Monday, July 30, 2007

It's Not As Bad As You Think.

Canned meat. I know, I know. When you hear that phrase, your mind conjures up a nice juicy chunk of spam, right? Well today's canned meats are much improved. I also think they're a convenient addition to your pantry/food storage.

The meat is fully cooked, and usually packed in its own juices, although I prefer to drain and rinse the meat as well as pick it over for "questionables." It works great for recipes that call for meat that is already cooked: it can save you a lot of time.

I know a few of you have used canned chicken (maybe pork and beef too?). Leave a comment below and tell me how you use your canned meat.

Here are some suggestions & links from me-

Recipes from Dinner's On Me:
Chicken Pasta Pesto Salad
Chicken Salad
Asian Chicken Salad with Roasted Peanuts
Magic 6 Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Cordon Bleu Crepes

Links to other recipes:
Chicken Noodle Casserole II
Chicken Apricot Bundles

Other ideas:
*toss on top of Fettucinni Alfredo (Chk)
*heat w/ bbq sauce, shred meat & serve on buns (Chk,Bf,Pk)
*add to quesadillas (Chk,Bf,Pk)
*heat with taco seasoning for yummy tacos(Chk,Bf,Pk)
*Hawaiian Haystacks (Chk,Pk)
*add to stir-fry near the end (Chk,Bf,Pk)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Week 22 Menu

Monday - leftovers!
Tuesday - eat out
Wednesday - Taco Salads (with tostada filling)
Thursday - Mongolian BBQ here we come!
Friday - camping (tin-foil dinners?)
Saturday - Chicken Fajitas
Sunday - lunch with family

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

National Ice Cream Month

I'm sorry to inform you, but we nearly missed National Ice Cream Month. Here it is, the last few days of July and I just discovered that we should have all been honoring my favorite dairy product for weeks now.

To make amends, I'll share a link to my favorite home-made ice cream recipe: Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato. I omit the sprinkling of hazelnuts on top, but otherwise follow the recipe exactly.

Don't be scared off by the inclusion of Nutella in this recipe. I REALLY dislike Nutella (the smell and the taste) but once it's been frozen into ice cream form, I can only taste its creamy chocolate goodness. Oh, and if you're not sure where to find Nutella in your store, ours is located on the peanut butter and jelly aisle.

Happy Pioneer Day

Happy 24th of July to you all! We had a festive little block party last night including a pot-luck treat table. This was my contribution. I can't take credit for the firework-esque frosting. Click here for my inspiration (and the instructions).

In the creation of these cupcakes, however, I did stumble across what might possibly be the most delicious store-bought frosting. EVER. It's Betty Crocker Whipped Vanilla Frosting. I'm not usually a big fan of those tubs of frosting that don't seem to quite cover a double layer cake. This stuff is tasty though, and does the job for a batch of need-them-in-an-hour cupcakes. It has this subtle marshmallow cream flavor to it. I wonder how it would be glopped on a graham cracker....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Week 21 Menu

Monday - Swedish Meatballs & corn on the cob
Tuesday - yo-yo dinner
Wednesday - Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Thursday - Steak and Potatoes Dutch Oven
Friday - eat out
Saturday - Magic 6 Chicken Tortilla Soup
Sunday - BBQ Chicken & Rice

Week 21 Recipes

Swedish Meatballs
This is a quick recipe that uses items normally found in my pantry/freezer.

1 beef bouillion cube
1/2 cup water
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon dried, minced onion
3 Tablespoons sour cream
15-20 Make-Ahead Meatballs (frozen)

Dissolve beef bouillion cube in 1/2 cup warm water. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine soup, bouillion-water and 1/4 milk. Stir until smooth. If you would like a thinner or thicker consistency, make that adjustment to the milk. Add dried onion and bring to a simmer. Toss in frozen meatballs, cover and simmer on low, stirring often.

Meanwhile, make your rice or egg noodles. After about 10 minutes, check one meatball to see if it is warmed all the way through. When meatballs are warmed, add sour cream and stir to combine. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Magic 6 Chicken Tortilla SoupAnother recipe using ingredients commonly found in my pantry & fridge. It gets its name because it uses 6 cans of food and 6 corn tortillas.

1 (15-0z) can corn, drained
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 (14.5-oz) can chicken broth
1 (10 or 14.5-oz) can chunk chicken, drained & rinsed
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes, do not drain
1/2 cup Salsa (your favorite)
1/4 cup chopped onion
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, diced
Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper

Add all canned items to a large pot. Add salsa and onions, then bring to a simmer. Dice corn tortillas and add. Let soup simmer for 15 minutes. The tortilla bits will dissolve and thicken soup. Be sure to stir every few minutes.

When tortillas are dissolved, taste soup. Add Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper to taste. (The amounts will vary depending on which salsa you use, and your taste preferences.)

