Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pasta with Peas and Sausage

This recipe is a bit different that what you would expect from pasta recipe, or at least somewhat different than what I would expect. I really want to try it, but of course with some of my own modifications. I would probably use turkey sausage in place of the Italian sausage (although nothing beats the taste of REAL sausage) and sour cream or plain yogurt in place of the heavy cream.

Pasta with Peas and Sausage

1 pound rigatoni pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
12 ounces frozen green peas
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In a skillet heat oil and saute garlic over medium heat. Brown sausage in skillet. Once brown add frozen peas and simmer for 5 minutes. Slowly add heavy cream and butter to skillet; bring to a slight boil. Add more cream if necessary. Cook for 5 minutes. Toss with cooked pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's too hot to cook!

With temperatures hovering around 100 and the central air unit struggling to keep the house bearable the past few days, it's just been too hot to cook!

I've been making the kids a some oatmeal on the stove in the mornings before it gets hot, but the rest of the day we've been eating fruit, sandwiches (PB&J, PB&banana, tuna, or egg with the egg cooked in the microwave) and a lot of ice cream!

I'm ready for a nice cooked meal myself, and I'm pretty sure the kids are too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Easy frozen fruit treats!

One thing I haven't made this summer is frozen treats for the kids! Here's a recipe that calls for fruit and either juice or yogurt. Yummy! (This recipe uses "popsicle" as a generic term for a frozen treat though it is actually a name brand.)

Super easy frozen fruit treats

Juice or yogurt
-orange juice
-cranberry raspberry juice
-strawberry yogurt
-blueberry yogurt
-plain yogurt

-mango, in chunks
-strawberries, cut up
-pineapple, in chunks
-kiwi, sliced

Use plastic popsicle makers or plastic cups with popsicle sticks.

Fill your containers with fruit first. Then, pour in juice or yogurt. Insert stick (or lid if using popsicle maker) and put in the freezer. Let freeze overnight.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cheesy Italian Tortellini

This recipe is one I definitely want to try. How easy could it be to cook up a delicious meal? I think the kids would really like this, too.

Cheesy Italian Tortellini

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 (16 ounce) jar marinara sauce
1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (9 ounce) package refrigerated or fresh cheese tortellini
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Crumble the ground beef and Italian sausage into a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain.

Combine the ground meats, marinara sauce, mushrooms, and tomatoes in a slow cooker. Cover, and cook on low heat for 7 to 8 hours.

Stir in the tortellini, and sprinkle the mozzarella and cheddar cheese over the top. Cover and cook for 15 more minutes on low, or until the tortellini is tender.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Free recipe books

One of my favorite sites,, has a wonderful listing of free recipe books!

You can get everything from sweet potato or black olive recipe cards to recipe booklets from companies that make spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, jelly,baked beans, raisins and the list just goes on and on!

There is a recipe cookbook for diabetics as well as booklets offered by organizations that promote food products like salmon and catfish.

To get some of the recipe booklets you need to register at a site, which of course is free.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nacho Bake

This recipe came from a box of shells and cheese. I was whipping some up for the kids and noticed the recipe on the back of the box. I threw in what I had from the recipe and made a few substitutions. I'll post the recipe as it is listed and then note how I really made it.

Nacho Bake

1 pkg. shells and cheese dinner
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare dinner according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, brown meat, drain. Add taco seasoning mix and water to the meat, simmer 5 minutes.

Stir sour cream into prepared dinner. Spoon half the dinner mixture into 8-inch square baking dish, top with layers of the meat mixture, half of the cheese, and the remaining dinner mixture. Cover.

Bake 15 minutes; top with salsa, remaining cheese and the crushed tortilla chips. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Michelle's quick version (not as detailed)

1 pkg. shells and cheese dinner
1 can tuna
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup coarsely crushed nacho chips
1/2 can diced tomatoes with chilis

Prepare dinner according to package directions. Add tuna, sour cream, and diced tomatoes with chilis. Stir well and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Place on top of crushed chips.

I liked it fixed this way but the kids said it was too spicy. Good thing I didn't use the whole can of tomatoes with chilis. Next time I'll try fixing it a little closer to the recipe.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pasta recipes!

