Monday, March 30, 2009


Here's the game plan this week:

Monday: BBQ Ribs, rice and veggies
Tuesday: leftovers--Pete has to work late
Wednesday: Cornflake Chicken (recipe to come), mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and rolls
Thursday: Hamburgers, chips, fruit salad
Friday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin (recipe to come), grilled potatoes, fruit salad and rolls
Saturday: grilled brats, baked beans, fruit
Sunday: leftovers

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Annie's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I definitely thought that I had blogged about these cookies before, but I've scoured the posts and it's not there...if it is and I'm re-posting, I apologize. But you've got to try these cookies. I think they're single-handedly responsible for 8-10 of the 15 pounds I want to lose. They're thick and chewy--in fact that's what Annie calls them, Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies. The only place that I vary on her recipe is the size that she makes them. Because my toddler insists on having his own whole cookie, I make mine smaller--using the Pampered Chef medium scoop. I made them huge--the way the recipe calls for them--and my husband LOVED them that way, but my sweet son was getting WAY too much sugar or throwing a fit about not getting a whole cookie. Anyway, these are now a family favorite. Hope you enjoy!!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*

*I often put 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips in and only 1 cup of chocolate chips. We've tried it with white chocolate as well, but butterscotch is our family favorite.

1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.
4. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined.
5. Stir in chocolate chips.
6. *this is where I just use the cookie scoop* Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.
7. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not overbake.
8. Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blueberry Bread

Organic blueberries were on sale for the same price as regular blueberries today, so I decided to buy a bunch. In the back of my mind, I was thinking about blueberry pancakes with my kiddos and some kind of blueberry breakfast food to share with some girlfriends who are coming over tomorrow. I started searching for recipes and decided I wanted to make a blueberry bread. I found this recipe, which provided a starting point for me. Many people had left comments saying that they thought it was a little bland and dry, but that they added a little sugar or a little cinnamon, I decided to play around with it myself. I'm pleased with the results. It reminds me of a cross between blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins. We'll see what the girls say tomorrow! :)

Blueberry Bread

2 eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups milk
3 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (could probably use frozen?)
1/2 cup walnuts (optional--I opted against this)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease 2 loaf pans. (8x5)
2. Mix eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla and vegetable oil well with a whisk.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
4. Slowly fold in the flour mixture--don't over mix.
5. Toss freshly rinsed blueberries with a little (1 Tbs) flour
6. Gently stir the berries into the batter.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

updating the site

In an effort to make this site better, I added you can search more easily. I'm also going to try to remember to take more pictures of food and post them. Any other suggestions?
Keep sending me recipes!! :)

Menu for the Week

Monday: Sweet and Tangy Meatloaf*, baked potatoes, corn, rolls
Tuesday: Spanish Rice Bake, tortilla chips, salad
Wednesday: Barbeque grilled chicken, baked beans, chips, fruit salad
Thursday: Lasanga, salad, no-fail French bread (didn't have this meal last week)
Friday: Barbeque Ribs, rice and veggies, rolls
Saturday: leftovers

*I'm going to re-post the meatloaf recipe, b/c my measurements were off--that's what happens when I actually make up a recipe... :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Peanut Butter Take 2

As in, Peanut Butter, I'll take 2 please...or 3 or 4! I have made this peanut butter 4 times now in the past two weeks. It only makes about a cup at a time, so don't worry--we are eating more than just peanut butter. :) But I just want to let you all know how much I'm loving this stuff and walk you through the process a bit. First, it takes all of 5 minutes. Second, there's really only one or two ingredients. Third, it's delicous. I could stop there, because really it's already met my criteria--fast, easy, and delicious. However, there's more: no preservatives! start with:

Then you put it in a food processor. Mine is very whimpy, bought only to grind up baby food. Check it out:

Then you grind the peanuts for a few minutes. I stop and use a spatula to get the pieces out of the corners every minute or so. If you stop early, it will look like this and you'll think something is wrong and there's no way it'll ever be creamy...patience...patience...

