Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Twix Bars

Once again I took these to a party and didn't get a picture... But, they were delish and gone before I could bring them home to get a picture at the end of the night!! I didn't even say what they were, we were in a darkened bar area where you couldn't see very well and people were still walking up to me saying "I love your bars... they taste like a twix!" That's just what I like to hear. They didn't have that crispy crunch of a Twix bar, but they still had that same delish caramel, chocolate taste! hmmmm... salivating a bit over here - I might need to make these again soon! :)

Twix Bars
(recipe found on pinterest via mykitchenescapades.com)

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups caramel squares (you will need to buy 2 bags)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 and spray a 9×13 pan lightly with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft, then add the salt, vanilla and sugar. Beat until smooth. Add the flour and carefully combine. Press mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan and bake for about 35 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Set aside to cool completely. Melt caramel squares and cream in a medium microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Heat for 3 minutes on high, stopping to stir after each minute. Spread the melted caramel over the cooled crust and place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to allow the caramel to cool. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips for 2 minutes, stopping to stir after the first minute. Spread evenly over the cooled caramel and return the pan to the refrigerator until the chocolate is set.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tortellini Bake

Once again I was looking for a quick and easy meal that I could throw together without a lot of trouble. I had a bag of tortellini in my freezer that I have had for a bit and I wanted to use it up. So, I planned my meal around that and this recipe! :) It was tasty - a little too much on the pasta sauce, but as I have said before, I'm not a bit red sauce person. I know that my kids love it though, so I suck it up and try different recipes even if it includes pasta sauce!

Tortellini Bake
(Recipe found on pinterest)

1 bag (19 or 20 ounces) cheese filled tortellini
1 jar (15 ounces) alfredo sauce
1/2 jar pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Combine tortellini, alfredo sauce and pasta sauce in large bowl. Stir to cover tortellini in sauces. Place in sprayed 9x9 baking dish and top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Make Ahead Pizza Casserole

As usual, anything with pizza in the title catches my eye immediately. I know that it is usually a sure fire hit with the kiddos and it is going to be a meal that I don't have to fight with them over. I also liked the idea of "make ahead" so that got me excited as well! I doubled this recipe so that I could throw the extra pan in the freezer and have another go round of it in the future... We've actually already eaten the second pan - that's how good it was and/or how busy our schedules are! :) I mixed up the meat a bit, since I had some italian sausage in the fridge and used a pound of beef and a pound of italian sausage. I love the taste of italian sausage but not the fat that goes with it, so this was a nice way to use it! It was a great meal at our house, hope you enjoy as well!

Make Ahead Pizza Casserole
(recipe found at bettycrocker.com)

1 pound mild italian pork sausage
2 cups water
1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with sweet onion, undrained
4 cups uncooked rotini pasta (use gluten free noodles if desired)
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese blend

In a skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain. In ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish, mix water, pizza sauce and tomatoes. Stir in cooked sausage, uncooked pasta and olives (pasta should be completely covered with sauce). Cover tightly with foil; refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350°F. Stir casserole; cover with foil and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover baking dish; stir mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; bake uncovered 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

I had a really rough day today... Between things going wrong with the house, the kids having issues and a million other fires that I felt like I had to put out I had enough - it was time to do some baking!! As my husband teases about himself "I had to eat my emotions!" That doesn't bode too well for the eating healthy trying to lose the summer weight idea that is going on right now, but I guess - you have to have those days!! So, peanut butter it was... I found this recipe and it was dubbed "the best peanut butter cookies ever", so you know that I had to try it!! Seriously, they were so delish!! Soft and melty in my mouth and just what I needed. I know these won't stay in the cookie jar for long!

Peanut Butter Cookies
(Recipe found on pinterest via loulougirls.blogspot.com)

1 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the sugars, shortening, butter and peanut butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until well combined. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the cream mixture. Roll the cookie dough into tablespoon size balls. Roll the cookie balls into sugar. Place on the cookie sheets- DO NOT mash with a fork in normal “peanut butter cookie” fashion. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Nacho Bake

The boys in my house are SUPER into nachos right now... Anytime we go anywhere to eat that they are on the menu, they know immediately what they are ordering! So, when I saw this recipe, I knew that it was a no brainer that we had to try it! I should have made 2!!! These were literally inhaled before I could get the rest of the food on the table and they were quickly asking for more. So, definitely a redo in our house...

