Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pink Saturday

My daughter's favorite book is "Pinkalicious".  It is about a girl who eats lots of pink cupcakes and wakes up the next morning totally pink.  This week I thought it would be fun to make Karlie some pink cupcakes of her own and it gave me an opportunity to try out my sister's recipe for very moist and flavorful cakes! I like to call this recipe (you can find here) The Cake Mix Twist
I used sugar free pudding: white chocolate flavored (I wanted vanilla but did not have any.)
 and light sour cream.
She was right they were so moist and tasted great!
THANKS CANDICE!!!
My frosting was a bit runny though and I forgot to take a picture until all that was left were the odd ball ones! Sorry!!  It was cute though because as I made the frosting my older daughter's science project partner was over.  She asked what I was making and then said, "You make your own frosting?"  She was amazed that all frosting did not come out of a can.  It was really cute.
The pink cupcakes were a hit!
Kody's eyes got really big when he got home and asked,  "Did you make me cupcakes?" 
Of course I answered, "Yes". (He loves anything with frosting!!)
Karlie liked them so much that this morning she woke up looking a little:
PINK!!!
Now check out all the pink over at How Sweet the Sound.
Last week I discovered Thrifty Anabella. Check her out. She has some amazing finds on her blog. 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Salsa Chicken and Rice Casserole

Just before Christmas I received a package.  I was so excited when I opened it and found a gift package given to me courtesy of  Foodbuzz and Newman's Own (THANK YOU!!).  Because of my participation in Foodbuzz Tastemaker program i was asked to present a plan for some meal ideas. They liked my plan and I was sent this cool box and my challenge was to create recipes using The Newman's Own Sauces. It was crazy (because I only had 2 weeks) but oh so fun!!I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I had never used The Newman's Own brand before and I was so impressed!! I will be buying them now.  I now need to share the recipes I submitted with you.  This first one was inspired by my friend. Thanks Katie!!
This is an easy to prepare all in one Mexican flavored meal.
Salsa Chicken and Rice Casserole
1 pound chicken breast cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups Salsa (Newman’s Own Medium Chunky was very good!!)
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup water
½ cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced olives
Place onion and chicken into a skillet and cook for about 5 minutes or until chicken is brown. You can sprinkle with garlic salt and chili powder if you want.
Take off heat, add the rest of the ingredients except cheese and olives. and stir to mix well.
Pour into a 9 x 13 casserole dish and cover with foil.
 Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
 Uncover, spread shredded cheese and olives over top and bake for 10 more minutes.
*You can serve this over crushed tortilla chips and garnish with a bit of sour cream and some diced, fresh tomatoes.
Variation: Use hamburger instead of chicken.

Linked with Foodie Friday and Recipe Swap.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tried It Out Thursday~Shrimp Stir Fry with Noodles

Today I would like to introduce a new "theme" for Thursdays called "Tried It Out Thursday".  This will be a day I will try to post about a new recipe or something new that I have tried out and found to be blog worthy!! When I try a new recipe I always ask my family if it is "blog worthy" becfore I post it. 
This week I tried a recipe from Geri over at Heart N Soul Cooking.  She is amazing and everything she posts looks so DELICIOUS!! I also need to thank her for all the wonderfully sweet awards she has given me.  Each one brightens my day!!   Now on to the recipe...Shrimp Stir Fry with Noodles.
My picture is not a good as Geri's, but the taste was incredible!! The only changes I made was I did not have any linguine so I substituted rotini, used smaller shrimp ( I bought the wrong ones), used a little dried cilantro(because I didn't have fresh) and of course the BIGGEST one: I DOUBLED the recipe and it was a good thing.  The girls and I ate before my husband and son got home.  I finally had to put some aside so there would be some left for them.  Everyone LOVED it.  It was light and the flavor was AMAZING!! 
Thanks Heart N Soul Cooking for the new family favorite.
I would love to have others join me next Thursday! So please let me know if this of interest to you so I can get a link set up.  I think it will be loads of FUN!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

