Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pork Chops & Potatoes

I got this link from a good friend's recipe blog. We had it for dinner tonight and Nate (who has NEVER liked ANY kind of pork chops I've EVER made (yes, all those capitals are absolutely necessary)) actually had seconds!! That's one major success! You can get the recipe here. Happy cooking!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Don't those look yummy? Ok the secret is those are from a stock photo, but mine do look that good when you make them, so there. Everyone needs a good crepe recipe in their arsenal of recipes, so here is a great one. (We make these all the time- my daughter would eat them for every meal if I let her!)

The recipe makes about 5, so double if you need more.

3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 T oil

Whisk the dry ingredients together, then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk well till lumps are gone. Drop about 1/3 c. batter into a heated fry pan coated with melted butter. flip  with a spatula when the surface no longer looks wet. It won't take very long, you'll get the hang of it after the first one.
Now have plenty of Nutella, cinnamon&sugar, or strawberries handy to fill them with. And keep a shaker full of powdered sugar to dust them with. Yum!
(credit goes to MJ, this is another recipe I got from her!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuna Melt - Gourmet Style

The other day I made a yummy discovery.
Something as simple as a tuna melt can be made into a culinary masterpiece just my adding some sliced purple onions! I mixed up the tuna salad with mayo, salt and pepper, spread it generously on my favorite whole grain bread, placed sliced purple onion on the tuna, and sharp Tillamook cheddar cheese to top it off. I baked it at 400 until the cheese started to melt and the bread was getting toasty on the bottom. Then I turned it to broil for a few minutes to grill the onion. Watch it close cause it doesn't take long! Man, it was good! Experiment with a variety of cheeses, I bet it would be tasty with canned salmon too. Next I'm going to try it topped with fresh tomato slices.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Veggie Spaghetti

I love quick pasta dishes, here is one of our favorites! This is a great dish to make if you have all manner of veggies languishing in your fridge that you need to do something with. Basically it goes like this:

Cook a pkg. of spaghetti according to directions. Make the amount that your family usually eats.
In a large saucepan, heat a few tbs. of olive oil. Add:
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 onion, sliced to make long strips
1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped to 1 inch pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 red, orange or yellow pepper, diced.
1/2 can olives
1 bunch spinach

stir fry the veggies, adding oil as needed. Towards the end sprinkle with balsamic vinegar over all for some sweetness. Also season with salt, basil, and fresh cracked pepper. When the veggies are tender, add the cooked pasta and stir to combine all those delicious juices. When ready to serve, drizzle with a bit more oil and vinegar, and top with about a half cup fresh grated parmesan cheese. 
Now take a bite. Mama mia,  that's good!

*note about the veggies: These are just what we like, but feel free to mix it up with your favorites, almost anything will work- mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini- skip the tomatoes if you are a crazy person who doesn't eat them! It's very versatile for whatever you have in your fridge/garden. Also, keep some plain spaghetti and a jar of Prego handy for little kids- they just don't appreciate the good stuff!

Friday, March 20, 2009

berry berry trifle

Well, I didn't get a chance to snap a photo of this as I was running out the door to enrichment night, so here is an illustration of my trifle, (even cuter than the real thing.) I wanted to make Star's recipe, but was out of choc. pudding, so I made one with yellow cake and berries. People were scraping the bowl clean by the end of the night to get some, so I told them I would post the recipe. It's fancy looking, if you have a trifle bowl, but you could also use a glass bowl instead. AND it's easy.

1 box yellow cake mix, baked according to directions in a jelly-roll pan.
(For me this means a deep cookie sheet, and I used Duncan Hinze butter yellow cake mix.)
Cool cake and cut into cubes.

2  3.5 oz. boxes French vanilla pudding mix, prepared. (Or banana).

3 cups frozen mixed berries, partially thawed. ( I say partially, because when they thaw they are drippy and messy, so if they thaw the rest of the way while in your trifle, it will not be so drippy when you put it together. Oh and yes, I always mention the C----o store, but I got a huge bag of berries from there, with blackberries, rasp. and blueberries. Sooo good for smoothies, too! But I digress...)

