Friday, December 31, 2010

Creamy Lemon Squares

Happy New Year's Eve! Hope you all have big, fun plans for this evening. My family will get together for food and fun for just about any occasion. Tonight will be no different! Anytime we have a get together and I am looking to make something new, the first place I look is to The Pioneer Woman. Either her website or her cookbook . I got this recipe off of her website. Much like pretty much everything I have made of hers, it involves a little time and effort but it is always well worth it. Here is what you will need:

*Cream together 1 stick of softened butter and 1 cup packed brown sugar

*Add in 1.5 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1 cup oats

*Mix by hand until everything is well incorporated

*Press half of crumb mixture into a 9x13 pan

*For the filling you will need 1/2 c fresh lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon

*Mix the lemon with 1 can sweetened condensed milk until smooth

*Spread the lemon mixture over the pressed crumb mixture

*Top with remaining crumbs
*Bake at 350 for 25 minutes
*Cool for 30 min and then cut into squares
*Keep refrigerated until ready to serve!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Meatless Tacos Version 2.0

If you have read through my blog at all you can probably figure out that I love Mexican food and I am not going to let the whole "no meat" thing out damper on that! Tonight we tried a different version of meatless tacos. Now that Christmas is over and we are stuffed to the brim with junk (wonderful, delicious junk!) it is time for some good, slightly more healthy, home cooked food. It tasted great and we will have it again for sure. It takes no time at all to throw these together. I actually folded some laundry while it was cooking! Ok, here is what you will need:
*In a large skillet pour a 16oz jar of chunky salsa, 1.5 tsp chili powder, and a splash of water
*Bring to a boil
*Add in 1 cup of instant brown rice, remove from heat, and cover for 5-10 minutes
*While the rice is cooking, drain a can of black beans and a can of mexi corn

*When the rice is done cooking, give it a stir:

*Add in your beans and corn and stir
*Serve with shredded cheese on a tortilla (don't you love E's pink plate?!)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lentil Tacos

So, I don't know if anyone knew this but I have been a vegetarian for exactly 4 days now! (Probably not since I think I have told a grand total of 3 people.) It is something I have been thinking about for quite a while and I finally decided to just go for it. I am doing it more for the health benefits of it and not so much the "oh, please don't kill the animals" thing. Tonight I made lentil tacos. I have made them before but they were especially good tonight. I think I perfected cooking lentils and that makes a difference. I had these with my Spanish Rice and it was perfect! Here is what you will need:
*Heat up 1 tsp oil in a pan and add in 1 chopped onion and 1 tbs minced garlic
*When onion is tender: add in 1 cup lentils, 1tbsp chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, and 1tsp oregano.
*Stir and cook for about 1 minute
*Add 2.5 cups vegetable broth and bring to a boil
*Reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer for 25-30minutes
*When liquid is almost gone, remove from heat
*Smash lentils slightly with a fork and add 1/2 cup salsa if desired
*Serve on tortillas with cheese!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tater Soup

I had a big bag of potatoes sitting in my kitchen. I can't remember why I bought them but I think I had intentions of making mashed potatoes. Well, it was a cold night and none of us were feeling very well so I decided to concoct some type of potato soup. Here is what I used:
*First cut up about 10 potatoes and 1 whole onion and put them in a big pot

*Then cover the potatoes and onions in skim milk and brought it to a boil.
*Then add 2 cans of cheddar cheese soup and 1 container of sour cream. Mix well.
*Add some chopped up, already cooked bacon and about 2 cups shredded cheese.
*Heat until cheese is melted and soup is hot.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homemade Spanish Rice

When I can and have time, I like to make things from scratch. It tastes better, is better for you, and I just enjoy cooking for my family. This Spanish rice is SO good and it is not loaded with salt like the stuff that comes out of a box or bag (which is really tasty, too...believe me!). It is super easy to make although it does take a little time. But isn't anything good worth waiting for? I could make myself sick eating this stuff. Enjoy! Here is what you will need:
*In a big skillet heat about 2 tbsp of oil
*Once it is warm, add in 1 chopped onion and 1/2 chopped green pepper. If you like your rice chunky, then leave the pieces bigger. If you like your rice smoother, then cut the piece smaller. We like chunky!
*Saute the veggies for a minute or so and then add 1c of rice
*Saute the rice/veggie mixture until the rice is brown and the veggies are tender
*Add in 2c water, 1 can Rotel (drained), 2tbsp chili powder, and 1 tsp salt
*Stir well

*Reduce heat to medium, cover, and let rice simmer for about 25 minutes
*Stir occasionally
*You could eat this alone but we had ours tonight with cheese enchiladas and re fried beans!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Easiest Quesadillas Ever

