Tuesday, December 30, 2008

{A Perfect Fall Pairing}

This meal was a hit with the whole family. I even served it to my 9 month old, thickened with rice cereal.
Harvest Bisque Soup
This recipe is originally from Simply Classic. It will serve 6-8 people, but we recommend that you double it.

3 C butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 1 lb)
5 C chicken stock
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp butter
2-3 tsp curry (start with 1 tsp, and flavor to taste)
3/4 C half & half (or evaporated milk)
3/4 C canned coconut milk (ptional, but it enhances the flavor)
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (again, start with 1 Tbs, and add to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Garnish with:
lime slices
dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt

Cook the cubed squash in the chicken stock for about 15 minutes. Using a large slotted spoon, remove cooked squash into a blender, add 1-2 C of the cooking liquid and puree. Add this back into the remaining liquid.
In a large pot melt butter, add flour and curry. Cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to scorch. Add squash and chicken stock puree. Cook to thicken, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Add half & half, coconut milk and lime juice along with the salt and pepper to taste. Heat through.
Ladle into individual bowls and garnish. Serve immediately.

Apple-Raisin Salad
2 apples, chopped
2-3 celery ribs, chopped
chopped nuts
Dressing: 1/2 C mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp milk, 4 pkts Equal or sugar

Mix mayo and milk until smooth. Mix in sweetner. Toss with other ingredients. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hidden Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

My husband loves spaghetti, but I hardly ever make it. However, I decided that it is a good way to get some extra vegetables in to the little ones.

1 jar store bought spaghetti sauce, your favorite brand
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 celery rib
1/2 -1 carrot
1/4 - 1/2 onion

Finely chop all veggies. I like about an equal ratio of the three. Brown up the beef until crumbly, and cook veggies in the same pan. Drain, and return to pan. Add spaghetti sauce, stir until heated through. Serve over your favorite noodles.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Savory Chicken Pillows

This is a recipe that I created by combining many similar recipes for Chicken Pillows, Chicken Squares, etc.
{Savory Chicken Pillows}
2 C cooked, chopped chicken
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp finely diced fresh onion
2 Tbsp chopped celery, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cans regrigerator crescent rolls
melted butter
bread crumbs, onion powder, basil
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
water, optional

Mix first six ingredients together. Unroll crescent dough. Press seams of two crescent together to form rectangles. Divide mixture between dough. Fold dough over and pinch seams to seal. Combine 1/2 -1 C bread crumbs with 1/2 tsp onion powder and a sprinkle of dried basil (or parsley) leaves. Melt butter. Dip top-side of "pillow" into the melted butter, then in the seasoned bread crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake according to crescent directions. Check for doneness on bottom side of the crescent. Make a simple gravy with cream of chicken soup and a splash of milk, or reserved chicken water. Heat through and serve over chicken pillows.

This Week's Dinner Menu

We finally made it home to our won house last night! Now, on to the menu planning again . . .

Saturday - Savory Chicken Pillows
Sunday - Spaghetti, salad, broccoli, rolls
Monday - Hawaiian Haystacks
Tuesday - Harvest Bisque Soup, bread
Wednesday - Family Tradition: New Year's Eve Fondue (more to come)
Thursday - Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with all the fixings!
Friday - Mom's Beef Stroganoff over noodles, broccoli, salad
Saturday - Shepherd's Pie, salad, rolls
Sunday - dinner at Mom's to say goodbye to the siblings who are headed back to school!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve & Christmas Dinners

{Christmas Eve}
{Christmas Day}
Green Beans with Carmelized Onions
Potatoes with Cheese and Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Aunt Terri's Salad
Apple Crisp ala mode
Apple Crisp
12 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
Layer in a 9x13 pan. Mix together:
1 C butter
2 C brown sugar
1 C wheat flour
3 tsp cinnamon
3 C rolled oats
2 C chopped nuts
Sprinkle over apples in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. This recipe is not very sweet, but with lots of "granola" it is great for breakfast topped with milk.
More recipes will come as I get them or find links . . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Did you miss me?" Dinner Menu

Yeah, I know, I went MIA. We have had some crazy times around here. We have been snowed in at my parents' house TWICE! Which is where I'm sitting right now. So, I haven't been cooking and making my own menus. But, here is a look into Mom's kitchen . . .

