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Who am I? Wife. Mother of 2. "Newbie" to fitness. Personal Trainer-in-training. Lover of health. Fitness. Religion. Family. Gluten and refined sugar intolerant. Welcome to my journey. Learn with me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pesto Chicken Florentine

This delicious, creamy, and flavorful dish was a hit at our house! My little girl had 4 helpings all by herself! I really loved how this alfredo had a different twist on it with the spinach and the pesto. There are a couple of things I would change and I have listed my altered recipe below. The original recipe only calls for 2 cups of spinach but the full bag is absolutely necessary. Also, the original recipe calls for 1 pkg dry Alfredo mix that you make up - but it was cheaper to buy the jar of already prepared Alfredo sauce. Because of this, however, we had a TON of sauce so I would double the amount of noodles that are called for, or just bite the bit and make the dry Alfredo mix. I would prefer to double the noodles, however, so that the dish will go further and the sauce won't be so overwhelming. Whatever you do just add the sauce slowly so you get exactly the amount that you want. All of these changes are reflected in the recipe below. The original recipe and picture are courtesy of Allrecipes.com and can be found here.


From Allrecipes.com
Serves 4 - 6

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cut into strips
• 1 full bag fresh spinach leaves
• 1 jar Alfredo sauce
• 2 tablespoons pesto
• 1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
• 1 tablespoon grated Romano/Parmesan cheese


1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute; then add chicken and cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side. When chicken is close to being cooked through (no longer pink inside), add spinach and saute all together for 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat Alfredo sauce. When finished, stir in 2 tablespoons pesto; set aside.
3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain.
4. Add chicken/spinach mixture to pasta, then stir in pesto/Alfredo sauce. Mix well, top with cheese and serve.



1 loaf french bread, thinly sliced
Garlic powder
Italian Seasoning

Butter both sides of a slice of french bread. Continue with remaining slices until your cookie sheet is filled or you have the amount of slices you need to feed your family. Sprinkle top side with garlic powder, italian seasoning, and parmesan. Place in oven and turn broil on LOW. If your oven doesn't have the heat option turn it on HI but WATCH CAREFULLY! The bread should take about 5 minutes on LOW and only 2-3 on HI. Bread should be slightly crunchy and golden brown when done.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sweet, Sticky and Spicy Chicken

This chicken was very flavorful and delicious; however, Jake and I both agreed that we would change some things the next time I made it: 1. The chicken did NOT end up sticky - it just doesn't have enough time or heat before the chicken would dry out too much. Next time we will dredge the chicken in flour before browning it to help with the stickiness. 2. It needed more substance: cooked veggies like green beans, onion, broccoli, and water chestnuts. We will definitely add these things next time we have this dish.

Like I said, overall this dish had a great flavor and was very tasty and good enough that we want to make it again. The recipe and picture are courtesy of Allrecipes.com and can be found here. I have posted the original recipe below.

From Allrecipes.com


• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root
• 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
• 2 tablespoons hot sauce
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2 inch strips
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1. Mix together brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and hot sauce in a small bowl.
2. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken strips.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken strips and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ham and Cheese Melts

These were delicious! So easy to put together and much tastier than I was expecting. I liked the flavor so much that I didn't dip mine in any kind of sauce. I even used a generic (cheap) brand of biscuit and they were great! I didn't use cheese slices either. I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar shredded cheese. And although I doubled the recipe I could only manage to eat one and my hubby could only manage 2! This recipe will DEFINITELY be a repeat in our house! Thanks to Pillsbury.com for the recipe and picture which can be found here.

From Pillsbury.com


1 can (16.3 oz) refrigerated biscuits (any variety)
8 slices American cheese
8 oz thinly sliced deli ham
1 egg
1 teaspoon water


• Heat oven to 375°F. Press 4 biscuits into 5-inch rounds on ungreased large cookie sheet. Top each with 2 slices cheese and 2 ounces ham.
• Press remaining 4 biscuits into 6-inch rounds; place over ham. Press edges with fork to seal. Beat egg and water with fork; brush over biscuits.
• Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cut each in half. Serve warm.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chinse Sundaes/Hawaiian Haystacks

This is one of my all-time favorite meals. I grew up with this dish and absolutely love it. It is very versatile too. You can top it with whatever you want to fit your individual tastes! Easy, delicious - excellent! The picture is courtesy of Good Stuff Maynard and can be found here. There were lots of options for pictures but this one was certainly the best!


2 cans Cream of Chicken soup

2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
3 chicken breasts cut-up
Thin sauce with milk until good consistency (approximately 1 cup)

Heat until warm in sauce pan. Serve over rice. Top with whatever you desire. (Cheese, tomatoes, celery, pineapple, crushed peanuts, Chinese noodles, peas, coconut)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup like Zupas

Have you ever been to Zupas? If you haven't you really should go! It is delicious and flavorful and good for you! My mom loves this soup from their menu and really wanted a copy recipe. She found this one on Just Cook Already and we all LOVED it! It is creamy and delicious and PERFECT for this weather! The recipe is courtesy of Just Cook Already and can be found here. The picture is courtesy of Zupas and can be found here.

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup
From Just Cook Already

Yields: 9 cups or 8 first-course servings (or 4-5 hungry adults :)

2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 can (13 3/4 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese

In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

Oh.My.YUM!!!! These were delicious. They are crunchy and creamy and flavorful and delicious. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and you have the perfect dessert! My family loved these. They were more involved to make but don't be put off by the length of the recipe. It is time consuming but not hard to do. And trust me, these are WELL WORTH THE EFFORT! This is going on the list of my all-time favorite recipes! Thanks so much to the wonderful site My Kitchen Cafe for the recipe and picture. You can visit Melanie's site by clicking here.

From My Kitchen Café

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup caramel sauce (homemade recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.

Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).

Caramel Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.

White Texas Sheet Cake

We had a family get-together yesterday and I wanted to take a simple dessert to compliment the much fancier dessert I had made. I wanted to make sure there was enough of the fancy dessert for the adults so I made this cake for the kids! Even then, it is still delicious and I wouldn't have minded if it was the only dessert we had. It really is incredibly simple and requires mostly basic ingredients. The only ingredient you probably don't have on hand is the almond extract but it is SOOOO good in this cake! I got this recipe from Three on Food but the picture is courtesy of Allrecipes.com and can be found here.

