Monday, January 31, 2011

Mashed Potato Stuffed Hot Dogs

You may wonder what I am going to do with hot dogs, cheese and mashed potatoes......this was one of my favorite dinners when I was growing up as a kid. Now, my kids include it as one of their faves....

Ready for the oven~


Oh, this is my favorite new find....way to go Lean Cuisine!!

Mashed Potato Hot Dogs
8 Hot Dogs, sliced lengthwise
6 Servings, instant potatoes~made according to package directions
DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Slice hot dogs and place in 9x13 baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes, cheese and paprika. Bake hot dogs for 15 minutes...serve with peas and applesauce!
Happy Eating!

Contagious Joy....Do you have it?

"A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart."

Proverbs 15:30 MSG

I have been studying JOY, all aspects of it; from living without joy, finding joy in get the idea! The verse above makes me think of my kids and the twinkle they have in their eyes all the time. They find joy in EVERYTHING! I mean everything.....when it rains, Riley wants to get geared up and go jump in the puddles...I wish I could say the same, I am more of a puddle plodder than a puddle jumper because I worry about the mud that will get tracked thru the house, the cold the kids might catch, just the mess it will make.......but when the kids laugh those big belly laughs or get excited over a special treat their joy is contagious. It made me think~does my joy shine through? It states in this study that "joyous people whistle while they work and break into spontaneous song." I have a friend who will often break into song....I LOVE it, it is fun, it is contagious, it makes me smile and it helps me to see what a joy she is!

I am hoping that whatever you do today you find great joy in it-break into song, do some whistling-impact the people around you with your joy! I also pray that if you are having trouble finding joy in your days, that you know you can pray for joy...a joy that will not be affected by changes in your circumstance or your emotions....a joy that is contagious. Remember JOY IS YOURS! God does not want us to live a joyless life, sometimes all you need to do is ask!

"Joy must be the shocking pink thread in our tapestry, because people seem stunned by this flamboyant stictch. When we exhibit joy during trying times, others view us as odd ducks, 'cause everyone knows life ain't no ride on no pink duck." ~Patsy Clairmont

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cookie Bars!

OH MY WORD! I think these are the best cookie bars that I have ever had.....they are chewy goodness wrapped up in a pan! To bad for me that they were so good, it was a snow day and the kids and I ate the whole pan....yes, I am embarrassed to admit that but they were that good. I did pawn one off on the neighbor and Jimmy had 3 and I did have an extra kid around that day...oh the excuses I will make! Here is the recipe for these yummy things!

Blondie Bars:

1 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/3 C. Butter
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
2/3 C. chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure 1 Cup flour. Add baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. Melt 1/3 C. butter. Add 1 C.brown sugar and mix well. Allow to cool slightly. Add egg and vanilla. Blend well. Add flour mixture. Spread into 9x9 baking dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely and cut into bars. (Note: I used 1/2 Chocolate Chip and 1/2 Peanut Butter Chip). Enjoy!

Super Salad Saturday!

The ladies at work and I decided to have a theme lunch for our weekend shift and as you can tell from the title, we picked salads!! Each of us brought in a salad to share and let me tell you, they were fantastic salads!! Here is the one that I brought, I adapted this from a recipe that a friend makes (thanks Sherri!!):
Sweet and Crunchy Salad
Here is what you will need:
Soak your noodles:
While noodles are soaking~mix up your dressing ingred.
Combine everything in a bowl:
2 Packages Chicken Flavored Ramen Noodles
1 Pkg. Broccoli Slaw
4 Green Onions, chopped
1/2 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Vinegar
1/4 C. Vegetable Oil
3/4 C. Honey Roasted Peanuts
Soak noodles in hot water until soft. Whisk together sugar, vinegar, oil and the seasoning packets from the noodles. Place broccoli slaw, softened noodles and onion in a serving bowl. Toss with dressing. Refrig. for several hours or overnight. Top with peanuts before serving!
Happy Salad Saturday!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vanilla Apple Crisp!

This is FANTASTIC right out of the oven with vanilla ice cream!

