Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cajun Orange Pork Chops

This recipe was so yummy!! The heat was definitley in the sauce, so it was perfect to have with the kids... I cut up the chops for them and the marinade wasn't really spicy, but when I added it to our chops - WOW!! Not nose running spicy, but enough kick to make you know they were there. What a great taste they had!

Cajun Orange Pork Chops
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1/2 cup orange juice
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
4 boneless pork loin chops (4 ounces each)

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Pour 1/3 cup marinade into a large resealable bag; add the pork. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for sauce.

In a small saucepan, bring reserved marinade to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until thickened. Keep warm. Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Drain pork chops and discard marinade. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Brush with sauce.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

I love checking out new breads, especially ones that are going to be both hearty and healthy for my family! This was my favorite whole wheat recipe so far... It was easy enough to make and everyone liked it! My dad is trying to get me to make a few loaves for him to take home... I served this with the Buffalo Chicken Salad that we just had!

Whole Wheat Bread
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons reduced fat butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2-2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the brown sugar, butter, salt, whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough (dough will be sticky). Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Punch dough down and turn onto a floured surface; shape into a loaf. Place in a 9x5" loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 5/28-6/3

I love a good holiday weekend!! Yippee here it is! We have a lot planned for the weekend and this upcoming week. We are spending a lot of time with family - celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and new houses!

This is also the last week of school and my big kindergartener turns into a big 1st grader... Can I slow down time just a little?? :(

My 3 year old turns 4 on Tuesday - his birthday dinner request? Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches! Ummm, okay... I can do that! :)

What a week - have a fabulous Memorial Day!

Saturday - Fast food - heading back from my aunt's late the night... Bringing *chocolate chip cookie dough dip for treats that day though!
Sunday - *Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Monday - Fruit Salad and a Caterpillar Cake for Beau's birthday!
Tuesday - Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Watermelon, Corn on the Cob
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - *Fantasy Chicken
Friday - *Hubby's Favorite Crepes

Extras: *Sangria
*Mocha Brownies

* New Recipes

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rigatoni with Bacon and Asparagus

I could eat this meal every night!! It was so warm and cozy, if you describe food that way. Definitely a comfort food with the bacon and pasta, but a little bit healthier then your normal comfort food! :) I am definitely on an asparagus kick right now and we are eating it at least once a week. The kids aren't super excited about it, but they will eat it. Maybe if I serve it enough they will come to love it! :)

Rigatoni with Bacon and Asparagus
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 package rigatoni or large tube pasta
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and coarsely chopped
8 bacon strips
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup half and half
1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley

Cook rigatoni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water. Drain and pat dry.

In same pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Crumble bacon and set aside. Saute garlic in butter and oil until tender. Stir in cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in mozzarella until melted. Drain rigatoni; add to pan. Stir in the salt, asparagus and reserved bacon. Sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano cheese and parsley.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mexican Beef and Pasta

This was a fast and easy supper to fix. Very filling and fed all our family with leftovers for lunch the next day! I have even swapped out the corn with peas since I was out of corn and didn't realize it and it still tasted great! So, mix it up a bit - find the taste that you like best!!

Mexican Beef and Pasta
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

3 cups uncooked whole wheat spiral pasta
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup chunky salsa
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
crushed tortilla chips, optional

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the pasta, tomatoes, beans, corn, salsa, green chilies, olives and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until heated through. Serve with sour cream and chops if desired.

Serves: 8
Points: 6 per 1 1/4 cup serving

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Zeus Burgers

Grilling season is here!! So excited that my hubs doesn't have to stand outside in the freezing cold and grill up our food anymore... These burgers were a nice jump back into summer. They mixed it up a little bit and were super tasty! Enjoy!!

Zeus Burgers
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

3 tablespoons fat free mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon pine nuts, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
4 hamburger buns, split

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and salt. Cover and refrigerate until serving. For burgers, coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, cheese, lemon juice, pine nuts, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.

Grill, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 and juices run clear. Toast buns on grill for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Serve burgers on buns with reserved sauce.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars

Josh's brother and his family are coming into Minnesota this week with their circus and we are heading up to see them. We can't wait!! It is our once a year rendevous with them and we all have a wonderful time... I always have to bring some sort of treat with us and this year it is this delicious little recipe and my banana chocolate chip muffins. Can't wait to dig into these after a few drinks with the in-laws! :)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars
(recipe found at www.amandascookin.com)

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces chopped semi sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 13x9" pan with foil or cooking spray. Whisk together flour baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. Turn mixer down to low and slowly add in dry ingredients. Turn off mixer and fold in chocolate. Press cookie dough into prepared pan and bake 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack in pan. When cooled completely, lift out by foil and cut into bars.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 5/21-5/27

Finally! It has been a great week of sunshine, the rain cleared up and I finally got to get into my garden and get things planted!! Now as I am posting today, the rain has begun again... UGH!! But on the bright side, at least it is good for my garden and it isn't one of those freezing cold rains once again! and I might get might house cleaned up a little bit since we won't be outside... Not so busy week this week, but a couple of birthdays to celebrate so it should be fun! Hoping the weather turns around again so that the outside time is plentiful... Have a fabulous week!

