Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cheese Ravioli With Veggies

This was another "hmm.... that looks interesting" meal. This one turned out pretty good! We are going to mix up the veggies for next time, but we enjoyed it.
(We cut the recipe in half, of course! Too much for two people!)

Cheese Ravioli With Veggies

6 Quarts Water
1 16oz package frozen veggies
1 25oz package frozen cheese ravioli
1/8 Cup butter, melted
1/4 Teaspoon Mrs Dash
1/4 Cup parmesan

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, bring water to a boil. Add the vegetables; cook for 5 minutes.
Add the ravioli. Cook 5 minutes longer or until veggies and ravioli are tender; drain. Gently stir in butter. Sprinkle with Mrs Dash and parmesan.

Beans & broccoli aren't the greatest with this... I just picked the first two frozen veggies I could reach in my freezer. Next time, I'll try something else.

Serves: 6
Total Time: 15

(If you are wondering why there is only one picture... well, I didn't think taking a picture of boiling veggies & ravioli was that fun.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheesy Ham Braid... which we learn that I am not very good at making things look pretty. ;)

Cheesy Ham Braid
1 16oz package hot roll mix
1 Cup warm water (120-130)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoon butter, softened, divided
1/2 Cup chopped onion
2 Cup chopped, fully cooked ham
1 1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Cup Ricotta
Dash Parsley
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon cold water

In a large bowl, combine the hot roll mix and contents of yeast packet. (If you are wondering where the yeast came from, it was part of the hot roll mix box. You must be a first time hot roll mix user too. LOL.) Stir in the warm water, egg, and 1 tbsp butter. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 5 minutes. In a skillet, saute onion in remaining butter until tender. Remove from the heat, stir in ham, cheeses, and parsely.
On a greased baking sheet, roll dough into a 15x10 rectangle. Spoon ham mixture lengthwise down the center of dough. On each long side, cut 1" wide strips about 2" into the center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Pinch ends to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 mintues or until doubled.
In a small bowl, beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
(Huh, that really doesn't look like the picture in the magazine...oh, I was supposed to tuck the ends IN?)
Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

So... what would we do different next time?
1. Don't do ham & cheddar. Maybe ham & mozz?
2. Cut ham smaller! I definitely cut the ham too big! Oops. :)
3. Cut down on ricotta... a lot. Maybe substitute with mozz, at least partially?
4. Try to actually make it look braided. (Which is where the 'not good at making things look pretty' part comes in.)

Overall, it was yummy! Just making changes to make it better for next time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Taste of Home, and meal planning

If you have been wondering why almost all of my recipes are from TOH...

No, they are not paying me to advertise for them. (Although, if someone from TOH is interested... lol)

I simply really like their cookbooks, so I have quite a few. TOH & Cooking for Two, which I think is made by the TOH people, are my favorites. They have easy, realistic recipes.

Because, contrary to what Olivia with says, I am not Martha Stewart. :)

Also, the big reason there are a lot of TOH recipes this month is due to the fact that I am trying monthly meal planning, and I mainly flipped through those magazines.
I normally do meal planning for a week at a time, but this month I tried to go for a whole month. I picked out what I thought would be enough meals (dinners) for the month, plus some sides, and some desserts. Week by week, as I am making my grocery list, I pick out the meals I want to use that week. It saves me quite a bit of time each week, although I have to admit I enjoy it either way. :)

Of course, the grocery list always includes the usual breakfast foods, and some misc items. I have been making things that aren't on the list for desserts & snacks, but I mainly created that for dinners. It's a good way to make sure that we stay within budget, we eat aren't eating junk all the time, and that I have the ingredients I need for dinner each week.

(The Happy Housewife has some great posts on meal planning... if you have never read her blog before, you should check it out!)

And, regardless of where I get a recipe originally or how much I've altered it, I have the original source in my Recipe Manager. So, give credit where credit is due. :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Momma's Peanut Butter Cookies

In case you missed the previous posts, my mama is amazing. And my husband loves peanut butter. There is a story about how my mama loves my hubby more than me, and lets him get away with eating cookies meant for someone else, and with eating more batter than necessary, but it makes me mad at them both, so I won't get into that. ;)

Anyhow... Mom has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember, and they have been amazing for as long as I can remember. I think she played with her original recipe (see! I come by it honestly!), but they are now perfect. (As long as you follow the directions... careful on the time!)

I made these the night before Nate's CNA final, to help him study. :-D

(And, since he got an 88%, I'd say he did pretty darn good!!! Of course, that may have been due to all the studying, and not necessarily my cookies... oh well, I tried!)

