Sunday, December 28, 2014

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake
serves 6

8 Oz. Bowtie Pasta
1 1/4 Cups Milk
2 Eggs
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
(1) 12.5 Oz. Can Chicken
1 1/2 Cups Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
(1) 14 Oz. Can Artichoke Hearts, Drained and Roughly Chopped
(1) 8 Oz. Jar Sun-dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, Drained and Thinly Sliced
(1) 10 Oz. Package Frozen Chopped Spinach, Thawed and Well Drained
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions, set aside.  While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl whisk to combine milk, eggs, garlic, and seasoning. Stir in chicken, pepper jack cheese, artichokes, tomatoes, and spinach.  Add in pasta when it is finished, stir to make sure all ingredients are well combined.  Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for 18-20 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

Right now I'm all about easy one dish meals.  Maybe it's this cold winter weather that's making me crave comfort food.  Maybe it's because they are so easy and make the best leftovers! (AKA lefties)  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 2 dozen

1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened (2 Sticks)
1 (13 oz.) Jar Nutella
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Cup Sugar
2  Large Egg
4 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3 1/2 Cups Flour
4 Teaspoons Cornstarch
2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Cream together butter, nutella, sugars, egg, and vanilla extract using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer until well combined, about 4 minutes.  Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt and mix on low for 1 minute, until combined.  Add the chocolate chips and mix by hand.  Form into 1/4 cup balls (about 1 1/4 inches) and flatten slightly.  Place dough on a tray, cover with plastic wrap,  and refrigerate at least 2 hours, up to 5 days.  To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and place dough on greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9 minutes until edges are set and center is just starting to set.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  Serve with a big glass of milk!

These cookies smell amazing coming out of the oven.  But for some reason they break all the cookie rules - they are not good fresh out of the oven!  When I first tasted it I was so disappointed, but just an hour or so later, much better!  The best!  Make these cookies this afternoon.  If only just for the nutella!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Knoephla Soup

A guest post by my cousin, Hayley!

Knoephla Soup
makes 12 servings

For Dumplings –
3 cups flour
2 eggs
A little water
2 tablespoons oil (I use canola)
1 teaspoon salt

For rest of soup –
1 stick of butter
1 onion minced
4-5 peeled potatoes chopped into cubes
Optional carrots and/or celery chopped
32 ounces of chicken broth
5 cups of whole milk
1 cup of cream

1. For the dumplings fill a large soup kettle or dutch oven with water and a little salt and set the temp to boil the water. Add the dumpling ingredients together and just enough water to make the dough not sticky. Knead the dough. It may help to put some oil on your hands while tearing off small pieces of dough (bite sized) and place in boiling water. After placing all dumplings in boiling water, let boil 7 minutes. Drain dumplings and set aside.
2. Melt stick of butter in kettle
3. Add onion to butter and simmer til golden brown
4. Add potato cubes and optional carrots and or celery to mixture
5. Pour in a little chicken broth, stir and simmer. Keep adding chicken broth until all is used. Potatoes should be fork tender and all should simmer for about 10 minutes.
6. Add dumplings to potato/onion mixture
7. Add 5 cups whole milk and 1 cup of cream
8. Simmer mixture for 30-45 minutes uncovered
9. Serve with favorite bread and enjoy!

My friend's mom used to make knoephla growing up.  I had the pleasure of watching her make it once!  In college I was craving the soup and called her for the recipe.  I didn't make it myself but gave it to the cafeteria to make.  I was delighted they gave it a chance, but it still wasn't like Marla's!  Also, any time I make this for my family we are usually pretty sleepy after eating.  It is a good comfort food meal for those cold winter days.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Bake

Chicken Parmesan Bake
serves 4

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Marinara Sauce (About 2/3 of a 26 oz. Jar)
8 Oz. Shredded Mozzarella
4 Oz. Parmesan, Grated
(1) 5 Oz. Package Garlic Croutons, Crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In an 8x8 baking dish, drizzle olive oil then sprinkle red pepper flakes.  Then layer chicken, marinara sauce, half of the cheeses, croutons, then on top the rest of the cheese.  Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is 155 degrees in the middle.

This is one of my new favorite super easy meals!  It is all the flavor of Chicken Parmesan with practically zero effort.  You could serve it with pasta, but M is trying to eat fewer carbs, so we just ate it with a side salad which was just perfect!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Quinoa Week: Quinoa Blueberry Porridge

Quinoa Blueberry Porridge
makes 2 servings

1/2 Cup Quinoa, Rinsed
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Teaspoon Maple Syrup
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Dash of Cinnamon Powder
1/4 Cup Blueberries

In a small saucepan, mix together quinoa, milk, syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes until quinoa is tender.  Serve hot with blueberries.

