Saturday, December 17, 2011

spinach lasagna rolls

Tonight's dinner featured

- spinach lasagna rolls from

and as sides we had

- chicken breasts
- green beans
- spinach and lettuce salad

It was delicious!  Our female dinner guest and I both loved the lasagna but even Travis liked them!
I even thought the assembly was easy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

super good from skinny taste

Dinner this week has included this outstandingly good Potato Soup.  It uses more cauliflower than spuds and is delish topped with some crumbled turkey bacon and sharp cheddar cheese.

I modified it a bit - made a bigger batch and used a few more taters in the process - but the result was still fabulous.

And perhaps the best part - I didn't burn the bacon!!!

Dinner tonight is in the crock pot and smells awesome:  Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken.

Both dinners are fairly easy, really good, and pretty good for you.  Must continue to use Skinny Taste for my meal planning.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

pumpkin pie with whipped cream

This pumpkin pie recipe was created by my great grandmother.  She made it for Great Grandpa who didn't want a pie that was too pumpkiny. 
My younger brother opts for this pie instead of birthday cake and its the only pumpkin pie I'll eat.  It seems that not liking things "too pumpkiny" runs in the family.

1 C pumpkin puree
1 C sugar
3 Tbsp flour, heaping
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp gigner
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 C milk
1 egg

Blend all ingredients.
Pour in unbaked pie crust.*
Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent burning.
Bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes or until butter knife insterted in center comes out clean.

*Pie Crust
1 C + 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C vegetable oil
2-3 Tbsp cold water

Mix flour, salt, and oil.
Add water until it forms a ball - it's better to add too much water than too little.
Roll out between two pieces of wax paper or cling wrap.

Makes one crust.

This whipeed cream recipe came from here.
We had left over whipping cream and so I decided to try my hand at something that had always seemed so "Martha Stewart" - read: too hard.
It was actually quite easy and totally worth the time. 
Just ask Bennet.

1 C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

In a large, cold bowl beat cream until peaks are about to form.
Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form.
Do not overbeat.

Put a good ole dollop on your pumpkin pie and enjoy your excellence.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tea Party

For the Royal Wedding I hosted a tea party.  The menu included egg salad sandwiches, scones with strawberry jam and cream, and a chocolate cake with coffee frosting. 

Egg Salad

12 hard boiled eggs
1 1/2 C mayo
1 Tbsp mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp pickle relish
1/2 tsp dill
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cut eggs into chunks. Mash with a fork for finer bits.
Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Taste for salt and pepper.  Add more mayo and mustard for a creamier salad.

Yields 5 sandwiches.
For the tea party I cut the crust off the bread and quartered each slice.  I also served some sandwiches with slices of green apple.

Welsh Scones

2 1/4 C flour
1/3 C sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp butter (1 stick), cut into 12 slices
1 egg
1/2 C milk

Preheat oven to 450.
Mix dry ingredients.  Cut butter into mix until texture is mealy.
In seperate bowl, beat egg and milk together.
Toss egg and milk mixture with flour mix.
Turn out on counter, gently knead about 4 times. 
Make 2 six inch discs; place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Cut 1/2 way through dough into 8 sections.  (It may be easier to cut if the knife is dipped in sugar or flour.)
Bake 12-15 minutes.

Serve topped with strawberry jam and whipped cream (or clotted cream if you can find it!).

Coffee Frosting

This recipe is based off a recipe found in the May 2011 Real Simple magazine.  My mom was sure this was the best frosting she ever had - in her whole life.  It kinda tastes like a mocha frappe.

3 sticks butter at room temperature (I used 2 butter, 1 margarine)
3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 pinches kosher salt
1 Tbsp instant decaf coffee mixed with 1 Tbsp hot water

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until it is light and fluffy - about 4 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add sugar.
Mix in vanilla, salt, and coffee.
Beat until smooth, scraping the side of the bowl as needed.

This made enough frosting for a small layer cake.
I used it on a chocolate cake (store bough mix) and then pressed crushed chocolate cookies into the side of the cake.

Monday, April 18, 2011


The only thing more amazing than how easy it is to make this is how awesome it tastes.  Seriously.

