Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Bread

This is our family's Halloween tradition.  We make it every year to serve on Halloween before Trick or Treating with our nutritious Halloween Soup.  A couple of years ago, I tried another recipe that was supposed to be Copycat Kneader's Pumpkin Bread, but I think I like this one I've made forever better.  I usually triple the batch because then it uses 1 large can of pumpkin.  A triple batch makes 2 large and 5 small loaves (a nice Halloween gift to share.)

Pumpkin Bread
1 1/2 cup sugar (4 1/2 cups if you're tripling)
2 eggs (6 eggs if you're tripling)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (1 Tablespoon if you're tripling)
1/2 teaspoon salt (1 1/2 teaspoon if you're tripling)
1 teaspoon soda (1 Tablespoon if you're tripling)
1 2/3 cup flour ( 5 cups if you're tripling)
1/2 cup oil (1 1/2 cup oil if you're tripling)
1 cup pumpkin (1 large can pumpkin if you're tripling)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoon if you're tripling)
1/3 cup water (1 cup if you're tripling)

In your mixer, mix together the sugar and eggs.  Turn off the mixer and add all of the dry ingredients, then mix together.  Add the pumpkin and water and blend until well mixed.  You can add chocolate chips, raisins, or nuts if you'd like.  Pour into a greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes (depending on size of the loaves)  Test by sticking a skewer or pick into the center.  Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.  This bread freezes well.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tandoori Chicken

My current "favorite meal" on our regular food rotation is this Tandoori Chicken. Our good friends, Steve and Rachael, made it for us a while back and I feel totally spoiled when we eat it for dinner...and lunch the next day...and lunch the day after that. Yesterday I passed up a delicious meal out in order to come home and eat these leftovers. Hopefully you enjoy it too!

1/2 T curry powder
1/2 T red pepper flakes
1/2 T salt
3/4 t ground ginger
3/4 t smoked paprika (I just used normal)
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 t ground turmeric
1 T minced garlic
2 T lemon juice
1 1/2 cups (1 can) coconut milk
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
9 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts (I cut mine in half so they weren't as thick)

1.  Whisk together above ingredients and place them in a gallon ziplock bag, add 9 chicken thighs (you could also use chicken breasts).  Close ziplock and massage marinade into chicken.  Place mixture in fridge to marinate for 6 hours (I did for 12 hours because I had errands all day and it was fine).  
2.  Preheat oven to 350.
3.  On the stove top, heat a cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet) on med-high heat with a few Tbsp of olive oil (I used coconut oil).  Brown the chicken, skin side down (mine was boneless, skinless) for approximately 5 minutes or until the chicken is a nice golden brown.
4.  Turn the chicken over.  Pour remaining marinade over chicken.
5.  Bake chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees, which is approximately 20 minutes.

This week I made it with this butternut squash and I loved the 2 together. 

I served it with Basmati Rice. Yum!

Also, I have found my children think it is too spicy, so I won’t put as much, if any, red pepper flakes in next time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Super Soft Play Dough

I made this very soft play dough when my grandkids were here visiting.  It is very soft and fun to play with and has only three ingredients.

Super Soft Play Dough
2 parts corn starch
1 part hair conditioner
food coloring, as desired

Mix together and enjoy!

Note 1:  Because conditioners vary in "juiciness," you may need to add more to get it the consistency you want.
Note 2:  Obviously, this is a non-edible playdough, so should be used with older children.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Caesar Pasta Salad

1 lb pasta, we like this Radiatore or Garden Rotinii
1/3 to 1/2 bottle of this Light Caesar house dressing
1/2 tsp of Mrs. Dash
salt and pepper (or Lemon Pepper is great too) to taste
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
2-3 tomatoes, diced

Boil pasta 1 minute less than box instructions. Add the chopped carrots for the last 2 minutes of pasta cooking time to soften them up. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, put the tomatoes and cucumbers in a big bowl. Sprinkle some salt on them to help their juices come out to make the salad more tasty. After it has rested with the salt for at least 5 minutes, add the Mrs. Dash, pepper to taste and 1/4 cup of the Caesar dressing. Stir. Then add the drained pasta and carrots. Pour more dressing on the pasta and stir together. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to cool and marinate. Add a bit more dressing to moisten right before serving. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top and serve. My kids love this salad and I hope yours do too! Enjoy! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

