Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sorry Ladies!

I apologize. This is a boring ol' non-photographed post. My camera is currently 3 hours away at scout camp. For a touch of eye-candy, I'll change the font color. There. How's that?

All I really wanted to say tonight, is check out this link. It's a quick little article about how it is possible to walk into a store needing just a loaf of bread, and walk out with a case of green beans, orange sherbet and one Jiffy Muffin Mix. (Those little blue Jiffy boxes get me every time!) Some of the things in the article might be common sense to you, but it's always good for a reminder, right?

So here's my tip for you: create a weekly menu, make your grocery list from that, and don't deviate from either.

Link to article

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Oooooo....Strawberry Pie!

So, funny story... I sat down at my computer last night to edit my strawberry pie photos. I opened them all up in Photoshop, and after about 30 seconds of drooling on my desk, I had to get up to get myself a slice of pie to eat while I edited the photos. Talk about weak-willed!

Before I tried this recipe, I was not a big fan of strawberry pie. This gem of a recipe changed my opinion though. You've got to try it!

Ione's Strawberry Pie
Shared by Robyn Knowlton
(belonged to her Grandma, Ione Good)

1 qt cleaned strawberries (2 boxes)
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
one 8" pie shell

Slice 1/2 of the berries in at 8" baked pie shell. Mash other half of berries and add 1 cup sugar and 3 Tablespoons cornstarch. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Cool and pour over berries in baked pie shell. Chill in refrigerator and top with whipped cream or ice cream.

note: Bonnie's suggestion for this recipe is to first cook the mashed strawberries, cool them, and then stir in the sliced strawberries so the sauce can cover them well. Then pour that mixture into the crust. I tried it this last time and it worked great!

Fill My Freezer (part 2)

A few weeks ago I asked for your favorite things that you keep in your freezers. A few of you responded, and thanks so much for your suggestions. I now have a half-full freezer of Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips (I was worried the buffalo ones would be too spicy??), Brielle's Make-Ahead Meatballs, chicken, ground beef, raspberry & strawberry jams, and heaps of Otter Pops.

Those of you who didn't get a chance to send along your suggestions, I still have half of a freezer left to fill!

This week I'm using the Make-Ahead Meatballs in some spaghetti, but I can't wait to pair them with John's Sweet & Sour Sauce too. And after a recent visit to IKEA, I have a sudden craving for Swedish Meatballs - so watch for that on my upcoming menu. Can I just add, that meatballs are a difficult food to photograph? I'm not even sure how appetizing I made them look. They really are very good, and I have 150 of them in my freezer to prove it! (Well, only 147...I ate a few. They smelled too good.)

Week 17 Menu

Monday - Corn Dog Muffins
Tuesday - Crispy Chicken Wraps
Wednesday - Tin Foil Dinners
Thursday - Stir Fry
Friday - Spaghetti & Meatballs (Brielle's Make-Ahead Meatballs!)
Saturday - eat out
Sunday - Candied Chicken

Week 17 Recipes

Crispy Chicken Wraps

1 Tyson Crispy Chicken Strip (click here for info)
1 tortilla
handful of pre-washed salad mix
sprinkling of cheese (whatever you have in the fridge)
ranch dressing (or honey mustard, or other favorite)

Prepare chicken strip according to package directions. (I microwave it for 3-4 minutes, then place under the broiler for a few minutes until crispy.) Roll all ingredients up in your tortilla and that's it!

Make-Ahead Meatballs
from Brielle Wollenzien

4 eggs
2 cups dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
4 pounds lean ground beef

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add the next five ingredients. Add beef; mix well. Shape into 1-in balls, about 12 dozen.

Place in single layers in ungreased 15-in x 10-in x 1-in baking pans.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until no longer pink, turning often; drain. Cool. Place about 30 meatballs each into freezer containers. May be frozen for up to 3 months.

Yield: 5 batches (about 30 meatballs per batch)

Candied Chicken
from Brielle Wollenzien

1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
5-6 chicken breasts

Flour and brown chicken (sometimes I forget to do this and it always turns out fine but it's much better if you do it.) Place in baking dish. Mix all ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake, covered at 350 for about 1 1/2 hours. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes. (We've made this in a dutch oven while camping and it tasted perfect.)

