Saturday, December 26, 2009

Update on shortbread

Here's this year' batch of Nana's shortbread. Recipe is here:
I took some additional pictures as well:

Posted by Picasa

Chili Cheese Dip

This one looks gross but tastes great. My cousin's ex-boyfriend showed me how to make it one thanksgiving. My cousin's comment later? "At least he was good for something!"
Anyway: combine one can of chili and one package of cream cheese in a saucepan and cook for medium heat, stirring constantly. Make sure you get all the lumps of cream cheese stirred in. Use as a dip for tortilla chips. Easy and delicious!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Peppermint Bark

This is the candy pictured on the right in the Pine Bark Candy recipe.

Melt almond bark and stir in broken up peppermints. Spread, cool, and break.

Really, it is that easy.

I usually buy "vanilla melts" from the bulk section at Winco. But if I forget, one package of almond bark, or one bag of white chocolate chips work, too. Then I crush up some candy canes or some peppermint candies in the food processor. Stir them both together and spread it out on wax paper until cool and then break up into bite sized pieces.

Or one giant piece.....

Pine Bark Candy

AKA Christmas Crack, perhaps because it contains crackers, or because you crack them into pieces, but I think because it is highly addictive. It is the candy pictured on the left.

Saltine crackers
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  • Line a cookie sheet with foil. Cover with saltine crackers in one layer.
  • Boil butter and brown sugar together for 3 minutes.
  • Pour over crackers.
  • Bake at 375 for 6 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and then sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
  • When they start getting melted, spread with spatula.
  • Place in freezer to cool, and then crack into cookie sized pieces.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Almond Bark cookies

Chocolate or White Almond Bark Bars:

2 lb pkg of almond bark (white or chocolate) melt in oven at 200 degrees, in big bowl or roasting pan. Stir often. Take out of oven and add:

1 cup peanut butter
3 cup Captain Crunch
3 cup miniature marshmellows
3 cup dry roasted peanuts
3 cup Rice Krispies

Stir all together ~ drop by Tablespoon onto wax paper. Cool. (Note: I mix the dry cereal, marshmellows and peanuts together prior to adding to bark) My mom has been making these special Christmas cookies every year since I was born... now, she and I make them for my kids.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Supplies:  1 16 oz box pasta
              1 thing of brie
              4 zucchini (or a veggie of your choice)
             1-2 cans of diced tomatoes
            Chicken breasts - 3, cooked/ diced. (Optional)

Cook up one box of 16 oz pasta as directed.  Kate pick out bow-ties.

While it's cooking, take one thingy of brie and shred/slice off as much of the rind as can be easily done.  Then cut the brie into meltable size pieces.

Saute the zucchini.  I added garlic, too.

After draining the pasta, return to pot and stir in the brie.  Putting it back on the burner (turned to low) was useful.  Add the can of tomatoes.  (I think this may also be quite yummy with 2 cans of tomatoes, but I haven't tested it out.)

Stir in veggies.  Serve.  Yum.

Image show also has the optional chicken added in.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Russian Tea Cakes

Today marks two weeks until Christmas, which sounded a lot like a good reason to make my favorite Christmas cookies!

This is 1/2 the original recipe and makes about 3 dozen.

Mix thoroughly:
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Chill dough. Roll into 1" balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. They won't spread, so pack them on there. I can make this recipe on two cookie sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. They will be set and just slightly browned. When they are still warm roll in powdered sugar. After they have cooled completely roll them in the sugar again.


CAUGHT! Not in the cookie jar, but with the bowl of dough!

Sausage Casserole

I found this recipe in the local paper, and really enjoyed it. Does anyone know a trick so that the grated potatoes don't start turning pink before they go into the oven?

1 pound ground sausage
3 cups shredded potatoes, drained and pressed
1/4 cup butter, melted
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded onion
1 16 oz container of cottage cheese
6 jumbo eggs (This is the first recipe I've ever seen that called for jumbo eggs. Does anyone know the egg conversion? I just used 7.)

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x13.

Cook sausage, drain and place on paper towel covered plate.

Stir potatoes and butter together and place in the 9x13, lining the bottom and up the sides.