This recipe won the "main dish dinner" category for the Pillsbury Bake-off.  It really does taste like a loaded baked potato. 
Loaded Baked Potato Pizza -- Serves: 6 servings
1 can (13.8 oz) Pillsbury(r) refrigerated classic pizza crust 
1 medium potato 
1 tablespoon Olive Oil 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1 box (10 oz)  frozen broccoli and cheese sauce
2/3 cup sour cream 
1 tablespoon ranch dressing 
1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend or any shredded cheese
5 slices cooked bacon, coarsely chopped 
1 tomato, seeded, chopped 
2 or 3 green onions, chopped 
 Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray large, sided cookie sheet. Unroll pizza crust dough on cookie sheet; press dough into 13x9-inch rectangle. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until crust is light golden brown. Remove from oven; set aside. Meanwhile, pierce potato with fork; place on microwavable paper towel in microwave oven. Microwave 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Let it stand for awhile.  When potato is cool enough to handle, peel potato and cut into 1/4-inch cubes. In small bowl, mix potato, oil, salt and pepper; set aside. Cook broccoli in microwave as directed on box. Empty from pouch into another small bowl to cool slightly; set aside. In another small bowl, mix sour cream and ranch dressing. Spread mixture over pizza crust to within 1/2-inch of edges of crust. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese evenly over sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with bacon. Spread broccoli mixture and potato mixture evenly over bacon. Sprinkle tomato, onions and remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over potato mixture. Bake 15 to 22 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pantry Pick of the Month: Prego Fresh Mushroom Pasta Sauce/ Chicken Mozzarella Pasta

There are probably 101 things I could make with this month's pantry pick. I was delighted when I reached in and pulled out one of my favorite products- Prego Fresh Mushroom Pasta Sauce.   I chose to try a Pioneer Woman's recipe for Chicken Mozzarella Pasta, and was I ever glad.  It was just delicious and I will be making this again and again.  It was very easy and very fast, too.  The Pioneer Woman says it takes 16 minutes.  I think it took a bit longer for me because it took so long to get the pot of water to boil.  But, still it was really fast.

My poor husband never gets to eat until I take a picture!  He's pretty patient with me.

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta
1 pound pasta, penne or rigatoni or whatever you have (some of the reviewers said it was delicious with whole wheat pasta)
Olive oil, about 2 Tablespoons in pan, and more for drizzling over the pasta after it's cooked
2 boneless chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
Salt and Pepper
2- 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 large onion, diced
1 Jar Prego Fresh Mushroom Pasta Sauce (or any other Marinara sauce)
1/4 teaspoon- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, diced (you can buy this at Costco)
Grated Parmesan cheese
About 12 basil leaves, chiffonade

Cook the pasta to al dente in very salty water.  While it's cooking, make the sauce:
Put the olive oil in a large sided skillet or a Le Cruset' pan and heat on medium high heat.  Salt and pepper the chopped chicken breasts  and mix with your hands.  Add to the hot oil.  Cook for two or three minutes, stirring and browning the chicken.  Remove the chicken (put on a plate) and add the onion and garlic to the oil.  Saute on med-high heat until the onions are soft and translucent and golden and smelling SO good.

Reduce the heat and add the jar of sauce, red pepper flakes to taste and a big ladle or two full of the pasta water.  Stir and cook for a minute, then add the chicken chunks and the parsley.  Simmer for about 7 minutes.  The sauce should be bubbly and hot. Turn off the heat.  Add the cheese chunks and gently stir.  Then just let the sauce sit for 2-3 minutes while you drain and prepare the cooked pasta.

Put the drained pasta in a large bowl.  Drizzle some olive oil in and mix it in.  Then sprinkle on a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.  Then pour the sauce over the pasta.  Sprinkle on a little more
of the Parmesan and the basil.  Serve.   So, so yummy.  The fresh Mozzarella softens and melts and it's just so good.  This makes a BIG bowl of pasta.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Baked French Toast

Every month when the "Friend" magazine comes, you'd think it were Christmas at our house by the behavior of our five year old daughter.  She thoroughly enjoys the stories, and seeks out the "Family Fun Time" page before I've had the chance to even open the Ensign.  This was one of the "Family Fun Time" recipes from August.  My whole family enjoyed it.  I appreciate the fact that it is a bit healthier than some similar recipes because it doesn't call for corn syrup, and can be made with whole wheat bread. It is kid friendly too!  It keeps my five year old busy: She tears up the bread while I mix the other ingredients.  

