Friday, April 29, 2011

Grilled Southwest Cilantro Lime Mango Chicken Sandwiches

We made this on french bread and sourdough bread. Both were very good. It had a lot of good flavors that worked well together. This made enough for 6 sandwiches.
Grilled veggies:
1/2 red pepper
2 thick slices of sweet onion

Drizzle red pepper and onion with olive oil and grill on the grill until tender.

Meanwhile mix:
1 can chicken
1/2 mango, cubed
3 Tbsp. cilantro
1/4 tsp. garlic pwd.
1/2 tsp. chili pwd.
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup mayo
pinch dried jalapeno pwd.
salt and pepper to taste

Chop grilled vegetables and mix into chicken mix. Spread on bread and top with monterey jack cheese. Top with another slice and bread and place on grill. Grill until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.

Recipe adapted from:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

My new favorite mac and cheese recipe: (everyone ate it)
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cup Velveeta cheese
  • 2/3 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk

In a pot bring water to a boil with salt to taste, once the water comes to a boil add the macaroni and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.When the noodles are cooked drain but do not rinse.To make the cheese sauce in a pan over low heat combine the Velveeta cheese,shredded cheddar and the milk. Cook the cheeses till they are melted and then add the salt. Add the noodles and mix through..

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

This cake was really easy to make and the flavor....Mmmm....So good!

Recipe from: kraft foods

1 pkg.
(2-layer size) devil's food chocolate cake mix (and ingredients to make)
4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
12 OREO Cookies, coarsely crushed

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

PREPARE cake batter and bake in 2 (9-inch) round pans as directed on package. Cool cakes in pans 10 min. Invert cakes onto wire racks; gently remove pans

. Cool cakes completely.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 min.

MEANWHILE, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gently stir in COOL WHIP and crushed cookies. Stack cake layers on plate, spreading cream cheese mixture between layers. Spread top with chocolate glaze; let stand until firm. Keep refrigerated.

Layers of goodness:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kitchen Tools Tuesday

Strawberry Huller

Strawberries are in full swing with Spring, so these are being used regularly at our house now. I have 2 hullers like this: The black handled one is a Pampered Chef one, the red handled one is a cheaper one from a local kitchen gadget store.

I will say I like the Pampered chef one better. It has a more comfortable handle and the little spikies are not as sharp. But for the price difference, the red one is a great purchase!***I LOVE using these for Tomatoes, too!! (esp. for canning tomatoes)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Betty Crocker's Waffles

I like that this recipe is super fast, simple ingredients and tastes great.2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup oil or melted butter

Heat waffle iron.

Beat eggs until fluffy. (I used my kitchen aid mixer to make it's super easy) Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth.

Cook on waffle iron.

Simple. Easy. Good.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Butterfinger Cookies

My friend, Jessica got me hooked on these cookies. They are so good, esp. dipped in some chocolate :) My kids preferred them without the added chocolate (they don't know what they are missing), but they gobbled these cookies up with joy....make a batch, you'll love them!

Recipe from: Farm Girl Recipes

1/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. peanut butter
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 - 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3 butterfingers, chopped in small pieces (I used 9 fun size)
melting chocolate ( I use Wiltons)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix in Butterfingers . Bake for 8-10 minutes. (I used my big purple scoop) Remove and let sit on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cookie rack. Cool completely.

2. Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until chocolate is smooth, but not too hot. Dip half of the cookie in chocolate and set on wax paper until chocolate hardens. I used another fun size candy bar crunched up to sprinkle on the melted chocolate...Jessica's idea...I like the way it looks!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kitchen Tools Tuesday

My julienne peeler.I learned about this tool a few years ago and thought about it for a few months before buying it at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It's perfect for making match stick size carrot slices for soups, salads and stir fry.

See the "teeth"under the blade:

As you slide the peeler down the carrot, these "teeth" cut the thick slices again to create the long thick cuts. Then you cut the long strips with a knife to make them shorter if you like...Simple and easy to use.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Steak and Mango Salad

This salad had a little different flavor to add a nice variety to eating a green salad. It sounded interesting, so I gave it a try. I really liked the caramelized macadamia nuts. It was also an easy dinner to toss together. Recipe from: Our Best Bites

1 lb steak

1 head romaine or red-leaf lettuce
Red onion, thinly sliced
1 mango, cubed
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 C caramelized macadamia nuts

Dressing & Marinade

1/2 C fresh squeezed orange juice
6 T fresh lime juice
6 T soy sauce
1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 T fresh grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 C canola oil

Blend ingredients in blender. Pour some of the dressing on the steaks, reserving at least 3/4 cup of dressing for salad. Leave marinaded steak in fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Grill steak. Remove from grill and wait at least 5 minutes before cutting to let the juices redistribute. Then slice into thin slices.

