Friday, March 13, 2009

friday's feast

Okay it wasn't really a *feast* but it sure was yummy! Despite really feeling like take out tonight I puttered around and made some dinner. Honey Garlic Chicken and Fried Rice. It was sooooo yummy and really hit the spot - which is good...usually when I'm craving take out nothing BUT take out satisfies me. But tonight....mmmmm, it was great. And hey - I saved about $40 not getting the take out :D

4 boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp orange or lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt (I did not add this)
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (I use two...well 4 because I doubled the recipe)
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
dash of pepper

I doubled the recipe for the *sauce* even though I had 5 chicken breasts. But I love sauce and love having extra to dip :) (or in this case pour onto the rice)

Bake uncovered at 400 until chicken is cooked through. I think it was close to an hour...but that's because I sort of just put it in and *forget* about it.

Oh and the best part - LEFTOVERS FOR LUNCH!!! I can't wait - I may dream about it tonight. LOL
I had some snap peas in the fridge that I cut up and added to the fried rice that Brent really liked. The rice tonight was especially delicious....


Ah, Lasagna...

This is the lasagna I grew up with....and it's still (to me) the best I've tasted. Although we did have lasagna at some friends house a couple years ago that was the next best :)

It's so simple and really pretty quick....And soooo yummy!

Brown 1 lb ground beef (sometimes I throw in a diced onion and some diced garlic), drain
Add spaghetti sauce (we use president's choice with mushrooms, or prego because lately it's been cheaper than the pc one)
add some water
I always sprinkle in some parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and garlic powder

*yes this is the same as my spaghetti sauce*

Mix in a separate bowl:
1 large cottage cheese
2 eggs
about 1/4 - 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Cook lasagna noodles (I used the no cook ones once and I do not like them at if I get them by accident I cook them anyways first!)
You'll need 9 noodles for a 9x13 pan - I always cook 10 just because at least 1 seems to get stuck to the bottom or

Add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of the pan (so noodles don't stick) and top with 3 cooked lasagna noodles. Top with half of cottage cheese mixture and half of meatsauce. You can also add some shredded mozzarella here if you want for extra cheesyness. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles, then remaining cottage cheese mixture and meatsauce (sometimes there is a little leftover so I just save it for some noodles and sauce the next day for the kids or something). Top with last 3 lasagna noodles and cover with shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 until cheese is bubble....if you've made everything fresh, about 30 minutes. I like to broil it for the last few minutes too...If you've made the meatsauce earlier in the day, cook the lasagna for about an hour :)

Add a caesar salad and garlic bread and it's awesome! I also made my sweet potatoes just because I LOVE


p.s. I have never really considered lasagna a *casserole* but it really is, so I included that in the labels :)

Sour Cream Chicken

I made this recipe once before and both Brent and I LOVED it. A friend tried it the next night and wasn't as thrilled....but this is definitely one we'll be making again :) In fact, I did it again just the other night - lol. But I modified it and instead of chicken breasts I used chicken drumsticks. Honestly it was still good but I do prefer the chicken breasts.

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt (I used sour cream)
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 tsp lemon juice
Bread crumbs

Put Chicken in dish and top with salt and pepper. Combine ingredients and pour over chicken. Top with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes (60 minutes for 8 breasts). Serve over rice.

When I made it this last time I actually doubled the recipe and instead of two cans of mushroom soup I added 1 of mushroom and one of cream of chicken. It was great!

Also - I served it over fried rice. I rarely (to never) make just plain rice. It's just not as yummy, which I'm sure our Japanese student would disagree with. LOL I sautee veggies first - onion, celery, carrots (mmm..start with these as they take the longest), and anything else I have....Sometimes, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, peppers (my husband doesn't really like pepper so I rarely put them in), and I LOVE to add corn :) Once everything is sauteed I add the cooked rice (rice cooker) and mix together with some seasoning salt. I usually add some chopped green onions at the end as well. It's sooo good - and with the chicken sauce in it too....divine!!!

I also steamed some broccoli and made the most delicious cheese sauce (from my mother in law).

Melt 2 Tbsp butter/margarine
Add 2 Tbsp flour and mix well
Add 1 cup milk (I do this all in my small measuring cup and just fill to the 1 cup line)
Stir well (I use my mini whisk)
microwave until thickens (not too thick) in 30-45 second increments, stirring each time
Add pepper and 3-4 heaping Tbsps Cheez Whiz. Mix well

Soooo...yummy!! Add a Salad or even some garlic toast to complete the meal perfectly.


