Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo Sauce
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 can evaporated milk
1+ can whole milk
1 1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried parsley
pepper to taste

Melt butter and add the flour to make a roux.
Add the evaporated milk and whole milk.
Once warm, add the cheese, chicken bouillon, red pepper flakes, dried parsley and pepper.
Stir on low until cheese is melted and sauce becomes thick.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Playdough Cookies

These are good ones to make with your kids!

Playdough Cookies

3/4 c. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 - 4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
food coloring
lollipop sticks

Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar.
Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt.
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.
Add enough flour to form a soft dough that wont stick to your hands.
Divide dough into four sections.
Tint each with a different color (I used orange, pink, blue and green).
Put each in a plastic bag.
Chill for 2 hours.

Form small balls (3/4") with the dough.
For each cookie, take one ball of each color and combine them to make a larger ball.
Then roll it out (like a snake).
Starting at one end, coil it to make a lollipop shape.
Place 3" apart on a baking sheet.
Carefully insert lollipop sticks into the cookies.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Garden Salad

My favorite part about this salad is how the veggies overpower the lettuce.  It works perfect for my family, because my husband and kids can pick out the veggies throughout dinner, and I am left with the perfect ratio of lettuce and toppings.
Garden Salad
1/4 head iceburg lettuce
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
1 large cucumber, sliced
1 carrot, cut in thin strips
1 bell pepper, cut in strips
red onion rings

Place lettuce in a large bowl and top with veggies.
Serve with salad dressing of choice.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

I think it is weird that my husband and I both hate mushrooms, but we both love this dish.  It is so good!
Beef Stroganoff
Recipe from Lyn Denna
1 ½ lbs. lean beef stew meat
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 lb. fresh mushrooms (we omit these)
1 c. water
10 ¾oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream
Combine all but sour cream in slow cooker.
Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Stir in sour cream.
Cook on high until heated.
Serve over egg noodles.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hot Dog Boats

This post is a tribute to your kids.
I will probably get made fun of for this recipe, because most people think it is ridiculous, but we had this all of the time growing up, and I thought it was amazing.  Now my kids love them.  I think it is the perfect go-to kid food... what little person doesn't love hot dogs?
Hot Dog Boats
2 hot dogs
3/4 c. left over mashed potatoes
2 slices cheese

Cut hotdogs in half lengthwise, and place on cookie sheet.
Top each with mashed potatoes.
Layer cheese slices on top.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and hot dogs and potatoes are warmed through.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Southwest Chicken Fajita Wraps

This is one of my go-to meals.  Really fast, really good, and good for you. (Minus that sour cream on top :)
Southwest Chicken Fajita Wraps
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. chicken breasts, thin strips
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans
1 medium onion, thin strips
1 green bell pepper, thin strips
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. cumin
4 large flour tortillas
1 c. shredded cheese
optional: salsa, sour cream

Heat oil in skillet.
Add chicken, and sprinkle with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Add onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add bell pepper; cook 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink in center and pepper is crisp-tender.
Add beans and corn and warm through.

To assemble each wrap, spoon mixture down center of tortilla.
Sprinkle with cheese, roll up and fasten with toothpick.
Place in casserole dish.
Sprinkle extra cheese on top.
Place under broiler until cheese melts.
Serve with salsa, sour cream, lettuce, etc.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Who needs Bisquick?  This is the perfect pancake recipe - so light and airy, and delicious!
2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. melted shortening (or vegetable oil)
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Sift dry ingredients.
Combine eggs and milk.
Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.
Add shortening, mix.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Honey Mustard Sauce

I love me some honey mustard!  This was my first time making it at home, and it turned out delicious!  Perfect for fries, chicken fingers, on burgers, you name it!
Honey Mustard Sauce
½ c. Mayo or Miracle Whip
¼ c. Dijon Mustard
3 Tbsp. Honey

Mix and Serve.
Store in fridge in airtight container

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blonde Brownies

Yet another delicious recipe from my wonderful mother-in-law!
Blonde Brownies
Recipe from Lyn Denna

2/3 c. melted butter
2 c. flour
2 c. brown sugar
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Add remaining ingredients.
Press into greased 9x13” pan.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Cool and cut.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Creamy Quinoa Primavera

This is a great side dish.  Whole grain, vegetables, and just enough cheese to make it creamy and delicious.
My kids (especially Lincoln) enjoyed it as well...