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies
(Laurie Curtis)

3/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 Cup crisco
1 1/4 Cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tablespoon Milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 Egg
1 3/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Teaspoon baking soda

Instructions: Heat oven to 375. Combine peanut butter, crisco, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed with mixer until well blended. Add egg; beat until blended. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to mixture at low speed, mix until blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly with criss-cross pattern with fork. Bake for 6 1/2 - 8 minutes, cool.

Yields: 3 dozen small
(Look, Nathan is 'helping'!)

(Note: the recipe title is not a joke. These things are irresistible. Make them when you can give some away... or you will eat them all.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Peanut Butter Pie!

This sounded like it could turn out either really good, or really bad. And it turned out GREAT! I only made one, to be reasonable, since it's just Nate & I.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 Package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
2/3 Cup peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Milk
2 Cake confectioner's sugar
1 carton (12oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 graham cracker pie crusts (9" each)
dry roasted peanuts

Instructions: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and milk until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioner's sugar.
(Doesn't that just LOOK yummy???)
Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crusts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Sprinkle with peanuts.
Yields: 2 pies

...and yes, if you are wondering, the batter did taste as good as it looked. The worse part was, we didn't get to eat it the night I made it, it was going to be too late and we needed to get to sleep early. :(

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

This was last Wednesday's dinner...
I saw this recipe in a magazine ad, thought it was worth a shot. I buy those Pasta Sides a lot when they are on sale; they make fast & easy lunches/sides. Not very nutritious though, so we don't have them too often. But I thought this sounded yummy. :)

Sorry the 'finished' picture looks funny... it was boiling, so it didn't turn out that well. But I thought it did at first, so I never took another picture.

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

1 Tablespoon Margarine
1 Pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 Cup fresh or thawed frozen broccoli florets
1 3/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Package Knorr Pasta Sides-Alfredo

Melt margarine in a skillet & cook chicken thoroughly. Remove chicken and set aside.
Stir broccoli, water, and milk into pan. Bring to a boil.

Stir in Alfredo pasta. Cook 8 minutes. Return chicken to skillet, heating through.

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 15
Total Time: 30

It actually turned out pretty good... something I would make again!

Note: The original called for more butter & red bell pepper... I don't really like peppers that much, and I thought it was too expensive. -Yes, I'm cheap.- So... I skipped it. If you are interested though, the original called for more butter after cooking the chicken (2 tbsp), and then cooking 1/2 c red bell pepper, then continuing to step two.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An interesting experience

This was something we had the other day... three things I learned from this meal:
1. I don't like gorgonzola.
2. When you are making mashed potatoes, make sure they are REALLY cooked, or they are a pain to mash.
3. I really don't like gorgonzola.

Penne Gorgonzola With Chicken
16 oz Penne
1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Large garlic clove, minced
1/2 Cup chicken broth, divided
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 cup (8oz) gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Dash Sage
Dash Pepper
Dash Salt

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in oil on all sides. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add 1/4c chicken broth, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.
Add cream and broth; cook until sauce is slightly thickened and chicken is no longer pink.
Stir in Gorgonzola cheese, sage, salt, and pepper; cook just until cheese is melted.
Drain pasta; toss with sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan and parsley.

Serves: 8

Mashed Potato Rolls
1 1/8 Teaspoon active dry yeast
1/8 Cup warm water (110-115)
3/4 Cup warm milk (110-115)
1/8 Cup butter, softened
1/8 Cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 Egg
1/4 Cup warm mashed potatoes (milk and butter added)
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
3 Cup all-Purpose flour
melted butter

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, butter, oil, sugar, egg, and mashed potatoes; mix well.
Stir in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and enough flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubles, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into 16 balls. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
Brush with butter if desired.

Serves: 16

The pasta was OK, but if you missed the beginning of the post, I really don't like gorgonzola cheese. I don't know what it is, but there is just something about it.

The mashed potato rolls were a little dry, but that's OK. We liked them! Next time I have leftover mashed potatoes, I will definitely make these!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Cheddar Biscuits...

I adore Red Lobster. I could go there happily every day...(ignoring the fact that I would get very fat, of course). I could also go and happily just eat their Cheddar Bay Biscuits. I was looking for a recipe similar to that when I found this one.... AMAZING! I've tried others, but they just don't compare. :)
I try make it fairly often-we never get tired of it! It always makes my day -and Nate's too- when these come out of the oven. Mmm.... (And yes, it is easy to double the batch. Hehe.)

