Monday, October 18, 2010

Spooky Eats

I love spooky Halloween food... here are a few new-to-me ideas for your repertoire.

Menu, 10-17-10

I don't know if anyone cares what we eat for dinner 'round here, but it helps me and my meal planning to post it here and refer back to my menu's, so here ya go.

Sun- broccoli cheddar soup, strawberry spinach salad, cornbread, chocolate pumpkin cake and ice cream

M- baked potato soup, salad, crusty bread, no bake cookies

T- fast chicken fajitas

W- stir fry

Th- spaghetti and turkey meatballs

F- beef stew

Sat- trying to narrow down which version of whoopie pie I want to bake-n-take to a Halloween party

Monday, September 27, 2010

Summer Vegetable Gratin

I strongly urge you to make this dish as the summer is winding down- you won't be sorry. Aren't those heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe pretty?

Summer Vegetable Gratin

  • 6tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1pound zucchini , ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1pound summer squash (yellow), ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2teaspoons table salt
  • 1 1/2pounds ripe tomatoes (3 to 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3/4teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 T. minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1C. bread crumbs
  • 1 C. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh basil leaves

  • 1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.
  • 2. Toss zucchini and summer squash slices with 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; transfer to colander set over bowl. Let stand until zucchini and squash release at least 3 tablespoons of liquid, about 45 minutes. Arrange slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • 3. Place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes.
  • 4. Combine garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme in small bowl. In large bowl, toss zucchini and summer squash in half of oil mixture, then arrange in greased baking dish. Slightly overlap tomato slices in single layer on top of zucchs. Spoon remaining garlic-oil mixture evenly over tomatoes. Bake until vegetables are tender and tomatoes are starting to brown on edges, 40 to 45 minutes.
  • 5. Combine bread crumbs, remaining tablespoon oil, and Parmesan in medium bowl. Remove baking dish from oven and increase heat to 450 degrees. Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture evenly on top of tomatoes. Bake gratin until bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and let sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen. Although Christopher Kimball is the nerdiest nerd ever, I can't help but love him for the good work he does. :)

Menu 9-26-10

Trying to get back in the swing of things after a crazy couple of weeks...

For dinner this week I willl do my best to stick to this menu:

Sun- spaghetti, green salad, rolls, peach cobbler

M- pesto tortellini soup


Sat- pizza?

I don't care that it's still 100+ degrees here, I'm in the mood for soup and soup it is. Much to my delight and Chris' dismay, soup season is only beginning...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu, 8-29-10

Aren't these snowcones awesome? Will be trying these soon.

Also, check out the new website I added to the sidebar- Cooking With My Kid. It's the jackpot for school lunch ideas (and more).

Here's what we're having for dinner this week:

Sun- turkey melt from the airport
M- BBQ pork tenderloin, broccoli and potatoes
T- citrus chicken and rice, carrots and zucchs
W- skillet mac n cheese, green beans
Th- english muffin pizzas
F- out
Sat- looking forward to out of town visitors- will be making crunchy french toast for breakfast, and who knows what for dinner

Next week is birthday-mania in the Bradshaw family. We're pullin' out the cake pans.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Creamy Chicken Tacos (with Mango and Avocado)

I don't enjoy too-long recipe titles that list all the ingredients, but this title isn't complete without throwing the mango and avocado in there because they really set these tacos apart. I think this dish is on the menu in heaven.

Creamy Chicken Tacos (with Mango and Avocado)

2 limes
1/4 C. mayo
1/4 C. sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
pinch cayenne
3 C. cooked shredded chicken
1 mango
taco shells
2 avocado

Mix together 2 T. lime juice, 1 tsp. lime zest, mayo, sour cream, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper. Add chicken and toss. Thinly slice avocado and mango, and toss in 1 T. lime juice. Spoon chicken into shells and top with mango avocado mix. OUTstanding summertime dinner.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes

Photo: Oxmoor House,

I cam across an article today, and thought it was interesting. I counted, and I've made at least 16 of the 25 mistakes listed...

Find the article here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Menu 8-15-10

As much as I enjoy cooking, I think I would enjoy it EVEN MORE if I could do it in the likes of this kitchen, which belongs to Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I love that show- she and Jeffrey crack me right up.