Eventually, after 4-5 minutes, it will be much creamier. I've even gone an extra minute or so, because I don't really care for crunchy peanut butter. And this is my finished product:

I've eaten more celery in the past two weeks than I have in the past year--I kid you not. Seriously, if you like peanut butter even a little, try this! :)

Also, my friend used her magic bullet to try it and said it worked great. Let me know what type of machine you used and how it worked for you. Thanks! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On an un-food-related topic

Friends of ours have started a company that has been talked about for years making t-shirts. These aren't just t-shirts have to check them out and see for yourselves. I just wanted to put a plug in for these guys and their company. They are definitely a high-quality, trustworthy operation. Check them out here:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chicken Pie

This recipe is a favorite for my husband who doesn't do veggies mixed in with things. I like it a lot, but would prefer to add some vegetables. You can do whatever you want--that's the beauty of cooking, mix it up a little to make it your own! :) I still remember when I made this for some friends and Luke, who was 4 at the time, told him mommy that I was a really good cook (or possibly cooker). Hope you agree! ;)

Chicken Pie

1 box Pilsbury all-ready pie crust
4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
¼ c. minced dehydrated onions
2-4 oz. mild cheese (Swiss, Havarti, Provolone or Mozzarella)

1. Cook chicken breasts (I boil them)
2. Preheat oven to 350 F
3. Line pie plate with one pie crust
4. Cut chicken into chunks
5. Combine chicken, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and onions
6. Pour #5 into pie crust
7. Top with a layer of cheese
8. Top with second pie crust and seal
9. Shield edges with strips of aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning
10. Cut a few slits in the top of the pie crust to allow air to escape
11. Bake for 40-45 minutes
12. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing

Serves 6-8
From FCS cookbook

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

I love baking. LOVE it. But unfortunately my metabolism is slowing down, which means I need to slow down on the baking. I actually took about two weeks off of baking any dessert items for just that reason. And now I need to work back into it with moderation or my pants won't moderately fit my not so moderately sized waste!! My friend Jen sent me this cookie bar recipe and I couldn't resist. I love snickerdoodles as cookies and figured naturally I'd love these as well. I just pulled them out of the oven and ate two already! Yum.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

1½ cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg

2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease either a 9×9. (Depending on how thick you want them to be)
2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add egg and mix. Gradually add flour mixture and mix more.
5. Spread into pan.
6. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle over dough.
7. Bake at 350F for 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown (or a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean).
8. Let cool in pan. Cut into bars.
From Something Sweet

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pizza Dough--no bread machine needed

Kendra also passed along Zach's grandma's pizza dough recipe. I have had it twice and it is really good. I will probably stick with my previously posted recipe that I make in the bread machine, just because it's easier and still pretty good. But for those of you out there without bread machines, I thought you might benefit from this yummy recipe. Enjoy!

Pizza Dough from scratch

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Combine all ingredients
2. Knead together for at least 10 minutes.
3. Coat a bowl with a little olive oil, place dough inside, cover and put in a warm place to rise for 30-45 minutes.
4. Spread on your favorite pizza pan/stone. Top w/ sauce and your favorite ingredients. Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

One of my favorite people passed this recipe on to me. Her name is Kendra and it's from her husband's Italian grandmother. It's nothing too fancy-schmancy, but it tastes SO good! One of my favorite things about it is that it makes a smooth sauce...I'm not a chunky sauce kind of girl. The recipe she gave me makes tons, so I've adapted it a little.

Pizza Sauce

1 medium can of tomato paste
1 can of water (use the can the tomato paste was in)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic minced or pressed
dash of oregano
dash of basil

1. Put all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes* stirring frequently.

*The time helps the ingredients to cook together.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

I just made this tasty and easy peanut butter after my friend, Julie recommended it. It's SOOO simple.

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

1 1/2 cups Honey Roasted Peanuts
a pinch of salt

1. pour all ingredients in a food processor
2. grind until it reaches your desired consistency

Yum! I'm dipping my celery in it right now!! MMMMMM! :)

The recipe is originally from Joy the Baker

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll-Up

I got this recipe from Kraft Foods and have edited it slightly. To get their original recipe, click here.