Cheddar Biscuits
(Food & Whine)

2 Cup all-Purpose flour
3 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 Cup butter, cold, cut into chunks
2 Tablespoon canola/vegetable oil
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2-2/3 Cup Milk

Garlic butter topping:
3 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 Teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder. Whisk together to combine thoroughly. Add chunks of butter.
Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until it is coarse, pea-sized.
Add oil, cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup milk. Stir together. Keep adding milk a bit at a time, just until the dough is moistened and no longer dry and powdery. (Shouldn't be sticky, just moist enough to hold together).

Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto an greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 14-17 minutes. While biscuits are baking, melt 3 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and the parsley.

When biscuits come out of the oven, use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Serve warm.

Yields: 12(ish... as you can see, I made 14 this time.)

Isn't my hubby so cute?? He likes to cook too... I usually just kick him out of my kitchen. ;) This time, I had him help because I was multi-tasking... the recipe I was making at the same time will be posted another day! (Peanut Butter Pie... mmm!)

As always... comments are love. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bacon Cheddar Round? ...or not.

There is just something so fun about trying new recipes... which is why 3/4 of our meals include new recipes! :) I love the adventure, I love combining tastes, I love taking the words on the page and turning into something YUMMY!
Then... there are the times that the new recipe fails, or it just turns out not-quite-so-yummy. This was one of the latter... it was edible, but so dry. So sugary. So.... Bisquick-y. We each ate a piece of it, but I was very happy this wasn't the only thing I had for dinner.
(While this isn't really a dinner-main-dish thing, with only two people, I tend to use side dishes as main dishes, and just add a veggie on the side or a meat in the dish. It just doesn't make sense to cook a large dinner with multiple options for only two people.)

Bacon Cheddar Round


3 1/2 Cup Bisquick
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 bacon strips, crumbled
1 Egg
1 1/3 Cup Milk

In a large bowl, combine the Bisquick and sugar. Stir in cheese and bacon.
Beat egg and milk; add to cheese mixture just until moistened.
Pour into a greased and floured 9" springform pan.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove sides of pan and serve warm.

Yields: 1 loaf

I think that I would make this again, but more as an appetizer for a party, along with other things. It makes quite a lot, and it was just too much for us, with the Bisquick flavor being so strong.

As always... comments create happiness!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


On Tuesday, I made Davy Crockett Bars (more proof of my Mama's amazing-ness), for my dear hubby.

Davy Crockett Bars
(Laurie Curtis... no idea where she got the recipe originally!)

2 Cup Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup brown sugar
2 Cup quick-cooking oats
1 12oz package chocolate chips
2 Egg
1 Cup vegetable oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in brown sugar, oats, and chocolate chips. Combine eggs, oil, and vanilla.

Stir into chocolate chip mixture.

Press into an ungreased 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly before cutting.

Variations: Can use any type of baking chips--chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch, vanilla, etc.

(Note: Mama's recipe originally called for 1 6oz package of chocolate chips. Did you just read that as sixteen? I did, the first time I made these by myself. -and yes, the recipe was copied by me, so it is my own fault.- Needless to say, they were pretty darn chocolate/peanut-buttery. But ~ 12 oz works GREAT.)

As always... comments are love. :)

Fall, anyone?

So, I forgot to post the pumpkin bread recipe.

Apparently, I also forgot to take a picture of the COOKED pumpkin bread. Whoops. Oh well, I'll post the recipe anyhow, because it was amazing. (If I do say so myself. Hehe!)

I also apparently forgot to take a picture of the finished gingerbread men... this was probably due to me finishing them (the ribbon) in the car, on the way to Mama's. Oh well, she liked them.
I had a couple defect ones left here... one of which will have to go on the calender, but the others were meant as extras. So, this is kinda ugly, but you get the idea. (Mind you, I've never made these before, so they weren't exactly beautiful. I do think the rest were prettier, though.)

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

3/4 Cup butter, softened
2 Cup Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Cup canned pumpkin
2/3 Cup orange juice
2 Tablespoon Molasses
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
3 1/3 Cup all-Purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4-1 Teaspoon ground cloves

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin, orange juice, molasses, and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture and mix until blended.
Pour into two greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from the pans to wire racks.

