Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Firehouse Stuffed Chicken

I seriously cannot remember where I picked this little gem up. I wish I did, so I could credit the proper source, because this is seriously good chicken. I made this for Hubby and I, since I knew the kids wouldn't touch spinach and feta. A few years ago, I would have been so intimidated about making stuffed chicken, but now it's a breeze. The flavors were so wonderful together. The salty Feta, cut the bitterness of the spinach and the mushroom sauce added a much needed earthiness to it all. When I first tasted the sauce, I thought it was a bit bland, so I jazzed it up, by adding some thyme. I tell you, I thought I was sitting in a high end restaurant eating this one. Hubby said it was the best chicken I've made in a while (yay). This would be perfect for a special occasion or a dinner party.



4 to 6 chicken breasts, boned and skinned
Fresh spinach, chopped
Feta cheese
1/4 C Italian bread crumbs
5 Tbs Butter
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can of chicken broth
1/2 c. dry white wine
3 Tbs Flour
Ground pepper

Pound chicken breasts until flat. Mound spinach and Feta cheese onto chicken breasts. Carefully roll breasts and secure with toothpicks. Roll chicken breasts in bread crumbs.In a large aluminum frying pan melt 1/2 stick of butter. Brown breasts in frying pan on all sides for about 5 minutes.

Place breasts in baking dish, add 1 tablespoon of butter and bake in 375 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes.

While chicken is baking prepare gravy. In same frying pan used for browning, melt 1/2 stick of butter. Add mushrooms and saute a few minutes. Add flour and blend until a paste forms. Stir in chicken broth and wine, sprinkle with ground pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until gravy thickens. To serve, pour gravy over chicken breasts and serve with rice.

Cindy's notes: I used frozen spinach instead of fresh. I also omitted the wine, since I do not care for the taste and added a 1/4 tsp of thyme to the mushroom sauce.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Meal Plan Monday, March 29th

Wow, I can't believe March has already come to an end. It seems like this year is flying by so quickly. I hope things quiet down a little, since this year has been quite hectic so far. We are looking forward to spending a quiet Easter at home, just the 4 of us. I'm happy to say that I pretty much stuck to my Meal plan last week, even though I felt very uninspired while writing it. The Firehouse Stuffed Chicken turned out beautifully, so keep an eye out for that in the next few days. This week I'm trying to use what I have on hand and not have to do groceries until the middle of next week. So here is our menu this week.


Monday- Potato Corn Soup with tossed salad

Tuesday- Tuna with Cheesy Garlic Biscuits (using Salmon)

Wednesday- Spaghetti and Meatballs with Caesar Salad

Thursday- Steaks and Chicken on the grill with foil pack potatoes and corn

Friday- Good Friday, so we'll have pancakes with yogurt and fruit

Saturday- Leftovers

Sunday- Easter!! Ham, mashed potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, butter horn rolls and double layer lemon pie.

Once again, make sure you head on over to the Organization Junkie, to check out a whole bunch of other Meal Plans for this week!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Butter Dips

Wednesday's dinner was out of this world. I had planned to make stuffed shells, but forgot to buy the large pasta shells. I opted for lasagna instead, since I had some Farmer's Cheese that I really needed to use. My mother in law brought us the Farmer's Cheese and I thought to myself, "what the heck do I use this for?", LOL. After a quick search on line, I learned that you can use it in place of Ricotta in many recipes. So that's when I planned to use it in the stuffed shells. I'm a big fan of bread sticks with my pasta, so I knew I wanted to make some. Mr.B had school that day, so I needed something that I could make quickly, once we got home from school. I remembered a recipe for Butter Dips, that had intrigued me on Baby Center, so I did a quick search and decided to give them a try. Turns out the recipe is from MM, my good friend over at Mise en Place. These were so simple to make and taste really great. Not quite a bread stick, but not a biscuit either. I didn't try any of the variations, but did use some homemade garlic butter, that DH had whipped up a few days before. The kids really liked that they were smaller and it made it seem like you were eating more of them. I'll be trying these again and again, with many different add-ins.


