Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lasagna Soup

It's not often that my entire family likes a meal.  At least not all at the same time.  They seem to change their minds about what they like more often than I would like...  They all LOVED this Lasagna Soup all at the same time!  There wasn't a single complaint or even a "Mom, please don't make this again".  When my 13 year old walked through the door from boxing he said "Wow Mom!  That smells good!"  That's always a good sign.

As we sit around the dinner table, I like to ask my kids what their favorite part of the day was that day.  My 6 year old said that dinner was her favorite part.  She loved being able to help make it in her new apron she got from one of her cute little friends at her birthday party, and she loved how yummy it turned out.  The hubs and I also said it was our favorite part of the day.  The hubs because it was so good, and myself because there wasn't any complaining.  Pretty sure Lasagna Soup will make a regular appearance at dinner time from now on.

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 glove garlic, minced
2 (10.75 ounce) cans tomato soup
2 (14.5 ounce) cans beef broth
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced)
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 (12 ounce) package bow tie pasta, cooked according to package directions
Mozzarella cheese, shredded, for topping

Cook ground beef, onion and garlic in a large pot over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink.  Add tomato soup, beef broth, diced tomatoes, brown sugar and spices.  Mix well and bring to a simmer; simmer for 30 minutes.  Add cooked pasta and serve immediately topped with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Tatertots and Jello, Your Homebased Mom, Sweet & Savory Saturdays, Show Me What Ya Got and Six Sisters' Stuff

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

White Almond Wedding (or Birthday) Cake

Last week was a busy week around here!  My sweet little princess celebrated her 7th birthday so it was a party all week long, It started with going out to breakfast and shopping with just the 2 of us on Monday, and ended with a Spa-tacular party with her friends on Saturday.  I think I liked celebrating her birthday all week (her birthday was Thursday).  She sure felt special!

My little princess wanted a candy cake for her birthday.  I wanted something a little fancier.  So I compromised.  I put candy on the top for her and made the sides a little fancier for me.  It didn't really match, but we were both happy.

She also requested to have a filling in it.  "Just not that nasty jam stuff the store puts in theirs.  That's so gross mom!"  So she got Vanilla Mousse and loved it.  Then I topped it off with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

The cake turned out fantastic!  It started with a box mix and ended up much more dense than a plain box mix (and much tastier!), which is what I wanted.  The hubs and I loved the flavor of the cake.  Not sure what the kiddos thought of the flavor, but they quickly gobbled it up.  Pretty sure that means they liked it too.

In case you can't tell, the colors of the cake are supposed to be blue, purple and pink.  There was a little debate on a couple of the colors. :) 

1 (15.25 ounce) package white cake mix 
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 325.  Stir together the white cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed. Pour in the water, sour cream, vegetable oil, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg whites, and beat with an electric mix on low until all the ingredients are mixed and moistened but some lumps still remain; about 4 minutes. Pour the batter into greased 9x13 inch cake pan, and bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Do not over bake.

I divided my cake between 3 (8 inch) pans and baked for about 17 minutes.

Recipe from All Recipes.

Linked on Tatertots and Jello, Your Homebased Mom, Pinworthy Projects, Sweet & Savory Saturdays, Show Me What Ya Got, The Busy Bee's and Six Sisters' Stuff

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mini Lemon Parfaits

It's cold here.  There's snow on the ground and it's been pretty gloomy for about the last week.  I wanted a little sunshine and since I wasn't getting any from the sky, I figured lemons were the next closest thing.

These Mini Lemon Parfaits are so stinking cute!  And they're equally as tasty.  If you are a lemon fan, you'll want to make these.  Like now.

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup lemon curd (I used Microwave Lemon Curd)
1 cup sweetened whipped cream

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl; mix until well combined.  Place about 1 teaspoon of the graham cracker mixture in the the bottom of 4 mini parfait glasses.  Top with 1 tablespoon lemon curd, then 1 tablespoon sweetened whipped cream (I piped my sweetened whipped cream in - much neater that way. :)).  Add another layer of the lemon curd and sweetened whipped cream, then sprinkle with graham cracker mixture.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Tatertots and Jello, Your Homebased Mom, Sweet & Savory Saturdays, Show Me What Ya Got and Six Sisters' Stuff.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Microwave Lemon Curd

I remember seeing lemon curd in the grocery store when I was a kid.  It was by the peanut butter and jelly and I always thought it had to be the nastiest stuff on the planet.  After all, the only curd I had ever had was the cheese kind of curd and that mixed with lemon sounded way less than appealing.  The stuff had to be gagtastic (that's my new favorite made up word) at best.  It wasn't until a couple years ago that I decided to give the stuff a try.  It was pretty much love at first bite.

