Friday, February 25, 2011

Fab Find Friday!

I know that I have done a few posts today but it is a work weekend for me and I doubt I will get much posting done! Another blog I follow does a "Fab Finds" so I thought it would be fun to list some of the finds that I made (and am enjoying ) this week!

If you are a granola lover~this is great! This fab find was found at Costco!

I am a snacker~I would rather eat snacks all day long than 3 square meals a day....this is a great little snack (or light lunch)....pair with the Laughing Cow cheese wedge and it is yummy!

I was really hungry for Arugula this week (not sure why) but I found this and it makes a great little Caprese Salad for lunch....drizzle w/ balsamic vinegar and voila! instant lunch!

I LOVE cookbooks....this was in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble.....can't wait to try some of the recipes!

These little egg cup planters are a reminder of spring and the warmth that will soon follow~again, I found these in the $1 bins at Target and they are planted with Zinnias, Dwarf Sunflowers and Daisies.....I can't wait until they start to bloom!

Have a GREAT weekend....don't blow away in all the wind!

Chocolate Drizzled Coconut Cookie Caramel Corn!

This recipe came from "Cookies and Cups", I had to adapt it slightly to meet the need of what I had on hand.....OH MY WORD~if you like chocolate, coconut, cookies and popcorn...well then, this is the recipe for you!!

Start by popping your popcorn and taking out the unpopped kernels.......I place a cooling rack over a bowl and dump the bag out.....the unpopped kernels fall right through....

Next, toast your coconut~

Dice up your cookies~either Girls Scout Samoas or Keebler Coconut Dreams~

End result:

2 Bags Light Microwave Popcorn, popped
1 Pkg. Samoas or Coconut Dream Cookies
2 Cups Flaked Coconut
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 C. Light Corn Syrup
1 Stick Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 - 3/4 C. Dark Chocolate Candy Coating Wafers
DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium skillet, toast your coconut over medium-low heat~approx. 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully because once it starts to toast, it will toast quickly. Remove from heat and set aside. Dice up cookies. In small saucepan combine butter, sugar and corn syrup. Cook and stir constantly, bring to a boil. Once at boiling stage, turn heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes WITHOUT stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in baking soda and vanilla (yes, it is supposed to look foamy). Pour over popcorn. Stir until popcorn is coated. Place popcorn into a large baking dish and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Bake for 30 minutes (stirring after 15 minutes). Remove from oven and dump out onto wax paper. Top with diced cookies. Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir and then melt in 30 second intervals until fully melted. Drizzle over popcorn. Allow to cool and break into pieces. Store in airtight container.
Happy Eating!

60th Birthday Celebration!

My dad turned 60 yesterday....remember when you thought 60 was old, and then you get old and realize that 60 really isn't so bad......we had a nice little birthday celebration with Mom & Dad at our house!! The menu was ~ Maple Garlic Pork Tenderloin, Balsamic Roasted Red Potatoes and Lima Beans!! (Of course followed by cake and ice cream ~ store bought, not homemade).
Here is what you will need for the pork tenderloin:

Maple Garlic Marinated Pork Tenderloin
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp. vegetable oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Maple Syrup
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. Pork Tenderloin
DIRECTIONS: Combine mustard, oil, garlic and syrup. Place pork in a large, resealable plastic bag or a shallow baking dish and coat thoroughly with marinade. Cover and chill in refrig. for at least 8 hours. (I prepped mine the night before and let set in the fridge. overnight). Preheat grill for a medium to low heat. Grill tenderloin over low heat for 45 minutes - 1 hour, turning every 15/20 minutes. NOTE: Do not grill over high heat because the marinade will burn.

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes:

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 lbs. red potatoes, quartered
1 Tbsp. Finely chopped green onion
4 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
Salt/Pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS: In large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, onion and garlic. Toss to combine. Add thyme, rosemary and nutmeg. Cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until potatoes are hot. Transfer to a 15x10x1 baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until potatoes are golden and almost tender. (Stir a few times during this step). Next, add vinegar, salt and pepper, stir well and cook an additional 8 minutes.
Here is the birthday boy with his helpers:

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Oh This Dog......

This is Rosies new past time.....

She is quite proud....

