Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Confession & A Little Family Fun :)

I've been a little MIA for a while ;)  This blog is a "would like to-do" on my list, and it seems that I never get that far on my to-do list! 

Also, I think that I put some challenging restrictions on myself when I categorized each day of the much, that when I did have a moment to snap a picture of our meal, that I wouldn't feel like it fit into a day of the week category, so I just wouldn't bother. So, from now on, I will just post when I'm able, and not worry about a day of the week category! :)

Now on to the FAMILY FUN...literally...I saw the cute Groundhog Cupcakes (click for recipe) that Family Fun posted on their website, and I knew the kids would love them!  Wednesday evening we made these, and they turned out pretty cute....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Mornings

My mother's family put together a little cookbook a couple years ago that I have cherished.  I love trying the recipes and find that we enjoy most of what we have created! :)  This recipe comes from "Recipes to Remember" ...Frampton Seagle Family Favorites.

Recipe:  Breakfast Casserole  (shared by my Aunt Jill's family)

8 frozen hash brown patties (I used frozen diced hash browns and it turned out great...8 cups)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup cooked bacon, sausage or ham (we used bacon)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded swiss cheese (we used 2 cup of cheddar because we didn't have swiss)
8 eggs
2 cups milk, cream or half & half
1 tsp salt (could use a bit more salt)
1 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Place hash browns in greased 9x13 baking dish. Pour melted butter over hash browns and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with breakfast meat and cheese.  Beat eggs, add milk, salt and pepper and pour mixture over hash browns.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked and eggs are set.

Critiques:  Enjoyed by all! ....everyone did agree that it needed a bit more seasoning, but that was added by individual taste :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sweet Sundays

Last month I helped with a baby shower for a friend and we used a "nesting theme"...cute little owls and such.  I volunteered to do the favors for the guests, and with the help and ideas from creative friends, I chose to make Bird Nest Bites.  We individually wrapped them in small, plastic bags with a tag and ribbon loop and hung them from branches that were secured in a metal bucket that was filled with large rocks...darling!! :)

Recipe:  Bird Nest Bites

12 oz. bag chocolate chips
1/3 c. peanut butter
3 c. chow mein noodles
1 1/2 c. krispie rice cereal

Pour chips into 4 cup measuring bowl. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir and add peanut butter. Microwave 1 minute, or until just melted (too long and the chocolate might burn). Stir in noodles and cereal. Cover cookie sheet with waxed paper. Drop spoonfuls of Bird's Nests on waxed paper...OR spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray and mold the nest mixture to create small "nests".  Add candy (egg-like pieces...I used jelly belly beans) on top of each "nest".  Let cool in refrigerator.

Critiques:  Everyone loved them...and they were very darling on the branches...I will post a picture soon of the set-up!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Whip it up Wednesdays

Tonight we had our monthly potluck at church and we were given the theme of Dr. Suess' "Green Eggs & Ham"!  Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!  I needed a quick make ahead meal because I had a crazy day, and this salad was the perfect fit! :)

Sous Chef:  Amelia

Recipe:  Ham Tortellini Salad

1 (7-8 oz) package cheese-filled spinach tortellini (I picked the package that was mixed regular and spinach)
3 cups (12 oz) ham, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup green onion (I don't think I used that much)
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup light creamy buttermilk or fat free zesty italian salad dressing (I used both: 1 part buttermilk dressing to 2 parts italian dressing)
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
Leaf lettuce or butterhead lettuce, washed and drained

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and run under cold water to cool.  Combine all ingredients except leaf lettuce and red pepper in large bowl.  Toss until well blended.  Serve on lettuce-lined salad plates. Sprinkle with red pepper.  Serve immediately (I actually had it in the fridge and served it cold...tasted great both ways!)

Critiques:  At potlucks it is hard to gauge real reactions, but my family liked it :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays

Yes, I know it has been awhile since I've posted anything on this blog!  Almost an entire month!!  We have been enjoying a lot of repeat meals, so there hasn't been anything new to share.  Today I did try a new recipe and it turned out so good, that I had to share! :)

Sous Chef:  Brian (his idea and lots of his help!)

Recipe:  Sushi Rolls

4 cups sushi rice (we added 2 T. sugar & 3 T. seasoned rice vinegar)
4 sheets of nori (dried seaweed)
1 avocado
8 oz. imitation crab meat
2 T. light mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. salt
black pepper
1 cucumber
1-2 oz. cream cheese

Peel avocado and cut into strips. Place crab into bowl and add mayonnaise, salt and a little bit of black pepper. Peel and seed cucumber and cut into strips. Slice cream cheese into narrow strips (I'm not sure if my method is correct, but the best way I found was to take a sharp, wet knife and slice the cream cheese into desired width and length...we made ours about 1/8 - 1/4 inch diameter).  Adding other favorite ingredients might include shrimp, salmon, green onions, jalapeno, etc.


This was the first time I have ever made sushi, so I followed a video online to help with the rolling.  I don't have the handy sushi bamboo roller-thingy, so I improvised.  I used a plain piece of plastic wrap, and surprisingly it worked very well, so well in fact, that I won't bother buying a bamboo roller. :) 

* Rolling TIP: Make sure you roll tight, so there aren't air pockets in the middle, which allows the ingredients to more easily fall out.

* Cutting TIP: When slicing, use a sharp knife, and clean with a damp, wet towel between each cut to clear away the sticky rice, which allows smoother cutting.

