Friday, December 31, 2010

Coconut Balls

This is my mother-in-law's coconut ball recipe.  Around the holidays she makes the most wonderful candy trays...these are my favorite part of them.  For all of her chocolate covered candies she uses a mixture of a melted 1/2 a block of semi-sweet candi-quick chocolate and a 12 oz. package of semi-sweets.  I like that combination the best as opposed to just chocolate chips melted with a bit of shortening...but, use what you want to dip them in.  -Kristin

2 c. and 2 heaping T. of powdered sugar
1/4 c. softened butter
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. sweetened, flaked coconut
1/2-1 c. chopped almonds

1/2 block of semi-sweet candi-quick (name brand if you can!!!)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Optional:  Sprinkle top with coconut or sprinkles.
  • Mix together the powdered sugar and butter.
  • Add the sweetened condensed milk.
  • Mix in the coconut and almonds.
  • Roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Chill for 2 hours.
  • Melt the chocolates in a glass bowl in microwave.  Start with 1 minute, stir.  Then every cook and stir every 20 seconds until smooth. 
  • Using 2 forks dip the chilled balls into the chocolate.  Let the excess drop off.  Place on greased cookie sheet or on waxed paper. 
  • If desired, before the chocolate dries, sprinkle with coconut or sprinkles. 
  • Chill for at least an hour.

Black Bean and Quinoa Soup

This soup has become one of my favorites.  The seasonings along with the combination of vegetables, beans and quinoa are incredibly delicious.  This soup smells amazing with the cinnamon and nutmeg in there.  It is a combination I was nervous to try but so thankful I did!  I adapted this recipe off of a blog called ohsheglows.  -Kristin

1 T. olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
1 medium zuchinni, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 c. water
3 vegetable or chicken boullion cubes

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 c. red quinoa or regular quinoa, uncooked
1 t. curry powder
pinch or 2 of cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 t. seasoned salt
1/2 t. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2-3 c. baby spinach leaves, well rinsed and roughly chopped
  • Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add the chopped onion and carrot.  Saute over medium heat until onion is translucent.  Add the remaining veggies and saute for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour in water, boullion, diced tomatoes, quinoa, curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, seasoned salt, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer gently 15-20 minutes. 
  • Stir in black beans and spinach, stir well, cover and simmer on low for 15-35 minutes. 
  • Taste the seasonings and add more seasoned salt if necessary.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate Break Up

This is a recipe from my mother-in-law. She usually makes this around the holidays along with all her other candies. These are like little toffee, chocolate bars. The chopped pecans or heath bars on top are optional. She usually sprinkles hers with red and green sprinkles around Christmas time. -Kristin

saltine crackers
1/8 t. salt
1 stick of butter
1/2 c. sugar
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans or crushed Heath Bars
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cover the bottom of a jelly roll pan with parchement paper or foil that is sprayed.
  • Line the pan with saltine crackers.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • In a saucepan, bring to a boil the butter and sugar.
  • Pour butter mixture over the crackers.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle right away with the chocolate chips.
  • Spread the chocolate chips over top evenly.
  • If desired, sprinkle with chopped pecans or chopped Heath Bars.
  • Chill for at least an hour. Then break into chunks.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Eggnog Cookies

This is another great recipe from my sister Kate. These soft cookies will be a hit with any eggnog lover!-Sarah

3/4 cups butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup eggnog
1 t. vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 1/4 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
  • Cream butter and sugar till smooth, add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to creamed mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Scoop dough with cookie scoop and place balls on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees about 10 minutes, making sure to not over bake.

Vegetable Pizza

I've always loved this appetizer, this version uses delicious spices and seasonings to flavor the cream cheese topping on the crust. You can use any variety of vegetables on this delicious pizza, just add your favorite toppings.-Sarah

2 pkg's crescent rolls
-Press into greased jelly roll pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 min. cool.

