Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Betty Crocker's Cupcake Poppers

Have you seen these from Betty Crocker?? They're SO CUTE and super easy!! You can do any color for any occasion. Just awesome :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poppyseed Chicken

This is one of those dishes that everybody has a recipe for! Each one is a little different, I'm sure. For my family this is definitely our "comfort food". Yesterday was icky & grey & cold so a creamy, satisfying casserole was exactly what we needed.

My recipe comes from my mom's, my neighbor's, and something of my own thrown in to make it my own. Do you have a recipe for Poppyseed Chicken? Please share it!

Poppyseed Chicken
Makes 1 9x13" casserole

4 cups dry egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 cups chicken, cooked & cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup dried minced onions
1 tsp minced garlic (optional)
1 cylinder Ritz crackers (we like whole wheat Ritz)
1 cube (1/2 cup) butter
1 tsp poppyseeds (these really are just for show - if you don't have 'em, don't worry)

  • Preheat oven to 375*F. Spray inside of 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray.

  • Cook egg noodles according to package directions.

  • In a large bowl, stir together & mix well: sour cream, chicken soup, Parmesan, onions & garlic. When mixed thoroughly, stir in chicken.

  • In a separate medium-sized bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Crush Ritz crackers. Stir crushed crackers & poppyseeds into melted butter.

  • Build the casserole: Pour noodles into baking dish. Spread chicken/soup mixture evenly over the noodles. Gently spread the Ritz/butter mixture over the chicken/soup mixture, until evenly covered.

  • Bake 30 minutes & serve.

We always serve this with broccoli, but it would be great with pretty much any veggie.

This is a great recipe to make large batches of for family gatherings too.


Friday, March 25, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches with Au Jus

YUM!! The chuck roast & onions for these sandwiches cooked all day in the crock pot & filled the house with a delicious aroma!! We were super excited to get eating by the time dinner rolled around! 5 minutes prep in the morning & about 5 more just before dinner - a perfect busy-day dinner.

French Dip Sandwiches with Au Jus
Serves 6-8

6-8 bolillo rolls (or your favorite sub rolls - choose white though, wheat isn't as good with these sandwiches)
6-8 slices swiss or provolone cheese
1 2.5 lb beef roast (I used chuck, but whatever you have on-hand would do)
1 onion
1 14.5oz can beef broth
1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
salt & pepper - about 1 Tbsp each or more, if you like pepper

  • In a large skillet, sear the roast on all sides. (You want it browned thorougly before you put it in the slow cooker).

  • Turn on slow cooker to LOW.

  • Slice onion & place slices on the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour beef broth over the onions.

  • Place beef roast on top of sliced onions/broth. Sprinkle salt, pepper & minced garlic over the top of the roast.

  • Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. If possible, turn the roast over halfway through cooking.

  • If you're using a larger roast (3-4 lbs), cook for 8-10 hours.

At dinnertime:

  • Slice rolls open & set out with cheeses for building sandwiches. You can brown the rolls under the broiler or in the oven, if you like.

  • Remove roast from crock pot to a large cutting board. Roughly slice roast, cutting away fat (if desired - my youngest loves the fat (yuck!)), to use in sandwiches.

  • ** Get help for this step, if you need it - Crock pots are heavy! ** Pour liquid from crock pot through a fine strainer into a bowl or large glass measuring cup. (This is the au jus for dipping the sandwiches) Pour au jus into small bowls, big enough for dipping the sandwiches.

  • Each person builds a sandwich with beef, cheese & cooked onions (from the crock pot).

These sandwiches are dipped into the au jus before each bite. Don't pour it on - it will soak the sandwich & ruin the roll. The onions are optional on the sandwiches, but I love 'em!

We always serve these with a big green salad.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Parmesan-Garlic Pull Apart Bread

**Sorry, I know the picture doesn't look that appetizing. I should have watched it better while in the oven. We had Spaghetti for dinner tonight, and I have been wanting to attempt these using the same dough I use for our 60 minute rolls. My family loved them.***

Parmesan-Garlic Pull Apart Bread
1 recipe of 60 minute rolls (below)

Dry Ingredients
3 1/2 cups flour --divided (2 1/2 cups 1 cup)
*This is how I did the flour, my friend said she started with 3 1/2 cups flour and added up to 1 more cup, but you may not use the whole 1 cup.
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB yeast
2 TB dry milk powder
1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
1 1/2 cups Hottest tap water
1/4 cup oil

Add all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (minus the 1 cup flour). Add wet ingredients to a measuring cup. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat by hand or by mixer for 1 minute. I did mine in my Kitchen Aid mixer.

Now, gradually add the extra 1 cup of flour and knead for 4 true minutes.