Here's what's cookin in my humble but adequate kitchen this week:

S- taco salad + jello pretzel dessert
M- take out
T- BLTs on ciabatta
W- creamy chicken tacos with mango and avocado
Th- bruschetta chicken
F- birthday BBQ with friends- I'm bringing pesto pasta salad
Sat- pork tenderloin and raspberry spinach salad

Friday, August 13, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken Burgers with Pineapple

My new favorite summer (and possibly year-round) dinner. A BIG hit with all four of us last night.

Teriyaki Chicken Burgers with Pineapple

4 chicken breasts
1 C. teriyaki sauce
4 slices pineapple
4 slices tomato
4 leaves lettuce
4 T. mayonnaise

Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce in the fridge for a few hours. Grill the chicken and pineapple. Assemble sandwiches.

Monday, August 9, 2010

More Veggies, Please

Why is it that babies eat fruit and veggies with no problem, but toddlers struggle to choke down one bite? Every kid loves Mac and Cheese, but few love carrots. Today, I combined the 2 and Jonah ate every bite. Of course, it is good to train kids to eat veggies on their own, but if you need a quick way to get veggies into your toddler without a fight, try this.

Ideas for increasing veggie intake:
  1. Dice veggies small, or add pureed veggies to favorite meals or soups. Puree your own with Cuisinart Smart Stick or use pureed baby veggies.
  2. Add spinach to smoothies.
  3. Make breads and muffins with veggies (i.e., pumpkin or zucchini bread)
  4. Make sweet potato french fries with EVOO and favorite seasonings (I like salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder).

What are YOUR tricks??? Do you have a recipe your kids love or an idea for squeezing more veggies into your kids diets?

Menu, 8-8-10

School is starting up for us this week... I am trying to keep a positive attitude. I am hoping to send some extra special lunches from home to remind my first-grader how indispensable her mom is. :)

Family Fun has some fun ideas such as... two-tone puzzle sandwiches, sandwich art, and sandwich on a stick. Can't wait to make these!

Here's what we're eating for dinner this week:

S: chicken enchiladas blancas, green salad, ice cream sammies
M: leftovers
T: chicken and pasta alfredo, yellow squash
W: caesar salad with abc pasta
Th: chicken teriyaki burgers with pineapple, yellow and green beans
F: english muffin pizzas

Monday, August 2, 2010


If you live in Mesa or anywhere in the vicinity, I beg of you to try out Caffe Boa Bistro if you haven't already. I love the original on Mill in Tempe, but am completely smitten with its little sister in Mesa. Cannot say enough good about it. Look over the menu and see for yourself. Try the house-pulled mozzarella, SoCal Love, and any of the handmade pastas (my husband loved the linguini with mushrooms). The starter course of bread with pesto aioli, olive oil and hummus is unforgettable. Best restaurant in Mesa without a doubt.

Menu, 8-1-10

Don't know why, but this grass cake struck my fancy. You won't find it on my menu for this week but its pretty just the same...

Sun- meatloaf, mashed and rolls courtesy of Kelli herself, green salad, steamed veggies, chocolate bundt cake, homemade peach ice cream courtesy of Chris!
M- going out... deciding where is the hardest part. So many outstanding dining establishments, so little time (and money...)
W- chefs salad
Th- tacos
S- pizza or somethin of the sort

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Snickers Salad

This is my kind of salad.

Snickers Salad

6 large granny smith apples
lemon juice
12 snickers bars
2 C. heavy cream, sweetened and whipped
1/2 C. chopped peanuts
1/2 C. caramel sauce

Chop apples and toss with a few T. lemon juice. Chop snickers bars into pieces the same size as the apples. Toss apples and snickers with whipped cream. Top with nuts and drizzle with caramel. You'll be the most popular person at the potluck. :)

Menu, 7-25-10

This week for dinner:

Sun- Carter's Welcome Home dinner... lasagna, garlic bread, green salad, chocolate bundt cake-n-ice cream

M- mini-hamburgers, steamed carrots, tater tots


W- BBQ chicken salad

Th- Caprese pasta salad

F and S- only time will tell

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cucumber water

This recipe is for the most advanced chef, do not attempt unless you have had years of training in Paris. (just jokin)

Maren and I first tried this water at a spa a couple summers ago- it was refreshing and delicious. I was recently reminded of it at This Week for Dinner. This sounds especially good today- these past couple weeks have been too hot to think.

