Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quick and Easy Salsa

I love chips and salsa. It is definitely my favorite part of going out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. This recipe is super easy and tasty. My kids love chips and salsa too, and get it often with this quick recipe.

1 clove garlic, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 handful cilantro
1 jalapeño, chopped (or to taste)
1 lime, juiced
Salt to taste

Combine garlic, onion, jalapeno, lime juice and half the can of tomatoes with juice in a blender. Pulse a few times, then add remaining tomatoes and cilantro. Pulse in blender until desired consistency. Salt to taste.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Susan's Cheese Ball

Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy!!! I adore this cheese ball. It is AWESOME, even if I do say so myself. I make this every year around the holidays. I think it is the best tasting cheese ball out there. It is my own concoction that I started in high school and it just got better with age. I have had people that hate cheese balls actually like this one.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 cup chopped pecans

Soften cream cheese at room temperature. Add cheddar cheese, ranch dressing mix and green onions. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Mold into a ball and roll in pecans. I spray my hands with Pam before rolling the cheese into a ball - makes it a little easier to work with.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Crepes are my 11 year old's favorite breakfast food. They may be the favorite of all my kids. My little 4 year old calls them "those roll up things". They are more time consuming than I like, but I did give in and make them for breakfast the other day. I had some strawberries to use and thought crepes would be delicious with them. My personal favorite way to eat them is with sweetened whipped cream and strawberries. My kids usually eat them spread with melted butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Even though we usually eat them for breakfast, the also make a great desert.

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Blend together in blender on high for 1 minute. Preheat crepe pan (or you could use a flat bottom frying pan) over medium heat. Butter the bottom of the pan (I use a frozen stick of butter and just circle it on the bottom of my pan - the frozen butter makes it easy to work with) and pour in about 1/4 cup of batter. When I pour the batter in, I hold my pan up off the heat and angle it a little. I pour the batter in the center of the pan and rotate the pan around to cover the bottom only with a thin layer of batter. Cook until small holes form in the crepe (about 1 minute), then flip over and cook about an additional 30 seconds.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mama's Rice

This recipe came from a local fresh-mex restaurant called Cabo Grill. The restaurant closed down in the fall of 2008, but, I happen to know a previous owner quite well and was able to snag the recipe with just a little sweet talk. Thank goodness I am good at sweet talking, because we were there weekly. I am still having withdrawls.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons jalapenos (I use an entire jalapeno)
2 tablespoons onion
2 tablespoons tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bullion to make the broth)

Melt butter over medium high heat. Add jalapenos and onions and sauté until onions are clear. Add tomatoes and salt, then rice. Sauté until rice starts to turn light brown. Add chicken broth. Let come to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

White Crescent Rolls

Out of all the things I love to cook/bake, bread is probably my favorite. There is nothing quite like hot fresh bread. Plain, or smothered in butter or honey butter. Mmmmmm This is probably my very favorite roll recipe. The rolls come out tender and delicious.

My kids like to help me roll up the crescents. My sweet little 4 year old will even make me "special" rolls. I just don't know what I would do without all of my super special helpers. I would probably have way too much time on my hands (although my house would probably be immaculate). :)

I usually use instant yeast and just mix it in with the flour, instead of proofing it in the water. The instant yeast makes it go a little faster.

1 ¼ cup water
½ cup butter
1/3 cup powder milk
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 ½ cups flour

Proof yeast in ¼ cup water, sprinkle with a little sugar. Melt butter in remaining water. Add powder milk and sugar, then add yeast and egg. Mix in flour and let rise 1 hour. Punch down and divide in 2. Roll each half in to a circle. Cut into 12 pieces and roll from the large end to the small end to make a crescent. Cover and let rise 20 to 30 minutes. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Brush with melted butter.

Recipe from my friend Beth.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Refried Beans

I LOVE refried beans! They are so easy and versatile. I like to eat them just plain or topped with salsa, but they are also great in burritos. My sister married a guy from Mexico and this is how she makes his beans.

