Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homemade Brownies

I am a big brownie fan, um... to be honest, anything chocolatey I'm a fan of! I don't always have boxed brownies on hand though, so when I saw a pin on pinterest about homemade mixes that you could keep on your shelf I was intrigued. I had to give it a whirl! Seriously - one of the easiest and quickest brownie mixes to throw together... Almost as easy as the box mix and better tasting! :) I haven't made up multiple batches to store in my cupboard, but this recipe has simple enough ingredients that I usually have laying around my house! I love to throw some chocolate chips in the mix, just to up the chocolate factor. You could also go with some nuts, whatever shakes your tail feathers! Maybe, just maybe you can throw some chocolate frosting on top and go all decadent! :) How about brownies with a pretzel crust? Come back Monday for that recipe! :)

Homemade Brownies
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate chips, if desired

Whisk together first dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir until incorporated. Bake in square pan for 20-25 minutes at 350.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich

This was a quick supper for us the other night and it was great! It was a nice change to throw the chicken on a bun and make sandwiches for the family... Everyone definitely enjoyed this one and it was easy enough to make!

Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 sandwich buns, split
1 cup shredded lettuce
8 thin tomato slices

In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Broil chicken 4" from the heat for 4-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170, brushing occasionally with mustard mixture. Serve on buns with lettuce and tomato.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Italian Sausage Bean Soup

This may just be my new favorite soup! It was so hearty and delicious and made enough to have leftovers for the next day. The kids ate it up pretty well, which always makes it a good meal in my eyes! I paired this with some quick garlic bread and it was a wonderful supper!

Italian Sausage Bean Soup
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 pound bulk italian sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
4 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cans (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup medium pearl barley
1 large carrot, sliced
1 celery, sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
6 cups chopped fresh kale

In a dutch oven, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes, barley, carrot, celery, sage and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in kale; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and kale is wilted.

Serves: 8
Points: 7 per 1 1/2 cups of soup

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

It was my turn to bring snack for our E.C.F.E. (early childhood family education) class and this is the one place left on God's green earth that you can still bring a homemade snack. Okay, so I might be exaggerating a bit, but the fact still remains that I decided to make something yummy to bring with! I decided on this bread that sounded like a delicious treat and something that I could pair up with a healthy box of gogurts! It was definitely a tasty bread and I was glad that I made a double batch so that I got to have a taste of my own! My kiddos were asking when I was going to make another batch as soon as we got home... I guess one piece wasn't enough!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup (8 ounces) reduced fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, yogurt, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and remaining cinnamon. Spoon a third of the batter into an 8x4" loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Top with a third of the brown sugar mixture. Repeat layers twice. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl the brown sugar mixture. Bake at 350 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Glazed Donut Muffins

I can't believe that I didn't get a picture of these muffins! I am so mad at myself!! I made these up for the teachers and aides that my kids have in their classrooms with a little note that said "Donut" you know you are my Valentine? or something like that... :) They turned out super cute and I was very excited to send them in. Hopefully they were a hit - we were actually gone for Valentine's Day, visiting family in Arizona so we sent everything in a few days early. I doubled the batch and had them for breakfast with the daycare kids too and they were a hit around here. They had this wonderful hint of nutmeg that made them even more delicious!

EDITED May 13, 2015 - I made these again for teacher appreciation week. I got my picture this time around! :) Again they were a huge hit with everyone that tried them...

Glazed Donut Muffins
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat oven to 425. Line 12 muffin cups with liners or spray with cooking spray. In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, oil and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined. With mixer on low, add baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and vanilla until just combined. Stir in flour alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour and mixing until just combined. Do not overmix. Spoon batter into muffin pan and smooth tops. Bake until muffin tops are golden and spring back when touched, about 15-17 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack 10 minutes before glazing. To make glaze - in a medium bowl, add together all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Dip muffin crown into glaze and allow glaze to harden. Once it has harden, redip muffins and allow to harden again.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Melt In Your Mouth Chicken

This was a fabulous chicken recipe! The taste was super yummy, but I was a little thrown off by the texture of the chicken. I chose to use the grated parmesan that I had in my fridge and I think that is what made it seem a little off. So, try this recipe, but make sure that you bust out the shredded parmesan instead to avoid that funky texture that I had!

Melt In Your Mouth Chicken
(recipe found on pinterest)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients except chicken breasts and yogurt together. Dip chicken in yogurt and then roll in seasoning mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

I am usually so busy making something new and fun for main dishes that the sides that we have are just thrown together... A side salad most of the time, rice, microwaved veggies, something quick and easy. Josh and I really like sweet potatoes so I thought that this would be a fun recipe to try. While the kids weren't too fond of it, we both really enjoyed this version of a twice baked potato!