Cucumber Water

sliced cucumber

Combine. Drink.

Menu 7-18-10

A quick "Did-you-know" before this week's menu...

Did you know that tomatoes do not belong in the fridge? They don't. Their flavor and texture is best preserved on the countertop at room temp. Thought you'd want to know.

Here's what we're eating for din this week:

Sun- Chicken Cobb salad, fresh fruit, garlic bread, peach/blueberry cobbler and whipped cream
T- T.J.'s orange chicken, rice and broccoli
W- skillet mac n cheese, glazed carrots
Th- chicken caesar salad
F- breakfast for din (welcome home Carter!!!)
Sat- BBQ at Amanda's parent's home

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Story and a Snack

How cute is this idea from Gourmet Mom on the Go? The answer is, real cute. We are doing this today after swimming. I love clever people and especially those who blog about their cleverness.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Apricot Rice Krispies Treats

This is an easy twist on an already super easy and tasty treat. Any flavor Jell-o can be used, but Laurel and her family love apricot, and I agree- you gotta try it.

Apricot Rice Krispies Treats

5 T. butter
6 C. mini marshmallows
1/2 a small pkg. apricot Jell-o
6 C. Rice Krispies

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and Jell-o and stir til completely melted. Remove from heat and mix in cereal. Spread into a 9 by 13 pan coated with cooking spray. Cut into 2-inch squares when cool. Best if served the same day.

Menu, 6-13-10

Oh how I would love to have this sandwich cutter for lunch time and even parties. Isn't it great?

I fully realize this week is 1/2 gone, but I thought I'd stick my menu up anyway. Here's what we've been/are going to be eating for dinner this week:

Sun: chicken fettuccine with pesto cream sauce, green salad, fruit salad, roasted asparagus, Maren's homemade cookies and cream AND strawberry ice creams. Yum yum yum yum.
M: leftovers
T: Costa Vida pork salad
Th: crock pot pork roast and pineapple ginger rice

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu, 6-6-10

As a former resident of the San Fran area, this pancake masterpiece made me smile. Jim seems like one fun dad!

Here's what's for dinner at our place this week:

Sun- spaghetti and meatballs, BLT salad, garlic bread, watermelon, layered strawberry shortcake
M- BBQ chicken, potatoes and carrots
W- tostadas
Th- turkey sammies
F- I'm thinking Zinburger
Sat- out

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Breakfast Baskets

I made these for teacher gifts this year and they were a hit! I think they would also be great for giving to a new neighbor, a birthday present, or to take as a meal for a family with a new baby. Contents included:

* Fresh and Easy honey and flax granola
* Trader Joe's buttermilk pancake mix
* Fresh and Easy vermont maple syrup
* Fresh and Easy freshly squeezed orange juice
* a bag of fresh strawberries
* a spatula
* tea towel from Ikea
* napkins from Homegoods

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pesto Pasta Salad

I made this for a BBQ on Saturday night... and I will be making it again soon. Sooo tasty. Recipe from good friend Ina.

Pesto Pasta Salad

  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 C. mayo
  • 1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 C. frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Menu, 5-23-10

Our new baby boy is here safe and sound, and we are loving life with him. After an extended cooking hiatus, I am more than ready to plan, prepare and enjoy home cooked meals once again. Although our menu this week does not include donut-burgers, I thought this too tempting an idea not to share. :)

Here's what we'll be having for dinner this week... if I can make it to the grocery store.

Sun- roast, mashed potatoes, green salad, watermelon, roasted zucchini sticks, individual cherry cheesecakes. DELICIOSO.
T- chicken salad sammies
W- breakfast for dinner
Th- bean tostadas
F- pizza
Sat- who knows

If you do end up trying the donut burgers, I think this would be a good dessert to serve alongside. (It actually sounds pretty good... very similar to a recipe Amanda makes, it's just the name that makes you wonder.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Slow- Cooker Beef Stew

This was our dinner last night and it couldn't have been yummier! It is so flavorful, but so easy- I love crock-pot recipes.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped (of course I left this out!)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  2. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6-8 hours. (mine was done in about 5, but my crock-pot must get really hot! Just check it every so often and when the veggies are soft, it's done.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Menu 4-25-10

This may be my last menu for a week or two... Saturday a new baby is joining our family! We are very excited and busy finishing last minute preparations for his arrival.

