Monday, February 7, 2011

Quiche and Dinner in a Pumpkin

I was looking at some pictures from stuff we cooked a while ago and figured it was high time we posted them. Don and I don't so much use recipes, so these may serve as inspiration more than a specific method and list of ingredients.

In a variation on the pot pie idea, I decided to make a quiche one night. It included cooked chopped onion, frozen spinach (which I somewhat thawed before cooking it), lots of eggs, some milk and cheese, and a few spices. I think there were one or two other vegetables involved. It was one meal where we didn't use any meat (which we try to do at least once in a while).

Another thing we made was a dinner in a pumpkin, where you scoop out the seeds/stringy inside, fill the pumpkin with a seemingly endless combination of fillings, and bake it. When you serve it, you scoop out some of the pumpkin side to serve with the filling. It's a very different sort of meal than I usually cook, so it was fun. We had tons of leftovers (the inside ran out way before the pumpkin did, so we froze the leftovers and have had occasional pumpkin meals for the last few months - this last week, I made pumpkin soup and a squash dip from the leftovers, and they were fantastic!) Anyway, from what I've gathered, you can put just about anything into your pumpkin - some recipes are tomato-based, others use creamy soups. Ours included bread chunks, ground beef and sausage, cream, onions, and spices. It was delicious.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lots of soup and a yummy sandwhich!

Ok, so I know for the rest of you it is still about 70 degree weather out, but for us here in Colorado, winter has already arrived and we are going on our third day with snow still on the ground! What happened to Fall I want to know!
So, in light of our weather situation, we have been having a lot of soup/stew around here lately! For a few meal ideas, this is what we have been putting together:

Taco Soup (super easy and one of the kids favorites!)
3 cans red beans (I usually only use 2)
2 cans italian recipe tomatoes (sometimes I just use 1)
1 jar picante salsa
1 lb. hamburger
2 cans vegetable beef soup (I personally don't like the beef in this type of soup so I just use vegetable soup, my favorite is the Kroger chunky brand)

Brown hamburger, mix into pan with all canned ingredients (do not drain cans)and heat over stove until warm. Serve with cheese and sour cream.

We are having the Bear Creek potato soup tonight, which comes in a bag. You just add water and heat up. I also add corn and cooked sausage to it.

Tomorrow I am going to make Kari's Beef Stew recipe. I think I've given you all the recipe before, but if not, let me know and I can pass it on.

Last night we had Roast Beef Sandwiches. I've tried a few different recipes for this same thing and I think I like this version the best so far, and everyone will eat it, which is the real test. It is super easy! I got the recipe out of my coupon section from my newspaper. :)

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches
1 can Campbell's French Onion Soup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (I think this is too much, so I use about 2 tsp.)
3/4 lbs. sliced roast beef
4 Hoagie rolls
4 slices of Provolone cheese cut in half
1/4 cup drained pickled banana pepper rings (I make mine without the peppers)

Heat oven to 400.
Heat soup and Worcestershire sauce in saucepan to a boil. Add beef and heath through, stirring occasionally.
Divide beef mixture among rolls. Top beef mixture with cheese slices and place sandwiches onto baking sheet. (I usually spoon extra soup mixture onto sandwiches)
Bake 3 mins. or until sandwiches are toasted and cheese is melted. Top each with peppers.

This only makes 4 sandwiches, so you will probably have to double it to feed everyone, except for Donny and Sarah. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ghosts and Spiders

Last week was Kaden's week for snacks at preschool. Being Halloween week and all, I couldn't just take anything. So, all week I took Halloween themed snacks. It probably won't do you much good now, but maybe next year...

On Monday I took chocolate dipped pretzel sticks - Witches Broomsticks!
(The top half of a Pretzel Rod rolled in whatever color of molding chocolate with Halloween sprinkles on top.)

Wednesday we took Boo Cups!
3 1/4 cups cold milk
2 boxes (4 serving size)instant chocolate pudding
1 tub thawed Cool Whip
20 Oreo cookies (I used more)crushed (I used Halloween Oreos w/ orange frosting just to be festive!)
30 mini chocolate chips

Pour milk into large bowl. Add pudding. Beat with whisk 2 mins. or until well blended. Gently stir in half of the cool whip and half of the crushed cookies.

Spoon 1 tbsp. remaining crushed oreos into 15 cups. Spoon pudding mixture evenly into cups, top with remaining crushed cookies.

Drop remaining cool whip by spoonfuls onto desserts to create ghosts. Use mini chips for eyes. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 15.

Friday we took Spiders!
I saw these on a kids tv show a long time ago and have done them a few times. All you do is spread peanut butter, or cream cheese since a lot of kids have peanut allergies, onto a cracker. Break pretzel sticks in half and add 4 on each side for spider legs. Spread peanut butter or cream cheese on another cracker and place on top of original cracker. For eyes you can use either raisins, or I like craisins. Stick onto cracker using either the cream cheese or peanut butter.

