Friday, April 29, 2011

Bowtie Spinach Salad

Just a few words about my new favorite salad.  It is easy to put together and oh so DELICIOUS!! I found this recipe over at Moogie and Pap.  She is always making some amazing things!!  I love that you really don't need to measure the ingredients and the dressing is so good!!
Bowtie Spinach Salad
adapted from Moogie & Pap
1 bag baby spinach
8 oz. mini-bow tie pasta
1 package bacon cooked crisp and broken into small pieces.
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into about 1 inch cubes
4-6 strawberries cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup almond slivers

1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sweet onion
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
*Optional  1 strawberry
Update: This is my new favorite dressing for this salad:
Sweet Vinaigrette Dressing
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
Mix well. Shake before serving.Boil pasta as directed on the package.  Rinse under cold water and set aside.   Combine dressing ingredients in the blender.  I always add 1 strawberry to make it a pretty pink color and it add great flavor. 
Combine salad ingredients in a bowl.  Toss gently to combine the ingredients.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ryan's Bean Casserole

My brother Ryan is an amazing cook.  Today, I am sharing with you one of his signature dishes! It may not look beautiful, but it is delicious and I love the bean mixture.  He adds, "to make sure you have a bottle of  'Beano' on hand!!" (Did I mention his great sense of humor!) On with the recipe....
Ryan's Bean Casserole
All beans are the 15 oz. cans
1 can Pork & Beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can red beans
1 can black beans
1 can great northern beans
1 pound hamburger
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons mustard
1 small onion, chopped (or about 1/2 cup)
1 Polska Kielbasa or beef smoked sausage
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 package bacon
Brown and drain hamburger.  Cook bacon until crisp and break into pieces. Cut sausage into small pieces.  Drain and rinse beans except the pork and beans.  Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix together.
Pour into a 13 x 9 casserole dish and bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. 
My lazy version: Place it all in a crock pot.  Mix together and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can use the kind of beans you like. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tried & True: Leftover Ham Recipes

As I was searching through my recipes looking for meals to use up my ham I came across one of my family's very favorites: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. Oh yum!!  This is a go to recipe when I need to take dinner into someone.  I always get a call wanting the recipe.  It is best when you use real ham in it so it is the perfect dish for the leftover ham.
Once again the picture does not do it justice.
It also makes a great freezer meal.
Another of my favorites is:
Last but not least idea for leftover ham or should I say your ham bone is:
I hope these help a bit!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!!  A huge THANKS to everyone for letting me vent about my son and for all the sweet words.  Just a quick update: His bloodwork came back normal and just as a precaution we will see a cardiologist in a week.  So far so good!! 
I have a ton of ham leftover from Easter dinner.  Does anyone else?  So my question is what do you do with it all??  I have a few great recipes, but my family gets tired of it real quick.  Any ideas?
Now on to my weekly menu:  7 days of HAM!  Just kidding, although I am thowing in a few ham meals.

This Week's Menu 
Monday: Ham Fried Rice
Tuesday: French Dips
Wednesday: Skillet Ham & Cheese Pasta
Thursday: Tex-Mex Casserole
Friday: Beef & Cheese Manicotti
Saturday: Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza
Sunday: Tacos
Have an INCREDIBLE week!!
Linked to: Menu Plan Monday

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Faves #9

Your recipes that I can't wait to try out on my table!!

Meatless Meals for Meat Lovers

The Cookin' Chemist

Mango Salsa
Only Fish Recipes

Bacon Ketchup
Moogie & Pap

Hula Girl Blondies
Sinful Southern Sweets

Garden Cheese Ball
Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters

Pork Chops O'Brien

This is the perfect meal to satisfy my meat and potatoes hubby.  I love it because it is easy and an all in one deal!!  It is delicious and there weren't any leftovers. 

Pork Chops O'Brien
6 pork loin chops about 1/2 inch thick
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1+ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups french fried onions
24 oz. frozen hash browns
seasoning salt
Over medium high heat, brown the pork chops and set aside.
Melt butter.  In a medium sized bowl combine the soup, sour cream, butter, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 cup onions.  Fold mixture into the potatoes.
Spread mixture in a lightly greased 9 x 13 dish.
Arrange pork chops on top and sprinkle them with the seasoning salt.
Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the pork is tender.  Remove cover. Sprinkle with the remaing french fried onions and cheese.
Return to the oven uncovered for 5-10 minutes more or until the cheese is melted.
*The original recipe calls for O'Brien hash browns.  I have always just used what I have on hand.  Don't worry about thawing your hashbrown.  It turns out just fine.
*You can substitute the soup for Cream of Celery.
Now the winner of the Cheerios Spoonful of Stories prize package, drawn by random number generator:
Congratulations to Miriam of Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters!  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