1 pound pinto beans
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic

Put beans in a pot with at least 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let boil 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit 2 hour with the lid on. Drain beans and then cover again with water. Add salt, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours, or until tender. Drain off liquid and save to add back into the beans. Mash the beans - I use a potato masher. Gradually add in liquid while you are mashing to get the consistency you want.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are the favorite of my oldest daughter. They are very easy and very yummy, and only have 3 ingredients, what could be easier than that? They are made with a box of cake mix. Boxed cake mix in recipes was right there with canned soup, but, like canned soup, has climbed the totem pole. Now I will proudly admit that I use either. I actually think it makes me look smart - it saves time. :)

1 Box spice cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
2 cups chocolate chips

Mix cake mix and pumpkin until well combined (it will seem very dry at first, but will moisten when it is all mixed together). Add Chocolate chips. Drop on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Banana Bread

This banana bread is the most light and moist banana bread I have ever tried. I always double the batch and it is lucky to survive for 24 hours. My sweet little 4 year old asks me to help her make it all the time. We just get started and then she decides she needs to go watch cartoons. She will come back to help me again when the bowl needs to be licked. For some reason, I still fall for it. Man she is good!

When ever I have over ripe bananas, I put them in the freezer to save for this recipe. When I am ready to make banana bread, I pull the bananas out that I need and let them thaw. Then I just open one end and let the banana slither out. They don't even need to be mashed after they have been frozen.

1 cup sugar
¾ cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sour milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Beat all ingredients. Pour into 1 large or 2 medium loaf pans. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

This is oh so yummy! It is the perfect desert for the holidays. With the stores around already pulling out Christmas things, I figured I would throw this one in now. I stock up on candy canes after Christmas when they are on clearance. I have gotten some kinda strange looks from my kids friends when they see candy canes on the shelf in the middle of summer. I am more than happy to take the looks (all meant with love, I'm sure), to have this delicious cheesecake whenever I want.

 I have had people ask me where I bought it. I am guessing that is a compliment, like, this is SO good!! Or maybe an insult, like, you can't cook, must be store bought. Hmmm Maybe I shouldn't think that hard about it. I think I am giving myself a complex, OUCH!

 Anyway, I love everything about this cheesecake. The smooth, creamy, minty yumminess of it just makes my mouth water. Yumminess? I think I need to make a dictionary with all my new words. Make sure that you use a high quality white chocolate, or it will not set up right. I used Callebaut white chocolate. This recipe came from a local morning show on (I think)channel 5. I did make some adaptions to the recipe.

12 oz (2 ¼ cups) high grade white chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 to 4 drops red food coloring
12 candy canes, crushed
14 to 16 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreo), crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix butter and chocolate sandwich cookies and press in the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan. Melt chocolate and cream on medium low heat. Watch closely and stir often to prevent scorching. Cool in refrigerator. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and peppermint extract. Add food coloring and cream mixture and beat 3 to 4 minutes, until fluffy. Gently fold in crushed candy canes, reserve some for garnish if desired. Pour into crust and keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

So here is my confession. Actually, I have 2 confessions. The first is, I don't have much tact. I have a lot more than I used to, but still seem to be lacking. If I say something that seems, well, less than kind, what little tact I have must be hiding. Probably hiding by the hand of my 4 year old. I lose my keys, phone, jewelry, hair brush, etc all the time. I don't really lose them myself, my sweet little 4 year old just decides that I need to spend a good part of the day playing "hide and seek" with out my knowledge. You know, if she weren't so dang cute, I would be forced to sell her to the gypsies! Confession #2 - I used to be a "from scratch" only type of person. If a recipe called for a can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup, I would pass it up without a second thought. I thought that using canned soup in recipes was cheating and for loosers (I guess that would fall into the hiding tact category...). Well, either I am a cheating looser now, or canned soup is not bad in recipes. I think I will stick with option B.

Now that fall is here, I can make soup again!! Well, I always could make soup, it just seems more seasonally appropriate now. This soup has such a homey feel to it. A nice warm bowl of creamy, hearty, tasty goodness.

4 bullion cubes (I used 4 teaspoons Better Than Bullion)
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup half and half
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
2 1/2 cups cooked noodles (I used Country Pasta - it takes longer to cook, but tastes more like homemade)

Simmer veggies in chicken stock with bullion until tender - about 20 minutes. Combine soup and half and half. Add to the veggies with chicken and noodles. Simmer all together for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whole Wheat Pancakes

I was reading through my entries and thought to myself, how boring am I? Wow! Show a little personality already. In my defense, I am kinda new to this whole blogging thing, but I will try a little harder to not bore you to sleep before you even get to the recipe. Yes, bore you to sleep in the 2 whole lines before the recipe. I had a hard time getting through them too. I think I have a semi-permanent indentation of the keyboard in my forehead. I guess it serves me right for being so boring. Every time I look in the mirror I will have a nice little reminder. I do not guarantee to be un-boring (is that even a word? Guess it is now), just not as totally boring as I have been.

