Antler Dog Chews

Antler Dog Chews
Find great antler dog chews at our Etsy shop!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apple Fritters

Yum!! Apple fritters are one of my all time favorite donuts to get at bakeries. Who knew that I could make them at home, so easily!! I got this recipe from an Amish cookbook that I have, added the cinnamon and the glaze and had an awesome end result! With is being Fall right now, apples are cheap (or free if you can find them) so it's a great time to make these babies! Have fun!

Apple Fritters

1 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon (depending on how much you want)
1 egg, beaten
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
1 ½ cups (about 3) apples, peeled and diced
oil for frying

Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl with a wire whisk. Add egg and milk to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add apples to the batter and blend well. Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil and fry until dark golden brown, about two minutes per side. Once done frying, let cool on paper towels. Dunk in glaze (recipe follows), covering fritters liberally. Place fritters on a wire wrack with parchment paper underneath it, for easy cleanup. Let glaze harden and enjoy! Makes 12 small fritters.

Fritter Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk (or more to desired consistency)

Mix all ingredients together until desired consistency is acquired, adding more powdered sugar or milk if need be.

After they were all made we were looking at them and saw some animal shapes!! My kids loved trying to find animals in the apple fritters.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Pictures

I just wanted to let you know that I updated a couple of pictures.

I have a new picture of the Cookies & Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies, with the Oreos cut instead of crushed, which does make a big difference!

I also have a new picture for Vegetable Ham Alfredo Soup, which if you haven't already made it, you need to!! It's so yummy!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chicken Stuffed Shells

When I first saw this recipe I thought it was kind of a weird combination to combine stuffing and pasta, but I decided to give it a try since it sounded so easy. I'm glad I did, because my kids love these stuffed shells!! They have a comfort food, homey feel to them. Try them out and see how your family likes them!

Chicken Stuffed Shells

½ package giant pasta shells, cooked & drained
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1 (6 ounce) box chicken flavored stuffing mix, prepared according to box
2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
½ soup can milk (use an empty cream of chicken can)
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Cook and drain pasta, set aside. Prepare the stuffing mix and place in a big bowl. Combine chicken, prepared stuffing, one can of cream of chicken soup, mix well. Stuff shells with chicken mixture and place in a 9x13 inch baking pan that has been greased. Once all of the shells are filled, mix the remaining can of cream of chicken soup and ½ can of milk together along with the dried parsley. Pour the soup mixture over the shells, cover with foil and bake in a 350° F oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sourdough Bread

A couple of months ago I was reading up on how to make sourdough bread, I was intrigued by the fact that sourdough bread uses absolutely no yeast!! So, I thought that sourdough would be the perfect option for having bread during a situation that you might be living off of food storage and might have run out of yeast. So, I made a starter and let it grow and ferment and sour and now, I have some awesome bread!! All from water and flour. Granted, when I actually make the bread I do add a little oil, sugar and salt, but no yeast at all. And it's so yummy! I encourage all of you to start a sourdough starter, this way you can always make bread, with or without yeast!

Now, I'm not an expert about sourdough, so I'm going to lead you to a website by S. John Ross, who is an expert. You will learn everything you need to know about sourdough, from the feeding and care of your "pet" to the hooch that forms on the top. You can check out his website here. This is the recipe that I used to start my starter and to ultimately make my bread. I have two starters, this way I can have an extra in case one dies, which is pretty unlikely. Plus, we've been enjoying bread weekly and even pizza from the dough!! As you can see from my pictures I shape my dough into baguettes, we like it this way the best, but you can shape it in a regular loaf pan or as a round, it's up to you. It does take a lot of time, but not a lot of hands on time. And when I want to make bread I have to think about it about a day in advance, but that's not that big of a deal. Just read up on how to make the sourdough here and mostly, have fun!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

What's better than a warm chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk? Nothing! These pudding cookies are soft, moist, and all around yummy!! Add these to your holiday cookie plates and people will surely ask you for the recipe!

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine the flour and baking soda. Set aside. Mix the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, pudding mix, and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add the eggs and mix well. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Soda Can Chicken

First things first, I need to announce the winner of Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites! Thank you to everyone that entered!! And if you didn't win, be sure to get yourself a copy of the book here. The winner of the book is.................

tjones330@... who said: oh WOW!! i SOOOO need this book. I'm a big fan on these authors, but have just started getting into OAMC. This sure would be a great guide!

Congrats tjones, I've emailed you, so be sure to check your email and get back with me. If I don't hear back from tjones by next week, I'll pick a new winner. Again, thanks to everyone that entered!

Now, onto the recipe for the day! I was on CafeMom, in one of my groups and someone mentioned using soda in "beer can" chicken. Since I don't drink alcohol, I thought this idea was awesome! So, I used root beer to make "soda can" chicken! It was really simple!! I know that in the original recipe it says to do this on the grill, but it's starting to get cold and windy out here (well, it's always windy out here) so I decided to make it inside in my oven! So, this recipe isn't really a recipe, but more of a technique. Either way, I hope you try it soon!! Oh, and I used root beer, but you could also use sprite or coke, maybe even dr. pepper or mt. dew! Try it out and see how your family likes it!

Soda Can Chicken

1 whole chicken
1 12 oz. can soda of your choice
seasonings of your choice, I used My Go To Seasonings

Preheat an oven to 375° F.
Season the chicken with the seasonings of your choice, be sure to season generously. Open the can of soda and pour out about half of the soda into a glass and save for another use or drink it! Place the soda can onto a baking pan or roasting pan that is large enough to collect any juices that might come out of the chicken. Carefully put the can of soda into the bottom of the chicken and sit it upright on the baking pan. Be sure that your oven racks are low enough that the chicken will fit into it while standing. Place the chicken into the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, about and hour to an hour and half, depending on how large your chicken is. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

OAMC Family Favs Giveaway!!