Butter Dips
Submitted by MM

1/3 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
*see variations at end for additional ingredients

Heat oven to 400. Melt butter in oven in oblong pan, 13 x 9. Remove pan when butter is melted. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, add milk. Stir slowly with fork until dough just clings together. Turn onto well-floured board. Roll over to coat with flour. Knead lightly about 10 times. Roll out 1/2 inch thick into rectangle, 12 x 8 inches. With floured knife, cut dough in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 16 strips. Pick up cut strips in both hands and dip each strip in melted butter. Next, lay them close together in the same pan in which butter is melted. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot. Makes 32 sticks.

Variations: (1) Add 1/2 cup grated sharp cheese to dry ingredients. (2) Add 1/2 clove finely minced garlic to butter before melting. (3) Sprinkle paprika, celery seed or garlic salt over butter dips before baking. (4) Add 1/2 cup minced chives or parsley to flour mixture.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

My bananas were getting pretty ripe, so I thought I'd whip something up real quick. I was in the mood to try something different and I thought bananas and oatmeal would pair nicely in a muffin. Off I went to Cooks.com to do a search and decided to try this recipe. I liked the fact that it had honey in the recipe. They turned out wonderfully. Very moist, almost cake like. The oats get nice and tender, you wouldn't even know they were in there. A little sweet, so next time I will reduce the sugar by 1/4C. The kids inhaled them, after dinner and I've had 4 since yesterday afternoon. This will be going into my 'must use bananas' file.


Adapted from cooks.com

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. mashed bananas (3 bananas)
3/4 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla or banana extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. quick cooking oatmeal

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, bananas and honey. Combine remaining ingredients and add to batter. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and muffins are done.
Makes 1 1/2 dozen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baked Chicken and Cheese Risotto

I wasn't in much of a cooking mood on Monday and found it really hard to make my Meal Plan for the week. For inspiration, I browsed through my recipe files and this recipe caught my eye. I was in a chicken mood, but wasn't sure what I wanted. I had all the ingredients on hand, the kids liked them all, so I thought 'what the heck, let's try it'. I used chicken thighs, instead of breasts and made chicken stock with them, since the recipe didn't really specify if the chicken should be cooked or not. I then boned the thighs and chopped the meat, for the risotto. I also used some of my homemade stock, instead of the water, to give it more flavor. I found it odd that the recipe did not include any pepper, so I added a good 8 or so, cracks of fresh ground pepper. In the oven it went and I checked it at the recommended time. I was a bit skeptical that it would be done in the time specified, since it was still a soupy mess, when I checked it. But in the next 10 minutes, the rice plumped up and soaked up all the liquid. The sides and bottom got a little brown and crispy, which is always good, LOL. Though it wasn't very risotto like, it was still good. Creamy, cheesy and comforting. I'd say it's just a change up, from your everyday chicken and rice casserole. The kids weren't too crazy about it and I really have no clue as to why. I was more than happy to have leftovers for lunch yesterday, LOL.


Baked Chicken & Cheese Risotto
Adapted from Campbell's Kitchen

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 ounce)
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio or regular long-grain white rice

Mix soup, water, milk, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, vegetables, chicken and rice in 3-quart shallow baking dish. Cover. Bake at 400°F. for 35 minutes. Stir. Bake for 10 minutes or until hot and rice is done. Let stand 5 minutes.

Cindy's notes: I used cooked chicken thighs, Cream of Wild Mushroom soup, 1/2C mozzarella, chicken stock instead of water and added about 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday March 22

Happy Monday! We had a great spring break and now it's time to get back into the old routine. The weather was so nice last week, that I didn't really stick to my menu, so I'm rolling over some items to this week. I am feeling somewhat uninspired to cook though, since Hubby is working evenings this week. We'll see how well I stick to it this week. So in no particular order.....