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
(recipe found on pinterest via

3 medium sweet potatoes (2-2 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup fat free ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped sage

Heat oven to 400. Pierce potatoes with a fork several times and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake until they are soft enough to be pierced easily with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove and let cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in small nonstick pan and add shallots. Cook until soft and just browning, remove and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half and scoop out insides, leaving about an inch around the edges for stablility. Mix potatos for about 30 seconds until starting to get smooth. Add salt, pepper, ricotta, ginger and brown sugar and mix until smooth. Stir in parmesan, sage and shallots. Spoon mixture into potato shells. Set oven at 350. Sprinkle each potato half with parmesan and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Burrito BLT Wraps

Brody is in BLT mode lately... Every time that we go out to eat he asks if they have BLTs at the restaurant we are at. So, for him I thought that I would try this take on BLTs! They were very yummy and a nice light supper on a night that we were once again running out the door.

Burrito BLT Wraps
(recipe found at

8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 cups bite sized lettuce
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 large tomato, chopped
1/3 cup mayo
6 (8") flour tortillas

Toss all ingredients together, except tortillas. Spread one-sixth of lettuce mixture down the middle of the tortilla shell. Roll to form a cone shape with the bottom folded.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chocolate Lovers Peanut Butter Snack Mix

We are big Reese's Puffs fans in this house... The kids don't request a lot, but this is one thing that my oldest son asks for all the time. Combine that with the fact that I usually have cocoa puffs (generic) on hand I knew this snack was going to be a hit the second I layed eyes on it. And it was... just try to keep your hands out of this mix! Kind of like puppy chow on steroids. Yep - it's a good one!

Chocolate Lovers Peanut Butter Snack Mix
(recipe found on

3 cups cocoa puffs cereal
3 cups reese's puffs cereal
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cocktail peanuts
2 cups vanilla baking chips or mini marshmallows

In large bowl mix cereals, set aside. In small bowl mix powdered sugar and cocoa powder, set aside. In microwaveable bowl melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered for 1 minute on high. Stir and microwave 30 seconds longer until it can be stirred smoothly. Stir in vanilla and pour over cereal mixture, tossing gently to coat all cereal. Pour half of the powdered sugar into a ziplock bag and add cereal, shake until coated. Pour in remaining powdered sugar and close. Shake again until completely covered. Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Meatball Skewers

These were our contribution to the super bowl party that we were heading to... if we would have gotten to go! :) One of the kids ended up with a fever and rather then splitting up and one of us taking the rest of the kids to the party and one of us staying home with the sicko, we decided to just have a hang out at home night. That meant A LOT of meatball skewers for us! So, we ended up having the for supper - a very random supper night, since I wasn't planning on being home for supper! :) They were super good and the kids loved that they were on skewers. I was going to cut the skewers down for the party, but since it was just us I just went with it. I think that they would have "looked" better on smaller skewers but they tasted great no mater what size the skewers!

Meatball Skewers
(recipe found on

2 pounds ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup italian style bread crumbs
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 24 cubes
2 cans crescent rolls
1 tablespoon milk
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
24 (4") skewers
lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, if desired

Heat oven to 400. Line 15x10" pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine beef, egg, bread crumbs, worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Shape into 24 (1 1/2" balls) and press cheese cube into ball and reseal. Place in pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until beef is no longer pink in middle. Reduce temperature of oven to 375 and unroll crescent roll cans. Press dough onto 2 ungreased cookie sheets, rolling out into a 12x8" rectangle, sealing perforations as you go. Brush with milk and sprinkle sesame seed over the top. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely. Cut each sheet into 24 (2x2") squares. To serve, place one crescent square onto skewer, add whatever toppings you choose, meatball and remaining crescent square.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Loaded Roasted Potato Casserole

This meal was oh so simple and oh so yummy - well for me anyhow!! I love a good baked potato with all the trimmings and this definitely had the taste of that... As for Beau, who doesn't care for potatoes and informed me on this night that he only likes the bottoms of the broccoli, it wasn't so much of a wonderful meal... Oh well! :)

Loaded Roasted Potato Casserole
(recipe found on

2 bags (19 ounces each_ frozen roasted potatoes, broccoli and cheese sauce
3/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon, omit if going for no meat meal!
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped green onions (4 medium)

Heat oven to 400. Cook vegetables in microwave as directed on the bag. Spoon into 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Top with cheese and bacon. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and light golden brown. Serve with sour cream and green onions.

Monday, March 11, 2013

No Bake Granola Bars

I try to buy healthier snacks for my kids to eat around the house - and usually ones that can be kind of portable since we are one the go a lot. This usually translates into some kind of granola bar being thrown into the shopping cart, along with plenty of other things. They are pretty healthy, but also pretty spendy for a small box. When I found this recipe floating around pinterest, I thought that I would give it a try. I have a few more pinned that I want to try and also compare, but this one was pretty good! I made half the way that the recipe called for it and the other half I made with chocolate chips to give it a little variety. The serving size seemed a bit small to me, but I also think that I didn't press them down into the pan as far as I should have! :) At any rate, the kids like them and that is one of the important criteria!

