Sunday, November 30, 2008

Imperial Chicken

I made this simple beauty last night for dinner. I was sure I'd love it, I mean bread crumbs, cheese and butter. Helloooo! This was such a simple recipe and it tasted so good. The only thing I'd change is seasoning the chicken before coating it with butter. This is another find from Baby Center's Cooking CFYF board. The top crust was crunchy and the chicken moist. Is it a bad thing that I kept picking at the toasted buttery crumbs, as I was getting ready to clean the pan, LOL. I had split chicken breast to use, so I boned them and used the bones to make chicken broth, which I will share below.

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500g/1lb chicken breasts, boneless
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
½ cup chopped parsley
1 cup melted butter
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (dried can be used but tastes much better with fresh !)

Mix cheese, garlic, breadcrumbs and parsley.Dip chicken in butter and then in breadcrumb mixture.Place in single layer in shallow dish and drizzle with remaining butter.Bake in moderate oven (180C/350F) for 50 mins.
Cindy's notes: I just grated up a leftover Hoagie roll that was getting stale. I also reduced the butter to 1/2C, since I only used 2 breasts. I packed on the bread crumbs, before drizzling with butter.

Chicken Broth

Any roasted or raw chicken carcass/ bones
2 large carrots, rinsed and chopped into chunks
2 ribs celery, rinsed and chopped into chunks
1 med onion, quartered ( throw the peel in there too)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
6 C water

In a large pot, bring all ingredients to a boil. Simmer for a minimum of 3 hrs, adding water if needed. By the time it's all done, the mixture should have reduced by half to three quarters. Remove bones, and vegetables, let cool and store in the fridge for 4 days or throw it into the freezer. The longer this simmers, the more flavorful broth will be produced.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Leftovers made over

I was thinking of our Thanksgiving leftovers all day. The juicy turkey, creamy potatoes, rich green beans. Then about an hour before dinner, I got inspired to make a Turkey Shephard's Pie out of it all. I must say it turned out pretty darn good, LOL. Mr.B inhaled it and I had to stop myself after a huge helping. I wanted stuffing in my pie, so I made a quick pan stuffing that I had seen Rachael Ray make on her show, 30 minute meals, a few years ago. I don't have the exact recipe, so I'll just share my own.

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Pan Stuffing

4 slices of toast, buttered
2 Tbs butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 C chopped bacon, or real bacon bits
1/4- 1/2 C chicken broth

Toast your favorite bread and butter it generously. Cut it into small cubes and set aside. In a skillet, melt butter and add onion, celery and poultry seasoning. Cook until onions soften, add in bacon bits. Add in toast cubes and moisten with chicken broth, to desired consistency.

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Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Shephard's Pie

2C chopped cooked turkey
2 C leftover or pan stuffing
1-2 C leftover veggies ( I used green beans)
1 C leftover gravy
2 C leftover mashed potatoes

In a large bowl, combine turkey, vegetables, stuffing and gravy. If too thick, thin out with a bit of chicken broth. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with mased potatoes. Dot with butter and bake at 375 degrees, for 30 minutes or until top is nice and golden.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving this year. I haven't been feeling 100%, so it was nice to enjoy a day of good food and friends. We were invited to one of my girlfriend's houses, so we graciously accepted. We split the menu and it was all delicious. To tell the truth, it was the most I've eaten in a month, LOL. You can find recipes to the dishes she served on her blog here. Thanks Judy, it was wonderful!!

I had found some simple recipes, so was anxious to try them. The first was for Green Beans au Gratin. Hubby hates green bean casserole, so I wanted an alternative, since I'm a green bean fan. This was so simple and delicious, a real no brainer, LOL. No picture of this one ( unless I take one of the leftovers tomorrow), since I baked it at Judy's house. The beans were tender crisp and the cheese and breadcrumbs seasoned them beautifully.

Green Beans au Gratin

1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
1 pt whipping cream
3 oz blue cheese
3 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 C seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 C butter, melted

Simmer green beans in a large pot of boiling water, for 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet, to drain. Mix bread crumbs, pepper and melted butter. Sprinkle 1/3 of crumb mixture onto bottom of casserole dish. Place beans onto crumb mixture. Pour cream over beans and sprinkle with blue cheese and remaining bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


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A few weeks ago, Mr.B saw a picture for cupcakes that looked like Turkeys. He got a real kick out of them, so I decided to try my hand at them, letting him help decorate them. I used cake mix and canned frosting to make my life easier. These were so cute and Mr.B was so proud of making his turkey cupcakes.