This Microwave Lemon Curd is quite tart.  If you aren't a fan of tart, you might want to these Chocolate Cake Ball Pops or these Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies.  I promise not to get all judgy on you and we can still be friends. :)

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
zest from 3 lemons
1/2 cup butter, melted

In a microwave safe bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar.  Add lemon juice, zest and melted butter; whisk until well combined.  Microwave on high in 1 minute increments, stirring well after each minute, until thicken and will coat the back of a spoon (mine took 4 minutes).  Place plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd (to prevent a film from forming) and refrigerate until cold.

Not sure what to do with lemon curd?  Try it as a filling for crepes, cake, pie, in a parfait or just plain.

Recipe from All Recipes.

Linked on Manic Monday and Show Me What Ya Got.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Roasted Vegetables

When I was a kids I loved green beans.  Pretty much thought they were the best veggie ever created, second only to corn on the cob smothered in butter.  Until Mama cooked up some green beans fresh out of the garden.  They weren't salty or very soft and they were still kind of fuzzy.  Ever since I have eaten very few green beans that didn't come from a can.  In my effort to be a little more open minded about raw green beans, I decided to roast some up with carrots and mushrooms.  They were amazing!  I'm pretty sure I'll never look at a raw green bean with anything other than pure adoration from now on.

1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 pound mushrooms
1/2 pound baby carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Pour veggies onto a large baking sheet.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, stirring half way through.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Tatertots and Jello, Your Homebased Mom, Super Saturday Show and Tell, Manic Monday and Six Sisters' Stuff.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my crock pot?  Once the kids get home from school things get a little crazy (to say the least!) around here.  If I don't have dinner planned out (and sometimes even if I do), we get to feast on cold cereal or pasta with canned sauce.  Not that the kids mind, but the hubs and I prefer something a little different.  That's why I LOVE my crock pot.  I can throw dinner in before the kids get home from school and forget about it until dinner time.  I can focus on helping the kids with homework, instead of worrying about dinner.  And that makes everyone a little happier around here.

This totally sounds like a sponsored post, but it's not.  I just love my crock pot! :)

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I only had breasts on hand, so that's what I used, but I think it would be even better with the thighs)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Place chicken in crock pot. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl.  Mix well and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, combine the water and cornstarch and add to the chicken; stir well and let the sauce thicken for the remainder of the cooking time. Just before serving add cashews and stir. Serve over rice.

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff.

Linked on Show and Tell Saturday, Six Sisters' Stuff, Your Homebased Mom, Manic Monday, Super Saturday Show and Tell and Tatertots and Jello.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fall Off the Bone BBQ Pork Ribs

I think the picture explains all you need to know about these ribs.  Oh, I need to explain the unlovely picture?  Well, I made 2 large racks of ribs.  The hubs dished one up for the family and I went to find the camera.  By the time I got back to the ribs, I already had 2 kids ready for seconds.  I knew there was no way I was going to get away with some lovely cut up ribs for a picture, so I took what I could get.  It's not lovely, but I'm pretty lucky I was able to get a picture of anything but the empty bones.  Seriously, they're that good!  They're fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, amazing!

So I was fishing around in the fridge looking for leftovers and the hubs somehow hid some away for lunch the next day.  How the vultures didn't find him out, I'll never know, but I was able to get a little better picture. 

1 rack pork ribs
1 (18 ounce) bottle BBQ sauce

Tear a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil large enough to enclose the ribs.  Generously coat the ribs with BBQ sauce, then tightly wrap the ribs in the foil.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.  Bake at 300 for 2 1/2 hours.  Serve with extra BBQ sauce if desired.

Recipe from All Recipes.

