Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween means CHILI

You know my chili has to be fast and easy if I'm able to make it after I get home from work.
Fast and Easy Chili
2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion- chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp garlic (I use the pre-minced in a jar)
1 can kidney beans
1 can northern beans
1 can corn
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
3 tsp chili powder (can add more to taste)
2 tsp cayenne pepper (can add more to taste)
hot sauce (optional)
Brown the meat with the garlic. Add the onion and saute until the onions are clear. Drain any fat. Add everything else and stir (don't forget to drain the beans and the corn). Let simmer until heated throughout.
Can freeze leftovers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dinner at Sea

Amy's Mac and Cheese
Boil any shape of noodle- enough for 2 cups cooked
Once cooked, but not too soft, drain and return to hot pan.
Add 3 TBSP of cream cheese
1/2 c of shredded cheese
1 TBSP sour cream
1 TBSP milk
Prepare a muffin pan with six muffin liners. Spoon in enough to fill the cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and gold fish
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until lightly brown

Squid Hot Dogs
Cut a hot dog in half
Take 5 or so spaghetti noodles and poke them in the cut end of the hot dogs
boil until noodles are tender
serve with ketchup and mustard

The Squid Hot Dogs came from an article I saw on Family Fun. I wish I would have marked the link, but I saw it, loved it and had to try it.
The green- seaweed- is steamed spinach. Luckily it is one of my girls' favorite veggies.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Dinner for Kids

We've been eating really healthy and it gets really mundane for the girls. The other night, Scott and I weren't really wanting to eat, so I made up these little dinner rolls.
1 package flaky biscuits
2 hot dogs- sliced
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Separate the rolls in half. Place 3 pieces of hot dog and some cheese on the bottom half. Then replace the top. Put one more slice of hot dog on the top and sprinkle with more cheese.
Bake according to the instructions on the package.
I served these with jello and a pickle. It would have been a great lunch, but it worked for the girl's dinner when we weren't eating.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spinach Artichoke Bites

Many years ago, Melissa and I were on a quest to find a good spinach artichoke dip recipe. We went looking through a large pile of cookbooks. Finally we came upon this one. We wrote it down on a scrap of paper from one of our planners and went home to try it out. It was awesome. I've stuck with the original recipe, but Melissa has updated her recipe.

For our ward prom, we were asked to bring appetizers or desserts. One of the items I brought was these individual Spinach Artichoke Bites. I got the idea for the individual bites here. These were a hit and very easy to make.

Follow the recipe below...

2 T butter
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 small pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 8 oz cream cheese
½- ¾ pint sour cream
2 shakes WHITE Worcestershire Sauce
½ tsp white pepper
2 c parmesan cheese, shredded

Sauté onions in butter, add garlic when onions are almost clear. Once clear add artichoke hearts to sauté pan. Mix in spinach. Continue heating until warmed through out. Add cream cheese, stir in until melted. Add sour cream until desired consistency. Season with Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Stir in 1 c parmesan cheese.

While it is cooking on the stove, put wonton wraps in mini muffin tins. You'll have to be careful, because it is very easy to put a fingernail through the very thin wraps. Then fill the shells with a little less than a tablespoon of the dip. Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on each cup.

Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Watch them so that they don't burn.

Try them with a crab dip, cheese dip or any other hot dip. They are yummy and easy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Amy's Cocoa Buttercream Frosting...

I've never really been a baker or cake decorator, but I wanted to make mini cupcakes with a cocoa buttercream frosting. I searched the internet and found so many different ways to make buttercream frosting. So I made up my own and I really liked it.
1 package cream cheese- softened
3/4- 1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cube softened butter
1/3 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat until creamy and frost your cake or cupcakes.
You can store the remaining frosting in an air tight container for a few weeks in the fridge.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oreo Truffles from Kraft Foods

If you are in need of an easy hit at a party, make these. Oreo Truffles are really yummy.
Here's how easy...
1 package of Oreos
1 8 oz package of Cream Cheese- softened
1 1/2 bags of milk chocolate chips
1 cup of white chocolate chips
Smash the Oreos into little tiny crumbs. Mix in the soft cream cheese. It is easier to use your hands rather than trying to stir it in with a spoon.
Use a melon ball-er or cookie scoop and make 1 inch round balls. Place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Melt the milk chocolate (double boiler or in the microwave). Dip the truffles in the melted chocolate and place on parchment paper. Then melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the truffles.
Keep refrigerated until serving. They can keep in the fridge for weeks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spaghetti Sauce...

I love the spaghetti sauce that I grew up eating. My mom would start it cooking first thing Sunday morning and let it simmer all day. I've made a few changes, but here's the recipe the way I do it...
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz of sliced mushrooms (optional)
½ c of red wine
1- 2 T of brown sugar
1 tsp dried oregano (2 tsp fresh)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp dried parsley (4 tsp fresh)
2 bay leaves
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste (optional)
1 bottle of any flavor Spaghetti Sauce
1 can of olives (optional)

Sauté ground beef. Drain off access fat. In a separate pan, cook the onions, garlic and Italian seasoning until the onions are transparent. Add mushrooms. Sauté until juice from mushrooms is gone. Add mushrooms and onions to meat. Add wine, brown sugar and rest of seasonings. Continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and spaghetti sauce. Simmer for at least a half an hour. Add olives 15 minutes before serving. Cook until they are heated through. Serve over any noodles.