I think it was my aunt and uncle who first made these and brought them to a family game night. Since then, the "recipe" has been passed around the family. I like them because they taste good, are super simple to make, and are easy to make your own. The ones I made tonight are chicken ones, but we have also done ones with just cheese (those are the kid's favorite!). We have also added black beans and corn before to make them a little different. Since I have a ton of homework to do tonight, I needed something quick and good and this is one of our go-to quick and easy meals! Here is what you will need:
*Pre heat your over to 350
*Melt some butter in a large skillet
*Cut up your chicken into bite size pieces and cook until no longer pink
*While the chicken is cooking, put your tortillas on a baking pan and put in the over for about 3 minutes to crisp it up
*Once chicken is cooked through, add a well drained can of rotel and mix well

*Pull your tortillas out of the oven and top with some of the chicken mixture
*Top with as much cheese as you want
*Top with another tortilla
*Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until top tortilla gets a little crispy
*Let cool and cut with a pizza cutter
*Serve with salsa or sour cream

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monster Toes

Every year my family has a costume party for Halloween. The kids and adults alike dress up and it is always tons of fun! Everyone keeps their costumes a secret until the party when we get to see who everyone is dressed like. A prize is given for best costume, but even better than the prize is the glory of getting to rub it in everyone's face the rest of the year that YOU WON!! And of course, any time our family gets together there is food involved. These are the cookies I am taking tonight. Super easy to make and the kids love them!
You will need the following:

*Melt your bark in a microwave safe bowl stirring often
*Add in a few drops of green food coloring

*Dip the Nutter Butters into the melted bark. You can either dip the entire cookie, or just the top. I just did the top.
*Cut the DOTS candies in half and put a half of candy at the top of each cookie while the bark is still wet.
*I had my lovely husband, Jason, help me because my hands were a mess!
*Now just let the cookies set out until the bark hardens and that is all there is to it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pork Chops with Cranberry-Apple Stuffing

My husband, Jason, loves pork chops! When we first got married, I wanted to make sure that they were something I could make well. I enjoying cooking for my family and making them their favorite things. Well, after 8 years of marriage our traditional pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy sometimes get a little old. I made this recipe up using what I had on hand and mixing together several different recipes I found online. While Jason may still like his traditional pork chops best, I will definitely add these to our meal line up! Oh, keep in mind that I cook for an army so this makes a LOT! Feel free top cut the recipe in half if need be. Here is what you will need:

*Preheat oven to 450 and grease a 9x13 pan
*In a large bowl mix together: 2 boxes stuffing mix, 1 cup applesauce, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp melted butter, 2 stalks of celery diced, and about 1 cup of craisins. Mix well.
*Spread stuffing mixture in your greased pan
*Lay pork chops on top of stuffing mixture
*Top pork chops with salt and pepper

*Bake for 35 minutes or until pork chops are cooked through. Serve with a veggie. Yum!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween Bags

Ok, I admit it, I actually made these trick-or-treat bags for the kids last year! But the time of year seemed right to post them on the blog. I am really, really bad at explaining my sewing because I just kind of make it up as I go. These bags are pretty simple though. Just sew up 3 sides of a rectangle and add a handle! I love that the kids can re-use these every Halloween. I also used some paint and put their names on the front!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Apple Pie with Homemade Crust

There is absolutely nothing better than apple pie made from fresh apples from the orchard! Even better is a homemade crust. We went to the pumpkin patch with the kids today and I knew I wanted to get some apples for a pie. I got Fuji apples because they are my favorite and I used my grandma's pie crust recipe, it turned out super yummy! Here is what you will need for the crust:

*In a large bowl combine 4 cups flour, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. (I put in just a little extra sugar because I like a sweeter crust.)

*Cut in 1 1/2 cups butter flavored shortening with a fork.

*In a measuring cup, measure out 1/2 cup cold water. Add to it 1 egg and 1 tbsp vinegar. Mix together and pour into dry mixture.
*Mix wet and dry ingredients with your hands and form into a ball.

*Go ahead a preheat the over to 475 and grease a pie pan.

* Here is what you will need for the filling:

*Peel, core, and slice about 8 cups of apples. Cover in 2tbsp (more or less) of lemon juice.

*In a small bowl combine 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/8 tsp salt, and 2 tbsp flour.
*Add to the apples and mix well.
*Split your pie dough in half.

*Roll out half of the dough and line the pie pan with it.

*Pour in apple mixture.

*Roll out the other half of the dough and place on top of apples.

*Seal edges and cut vents in top of crust.

*Sprinkle top of dough with sugar so it will be nice and crispy when it is done.

*Turn oven down to 450 and out pie in for 15 minutes (Make sure you put your pie on a cookie sheet in case any filling leaks out while baking.)

*Turn down to 375 and bake for 60-75 minutes

*Let cool and enjoy!
*So good! Totally worth the time and effort!