In a bowl, mix the sausage, cheese, onion, cottage cheese and eggs. Pour over the potatoes.

Bake 1 hour, and let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Brown 1 lb italian sausage meat. Cook 1 bag of penne pasta. Combine in a bowl with meat and favorite store-brand red sauce. Place in a baking pan and bake at 350 for an hour with mozz cheese covering the top. Great for a crowd!

Leftover turkey casserole

In a bowl, combine 1 cup milk, 1 can cream of mushroom, 1 can cream of celery, 1 packet dry onion soup mix, 1 cup of cooked rice, and 2 cups of leftover turkey (shredded or cubed).
Bake at 350 for 45 min.
This was a good recipe but came out very salty. I don't think I had quite the full amount of rice and turkey that it called for. Maybe only using half the soup packet would work too.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Twice-baked Potatoes w/ chili

I had left over potatoes from Thanksgiving that needed to be used. And I felt like having chili for dinner. Note that many of the potatotes I had were small - I think that actually made it better, but I do like skins!

Clean potatotes. Bake at 425 for 45-60 minutes (until soft).
Remove from oven. Cut lengthwise, while trying not to burn your fingers.
Scoop out most of the innards, leaving about 1/4 inch thickness. Try not to burn your fingers.

Place the skins in a non-stick sprayed casserole dish.

Mash the innards until nice and smooth. I used a hand-masher. Recipe book also recommended using a blender. (Too many dishes for my liking).

I added 1/2 cup of sour cream that needed to be used before it needed to be tossed.

Add 1 can of chili to the potatoes and stir.

Spoon mixture back into the potato skins.

Bake at 4:25 for about 20 minutes.

After removing, sprinkle with cheese (of course!).

Thursday, December 3, 2009


This one is going to be a love it or hate it recipe.

The original recipe was on one of the Lloyd's BBQ pork tub, but now I just toss it together.

Heat Lloyd's tub according to directions. Any flavor variety will do fine.
In the meantime prepare an 8oz serving of mashed potatoes (or warm up leftovers.)
Also warm up about a cup of corn.

Layer in a pie dish:
BBQ meat
Mashed Potatoes
Shredded Cheddar

Bake at 400 for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Corn casserole side dish

This is a great dish to bring to a thanksgiving potluck. Hmmmm, exactly what I did last Thursday.
In a mixing bowl, combine:
1 package jiffy corn mix
1 cup sour cream
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernal corn not drained
1 stick melted butter.
Mix and pour into a pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. If desired, sprinkle grated cheddar on the top and return to the oven for it to melt.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin Pie in a Bag

Zachary made this at preschool and loved it, so we gave it a whirl at home, too. It was very fun for the kids, and yummy, too. It would be easy to whip up the pumpkin layer not in a bag, too, if you aren't after the bag experience.

First place graham crackers into a gallon sized ziploc. Since there were 6 of us I used 6 crackers. Zachary told us to crush it with a "roller coaster" and although I think a rolling pin would have worked, we went with the hammer method. In Zachary's class they put them in the bottom of dixie cups. We put them in the bottom of 6 bowls.

In another gallon bag pour 1 1/3 cup cold milk and 2 4oz boxes of instant vanilla pudding. Remove the air, close the bag and squish, squish, squish.

Add 1 15oz can of pumpkin, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ginger. Remove air, seal bag, and squish, squish, squish.
Cut a hole in the corner of the bag and squeeze onto the top of the graham crackers. We had enough for 6 healthy servings in the bowls, plus another full bowl left over.

We put them into the fridge to eat after dinner, but they would be ready to eat right away as well. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Food Processor Pizza Dough

I love this pizza dough recipe because it gives you the homemade, yeasty taste of fresh dough, but is ready, start to finish, in less than 45 minutes.

1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water
1 package (or 1 Tbl) yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 cups flour
1 Tbl vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt

Combine 1/4 cup of the water with the yeast and the sugar. Let sit about 5 minutes, or until all bubbly.

Put the flour, oil and salt into the food processor and blend about 10 seconds, or until all combined.

Turn on the food processor and drizzle the remaining water slowly down the tube until the dough forms a ball that cleans the side of the bowl. Knead the dough by letting the ball turn around the bowl 25 times.