Assemble salad: Divide lettuce and spinach onto plates and top with slices of mango, red onion, nuts and sliced steak. Drizzle with dressing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Caramelized Nuts

For snacking or topping salads...YUM! My favorites are Macadamia nuts and Almonds. (This picture is macadamia nuts)

Recipe from: Our Best Bites

2 T brown sugar

1/2 T light corn syrup

1/2 T butter

1/2 C nuts

Optional: 1/8 tsp cinnamon (SO good)

Place brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter (and cinnamon if you’re using) in a non-stick skillet on the stove top. Set heat to medium or medium-high. Stir the mixture as it comes together until it bubbles.

Add nuts and stir to coat. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly until nuts turn golden brown in color and smell toasted.

Cool completely and break apart.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

School Lunch Peanut Butter Bars

These are SO good! Have someone to share them don't want to have to work off an entire pan!! (Thanks for sharing with me Michelle!!)
John's Rating: "8 1/2"
  • ¾ cup Butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ cup flour
  • 1½ cup oats
  • milk chocolate chips.. 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Cream butter, sugars, and peanut butter together. Add eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Spread in greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Place milk chocolate chips on top of bars immediately after removing from oven. Spread chocolate evenly after it has melted.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kitchen Tools Tuesday: My Bread Board

I love having this board for my bread making: Not only do I get an instant sanitary area to work with my bread, but I can pick up the floury mess and dump it right in the garbage, quickly wash my board and my work area is clean again.

It is the largest cutting board that Walmart carried...I haven't check to see if they still sell them but the measurements are: 15 in by 20 in.

LOVE it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chili-Lime Steak Salad

Loved the flavor of this salad!! Plan ahead...the dressing needs to thicken.
John's Rating: strong 8
Recipe from: Our Best Bites

1 1/2 lb flank steak, cooked with rub (listed below) and sliced into 1/4″ slices
1 recipe Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing (recipe below)
1 large head romaine lettuce
Tomatoes, diced
Red onion, sliced thin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed in cold water
cilantro for garnish
crushed corn chips or tortilla strips

Grill steak. Toss your salad with your toppings and top with sliced steak and dressing...YUM!

Steak Rub:
1 t chili powder
1 t granulated garlic
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t oregano
1/8- 1/4 t cayenne pepper*
3/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
*If you have chipotle chili powder, you can substitute it for the cayenne or just add a little in addition

1 lime (about 2 T lime juice)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1-2 lbs flank steak, or other good grilling cut (tenderloin, NY strip, and tri-tip all work well)

Juice the lime into a small bowl. Add spices and oil and stir to combine.

Place the steak in a shallow dish and pour the spice mixture on top. Use your hands to massage it in there.

Let it sit for 15 minutes. During that time preheat your grill (or marinate it a few hours if you have time)

Place meat on hot grill. When steak is finished, remove from grill and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it.

2 Tbsp. Original Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 Cup mayo
1/2 Cup milk
1 lime
2 cloves garlic
1/2 Cup cilantro
1/4 Cup green salsa (amount depends on how hot you want it)
*I used medium green taco sauce instead of green worked great!

Place ingredients in blender. Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Broccoli, Cheddar, Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole

I forgot the cheese at the end, but the cheese sauce was plenty, so we didn't miss it.
John's Rating: 8Recipe from: Picky-Palate

1 small can cream of chicken soup

1 small can cheddar cheese soup

3/4 Cups milk

3 cups broccoli florets

1 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1/8 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt with Parsley

1/2 bag Ore Ida Seasoned Tater Tots, frozen

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place soup and milk into a large pot over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in broccoli and cook for 5 additional minutes to soften slightly. Stir in chicken, hot sauce, salt, pepper and garlic seasoning. Pour mixture into 11×7 inch baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Top evenly with tater tots and cheese; bake for 40 minutes. (I like my tater tots crispy) Remove from oven and serve.

6 servings

Friday, April 8, 2011

Brownie in a Mug

If your craving a warm, gooey brownie, you can make this one in a mug and it's delish...and super rich. John was really leery about a microwaved brownie, but really liked it! I thought it was a great idea so I was limited to one brownie instead of being tempted by a whole pan. But it was so fast and easy to make...the temptation to have one often is a problem. Recipe from:

4 Tablespoons Flour
4 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cocoa powder (Note: don't use cocoa mix or quik, it shouldn't have any sugar)
2 Tablepsoons Vegetable Oil (Don't use one with a strong flavor, eg olive, sesame, etc)
2 Tablespoons Water
Dash of salt

Add the sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt to the mug and mix. Then add the oil and water and mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Be sure to be thorough, there's a tendency for clumps of the dry ingredients to form

Microwave on high for 45 seconds. You may have to microwave it longer or shorter, depending on your microwave, but the brownie should still be wet in the center when done.