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 t. dill
1 t. seasoning salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
-Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream and remaining seasonings. Spread over cooled crust.

chopped broccoli
chopped cauliflower
shredded carrots
chopped peppers
sliced green onion
shredded cheddar cheese
-Sprinkle vegetables evenly over crust ending with cheese.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peanutty Crunch Mounds

My mom made these when I was growing up, they are delicious! It's a super easy recipe that makes a great addition to any cookie tray.-Sarah

Melt: 10 oz. white bark coating
Stir in: 2 1/2 T. peanut butter

Add: 1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup Rice Krispies
3/4 cup Spanish peanuts

Mix well and drop on wax paper, refrigerate until set. (They don't need to be stored in the refrigerator)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Italian Meatball Goulash

The original recipe I have for this calls it a soup...but, it was way too thick to be a soup.  Sarah and I have changed the original recipe quite a bit and made it more like a goulash.  This is a quick and wonderful meal that everyone will enjoy! -Kristin

1.25 # ground turkey or beef
2/3 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 c. finely diced onions
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 t. salt
pepper
  • Mix all ingredients and shape into about 40 small meatballs.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until cooked through.
1 (28 oz.) jar marinara sauce
2 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
3 1/2 c. water (possibly another cup more)
2 c. frozen green beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. Italian seasoning
3/4 t. seasoned salt
7 oz. can mushrooms, optional
8 oz. bowtie noodles
  • While meatballs are baking combine all except the bowtie noodles and cook over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the pasta and simmer for 35 minutes with the pan partially covered.  Stirring occasionally to see if you need to add more water.
  • When meatballs are done baking add them to the soup and simmer partially covered for another 15-20 minutes until the noodles are finished cooking.  Stirring occasionally to see if you need to add more water. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homemade Tahini Lemon Garlic Dressing (with my favorite salad combo!)


This is my favorite salad combo and dressing of mine. The dressing is so easy to make and keep on hand. It also makes a perfect dip for veggies. This salad combo is perfect...loaded with flavor and the perfect crunch. The dressing recipe is adapted from a blog called ohsheglows.com. -Kristin

Tahini Lemon Garlic Dressing:

1/4 c. tahini
1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. olive oil
1 t. salt
A sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper
  • Blend all together. Store in refridgerator.
An Awesome Salad Combo:

2-3 c. chopped romaine, or other greens
2-3 sliced pickles
some sliced black olives
some diced red pepper
some diced cucumber
1/4 avocado, diced
1/4- 1/2 c. shredded carrots
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 c. chickpeas
  • Mix all together. Serve with 2-3T. dressing. Delicious!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sour Cream Cookies

This is my friend Kristin's cookie recipe.  This recipe reminds me of the ones my mom used to make that we cannot find the recipe for.  I have tried other sour cream cookie recipes and they did not turn out right, they were to cakey.  These are perfect!  -Kristin

4 c. sifted flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla

Frosting:
About 2 cups powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
milk
  • Sift flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  • Beat butter, sugar and egg until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in sour cream and vanilla and beat till smooth.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture until well combined.
  • Wrap dough overnight in wax paper and refrigerate overnight.
  • Roll out dough 1/3 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes.
  • Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.
  • Mix all frosting ingredients together adding the milk slowly until you get the consistency you want.

Wendy's Pecan Pie Bars

My Mother-in-Law makes these delicious pecan pie bars around the holidays.  She has made them for years and everyone looks forward to them.  The crust is buttery and delicious and the topping is chewy, carmel-like, crunchy deliciousness!  -Kristin
Cookie Crust:

2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. softened butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
  • Mix with a mixer until very crumbly.
  • Press into a greased 15x10 baking dish (which is known as a lasagna dish).  Make sure to grease up the sides of the pan too for when you add the filling later.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Pecan Pie Topping:

4 eggs
1 1/2 c. corn syrup
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 T. melted butter
1 1/2 t. vanilla
4 c. pecan halves
  • While the crust is baking prepare this filling by beating together all the ingredients except the pecan halves.
  • Stir in the pecan halves.
  • As soon as the crust comes out of the oven spread this topping over it.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes until the topping is mostly set and golden brown.
  • Cool completely and chill before cutting. 
(These are always made in the winter around the holiday's in our family so we keep them outside in the garage until ready to serve....instead of taking up room in the fridge.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

This is a recipe Sarah sent me saying that we had to try.  Her Mom was given these brownies by a friend and told Sarah they were a must to make.  Well, I tried them...and they are a must to make!  Here is the recipe of some of the most delicious brownies EVER!  -Kristin

1 c. butter softened
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. flour
6 T. baking cocoa
2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt

1 small jar marshmallow creme
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter
3 c. crisp rice cereal

