Monday, January 31, 2011

Excuses, excuses!

Just wanted the few of you out there to know it might be a couple more days before I post another recipe. I've been sick, and I mean SICK!! I haven't cooked anything in 3 days...the kids have been living off of sandwiches that they've made themselves (hubby's been sick too, but is on the mend now). He even got out of bed yesterday evening and made the kiddo's pancakes (they were getting really sick of sandwiches!) So life's good...we're hoping the kids don't come down with this and that will make life even better!:)

Hope everyone enjoys their week...I'll try to post a recipe sometime later this week, but I'm not making any promises! (It took all the energy I had to even type this pathetic!!):)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

This is a recipe revisited from my Sweet Pork Burritos Recipe. I thought it deserved a post of it's own.:)

Some of you have probably either tried or have heard of Cafe Rio. For those of you who don't it's a Mexican grill restaurant that Tony (my hubby) and I got hooked on when we lived in Southern Utah close to 11-12 years ago now. (***very exciting side note...they opened a Cafe Rio in Grand Junction a couple of weeks ago, so now we can get our fix more than just once a year when we're visiting Utah!!!***) Anyway, they have one of the best tomatillo dressings, and dare I say...I like this recipe BETTER than theirs!! Promise you won't be disappointed. It is SOOOOOOOOOO delicious!

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing
recipe from my sister Jamie
4-6 tomatillos
1 packet buttermilk ranch dressing mix
1 packet Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch Dip mix
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (I just let my blender do the work here!)
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
Peel husks off tomatillos and discard. Wash tomatillos and place in blender along with all remaining ingredients. Blend until a fine sauce forms. Chill until ready to serve. Makes about a quart of dressing. We store ours in a quart canning jar; not ideal for pouring, but can't seem to come up with a better solution.:)

I have also halved the recipe and just saved the ranch packets for the next time I make it, because it does make quite a bit!

This is perfect for sweet pork salads...

Taco salads...

or just a regular old green salad....

or even just pour it over a hunk of lettuce...

or just guzzle it straight from the jar (I've been tempted, but have not succumbed yet!!):)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Delicious Garlic Bread

I absolutely LOVE this garlic bread. You HAVE to use fresh garlic for this makes all the difference!

Garlic Bread

1 loaf french bread
3/4 cup butter or margarine (I use the soft spread stuff just cause it's easiest!:))
3-4 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
parmesean cheese
italian seasoning

Cut french bread into about 1" slices

Mix butter and garlic together very well.

Lather each slice liberally with the butter/garlic combo, and then spinkle a generous helping of parmesean on each slice as well as some italian seasoning.

Put in a 350 degree warm oven for 10 minutes. After those 10 minutes turn on your broiler and broil for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. (make sure to watch very closely becuase it'll burn pretty quickly!) Delicious with some homemade spaghetti and a nice green salad!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winner, winner, cutting board giveaway WINNER!!

That's Kyla's title for those who want to know. She came up with it ALL. BY. HERSELF!!!

Congratulations to:

Michelle Pedersen at Do You Smell That!!?

E-mail us at with your address so we can ship your winnings out to you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lemon Chicken

I so loved this recipe, but to be honest...I was the only one in my family that really liked it. The kids took one bite and were done (they all ended up eating PB&J for dinner!) Tony ate it, but said he'd never request to have it again. So, needless to say, I had leftovers for lunch for a few days, which I was perfectly fine with!! If you like lemon and ginger you'll probably like it.

Lemon Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 C water
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
3 C vegetable oil
4 green onions, sliced

Lemon Sauce
1 1/2 C water
1/2 C fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp minced ginger

Slice chicken breasts in half and gently pound to flatten. (notice one of the cutting boards that we are giving away!)

Combine cornstarch, salt and pepper into a bowl and add in water and egg yolks. Heat oil in wok or frying pan (any kind of heavy duty skillet will work) Heat oil to about 375 degrees (my stove was set on medium high).
Dip chicken into cornstarch mixture, covering both sides lightly. Fry chicken in oil until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Drain on paper towel. Keep warm while you finish cooking chicken. (I just set mine in the microwave to keep warm)

Start making the lemon sauce while chicken is cooking. To make combine all ingredients in saucepan and stir until well blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce boils and thickens. About 5 minutes.
Cut each piece of chicken into serving pieces and place on serving platter. Cover with sauce and sprinkle with chopped green onion.
Serve over a bed of rice.

