Archive for Recipes

What’s for dinner this icy night??

Ok, I haven’t shared a recipe in a while and a friend requested this one! It’s SO tasty!!
Penne Rosa:

1 box (1 lb.) Penne pasta
1 T white wine ( I never use this because we don’t have it on hand!)
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground or crushed red pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
10-20 spinach leaves (We use baby spinach from the produce section!)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1 (14 oz.) can Italian -style diced tomatoes ( I bought the 28 oz can of italian tomatoes so it will double for 2 recipes!!)
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese– we use Feta!
Grilled chicken breast, sautéed shrimp or asparagus

Boil pasta according to package directions; set aside.
In a large skillet, heat wine, oil, marinara,mushrooms, tomatoes and red pepper over medium heat; stir for 4-5 minutes. Add pasta, mixing well. Add cream and continue stirring. Fold in spinach, stirring until wilted. Stir in cooked chicken, shrimp or asparagus. Serve with fresh Parmesan on top.


Another recipe

I figured I would share this recipe with my readers… I have had several requests for it since I posted a photo on Christmas!

French Toast Casserole (enough for 8 servings!)

You need:
1 loaf of french bread (not sliced) (I get it at Kroger for $1.25 it’s the skinny crusty one!)
8 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubes (1 pkg)
8 eggs (GEESH!)
2 1/2 cups milk
6 Tbsp Butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 recipe apple cider syrup (below)
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup apple cider OR apple juice (I always use apple juice)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter OR margarine

TO make casserole:
Butter or spray 9×13 pan and preheat oven to 350º.
Cut bread into cubes. I sit mine out over night uncovered and it get super crusty.
Put 1/2 cubes in the greased pan. Top with cream cheese cubes and then top with the remaining bread cubes.
Beat together eggs, milk, melted butter, and maple syrup. Pour evenly over bread and use the spatula to press down the bread cubes. Cover with plastic wrap (I always do overnight) but you can do 2-24 hours.

Bake at 350º for 35-45 mins until the center is set and the edges are brown. Let stand 10 mins before serving and drizzle the syrup over it once it is on your plate =)

TO make syrup:
stir together sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir in cider and lemon juice in a small saucepan on low to medium low heat.
Cook until thick, whisking very frequently so it doesn’t burn or stick.
Remove from heat and stir in butter.
**If you lose track and it gets too thick, thin it out with 1/4 cup or less of HOT water. It will work fine (I do this almost every time!)

An announcement & last few thoughts for 2010

Addy has had a ‘good’ day today.. but I fear she has another ear infection. Geez, I can’t get a break. So tomorrow i’ll be taking her to her doctor after therapy. Poor baby.

Ahhh yes- the announcement!! I was hired today for a new job. It’s part-time, but gives me a ton of room for growth & development and also will be great while I finish up my Master’s degree! Yahhooo! I’ve been waiting for a great opportunity and this is the one. I’m the newest member of the Gymboree team! Retail isn’t something I have done before so I am super eager to learn something new! I’ll be heading back to work next week-which doesn’t leave me much time to nail down daycare plans.

A couple of friends have asked me to post some toddler meal ideas.. so I wanted to share a couple of ideas I have came up with. Keep in mind we don’t eat much meat around here. Just not my thing. Also keep in mind I strive to provide Addy with healthy, sugar-free or low sugar meals. I also avoid sodium as much as I can!!


1/2 cup cubed steamed butternut squash
1/2 cup green peas (frozen). Also steamed (I KNOW! I need a micro cooker from Pampered Chef!!)
1/4 cup blueberries cut in half
and for her drink- Addy had some cold milk from a cup & straw

A couple of other ideas:

1/2 cup Black beans (One of Addy’s favorites!)
1/2 cup cooked crumbled ground chicken or turkey. I season it with southwestern seasoning from pampered chef, or sometimes a grill seasoning. It’s too bland by itself and I wouldn’t blame her for throwing it at me!!
Sometimes I cut chicken tenderloins up into chicken nuggets and bread them with bread crumbs!! (I also bake them!)
1/2 cup mandarin oranges or 1/2 orange with slices cut in quarters
1/2 cup of pears (I buy the dole cups!) or peaches diced
1/2 cup cooked carrots (from frozen)
Grilled cheese baked instead of buttered and grilled! I use a spritz of canola or olive oil on each side, then cut the edges off!
On occasion I will give her chicken or turkey lunchmeats from the deli, but I prefer to stay away from them because all of the preservatives.

Addy’s favorite meats are chicken & pork.. so I do pork chops or chicken breasts in the oven and coat them with bread crumbs and seasoning. She eats about 1/4 cup of meat with 1/4 cup veggies.