I took pics, but for some reason blogger won't upload them so I will send them to your emails so you can see what they look like.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Donny's Birthday Cake

This won't really help anyone whose goal is to make a quick, nutritious dinner, but it would definitely work for you if you've got some time and a special occasion coming up. Since (surprise!) Don didn't care what kind of birthday cake I made him, I picked what I liked - a very chocolately, rich cake. I thought it might interest some of you. My parents were down for that weekend, and they took some pictures of the cake, so I'll try to track one down and add it.

Baker’s 225th Anniversary Cake
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 54 minutes
Makes: 16 servings

2 teaspoons butter, melted, divided
1 ¾ cups four
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 package (8 squares) Baker’s Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter; cut into ½ inch pieces
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ¾ cups Baker’s 225th Anniversary Fudge Icing
Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease 2 9-inch round cake pans with half of the melted butter. Cover bottom of each pan with wax paper (or parchment paper); brush evenly with the remaining melted butter. Set aside.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Place chocolate and the cut-up butter in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted; set aside.
Beat the sugar and eggs in a medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed 2 minutes or until slightly thickened and pale in color. Add chocolate mixture; beat until well blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended. Scrape down side of bowl.
Add buttermilk and vanilla; beat on low speed 15 seconds, then beat on medium speed an additional 15 seconds. (If batter is not completely blended at this point, mix by hand with a rubber spatula until mixture is well blended). Pour evenly into prepared pans; spread into prepared pans; spread with spatula, if necessary, to evenly cover bottom of each pan.
Bake on middle oven rack 30-34 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake). Cool in pan 5 minutes.
Remove from pans to wire racks; remove and discard wax paper. Cool completely. Fill and frost with Baker’s 225th Anniversary Fudge Icing. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
Baker’s 225th Anniversary Fudge Icing
Prep time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes (including refrigeration)
Makes: 5 ¾ cups or 46 servings, 2 tablespoons each

2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 package (8 squares) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons butter, cut into ½ inch pieces

Place all ingredients except butter in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently with wire whisk to dissolve the sugar and melt the chocolate. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat. Gradually add butter, one piece at a time, stirring after each addition until it is completely melted before adding the next piece. Pour into 15x10x1-inch pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. (If refrigerating for more than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before beating as directed in next step).
Place the chilled fudge mixture in large bowl and beat with electric mixer on high speed 1 minute; scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue beating 30 seconds or until light and fluffy. Immediately frost the cake.
For additional recipes visit

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Since it's October already...

Well, since it's already October I thought I would start out with a few fun ideas I've added to the Halloween Buffet to get everyone into the mood.  I'm already starting to get all my decorations out (slowly, but surely), and getting into the Halloween spirit!  
Here are the changes/additions I've made to the buffet that my kids really seem to like:

Monster Mud - instead of mustard I put the sign in between two dips - one is onion dip (for the potato chips I do for Werewolf fangs, the other is a carmel dip (so yummy!)
Caramel Apple Dip (also yummy with bananas)

1 bag caramels
1/4 c water
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c brown sugar
-melt caramels w/ water
-cream together cream cheese and brown sugar, then fold in caramel mixture

Green Slime - no one really loved the lime jello, so I started doing it with apple jello, which was really good, but, I haven't been able to find apple jello for the past couple of years. So, last year we found Margarita - it wasn't too bad.  I think this year I will add a little sprite to it in place of some of the water to give it a little extra kick!

Cat Claws - instead of more chips, I do apple slices (which go perfectly with the caramel dip!)

I also always have Halloween sugar cookies out, and I usually do some chocolate covered pretzels too - either the molds, or you can just melt different colors of molding chocolates and roll the top half of the pretzel rods in the chocolate, then shake Halloween sprinkles onto the chocolate covered pretzel

I also usually use Kristen's recipe for her "Fall Harvest Warmer" in place of plain Spiced Cider, and I  have cold apple cider for the kids

Fall Harvest Warmer (I make it in a crock pot, or you can do on stove)
2 c water
1/2 c sugar
2 4" cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
2 c cranberry juice cocktail
1 c orange juice
orange slices to float
-combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and juices in crockpot
-put cloves in tea strainer and also float in crock pot
-cut up 1 orange and float slices just before serving

(I usually double or triple the recipe (I will add extra spices, but I don't fully double those and it all comes out fine)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The latest ideas

Here are a few of the latest things I've been cookin' up (ok, more like throwing together) around here:

For the babies party we did BBQ Buffalo burgers and brats.  I love BBQ brats and it's perfect BBQ weather!  Just an idea.