  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar; add eggs.
  • Stir in flour, cocoa, vanilla and salt. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in a pan on a wire rack.
  • Spread marshmallow cream over the cooled brownies.
  • In a small saucepan over low heart, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat: stir in cereal.
  • Spread over marshmallow layer.
  • Chill for 1 hour before cutting.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf

I've been making this tasty side dish for years. I believe it's from a Taste of Home magazine. I love the flavors of this easy dish. It's a great way to use some healthy ingredients with lots of great flavors!-Sarah

3/4 cup uncooked wild rice (or wild rice blend)
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup barley
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1 T. butter
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • Rinse and drain rice, place in a saucepan. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in barley, dried fruit and butter.
  • Spoon into greased casserole dish. Cover and bake at 325 degrees 55 minutes. Until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Add almonds and fluff with a fork.
  • Taste and add salt if needed, depends on the strength of the broth.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Grandma's Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is delicious and reminds me of my Grandma. It is one of my favorite recipes from her. She baked this bread in cans.  You can use soup cans or fruit cans.  Us grand kids thought this was so cool- circle bread!  The fruit cans give you a wider loaf and that is usually what I use.  It's important that you use cans that are not a peel back lid, but one you would need to use a can opener on.  The peel back lids have a ridge and the bread doesn't come out very easily.  Enjoy :) -Kristin

2 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. pumpkin
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. water
1/4 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 2/3 c. flour
  • Combine eggs and sugar.  Mix well.
  • Add pumpkin, oil and water and blend thoroughly.
  • In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
  • Grease 3 fruit cans well.  If using soup cans use about 4-5.
  • Divide batter between the cans.
  • Bake at 350 for about an hour if using fruit cans.  If using smaller cans check at about 45 minutes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vegetable Casserole

This is a wonderful cheesy dish my mom made when I was growing up. I love the saucy vegetables with the crumbs on top. I always make this around the holidays but it would really be good any time of year.-Sarah

16 oz. frozen cauliflower
16 oz. frozen broccoli
16 oz. frozen Brussels sprouts
can of cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. Cheese Whiz
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Cook vegetables until just tender, steaming works well too.
  • In a small saucepan heat the cream of mushroom soup with the Cheese Whiz until well mixed.
  • Making sure vegetables are well drained toss them with the cheese sauce and spread into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
  • Mix cracker crumbs with butter and sprinkle over vegetables.
  • Bake at 350 until heated through.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homemade Onion Soup Mix

I am so thankful to have this recipe...and that it is really good in everything I use it in!  For this recipe I use Herb-Ox beef bouillon cubes because they contain no MSG.  If you can find beef granules that are MSG free those would work easier for this recipe- I just cannot find any.  This mix makes 3 packages for onion soup mix. -Kristin

3/4 c. dried minced onion
14 beef bouillon cubes or 1/3 c. beef bouillon granules
4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. celery seed
1/4 t. sugar
  • Place the bouillon cubes in a food processor and process till very crumbly and powdery.
  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Store in an airtight container till ready to use.
  • 5 T. equals one package.  This recipe makes 3 packages worth of dry onion soup mix.

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes

These pancakes are good.  They have the perfect amount of molasses flavor and gingerbread seasonings.  -Kristin

1 1/2 c. milk
2 T. oil
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
5 T. molasses
2 1/4 c. whole wheat white flour
2 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
  • Mix together the wet ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
  • Make pancakes!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookie is as pretty as it is tasty! I adapted this recipe from one I found on the internet. These buttery cookies are such a fun way to use some delicious ingredients.-Sarah

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (not packed)
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 bag white chocolate chips (12 oz.)
6 oz. dried cranberries
4 oz. chopped pecans
  • Beat butter and brown sugar till combined. Add vanilla and eggs, beating well.
  • Mix dry ingredients together and incorporate into butter mixture.
  • Stir in remaining. Drop into mounds on cookie sheet and flatten lightly.
  • Bake at 325 degrees 12-15 minutes until edges just begin to brown.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homemade Dry Ranch Dip Mix

I am thankful to have found a recipe for dry ranch dip mix.  Most likely you have all these ingredients in your cupboards so you can whip it up whenever needed.  The following recipe is equal to one store bought package.  -Kristin

1/2 c. dry milk powder, or dry buttermilk
1 T. dried parsley
1 t. dried dill weed
1 1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. dried onion flakes
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. paprika
  • Crush the milk powder very fine with the side of the measuring cup.
  • Mix together with all the rest and store in an air tight container.