Put the dough ball onto a greased pizza pan and cover with a bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pat the dough out into desired shape. I usually make one big pizza, but last night we made 6 personal pizzas. Add desired toppings.

Bake at 425 until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. A full size pizza takes 15-20 minutes. The little ones took under 10.

Playing with the dough. Nathanael's little pizza made several flying trips over his head.
The finished products

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Down Home Country Meal

How to make a country meal...
First turn on country music really loud.
Then get the dessert ready first.

Then prepare every stick-to-your-ribs kinda food you can think of. Deep fried chicken:

Potato salad:

Baked beans:


corn casserole with potato chip topping:


Friday, November 13, 2009

Muddy Buddies

This one is straight off of the Chex box.


9 cups Chex (any)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup PB
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

The only thing I did different was separate the mix into 3 1-gallon bags, because I had three shakers. Interestingly, all three bags turned out a bit different. The more vigorously they were shaken the darker they looked.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Potato Chip Casserole

This one is delicious but not for those on a diet...
In a large bowl, combine 4 chicken thighs (cooked and cut into small pieces), 3/4 standard bag of hash brown style potatoes, 8 oz sour cream, 1 can cream of chicken, and 2 cups cheddar cheese. Spread into a baking pan and cook for 30 min at 350 degrees. THEN crush Ruffle potato chips and stir them together with melted butter (you could probably skip the butter part, it was good but very greasy). Spread chips on top and bake another 20 minutes.

Hawaiian Chicken

This one is similar to Suzi's Russian chicken.
In a large bowl, mix 3/4 large bottle of California or Catalina dressing (you can substitute Russian if you want but it makes it more tangy and less sweet), 1/2 jar of apricot pineapple preserves, and one packet of dry onion soup mix. I usually put the mixture in the microwave for a minute to soften the preserves... makes it easier to stir!
Pour over chicken breasts in a glass baking pan. Top with pineapple rings and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
For extra fun, wear a hawaiian shirt and mix a tropical cocktail!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Yummy Yams

I saw a recipe in a magazine for sweet potato crunch, but of course, I didn't have all the ingredients or the time to make it according to the recipe. So I'll start with the original recipe, and then follow up with what I did.

4 each - sweet potatoes (8 - 9 oz each)
1 1/2 cups vanilla non fat yogurt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cups low fat granola
Cooking spray

1-Place washed sweet potatoes in the oven and back at 350 for approx 40-60 minutes, or until they are soft to the touch. After they have cooled remove the skin.

2-Place the sweet potato flesh in a mixing bowl. Add yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Whip with a mixer until well mixed.

3- Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Scoop potato mixture into the dish. Sprinkle granola on top and coat with cooking spray.

4- Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.

What I did....

Peel and cube two huge yums. Boil until fork tender. Drain and place into a mixing bowl along with a heaping scoop of vanilla yogurt, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and about a tsp of salt. Beat with the mixer until fluffy. Either serve promptly or put into a baking dish and into the oven to keep warm.

Pumpkin bread

Lucas found the recipe on-line... it's really easy and really yummy.

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two bread pans. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 60 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chicken Taco Soup

K...its really hard for me to post recipes because I NEVER follow one! This started out as Patty Thomas' chicken tortilla soup and it evolved into something like this!

1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green or red peppers
1 sm. can green chilies
I've done without the celery, green chilies and/ or the peppers before and its fine.
3 or 4 cups cooked, cut up chicken
a box of chicken broth, or a couple cans (about 3 or 4 cups)
jar of spaghetti sauce
taco seasoning packet
1 cup sr. cream

So...obviously, you boil the chicken (I've used this leftover liquid for the broth too, maybe just adding a boullion cube or two), cut it up.
Saute the veggies in a bit of olive oil(except green chilies)
then just dump all ingredients (except sr. cream)back in the pot. I usually add several cups of water to the pot at this point. Can adjust spice level by adding more or less taco seasoning.
Simmer for an hour or so. Remove from heat and when its stopped boiling gradually stir in 1 cup of sr. cream.
Serve with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese and an extra dollop of sr. cream if desired.
The hubby and I LOVE this, my older two kids LOVE it, my younger two kids won't touch it! Can't win em' all.
I'll post a picture soon!

