Friday, February 27, 2009

Broccoli Slaw

1/2 pkg broccoli slaw

1 med apple, diced

1/2 c pineapple tidbits

Mix together and serve with raspberry vinaigrette. This is the recipe on the slaw package, but it was so good we wanted everyone to know about it. We served it with panko breaded tilapia.

John's Pizza Rolls

We're on an ultra-tight budget, and a lot of the little extras are just not happening right now. Instead of pulling a long face about it, John got creative. He popped into the kitchen, pulled a few things out of the pantry and *voila*, we were having pizza rolls, all hot, melty and yummy out of the oven! They were a real treat! These are perfect teen food -- they're fun and easy, and I could see Katie and her friends making these.

I like 'em better than the processed ones you buy in the store -- they're healthier too. Way to go, John! You rock. ♥

Pizza Rolls (aka Poor Man's Pizza)
2 points per roll (including the sauce) .

1 can homestyle biscuits
cheddar or mozzarella cheese, sliced into thin rectangles
pepperoni slices
Pizza Sauce for dipping (see recipe below)

Preheat your oven, and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Open the can of biscuits. Stretch the biscuit from a round shape to a rectangle shape.

Place one slice of cheese and 2-3 pepperoni slices on one side of the biscuit. (We used cheddar, 'cause that's what was in the house. Mozzarella would be really yummy here, too!) Fold the other side over and seal.

Cook according to your biscuit's package directions (ours were 400° for 10 minutes), or when golden brown. While cooking, make your pizza sauce ... this is our *favorite* pizza sauce; we think it tastes better than any canned stuff out there. You've already got all the ingredients for this in your pantry -- it takes only 5 minutes! Give it a try!)

When your pizza rolls are done, spritz lightly with butter spray. Sprinkle on top with Parmesan cheese. Dip rolls into pizza sauce. Enjoy!

Pizza Sauce

16 oz tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried onions (minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for five minutes. May also be microwaved for 4 minutes, stirring once.

Pizza Sauce: Bright Impressions Busy Family Cookbook, p.66

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Skinny Cacciatore

Pasta, dah-ling! I've missed you! LOL

Here's a low-fat version of cacciatore we tried last week. I loved it. So flavorful! It's 8 points a serving, but, baby, you get a *plateful* of food! You will not be hungry after this meal. (In fact, it made a lot for our little family, and we froze half. It'll be perfect for some crazy busy night. Yum!)

I found this recipe easiest to cook when I "Martha-ed" it. You know how all the cooks on TV have everything set aside, all prepared and measured out for them? We would all be gourmet chefs if we had a little assistant doing that for us, every time we knocked out a recipe! LOL This recipe does call for a lot of veggies and spices; if you have them ready to go when they're called for, this recipe's a breeze!

Enjoy. Ciao for now!

Skinny Cacciatore

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 3/4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms**
1 medium carrot, shredded
3 garlic cloves, minced**
1 can (29 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 oz.) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
9 oz. uncooked spaghetti
(additional shredded carrot -- optional) **

1. In a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray, brown chicken in 2 teaspoons of oil; drain. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute the green pepper, celery, and onion in remaining oil for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, carrot and garlic; saute 2-4 minutes longer or until all the vegetables are tender.

2. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until thickened. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions.

3. Stir chicken into tomato mixture; cook for 8-12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Discard bay leaf. Drain spaghetti; serve with chicken mixture. Garnish with additional carrot if desired.

Serving: 1 1/3 cups of chicken mixture with 2/3 cup spaghetti
Yield: 6 servings
8 points per serving

** We used canned mushrooms from the pantry, instead of fresh. We used minced garlic spice. Both times these substitutions worked fine. BTW, we skipped the shredded carrot garnish on top. Bleh.

recipe and picture credit: Healthy Cooking magazine, December/January 2009, p.55 (original recipe: Anita Webb)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shauna's Hamburger Vegetable Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 quart bottled tomatoes, undrained or canned tomatoes if fresh bottled ones are not available
6 cups water
6 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup regular barley
1 lb. package frozen mixed vegetables (may be subsituted with any desired fresh vegetables)
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook beef, onion and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until beef is browned; drain fat. Add tomatoes, water, bouillon, pepper, and basil to meat mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes. Add barley and vegetables. Simmer 15 more minutes. Recipe from Shauna W.