Cover and let rise for 15 true minutes.

While this rises...Add all the below ingredients into a medium sized measuring cup.

1/4 cup butter
1 TB minced garlic
3 TB parmesan cheese
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt

Punch down the dough, and roll into smaller than golfball size balls. I did 2o balls for my bread, and then I was still able to make 11 rolls that are rolled about the size of golfballs or larger to just make regular rolls.

After you roll the bread balls, roll them in to the butter mixture and place in a greased round casserole dish. If there is extra butter mix, just pour evenly over the top.

For the extra dough that you are using just for rolls, place them in an 8x8 greased casserole dish.
Cover and let rise again for 15 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mini Meat & Cheese Foldovers

This recipe started with a recipe in Kraft's Food & Family Magazine last year called Beef & Cheese Foldover. Their recipe started with a pie crust that was laid flat & filled with a meat & cheese mixture. Then the edges of the pie crust were folded up to hold in the meat mixture while it cooked.

Great idea, but I wasn't totally into it. I didn't completely love the flavorings they chose either...

Flash forward to today & I was thinking about that recipe again. I knew I could re-do it to our tastes. I took out the pie crust & added crescent rolls. I baked each serving separately in ramekins. I changed the seasonings to match our Quick-n-Easy Shepherd's Pie flavors that we loved so much. Finally, my daughter, Kendall, changed up the title.

So here's the result! I'm happy to report it was YUMMY!!

Mini Meat & Cheese Foldovers
Serves 8

8 7-oz ramekins
1 8-count cylinder of ready-to-bake crescent rolls
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey (or beef, if you prefer)
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp parsley flakes, optional (I didn't use these, but wish I had)

  • Preheat oven to 375*F. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean-up). Set ramekins on foil-lined baking sheet & spray lightly with cooking spray.
  • Open & separate crescent rolls into 8 individual triangles. Lay 1 triangle in each ramekin - thick side along the bottom of the ramekin & the point sticking out over the side (see below). Set aside.

  • In a large skillet, brown meat with onions until cooked through; drain.
  • Stir in corn, ketchup & Worcestershire.
  • Spoon meat/veg mixture into each ramekin to just below the rim.
  • Sprinkle cheese over meat/veg mixture.
  • Fold point of crescent roll over the top of the cheese. (see below)

  • Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is melted & crescent roll is cooked through & golden brown.

Enjoy with a side of your favorite veggies or a green salad.

I think there are probably loads of variations to this recipe.

You could go Italian - replace the ketchup with spaghetti sauce & add a bit of minced garlic when cooking the meat. Top with shredded mozzarella. Maybe sprinkle some garlic salt over the crescent roll too.

I think vegetarian would be great too - saute' some portabella mushrooms & onions in butter & garlic. You could add some red kidney beans too. Use the mushroom/bean mixture to replace the meat/veg mixture. Top with a spicy Pepper Jack cheese.

Use your imagination!! If you come up with a delicous variation, please let us know so we can post it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ice Cream - Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

These were so fun!! It's our surprise dessert for St. Patrick's Day. I snuck into my daughter's leprechaun trap, took out the chocolate "bait", and left a note from Mr. Leprechaun. The note read: "Thanks for the treasure! I left one for you in the freezer!" It was a big hit!

Obviously you can make these with any cookie & any ice cream. They came together in less than 5 minutes and were enjoyed for much longer. Totally worth the minimal effort! Whip some up this afternoon!

Ice Cream - Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

Your favorite sugar cookies - store bought or homemade
A complimentary ice cream - softened slightly (I left mine out on the counter for about 5 minutes & it was perfect)

  • Set out a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Make room in your freezer for the cookie sheet to lay flat (so the sandwiches won't slide)

  • Place a scoop of ice cream on one cookie. Gently smoosh another cookie on top.

  • Use your fingers or a small spatula to smooth the sides & press ice cream into all the open spots.
  • Hold the sandwiches by 2 fingers, only touching the cookies. Sprinkle your favorite sprinkles around the edges.
  • Place the finished ice cream sandwiches on the wax papered cookie sheet.
  • When finished, carefully move the cookie sheet into the freezer to lay flat. Allow ice cream sandwiches to set-up/harden for at least 1 hour.


This is a very kid-friendly project. If they're older, they can do the whole thing. If they're younger, they can put the 2nd cookie on top & move the finished product to the cookie sheet. They can even put the sprinkles on. Get 'em cooking too! :)

Quick-n-Easy Shepherd's Pie

Don't let the green mashed potatoes freak you out - I made this for our St. Patrick's Day dinner last night. :) Obviously, you can make this with regular white mashed potatoes on top for everyday.