Need I say more?
Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pierogie and Chicken Skillet

This is one of those~What am I going to make for dinner because I forgot to thaw something out~kind of meals! My family loved it and I loved the quickness of it!!
Here is what you will need:

1 lb. Grilled, Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast - you could grill your own, I bought these for the easy factor.
1 lb. pierogies
2 Jars of Chicken Gravy
1 Bag frozen Broccoli - I used fresh because it is our preference.
1 Small can Durkee French Fried Onions
DIRECTIONS: Place everything in a large skillet with 1/2 Cup chicken broth or water. Cover and simmer on low-medium for about 10 minutes or until pierogies are finished and chicken is heated thru. Serve hot with dinner rolls!!

NOTE: I thawed the chicken out before helped with the dish cooking faster.

Happy Eating!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meatless Monday....Stuffed Baby Eggplants!

I know, right....these baby eggplants are cute aren't they? They are pretty tasty too!

Waiting to be stuffed:

Cooking the stuffing ingredients:

Stuffed and waiting to be baked:

Sorry for the dark I have stated previously, I think I need a new camera!

Stuffed Baby Eggplant
8 Baby Eggplants
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 of a large green pepper, finely chopped
1 (14 1/2 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Shredded, low moisture/low fat Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1 C. Spaghetti Sauce
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/2 Cup spaghetti sauce into bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Cut each eggplant in 1/2 lengthwise. Scoop out and coarsely chop the pulp. In a large skillet, heat oil and add eggplant, pepper, tomatoes and garlic powder. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs and 1/2 C. of cheese and 1/2 C. spaghetti sauce. Cook for approx. 2-3 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed. Spoon veggie mixture into eggplant shells. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 Cup cheese and bake for additional 20 minutes.
Happy Eating!

Creamy Italian Crock Pot Chicken

It has been a week since I last posted, sorry~it has been a crazy week!
This recipe was a great crock pot recipe that the whole family loved!!
Here is what you will need:

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
1 Pkg. Dry Italian Salad Dressing
1/4 C. Water
8 oz. cream cheese
10 3/4 oz. Can Cream of Chicken Soup
4 oz. can of mushrooms
DIRECTIONS: Place chicken in greased crockpot. Combine salad dressing and water. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. In saucepan combine soup and cream cheese, heat over medium low heat to melt the cream cheese. Pour over chicken. Add mushrooms if desired. Cover and cook additional 1 hour on low. Serve over rice or noodles.
I served mine with steamed broccoli and rice.....
Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meatless Monday - Not So Much!!

I know, I know~it is to be meatless Monday but in honor of the big V. Day (and knowing that my husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy) I made the fam a steak dinner! Yup, 2 large T-Bone steaks, shrimp scampi, creamy scalloped potatoes and for dessert~chocolate covered strawberries and cream puffs (I bought the puffs). I only have a few pics because well, I went to the Y and the family devoured the meal before I had a chance to get "finished" shots.

The steaks I just marinaded in Worcestershire sauce and a little of Tastefully Simples Everyday Grilling Seasoning. Hubby grilled the steaks!!

This is what I used for the scampi:

Shrimp Scampi
1 lb. Shrimp - shellled and deveined
1/2 C. Butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. parsley
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 450. In a small saucepan melt butter with lemon juice, minced garlic and parsley. Arrange shrimp in a shallow baking dish and pour butter mix over. Baked about 12-15 minutes.

This is a finished shot of the potatoes.....

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
4 Medium potatoes
1 C. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Can 99% FF Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 C. Light Sour Cream
1/4 C. Milk
DIRECTIONS: Peel and cook potatoes. Allow potatoes to cool. While potatoes are cooling mix together your soup, sour cream and milk. Slice potatoes and layer 1/2 in a 2 qt. baking dish. Top with 1/2 the cheese and 1/2 the soup mix. Repeat layers. Bake uncovered in a 350 oven.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

I bought baby eggplants at Market today....not sure what I am going to do with them yet, but they were so darn cute I couldn't resist buying them. I will keep you posted!!
Hope you all had a GREAT Valentines Day!
Happy Eating!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine Treats and Weekends!

This was a work weekend for me, so again, not a whole lot of cooking going on. I have to say that I do love weekends though, for the mere fact that there is no homework to worry about, we can have a family movie night and it is okay if the kids get to bed a little later and even though it seems busy sometimes, it just doesn't seem to feel as rushed! We were able to get the kids valentines done for their class is the finished project.

These are the items needed to make your rockets:

This what it looks like:

This was JD's valentines for his friends, easy project that he did almost by himself:

Here is what you need for Riley's Valentine:

Finished product....wrapped in a small bag and tied with a Valentine Ribbon and tag with friends names on it:

Another shot...

And so begins another week! Looks like there is no snow in the forecast (hopefully, that doesn't change)!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feasting on Fondue!