Bacon Cheeseburger Nacho Bake
(recipe found bettycrocker.com)

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (8 oz) velveeta, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup cooked real bacon pieces (from a jar or package)
3 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Diced pickles, if desired
Ketchup, if desired
Mustard, if desired
Lettuce, if desired

Heat oven to 350. Spray 13x9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic salt over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked. Add cubed velveeta and bacon; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat Place half of the chips in bottom of baking dish. Top with half of the beef mixture. Repeat layers. Top with shredded cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately with pickles, ketchup, mustard and/or lettuce, if desired.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oven Baked Chicken

For my second son's pick of the week he requested chicken legs... he didn't care how I fixed them, he just wanted chicken legs! :) I have had this recipe saved for a while and decided that it was a quick and easy way to make them up. They were super yummy and I loved the crunchiness that came with them, even with out deep frying. It was a hit with the whole family and it tasted great as leftovers the next day as well!

Oven Baked Chicken
(recipe found on bettycrocker.com)

1 tablespoon butter
2/3 cup Bisquick
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cut-up whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds or I used 12 chicken legs)

Heat oven to 425. Melt butter in 13x9 baking dish in oven. Stir together bisquick, paprika, salt and pepper; coat chicken. Place skin sides down in dish (dish and butter should be hot). Bake 35 minutes; turn chicken. Bake about 15 minutes longer or until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Asian Beef and Broccoli

I was on a bit of an Asian kick this past week and while I was making the Asian Grilled Pork Chops, I decided that I would try this Asian Beef and Broccoli! It had a lot of the same ingredients, so it worked well for the shopping list! :) I usually just throw my roasts in the crock pot and call it good, but I decided to pull one out and try it with this recipe. It was worth the extra chopping that I had to do. I loved the taste of this recipe and the kids thought that it was pretty delish as well. I served it over the hot brown rice and it made for a perfect week night meal!

Asian Beef and Broccoli
(recipe found in Parents Magazine)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1/2 cup dry roasted cashews
brown rice

In a bowl, mix soy sauce, 3 tablespoons orange juice, sugar, ginger and garlic. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray and add beef and soy sauce mixture. Stir, cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Just before beef is done, microwave broccoli, covered on high 4 minutes. Drain any liquid. Transfer beef to a bowl, shred it (if desired) and add broccoli. Cover and set aside. Place a small fine-mesh sieve over a small saucepan. Pour juices from the slow cooker into the pan. In a bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Add to saucepan. Cook on medium and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in marmalade, remaining 3 tablespoons orange juice and pepper. Add about half of the swauce and cashews to the beef and broccoli mixture. Toss to coat. Serve over brown rice and additional sauce.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blueberry Sauce Crepes

I had a few blueberries left and decided that for an after school snack for the kids I wanted to make some blueberry crepes. I went looking for my recipe for crepes and discovered that I had to let my batter rest for 4 hours. Well, being the non planner that I sometimes am, I didn't have 4 hours. That meant that I needed to look at making a different crepe recipe. Well, I found this one and I knew that I would enjoy it since it includes vanilla and I love me a little vanilla flavor! :) The kids loved these crepes as much as the other recipe that I have made and they were all inhaled as soon as I made them!

Blueberry Sauce Crepes
(recipe found on diethood.com)

1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
cooking spray

Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt; set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the blueberry sauce. Combine blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small pan. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until juices are bubbly and fruit is tender. Remove from heat and set aside. Lightly grease a nonstick frying pan, or a crepe pan, with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup batter and swirl to completely cover bottom of pan. Cook until edges of crepe curl-up and underside of crepe is golden brown; about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the crepe and continue to cook for 1 more minute, or until lightly browned. Remove crepe from skillet and repeat with remaining batter. Coat pan with cooking spray in between each crepe. Place blueberry sauce down the middle of the crepe and roll up. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hot Pepper Plum Jam

After I made my regular plum jam, I started remembering this raspberry chipotle jam that I had at a party one time. It was a simple recipe for an appetizer that included covering a block of cream cheese with a jar of this jam. You then used crackers to spread it on to. It was delish!! So, since I had a few hot peppers still on the vines of my raised beds I decided that I needed to make another batch of jam and include the hot peppers. It turned out fabulous and although it isn't the raspberry flavor that I LOVE so much, it was still pretty tasty!