Critiques:  "This is awesome!"...and "This is as good as Sushi Town (our favorite sushi restaurant)!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Favorites

This dish could be called many things, but in our house we call them "Mexican Haystacks"...a twist on the traditional Hawaiian Haystacks, that my family isn't fond of (I personally love them!!).  Not much of a recipe, more of an idea :)

Sous Chef:  Anna

Recipe:  Mexican Haystacks

1 lb. ground beef cooked with taco seasoning
2 cups rice, cooked
1 can refried beans
1-2 cups cheese, shredded
lettuce, shredded
tomatoes, diced
tortilla chips
desired condiments (sour cream, avocado or guacamole, salsa, hot sauce, etc.)

Layer desired ingredients and enjoy!

Critiques ~
Megan: "This would be good with chicken too."
Zachary: "This is awesome!"
Amelia: "This is SUPER good!"
Brian: "Too much passing!!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays

This is one of my favorite dishes at Applebee's and the recipe my mother-in-law gave me is very close to the real thing!! :)

~ BTW, this picture is missing a couple ingredients...the chow mein noodles and almonds! I forgot to add them to my salad before I took the picture :)

Recipe: Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

Oriental Dressing
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Light)
1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard (I just used a good shake of Ground Mustard)
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

Chicken **
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 skinless chicken breast halves
2 cups vegetable oil (for frying)

3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup red cabbage
1 cup napa cabbage
1/2 carrot, julienned or shredded
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1/3 cup chow mein noodles
Preheat oil in deep fryer or deep pan over medium heat. You want the temperature of the oil to be around 350 degrees.

Blend together all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl with an electric mixer. Put dressing in refrigerator to chill while you prepare the salad.

In a small, shallow bowl beat egg, add milk, and mix well. In another bowl, combine flour with corn flake crumbs, salt and pepper. Cut chicken breast into 4 or 5 long strips. Dip each strip of chicken first into egg mixture then into the flour mixture, coating each piece completely. Fry each chicken finger for 5 minutes or until coating has darkened to brown.

Prepare salad by tossing the chopped romaine with the chopped red cabbage, Napa cabbage, and carrots. Sprinkle sliced green onion on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle almonds over the salad, then the chow mein noodles. Cut the chicken into small bite-size chunks. Place the chicken onto the salad forming a pile in the middle. Serve with salad dressing drizzled over it or on the side.

** Time Saving Tip:  Cooking the chicken can be time consuming, so my mother-in-law buys frozen chicken patties and uses them instead.  Not sure what the difference would be in WW points values if you substituted.

Weight Watchers Points for 1/6 salad & dressing:  4 Points

Critiques ~
The girls all loved it! BUT the boys were not fans :(  Brian doesn't like honey-based salad dressings and Zachary really didn't like the chicken?!  Not sure why?!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Mornings

These little cups of goodness turned out pretty yummy!

Recipe:  Breakfast in a Cup (Light Cooking Cookbook)

3 cups rice, cooked
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, drained
1 jar (2 oz) diced pimientos (I was out, and substituted diced tomatoes)
1/3 cup fat free milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Non-stick cooking spray

Combine rice, 1/2 cup cheese, chilies, pimientos, milk, eggs, cumin, salt and pepper in large bowl.  Divide mixture evenly into 12 muffin cups coated with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until set.

Tip: Breakfast in a Cup may be stored in the freezer in freezer bags or tightly sealed containers.  To reheat, microwave each frozen cup on HIGH for 1 minute.

Weight Watchers Points for 1 cup:  2 Points

Critiques ~
Everyone said basically the same thing..."Good!"

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet Sundays

One of my favorite dessert combinations is chocolate and peanut butter!  This light recipe melds those yummy flavors without the guilt!

Sous Chef:  Anna

Recipe:  Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfaits  (by Light Cooking Cookbook)

2 cups plus 2 T. cold fat free milk, divided
2 T. chunky peanut butter
1 cup thawed whipped topping
1 package (4-serving size) Chocolate Sugar-Free, Fat Free Instant Pudding

Add 2 T. milk to peanut butter; stir until well blended.  Stir in whipped topping.

Pour the remaining 2 cups milk into medium mixing bowl.  Add pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes.  Spoon half the pudding mixture into 6 parfait glasses; cover with whipped topping mixture.  Top with remaining pudding mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Weight Watchers Points for 1 of 6 servings:  3 Points

Critiques ~
Megan: "Taste like a peanut butter cup."
Anna: "I like this!"
Amelia:  "Good! Tastes like a peanut butter cup."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Savory Saturdays

This has become a favorite meal for our family :)  You could really change up some of the ingredients and it would still taste good...I have also used regular diced tomatoes and it has turned out good...also I've used a Zesty Italian dressing with good results :)  Let me know if you've used a variation...I'd love to hear how yours turns out!

Recipe: Bruschetta & Cheese Stuffed Chicken (by Kraft)

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/4 cups Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 lb.)
1/3 cup KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

MIX tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and basil in medium bowl. Add stuffing mix; stir just until moistened.

PLACE 2 chicken breasts in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound with meat mallet or side of heavy can until chicken is 1/4 inch thick. Remove from bag; place, top-sides down, on cutting board. Repeat with remaining chicken. Spread chicken with stuffing mixture. Starting at 1 narrow end, tightly roll up each breast. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with dressing.

BAKE 40 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 5 min. or until melted.

Weight Watcher Points for 1 of 8 Servings:  6 Points

Critiques:  Loved by all, and has become a requested dish!