I was asked by the creators of Once-A-Month Cooking, Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg, to do a review and giveaway of their newest book, Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites. I must admit, I've never been into the OAMC (once a month cooking) way of doing things in the kitchen. I like the hands on, being in the kitchen for a few hours a day kind of cooking. It keeps me busy, it's my hobby and I just generally like to cook (obviously that's why I have this blog!). But that might change as my kids get older and we have more activities going on, so I decided to go ahead and look through the book. I really enjoyed looking through it and got quite a few recipes that I'd like to try out. The Jerk Chicken sounds way yummy, not to mention the Poppy Seed Chicken.

The book features shopping lists, pantry lists, menu charts, and the general know how of OAMC. With seven different menu cycles, there are lots of different choices!! Something for everyone from the gluten-free family to the gourmet. Something that might appeal to busy moms on the go is the fact that a whole month's worth of meals is ready for the taking in the freezer. If you know your going to be super busy, you could just pull out a meal and have it ready in no time. The book also includes lots of tips, including tips on freezing and tips on thawing. And in each recipe, they tell you what to freeze the meal in, whether it be in a zip loc bag or container.

I'm thinking this would be the perfect book for a new mother to have. Just think, you are pregnant and due in about a month, so you start cooking now!! Then, when your baby is here, you already have a month's worth of meals in your freezer and you can spend more time sleeping or with your new baby! Something I could have used after my second son was born. :)

If you would like to have a copy of Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites for yourself, just leave me a comment here on this post, please be sure to include a way for me to contact you. I'll be giving away one copy. You have until Tuesday the 13th at midnight mountain time. Open to US only, because I've got to mail the book out to you. And please, only one entry per person. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday the 14th. And for now, go check out their website for a free one week cycle to see how you like freezer cooking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oatmeal Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

As promised, here is my winning oatmeal cookie recipe from this year's fair. Sorry it's taken me so long to get it up!! This cookie has to be one of my all time favorites, it's crunchy and chewy at the same time. Has some of my favorite ingredients in them and they are just so yummy!! I was kind of worried when I entered it in the fair as an oatmeal cookie that it wouldn't win anything, because it's not your ordinary oatmeal cookie, but luckily the judges liked it! I'm sure you'll love them too!

Oatmeal Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

½ c. butter (no substitutes)
½ c. shortening (no substitutes)
1 c. packed brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
3 c. old fashioned oats
½ cup coconut
1 c. macadamia nut pieces
1 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Cream the butter and shortening together in an electric mixer. Add sugars and continue mixing until nice and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gradually add flour, a little at a time, mix well but not too much! Add baking soda and salt. Add all of the oats, and mix well. Add the coconut, macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips and mix. Drop by the rounded tablespoon onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. I bake mine for 10. Let cool on sheet for at least 4 minutes and then transfer to a rack. Store in bags or an air tight container. Enjoy! Makes about 3 dozen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Soup

My husband loves hot wings, like really really loves them. So, to incorporate the wonderful flavor of buffalo hot wings and a fall favorite, soup, I came up with this yummy recipe for buffalo chicken soup! It's spicy, savory and delish!! Not to mention that it's sure to keep you warm in this cold weather! My kids even loved this soup, so it's not too spicy for little ones, just a little kick! This soup can also be made in the crock pot, if your going to be out and about during the day and need dinner to be made for you when you get home. Just start it out on the stove and once you get to the part where you add the remaining ingredients, just pop it in the crock pot and let it cook all day. Probably 8 hours on low would be fine.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

1 small onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
3 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
½ cup blue cheese salad dressing
4 cups cooked chicken, diced
¼ cup chicken wing sauce
8 ounces Velveeta cheese
4 small potatoes, diced
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Saute onions and celery in butter until tender. Add in flour and stir, cooking the flour for one minute. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring well so that no lumps form. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through, about half an hour. Enjoy with crusty bread!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hey Everyone!

I promise, I'm not dead!! I'll be back soon, when I get the chance to sit down and actually write something!! I've been pretty busy canning and freezing things lately. Namely free fruit that I've been getting from kind neighbors! Here's to a winter with out many trips to town!! In the meantime, here is a nice soup recipe for you. It's a family favorite and sure to warm you up!! Because if your weather has been anything like this crazy Idaho weather, your probably kind of cold right now!! Sorry I don't have a picture of this one right now, but I promise to make it soon and post a picture of it! I know you'll love this one, it yummy!!

Edited to add a new picture!

Vegetable Ham Alfredo Soup

2 cans chicken broth
2 cans evaporated milk
1 tablespoon dried parsley
pepper to taste
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
4-5 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen french cut green beans
1 ½ cups chopped ham
1 jar alfredo sauce
4 oz. cream cheese

Add all ingredients except for the alfredo sauce and cream cheese to a big pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until potatoes are soft, then add alfredo sauce and cream cheese. Heat through until cream cheese melts. Serve with hot rolls.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yummy Chicken Marinade

We love to grill at our house. And on the super hot days of summer, it's always nice to grill outside instead of heating up the house. But grilling can get old if you don't have different marinades for your meats. This is one of my favorite chicken marinades. It has a nice sweet citrus flavor. Everyone will be sure to love this chicken!! If your running low on time, 2 hours will be fine to marinade the chicken, but the longer you marinade the chicken the more the flavors will penetrate into the chicken. I hope you all enjoy!

Yummy Grilled Chicken Marinade

¼ cup vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
ground black pepper
6 chicken breasts or thighs boneless or with bone

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a Ziploc bag. Place chicken into the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for anywhere from 2 hours to overnight. Remove chicken from the marinade and grill until juices run clear.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Loaded Brownie Chipper Cookies

I came up with the idea for this cookie one afternoon while looking at a plate of brownies on my counter. I'm sure that my kids would have eaten the last 4 brownies, but I wanted to see how a cookie with leftover brownies inside of it would turn out. So, I set out to make these cookies. They turned out pretty good!! With the peanut butter and chocolate chips inside, it gives for a nice flavor. And the chunks of brownie inside the cookie are nice and crispy and chocolaty. I'll be making these again for sure if I have any leftover brownies!