I love pancakes! I could eat them everyday and not get tired of them. I have 3 recipes that I absolutely love. This is one of them (thanks to the wonderful ward cookbook, without which, I would never have had this recipe). I don't make pancakes very often, maybe once a month. When I was pregnant with one of my kids (my last? I don't remember for sure, the time seems to fly by faster than I can keep track), I made pancakes probably 2 times a week, at least. I guess my oldest got tired of them, because he complains every time I make them "Mom, why do we always have to have pancakes? I want crepes." Crepes just take way to much time. Anyway, this recipe uses whole wheat. Yup, un-ground whole wheat. What a great way to use the 5 gallon buckets of wheat in my food storage.

1 cup milk
¾ cup raw whole wheat
½ cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 tablespoon honey
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla

Blend milk and wheat in a blender for 4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend 3 minutes more. If you are using a Vita Mix or similar blender, only blend for half the time. Otherwise, you will be cleaning cooked batter off the bottom of the mixing container thing (sorry, having a brain laps. Seems to happen often....)

Monday, October 11, 2010

3 Envelope Pot Roast

I love my crock pot. It makes dinner so easy and there are so many things that I can do with it. I got this recipe from Laura at Real Mom Kitchen and we really enjoyed it. I really liked the flavor the seasonings added to the roast. I used the drippings to make a gravy. Super easy and delicious.

1 (3 to 5 lb) roast
1 package brown gravy mix
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 package Italian dressing mix
2 cups water

Mix water with mixes and pour over roast in a crock pot. Cook on high 4 hours or low 6 hours.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I love Mexican food! This is probably my favorite recipe. It is super easy and really yummy. My whole family loves it as well.

3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
1 (6 oz) can olives, sliced
1 pound Colby jack cheese, shredded
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (I use a packet of McCormick enchilada sauce seasoning and mix it up. It makes about 2 times as much so I save the other half for something else)
12 (8 inch) corn tortillas

Butter both sides of tortillas and heat in a skillet to soften. Lay chicken and cheese down the center and roll. Place seam side down in baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and olives. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Taco Soup

Fall and soup seem to go hand in hand. I love soup!! This recipe is one of my oldest daughters favorites (I would say favorite, but as soon as I said it, she would change her mind just to be contrary :)). It is simple and delicious and always a hit.    

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion
1 package mild taco seasoning
1 (16 ounce) can cut corn
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans
2 cups chicken broth
1 (28 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

tortilla chips
grated cheese
1 (6 ounce) can olives, drained and sliced
diced avocados
sour cream

Brown ground beef and onion in heavy sauce pan, drain. Stir in remaining ingredients except toppings. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love me a good chocolate chip cookie.  This recipe is not only good, it's perfect!  At least in my opinion.  I've tried lots and lots of chocolate chip cookie recipes.  Since I found this one, I haven't tried another recipe.  And that's been at least 3 years!  These Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies are chewy, chocolatey, and perfectly delicious.  It may just be the last chocolate chip cookie you'll ever use.

1 pound butter
1 ½ cup sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons vanilla
3 eggs
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour
4 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla, eggs, salt and soda. Blend in flour well. Fold in chocolate chips. Divide dough in 2. Roll each half into a log 1 inch thick. Cut into disks ½ inch thick. You can also just drop the dough by the spoonful and press down slightly. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Recipe adapted from World Wide Ward Cookbook.

Cold Chicken Salad

I have had this recipe for close to 10 years. It was served at a baby shower when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. There are so many ways to serve it. I have used it in croissants, wraps, in lettuce bowls, or just plain. Very tasty anyway you eat it.

3 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1/4 cup water chestnuts
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup celery, sliced
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups Chinese noodles

Mix chicken, water chestnuts, celery, almonds, green onions, grapes, salt and pepper. Mix lemon juice and mayonnaise. Just before serving add sauce and Chinese noodles to chicken mixture.

Strawberry Fluff

I absolutely love this stuff! I got the recipe out of a ward cookbook a couple of years ago and make it often when strawberries are in season. It makes a great salad or desert. I personally use it for a salad. I like how well the tart of the strawberries compliment the sweet of everything else. It is also delicious with orange Jell-O and mandarin oranges in place of the strawberry Jell-O and strawberries.

2 (3 oz) packages tapioca pudding (I use Jell-O brand)
1 (3 oz) strawberry gelatin
1 (8 oz) container cool whip
1 cup sliced strawberries
3 cups water

Bring water to a boil and add tapioca and Jell-O. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour into an 8 x 8 inch pan. Let cool in the fridge, but not set up. When cool, add cool whip and strawberries. Stir until blended well. Refrigerate until set.
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