Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu, Week of Sept. 28

Sunday- chicken cordon bleu casserole, salad, and brownies-n-ice cream

Monday- creamy carrot soup, garlic bread, corn on the cob and zucchini

Tuesday- stir fry lettuce wraps

Wednesday- bean burritos

Thursday- Breakfast Casserole

Friday- Pasta with roasted red pepper cream sauce

Saturday- out out out

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Since Chris and I have been married, I have decreased the number of times I cook with canned cream-of-something soup from about 4 times a week to about once or twice a month. I have come a long way. But sometimes you just need a casserole, and sometimes a can of cream of chicken just does the trick. This was tonight's Sunday dinner- and it was GOOD. Rave reviews from the adults as well as the persnickety, finicky kids.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 slices of deli ham
4 square slices of swiss cheese
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup half and half (or milk)
1/2 a package of Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup butter

Cut each chicken breast in half, making 8 pieces altogether. Top each chicken piece with a slice of ham. Cut the swiss squares in half to make 8 rectangles; top each chicken piece with a piece of cheese. Mix soup and half and half and pour over top of chicken. Melt butter, stir into chicken broth, and add stuffing. Top casserole with stuffing mixture. Bake covered at 350 for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more. YUM, yum, yum, yum, yum- Delicioso! (Name that show.)
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

About Apples

Last week bookclub was held at my house. We read "Little Heathens; Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression". The author featured some of the recipes made most frequently on their farm, one of which was Apple Candy Pie. I decided to make that one to enjoy after our discussion. It was very good. Simple recipe (I'll post it later), but good. It has been a little while since I cooked with apples, and I wasn't sure which varieties were most suited for baking. So I did some research (googled it) and found some helpful info on which kinds of apples are best suited for eating whole and which ones hold up to heat.

Cortland, Jonathan, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious are some of the best baking apples. Fuji and Red Delicious turn to mush when baked, so are best eaten out of hand.

Between Safeway and Fresh and Easy, I was only able to find Granny Smith and Gala varieties, so I used a combination of those and it turned out great.

Here's the website to visit for Apples 101.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu, week of Sept. 21

Sunday- Baked Potato Bar, salad, carrots, and peach cobbler at Mom's Diner

Monday- Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Tuesday- OUT

Wednesday- Lettuce wraps

Thursday- Chicken parmesan

Friday- Pasta with roasted red pepper cream sauce

Saturday- Women's RS broadcast... family can fend for themselves!

Friday, September 19, 2008

AZ Restaurant Week

To learn more about AZ restaurant week, see HERE!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I got my Baby Back Ribs

Who said you can only have baby back ribs at a restaurant? When Mason and I were in AZ we went out to eat with my parents. Mason ordered the ribs and devoured every bite. So, I set out to find a recipe for delicious ribs. I made these for Mason's birthday and they turned out great! Hope you like them too.

2 racks of ribs
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (or your favorite)
Aluminum foil
Cooking spray

(makes enough for 2 racks of ribs)
¼ C. brown sugar
1 ½ T. paprika
1 T. kosher salt
1 ½ T. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Cut each rack of ribs into approximately 4 sections. Remove excess fat from ribs. Rub spices on both sides of the ribs. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil that will fit one section of ribs. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray. Lay rib section on foil and coat with BBQ sauce (both sides). Wrap tightly and repeat for each rib section. Marinate 8 hours or overnight on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 300° F. Bake ribs on cookie sheet for 2 ½ hours. Drain juice and remove foil. Add more BBQ sauce and broil in oven until slightly browned.

Caprese Sandwiches

This smashed sandwich may not look like much, but it is a new favorite at our house. Chris was skeptical when I told him what was for dinner, but his mind changed after the first bite. Very flavorful, awesome texture, and tasty combination of ingredients. I tried some Heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joes- and I am hooked. We'll be having these again soon.