This was a quick, easy and delicious meal!!  It is supposed to be a lower calorie version.  I left out the pepper flakes so that my kids would eat it.  They loved it!!  You can add more vegetables or leave them out.  The only thing I will do different next time is I need to double the recipe, they ate it all and I think leftovers would be tasty.  I served it with steamed broccoli on the side.
General Tso's Chicken
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
3 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch (3 Tablespoons 1 1/2 teaspoons)
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 cup minced onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
*1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
*1/2 cup unsalted cashew pieces
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into about 2 inch pieces.
*3 medium mushrooms, sliced
*2 stalks of celery, sliced
Cooked rice (I cooked 3 cups.)
*optional ingredients
In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger; Set aside.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions, garlic and pepper (if desired) and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes or until browned.  If desired stir in the mushrooms and celery. 
Add sauce and simmer until the sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through. About 5 minutes.  If desired stir in cashew pieces. 
Serve chicken and sauce over rice. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sweet & Sour Meatloaf

My family loves meatloaf, but I needed a bit of a change.  A combination of sweet and sour sauce and meat.  A perfect change.  It was delicious!! The sauce is AMAZING!! Sorry this is the only picture I took.  We got too involved in eating it that it was all gone before I thought about taking more pictures.
Sweet & Sour Meatloaf
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
3/4 cup uncooked oats
1/2 cup minced onion
1  teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 (15 oz.) can of tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix hamburger, oats, onion, salt, pepper, egg and 1/2 can of the tomato sauce together.  Place in a loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes. 
Meanwhile in a small saucepan over medium heat combine the remaining tomato sauce, the sugars, vinegar and mustard.  Bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat.
After meatloaf has cooked for 45 minutes remove from oven and drain the grease.  Pour sauce over top of the meatloaf and return to the oven for 25 more minutes.   Let sit for about 5 minutes before slicing.
*You can replace the oats with breadcrumbs or corn flakes.  You could also shape it into a loaf and cook in a 9x13 casserole dish. Then the sauce could cover the sides a bit better.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

Saturday at the BIG track invitational, my son ran the 3200 and collapsed at the finish line.  It was so scary!!  They did not permit parents on the field, but that didn't stop me.  Nothing was stopping me from getting to my son.  It was a really scary time. They had an ambulance at the meet but no one there to staff it. (Is that stange to anyone else but me?) They had a medic tent which had a doctor and he said he needed an IV but, they had no way to give him one.(Ok there is an ambulance and a doctor what is wrong with this picture?)  Finally after about 1/2 hour the dr. said we needed to get him to the ER.  Kody perked up and was determined he was not going.  Luckily it all worked out and he was able to walk out on his own.  Now we just got to figure out what is going on with him. So question for everyone.  No matter how much he drinks he cannot stay hydrated.  No other issues, but when this happens during the race his body just shuts down. This was the worst episode yet.  Does anyone have any ideas?   We have got to get it figured out because I can't take it happening anymore... Thanks for listening to me.  It was an extremely emotional weekend.  Now it is time to pick myself up and get on with life...
This Week's Menu
Monday: Chicken Spaghetti
Tuesday: Ryan's Bean Casserole
Wednesday: Pork Chops
Thursday:Teriyaki Chicken Salads
Friday: Tex-Mex Casserole
Sunday: Easter Dinner
Happy Eating!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Italian Chicken Pockets

Lately I have been in a bit of a dinner rut! So I turned to a good friend and asked if she had anything she would share with me.  A few minutes later, she tapped me on the shoulder and handed me this recipe and it is DELICIOUS!! It was a hit with the whole family, even the picky eater.  Unfortunately, the pictures do not do it justice, so you will just have to trust me on this one.  It is simple, quick and tasty!! 
Italian Chicken Pockets
1 pound chicken breast, cubed
1/2 cup Italian dressing
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
4- 6 oz. sliced pepperoni, cut in half
3 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 green pepper diced
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
shredded Mozzarella cheese (optional)
pita pocket bread
Marinate the chicken cubes in the Italian dressing for at least 2 hours.  Drain off the dressing.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat.   Add chicken and cook until browned.
Add mushrooms, onions, peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then add the pepperoni and sauce.  Stir to combine. 
Heat until  everything is hot and the veggies are tender.
Serve in half of a pita. 
The trick is to not overfill them!
*I did not use the green pepper. I added the Mozzarella cheese to the recipe afterwards because it would be a great addition.  I marinated the chicken in creamy balsamic dressing this time. 
Thank Amy for another great recipe!!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cheerios New Author Contest & A Giveaway!!

Have you ever dreamed of writing your own story book, in which animals talk, people can fly, and giants live next door?