John's Sweet and Sour Sauce
from John Wollenzien

1 can chunk pineapple and juice
2 medium carrots
1 green bell pepper
1 (10 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar ( maybe a little more if not sweet enough)
3 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. peanut butter
John cuts all the veggies up into matchsticks and simmers them in a pot with the rest of the ingredients for about 20 minutes...or until the rice is ready. Then before he serves it he throws in a couple baggies of my make ahead freezer meatballs. We eat this over rice and it's delicious. Also if the sauce is looking to thin sometimes I'll add a little corn starch to a tiny bit of water and add that in. It makes it into a good sauce. I thought about this recipe for Alie because a lot of times John will just add whatever vegetables we happen to have that day---celery, zucchini, green beans anything would work just fine.

Blue Ribbon Brownies
from Donna Wollenzien

1 cube butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
Melt butter and chocolate in a square pyrex over medium flame right on the stove top. When melted take it off the heat and add sugar until combined. Add baking powder and salt to flour and add mixture to chocolate. Mix in eggs one at a time with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.
Delicious frosting---
when brownies come out break Andies mints over the top and let them melt. Then spread them out over the brownies and let them harden. Soooooo good!

Friday, June 22, 2007

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Last week we had BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (click here for recipe -thanks Amanda!) and I had some of the shredded chicken left over, so last night we used it to make BBQ Chicken pizzas on the grill. Quite tasty! Here's what we did:

I used Rhode's Pizza dough. (It just thaws in the fridge all day.) When I was ready to use it, I cut it into thirds and rolled each third into a circle. I brushed each one with a little olive oil and grilled them for 4 or 5 minutes over low heat, just until partially cooked. (leave the lid down)

Then I brought the pizza crusts inside, topped them with bbq sauce (KC Masterpiece), some of the leftover chicken, sliced red onions and shredded mozzarella cheese. They were then returned to the grill again over low heat with the lid down. (I had to rotate them a few times because we have a couple of hot spots.) When the cheese was melted and the crust was golden brown on the bottom, We brought them in, topped them with fresh cilantro and chowed down.

Using the Rhode's Dough, this makes three 6-inch pizzas, which was more than the three of us could eat. If you cut the dough into fourths and served it with a green salad, it would make 4 perfect sized servings.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Favorite Snack

Our local grocery store had these on sale so I tossed one in my cart thinking that if I put a big enough slice of cheese on top, they might not taste half bad. Two days later, I had finished off the box- no cheese. On my next visit to the store, I made sure to grab 5 more boxes.

I used to be a Wheat Thins girl, but I have converted and these bad boys are now what I grab from the shelf. They have 20% of your daily fiber and also some calcium and iron, which we could all use, right? Cheese or no cheese, they're delicious.

Official Debut of the Yo-Yo

Dear Dinner's On Me readers,

May I officially introduce to you one of my favorite menu options: The Yo-Yo Dinner. It's perfect for those days when you have 5,000 things going on, and only half of the family is actually hungry at dinner time. When said hungry family members come to you and ask, "so what's for dinner?" You look them straight in the eye and say, "YO on YO own." Cold cereal for dinner? No problem. A burrito & a banana? No problem. Tonight's version of yo-yo dinner was leftover mac & cheese for my son, and for me it was a piece of bread, one plum and a very refreshing snow cone.

Feel free to add the Yo-Yo Dinner to your menu repertoire. You're welcome. :-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Week 16 Menu

Monday - eat out
Tuesday - yo-yo dinner ("yo on yo own")
Wednesday - Hot Dogs
Thursday - BBQ Chicken Pizza
Friday - Baked Potatoes
Saturday - invited to a BBQ
Sunday - Cream Cheese Chicken (crockpot)

Week 16 Recipes

Cream Cheese Chicken (crock pot)

4-6 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 package dry Italian dressing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk

Place chicken breasts, butter & Italian dressing in crock pot on low. Cook about 6 hours. One hour before serving, add the final 3 ingredients. Cook all ingredients until they are melted and it is the consistency of gravy. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or pasta.

For Chocolate Lovers Only

Today I tried out this recipe for Outrageous Brownies and they are exactly that. Outrageous-fudgey-chocolatey-goodness. It makes a huge batch so I shared two plate fulls with my neighbors and we still have too many left. If you have a crowd you need to impress, make these brownies! Oh, and be sure to buy several gallons of milk. You’ll need them.

