Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 30, 2009

Monte Cristo Club

8 slices peppered bacon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce
4 slices (red, orange, or yellow) tomato
salt and pepper
8 slices whole wheat bread
8 slices sharp white cheddar cheese (couldn't find, I used sharp cheddar--orange!)
1 lb. deli sliced turkey or smoked turkey
1 cup baby spinach or mixed greens
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk or half and half
2 T butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Broil the bacon on a rack set on baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together maple syrup and applesauce. Season tomato slices with salt and pepper.

Assemble 4 sammies with bread, cheese, turke, spinach, bacon, tomato, more cheese, and bread. Press slightly.
In a shallow dish, beat the eggs with the milk. In a large skillet, elt the butter over medium-low heat. Coat each sammie with the egg mixture (I dipped very carefully and it worked), then add to the skillet and cook, turning once, until deeply golde, about 7 minutes. Cut the sammies and serve with the applesauce.
Serves 4.
(Every Day with Rachael Ray December-January 2009)

Power Salad

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/4 lb. sweet potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 lb. Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T no-calorie sweetener
3 T raisins
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plain fat free yogurt
3 T reduced fat mayonnaise

(I halved this to serve as a side dish for a family of 3 and had leftovers. I used 2 apples and 2 sweet potatoes. I also used real sugar.)

Heat nuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.

Arrange sweet potatoes in a steamer basket or stainless steel collander in 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven over boiling water. Cover and steam 16-17 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Plunge potatoes into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain.

Place apples in large bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice and no-calorie sweetener; toss gently to coat. Stir in sweet potatoes, raisins, salt, and 3 T. walnuts.

Stir together yogurt and mayonnaise. Add yogurt mixture to sweet potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1 T walnuts. Cover and chill 2-12 hours.
Serves 8.

(Southern Living November 2008)

Aaah, dinner--plated. We all enjoyed this meal, it's a keeper. Riley ate everything I put on his plate--which seems to be happening less often lately. Tonight, dinner was eaten without much bribery, coersion, and counting bites on our part.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 26, 2009

The Best Macaroni and Cheese

10 ounces extra sharp cheedar, grated
4 ounces Monterey Jack, grated
4 ounces Velveeta, cubed (or 4 more ounces of Monterey Jack if you must)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
6 slices extra-thick bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces plain dried bread crumbs
2 ounces parmesan, grated

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put cheeses (except parmesan) in the top of a double boiler (or if you don't have one, set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of water in it) and melt over simmering water, stirring frequently. Gradually add milk, whisking (a fork was easier than a whisk for me) until completely smooth. Whisk in mustard, bacon, salt, and pepper. Pour into a 9x9 baking dish; add macaroni and toss to coat.

In small bowl, combine bread crumbs and parmesan. Sprinkle over the top. Bake until crumbs are browned and cheese is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes (15-20 for individual proportions).

(I doubled this (but not exactly) for a main course and I'm not sure that I needed to.)


Savory Zucchini Sticks

3 T seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 T grated parmesan cheese
1 egg white
1 tsp. milk
2 small zucchini (about 4 ounces each, cut lengthwise into thirds)
1/3 cup spaghetti sauce, warmed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.

Combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in shallow dish. Combine egg white and milk in another; beat with fork until well blended.

Dip each zucchini wedge first into crumb mixture, then into egg mixture, letting excess drip back into dish. Roll again in crumb mixture to coat.

Place zucchini on prepared baking sheet; coat well with cooking spray. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with spaghetti sauce. (I served with Ranch dressing.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

March 25, 2009

Chipotle and Lime Grilled Chicken Breasts

6 chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 T lime juice
2 T soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. ground chipotle chile
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
NOT 4 minced scallions

Combine above ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Marinate chicken breasts in marinade at least two hours or, preferably, overnight.

Grill marinated chicken over coals or gas grill for 35 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through and golden brown.

Fiesta Grilled Avocados

4-6 avocado halves
2 T olive oil
1 tsp. fajita seasoning
shredded cheese
sour cream
lime juice

Place olive oil in small bowl. Dip avocado halves in oil. Sprinkle with fajita seasoning and squeeze lime juice on top.