It's done! Top it with a scoop of ice cream and eat right out of the mug!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pepperoni Bread

This bread goes fantastic with a could stand on it's own with some dipping sauce for an appetizer. You can put whatever toppings you want in it...I used pepperoni and olives this time on part of it for John and me...just pepperoni for my kids.
Recipe from:

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. oil
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour

1 Tbsp parsley (I used dried)
1/2 tsp. garlic pwd.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out dough.
Place all ingredients on top of dough. Roll up loaf and pinch to seal. Place on non-stick baking sheet. Using a very sharp knife, score loaf diagonally about 1/4 inch into dough, exposing bits of the colorful filling.

Bake 350 for 28-30 minutes.

What it looked like before I rolled it up and baked it:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kitchen Tools Tuesday

Pie Crust Rolling Mat

I saw this idea at a craft show...and wanted one, but I knew I could easily make one, so I did! Actually I made several and used them for Christmas gifts one year in pie making kits...I kept 2 for myself.

I picked up the plastic at our local fabric store. It comes in a variety of thicknesses. I chose a thicker one. Then I made a circle slightly bigger than my pie pan (cut 2) and left a notch in one spot to stitch the 2 pieces together (although I don't think it is necessary, you could just keep it in 2 pieces) So start with your dough in the middle: Notice how you don't have to flour it?

Then with a couple of quick rolls with the rolling pin:

Then you peel back one layer of plastic, lay your crust on your pan and peel off the other layer of plastic: Now you form your crust in your pan (make a top crust if needed) and quickly clean up your mess by wiping the mat off.

Now enjoy that pie!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cream Cheese and Swiss Lasagna

John dubbed this his favorite lasagna. I may have to agree. The flavor was really good.

Recipe from: Taste of Home

  • 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Spaghetti sauce, I used about 5 cups
  • 15 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

  • In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the beef, sausage, onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  • Spread 1 cup sauce in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Top with three noodles. Drop a third of the cream cheese by teaspoonfuls over the top. Spinkle on some meat. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2/3 cup each of Parmesan and Swiss; spoon a third of the remaining sauce over the top. Repeat layers of noodles, cheeses, meats and sauce twice (dish will be full).
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.

This Week's Menu

Monday: Out of the freezer: chicken enchiladas
Tuesday: Broccoli, cheddar, chicken and tater tot casserole
Wednesday: Recipe Exchange: Salad for dinner!
Thursday: Steak and potatoes
Friday: Pineapple Sesame Chicken
Saturday: Grilled Chicken

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Three Layer Rice Krispy Treats

You don't need me to tell you that peanut butter and chocolate go great together, right?? So this recipe is a great combination of flavors when it comes to Rice Krispies. John really liked this version of the Rice Krispie...I may not have followed the directions...but I just dump ingredients in when I make them. So I divided my marshmallows in 3 and used my usual 1/4 cup of butter and divided that in 3. Then I made the 3 different batches using the microwave and dumped in the ingredients to my liking, but I left the measurements from Stephanie's Kitchen, b/c this was my guidelines.
John's Rating: 8
Recipe from: Stephanie's Kitchen

Bottom Layer:
2 tablespoons butter
20 large marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, marshmallows and peanut butter until smooth. Pour over the rice krispies and mix until well blended. Pour into a 9 inch greased baking pan and smash down evenly. Set aside while you work on the next layer.
Middle Layer:
2 tablespoons butter
20 large marshmallows
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1. In a microwave safe bowl, add the butter and marshmallows and heat for about 1 1/2 -2 minutes or until smooth. Add rice krispies and stir until well coated. Add chocolate chips and stir until well coated. Pour over the bottom layer of krispies and smash down evenly. Set aside while you work on the last layer.
Top Layer:
2 tablespoons butter
2o large marshmallows
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1. In a microwave safe bowl, add the butter and marshmallows and heat for about 1 1/2-2 minutes or until smooth. Add rice krispies and stir until well coated. Pour over the middle layer of krispies and smash down evenly. Let set for about an hour before cutting into squares.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chicken Lo Mein

I really enjoyed this dish...the sauce with ginger was fantastic. You can change up the veggies to your liking.Recipe from: Family Fun

1/2 pound angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cup broccoli florets
1 cup sugar snap pea pods, halved
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size strips

Cook the noodles according to the package directions until just tender. Drain out the water. Rinse the noodles with cold water, drain them well, and then set them aside.

In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Then set the sauce aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the ginger for 30 seconds. Then add the onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and stir-fry 2 minutes more. Finally, add the broccoli and pea pods. Stir-fry the vegetables for 2 more minutes, then transfer them to a plate.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add half of the chicken and stir-fry it until it's no longer pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer it to another plate. Stir-fry the remaining chicken, then return the first batch to the pan. Add the cooked noodles, vegetables, and sauce. Turn the heat down to medium.

Using two spatulas or wooden spoons, lightly toss the mixture until heated through, about 3 minutes.