Pretzel Dip

My friend Janice made this dip for a youth group dinner and it was a huge hit.  After it was raved about so much I had to get the recipe and try it myself and yes, it is worth raving about!  This dip is unique and has great flavor and the perfect consistency to dip pretzels in.  This dip is great with hard pretzels or soft pretzels. -Kristin

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayo
1 cup mustard
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup minced dry onion
1 package of dry Ranch dressing
1 T. Horseradish
  •  Mix all ingredients and let refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Frijoles Negros- Cuban Black Beans

I was just craving a more interesting way to have black beans and rice.  I found this recipe for Cuban black beans that sounded more flavorful than just the normal way of making them.  You cook the black beans until almost tender and then add a sauce that is called sofrito.  The sofrito is very fragrant and flavors the beans perfectly.  Serve them with just some rice, or on a tortilla with desired toppings.  We like to serve these beans with rice on a tortilla, yum!  These turn out great and will not disappoint!  -Kristin

1 pound dried black beans
1 bay leaf
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks

For the Sofrito

1/3 c. olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8-1/4 c. chopped Anaheim pepper (optional)

2 t. salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2-1 t. seasoned salt

  • Soak beans according to directions on package.
  • After the beans have soaked drain the water and then cover them with 1 1/2 inches of water.  Then add the bay leaf and the green pepper and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low, and cook uncovered until the beans are tender and they have almost cracked open (about 1.5 hours). Check the beans while they are cooking, and if they need more water add some hot water.
  • Towards the end of the beans cooking time, prepare the sofrito as follows-
  • In a skillet heat the oil over low heat.  Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, and anaheim pepper if usingcook stirring until onion is transparent (8-10 minutes). Stir in the cumin and regular salt and pepper.
  • Before adding the sofrito to the beans, check that the water covering the beans is about 1/2 an inch above the beans.  Add or take some water off if necessary.
  • Stir the sofrito in and cook beans till all the way tender (around 30 minutes or so).  Drain off any extra cooking liquid when done cooking and remove the bay leafs. 
  • Taste when the beans are finished and add the seasoned salt to taste (I use 1 teaspoon).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Toffee Almond Cookies

This is another great recipe to add to the cookie section. These are unique and delicious! -Sarah

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 pkg toffee bits
1 cup finely chopped almonds
4 oz. chocolate chips
1 1/2 t. oil
  • Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  • In a mixing bowl combine brown sugar and sugar. Add butter and mix well, add eggs and vanilla beat until light and fluffy.
  • With mixer on low add flour mixture and toffee bits until just incorporated, do not over mix.
  • Roll into balls and roll balls into almonds. Place on cookie sheets, flatten balls slightly, and bake at 300 degrees for 18-22 minutes. Until just set and not browned around the edges.
  • Mix chocolate and oil and microwave till melted, being careful not to burn it. Place in a bag, snipping off the corner and pipe onto cookies.
  • Place cookies in fridge just till chocolate is set.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cake Mix Cookies

These are inbetween a cookie and a muffin...the texture is very soft and moist.  This is a very easy, kid-friendly making recipe. -Kristin

1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 (15oz.) canned pumpkin

Optional: add some chopped pecans, or chocolate chips
  • Mix together well with a mixer the cake mix and canned pumpkin.
  • Stir in optional toppings if desired.
  • Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes on lightly greased cookie sheets.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Easy Apple Pie Filling

I can't remember where I found this recipe years ago but I thought it was brilliant! I have a hard time getting my regular apple pie filling cooked through without over browning the crust. This solves that problem beautifully. When the filling is done it will resemble canned apple pie filling with a much better flavor. -Sarah

1 recipe pie crust

5 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples
  • Place apples in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 6 minutes.
1 cup sugar
4 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
dash of salt
  • Combine sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Pour over apples and stir well. Add 1 T. of water.
  • Pour filling into unbaked pie crust and dot with 2 T. butter. Top with another crust and bake pie at 425 degrees 20-25 minutes.