Linked on Fancy This Friday, Manic Monday and Tatertots and Jello.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hot Cheesy Bean Dip

I've never really thought of bean dip as being beautiful, but after 1 bite, my 13 year old exclaimed "Oh Mom, this is beautiful!"  I'm a little behind on the teen lingo of today, but I'm pretty sure that was a good thing.  Especially since he couldn't stop eating it.  Neither could my 6 year old.

I somehow managed to have a little left over and spread it on a tortillas for lunch yesterday.  Not only did my 4 year old eat her lunch, she ate half of mine!

I am a new contributor on Homegrown and Healthy.  Hop over and check out one of my favorite soup recipes today and feel free to say hi to me over there as well. :)

1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Combine all ingredients, except 1 cup of cheese, and mix until well combined.  Evenly spread into a 9 inch pie plate and top with remaining 1 cup cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Fancy This Friday, Six Sisters' Stuff, Manic Monday and Tatertots and Jello.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Turtle Cupcakes

Happy Monday!  Since Mondays tend to get a bad rap, I figured I'd share these amazing Turtle Cupcakes with you to make it a little better.  Now if only I could teleport one straight to you, this Monday would be fantastic!

We are HUGE fans of turtles around here.  Not the kind that crawls around with it's house on it's back, but the the kind that you eat with chocolate, caramel and pecans.  Turtles are one treat we can always agree on around here.  They're also one treat that doesn't last long around here.  Not that many do, but anything turtle tends to disappear a little faster than normal.


24 chocolate cupcakes, baked and cooled (I used Moist Chocolate Cake and made it into cupcakes.  Chocolate Cupcakes would also be fantastic, or just your favorite boxed mix.)
1 batch Caramel Buttercream Frosting
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
24 Pecan halves

Combine chocolate chips, milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Cook in 30 second increments until the chocolate and butter are melted.  Stir well after each 30 seconds.  Dip the top of each cupcake in the melted chocolate mixture.  Let the cupcakes sit until the chocolate has set, about 30 minutes.  Pipe or spread Caramel Buttercream Frosting on the cupcakes.  Heat the remaining chocolate mixture in the microwave again to remelt, in 30 second increments, stirring well after each 30 seconds (I only needed to cook for 30 seconds).  Pour a spoonful of chocolate on top of each cupcake and top with a pecan half.  If the chocolate is too thick to drizzle down a bit, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get the right consistency.  You don't want it too runny, just enough to run down a bit.  I added 1 tablespoon of milk.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Your Home Based Mom, The Busy Bee's, Manic Monday, Fancy This Friday, Whats Cooking With Ruthie, Six Sisters' Stuff, The Weekend Re-Treat, Manic Monday and Tatertots and Jello.

Friday, February 1, 2013

15 Superbowl Recipes

Holy cow, the Superbowl is in 2 days!  If you're like me and are just starting to plan your menu, this might help.  I always get excited for the Superbowl.  Not because I'm a sports fan, but for all the yummy food.  I have no clue who's playing this year and usually only pay attention to the commercials.  But hey, if it gives me an excuse to make lots of yummy food, I'll take it.

Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast

My kids are rebels.  They rebel against pretty much anything that contains the words "whole wheat" or "whole grain".  Whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, even brown rice.  They want nothing to do with the stuff.  This Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast is one way I'm able to get them to eat whole wheat bread.  And not just eat it, but actually like it! 

Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast is my favorite french toast in the world.  The entire world!  I love how the cinnamon and vanilla make it taste (or at least tricks me into thinking it tastes) a little sweet.  I like to eat mine sprinkled with a little (plus maybe a little more) powdered sugar and sliced strawberries.

4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 slices bread (I used whole wheat)

Preheat a griddle to 350.  In a small bowl combine eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Pour into a flat bottomed dish or plate.  Dip bread into the egg mixture, flipping to coat both sides, and place on the hot griddle (mine is non-stick and I don't grease it.  If yours isn't non-stick, grease away.  Even if it is non-stick and you like to grease it, feel free).  Cook until the bottom is lightly browned, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side until browned.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Tatertots and Jello, Your Home Based Mom, The Busy Bee's, The Weekend Re-Treat, Whats Cooking With Ruthie, Six Sisters' Stuff and Manic Monday.
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