No Bake Granola Bars
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups crispy rice cereal
3 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, stir together crispy rice and oatmeal. In a saucepan, melt together honey, butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir to combine. Pour over dry ingredients and stir togehter until mixture is completely combined. Spoon into parchment lined jelly roll pan and press down to a 1/2" - 3/4" depth, keeping the granola bars as close to one side of the pan as you can. I doubled my recipe and it took up the entire pan. Let cool to room temperature and cut into bars. If you are adding chocolate chips, press them into the top of the pan once it is packed down so that they don't melt all over the place.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Healthified Skillet Lasagna

Homemade Hamburger Helper anyone? This is definitely the taste and feel that I got for this meal. Definitely a hit at our house and probably a heck of a lot healthier then the box of Hamburger Helper that I pick up once in a while!

Healthified Skillet Lasagna
(recipe found on

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jar (25.5 ounces) italian herb pasta sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon ketchup
3 cups uncooked mini lasagna noodles (malfalda), I couldn't find these so I just bought a different kind of noodle!
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup shredded italian cheese blend

In 12" skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic until browned; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients, except cheese. Heat to boiling and allow to simmer uncovered 10-12 minutes. Top with cheese and serve.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cookies and Cream Popcorn

I love finding fun new recipes for a snack that we all love... Covering popcorn with something sweet is always a "love" in my mind!! While we enjoy it just plain, it is great to mix it up a bit and this one hit the spot! A little too addicting if you know what I mean!

Cookies and Cream Popcorn
(recipe found on pinterest via

12 cups popcorn
20 oreos, coarsely crushed
24 ounces white vanilla almond bark

Melt almond bark according to package directions until completely melted and creamy in consistency. Drizzle almond bark over popcorn. Sprinkle oreos on top and gently stir to completely coat. Place wax paper on counter and dump popcorn onto wax paper and allow to harden.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps

We are really in a wrap mode lately! I buy tortilla shells in bulk and we use them for everything from snacks to lunch to supper! I keep finding quick and easy recipes that feature tortilla shells and they have all been wonderful! Who doesn't like a good cheeseburger and this is a great way to cook one up right in the house! You might want to double this recipe - these go fast!

Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
5 flour tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese
any additional "burger" toppings you would like

Brown ground beef and drain. Add worcestershire sauce, ketchup, dried onion, salt and pepper to beef and simmer for 5 minutes. Sprinkle cheese down center of tortilla shell and add beef to top. Add any additional toppings desired and roll up burrito style. Place wraps on preheated indoor grill or frying pan on stove top. Cook for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and tortillas are browned.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dill Mashed Potatoes and the SRC

I am sad to say that this is my last hurrah with the Secret Recipe Club... :( It has been so much fun, finding new blogs to check out, trying new recipes that I might not have found with the club and just cooking up a storm. But, lately it seems that I am just not keeping up with the blog enough - sick kids, vacations, work and just life in general is coming up and all of that comes before a blog... So, rather then be someone that can't give her all to the group that she is in, I am going to bow out. I'll still be blogging (you should see the recipes piling up around here) but just more on my own terms! That being said...

This month I had the honor of checking out the blog Stephanie has a variety of gluten free, healthy, veggie recipe ideas on her blog and it was very interesting going through them. What does a meat and potatoes kind of girl find to make on a mainly veggie type blog? Why mashed potatoes of course!! They were a different taste from our regular potatoes and oddly addicting... Check them out sometime and take a step off the beaten path! :)

Dill Mashed Potatoes
(recipe found on

4 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
dash of lemon juice
black pepper, to taste

Place potatoes in saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and allow to boil until potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of potato water. Add remaining ingredients and mash with potato masher. Add potato water to create desired consistency (I only added a bit.) Enjoy these warm or cold!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekly Line Up - 3/1-3/7

We've got a calmer weekend on the line this weekend - it will be a much needed break! :) We have been running hard every weekend and it will be nice to kick back and relax... That being said, we aren't just going to stay home the whole time! Heaven forbid that would happen! :) A lot of new chicken meals on the menu this week... Obviously I had one thing in mind when I was planning my meals! Have a great week!

Thursday - *Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki
Friday - *Chicken and Corn Chili
Saturday - *Asian Veggie Wraps with *Cauliflower Patties
Sunday - *Pizza Grilled Cheese with *Twice Baked Potatoes
Monday - Breakfast for supper/ eggs and pancakes!
Tuesday - *Cilantro Chicken
Wednesday - *Slow Cooker Northwoods Wild Rice Soup
Thursday - Night out!

Extras - *Kale Chips

* New Recipes