Loaded Brownie Chipper Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups pre-made brownie chunks, cut into ¼” pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a stand or electric mixer, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the sugars and mix until well combined and creamy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Mix in the flour, baking soda and salt, making sure that the mixture is thoroughly combined. Add in the peanut butter and chocolate chips, mix until combined. Lastly, add in the brownie bits, only mixing until just combined. Do not over mix with the brownie bits inside of the dough. Place dough onto ungreased cookie sheets with a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, or equivalent. Make sure the cookies are about 2 inches apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Humburger Steaks with Creamy Mushroom Gravy

I tend to notice that my kids will eat dinner a whole lot better if it's something with a gravy or sauce. Are your kids like that? Maybe they just like to dip their foods into things, I don't know. But, my kids loved this dinner. It's down home cookin' at it's best! I served these hamburger steaks with gravy over my mashed potatoes, but you could serve this over egg noodles or rice with great results. Just pick what your family likes best!! I really liked making these hamburger steaks, which ended up being kind of like a mini meatloaf that was cooked on the stove-top instead of in the oven. They were easy and tasty and my family gobbled them up! I used extra lean hamburger when making them, so if you use fattier burger, just be sure to drain any excess fat.

Hamburger Steaks with Mushroom Gravy

2 pounds lean hamburger, divided
½ onion, minced
1 egg
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon season salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon nature's seasons

½ cup reserved hamburger meat
1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
3 cups fat free milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Mashed potatoes, cooked rice or egg noodles for serving

To make the hamburger steaks, combine the hamburger meat (reserving half a cup for the gravy), onion, egg, breadcrumbs and seasonings in a large bowl. Mix well so that all of the ingredients are combined. Form eight hamburger patties and cook in a skillet that has been heated on medium high heat until they are just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. You may have to cook in batches if your skillet isn't large enough to cook all of them at once. Once done cooking, place in an oven safe dish and place in a warm oven, about 200° F until ready to serve.

To make the gravy, brown the remaining hamburger in the same skillet that was used before. Add in the mushrooms and cook until soft. Place cooked hamburger and mushrooms into a bowl and set aside. Heat butter in the same skillet until melted, over medium high heat. Add the flour once the butter is melted and cook, stirring with a whisk until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the milk and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Let the gravy come to a boil, stirring constantly. If the gravy is too thick for your likings, add a bit of water until the consistency that you like is achieved. Once the gravy is thickened to your likings, add in the reserved ground beef and mushroom mixture. To serve, place a serving size amount of either mashed potatoes, rice or egg noodles on each plate, followed by a hamburger steak that has been kept warm in the oven and then mushroom gravy. Enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not Your Mama's Mashed Potatoes

Eveyone has a recipe or technique for mashed potatoes, right? But does everyone make a good mashed potato? Not always. I was talking to my mother-in-law once about how she learned how to make mashed potatoes. She said that her mom taught her to just drain the potatoes and then use some of the water from the cooking to mix in, add a bit of salt and that was it. YUCK!! I can't stand mashed potatoes like that. Thank goodness my mother-in-law doesn't make hers like that. But, her's aren't like these. And I bet these, aren't like your Mama's!

Not Your Mama's Mashed Potatoes

4 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup salted butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/8 cup heavy cream or whole milk (or more depending on how thin you like your potatoes)
1 tablespoon salt or to taste

Place the peeled and diced potatoes into a large pot and fill with enough water to cover all of the potatoes. Add a bit of salt to the water and boil until tender. When the potatoes are soft, drain the potatoes and place in an electric mixer, adding the butter and cream cheese and mixing until smooth. Add the heavy cream or milk and salt, mix well. Serve warm with gravy of your choice and enjoy! Serves 6-8.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hillbilly Donuts

Looks good, doesn't it? I bet you can't figure out what they are made out of. Go ahead, take a guess, I'll wait... Nope, you're wrong. Okay okay, I'll tell you. You're gonna laugh. Biscuit dough, you know, the kind that you buy at the store in the can? Yeah, I know. Doesn't it look like a real donut that you'd get from a bakery? These are so easy to make. And how fun would it be to surprise your family with donuts on a Saturday morning?! If you're like me and you live out in the country, the chances of you going out to get donuts and bring them home are slim-to-none. But now you can have easy yummy donuts, right at home! Without having to make the dough! Yay!

Hillbilly Donuts

1 can of homestyle biscuits
oil for frying
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make a hole in each biscuit by sticking your finger through the biscuit and stretching it out, until it resembles a donut with a rather large hole. Heat oil in a large skillet until hot. Drop biscuits into hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Drain and cool slightly on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla with a whisk to form a glaze, making it thicker or thinner by adding more milk or powdered sugar, according to your likings. Dip each donut in the glaze, place on a wire rack to harden slightly and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bourbon Chicken

This is one of my go-to dinners, something that I know my entire family will eat happily and enjoy! I got the original recipe from, which as I've said before is my favorite site for finding new recipes!! When I make this, I usually like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs because they stay nice and moist, but chicken breasts will also work. And I somtimes double the recipe for the sauce, since my family loves sauce, a lot. Served over cooked white rice with a nice steamed veggie on the side, you've got a great meal!! I hope your family enjoys this as well!