Caprese Sandwiches

1 loaf ciabatta bread
2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick
a few thick slices of mozzarella (fresh if you can find it)
1/4 C. basil pesto

Slice open the bread, slather on the pesto (both sides), and layer the tomatoes and cheese. Cook in a skillet, as you would a grilled cheese sandwich. I used a couple Tablespoons of olive oil, and pressed the top of the sandwich down with a heavy pot as it cooked. Or if you are Maren, use your panini press. :) Wednesdays are packed for us- with preschool, children's chorus, and mutual- and this was the perfect dinner to put together and have on the table in about 15 minutes.
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Shortbread Cookies with Lavendar Icing

Wildflower Bread Company has a salad with flecks of lavendar all throughout it (the Wildflower salad). Lavendar has a very distinct taste- it is interesting and highly concentrated. So I saw these cookies on "Stephanie's Kitchen" and had to make them. I had really high expectations, so I admit I was slightly disappointed with the final result. I really liked them, but didn't love them. The icing is the best part. If you didn't know there was lavendar in them, you would take a bite and think, "What IS that?"

Shortbread Cookies with Lavendar Icing

1 C. butter, softened
2/3 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine the flour and baking powder, gradually add to the creamed mixture. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters, 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes.


1/3 C. boiling water
1 tsp. dried lavendar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 C. powdered sugar

Add boiling water to a bowl with lavendar; cover and allow to soak for 15 minutes. Strain liquid, add almond extract and powdered sugar until it thickens slightly into a glaze. Put the warm icing into a ziplock bag, snip the corner and drizzle over cooled cookies. Allow them to set for a few hours.

* You can find lavendar at Sprouts.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Torn Pasta with Zucchini and Arugula

This was our dinner tonight and it was really delicious! I got this recipe from Williams-Sonoma a long time ago, but just now got around to trying it. I'm wondering why I didn't make it sooner? I just tweaked a couple things- I used penne pasta instead of lasagna noodles (easier for the kids to eat) and instead of spooning the marinara over top I just mixed it all together.

Torn Pasta with Zucchini and Arugula


4 zucchini

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste, plus 1 Tbs.

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 lb. lasagna noodles

1 cup tomato pasta sauce

2 cups arugula, washed and dried

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Using a mandoline or a knife, slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch strips. Transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.

Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, arrange the zucchini strips on the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the zucchini over and cook until tender but not too soft, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Break the lasagna noodles into large, uneven pieces. Add the 1 Tbs. salt and the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the tomato pasta sauce.

Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and toss to coat evenly. Add the zucchini, arugula and 1/4 cup of the cheese and gently toss together, being careful not to tear the zucchini strips. Transfer to individual pasta bowls, drizzle the tomato sauce over and around the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Egg Muffin Sandwiches

(photo from Whole Foods)

I was so busy enjoying my breakfast sandwich I forgot to take a picture. Cooking the eggs in a muffin tin is genius!


4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
4 whole wheat English muffins
Olive oil spray
4 slices Canadian bacon
4 slices mild cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray four muffin cups with canola or olive oil spray. Crack one egg into each sprayed muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bake for 20 minutes or until egg is set.

Place English muffins in the oven with eggs until lightly toasted. Meanwhile, spray a skillet with olive oil spray and lightly brown Canadian bacon on both sides. When browned, lay a slice of cheese on top of each slice of bacon, allowing the cheese to melt. Remove eggs and muffins from oven. Slice muffins open. Top with bacon and melted cheese. Lay eggs on top and cover with other half of the muffin.

Variations: Scramble eggs before putting in the muffin cups to bake, or if you have an egg poacher, you can skip the baking step and poach your eggs instead.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Menu: Week of September 14

Sun: Parker's birthday dinner!; chicken rolls, salad, and layered chocolate pudding dessert

Mon: pizza salad and herbed Italian cheese bread, with the missionaries

Tues: Parmesan chicken strips and mashed carrots-n-potatoes

Wed: Caprese Sandwich (NEW recipe) and spinach smoothies

Thurs: bean burritos

Fri: tin foil dinners

Sat: out and about

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mini Apple Pies

This week at Maya's preschool, they have been talking about apples. Yesterday they tried all different types and colors of apples, and today they tried apples prepared in all kinds of ways. Apple juice, sauce, pie, icecream, and (so Maya says) fruit snacks. YUM! Since I had this leftover crust from yesterdays pies, I remembered these and put them together this morning for Maya to take and share. I only wish I had made more. My dear friend and baker extraordinaire Marilee says this is the best recipe for apple pie she's ever had.

Mini Apple Pies

1 pkg. refrigerated ready-to-bake pie crust
1/2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, sliced and chopped (about 3 cups)

3 T. light brown sugar
3 T. flour
2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 375. On lightly floured surface, roll one crust out and cut 12 circles (or scallops) from the dough using a 3 inch cookie cutter. Press into mini muffin pan. Repeat with remaining crust.
Whish cream cheese until smooth, and add sugar. Mix in egg til well blended, then addflour, cinnamon and vanilla;stir til smooth. Peel and slice apples. Chop into small pieces. Stir into cream cheese mixture. Fill prepared muffin cups with apple mix, filling over top of pastry.
Combine remaining brown sugar, flour, and butter. Cut in butter til coarse crumbs are formed. Spoon over apple filling. Bake for 18-20 minutes or til light golden brown. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove and serve. Makes 24.
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Easy Banana Cream Pie

This was Mom's birthday gift. Her fave, banana cream pie. Normally I would make my friend Tiffany's recipe, but it takes a little while, and yesterday was a very full day and called for a speedy version.

Easy Banana Cream Pie

1 prebaked pie crust
2 bananas
1 sm. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 c. milk
1 (8 oz.) sour cream
1 (3 oz.) cream cheese
1 sm. pkg. Cool Whip

Mix together milk, sour cream and pudding mix. Slice bananas and gently fold into pudding mixture. Put bananas and pudding into the crust.
Beat cream cheese until smooth; mix into Cool Whip and put over pudding mix. Chill.
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Black and White Macaroons

These are what I made for Dad's birthday. They are quite tasty, and always elicit ooohs and aaaahs upon delivery. Recipe from a "Baker's" baking chocolate box.

Black and White Macaroons

1 pkg. (14 oz) sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup sugar
6 T. flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 pkg. (8 squares) Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Mix coconut, sugar, flour, and salt in large bowl. Stir in egg whites and almond extract til well blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes or til edges are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to wire racks. Cool completely. Dip cookies halfway into melted chocolate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Makes about 24. Store in a tightly covered container for up to one week.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Portobello and Zucchini Tacos

This was my first time ever making anything that included mushrooms AND onions (Don't worry Candice and Kelli-I only put the onions in the oven with the zucchini for flavor, I didn't add them to the tacos). I have to say they turned out pretty well, and my kids even ate them! (Recipe from Everyday Food)

Portobello and Zucchini Tacos
  • 5 medium portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into 2-by-1/2-inch sticks
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 12 (4 1/2-inch) corn tortillas
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup fresh salsa


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss mushrooms with 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss zucchini and onion with remaining teaspoon oregano and tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place both sheets in oven. Roast, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are browned and fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes (zucchini may cook faster than mushrooms).
  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium-high heat, warm tortillas according to package instructions (they should be lightly browned but still soft). Wrap loosely in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
  4. To serve, fill each tortilla with mushrooms, vegetable mixture, shredded cheese, and salsa.

Lime Squares with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust

This may not look pretty, but looks can be deceiving right? I got the recipe from Rookie Cookie and they are so yummy. I love anything lime, and the pistachios give great flavor and crunch to the crust.

Lime Squares with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust

For the crust:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
2/3 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup (4 ounces) graham-cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoons grated lime zest
For the filling:
2 large egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon grated lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides, and spray the paper.

In a food processor, finely grind pistachios with graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, and zest. Blend in butter. Press mixture into bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool crust, 30 minutes.
To make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk. Add lime juice and zest; whisk until smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust; carefully spread to edges.

Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool in pan on rack; then chill at least 1 hour before serving. Using parchment paper overhang, lift out of pan, and transfer to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares, wiping knife with a damp kitchen towel between each cut. To store in refrigerator, cover with plastic wrap.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sausage and Red Pepper Quesadillas

Sausage and Red Pepper Quesadillas
(recipe from Everyday Food)

1/2 a pkg mild italian sausage
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 tortillas

Brown sausage in skillet, drain. Wipe out skillet with paper towel, place 1 tortilla in skillet. Sprinkle sausage, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and top with 2nd tortilla. Cook in skillet, about 2-3 minutes per side until desired crispiness. DONE.

Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Penne with Roasted Vegetables

(recipe by Giada DeLaurentis, discovered by Kelli DeLaubradshaw)

2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander. In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined. Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.
You better believe I left the onions out.
(I'm still transferring recipes from my family blog over here... Chris just walked up and saw this pic and remarked, "OOoooh, let's have THAT again." I haven't made it for a while, but now that we're heading into fall I am really looking forward to making this again. Yu-u-u-um.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Shredded Beef Tostadas

OH my dang- these were so good. Fresh and Easy has mini corn tortillas (not to mention the best pizza dough... Chrystal:) which I used for the base. I fried them- and don't feel a bit bad about it, because I honestly can't remember the last time I fried anything. So I went for it. We topped them with shredded slow cooker beef, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded carrot and sour cream. The carrot was an experiment- it was colorful and added another veggie and no one seemed to mind it on there.

The shredded beef was sooooo tender and juicy. I have tried roast a dozen different ways- and finally found a method that ensures succulent results.

STEP 1- sear the roast in a couple Tbsps veg oil in a skillet on the stovetop over high heat, one or two minutes each side.
STEP 2- place roast in crockpot with desired seasonings and liquids.
STEP 3- cook all day (10 hours) on low.

The searing step I learned from Paula Deen. When I first heard of it, I thought- that is the REASON you cook in a crockpot- so you don't have to dirty another pan or skillet! But it is worth the step. I just did the roast plus a packet of taco seasoning mix, and covered it all with water. The meat was really yum, but didn't taste a whole lot like taco seasoning. The flavor of the seasoning all got tossed out with the water. When I make these again I'll try at least two packets. I have also tried the non taco-seasoning packet route- the Tyler Florence from scratch shredded taco meat route, and it wasn't anything spectacular, I liked this one better for sure.
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I've decided to start making new desserts from scratch every Monday night for FHE so I can increase my baking skills which usually consist of making boxed brownies or buying ready made at the store. I found this recipe on Stephanie's Kitchen. Hers called for cinnamon chips which I didn't have, but I had white chocolate chips so I used those. They turned out perfectly!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat 1 stick (1/2 cup) of the butter in a mixer until smooth. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. In a seperate bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt and whisk until combined. Add the remaining butter (1 stick) to the flour mixture and using your hands break up butter into flour until well combined and the butter is at least pea sized within the flour. Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture until well combined. Stir in oats, white chocolate chips and chocolate chips. Chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Scoop onto baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kabobs and Pineapple Rice

I made these a couple of months ago for dinner, and we especially loved the rice. The fresh ginger is SO SO good in it. Last night we had our RS birthday luau for enrichment, and I made the rice for 70! It was a good compliment to the pulled pork, fresh fruit with strawberry cream dip, and homemade strawberry mango ice cream in waffle cups for dessert. I could go for that again right this minute.
Recipe from Everyday Food.

Kabobs with Pineapple Rice

Choose either metal or wooden skewers (four 12-inch or eight 6-inch) for these kebabs. Soak wooden ones in water for at least 15 minutes before grilling to keep them from burning.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for grates
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/3 cup honey
1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice, drained and coarsely chopped (juice reserved)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pork tenderloin (1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (from a peeled 1/2-inch piece)
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

Heat grill to medium; lightly oil grates. Cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk honey and 2 tablespoons pineapple juice; season with salt and pepper. Alternately thread pork and bell peppers onto skewers; season with salt and pepper. Grill, brushing occasionally with honey mixture, until pork is cooked through and peppers begin to char, 10 to 15 minutes. To rice, add pineapple chunks, scallions, ginger, and oil. Season with salt and pepper, and fluff with a fork. Serve kebabs with rice and lime wedges.

I need to start using ginger more. Under-Rated.

Refried Beans

These taste like they are from a Mexican restaurant rather than from a can. They do not take much time, and they make lots. I usually freeze several bags and pull them out as needed. These are not fried once, twice, or any times. The name is a misnomer.

Refried Beans

2 lbs. dried pinto beans
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 beef boullion cubes
1 T. salt
2 C. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 C. mild Taco Bell sauce (this is sold in bottles at the grocery store, or if you have no shame like me you can take them by the fistful from the restaurant)

In a large bowl, cover beans with water and let soak overnight. In the morning, rinse beans and put in large crockpot. Cover beans with water and add garlic, beef boullion cubes and salt. Cook on high about 6 hours or until beans are soft enough to mash. Drain off water about 2 inches below beans. Mix half the beans with an electric mixer and the other half in the blender til very smooth (this is for texture purposes). Combine both with a large spoon and add cheese and TB sauce.

Broccoli Chicken Calzones

I am going through my family blog and transferring recipes from it to here, so they're all in one place. Maren just made these the other night, and she was going to post the recipe, but since I already had it I thought I would beat her to the punch. Sorry bout it, Karen.

This is what you should make for dinner tonight. They are healthy, easy, and delicious. Chris, Parker, Maya and Adam (and I) gobbled them up. Recipe from "The Best 30-Minute Recipe"... which is the best 30-minute cookbook.

Broccoli Chicken Calzones

1 10-oz pkg frozen broccoli, thawed & chopped
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup pesto
salt and ground pepper
flour for counter
1 pound pizza dough
2 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
marinara sauce

1. Heat oven to 450. Pat broccoli dry and toss with mozzarella, chicken and pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. On floured counter, roll out dough to 12-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Mound filling over half of dough, leaving 1-inch border around edge. Brush edges of dough with water. Fold other half of dough over filling and press edges to seal.
3. Grease baking sheet with 1 Tbsp oil. Slide wide spatula under calzone and transfer to baking sheet. Cut slits across top. Brush remaining Tbsp oil over top and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Bake until golden, 15-20 minutes. Cool briefly, cut into slices, and serve with warmed marinara dipping sauce.

I'm tellin you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Coconut Sandwich Cookies

Carmen- this is for you!
WARNING: if you make these you will have a time of it trying NOT to eat all the dough before it has a chance to be baked. These are up there among my favorite ever cookies. Served at Amanda Brad's and also Leah M.'s baby showers.

Coconut Sandwich Cookies

(makes 30)

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg. (7 oz) sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Creamy Vanilla Filling

1. Preheat oven to 350, with racks set in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Place 1/2 cup coconut in small bowl; set aside. Place remaining coconut in a food processor; pulse until coarsely ground. Set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugars til light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and groud coconut; mix til just combined.
3. Drop dough by level tablespoons onto two baking sheets, 1-2 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets 1/2 way through. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Dividing evenly, spread filling on flat side of 1/2 the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies. Roll edges in reserved coconut, and chill until ready to serve.

Creamy Vanilla Filling

Using an electric mixer, beat 1 stick room-temp unsalted butter til light and fluffy. With mixer on medium, slowly beat in 1 cup confectioners sugar, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract; increase speed to high, and beat until filling is light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.
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Monday, September 1, 2008

You've Gotta *Drink* Your Spinach, Baby!

Our dinner of cheesey chicken nachos and corn was looking a little color-less tonight, so I thought we could wash our beige meal down with a Spinach Smoothie. This recipe comes from some dental school friends, the Hansens, and was published in a school cookbook. They titled their recipe, "You Have GOT To Try This Drink". And I would second that emotion. It tastes like it is entirely fruit, you can't taste the spinach at all. I know my kids are always coming up short in their veggie consumption, not to mention Chris and I. I would guess the same goes for most everyone. I am going to try and make this a couple times a week. I made a blender full, then when both kids had drank their glasses dry, Maya asked for seconds. :) If she only knew. Jokes on her!

Popeye Punch

3/4 a blender full of baby spinach
1/2 a blender full of pineapple juice
2 bananas, frozen and cut into chunks
3 or 4 ice cubes

Blend til smooth.

* I used one banana and 1 cup frozen mango chunks (Trader Joes) and it was AWESOME. It is so weird because by the looks of it, you anticipate one of those yucky grass shots from Jamba Juice, but it isn't at all. Try it!
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Menu, Aug 31- Sept 6

Sunday- Mom's Cream cheese chicken over bowtie pasta, Maren's delish salad, rolls, glazed carrots, and Candice's French silk pie for Elliot's farewell dinner

Mon- Roasted chicken nachos with green chile cheese sauce

Tues- Shredded beef tostadas

Wednesday- Hawaiian chicken

Thursday- Sourdough grilled cheese sammies and TJ's tomato soup

Friday- Pizza, and lots of birthday cake- Janie is TWO!

Saturday- Dad's birthday, maybe out to din?