Serving options: tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, sour cream, avocado slices, olives, grated cheddar.

note: When I use canned chicken, I drain and rinse it to reduce the "questionables" that might remain, including any preservatives and sodium.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars

I needed a quick dessert to bring to book club and these did the trick. My little family loved them so much, I made us our own half-batch in an 8x8 pan.

Next time I make these, I might try spreading some strawberry jam on top instead of chocolate, just for an experiment.

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars
(Andy Knowlton)

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups chocolate chips

In a large bowl, melt butter (microwave). Remove from microwave and whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Set aside. In a large ziplock bag, smash graham crackers to make crumbs (I use my rolling pin). If you want a bit of crunch to your bars, don't crush the crackers too finely - leave some chunks. Add powdered sugar to the ziplock and shake to combine. Add contents of ziplock to the peanut butter mixture and stir until combined. Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam and press dough into it.

In a medium bowl, melt chocolate chips in 30 second increments. Stir after each 30 seconds. When fully melted, spread chocolate evenly over bars. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let it set. Cut into small squares (these bars are rich!) and serve.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Can You Feed Yourself?

Mid-week greetings to you all. I came across this very interesting article and since it was food-related, I thought I'd pass it on.

Can You Feed Yourself?

Pasta Primavera x2

This last week I tried a new Pasta Primavera recipe and we were instant fans of it! We ate every last drop of the pasta, and then used our bread to scoop up the remaining sauce. This week I'm trying another version of Pasta Primavera which uses a different combination of veggies, and also roasts them which will give a nice sweet flavor. The recipe for this week also doesn't include a cream sauce so quality ingredients are a must.

Alright, now I need some tips from you guys (including all of you lurkers). I have a big bowlful of apples on my table and I'm getting tired of eating plain ol' apple slices with every meal. Anyone have a great way to use up apples?

Week 20 Menu

Monday - Tacos & fruit salad
Tuesday - Roasted Parmesan Veggies & Rice
Wednesday - BBQ (at church)
Thursday -Chicken Tikka Masala
Friday - Pasta Primavera (version #2)
Saturday - eat out
Sunday - Papas Con Juevos & Smoothies

Week 20 Recipes

Fresh Pasta Primavera

1 cup broccoli, cut in bite-size pieces
1/2 cup asparagus (1-inch pieces)
6-oz uncooked Linguine
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 -1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium saucepan, boil water and cook asparagus and broccoli for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Fill saucepan again with water, boil and cook pasta to your liking. Drain, and add to asparagus & broccoli.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion & peas and saute for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes, and saute for another couple of minutes. In a bowl, whisk milk, cream and cornstarch then add to skillet. On medium heat, cook sauce until it starts to thicken (3-5 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over pasta/veggie mixture and toss to coat. Top with basil and Parmesan cheese and serve. Makes 4-5 servings.

note: For a drier pasta, cut the amount of cream and cornstarch in half. However, if you are planning on leftovers, I would leave the amount of sauce the same. By the second day, the pasta has absorbed all of the yummy sauce.

A kid-friendly version would be to leave out the broccoli & asparagus.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jera's Famous Disappearing Macaroni Salad

I made a bowlful of this salad for a family dinner and by the time I got around to photographing the dish, this is what I found. Thank you to Jera for sharing her very delicious creation!

Famous Disappearing Macaroni Salad
(from Jera Parker)

1 to 1-1/2 cups elbow or shell macaroni, uncooked
Cook until tender.

6-8 hard boiled eggs (Peel and save 2 to put around the top and sprinkle with paprika)

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped onion (white or yellow)

1 to 1-1/2 cups Miracle Whip (This is the magic ingredient. I make sure it is very gooey and moist - this also seems to make it a hit; so you may need to add more than I put down.)

2-4 pickles, chopped (I use dill, but I have also used sweet. If you can find relish in either flavor then use that and you don't have to chop pickles.)

Salt & Pepper to taste (It takes about 3/4 Tbsp to salt to give it the flavor it needs)

Mix & serve. Serves about 8-10.

Banana Nut Mini Muffins

I bake a batch of these and keep them in a ziplock for a quick breakfast, or a quick snack (or a quick lunch/dinner on busy days!)

Banana Nut Mini Muffins

(Andy Knowlton)

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 1/3 cups mashed bananas (overripe is best)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pan with Pam.

In a large bowl, cream butter with sugars. Add eggs & mashed banana. Stir until well blended. Add flour, soda, salt, allspice, vanilla & cinnamon. Stir just enough to moisten. Fold in chopped walnuts.

Scoop into mini muffin pan. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then flip out onto a cooling rack.

Makes 48 mini muffins

note: You could also toss in some chocolate chips if you want. Also, this can be baked in a loaf pan for 55-60 minutes.

Free Magazine

Who can pass up an opportunity to get a free magazine chock-full of recipes? I'm talking about the Kraft Food & Family magazine. It comes only quarterly, but there's always four or five new recipes to try in each issue. If you're not signed up for it yet, click HERE. My menu this week includes a recipe from the last issue. It's a new recipe for me, but the photo looks delicious!