Bourbon Chicken

1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less or leave out if you don't like a lot of spice)
¼ cup apple juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vinegar
½ cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a large skillet cook the chicken pieces in the oil until the chicken is cooked through. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients mixing well with a whisk. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the sauce mixture and bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens. Serve over hot cooked rice and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Basil Garlic Sun Dried Tomato Bread

My favorite method of making artisan style breads is using a big pot to bake the bread in. Using this method always gives me an end result that has a crusty crust and chewy inside. I just love the fact that I can make high quality, delicious bread at home and it's just so easy! I'll never again pay $5 a loaf or more on specialty breads. The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to the flavor combinations that you can make using the basic dough of this bread. I'll soon be trying a rosemary bread! I can't wait!

Basil Garlic Sun Dried Tomato Bread

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water
¼ cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped

In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients until just combined. Let sit, covered with plastic wrap for 4 hours. Sprinkle a fair amount of flour onto a clean surface and plop the dough onto the flour. The dough will be very wet, this is how it should be. Once all of the dough is on the floured surface, fold together in thirds. Then fold the dough in half and shape into a round loaf and sprinkle with more flour. Cover with a towel and let rise for about an hour. Half an hour before the bread should be done rising, place a large oven proof pot with a lid into the oven and preheat to 450° F. Once the pot has preheated in the oven for a half an hour, plop the dough into the pot (it might not look pretty right now, but that is okay) and cover with the lid. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, when done cooking, cool the bread on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it. Enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Coconut S'mores Cookies

The other day I was at the store and bought some coconut marshmallows. I was thinking about making some s'mores cookies and once I saw those marshmallows, I knew I had to make coconut s'mores cookies! I looked online to see if anyone else had ever made s'mores cookies and how they went about dealing with the marshmallows and came across Cookie Madness' version of s'mores cookies. She said that it was best to put the marshmallows on towards the end of cooking, so that is what I did. These cookies turned out so good! If you are looking to make some cookies, please try these! You won't be sorry! I made two different sized cookies. Some really big ones that I used a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop and then I used my 2 tablespoon cookie scoop for the smaller ones. I like the size of the big ones, they are really impressive, but you only get about 12 cookies out of the whole batch.

Coconut S'mores Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 ¼ cups coarsely crushed graham cracker crumbs
3 regular sized Hershey's bars, coarsely chopped and divided
12 large toasted coconut marshmallows, cut with kitchen shears into 8 pieces each

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix in flour, salt and baking soda until combined. Add the flaked coconut, graham cracker crumbs and 1 ½ chopped Hershey bars, until combined well. To make large cookies, use a ¼ measuring cup to scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies look almost all of the way baked. Take cookies out of oven and then evenly divide the marshmallows and the remaining Hershey's bars among the cookies. Bake for another 1 to 3 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown and the chocolate and marshmallow has begun to melt. Do not over bake. To make smaller cookies use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop and scoop onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 or 9 minutes, or until the cookies are almost all of the way baked. Take the cookies out of the oven and evenly distribute the marshmallows and chocolate bars and then bake for another 1 to 3 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the chocolate and marshmallows have started to melt. Do not over bake. Remove onto a cooling rack to cool and enjoy!

Here is a picture of the smaller version of these cookies, I couldn't fit as much stuff on the top of them, but they were still really yummy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

And We Have A Winner!!

In more ways than one!! First off I'm going to give you all an update on how I did at the fair with the things that I entered, then I'll let you know the winners of the Oikos giveaway!

As you might remember from this post, I entered eleven things into our state fair. Here are my results!!

* Jalapeno Cheese Bread - 2nd place in the "other bread" category according to the judges, but I also got overall best bread, with the superintendent's award for all of the breads. So, I got a red ribbon and a pretty big huge red, white and blue ribbon!

* White Bread - didn't get anything for this one, I didn't expect it, I was having an off day and didn't let it rise enough.

* Wheat Bread - I got a blue ribbon, first place in 100% whole wheat category.

* Zucchini Bread - didn't get anything.

* Double Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread - I got an honorable mention on this one, next year I'm entering this in the zucchini bread category.

* Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread - First place blue ribbon for this recipe!!

* Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies - nothing for these, but seriously, it's so hard to place in the chocolate chip cookie category! I think this will be my last year attempting that category.

* Cookies and Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies - didn't get anything for these either.

* Oatmeal Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies - I got a blue ribbon, first place in oatmeal cookies for these!! They were so good!

* Peanut Butter Honey Cookies - honorable mention for these.

* Flour Tortillas - second place for these. I was kind of mad about that because the person that won first's looked like the tortillas were store bought. Seriously, they looked perfectly round and looked like mission tortillas. Oh well.

Now for our winners!! I went to and got my two winners!!

My first winner, Misty will be getting the 4 free 5.3 oz Oikos coupons, $5.00 worth of other Stonyfield coupons, and a reusable Stonyfield shopping bag!!

Misty.Castagno said...
My husband and I just love the jalapeno cheese bread and the guacamole. I too can't wait to try the Chile Verde. It seems alot simpler than trying to deal with all the tomatillos at home and stuff.. I love coming on here and finding the new recipes. Almost all of them end up in my tried and true binder(or should I say binders) lol... Thanks so much

And, my second winner, Kandi will be getting a coupon for a free 16 oz Oikos yogurt along with $5 worth of other Stonyfield coupons and a nifty little magnet!!

Kandi said...
I haven't had time to try any recipes yet, but #1 on my list are the Cookies & Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies and then your Zucchini Lasagna. Yummm.

Thank you to all that entered!!

Just so you all know, I've been crazy busy canning and freezing things from my garden, so if I'm not around much, that's why!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Creamy Cilantro Avocado Sauce & My First Giveaway!

Oh, I'm in love with this sauce. Seriously, it's yummy!! I love anything with cilantro in it, and for me, the more cilantro the better!! And don't even get me started on avocados!! I love them!! I made this creamy delicious sauce recently to go on some tacos that I was making. I've actually made it twice in the past couple of weeks, it's that good! The first time I made it with some grilled marinated pork chops it was sooo good! Then we had it the next week with fish tacos that my hubby made (sorry no recipe for that one, he made it up as he was going). I can't wait to make this again!!