  • Baked chicken and cheese risotto- tonight
  • Creamy Beef Stroganoff (new recipe)
  • Firehouse chicken with rice pilaf (new recipe)
  • Ham, mashed potatoes, veg and homemade rolls
  • Pierogies with roasted red pepper and ham alfredo sauce and tossed salad
  • Stuffed shells with breadsticks and salad
  • Leftovers

Don't forget to head on over to the Org Junkie to check out tons of other meal plans for the week.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Queenie McBeanie!!

Today was the Queen Bean's 2nd Birthday. It was such a bitter sweet day for me, since I was both happy and saddened that our little girl is no longer a baby. A while back, there was a bunch of talk about rainbow cake, on many of the cooking forums I follow. As soon as I saw how neat the cake looked, I knew I wanted to make something similar for Queenie's birthday. So I went to work and it turned out wonderfully. I've yet to find a really amazing white cake recipe, so I used boxed mix. My intention was 4 colors, but I quickly realized that my pan would not hold 2 cake mixes. So I did 3 instead and used the leftover batter to make orange cranberry muffins. My mother in law and sister in law really loved the cake and I thought it was pretty darn neat too.


Sunny Day Rainbow Cake

2 boxes white cake mix
24 oz of clear diet soda (2 cans, ginger ale and sprite work well)
gel food colouring
16 oz whipped topping
2 oz instant fat-free sugar-free pudding mix (2 smallish boxes)

Mix the cake mix with the soda according to regular instructions on box. It will be lumpy afterward. Again, you can use any white cake recipe you want, this is just how I do it.

Measure the total volume (by my estimate, 64 oz), then divide by 6 and measure into separate bowls. There are 8 oz in a cup, so 64/6 = 10 to 11 oz, or 1 cup + 2 tbsp.

Stir colour into each bowl with its own spoon. For the first colour into the pan, measure out 2/3 to 3/4 of your mix (in this case about 1 c) as close to the middle as you can. Drop in your first three colours, then work on the other pan with the last three colours. So if you’re doing rainbow order, the first pan should have red, then orange, then yellow, and now the purple, blue and green go into the second pan. As a recap, this is so both layers are roughly the same size.

Bake the cake for however long the box tells you to bake it. Check it when the box says to, but usually it’ll need an extra 5 or 10 minutes or maybe more because of the density of the soda method. Just keep baking, checking back every 5 minutes or so until a toothpick to the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before moving to a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make your frosting. Just mix the pudding mix in with the whipped topping for a few minutes. Dye if you’re into that. Frost your fat-free cake with your fat-free whipped frosting. Eat.

Cindy's notes: I made the cake according to the box directions and portioned the batter into 4 since I had a huge Elmo cake pan. I also didn't use the frosting recipe, but used canned frosting. So I basically just used the concept of the recipe, LOL.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Irish Soda Bread with Golden Raisins

As a treat for St. Patrick's Day, I decided to make this for breakfast. Mr.B was super excited about St. Patty's Day, so I thought it would be fun to have a special holiday breakfast. I guess the name kind of threw me for a loop, since I expected it to be more bread like, than cake like. It's still very delicious, but it wasn't what I expected. The kids really enjoyed it and I've been enjoying it toasted and slathered with butter, LOL. I really like that it isn't overly sweet, because with the raisins it would just be too much. I used Sultana raisins, rather than golden raisins, since that's what I had in the pantry. We had a great holiday breakfast and all made sure to wear green, so we wouldn't have to kiss a fool, LOL.

Irish Soda Bread with Golden Raisins
Submitted by Sandy

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup golden raisins
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 T melted butter, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and raisins in a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat buttermilk, eggs, 2 tablespoons of the butter and vanilla until blended. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until evenly moistened.
Spread batter in a greased 10-inch ovenproof frying pan or a spring form pan with removable sides. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake in a 350ยบ until bread is browned and pulls away from sides of pan (about 45 minutes). Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove rim. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 loaf (about 10 servings).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I found this recipe on Sister's Cafe, one of my favorite food blogs. You all know how much I love my bread, so when I saw how quickly I'd be able to make breadsticks for dinner, I just had to try the recipe. I've made these 3 times in the past few weeks, LOL. The first time I did, I followed the recipe to a 'T' and found it lacked a little something. So the second time around, I decided to add garlic powder and grated parmesan to the dough and they were spectacular. We basically fought over the last one. They are simple and quick to make, which I love. Nice and fluffy, salty and garlic-y. A perfect accompaniment to any pasta dish or soup!


