my leftovers is red peppers and rice. good thing they're delectable.

i love using frozen meatballs, cause, for $5 a bag, you can't beat that. plus a bag usually lasts us three meatball meals. although it's getting tight with sadie eating "regular food" now. she loves her some meatballs.

Polynesian Glazed Meatballs
from Kraft Foods

1 tsp. oil
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce (or, rebel and don't use the name brand!)
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cans (8 oz. each) pineapple chunks, drained, liquid reserved
12 oz. (3/4 of 1-lb. pkg.) frozen cooked meatballs
2 cups white rice, uncooked
HEAT oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions; cook 5 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.
STIR in barbecue sauce, ginger, garlic powder and reserved pineapple liquid. Add meatballs; mix lightly until evenly coated. Cook 10 min. or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook rice as directed on package.
STIR pineapple into meatball mixture. Serve over the rice.

Strawberry Pretzel Squares

these delicious little treats are so fun! the pretzel "crust" makes for a delicious salty and sweet treat. and, if you take it to a church function or large party, it will probably get devoured quickly. so make sure you get a picture before there are only three left. seriously, 5 minutes after cutting them up, and they were gone! (sorry about the not in focus picture. as i said i was in a hurry to get out of the way of the ravenous people)

Strawberry Pretzel Squares
from Kraft Foods

2 cups finely crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened (although i only used one and it turned out fine, i think!)
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (6 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1-1/2 cups cold water
1 qt. (4 cups) strawberries, sliced
HEAT oven to 350°F.
MIX pretzel crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter. Press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Bake 10 min. Cool.
BEAT cream cheese, remaining sugar and milk until blended. Stir in COOL WHIP; spread over crust. Refrigerate.
ADD boiling water to gelatin mix in large bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours or until thickened (spoon drawn through leaves definite impression). Stir in strawberries; spoon over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Noodles

yum. rory raved about this, which is funny cause i wasn't sure how he'd like the peanut sauce. turns out, he likes peanut butter in just about anything! also, the leftovers are delish! of course, i had to cook the mushrooms separately and add them into my portion. rory hates mushrooms. he has a big book of grievances against many foods. (name the TV show character who has one of those-minus the food part!) i also left out the carrots cause i thought we didn't have any. then i found a bag under the parsley. grr.

Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Noodles
from Pillsbury One Dish cookbook

1/2 box of spaghetti
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
t tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups small fresh broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
1/2 lb cooked diced chicken

Cook noodles according to package directions. In a small bowl, beat peanut butter, ginger, pepper flakes, and 2 tbsp of the soy sauce with wire whisk until blended. Gradually beat in remaining 2 tbsp soy sauce and the water until smooth. Set aside. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Cook broccoli, mushrooms, and carrots in oil 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add chicken; cook and stir until hot. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in sauce and cooked noodles until coated. Cook and stir until hot.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

peanut butter fudge with chocolate glaze

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge adapted from Recipe Zaar 1¼ hours | 15 min prep

Peanut Butter Fudge Layer

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2/3 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 lb powdered sugar

Chocolate Fudge Layer

  • 2/3 lb powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup butter
  1. Line an 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan with waxed paper. Make sure there is a bit of overlap so you can release the fudge from the pan later.
  2. Peanut Butter Fudge Layer:.
  3. Place butter and peanut butter in a 1 quart microwave safe bowl.
  4. Microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  5. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes.
  6. Add pure vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar to peanut butter mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  7. Press into the bottom of the lined pan.
  8. Place a second piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and set aside.
  9. Chocolate Fudge Layer:.
  10. Sift confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and salt into a 1 quart microwave safe bowl. (I use the same bowl with the peanut butter remnants wiped out).
  11. Mix in milk and pure vanilla extract.
  12. Place butter on top of the mixture.
  13. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
  14. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  15. Remove the waxed paper from the Peanut Butter Fudge layer and discard.
  16. Pour Chocolate Fudge over the Peanut Butter Fudge layer.
  17. Chill uncovered until firm (about 1 hour).
  18. Remove the fudge from the pan by pulling up on the waxed paper.
  19. Place on a flat surface and cut into 36 pieces.
  20. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
*this was rich and i loved the peanut butter layer especially. i would not make this the same way next time though. the chocolate layer never set up and was too gooey. next time i will make a glaze for the chocolate part. Glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter

if you try it this way, let me know! though i will definitely make this again soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

lemon cranberry scones

wow. these were so good even rory ate two. (he's not a fan of cranberries OR lemons) i'm not gonna say how many i ate...for reals..try them. they'd be great with orange zest too, i just had lemons on hand. anyways, perfect saturday morning breakfast or brunch item!