And, the secret ingredient in this yummy sauce is Greek yogurt!! I just recently found Oikos Greek yogurt, made by Stonyfield Farm in my local stores. I was so excited to see it at the store! I had heard people rave over Greek yogurt for the longest time and could never find it out here. Now I know why everyone raves about it! It's creamy and delicious and works great in this Creamy Cilantro Avocado Sauce!!

Are you ready for the giveaway!!??? I've got two great prizes to giveaway today!! One of you will be winning 4 free 5.3 oz Oikos coupons, $5.00 worth of other Stonyfield coupons, and a reusable Stonyfield shopping bag!! And the next winner will be getting a coupon for a free 16 oz Oikos yogurt along with $5 worth of other Stonyfield coupons and a nifty little magnet!! I'm so excited about this giveaway, it will give you a chance to try the yogurt and fall in love with it!! To enter the giveaway, leave me a comment on this post about your favorite recipe of mine so far!! You will have until Friday, September 11th at 10:00 pm Mountain Standard Time to enter and please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you are a winner! I'll announce the winner on Saturday the 12th! Good luck to you all and in the meantime, visit Stonyfield Farm for some great coupons!

Creamy Cilantro Avocado Sauce

1 bunch cilantro, leaves cut off some of the stem is fine
2 large cloves garlic
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons water
5.3 ounce container plain Oikos Greek Yogurt
2 medium avocados
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sugar

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend well until the sauce is a smooth texture. Enjoy over tacos or as a dip for chips!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cubano Marinade

Yum!! That's all I have to say about this marinade! I love Cuban inspired flavors! Citrus, cumin, garlic...there isn't anything better!! When we made these pork chops I actually cut up the meat and then made soft tacos (with corn tortillas) out of it. Served with a cilantro avocado sauce (recipe coming tomorrow!) they were amazing!! I can't wait to make this again with chicken instead of pork!! I'm sure your family will love this too!!

Cubano Pork or Chicken Marinade

3 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon bitter orange Goya adobo seasoning
6 pieces chicken or pork chops

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large zip loc bag, add 6 pieces chicken or pork chops, close bag and mix together to coat the meat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as 6 hours. Grill or bake in the oven at 375° F until meat is cooked through. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Busy With The Fair

On Wednesday the second, I was busy all day baking up a storm to enter things into the fair. I actually started on Tuesday. Needless to say, I've been pretty busy!! Not to mention that my son started preschool this week! So, I haven't been on here much to update things. Thank goodness for scheduled posts!! So, I thought I'd share with you a list of the things that I entered into the fair. And if your in my area and are going to be attending the Eastern Idaho State Fair, be sure to check out the baking section and look for my things! I won't be able to go until Thursday to see if I won anything or not. Crossing my fingers for a couple of blue ribbons!!

I entered eleven things all together, some things didn't turn out the way I would have liked, but I guess that is what happens when you are trying to get a million things done in 1 1/2 days with children home! So, here is my list, if the recipe isn't up yet, it will be up soon!!

* Jalapeno Cheese Bread
* White Bread
* Wheat Bread
* Zucchini Bread
* Double Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread - entered as a "other" quick bread
* Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
* Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
* Cookies and Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies - entered as a "other cookie"
* Oatmeal Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies - entered as a "oatmeal cookie"
* Peanut Butter Honey Cookies - entered as a "honey cookie"
* Flour Tortillas

So, there you have it! I'll be posting the recipes for the ones I don't have up shortly! Did you enter anything into your local fair this year? Did you win anything!? I'd love to hear!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pico de Gallo

I love fresh salsa, it's so easy to make and it tastes so good!! Made with fresh from the garden tomatoes, it's even better! I love the already minced garlic in the jar, that is what I usually use in most of my recipes, it can be used in this recipe, but fresh garlic that you mince yourself will be 100 times better! It's worth the extra work for me to mince the garlic for this Pico de Gallo. This recipe is more of guide then an actual recipe also, you can adjust anything in the recipe to your family's likings. If your family doesn't like much onion, don't put as much in. If you really love cilantro, like me, add a whole bunch. If you don't like much spice, only add one jalapeño. Make it how your family will enjoy it!! Serve with homemade or store bought tortilla chips and your good to go!!

Pico de Gallo

6 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, minced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper (or more to taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Stir once more before serving and enjoy with your favorite chips!

Homemade Tortilla Chips

desired quantity corn tortillas
oil for frying

Heat oil on high heat in a large skillet. Make sure there is at least ½” of oil. Cut the corn tortillas into slices that resemble chips. Place cut tortillas into hot oil and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, until they are a golden brown color. Take browned tortilla chip out of oil and place on a paper towel lined plate, season with salt and enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mexican Rice

Mexican rice has always been something that isn't very easy for me to replicate at home. The rice in restaurants is sort of dry, not sticky at all and has such good flavor. I've been trying to make a good Mexican rice for a long time now and never could get it right. Until one day I just decided to ask the waitress at the local Mexican restaurant how they made the rice. She told me that they fry the rice in oil before adding any liquids. Who knew? So, I tried frying the rice in oil before adding liquid and guess, what? It worked! Here is my version of Mexican rice, give it a try and let me know what you think!

Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons oil
2 cups long grain white rice
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper (not fresh ground)
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth
3 tablespoons salsa

In a large pot heat oil over high heat. Add in the rice, onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until the rice starts to brown and the onions are soft. Add in the salt, pepper and chili powder and stir well. Pour in the tomato sauce, chicken broth and salsa and stir well. Let the mixture come up to a boil, stirring frequently. Once a boil is reached cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 25 minutes or until the rice is no longer crunchy. Enjoy with your favorite Mexican dishes!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chile Verde

Chile Verde has to be my all time favorite thing to order at Mexican restaurants. Specifically at La Piñata in Hayward, California, where I grew up. You just can't get any better than La Piñata! But now that I live in Idaho, I have to make my own. I just haven't been able to find a restaurant out here that even comes close. Now all I need to do is learn how La Piñata makes their delectable corn tortillas. Yum!! So, I'm not saying that my Chile Verde is anywhere near as good as the one that I love so much, but it's pretty dang good. And it's super easy too!! With the help of bottled salsa verde, it makes it so much easier than dealing with tomatillos at home. Which I have done, and I prefer this recipe a million times over to the one I made completely from scratch. Just be sure to get mild or medium salsa verde so that your chile verde isn't too spicy. If you've been to La Piñata before, I'd love to know, leave me a comment about your favorite La Piñata dish!!

Chile Verde

5 lbs pork butt, cubed seasoned with garlic salt
Oil for browning meat
2 onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Roma tomatoes,chunked
2 (16 ounce) jars La Victoria Salsa Verde
1 tablespoon Cumin
½ bunch Cilantro, chopped

Season pork with garlic salt and brown well in oil. Add onion, garlic and tomatoes; sauté for 2 minutes. Add salsa Verde and cumin bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer, cook at least one hour or until meat is tender. Ten minutes before eating add cilantro, mix well. Serves 6-8.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Easy Guacamole

This will be the first of my Mexican Feast recipes! A couple of weeks ago I spent all Sunday in the kitchen making Chile Verde, Mexican rice, refried beans, pico de gallo, homemade chips and this easy guacamole. We ended up making burritos out of it all, if you'd like to see the huge burrito that my husband made, go check out over here. Anyway, I'll be posting the other recipes in the following few days. This guacamole is so easy to make that it's funny! And as far as I'm concerned, it's the only guacamole recipe you'll ever need!
Easy Guacamole
2 Haas avocados
1/4 cup salsa or pico de gallo
1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
Cut the avocados open, take out the pit and then take out the flesh using a spoon. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in salsa, garlic salt and pepper and taste. Check to see if it needs more salt or pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chicken Stew

*~*~*Hey everyone! I'm featured today over on CafeMom!! If your coming over from CafeMom, welcome!! I'm glad to have you here!! You can check out my feature here!*~*~*

My oldest son, who is four years old, recently started taking karate classes. The classes happen to be at 5:00 in the evening, which means that dinner needs to be cooking at home while we're at karate class. Thank goodness for crock pots!! I've got two crock pots that I use pretty often, and I love! This dinner was made up one day before karate class, as both a way to use up some chicken thighs that were in the fridge and a way to get dinner done and ready by the time we got home from karate. My kids ate this up and wanted more! I think they just really love good home style foods like stews, soups and casseroles. Things that fill you up and make you warm inside (not that we need to be warm in August, but you know what I'm talking about!). So if your family loves that kind of food too, they will be sure to love this chicken stew! I served mine over white rice, that I cooked when we got home from karate along with some homemade wheat bread. I hope you enjoy!

Chicken Stew

1 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chunked
½ pound baby carrots
1 onion, chunked
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can water (use the empty soup can)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup frozen peas

Brown the chicken pieces in a large skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook, stirring often until chicken is cooked through. Once the chicken is done cooking, place in a crock pot. Add in all ingredients except for the peas and mix well. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours, or until the veggies are soft. Half an hour before serving, add in the peas and mix in. Continue cooking until the peas are warm, about 30 minutes. Enjoy with biscuits, rolls or over cooked rice.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

I don't make cake or cupcakes very often, simply because I like baking cookies a lot better because you get more out of them and they are easier to share and store. So, you probably won't see too many cake or cupcake recipes here. But the other day I was looking in my cupboard at a box of cake mix and part of a package of Oreos that needed to be used and came up with this recipe. I know there are lots of recipes for cookies & cream cupcakes out there, but I threw this one together and I think it turned out pretty good. My favorite part was the frosting and crushed Oreos on top! My kids also absolutely loved these!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

1 (18 ounce) white cake mix
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs
12 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
chocolate buttercream frosting (recipe follows)
6 Oreo cookies, crushed for topping

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Mix together the cake mix, buttermilk, oil and eggs in an electric mixer. Once it has been combined mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the chopped Oreos and mix until combined. Pour into a muffin pan that has been lined with cupcake papers. Be sure not to overfill them, about 2/3 of the way is good. Bake in preheated oven for 12-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Be sure not to over cook them. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then take them out and let cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with chocolate buttercream frosting and sprinkle crushed oreos on top.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the cocoa powder, mixing well. Stir in milk and vanilla extract and beat on high for 2 minutes, or until the frosting has lightened slightly. Frost your favorite cake and enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Barbecue Smothered Chicken

I made this chicken the other night and we all loved it! With mushrooms, onions, barbecue sauce, bacon and cheese, you can't go wrong! When I made it I used crimini mushrooms and purple onions, which is what I had on hand, but button mushrooms and any color onion would work. And we always use Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce, but you could use whatever is your favorite. Give this a try, your family will love it!

Barbecue Smothered Chicken

3 tablespoons butter
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, sliced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned with My Go To Seasonings
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup pre-cooked bacon crumbles

Preheat oven to 375° F.
In a large skillet melt butter over high heat, once melted add the mushrooms, garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the kosher salt and pepper and mix well. Take off of heat and place in a bowl for later use. In the same skillet heat the olive oil on high heat. Add the seasoned chicken breasts and cook for about 3 minutes per side, not fully cooked, just brown them. Once they have browned, place them on a foil-lined cookie sheet. On top of each chicken breast, evenly distribute the mushroom mixture. On top of the mushroom mixture spread the barbecue sauce, cheese and bacon crumbles on each chicken breast. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese has melted. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Loaded Zucchini Muffins

These muffins would be a great idea for an after school snack or even a nice breakfast before the kids hop onto the bus. My four year old will be starting preschool on the 31st and he'll be taking the bus to school (I can't begin to tell you how scared and excited I am about this whole thing!) so I'm sure some mornings we'll be rushing to get him out the door. These muffins would be a great thing to hand him on his way out the door. And you don't have to feel bad about giving them to your kids because they are loaded with fruits and veggies! I'll be making more of these muffins to stash in my freezer!!