Hot Pepper Plum Jam

2 quarts chopped plums
1-3 cups sugar (based on taste)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 hot peppers, diced (leave seeds in for a hotter jam)

Chop plums into chunks, removing seeds as you go and leaving peelings. Place in large pot and add remaining ingredients. I started with 2 cups of sugar and added another cup about halfway through. Mix well, cover with lid and turn heat to medium low. Bring to a boil and remove lid. Remove lid and continue to boil until thickened to the thickness that you desire for your jam. Mine took about 2 1/2 hours so be patient. Once jam is at the desired thickness, add to jars and seal. Place in a hot water bath to seal jars. For this I just place the jars in a big pot, fill with water to cover the jars and then bring to a boil for 20-30 minutes. Remove from water bath and wait for your jars to "pop"! Serve over a block of cream cheese and with triscuits, wheat thins or other crackers.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Plum Jam

My brother in law called me this fall and asked if I had an ice cream bucket. When I said "of course" he said to get my booty out to his house and pick some of the plums that he just discovered at his house. Turns out, after almost 10 years of living there the plum trees decided to bear fruit! Man it took me back! i remember picking plums back when we were little... taking a little bite and sucking the fruit out... it was great! Now that I am older and can get my hands on all these plums, I knew that I had different plans for them and that definitely included jam! :) It's a little tart, but definitely worth the time that it took. Since this is a pectin free recipe and uses less sugar it takes a while to make, so be sure that you have enough time to make it!

Plum Jam
(recipe found on jarspot.com)

2 quarts chopped plums
1-3 cups sugar (based on taste)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice

Chop plums into chunks, removing seeds as you go and leaving peelings. Place in large pot and add remaining ingredients. I started with 2 cups of sugar and added another cup about halfway through. Mix well, cover with lid and turn heat to medium low. Bring to a boil and remove lid. Remove lid and continue to boil until thickened to the thickness that you desire for your jam. Mine took about 2 1/2 hours so be patient. Once jam is at the desired thickness, add to jars and seal. Place in a hot water bath to seal jars. For this I just place the jars in a big pot, fill with water to cover the jars and then bring to a boil for 20-30 minutes. Remove from water bath and wait for your jars to "pop"!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grilled Asian Ginger Pork Chops

If you read my blog at all, you know that I have a love of pork chops and I enjoy finding new ways to flavor them. This was a recipe that I pulled out of one of my magazines and I couldn't wait to try it. The timing was perfect for grilling and they turned out perfect, even with me grilling them! The hubs was out of town late that night but he enjoyed them for leftovers the next day also, what little I could save for him - my boys were eating us out of house and home when it came to this meal! :)

Grilled Asian Ginger Pork Chops
(recipe found in Good Housekeeping)

1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon garlic chili paste (I used chile powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 pork loin chops

In a shallow container, mix orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chili paste and salt. Add pork chops, then turn to coat evenly. Chill, covered, turning the chops in the marinade occasionally, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat grill for medium to medium high heat and lightly oil grate. Grill pork chops for 5-6 minutes per side or to desired doneness.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Cookies with Raisins and Pecans

I was digging through my folders of recipes that I have printed out because I wanted to try (this was pre-pinterest era) and I found this one for a new version of oatmeal cookies and knew that I had to try it. I still have some pecans left from the stash that my mother in law was kind enough to send me from their pecan grove and who doesn't love a good oatmeal cookie? :) These were delish, especially straight from the oven. The kids couldn't keep their mitts off of them either!

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Cookies with Raisins and Pecans
(Recipe found on onceuponachef.com)

3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 steak unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Place chopped pecans on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 5 minute, until crisp. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir to mix well. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium until creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat again until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add flour and oatmeal mixture and mix on low speed until just combined; add pecans and raisins and mix again,. Do not over mix. Drop dough into 2 tablespoon mounds about 3 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake until edges are slightly golden but centers are still pale, about 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minute, then transfer cookies onto wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cheesy Potato Nugget Skillet

While this recipe originally calls for making it as a one dish recipe in a skillet, I chose to double this so that we would have leftovers for the next day. This meant having a few extra dishes, but I was able to make it easily in a 9x13 dish. Basically another take on tater tot hotdish and it was super good. In fact, we were discussing what one of my sons wanted for his pick of meals the next week and he was trying to get me to make it for him again!! I think that means that they liked it!