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll-Up

pizza dough*
1 pound hamburger meat
4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 Tbs of dried chopped onions
8 oz. of Velveeta cut into small squares (I use the 2% milk version)

1. Make pizza dough in bread machine.* (they use a pillsbury pizza crust)
2. Preheat oven to 400, then cook bacon in a large skillet
3. Cook hamburger in the bacon grease w/ the onions
4. Drain grease and pat w/ papertowels to absorb any remaining grease, return to the pan.
5. Add the Velveeta and cook on med/low, stirring frequently until cheese has melted.
6. Spread pizza dough out on a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
7. Spread the meat filling over the dough.
8. Roll dough, starting at one of the long sides. Seal seams well and place seam side down on your pan.
9. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.
10. Serve with your favorite condiments--we dipped in ketchup and mustard or barbeque sauce. :)


This week temps are supposed to be in the 50's and 60's here, which might not be all that warm, but it's warm enough for me to feel like breaking out the old grill. :) Grilling is definitely a favorite of mine. Not only do I love the food, but my kids can run around on the deck or in the back yard while I cook--mostly leaving me to cook in peace!! Ahh...sounds delightful!! :) Here's a peak at what we'll be cooking 'round here:

Monday: Brats, baked beans, chips and strawberries
Tuesday: Marinated chicken breasts (grilled), sliced potatoes(grilled), fruit salad, and baked beans*
Wednesday: Cheeseburger Roll-up
Thursday: Beer Chicken Fajitas (possibly with homemade tortillas)
Friday: Lasanga, salad, no-fail french bread
Saturday: out
Sunday: leftovers

*we love Bush's Country style baked beans and eat them a lot when we you might as well get used to seeing that one on the menu! :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Homemade Tortillas--freshly milled flour

Homemade Tortillas, w/ freshly milled flour

2 cups freshly milled flour
2 Tbs lecithin
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup oil

Measure liquid into bowl.
Add dry ingredients.
Knead in flour until the dough is workable - it will be barely workable - too much flour makes them crack. I had to get a tortilla press to use this recipe because I handle the dough. It would get too stiff.

Let stand 10 minutes.

Shape into 8 balls and let stand 10 minutes more. Roll thin or use a tortilla press.

If using a press, follow those directions.

Otherwise heat ungreased skillet over med-high heat until a little a water sprinkled on the surface tortilla in pan - cook 20 to 30 seconds until top is bubbly and bottom is flecked with brown spots. Turn over and cook 20 to 30 seconds more. If tortilla puffs when cooking, press down gently with spatula. Remove. If pan becomes to hot - turn heat down.
From Stephanie Ross--thanks! :)

Homemade Tortillas--store bought flour

My friend, Stephanie-the same one who gave me the recipe for "No-Fail French Bread" (which we had with dinner last night--YUM)--gave me two recipes for homemade tortillas. One is for freshly milled whole wheat flour and one is for store bought. Eventually, we might get there, but for now, this will be the recipe I use--the one for store bought flour.


2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup veg shortening
1/2 cup warm water

Combine flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture has a fine texture. Stir in water until dough forms.

Knead dough for 2 or 3 minutes - wrap in plastic and let sit 30 minutes at room temperature - this is an important step.

Knead dough a few times - divide into 8 pieces. Shape into balls and cover with plastic. Keep covered.

Roll out on floured surface, turning frequently.

Heat ungreased skillet over med-high heat until a little a water sprinkled on the surface dances.

Place tortilla in pan - cook 20 to 30 seconds until top is bubbly and bottom is flecked with brown spots. Turn over and cook 20 to 30 seconds more. If tortilla puffs when cooking, press down gently with spatula. Remove. If pan becomes to hot - turn heat down.