Shepherd's Pie
Tri-Colore Orzo SALAD - We made this recipe into a spinach based salad. Just add enough spinach to make a tossed salad and cut the orzo down to about 1/2 C dry pasta.
Whole Wheat Waffles
Katie's Vanilla Syrup

Vanilla Syrup
Melt 1 cube butter, 1 C sugar and 1 C milk in a saucepan. Mix until slightly foamy. Add 1 tsp each of vanilla, baking soda and vinegar. Serve over French Toast, or other breakfast yumminess!

Stay tuned for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Teacher's Gift

It dawned on me that I should be thinking about a gift for my son's preschool teacher. Yeah, I'm on the ball like that. So, I called up my mother, the queen of teacher gifts, and she suggested this . . .

I canned Homemade Apple Pie Filling earlier in the fall. Then, it was easy to type up a recipe for French Apple Pie and get an inexpensive pie dish, some cute wrapping and I was done!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kid Food: Little Chicken Cakes

So, I tried something new with the toddler today and he ate it up! I made little Chicken Cakes for lunch. I loosely based my recipe on one that is in "The Toddler Cookbook" by Annabel Karmel. A fabulous baby/kid food aouther, if you are interested.
So here is my altered recipe . . .
{Little Chicken Cakes}
1 large can chunk chicken, drained and rinsed
2 medium green onions, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp each buttermilk, ketchup, and mayonnaise
1 C breadcrumbs, divided
up to 2 "spoonfuls" plain yogurt
flour and a splash of milk, for breading
Mix together chicken, onions and condiments. Add about 1/2 C breadcrumbs, and mix. At this point my mixture was a little too dry and crumbly, so I started adding in the yogurt and mixing by hand.
Divide mixture into 5 equal parts, and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick.Put some flour onto a plate, add a splash of milk to a small bowl, and pour remaining breadcrumbs into mixing bowl that is already dirty (save yourself some dishes).Dredge "cakes" in flour, milk, then breadcrumbs. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, flipping one half way through.Serve as part of a balanced lunch.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ooooh That Smell Pizza

1 pizza crust
white sauce
BBQ chicken
peppercorn bacon, crumbled
pineapple chunks
mozzarella cheese, shredded
BBQ sauce

Layer pizza crust with white sauce and, then, remaining toppings. Finish off with a drizzle off BBQ sauce.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grilled Cheese Tip

Okay, laugh now. But, I love grilled cheese. And when I am pregnant, there is nothing better. Not that I'm pregnant now. Anyway . . . here is a tip that my Grandma Mary shared with me.Did you catch it?
When making a grilled cheese sandwich stove-top, use a pan that has a lid that fits it. This way you lock the heat inside to melt the cheese as the bread browns.
Yeah, I know, amazing. It changed my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches

I found this recipe in Southern Living magazine a few years ago. It is a nice variation on a grilled cheese sandwich. This recipe makes 4 cups of pimiento cheese but only uses 1 1/3 cups in the recipe. Cover leftover pimiento cheese, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The pimiento cheese can also be served as a spread or dip.

{Pimiento Cheese}
1 (4 oz) jar diced pimiento, drained
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon finely grated onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (8 oz) block 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 (8 oz) block light white Cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl until blended, and stir in cheeses.

{Sandwiches - makes 4}
pimiento cheese
8 light white or wheat bread slices
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons light butter, melted
vegetable cooking spray

Heat an electric griddle to 350ยบ or a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spread 1/3 cup cheese mixture on each of 4 bread slices. Top evenly with tomato slices and remaining 4 bread slices. Brush one side of sandwiches evenly with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Spray hot griddle or skillet with cooking spray. Place sandwiches, buttered sides down, on griddle or in skillet. Brush tops evenly with remaining melted butter. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Shepherd's Pie
Monday - Sweet & Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken served as taco in corn tortillas
Tuesday - Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup
Wednesday - leftovers
Thursday - "Ooooh That Smell" and Pepperoni Homemade Pizza
Friday - Panang Curry and Phad Thai
Saturday - thinking . . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sweet & Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I use about 1/4 teaspoon)

Coat the inside of your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until chicken shreds very easily with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Chicken will absorb liquid after it is shredded.) Serve in tacos or however your little heart desires.

***We loved this recipe. I skimped on red pepper flake the first time around, but I think that anywhere between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon would be fine. I like to keep it not "spicy" for the toddler.***


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