This was quick-n-easy, delicious & filling. YUM!!

Quick-n-Easy Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4 adapted from recipe found in Real Simple Magazine

1 lb ground turkey (or beef, if you prefer)
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
8 ozs frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (I used a peas/corn/carrots/green beans mix)
1/4 cup (1 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
3 cups prepared mashed potatoes OR 1 16-oz pkg refrigerated or frozen & thawed mashed potatoes

  • Preheat oven to 400*F
  • Place meat in large skillet & cook over medium-high heat until no trace of pink remains, about 5 minutes. Spoon off/discard any fat.
  • Stir in ketchup & Worcestershire thoroughly. Add vegetables. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Spoon meat/veg mixture into a 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over meat/veg mixture. Spread mashed potatoes over the top.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

You can also serve this in individual baking dishes.

For St. Patrick's Day, I added 5 drops each green & yellow food coloring to the water before preparing my instant mashed potatoes. To keep the green theme going, we paired this with "Leprechaun" Lemonade (tinted green w/food coloring) and a green salad.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grilled Lemon Chicken

LOVED this new recipe!!! It's always great to have another recipe for chicken breasts, right?

Next time, I'll make this outdoors. My indoor grill pan worked beautifully, but it was smoky & the house had a bit of a haze going until we opened the windows. This will be perfect for spring & summer grilling at our house. If you have an outdoor-venting fan above your stovetop, you could make this without the smoke being a problem.

I found this recipe in a mail-order recipe club advertisement. I threw away the club membership offer, but kept the recipe. Glad I did!!

Grilled Lemon Chicken
Serves 4

1 lemon - zest & juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I used dried parsley, about 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 4-6 ozs each

  • Into a large bowl, combine the lemon zest & juice, olive oil, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt & pepper. Add chicken breasts to the bowl and use your hands to evenly distribute lemon mixture all over the chicken breasts, until well-coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes minimum or overnight, if you have time.

  • When you're ready to cook, preheat grill/griddle to medium heat. Put marinated chicken breasts on the griddle. Reserve marinade.

  • Cook chicken until cooked through, about 10 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 170*F. Brush with remaining marinade 2-3 times during cooking. (I didn't do this at all & it was still delicious)

I served this with angel hair pasta & broccoli with pesto sauce. I added the zest & juice of 1 lemon to jarred pesto sauce, then stirred it into the hot broccoli & pasta. YUMMM!!!

This chicken would be great all by itself, but you could also pair it with a salad and/or your favorite veggies.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Bowtie Pasta

**I can't believe I haven't posted this yet, since it is a family favorite. I don't make it too often though, just because it is an Alfredo sauce, but it's lighter than the ones you would buy in a restaurant, because I use light cream cheese and nonfat milk.**

Bowtie Pasta

12 oz Bowtie pasta
3-4 chicken breasts (mine are small 4oz pieces)
lemon pepper or any other of your favorite seasonings
2 cups nonfat milk
6oz cream cheese (I use light)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 TB minced garlic

In a stock pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, put back into pot and set aside.

Cook chicken breasts in a skillet with lemon pepper (or favorite seasoning) sprinkled over top. When it is done, cut chicken into cubes. When the chicken is done add it to the cooked pasta.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic. Let it saute for about 1-2 minutes. Add cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and milk. Whisk together until all ingredients are melted and smooth. Bring to a boil and then turn off.

Right before serving, pour the white sauce into the pot with the pasta and chicken. Stir until everything is coated.


This should serve 6

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Elbows on the Table

Made this for dinner last night - YUM! Paired it with green salad & garlic breadsticks. Dinner on the table in 15 minutes. Awesome!

You can find this recipe from 2 years ago on our blog here.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Meatball Sub Sandwiches

Made these Tuesday night - easy & SO yummy!! I used my baked turkey meatballs. Paired with a green salad, this a great dinner!

Meatball Sub Sandwiches
Italian meatballs - prepared & hot - about 4-6 per sandwich
Sub rolls - white is best for taste/texture, even though it's not the healthiest choice
Grated or sliced mozzarella, provolone or romano cheese - pick your favorite
Spaghetti sauce - again, your favorite

  • Prepare a batch of meatballs - you can buy frozen italian meatballs or make your own - just make sure they're hot before you build your sandwiches!
  • Preheat oven to 400*F.
  • Cut open & toast sub rolls lightly under the broiler, if desired.
  • Build sandwiches - meatballs, topped with spaghetti sauce, then topped with cheese. Place on foil-lined cookie sheet in oven for about 5 minutes, just until cheese melts & starts to turn golden.
  • Remove from oven & serve immediately.


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