Quinoa is a great start to the day!  A great alternative to oatmeal or cream of wheat that really sticks to your ribs.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Quinoa Week: Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
makes 6 servings

1 Cup Quinoa, Rinsed
1 Head of Broccoli, Finely Chopped
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cubed
1 (1 oz.) Packet Ranch Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Cups Milk
1 1/2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sauce pan cook quinoa according to package directions.  During the last 5 minutes before it rests, add the broccoli to steam.  Set aside.  Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add chicken, ranch seasoning, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken until the center is no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Set aside.  In the skillet that the chicken was in, melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in milk, and keep whisking until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add in cheese.  In a greased 9x13 pan, combine quinoa and broccoli, chicken, and cheese sauce.  Sprinkle additional cheese on top if desired.  Bake for 10 minutes until mixture is heated throughout and the cheese on top is melted.

This is definitely comfort food that is perfect for this cool fall weather.  And comfort food without all the guilt makes it even better!  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Quinoa Week: Autumn Quinoa Salad

Autumn Quinoa Salad
makes about 8 servings as a side dish

1 Cup Quinoa, Rinsed
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1/2 Red Onion, Chopped Finely
1 Package Ready To Steam Sweet Potatoes (About 2 Cups) Cubed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
3/4 Cup Dried Cranberries

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  Let cool.  In a medium bowl combine cooled quinoa, red pepper, onion, steamed (and cooled) sweet potatoes, olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in dried cranberries.

This salad has such gorgeous fall colors!  Especially with the rainbow quinoa.  I think this would be a great dish to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck!  The onions are a little sharp (obviously) so I think this salad is better the next day after they get a chance to mellow and all of the flavors of the salad can get to know each other.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quinoa Week: Quinoa Fritters

Quinoa Fritters
makes 12 fritters

1 Cup Quinoa
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
6 Scallions, Finely Chopped
2 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Let cool.  In a medium mixing bowl mix quinoa, Parmesan, scallions, eggs, and flour.  Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.  Pack quinoa mixture into 1/3 cup measuring cups.  Drop mixture into heated oil and press down so it makes a patty.  Don't overcrowd the skillet because the fritters are fragile.  Cook for 5 minutes per side.  Garnish with extra Parmesan and scallions, if desired.

These fritters are a great alternative to boring potatoes as a side or you can even have them for a light lunch with a salad.  Or throw them on a bun and call it a veggie burger!  I've been making a few at a time, keeping the extra "batter" in the fridge until we're ready for another batch!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quinoa Week: Quinoa Chili

Quinoa Chili
makes 8 servings

1 Cup Quinoa
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion, Diced
2 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
2 (14.5 oz.) Cans Diced Tomatoes with Chilies
1 (15 oz.) Can Tomato Sauce
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 (15 oz.) Can Kidney Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1 (15 oz.) Can Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1 (15 oz.) Can Corn, Drained
Chili toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese, or avocado.

Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Set aside.  In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and onion, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.  Add in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, red pepper flakes, sugar, beans, corn, and cooked quinoa with 1 to 2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low, simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.  Serve with your favorite chili toppings.

What a fun way to jazz up boring chili!  I made this for my mom when she came to visit and it was a hit!  This recipe made a ton so I made sure to freeze some for when M comes back from Wisconsin.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quinoa Week

I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend, quinoa!  Quinoa is always up for anything - salads, breakfast, main dishes, you name it!  Quinoa is a little fussy, she likes to take a little shower before she gets to work, but once that's done quinoa is a blast!  Quinoa is a grain that is all the rage on the food blogs recently.  You might be wondering if there's a difference between red, black, rainbow, or regular quinoa?  Answer:  Nope, no difference!  When you're shopping choose whichever color you think would look best with the dish.  I usually get the regular quinoa because it comes in the biggest bag at Target.  (I've been going through tons of it!)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chick Pea Burgers

Chick Pea Burgers
from simply whole kitchen
makes about 6 burgers

1 Can Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans) Rinsed and Drained
1 Zucchini, Roughly Chopped
1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until almost smooth, but a few chunks.  Preheat a saute pan over medium-high with a tablespoon olive oil.  When the oil is hot, fry the patties for 4-5 minutes per side.  Serve with your favorite burger toppings.

While I was making these, I had a flash back to the last time I made vegetarian burgers when right in the middle of making them I panicked at thought if this doesn't work out I don't have a back up for dinner!  But just like the last time, these were a hit!  M has been wanting to eat healthier and I found these on Pinterest and thought I just had to make them.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Danish Apple Squares

Danish Apple Squares
serves about 20
family recipe

3 cups flour
1 Tb. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
Combine dry ingredients, then cut in shortening & butter as like pie crust. 