You can add additional vegetables such as zucchini, squash, egg plant etc. Add them to the pan just after the mushrooms.
You can also make it with vegetables only.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Creamy Potatoes and Veggie Gravy

A couple of weekends ago, our ward activities commit put together dinner parties. We got to have dinner with 3 other couples. It was very fun. We had a very yummy dinner. The hostess made stuffed pork chops and corn, another guest brought corn bread, we brought mashed potatoes and gravy and the other couple brought cupcakes from the SweetTooth Fairy. It was all very good. I felt bad, one of the women at dinner was allergic to dairy- so, I should have made the potato smashers. Oh well. Here's the recipe for my creamy potatoes and gravy.
12-15 red potatoes (I like mine with the skin on)
1/2 cube of fat free cream cheese
3/4- 1 cup fat free sour cream
1/3- 1/2 cup skim milk
Boil the potatoes until soft. Drain the potatoes. Smash the potatoes, add the cream cheese, sour cream and milk. Whip til smooth. Add a little more milk or cream cheese if necessary.
Once whipped, put in oven at 350 until you are ready to serve.
For the gravy...
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c vegetable broth
In a sauce pan, melt the butter and whip in the flour, until it makes a paste. Add the broth, and bring to a boil. Whisk frequently. It will thicken as it cooks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Chocolate Raspberry Pie"

For April Fool's Dinner we had "Chocolate Raspberry Pie" made with meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
You'll need...
3/4 lb ground beef
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup oats
1/4- 1/2 bottle of spicy honey BBQ sauce
1 teaspoon cocoa
1 prepared pie crust
instant mashed potatoes
red food coloring
To make:
Preheat oven to 350. Combine the ground beef, onions, oats, cocoa and BBQ sauce. Fill the pie crust with the meat. Level out the meat and pour more BBQ sauce over it. Bake for an hour. When the "pie" is almost done, prepare the potatoes according to package instructions. Add the red food coloring before stirring in the liquid. Then mound the potatoes on top of the pie and serve.

April Fool's Lunch

I love April Fool's Day. Here's what we had for lunch. There will be another dinner post.

Fish Stick- or so they thought

For each fish stick:
3 sugar wafer cookies
peanut butter
rice krispie cereal

First, put a cup of Rice Krispies in a plastic bag. Use a rolling pin and crush the Rice Krispies. Set aside. Layer 3 wafers- stick them together with peanut butter. Then cover the wafer with just enough peanut butter. Take your plastic bag of Rice Krispies and put one "fish stick" in at a time. Completely coat the "fish stick" and place it on your plate. Repeat.

Tarter Sauce:
2 tablespoons white frosting- melted

Carrots and Peas:
Fruity Tootsie Rolls in green and orange

Slice the orange ones and set aside.
Slice the green ones, then third the slices. Roll each little piece into a ball (Thanks Miss Kim for your help on this part).

Put all in a bowl and mix them up. Serve.

Call the kids over for lunch and watch with delight. You'll be glad you did.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dutch Oven Cobbler

This is SOOOO not approved diet food. No matter what diet you are on.
One of our favorite treats is Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler. You can make this dessert without a dutch oven, and it's pretty much the same- just not as thick.
1 white, yellow or butter cake mix
1/2 cube of butter (we'd normally use 1 cube but we're dieting-right?)
1 bottle of sliced canned peaches (we use the ones from Costco)
Preheat oven to 400 (if using a dutch oven pan) 350 (if using a 9x13 pan)
Spray the pan with Pam.
Pour the jar of peaches into the pan.
Dump the cake mix over the peaches and spread it out.
Cut small pieces of butter and place all over the cake mix.
Bake for 40 minutes in a Dutch Oven or 50 minutes in a 9x13 pan.
Serve hot with ice cream!
It is so fantastic. You really don't want to know how many calories are in these little goodies. But, hey, with half the butter, they are considerably lower. I won't go so far as to say they are healthy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My version of Mac and Cheese

When I was little, my favorite dinner was Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese. My grandma and grandpa used to get for me and I'd only have it at their house. The other day, Jade wanted some comfort food. After we went to the doctor's office, we went to Smith's. She saw the Stouffer's in the freezer section and that was what she picked. There are A LOT of calories in that little package. So the next day when she wanted mac and cheese, I decided I'd make my own.
Here's my recipe...
1 cup cream cheese (I use the fat free)
2 cups milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp Cayenne (just enough to add a kick)
salt and pepper
Elbow macaroni
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
Boil the milk. Stir in the cream cheese, the cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese until melted. Season with the Cayenne and the salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, boil the macaroni.
In a casserole pan add the macaroni and pour the cheese sauce over it. You want the sauce to fully cover the noodles. Top with the 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
The girls loved it and I'll make it again. I won't do it when I'm dieting- cause it's just too hard to stay away from the mac and cheese.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Breakfast Potatoes