There's a great list of pasta salads at Recipes4Living!

Pretty much everyone loves a good pasta salad. If you don't like one in this list there are several others in the list you're bound to love.

I'm going to try the broccoli and tortellini one first, I think, and then the tuna pasta salad! Yum, yum!

Here's one of them:

Broccoli Tortellini Salad

6 slices bacon
20 oz. fresh cheese-filled tortellini
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/2 C. white sugar
2 tsp. cider vinegar
3 heads fresh broccoli, cut into florets
1 C. raisins
1 C. sunflower seeds
1 red onion, finely chopped

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook tortellini in boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and rinse under cold water. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar to make the dressing. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, tortellini, bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds and red onion. Pour dressing over salad, and toss.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Budget cooking

With five kids to feed all day most days I'm always trying to come up with more food for less money. Two of my favorite recipe sites have entire sections devoted to budget cooking!

All Recipes

Recipes 4 Living

See what you think!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

There are a hundred different ways to make a tuna noodle casserole, and this one calls for chips on top!

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked pasta shells
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
4 slices processed American cheese
1 1/2 cups crushed potato chips

Boil pasta in lightly salted water for 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain well. Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

Mix tuna with cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup, milk, salt, black pepper, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Place pan over medium low heat, and heat through. Alternatively, place these ingredients in a microwave safe dish, and warm in the microwave.

Mix tuna mixture with pasta. Spread 1/2 of the noodles into the prepared dish. Arrange the cheese slices over the noodles, then spread the remaining noodle mixture over the cheese. Top with crushed potato chips.

Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes; cook until the casserole is hot, and the chips begin to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top Ten Kitchen List

Here's my Top Ten Kitchen List, otherwise known as my favorite things in the kitchen. (This could be interesting coming from someone who hates the kitchen.) It's a list of my favorite/most used kitchen items, not including obvious things like the refrigerator, stove, and oven.

Top Ten Kitchen List

1. Coffee maker. Well, duh! This one appliance makes entering an otherwise unbearable room a while lot more pleasant.

2. Vegetable chopper. My grandma gave me this wonderful vegetable chopper that I use to cut up and dice mostly potatoes and onions. I love it.

3. Mixer. I don't use it all that often but it sure comes in handy for mixing up pancakes and mashed potatoes.

4. Strainer. I have this green plastic strainer bowl that I use all the time since I make pasta a lot for the girls. The strainer rarely even gets put up in the cabinet because I use it again before I put it away.

5. Slow cooker. What's not to love about throwing some food in there in the morning, smelling it cook all day, and taking the lid off to supper in the evenings?

6. Can opener. I need it to open all my cans of cream of mushroom soup, tuna, and spaghetti sauce. (Hunt's Garlic and Herb is just as good as mine and only costs $1!)

7. Hmmm, I think that's about it. I can't believe I got this far, actually. How about 7-10, the coffee maker!

Now I'll go back to hating the kitchen!

Monday, July 21, 2008

More free recipes

Another place to get great free recipes is Parent Society!

You can join (for free) to get access to lots of recipes and can even sign up for "Relish," the recipe newsletter.

I like getting the recipe newsletters so I can get a good idea of what recipes a site has to offer. If I really like the selection of recipes and the ease of use of the site I'll just bookmark the site and look there for recipes when I need them.

Free recipes from moms

Message boards for moms are a great place to find free recipes. The Internet has many, many good message boards for mothers, but here are a few that I go to.

Freelance Mom

Mommy Enterprises

Moms Network


You can access the recipes without registering on the sites but while you're there you may as well create a free account and post a few recipes of your own!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

We've been trying meatloaf lately. I didn't make it before because it uses a lot of meat and you have to cook it in the oven, but because of all the cooking these past several weeks I've needed some more dishes to make!

Here's one with a new twist on the old favorite. I'll be giving this one a try real soon.

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

2 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. fresh bread crumbs
1/2 C. minced onion
2 eggs - beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread crumbs, onion, eggs, salt and pepper, and mix well. Pat out meat mixture into a 14x18 inch rectangle on a piece of wax paper. Spread cheese over the meat, leaving a 3/4-inch border around the edges. Roll up jelly roll fashion to enclose the filling and form a pinwheel loaf. Press beef in on both ends to enclose the cheese. Place in a 10x15 inch baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cheap healthy foods

Lately food prices have gone way up and so has the amounts we are consuming!