Here's what our dinnertime looks like this week:

Sun- cream cheese chicken over bowtie pasta, green salad with oranges, almonds and craisins, french bread, red jell-o, green beans, and pineapple upside down cake (Happy Birthdays J.D. and Miss Riske!)
M- BLTs, steamed zucchs and watermelon
T- refried bean burritos
W- chicken caesar salad wraps
Th- leftovers
F- out
Sat- a tasty hospital meal. Wahoo!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Endive and Apple Appetizer

I'm pretty sure it's Martha Stewart who pronounces "endive" "ahn-deeve". She also pronounces the "h" in "herbs". I love that lady.

As for me, I say "endive", just like it's spelled. And my favorite way to prepare it is as follows...

Endive and Apple Appetizer

assorted endive leaves
cream cheese, room temp
strawberry jam
crisp apples, like Fugi or Gala

Combine two parts cream cheese to one part jam. Spread a little strawberry cream cheese on each endive leaf. Top with a thin slice of apple (brush with lemon juice to prevent browning). This is a quick, refreshing appetizer or snack. My kids loved it! Thanks to friend Laurel for recipe.

Menu, 4-18-10

This week for dinner...

Sun- chicken spaghetti, garden salad, whole wheat rolls, asparagus, lemon yogurt cake with whipped cream and strawberries
T- chef's salad
Th- BBQ beef sammies
Sat- out

I am going to try to stick to this menu come heck or highwater. I have been cheating too too much as of late!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup: Looks like barf, tastes delicious. Ever since I was little I've loved this soup, and I'm really not sure why. What kid likes something that looks like so sick?? Well, I did. I think I just loved the little bits of ham in it. SO tasty. And so, I thought that if it was good from a can, how much better would it be from scratch? Answer: A lot better. I think this soup is so so good, inexpensive, and pretty nutritious too. This recipe is simple and really easy. It basically makes itself! Thanks, Dave Lieberman, for a quality recipe.

1/4 cup olive oil (you could probably get by on less, but I did use the full 1/4 cup)
1 large onion, finely diced (I omitted this, of course)
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 pound bag split peas, rinsed and picked through
1 1/2 pound smoked ham hock
2 quarts chicken stock, water, or combination
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, saute onion, celery and carrots over medium high heat. Add peas and ham hock and cover with stock by a couple inches. Bring to a simmer and cook about 1 hour until soup is thick and peas have almost disintegrated but not quite. Season to taste, with salt and pepper. Remove ham hock and let cool. Pull meat from ham hock bone and shred. Garnish with ham and pepper.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Menu 4-11-10

What's for dinner at our place this week:

Sun- Hawaiian haystacks, strawberry spinach salad, no bake cookies, cornbread
M- leftovers
F- chicken and veggie shiskabobs with pineapple rice
Sat- I'm thinking brownies and ice cream

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lemon- Rosemary Chicken

This was for dinner tonight and it was delish! My only complaint would be that because it cooks in the crock-pot, the chicken doesn't brown up so it didn't look super appetizing, but the flavor is awesome. I think next time I would brown it in it a skillet first, then stick it in the crock-pot. The kids inhaled it and asked for seconds and thirds. I served it over a bed of lettuce that was tossed with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a side of baked sweet potatoes.

Lemon- Rosemary Chicken

1/2 c. lemon juice
1 lemon, sliced
1 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bunch fresh rosemary (I used about 2 t. dried rosemary)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a large food storage bag, place lemon juice, oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add chicken. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator 3-4 hours, turning bag occasionally. Place chicken in crock-pot and pour marinade over; top with lemon slices. Cook for 4-6 hours on low, or until tender. You may add frozen broccoli and carrots about an hour before done.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turkey and Bacon Picnic Sammies

We're trying desperately to soak up the last remaining bit of beautiful weather before the hot. We picniced in Mom n Dad's backyard on Sunday, and it was heavenly.

