Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fudgy Banana Pudding Pops

I found this recipe when I happened to have all the ingredients on hand... Isn't that the most wonderful feeling in the world? :) I mixed these up for the kids to have for snack in the afternoon and they loved them and were asking for more as soon as they finished the first one! But beware - they could end up looking like this! :)

Fudgy Banana Pudding Pops
(recipe found at

1 box (4 serving size) chocolate fudge instant pudding and pie filling mix
2 cups fat free milk
1 medium ripe banana
1 container vanilla yogurt
8 waxed paper cups (5 ounces)
8 craft sticks (flat wooden sticks with round ends)

In medium bowl, beat pudding mix and milk with wire whisk about 2 minutes or until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes or until thickened. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash banana with fork. Stir in yogurt.

Place paper cups in 8" pan for easier handling. Spoon 2 tablespoons pudding into each cup. Divide yogurt mixture evenly among cups. Top with remaining pudding mixture. Tap cups on work surface to level top. Insert wooden stick into center of each pop. Freeze pops about 2 hours or until solid. Store frozen pops in plastic freezer bag in freezer. Peel off paper cups before serving.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Big Bowl Brownie Dessert

I offered to bring dessert for a birthday supper that we were having. I had a few recipes to choose from and of course the chocolately one won out! :) It was very simple to throw together on a busy day and I was able to put it together it pieces while I was in between running places. AND it was delicious... Not even a bit left after we finished our meals!

Big Bowl Brownie Dessert
(recipe found at

1 box ultimate fudge brownie mix
2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extact
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350. Make brownies as directed. Cool completely. In medium bowl, beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. In small bowl, combine pie filling and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.

Cut brownies into 1" pieces. In 3 quart glass bowl, layer half of the bornies; top with cherry pie filling and half of the whipped cream. Top with remaining brownies and whipped topping; sprinkle with almonds. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Creamy Cucumbers

I love when fresh veggies are coming out of the garden - eating them straight from the garden just makes them taste so much better doesn't it? I am a big fan of refrigerator pickles but this year I decided that I needed to switch it up a bit and try these creamy cucumbers. I am the only one that eats refrigerator pickles in my house and they stay in the fridge for way too long that way... I thought that I would see if this was something a little more up my kids' alley! It sure was... Having just finished them, 2 little hands have been back and forth to the fridge more times then I can count right now! :) Oh well, at least it is mostly healthy!!

Creamy Cucumbers
(recipe handed down from Linda Ness)

4-5 large cucumbers
1 1/2 cups mayo
2 tablespoons sugar
capful of white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Slice cucumbers and place in large bowl. Put mayo in a medium bowl and slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Add enough milk to create a creamy mixture that runs thickly off of your spoon. Add rest of ingredients and stir to combine. Combine may mixture and cucumbers and stir until well coated. Refrigerate and enjoy!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 8/26-9/1

Well, I've got one week back to work under my belt and things seem to be running pretty smoothly! I love to cook with the kids, so I have some fun stuffed planned for next week... I also have a fresh box of blueberries and two fresh boxes of peaches in my fridge waiting to be taken care of! I'm thinking some fresh recipes will be in order as well as some freezing so we can enjoy that goodness all winter long! You know me and my To Die For Blueberry Muffins! :)

Saturday - Sloppy Joes
Sunday - *Baked Blueberry Peach French Toast
Monday - *Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo
Tuesday - *Round Steak Casserole
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - *Stuffed Green Peppers
Friday - *Chile Spiced Shrimp Kabobs with Couscous

Extras: - *Blueberry Breakfast Cake
- *Fudgy Meringue Cookies
- *Peach Freezer Jam
- *No Bake Energy Bites

* New Recipes

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bacon Ranch Cheeseburgers

I wanted to do something a little with the burgers that I was bringing for our camping weekend so I threw a few things together that I had on hand... They turned out WONDERFUL!! The only thing that I might change next time is to add a bit more bacon - who doesn't love bacon? :)

Bacon Ranch Cheeseburgers

4 pounds ground beef
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
12 ounces bacon
2 cups mozzarella