Oreo Bark

After I made the Oreo truffles I had extra melted almond bark and Oreo crumbies, so I stirred them together, spread it on some wax paper, let it cool in the fridge, and broke it into bite sized pieces. It was pretty tasty, too! Definitely the way to go with the leftovers, but would also make a VERY easy dessert.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oreo Truffles

These are SO easy and SO good! Especially impressive for a three ingredient recipe.

Take one 1 box of Oreos (or if you get the big Costco one use three tubes.) Toss them all into a food processor and blend until you get a fine powder. It will look like the bowl on the left. The white cream filling just blends right in. Leave three cups in the food processor and set the rest aside.

Add one 8oz block of softened cream cheese to the food processor and blend it together. It will now look like the food processor on the right of the picture.
Roll into 1" balls. I used my trusty cookie scoop and then just rolled the edges a bit.

Melt either chocolate chips or white almond bark. (I doubled the recipe, so did some of each.) Dip the balls into the melted chocolate, and place onto cookie sheets covered in wax paper. Sprinkle with the extra Oreo crumbs. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheesy chicken rice casserole

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 can cream of chicken, 1 1/2 cups instant white rice, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup diced onion.
(If you use regular uncooked rice, then just add another cup of water.)
Spread mixture on bottom of casserole dish.
Then add slices of raw chicken breast and broccoli pieces.
Bake covered at 375 for 45 minutes.
Add cheddar cheese to the top and bake another 10 minutes uncovered.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Cookies

Make your favorite sugar cookie and frosting recipes. (Not to be vague, but I used a mix this time. Not saying I couldn't make my own, but didn't this round....)

The funny faces are obviously easy. For the spiderwebs I drew a big spiral of icing, and then pulled a toothpick from the inside to the outside 7 or 8 times to make the webs.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Delivery Day Chicken (Pollo Real)

Anton's mom brought us this meal right after Monica was born. We fittingly coined it "Delivery Day Chicken" and it has become our signature dish to bring to friends with newborns, or in this case just eat on our own because it's so delicious!
In the bottom of a large corningware dish, mix 1 cup rice, 2 cubes chicken bouillion, 1 small can diced green chiles, 2 T dry onion flakes, 1 t cumin, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can hot water. Place defrosted chicken pieces on top of mixture. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. After 1 hour, sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheddar on top and return to oven until melted. You can increase the amount of rice if you want, then just add additional water.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ranch Chicken Enchiladas

(I forgot to take a picture until after we had eaten half of the dish, but I guess that proves it was a winner.)

Stir together:
3 or 4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
Several healthy sccops of sour cream, maybe a cup?
Powdered ranch seasoning, to taste. We have Uncle Dan's Classic Ranch seasoning from Costco, but I'm sure Hidden Valley or any packet would work

Place a big scoop inside a tortilla and roll up and place in 9x13 casserole. I ended up with 10 this time. I put 8 in the dish and froze two for later.

Cover with cheddar.

Mix up a bit more sour cream and ranch, and thin it down with milk and drizzle on top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so, until it turns golden on top.

The leftovers were better than the original night, so I think this would work well to make ahead of time or to double and freeze half for later.

Catch your kid licking out the ranch container:
Not only did Abigail enjoy the finished product, but she kept trying to sell her creation to Zachary during dinner. "But you will like it, Zachary! You like all of the ingredients! It is just like quesadillas with ranch. Try it!!!" (He didn't)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Asian Noodles

Start with one package of chinese egg noodles. This is the best brand I've found so far at Safeway:

Fry sliced chicken breast, 1/2 can each of water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and baby corns. You could also add broccoli, carrots, snow peas etc. Fry with sesame oil and 1 t minced garlic. Also add a little teriyaki sauce.

Boil noodles in a separate pot, but be careful not to overcook them. Drain and pour noodles into frying pan with other cooked ingredients. Add a little more oil and a generous amount of "Veri Veri" teriyaki sauce which you can find at Trader Joes or Costco. I've tried other kinds and you might want to use your favorite, but this one is especially good. Once noodle are golden friend :) serve and eat!