Apple Crumble

This is my Mom's apple crumble recipe that we grew up with.  It is the best in my opinion!  So delicious served warm with ice cream or whipped cream...yummy :) -Kristin

5-6 cups sliced apples
1/4 c. orange juice
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 c. butter, melted

  • Mound apples in a 9" pie pan sprinkle with orange juice.
  • Combine sugar, flour, spices and salt and cut in butter till mixture is crumbly.
  • Sprinkle over apples.
  • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or till apples are tender and topping is crisp.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Blondies

These pumpkin brownies are very moist and chewy....but most of all, absolutely delicious!  -Kristin

1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. melted butter
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 T. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. toasted, chopped pecans

  • Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9x13 pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the wet ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Mix in the dry ingredients into the wet.
  • Fold in the toasted pecans.
  • Bake for 26-33 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

My daughter Mikayla made these easy pizza puffs.  These are such a yummy snack...very addicting too.  Serve these as a snack, appetizer or along side a meal...very good!  This recipe made 36 mini-muffin cup puffs. -Kristin

1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. pepperoni, cut into small pieces

Pizza Sauce, optional for dipping
  • Preheat oven to 375 and grease the mini muffin tin.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. 
  • Whisk in the milk and eggs.
  • Stir in the mozzarella cheese and pepperoni; let batter stand for 10 minutes.
  • Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.  Fill them to the top.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes. 
  • Serve with pizza sauce if desired.
***You can freeze the baked puffs in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag.  To reheat bake the frozen puffs on a baking sheet in a 350 oven for 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Butternut Squash, Bacon and Rice Soup


This is a new recipe that I have been working on and we love it! Our family loves squash and it wasn't a surprise that they would love this squash based soup. The roasted squash gives it such a rich creamy texture. -Sarah

2 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups diced onion
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup cooked wild rice blend
1 cup half and half
1/2# bacon, diced
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until squash is very soft, about 45 min.-1 hour.
  • Cool and blend with 2 cups of chicken broth.
  • Cook bacon and remove from pan. Cook onions and mushrooms in bacon grease. Add corn and cook 4-5 minutes.
  • Add remaining broth and squash. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer about 1 hour until mixture is reduced and thickened a little.
  • Stir in rice and half and half. Adjust seasoning and heat through.
  • Just before serving add diced bacon.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes


I started making these over the summer and we loved them! Kristin also loved them and that's why we are friends, just kidding, but we both love sweet potatoes! Hope you give these a try.-Sarah

sweet potatoes, diced
maple syrup
butter
salt
  • Lay out a large square of foil. In the center place desired amount of diced sweet potatoes.
  • Drizzle with maple syrup and season with salt.
  • Dot with butter.
  • Fold up and seal foil. Grill over med-low heat until sweet potatoes are soft. I put the packet on with whatever meat I'm grilling and leave it on the entire time, checking it when the meat is done.

Homemade Hot Cocoa


We have been making this a lot since the weather has cooled down. I love how leftovers keep in the fridge and reheat for another day. This is a creamy delicious hot cocoa that I love to top with real whipped cream.-Sarah

1/3 cup water
1/4 cup baking cocoa powder
1/2 cup cup sugar or sucanat
5 cups milk
1 t. vanilla
  • In a small saucepan heat water, baking cocoa and sugar together. Bring mixture to a boil and add milk. Heat until desired temperature. Stir in vanilla and serve!
  • Don't forget the whipped cream!

Bacon wrapped Jalapeno's



This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman, and these are delicious! Kristin's family and ours recently went on an annual vacation together and we made these ahead and froze them. We pulled them out at the cabin and baked them up, they were a hit! I've made them several times since and they disappear quickly every time! There isn't much to them but they are worth posting!-Sarah

Jalapenos, sliced in half and seeded
cream cheese
bacon
  • Stuff Jalapeno halves with cream cheese, a spoon works best.
  • Wrap bacon around and secure with a toothpick. Depending on the size of your pepper's I cut the bacon pieces in thirds or halves.
  • Bake at 375 degrees 20-25 minutes. If you want the bacon browned up a bit more put them under the broiler for a few minutes to finish them.