I recently read a piece on cheap, healthy foods and I was happy to notice that we regularly eat pretty much everything on the list. There are things like oats, eggs, beans, greens, apples, potatoes pasta, lowfat milk, and even COFFEE on the list!

Things like potatoes and pasta and even eggs have gotten a bad rap in the past but I've always eaten them and believed that they were healthy. Now I can like them for another reason -- they're cheap!

Some of the things on the list, like beets and sardines, I really like but we don't always have on hand.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good ole PB&J

While most days I try to cook the kids a good lunch (and breakfast, and supper), some days I'm just too tired, too busy, or just too plain lazy to cook lunch.

Like yesterday. And today.

Yesterday I made each of the girls one peanut butter and jelly sandwich and left the fixings out. I told them they could have another one but they'd have to make it themselves. Everyone did make themselves another sandwich. I warmed up leftover spaghetti for the baby, since he seems to be allergic to peanut butter and he does better when he's eaten hot cooked food, anyway. (I'd serve all the kids leftovers more often if we had them. I guess I haven't learned the concept of cooking too much so we have something to eat tomorrow!)

Today I'm technically cooking lunch but it's just plain old cheap boxed macaroni and cheese (the kind that's three for a dollar), and I'm going to throw a can of tuna in with it.

I think they'll live. Especially since I have chicken wings in the crockpot for supper.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Easy Shepherd's Pie

I found this recipe online and it sounds like something I need to try. I may make a few adjustments the first time I make it. *thinking*

Easy Shepherd's Pie

1 1/2 lb. ground beef or chicken
1 can Italian tomato paste
1-2 cans kitchen cut green beans
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 C. shredded cheese of your choice
Mashed potatoes to cover recipe

Cook meat until done. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Put meat mixture in bottom of a large pie plate or deep casserole dish. Layer green beans, mushrooms, then cheese. Cover to the edge with the mashed potatoes leaving a hole in the center for a vent. Heat in a 350-degree oven until bubbly. Remove from oven, and let stand for 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sour Cream Chicken

This one I have to try! I'll most likely use chicken thighs since we usually have those around.

Sour Cream Chicken

Chicken, boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
16 oz. sour cream
1 package onion soup mix

Put all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on low for 5-7 hours. Cook longer and the chicken will just fall apart. Great served with rice and steamed vegetables.

Now how great is that for easy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Coffee Creations!

It's no secret that I love coffee. The one redeeming factor of a kitchen is that that is where you make coffee!

I like mine with lots of sugar and non-dairy creamer. For some delicious coffee recipes, try Coffee Creations!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quick and Easy Egg Burrito

Here's something that reminds me of something I used to eat when I was pregnant with my third child. At 10:30 a.m. every day I would suddenly get ravenously hungry. I'd cook a couple of eggs in the microwave and then melt some cheese on the top of it, and eat the egg between two pieces of bread. Yummy!

This one is the same egg and cheese, but fixed burrito-style.

Quick and Easy Egg Burrito

2 eggs
Shredded cheese
Meat (deli, sliced, whatever you have on hand)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 flour tortillas

Crack the eggs in a microwave-safe bowl and stir up with a bit of water. Microwave for a couple of minutes or until the middle puffs up.

While the eggs are cooking, lay the two tortillas out on a plate and put the meat on them. Take out the eggs and put the tortillas in the microwave.

While the tortillas are warming, sprinkle some salt, pepper, and shredded cheese on the eggs. Cut the eggs in half and place on the tortillas.

This recipe makes two; just use one egg for one tortilla.

You could also put tomatoes, green peppers, and/or onions in this.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cheesy Turkey and Potato Casserole

Another casserole made from the contents of the refrigerator. Yummy!

This is yet another one of my dishes made from whatever we happen to have in the pantry and fridge. It's actually very similar to the Turkey and Potato Casserole recipe I posted a few days ago.