Turkey Cupcakes

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® devil's food cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
2 containers (1 lb each) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy milk chocolate frosting
1 tube (4.25 oz) Betty Crocker® white decorating icing
1 tube (0.68 oz) Betty Crocker® brown decorating gel
Candy corn
Chocolate candy sprinkles

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Make and cool cake as directed on box for 24 cupcakes. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Place remaining frosting in corner of resealable freezer plastic bag. Snip off small corner of bag.
To decorate each cupcake, pipe 1-inch mound of frosting on 1 side of cupcake to look like head of turkey. Make eyes with white decorating icing and brown decorating gel; add candy corn for beak. To make feathers, pipe frosting on opposite side to hold candy corn; place candy corn upright on frosting to look like feathers. Sprinkle chocolate candy sprinkles near head and at base of feathers. If desired, add candy corn at base of cupcake for feet. Store loosely covered.
Cindy's notes: 1 used 1 container of frosting, omitted the sprinkles and used a Rolo candy for the head.


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I receive email newsletters from a site called HomeCook'n. This email contained a recipe for a no knead roll, that looked so delicious. I wasn't sure if I wanted to take the time on these, with the rolling and such, but couldn't resist trying them. They were so easy to make!! I am so not a patient person and hate making pie dough, rolled cookies, etc; but these came together in the matter of minutes, once the dough had risen. They were light fluffy and oh so buttery. I am definitely making these my Holiday 'go to' rolls, from now on.

Butterhorn Rolls
Recipe by Kathy Oaks

1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup butter

Dissolve yeast in warm water, add melted butter and remaining ingredients , reserving 1/4 cup butter. Let rise until it doubles in size. Separate into 2 balls and roll out into 2 circles. Slather each circle with remaining 1/4C of butter. Cut each circle like a pizza into 16 equal pieces (use a pizza cutter). Roll them up crescent style and at this point you may flash freeze them on a cookie sheet and then dump them in a freezer bag to eat in the coming weeks or months or you can let them rise again for about 2 hours. Bake at 375 degrees, on a buttered cookie sheet for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. (When serving them from the freezer just pull them out and let them thaw and rise for about 3 hours on a buttered cookie sheet and bake as directed.)


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I'm a Food Network junkie, so when I saw Sandra Lee make this bundt cake, 3 yrs ago, I had to try it. It was a huge success and I've made it every Thanksgiving since then. The recipe makes 2, but I cut the cake mix in half and freeze the remainder, for later use. The cake is moist, rich and I love the warmth the pumpkin pie spice brings to it all. I wasn't too pleased with the glaze result this year, but it still tasted great, LOL.

Spiced Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Citrus Glaze
Sandra Lee

6 eggs
2/3 cup oil
1 cup canned pumpkin pie mix
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 box moist spice cake mix
1 box moist yellow cake mix

Yellow food coloring
Red food coloring
1 pound powdered sugar
1/3 cup orange juice, no pulp

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt cake pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, oil, pie mix, water, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until well blended. Add the cake mixes and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack.

Combine 2 parts yellow food coloring with 4 parts red food coloring to make orange food coloring. Whisk the powdered sugar, orange juice, orange liqueur, and food coloring in a saucepan on low heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar melts. If the glaze seems too dry, add more water or orange juice to reach the right consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cake.

This post linked to

Days of Thanksgiving Holiday Party

This Week's Craving

Cupcake Tuesday

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Deli Ham

I had some deli ham that needed to be used up. Mr.B isn't a big ham sandwich kind of guy and with Hubby working ridiculous hours, I needed a game plan. So I thought of adding some of the chopped ham and peas to some homemade Mac N Cheese. This was really good. Creamy, smoky and salty, YUM. My secret, a squeeze of spicy brown mustard, to give it a little zing.

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Mac N Cheese with Ham and Peas

1/2 lb macaroni or favorite pasta
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
2 C milk
1 3/4 C shredded cheese, divided ( I used extra sharp cheddar and mozzarella)
1 Tbs spicy brown mustard
salt and pepper
1 C chopped deli ham
1 C frozen peas
1/4 C seasoned bread crumbs

In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until al dente, adding peas to pot, 1 minute before draining the pasta. Meanwhile in a medium sauce pot, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook flour for 1-2 mins. Slowly whisk in milk, making sure to whisk away all lumps. Cook over medium heat, until it comes to a boil and thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 1/2 C of shredded cheese and mustard. Stir until combined and add chopped ham. Toss with hot drained pasta and peas. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 C of cheese and bread crumbs. Place under a hot broiler, until cheese bubbles and crust browns.