1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. butter
Put egg yolk into measuring cup & add enough milk to make 2/3 cup, mix well. Mix egg yolk/milk into flour mixture to make soft dough. Divide into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other. Sprinkle more flour on pastry board & roll out larger dough portion first for the bottom crust. Place rolled crust into bottom & sides of a standard jelly roll pan (11 x 16 inches). Spread 2 Tbs. soft butter on bottom crust. Roll out the top crust. 

Apple filling:
5-8 large apples (Granny Smith, Braeburn, or your choice or combination of cooking apples)
2 Tbs.cornstarch
1 cup brown or white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. frozen lemonade concentrate
Peel & slice apples, making 6 to 8 cups. Mix sugar, cornstarch & cinnamon together, then mix into sliced apples & add lemonade concentrate & mix again. Spread apple mixture onto the buttered crust in pan. Cover with top crust. Patching & sealing crust with ice water as needed. Make a few slits on top crust.
Bake 375 degrees for about 55-60 or until crust is golden brown & apples bubble.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. frozen lemonade concentrate
1 - 2 Tbs. milk
Combine to make glaze pourable & drizzle over cooled pastry.

This recipe has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember but it was forgotten about until recently.  My mom has been leading the baking and we've been making these bars almost every weekend we go to the lake - either to bring to church Sunday morning or just to eat ourselves!  My mom came up with this recipe based on a Danish Apple Squares recipe she received "in the 80's".  But it's diverted so much for the original that she thinks it needs a new name.  Sisters Bars? (Since these bars are much easier when made with sisters/cousins/aunts!)  Marry Me Apple Bars (The men in your life LOVE them!)  Better-Than-Buckhunter Bars?  (The guys say they'll drop the rifles as soon as these come out of the oven!)  Whatever they're called, they are becoming our family's signature dessert!  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ice Cream Pretzel Cake

Ice Cream Pretzel Cake
from Taste of Home
serves 16

1 1/4 Cup Crushed Pretzels
6 Tablespoons Cold Butter, Cubed
3/4 Cup Fudge Ice Cream Topping, Warmed
1 Cup Chocolate Covered Peanuts, Crushed
1/2 Gallon Vanilla Ice Cream, Softened
1/4 Cup Caramel Ice Cream Topping

In a small bowl, cut in butter into crushed pretzels.  Press into the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan.  Spread over fudge topping.  Freeze for 30 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine ice cream and peanuts.  Spread over pretzel crust.  Drizzle caramel on top.  Freeze at least 8 hours or overnight.

One time my mom made a homemade ice cream cake and for some reason it was a huge fail.  I can't remember if it was because the caramel was frozen solid or there was something wrong with the brownie crust.  So I was a little nervous making this cake.  But let me tell you, it was a definite win!  I may have even stirred in a little extra fudge and caramel into the ice cream for extra delicious-ness (it was worth it!).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Balsamic Quinoa Salad
from Four Seasons Kitchen
serves 6 as a side dish

1 Cup Quinoa, Raw
1 Cucumber, Chopped
2 Bell Peppers, Chopped
1 Can Corn, Drained
1 Small Container Feta Cheese
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Big Squeeze Honey
Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  Let cool.  In a large bowl add quinoa, cucumber, peppers, corn, and feta.  Set aside.  In a small bowl mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, honey and salt and pepper.  Pour dressing over salad and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate a few hours before serving.

This salad is my new favorite side dish.  I make it almost every week!  It's perfect with a hamburger or a hot dog on the patio on a hot summer evening.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Peach Week/ Peach Salsa

I always get excited every late July/ early August.  Summer is at it's peak, Shark Week is on the Discovery Channel and the Elberta Peaches are in season!  Usually I buy a case and eat 4 a day, diced with a little sugar and a dash of heavy cream.  Except for this year we got adventurous - peach canning at my aunt's lake cabin with my mom, cousin, and aunt!  (And two baby boys watching)

Jars are prepped and ready to go.

Peaches going in for a blanch to remove the skins.

A lot of pots of hot water is required for canning!


We also made a Peach Raspberry pie with raspberries picked right outside the cabin!

Peach Raspberry Pie

Another new venture- a shrimp boil!  So much fun.  Boil everything all together than dump in on the patio table and pour over some hot melted butter!

Here's the link for the recipe for the shrimp boil. 

Then we made a traditional Peach Pie

For the finale of peach week I made a peach salsa.