For snacks, we have came up with these easy ideas:
*ritz bitz peanut butter bites.
*nutter butter bites
*regular teddy grahams (not honey)
*any flavor goldfish
*Earth’s best organic smiley snacks (only found at babies r us)
*cereal bars (also Earth’s Best)
*Grammy Sammies. I find these at babies r us too! They are a great snack and peanut butter has a good amount of protein!

Did I mention the best invention ever!?!? Snack traps! She still makes a little mess, but nothing compared to her snack in a regular bowl. She sits in her beanbag chair for snacks 🙂
The key to toddler meals is to find balance!

A new skill, mastered.

I love to share recipes.. and this one I will taunt you with because it is TOP SECRET! I just wanted to share with all of my readers that I mastered Mom Mom’s green bean recipe. Yep, it took me like 10 years of trying but I finally got it. They are delicious too!

That brings me to tonight’s menu which I will share (- the green beans).

As you know I’m on a break from ‘processed’ foods.. they aren’t being consumed in our house.

Tonight’s chicken & noodles (tear** I didn’t get to use canned chicken!)
Chicken & Noodles
I used 48 oz chicken stock
3 carrots peeled and sliced
1/2 sweet onion
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
approx 1/4 cup milk
10 oz freeze dried amish noodles
8 oz chicken (I used carving board all natural by Oscar Mayer today) It’s rotisserie chicken! OR you could grab a whole chicken at the grocery for about the same price.

I made a roux (melted butter and let it cook for a bit) sprinkle it with flour, and whisk in a few splashes of chicken stock.
Then I added the rest of the chicken stock, the onions and carrots.
Cook for 1/2 hr
Add chicken
Simmer for 15 mins or so
Then I added the noodles and a splash of milk (somewhere around 1/4 cup!)
Simmer away and add salt & pepper to taste. DELICOUS and done in just a bit.

Mashed potatoes:
6 large potatoes peeled
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp butter.
Boil potatoes, drain, mash with butter and chicken stock.
Season with salt/pepper to taste.
These are AMAZING!!

I’m off to enjoy a plate now, with Mom Mom’s green beans. Be jealous- very jealous =0)

What’s for dinner?

Here’s what we’re having tomorrow! I got this recipe from a Pampered Chef party once.. and since my microwave is too small for the covered baker (BIG TEAR!!)I will be using a pan on the stove instead 😦

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad
1 tablespoon Garlic Oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk Rub
1 pound chicken tenders
1 medium pineapple
1 red bell pepper
3 green onions (white and light green parts only)
2 heads romaine lettuce
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
6 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

2 limes
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pineapple preserves or our Spicy Pineapple Rum Sauce

In Classic Batter Bowl, whisk together oil and jerk rub with Stainless Whisk. Add chicken tenders; mix well to coat and set aside. Peel pineapple and cut in half lengthwise with Santoku Knife; reserve half for another use. Cut remaining pineapple in half lengthwise and remove core. Slice crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes. Add chicken; cook 3-5 minutes on each side, turning once. Remove from pan. Add pineapple to pan. Cook 1 minute on each side, turning once; remove from pan. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces using Utility Knife; set chicken and pineapple aside.

Thinly slice bell pepper and green onions on Cutting Board with Measure Cups using Santoku Knife. Arrange 12 large lettuce leaves around Simple Additions® Large Round Platter. Chop remaining lettuce; set vegetables aside. Drain and rinse beans using Strainer; set aside.

For dressing, zest one lime using Microplane® Adjustable Grater. Juice both limes into Small Batter Bowl using Citrus Press. Add lime zest, mayonnaise and pineapple preserves to batter bowl; mix well.

Layer chopped lettuce, beans, bell pepper, chicken, pineapple, bacon and green onions over each lettuce leaf. Drizzle dressing over salad.


You may notice I didn’t share a chocolate chip recipe- that’s because I don’t really care for chocolate chip cookies. But, there’s a good recipe on the Nestle toll house chips bag! 🙂
Rolled Sugar Cookies (good for decorating!)

* 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt


1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2. Preheat oven to 400º F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*Heat oven to 400ºF.
*Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
*Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
*Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
*Mix sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.
*Heat oven to 375ºF.
*Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten in crisscross pattern with fork dipped into sugar.
*Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Recipes anyone?

I always have friends ask me for my recipes and I wanted to share and pass them along so I will be doing so in a series of blog posts this week! I will be sharing some recipes for good Christmas treats. I haven’t done any baking for about 3 years, so bear with me!

Tonight’s recipe is for some YUMMY icing! 🙂 It can be used on cookies, cinnamon rolls, about anything!

8 oz cream cheese, softened (YES! I have 8 blocks in my fridge that were FREE)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened (important to use butter not margarine)
1 tsp vanilla (do yourself a favor and buy the expensive one. You will notice the difference)
2 cups powdered sugar (I sift mine but you don’t have to!)
Blend together and add milk if you want your icing to be a bit less stiff! It tastes great on cookies!!