1 quart real whipping cream, whipped and sweetened w. about 1/2 c. sugar.
(You could use cool whip, but I think the real whip cream is where it's at!)

Ok, now layer everything:
Cover bottom of dish with cake cubes, top with several scoops pudding, then whip cream, then a generous amount of berries. Repeat. Now it should be about full. I finished off with a smaller layer of cake cubes+cream+berries to top it. (there was almost half the cake left over, so I let my 4 year old build her own trifle along side mine since I would be taking the whole thing before she got to taste it, which was not going to go over well with her.)

Chill the trifle for a few hours to let it set. Great for a summer time treat!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

fast dinners

Are you like me and sometimes find yourself trying to think up a dinner at 4:30 pm? Well, this is a great way to save a little time and money: When you go to the store, buy the bulk sized meat in the great big packages. (If you shop at a  Costco type store, well-there you go!) Anyway, freeze the meat and when you're ready to cook it, cook the whole package at once. Then divide up the cooked meat and put in good ziploc freezer bags, portioning the amount you usually use for your family. Put a date on it and stick it in the freezer. Now when you need a quick meal, you can just add the sauce and spices, or whatever to your already-cooked meat. Works great for chicken and ground beef. And this way your husband can handle it when you leave him to cook dinner! :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Here are a couple of fun recipes for the holiday.


St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1-1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Green food coloring, optional

Cream cheese frosting

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and mix until blended.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Add food coloring to frosting if desired. Frost cupcakes. Yield: 1 dozen. (in this photo I used a mini-muffin tin and decreased the time to about 15 min)


4 eggs

1-3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted


2 pounds confectioners' sugar (about 7-1/2 cups)

2/3 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 cups finely chopped peanuts

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick and lemon-colored, about 4 minutes. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture. Beat on low speed just until combined.
Add the milk and butter; mix well. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Cover and freeze overnight.
For frosting, in a mixing bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth. (I actually split the required frosting in half and they still worked great!). Frosting the top and sides of frozen cake squares; roll in peanuts. Place on wire racks to dry. Store in a cool place (fridge is ok). Yield: 2 dozen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuna-Filled Shells

This one is a little more time-consuming because you have to make the sauces and stuff the shells, but it is worth it!

Tuna-Filled Shells

15-20 jumbo pasta shells

5 teaspoons all-purpose flour

2 cups 2% milk

1 teaspoon dill weed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 celery rib, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 slices white bread, crumbled

1 can (12 ounces) light water-packed tuna, drained and flaked

1/2 cup reduced-fat ranch salad dressing

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Meanwhile in a saucepan, combine the flour, milk, dill and salt until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Pour 1-1/4 cups sauce into a 2-qt. baking dish; set aside.
In a nonstick skillet, sauté celery and onion in oil until tender. Add bread. Stir in the tuna, salad dressing and cheese; mix well. Drain shells; stuff with tuna mixture. Place over sauce. Drizzle with remaining sauce. Cover and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

Parmesan Chicken

Okay, I'm gonna be brave and finally post! This is a way easy and quick recipe that the little ones can help with...and even eat! And that is the goal of every mother of a 2 year old isn't it? Braxton eats next to nothing and he ate all of his. Plus, he thoroughly enjoyed going to town on the Ritz crackers.

2 c. crushed Ritz (about 1 package)
3 Tbsp grated parmesan
2 tsp garlic salt (we are not super garlicky people so I only put in 1 and it was plenty flavorful)
8 chicken breasts
1 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. butter

2 cans Cream of Chicken
1 c. sour cream

Mix the cracker crumbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic salt. Dip each piece of chicken in yogurt to coat it and then in the crumb mixture. Place in a greased baking dish, drizzle with melted butter, and bake in oven at 350 for around 45 minutes. For the sauce, just combine the soup and sour cream and heat up stirring frequently.

We are not super garlicky people so I put in a litttle over 1 tsp and it was plenty flavorful. I also forgot to take a picture before we dove in. We served over egg noodles.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mary Jane's Meltaways

These divine little shortbread cookies have an amazing texture, they are so light and lovely and buttery- they are barely there! (texture-wise, not calorie-wise!) Anyway, they were a big hit at knitting night.