Saturday - family birthday party
Sunday - *scrambled eggs & cheese pizza w/ homemade pizza crust
Monday - steaks on the grill w/ *homemade refried beans
Tuesday - *sea scallop stir fry
Wednesday - tacos
Thursday - cheese chicken enchiladas
Friday - chicken stuffed baked potatoes

* New Recipes

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cold Salad

This is a staple in the Polman family (my mom's side of the family). It is pretty much guaranteed that if we are having family gathering of some sort, this dish will appear! It is easy to make, easy to travel with to a potluck and goes with whatever type of meal you are having... It's also pretty tasty too! :) You can make as much or as little as you want - this recipe is for a doubled batch and served about 30-40 people at my son's birthday party.

Cold Salad

pasta - (I used 2 16 ounce boxes of small shells)
miracle whip
tuna - I used 12 big cans
celery - I diced 3 stalks

Cook pasta as directed on box. Drain and cool. Add tuna, celery and enough miracle whip for your taste. Serve chilled.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Stuffed Potatoes

Wow, wow and more wow... That is all that I have to say about this recipe. It was super easy to throw together and everyone LOVED it!! My mom and brother stopped by for supper and they were impressed with this meal also... Can't wait to have it again soon!

Chicken Stuffed Potatoes
(recipe found at www.cucinafamiglia.com)

4 large baking potatoes
2 chicken breasts, shredded (or a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 onion, chopped
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dill weed
salt and pepper

Bake potatoes as you normally would. (I prick mine with a fork and then rub them down with olive oil, salt with coarse salt and bake for about an hour or until a fork sticks into them easily.) Remove from oven when fully cooked and let cool. Once cooled, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out middle. Place filling in bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix together until smooth. Fill potato shells with mixture and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 5/14-5/20

Missed a couple of meals last week due to unexpected events coming up... So, if you see repeats this week, that's why! I did well with cooking my healthy meals and staying away from the snack food (that was the hardest part...) Lost 5 pounds in one week - probably a lot of baby weight still attached! :) So my menu is once again chock full of healthy eats - I hope the trend can continue! I am also hopeful that this week won't be so crazy, but with the end of the school year nearing and me being back at daycare, I can't guarantee anything! :) Have a fabulous week!!

Saturday - *Salmon Grilled in Foil w/ Asparagus
Sunday - *Chocolate Revel Bars (we have a potluck to go to...)
Monday - *Dijon Mustard Chicken
Tuesday - *Risotto Stuffed Portobellos
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - *Zeus Burgers
Friday - *Rigatoni with Bacon and Asparagus

Extras: *Poppy Chow
*Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

* New Recipes

Friday, May 13, 2011

Breakfast Burritos

I hate to say it, but this is the last of my freezer meals for the moment... I wasn't super impressed with the tater tots in this meal, but the rest of it was really delicious. We had it for supper but these would be nice to have on hand for in the mornings when we are rushing out the door. Pop them in the microwave and have a nice healthy breakfast for everyone!

Breakfast Burritos

1/2 pound pork sausage, browned
1/3 pound cooked bacon, crumbled
35 potato crowns or tots
9 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
salt and pepper
6 burrito sized flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Cook eggs until cooked but moist. Warm flour tortillas until flexible. Fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup scrambled eggs, 6 potato crowns, 2 tablespoons cooked sausage, 1 tablespoon crumbed bacon. Top with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Fold filled tortillas into burritos. Wrap each burrito in foil an dplace individual burritos in feezer bags. Freeze.

To serve: wrap sing burrito in a moist paper towl and heat in microwave 1-2 minutes or until heated trhough, turning halfway. If baking all at once, thaw completely and keep wrapped in foil. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Meatballs Part 2

Here is another meatball recipe that we tried out at Nourishing Hearts and it was a good one!! I think that I liked this one better then the other one... It can be served over spaghetti noodles (this is how we did it) or used to make a sub sandwich. You can also try it with mashed potatoes and beef gravy! It froze and thawed so nicely...


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup dried bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/3 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Don't mix too much, just to distribute ingredients throughout mix. Form into meatballs. Freeze if desired.

To serve: thaw and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cooked through. I baked them for 20 minutes, added my spaghetti sauce and put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes to heat it through. They turned out perfect!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hot Apple Pie Dip

Oh this was yummmmeeee... I found this recipe online and have been wanting to try it out. I needed a reason to make it though otherwise I might end up eating the whole thing !:) This was quick to throw together and very tasty! It was done by night's end and I didn't take any leftovers home with me...

Hot Apple Pie Dip

1 (8 ounces) cream cheese
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 apple, chopped, divided
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped pecans
wheat thins

Heat oven to 375. Mix cream cheese, sugar and spice in medium bowl until well blended. Stir in half the apples. Spread into pie plate or small casserole dish; top with remaining apples, cheddar cheese and nuts. Bake 10-12 minutes or until heated through. Serve with crackers.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 5/7-5/13

Okay, here starts my big push! The baby weight is almost gone, but now it is time to get back in shape... The doctor should give me the okay on Monday to get back to normal and I am feeling great right now so it is time!! Along with the exercise I am going to try to be more concious about what I am putting into my mouth... Not to say that I am completely giving up sweets - THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! :) But, I need to be better about cooking healthier for me and my family... So, here goes for this week!