Also new this week is a Pasta Primavera recipe. It's veggie-heavy (just for Alie!) but still has a yummy cream sauce. I haven't typed up the recipe yet though, because I want to make a few more changes to it. I'll post it on the Week 19 recipes link once I'm done with it.

Week 19 Menu

Monday - eat out
Tuesday - Grilled Pizzas
Wednesday - Unbelievable Chicken & grilled corn
Thursday - Spaghetti & Meatballs
Friday - Pasta Primavera
Saturday - Chicken Tikka Masala & Naan
Sunday - Creamy Rice, Chicken & Spinach Dinner

Week 19 Recipes

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper (I use less)
2 tsp black pepper
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 tsp salt, or to taste (I use less)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
3 tsp salt, or to taste (I use less)
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large Ziplock bag, mix yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ginger and salt. Add chicken cubes. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Heat grill. Discard marinade & put chicken cubes onto skewers (shishkabob style). Grill chicken over medium-high heat just until done.

Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for about a minute. Add carrots and green peppers. Saute for about 4 minutes. Add 2 tsp cumin and paprika. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add salt to taste. Add grilled chicken and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with rice, top with fresh cilantro.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Loaded Pancakes

I've been trying to find some new breakfast ideas for Mr. Dinner's on Me. He rides the bus so early in the morning and isn't usually hungry until later (when the rest of the normal population is eating too.)
I was talking to one of my sisters last week and she shared this great breakfast idea. I was skeptical at first, but we tried it today and it was delicious.

note: I added a recipe to my "Week 18 Recipes." It's called Creamy Scalloped Potatoes. It's easy, delicious and gets better and better everyday as leftovers.

Loaded Pancakes

from Heidi Folsom

Shredded hash browns (with onions & peppers optional)
crumbled bacon
shredded cheese
pancake batter (recommended: Lehi Roller Mills)


(Thaw hash browns, or microwave for a minute). Gather ingredients nearby so they are all ready to go.

On a skillet, place a bit of butter then a scant 1/4 cup of hash browns. Top with about 1 tsp of bacon crumbles, and about 1 tsp of shredded cheese. Top with just enough pancake batter to cover. Cook until browned on bottom and then carefully flip to pancake side. Cook until done. Flip back to hash brown side if necessary.

note: These re-heat well. The loaded pancake tastes great on its own, but also good with salsa. Mr. D.o.M. is taking these on the bus in the morning for a quick breakfast-on-the-go.

Decisions, Decisions.

If you happen to take a look at my menu this week, the word "undecided" occurs a shocking number of times. Is the Dinner's On Me blog going downhill you ask? Not a chance! Don't loose faith in me yet, ladies. It just so happens that we are having a week of celebration for the 4th of July and also for my in-laws, who are going on a mission! So when there are 28 people involved in meals, I am not authorized to decide on who-eats-what-and-when.

I am, however, authorized (and might I add, magnificently qualified) to decide what snacks I keep in my house for the next week. So, dear reader, I give you......

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm a big fan of these cookie mixes by my good friend Betty. They use just a few ingredients, mix up quick, and make a small-ish size batch (perfect for those of us with smaller families.) I believe I have tried all of the flavors, and this Double Chocolate Chunk is my favorite - hands down. (The mini-m&ms are my son's addition.)

Week 18 Menu

Monday - Red Potatoes with Herb Vinaigrette (w/ Candied Chicken leftovers)
Tuesday - Stuffed Green Peppers (recipe undecided)
Wednesday - Fondue (yes, again!)
Thursday - something with corn-on-the-cob...undecided
Friday - undecided
Saturday - undecided
Sunday - Ham & Mom's Cheesy Potatoes

Week 18 Recipes

Red Potatoes with Herb Vinaigrette
(serves 2-4 people)

5-8 small red potatoes
2 Tablespoons chicken broth
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Quarter potatoes and cook in a pot of boiling water until done. Do not overcook! Drain potatoes and set aside.

While potatoes are cooking, in a small bowl whisk the chicken broth, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion.

Place potatoes in a bowl and pour vinaigrette over the top. Stir to coat. Toss in the onion, tarragon and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for awhile to let potatoes soak up some yummy flavors.

note: I made this tonight for dinner tomorrow, and I think I prefer this dish warm. You can serve it either warmed or chilled.

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
Sharon Johnson

8-10 (4 lbs) potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 pt sour cream
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 green onions, chopped (optional)
salt to taste

Boil potatoes 15 minutes until ALMOST done. Cool, peel and slice thin. Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam and layer sliced potatoes inside.

In a large bowl, microwave butter until melted. Add soup, sour cream, cheese & onions. Stir until creamy and blended. Taste to see if it needs salt. Pour cream mixture over potatoes. Top with a bit more shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-30 or until heated through and bubbly.