Lemon Cranberry Scones-adapted from The Joy of Cooking (aka food bible)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Whisk together thoroughly in a large bowl:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

drop in:

6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Cut in the butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender, tossing the pieces with the flour mixture to coat and separate them as you work, until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest resemble breadcrumbs. Do not allow the butter to melt or form a paste with the flour.

Stir in:

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Whisk together, then add all at once:

1 cup heavy cream (i used the rest of our half and half)
1 tsp grated lemon zest

Mix with a rubber spatula, wooden spoon, or fork just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the side and bottom of the bowl until loose pieces of dough adhere and the bowl is fairly clean. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8-inch round about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 8 or 12 wedges and place at least 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with 2-3 tsp cream or milk. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake until the tops are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a rack or serve warm.

Friday, September 11, 2009

beachcomber chicken and risotto

Beachcomber chicken adapted from an old ward cookbook

1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme

Mix all ingredients for marinade. Marinate chicken breasts for several hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Basic Risotto adapted from Joy of Cooking

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, simmer 6-8 cups chicken stock. (I heated it in the microwave a bit at a time, and only ended up using 6 1/2 cups)

Stir into the butter: 2 cups rice. Stir the rice and cook about 3 minutes.

Then start stirring in the stock, 1 cup at a time. Each cup must be absorbed before the next is added. Stir the risotto continuously to keep it from sticking. When 6 cups stock have been absorbed, add the stock 1/2 cup at a time and start tasting the rice. It should be tender but still a little firm to the bits, never mushy. Take the risotto off the heat when the rice still has a little more resistance than you would like.

Fold in 1 tbsp butter and 2/3 to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the risotto stand for a moment or two. Serve mmediately.

*both were delicious...the risotto didn't need much salt...but pretty much i was just proud of myself for making risotto.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

cafe rio

what can i say about the cafe rio salads that hasn't already been said a thousand times? that i pine for them, and dream about the day when i will go back to utah for a visit and eat a dozen of them?

ok, that might seem a bit extreme, but i seriously miss these salads.
i'm sure all of you that have had one will agree/commiserate with me. yes?

we used to eat there at least two times a month, more if i could convince rory. so, since we don't have them here in cali, i tried the knockoff recipes circling the web. it was soo good. the dressing was spot on. it tasted just like i'd remembered it. the thing you must do with this salad is layer. layer layer layer. first a tortilla (we love the ones you cook yourself from costco), melt some cheese on top of that too, yum. then comes the black beans, lime cilantro rice, and meat. then the lettuce, tomatoes (or pico de gallo), avocado if you have it, more cheese...and tortilla strips. i forgot those, but it was still delish! next time i won't forget them!

now, i know you can't see the good stuff, and it just looks like some lettuce with dressing. but what lurks underneath that healthy stuff is the deliciousness.

now on to the recipes.

Creamy cilantro tomatillo salad dressing adapted from Becky Higgins

1 packet dry hidden valley ranch dressing
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 c. mayo or sour cream
2-3 tomatillos (peel off outer leaf/shell)
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
juice from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.)
salt & pepper

Blend all ingredients in the blender. Refrigerate.

Cafe Rio Lime Cilantro Rice adapted from various recipes on the web

2 cups uncooked rice
4 cups water (mixed with 3-4 tsp chicken bouillion)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp butter

Saute garlic and butter until soft, don't let it burn! Add rice and cook for a minute or two, on medium heat. Add water and bouillion mixture, and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. After it begins to boil rapidly, reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Stir occasionally, and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Lime Chicken from The "I don't cook" syndrome cookbook (so not really a "cafe rio" recipe, but it was very tasty!)

1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix all ingredients and let chicken marinade in the fridge for several hours. Cook chicken however you like, grill, stovetop, or oven.