Dice bacon. Fry until crispy and drain onto paper towels. Combine bacon, ranch dressing mix and cheese with ground beef until well mixed. Form into patties and grill.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Yeah, yeah - I know, it isn't the pumpkin season right now, but I had to do it. Found this recipe for granola bars and I had to hunt down some pumpkin immediately! I am a chewy granola bar kind of girl, I don't like the crunchy ones, so when I saw that these bars would stay moist because of the pumpkin I had to try them! They went like hotcakes at my house, so I was glad that I doubled the recipe like they suggested... Even with the kids leaving the bars uncovered practically all weekend they still stayed fresh, moist and delicious!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
(recipe found at

3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices and salt together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar pumpkin, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Do not underbake. Remove form oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BLT Pasta Salad

This was the perfect pairing for the Bacon Ranch Cheeseburgers that were my contribution on our camping weekend. I wasn't sure if I would like the whole pasta and lettuce combination, but it was delicious! The dressing was wonderful - not too heavy tasting and the perfect topping to this salad... I premade this salad the night before we went camping and it sat in the refrigerator until it was my turn to cook the meal. So, even though it said to serve at room temperature, it still tasted wonderful out of the fridge!

BLT Pasta Salad
(recipe found at

12 ounces corkscrew shaped pasta
1/2 cup milk
12 ounces lean bacon
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens
5 heads bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon into bite size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.

Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sweet Lemonade Salad

Here is a light and fluffy dessert that was perfect for our weekend of camping with my family. I made it up and refrigerated it until we were ready to eat and the kids couldn't get enough of it. They were asking for more still the next day!! It was a fabulous summery dessert...

Sweet Lemonade Salad
(recipe found at

2 1/4 cups butter flavored cracker crumbs (about 64 crackers)
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cans (14 ounces each) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained (optional for garnish)
6-8 maraschino cherries (optional for garnish)

Mix together cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar before pressing mixture into ungreased 13x9" baking dish. Set aside. In a bowl, combine milk and lemonade concentrate until smooth and mixture starts to thicken. Fold in whipped topping then pour mixture over crust. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Garnish with oranges and cherries by arranging oranges in flower shape and using cherries for center if desired.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 8/19-8/25

That's it... Fall is in the air for me - summer is almost over! How do I know? I bought school supplies, shoes and clothes for my kiddos this past week and I start back to week on Tuesday. I can't believe how fast that it went and how much fun I had spending a ton of time with my kids just hanging out! We still have a few fun things going on until school starts but summer is definitely drawing to an end at our house. Guess we better make those last few weeks memorable!

Friday - *Slow Cooker Beef Sandwiches
Saturday - Corn Pudding & *Knock You Naked Brownies (Bean Bag Tourney/Potluck!)
Sunday - steaks on the grill & corn on the cob
Monday - *Mexican Chicken Alfredo
Tuesday - *Chili Rubbed Pork Chops/*Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - *Oreo Ice Cream Cake (Dad's B-Day/Father's Day Supper - yep, we are WAY behind!!)
Friday - Breakfast for supper

Extras - *Rhubarb Apple Bread

* New Recipes

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Creamy Swiss Steak

This was a wonderful meal straight out of the crockpot. It didn't require a lot of effort to throw together and tasty warm and comforting! It reminded me a bit of stroganoff so I served it with sides of rice and corn. It was delicious and a new way to cook up all that round steak that I have in my freezer!

Creamy Swiss Steak
(recipe found in Fix It and Forget It Cookbook)

1 1/2 pound 3/4" thick round steak
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
10 3/4 can cream of mushroom soup
1 carrot, chopped
1 small celery rib, chopped

Cut steak into serving size pieces. Combine flour, salt and pepper. Dredge meat in flour. Place onions in bottom of slow cooker. Add meat. Spread cream of mushroom soup over meat. Top with carrots and celery. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 3-5 hours.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loaded Flank Steak

Oh my gosh!! I took one bite of the stuffing for this recipe and thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was so tasty and yummy and delicious... There aren't enough adjectives to describe it! This is a definite do over and one that we had for leftovers the next day and still loved... I paired this with Asparagus Supreme!

