Monday, December 31, 2012

Menu December 31

I've been a little absent during December but we were busy with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas including lots of baking...
I made these Buckeye Brownies for an event at church and they were met with rave reviews. It's like a peanut butter ball on top of brownies so absolute deliciousness!
I ended up being able to make four different kinds of Christmas cookies this year: Hot Cocoa Cookies, Peanut Butter Balls, Peanut Blossoms and Soft Gingersnaps.
We also made this Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix to enjoy after we drove around looking at Christmas lights. I agree that it is the white chocolate chips that really put this over the top. I want to try substituting butterscotch chips for the white chocolate chips and see what that does.
And to offset all that sugar and sweetness I also made a few batches of muffins including these Pumpkin Cranberry ones.

On the Menu...
Snacky foods for New Years Eve
Toscana Soup
Out to Eat
Sweet Hawaiian Pizza
French Toast

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu December 3

Broccoli Cheddar Soup: We tried this a few times last year and after last week it's a guaranteed keeper. Everyone loved it and it makes a huge batch. {Recipe coming soon}
I started my Christmas baking last week with these Soft Gingersnap Cookies. Again, something we all loved!

On the Menu...
Toscana Soup
Mom's Sloppy Joes 
Advent Soup Supper at Church
Chicken Alfredo with Breadsticks with Garlic Butter
Chicken Fajita Pizza
French Toast
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Christmas Baking: Peanut Blossom Cookies

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Foreshadowing

I can't believe I haven't shared recipes for over a month. {Okay, maybe I can but that's life right now.} Because of that I had many recipes to pick from so you know these five truly look good to me.

~Red Onion Pinwheels from Rachael Ray: I love bread and am always looking for new twists on it. I would use homemade pizza dough instead but the flavor combination on these sounds delicious.
Red Onion Pinwheels
~Coffee Cake Cupcakes from The Shiksa in the Kitchen: Since we have muffins for breakfast each morning it's always nice to try some different recipes. While this is a little sweeter than what we usually have an occasional treat is definitely okay!
~Brown Sugar Ginger Snowflakes from Woman's Day: I have actually never made sugar cookies {at least as far as I can remember} but think this might be a fun twist on them. I definitely want to do some sort of cut out cookie this year as I think my three year old might get a kick out of helping.
brown sugar ginger snowflakes
~Lasagna Style Pizza from Good Housekeeping: Like we have muffins every morning we have pizza every Friday. We have a decent collection of varieties right now but are always up for trying more, like this Lasagna one.
lasagna style pizza
~Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix from Mel's Kitchen Cafe: I'm actually buying the ingredients for this today and can't wait to try it.
All images are from the original recipe source.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soft Gingersnap Cookies

I always have such grand plans for Christmas baking and I have yet to accomplish them. This year though I'm starting early and hoping that will help me be successful! The first treat on my list for this year was Gingersnaps.
Traditionally gingersnaps are a crunchy cookie. However, since I don't care for them that way I "underbake" them so they are still soft. When I've taken them places people have always commented how they like them soft instead of hard so it seems I'm not the only gingersnap rebel out there!

Soft Gingersnap Cookies
 Print Recipe
Source: St. Pauls Lutheran Church Cookbook, Fairmont, MN
Yields: ~5 dozen cookies
3/4 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light molasses
1 beaten egg
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
   1.  Cream butter and sugar together. Add molasses and beaten egg; beat well. Add dry ingredients; mix well.
   2.  Chill dough for 10 minutes. Roll in 1 inch balls; roll in sugar, place two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. {Eight minutes if you want them soft.} Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from cookie sheet.
   ~I like to refrigerate the dough in between rolling out batches so it doesn't get too sticky.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu November 26

I wasn't too adventurous in trying new meal recipes recently but we have tried quite a few desserts!
We had our kids' birthday party earlier this month so of course I made a cake. My decorating skills leave a lot of room for improvement but I like how it turned out.
After all, isn't the taste most important? I used this chocolate cake recipe and this vanilla cake recipe and topped it with vanilla frosting. Also, to do the decorating, I used this handy tip which was an absolute lifesaver when it came time to clean up.
Pretzel Cookies with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chips: This pretzel dessert did not disappoint. I used butterscotch chips instead of peanut butter since that's what I had on hand. We took these to Thanksgiving and they were a big hit. Surprisingly even five days after baking the pretzels in the few remaining cookies aren't soft yet. These cookies might be a part of my Christmas baking.