Now is your chance!!  I have always wanted to write a children's book, but have been too scared.  This is the perfect opportunity for everyone who has ever
dreamed of being published.  Cheerios has made it easy for you to enter your story.

Through its annual New Author Contest Cheerios® cereal will make this dream a 
reality for one aspiring children’s book author. One Grand Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a possible publishing deal with
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, in addition to having his or her book featured inside Cheerios cereal boxes nationwide.

Founded on the belief that reading is a key
building block for learning and life, the Cheerios New Author Contest encourages ambitious authors to write and submit an original story, in either English or Spanish, suitable for children ages three to eight. The contest, which is an extension of the Spoonfuls of Stories program, is part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to nurturing the whole child and connecting families by fostering a shared love of reading.

Laurie Isop, of Renton, Wash., won the literary
lottery when she was named Grand Prize Winner of the 2009 Cheerios New Author Contest. Laurie,
a small business owner, mother of two boys, and aspiring author since the age of 12, can now add “published author” to her resume. This spring, Laurie’s book How Do You Hug a Porcupine? will be featured in more than three million specially-marked boxes of Cheerios and will also be available
in bookstores nationwide beginning this July.

Those who want to follow in Laurie’s footsteps and think
they have the "write" stuff can visit:
from March 22 through July 15, 2011 to find out more.
Now it is your chance to win a copy of the
winning book +some great bonus items!!
 One reader will win:
A prize pack that includes a box of Cheerios with
Laurie Isop’s book inside, as well as a
“create-your-own” book kit for kids that contains
two hard cover books and all the necessary materials
to creatively fill the pages inside, including story starter
ideas and colored pencils.
How cool is that!!!
To enter the contest be a follower and:
 Tell me your favorite Children's book or
what type of book you would write?
Winner will be drawn by random number generator
on April 21, 2011!
Happy Writing!!

The prize pack and information were given to me from Cheerios through MyBlogSpark. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ranch Enchiladas Creamas Verdes

You all know my famiy's love of Mexican food and my love of trying new things.  So when I saw this recipe over at An 'A' for Effort I just knew it would be amazing because she makes the best things!! It did not let me down.  Due to my lack of certain ingredients I adapted it a bit and loved it so much! The added ranch dressing brings added flavor.  I will be making these again and soon.  Everyone loved them.
Ranch Enchiladas Creamas Verdes
adapted from An 'A' for Effort
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 T olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups green enchilada sauce, divided
1 small can diced green chilies
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup ranch dressing , divided
flour tortillas
1 C half and half or heavy cream
3C shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Coat a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; Saute onion 5 minutes.  Add chicken, 1 cup enchilada sauce, cream cheese, 1/2 cup ranch dressing and chilies.  Reduce heat to medium; stir, melt cheese and blend mixture well.
 Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of chicken mixture. Sprinkle the top with a little shredded cheese. Roll up tightly and place in baking dish, seam-sides down.
 In a separate bowl, combine remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce, 1/4 cup ranch dressing with cream; pour over enchiladas and top with remaining shredded cheese.
Cover  lighlty with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or unitl the cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. 
Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
If desired garnish with chopped tomatoes, onions or salsa.
Oh YUM!!
Thanks Abby for a incredibly delicious recipe!!

Menu Plan Monday

I have a little glitch in this week's menu.  We are waiting to hear if my son qualified for a big race out of town this next weekend.  Don't they get that this mom has to PLAN!! (deep breath). So I am planning like we will be going and if not, I guess I will just have to plan some more. 
This Week's Menu
Monday: Italian Chicken Pitas
Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Wednesday: Chicken Ole
Thursday: S&S Meatloaf
Friday: Out of Town
Saturday: Out of town
Sunday: Pork Chops
Wishing you a delicious week!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Banana Pudding Cake

I had two bananas that were way overdue to be eaten..I couldn't get rid of them. So I turned them into this DELICIOUS cake!! It is so light and flavorful. OH YUM!! I want another piece........but I am gonna resist...well, maybe???
Banana Pudding Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 (3.5 oz.)package instant banana cream pudding mix.
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1 cup mashed bananas
Optional: 2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.  Add cake mix and pudding mix to a large bowl.  Add eggs, oil, water  and mashed bananas.  Beat on low speed until blended.  Then beat on medium speed for 4 minutes.  (Stir in chocolate chips if desired.) Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Then turn out on to a wire rack and cool completely.
Make the icing:
In a small bowl combine ingredients and whisk until smooth and of a drizzling consistency.  If it is too thick add a little more milk.  When cake is cooled, drizzle icing over the cake in a zigzag motion.
I think I will enjoy a slice!
Oh YUM!!
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