Our Favorite Breadsticks
Submitted by Melanie @ Sister's Cafe

1 ½ cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 ½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
Butter for pan

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar and let it sit and bubble for a few minutes. Add the salt and flour. Knead for 3 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. (I do all of this in my Bosch--any mixer would work great)

Melt 3-4 Tbsp of butter and pour most of it onto a cookie sheet. Roll dough to cover cookie sheet. Cut to desired width, then twist or lay flat on cookie sheet. Brush remainder of butter on breadsticks and sprinkle with garlic salt, parmesan cheese, and parsley (or whatever seasonings you like).

Raise for 10-20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. You can roll them out to fit a cookie sheet and they will be pufffy and soft. If you prefer a thinner, crunchy breadstick roll them out to fit a cookie sheet and a jelly roll pan. Either way they are great!

Cindy's notes: I add 1 tsp of garlic powder and 1/4C grated Parmesan to the

This post linked to

Countdown to 2011: Bread

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meal Plan Monday, March 15

It's spring break here in Ontario, so Mr.B is home with us all week. My dad is due in sometime on Wed, to spend the night and to bring my Mom back home. She has been a godsend since she's been here, and I will miss her help and company terribly. I went for a test on Friday and the results were not unexpected, but we were hoping that we had more time before this specific outcome. Alot of change is on the horizon for us, regarding my health. It will be a welcomed change, but challenging none the less.


This weeks menu isn't anything spectacular. I've mentioned before that my Dad is a very simple man, when it comes to food. So nothing fancy, or too adventurous. I may sneak in some type of St. Patrick's Day food, if I get the chance, LOL. So in no particular order.....

Mon- veggie stir fry/ lo mein

  • peameal bacon sandwiches, with fry bread and baked beans
  • firehouse chicken and pasta (new recipe)
  • oven baked pork chops with rice pilaf
  • pasta carbonara with breadsticks and tossed salad
  • Creamy Beef Stroganoff (new recipe)
  • Leftovers

Head on over to Organizing Junkie, to check out a bunch of other meal plans for the week.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meat and Potato Casserole

I've been on the lookout on different ways to use ground beef, other than meatballs and such. Having 2 grown men in the house, I'm trying to satisfy their need for beef, LOL. It it was up to me, I could go meatless for most of the week, but I don't think that would go over well, with the boys. So, I remembered seeing a recipe for a casserole, using potatoes and ground beef. I quickly found it on Cooking for your Family and was pleased that I had subconsciously bought Cream of Celery soup ( which I never normally buy). The casserole turned out really well. It reminded me of a fancied up version of Sheppard Pie. I really enjoyed the buttery potatoes with the creamy and cheesy meat topping. We all fought for the crunchy bits around the side and polished off the whole dish for dinner that night.


Meat-and-Potato Casserole
Adapted from Taste of Home

4 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground beef
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Minced fresh parsley, optional

Toss potatoes with butter and salt; arrange on the bottom and up the sides of a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Sprinkle beef and corn over potatoes. Combine the soup, milk, garlic powder, pepper, onion and 1/2 cup cheese; pour over beef mixture.

Bake uncovered at 400° for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meal Plan Menu: March 9th

Yesterday was a busy day and I hadn't really made out my meal plan yet, so I'll post it today. My Mom is down for a few weeks, to help with the kids, while I go to the Dr's and have some tests done. I'm trying to avoid any fruits, veggies and nuts, so it should be an interesting week for me. I have to fast on Thursday and am not sure how well I will feel Friday, so Mom will come to the rescue, LOL. So here is what is on the menu, I'll pretty much eat the same, minus anything too fibrous.


Monday- we had Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Mexican Rice (box) and a salad. The kids had Squid Dogs (new recipe) with pasta sauce and peas.