Friday, March 6, 2009

oh and just because...

I'm cruel...

I am sitting here enjoying the most delicious homemade vanilla milkshake...My husband seriously makes the best!!! Vanilla or with fruit - they are AMAZING!!! It's my weakness for sure...I don't care about the ice cream...but the milkshake....*mmmmm*


(no recipe so no tags...)

perfectly pita

I've been wanting veggie wraps lately but haven't actually made them. I usually use tortilla shells but we are out - and luckily I found some pitas in the freezer! Excellent!

These are inspired by my cousin, laura. And I LOVE them....

Cut up:
Red Onion (I do thin slices)
Red pepper (small chunks)
Cucumber (half circles or quarters)
carrots (small chunks)
celery (small chunks)
grated cheese (I used mozzarella for something different)

I started using mayo and mustard like a sandwich, then switched to cream cheese - either herb & garlic or garden vegetable (both awesome) but today I decided to use some of my leftover caesar dressing from last night (which by the way turned out better than ever!!!). I ate both halves of the pita and wanted another (but I resisted). It was so amazing, I'm already anticipating another one for lunch tomorrow. I'll be throwing some of tonight's leftover roast in as well...:)



Okay, I've made roasts quite a few times...and honestly they always turn out really yummy. But tonight's...mmm, tonight's was exceptional. I think because it was still pink and soooo tender....I don't usually overcook them, but they are often *cooked* as opposed to was perfect.

I put a roast (actually half of one as we figured we can get two we froze one half) in the crock pot. I always put a package of *french onion soup mix* on top and add about 1/2-1 cup of water. It makes such yummy dark gravy....I also added veggies...I cut up an onion, some carrots, celery, mushroom, and zucchini. Then I threw on another package of *french onion soup mix* (because I felt like I don't always add a second one though) and some more water (to make lots of gravy) and let it cook. It cooked for 5 hours - 3 of those hours were on high.

Pour the drippings into a pot and cook on high until boiling...add water/corn starch mixture to thicken.

I often add potatoes to the crock pot too but this time decided to do mashed. I had some leftover hot potato salad from Monday still in the fridge so I threw those in when I mashed them. Just to use them up really - didn't impact the flavour much.

I would also have normally done a salad or garlic bread too but skipped out tonight. I can't wait to throw some roast in a pita for lunch tomorrow :D


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vegetarian, but definitely not vegan...

On today's menu....Spinach and Cheese Manicotti, Caesar Salad, and Garlic Bread!

The Manicotti is the only *new* recipe so here it goes....

1 (15oz) container of Ricotta Cheese
1 (10oz) package of frozen, chopped spinach - thawed and squeezed dry (I only use about 3/4 of the spinach)
1/2 cup minced onion (that handy chopper again)
1 egg
2 tsp minced fresh parsley (I use dried)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I also add 1 minced clove of garlic when I mince the onion in the handy chopper)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (I just use regular parm cheese....I don't buy a block of it)

Mix together in a bowl. Cook Manicotti noodles - Add half of them to a pot of boiling water for 6 minutes. Take out and put in strainer and add remaining noodles to pot. 6 minutes...this makes them soft enough that they don't take forever to cook AND they are still really easy to fill!

Mix together (I use a large measuring cup because it's easy to pour from):
26 oz spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cups water

Pour a little sauce onto bottom of casserole dish so noodles don't stick. Place filled manicotti shells in a single layer and pour remaining sauce overtop. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350. Top with 1/4 cup parmesan and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella. I usually turn off the oven and just let it sit in the oven for 10-15 minutes while I get the rest of the supper put together.

SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS RATING: (will let you's not the first time I've made it, but the first time I've eaten it with a rating in mind. obviously it's good enough to make again though!)

Okay so the final rating is 3.5 STARS....this is a dish I personally really enjoy, although I couldn't say it's a 5 STAR's not my husband's favorite but he'll eat it (he eats anything) - but he was also looking for more after supper as it wasn't *satisfying*. We had Tara over for supper as well..She liked it but wasn't raving about it....So I imagine they would both give it a 3. I make this dish about once a year (maybe twice) - it'll probably stay that way. I much prefer to make a meal my husband LOVES...this will be saved for *just me* nights :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

what's cooking?