Last night I had the pleasure of hosting some great ladies from church! We had some planning to do for the Women's Retreat so we used it as a good excuse to have some fellowship and fondue! What a great evening~and we even got some planning done!!

Our first course started with a cheese fondue served with vegetables, bread and tortellini!

Next we went to our main course, which was chicken and shrimp served with a Spinach Salad and Portabella Mushroom Risotto.

And last, but certainly not least we had a Chocolate Marshmallow Fondue and Caramel Fondue with fresh fruit, brownies and cream puffs!!

Cheese Fondue
1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Mozzarella
2 tsp. flour
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
DIRECTIONS: Mix cheeses with flour and set aside. Next, heat wine on medium in a saucepan. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Add the garlic powder and lemon juice. Add the cheese mixture gradually, whisking after each addition. Make sure it melts before adding the next handful.
Once all cheese is added and melted check and see if it needs more spices. If mixture is runny, add more cheese, if to hard, add more wine or chicken broth. Transfer to fondue pot and begin enjoying!!
SPINACH SALAD (Thanks Alison)
1 Bag Baby Spinach
Craisins - amount is based on your taste
Almond Accents - Honey Roasted - amount is based on your preference
Hormel Real Bacon Pieces - about 1/2 the jar
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
Kens Golden Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing
DIRECTIONS: Toss spinach, craisins, almonds and bacon together. Before serving add croutons and drizzle desired amount of dressing and toss lightly.
Chocolate Marshmallow Fondue
2 Cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Jar Marshmallow Fluff
1/2 C. Milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla
DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted. I started with 1 minute and then stirred the ingredients together and then did 30 second increments until it was melted and warm.....transfer to fondue pot and serve with desired dunkers. (I highly recommend the Creme Puffs and Strawberries).

Happy Eating!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meatless Monday!

Sooo, I decided that the fam would go meatless for dinner! I had various forms of comments~from Jimmy: "I am glad that I ate the leftover hoagies for lunch today", JD to Riley: "It is clear meat Monday Riley" (I'm still trying to figure out what clear meat is......). Then they ate the dinner and everyone actually enjoyed it! I didn't hand make the veggie meatballs, I bought them and used the "baking" directions listed on the box.

Think little veggie fritters~I think they would be good dipped in a marinara sauce:

Lightened Up Fettuccine Alfredo:

Yummy, yummy, yummy!

These two ingred. equal a yummy Apple Cake (apparently you can make it with pumpkin too!):

Add a little dollop of LITE Cool Whip and a sprinkle of cinnamon:

Okay so the meatballs, you just follow the package directions! I found these yummy morsels at Costco!!

Lightened Up Alfredo

1 1/4 C. Chicken Broth

4 Teaspoons Flour

1/3 C. Light Cream Cheese

3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese

DIRECTIONS: Combine chicken broth and flour in a saucepan. Whisk and heat (over med-high heat) until thickened. Turn heat to medium and add cream cheese. Mix until cream cheese is melted and smooth. Add parmesan cheese. Turn heat to low to keep warm. Can add additional chicken broth or 1% milk if mix is to thick. Serve over noodles.

Apple Cake - 3 Points per serving (makes 12 servings)

1 Box Angel Food Cake Mix

1 Can Fruit Filling (Regular size, not large)

DIRECTIONS: Mix cake mix and fruit filling (no other ingredients). Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool.

Happy Eating!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Snacks!!

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, kind of in a funk! The rainy, cold day kind of fit my mood on Saturday~made me very unmotivated! Well, today I awoke to birds chirping and glorious sunshine......and I was excited to make some snacks for the big game day! (Thanks Fredericks for coming over and saving us from eating all this food alone!)
Here are our Super Sunday Snacks!

Super Italian Sub......

Cheesy Bacon Dip~Yep, it was good!!

Lil Smokies (Hillshire Farms~GO MEAT!)

Lightened up Taco Dip!

Our Super Sunday Snacks were really pretty easy to make.......the taco dip I recipe is from an earlier post, the sub is pretty self explanatory~depends on what kind of sub you want~we went with Italian....cooked salami, ham, provolone.

Little Smokies

2 Pkgs. Hillshire Farms Little Smokies

1 Jar Chili Sauce

1 Jar Grape Jelly

DIRECTIONS: Combine smokies and equal parts chili sauce and grape jelly in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat for about an hour. (I know grape jelly and chili sauce sound like an odd combination, but trust is FABULOUS!)