From Three on Food
1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract

Bring butter and water to a boil. Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl. Pour the boiling liquid over the flour and sugar and beat well. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well. Pour into a well greased jelly roll pan. (I just used a normal cookie sheet.) Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Cool for 20-30 minutes and spread with frosting.

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Bring butter and milk to a boil. Pour over remaining ingredients, adding enough powdered sugar to achieve the consistency you want.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Idea for Leftovers

If you are like us, we LOVE taco salad around here. We had a series of "continuation meals" that went like this:

Saturday: General Tso's Chicken with Rice
*Lots of Rice leftover!

Tuesday: Taco salad - throw in leftover rice, taco meat, lettuce, crushed chips, cheese, salsa, and ranch and toss!
*HUGE bowl = more leftovers!

Wednesday: Taco salad isn't REALLY great leftover because once you heat it up the salad isn't as crisp as it was... so we rolled the mix in some flour tortillas and ate them burrito style! This would be even better enchilada style with some sauce and cheese melted on top!

And there you go! Three meals, utilizing everything you've got!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Winger's Asphalt Pie

This recipe from Real Mom Kitchen tastes just like the wonderful Asphalt Pie you can get at Winger's. The only difference is that this pie has a chocolate sauce that tastes like Leatherby's Homemade Hot Fudge sauce instead of a caramel sauce. Needless to say, this pie was DELICIOUS! There wasn't any left by the time I had served up the TWO pies I made for my brother-in-law's birthday party and everyone loved it. This one is worth the time and ingredients! You will love it - especially if you're a die hard mint lover like me! This recipe and picture are courtesy of the wonderful site Real Mom Kitchen and can be found here.

From Real Mom Kitchen

1 prepared Oreo cookie pie crust (store bought or homemade)
4 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream
5 Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed
Chocolate Sauce (recipe below)
Sweetened whipped cream

Let the ice cream sit out for a little bit to soften. Once softened, scoop into pie crust and spread evenly. If you use the Dreyer’s ice cream I used you’ll use almost the whole carton. Top with crushed Oreo cookies. Then top with the prepared chocolate sauce. Cover and pace in your freezer. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Top each serving with sweetened whipped cream.

Chocolate Sauce

1/2 sugar
3 oz evaporated milk or cream
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over medium and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute and remove from stove. Allow to cool. You will have a little more than you need for the pie (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup), but just save it and use it to a bowl of ice cream another day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Classic Repeat: General Tso's Chicken - New Picture!

It has been several months since I posted about this recipe and it is SUCH a favorite in our house that I had to share it again. Especially since I have a better picture for it now. Also, if you like baby asparagus it is on SALE right now! We got some for $1.99/lb at Smith's Food & Drug and it was DELICIOUS! Remember that this recipe is SOOOO much more flavorful with FRESH ingredients. In my opinion, fresh ginger is a MUST for this recipe.


1 Lb. chicken breasts (cut into 1" pieces)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. "lite" soy sauce
1/4 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 c. white distilled vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I just use refrigerated minced garlic)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. cornstarch, mixed with 3 Tbsp. water
4 green onions, sliced

Dredge chicken in flour and fry in oil over medium heat (in a wok or a skillet) until golden brown and crispy. Drain excess oil. Sprinkle cayenne over the chicken and keep warm on low heat. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine sauce ingredients (sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, and ginger) and heat gently. When sauce is smooth and sugar has dissolved, SLOWLY add cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until sauce has thickened to desired thickness. Pour sauce in the wok and stir to coat chicken. Stir in green onion and hot red pepper flakes (optional). Remove from heat and serve.

*I cut some of the chicken into small strips too for variety. I used regular soy sauce at just under ¼ cup.

*Disclaimer: This dish is extremely flavorful - tangy and spicy. If those aren't your style you may want to steer clear of this one. You can play with the heat of the dish with the hot pepper flakes but the cayenne pepper really helps to balance the VERY tangy flavor of the sauce so I wouldn't recommended reducing or eliminating it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

This fantastic new recipe from Real Mom Kitchen is one that would fall into my category of sinfully delicious. Chicken in a creamy ranch flavored sauce between layers of cheese and noodles - YUMMY! If you are looking for completely waist-friendly foods... this one is not for you. ;-) Or you could take my husband's approach, "We had peas with it! That counts!" This recipe requires a bit more preparation time than I would normally spend because the sauce has to simmer for 25 minutes, but it is well worth the end result and has minimal ingredients. This one is a winner in our book!

From Real Mom Kitchen

2 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk (not fat-free)
1 (1 oz) pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix
3 C. cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) lasagna noodles, cooked (I recommend reducing it to 8 oz to 12 oz, we used around 8)
*I used oven ready lasagna noodles and they were GREAT! I may never go back to boiling lasagna noodles again.
1 1/2 to 2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 to 2 C mozzarella cheese, grated

Cook the chicken and noodles first at the same time. Once noodles are done–rinse in cold water and set aside (it keeps them from sticking together). Combine evaporated milk (don’t use fat-free version) and Ranch dressing in a 3 quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved. Stir in chicken and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes (don’t do any less), stirring frequently.

Layer half of lasagna noodles, poultry sauce, and cheese in well-buttered 9×13 pan. Repeat layers again.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

*NOTE: This is the very best right out of the oven. It is okay as leftovers but not nearly as good as when you first make it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chuck's Favorite Mac and Cheese

This is a great comfort food meal! We loved it. It was a sophisticated meal that was much more suited for an adult than the mac and cheese out of the box. I try to use as many low fat or fat free products as I can to make this more waist-line friendly. Sour cream and cottage cheese are especially easy to get fat free as the price isn't any different for the fat free stuff. Even still this recipe is surprisingly filling! This recipe is courtesy of Allrecipes.com.

From Allrecipes.com

1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni (We used penne)
1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (We used medium and it was just fine)
1 (12 ounce) container small curd cottage cheese (Fat free)
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream (Fat free)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I used about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup butter, melted
½ cup milk (Fat free)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.