Bratten's Clam Chowder

Bratten's Clam Chowder

3 stalks celery, sliced (chop up the leaves too)
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 lb. mini carrots, sliced
3 medium russet potatoes, diced
4 (6oz) cans minced and chopped clams, with juice
3/4 cup salted butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart Half and Half
Tabasco, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Combine vegetables (use the celery leaves too, they add great flavor) in a stock pot. Add juice drained from the clams (reserve clams for the end) and enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then cover and turn off the burner and let it sit for 5 minutes. While you are waiting for the vegetables to come up to the boil (before you turn off the burner) combine butter and flour in a separate pan. Whisk until smooth. Add half and half and stir until thick. Add this mixture to the cooked vegetables. (after they have boiled for 5 minutes and sat for 5 minutes) Stir until desired consistancy. Remove from heat then add clams, tabasco and salt and pepper.

Crescent Rolls

Crescent Rolls

2 Pkg. (or 4 1/2 tsp) Yeast
4 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
5 cups bread flour

Directions:Heat water and milk in the microwave until it is just warmer than body temperature. Add yeast, sugar and oil. Let the yeast grow. Add flour and salt to a mixer bowl with a dough hook. Add eggs to yeast mixture. Then add mixture to flour. Knead on low until dough is soft, about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until about doubled. Divide dough into thirds. Roll out flat in a rectangle shape until it is pretty thin. Using a knife cut dough into rectangles.

Using a knife, cut rectangles in half diagonally, making triangles.

Starting at the wide end of the triangle, start to roll dough toward the small pointy end. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet with the point side down so it doesn't unravel while baking. Brush with melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam and let rise. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. This recipe was given to me by Debbie B. These rolls are great with just about anything, but are fabulous with a hot bowl of soup on a cold day!

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

True Love Chocolate Cake

Has there ever been a cake more perfectly named? I doubt it! This is the dessert we had for our Valentine's Day dinner.... Oh. my. gosh. it was good.

This cake is my go-to chocolate cake from now on. Better than the mixes! It's not just for Valentine's Day, either. Replace the hearts with any other colored hard candy or sprinkles to match the occasion or holiday.

You know, I miss chocolate cake. A regular piece of cake with frosting is a whopping 13 points -- this one is FIVE -- with the frosting, peeps! Woo-hoo!

It was rich and dense and chocolaty. John and I kept looking at each other and saying... 'Five points? Are you sure?' Yep, I'm sure. I had the nutritional info right there. Chocolate + cake + low-cal = hurry and cut me a piece! LOL

True Love Chocolate Cake
(5 points per piece)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (we used milk chocolate chips)

1 package (8 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 carton (8 oz.) frozen reduced fat whipped topping, thawed
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup candy hearts

1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce.

2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition. Fold in chips. Pour into a 9 X 13 baking pan coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 350° F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

4. For frosting: in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Fold in whipped topping. Frost cake. Refrigerate until serving. Just before serving, sprinkle with coconut and candy.

Yield: 24 servings

Healthy Cooking magazine, February/March 2009, p. 44

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Peach Syrup

Peach Syrup

12 cups pureed fresh peaches
1 can frozen orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple with the juice
1 pkg Pectin

Bring to a boil then boil for 1 minute. Then add:

7 1/2 cups sugar

Bring to a boil then boil for 4 minutes.

To can:
Water Bath: 30 minutes
Steam canner: 15 minutes
Inversion: 5 minutes

Makes 12 (12 oz) jars or about 4 1/2 qts.
*note* We tried the inversion method for canning, but we had less seal that way. I would recommend trying the other two.
Yea! We found out about a orchard near St. George that has great peaches! So we made a whole bunch (3 20 lbs boxes worth!!)

Buttermilk Syrup

1/2 c buttermilk
3/4 c sugar
1 cube butter

Cook in pot over med-low stove until bubbly.
Take off burner and add:

1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

Stir until foamy. Pour hot over pancakes, waffles or French toast.
You can also put it on vanilla ice cream and it is yummy!

*I got this recipe from Debbie B., who got it from a friend, so I don't know who to give the credit to.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sticky Coconut Chicken

Sticky Coconut Chicken

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced or finely grated
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes for at least 1 hour (the flavor is a little better if left to marinade for 4 or 5 hours). Grill on barbeque.

3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes

While chicken is grilling, bring the glaze ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce until mixture is thickened, which takes about 8-10 minutes. Once it reaches a "syrupy" consistancy, removed from heat. Glaze both sides of the chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice.