Also, this is the way to my grandfather-in-law Arlo's heart. 

3 ripe avocados
3 Tbsp chunky salsa
2 tsp minced garlic
salt to taste (at least 1 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop out into bowl.
Smash up avocado with fork or potato masher.
Add remaining ingredients.
Add salsa, garlic

Mexican Lasagna

This recipe comes from Rachel Ray.  We loooooved this dish.  It was relatively easy to make and was so, so good.  We topped ours with sour cream and served it with salad, chips, and guacamole.  Yum!

The recipe below is not Rachel's original, but how I altered it.  Hope you like it!  Also, it could easily be converted into a bare cupboard meal if you make the tortillas from scratch.  Or at least in this house since I'm ridiculous about always having black beans and canned tomatoes in the house.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14-oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
8 (8 inch) wheat flour tortillas
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
2 scallions, finely chopped
sour cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add stewed tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. (I used a round Corning Ward dish and didn't have to cut the tortillas!)  Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mexican Mac and Cheese

From the March 2011 Better Homes and Gardens. 

I made this dish thinking it would be easy and okay tasting.  It was worth a shot, I figured.  But man oh man was I ever underestimating this dish.  It was so good!  I split it in two, freezing half, and we scarfed down the other half.  Travis and I were both impressed and Lydia and Bennet liked it, too.

1 box rigatoni pasta
1 lb sausage
1 C chopped onion
1 16oz jar medium hot salsa (I used mild for the kids' sake.)
4 C Monetary Jack cheese (I used 2 C)
tomato wedges, sliced jalapeno peppers, and salsa

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease 3 qt baking dish; set aside. 
Cook pasta according to package.  Drain; set aside.
Meanwhile in large skillet cook sausage and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender.  Drain fat and return sausage and onion to skillet.  Stir in salsa.
In prepared dish layer noodles, sausage, cheese.  Repeat.
Bake, uncovered, for 35 mins.  Let stand 10 mins before serving.  Top with tomato, jalapeno and fresh cilantro.  If desired, serve with additional salsa.
Makes 12 servings. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Double Chocolate Fudge Cups

Travis requested these majorly chocolately cupcakes for his birthday. 
This recipe came from Kraft Food & Family magazine.

3 squares semi-sweet baking chocolates
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
4 egg whites
1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar
4 Tbsp cool whip

Microwave chocolate and oil in glass measuring cup on High 1-2 mins.  Stir in cocoa powder; let stand at least 5 mins.

Beat egg whites and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed 3 mins or until tripled in volume.  Reduce speed to med low; blend in melted chocolate mixture until well combined.

Spoon batter into 6 paper-lined medium muffin cups; muffin cups can be almost full.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven 18 mins or until puffed and center is set.  Remove from oven and let stand in pan 5 mins

Serve with whipped topping.

There's 190 calories and 8g of fat in one of these babies - not too bad for a cupcake!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irish Breakfast

How we celebrated St. Patrick's Day, a day early.
green milk
sausage links
fried eggs
tomato slices
sliced mushrooms
Irish Soda farls*

Cook everything in skillet.
Serve warm with Pandora's Celtic station playing in the background.

*A farl is a slice of Irish soda bread warmed in a skillet - or at least that's what I understand it to be.  I could be wrong about this.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened

1 cup buttermilk**
1 egg

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk**

Mix first group of ingredients.
Add buttermilk and egg.

Turn out dough and knead gently. 
Form into round, place on greased baking sheet, and mark with a cross.

Mix melted butter and 1/4 C buttermilk and spread on dough.

Bake at 375 for 45 mins

** Buttermilk substitute:  1 Tbsp vinegar + short cup milk 

home made cream chicken and toast

Mom gave me this recipe.  She told me it was good.  She was right. 

2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 C milk
2 chicken breasts, cubed
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of bread

Place slices of bread into muffin pan, pushing them into cups.
Place pan into oven and begin preheating to 350, once it reaches temperature turn oven off.

Meanwhile, cook chicken.  Set aside.
In the same skillet, melt butter over medium low heat. 
Stir in flour until smooth.
Slowly add the milk, stirring the whole time.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When gravy is desired consistency remove from heat and add chicken back in.