Beware - make sure you have a good flank steak to use for this recipe. I thought that I had one in the freezer and I didn't. Using a sirloin cut from the bone and tied up DID NOT work as well! :) Whoops - still tasty though, just a little extra work on my part!

Loaded Flank Steak
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1/2 cup butter, softened
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 beef flank steak (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingreidents. Cut a deep slit in the side of the steak, forming a pocket. Stuff butter mixture into slit. Grill steak, covered, over medium heat or broil 4-6 inches from the heat for 6-7 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness. To serve, thinly slice across the grain.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Asparagus Supreme

Like I said before, I am on an asparagus kick right now and this recipe fits right in with that kick! :) The kids have been eating it just fine until the last couple of times. I don't know what changed about it, but they are not so gung-ho about it anymore... Maybe I am feeding it to them too often! :) Anyhow, this was a new way to serve it that the hubs and I enjoyed - I thought it was a little saltier then I liked though... We had this with Loaded Flank Steak.

Asparagus Supreme
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

3 pounds asparagus, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes; drain and place in a 13x9" baking dish. Combine butter and soup mix; drizzle over asparagus and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes or until asparagus is tender.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting and Secret Recipe Club!

As I was checking out recipes for this months Secret Recipe Club I fell in love with the blog that I was assigned. A lady after my own heart - recipe after recipe of delicious treats and goodies! It was so hard to find the one recipe that I wanted to make for this month's SRC posting...

Ultimately it felt like fate had smiled upon me when I found this recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes. I had just made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars and had a lonely can of pumpkin sitting in my fridge, waiting to be used up in some sort of delicious way... This was definitely a delicious way!! The brown butter, both in the cupcakes and in the frosting gave this "another cupcake recipe" the kick that it needed to become wonderfully awesome!! It has such a distinct taste and flavor that I completely fell in love with them. They were super moist and while she suggests eating them the same day that they are glazed - my kids and nephews couldn't get enough of them the next day either! :) Try them - you will NOT be disappointed!! And while you are at it - head on over to visit Avanika and check out her other recipes.... I know that I will be back to try her Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting
(recipe found at

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups flour
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, cut into chiffonade - she didn't use these and neither did I...
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

Preheat oven to 325. Brush a muffin pan with butter, then dust with flour, tapping out excess. (I used muffin liners, I love the easy clean up! :) In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the sage, if using. Cook until the butter turns golden brown, swirling occasionally, about 10 minutes. Skim foam off the top. Pour into another bowl to stop further cooking, leaving an burned sediment behind. Allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugars, eggs and brown butter mixture. Make sure the butter has cooled down so you don't cook the eggs. Whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pans, filling not more then 3/4 of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool, and store at room temperature overnight, or frozen up to 2 months in an airtight container.

Brown the butter the same way as before. Add sugar, vanilla and milk to the butter, stir to combine. Add more milk if you feel it's needed, you are aiming at a thick glaze. Use immediately. Dip the cupcake tops into the glaze and allow to cool.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 8/12-8/18

This week just flew by! I can't believe it is only one more week and then I have to go back to work... Glad that work means still being able to stay home with my babies, but still - no more running for me! :) We are off on our family vacation on Saturday and Sunday, can't wait to have some fun with the whole family and actually stay at a hotel! I love camping but I am going to love not having to clean out the camper once we get back! Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Friday - *Spiral Stromboli
Saturday - Family Vacation!!
Sunday - Family Vacation!!
Monday - Burgers and *Glazed Baby Carrots
Tuesday - *Grilled Honey Lime Chicken
Wednesday - Pizza for the kids - I have a meeting and they are serving supper! :)
Thursday - Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

* New Recipes

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

I loved this meal before I even tried it... Why you ask? Because I thought that it was going to be good and because it makes 2, count 'em, 2 hotdishes! One for now and one to go into the freezer for another time. I love meals like that... If I remember to go back into the freezer to get them that is! :) Luckily this hotdish was also good enough to warrant a rerun on it! The fam scarfed it down in no time. As I've said before - anything pizza related is a go in our house...