Note: When cooking the rice, you can add the remaining canned coconut milk with water for a slightly sweet flavor.
Serves 4-5. Recipe courtesy of Melanie G.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Heart Pancakes

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's what we did for breakfast. Valentine pancakes! They were SO easy. All you need is regular ol' pancakes, a heart-shaped cookie cutter, your favorite red jam (strawberry's our favorite here), and powdered sugar in a shaker. Lay the first pancake on the plate, and spread jam on it. Take your cookie-cuttered pancake and lay it on the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Done! (I think next time, I'm going to sprinkle the top pancake separately and then lay it on top...)

Think of the possibilities -- cookie cutters with any theme: holiday, birthday, stars, a favorite animal, etc., could turn any boring pancake breakfast into something special and fun. Love it!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

How about a little "lovin' from the oven"? It's Valentine's Day this week, and I made a little treat for John and Katie this weekend to start things off. These are pretty easy to make and a fun way to show your sweeties you love 'em. The original idea is found here; complete with a recipe, frostings, and a how-to that includes a little video tutorial. Check it out. Here's how I did it at my house...

Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

1 egg plus enough water to equal 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (yes, put the egg in the measuring cup)
1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened

Measure carefully, placing all ingredients except the 2 tablespoons margarine in the breadmaker, in the order the manufacturer recommends. (I always put wet ingredients in first.) Select the dough cycle.

Remove the dough from the pan, using lightly floured hands. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.

Grease a cookie sheet. You'll want a cookie sheet, so the heart shape of the rolls is not ruined when the rolls rise. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Spread the 2 tablespoons of margarine over the dough. Sprinkle generously with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Start rolling the dough from the long side -- but this time roll from BOTH long sides, meeting in the middle. You can pinch the seam shut on the top. We didn't (forgot to) and you can see how our rolls turned out in the picture above. Go here to see how they'd turn out if you did.

Cut into 1 1/2 inch rolls. (easiest way is using dental floss -- see the little video here on how to do that) Place slightly apart in pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 40 minutes, or double in size.

Heat oven to 375°. Bake 20-28 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack. Frost with Light Cream Cheese Frosting (see below). Serve warm.

Light Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. light cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel cheese)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put all ingredients into a bowl. Beat on low speed with an electric mixer until just combined, then increase speed to high and beat until smooth.

Enjoy! Happy Valentine's Day! ♥

Cinnamon Roll recipe: Gold Medal "Best Bread Machine Recipes", p. 82

Friday, February 6, 2009

How to Search for Recipes

One more organizing post, and then back to the yummies. Wondering how to search for recipes? There are two ways:

1) Use the side bar categories
2) Use the "Search Blog" at the top of the blog.


1) You can go over to the side bar, and look under a category. Say you're looking for Rebekah's Easy Cafe Rio recipe. You know that it's made with pork and it's a slow cooker recipe. Click on Main Dish Pork, or Crock Pot/Slow Cooker -- it will be under both of those.

2) If you can't remember what's in the recipe, and all you know is you want her Easy Cafe Rio recipe .... then just go to the top of the page and look for the black bar. See the "SEARCH BLOG" there? Just type in what you're looking for, click on "search blog" and the blog will pop it up for you.

Someday, I'll figure out how to add a little search gadget for us down on the sidebar, but for now the one at the top will do just fine.

There's already some very delicious recipes up. Dig in!

Recipe Labels II

Look at those kids! That's okay.
Chocolate cake has that effect on me, too. LOL
(Just adding the rest of the labels to our blog.)

Recipe Labels

For those of you new to blogging, this post will give you some hints on labeling your recipes. After you type in your recipe to share (hint! hint!), look down at the bottom of the box. You'll see "Labels for this post:". If you click on "Show all", a list will pop up and you can choose from there to classify your recipe. The blog will organize our recipes for us. Easy peasy.

Here are some that Rebekah and I came up with:

Allergy Friendly, Appetizer, Bread, Breadmaker, Breakfast/Brunch, Canning, Cooking Basics, Desserts, Dips/Sauces, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Heritage/Family Recipe, Holiday, Main Dish Beef, Main Dish Chicken, Main Dish Pork, Main Dish Seafood, Main Dish Turkey, Pasta, Salads, Side Dishes, Soup, Snacks, Vegetables

Can you come up with any more that we missed?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sloppy Joes Simplified

I don't know how I came up with this....One day (back in Hawaii) I think we were out of ketchup so I substituted chili sauce for this recipe. Chris liked it so much, I've never gone back to the "old" way of making Sloppy Joes.