8 cups of torn whole wheat bread (about half a loaf) -- or torn french bread
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Put the torn bread in a  lightly greased 9x13-inch pan.
  • Beat the eggs, and mix in the milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour the mixture over the bread. Stir the bread to get it all coated.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on top of the bread.
  • Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when you stick it in the middle.  Serve plain or with fresh fruit - it doesn't need extra syrup.
  •  Waiting for it to cool is hard.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Italian Pasta Salad

My kids love pasta salad! There are three kinds that I make that they love. This Italian one, Taco Pasta Salad, and Caesar Pasta Salad. I made this one this week and today my son asked for it for lunch and if we could have it for dinner too. Then he said I should make some more tomorrow as well.
So here is our salad, almost gone now, but it is a good one.
1 lb pasta
1/2 bottle of Italian dressing
2 carrots, chopped
1 or 2 tomatoes, chopped
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or I make my own in my pressure cooker and I use 1 1/2 cups of my own)
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/3 package of Turkey Pepperoni, chopped
Boil 1 lb of pasta one minute less than package directions. (Your choice of pasta, my kids like this radiatore or garden rotini.)
While it's boiling chop up 2 carrots and add them for the last 3 minutes of the pasta boiling time. 
Drain the pasta and carrots, then add them to a big bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir and refrigerate for a few hours. Stir and add some more italian dressing to moisten it up before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Autumn Pear Salad

Autumn Pear Salad
1 head Romaine lettuce
1-2 pears, diced (leave the skins on)
Handful of craisins
Handful of sliced almonds (or you can candy sliced almonds)
3/4 cup grated Mozzarella Cheese OR bleu cheese
1/2 bottle (more or less to taste) Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing (or you can make your own.  I will post a recipe for an easy one)

Toss salad ingredients together.  Just before serving, pour on the dressing and toss well.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Stuffed Hot Dogs

A friend brought our family this dish when we welcomed Michelle into the world.  That's a long time ago. It tasted so good to me and still brings tears when I think of the kindness displayed by so many when I really needed help.   She brought it with glazed carrots and brownies. I've made it ever since and I always serve it with glazed carrots on the side and brownies for dessert. I have tried it with hamburger patties rather than hot dogs and that's good, too.  It's pretty easy and kid friendly.  Who doesn't love a good hot dog!

1 package good quality hot dogs
Leftover mashed potatoes or you can make them- mashed potatoes (you can use those prepared ones from Costco for a really quick meal)  OR you can make instant potatoes-  So many options!
Grated cheese

Open the hot dogs by splitting the long way, but leave the two halves together.  Arrange in a 13 x 9 or similar sized sprayed casserole dish.  Top with mounds of mashed potatoes, then sprinkle with cheese. If I'm in a hurry, instead of carefully stuffing each hot dog, I just spread the potatoes over all, then put on the cheese.  Bake at 350 until it's hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Macaroni Shells and Cheese

What kid doesn't like macaroni and cheese?  This is a delicious, creamy, and quick homemade version.

Macaroni Shells and Cheese
1 pound mini shells pasta
2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon butter
2 cups grated cheese (sharp cheddar is yummy- but whatever you have)
8 ounces Velveeta, diced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4-1/2  teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

Cook the pasta in well-salted boiling water.  Don't overcook!  In the meantime, in a large pot, heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted.  Stir in the seasonings, and both cheeses.  Stir until the sauce is smooth.  Drain the pasta and dump it in with the sauce.  Stir until the shells are well coated.  Serve.  We like it with chopped fresh tomatoes and some extra pepper on top.

Recipe Source:  Adapted from Pioneer Woman

I made it for my grandchildren when they were here visiting.  It looks like they like it!!!   Especially if served on our famous Care Bear plates!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What's For Dinner? October

Here's what's cookin' at our house in the month of October:

BLT Salad with Cheese and Almonds

Chicken Pot Pie

Salisbury Steaks/ Mashed Potatoes/ Veggie

Lemon Grilled Salmon
Zuppa Tuscano/ Crusty Bread  Wahoo!  Soup season is here!

Chicken Stuffing Casserole in Crockpot

Verde Chicken Mexican Lasagna (A new recipe)
Chicken Divan

Chicken and Rice Casserole (I'm trying a new recipe.  I'll post it if it's good)
Ham, Swiss, and Brocolli Roll-ups in Basil Cream Sauce (I love this dish!)

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Bean with Bacon Soup/ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Shells and Cheese
Loaded Baked Potato Pizza/ Green Salad
Halloween Soup/ Pumpkin Bread

Pantry Pick of the Month: Prego Fresh Mushroom Pasta Sauce/ Chicken Mozzarella Pasta (Recipe will be posted during this month)

Snickers Cake
Caramel Apple Crisp

Cinnamon Rolls
Ginger Snaps that Don't