I had this container of store-bought potato salad (left over from company last weekend) that was a bit too chive-y for anyone to eat, and I needed some soup to hold a casserole together but didn't have any. So I thought I'd substitute the potato salad for soup and mixed some of the potato salad up in it. Interesting.

It turned out good. The potato salad gave it a nice zing. My husband, not one to utter many compliments, actually verbalized that it was good, as in, "The food is good." Impressive.

My son ate until there was no more. It was right up his alley -- meat and potatoes!

Here's how I did it:

Cheesy Turkey and Potato Casserole

1 lb ground turkey
Several medium sized potatoes
Celery stalk, diced
1/2 32 oz. container of Red Skin Potato Salad (with chives)
Shredded cheese

Peel the potatoes and cut them up and dice up the celery; put together in a pot of water to boil. Cook the turkey.

Mix the potato salad, potatoes, meat, and some of the shredded cheese up in a bowl. Put in a casserole pan and heat at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until thoroughly warm. Sprinkle some more cheese on top of the casserole and return to the oven for a few minutes to melt.

You could also dice up some onions in with the potatoes and add some salt and pepper. I left that out since I wasn't sure how pronounced the taste would be with the seasonings already in the potato salad.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Breakfast Casserole

Another breakfast recipe I have to try!

Breakfast Casserole

1 1/2 lb hash browns; frozen
1 lb bacon or sausage
3 eggs
2 oz Velveeta
2 oz cheddar; shredded
1 can cream of potato soup
salt and pepper

Cook the hash browns with the onion till crisp. Fry the meat. Mix in a
13 X 9 pan. Add the cheeses, soup, beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 30 to 50 minutes.

The comments on this one say that 6-8 eggs works better than just three. And I'm guessing cream of mushroom soup could be used if that was what you had on hand.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I finally did it!

I have to cook for a lot of people and I'm always trying to make more than enough for everyone but I can't seem to do it! There ends up being barely enough for everyone and most certainly not enough for leftovers. I guess I've completely forgotten how to cook for an army like I always had to do growing up.

Well, tonight I finally did it! I made enough for leftovers!

My husband just bought some beef roasts on a really great sale, so I put one in the slow cooker with some onions and seasonings for supper. It was a pretty big one so I figured it would feed everyone (that being my three kids, my husband and I, my two nieces, my sister-in-law, and her boyfriend). When it was almost done I put some carrots in there with it.

I wanted some mashed potatoes to go with the roast, and that's where I figured the problem would come in. It seems like it doesn't matter how many potatoes you peel, cut up, and cook because they melt down into almost nothing when you start mixing them up. So I grabbed a whole bunch of great big potatoes and peeled and cut up until they filled an entire large pot. I had this kind of defiant attitude the whole time I was peeling and cutting up potatoes, as if I dared the potatoes to not be enough!

It worked! It really worked!

We had plenty of roast and mashed potatoes to go around with some left over! My sister-in-law and her boyfriend ended up not coming over to eat but there would have been plenty for them with some still left over.

Guess what we're having for lunch tomorrow?

The Foodie BlogRoll!

I've just joined the Foodie BlogRoll!

You'll notice the nice addition to the navigation bar on the right hand side of this blog. Be sure to check out some of the great blogs there. I have, they're great!

Being the kitchen hater that I am I didn't realize that food blogging was so popular!

From the owner of the Foodie Blogroll:

The Foodie Blogroll is a huge list of links that link to your page. The more people that join the more links you will have linking to your page and the higher your page ranking will get on Google. In just a few months over 1,000 blogs joined our community. Before The Foodie Blogroll there were no blog rolls specifically for foodies so I decided to create one of my own! I think it is a great opportunity, and the more the merrier! This is a GREAT opportunity for networking.
That's Jenn DiPiazza, travel writer, creative cook, food critic, and professional foodie!

Any food bloggers who would like to join the Foodie BlogRoll can just click on that link. Apply to join and if you are approved she will send you the code. This puts this really nice blogroll on your food blog. Of course your link in turn goes up on a lot of blogs and that gets you more traffic and exposure, more links out there.

Slow Cooker Morning Casserole

What's not to love about breakfast being already cooked when you get up in the morning! I will most definitely be making this soon!

