Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Home Made Lava Lamp"

Here's a recipe to keep your kids entertained on a rainy afternoon:
You will need:

A clear plastic bottle, (we used 1 liter, but you could use any clear drink bottle.)
Food coloring
Alkaseltzer Tablets

Fill the bottle just over 1/2 full with vegetable oil, then fill the rest of the way with water, leaving an inch of room at the top. Add 10 drops food coloring. Place the bottle on a plate or pie tin to catch any drips. Now, add 1/4 an alkaseltzer tablet and watch the bubbles of water rise up through the oil. Add another piece of alkaseltzer after the bubbles have stopped.

This kept both kids quite entertained for the afternoon. Harriet wanted to make more of them but I didn't want to use up all my cooking oil. She went through about half a box of the tablets, then we put the lid on when we were done and she used the other half the next day. You could also add some glitter to the water to sparkle it up a bit!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coconut Cake

On the subject of cakes, here is another really easy one. I just made this for some friends and it got rave reviews.

1 box white cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can cream of coconut
1 small tub Cool Whip or whipped cream
coconut shavings

Mix and bake cake mix. In a separate bowl, mix milk and cream of coconut. While cake is still warm, poke holes all over it (you can use the other side of a pen), then pour the milk mixture over cake and let cool. Top with Cool Whip and sprinkle with coconut.

The milk soaks into the cake so that it tastes like Tres Leches, I think. One warning is that this is pretty sweet, so I think next time I might try using angel food cake instead of the white cake, but I'm not sure how that will turn out. The original recipe is definitely still delicious though, so enjoy!

Ham & Pea (or Asparagus) Pasta

This yummy pasta is a no-fail at our house. You can also do a ham & asparagus pasta, which is yummy. We usually do peas for kids and because it's super fast. It's a nice change from your typical pasta dinner. You can also cut the recipe in half easily for a smaller family.

Ham & Pea Pasta

1 lb pasta (we like farfalle or mini-penne)
1/4 c butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lb frozen peas (or fresh asparagus, cut into 1" pieces)
1/2 lb. cooked ham, diced (I use half of a pre-cut package)
1/2 c whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta and drain. Set aside. Melt butter and saute onion until soft. Run frozen peas under warm water in a colander for a minute and then add to onions and saute. Add ham, cream, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and add cooked pasta.

Amazing Almond Cake

This is a yummy cake that can be made for a last minute party or as a quick dessert. Hailey thought it would also be good to serve for brunch or something similar. It is SUPER fast and turns out perfectly every time. People will be impressed, just don't let them know how easy it is to make! :)

Almond Cake

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (not margarine)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract (I'm generous with this)
sliced almonds

Melt butter, not margarine, in a glass mixing bowl in the microwave. Add all other ingredients to that, mixing with a spoon. Pour into a lightly greased (with Pam) pie plate. Spread evenly and sprinkle with sliced almonds on top. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour or until light brown and rounded. Cool and/or refrigerate, and cut into tiny wedges.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tortellini Tomato Soup

This is from Favorite Family Recipes. It makes a lot, so cut it in half if you are a small family. It was the best tomato soup I've ever had. Really. You really should try it on a cool spring night!

1 pkg. (9oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cans (10oz) Campbell's tomato soup
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. milk
2 c. half-and-half
1/2 c. chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese (for topping)

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot combine soup, broth, milk, cream, tomatoes and seasonings. Heat through, stirring frequently. Drain tortellini well and add to soup. Stir in cheese. When cheese is melted serve immediately and sprinkle Parmesan or mozzarella cheese over the top.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hamburger Noodle Bake

30 min | 10 min prep

* 1 lb hamburger
* 2 teaspoons minced onions
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 16 ounces tomato sauce
* 3 ounces cream cheese (I softened it in the microwave so it would stir easier)
* 8 ounces sour cream
* 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or mozzarella)
* 1 (8 ounce) package noodles, cooked and drained (this is where all my odds and ends from pasta packages end up; it adds variety, right?)

1. Brown hamburger, onions, and spices until cooked.
2. Add tomato sauce and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Mix cream cheese and sour cream.
4. In 2-quart casserole, put 1/3 noodles, 1/3 cream mix, 1/3 meat mix.
5. Repeat twice.
6. Sprinkle cheddar on top.
7. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

What I like about this recipe it that it is kind of like a lasagna (except you don't need to spend as much on cheese) and it is also delicious. We have had it a few times and each time my husband says, "Hey, this is pretty good." (In his defense for not recognizing it, I hate eating the same thing over and over so he doesn't see a recipe again for a few months...) For pictures, see Recipe Zaar