For Baby Zachary's blessing day, Kat did a fantastic job on the brunch. I offered to bring potatoes. I don't usually make breakfast potatoes and they aren't something I can eat on the diet. My quest to find a good recipe was on. I found several that looked okay, but none that I was thrilled about. So, I made up my own.
I apologize that I don't have exact measurements.
Here goes...
10-15 Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 Onion, chopped
2-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-3 tsp Cayanne Pepper (pending on how much kick you want)
1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
2-3 cups Cheddar Cheese
1 cup diced ham
Combine the potatoes, onions, olive oil, Chili Powder and Kosher Salt. Make sure all of the potatoes are coated. Bake for an hour at 350 degrees covered in aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and add the cheese and ham. Return to the oven, uncovered, for another 30-45 minutes- until potatoes are tender.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Favorite HCG meal so far...

As we continue down the HCG diet path, I have tried MANY different recipes. We aren't allowed to cook with any oil, sweeteners, spices with MSG or starches. I've really enjoyed this "cleaner" way of eating. Don't let yourself believe that that means I'm not really really really craving sweets and breads- cause believe me, I AM.
The other night I tried this. (Kat, I apologize, I told you the wrong seasoning). It was very yummy, even though Scott is NOT a fan of cooked tomatoes.
Here's what you will need...
2 lemons, for juice
1 cup grape tomatoes, slice in half
2 cups spinach, cut in pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
3-4 tilapia (I do 3, because the girls split one)
Cajun seasoning
First, saute the onions in the juice of 1 lemon. Once the onions are clear, place the tilapia on top of the onions. Sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning, then do the other side. Grill the fish until golden brown on both sides. Dump the tomatoes and the spinach over the fish. Add the juice of the second lemon and cover. Check it after 5 minutes, but you might need to leave it on as long as 10. Don't go beyond the 10 or the color starts to brown.
Serve. (The girls get either rice or a potato on the side. We could have a Melba toast, but didn't).

Thursday, March 5, 2009


3/4 cup butter
1 cup light corn syrup
2 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
dash of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Butter the inside of an 8x8 disposable aluminum pan (they come in sets of 3).
In a large pot over medium-low heat, combine all ingredients except the vanilla. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Increase heat to medium and simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook until it is between 135 degrees and 140 degrees on a candy thermometer. (I like them soft but not gooey).
Remove from heat and pour in vanilla. It will bubble up, so make sure you have it in a large enough pot.
Carefully pour into the prepared pan. Chill for a few hours.
Remove from pan and cut into bite sized pieces. Wrap in wax paper or candy cellophane.
These stay good in the fridge for several weeks- but put them in an airtight container.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Baked Cajun Shrimp

It's been quite some time since I have posted a recipe. I have several in the wings, but just haven't gotten around to it. Maybe I really do have more on my plate than I can handle.

Scott and I have been on a very strict diet the past 30 days. We can't use oil, butter, sugar and oh so many other yummy things. So, I've learned how to make some really good dinners without any bad stuff added. There are a few that I would like to share, but I'll start with this one.

Baked Cajun Shrimp

1 pound of raw shrimp (shelled and de-veined is best but more expensive. Also, you can use cooked shrimp, but you will have to reduce the baking time because the shrimp will get tough).
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 onion- finely chopped
Cajun seasoning
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Place all of the shrimp in a 9x13 pan. Squeeze all of the lemon over the shrimp. Generously sprinkle the Cajun seasoning over the shrimp. Stir in the chopped onion.

Bake for 20 minutes and 350 degrees- until onions are transparent.

We served this with sauteed cabbage and added noodles for the girls.
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sloppy Joe's...

I have friends and family that just won't eat sloppy Joe's. I don't understand how there is anything about sloppy Joe's that is possibly offensive. I personally love them and think that if you are having a group of friends over for an impromptu dinner, they are the easiest thing (next to Papa Murphy's Pizza) to do. Grab some chips and a veggie tray to add to the sloppy Joe's and you are set.
I start out by sauteing a large onion chopped up into 1/4 inch pieces. I'll also add about a clove of garlic.

Then, I add the ground beef. I think the leaner you go on the ground beef, the better. If you get the really lean, you don't have to drain it. But anything with more than 7% fat will require draining.

After the meat is brown I add a half can of tomato sauce for every pound of ground beef. Then I add barbecue sauce. I typically get the small bottle and I like the brown sugar flavor or the spicy honey. I'll add enough sauce that it is a little too runny for sloppy Joe's. It will thicken while I simmer it. I like to add about a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Once I've added everything and stirred it well, I let it simmer until it is time to eat. The longer it simmers, the better.
When we lived in Kentucky, and I was a stay at home mom, Scott would call around 10 in the morning and ask if he and his team could come over for lunch. We always had chips, ground beef and onions on hand. Typically he'd run by Kroger's on the way home to grab buns and we'd have a party. I loved doing it and it is one of the things I miss about being 3 minutes from Scott's office and being a stay at home mom.
I think my sister's husband thinks sloppy Joe's are the only thing I know how to make. I do make other things, just not when I want to make sure something is fast, yummy and easy.
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