I think Sarah and I had the same idea on the same day last week! :) Our nachos were pretty simple.  All I do is melt some cheese on tortilla chips, then I have cooked up hamburger (I don't use taco seasoning, but you can if you want), lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa out for people to fix up their nachos however they want.  The kids really like it and it's super easy - which I am all about!  My friend gave me this yummy guacamole recipe to use too - it's really good!
4-5 avacados
1/4 bunch cilantro
1-2 roma tomatoes
1/8-1/4 red onion
chop all and put in food processor
add juice from 1-2 limes (1-2 tbsp.)
1 tsp. cumen
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cut up jalapenos from jar/can
2 tbsp. juice from jalapeno jar/can
mix all together

Oriental Chicken Salad
I think some of you maybe have had this before, but I really love it for an easy quick meal - yes a salad can be a meal, although it took some convincing with my kids.
1/2 head green leaf lettuce
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
chicken (about one cooked and cut up breast or you can use the canned chicken)
1 can mandarin oranges
1 cup celery
chopped green onions (I usually omit this, my kids don't really like them and I hardly ever have them on hand)
1/2 c sliced sugared almonds (heat about 3 tbsp. sugar in pan over stove and mix in almonds, cool on wax paper)
  • As I'm plating the salad, I also put chow mein noodles on top.  I don't mix them into the salad because they will get soggy if I have leftovers.
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vinegar

  • mix ingredients together and chill - can drizzle over whole salad before serving, or can put on individual servings

Chinese Sundaes
I think you all have this recipe except for Sarah.  It's an old stand by in my house, and the kids love it and eat tons of it!  Kris, don't be afraid to try it with the veggies next time. :)
diced cooked chicken (most of the time I use the canned chicken)
diced ham
corn (heated)
diced tomatoes
pineapple tidbits
manderine oranges
maraschino cherries
grated cheddar cheese
  • on the stove mix either 2 cans cream of chicken soup with enough water to make it a saucy consistency, or can use 1 can cream of chicken and 1 can cream of mushroom - both ways taste good
  • add whatever toppings you want over cooked rice, then top with soup
Monkey Bread
Ok, for years I have been looking for a good, easy monkey bread recipe.  I haven't really found one I like yet, but I found this and have been using it instead.  It is super yummy and really easy for a special breakfast.  I think mom made this for you guys at Christmas, but if you don't have the recipe, here it is.
2 cans Grands refrigerated cinnamon rolls
1 cup whipping cream (I just buy the pint size container and dump the whole thing in)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 med. Granny Smith apple peeled and chopped (I just use whatever apple I have)
  • generously spray fluted cake pan with Pam
  • mix whipping cream, cinnamon, apples, and brown sugar in large mixing bowl.  Separate both cans of dough into 10 rolls, cut each roll into quarters, stir into mixture until well coated. (set icing aside)
  • spoon mixture into pan bake about 40-45 mins. at 350
  • cool upside down on serving dish for mins. before removing pan
  • heat icing for about 10 seconds in microwave and drizzle over cake
Ok, I think that is it for now, I have more recipes I will share later.  It's taken me all day to get this far and it's time to get off to bed.  Sorry I don't have any pictures to share, but by the time I think about it we've all already dug in, and the pictures at that point wouldn't look too appetizing. :)  I'll try harder next time. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A few recent successes

Hey, I'd love to do a more thorough job on this, but I thought I could at least put up a few pictures and descriptions to let you know what we've made of late that's been worth eating!
I like making chicken pot pies because they're easy and they allow you to sneak lots of vegetables into everyone's diet.  I used a normal pie crust recipe this time (I often use Bisquick and mix it up like I was making b

iscuits and use that, since it makes a lighter, fluffier crust) but this time, we did it the old-fashioned way.  We cooked up a little chicken, threw in some steamed and some frozen vegetables (this one included carrots, peas and corn, but it's easy to just use those frozen veggie mixes) and mixed it in with cream of mushroom soup, adding water/milk as needed to stir it, and baked it for about 35 minutes.  It was delicious.

We also had a nacho night, which was successful.  We found ground turkey that was already seasoned, though it's not hard to add taco seasoning to ground turkey or beef and get the same effect.  We cooked that with onions, melted cheese into it, added salsa and olives, and ate it with chips.  We had that along with a fruit salad that I made using just fruits, no filler.  That's my favorite way to do fruit salads.  I just add a little lemon or lime juice to keep the fruit as fresh as possible, and sometimes sugar (though if you get the right balance of sweeter fruits and include bananas, you really don't need it).

We've also made a couple of stir fries recently.  We just use beef or chicken cut into small pieces and cooked with onions, and add bok choy and stir fry mix and some seasoning (Don does that - I think he just adds soy sauce, some salt & pepper, garlic, and maybe a couple of other things) and eat it with rice. 

Also, we had a culinary emergency the other day when the pot roast wasn't done in time for the sister missionaries to eat it, so we had to improvise.  We made a light salad into a more substantial one by adding canned beans (black are the best, but kidney also work), corn, and cheese, in addition to the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and green onions that it already included.  That meal works for people who've already had a big lunch (as they had) or who can be convinced that a salad really can constitute actual food if you add enough protein to it.  Then Don and I got to eat pot roast for days when it was finally done cooking.  Yum.

That's all for now.  If you avid bloggers want to tell me how to include pictures, I can add them of a couple of these dishes.