2 stick butter- room temp
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. flour

Beat all ingredients together, mixing on low speed to get the dry ingredients in, then at high speed for a minute or two. Drop by teency teaspoonfulls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350º 10-12 minutes.
Dip the tops in glaze, or frost with icing. You can add food coloring, (Mary Jane's were a pretty pink when she made them.) Can't wait till I have an excuse to make them again!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

South of the Border Pizza

I will admit (and the picture proves it) that I really don't know how to make nice edges on my pizzas (and I'm too lazy to shred the lettuce). They taste great, though! This recipe makes two pizzas, but I cut it in half for our small family.

South-of-the-Border Pizza

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1 loaf (1 pound) frozen bread dough, thawed

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can (16 ounces) fat-free refried beans

1 cup salsa

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 cups shredded lettuce

Coat two 12-in. pizza pans with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal. Divide the bread dough in half; roll each portion into a 12-in. circle. Transfer to prepared pans. Build up edges slightly; prick dough thoroughly with a fork. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook the beef, onion, yellow pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in refried beans, salsa, chilies and chili powder; heat through. Spread over the crusts; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 6-7 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Top with tomatoes and lettuce; serve immediately. Yield: 2 pizzas (6 slices each).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Here comes the Curry Recipe!

The makings of the Massaman Curry Recipe:

Exotic ingredients: (left to right) Mae Ploy Curry paste, fish sauce, chili paste, cooking  Tamarind, palm sugar. *Not pictured, the can of coconut milk, you can get that at any supermarket.

This man loves his curry!

This is kind of an exotic dish, so not everyone is going to want to run out and make it, but I've since found that I'm not the only one with a deep devotion to Massaman curry. So if you've just got to have it, it's really not that hard to make. You just have to go out of your way to find the ingredients. I did a google search and found a Thai grocery store in Layton, called Thai Market at 1986 N Hill Field Rd. ( In the same complex as Blockbuster). They have everything you need in that category of exotic ingredients, if you are in that area. (Plus it's fun to wander through and look at the other interesting offerings, such as grass jelly. Yes,  ingredients: grass, cornstarch. Will let you know when I find the recipe that calls for that one. Oh and I got a bottle of this great Pad Thai sauce and some flat rice noodles, and fried up a batch of pad thai that was pretty good!)

You will need:

1 can coconut milk
1 lb. chicken thigh meat, cut into chunks
3-4 TBS. Massaman curry paste
3-4 TBS. peanuts, finely ground (throw in a few whole ones to if you like.)
1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 onion, chopped. (or you can use 10 baby pearl onions)
few TBS. fish sauce
Slivered fresh hot thai chilis (here I deviated from the recipe and use thai chili garlic paste from Smith's, but you can get these at the Layton market).
Spoonful of Tamarind juice
Palm sugar (you can get this in a jar or in these little compressed half-tennis ball shapes).

Ok, the whole recipe is online here, but I will type it out the way I did it, in case the link expires or something.

First of all, put the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, to separate the cream. Then when you are ready to make the curry,  scoop most of the solid cream out of the can and heat on medium in a large saucepan. Add the curry paste and fry it up in the coconut oils to bring out the flavors. Smells great!  Now add the meat and fry it up for a few minutes. Now add the sweet potato, cut in thin slices so it will cook more quickly, and the onions. 
Add the ground peanuts and all the coconut milk.
Simmer on low med. heat till potatoes are tender.
Now season the curry.
 Add a few Tbs. of palm sugar and the fish sauce, tamarind and chili peppers or paste. 
Adjust the salty taste of the fish sauce, the sweet of the sugar and the sour of the Tamarind till you get a good flavor.(Helps  if you've had it before). Make it as hot/mild as you like by adjusting the peppers. Sometimes I add a dash of cinnamon at this point. Keep tasting till you're satisfied with the flavor. Now you're done! (Don't let your husband know how easy it was to make and let him be impressed with your amazing insight into ethnic cuisine.)

Best when served over a fragrant rice like Basmati or Jasmine. 

Mmmmm, enjoy your curry. And the best part is it didn't cost 10.95 a plate!