This is a recipe I learned while working at Country Style Donuts, in Canada, during my teenage years. I often make this when I'm in the mood for an egg sandwich. Quick, simple and delicious.

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Ham and Egg English Muffins

1 egg
2 slices deli ham, chopped
salt and pepper
dab of butter
1 English muffin, toasted

In a microwave safe bowl, scramble egg, season with salt and pepper and add ham. Add butter to side of bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds, until eggs are no longer wet. Place egg onto a toasted English muffin, with preferred topping; cheese, tomato, ketchup, mayonnaise and lettuce.
Cindy's notes: you could add cooked sausage, bacon, sauteed onion, peppers, to egg before microwaving, for endless sandwich possibilities.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cranberry Orange Bread

I'm a total comfort eater. Whenever I'm stressed, disappointed or sad, I'm searching for something sweet to nibble on. So when my babysitter called to cancel, yesterday, I needed something sweet and I needed it now. I remembered the ladies on Baby Center's CFYF board had started a thread on Cranberry Orange Bread. I took a gander and decided to try one of the recipes. The only problem is I didn't have fresh or frozen berries, only dried. Then I remembered DH reconstituting cranberries a few years ago, to make stuffing. So I steeped the cranberries in 3/4C of warm water for 30 mins, until they plumped up a little. The bread worked out wonderfully. It was light, moist and not too sweet ( although that may be due to the fact that we only had 3/4C of sugar in this whole house!!). So once the kids were in bed, I snuggled in to watch Survivor and eat some warm Cranberry Orange Bread and sip some tea. A great way to take my mind off of the fact that I was suppose to be out enjoying some food, friends and shopping.

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Cranberry Orange Bread

1 cup sugar
1 Tbs grated orange peel
¾ cup water
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbs oil
1 large egg
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup halved fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Grease bottom only of 9x5" loaf pan. In large bowl, combine sugar, orange peel, water, orange juice, oil and egg; blend well. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Pour into greased pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
Servings: 12 Yield: One loaf
Amy’s Notes: I can’t get cranberries this time of year so I used 1 cup of whole cranberry sauce and it came out perfect!
Cindy's notes: I reconstituted 3oz dried cranberries in 3/4 C of warm water for 30 minutes. I then used the cranberry water, for the water measurement in the recipe, adding any needed water to make 3/4C. I also used 3/4C of sugar, as opposed to 1 full cup.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cheesy Garlic Flat bread

This is like heaven on earth for me. I'm a huge bread fan and to add cheese and garlic is just the thing to make something so delicious, superb. This is another 'Sandy' recipe from the CFYF board on Baby Center. The first time I tried this recipe was a year ago. I make it at least once every 3 months or so, when we are having pasta for dinner. It is a great alternative to garlic bread or toast. Even better in fact. I love the fact that it can be done in the bread machine and it uses AP flour, instead of bread flour. That way if I'm low on bread flour, I can still make this warm, delicious loaf of goodness. I always form it into a circle, like you would a pizza and cut it into slices once it is cooked. I left it in the oven a bit too long, this time, due to a diaper emergency. But it turned out deliciously, regardless.

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Cheesy Garlic Flat bread

1 1/4 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Layer bread ingredients in bread machine pan, select the dough cycle. Prepare a baking stone or sheet - spray with non-stick spray, sprinkle with cornmeal. When dough is finished, remove from pan and stretch into a rectangle, lay on prepared pan. Brush the dough with butter, sprinkle with garlic salt. Top with cheeses. Set in a draft free location to rise for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, place oven rack in lowest rack position; heat oven to 450ºF. Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cindy's notes: I use salted butter and a good tsp of minced garlic (from a jar), for the topping. I add the garlic to the melting butter and let it sit for a few minutes to flavor the butter. I find it imparts a more pure garlicky taste.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Creamy Chicken Crescents

This is one of my favorite recipes, to use up leftover chicken. It's so simple, yet tastes so good. I got this recipe from Sandy, on Baby Center's CFYF board. There is a joke among us ladies that if it's a 'Sandy' recipe, it must be good. She shares the most awesome dishes with us and is a vital part of our little online community. So Thanks Sandy for sharing such yummy recipes!!! Mr.B really likes this dish. I always half the recipe, so that we don't have a ton of leftovers, but use the same amount of soup, milk and cheese. I also add broccoli to the soup mixture, for a one dish meal.