Basic Pancakes

This morning, my three year old requested pancakes. This might not seem like a big deal, but if you're around here in the morning you know that breakfast ALWAYS equals cereal or hot oatmeal. He'll do eggs, pancakes or french toast for dinner but he thinks it's dinner food. I've suggested it for breakfast and he laughs--I'm not kidding! So, this morning when he requested pancakes, even though I knew it would take longer and slightly change our plans for the morning, I jumped at the idea! Especially because I had been wanting to try this recipe from my friend Jen for weeks! And they are delicious. Just writing about it is making me want to go warm up one of the leftovers. :) We stuck with the basic recipe, but will definitely be adding blueberries one day soon--I heart blueberry pancakes! ;) Enjoy!

basic pancakes

2 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T sugar
1 or 2 eggs (I used 2)
1 1/2 to 2 c milk (I used 1 3/4)
2 T melted butter or oil

Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs into the milk and then add the butter. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, enough to moisten the flour. If it's thick, add more milk.

Add fresh or frozen blueberries. Fresh are added as the last ingredient in the bowl, Frozen are added without defrosting and the panckes are cooked slowly b/c they tend to burn.

Add chocolate chips while panckaes are cooking.

For you meat eaters, you can spoon the batter over cooked bacon.

Sprinkle ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves or allspice over batter as it cooks. Use sparingly.

I also make a whole batch and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for future breakfasts. They are really good reheated in the microwave.

Thanks Jen! :)
(she said to be sure to give credit to "the minimalist", mark bittman, from the cookbook "how to cook everything."

Gingerbread Waffles

My friend, Jen, just shared this recipe with me and it sounds delicious. I haven't tried it yet, but I did just try her pancake recipe this morning and they are SO good! I'll post that next. Here's what she posted on facebook:

i am putty at the hand of anything gingerbread related, and these waffles are no exception. the recipe makes a gigantic batch of batter, so i freeze any leftovers or share the still-warm waffles with my next door neighbor. make sure that you use a huge bowl, and get all the dry ingredients mixed in(they are easy to miss once you get mixing because there is so much batter). i set the timer for three minutes once the waffle iron is closed, and that seems to be the perfect amount of time for cooking. source for this one is rachael ray's cookbook "cooking 'round the clock".

gingerbread waffles

3 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, plus some to butter the iron

Syrup, whipped cream or fresh fruits for topping, to pass at table

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, then beat in pumpkin, milk, molasses and melted butter. Stir the wet into dry until just moist. Do not overstir the waffle batter. Brush the iron with a little melted butter and cook 4 waffles, 4 sections each. Serve with toppings of choice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Recommendation and upcoming recipes

I made the Chicken Parmesan recipe from Annie's Eats...oh, my! It's always been a favorite of mine at any Italian eatery, but I've never come close at home--until now! It's fairly simple, too. Go ahead, give it a whirl, you won't regret it! :)

Also, my friend, Stephanie, just passed her homemade tortilla recipe on to me--actually two. I'll be posting them tomorrow...

Monday, March 9, 2009


Like I had previously mentioned, this month is super busy for us, so again the menu is somewhat abbreviated, but here it is:

Monday: Baked Ziti, salad, french bread
Tuesday: Raspberry-Balsamic Chicken, Corn, Salad, french bread
Wednesday: Pizza, corn, strawberries
Thursday: Chicken Parmesan, pasta, salad, french bread (do you see a pattern?)
Friday-Sunday: Pete's parents come to stay with the kiddos for the weekend so we can celebrate our anniversary a couple weeks early!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

PW's Pot Roast

I tried this recipe and loved the taste. I have a few other recipes from The Pioneer Woman that I want to try, but for now, wet your appetite with this pot roast! Yum!