My friend was raving about this chili she had, of course I had to try it.  We have both been in the soup mood lately so, I finally remembered to get the recipe from her.  I was not disappointed.  This is very easy and OH so filled with flavor. I had bought a can of hominy awhile ago and then could not remember for what (yes! I am losing it!!). So imagine my surprise when I pulled the recipe out yesterday and saw hominy as one of the ingredients.  This was a great hit.  Even my non-soup loving husband liked it! A huge THANKS to my sweet friend for sharing this recipe with me.
Crock Pot White Chicken Chili
1 1/4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken
2 (15 oz.) cans great northern beans
1 (15 oz.) can hominy or white corn
1 (1 1/4 oz.) package taco seasoning
1 (4 1/2 oz/) can chopped green chilies
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
chopped green onions *Optional
shredded cheddar cheese *Optional
tortilla chips *Optional
Place chicken in the crock pot. Drain and rinse the beans and drain the corn. Add to crock pot.
Add the taco seasoning, chilies, soup and broth.  Stir to mix together. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Just befor serving break up the chicken into small pieces and stir in the 1/2 cup sour cream.
Serve topped with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips and chopped green onions, if desired.
*The only change I made was to use water and chicken boullion equivalent instead of the broth.

Check out Crock Pot Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crunchy Chews

  My son reminded me that we needed our Sunday Sweet!  So this is my quick Sunday dessert this week.  It came off of a Skippy Peanut Butter label some time ago. The family loved it. I apologize for the picture, I was not able to take it before Kody cut into them!!

Crunchy Chews
Adapted from Skippy Peanut Butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup peanut butter
4 1/2 cups corn flakes, crisp rice cereal or cheerios
Optional: 3/4 cup peanuts or your favorite nuts
Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. In a saucepan mix together sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat and mix in the peanut butter.  Add the corn flakes and nuts.  Press into the prepared pan.
 *I put 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a small baggie and melted in the microwave.  Then cut a corner off of the bag and randomly drizzled it over the top of the bars.  Just because I LOVE chocolate and peanut butter mixture. I then placed them in to the freezer for a few minutes just until the chocolate had set up.

Check out Tuesdays at the Table and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pink Saturday

After last Saturday I have been so excited to participate in Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound again!!  Thanks to all visited and left me such sweet comments.  It was incredible!! I met so many wonderful people and was amazed while visiting some of the other participants.  I discovered that PINK really does promote happiness!!
   I have thought all week about what I could share this week.  My pink recipe really did not turn out as well as I would of hoped!  So luckily I received a sweet surprise on Friday.  Two sweet friends showed up at my door with lunch and this:
Imagine my joy when I opened up the adorable boxes and found:
Pink cupcakes!! (actually 6 of them)
How sweet and perfect was that. 
It was so fun to have a quick very delicious lunch and talk for a moment. It was such a wonderful gesture and just made my day!!
For the past week I have been getting flowers everyday.  They have been difference colors and fragrances.  One day they smelled like raspberries and vanilla another. Blue one day and Pink the next.
My sweet five year old brought me these every morning.  It has been such a nice way to start my day!!
Last weeks challenge was to visit another blog that you haven't before. Since it was my first week I found there were so many incredible posts and people I had a hard time picking.  Here is a couple. 
Kellee @The Katillac Shack: I loved her everlasting Gobstopper choker. Genius!
Lottie @ My Blue Cottage: Her pink shell lamp is adorable and I loved the story that went with it!!
and SO MANY MORE incredible PINK blog posts!!
Now go and check out all the PINK at over at PINK SATURDAY!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cowboy Caviar

This recipe is dedicted to my "cowboy" brother Ryan, who once wore a bikini in a rodeo for charity!!(I am really glad I missed that one!! HA HA!!) He is also a pretty good cook, especially with Mexican food and  I believe that he would really enjoy this recipe.  It is so good and addicting. My only regret is I have not got to make it for him myself!!  I got this from a friend about a year ago when she brought it to a pot luck luncheon.  It was a huge hit! My family really enjoyed it.