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Crescent Chicken Bake

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 can cream of mushroom and roasted garlic soup
1 cup milk
2 (12-oz) cans chicken, drained or comparable amount of cooked cubed chicken breast
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls

In sauce pan combine milk, soup, and 1 cup cheese, heat slowly until cheese is melted. Pour into an 13x9 casserole dish. Separate crescents into triangles and on the wide end add a spoon full of the chicken and roll up. Set each crescent bundle into the soup mixture. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until rolls are browned. Top the crescents with remaining cheese and put in the oven until cheese is melted.
Cindy's notes: I made this with cream of chicken and add garlic powder to it. It's is just as delicious as with the cream of mushroom soup. I also add fresh broccoli florets to the baking dish, before placing the crescents in.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I knew I said I wouldn't be cooking but....

The ladies on Baby Center made me, LOL. The question of the day on the What's for Dinner thread was " what is your favorite kind of pie?". Well I mentioned Butterscotch Pie that my grandma use to make all the time. She passed away 5 yrs ago, so my Mom makes this once in a blue moon, when I request it, LOL. So I called my Mom for the recipe, which is totally confusing. So she suggested I make the pie, so I could better explain how to make it. Plus she was giving me a French recipe, that I had to translate into English. So I made the pie, taking pictures to better explain the spots I thought were 'weird'.

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Butterscotch Pie

1C brown sugar, packed
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C milk
1 pre baked pie shell

In a medium saucepan, thoroughly mix the flour and brown sugar and then mix in the butter. Place sauce pan on medium heat, to melt sugar. Stirring constantly, cook sugar mixture until it become hard to stir and looks crumbly, about 5-10 minutes.

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Remove from heat and add milk.

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Return to medium-low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring accosionally. Cook until all lumps have dissolved and mixture thickens to the consistency of a very thick gravy. Let cool 15 minutes and pour into baked pie shell. Refridgerate 2 hrs, until set, before cutting.
Cindy's notes: You will totally think you've messed up this pie. I thought so when I was making it, but it turned out wonderfully. I used a Graham crust, since I can not make pie crust to save my life, LOL.

Leave of absence

I will not be posting often in the next few weeks/ month. I have Crohn's Disease and am experiencing a major flare up. I see my GI specialist on Friday and hopefully we can get this under control. I can't wait to get back into the kitchen and eating the foods I love!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Brown Sugar Chicken and Banana Crumb Muffins

Well, you know that one of my favorite blogs to follow is Crockpot 365. It's become quite popular among the women on Baby Center's CFYF board. A few weeks ago, one of the girls reviewed this recipe. I immediately copied it, since I was sure it would be a winner with Mr.B. I made it last night, using chicken breast, instead of thighs. The chicken was wonderful! Sweet, tangy, garlicky and oh so tender. I served it with white rice, as suggested. I also took Rachel's advice, from BBC; and sauteed some green beans with a bit of the broth, from the chicken. Mr.B loved it. He even ate all his rice, which is a very rare occurrence for him, LOL. I plan on using the leftover chicken in a stir fry or lo mein. Thanks to Stephanie from crockpot365.blogspot !!!!

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Brown sugar chicken
crockpot 365 blog

--12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or 6 boneless, skinless breast halves
--1 cup brown sugar (it's okay. you can brush your teeth after.)
--1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (stay with me...)
--2/3 cup vinegar (I used white wine, but think regular white would be fine)
--3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
--2 T soy sauce (La Choy and Tamari wheat free are GF)
--1 tsp ground black pepper

The Directions.
Use a 5-6 quart crockpot for this recipe.
Plop the chicken into your crockpot. Cover with the brown sugar, pepper, chopped garlic, and soy sauce. Add the vinegar, and pour in the soda. It will bubble!
Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours, or on high for 4-5. The chicken is done when it is cooked through and has reached desired consistency. The longer you cook it, the more tender it will be.
Serve over a bowl of white rice with a ladle full of the broth.
Cindy's notes: I sauteed some fresh green beans with a laddle full of the broth, which coated the beans with an amazing sweet and garlicky glaze.