(I think the kids probably would have eaten the chicken, they just all complained about the lemon sauce. So if I ever make this again...I'm crossing my fingers!...I would put the sauce on the side so those who don't like it could just have chicken. Hope I didn't scare anyone off from making this because it really was delicious...if it wasn't be sure I wouldn't be posting it!!:))

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brownies and Cream Sandwich Cookies

So I haven't posted a sweet recipe for a few weeks and thought I'd better. I liked this recipe because it didn't make a ton of cookies, thus less for me to be tempted to eat. Matter-of-fact I only ending up eating ONE!! I can't beleive it myself!:) I did try to get rid of them as quickly as possible though so I wouldn't find myself gorging (it's that time of year again...dieting!:() So I sent half a dozen with Tony to school and fed one to all my piano students that day!:) So if that doesn't tell you how good they were...that I had to get them out of the house as fast as possible so I wouldn't eat them all...I don't know what will!:)

Brownies and Cream Sandwich Cookies
Recipe from Duncan Hines

1 box Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
Vanilla frosting (use the pre-made stuff or your favorite recipe)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray your cookie sheets with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix, oil, and eggs until just blended and all the dry ingredients are moistened. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

Place on cookie sheet in heaping tablespoons (I used my medium cookie scoop and it worked wonderfully!).
Bake for 11-14 minutes until cracked in appearance and just barely set in the center when touched. I baked the first batch for about 13 minutes and they ended up being too cooked, so I did the rest for 11 minutes and that was MUCH better so just make sure not to overcook them.
Cool for 1 minutes on the cookie sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cooled, spread frosting on half of the cookies and then top with another cookie, and gently press together.

Enjoy this one...I absolutely LOVED the chocolate chips in this just took the chocolatiness (I know that's not a word!) to a whole new level!:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mandarin Orange Chicken Pasta Salad

I absolutely LOVE this pasta salad. It is so colorful and flavorful and perfect for these dreary winter months. It adds a little life to these cold, dark days!:)
Mandarin Orange Chicken Pasta Salad

The ingredients:
3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
8 oz. bowtie pasta (whole wheat is really good in this!)
1 cucumber, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion or 1/2 large onion, chopped
1 package baby spinach
1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)

1 teaspoon fresh ginger OR 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup rice or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon seasame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 envelope onion soup mix

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and cook in a little bit of olive oil until browned. Let cool.
Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta. While the pasta is cooking start chopping all the veggies.
The cucumber (this is Kyla cutting...I would never be caught dead with fingernail polish like that!! But young girls just don't seem to care:)) Put cut cucumbers in a large bowl.
Next chop the onion and add to bowl.
Then chop the red bell pepper and (again) add to bowl. (Isn't that beautiful?!!)
Then open the oranges and drain them and add to the bowl as well. (It just keeps getting prettier and prettier!)
Now you can add the almonds if you like, we didn't not becuase we don't like them but because I thought I had some and found out they were slivered and not sliced almonds and so we left them out (although slivered probably would have been just fine!)
When pasta is done cooking drain and rinse in a colander under cold water until pasta is cooled. Add pasta and cooled chicken to the bowl and stir to combine.
Let this sit while you make the dressing. Combine all ingredients and whisk together.
Right before serving add the spinach to the pasta and veggies and then pour the dressing overtop and mix together well.
This makes quite a bit of salad and if you let the spinach sit in the fridge with the dressing on it, the spinach will wilt and it doesn't look very appetizing. So what I do is split it in half. I will add the dressing to the half I am saving, but leave out the spinach and then the next day when I want some I'll add the spinach at that time. Works out really well, also it allows the dressing to mesh with all the other flavors and makes it really yummy!!
Also, I was concerned that none of my kids would eat this (it's got SPINACH in it...YUCK!!) But I was pleasantly surprised...only my 3 year old Rhett said it was gross, and Kyla and my 7 year old Eli had second helpings! Yeah...they like something healthy!!:)

Hope you enjoy this one!!

Jalapeno Popper Dip

This is really good and you can make it mild (the way I like it) or you can have some heat if you like that as well. This would be a really good one for the Super Bowl. Give it a try!