Cheesy Bacon Dip

1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

1 jar Real Bacon Bits (I used Hormel, sold where the salad dressings are)

1/2 C. Mayo (light works fine, I wouldn't use FF)

2 C. Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 Round loaf of pumpernickel bread, hollowed out

DIRECTIONS: Combine cream cheese and mayo with mixer until smooth. Stir in bacon bits and cheese. Place in bread bowl and bake at 350 degrees for approx. 1 hour. NOTE~I saved a few bacon bits and about 1/2 C. cheese for on top of dip. After baking for 45 minutes, top with extra bits and cheese and return to oven for another 15 minutes or so.

Have a good night!!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Avalanche Bars!

I am doing a second post today because these NO BAKE bars are great!!!!! (I even snuck them into the movies with us!). I found the recipe on the Cookies and Cups blog that is listed on my site!
Here is a question for everyone.....why do rice krispies stay crisp in recipes like this or the traditional rice krispy treats, but they get horribly soggy in milk???? Oh well, just so they stay crispy in the yummy treats....maybe because it is cereal I will have them for breakfast tomorrow? If they make it that long!

This is all you need for these treats....

Melt your white chocolate chips and then stir in peanut butter...

Yummy, yummy, yummy! (I added the heart shaped sprinkles for fun!)....

Avalanche Bars
1 Pkg, White Chocolate Chips
1/4 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
3 C. Rice Krispies
1/4 C. Mini Chocolate Chips + 2 Tbsp. for topping
1 1/2 C. Mini Marshmallows
DIRECTIONS: Melt white chocolate chips in microwave. Start by microwaving 1 minute and then stir. Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Stir in Peanut Butter. Mix in Rice Krispies, stir until well coated. Allow to cool for approx. 15-20 minutes - stirring every 5 minutes. Stir in mini chips and marshmallows. Press into a greased 8x8 baking dish. (Be careful not to make mixture to compact, it will harden and you will not be able to cut it). Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Allow to cool. Cut in to bars and enjoy!!

Happy Eating!

Child Labor and Cheesy Chicken Casserole!

And the kids are home today...AGAIN! This is getting to be a very, long winter! Yesterday I had them clean their rooms, today they got to dust AND vacuum...lucky kids! Although, I left them have the Pledge and dust rags, unsupervised and they were returned to me soaking wet w/ Pledge and the upstairs of my house, smells~well, really clean! (Our toilet seat upstairs seems to be extra shiny too! ;) After the cleaning fest, we headed to the movies, but not before I had a chance to make these yummy bars and dinner for tonight!

Notice the dog, under the chair, trying to get the dust rags.....

This is a treat they had yesterday after sledding.....I found the crunch at Wal*Mart.....

Now on to dinner for this evening! I am hoping to get to the Y tonight, but I try and have something that Jimmy can just pull out of the oven and serve with little or no thought~I also have been craving these hearty comfort foods~I am assuming it is because it is cold and wintry will be nice when spring arrives and we can grill more often!!
I don't have a picture of all the ingredients, as I usually do, because I have been making this in shifts, between laundry, going to the movies, trying to house break the get the idea!
Cube your velveeta:

Cook spaghetti and place in a large mixing bowl. Cook chicken, cool and shred~add to noodles:

Mix everything and place in a 9x13, or if a 9x13 is to big for your family, place in two 8x8 pans~freeze one for later or give a meal to your neighbor!

Cheesy Chicken Casserole

6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 12 oz. pkg spaghetti noodles
1 16 oz. pkg. Velveeta
1 Can 99% FF Cream of Chicken Soup (I used Cream of Mushroom, feel free to substitute what you have on hand)
1 Can Chicken Broth
1 8 oz. pkg. shredded, mild cheddar cheese

Fill pot with water and add a little seasoning (salt & pepper), add chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked (45-50 minutes). Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. While spaghetti is cooking, shred or cube your chicken. Drain your spaghetti and place in a large mixing bowl. Add chicken. In a microwave safe bowl, combine soup, chicken broth and cubed velveeta. Microwave 4 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is creamy. Pour over noodles and chicken. Stir to combine. Place in your casserole dish and top with additional cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

If freezing~assemble the casserole, let cool and then cover, unbaked casserole with plastic wrap and two layers of foil. Label, date and place in freezer. To cook frozen casserole~remove from freezer and defrost. Proceed with baking instructions. If you have a large family and would like to make 2 - 9x13 pans (one for eating, one for freezing) simply double the recipe!!

I am planning on serving this casserole with fresh steamed broccoli and applesauce.
Happy Eating!