So what do you cook for supper on a busy day when you are out of the house pretty much ALL day? let's think....I haven't always been great at planning ahead nor have I always made it a priority to have an actual *meal* for supper. But in the past month or so I have changed grocery shopping has changed, my cooking has changed...and honestly meal time overall has changed. And I LOVE it. One of my goals for this year is to keep this up and to make each meal count....making it well balanced and full of variety. I didn't completely succeed with this tonight but I at least made dinner :) I feel like a better wife and mother when I make dinner...when I know what we are having and it's either ready or near ready when my husband comes home from work. And it's been an awesome way to help our daughter (and son to be honest) try more foods. There are things she doesn't like (sweet potatoes for example) and that's okay, but at least she tried it. Turns out, she LOVES the hot potato salad...(of course anything *salad* and she loves it. lol). So I took the kids to my in laws for the day today but had to be back by 530 in time to fix supper and be ready for a nutrition course I'm taking with 5 other friends! So, thinking ahead this morning (I love it when I do that), I took out some hamburger to let it thaw.

Nothing fancy for supper - I just planned spaghetti....but it's filling and delicious and everyone loves it. I ended up getting home at 545pm which left 30 minutes to make supper and get ready (I ate on the way...thankfully Tara drives!!). I'm grateful for an extremely helpful husband as well who filled in the gaps where I needed help.

First I got the spaghetti going so it would be ready in time. Then we cooked the hamburger (by we, I mean my husband. lol) and added the spaghettic sauce (prego with mushrooms...surprisingly it's been cheaper than the president's choice brand the last few times). I also sprinkle in some garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and italian seasoning. And my husband grew up always putting grated cheese on top so we do that now too :)

I personally prefer sauteed veggies and sauce (so meatless). I sautee onions, celery, carrots (soo good), zucchini, mushrooms, and red peppers. I pour the sauce and *cook* it with the veggies (once soft) and add garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and a little bit of italian seasoning. Then I pour it over my spaghetti and add the grated cheddar. It's sooo yummy...and filling.

Normally I would have made garlic toast and a salad, but there just wasn't time tonight (those extra 15 minutes would have really helped) and I know, that although my husband loves salad, it wasn't a huge deal not to have one.

So that's what's cooking...


Monday, March 2, 2009

Caramel Dumplings

We had this dessert at some friend's house a few years ago. It was so quick and simple and SCRUMPTIOUS!! So of course I took the recipe and have made it quite a few times since. We don't usually have dessert with our meals, but this one is perfect if you want something quick.

Boil to make caramel mixture:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup water

Place in Casserole dish after it's boiled. You want to boil it for a few minutes so it thickens in the oven after.

Mix in bowl:
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk

Drop by the spoonful into casserole dish (on top of caramel mixture) and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Do not cover!

Serve over ice cream!! Mmmmmm....

SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS RATING: 5 STARS (if you get the caramel sauce right...4 STARS if you don't. LOL - I've flopped it my share of times)

Monday's Menu...

So after going grocery shopping today my fridge is STOCKED!!! I love it...drawers and shelves of vegetables...meat options...and lettuce - I LOVE lettuce (well salads actually. lol). Although surprisingly I didn't make a lettuce salad tonight....Here's what I did make!!!

Shish kabob (meat, celery, onions, mushroom, zucchini, and red peppers)
Hot potato salad
Sweet Potatoes
Cucumber Salad

And it was BRILLIANT!! A fabulous meal to sort of end the day.

The Shish kabob
...we use stewed beef although it can sometimes be a little if you want excellent meat, use a steak cut up. Then chop up the veggies and place in a bowl. I put the meat and veggies in separate bowls...drizzle with olive oil and season with Steak Spice (and I add a roasted garlic and peppers spice by Club House to the veggies as well). I let it sit while I get the rest of the food ready. And skewer and bbq. We only have wood skewers which are not the best...definitely invest in metal ones.For presentation purposes I love alternating between meet and veggies - but for cooking it's sometimes nicer to cook all meat on some and all veggies on others. Then you can put the veggies on a few minutes before the meat - otherwise the meat can overcook sometimes waiting for the veggies to be done. Just a tip ;)

Oh yes...Hot potato Salad....I have already posted this recipe but will post it here for kicks. It is DIVINE!!! I had invited a friend last night to come for supper tonight and she crazily declined. When I told her tonight what I was making she said, "So remind me why I declined the offer?" And when I said I was making hot potato salad she stopped dead..."Seriously?" - it's her she won't decline next time I offer! ;) By the way, Jenn - it was SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS!!! *giggle*

Peeled Potatoes (I count about 2 per person and then add a few just because)1 Package of bacon (cooked in the oven on parchment paper at 350 until crispy)1 Medium onion (chopped and then fried in the bacon grease poured off from cookie sheet - I know...*ick* but trust is just brilliant!). Cook potatoes until done (don't overcook them). Add cooked and chopped bacon to pot of potatoes (cook it while potatoes are cooking). Add sauteed onions and mix. Add in mayonnaise (maybe about 1/2 cup - but play around with amounts a little) and season with seasoning salt (really it's a personal preference...I have no idea how much - I know that is not helpful at all...a few Tbsp maybe). Oh and don't *mash* the potatoes but most of them end up sort of creaming together...