Tuesday- the plan is Salmon Patties, rice and sauteed green beans.

Wednesday- hopefully DH will make some BBQ ribs. We'll have those with baked potatoes and a carrot rutabaga puree.

Thursday- I'm fasting and the others may have eggplant Parmesan with a salad and bread sticks.

Friday- not sure, Mom is in charge

Saturday- ham, mashed potatoes, veg and rolls.

Sunday- leftovers

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pancake Muffins

These cute little things are a neat special breakfast treat. Basically it is a pancake, baked in a muffin tin, instead of on a griddle. I liked the idea, since I was able to stuff them. The kids thought they were real neat and Mr.B polished 2 of them off. I filled mine with blueberry, strawberry jam and topped them with honey. The filling did sink to the bottom of the muffins, but I thought it was due to the batter being a tad runny. Seems that I'm not the only person who had this problem and it may be a jam consistency issue. The thicker the filling, the more chance it will stay in the center. The possibilities are endless and these muffins can be filled with endless sweet or savory treats. If you are trying to stay away from pre made, boxed food igredients, then simply use your favorite pancake batter, instead of Bisquick.


Pancake Muffins

2 cups Original Bisquick mix
1 cup milk2 eggs
1/2 stick butter
12 tbsp filling: try Nutella, fruit jam, or cream cheese
confectioners sugar for sprinkling
maple syrup for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously coat the bottom & sides of a 12-muffin tin with butter. Mix Bisquick mix with eggs and milk, until smooth. Fill each cup in the muffin tin half-way. Add 1 tbsp of filling to the middle of each muffin, then cover with the remaining pancake mix. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place on serving dish & use a flour sifter to sprinkle with sugar. Serve with warm syrup.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Saucy Mozzarella Patties

I can't believe I forgot to post these. Things have been so difficult around here, with me not feeling well. I go for one of my tests next Friday, so hopefully we will be able to go from there.

I saw this recipe years ago on Cooking for your Family. I copied it down, but never really gave it a second thought, since I'm not a big ground meat fan. Well with 2 grown men in this house, I've been trying to make more Man friendly meals, LOL. I knew this would be right up their alley, if I used ground beef. They are really delicious. Kind of like huge meatballs baked in sauce. The flavors are great and they come out very tender, due to the browning. I served them with some cooked noodles and a tossed salad. Everyone enjoyed them, even me!!


Saucy Mozzarella Patties
Submitted by Jessica

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce or 16-24 oz homemade marinara/pasta sauce
1 lb ground turkey (or meat of your choice)
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
butter or margarine, olive or veggie oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or fave melting cheese)
1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Place ground meat into a large mixing bowl and add egg & incorporate into meat. Add 1 cup bread crumbs, add salt, pepper & garlic powder. Combine ingredients by hand until well-blended. Melt about 1 TB of butter & about 1 TB of olive oil in pan.Put 2 cups bread crumbs into flat dish. Measure 1/3 cup of meat with a 1/3 measuring cup & flatten meat into a patty, like a hamburger. Press patty into dish with bread crumbs to coat/bread patty. Cook patty in butter & olive oil just until both sides are browned. Place patties in a flat baking dish, sprayed with cooking oil if desired. Repeat until all of meat mixture is used. Spoon some sauce onto top of each patty. Sprinkle with Parmesan and then with mozzarella. Drizzle more sauce on top of cheese. Bake at 350* until cheese is melted and bubbly, but not brown; about 15-20 minutes. Makes 6-8 patties.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Meal Plan Monday- March 1st

Happy Monday!! We are so happy that Canada won Gold in the Olympic hockey games, that we are all wearing our Team Canada hockey jerseys today, LOL. This week promises to be a quiet one. Thank Goodness, since I'm still not feeling well. My Mom is due in on Friday, since I have some tests to go through next week. I made up a menu, but as usual I'm not sure how closely it will be followed.


So in no particular order

Monday- Frozen Cheese Tortellini with a blush sauce and tossed salad

rest of the week in no order