Peach Salsa
serves about 6 as an appetizer

1 Cup Peaches, Chopped (About 2 Peaches)
1 Cup Tomato, Chopped
1/2 Cup Red Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Jalapeno, Minced
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
2 Teaspoons Sugar

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the fridge.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

DIY Instant Oatmeal

DIY Instant Oatmeal
makes about 12 servings

5 Cups Quick Oats (A Little More than a Small Canister)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup - 1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer

Add 3 1/2 Cups oatmeal to a large bowl.  Blend the remaining 1 1/2 cups in a blender or food processor until "dusty".  Add the blended oatmeal and the remaining ingredients to the large bowl.  Mix well.  Store in 1/2 cup portions in snack size zip lock bags.

I am a huge oatmeal fan and my husband is too.  He usually grabs a bag of instant for his breakfast at work.  So when I found this recipe for DIY oatmeal, I knew I had to give it a try!  The oatmeal is blended for a thinker end product, but if you like your oatmeal on the runny side or don't want to dirty a blender, you could easily skip that step.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bean Salad for a Couple

Bean Salad for a Couple
makes 4 servings

1 Can Kidney Beans
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Combine beans and pepper in a small bowl, set aside.  Mix together sugar, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour dressing over beans.  Serve right away or refrigerate overnight for even better flavor.

You may remember bean salad for a crowd from a while back.  Well, this is the scaled down version!  This is a great little side dish that is perfect with some grilled brats and a glass of lemonade.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

Honey Lime Fruit Salad
makes about 8 servings

8 Cups Mixed Fruit (Berries, Grapes, Cantaloupe, Peaches, Kiwi, Etc.)
1/4 Cup Honey
2-3 Tablespoons Lime Juice

Cut up fruit into bite sized pieces and put in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix together honey and lime juice.  Combine fruit and dressing.

This beautiful, easy fruit salad is so refreshing for summer.  It is perfect as a side dish for a summer BBQ or just for breakfast in the morning.  I've made it with strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, and raspberries which is delicious, but I'm really looking forward to August when peaches are in season!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes about 15 muffins

2 1/4 Cups AP Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
6 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
1 Cup Milk
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
3/4 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar.  Set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, mix together melted butter, milk, eggs (mix butter and milk together first, so the hot melted butter won't scramble the eggs), and peanut butter until smooth.  Pour milk mixture into flour mixture all at once and beat together until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Spoon batter into a greased muffin tin and bake for 17-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.  Enjoy with a tall glass of milk.

My peanut butter loving husband didn't even mind the chocolate chips in these muffins.  I say "chocolate chips in muffins is ALWAYS a good idea!".  Especially with peanut butter.  Chocolate and peanut butter.  It's like a Reecee's Cup!  Reecee's for breakfast!  Side note: peanut butter, one word or two?  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
makes 12 muffins

1 3/4 Cups AP Flour
1/3 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Egg, Beaten
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Cooking Oil (I used Vegetable)
3/4 Cup Bananas, Mashed
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips

Streusel Topping:
3 Tablespoons AP Flour
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Butter, Cold

Grease muffin tin.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Set aside.  In another bowl combine egg, milk, and oil.  Add all at once to flour mixture.  Fold in bananas and chocolate chips.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full of batter    For the streusel topping, combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle streusel topping over muffin batter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Recently on facebook, a friend commented that she had just made banana bread and of course I immediately had to have some banana bread.  Somehow bread turned muffins.  But is there really a difference between banana bread and banana muffins?  At least with these little gems, I can freeze them and save some for later!  It was probably a good thing that I did freeze them right away, otherwise I would have eaten all of them.   


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Orange Broiled Salmon

Orange Broiled Salmon
from Everyday Food Magazine
serves 3-4

1 Navel Orange
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced
1/2 Red Onion, Cut Into Wedges
4 Skinless Salmon Fillets (4-6 Oz. Each)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Heat broiler and move rack in oven so it is 8 inches away from the heat.  Grate one tablespoon orange zest then cut orange into wedges.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together orange zest and wedges, pepper, onion, and oil and arrange in an even layer.  Add salmon and season vegetables and salmon with salt and pepper.  Broil until vegetables are browned and salmon is opaque throughout, about 8-10 minutes. To serve squeeze orange over salmon and enjoy with a baked potato.

I loved this recipe.  I'm on a huge orange kick right now and this dish could not be any faster or simpler.  M, however, was a little weirded out by the broiled oranges so next time I make this I think I'll have to use lemon (or maybe a combo!)  The oranges and peels are edible with they come out of the oven, although I was not brave enough to try the peel.