You will need Granny Smith Apples:

Combine peeled and thinly sliced apples with brown sugar and cinnamon:

Top with your cookie crumb topping:

Serve warm with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream:

4 Large Granny Smith Apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 C. brown sugar, divided
2 Tbsp. Cinnamon, divided
1/3 C. Quick Cooking Oats
1/4 C. Butter
25 Vanilla Wafers, crushed (approx. 1 Cup)
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350. Toss apples with 1/4 C. brown sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon. Place in 8x8 baking dish. Combine oats, 1/4 C. brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon. Cut in butter with 2 knives or pastry blender. Stir in vanilla cookie wafer crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Bake for 35 minutes.
Happy Eating!

"Chicken Lickin" Good Pork Chops

This recipe came from a long time friend of mine (Thanks April), and has been a family favorite for years now!

Here is what you will need:

Combine flour, garlic powder and dry mustard:

Dredge pork chops in the flour:

Next brown your chops in a pan coated with cooking spray:

Layer chops in crock pot and top with can of soup:

Serve with green beans and rice:

Chicken Lickin Good Pork Chops
6-8 Boneless, lean pork chops
1/2 C. Flour
1/4 Tbsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp. Veg. Oil
1 Can Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
DIRECTIONS: Mix flour, salt, mustard and garlic powder. Dredge pork chops in flour mix and brown in oil, (I used cooking spray and omitted oil). Place browned chops in crock pot. Pour can of soup over chops and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Here is the recipe for the Oven Baked Rice:

Oven Baked Rice:
2 Cups Instant Rice, uncooked
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 1/4 C. water
1 can beef broth
DIRECTIONS: Combine rice, soup mix, water and broth in a 9x9 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Snow Day Fun & Caramel Drizzle Hot Cocoa!

Well, we have survived the snow so far.....I am pretty sure we are to get another round of it tonight! The kids helped me clean this morning so after lunch, we packed up and went outside....
Here is what we did:

Riley made a snowman...his name is "Snowy" (I know original, right?):

JD made a stool, hmmm.....

I shoveled the the way, Mr. Snowplow man...the next you come by please don't throw wet, heavy snow on me....
Then we came in for caramel drizzled hot cocoa! I had a caramel drizzle mocha cafe!
No, I did not buy those mugs for my kids, Nana did....why? because Nana doesn't have to listen to the whistling.....wonder if I have time to go out shopping before it snows again??
I will post dinner recipes later tonight....another crock pot recipe!
Happy Snow Day!

Afternoon Pick Me Up!

I am a coffee one of my favorite things to do in an afternoon before the kids get home and chaos reigns, I enjoy a good coffee drink, some reading and just some quiet time. Now, don't think that I sit around all the time, because I wish that I could get downtime every day, but some days just don't allow for that! Today, I am sure will be one that does not allow for that because the kids are home and snowsuits will come on and off all day today.....
Enjoy, savor....CARPE DIEM!

Happy Eating!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken Wrap

I am doing a lunch post today because I have swim class tonight and between swim class, feeding the family, homework and bedtime....I don't have a whole lot of extra time today. (And yes, I know how to swim...I am taking an extreme deep cardio class that is just fantastic...I don't love getting in the pool on cold days like today but it is worth it!).

I had a craving for feta cheese and hummus today so this is what I came up with for lunch:


Mediterranean Chicken Wrap - 7 WW Pts.

1 Santa Fe Tortilla Company Whole Grain Wrap (found them at Costco for $2.99/pack)
1 Tbsp. Hummus
1/2 C. chopped lettuce
2 Tomato slices
1-2 oz. grilled chicken (also a Costco find....grilled and ready to use..gotta love it!)
1 Tbsp. Feta Cheese
DIRECTIONS: Spread hummus onto wrap. Layer ingred. in order listed. Wrap up and eat!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baked Potato Skins and Lightened Up Taco Dip!

This great group of ladies recently asked me to participate in a Book Club with them and I am never one to turn down a good book, hot coffee and of course, snacks! Last night we had a get together/book exchange/movie night. We each brought a wrapped book for the exchange and watched Eat, Pray, Love......and had some great food!! We were asked to bring an appetizer and I am never good at this because I can never decide what to take so I finally decided on the Tater Skins (thanks Sheila!) and Taco Dip....these two recipes would be great for game days!