(Then clean out the bowl... thoroughly.)
What, hunny, this isn't a flattering picture? No? Aw, but I think you're cute! ;)

So, again, apologies for a lack of a picture. Trust me: it looked pretty (well, ok, each loaf was cracked, but it was still pretty), and it tasted AMAZING. I was kinda sad I left it all at Mama's, but since it was her birthday... :)

(Note: Original also called for 1 cup raisins & 1 cup chopped pecans, added after everything else. I don't like raisins or pecans, so I just skipped this part. It turned out fine.)

Gingerbread Men

2/3 Cup Shortening
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Molasses
1 Egg
3 Cup all-Purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Teaspoon ground ginger
1 Teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
confectioner's sugar icing, red-hot candies, miniature chocolate chips, optional

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and egg; mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8" thickness. Cut with a 4" cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Decorate as desired.

Yields: ~ 2 dozen

I have to admit, I thought this was going to be a lot harder to make than it was. Maybe if they are prettier it is harder? :)

As I used these for ornaments, I did not do any decorating.
Also, if using small cookie cutters, recommend cooking 8 min or less.

As always... reviews/comments are lovely, and shall be rewarded. :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yummy Peach Cobbler!

I made this quite awhile ago, but I just now added the recipe to Recipe Manager, so I thought I would post it on here too!

Peach Cobbler

1 Cup Bisquick
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Cup Milk
3 Tablespoon canola oil
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 can (29oz) peach slices, drained
1 Teaspoon lemon juice
vanilla ice cream, if desired

Heat oven to 375. In an ungreased 8" square (2qt) glass baking dish, stir Bisquick and cinnamon. Stir in milk and oil with wire whisk or fork until blended.

In medium bowl, mix sugar, peaches, and lemon juice. Spoon over batter in baking dish.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand about 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm with ice cream.

(It doesn't even look close to yummy in this picture... what a relief that it turned out so tasty!)

(Due to where the recipe came from, I have all of the following information.)

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 1hr
Total Time: 1h30m

Calories: 280
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: .5 g
Calories From Fat: 70
Protein: 3 g
Carbohydrates: 49 g
Sodium: 190 mg
Fiber: 2 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Sugars: 35 g

This recipe was very yummy! We made it just before we went to Colorado, so everything Nate & I didn't eat went to my parents' house--and apparently they liked it too! :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Today I have been cooking like crazy! No-bakes in the morning (for when we visit my Daddy tomorrow, of course!), and a lot in the afternoon! Gingerbread men, a chocolate thing that I refuse to post because it turned out that bad, Shepherd's Pie for dinner, and spiced pumpkin bread in the evening (for my Mama for her birthday!).
The pumpkin bread recipe will be posted tomorrow, seeing that it's still cooking and won't be eaten til tomorrow. Can't review it if I haven't tried it! The gingerbread men will be reviewed tomorrow too. Largely because I'm not done with them... most aren't getting eaten, they are being used as decorations, and being given as a gift tomorrow! (Mama has a beautiful Christmas countdown quilt, but all the original gingerbread ornaments broke. So, I am replacing them as her birthday gift this year!) The ribbon will be added tomorrow...

So, you think you've had no-bakes before? Nope. Unless you've had Laurie's No-Bakes, you have not had them. Maybe a cheap imitation, but not the real thing.

No Bake Cookies
(My Mama-Laurie Curtis)

2 Cup Sugar
4 Tablespoon cocoa
1/4 Cup butter/margarine
1/2 Cup Milk
3/4 Cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups oatmeal

Mix cocoa and sugar, set aside.
Put milk and butter in a saucepan; heat until butter is mostly melted. Add sugar mixture, stir well. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat.
Quickly add oatmeal and peanut butter, stirring well. Spoon onto wax paper to cool.

So, what makes my Mama's cookies the best, you ask? (Aside from the fact that my mother is unable to cook something that does not taste amazing.) Really, it's the fact that she increases the PB & decreases the oatmeal. I think she actually uses just shy of 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal, but close enough.
If you've never had them like this, try it! I'm addicted to these cookies, but they are totally worth it.

(My ideal breakfast... although my husband did yell at me about it this morning!) :)
And no, I didn't eat all of those! Just one... maybe two. ;)

On to dinner....
Simple Shepherd's Pie

1 Pound ground beef
2 10.75oz can condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted
3 Cup mixed veggies, thawed
4 Cup mashed potatoes (with added milk & butter)

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the soup & veggies. Pour into a greased 11x7x2 baking dish. Top with potatoes.
Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until heated through.

Simple, yet yummy! I pick different veggies every time... depending on my mood!
(If the picture doesn't look that great, it's because I forgot to take a picture at dinner. I took it outta the fridge for this... lol)