Jalapeno Popper Dip
Recipe from Our Best Bites

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened (you can use light)
1 c. mayonnaise (you can also use light here, but DON'T use Miracle Whip!)
1 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 4-oz. can fire roasted green chilies
1/2-1 4-oz. can diced jalapeno peppers, drained (1/2 can is mild while a full can is definately on the spicy side!)
8oz bacon, cooked and crumbled
1-2 sourdough baguettes, sliced, and/or crackers

Preheat oven to 350. If using bacon, reserve 2-3 Tbs and sprinkle on top of dip before baking. Combine cream cheese, mayo, parmesan, and garlic and stir until smooth. Add jalapenons and green chilies. If using bacon, stir in remaining bacon. Spread dip into a 9" pie plate or a small baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining bacon if using. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until dip is bubbly and golden brown.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Deviled Ham Cheese Ball

I don't know what it is, but every year from about Thanksgiving to early March I CRAVE this stuff!! This was a cheese ball that my mom always made growing up. It must hold some kind of nostalgic powers or something!:)

Deviled Ham Cheese Ball (or blob!)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sharp or medium cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can deviled ham (found by the canned tuna and chicken...usually on the top row)

Cream the cheeses together and then add in the ham and mix to combine. Now you can form a ball and roll it in parsley (as my Mom did growing up) or in chopped nuts of your liking, but I just like it plain and so I just throw it in a bowl and use it as a dip. It is so good with Wheat Thins, but we also like it with Ritz crackers.

Served with chips and salsa, Jalapeno Popper Dip (recipe to come) and french onion dip. This was our New Year's Eve snacks while we played games! Such fun...and deliciousness!:)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Skillet Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

My family LOVES potatoes. It's nice to find another way of making them other than mashed! I love scalloped potatoes but never think to make them until it's too late to because they usually have to bake in the over FOREVER!! Well, I found this recipe where you just make them in your skillet. It was so much faster and they were still super delicious!

Skillet Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

4 medium potatoes, pelled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 to 3 tablespoons onion soup mix (I think 2 is enough)
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I used 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley)
1 cup velveeta cheese, cubed or 1 cups grated cheddar cheese (I opted for the grated cheddar)
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham

In a large skillet, cook potatoes in butter until potatoes are lightly browned. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 14-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the milk, soup mix and parsley; then stir in the cheese. Pour over potatoes. Add the ham. Cook and stir gently over medium heat until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I have already blogged a Garlic Artichoke Dipthat was really good, but I think I like this one more...not as oily and not quite as garlicky. I first tried this on Thanksgiving. My sister-in-laws sister made it as an appetizer before the big meal. Needless to say I wasn't very hungry come turkey time, but I was totally ok with that. It was THAT GOOD!!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 bunch green onions
4 Tbsp Butter
5 cloves garlic, minced
10oz frozen spinach, thawed/drained
1 can (6oz-ish) artichoke hearts (not marinated), chopped
1 16oz container sour cream
1 8oz block cream cheese
16 oz cheese (I usually use Colby Jack)

Saute onions and garlic in butter. Add spinach, hearts, sour cream and cream cheese. Mix in cheese until thoroughly melted.

This is really good with baguette's or crackers of any kind. It can also be baked in a bread bowl. Just hollow it out and then put the dip in the bowl, cover it with foil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Melinda's Eclair Cake

This is my sister-in-laws recipe that I tried probably close to 10 years ago. I can honestly say it is one of my favorite desserts! It is so simple (my motto...again!) but so dang delicious. You probably wouldn't think it would be as good as it is just by reading the ingredients but you've got to trust me...this one will have you coming back for more!!

Melinda's Eclair Cake

2 small packages french vanilla pudding
3 cups cold milk
1 8 oz. tub of cool whip
graham crakcers (about 3 sleeves)

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons karo syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Line bottom of a 9x13 cake pan with whole graham crackers. Mix pudding powder with 3 cups milk and let thicken in the frige. When thick add the cool whip. Pour 1/2 of the pudding over the crackers and spread evenly. Add another layer of whole graham crackers over the pudding, and then put on the rest of the pudding and top again with a layer of graham crackers. (You could do three layers of pudding and graham crackers which I think would maybe be even better...but I've never tried it because I always run out of graham crackers!:))

For the frosting, heat the butter, karo syrup, and chocolate chips until butter and chocolate is melted and is smooth. Add the vanilla, milk, and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth again. Pour over the top graham cracker crust and spread around until the graham crackers are covered. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ham glaze

This ham glaze is so good. It's a recipe from my Mom that she has had for years and one that I used to eat growing up. So if you've got any more ham leftover (or are like me and grabbed a few hams after Christmas that were on a great sale) you've got to give this glaze a try. Ham and pineapple were just made for each other!!:)

Ham Glaze

1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
1 small can (8 1/2 oz) crushed pineapple (with juice)
2 T. lemon juice
Mix brown sugar, cornstartch, and salt together in a small saucepan. Add pineapple. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

So simple and yet so delicious...that's seems to be my motto!:)
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