Sweet Potatoes
*yay to my mother in law for coming up with this....or copying whoever told her about it. LOL*
Peel sweet potato and slice into strips about 1/2" wide and 2-3" long (just to give you an idea). Smash a few garlic cloves and spread around in dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with oregano. Bake in oven at 350 for about an hour....(So I like to do this first so it can just cook while I do everything else). For me, the longer the better...I like some to get a little crispy. Mmmm

Cucumber Salad - I LOVE it when I make this. And our kids LOVE it too!!! This is my sister in law's recipe...I half this recipe for 1 whole cucumber - it's still a little bit too much dressing, so you could add another half a cucumber if you wanted :) I cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and then slice. So they are half circles.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp seasoning salt

Over all this dinner's SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS RATING IS: 5 husband doesn't care for the sweet potatoes (nor does our daughter) so I should perhaps give them a 4 STAR rating. Although Jenn (the one who crazily declined dinner tonight) had them 2 weeks ago when I took her dinner (enchilada's, sweet potatoes, and orange almond salad) and she LOVED them. Guess it depends if you like sweet potatoes to start with. LOL

This was a great meal!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Poppy Seed Dressing

This is another hit along with the orange almond salad dressing. Make the same salad (as the orange almond) but use this dressing to change it up a bit. There are two variations - The first is the one I've always used and the second is my sister in law's recipe - which for some reason always turns out completely different than mine. And I dare say WAY better....It's the same with the lemon loaf - even when I follow Rachelle's recipe, it comes out my way and not hers. *urgh*

In a blender on medium-high speed

1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp poppy seeds
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp onion (just cut off a piece and put it in)
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

Add 1/2 cup vegetable oil SLOWLY

Rachelle's version:

In a blender on medium-high speed

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp onion
1 tsp salt (I don't honestly think it matters whether you add the salt or not)
1 tsp prepared mustard

And 1 cup vegetable oil SLOWLY


Hamburger Stroganoff

Although the Hamburger Helper variety may be faster, there's nothing quite like home cooking :) Besides, you avoid some of the icky preservatives by starting from scratch.

1 Tbsp margarine
1 1/2 Cups onions
1 Clove garlic
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 Can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 Cup water
1 Tbsp parsley, minced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt (I wouldn't put this in...the soup is already loaded with salt)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Cup sour cream (Added at the end)

Saute first 4 ingredients in large frying pan until meat is brown. Sprinkle in flour and stir well. Add and stir in the next 7 ingredients. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Then add and stir in the sour cream. Do not boil! Serve over egg noodles.


Lemon Loaf

**Before you try this recipe (well actually, don't try THIS one) - go here**

My mother in law makes this and it is one of my favorite loaves. I have tried this several times and it just never turns out the way hers does. So I've decided to just give her the glory and have her do it :)

1 1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 Cup butter
1 1/4 Cup sugar (add gradually)
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 Cup milk
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

*Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Cream butter and add sugar gradually, with 2 Tbsp of lemon juice. Add eggs and 1/3 of flour mixture, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 flour mixture, and last 1/2 of milk, and last of flour mixture - mixing thoroughly between each addition. Spoon in finely chopped ginger.
Pour into loaf pan and cook at 350 for 35-40 minutes for small and 1 1/4 hours for large.

3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
*Spoon 1/2 of glaze over hot loaf and then again when cool*


Banana Bread

My husband made 4 loaves of this last night and man is it good!!! Sometimes banana bread just hits the spot. It's easy to make into muffins too which is nice - a great breakfast food or snack :)

Add to mixer on medium speed:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I wouldn't normally add this, but my husband did)
1/2 cup soft margarine
2/3 cups milk
3 bananas - mashed (they get mixed up anyways, but it's good if they are soft and mushy - like thawed freezer bananas)
3 eggs

Pour into loaf or muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until center is cooked. Makes 2 loaves....Baking time will vary for muffins.