Sunday - Zorbaz for Mother's Day!!
Monday - Chicken Breasts on the grill
Tuesday - *Salmon Grilled In Foil
Wednesday - *Buffalo Chicken Salad
Thursday - *Zeus Burger
Friday - Cajun Orange Pork Chops

* new recipes

Friday, May 6, 2011

Butter Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

What do you do when your son's birthday party is less then 24 hours away, your husband has messed up the box cake mix that he was supposed to cook and you can't get to the store before his party? Frantically page through your cookbooks until you find a cake recipe that you have all the ingredients for of course!! This is the one that I picked and it was pretty delicious! It was a little dry, so I think that I overbaked it just a little bit... I also used caned frosting because I was decorating it and was originally looking for something that was going to be quick and easy! :) I included the recipe for the frosting though in case you want to try it out for yourselves!

Butter Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-4 tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 350. In large mixer bowl, combine sugar and 3/4 cup butter. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Continue beating, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour baking powder and slat alternately with half and half, until well mixed. Batter will be thick. Divide batter between 2 greased and floured 8" round cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, remove from pans. Cool completely.

Meanwhile in 1 quart saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat until lightly browned. In small mixer bowl, combine all frosting ingredients except milk. Beat at medium speed and gradually adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Spread frosting between cooled layers and then frost entire cake.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cherry Cheesecake in a Jar

So, this week is Teacher Appreciation Week... Way back when I was a teacher, I was spoiled rotten by the parents at my school and it was nice to know that I was appreciated. While they were very generous, that wasn't truly the point - it was also nice to hear a plain old thank you from the parents of the students that were in my class. I spent more time with their kids then they did some weeks and it was nice to know that all the hard work that I put into my class and classroom didn't go unnoticed... This being said - I feel like I need to step up and let my kids' teachers know that I appreciate all that they do for my kids in their education! They can be a handful at times and their teachers definitely see that. I also see how much they grow each year, in the capable hands of the wonderful teachers they have at Sebeka...

Mrs. Oyster and Brody

Heidi and Beau

That being said - this week I sent my boys to school with a few gifts for their teachers. These included banana chocolate chip muffins on Tuesday and this recipe for Cherry Cheesecake in a Jar went to school with them today. I sampled a little bit for myself and they were delicious! I hope their teachers enjoy them!

The "undecorated" version...

Cherry Cheesecake in a Jar
(recipe found at www.jamiecooksitup.blogspot.com)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese
1 (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (21 ounces) can cherry pie filling
cool whip or redi whip

Smash graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter and mix until combined. Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Scrape the bottom of the bowl. Add sweetened condensed milk and continue to beat. Once it is all beaten together for about 3 minutes or until smooth and silky add lemon juice. Continue mixing for an additional 1 minute. Scrape bowl as needed to make sure all ingredients come together.

Using 1/2 pint jars (this will make 7 jars full) begin to layer ingredients. 2 teaspoons of graham cracker mixture, 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture and 2 tablespoons cherry pie filling. At this point spray in some cool whip and smooth with a spoon. Begin to repeat layers again. I chose to use the pint jars that I had at my house and I doubled each layer as I went. I also chose to "up the dosage" of graham cracker mixture (who doesn't love that!) and went for 2 tablespoons instead of 2 teaspoons. Delish!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Beef Stew

This was a delicious stew that I pulled straight from my freezer. It was a little strong with the thyme so I would definitely cut back on that part the next time that I make this... Very hearty and wonderful on a rainy spring evening!

Beef Stew

1 pound beef chuck
2 cans tomato soup
1 cup water
1/4 cup flour
3 carrots
1 medium onion
4 medium potatoes, washed and peeled
1/2 cup celery
2 beef boullion cubes
1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme

Cut beef into bite sized chunks and shake in bag with flour. Add soups, water, boullion, celery and spices. Chunk potatoes and add to bag, mix to cover potatoes. Blanche carrots, then add to other ingredients. Freeze at this point if desired.

To serve: place ingredients into crock pot and cook on low all day 8-10 hours if frozen or on high 4-5 hours if thawed.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 4/30-5/6

Busy week this week! Heading out with friends for UFC Fight Night on Saturday night (I'm bringing a yummy dip!), Brody's family birthday party on Sunday, Teacher Appreciation Week with week (I've got some tasty treats for the boys' teachers) and Josh's brother and his family are going to be in MN with their circus this next weekend so we are doing the family thing with them... Let the fun begin!!

Saturday - Wrestling Pancake Supper
Sunday - Hot Dogs and Hamburgers (Brody's birthday supper!)
Monday - *Breakfast Burritos
Tuesday - *Chicken Stuffed Potatoes
Wednesday - Grilled Chicken
Thursday - Circus Fun with Josh's family
Friday - Still at the circus!
Saturday - *Mexican Beef and Pasta

*Hot Apple Pie Dip
*Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars
*Cheesecake in a Jar
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

*New Recipes