Carrot Soup


This recipe comes from my friend Shannon. It sounded a bit weird to me when I had it at her house years ago, but I loved it instantly! You can adjust the milk to make it as thick or thin as you want it. I used less milk to make it thicker.-Sarah

6-8 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium onions, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
3-6 cups milk
1 cup half and half
  • Place carrots and potatoes in a saucepan. Cover with water and cook until tender and drain.
  • Cook onions and garlic in butter until softened. Add flour, cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  • Place all cooked vegetables in a blender. Adding enough milk to blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a pan adding seasonings. Heat through and thin with more milk if desired, adding half and half last, heat through but do not boil.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Greek Chicken and Barley Salad



I found this in a magazine and thought it looked great. I have made a few recipes with barley but none have been blog worthy so far, glad I found one!-Sarah

Barley
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • Bring broth to a boil, add barley. Cover and reduce heat, simmer 35 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and cool.
Dressing
3 T. olive oil
1 t. lemon zest
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. minced fresh basil
1 t. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Whisk all together.
Salad
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup grape tomato halves
1/2 cup diced yellow pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • Combine salad ingredient. Add cooled barely, toss with dressing and chill.

Mushrooms stuffed with Brie



This is another recipe from the Pioneer woman. I followed it exactly and it was amazing! Any mushroom lover would be thrilled to be served this yummy appetizer!-Sarah

3 T. butter
1 large package white button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed

1 T. butter
4 T. minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
4-5 green onions, sliced 

4 oz Brie cheese
  • Melt butter in pan and toss in mushrooms, coating with butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt and saute 1 min. Remove and place in a pie plate, stem side up.
  • Melt butter in same skillet and add next 3 ingredients. Toss and cook 1 minute and remove pan from heat.
  • Remove brine from Brie and cut pieces to fit inside mushrooms, pressing cheese to fit. Spoon parsley mixture over mushrooms.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No-Fry Fish Sticks


These are easy and delicious.  The panko bread crumbs give it the perfect crunch to make them seem like they are fried.  I mixed up mayonnaise and ketchup in equal portions and a couple spoonfuls of sweet pickle relish for a dip.  -Kristin

1 (16 oz.) package frozen tilapia fillets, defrosted
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. canola oil
1 t. paprika
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
  • Heat oven to 400 and lightly spray a 15x10 jelly roll pan with edges.
  • Place eggs into a shallow bowl.
  • In another shallow bowl combine bread crumbs, oil, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Cut the fish into about 3 inch by 1/2 inch thick sticks.
  • Dip the fish into the eggs and then into the crumbs and place on prepared pan.
  • Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, flip over and bake about 5-6 minutes more until other side is browned and fish is done.

 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Make Ahead Egg Sandwiches

These were such a hit with my family! I adapted this recipe from Pioneer Woman Cooks, very easy, very good!-Kristin

12 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 c. mayonnaise
12 slices bacon, cooked and diced
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. garlic powder
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

6 whole English muffins, split
  • Mix together all the ingredients besides the English muffins :)
  • Store in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, spread mixture onto each half of the English muffin.
  • Place under the broiler and heat for a couple minutes on low. Then switch to high and watch carefully until lightly browned.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bow Tie Lasagna

This is a quick and easy meal to throw together that your family will really like. It is a good idea to keep these ingredients on hand for those nights when you do not have much time to put dinner together. -Kristin

1 pound ground chuck
16 oz. bow tie pasta
26 oz. spaghetti sauce
1 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 c. mozzarella
1/2 c. sour cream
  • Fry the ground beef. Drain and rinse.
  • Cook the noodles according to directions.
  • Mix all together and heat a bit more.
  • Enjoy!!!
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Coffee Toffee Bars

OH MY!!!!  These are just too good for words!  These bars are delicious and a bit chewy like toffee.  They are good warm but I think they are even better a bit chilled in the refrigerator.  YUM!  -Kristin

1 c. softened butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. almond extract
2 T. instant coffee granules
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 1/4-1/2 c. flour
1 c. chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cream together the butter and brown sugar.  
  • Add in the extract, coffee granules, baking powder and the salt. 
  • Add in the flour gradually until a stiff dough forms.
  • Press dough into a 9x13 pan.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet Potato Pancakes


My family loves sweet potatoes, including these delicious pancakes.-Sarah

1 1/2 cups flour
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cardamom
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup chopped pecans

  • Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together wet ingredients including egg yolks. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold egg whites into batter. Batter will be very thick, spoon onto greased pan and spread batter out into shape of pancake. Brown lightly and flip,cooking both side.