Or try it with some pork barbacoa!

Pork Barbacoa
from Wonder Mom Envy

2 pounds pork
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can RED enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.

In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.

Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours.

pesto pasta salad

Pesto Pasta Salad 
from My Kitchen cafe

1 12 oz. package Pasta Rotini, tri colored, cooked and drained
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 can black olives, sliced
¼ cups red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
6 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
4 tablespoons basil pesto
2/3 cup creamy Caesar dressing
2 teaspoons sauté spice (equal parts black pepper, salt, and garlic powder)
½-1 cup toasted pine nuts

Cook pasta and coat with Caesar dressing while warm. Add the rest of the ingredients (minus the pine nuts) and toss. Top with toasted pine nuts.

***I obviously didn't use the tri color pasta cause I couldn't find it at Safeway, weird! I also left out the pine nuts. I think this would be fabulous with some chopped artichoke hearts, and/or chunks of cheese! cause, anything is better with a little cheese!

magic in the middle cookies

Magic in the Middle Cookies from King Arthur Flour Blog via My Kitchen Cafe

Chocolate Dough
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar (plus extra for dredging)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Peanut butter filling
3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.
6. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
7. To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.
8. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
10. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
11. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick.
12. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they're set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

***these were a hit! everyone was surprised at the yummy peanut butter neighbor was a fan too. i took a few over to say thank you for lending me the powdered sugar. i was craving these again today, so that goes to show how addicting they are!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

peach cobbler

YUmmm dessert.

ok this was hands down, delicious. rory likes his cobbler sweet, so this fit the bill.

Easy peach cobbler from

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh peach slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).
Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

*** i poured the batter on top of the fruit (since that seemed weird to have fruit on top) and just added the butter, diced up, to the batter. seemed to work just fine, and came out yummy. everything else i did as the recipe says.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

crockpot chicken

i know this is not the most appetizing photo, but trust me, it's good.

i got this out of an old recipe book called "The ...something... for the I don't cook symdrome". (I added the "something" part, it's falling apart so the cover is AWOL)

Crock Pot Chicken

3 tbsp butter or margarine
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 envelope good seasons italian salad dressing mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package of cream cheese, cubed
rice or noodles

Melt butter in a slow cooker. Coat chicken breasts with butter on both sides and place in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then dry salad dressing mix. (don't add water) Cover and cook on low heat 5 to 6 hours.

About 45 minutes before serving, mix soup and cream cheese, pour over chicken. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted and sauce is heated thoroughly. Serve over cooked rice or noodles. Serves 6.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

chocolate mint brownies

Chocolate Mint Brownies
via Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Bottom layer:
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten (FYI: the original recipe replaces two of these 4 eggs with 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) can chocolate syrup
Mint layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare bottom layer, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt; stir with a whisk. Combine granulated sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 tablespoons water, vanilla, eggs, and chocolate syrup in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring until blended. BATTER WILL BE VERY THIN! Pour batter into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
To prepare mint layer, combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and next 3 ingredients (through food coloring) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread mint mixture over cooled cake. (Kylie prefers the non-mint version: she substitutes vanilla extract for the mint extract.)
To prepare the glaze, combine the chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring after 30 seconds. Let stand 2 minutes. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into 20 pieces.

**got rave reviews from my family! Grandpa Lance especially.

broccoli salad


2 heads fresh broccoli

1 red onion

bacon bits

3/4 cup sliced almonds

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces and cut the onion into thin bite-size slices. Combine with the bacon and almonds, and mix well. To prepare the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad, let chill and serve.

**love this salad.

samoa bars

Samoas Bars
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Makes 30 bar cookies.
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

First, make the crust. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels (I used one 14 oz. package of the Kraft brand)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok – I didn’t coat the base of the brownies in chocolate so I only used 1 cup semisweet chips to drizzle on top)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden (mine took about 25 minutes). Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on 50% power for 1-2 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer (I kind of had to use my hands on this part to get it into an even layer). Let topping set until cooled. When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish. Alternately, you can omit the step to dip the base of the brownie in chocolate and simply drizzle the melted chocolate on the top of the bars (you won’t need the full 10 oz. if you choose this step). Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.