Turkey and Bacon Picnic Sammies

The ingredients needed for the sandwich are:

Focaccia or Ciabatta bread
deli sliced turkey (my favorite is Boar's Head oven roasted turkey from Fry's)
thinly sliced provolone
crispy bacon
mayo, if you like
lettuce- I added mine after the pic

Slice bread, spread a little pesto on each side. Layer ingredients... turkey, then bacon, then cheese, then lettuce. Next I am going to try these as an appetizer and slice them into tiny squares to serve, per Giada's suggestion.

Menu 3-28-10

This Week for Dinner:

S- turkey and bacon picnic sammies, fresh fruit, caramel brownies and vanilla bean ice cream
M- spinach ravioli, green and yellow beans, green salad
W- double decker tacos
F- baked potato bar
Sat- something edible

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breakfast Pizza

Last week, Kelli was in town for a few days (hoorah!) and we had a party for breakfast to celebrate. Between breakfast pizza, banana crunch muffins, scrambled eggs, bacon, donuts, just-picked grapefruit and oranges, we all stuffed ourselves silly.

Breakfast Pizza

  • 1 storebought pizza dough
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 4 T. cinnamon-sugar
  • 2 C. whipped cream cheese
  • 1 T. heavy cream
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 C. mixed berries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Transfer the pizza dough to the lined baking sheet and brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 T. cinnamon-sugar and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the pizza crust on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the cheese, cream, lemon juice, and zest.

Spread the cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Top with mixed berries and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar. Slice like a pizza and serve.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu, 3-21-10

On the menu for this week:

Sunday- creamy chicken, smashed potatoes, Kelli's hot buns, garden salad, green beans, corn, strawberry crunch
M- leftovers
T- spaghetti and meatballs
W- turkey waldorf salad
Th- pesto tortellini soup
F- tacos
Sat- breakfast for dinner

Side note... I made crispy coconut chicken last week, a recipe I found on Our Best Bites. I wasn't a fan. I really wanted to like it because it sounded so yum, but I just didn't, and that was that. The kids didn't go for it either. Chris liked it, so if it sounds like your cup of tea, you can find the recipe here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Asian Spinach & Chicken Salad

This was just the ticket considering the not-so-welcome heat wave we've had this week.

Asian Spinach and Chicken Salad

1 bag of spinach
2 C. cooked cubed chicken
8 oz. cooked and drained bowtie pasta
2 oranges
1 avocado
1 C. chow mein noodles
1 T. sesame seeds

2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. soy sauce
1 1/2 t. grated fresh ginger

Combine above dressing ingredients, then drizzle in 1/4 C. veg. oil while whisking. Season with 1 tsp. salt.

Toss spinach, chicken and pasta with dressing. Top with slice avocado, orange segments, chow mein noodles and sesame seeds.

(I cut off each end of the oranges, trimmed off all the peel, sliced it into rounds, then quartered each round.)

Organic Fruit and Veggies Guide

What a handy way to remember the "dirty dozen" of fruits and veggies (the ones you should buy organic if possible). Found on Black Eiffel. Download the printable card here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Pat

I am SO thrilled about discovering this post in time to implement these ideas for St. Patty's Day tomorrow. Thank you, Blonde Designs! In addition to the cookies and such, I am making rainbow Jell-o in preparation for our leprachaun lunch tomorrow. FUN, fun fun. Happy St. Pat's day one and all!

Menu, 3-14-10

What our dinnertime looks like this week...

Sunday- lasagna primavera, caprese salad, potato rolls, root beer floats

Mon- leftovers

T- tostadas

W- asian chicken spinach salad (recipe coming)

Th- crispy coconut chicken (recipe coming)

F- pizza

Sat- as usual, I have no idea

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pizza Screen

You're looking at my new favorite kitchen tool- the pizza screen. Friend Laurel told me about these gadgets quite a while back, then she gave me two for Christmas. I was skeptical, because I really didn't have any complaints about baking my pizzas on my old reliable Costco cookie sheets, but the screens have proven themselves. The crust just browns up so much nicer, without being overdone. A couple weeks ago when I had an extra batch of dough that needed to be used, I made two pizzas and did one on the screen and one on the cookie sheet to compare. No contest, the screen took the cake.