Loaded Zucchini Muffins

1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup raisins
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In an electric mixer, combine the oil, sugar and eggs until mixed well. Add the carrots, zucchini, coconut and raisins and mix well. Finally add the flour, baking soda and cinnamon and mix until everything is combined thoroughly. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins (I spray mine with baker's joy) to almost the top of the tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes for mini muffins and 18 to 22 minutes for regular sized muffins. I got 24 mini muffins and 18 regular muffins out of this batter. Enjoy!


Growing up with a mom that is half Puerto Rican and a dad this is part Scottish, we ate lots of different kinds of foods. Puerto Rican foods being my all time favorite! I love a good bowl of rice and beans or some arroz con gandules. Yum! There isn't any better kind of comfort food to me! And whenever we ate Puerto Rican foods you could always find these fried plantains or tostones on the table! Actually they never made it to the table because we'd be standing by the stove waiting for them to be done so that we could grab some off the plate when they were nice and hot! Just one of my many childhood memories, that inevitably had something to do with food. When I was a kid, my mom would make fried plantains like this, or she would shred the plantains and then fry them in little piles, they kind of resembled a fried little haystack or a spider. But, I like my tostones like this the best. This isn't really a recipe, but more of a technique. I hope that you make these, your family will love them!
Puerto Rican Tostones (Fried Plantains)
desired quantity of green plantains
vegetable oil for frying
garlic salt for seasoning

Make sure that when you buy the plantains that they are completely green, no yellow or brown. To peel the plantains cut off the ends with a knife and then cut a line from top to bottom only going through the peel. Then stick your finger under the peel and remove, this can be a little tough, just make sure that you get all of the peel off. Heat the oil for frying. Slice the plantains into big chunks, a little smaller than ½ an inch. Put a few plantains in the preheated oil and fry for about 2 minutes per side or until a nice golden color, continue until done frying all of them. Then once all of them have been fried once, smash the plantains by placing a plate over the plantains and pressing down, you can also use the smooth side of a meat tenderizer to do the job. Fry one more time until crispy and golden. Season with garlic salt and serve immediately. Enjoy.

This is what the plantains look like when you buy them, be sure to get the ones that are completely green, not yellow or brown. You can find them in the produce section of most grocery stores, next to the ethnic fruits, such as the mangoes and papayas. Out here in Idaho I can find them at Wal Mart and at Winco.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yellow Squash Casserole

I found this recipe over on The Provident Pantry and let me tell you, this is the best way I've ever eaten yellow squash, in my entire life! Seriously, it was that good! So, if you still have over-active squash plants in your garden and you have a bounty of yellow squash that still needs to be used up, make this recipe! You won't be sorry!! I'm thinking of even slicing and blanching some yellow squash so that I can make this recipe during the winter months! I know my family won't complain about that! I hope you visit The Provident Pantry for more great food storage ideas.

Yellow Squash Casserole

2 pounds yellow squash, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1 (6 ounce) package dry stuffing, prepared according to box directions

Boil the yellow squash and onion together in a large pot filled with water, until they are soft. Drain and place in a large bowl. Mix together the soup, sour cream, cheese and salt and pepper. Add the soup mixture to the squash and onions and mix well. In a 3 quart casserole dish, layer half of the stuffing, then pour on all of the squash mixture, followed by the remaining stuffing. Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and stuffing on the top is slightly crunchy. Enjoy!

Banana Pecan Crumb Bread

This bread is my new favorite banana bread recipe. Seriously, this stuff is so good! Too good for words! I got the idea for this bread from Southern Plate, if you haven't heard of Southern Plate yet, be sure to check out Christy's website, she's got lots of yummy recipes! This banana bread is rich, full of banana flavor and don't even get me started on the pecans. I love pecans! They are my all time favorite nut to be baked with. You must make this bread with the pecans, the only people that shouldn't are the ones that absolutely can't eat nuts. Trust me, don't leave them out unless you have to! A tip when buying nuts is to look over in the produce section, the nuts in the produce section are usually cheaper than the ones that you'll find over by the baking things. This way you can make the bread with the pecans and save a bit of money too! Okay, enough about pecans...

Everyone that tried this bread after I made it thought that it was the best banana bread that they had ever eaten. I'll be entering this one into the fair this year, hoping for a blue ribbon! Try it out, you won't be sorry.

Banana Pecan Crumb Bread

3 large bananas
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
Crumb Topping

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In an electric mixer mix together bananas and sugar until the banana is completely mashed. Add in the butter, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well creamed. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Mix in the buttermilk and then finally add in the pecans and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the crumb toppings with a pastry cutter or fork. It should form a nice crumb. Pour half of the bread batter into two greased bread pans. Then layer half of the crumb topping on top of that bread batter. Pour remaining batter over the crumb mixture and then top with the rest of the crumb topping. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes in the 350° F preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Smashed Potatoes

This side dish is easy and a real crowd pleaser! I'm a huge fan of potatoes, so anything with potatoes in it I'm sure to love. Good thing we live in Idaho! My favorite part of these potatoes are the crunchy bits and pieces, not to mention the cheese! Add these to your menu for something new and different from the same old things you always make.