2. In 9x13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, milk, and salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Chicken Pasta

I got the idea for this recipe from a recipe I saw on Betty Crocker. I wasn't sure my family would've liked the style of cooking that particular recipe called for because my husband isn't a big chicken fan... he will always eat it but he prefers it in smaller pieces and the Betty Crocker recipe called for the chicken to be in full breasts. So this is my version of the recipe. And it turned out great! Very flavorful and, although probably not the most healthy meal, very fun and easy!


3 chicken breasts, cut up into cubes
1/2 cup pepperoni slices, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/2 can olives, sliced
12 - 16 oz. pasta (I used garden rotini)
1 large can of any pasta sauce you prefer
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil. Place the garlic, onion, chicken, and pepperoni in the skillet and cook until chicken is no longer pink. In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot. Once chicken is cooked place spaghetti sauce in skillet and heat thoroughly. Add sauce and olives to pot with noodles and mix thoroughly. Top with cheddar cheese or parmesan as desired.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ranger Cookies

Is there anything better than a hot cookie? How about a hot cookie with milk!? YUM!!! These are probably some of my all time favorite cookies. The combination of all of the different flavors and textures gives this cookie an amazing taste personality. My brothers probably had 5-10 each. And that is just as they came out of the oven. LOL! Ironically, I originally tasted this recipe because I was aiding some kids at West Jordan High School in a Foods I class. Guess I got something out of high school!

From King Arthur Flour

1 cup (6 1/4 ounces) vegetable shortening or butter
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar, firmly packed, light or dark
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour (I used wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded coconut
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips (I did half chocolate chips and half peanut butter chips)
3 cups (2 3/8 ounces) crispy rice cereal or cornflakes (We only had Wheat Chex but it still worked great!)

Beat together the shortening and sugars, vanilla and salt until fluffy; add the eggs and beat until smooth.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda; add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and beat until well blended. Stir in the oats, coconut, chips and cereal, mixing just until blended.

Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Yield: 60 (2- to 2 1/2- inch) cookies.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baked Spaghetti

We have TONS of spaghetti recipes at our house. Honestly, I think I may have at least a dozen. And we have tried them all! And while they were all great and delicious in their own way... I must say that I think this one is my favorite. It comes together really quickly and simply and I made it early in the day and put it in the refrigerator for later and it was phenomenal! I was concerned that the original recipe would be too flavorless for our tastes so I added a spaghetti packet to my sauce, and I'm really glad that I did. My husband loved this recipe so much, he says it rivals his favorite spaghetti found here. When Jake asked me what we were having for dinner I told him, "Imagine if spaghetti and lasagna had a baby..." That is this dish! Spaghetti noodles in a lasagna sauce... YUM!


2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. ground beef
¼ c. onion
¼ tsp. basil
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 pkg spaghetti sauce mix
15 ounce can tomato sauce (I used two 8 oz. cans)
1 c. cottage cheese (I used fat free)
16 ounces spaghetti noodles
Cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Sauté together in a pan the butter, ground beef and onion; drain. Mix in basil, salt, garlic powder, spaghetti sauce mix if you are using it and tomato sauce. Take off heat and add cottage cheese. Add noodles. Put all ingredients in a 9x13 pan. Top with cheddar cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Navajo Fried Bread aka SCONES

What is better on a cold day than a hot scone with jam or honey butter? If you can think of anything that is TRULY better I would be shocked. Talk about major comfort food! And the best part? They are SOOOO easy to make! These are an excellent compliment to any meal. The picture is courtesy of Tangerine's Kitchen and can be found here.


4 c. flour (white or wheat)
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ c. warm water
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. shortening (or oil)

Mix ingredients together. Knead until dough is soft and elastic and does not stick to bowl (if necessary, add a little more warm water). Shape dough into balls the size of a small peach. Pat back and forth by hand until dough is about ¼ or ½ inch thick and round. Melt 2 c. shortening or oil in heavy frying pan. Carefully put the rounds into hot oil, one at a time. Brown lightly on both sides. Be careful not to pike into round or it will be greasy. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm with jam and jelly.

Wheat Pancakes with Homemade Strawberry Jam

Wheat Pancakes are a staple at my parent's house. My mom never uses white flour - just wheat. It is so satisfying and filling. If you have the opportunity to make wheat pancakes you SHOULD. You will feel better and be more full! These pancakes are moist and tender and just melt in your mouth. They are so fabulous hot off the griddle - you don't even need butter! Plus, jam on pancakes is SOOOO much better than syrup! This homemade jam is fantastic - I could eat it plain! (and I probably have on more than one occasion. :-))


1 c. whole wheat kernels
1 ½ c. milk
1 egg
½ c. oil
2 tsp. sugar (opt.) (or you can use honey if you want to be even more healthy)
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder

Put wheat in blender. Add 1 c. milk and blend at high speed for 3 minutes. Add another ½ c. milk and blend a minute or two longer. Add other ingredients. Blend until smooth. Cook on griddle.


5 ½ c. strawberries, blended
2 c. sugar
3 heaping Tbsp. clear gel
½ c. light corn syrup

Mix clear gel with sugar. Whisk into blended strawberries while slowly adding sugar. Add karo and mix well. Refrigerate or freeze in storage containers.

Caramel Apple Cider

We love flavorful beverages at our house and when I saw this recipe on the wonderful site http://jandeecrafts.blogspot.com/ I knew that we had to try it! Unfortunately, I don't think ours turned out the way that it was supposed to. It was REALLY strong, literally like we were DRINKING carameled apples. But I believe it has the potential to be a lot better. Just be really careful. Don't make your initial apple cider too strong. I know it is tempting, but the caramel/sweetened milk will add a LOT of sweetness. And add the caramel mixture slowly, tasting it occasionally, so that you get it just right. I was making a big batch and everyone was in sugar shock for the rest of the night. Lol!