Heat coals or grill to medium heat (375 degrees). Brush grill with olive oil to prevent sticking. Grill on cut side for 5 minutes. Turn over and grill for 3 minutes. Place grilled avocados on foil lined baking pan (on grill) and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Heat until cheese melts.
Remove from grill and add 1 T of sour cream and salsa (fresh tomatoes work too).
Dinner was great! Riley ate a whole avocado. Why didn't we think to grill avocados sooner?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 23, 2009

Mediterranean Fettuccine with Shrimp and Spinach

1 cup sour cream
1 cup crumbled Feta with sun dried tomatoes and basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces fettuccine pasta
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach
1 (16 oz) bag cooked salad shrimp

In a large bowl, combine sour cream, feta, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions, but after the first 8 minutes of cooking, add spinach and shrimp to boiling pasta. Cook pasta mixture for 2 more minutes. Drain pasta mixture thoroughly.
Add hot pasta mixture to sour cream mixture and toss gently. Serve immediately.

**For a spicier flavor add 1/2 tsp. crushed red bepper and 1 tsp. dried basil.
(6 servings)
(I found this one on a bag of frozen shrimp.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 22, 2009

Cherry Almond Streusel Danish

Streusel Topping

2 T sugar
2 tsp. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 T butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds


3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup cherry pie filling (more fruit than liquid)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 can Grands Flaky Layers biscuits
3 T butter, melted


1 T cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 to 2 tsp. water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in 1 T butter, using fork, until mixture is crumbly. Add almonds; toss and set aside. (*I didn't cut in the butter, I left it dry.)

In another small bowl, mix 3 oz. cream cheese, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

In third small bowl, mix pie filling and almond extract.

Separate biscuits; press each into 5-inch round. On center of each biscuit roud, spoon pie filling with 4 or 5 cherries and 2 heaping tsp. cream cheese mixture. Bring all sides of dough up over filling, stretching gently if necessary, and gather in center above filling; firmly pinch edges to seal. Dip tops and sides into melted butter, then dip into streusel; lightly press streusel on tops and sides. Place seam sides down, 2 inches apart, on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool 5 minutes.

In small bowl, mix 1 T cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 tsp. vanilla. Stir in water, 1 tsp. at a time, until icing is smooth and creamy. Place icing in small resealable plastic bag; cut small tip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Squeeze icing in zigzag pattern on tops of cooled Danish.

(www. pillsbury.com --A Pillsbury Bake Off recipe)

(*It took me a while to finally get then hang of folding the Danish, but after about 3 or 4 it was a little easier and neater. No pictures on these--when I can make them pretty I'll post pictures!)

They tasted better (and were prettier) than I expected! Another hit.

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 19, 2009

Pineapple-Black Bean Enchiladas

2 tsp. vegetable oil
NOT 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (I chose orange bell pepper)
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits in juice, drained, 1/2 cup juice reserved
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (12 ounces)
1 can mild enchilada sauce
8 whole wheat flour tortillas (8 or 9 inch)
1/2 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 12 inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. DO NOT add onion (I substituted 2 t. chopped garlic) and bell pepper; cook 4-5 minutes or until softened. Stir in pineapple, beans, green chiles, and salt. Cook and stir until thoroughly heated. Removed skillet from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro and 2 cups of cheese.

Spoon and spread 1T enchilada sauce onto each tortilla. Spoon about 3/4 cup vegetable mixture over sauce on each. Roll up tortillas; place seam side down in baking dish.

In small bowl, mix reserved pineapple juice and remaining enchilada sauce; pour over entire surface of enchiladas in dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese. Spray sheet of foil large enough to cover baking dish with cooking spray; place sprayed side down over baking dish and seal tightly.

Bake 35-40 minutes, removing foil during last 5-10 minutes of baking, until cheese ismelted and sauce is bubbly. Top each baked enchilada with 1T sour cream and 1 tsp. cilantro.

8 servings. (I don't know about you, but we can eat more than one enchilada each around here!! I added an extra can of black beans because my mother-in-law was joining us and it made about 15 enchiladas!! I obviously didn't put 3/4 cup of filling into each tortilla, just eyeball it.)

(http://www.pillsbury.com/ Pillsbury Bake Off recipe)

Serve with Spanish Rice.

We all thought these were delicious! My skeptical mother-in-law enjoyed them too. We'll be having them for dinner again tomorrow night!!

March 18, 2009

BLT Wrap

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
8 (10 inch) tortillas
1 large head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
NOT 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
16 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Combine mayo and tomatoes in small bowl. Spread evenly over 1 side of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2 inch border.

Layer lettuce, NOT onions, and bacon (I left mine in slices and also added chopped fresh tomato); sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roll up tortillas; cut in half diagonally, and secure with wooden pick.
Serves 8.
(Southern Living, December 2004)

I served with sliced Granny Smith Apples and

Fluffy Peanut Butter Dip

8 oz. vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup Cool Whip

Combine ingredients and serve with apples or pears.