1 Chuck Roast*
2 Onions
6-8 Carrots
Olive Oil (2-3 Tbs)
Beef Stock (2-4 cups)
Fresh Thyme

Optional Ingredients:
Red Wine
Button Mushrooms

1. Heat a large pot/dutch oven over medium high heat. Then add 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Generously salt and pepper your roast.
3. Cut 2 onions in half and cut the 6-8 carrots into 2 inch slices.
4. When the oil in the pan is very hot but not smoking, add in the halved onions browning one side then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
5. Throw the carrots in the same pan and toss them around until slightly browned. (about a minute or so) Remove the carrots to the plate.
6. Add a bit more oil to the pan, place the meat in the pan and sear it on all sides (about a minute on each side) Remove the roast to the plate.
7. With the burner still on high use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all that flavor up!
8. Return the roast to the pan, add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2-3 cups). Add in the onions and the carrots as well as some fresh thyme.
9. Put the lid on and roast at 275 in the oven for 3 hours (for a 3 pound roast, for a 4-5 pound roast, plan on 4 hours)

*The Pioneer Woman recommends that you choose a nicely marbled piece of meat--she says this greatly enhances the flavor. A good tip! :)

From the Pioneer Woman

Ellen's Chicken and Rice Bake

My friend, Ellen, passed this recipe along to me months ago and I keep forgetting to post it! It is really quite tasty and easy--and you know that makes it a keeper! :)


1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 ¾ C water
1 ½ C sliced mushrooms
¾ C uncooked long-grain rice
1 1/3 C French’s French Fried onions, divided
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
4 chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
½ teaspoon each paprika and dried thyme leaves

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Combine soup, water, mushrooms, rice, 2/3 C French Fried onions and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire in 3-quart oblong baking dish.
3. Arrange chicken over rice mixture. Brush chicken with remaining Worcestershire and sprinkle with paprika and thyme.
4. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
5. Top with remaining 2/3 C onions. Bake 3 minutes or until onions are golden.

(Ellen’s version! I don’t like mushrooms so I use cream of chicken soup and eliminate the mushrooms. I cut the chicken breast into smaller pieces so they cook a little faster (and I know they’re cooked all the way through). I don’t usually measure the Worcestershire sauce – I just splash a little on each piece of chicken. Oh yea, and I usually use more onions because they’re just that good!!)

Chicken Parmesan

I'm going to recommend a recipe that I'm going to try this week. It's from Annie's Eats and everything she posts is amazing, so I'm sure this will be the same. Click on the link to see a pic and the recipe.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kelly's Manicotti

*This is for a large amount of crepes, so I'd "half" the recipe. Even by halfing it, you'll still get two great meals for 4 people (I like to bake one for dinner, and freeze another dish to pull out for dinner on a hectic day!).

For the filling:
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
1/3 c. parmasean
handful of chopped parsley
1 egg

--- Mix those ingredients well.

For the crepe:
6 eggs
6 c. flour
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. oil

---Blend in a blender until it gets light and frothy, with lots of air bubbles. If needed, continue to add water in small amounts until you get a fairly thin consistency. Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides and make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.

Put medium-sized saucepan (or crepe pan) on medium-high heat. I like to spray the pan with cooking spray before each crepe. After it's hot, hold the pan at an angle and fill half the pan with the crepe mixture, and rotate quickly to cover the bottom of the pan. When the edges of the crepe begin to curl up a little, it's done. (I've come to expect to ruin the first 2 or 3, until the heat of the pan gets just right!)

Put marinara sauce on the bottom of your baking dish.

Take a tablespoon of your cheese mixture and smear it onto half of a crepe with the back of the spoon. Beginning on the end with the mixture on it, tightly roll up the crepe. Lay it in the baking dish.

Once the manicotti is finished and in the dish, add one more layer of sauce on top, and sprinkle more parm.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or so, uncovered.

Thanks, Kelly! :)

this week's menu

I don't usually have a busy February and March, but this year it seems to be that way. More recipes are coming, but for now, here's our menu:

Monday: Meatloaf, baked potatoes, corn and rolls
Tuesday: dinner at my cousins house
Wednesday: Chicken Ring (we do have this a lot--it's a family favorite)
Thursday: Subs
Friday: Date night (my mom's in town=free babysitting)
Saturday: leftovers (I'll be taking my mom to the airport)
Sunday: Stromboli