11-14 oz. caramel squares or bits
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
Apple cider packets

Place all of the caramel in a microwaveable bowl with the sweetened condensed milk. Stir. Place in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue this process until caramel is completely melted and mix thoroughly. Make up apple cider packets as indicated on package. Stir in 2-3 Tbsp of caramel mix into hot apple cider. Serve!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vanilla Coconut Crunch

This is a wonderful way to spruce up vanilla ice cream. Not that there is anything wrong with plain vanilla ice cream but this takes it from plain to a fancy dessert! Super easy, super delicious, with a satisfying crunch!


Vanilla Ice Cream
Plain cereal - corn flakes, chex, kix, whatever you have on hand - crushed
Coconut flakes
Chocolate or caramel sauce

This is really a personal preference thing - put as much as you want of each thing! Mix together crushed cereal, coconut flakes, cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Roll vanilla ice cream into tennis sized ball and roll in mixture. Top with chocolate or caramel sauce.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Classic Repeat: Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup

It has been long enough since I posted this that I needed to share it again, especially since the weather is so wonderfully cooling down. This smooth soup with just a bit of kickback is exactly what one needs to make these cold days even better. We love this soup and it is so easy and quick to make with such basic ingredients! The picture is courtesy of Allrecipes.com. My original post for this soup can be found here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Taco Pasta Salad

Taco salad is one of my favorite go-to recipes. It is so quick, easy, and delicious. When I found this recipe on Sadie's Kitchen Adventures I knew that we had to try it! I am really happy to report that it turned out delicious. I love the addition of that pasta as I felt it gave the dish more substance so it was more filling. Still very easy too! The picture is courtesy of this site here.

From Sadie’s Kitchen Adventures

2 cups uncooked spiral pasta (I used Garden Rotini-YUM!)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced

OPTIONAL: (The bolded/italicized ones are the ones I used)
3 cups shredded lettuce
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Ranch salad dressing
2 cups shredded cheese
1 avacodo, chopped
1 cup corn
1 cup sliced olives
Tortilla Chips

Cook pasta according to package directions. (If you are using corn you can just throw in frozen corn in the pot with the pasta towards the end - that way you don't have to dirty 2 pans.) Meanwhile, cook beef, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, and chili powder in a skillet over medium heat. Let cool.

Drain pasta and rinse with cold water, stir into the meat mixture. Add any of the optional ingredients you want. Toss to coat. Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Deep-Dish Taco Pizza

We love Mexican food around here (surprise, surprise...) and this one was a huge hit! Pretty versatile too. I added some things to add more substance and I am really glad that I did. It made the Pizza almost impossible to eat without a fork but I felt like it made it more filling and "better" for you. This definitely isn't the most healthy meal you will encounter, but it was such a big hit with everyone. We were watching our niece, Serenthia, and she ate almost an entire piece by herself (12 months old)! Abrielle couldn't get enough of it either and Jake was raving about it. Try this one. You will really like it! The recipe below is my modified recipe. If you would like to see the original please visit the wonderful site http://threeonfood.blogspot.com/.

From Three on Food

1 lb. hamburger meat
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 (15 oz.) cans Rotel, drained
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
1 cup frozen corn, rinsed
1 can medium olives, sliced
2 (10 oz.) cans refrigerated pizza crust dough (for a thinner crust use just 1)
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar (We used 1/2 cup cheddar and 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack because that is what we had!)
Salsa (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Cook beef and onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well, and return beef mixture to pan. Stir in rotel, corn and taco seasoning; cook over medium-high heat 1 minute or until thoroughly heated; set aside. Unroll pizza crust dough. Press into bottom and halfway up sides of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon beef mixture over pizza crust dough and top with olives. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes. Top with cheese, and bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts and edges of crust are browned. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm. Top with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Penne in a White Sauce

I'm sorry I haven't posted a lot lately. We have had so many expenses this month that we have been eating as simply as possible. Lots of quesadillas and taco rice. lol. But this is a dish that I threw together with things that we just had around the house the other night. When I make a dish up it is usually because it is a bunch of things that just sound good. We really liked it and it was really easy - so here you go! It was really late when we made this and so I didn't take a picture. But the picture looks a LOT like it and is courtesy of this site.

8-12 oz. penne noodles
3 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup sliced green onions
juice of 1 lemon
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup - 1 cup milk to desired consistency
1 - 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (optional, or you can just use canned chicken)
Paremesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. In the meantime, in a large skillet, saute the garlic until golden brown on medium heat. Mix in green onions and lemon juice and mix together. If you are using chicken, add it to the skillet and mix. If you want to make this a vegetarian meal you can add cooked broccoli or peas instead. Mix in cream of chicken soup and milk. The sauce should be slightly thick so don't add too much milk. Also, the thicker the milk you use the creamier your sauce will be. Mix in the cooked penne and toss to coat. Serve warm with paremesan on top.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beach Street Lemon Chicken Linguini

Oh.My.Yum!!!!!! This is one of my new FAVORITE pasta dishes. Such a great flavor and, as long as you remember to marinade ahead of time, relatively simple to make. The flavors are a rich combination of so many different kinds of flavors that they just roll over your tongue. And it is still subtle and light without the thick creams added to so many pasta sauces.

Don't be afraid of the lemon zest. Just rub a lemon on the small part of a cheese grater. It takes about 2 minutes, if that. And the picture shows SHREDDED  parmesan, but we used grated and it was wonderful.  Seriously, this is one you will WANT to try! It ranks up there in my book with the Balsamic Chicken Noodle Bowl!

The recipe and picture are courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe and can be found here.


From My Kitchen Cafe
**This recipe requires marinating the chicken for 3-12 hours so plan ahead!**

1 lb. linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest from one lemon
Juice from one lemon
3 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 chicken breasts, sliced

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk lightly before pouring into a ziploc plastic bag. Pat chicken dry and toss in marinade to coat. Refrigerate 3-12 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat skillet over medium heat and pour contents of plastic bag (both marinade and chicken) into the skillet. Saute over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked.

Combine juice of one lemon, lemon zest, olive oil, green onions and fresh parsley together in a small bowl. Set aside.

