Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Creamy Orange Pineapple Salad

Do you want a real crowd pleasing salad.  Well, this, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly that.  A real crowd pleaser.   It had my sweet little 2 year old licking it of Daddy's plate before we even sat down to dinner.  And that was after he had already licked his sweet little plate clean.  Sneaky little bugger! :) The little guy managed to down 3 servings of this amazing Creamy Orange Pineapple Salad.  3!  And he's only 2!  I think everyone had at least seconds. Somehow about a cup survived until the next day.  I thought I was being sneaky when I pulled it out of the fridge to finish up.  Either I wasn't very sneaky, or the kids could smell it.  Either way, they came running.  I ended up having to relinquish the bowl to a 2 year old and a 4 year old.  I think that alone qualifies me for the Mom of the Year award. :)

It might not look too pretty, but it is fantastic!!

2 (3 ounce) packages orange gelatin
2 (3 ounce) packages tapioca
4 cups water
2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (8 ounce) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine water, gelatin, and tapioca in a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often.  Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and boil for 3 minutes.  Pour into a large bowl or 9x13 inch pan.  Refrigerate until cool, about 1 to 2 hours.  Stir in fruit and whipped topping.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Easy Meatloaf

Growing up, the word meatloaf was a bad word.  I mean a VERY bad word!  They served some brownish-gray concoction in the cafeteria at school that was chewy and flavorless.  They called it meatloaf.  Is it any wonder the word was a major turnoff?  And then it happened.  I tried this Easy Meatloaf.  I was hooked on the stuff.  And so were the kids!  My 11 year old requests it often and all the kids love it.  It's flavorful, easy, and the leftovers (if there are any) are fought for.  Kids actually fight over leftovers.  That's practically a miracle!

The hubs likes it with ketchup.  I personally think anything dipped in ketchup is vile.  I like mustard on mine.  I won't hold a thing against the ketchup lovers if the mustard haters don't hold my mustard loving against me.  We can all still be friends. :)

1 envelope dry onion soup mix (like Lipton Recipe Secrets)
2 pounds ground beef (I sometimes use turkey)
3/4 cup oatmeal
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup ketchup (not vile in things, just on things)

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined (I usually just mix it with my hands.  Washed, of course.  The kids like to help too.).  Shape into a loaf on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easier clean up :)).  Bake uncovered for 1 hour.  

Recipe adapted from Lipton.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Susan's Quinoa Salad

I think I'm in love.  With this salad.  It's easy, it's yummy, and it's healthy.  About the only thing that would make it better would be if someone else made it for me.  Since that's not likely to happen, at least not anytime soon, I guess it doesn't get any better than this.

For some reason my garden isn't producing too well this year.  There is one thing I can grown without a problem, and that would be weeds.  Yep.  I have growing weeds down to a science.  If only I could get them to die and my garden (and grass) to grow as well as my weeds.  I have only picked 2 zucchinis this year.  Not day, week, or even month.  Year.  How does that happen?  Earlier this week I noticed a little red poking out from the middle of one of my tomato plants.  I finally picked it today and what better way to use it (my very first tomato of the season!) than in this amazingly delicious Quinoa Salad. 

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used a yellow bell pepper this time)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (I LOVE cilantro!!)
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a medium sized sauce pan and place on the stove over high heat.  Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover.  Simmer for 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.  Pour quinoa into a large bowl and let cool while you cut the veggies and cilantro.  Add olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and veggies.  Stir until well mixed.  Can be served warm or cold.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Tatertots and Jello.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mini Caramel Apple Pies

Nothing screams fall quite like apple pie.  My 11 year old has been begging me to make her an apple pie for a week now, and I finally gave in.  I won't let her know that I spied a case of fresh apples at the farmers market last weekend and my hubby refused to let me buy it until I had all the apples at home used up first.  The nerve! :)  And since I buy pounds, and pounds and even more pounds of apples, I had quite a few to use up before the next farmers market.  Luckily there are 7 of us eating them, and we all love apples, but I still had a little work to do.  I've made Fruit and Maple Oatmeal several times, we've snacked on apples and apple slices with peanut butter, and I finally made these Mini Caramel Apple Pies. 

The look on my sweet daughters face was priceless when she realized what I was making.  To say she was pleased would be an understatement.  The rest of the kids were pretty excited as well.  I loved listening to them decide what to do with the "extra" pies since there wouldn't be enough for everyone to have 2.  I tried telling them that there wouldn't be any extras, because they were all Mom's.  I guess I need to work on my poker face, because they didn't believe me for even a split second.  Either my poker face is really bad, or they are really smart.  I think I like the second option the best.

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (I used my Perfect Pie Crust)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
 4 apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste and cook for 1 minute. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Divide dough into 10 pieces and roll each piece into a circle (mine were about 6 inches).  Place about 1/4 cup of the apple filling in the center of each dough circle.  Fold the dough in half over the filling and press the edges to seal.  Place on an un-greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Recipe from All Recipes

 Linked on Sweets for a Saturday and Tatertots and Jello.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Root Beer Cookies

I have to say, these cookies are AMAZING!!  They are soft, chewy and delightfully delicious.  They have got to be one of my new favorite cookies.  Everybody thinks they're chocolate until they take the first bite.  It's always fun to watch people try to figure out what flavor they are.  I like to make people guess before I tell them, and then watch their eyes light up as they recognize the root beer flavor.  Maybe I should calling them mystery cookies instead of Root Beer Cookies.  I haven't had a single person guess right yet, but everyone loves them! 