Last night I also made Banana Crumb Muffins, for breakfast this morning. As you know from a previous post, I have a never ending pile of bananas in my freezer, so I was anxious to try these muffins. Once again, this recipe comes from one of the great ladies on Baby Center. The muffins are moist and the crumb topping adds just the right amount of sweetness. The cinnamon adds a little warmth to the muffin. Definitely in my banana recipe repertoire.

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Banana Crumb Muffins
Rachel via allrecipes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tips on saving money

With the cost of everything sky rocketing lately, I thought I'd share some of my money saving tips, for grocery shopping.

  • meal plan- What is that you ask? Well, every 2 weeks, I look through my pantry and freezer, to see what I have left on hand. Then I sit with the flyers of the 2 grocery stores we shop at, and I plan our dinner menu, for 2 weeks. First I try to come up with dishes using what I have on hand, then I see what is on sale and come up with dishes using that. I write a list of items I need for those specific dishes, if I do not already have them in the house. This helps me from over spending, when I'm at the store. Plus I'm not rushing at the last minute to figure out what's for dinner.
  • Shop the manager's specials in your meat section. This meat is perfectly good. The only reason it is on special, is they only have a certain number of days that they are allowed to sell meat, once it's been cut and packaged. We often pick up $10 steaks, for $3. Use them within a day or two and if you can't, throw it in the freezer, it'll be good for a few months.
  • Don't be afraid of store brands. Now there are certain things I refuse to buy store brand, but beans, pasta, canned tomatoes all taste the same whether they are a name brand or not. Garbage bags, storage bags, cling wrap and foil are also just as good as name brands.
  • Clip coupons. Coupons are your friend. There is no shame in using coupons. My Hubby use to be so embarrassed if I used coupons, until we had children and our grocery bill doubled, LOL. Now he asks if I have the coupons, before we're out the door. Today alone I saved an extra $6.25 on our grocery bill, by using coupons.
  • Shop the sales. Look at those grocery flyers and shop the sales. If you don't get grocery flyers you can check them out online here .
  • Never go shopping when you are hungry. It's sad but true, you always indulge in extra items when you are famished.

I hope these tips can help some of you shave an extra few $$ off your grocery bill. It has helped us out alot and I'm glad I could share these with you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

I had tonight's dinner planned to a T. I had found a spaghetti squash in the fridge, that I had bought a few weeks ago. It still looked fine, so I had planned on baking it, then sauteing it with butter, garlic and tossing it with Parmesan. So 4:30 rolls around and I wash the squash and pierce the skin a few times. In the oven it goes for 1 hr. Thirty minutes later, I throw the chops in the oven, as well. Five thirty rolls around and I pull the squash out of the oven and cut it in half. It smelled HORRIBLE!!! The middle was all slimy, there was no way we could eat it.

I had 15 minutes to come up with a side dish to the pork chops. Mr.B is not very fond of rice, so that was out. We've been eating pasta all week, so that was out..... this is one time where I wished we bought instant mashed potatoes, LOL. So I peeled up some potatoes and chopped them up into small chunks. The chops had 10 minutes to rest, before the potatoes were done. All came together well and Mr.B ate all his dinner, mashed potatoes, peas and all.

This is one of my favorite ways to cook pork chops. Kids love it, because it's sweet, but not sickeningly sweet. I got this recipe from my sister and it is so simple. I add a splash of fresh lemon juice, to add a nice fresh taste in the back ground.

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Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

4 loin chops
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C ketchup
squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chops with salt and pepper. Place chops onto a foil lined cookie sheet. Slather chops with half the sauce. Bake in oven for 30-40 mins, or until internal temperature of chops reaches 165 degrees. Halfway through the cooking time, flip the chops and slather with remaining sauce.

Spaghetti Cupcakes

Well, Hubby made us a spaghetti dinner, a few nights ago. True to form, he cooked up a whole box of spaghetti, for 3 people. I have a ton of cooked spaghetti left, so last night I wanted to use some up. I found a cute recipe, in a tiny Ragu Kids cook book, that I received in the mail, last year. It was the quickest dinner I've ever made, apart from PB&J, LOL. It was a miss with me, I think because of the pasta sauce I used. Mr.B loved his and gobbled one and a half muffins up. He thought it was silly that spaghetti was turned into a muffin. I may someday try this again, when I have my favorite pasta sauce on hand, or my mother in law's sauce to use up.