Stay tuned, I’m searching for a few other favorite recipes to share!

Laundry Softener Recipe!!

As promised… There are 2 ways!


Recipe #1:

2 Cups White Vinegar
2 Cups Baking Soda
4 Cups Water

Combine slowly and carefully over sink. The baking soda and vinegar will fizz. Pour into plastic bottle, cover, and shake. *Hint – Reuse your “Downy” bottle.

Use 1/4 cup in the final rinse or in a “Downy Ball”.

Recipe #2:

2-3 Cups Water
1 Cup Liquid Fabric Softener
Large Sponge

Combine water and liquid softener. Cut sponge in 1/2 and keep in liquid. When drying clothes, remove sponge, squeeze out excess liquid and place in dryer with clothes. When dry, just place sponge back in liquid to be used for next load.

A new recipe…

Thought I would share this valuable tip with all the other Mommies out there!! I use a cheese grater on the fine side for the bar of soap PS, I don’t have a food processor although I wish I did. Perhaps that’s an investment I need to make soon!


Homemade Laundry Soap

1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing SODA (NOT BAKING SODA)
1 bar of Ivory soap (you can really use whatever brand you prefer, I like Ivory for our skin allergies)
Chop up the bar of soap into cubes, put cubes into a food processor (a blender won’t work, believe me I have tried). Then you add the cup of Borax and the cup of Washing Soda and let the food processor mix it all into a fine powder. Hint, cover food processor with a damp towel as the fine powder may escape and you probably don’t want to breath this in.
Results This makes approx. 2.5 to 3 cups of detergent.

Here is the kicker! You only use 1 Tablespoon Per load! This is why it lasts so long. This detergent WILL clean the laundry, but will not make a lot of bubbles. If you have researched commercial detergents you will see they put additives to make bubbles because as consumers, we all believe that Bubbles are what cleans the laundry! In fact, the opposite is true. The bubbles leave a residue on laundry and this residue can build up making clothes get dirtier/smellier more quickly.

For diapers, or heavily dirty laundry, use 2 tablespoons.

When you make the laundry detergent, make about 10 batches and store them in a Large pretzel container from Sam’s Club (reuse and recycle). If you are interested in the cost breakdown, here goes.
Normal detergent (economy box for families at Target) is usually about $15-$20 and it may last 1-2 months.
The Box of Borax is super cheap – $ 3- $4. The ARM and Hammer Washing Soda – about $2, the bar of soap (can be anywhere, but also can be purchased at the dollar store in packs of 4-6) for very cheap… lets say $1-2. So for about $7 and tax you have the makings for at least 6 loads (more if you buy more bar soap).
The Borax has 9.5 cups in the box and the Washing Soda has 6.5 cups in a box. So, the breakdown of cost and savings is amazing. It is about $0.03/load.

What’s for dinner?

Okay, since I promised you (my readers) I’d post more recipes since I’m home full-time now, here’s tomorrow’s dinner recipe. I’ll be sure to update this post to let you know just how yummy it turns out! Dinner in this house generally means lunch, but not tomorrow.
(I’ve made this before, but a bit differently)

Quesadilla Bake
Ingredients you will need:
2 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Minced Garlic (dried is ok but I prefer the kind in the jar that is fresh)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (if you like spicy!)
1 lb ground beef (I prefer cooked shredded boneless skinless chicken breast because I don’t like beef!)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onions
2- 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
1- 15 oz can of black beans (Addy’s Fav!!)
1- 8 3/4 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1- 4 1/2 oz can green chiles, chopped and NOT drained
6- 8 inch round flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (that’s 1 8 oz pkg)

Okay, so there are a lot of ingredients, but to make it easier you can buy a packet in the spice aisle from McCormick that contains all the spices. Tip- it costs over $2 so I just use the jarred dried spices I already have!

Pretty straightforward from here: Cook the meat (drain if you use beef) I cook the chicken in the crock pot the morning or day before.. Add the tomato sauce, beans, corn, and green chiles. Mix it all up! Next, stir in all the spices (except red pepper). Taste, and add red pepper as desired.

Put 1/3 meat mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 pan sprayed with no-stick spray (if that’s how you roll). Cover with 3 tortillas. Add 1/3 more beef, the 1/2 cheese. Cover with tortillas, and repeat!
Bake at 350º for 15 mins!
I serve this with Spanish rice, chips (for snacking!) sour cream, and salsa!

This recipe was WONDERFUL. I added the red pepper and it may be too spicy for little ones. I wasn’t sharing the whole dish (just the black beans) so it was okay. Let me know how yours turns out. I’m not a good food photographer so I apologize for not adding a picture!

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