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon root beer extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons root beer extract (also called concentrate)
3 teaspoons hot water

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and root beer extract and mix well. Whisk the dry ingredients together and add about 1 cup at a time to the creamed mixture (if the dough is too dry, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time).  Cover dough and chill for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350.  Roll into small balls (about walnut sized - I use my smallest cookie scoop) and place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.  Gently press the cookies down to flatten the top a little (they don't always spread too much) and bake for 6 to 8 minutes.

Frosting: Beat the butter in a medium sized bowl until smooth and fluffy.  Add in root beer extract and beat until combined.  Add powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Add water, 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reach.  Spread onto cooled cookies.

Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday and Tatertots and Jello.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I'm not sure if I'm normal (okay, I'm pretty sure I'm not....), but by the time dinner time rolls around, I'm not in the mood to make a big fancy dinner.  I'm usually a bit worn out from chasing little ones around all day and just want something quick and easy.  And yummy.  Chicken Enchilada Pasta was perfect!  It came together quickly (in less than 30 minutes!) and was a hit with the entire family.  All the kids ate it without a single complaint!  That's a winner!

3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
2 tablespoons oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 (10 ounce) cans green chili enchilada sauce (I used my homemade Green Tomato Salsa Verde)
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce
1 (6 ounce) can large black olives, cut in half
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (16 ounce) box pasta, cooked according to package directions

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces and olives. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cheese a handful at a time and stir after each addition until melted.  Add in sour cream and stir until combined and heated through (don't let it boil or it will curdle).  Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir until thoroughly combined.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Linked on Tatertots and Jello

Monday, September 10, 2012

Easy Chicken and Bell Pepper Pasta

If your garden (or farmers market, or even grocery store) is overflowing with bell peppers, you don't want to miss out on this Easy Chicken and Pepper Pasta.  The hubby and I loved how fresh it tasted.  And the kids, well, they picked out the peppers and onions and had races to see who could eat them the fastest so they could get them out of the way savor the "good stuff".  The claim to not like the peppers and onions, but I am determined to get them all to love them.

2 tablespoons olive oil (or other oil)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bell peppers, (I used 2 red and one green, but any combination would work)
1 onion, sliced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 (16 ounce) box of pasta, cooked according to package directions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.  Add peppers and onion and cook, stirring often, until slightly tender (about 3 minutes).  Remove peppers from the pan and add in remaining oil and chicken.  Cook until chicken is cooked through (about 3 to 5 minutes).  Drain juice (if any) from the chicken and add the pepper back into the pan.  Add fresh basil, salt and pepper and mix well.  Serve over pasta.

Recipe from The Royal Cook, an original!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Kneaders Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Do you have a Kneaders near you?  If you don't, you are missing out!  Love that place!  They make the yummiest breads and sandwiches (on their super, way yummy bread) and other tasty treats.  A loaf of Kneaders Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (or is it just pumpkin?  Adding chocolate can never hurt!) is around $4 at the Kneaders near me and a loaf NEVER lasts long (30 minutes.  Tops).  The nice thing about this recipe is that it makes 3 loaves.  Yes, 3 loaves!  I was finally able to get some Kneaders Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread to last until morning.   And I was able to make 3 loaves for less than is would have cost me to buy 1 loaf!

This Kneaders Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread is moist, tender and delicious.  And the house smelled absolutely heavenly while it was baking. 

3 ⅓ cups flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 ⅔ cups sugar
⅔ cup butter, softened
4 sggs
1 (30 ounce) can pumpkin (I used 2 bottles of pumpkin I bottled)
⅔ cups Water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Sift together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  Cream together sugar and butter, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the pumpkin and mix well.  Add about half of the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated, then about half of the water.  Repeat with the other half of the flour and water.  Fold in chocolate chips and pour into 3 large, greased, loaf pans (Mine are about 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5).  Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Recipe from Burnt Apple.

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies and Tatertots and Jell-O.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Fall is just around the corner and I am SO excited to start baking all kinds of yummy fall.  There are quite a few recipes that call for pumpkin pie spice, but since I only use it seasonally (for the most part), I don't always keep good track of how much I have on hand.  This recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice was a lifesaver!  It's really easy to throw together and I can make it when ever I want (or when ever I get home from grocery shopping and realized I forgot to buy some.....)

Tomorrow I will show you what I used this Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice in.  If you like copy-cat recipes, you won't want to miss it!

4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground allspice

Combine and mix well.  Store in an air tight container.

Recipe from All Recipes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are some people who have self control.  I am not one of those people.  This recipe came with a  strong warning "These cookies WILL make you fat....because you CANNOT stop at one."  Seeing that lovely warning and know very well about my lack of self control, I halved the batch.  And it's a good thing too!  I was still able to get 20+ good sized cookies.  I decided I would eat just 2 cookies.  I did and was very good to stop there.  Until I was taking pictures and accidentally knocked a cookie into the glass of milk.  I then had to eat the cookie.  A cookie dipped knocked in milk won't stay good for long.

Apparently I'm not the only one in my house that liked the cookies.  I gave my 2 older girls 2 cookies each and heard "Mom, can I have another cookie?  Pleeeeeeease?!?" at least 100 times.  I allowed them both to have another one (and one of them admitted this morning that she single handedly ate half of the cookies all by herself.  You'd never know by looking at her, though).  I figured the more everyone else ate, the fewer I would eat.

These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are truly fantastic.  I dare say they are the BEST I have ever had the pleasure of eating.  They are chewy and buttery and just perfect.

 That's the little stinker of a cookie that fell into the milk.  I think it's a conspiracy!

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal (I used quick cook)
2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour and mix just until combined.  Add oatmeal and morsels and mix well.  Drop by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart,  onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until just lightly browned around the bottom edges.  Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Recipe from Aristocrafty.

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies and Tatertots and Jell-O
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