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8 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups Ragu® Old World Style® Pasta Sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz.)

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 12-cup muffin pan; set aside.2. Combine spaghetti, eggs, Parmesan cheese and pepper in large bowl. Evenly press into muffin cups to form a “crust”. Evenly top each cup with Pasta Sauce, then mozzarella cheese.3. Bake 15 minutes or until bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 280, Calories From Fat: 110, Total Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 135mg, Sodium: 560mg, Total Carbohydrate: 26g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 4g, Protein: 17g, Trans Fat: 0g, Vitamin A: 10%, Vitamin C: 2%, Calcium: 25%, Iron: 10%

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

This is one of the recipes I had posted on Baby Center's CFYF board, when it was my turn to choose the meal of the week recipes. I'm a little bummed that none of the other ladies tried it. I understand, because after seeing how expensive Gruyere cheese is, I may have decided against it, LOL. But I bought a small chunk of expensive cheese and mixed it with mozzarella and Parmesan. Also the recipe is quite long, so one may be turned of by that. Once the cheese sauce is made, the rest comes together quickly and easily.

I halved the recipe, in case we wouldn't care for it, since I really didn't want more leftovers in the fridge. I used my 8X8 square pan and it was the perfect size for us. Hubby was in love. He commented on how he loves his meat, but would be willing to eat this lasagna, once a month. Mr.B was leery about the spinach and avoided the red pepper, but ate pretty much his whole serving. I enjoyed it very much and it reminded me a lot of Alfredo Pasta. The Gruyere brought a sharpness to the dish, that complemented the earthiness of the mushrooms and spinach, and the sweetness of the roasted red pepper.

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Mushroom-Spinach Lasagna
via Cooking Pleasures Magazine

This creamy lasagna is studded with nuggets of mushrooms and bright bits of spinach and roasted red bell pepper. You can make the entire dish ahead of time and freeze it or, if you’re tight on freezer space, you can prepare just the vegetables and sauce in advance to keep on hand.

1/2 cup minced shallots
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. assorted mushrooms (not portobellos), sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons dry sherry, if desired
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (6- or 7-oz.) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, patted dry, julienned

9 oven-ready lasagna noodles (12 if using 2 (8-inch) baking pans)
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Cook and stir shallots and sage in 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes or until shallots are slightly softened. Add mushrooms; cook 7 minutes or until mushrooms are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.
2. Add butter to skillet; stir until melted. Whisk in flour; cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly add broth, whisking until mixture boils. Add milk, sherry and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg; return to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in Gruyère cheese until melted. (Sauce can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated or 1 month ahead and frozen.)
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Cook and stir garlic 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add spinach; cook 1 to 2 minutes, tossing to coat with oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Place in bowl; cool. (Spinach can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
4. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.* Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in bottom of dish; top with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread spinach over noodles; cover with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Top with 3 noodles. Spread bell peppers over noodles; cover with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Top with 3 noodles; spread with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. (Lasagna can be made to this point 2 days ahead and refrigerated or 1 month ahead and frozen. Defrost; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.)
5. Heat oven to 350°F. Bake, uncovered, 45 to 50 minutes or until lasagna is bubbling and cheese begins to turn golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
TIP *Or spray 2 (8-inch) pans with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup sauce in each pan; top with 2 lasagna noodles. Spread spinach over noodles; cover with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Top with 2 noodles. Spread with bell peppers; cover with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Top with 2 noodles; spread with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

8 servings
PER SERVING: 450 calories, 29 g total fat (14 g saturated fat), 21 g protein, 28.5 g carbohydrate, 80 mg cholesterol, 935 mg sodium, 3.5 g fiber

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


My friend Tami tagged me

7 Weird Things About Myself

  1. I can wiggle my right ear and it freaks people out.
  2. I believe in ghosts and have seen a few. It freaks me out, so I've asked them to leave me alone.
  3. I love to top a few Tbs of brown sugar, in a bowl, with heavy cream and dip fresh bread in it.
  4. I don't like to drink coffee.
  5. I hate hamburgers and any form of ground beef.
  6. I refold laundry, after Hubby has done it.
  7. I slept with my baby blanket, until I was 23 yrs old, and would still, if Hubby would let me.