While the chicken is sautéing, cook linguine in boiling salted water until done; drain and return to warm pot. Pour lemon juice/olive oil/green onion mixture over pasta and mix lightly. When chicken is finished cooking, add hot pasta mixture to the skillet with the chicken and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and toss in parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mango Pico De Gallo

When I was pregnant I could not stand Mexican food. The only exception? Chips and Salsa. I craved chips and salsa more than anything else that there was available. Since I have had my baby I have not been able to quench my Mexican craving. I CONSTANTLY want tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or especially, CHIPS AND SALSA!!!!

My favorite salsa is the Garden Fresh Salsa from Sam's Club. But this one is my favorite homemade salsa! I love Our Best Bites and they definitely didn't disappoint with this recipe. It is the perfect combination of flavors, and this is coming from someone who DOES NOT like Mangos!!!

The picture and recipe are courtesy of Our Best Bites and can be found here.

Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 c. small cubes of mango (about 1 medium to large mango)
1/2-1 large jalapeno pepper (1/2 without seeds is a nice, mild-medium heat; go from there)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher or sea salt to taste

ROCKET SCIENCE ALERT: Combine ingredients. Serve. This will keep for a day or so (like it will last that long), but after that, the mangoes will get mushy.

PS! Do you remember the Crockpot Creamy Southwestern Chicken Nachos? This salsa makes that recipe, if it were possible, a million times better!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was craving a dessert and I had all of the ingredients for this one on hand. I have tried them before but they turned out so FLAT! This time they were much better, as evidence of the picture. YUMMY! Super easy to make too. This is a great cookie go-to recipe! I have highlighted what I believe to be the crucial step below.

From My Kitchen Café

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 3/4 cups oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add Baking soda, powder, and salt and mix. Add flour, oatmeal and chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Yield : about 3 dozen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pizza Casserole

We had something else planned for dinner tonight but I thought pasta sounded good and Jake was craving spaghetti. I had all of the simple and mostly basic ingredients for this recipe on hand and I am so glad that I did! It was cheesy and delicious, substantial and hit the spot! Healthy? No... but then, when do you eat pizza to be healthy? But it really is good and is sure to be a hit. Jake loved it and is really excited to take the leftovers for lunch. The original recipe doesn't call for olives but I feel it is a must add. And really, you could add whatever toppings you wanted: green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms. This was a lot like my Meat Lover's Lasagna! Yummy! The recipe is courtesy of Blog Chef and can be found here.


From Blog Chef

1 lb ground beef
1/2 large onion (chopped)
1/2 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces rotini pasta, (cooked and drained)
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (20 oz)
4 ounces sliced pepperoni
½ can olives, sliced

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet add oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add ground beef, onion, and garlic. Add Italian seasoning. Cook until the beef is browned. Drain.

Step 2: Stir in pasta, sauce and 1 1/2 cups of cheese into the meat mixture. Place mixture into a greased 9×13” baking dishes. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and top with pepperoni and olives.

*The dish can be covered and frozen as this point if you are freezing.

Step 3: If you are cooking it now- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

(Makes 7 servings)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

We always love enchiladas and I was excited to try this new recipe! Definitely not the healthiest meal that you could have but it was very delicious. A bit more involved to make and Jake and I both agreed that we liked the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas  better but that is because they are very creamy while these ones were more true to form. Also, we're not huge "bean" people around here and so next time I make them, because I do want to make them again, I will probably leave the beans out. They will probably be more creamy then, but definitely less healthy! LOL! The picture and recipe are courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe and can be found here.

*AFTER NOTE: My mom commented on this post, August 18th, and said this, "I made these for dinner tonight. After Shayla's comments, I decided to try Great Northern White Beans instead of black beans so that they would give substance without taking away from the other tastes. They were excellent!! My whole family loved them and I have to say that we liked them better than the sour cream enchiladas which have been a favorite around here for a lot of years!! Thanks Shay for the great recipe!!"

From My Kitchen Cafe
*Serves 4-6

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
2 (4 oz.) cans of green chiles, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained (you can really use any type of bean you prefer here)

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chile enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream

8 ounces (about 2 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full (I can easily fit 8 enchiladas in one pan).

Pour the white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe (melskitchencafe.com)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cherry Dump Cake

Talk about a delicious and easy dessert! This is the one for you! My sister and I were in charge of dessert for a family get together today and I thought about this recipe because it only has 3 ingredients. THREE!!!! And it turned out SOOOO good. It is just like a cobbler only with so much less work. And the greatest part? You don't have to use cherries. You can use raspberry, peach, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, etc, etc, etc... you choose! I choose raspberry and it was so good, there wasn't any left! The picture and recipe are courtesy of Three on Food and can be found here.

From Three on Food

2 cans cherry pie filling
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In the prepared dish, layer the cherry pie filling and then sprinkle the dry cake mix over the top, covering evenly. Pour the melted butter over the cake mix, and pat down with a spatula until the all the cake mix is covered. Bake 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until browned and bubbly.

* Store in the fridge. This is even good the next day - the crust stays good and crunchy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cashew Chicken

We love Chinese food around here so when I saw how easy this recipe was on The Sister's Cafe it just had to be tried! And it turned out deliciously! It isn't tangy like the General Tso's or Sweet & Sour Chickens you would get, but it isn't supposed to be. We will definitely be making this one again.


2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 tsp sugar
4 Tb cornstarch, divided
½ tsp salt
¼ c. soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tb oil
2 c. hot chicken broth
2 tsp lemon juice
½ c. cashews
cooked rice

Combine sugar, 2 Tb cornstarch, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Dredge chicken pieces in this mixture. Drain and save dredge; then stir fry chicken in hot oil in frying pan or wok until chicken is lightly brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from oil and drain excess oil from the pan. Add remaining cornstarch and the dredge drained from the chicken. Blend well, then add chicken stock to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. Add lemon juice; add chicken pieces and reheat. Do not boil. Taste to correct seasonings. Add cashews. Serve over hot rice. Makes 4-5 servings. You can stir fry some vegetables and add them to the mixture at the end.

*COOKING NOTE! I stir fried fresh green beans, broccoli, red onion, and green peppers into ours. I added the broccoli first (to already warm oil) and then the green beans a while longer. Remember that you need to take into consideration how FIRM the veggies you are using are. For example, carrots will need to saute much longer than onions will. You want ALL of your veggies to be crisp-tender in the end so don't add them all at once!