Cheesy Potato Nugget Skillet
(recipe found on bettycrocker.com)

1 pound ground beef
1 pouch (9 ounces) progresso™ recipe starters™ creamy three cheese cooking sauce
3/4 cup frozen sweet peas
1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend
1/2 bag (28 ounces size) frozen mini potato nuggets

Heat oven to 425. In 10-inch cast-iron skillet, cook beef over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain. Stir in cooking sauce. Layer frozen peas and cheese on top of beef mixture. Top with even layer frozen potato nuggets. Bake about 20 minutes or until potato nuggets are crispy and golden brown and mixture is bubbling.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Tea Bread

I made this recipe a few years ago when I had some blueberries on hand and to this day my grandma still talks about it. So, when I got some fresh blueberries I knew that I wanted to try this recipe again... It was so moist and delicious and just as yummy as I remembered it!! I made up two batches and shared one with a good friend of mine as a housewarming gift for her and her fiance. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed mine! :) The middle caved a bit on both of my batches, but what it lacks in "prettiness" it made up for in taste!

Blueberry Lemon Tea Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9x5 loaf pan. In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and 1 cup sugar just until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Reduce speed to low, add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well blended. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, mixing just until blended. Pour into pan, add berries to top. Bake about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack and then remove from pan. With skewer, prick top and sides of warm cake in many places. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar and brush on tops and sides of bread.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Easy Garlic Chicken

This was a quick and easy chicken recipe that used mostly ingredients that I always have on hand. I love that!! Usually I plan out my meals for the week, so there is no guess work as to what I am going to make and I have everything that I need to make it but things come up! :) This chicken was yummy and the kids enjoyed it as well.

Easy Garlic Chicken
(Recipe found on food.com)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking dish or cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil. In small sauté pan, sauté garlic with the oil until tender. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sirloin Casserole

Cutting up a big roast into little pieces is not something that I usually do. To me, a roast is an easy crockpot meal that I can just throw together and walk away from. Well, when we buy a half a cow, we end up with a lot of roasts in our oven and I thought that this was something that sounded pretty tasty to try! So, I mixed everything up and popped it into the pan. While it takes a bit of prep work and it cooks for a long time - the end results are super yummy and worth the effort. I will definitely be making this again!

Sirloin Casserole
(recipe found on justapinch.com)

2 1/2 pound top sirloin roast chunks, bone in
1 1/2 cups kentucky seasoned flour - if you can't find the kentucky brand flour, just mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and onion powder together.
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon lawry's seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 potatoes, peeled and sliced into large hunks
6 carrots, peeled and sliced into large hunks
1/2 cup red wine
1 package onion soup mix
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups water

Combine flour, garlic powder and Lawry's seasoning in a zip lock bag and shake it to combine. Add sirloin chunks and shake to cover them. Add olive oil to your hot cast iron skillet. Brown sirloin chunks in olive oil. Be sure all sides of sirloin are brown. Take sirloin chunks out of the cast iron skillet and place in a large casserole that has a cover (or cover later with aluminum foil). Add 2 cups of water to the hot pan and mix up the drippings. Add potatoes, carrots, wine, onion mix, and drippings into the casserole dish and cover. Roast at 280 degrees for 3 hours; then 1 hour at 350 degrees. You can play around with the degrees and time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BBQ Country Style Ribs

These were amazing and amazingly easy!! I just threw them into the crockpot and let them go. They were super tender and had a fabulous taste. I will definitely be making these again.

BBQ Country Style Ribs
(recipe found on pinterest via shockinglydelicious.com)

1 small onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into rings
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds country style boneless pork ribs
9 ounces barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch dried ground chipotle powder (or squirt of hot pepper sauce)

Spray inside of slow cooker crock with nonstick spray. Place sliced onion in bottom, and sprinkle garlic on top. Rinse and pat ribs dry, and place them on onion. Pour barbecue sauce over top, sprinkle with oregano, cumin and chipotle, put lid on and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Remove ribs from sauce and set aside. Place sauce in small saucepan and boil until sauce thickens. Serve ribs in wide bowl and pass sauce in a gravy boat for diners to serve themselves.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cornbread Topped BBQ Chicken

Reminder to self - make a double batch the next time that I make this! The kids were going nuts over this and asking for seconds and thirds as I was trying to just get a little bit of my first helping down. That is definitely the sign of a good meal. The kids each get to pick a meal and they rotate through once a week for the month. My oldest son picked this as the meal that he wanted the very next week!! So, we have had this meal a few times already and it is definitely worth a redo.