Take the toast out of the oven, and fill the cups with the creamed chicken.
Comfort food tastes sooooo good.

Monday, February 21, 2011

World, meet the cookie brownie

Going through left over Valentine's candy I found some Hershey Hugs for half price.
I thought to myself, "I need to make a cookie like a peanut butter blossom but with Hugs."
And thus the quest began.

I talked with my sister-in-law, a very good baker.  I discussed things with my mom, another accomplished baker.  I glanced through, checked the index in multiple cookbooks, read the suggestions on the Hugs' bag, and I thought about what I wanted.  It had to be chocolate and chewy like a brownie, but not a brownie.  I also wanted to make something from scratch - not just make a brownie mix and pretend it was a cookie.

That's when the 1963 Betty Crocker's Cooky Book came through once again.  I took old Betty's brownie recipe, made some modifications, experimented a bit, and ended up with a cookie I'm quite pleased with.  It kinda looks like a brownie and it tastes like a brownie, but it's not as crumbly, gooey or sticky as brownies can be.  So it travels like a cookie but tastes like a brownie.

2/3 C margarine, softened
4 Tbsp oil*
2 C + 1 Tbsp sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 C + 2 tsp cocoa powder*
3 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 bag Hershey Hugs, unwrapped

Beat shortening, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
Separately mix cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Blend together.
Make small balls out of dough and place on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
Place Hug in center of each cookie, softly pressing down on each one.
Allow cookie to cool on baking sheet.

*You can use 4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and blended with shortening.  Omit the cocoa and oil if using squares.

I hope you like it!  Let me know if you try it and enjoy it.  But don't tell me if you don't like it - I can't handle rejection.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

everyone was right about kale chips

Kale Chips, people!  They're awesome!  Awesome!  My friend, Laura, was right!  Eat these and feel like a super hero!

This is what you do:

Buy kale - a super food amongst super food, bring home, don't even put it away.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Cut the leafy-ness off the main stalk.

Wash and dry.

Drizzle with olive oil.  Not too much.

Sprinkle with salt and season salt.  Not too much.

Bake for 10 minutes or so, until the edges are brown.

Eat the crispy, delicious chips, licking your fingers a the end.  Feed them to your kids (who will like them and want more).  Feel no guilt when you eat the whole pan.  Clean up by throwing away the foil.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mom's Meatloaf

This is meatloaf for people who think they don't like meatloaf.  And I understand why you think you don't.  When I was a kid this meatloaf was a family favorite and I never understood why people cracked jokes at poor meatloaf's expense.  And then I had it at someone else's house and I knew. 

But this recipe - that she found in her old microwave's cookbook! - is incredibly flavorful and has a great amount of zing.

As we learn from Yo Gabba Gabba, "Try it; you'll like it!"

2lbs hamburger
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
1 sleeve of saltine crackers, crushed
2 eggs (can be omitted - just use a bit more ketchup)
1/2 C ketchup

1 C ketchup
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp worchestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix meat, crackers, soup mix, eggs, saltines and 1/2 C ketchup and spread into 9x13" pan.

Mix topping ingredients and spread over meat.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Home Made Instant Potato Soup

My friend Katie gave us an awesome anniversary / Christmas gift this past year:  a picnic bag with a bottle of wine, crackers, and some home made instant soup mixes in mason jars.

We've only had one of the soups and it was so good I asked for the recipe.  And now I'm going to share it with you so you can warm yourself during this blizzard.  brrrrrrr!

Home Made Instant Potato Soup

2 C instant mashed potato
1 1/2 C dry milk powder
2 T instant chicken bouillon
2 t dried minced onion
1 t dried parsley
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t dried thyme
1/8 t turmeric
1 1/2 t seasoning salt

Combine all ingredients.  Fits in 1 qt jar.

Use 1/2 C mix with 1 C boiling water.

When we made it I added a heaping 1/2 C of the mix so it was a little thicker.  I also added some unpeeled, roughly cut red potatoes and some carrots.  Sausage, parsnips, celery, onion, and cheese all taste yummy with it, too.