Starting with the Taco Dip (for all my weight watcher friends this is only 2 pts. per serving):
Mix cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning with a blender until smooth and creamy:

Spread into a 9x9 dish and top with salsa:

Next top with shredded lettuce and low fat cheese:

Finish off with tomatoes, black olives and green onions:

Chill in fridge for 1-2 hours or longer.
Lightened Up Taco Dip:
8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 C. reduced fat sour cream
16 oz. jar of salsa (mild, medium or hot.......I use mild!)
1 pkt. Taco Seasoning
2 C. shredded iceburg lettuce
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 C. reduced fat mexican cheese
1 Small can sliced black olives
3 Green Onions, sliced
DIRECTIONS: In large bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning. Mix well. Spread into bottom of 9x9 dish. Spread with salsa. Top with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, olives and green onions.

Baked Potato Skins:
Bake potatoes (375 for 1 hour) then cut in 1/2:

Brush skins w/ oil mixture over both sides of skins and bake. Then top with bacon:

Top with cheese:

Bake and top with green onion and sour cream:

8 Small Baking potatoes, baked
6 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
16 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 C. Shredded Cheese
1/2 C. Sour Cream
4 Green Onions, sliced
DIRECTIONS: Cut potatoes in 1/2 lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4" of shell (save pulp for another use, or at my house Jimmy just ate it with his mac n' cheese....can you say STARCH??). Combine oil, parm cheese and seasonings. Brush skins on both sides. Bake at 475 for 7 minutes and then flip. Bake another 7 minutes. Sprinkle bacon and cheese inside the skins. Bake another 2-3 minutes; or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and green onions. Serve hot!!
Happy Eating!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Granola Snack Bars and Steak!!

Mmmm.....can you smell the steak on the grill?
Today was a work day for me and I never know what to make because I leave so early in the morning, so I just set out steaks and chicken breast to thaw and we grilled tonight! I LOVE grilling...almost as much as I love soup! As I sit here and watch House Hunters International, I imagine us grilling at a little cottage in the county in England! It is fun to dream about these far away places!
We just marinate the steak with a little Worcestershire sauce, pepper and garlic salt.....and I made Jimmy grill because well, it is just to cold outside for my liking!

The following is just a quick snack I made the kids for the weekend.....

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.....

2 1/2 Cups Crispy Rice Cereal (yes, it probably is supposed to be Rice Krispies, but I used what I had.....)
2 C. Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 C. Chocolate Chips
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Light Corn Syrup
1/2 C. Peanut Butter
1/2 C. Peanuts, coarsely chopped
* In a large bowl, stir together cereal and oats and peanuts. Set aside. Grease 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Combine brown sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until just boiling, then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Pour over cereal and oat mixture and mix well. Press into 9x13 baking dish using the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and press into bars. Cool and cut into squares.

Have a good weekend!! Stay warm!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crock Pot Almost Lasagna

Again, another crock pot recipe! Looks like a lot of ingredients but it is worth it!!

Finished meal waiting to be served....
Here is what you will need:
1 Box of rotini or ziti, cooked (I used Malfada because it is fun to say).
2 28 oz. jars of pasta sauce
2 C. tomato juice (or sauce)
1/2 lb. ground beef, browned
1/2 lb. sausage, browned
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 C. Italian Bread Crumbs
3 Eggs
2 C. Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
2 C. Ricotta (I used part skim, but you may use whatever your preference).
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1. In large bowl toss the cooked pasta with pasta sauce and tomato juice.
2. Brown beef and sausage. Add 1 C. parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, 1 Egg and 1 C. mozzarella to the meat.
3. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and 2 eggs, parsley and italian seasoning.
4. Pour 1/2 the pasta mixture in bottom of crockpot. Top w/ ricotta mixure. Add meat mixure. Cover with remaining pasta mixture. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese, cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.
Serve with texas toast and a salad!!
Happy Eating!!

Baked Chicken and Rice - Crockpot Style!!

So since I was sick this week, I was looking for some easy things that I could throw in the crock pot and go back to laying on the sofa.....things that Jimmy and the kids could easily serve was a favorite...

Ingredients you will need:

Baked Chicken and Rice
2 Cups Dry Instant Rice
2 Cans (99% FF) Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can (99% FF) Cream of Mushroom Soup
3 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1 Soup Can water
10 skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Pkg. Dry Onion Soup Mix

1. Place rice in crockpot.
2. Combine soups, butter and water. Pour 1/2 the soup mix over the rice.
3. Lay chicken over rice. Pour remaining soup mix over chicken.
4. Sprinkle with dry onion soup mix.
5. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or until chicken is done but not dry, and rice is tender.

Note: I served this with steamed broccoli and applesauce.

Happy Eating!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meet Rosie!