Cowboy Caviar
Dressing:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cumin
Mix it all in a blender, pour into a medium sized bowl.
Add:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
2/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2-3/4 cup chopped tomatos
Mix well. Chill for atleast a couple hours and then right before serving fold in 1 avocado chopped.
Serve with tortilla chips.  The Tostitos "Scoop" chips work well with this dip.

* I make this the night before and chill so that the flavors have a chance to combine.
* This is pretty mild.  If you want to add a little kick add a little  chopped jalepeno or chiles.

Check out Foodie Friday (She has some amazing giveaways going on!!
                 Recipe Swap.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Angel Food Dessert

I found this recipe awhile ago and was so excited when I found an angel food cake on the sale rack at the grocery store.  When I got home I realized not only was it fat free but sugar free.  I was a little skeptical, but it was great!! You could not even tell.  This dessert reminded me of a triffle.  It was light and delicious.  The great thing is you can use all fat-free, sugar free ingredients or the real thing and it won't change it.  Since I am trying to be good I used the lower calorie ingredients.
Angel Food Dessert
adapted from The Taste of Home
1 can (20 oz.) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
3-4 medium firm bananas, sliced
1 angel food cake, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 cups low fat milk
2 packages (1 oz. each) sugar free instant vanilla pudding
1 -8 oz. carton light whipped topping
Place cake cubes in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. 
Place the fruit over top of the cake.
In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft -set. Spread over the fruit. Carefully spread the whippped topping over the pudding.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
*My kids requested that next time I leave out the pineapple and possibly add blueberries instead. This was as they were scarfing it down.  My daughter asked if I would send it for her lunch the next day!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gail's Italian Spaghetti Sauce

My cousin Gail is one "incredible" cook, which reminds me I need to get her to give me some more of her recipes.  This spaghetti sauce is really good and easy.  I adapted it a bit and used the crock pot.  I actually tripled the recipe so I would have "on purpose" leftovers.  My plan it to make a couple spaghetti casseroles and freeze them.  I will first give you the original recipe and then my adaptations.
Gail's Italian Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. crushed oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. basil
1 bay leaf
Brown sausage with onion and garlic.  Drain. Stir in remaining ingredients.  Heat to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Serve over hot noodles. Serves: 4-6

CROCK POT ADAPTATION X 3
1 1/2 lbs. regular sausage, cooked and drained.
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon crushed oregano
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 - 8 oz. tomato sauce
3 - 6 oz. tomato paste
1- 14.5 oz can of diced tomatos
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups water
2 1/4 teaspoon basil
3 bay leaves
Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir to mix.  Cook on high for 1 hour and then turn to low and cook 2-4 more hours.  You can also start out on low and cook all day. 
*I have also used hamburger instead of sausage and it is also good. Use the kind and amount of meat that you like.
*I left out the rosemary and used regular sausage even though my hubby would of preferred the Italian.  I also ended up cooking it about 6 hours because of an unplanned carpool trip.  It was so good!!
Check out other crock pot recipes at Crock Pot Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Candy Bar Blondies

I found this recipe at Taste of Home.  It is simple and pretty tasty.   There is something about a melted Snickers that adds great flavor. The kids were happy when I made them and there were none left the next morning.
Candy Bar Blondies
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
3 Snickers candy bars, chopped
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, brown sugar, butter and eggs until well blended.  Stir in chopped candy bar.
Spread into a greased 9 x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

*You could also use a chocolate cake mix.  I think other candy bars would be great also; Twix, Milky Way...mmmmm I might need to make some more.