**note: I omitted the instant coffee powder. I don’t really keep my pantry stocked with that particular item :-) The brownies still turned out fabulous.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Muchas Gracias

I just want to say a big thank you to those of you readers who send recipes and allow me to share them on the blog. Keep 'em coming!

Do you know what my biggest challenge is for this blog? Remembering to create my weekly menu BEFORE I eat dinner. If I wait until evening time, then I'm stuffed, nothing looks good, nothing sounds good and I do not feel like setting foot back in my kitchen.

For your easy reference, I have made a 'quick links' section on the right side of the blog. Try clicking on the 'Index of All Recipes'. That should be a complete list of recipes found on the blog. If you find incorrect or broken links, let me know. Also, be sure and vote in the poll each week. It's not a public poll, and the results go nowhere but my inbox, so no worries.

Enjoy the summer weather and eat your fruits and vegetables!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Week 15 Menu

Monday - Fiesta Rice & Quesadillas
Tuesday - Grilled Chicken w/Avocado, Tomato & Corn Salsa
Wednesday - Pineapple Chicken Salad Pitas
Thursday - Pasta Primavera
Friday - Eat Out
Saturday - BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (crockpot)
Sunday - Father's Day Luncheon (sandwiches??)

Week 15 Recipes

Ham & Fruit Salsa Croissant

1/2 small banana, sliced
1/4 medium mango, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced strawberries
2 Tbsp raspberry vinaigrette dressing
2 croissants, partially split
12 slices shaved brown sugar ham
1/4 cup baby spinach leaves

Toss banana, mango and strawberries with dressing. Fill croissants evenly with ham, fruit mixture and spinach.

Grilled Chicken
(with avocado, tomato and corn salsa)
from Erin McSpadden

1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 ripe avocado, peeled & diced
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 cup thawed frozen (or canned) corn
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper
4 cups shredded lettuce

  1. Salsa: Mix lime juice, oil, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss gently to mix and coat.
  2. Heat outdoor grill, ridged grill pan or broiler.
  3. Season chicken with oregano, salt and pepper. Grill 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through.
  4. Divide lettuce among 4 plates; top each with chicken then salsa
Erin says this is great because you can make the salsa ahead of time and use the extra for tacos, taco salad, or just to snack on.

A Month Of Fruit and Vegetables

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month! Here are some tips for adding more fruits and veggies into our day:
  • Add apples to salads, sandwiches, and tuna or chicken salad for extra crunch
  • Try fresh berries or peaches with yogurt or dessert
  • Add vegetables like spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms to your eggs.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables pre-washed and sliced to keep on hand for snacks
  • Frozen bananas and grapes make great summer treats
  • Choose grapes instead of popcorn next time you sit down to watch a movie.
  • Start the day off right with a glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Top your cereal with sliced bananas or strawberries.
  • Go out on a limb and try something new. Have you ever had pomegranate or an artichoke? You never know - you may find a new favorite.
  • Store fruit and vegetables at eye-level in the fridge or in a bowl on the table. You'll be more likely to eat something if you can easily access it.
  • Add fresh fruit and vegetables to foods you already eat. For example, add vegetables to pasta and pizza, or berries to yogurt.
(tips from Western Growers website & LDS Magazine Newsletter)

Check out these links for more fruit & veggie ideas and recipes

Fruits and Veggies More Matters
Western Growers - Fruit and Vegetable Month
Find a Pick-Your-Own-Farm near you!
Where to buy Utah Fruit

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Garlic Parmesan Blend & Pan Bread

A few years ago, a wise woman in our our American Fork ward taught us how to make Garlic Parmesan Blend and it's been a staple in my pantry ever since. Here's the formula:

1 medium size shaker of Parmesan cheese
1-4 Tablespoons of garlic powder
2-4 Tablespoons of dried parsley

Empty the shaker of Parmesan cheese into a mixing bowl. Add 1 Tablespoons of garlic, and 1 Tablespoons of parsley. Stir and taste. If you prefer stronger garlic taste, continue to add garlic 1/2 tsp at a time until you reach a flavor you prefer. Add dried parsley to a point you think LOOKS good - it is there mostly for looks :-) When you get a blend you like, carefully pour it back into the Parmesan shaker and remove label. This is great on french bread, pizza crust, or even a piece of white toast for a simple side dish for spaghetti. I also use it on top of this recipe for Pan Bread (a quick and easy foccacia bread.)