Pizza Dip


This is a combination of a couple of recipes. We used tortilla chips to dip it with, but pita chips would be great too. This dip has tons of great flavor.-Sarah

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayo
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1/4 t. garlic powder

1 cup shredded mozzarella
6 oz. chopped pepperoni

3/4 cup pizza sauce

  • Mix cream cheese and mayo until smooth, mix in seasonings. Stir in cheese and pepperoni.
  • In a deep dish pie plate spread pizza sauce.
  • Spoon dip over sauce and spread. Bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes until melted. 

Oven-Fried Chicken


I've held onto this recipe that I cut from a magazine for quite some time. I believe it's from a Martha Steward magazine, but I could be wrong. I've never made the real deal fried chicken before, the oil kind of scares me, and it just sounds like a big mess. This recipe was great. We all loved the flavor of the chicken and thought the skin was super crispy, it's a recipe I'll use again for sure! -Sarah

2 eggs, beaten
3 T. hot sauce of your choice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
About 10 pieces of chicken (I used legs and thighs)
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. cayenne
oil for brushing

  • Mix eggs, hot sauce and garlic. Marinade chicken in mixture for about 8 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a rimmed baking sheet on center rack in oven to preheat.
  • Mix the flour and remaining dry ingredients.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and roll each piece in the flour mixture. Place chicken on preheated baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, lightly brush each piece of chicken with oil. Bake, brushing tops every 10 minutes until chicken juices run clear. About 30 minutes more. (I moved mine to a lower rack in the oven to keep from over browning) 

Java Cream Drops


These cookies are soooo yummy! -Sarah

2 T. instant coffee granules
1 T. half and half
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour, divided
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

  • Combine coffee and cream. Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and coffee cream.
  • Combine 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing well.
  • Divide dough in half. To one portion add baking cocoa and pecans. To the other portion add remaining 1/4 cup flour and chocolate chips.
  • Lightly press 2 lump of dough together and bake at 375 degrees about 8 min.

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

I've made this wonderful sauce recipe a few times and it turns out great every time. So nice have a hot meal without much work. And it makes a lot and freezes well. -Sarah

2 pounds ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
3, 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2, 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
2, 6 oz. cans tomato paste
1/3 cup sugar
2 T. dried oregano
1 T. dried basil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

  • Cook and drain beef.
  • Place all ingredients in a 4 quart slow cooker. Mix well.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours.
  • Serve over pasta.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars


These moist peanut butter flavored bars are so delicious, who can resist peanut butter and chocolate anyway? If you don't want to use sucanat, which is a less refined sugar, brown sugar would work perfectly as an equal substitute. -Sarah

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sucanat
1 egg
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
  • With a mixer blend butter and sucanat, add egg and peanut butter. 
  • Mix in flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir in half of chocolate chips.
  • Press mixture into a greased 8x8 pan. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350 degrees about 18 minutes, just till edges are lightly browned, careful not to over bake.

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

This is a recipe I got from my friend Sarah...it is the best chocolate ice cream EVER!!!  This recipe is for a 4 quart ice cream maker.  -Kristin

2 2/3 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. salt
6 c. whole milk (you can use 2%)
4 eggs, beaten
6 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 c. half and half
2 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
2 t. vanilla

Ice Cream Salt
lots of ice (I used 2 7# bags of ice)
  • Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt.
  • Gradually stir in the milk and cook and stir over medium heat.  Simmer and stir constantly.
  • Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
  • Whisk the eggs while gradually and slowly pouring in 1 c. of the hot milk mixture.  After well incorporated pour the egg and milk mixture into a strainer to get out of any harden egg pieces that might have formed.
  • Add the egg and milk mixture into the regular milk mixture.  Stir constantly and continue cooking over low until thickened.
  • Melt the chocolate and stir into milk.  Use a whisk and whisk until it is smooth.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Place into the ice cream maker.  And make as directed by the manufacture.
  • Layer the ice and salt around the sides of the maker as directed for your maker.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Best Italian Pasta Salad


I think this is the best Italian pasta salad.  It is because of the homemade dressing.  I brought this to our church picnic and it was a hit.  -Kristin