*SHOPPING NOTE! You don't need to spend a fortune to add veggies to your dish. To feed a family you aren't going to need a pound of each veggie. A lot of them are sold in small pieces. I just bought a handful of fresh green beans, the smallest broccoli head I could find, and one green pepper. We buy red onions in bulk from Sam's Club because we use them alot and they are so much cheaper. I only used 1/2 of the green pepper and will get to use the other half for breakfast tomorrow. For all of my veggies I paid about.... $1.50 for this meal. Probably less.

*P.S. I understand it is called "Cashew Chicken" but if you don't want to spend the money on cashews I am sure it would still taste great without them. The cashews just add a satisfying crunch.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Classic Repeat: Beef Taco Bake

We love this one around here! SOOOO good! Super easy with very basic ingredients. Make sure you don't use anything less than MEDIUM salsa so that you don't lose some good flavor.

From Real Mom Kitchen

1 pound ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup (regular or 25% Less Sodium)
1 cup salsa OR picante sauce
1/2 cup milk
6 flour tortillas (8-inch) OR 8 corn tortilla (6-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen corn, rinsed and drained (Putting it in completely frozen makes your bake a bit too watery)

Cook the beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat. Stir the soup, salsa, milk, tortillas, cayenne pepper, corn and half the cheese in the skillet. Spoon the beef mixture into a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Cover the baking dish.

Bake at 400°F. for 30 minutes or until the beef mixture is hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. (I put it back in the oven for 5 min to get the cheese nice and melty).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Meatballs with Cream Sauce

This is a brand new recipe that I have never tried before and it turned out really good. We enjoyed it and it was a very different and unique taste. Given the option between these meatballs and the Swedish Meatballs that we love so very much I would definitely choose the Swedish Meatballs, but it is because I love the tangy sauce so much. If you want something a bit different and still tasty, this is a good recipe. The picture and recipe are courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe and can be found here.

From My Kitchen Cafe

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
2 T. ketchup
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (I only used 1 lb. and they were probably a bit stronger but we liked them!)
3 T. flour

2 T. butter
3 1/2 T. flour
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
14 oz. can chicken broth (If you want your sauce thicker, cut down the chicken broth to 1 cup)
2/3 cup milk
2 T. minced fresh parsley

In a bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients EXCEPT the beef and flour. Add beef and mix well. Shape into balls. Roll in flour, shaking off excess. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet and bake, uncovered, at 400 for 10 minutes. Turn meatballs, bake 8-10 minutes longer or until no longer pink. Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add broth and milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. If using the full can of chicken broth, the sauce doesn’t thicken overly much, but it is delicious that way. If you want it slightly thicker, cut down the chicken broth to 1 cup. Drain meatballs on paper towels; transfer to a serving dish. Top with sauce and parsley. Serve over rice or egg noodles (We used garden rotini noodles and they were delicious!).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hello Dolly Bars

These bars are a dessert my mom maakes a lot because we LOVE it. They are so rich and flavorful and REALLY easy to make. Some unusual ingredients but trust me, it is worth the purchases! Sorry the picture isn't great.... Sufficite it to say that they are even better than they look!


1 stick of butter
1 c. Graham cracker crumbs
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. flaked coconut
1 c. sliced almonds
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Melt butter in 9x13 pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs in butter and press. Layer chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut, then almonds. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into bars.

*Why do they call them Hello Dolly Bars?*

Answer from: http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/hello_dolly_squares_hello_dolly_bars_hello_dolly_cookies_hello_dolly_cake_h/

Entry from December 22, 2007

Hello Dolly Squares (Hello Dolly Bars; Hello Dolly Cookies; Hello Dolly Cake; Hello Dollies)

The Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! opened on January 16, 1964, and became one of the longest-running Broadway shows ever. The musical features a restaurant scene. The origin of foods named “Hello Dolly” requires some explanation.

Clementine Paddleford’s food column in “The Week “ magazine on September 19, 1965 featured a “Hello Dolly Cake” recipe by 11-year-old Alecia Leigh Couch, of Dallas, that she borrowed from her grandmother. The recipe included graham crack crumbs, flaked coconut, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and condensed milk. However, on July 22, 1965, the Ada (OK) Evening News had published a similar recipe for “Hello Dolly Cookies.”

Pre-1966, the recipe was variously called “Graham Chip Squares,” “Chocolate Graham Squares,” “Washington Cookies,” “Chewy Delights,” “7-Layer Cookies,” and other names. The popularity of “Hello Dolly squares” has lessened since the 1960s, but there are many recipes on the internet.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe in the Deseret News "C" Section a while ago and I must admit, I haven't ever tried it. How many of you have recipes you WANT to make but haven't yet? Yeah.... Anyways! I needed to bring something to share for a family barbecue today and I just so happened to have all of the ingredients to these. And they turned out FABULOUSLY! Chewy and flavorful but not too overbearing. Easy to make and easy to make right (big instead of completely flattened, despite the lack of a good mixer.) This will be my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies from now on! If you are wondering why the cookies look "swirled" it is because my chips melted before cooking. Blast this wretched summer! But I think it adds some fun to the normal boring look of a chocolate chip cookie.

NOTE FOR INEXPERIENCED CHEFS! When you take a cookie sheet out of the oven it is, obviously, STILL HOT! If you don't want your cookies to keep cooking even while outside of the oven you need to take them off of the pan. I cooked my cookies for 7 minutes and took them off immediately (be careful to not let them fall apart) and they were fabulous. Make sure the EDGES are golden brown and then take them out of the oven.

EXTRA NOTE! Never add the amount of flour a cookie recipe calls for all at once, up front. I usually start with about 2/3rds of the amount it calls for and work my way up, little by little, until the batter is just very slightly sticky. If you add too much flour your cookies will be hard and not soft and chewy. For this recipe I used about 2 3/4 cups of flour and it was perfect. 


From Deseret News by Kimberly Barzee

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, oil, sugars, egg and vanilla. Add four, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then stir in chocolate chips. Drop from a cookie scoop onto a parchment-lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes; remove from oven just before they start to brown. If cookies are frozen, add a few minutes onto the cooking time.