Cornbread Topped BBQ Chicken
(recipe found on pinterest via recipe.com)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 (8 1/2 ounces) box cornbread mix
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar

Heat oven to 375. In a saucepan, combine olive oil and onion over medium-high heat. Cook until onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and jalapeno and cook another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in chicken, barbecue sauce and broth; heat through. Transfer mixture to a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish and set aside. In a bowl, combine cornbread mix, egg, milk and cheese; stir just until combined. Spoon batter in mounds over chicken. Bake until cornbread is cooked through and juices are bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

BLT Pasta Salad

Again, on the 4th of July I was looking for a gluten free recipe to bring along for the potluck that we were heading to. I have been wanting to try this recipe for forever but it was making me a little nervous with the thought of pasta and lettuce together. It seemed like kind of a weird combo to me but the thought of a BLT salad was too much to resist. I should have tried it sooner!! I got so many comments on how good the salad was and asking about the recipe. I guess that means that I need to make it again sometime...

BLT Pasta Salad
(recipe found on pinterest via kitchme.com)

3 2⁄3 cup large macaroni shells pasta, cooked
4 cup tomatoes, diced
4 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 cup lettuce, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup fat free mayonnaise
1⁄3 cup light sour cream
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 salt
1 pepper

In a large bowl, mix pasta, bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce. In a small bowl, mix sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over pasta mixture, stir to combine, and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pineapple, Raspberry and Peach Sangria

One of my friends LOVES sangria so when I saw this recipe I knew that I needed to try it on a day when we were going to be together. So, I mixed it up for the 4th of July and it was a huge hit for both of us... Since I prefer white wine, this was a great one for me! Plus I love raspberries so it is a huge win for me. I will definitely be making this again!

Pineapple, Raspberry and Peach Sangria
(recipe found on cookswithcocktails.com)

1 bottle of white wine
13 oz of peach schnapps
2 cups of pineapple juice
2 cups of raspberry juice, I used cran-raspberry
1–2 cans of club soda
1/2 a pineapple, peeled and chopped
1 cup of fresh raspberries

In a large pitcher or bowl, combine all the ingredients on the list starting with the top and working your way down. Once you have added all the ingredients, stir gently to combine. Serve in wine glasses or in short martini glasses and make sure to get a little fruit in each glass.
If you like ice in your sangria, put it in the glass first, don't put it in the big pitcher or your sangria will get watered down.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

I made these pasta shells on a night when I had my niece and nephews over and I couldn't put the seconds on their plate fast enough... I started them with two a piece and they kept asking for more. While these are a little messy to make, they are fabulous to eat. I wish that I could have had more but the kids beat me to them! :) At least I got a couple of them...

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells
(recipe found on pinterest via tipjunkie.com)

1 box of dried jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package directions, rinsed and drained
1 pound ground beef
1 package (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning mix
1 cup of water
1 can (16 ounces) can refried beans
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 jar chunky salsa, divided
1/4 cup sliced green onions
Sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Spread 1/4 cup salsa over bottom of casserole dish. Cook beef in large skillet until brown; drain. Add seasoning mix and water; cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until thickened. Add beans and 3/4 cup cheese; mix well. Fill pasta shells with beef mixture; place on baking dish, filled side up. Spoon remaining salsa over shells; top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with green onions and remaining cheese. Serve with sour cream.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Penne With Peas and Asparagus

While this wasn't a super favorite of my kids (there was a bit of whining about the peas and asparagus), they all asked for more so it wasn't exactly a flop either! :) The hubs was not home this night and since he isn't a huge fan of peas I decided to treat myself to a meal that I thought would be tasty... It turned out really good and I also enjoyed it as leftovers for the next couple of days.

Penne with Peas and Asparagus
(recipe found on pinterest via recipe.com)

1/2 pound penne
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound thick asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed (10 ounces)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and asparagus and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and boil over high heat until reduced by half and the asparagus are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and cream to the skillet and boil over high heat until the sauce has thickened, 3 minutes. Stir in the penne and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, sage and the 1/2 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve right away.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 9/26-10/2

This week I'm going for easy peasy meals that are favorites of the kiddos! I have a lot going on and we are helping my sister and her family move into their new house on top of the 5K we are doing this weekend, I'm bringing the meal for ECFE this week and my first night of being the troop leader for my son's cub scout group is Wednesday night... That means I have some planning to do! :) Have a great week!

Friday - Grilled Cheese and Spaghettios
Saturday - Steaks
Sunday - Eggs and Toast
Monday - *Cheesy Ground Beef Rice Casserole
Tuesday - Land Your Man Beans, Hot Dogs, Cornbread, Strawberry Jello with Bananas, Smores on a Stick (My night to bring for ECFE - Cowboy Theme)
Wednesday - Mac and Cheese with Hot Dogs
Thursday - Lasagna Roll-ups

Extras: granola, brownies, *cracker jacks

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rosemary Garlic Beef Roast

We are to the end of our cow that we had butchered and I have a few roasts and a few steaks left... While I enjoy my normal roast recipe, I'm always game to try something new. The gravy with this recipe was super simple to throw together and we all enjoyed using it with our roast and the rice that I served on the side.