Side note: it does call for ground turkey in this recipe, but with a half a cow sitting in our freezer, I went with the beef. Do whatever floats your boat! :)

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1 (16 ounces) package egg noodles
2 pounds ground turkey
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 (26 ounces) meatless spaghetti sauce
1 (10 ounces) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 (8 ounces) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
3 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni

In a dutch oven, cook noddles according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground turkey and chopped onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in noodles.

Transfer to 2 greased 13x9" baking dishes. Sprinkle each with mushrooms, cheeses and pepperoni. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and cheeses have melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Sesame Chicken Wraps

I don't know about everyone else, but I love the crunch of chow mein noodles! So, when I saw this recipe, I knew that it was one that I wanted to try. It was easy to throw into the crockpot and not have to worry about and delicious enough for me to want to try it again. Also, you can custom make each wrap for the eater - this makes it even more appealing to me! Kids don't like this or that? Leave it out! Mom wants extra chow mein noodles in hers? Do it! Gotta love it!!

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Sesame Chicken Wraps
(recipe found at

3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped gingerroot
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seed
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
12 flour tortillas
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1 medium bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup sliced green onions (8 medium)
3/4 cup chow mein noodles

Spray a 4-5 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken in cooker. In small bowl, mix teriyaki sauce, gingerroot and garlic; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.

Stir chicken mixture to break apart large pieces of chicken. Stir in sesame seed and sesame oil. Increase heat to high. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Spread 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce on each tortilla. Using slotted spoon, spread about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. Top chicken mixture with shredded carrot, bell pepper, green onions and noodles. Roll up tortilla and cut diagonally in half.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oreo Turtle Bars

I completely forgot to blog about this fabulous recipe that I brought for the 4th of July! Maybe it was subconscious and I just didn't want anyone else to know how to make this wonderful, sinfully delicious concoction? I don't know, but it is so good you will understand as soon as you taste them! :) My picture does not do these treats justice at all... Wow, I'm kind of licking my lips right now remembering how yummy they were! :)

Oreo Turtle Bars
(recipe found at

45 oreos (3 sleeves or one regular package)
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 cups mini marshmallows
3/4 cups pecan pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk

Begin by making your crust. Pour oreos into a food processor and grind them up into crumbs. Melt butter in a small mixing bowl. Add the oreo crumbs to the butter and stir them all together until well combined. Spray a 9x13" pan with cooking spray and press cookie crumbs into the bottom.

Heat up a large skillet over medium high heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is hot add pecans and sprinkle them with salt. Let them toast for about 5 minutes, stirring ever so often, until a little darker in color.

Sprinkle the milk chocolate chips evenly over the crust. Then follow with white and semi sweet chocolate chips. Spread on marshmallows and add pecans. Carefully drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top of all your layers. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until you can see that it is bubbling slightly. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hearty Pita Tacos

I had this recipe planned for a week that ended up being crazy enough that I didn't get to it. So, I decided to make it up for when we went camping with some friends instead. It was a great throw together in advance meal that I could just dump into a crockpot and reheat while we were out playing! The pita pockets were a fun new adventure for my kids (I can't believe they have never had them before) and that made the meal all the more exciting! :) I doubled the recipe and easily had enough for 4 adults and 7 kids with some leftover...

Hearty Pita Tacos
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 pound lean ground beef
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup taco sauce
1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 whole wheat pita breads, halved
6 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
sliced avocado and additional taco sauce, optional

In a large skillet, cook beef, red pepper and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in beans, corn, taco sauce, olives and seasonings; heat through. Spoon 3/4 cup beef mixture into each pita half. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with avocado and additional taco sauce if desired.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 8/5-8/11

I am so excited for this upcoming week you wouldn't believe it. I think that this weekend is the first weekend that we don't have a full two days of activities and we are actually staying home! :) I am a go, go, go kind of girl, but it will feel good to just have a lazy weekend for once... And believe it or not, next week seems like it might be a little of the same. A field trip to the bike park in the town next to us might be the extent of our running next week - can you believe it? I might be able to tackle some of my house projects that I have been putting off - or just bake a little bit! :)

Friday - Birthday supper at the Legion - *Big Bowl Brownie Dessert
Saturday - Date Night!
Sunday - Steaks and *Corn Pudding
Monday - *4 Cheese Baked Ziti
Tuesday - *Honey Marinated Chicken with corn on the cob
Wednesday - Roast with carrots and potatoes
Thursday - *Spiral Stromboli
Friday - Burgers on the grill with *Glazed Baby Carrots

Extras - Rhubarb Apple Bread

*New Recipes

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crunchy Onion Barbecue Chicken

Wowza, this chicken was super yummy! Very easy to throw together and tasty to boot... I paired it with Oven Roasted Broccoli, which has a similar cooking temperature and time and it was a fabulous meal that was easy to put on the table! Gotta love that on a summer day when you are running in and out of the door!