FUNNY STORY! You'll be glad to know that these cookies are very versatile. I realized the day after I made them that 2/3 cups of butter is 10 + 2/3 rds Tablespoons. I only used 5 1/3 when I made them orginally. And when I made it again today for my family I forgot the butter entirely! And every time they were still very good. So maybe they would be even better if you but the amount of butter it actually calls for... :-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Easy Chicken Curry

We LOVE curry and recently my parents got me a pressure cooker so I have been searching for new recipes specifically designed for the pressure cooker. Since I assume most (if not all) of the people that will see this will NOT have a pressure cooker, I am adapting it for stovetop. Curry is usually very expensive and complicated so I am grateful for this new, tasty recipe. The recipe is from Diana's Kitchen and can be found at the following address: http://www.dianaskitchen.com/page/pressure/p9910_11.htm


3 lbs chicken, cut into strips
2 Tbsp shortening or oil
2 tsp curry powder
2 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste (I would use a bit less next time)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk

Add oil to a skillet and heat on medium. Add chicken and brown through. Season with combined curry powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add onions, vinegar, and water. *DO NOT ADD COCONUT MILK AT THIS STAGE! Stir together and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and keep on a plate in the microwave or oven. Combine cornstarch and water. Stir into liquid in skillet at once. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add chicken back into the skillet and mix to combine. Serve over hot, cooked rice.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Classic Repeat : One Egg Pancake

This is a great breakfast when you want something a bit different. Instead of cooking these in one big pancake this time I did them in a bunch of little pancakes. My husband and brother (who slept over at our house) both really enjoyed them, as did I. The pancakes are really thin, like crepes. They would be fabulous with veggies mixed in instead of the cinnamon as well. A bit of green pepper, ham, cheese, onion, maybe tomato would be really great. Fast, easy, basic ingredients, AND tasty = a great recipe! The picture is courtesy of A Scientist in the Kitchen and can be found here.


1 egg, beaten
3 Tbs. flour
4 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
Cinnamon (optional, but it is soooo good)

Mix all ingredients together and pour in buttered/sprayed saucepan. Wait till the edges look done, and then flip and cook on other side. This makes a really BIG pancake.

*This recipe is enough for 1 serving. I used wheat flour and the resulting pancake was a lot like a crepe, but sufficiently filling that I only needed to make one pancake per person. I didn’t just double the batter but actually made them completely separate so that the proportions would be identical.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Classic Repeat: Oven-Fried Chicken Chimichangas

This one is a classic. When you're tired and want a quick meal that will come together super fast and still be extremely tasty - this is the one. My husband and I love these! The recipe and picture are courtesy of Campbell's Kitchen and can be found here.

From Campbell's Kitchen

2/3 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 green onions, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Fresh cilantro leaves

1.Stir the picante sauce, cumin, oregano, chicken, cheese and onions in a medium bowl.

2.Place about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Fold the opposite sides over the filling. Roll the tortillas up from the bottom and place them seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush the tortilla rolls with butter.

3.Bake at 400°F. for 25 minutes or until they're golden brown. Serve with additional picante sauce. Garnish with cilantro.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

We haven't had pasta for quite a while and I really wanted it tonight. This is a great recipe that I found on My Kitchen Cafe and it turned out really well! It was very tasty and easy to make. The picture and recipe are courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe and can be found here. A few things to note:

IF YOU DON'T LIKE ONIONS: This recipe seems very versatile. If you sauteed the chicken with red or green peppers and a bit of garlic it would be just as good I believe.

IF YOU RUN INTO THE SAME PROBLEM THAT I DID: I brought the liquids to a boil and turned it down to low for 15 minutes to simmer and it wasn't even close to being "thick and syrupy." I wonder if you are supposed to leave it boiling. To fix this problem I turned it back to hi and dumped out most of the remaining liquid. I let it boil until it reached the point it says.

From My Kitchen Cafe

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
1 red onion, diced
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces penne pasta
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat (you could also use a large pot if you don’t have a skillet this big). When hot, add the chicken and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken and onions to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the water, chicken broth, penne and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed, the pasta is tender and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Stir in the barbecue sauce and sour cream. Once mixed, add in the reserved chicken, onions and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook until everything is heated through.

Serve immediately and garnish with additional red or green onions and shredded cheese.

Friendship Dip

I blogged about this one awhile ago but I definitely didn't give it the shoutout it deserves. This stuff is GREAT and a big hit at parties. And the best part? It is REALLY easy to make! My sister says it would be even better with tomatoes. I don't like tomatoes so I don't feel the least bit guilty leaving them out. :) The picture and recipe are courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen and can be found here.

From Real Mom Kitchen

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (15 oz) can of chili
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies (I only use half)
shredded cheddar cheese
sliced olives
diced green onion (optional)

In a large pie plate (or a pizza pan will work) spread cream cheese. Then layer on top of cream cheese in this order: chili, green chilies, shredded cheddar cheese (enough to cover), and sliced olives. Bake at 350 degrees until hot and melted (approximately 20-25 minutes). Garnish with green onion and serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Classic Repeat - Bubble Pizza with a TWIST

We did this a new way tonight and I really liked it! I had planned on making this recipe but when it came time to get to dinner pepperoni was about the last thing I wanted. I was craving tacos (go figure) so we did a Mexican spin on the recipe! The recipe below includes all of my changes. If you want the original recipe go here. The picture is courtesy of Flickr from Yahoo and can be found here.


1 lb. ground beef
1 taco seasoning packet
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup salsa
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 tubes buttermilk biscuits

Lettuce, sour cream, more salsa, or anything else you like on tacos.

1. Open the two tubes of biscuits and cut the individual biscuits into quarters. Place in bowl and set aside.
2. Brown ground beef; drain. Add taco seasoning and water according to package direction.
3. Stir in salsa with biscuits being sure to coat all of the pieces.
3. Add meat and frozen corn, NOT CHEESE. Mix well.
4. Pour mixture into a GREASED 9x13 pan (Pyrex is best).
5. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
6. Remove and sprinkle cheese over the top. You may not need all two cups (we didn't).
7. Bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve with additional toppings.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pistachio Salad

I was informed that I was supposed to bring a salad to a dinner the next evening at 9:30 at night the day before... and then I had to work all morning the next day! AHH! So I started frantically browsing recipes for an easy and inexpensive salad that would still be tasty and I found this one on Real Mom Kitchen. I love pistachio flavor and normally I don't like these kinds of salads because of the chunks of fruit so I was especially happy when this one called for crushed pineapple. It was delicious and a great addition to our dinner!