Rosemary Garlic Beef Roast
(recipe found on pillsbury.com)

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
5-6 pound beef boneless sirloin tip roast
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons chili sauce
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

In small bowl, mix oil and worcestershire sauce; brush over beef roast. Rub roast evenly with garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. In 5-6 quart slow cooker, add onion. Pour 1/4 cup of the broth over onion. Place beef roast on onion. Refrigerate remaining broth. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.
Remove beef from cooker; cover to keep warm. In small bowl, mix remaining 3/4 cup broth, the chili sauce and flour; stir into hot mixture in cooker. Increase heat setting to high. Cook uncovered 5 to 10 minutes or until thickened. Serve gravy with beef.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blueberry and White Chocolate Scones

I made this recipe as a special breakfast treat while we were camping this summer and it was a huge hit! We enjoyed them for breakfast and were able to have some for snack later in the day. These started out as strawberry scones, but I had blueberries on hand so I changed it up a bit! Love the versatility of this recipe and boy were my guys happy with the white chocolate that was in this recipe!! I will be definitely be making these again...

Blueberry and White Chocolate Scones
(recipe found on pinterest via ifieverownedabakery.blogspot.com)

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup chopped white chocolate (plus a few tablespoons chocolate to melt and drizzle on top when baked)
3/4 cup heavy cream (plus 2 tsp to use to melt white chocolate)

Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Then cut the butter in with a pastry cutter, or 2 knives until only pea-sized lumps remain. Fold in blueberries and chocolate until berries are coated in flour. Pour in heavy cream and gently stir to combine. Once the cream has mostly absorbed, use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl GENTLY, to get all of it in a ball. Be sure to not overwork the dough. Pour out onto a well floured surface and sprinkle top with flour. Gently press the dough until it's down to 3/4 inch thickness, and in the shape of a circle. Using a large, floured chef's knife, cut the circle into 8 even wedges. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Once it has cooled, microwave white chocolate and cream until melted. Using a ziploc bag or a drizzling with a spoon decorate the top of the scones.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Crockpot Applesauce BBQ Chicken

I was looking for a few new recipes to make while my brother in law is staying with us... Since he is gluten free I have to be a little more careful about what I am feeding the family when he is around! :) I love applesauce with chicken and pork, but I wasn't too sure about how this was going to go all mixed together. It turned out really tasty! I couldn't find chunky applesauce anywhere that I checked so I went with the regular applesauce and it was pretty good, although I will keep checking because I want to try it with the chunkiness of apples.

Crockpot Applesauce BBQ Chicken
(recipe found on pinterest via whoneedsacape.com)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2/3 cup chunky applesauce
2/3 cup BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts on bottom. Mix all remaining ingredients together and pour over chicken. Cook 6-8 hours on low setting. If FREEZING, place all ingredients in gallon-sized freezer bag. Freeze. Thaw overnight in refrigerator prior to placing into slow cooker.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Pancakes

My brother in law is staying with us for a while since he is in the process of moving his family from Arizona to Minnesota - YAY!! That means that I get to work on a whole new style of cooking and baking - Gluten Free! We do a lot of "meat" meals in our house anyhow, so that isn't that big of a deal but breakfast for us is usually carb city! :) That means finding something yummy for him to eat at the same time we are eating... I found this gluten free pancake recipe and had to give it a whirl. He thought it was pretty tasty, even though I forgot that he has a slight allergy to bananas. Whoops! Luckily it isn't that bad and it only happens sometimes - whew! Next time we will give it a try with blueberries instead so we don't take the chance of a reaction! He also mentioned that the texture was pretty good also, so all in all this is a repeat recipe!

Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Pancakes
(recipe found on pinterest via runningwithspoons.com)

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 medium banana, sliced
2 egg whites
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1-2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat a skillet over medium heat and coat it with cooking spray or oil. You want to make sure that it's very hot before you start cooking your pancakes.
Add ingredients to a blender in the order listed and blend until oats are broken down and batter is frothy. Using a ladle or 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop batter onto skillet until desired size of pancakes is reached. Cook until the edges begin to look dry and bubbles start to form on the top of the pancake, about 1 minute. Using a spatula, flip and cook about 2 more minutes on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter, making sure to coat your skillet again with oil between each batch. Remove from heat and serve with your favorite toppings.