Slow Cooker Morning Casserole

1 32 oz. bag frozen hash brown potatoes
1 lb. of bacon diced, cooked and drained or 1 lb. cooked ham, cubed
1 medium diced onion
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 C. shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 dozen eggs
1 C. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper (more or less to taste)

Place a layer of frozen potatoes on the bottom of the slow cooker, followed by a layer of bacon then onions, green pepper and cheese. Repeat the layering process two or three more times, ending with a layer of cheese. Beat the eggs, milk and salt and pepper together. Pour over the mixture, cover and turn on low. Cook for 10-12 hours.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Turkey Meatloaf

A while back I posted a recipe for Chicken Meatloaf. I made it with ground turkey and followed the rest of the recipe pretty exactly. I made it again tonight with some modifications and it was much better.

Turkey Meatloaf

1 pound of ground turkey
Saltine crackers (about half to 2/3 a package)
2 tbsp. oil, divided (I used safflower)
Diced onion
Diced celery
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Sautee the diced onion and celery. Mix it in a bowl with the ground turkey, egg, crumbled up crackers, salt, pepper, and half the oil.

Shape it into a loaf and place it in a pan. Drizzle the remaining oil on the top. Bake it at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, until the middle is done. Squirt a bit of ketchup on the top and place it back in the oven for about five minutes.

I wasn't crazy about the spices it called for so I just eliminated those. I sauteed the onion and celery because the original recipe didn't call for that and the onion and celery didn't get done. It was too crunchy. My husband suggested the ketchup for some "extra zing."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cheesy Turkey and Noodle

Here's another one of those dishes I made from whatever I had on hand.

Cheesy Turkey and Noodle

1/2 pound ground turkey
Diced onion
1/2 package penne noodles
1/2 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
Shredded cheese (I used Mexican and mozzarella)
Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Cook the turkey and onion and the noodles separately.

Mix the turkey, noodles, soup, and some of the cheese up together. Sprinkle more cheese on the top and let it melt. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and salt on it when you are ready to serve it.

Of course you can make it with an entire pound of meat, a whole package of noodles and the whole can of soup. That way you'll have leftovers!

I actually just made this without the soup. My can opener broke and I couldn't open my can of soup. But it turned out just fine. I just used extra cheese.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Turkey and Potato Casserole

This is one of those recipes I made up by cooking what I had together. I'm getting ready to make it again.

There aren't any measurements or exact amounts on this because I don't normally use measurements and you can make a little or a lot.

Turkey and Potato Casserole

Ground turkey (about one pound)
Several potatoes
Can of cream of mushroom soup (small can)
Shredded cheese (any kind)

Cook the ground turkey and cut up and boil the potatoes (separately). Mix them together in a pan with the soup and a little of the cheese.

Put the mixture in a casserole pan and bake it in the oven at around 350 degrees until hot. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese on top and put it back in the oven long enough to melt the cheese.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dishes (UGH!!)

There is nothing I hate more than washing dishes. I will put that off until I just absolutely must do them. I'd rather do ANYTHING else in the entire house rather than the dishes.

What makes it so bad (that I'm like that) is that I have a nice new dishwasher AND we use a lot of paper plates, bowls, and cups.

My husband for some odd reason decided to wash dishes the other night but that's all he did, wash them. He left the clean but unrinsed dishes in the sink. Of course the sink they were in was the one with the garbage disposal so I had to finish them.

Now the sink is full again. I have to unload the dishwasher before I can load it up again.

The never-ending I Hate the Dishes story. *sigh*

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tuna Salad

This tuna salad is so easy and quick to make. It has very few carbs so is perfect for a snack for a diabetic. My five-year-old niece is diabetic and she loves to make this for herself. She eats it either with a few saltine crackers or on a bed of lettuce.

Tuna Salad

Can of tuna, drained
Pickle relish
Salad dressing (Miracle Whip)
Boiled egg, cut up
Splenda (or sugar) to taste

Put the drained tuna in a bowl and add a tablespoon or so of pickle relish and a tablespoon or so of salad dressing. Stir it up with the boiled egg and sweetener.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Budget Casserole

You gotta love a dish named Budget Casserole! I'll give this one a try real soon! I got it from Recipes4Living that I was just telling you about.