The picture and recipe are courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen and can be found here: http://realmomkitchen.com/276/pistachio-salad/

Pistachio Salad

1 (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 (16 oz.) container cottage cheese
1 (8 oz.) container cool whip
1 ( 3.4 oz.) package pistachio pudding mix
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
In a bowl, add cool whip and dry pistachio pudding mix. Mix until well blended. Then add pineapple and cottage cheese; mix well. If you like really soft marshmallows add them at this point, if you like more firm marshmallows, mix in just before serving (I like mine soft). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chicken Stir Fry Wraps

YUM YUM YUM YUM YUMMY!!!!! These were SOOO good! Once upon a time you could get lettuce wraps at Chile's Restaurants. Foolishly they have taken them off the menu. And I have been craving them ever since! When I saw this recipe on Delectable Dining I knew we had to try it out. And it definitely didn't disappoint!

One of the things I love most about this recipe (besides the fact that my husband loved it) was that it seems so versatile. If you WANT to do lettuce wraps they are delicious. But the filling is so flavorful and delicious that you could do so many different things: serve it over rice or noodles, in a tortilla, or honestly just by itself! YUMMY!

Another thing that makes this a fabulous recipe? It comes together in less than 30 minutes!!! Gotta love it baby! AND it is much better for you wrapped in lettuce leaves and so you feel refreshingly full at the end.

The biggest substitutions I made on this recipe were that I used a green pepper instead of a red pepper (because they didn't have red peppers at the store I went to) and we just used Iceburg Lettuce instead of the Boston Lettuce (again, because they didn't have it at the store I went to). The Iceburg lettuce was perfectly fine, however it is a bit hard to pull apart for your individual servings. If you can find Boston (or butter) lettuce - more power to you!

The picture and recipe are courtesy of Delectable Dining and can be found here: http://delectabledining09.blogspot.com/2010/05/chicken-stir-fry-wraps.html

From Delectable Dining

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves; halved horizontally and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated, peeled fresh ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you prefer)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
12 to 16 Boston lettuce leaves (about 2 heads)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat.  Add half of the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque throughout (about 2-4 minutes).  Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.  Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan, along with the onion and the bell pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion is tender and golden.  If the onion is browning too quickly, reduce the heat.

Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to the pan.  Cook, stirring, until fragrant.  Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch mixture.  Remove from the heat.  Add the chicken and any accumulated juices; toss to coat.  Serve in the lettuce cups.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Classic Repeat : Balsamic Chicken Noodle Bowl

This is one of our all time favorite meals. I gave this recipe to my mom after trying it and loving it and now she can make a HUGE bowl of this stuff and my brothers will stack their plates like it is their last meal. One of the big things I did differently this time was I actually used shredded chicken (normally we just cut the chicken into cubes). Let me tell you, it made a big difference! The shredded chicken helps absorb more of the dressing so that you don't have an oily puddle in the bottom of your pan/bowl. It made the taste a bit lighter while still leaving it FULL of flavor! YUM! And I just love how quickly this comes together. I got home from work at 5:30 and we were done eating by 6:10!

This picture and recipe are courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe and can be found here.

From My Kitchen Cafe

1 pound linguine
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil (can substitute 1 cup fresh basil)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded or cubed mozzarella cheese
½ cup feta cheese
Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until just tender according to package directions. Drain.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. When combined, slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is completely combined.
While the pasta is boiling, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the bell pepper. Cook briefly until crisp-tender. Add the cooked chicken and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until the chicken is heated through.
When the noodles have been drained, add the hot noodles to the skillet with the red pepper and chicken and toss. Add the shredded or cubed mozzarella and toss quickly to combine before the cheese melts. Pour the dressing over the top and toss with tongs to coat all the ingredients with the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes

My sister had a big clogging performance yesterday and my extended family always attends. We had a big dinner before the show itself and I was in charge of dessert! I wanted something that would be easy to transport, easy to make, and still was impressive and delicious. I turned to my tried and true sources: Real Mom Kitchen and My Kitchen Cafe and found this great recipe.

The cheesecakes turned out great! I made the normal ones with a raspberry topping and the chocolate version as well. I am glad that I did because some people preferred one while others preferred the other. The raspberry ones were my husband's favorite, but I liked the chocolate ones best. If you are anti-richness, go with the normal cheesecakes. The chocolate ones weren't SUPER rich - I used semi-sweet chocolate chips - but they were still a little much for my hubby!

This recipe and picture is courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen and can be found here.

Mini Cheesecakes
From Real Mom Kitchen

2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese (I have used the lowfat version also and it works fine)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
vanilla wafers or oreo cookies
18 cupcake liners
pie filling (I like cherry or blueberry) or fresh fruit

1. Cream cream cheese and sugar together. Add eggs and lemon juice. Beat until smooth.
2. Line cupcake pan with liners. Place vanilla wafer flat side down in each liner. If using oreos, use the chocolate wafers after scraping frosting off.
3. Fill 3/4 full with cream cheese mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Allow cheesecakes to cool and store in the fridge. Paper liners can be left on or removed.

To serve: top with pie filling. The cheesecakes can also be frozen. Frreze before topping. Then thaw and top with pie filling.

Chocolate swirl variation: Make using oreo cookies as base. Fill as above in recipe. Cook cheesecakes for 6 minutes. Drop 4 to 5 chocolate chips in batter. Let sit for a minute for chocolate to melt. Swirl chocolate in the batter with a toothpick. Continue baking until done.

Turtle variation: Make using oreo cookies as base. Fill and cook as above in recipe. (can also use the chocolate swirl variation for this too). Remove paper liners. To serve: drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with chopped pecans or 1 pecan half.