1 bag of hamburger buns or several slices of sandwich bread
1 lb. ground beef*
1 (12 oz.) jar chili sauce
1/2 tsp. mustard
brown sugar, to taste

If you've got this on hand, it's nice to add:

1/4 c. onion, chopped
1/4 c. green pepper, chopped

Brown the hamburger meat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook till the onion is clear. Then add the chili sauce, mustard and brown sugar to the mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. If you have the time, it's nice to cover the pan, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for a while. Otherwise, (if you're like me) just go on ahead and serve it up!

*Want the lean ground beef but can't afford it? Buy the cheap stuff and then after cooking it, rinse it in HOT water.

Chicken Souvlaki

The Washington D.C. Temple Visitors Center Missionaries recommended we try the chicken souvlaki at Continental Pizza (in Kensington, MD). It was so amazing that when we moved, I had to create my own recipe in remembrance.

1 pkg. pita bread (whole wheat, if available)
7 fl. oz. Balsamic Vinaigrette made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or half of a 14 oz. bottle)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced into strips
1 8 oz. container plain, non-fat yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled (one half shredded*, the other half sliced)
1/2 tsp. garlic salt**
1 tsp. rice vinegar**
a pinch or two of sugar (as needed)
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
4 red-leaf or green-leaf lettuce leaves, cut in half or chopped
1 small container feta cheese, original or Mediterranean Herb

Put Vinaigrette and chicken in a Ziploc bag and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of half an hour.

In a small bowl, mix yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic salt, rice vinegar and sugar (if needed to combat bitter cucumbers). Put your tzatziki sauce back in fridge until ready to use.

Cook chicken and marinade over medium-high heat until chicken is done and sauce has reduced.

Stuff pita pockets with lettuce, chicken, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Add tzatziki sauce and sprinkle with feta.


*Dab your shredded cucumbers with a paper towel to absorb excess water.

** Chris and I like a strong tzatziki sauce; you may want to first try 1/4 tsp. garlic salt and 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar and then add more if you think you'd like more kick.

Tip: Chicken is easier to slice this way if it is still partially frozen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Coconut Snowball Crisps

Here's a recipe I spotted over at another blog called Delightful Home. (It's originally from a Rachael Ray magazine.) These are good any time of year, but I liked the snowy-whiteness of the cookie -- makes it perfect for a winter treat!

We tried this recipe this week and really liked it. Think grown-up Rice Krispie treat, chewy, with a taste of coconut... best of all -- if you make them according to the recipe, you're talking two cookies for 1 point. Huzzah! (If you make them a little bigger like I did, count 1 point per cookie. Hey, that's still a good deal...

Sorry I don't have a picture of the finished product -- they're already gone! :-)

Coconut Snowball Crisps
makes 3 dozen

3 large egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup cornstarch
1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 200 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until thick & foamy. Sprinkle in the confectioners' sugar &, once incorporated, beat at high speed until firm and glossy, about 5 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, toss together coconut, rice cereal and cornstarch.

3. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold into the egg mixture until combined.

4. Drop rounded teaspoons of the mixture about 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

5. Bake until firm and dry to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool completely. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Fast Chicken Parmigiana

I made this recipe a lot in Hawaii while Chris was in school. He thought it was fancy. I thought it was easy. Everyone was happy.

16 oz. package thin spaghetti noodles
1 jar or can of spaghetti sauce
4 frozen or refrigerated, fully cooked breaded chicken patties or cutlets
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Prepare noodles and breaded chicken patties as directed on their packages. Warm spaghetti sauce. On dinner plates, place desired amount of noodles and top with chicken, sauce, cheese and parsley.

Serves 4

Don't have parmesan and mozzarella? Substitute with whatever cheese you've got in the house; it still tastes great. Want to make it healthier? Use grilled chicken and homemade spaghetti sauce.

(Last night I couldn't find any jars of spaghetti sauce in the pantry, so I used some of Jen and Eric's home-canned tomato sauce and tomatoes to make a Chunky Garlic and Onion Spaghetti sauce. It tasted great with this meal.)

Adapted from Campbell's Easy Family Meals, p.4