Smashed Potatoes

6 large red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rosemary or dried parsley flakes
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup Parmesan cheese or ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
crumbled bacon (optional)

Preheat oven to 425° F.
Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, boil until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place on a cookie sheet that has been coated with one tablespoon olive oil. Smash each potato individually with a potato masher once by pressing potato masher down until skin breaks. Drizzle remaining olive oil over potatoes. Sprinkle rosemary or parsley flakes, salt and pepper, cheese and bacon evenly over potatoes. Place potatoes in oven at 425° for approximately 30 minutes or until crispy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This pasta was so yummy! If you love chicken Alfredo and also like a little kick, you'll love this pasta! We eat a lot of pasta in my house, simply because it's filling, makes a lot of food (which equals leftovers for my hubby's lunch the next day) and it's cheap. As I've said before, I shop sales and then stock up on items so that I don't have to pay full price later. This is exactly what I do with pasta! About once a year pasta goes on sale for 50 cents a pound out here. That is when I stock up! I buy tons of it and then store it all in a big Rubbermaid tote in my food storage room. At 50 cents a pound, you can eat good and cheap! So, I have to be creative with pasta since we eat it so often. And if you know my husband, he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy, who isn't actually all that fond of pasta. But, he understands that we're on a budget so he eats what I make regardless. This recipe was easy to put together using some store bought help and my husband raved over it!
You could easily make this recipe into a food storage friendly recipe by using canned chicken chunks, dried garlic and instead of the cream cheese using another half a jar or so of the Alfredo sauce. And, don't forget about powdered milk, it's a great substitute for regular milk in recipes!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

1 pound linguine pasta (or other shape pasta)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into slices
2 teaspoons Cajun season salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or leave it out if you don't like too much spice)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained (or fresh)
1 (15 ounce) jar creamy Alfredo sauce
¼ cup milk, plus more if desired
8 ounces cream cheese
paprika & dried parsley for garnish
Cook pasta according to package directions, once cooked, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat olive oil over high heat. Add chicken breast slices, seasonings and garlic and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add drained mushrooms and mix well. Pour jar of Alfredo sauce into skillet, mixing well to coat all of the chicken. Measure out milk and then pour it into the empty Alfredo sauce jar and shake around to get any extra Alfredo sauce out, pour into skillet along with all of the other ingredients. Break small pieces of the cream cheese off and place them into the skillet, stirring well so that they are evenly distributed and can melt evenly. Stir until cream cheese is completely melted. Add the cooked and drained pasta into the skillet and toss well. If the pasta is too dry for your liking, simply add a bit more milk until you reach the consistency that you like. Garnish with sprinklings of paprika and dried parsley on each individual plate.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe won me a blue ribbon at the state fair a few years ago, so if your searching for a winner of an oatmeal cookie, you've found it right here! When I entered it into the fair, I didn't put in the chocolate chips and added a bit more raisins so that it was just a pure oatmeal raisin cookie. I encourage you to try it like that, but with the chocolate chips it takes this cookie over the top! Be sure to use both butter (never use margarine) and shortening in this recipe. It makes the cookie crunchy and soft at the same time, trust me they are killer good. The guys at my husband's work request these babies often and these are always a great cookie to take over to a neighbor's house. Have fun baking!

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ c. butter (no substitutes)
½ c. shortening (no substitutes)
1 c. packed brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
3 c. old fashioned oats {can use quick cooking or mix the two kinds}
1 c. raisins
1 c. chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Cream the butter and shortening together in an electric mixer. Add sugars and continue mixing until nice and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gradually add flour, a little at a time, mix well but not too much! Add baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add all of the oats, and mix well. Add the raisins and the chocolate chips and mix. Drop by the rounded tablespoon onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. I bake mine for 10. Let cool on sheet for at least 4 minutes and then transfer to a rack. Store in bags or an air tight container. Enjoy! Makes about 3 dozen.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kicked Up Pintos

These beans are another great food storage recipe that can be completely food storage friendly if you use dried onion and garlic in place of the fresh. I personally keep real cooked bacon bits in my food storage. I buy them at Costco in the large bags and just keep them in a big plastic tote away from the elements. That is exactly what I used in this recipe when I made it. I love those things! They have less fat in them then if you were to fry up the bacon yourself and it's really convenient. These spicy beans are so yummy, any fan of spice will be sure to love them! If you aren't too into spice, just cut down on the jalapeños a bit, but do keep some of them in because they add so much flavor. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Kicked Up Pintos

1 pound dried pinto beans, cooked and drained
½ cup cup onion, chopped (I used red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup cooked bacon pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can water (use the empty tomato can)
1/3 cup chopped jarred jalapeño peppers

The day before you want to eat these beans, soak and cook the pintos according to package directions. When done cooking, place in refrigerator overnight. The next day, dump all of the ingredients into a crock pot and mix well. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yummy To The Tummy White Bread

Every now and then I mix things up with our bread and make this instead of my whole wheat bread recipe. This bread is soft, sweet and doesn't stick around for long! Our favorite way to enjoy this bread is making egg salad sandwiches out of it. If your family is a white bread loving family and you've been wanting to start making your own bread, this is a great recipe! To learn more about why I use vital wheat gluten and dough enhancer in my breads, read my Awesome Whole Wheat Bread recipe. In this recipe, if you don't want to invest in those two ingredients, you could replace the all-purpose flour with bread flour and leave out the dough enhancer and vital wheat gluten. Your bread won't turn out as soft and delicious as my original recipe, but it will still be yummy.

Yummy To The Tummy White Bread

2 cups warm water
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup oil
1 tablespoon dough enhancer
1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
5 – 6 cups all purpose flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the water, sugar and yeast. Let sit until the yeast has proofed, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with dough hook attachment until combined. Then let the mixer knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 – 7 minutes. Turn dough into a greased bowl and cover with a towel, place the bowl in a warm place and let dough rise to double it's size. After it has risen, punch the dough down and divide into two portions. Form loaves with the dough and place into greased bread pans. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until the dough is about an inch above the pan. Once risen, place the bread into a preheated 350° F oven and bake for 30 minutes. When done baking remove from pans immediately and let cool on a wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.