Crunchy Onion Barbecue Chicken
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 1/3 cups french fried onions, crushed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Place barbecue sauce in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the onions, cheese and pepper. Dip both sides of chicken in barbecue sauce, then one side in the onion mixture. Place chicken, crumb side up, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 22-27 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oven Roasted Broccoli

I thought that this was a wonderful side dish. I am not a huge broccoli fan, but I have heard that roasting it changes that taste of broccoli a bit, so I thought that I would give it a go. It had a fabulous flavor that I loved and I would definitely do again. The kids were not so impressed, but that just left more for me. In fact, I found myself walking by the pan to grab a piece to snack on while I was cleaning up from supper... Just make sure you watch your broccoli though! I threw mine in the oven and ran to pick up the kids from the mother in laws and it got a little too done. Some of the pieces were extra crispy and while I liked that, some of you may not! :)

We had this with the crunchy onion barbecue chicken that you see in the picture and can find here. It was a great pairing!

Oven Roasted Broccoli
(recipe found at

3 heads of broccoli, cut and chopped
extra virgin olive oil
garlic salt

Place broccoli on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Mix around with hands to make sure most of the pieces are coated with oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chicken BLT Taco Salad

OMG - this salad was wonderful!! My kids are pretty good about eating salads and they loved this one. My son just had his tonsils out and this was the first "regular" meal that he tried to eat and he went back for more... I guess his throat was feeling good enough to chow this down! :) This was one of those throw it together during naps meals that was ready to go when we got back from the swimming pool. LOVE IT!!

I just made it for our family so I didn't get all fancy but the picture on looked wonderful! They put it all in a trifle bowl and layered it - beautiful presentation if you are taking this somewhere or serving it for guests!!

Chicken BLT Taco Salad
(recipe found at

1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup french dressing

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" chunks
6 cups torn romaine or iceberg lettuce
1 medium yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitting and cut into thin wedges
1 1/2 cups shredded colby-monterey jack cheese blend
1/4 cup sour cream, if desired
1 cup small triangular tortilla chips

In a medium bowl, mix dressing ingredients until well blended. In 12" nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towel; reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Add chicken to skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 4-6 minutes or until browned and no longer pink in center. Cool slightly. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chilled.

In deep 3 quart salad bowl, layer lettuce, chicken, bacon, bell pepper and tomatoes. Top with dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours. Just before serving, top with cheese, avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mac and Beer Cheese Cups

My kids LOVED these! They were so fun to make and a different way to serve Mac and Cheese... As we were eating them I thought about how fun they would be to have as a side dish at a party! We had them with some of the venison sausage that we have in our freezer and it made a great meal... Alas, when I got home from the grocery store, I found that I did not have the bread crumbs that I thought were in my cupboard so they didn't have the fun topping that it calls for. I think that this would have made them even more fabulous! So, do me a favor and don't forget the bread crumbs when you try this recipe! :)

I mean seriously - can you tell that they loved these?? :)

Mac and Beer Cheese Cups
(recipe found at

3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup beer
1 cup shredded american cheese
2 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
slices of cooked beer bratwurst or popcorn

Heat oven to 375. Place foil baking cup in each of 15 regular size muffin cups. In a small microwavable bowl, microwave 1 tablespoon of the butter uncovered on high 15-30 seconds or until melted. Stir in bread crumbs; set aside. Cook and drain macaroni as directed on the package.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in 4 quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring with whisk. While continuing to stir, add milk and beer. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Add cooked macaroni; stir well.

Spoon about 1/4 cup macaroni into each cup. Top each with bread crumb mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes or until hot and topping is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan.