Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Dessert

There are a plenthora of pumpkin recipes out there this time of year. But just because something has pumpkin in it, doesn't automatically equal deliciousness. I don't care for those pumkpin blob cookies. And a couple weeks ago I tried a Martha recipe for pumpkin muffins- AWful. (Sorry Maya's preschool class.) But THIS one is a keeper. It is a cross between a crumbley cake and pumpkin pie. So so good.

Pumpkin Dessert

1 yellow cake mix (reserve 1 C.)
1/2 C. soft butter
1 egg, beaten

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
2/3 C. canned milk (not sweetened condensed)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg

1 C. reserved cake mix
1/4 C. soft butter
1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
chopped nuts (if you must)

Mix butter, cake mix, and egg to make crust. Spread in lightly greased 9 by 13 baking dish. Mix pumpkin, canned milk, 2 eggs, cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg together to make filling and pour over crust. Mix remaining ingredients together to make topping. Mix only til crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Serve warm, and with good vanilla ice cream.
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cookies

I found this recipe as I was looking through a magazine and knew I had to try it. I love anything chocolate and these really satisfy a chocolate craving. They are really rich and delicious; and best fresh from the oven!

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cookies
(yield- 2 dozen cookies)

1 bag Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips (any brand will do)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 bag Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick; stir in chocolate mixture. In small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts.

Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into 2 logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 8 inches long. As dough will be very soft, use plastic wrap to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap dough; with sharp knife, cut into 3/4- inch slices. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Witch Fingers

These are always so fun to make- and now even more so with Maya and Adam helping. The best part is, if some turn out too fat or crazy-looking, perfect! It makes it fun to play it up; "This one must've come from a really chubby witch!" Or, "Ewwww, this witch must've had really long, snarly, crooked fingers!" This is a simple dough that comes together quick. We enjoyed ours with Ghost guts dip= 2 blocks of softened cream cheese mixed with 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Think crackers and a cheeseball, that is the general idea.

Hot Buttered Witch Fingers

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast (one small packet)
1 C. warm water
coarse salt
3 T. melted butter
vegetable cooking spray

*For "fingernails": take 1/4 C. whole almonds, add a few drops red food coloring and a drop or two of water. Mix to coat almonds til covered. Spread out on paper towel to dry.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Slowly add in water. Knead on lightly floured work surface til soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. Dust dough with flour, place in plastic bag. Seal bag, leaving room for dough to expand. Let rest at room temp for 30 minutes. Spray work surface with cooking spray. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, about 2 1/2 oz. each. Rll each piece into a pong thin rope. (Here, you could twist into pretzel shape and make 8 pretzels instead.) Cut into finger-sized pieces. Dip in warm water, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Press almond "fingernails" into end of "fingers". Let rest, uncovered for ten minutes. Bake 8-9 minutes til golden brown. Remove from oven, brush with melted butter til butter is gone. Serve warm or reheat in warm oven.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

A few things you must know before you begin reading through the recipe. This recipe does not fall into the quick or easy categories. It will dirty every dish you own. But I consider it worth every minute and every dirty dish. I put the kids to bed Saturday night, turned on a movie, and went to town. It was a fun cooking adventure. I had never cooked with butternut squash before- delicious! It was very aromatic preparation... butternut squash roasting in the oven, fresh chopped sage, freshly grated nutmeg... the house smelled heavenly. So this is probably more of a special occasion dish, for someone you love a whole lot. Chris loved it. And Maren said she thought it was better than the butternut squash ravioli at Wildflower Bread Co. Try it sometime this fall- and thank us later.

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna
(adapted from a Michael Chiarello recipe)

For the squash:
2 large butternut squash, about 3-5 pounds
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 C. ricotta cheese (1 15-oz. container)
1 C. grated Parmesan
2 large eggs

1 pound lasagna sheets
extra-virgin olive oil

For the sauce:
2 quarts whole milk
6 T. unsalted butter
1 T. sage, minced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

To assemble the lasagna:

Butter for dish
1 pound mozzarella, grated
1 C. grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the squash's hard shell. Trim 1/2 inch off the top and bottom ends. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and coarsely chop the squash into 1/2 inch chunks. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a bowl, toss squash ith oil, sage, cinnamon, and 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper. Spread squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast squash in the oven until very soft and beginning to brown, 45- 50 minutes, stirring once. Remove the squash from the oven and puree in a food processor with fresh nutmeg.

In a large bowl, mix squash puree, ricotta, parmesan, eggs, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cover and refrigerate the mix til ready to use.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook lasagna noodles til al dente. Drain the sheets and spread them on a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and set aside.

Prepare the sauce: In a large saucepan, bring milk to a slow simmer over medium heat. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sage and garlic to the butter, cook for 30 seconds, add the flour and stir. Add 3 cups of the milk, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil, while whisking continuously. Add the remaining milk and whisk again. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Adjust heat to low to maintain a slow simmer, and cook til sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Make about 8 cups.

Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 9 by 13 baking dish. (I made one 9 by 13 pan and one small pan.) Spoon a ladle of sauce into sish and spread to coat the bottom. Place a single layer of lasagna sheets on top of the sauce. Spread some squash mixture evenly over the lasagna sheets and sprinkle mozzarella cheese and a couple Tablespoons parmesan on top. Repeat til all ingredients are used, starting with 2-3 ladles of sauce for each layer. Keep building til the pan is full to about 1/4 inch from top. Finish with cheese and sauce directly over the noodles. Cover with tin foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour. Remove foil and continue cooking for 15 minutes til golden brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest a few minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Serves 8-10
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Pineapple Glazed Chicken

This is another recipe from the Best 30 Minute Recipe cookbook. It doesn't call for rice, but I thought shredding the chicken and pouring the glaze over rice sounded good and it was!

Pineapple Glazed Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons curry powder
pinch cayenne
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown chicken lightly on both sides, about 4 minutes total.
2. Drain pineapple chunks, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Whisk reserved pineapple juice, honey, soy sauce, curry powder, and cayenne together.
3. Add pineapple juice mixture and pineapple chunks to skillet and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is no longer pink in center, 8 to 12 minutes.
4. Transfer chicken to plate, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Return glaze to simmer and cook, uncovered, until thickened slightly and glossy, about 8 minutes.
5. Add accumulated chicken juices to glaze. Whisk cornstarch and vinegar together until smooth, then whisk into glaze. Continue to simmer glaze until thick and syrupy, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Pour glaze over chicken.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baked Potato Soup

I am so amused when the titles of recipes are completely misleading. "Baked potato soup" for example. There are no baked potatoes in this recipe whatsoever. The potatoes are boiled/steamed. Which makes me wonder how the soup came to be named "baked" potato soup.

However it got its name, I am glad it came to be, and especially glad friend Laurel shared it with me. It is my favorite potato soup ever. In the Bradshaw house, we call this "Rum Tum Piddly" (ask Kelli). And we serve it in bread bowls. And sprinkle bacon and cheese on top. My other favorite way to enjoy it is with a piece of really good crusty bread, dipping in the soup as you go.

Baked Potato Soup

3 T. butter
1/2 C. grated onion (if you must)
2 T. flour
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried basil*
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
dash Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 C. half and half, or whole milk

Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion (or not) and saute for 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often. Gradually add chicken broth. Whisk til smooth. Add potatoes, salt, pepper, basil, garlic salt, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in half and half; heat through. Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and crumbled bacon. Serves 4.

*Tonight, instead of 1 tsp. dried basil I did 2 cubes (1 tsp. each) of frozen fresh basil from Trader Joe's. Very delicious results.
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Smart Chicken Salad

I think I got the idea for "yo-nnaise" from the back of a Mountain High yogurt carton. What is yo-nnaise, you ask? Mix half parts plain yogurt and half parts mayonnaise when making chicken salad, or anything else I guess. Half the calories, but just as yummy. I also use plain yogurt to "dilute" flavored yogurts to cut back on our sugar intake. The resulting yogurt, although paler in color, is still plenty sweet. Give it a shot!

For my chicken salad, I do:

1 can Costco shredded chicken
1 large spoonful of mayo
1 large spoonful of plain yogurt
3/4 C. of either halved red grapes, chopped apple, celery, or pineapple
3 shakes of salt
1 or two cranks of fresh ground pepper

Combine all. Serve on crackers, as a sandwich, or over a handful of spinach for a salad.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Taco Salad

This recipe is from The Best 30 Minute Recipe (from the editors of Cook's Illustrated). I highly recommend this cookbook. Everything is quick and easy and they have lots of good tips. The cilantro-lime vinaigrette makes the dish. Candice made this a while ago and told me she wanted to drink the dressing. Now I know why.

Taco Salad

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, minced ( I omitted this)
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
1 recipe cilantro-lime vinaigrette
10 cups romaine lettuce
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend
Tortilla chips, sour cream, salsa (for serving)

1. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and chili powder and cook until onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in beef and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool slightly (While beef cools, make vinaigrette).

3. Toss lettuce with 1/2 cup of vinaigrette. Portion beef on top of salad and sprinkle with tomatoes, avocado, and cheese. Sprinkle remaining vinaigrette over top of salad, or pass separately. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsa.

Cilantro- Lime Vinaigrette

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 shallot, peeled
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed and seeded
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Process lime juice, shallot, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, cumin, and salt in blender until shallot and garlic are finely chopped, about 15 seconds. With blender running, add cilantro, then oil, and continue to process until smooth and emulsified, about 15 seconds.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Peach Blueberry Smoothie

I've been on a smoothie kick lately; we have them at least 3 times a week with breakfast. There are so many fruits that go together it's hard to decide what to make some days. This particular morning I was in the mood for a peach banana combo and decided to throw in some blueberries and it turned out to be one of my favorites! These measurements are just guesstimates; you can use more or less depending on how you like your smoothies.

Peach Blueberry Smoothie
(serves 4)

2 cups frozen peaches (or 1 bag from Trader Joe's or Sprouts)
1 large banana, cut into chunks
1 cup frozen blueberries
3 cups orange juice

Add all ingredients to blender; blend until smooth.

Menus, week of Oct. 19

Sun- spaghetti, caesar salad, biscuits, brownies and ice cream, and moldy german chocolate cake
Mon- Broccoli chicken calzones
Tues- Rum Tum Piddly (recipe to come)
Wed- Tostadas
Thurs- Chicken Parmesan (recipe to come) and Maren's zucchini sticks
Fri- Ned's crazy subs and spinach/artichoke dip (recipe to come)
Sat- ward Halloween party

Sun- same as above
Mon- Taco Salad
Tues- skillet chicken and rice
Wed- quesadillas
Thurs- pineapple chicken
Fri- Hinze's Halloween party
Sat- chili and cornbread at ward trunk or treat


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Broccoli cheese soup

This is the easiest soup you'll ever make and so good! You can do this on the stove or in the crock-pot. We had ours with a side of TJ's cornbread- yum!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 lb. frozen broccoli florets
1 can cream of chicken soup
16 oz. carton half and half
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Cook broccoli in crock-pot with 1-2 cups water on low for 2 hours, or until soft. Drain water, then mash broccoli with potato masher (I use a fork because I don't have a potato masher). Add remaining ingredients to crock-pot and cook on low for about 2 hours, until cheese is melted and soup is warmed through.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chicken and Dumplings

I didn't plan it on purpose, but 3 nights this week we're having soup for dinner. Must be the cooler weather we've been having. I found this recipe at Downright Delish. So easy and so good! I added half a bag of egg noodles to make it a little heartier since Derek isn't a huge soup fan; but he loved this!

Chicken and Dumplings

1/2 rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
S & P
1 TBS Olive oil
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp fresh thyme
5-6 cups chicken broth
1 heaping TBS flour
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup flour
1/2-3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp Garlic salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 TBS fresh chopped parsley or 1 1/2 tsp dried

1. Heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium high heat in large saucepan. Add carrots, onions and celery. Season with salt and pepper and saute 6-8 minutes until softened. Add minced garlic and stir. Add 1 TBS flour and stir to coat veggies and cook 1-2 minutes to brown flour.
2. Pour in chicken broth and add bay leaves. Add chopped chicken. Turn heat down to medium and let simmer 15 minutes and then remove bay leaves. Add fresh thyme.
3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, garlic salt, pepper. Add buttermilk and parsley, stir until dough comes together. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into broth, no bigger than a heaping tablespoon so the dough cooks through. Using spoon push dumplings down into broth to cover the tops briefly. Cover soup and cook for 5 more minutes until dumplings have puffed and cooked through. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pizza Salad

I got this out of a Kraft "Salads" booklet a few years ago and have been making it ever since. We usually have it with Trader Joe's Italian Herbed Cheese Bread, but no time for that today, so I just made my own. Spread a tiny bit of butter on a few slices of sourdough, then sprinkle with Italian herb seasoning, a Tablespoon or two of shredded mozzarella, and a Tablespoon of shredded parmesan. Toast in a 400 oven for 12 minutes, or til toasted and lightly browned.

Pizza Salad
(for four)

1 bag romaine lettuce
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 can olives, halved
1/2 a small package of sliced pepperoni
1 cup shredded mozzarella (or little balls of mozzarella, called 'ciliegine')
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (or however much you like) Italian dressing

Brown the pepperoni, on a baking sheet, in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss lettuce with desired amount of dressing, then top with tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, pepperoni, and cheeses. Serve with Italian cheese bread.
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Baked Zucchini Sticks

I found this recipe at For the Love of Cooking and I'll definitely be making these again! Easy, delicious, and healthier than the fried version!

Baked Zucchini Sticks

2 large zucchini
2 eggs
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of dried basil
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil or wax paper - spray with cooking spray. Cut the zucchini into half lengthwise then into thick spears. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and seasonings then mix thoroughly. Dip the spears into egg then bread crumbs and Parmesan mixture, making sure to coat evenly. Place on baking sheet and spray the top of each spear with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes then turn the oven to broil and cook, watching carefully, until they become golden brown 45-60 seconds. Serve with marinara sauce or your favorite salad dressing. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Menu, week of Oct. 12

-twice-baked potatoes
-layered salad
-cooked carrots
-fruit salad
-apple dumplins to wash it all down

-curried chicken and rice

-15 bean soup

-Pizza salad (recipe to come)

-Tomato soup
-sourdough grilled cheese

-Chicken teriyaki
-fried rice
-mixed veggies

-Somewhere other than Drew's Diner


Maren, Mom and I made a spur of the moment decision on Wednesday. No more sugar 'til Halloween. Now, of course, by this, we mean, no more mindless sugar intake (ie: the 6 Kit Kat bars I had on Monday). Once a week, we allow ourselves a real live homemade dessert, worthy of royalty. But it better be worth it, because we ain't doin' this in vain for nothin'. Wednesday night, I passed up the cookies and candy at mutual. Thursday, Maren and I passed on the free chocolate sample from the really nice lady at See's. Friday, Maren passed on Thrifty ice cream cones and I passed on Matix's birthday cake and Chelsea's pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (killer). Mom did really good, except for the Wendy's Frosty, and it doesn't really count cuz it was on a road trip. So proud of us!!! Then, just when we were starting to feel a little crazy from our deprivation...

We fixed things by making Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplins. Please try them, as soon as possible.

And don't tell Dad about the Mountain Dew.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Cream Cheese Chicken

So, I realize this picture is terrible, but it's the best I can do in my circumstances, so deal with it. This is a great fall back recipe because it literally takes no effort at all, and it's actually quite tasty. Now for the recipe...
Cream Cheese Chicken and Pasta

1-2 lbs. chicken breasts or chicken tenders
2 pats of butter
1 packet Italian dressing mix
6 oz. cream cheese
1 can cream o chicken soup
1 can of milk

Cook chicken, butter and Italian dressing mix in crock-pot for 2-3 hours (depending on whether you've used chicken breasts or tenders). Shred the chicken using two forks then add cream cheese, cream of chicken soup and milk. Cook until everything is well combined and creamy. Serve over your favorite cooked pasta.

Pan Roasted Asparagus with Toasted Garlic and Parmesan

I always love a side of plain steamed asparagus, but I saw this recipe in my Cook's Illustrated cookbook and thought it would be a perfect side dish with the spaghetti we were having for dinner.

This recipe works best with asparagus that is at least 1/2 inch thick near the base. Do not use pencil thin asparagus because it cannot withstand the heat and will overcook to easily.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 sliced garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bunch thick asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1.Cook garlic cloves with olive oil over medium heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer garlic to paper towel-lined plate.
2. Melt butter in same skillet used for garlic over medium high heat. Add asparagus in even layer; cover and cook until spears are bright green and still crisp, about 5 minutes.
3. Uncover, increase heat to high, and continue to cook until spears are tender and well browned along one side, 5-7 minutes, using tongs to move spears from center of pan to edge of pan to ensure all are browned.
4. Transfer asparagus to serving dish, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle toasted garlic and parmesan cheese over top.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Did you know?

Maren told me about using Fresh & Easy's 5 dollar off coupons more than one per transaction... and I wondered if she just got a nice checker or something. So I tried it this week. I had three coupons with me. As I was checking out I asked if I could use more than one at a time, and she said yes! She asked me how much I was spending, to which I answered $62. She said you can use a 5 dollar off coupon for every twenty you spend. My total was $47 after my three coupons. I've started stocking up on their 99 cent 2 gallon jugs of water and other food storage items each time I go. If Fresh & Easy ever approaches me about doing a commercial for them, I will accept.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lemony Chicken over Mixed Greens

This is seriously one of the tastiest dinners I know how to make. Simple, flavor-packed, easy and good for ya (say that last phrase with your best Sarah Palin accent).

Lemony Chicken over Mixed Greens

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour, with 1/2 tsp salt and few grinds of black pepper
2 eggs
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers- crushed, or 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
zest of two lemons
1 bag of mixed greens
lemon wedges (use ones you just zested)
olive oil

Slice each chicken breast into 4 equal strips. Salt and pepper the flour, then add the lemon zest (peel) to the cracker crumbs. Coat the strips first in flour, then the egg, and lastly the crumbs. I like to use cracker crumbs rather than breadcrumbs because they already have the fat in them, so you can oven bake and they turn out really crispy. Bake chicken strips at 400 for twenty minutes. Cool for 5 or so minutes, then slice into bite size strips. Serve over greens. Lightly salt and pepper the salad, then drizzle with a tablespoon or two of good olive oil, and squeeze a wedge or two of lemon over all. Heaven.

These bowls are the best thing that's ever happened to me (almost). It was love at first sight when Kristine Hammons served us TJ's Roasted red pepper tomato soup out of them. I mentioned to Maren how perfect these bowls were- and of course, next thing I knew there was a big box on my doorstep, with twelve bowls of my very own. Crate and Barrell doesn't make this exact one anymore (sad for me if one ever breaks), but they do carry a comparable one, found here. They are perfect for pasta, salad, soup, for breading, making French toast, and things of that sort. Love.

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PB Banana Parfait

This is a copy cat recipe of a parfait Maren and I discovered at PB Loco in Scottsdale Fashion Square. Don't turn your nose up at the combo of ingredients... like Maya's preschool teacher Miss Leah always says, "Try it! You never know, you might like it!" (Maren brought me some Honey and Flax Granola Clusters from Fresh and Easy the other day- yummy.)

PB Banana Parfait

(I am estimating amounts here- just do however much you want)

3/4 C. plain yogurt
1/4 C. vanilla yogurt
1/2 C. granola
1/2 a banana, sliced
4 or 5 Tbsp. peanut butter

Mix yogurts together, then layer rest of ingredients til finished. Dig in.

*Yogurt does a body good; but not when it has 40 grams of sugar per serving!?! I like to "dilute" the flavored yogurt with plain- and it is still very tasty.
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Pumpkin Muffins

1 box of spice cake mix
1 15 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 egg whites or 1/2 cup of egg substitute
2 T of water
Allspice to taste

Put ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into mufffin cups. Bake at 350 18-23 minutes.
*The credit goes to Ann Riske for these delicious muffins. She brought them to Sunday dinner a couple days ago- and they didn't last long. Thank you, Ann! :)

Layered Salad

This will probably be the easiest thing to make on this blog, but it tastes AMAZING!

one layer salad greens
one layer chopped carrots
one bag of frozen peas, thawed
one layer of cheese
another layer salad greens
one layer tomatoes
another layer cheese
bell peppers cut up
craisins sprinkled on top

Cheesecake Brownies

I made these brownies for Sunday dinner and they're melt-in-your-mouth good!

Cheesecake Brownies

1 (21-ounce) package fudge brownie mix
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
Chocolate frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix as package directs. Spread into well greased 13x9 baking pan.
2. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and cornstarch until fluffy.
3. Gradually beat in condensed milk. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour cheesecake mixture evenly over brownie batter.
4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Cool. Spread with frosting and cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Menu, week of Oct. 5

Fall apart pot roast, potatoes, layered salad (recipe coming), pumpkin spice muffins, and cheesecake or mint brownies to wash it down.

Lemony chicken over mixed greens, and baked potatoes

Curried chicken and rice

Breakfast for dinner

Green pizza

Pasta with roasted red pepper cream sauce (still haven't made this yet)

Who knows?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Zucchini Bread

Another recipe from Stephanie's Kitchen- she has some good ones! This was my first attempt at zucchini bread and it's pretty fool proof. The cinnamon-sugar mixture on top is a must.

Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 large or 2 medium eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Grease bottom and sides of a 8x4x2 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine sugar, oil, egg, zucchini and lemon peel. Mix until well combined.
4. Add zucchini mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Fold in walnuts or pecans.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake another 10 minutes or until center is cooked through.
7. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing loaf from pan to cool completely on the wire rack.
8. For added yummy-ness, brush melted butter over the top of the bread and sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Krispy Kreme Donuts

approx. $6 cash
1 car
1 driver
15 minutes

The driver will get into the car with $6, drive east on the U.S. 60, get off on Superstition Springs Blvd., turn right, follow the curve around until you see Krispy Kreme Donuts on the left hand side of the street. Turn in, walk inside and purchase this melt-in-your-mouth treat. You may regret it tomorrow, but you'll enjoy it today!
******this is from mom, but I thought I would post it for her, since she probably wouldn't get the time to do it for herself.******

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hashbrown Quiche

I am posting this for Kelli, since she has been shirking her duty as a Hold The Onions contributor, and since she was the one who discovered this recipe in the first place, and since she makes the very best version of this. :)

(The original recipe didn't call for broccoli, but the kids gobble this up with or without the broccoli- so may as well.)

Hashbrown Quiche

16 oz. frozen shredded potatoes
1/3 C. olive oil or butter
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1 C. diced ham
1/2 c. whole milk
6 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
few grinds of black pepper
1 head of broccoli, if using

Grease casserole pan. Mix hashbrowns and olive oil, and press in pan to form a crust. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, steam and roughly chop the broccoli. Don't overcook it, as it will continue to soften in the oven. On top of the hasbrowns, layer on broccoli, ham and cheese. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over all. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until eggs are set.

Perfect for conference weekend!

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