Pan Bread
(from Erin McSpadden)

2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon yeast
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
melted butter

In a bowl dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes. Stir in flour and salt. Dough will still be sticky. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until double in size. Grease a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan. Spread dough flat onto sheet with palm of hand. Put melted butter on top. (can also sprinkle Garlic Parmesan blend, OR sesame seeds on top) Cover with waxed paper and let rise again. Bake 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares.

Summerfest is Finally Here!

One of our favorite weekends of the year is finally here! We missed Summerfest last year so we are doubly-excited for this year. Parade, fireworks & gas-inducing food here we come!

I found a fun recipe this week that I am going to try out on Tuesday. It's a recipe for Corn Dog Muffins and some reviewers were convinced they tasted just like corn dogs. I've paired it on my menu with a new salad that uses a unique combination of flavors. I found the Roasted Corn and Apple Salad on another recipe blog as I was surfing one night.

Alie - I found these two salad recipes (both on the menu this week) that use different fruits and veggies. I've also asked a friend at church for some of her favorite recipes so more are on their way. Any of you other readers that have favorite recipes incorporating plenty of veggies please pass them on to us! Happy Cooking!

Week 14 Menu

Monday - Chicken Cordon Bleu Crepes (leftovers!)
Tuesday - Roasted Corn and Apple Salad & Corn Dog Muffins
Wednesday - Spaghetti & Foccacia Bread
Thursday - Asian Chicken Salad with Roasted Peanuts
Friday - Fondue night
Saturday - eating out
Sunday - Waffles with strawberries

Week 14 Recipes

Roasted Corn and Apple Salad
(from another recipe-blogger named Amanda)

3 ears of fresh corn, still in husks
1 granny smith apple
4 radishes
1/2 of a small red onion, finely diced
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley, loosely packed
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven is hot, place corn in the oven still in husks. Roast the corn in the husks for 30 minutes. Remove the corn from the oven and allow it to cool for at least five minutes before handling.

While corn is roasting, work on the rest of the salad. Add the lemon juice, honey, and Dijon mustard to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Core and dice the apple into 1/2 inch pieces. Dice the radishes into a similar size. Add the apples, radishes, and finely diced red onion to the mixing bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat. The vinaigrette will help prevent the apple from oxidizing. Set aside until the corn is done.

Once the corn has cooled a bit, remove husks and silk. Cut the corn off the cob by standing the corn up and carefully cutting off rows of kernels. Add the corn kernels and parsley to the mixing bowl with the rest of the salad. Mix the salad until the corn is fully incorporated and everything is evenly coated with vinaigrette. Taste, then season as necessary with salt and pepper. Salad can be prepared several hours in advance and then refrigerated. (serves 2-4 people)

**note: Great salad, with a nice, fresh taste. I made the recipe as listed above, and it could easily serve 4-5 adults as a side dish. Next time instead of roasting fresh corn, I'll try using canned or frozen corn which would make it super-easy to make.

Asian Chicken Salad with Roasted Peanuts

3/4 cup bottled Asain-style dressing (see below)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 6-ounce package baby spinach leaves
2 cups mixed sliced red, yellow and green bell peppers
1 2-to 2 1/2 pound rotisserie chicken, meat torn into bite-size pieces (or about 4 cups of diced, cooked chicken)
1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts
1 mango, peeled, pitted, sliced

Mix dressing, cilantro, and ginger in small bowl. Toss spinach, peppers, chicken and nuts in large bowl with enough dressing mixture to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with mango and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Asian Salad Dressing

3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/3 to 1/2 cup peanut (or vegetable) oil

Corn Dog Muffins

Corn Dog Muffins

Click here for printable version

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
3 hotdogs, diced
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat muffin pan with cooking spray, or use foil muffin cups. In medium bowl mix all ingredients until moist. Spoon mixture into muffin cups, filling 1/2 full. Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes.

**note: So yummy! We ALL loved them. I only put cheese in half of the muffins and next time I'll leave it out entirely. A must-have though, is ketchup and mustard for dipping. This made 9 muffins and we finished them off tonight!