1 box rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1 sweet onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
cherry tomatoes, diced
black olives or kalamata olives, sliced
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
crumbled feta cheese
  • Mix all those together in a large bowl.  Set aside.
  • Now mix together the following Italian seasoning mix.  It makes more than you will need for this recipe.  It is great to have on hand though and makes it easier the next time you make this salad!  It is homemade Italian dressing so it can be made with the following directions anytime you need Italian dressing.
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons salt
  • Mix all these ingredients together.
  • Measure out 2 T. of the mix with 1/4 c. vinegar, 2/3 c. olive or canola oil and 2 T. water.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Peanut Broccoli Stir Fry


We recently visited my brother and sister in law, Nathan and Sarah, where they served us this fabulous recipe. Sarah says she could eat it every week. My boys thought it was chicken and still thought it was chicken when I made it at home, so if you've never cooked with tofu this might be a great recipe to start with, unless you don't like chicken! The sauce has a really great flavor and I love that it's just simple vegetables that I usually have in the house. -Sarah

16 oz. pkg firm tofu
1 1/2 cups broth
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. lime juice
1 T. sweet chili sauce
2 T. peanut butter
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. grated ginger
3/4 t. cornstarch
1 T. oil
1 t. sesame oil
4 cups broccoli florets
2 cups sliced carrots
2 T. chopped peanuts
cooked rice for serving
  • Remove tofu from wrapper and place in a dish, place something heavy on top. Do this for at least 45 minutes, draining liquid as it collects in dish. Cube tofu.
  • Combine broth and next 7 ingredients, making a marinade. Add tofu cubes and let set for at least 10 minutes. Remove tofu, reserving liquid.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet (be careful not to use too much oil or the tofu will sizzle and not brown very well). Cook tofu cubes until browned, remove from pan and set aside.
  • Cook broccoli and carrots until tender, add reserved marinade and boil for 2 minutes. Add tofu back to pan and toss all together. Serve over rice, sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Wonton Soup


I've been making this fun soup for years. It's great with any Chinese meal and my kids love it. It takes a little while to prepare so make sure you have some time to spare in the kitchen. -Sarah

1/2# ground pork
2 green onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. stir-fry sauce
1/2 t. soy sauce
12-16 wonton wrappers
5 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
1 med carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2 t. sesame oil

  • Combine the meat, onions, garlic, stir-fry sauce and soy sauce. Mix well and place about 2 t. onto corner of wonton wrapper. To seal the wontons I dip my finger in water and trace the outer corners of wrapper to help seal it. Fold over in a triangle shape and press along edges. Set  filled wonton's aside.
  • In a stock pot bring chicken broth to a low boil, add bok choy, carrot, and wontons, simmer till wontons are cooked through.
  • I usually adjust the seasoning of the broth by adding soy sauce, more sesame oil or other Asian flavors such at Maggi seasoning. 

Peanut Butter Granola Bars



These remind me a lot of peanut butter honey popcorn. (recipe on the blog) What a great combo, these bars are great too because they don't have a lot of ingredients. -Sarah

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4-1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sucanat
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
3 T. melted butter
2 T. milk
  • Stir together peanut butter and honey (may need to microwave to incorporate it well).
  • Mix dry ingredients, then add butter and milk to form crumbs.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup of crumb mixture and press remaining into a greased 8x8 pan.
  • Spread peanut butter and honey mixture over crust and sprinkle with remaining topping.
  • Bake at 325 degrees about 20 minutes.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Awesome Guacamole

I got this recipe from a blog called Tammy's Recipes.  It is awesome, creamy, deliciousness! -Kristin

2 large ripe avocados
1-2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several shakes of Red Hot or your favorite hot sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
  • Place all in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. 
  • ENJOY!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mediterranean Pasta

This is a pasta dish I created by mixing a couple different recipes. It is fantastic! -Kristin

3 1/2 c. uncooked penne or other larger noodle
1/3 c. butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/3 c. flour
2 c. chicken broth
14 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced
4 c. chopped, fresh spinach
1 large tomato, diced
1 c. crumbled feta cheese (or more if desired)
3-4 cups diced cooked chicken
  • Cook pasta according to directions.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan. Add the onion and saute for a couple minutes.
  • Stir in flour until blended; gradually add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or unitl thickened.
  • Stir in the artichoke hearts, spinach, tomato, feta cheese and chicken.
  • Combine all together with the noodles.
  • Place in a 9x13 pan and place under broiler for a couple minutes until top is bubbly and golden brown.