Budget Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 C. uncooked regular rice
3 large onions - sliced
2 tsp. salt
1 large green pepper - chopped
1 to 2 tsp. chili powder
1 (16 oz..) can tomatoes
1/8 tsp. pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large skillet, cook and stir meat, onion and green pepper until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat. Stir in tomatoes, rice, salt, chili powder and pepper; heat through. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Cover; bake 1 hour.

These have many variations. You can mix almost any type of vegetable, meat, seafood, and fruit. It's best to have these ingredients cut in similar sizes so they're all finished cooking at the same time. You can marinate beforehand and brush with your favorite barbecue sauce while cooking.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Creamy Broccoli Salad

The kids love raw veggies, so this will be a great one to try!

The directions say to make sure to cut the broccoli and cauliflower into very small florets. This is even better if it's made a few days in advance and allowed to marinate in the fridge.

Creamy Broccoli Salad

1-1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/2 C. sour cream
1/4 C. sugar
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/4 C. finely chopped red onion
1 C. (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 container (3 oz.) real bacon bits

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, and sugar; mix well. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, onion, cheese, and bacon bits; mix well. Cover, and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Recipes in your email

Another great place to sign up for recipes in your email inbox every day or so is Recipe4Living. I signed up a couple of weeks ago and am happy with the large variety of recipes I've been receiving.

You can also go directly to the website and choose categories like budget cooking, slow cooker (Crock pot), casserole, or kid-friendly, all the categories I cook from!

I'll post a few later on today.

Oh yeah, and look for one for lunch! I've got ground turkey, penne noodles, fresh broccoli, and shredded cheese. Maybe I can find something to make with that.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Microwave steam bag cooking

We've recently discovered microwave steam bag cooking! I've been steaming vegetables for the kids and they love it. They don't care for cooked vegetables but they really like them steamed.

The steam bag container had a couple of recipes. I think I'll try this omelet one:

Ham and Cheese Omelet

2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced baked ham

Break eggs into the bottom of a microwave steaming bag. Add remaining ingredients. Stir with a fork, being careful not to pierce the bag. Add salt and pepper if desired. Seal the bag and microwave on high power for about two minutes. Allow bag to stand 30 seconds before opening.

When I try this I'm pretty sure I'll do all my mixing in a cup and then pour the prepared mixture into the bag instead of trying to stir with a fork inside the bag. As expensive as the bags are (I just paid $3.55 or something like that for a box of 10!!!) I'll probably just do this once. I need to save the bags for veggies. The girls eat eggs fixed any kind of way, plus you can just pour your eggs into a bowl and microwave them.

Try some more microwave steam bag recipes!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta

I love variations of dishes like this. I haven't tried anything with this type of sauce so I'm excited to try it! I have everything except the chive and onion cream cheese, so I may go pick this up today and make it for the kids.

I'll use my chicken leg quarters instead of breasts and my frozen chicken stock instead of the chicken broth.

Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 (12 ounce) package farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 (8 ounce) containers chive and onion cream cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in a saucepan, and add water to cover. Boil 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then pull meat into shreds.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine chicken broth, red pepper, garlic, broccoli, salt and pepper. Cover, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until broccoli is crisp-tender. Stir in cream cheese until smooth. Mix in chicken and pasta until evenly coated. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Could it be (that I could make lasagna)?

This recipe purports to be super easy, yes even foolproof! I have most of the stuff I need to make it so I'm going to give this one a try. I am afraid I have been spoiled with the best lasagna in the world (my sister-in-law, well ex now, makes the world's best lasagna and she'd always make me a dish of it when she cooked it for her kids) but maybe this will be a good place for me to start!


1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pint ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until brown and the juices run clear. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, basil, thyme, garlic powder, oregano and half the shredded mozzarella. Mix well, and set aside.

Coat the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with a little of the spaghetti sauce. Place three noodles in the bottom of the pan, not touching. Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture, a layer of sausage, and a layer of spaghetti sauce over the noodles. Repeat two more times. Top with the reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil.

Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes, remove foil and bake 15 minutes more, until golden and bubbly.