Here are my 7 tagged friends ( I don't even have 7 blogger friends :s )
Judy, Danielle and Jenn

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Creamy Shells with White Beans and Tomatoes

I am not a big meat eater. I don't hate meat, but am not overly crazy about it either. So I'm always on the look out for high protein, meat free dishes. I found this one in an issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. It consisted of ingredients Mr.B loved, so I gave it a try. This has turned out to be one of my favorite recipes and I make it every other month. The combination of the creamy beans and sweet tomatoes are a perfect match. The shells trap the beans inside, for a nice creamy suprise. I've used other cuts of pasta, but prefer shells or bowties best. This is a delicious and comforting meal, that you can make in minutes.

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Creamy Shells with Tomatoes and White Beans
From Every Day with Rachael Ray August 2007

1 pound jumbo pasta shells
6 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
One 16-ounce can navy beans or other small white beans, rinsed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup snipped chives
Salt and pepper

1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain and set aside.2. In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved pasta, the tomatoes and beans and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Toss with the 1/2 cup parmesan and chives, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Pass more parmesan at the table.
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Halloween cookies and Snake Bites

About 3 years ago, I saw Paula Deen make the cutest snake sandwich, out of crescent rolls and deli meat. I planned on making it for a Halloween party that Mr.B and I were invited to. It was so easy to make, and turned out so great, that I've been making it for dinner, on Halloween, ever since.

This year Mr.B was more aware about Halloween. A few weeks ago, while we were all grocery shopping, Mr.B asked if we could buy some of the slice and bake Halloween cookies. Hubby, forgetting what an amazing memory Mr.B has, suggested we wait until Halloween to make some. The night before Halloween, while putting Mr.B to bed, he reminded me, that we were suppose to make Halloween cookies the next day. So I jumped on line, to my trusted CFYF board on Baby Center, and found a simple Sugar Cookie recipe. The next morning, we rolled out the dough and cut out pumpkins, witches hats and circles. Mr.B enjoyed frosting his cookie, as did I, LOL. They were very delicious and I managed to take a picture of our creations, before they were all gone.


Photo Courtesy of Food Network

Snake Bites
courtesy of Paula Deen

1 can crescent rolls
Flour, for dusting
4 tablespoons spicy mustard
10 ounces thinly sliced ham
10 ounces thinly sliced salami
10 ounces bologna 12 ounces
Monterey Jack, grated
Liquid food coloring
3 egg yolks
2 whole cloves
2 small pimiento-stuffed olives
1 (1-inch) strips jarred roasted red peppers

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with foil. Grease the foil and set aside.
Dust a flat surface lightly with flour. Spread out the crescent dough — do not separate. Pinch together the seams so that you have 1 piece of dough. Roll out to make a large rectangle. Make sure the dough is not stuck to the surface at all.
Brush the dough with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border. Layer the meats down the center of the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border on either end. You can feel free to use your favorite cold cuts.

Top the meats with the cheese. Fold 1 side of the dough over the filling, lengthwise. Then, fold the other 1/2 over and press the seal the filling inside. Take 1 egg yolk, and beat lightly with a fork. Brush the egg yolk over the top of the dough. The yolk will act as the glue to hold. Fold the dough in 1/2 again lengthwise. Pinch the seam with your fingers to seal. Press the outside of the dough to make sure everything is sealed tight and to make an even thickness for the body of your snake. Taper 1 end of the dough to form a tail shape. Form the other end into a head shape.

Beat the 2 remaining egg yolks together. Transfer to 3 separate small bowls. Add some food coloring to each bowl — whatever colors you like! Using a clean paintbrush, "paint" the snake with the egg yolk/food coloring mixture.
Transfer the snake to the foil lined sheet tray. Form into an "s" shape so it looks like the snake is slithering. Insert 2 cloves into the head to look like nostrils and 2 stuffed olives for eyes. Create a mouth or tongue with the roasted red peppers. Bake the snake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through

Cindy's Notes: I use a combination of ham, turkey and provolone cheese. I have never "painted" the snake with food coloring, and it looks great regardless.

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Rolled Sugar Cookies
~ Pillsbury

1 Cup sugar
1 Cup margarine or butter 3
TBS milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Heat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine sugar, margarine, milk, vanilla and egg; mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; mix well.
On lightly floured surface, roll out 1/3 of dough at a time to 1/8 in. thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place one inch apart on ungreased cookies sheet.
Bake 5-9 minutes or until edges are light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.
Cindy's notes: I simply used good old canned frosting to decorate the cookies.

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All Halloween Bash