Check out some great recipes at:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day!! Thanks everyone for the visit and sweet comments.  You all made my day!!  I have gotten the kids into a bad habit by making dessert on Sundays the last few weeks so they thought it was a neccessity this week also! So during the hour of no Oympics I made white caramel corn only coloring it pink.  It was kind of fun!! My son made this cute heart out ot if.  I can only assume he will give it away???
This Weeks Menu:
Monday: Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday: Shepherds Pie
Wednesday: Chicken-N- Hickory
Thursday: Sloppy Joes
Friday: Chicken Elegant/Yummy Rice
Saturday: Random Night
Sunday: Pizza Pasta
This week my goal is to complete some freezer cooking because next week is a super crazy week!!

Check out what others are cooking this week and some great resources for menu planning at

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pink Saturday, Texas Sugar Cookies & a Memory

 I am excited to participate in Pink Saturday over at How Sweet the Sound, for the very first time today!!  In honor of Valentine's Day I give you:
Pink Sugar Cookies
The pink sugar cookies remind me of a particular Valentine's Day.  Senior Year in High School, my husband and I were not an "official" couple yet.  The Drill Team was doing their annual cookie fundraiser for Valentine's Day.  I paid my money and ordered a cookie for Dennis that was supposed to say "Nice Pockets". My good friends made and delivered the cookie and thought they would change it for me. The one he received said,  "Nice Butt".  I was a little bit mortified when I found out, but we became an official couple later that weekend! The following weekend we went to The Sweetheart Ball,where we were named the cutest couple.  The bad thing was we both had different dates.  We received the honor, got our picture taken and hardly even looked at each other, then went back to our respective dates.  Talk about a bit awkward!!
This is my favorite recipe for sugar cookies.  I ate way too many of them this go around.  They are so tender and practically melt in your mouth.  I also like this recipe because you do not have to roll and cut them out.  Believe me I do not have the patience to do the roll and cut thing, even though shape cookies are so CUTE!
Texas Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugars.  Add oil, eggs and vanilla and mix.  Add dry ingredients gradually.  If possible chill dough for a couple of hours.  Shape into balls and then roll in sugar.  (I use a cookie scoop.)  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, just until the cookies are set and the edges are slightly brown.
Cool and frost!
Watch out they are ADDICTING!!

Now go and check out all things PINK today over at How Sweet the Sound!!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Superbowl Shrimp Dip

I am finally getting around to posting some of our Superbowl faves.  This is the tradional superbowl food at our house, but we love it anytime.  My brother insists on it each Christmas for the family party.  It has such a great flavor combination.  My favorite cracker to serve with this is  Keebler Club Crackers.
Superbowl Shrimp Dip
1st Layer
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonaise
Mix together and spread on bottom of dish.









2nd Layer
1 cup cocktail
Spread on top of cream cheese layer.
3rd Layer
3 cans broken shrimp (I used frozen shrimp, unthawed and cut up. You could also use crab.
4th Layer
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
5th Layer
3 green onions, chopped
1 tomato diced
Chill for a few hours to allow the flavors to mix a bit.  Serve with your favorite crackers.
Check out Foodie Friday and Recipe Swap for some great Valentine Food Ideas.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Light Cheesy Vegetable Soup

Since I am trying to be good with my eating I have been digging out my old Weight Watchers recipes.(I say this as I eat a frosted sugar cookie for breakfast this morning. OH MY!!)  I had never tried this one before. It is not a creamy soup.  I almost did not take a picture because it did not look very good, but it tastes delicious.  So don't let the picture scare you off!!
Light Cheesy Vegetable Soup
adapted from a Weight Watchers' Meeting
2 pounds frozen veggies - I used California Medley (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower)
3 cans chicken broth (or 4 cups water and 4 tsp. chicken bouillon)
1 can diced tomatoes (petite diced) or if you want a little spice use a can of Rotel tomatoes.
10 oz. light Velveeta, cut in to small pieces

Dump veggies, broth ant tomatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Let simmer for 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add the Velveeta pieces. Stir until melted.  Enjoy!