The newest member of our family, Rosie Robinson, joined us on Monday. All 3 lbs. 8 oz. of her!
She is a bundle of energy and the kids love her! I do have to say that she is very smart and is catching on to the whole house training thing quite accidents yet!! Yippee!!

I will get my dinner updates tomorrow, I have been sick since Monday and JD has joined me with thiswhole head cold, sore throat deal and then tonight, Riley got sick...with a stomach bug!! Not a whole lot of eating has been going on!!

Have a good night!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Toasted Marshmallow Brownies....

Okay, I know...but I couldn't resist! I saw this recipe on another blog (Cookies and Cups, the link is on my page) and I couldn't resist making them! I have been planning them for days~you are probably thinking....Chrissy, get a life.....but I couldn't resist the cuteness!! I couldn't figure out why my frosting was softer than on the other blog, but I just realized, I didn't add enough powdered sugar...DUH! They were still tasty all the same!
Sorry the photos are a little blurry, I think my camera is dying.
The finished product...

Snowmen in the making...

Getting ready...

Yes, it does taste like a roasted marshmallow.....Jimmy found this for me at Weis Markets in Willow Street....

Oh, and I fed my family Pizza Hut pizza and brownies for nutritious! :)
These are so fun, I can hardly stand it!! Here is the recipe (I adapted this recipe to what I had on hand):
1 9x13 Brownie Mix, plus ingredients to make them
2 7oz containers of Toasted Marshmallow Fluff
1 C. Butter, at room temprature
3 C. Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
1. Bake brownies according to package directions. Allow to cool completely.
2. To make the frosting, beat butter and marshmallow until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered
sugar. Spread over brownies.
3. Make the glaze by melting all ingred. until smooth. Spread over top of frosting.
4. Place in refrig. until set.

To make the Snowman:
Place 3 mini marshmallows on a toothpick. Coat in melted white chocolate and immediately top w/ a chocolate chip for a hat. After the dry, you can do their faces a variety of ways.....edible ink pens or I used a toothpick and decorator gel.

Friday Night Fun!

Okay, so Friday nights I usually look for a way out of cooking.....what better way than to have a "date night" with JD. (I am sorry, he told me that it was not cool to have dates with your mom, but it was okay to call it a "hanging out" night...whatever! Riley and Jimmy stayed home and ate chilli, cornbread and I made Jimmy some of Tastefully Simples Beer Bread....very easy to do!! JD and I went to JB Dawson's....I don't recommend eating there on a Friday night with a hungry 8 year old boy.....he was very patient but VERY hungry (according to him he was starving....I doubt that). After eating we cruised the mall (do people still say "cruise the mall" or was that banished??) and he actually wanted a pair of converse know the "Chuck Taylor's" of the 80's. He got low top black ones because they didn't have the charcoal color he wanted. Then he actually got into one of those photo booths with me, oh I wish I could scan them and download them, pretty funny pictures!! To cap off the night we decided to stop at the store on the way home and get the makings for that Riley could be included!!

Anyway, this is a work weekend for me, so I may not get recipes posted until Monday!! Depending on how tired I am!

:) Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nacho Chicken Bake and More Snow Delay Fun...

So we had another 2 hour delay.....those are my kind of days, days were you can just ease into your morning and don't have to rush to get the kids ready for school early! Plus, we don't have to make the day up at the end of the year!

Tonight I made a Nacho Chicken Bake for dinner.....I only posted a picture of the ingredients because I ended up burning my fingers on my baking stone (don't ask) and left the chicken in the oven to long, so the cheese got a little dried up and didn't make for a nice picture! The dinner still had great flavor because of the salsa, but PLEASE remember to use oven mitts or hot pads to move around hot dishes!
Here is what you will need....

Here is how to do do it:

4 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approx. 1 lb)
1/2 C. Salsa
1/4 C. Sour Cream
1/2 C. crushed tortilla chips
1/2 C. Mexican Style Cheese

*Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken on a foil covered baking sheet. Cut 3 slits in each chicken breast (this is to allow the salsa to stick). I also flattened mine a little. Top chicken with salsa and sour cream. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and top with tortilla chips and cheese. Continue baking for additional 10-15 minutes or until chicken is done. Enjoy!

Here are some snapshots of our morning...Riley and Madelyn

Riley, JD and Madelyn at the end of a run...

Riley and Madelyn 1/2 thru a run...

Have a good night!!