I found one here on Amazon, for about 5 bucks. I know Laurel purchased hers at Costco Business Center, and they were only a couple dollars a piece. The one in AZ is on Hayden Rd. in Scottsdale.

Menu 3-7-10

Here's whats cooking in our kitchen this week:

Sun- corn chowder, green salad, cornbread, Jell-o, pizookie

T- leftovers

F- hashbrown quiche, green salad

Sat- only time will tell

Monday, February 22, 2010

2-21-10 Menu and TJs favorites

Our dinner menu this week is as follows:

Sun- broccoli chicken casserole, green salad from Mom n Dad's garden (so awesome), rolls, texas sheet cake for friend Joy's 90th birthday. It had 90 candles- they were all lit and it was quite a sight!
M- chili, cornbread, green salad
T- chicken caesar sandwiches, and possibly corn on the cob, or a giant caramel apple to celebrate the removal of my braces. Woo-hoo!!
W- stir fry
F- cold cereal? I dunno, I think five real dinners in a week is pretty OK. I'll call it good til next week.
Sat- see Friday

And for Kristen, our one reader, a Trader Joe's favorites list! As soon as I finish typing this out, I am out the door to pay Joe a visit to do my shopping for the week. Hope this helps get you started. I think you're gonna like their stuff- let me know. :)

To-Try at Trader Joe's

vanilla almond granola
greek yogurt- I like the honey flavor
pizza dough
spaghetti and pizza sauces
BBQ sauce (Kansas Style Bold and Smoky)
all their salad dressings
NY cheesecake
vanilla Joe-Joe's cookies
chocolate covered pretzels
spinach salad kit
ABC cookies
frozen orange chicken
snacks: TJ brand cheetos, chips and crackers
frozen fruits and veggies- very yummy
McCann's quick-cooking oatmeal
cornbread mix

I also get a lot of staples there: my butter, canned beans, nuts, oils and such. They also have beautiful cheap flowers and always fun seasonal items to try. Don't miss the taste-testing at the back of the store. The only thing I don't love is their bread section. Their baguettes and other fresh baked stuff is good, but all the sliced packaged breads I've tried I haven't been thrilled with. I think it's because they aren't chock full of preservatives and they go stale fast. Same goes for the tortillas- you have to use them that day or maybe the next, but they'll go bad quick.

Feel free to add your favorite TJ's items in the comments. And Joe, you're welcome for the free advertising.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Honey Yogurt Waffles

It's been a long while since we've had waffles at our house. I've gotten pretty good at pancakes and the kids love them; but when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make them. They are so light and fluffy- the addition of yogurt is divine!


  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Maple syrup or honey for serving


Preheat a waffle iron. If you want to hold the finished waffles until serving time, preheat an oven to 200°F.

Melt the butter; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, honey, eggs and vanilla until very well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Fold in the melted butter.

Lightly butter or spray the grids of the waffle iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsequent waffles stick.

Spoon out a hefty 1/2 cup of batter onto the hot iron. Use a metal spatula or wooden spoon to spread the batter evenly over the grids. Close the lid and bake until the waffle is golden and set. Serve the waffles immediately or keep them, in a single layer, on a rack in the preheated oven while you make the rest.

Serving: Serve the waffles hot with a topping of maple syrup or honey. These are also good with applesauce, jam or fruit-flavored syrups. For a real change, think about serving these as the "bread" for a tuna salad sandwich: Leave out the cinnamon in the recipe, spread each waffle with a thin layer of mustard, fill with lettuce, tomato and tuna salad, and serve the sandwiches with carrot and celery sticks. They're great for lunch.
Makes about six 6 1/2-inch round waffles.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

This recipe comes courtesy of Martha Stewie- from her orange baking handbook. Tasty, tasty, tasty. They are delish plain, but in my opinion, even a little better topped with lemon curd. Stephmodo has some great tips on other ways to use the stuff. I've made my own lemon curd a couple times, and it is wonderful. But I will also say that Trader Joe's jarred lemon curd is very comparable.

Give yourself enough time when you make these. They aren't hard, they just take a bit of time with the shaping and par-baking and such. And they are so worth it.

Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1/2 C. sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp. sour cream
1/8 tsp. vanilla
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 C. all purpose flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on med speed til light and fluffy. Add 1/4 C. sugar and a pinch of salt, and beat another minute. Add one egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat til smooth. Transfer to small bowl, and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 350, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and remaining 1/4 C. sugar on med speed til well combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and egg yolk, beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, mixing just til combined.

Shape level Tablespoons of dough into balls, and place on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Using your thumb or similarly shaped utensil, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven and make indentations again. Rotate sheets, return to oven and bake til edges turn golden, 7-9 minutes more. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Using small teaspoon, fill the center of each cookie with about 1 tsp. cream cheese filling, mounding it slightly. Return cookies to oven, and bake til filling is firm, 7-8 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Refrigerate in an airtight container, layered between waxed paper at least 4 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated overnight as well. Bring to room temp for about 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Menu, 2-14-10

I am just now trying to get my act together and planning a menu for the week. Here goes:

Sun- we had pot roast, mashed potatoes, Emma's YUMMY rolls, green salad, steamed veggies, and layered strawberry shortcake, which was divine.

M- Papa Johns. Ham and Pineapple to be exact.

T- dinner at our brother and sis-in-laws' house. I'm bringing strawberry spinach salad.

F- taco soup

Sat- still thinking. Steak?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ambitious Heart Cake

Holy smokes, this is impressive. Love it! Lots more pictures and instructions here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Minestrone Soup

This soup is tasty and chock full of good-for-ya. Recipe from friend Laurel Anne.

Minestrone Soup

1 T. olive oil
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
1 tsp. each dried basil, oregano, and thyme
3 zucchini, chopped
1 bag baby spinach
1 20-oz can tomato puree
1 20-oz can kidney beans, rinsed
2 C. fresh cheese tortellini

In large pot, saute olive oil, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add chicken broth and spices. Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook as tortellini pkg directs. Salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Monday, February 8, 2010

French Dip Sandwiches

These were a household hit last week. The ciabatta rolls I got from Wildflower Bread Co.- they were perfect for this sammy.

French Dip Sandwiches

1 3-lb. beef roast
2 T. olive oil
S & P
1 packet lipton onion soup mix
2 C. water
2 cans beef broth
ciabatta rolls
sliced provolone or swiss cheese

Season roast well with salt and pepper. Sear in oil in large pan over med-high heat, just a couple minutes on each side. Place roast in crockpot, add soup mix, water and broth. Cover and cook for about 10 hours on low. When sufficiently tender, shred beef. Arrange shredded beef on rolls and top with cheese. Broil in oven for just a minute or two- you can't watch too carefully. Ladle juices into small cups for dipping. Oh so good.

Menu, 2-7-10

This week for dinner at our house:

Sun- breakfast for din: hashbrown quiche, winter fruit salad, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls

M- minestrone soup

T- Ikea cafeteria... the pasta and veggies with white sauce- yum yum

Th- wedding dinner (Tia Rosa's. Delish)

F- wedding reception

Sat- I am going to try Pioneer Woman's braised short ribs and polenta. It looks very very promising. Happy (almost) Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Maple-glazed Salmon

We're not really a fish or seafood kind-a-family, but I'll have to say, this is one recipe I like alot. And that's good because my husband went fishing in Alaska and brought back lots of salmon. It's a really easy dish and if you already like fish, then I promise you'll love this!

Maple-glazed Salmon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound salmon
  1. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
  2. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Culinary Dropout

Chris and I got to be some of the first diners at the newest Fox restaurant over the weekend, Culinary Dropout. It was an outstanding meal, and here were a few of our favorite things:

The Chandeliers. SO huge and fun.

The a la carte starter menu. At our server's suggestion, we tried the Champignon Montagnolo cheese, the Culatello prosciutto, grilled asparagus, and crusty bread with olive oil. Fabulous, every last one. I will go back just for this part of the menu.

We each got a house salad, which was really great. The dressing was light and tasty.

The only thing we ordered that we didn't love was the pork ribs, which was surprising because they've received rave reviews so far. We thought they were on the tough side and too fatty. We just love our Charlestons ribs and have yet to find better. The fries and coleslaw were delish.

We ended with the apple monkey bread. A cross between apple pie and a cinnamon roll, ice cream on the side. Crazy good stuff.

Have a look at the menu- lotsa tasty options. We will be back.