(This recipe was from Tina Russell.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 17, 2009

Herbed Chicken in Pastry

4 boneless chicken breast halves
1 T butter
1/2 pkg. frozen puff pastry (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 T water
1 (4 oz) container garlic and herb spreadable cheese (Alouette)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned. Remove chicken. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 minutes. Mix egg and water. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14" square and cut into 4 (7") squares. Spread about 2 T of the cheese spread in center of each square. Sprinkle with 1T parsley and top with cooled chicken. Brush edges of squares with egg mixture. Fold each corner to center on top of chicken and seal edges. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture.

Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

These weren't difficult to make at all and they were delicious--I think the hardest part was rolling out the puff pastry to a 14 inch square! I think I cheated and mine was more like 12"x14".

Serves 4.

(This one I cut from the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry box!)

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

2 lbs. asparagus
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus; place on lightly greased baking sheet. (I used 9x13 baking dish.) Whisk together remaining ingredients; drizzle mixture over asparagus, tossing to coat.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or longer) to desired degree of doneness, turning once after 8 minutes.

We love asparagus and this is just one more way to do it. Refreshing with all of that lemon.

Serves 6.
(Southern Living April 2008)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 16, 2009

Missy's Chicken Salad
(inspired by Jason's Deli's chicken salad)

2 cans of canned chicken (flaked and rinsed)
1 can pineapple tidbits (crushed works too)
1 cup (at least) toasted almonds
Miracle Whip to taste
Sweet relish to taste

Start the almonds first. I used to do them in the broiler on in my toaster oven, but I get distracted too easily and have burned them too many times. This time, I used the oven at 350 degrees and it probably took about 20 minutes. I checked them every 5 minutes and mixed them up a couple of times. They were perfect--and I didn't burn them!!
Mix everything except almonds in a bowl (I add them right before serving so they don't lose their crunch). I also add a couple of tablespoons of pineapple juice.

Serve with a favorite bread, croissant, cracker, or just eat it alone!

Mixed Berry Salad

2 T lime yogurt (lemon would be good too)
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 T fresh mint leaves, torn
1 cup cubed cantaloupe
4 medium strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1/4 cup raspberries
1/4 cup blueberries

Whisk the yogurt, lime juice, and mint together in a medium bowl. Add the fruit and toss to combine.

Serves 2.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 14, 2009

I wanted to make some sort of dessert with what I had on hand. For some reason, I had 3 cans of pumpkin in my pantry....and I only have one recipe that I use with canned pumpkin!! I tried this:

Pumpkin Crunch

1 can pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

Mix together pumpkin, milk, sugar, spice, salt, and eggs. Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle one box yellow cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Dot with butter. (I used less than one stick, not two!) Sprinkle almonds over butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Russ wasn't crazy about the idea of pumpkin dessert, but really liked it. Riley and I were sold from the beginning. I think the almonds make it!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 14, 2009

Start with this oatmeal and cook according to package directions. (One cup is enough for our family of 3. Consider doubling for a heatlthy weekday breakfast--just warm and add your favorite toppings.)

Add about 2-3 T of yogurt (we like vanilla), some fresh strawberries, and drizzle with honey. Delicious--we all love it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 13, 2009

Super Nachos
(recipe will come later, promise)

Friday, March 13, 2009

March 12, 2009

Cheese Soup

3 carrots
3 ribs celery
NOT 1 lg. onion
4 T butter
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 cans Campbells Cream of Potato soup
1 lb. Velveeta, cubed
8 oz. sour cream
Optional: round sourdough loaf

Chop carrots, celery, and NOT onion and saute in butter. (I substituted 1 teaspoon of minced garlic for the onion, omitted the celery, and doubled the carrots.)

Add chicken broth and simmer 30 minutes.

Add cream of potato soup; stir well.

Add Velveeta. Simmer 10 minutes, stir to prevent scorching.

Before serving, add 8 oz. sour cream and stir well.

Makes 2 quarts.

**This soup is great served in a bread bowl. I bought a sourdough loaf from H.E.B. and cut a circle in the top of it, clearing out the insides, leaving a thick enough crust to hold the soup. I saved the insides and served with the soup. (Riley loved his "dipping soup!") Place sourdough bowl on cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees until toasty. Serve soup in warm bowl.

We all loved it! I think it would be great with chopped broccoli, ham, and just about any other vegetable that you like.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 10, 2009

Grilled Chicken and Veggies

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Italian dressing (I use Wishbone)
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper

Place chicken breasts in large Ziploc bag and add Italian dressing to coat. Close and marinate 5-10 minutes.