Never cooked quinoa?  Click HERE for cooking tips.

Creamy Quinoa Primavera
1 c. uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 oz. cream cheese
1 Tbsp. fresh OR 1 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups thinly sliced or bite sized assorted veggies
2 Tbsp. grated Romano OR Parmesan

Rinse quinoa thoroughly and drain.
Heat quinoa and broth to boiling.  Cover and reduce heat to low.
Simmer 15-20 minutes, until all broth is absorbed.

Stir in cream cheese and basil.
Cover and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet.
Cook garlic until golden.
Stir in veggies and cook for 2 minutes, until crisp tender.
Toss veggies with quinoa.
Add Romano or Parmesan.

Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Crock Pot Cooking Tips

I love using the crock pot - throw it all in and come home later to a delicious meal.  Here are a few helpful hints when using your crock:

Temperature Cooking Comparisons:
There are generally two settings; low and high
 - The low setting is usually about 200 degrees F.
 - The high setting is usually about 300 degrees F.

 - Generally, 2 - 2 1/2 hours on low equals 1 hour on high
 - A slow cooker can take as long as 30 minutes to regain the heat lost when the cover is removed during cooking.

 - garlic, chilies, chili powder and pepper will increase in flavor the longer they are cooked, which can result in them becoming very harsh and extra-spicy.
 - Flavors of fresh herbs will also increase during long cooing, making them a good choice for slow cookers.
 - Dried herbs tend to diminish in flavor over longer periods due to steam adding additional liquid and diluting the dish.  (This is the opposite of conventional cooking, which results in the evaporation of liquid, causing dried herbs to become stronger the loger they are cooked).
 - Cakes and Breads:
When cooking cakes, breads, or anything you want to prevent getting soggy, take a few paper towels and put them under the lid.  As your food cooks, condensation rises and sticks to your lid, which later drops down onto your food; not a big deal with soups and stews, but terrible for cakes and breads.
A few paper towels will trap that moisture and keep it off of your food.

- As a side note: inserts can be purchased for your crockpot specifically for cakes and breads.  I personally don't cook enough of these types of things to purchase one.

Choosing a Crock Pot:
There are a ton of different crock pots out there.  Here are some things I would recommend looking into before bringing one home:

- Get an oval shaped one.  Tall and skinny crocks work great for soups and stews, but aren't great if you want to cook a roast or other large pieces of meat.

- Crock pots that are attached to the heating element are difficult to clean, and don't allow you to transport the food easily.  Get a removable pan, preferably dishwasher and oven safe.  This will allow you to store the leftovers in the same pot as well; just stick it in the fridge.

- Some crocks come with an insulated carrying case - with handles and everything.  Not a big deal if you don't leave home, but very handy for taking to potlucks, neighbors, etc.  Along this same idea, a lid that seals shut would be a wonderful thing to have - no mess while transporting.

- Knobs, switches and timers... there are a lot of options, but that doesn't necessarily make it that much better.  Some automatic crocks include timers, but can only be set for 4 hours on low and 8 hours on high - meaning they may turn off before food is done, or cook it too long.  Think of what you would realistically use before you spend the extra money.  In my opinion, an OFF, HIGH, and LOW is all you need.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Taco Soup

I love this soup!  So satisfying... and it is good alone, or with bread, or with chips... so many options.

And for a real view of what it consists of:
Taco Soup
1 lb. steak (or ground beef)
1 onion
1 quart stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans with juice
1 can pinto beans with juice
1-2 pkgs. taco seasoning (to taste)
1 can corn
1/2 - 1 bell pepper, chopped (optional)
chives (optional)
tortilla chips

On the stove-top:
Brown beef and onion in skillet until meat is no longer pink; drain any excess fat.
Add remaining ingredients and warm through.

In the crockpot:
If using hamburger, brown with onion in skillet until no longer pink; drain and add contents to crockpot.
If using steak:
Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
Cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-5, until meat is done.

Serve with cheese and tortilla chips.
Additional optional toppings: olives, green onions, chives, sour cream, cilantro.