Serving size: 1 cup
Weight Watchers points: 1




Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Easy Beef and Cheese Manicotti


Easy Beef and Cheese Manicotti
adapted from Food Network
1 pound hamburger
14 (8 oz. package) manicotti
2 cups cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1 egg
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar spaghetti sauce.
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook the manicotti in boiling water until slightly softened but still firm. (about 6 minutes ) drain and set aside.
Brown hamburger in a large saucepan. Drain and season with salt and pepper.  Combine the cottage cheese, egg, 2 cups mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese., garlic in a large bowl.  Mix in the cooked hamburger: salt and pepper to taste.
Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Pour a small amount of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the dish. 
Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta.  Sprinkle with the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese, then the remaning 1/2 cup of Parmesan. 
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. 
Uncover and bake for 5-10  more minutes until all the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and let stand for five minutes and serve.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

A friend brought me some really cute cookies with a Peanut Butter Cup in the middle.  They were so tasty!! Yum!( Thanks Emily) I have craved them ever since.  I meant to get the recipe from her but unfortunately kept forgetting. When I decided to try them out the other day I didn't want to bug her, so I tried to figure it out on my own... Here's what I came up with.
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2Tbs milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
48 mini Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars together.  Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well. Gradually add flour, soda and salt. Mix well.
Grease small muffin tin.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in white sugar. I used a small dough scoop, dropped the dough into the sugar and lightly rolled it in the sugar.  Place one dough ball into each muffin space.
Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from the oven and press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie.
Return to oven and bake 2 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for a couple minutes.  Use a spoon to gently lift the cookies out of the pan. 
Makes 4 dozen.
I ran out of peanut butter cups and had some little Twix bars. I cut them in half and used them in place of the peanut butter cups for my last 12 cookies.  They weren't as nice looking, but tasted great!! 
These did not last long in our house!!

Check out:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday...Is It Really That Time again??

Wow! Where did last week go?  Didn't I just get done planning the menu? Time seems to be flying by lately.  We enjoyed the Superbowl and the food.  I still have this time change issue and thought it started an hour later than itactually did.  After lunch I thought I still had over an hour to finish my cooking projects when really I only had about 10 minutes.  So I did not get everything done that I wanted to, which ended up being a good thing because we ended up not being that hungry (it is no wonder after the family finished off two of the BIG sandwiches first!!).  Here's a glimpse of what we had:
Superbowl Shrimp Dip, Bean Dip, Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (Which did not make it to game time!) and Cowboy Caviar and a couple of "The BIG Sandwich"es (a family favorite)
Now onward to this week:
Wednesday: Beef Noodle Soup
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Random Night
Sunday: Cheeseburgers

Check out what others are cooking this week over at Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pizza Bites

Ok, by now you all know I tend to go on a "new recipe spree".  Well I seem to be in one of those moods.  This time I found a winner over at Chaos in the Kitchen!! It was a little bit different and so delicious.  My intention was to make these and freeze them to use for our Superbowl Celebration..but my daughter changed my mind and cooked them ALL for dinner.  YUM!! The kids loved that they could just pull of a piece.  It was a huge hit!! A big thanks to Chaos in the Kitchen for a new family favorite.
Pizza Bites
2 recipes Pizza Dough (or 2 cans refrigerated pizza dough) You can find my favorite recipe here.
8 oz. block of mozzarella cheese
4 oz. sliced pepperoni, diced into small pieces
4-6 oz. ham, diced in to small pieces
2 tsp. Salad Supreme seasoning (or Italian seasoning)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.
Prepare pizza dough. Cut block of mozzarella into 48 cubes.  If you are going to bake them right away preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 3 pie pans. 
If using refrigerated pizza dough, roll out one dough and cut into 24 pieces.  If using homemade dough just pinch off walnut sized pieces as you go.
Flatten out dough piece and place pieces of the chopped meat and one cube of cheese.  Seal the dough around the meat and place seam side down in the pie pan.
Repeat, placing approximately 16 dough balls in each pie plate. 
Once assembled, combine oil and seasoning and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Now you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze or you can bake.  When ready to bake:
Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes.  Serve with warm pizza or marinara sauce.

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