Cut up peppers and zucchini and put into a large Ziploc bag.

Add Italian dressing to coat.

Heat grill to medium, put veggies on before chicken. Grill to desired degree of doneness.

Cream Corn
(I found this copycat of Rudy's cream corn at texasmonthly.com)

2 lb. frozen corn
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
1 T sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in medium saucepan on low heat until cream cheese and butter are melted. Stir occasionally.

(I halved this for our family of 3 and it was plenty. I also used half and half because I had it in the refrigerator and it worked fine. Even though I halved it, I still used 1 T sugar.)

Great dinner, we loved it AND it was easy. Russ said about the creamed corn, "Rudy's would be jealous."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 9, 2009

Pan Seared Tilapia with Citrus Vinaigrette

4 (6 oz) tilapia fillets
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup white wine
NOT 2 T finely chopped shallots
2 T lemon juice
2 T orange juice
4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. sherry vinegar (or substitute white wine vinegar--I did!)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle fish with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add 2 fillets to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat with remaining fillets.

Add white wine to pan; cook 30 seconds or until liquid almost evaporates. DON'T combine shallots and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk; stir in remaining salt and pepper. Add juice mixture to pan; saute 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Place 1 fillet on each of 4 plates; top with about 3 tablespoons of sauce.

4 servings

(Cooking Light January/February 2008)

Maple Glazed Carrots

3 pounds carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick on the diagonal
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 T unsalted butter
salt and pepper

In a large skillet, combine the carrots, syrup, butter, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring once, until the carrots are tender and the liquid has reduced to a glaze (12-15 minutes). If the carrots are tender before the liquid has thickened, uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until the liquid forms a glaze.

*I used a pound of baby carrots, didn't slice them, and kept the glaze ingredients the same.


Olive Cheese Bread

On a whim, I decided to add this to our meal. What a great addition! It was my second time to make it and it was just as delicious as it was the first time.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Just a Thought...

If you're like me, you have random leftovers of things you don't use very often in your pantry. Allrecipes.com has an ingredient search feature that I think is pretty great.

At first, I used it to search for new recipes with things I liked, or things that were recipe-limited (green olives, sun dried tomatoes, etc.). Now, with my stuffed pantry (and the economy down-turn) I think it's a great idea to plan our meals around things we already have.

My point is...go to Allrecipes.com with a few things from your pantry (or refrigerator), click "ingredients" tab at the top, and type some of your ingredients in, and you can save yourself some space, some money, and some time going to the grocery store. Get creative and have fun!!

March 8, 2009

Bacon Maple Waffles

2 cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups milk
3 T maple syrup
2 T butter, melted
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; stsir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture.

Combine milk, 3 T syrup, butter, bacon, and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

Preheat waffle iron. Coat iron with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/3 cup batter per waffle (each half is a waffle) onto hot waffle iron, spreading batter to edges. Cook 4-5 minutes or until steaming stops. Repeat with remaining batter.

Yield: 8 waffles
(Cooking Light March 2008)

These were good, but we still served them with butter, syrup, and bacon!! The recipe didn't eliminate the need for those things.

Friday, March 6, 2009

March 5, 2009

Chicken Parmesan Bundles

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 T parmesan cheese
6 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
1 egg
12 Ritz crackers, crushed
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce, heated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup of mozzarella, and 3 T Parmesan until well blended.

Spread evenly onto chicken breasts. Starting at one of the short ends of each breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired. Set aside.

Beat egg in shallow bowl or pie plate. Mix remamaining 3 T Parmesan cheese and cracker crumbs in separate shallow bowl or pie plate. Dip chicken bundles in egg, then roll in crumb mixture. Place, seam side down, in 13x9 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees). Remove and discard toothpicks. Serve topped with spaghetti sauce and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella.


All of us liked this one...and I would've been fine with the spinach and cheese mixture. YUM! I didn't serve with the spaghetti sauce either, it was complete without it.

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Butter

1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 medium sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together first five ingredients until well blended.

Chill 10 minutes. Turn out onto waxed paper and, using the paper as an aid, roll the butter into a log about the size of a nickel. Wrap tightly in a new piece of waxed paper and refrigerate an hour or longer.

(I didn't do this, I just mixed the ingredients together and dropped a teaspoon or two onto each potato.)

Scrub potatoes and prick the skin all over with fork. Bake on oven rack for 45-60 minutes, until they're soft and easily pierced through the center with a paring knife. Serve each potato with two coin-sized slices of the butter.


Riley ate an entire sweet potato after declaring that he didn't like them. How's that for a review? We, of course, loved them too!