On the Menu...
~Now that we're almost done with two months of planning a months worth of meals at a time I don't think it's the solution for me. It probably didn't help that I was also trying to rely mostly on the pantry but I really struggled this month {hence, the lack of posts}. I will be glad to get through this last week and try something new {or really, more likely my old method} come December.~
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Easy Cheesy Biscuits
Ham & Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 
Cream Cheese Pasta with Breadsticks with Garlic Butter
Mom's Sloppy Joes
BBQ Chicken Pizza

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tomato Basil Soup

It took a long time and many less than great bowls of soup but I've finally found a homemade tomato soup that is similar to the canned stuff but tastes even better! My husband had never had tomato soup until we were married and now this is one of his favorite soups, served, of course, with grilled cheese.
This soup is easy to put together and can withstand a long simmer time so it's perfect for days when dinner needs to be started early. However, it can also come together quite quickly. Since I try to keep chopped carrots and celery in the freezer I've definitely pulled this together spur of the moment.

Tomato Basil Soup
 Print Recipe
Adapted from: Kate's Great Crafts & 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Yields: 6-8 generous servings

1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
28 oz can tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
1 T basil
1 small bay leaf
3 T butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
dash garlic powder
1/4 tsp basil
   1.  Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, 1 T basil, bay leaf and butter. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer.
   2.  Remove bay leaf. Blend using either an immersion blender or regular blender {in batches}; add milk and remaining seasonings. Heat until warm.
   3.  Serve with grilled cheese and buttery crackers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu November 5

Spaghetti Squash with Spaghetti Sauce: This was the first recipe we tried with spaghetti squash. My husband and I enjoyed it but the three year old? Not so much.
Chicken Bacon Alfredo Spaghetti Squash: We also tried the squash with this variation. We liked this even more {and our daughter a little bit}. This will likely be my go-to recipe for spaghetti squash.
Smudgies: These have become a popular snack around here with peanut butter, banana, chocolate. They're relatively easy to make and keep on hand. {Recipe coming soon}

On the Menu...
~Planning a month of meals at a time worked well in October so I'm trying it again for November. I'm also making an effort to use up things that have been sitting around for a while. It's not going to be the most exciting month but it will be nice to get rid of some stuff.~
Ground Beef Stroganoff Soup
Spaghetti Pie with Breadsticks with Garlic Butter
Corn Dog Muffins
Burgers and Baked Beans
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

I love this recipe for a few reasons. 1) It's delicious! The muffins are moist without being sticky and the flavor is amazing. 2) Without having to double the recipe it makes a lot of muffins; it's nice to put the extras in the freezer. 3) Unlike some recipes it uses a whole can of pumpkin so you don't have to figure out what to do with the leftovers.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
 Print Recipe
Yields: 24-30 muffins
Source: Ocean Spray

2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 T + 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
15 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup juice (I've used apple and pineapple)
1 cup dried cranberries

   1.  Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add pumpkin, eggs, banana, oil, applesauce and juice; mix until just moistened. Gently fold in cranberries.
   2.  Fill muffin tins; bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu October 22

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins: I think these are my favorite fall muffin recipe {and near the top of my favorites in general}. They're moist, flavorful and the recipe makes a lot of muffins! {Recipe coming soon}
Baked Pumpkin Donuts: Well, my piping skills definitely leave a lot to be desired {that had a lot to do with the bag I picked, but still}. While they surely didn't look pretty they tasted amazing. They were buttery, light and airy.
Pumpkin Pancakes: Continuing with the pumpkin theme... We love these pancakes. They're no harder to make than regular pancakes and taste amazing. They hardly need any syrup, it's more out of habit that we add it.

On the Menu...
Mom's Chili with Non-Grainy Cornbread
Ham & Peach Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
TBD using Spaghetti Squash
Black Bean and Rice Burritoes
Chicken Fajita Pizza {Carry over from last week}
Pumpkin Pancakes {from the freezer}

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Foreshadowing

I have quite the collection of recipes this week, all of which look absolutely tantalizing to me!

~Pretzel Rolls from Our Best Bites: I've been wanting to make pretzel rolls for a while now after having a burger on one last year {I told you it was a while!} Now to find the perfect sandwich to go with these.
~Apple Braid from Eat, Live, Run: Yet another concept I've wanted to do for a while, a braided loaf. This would be a perfect recipe to try right now, though I might also add some pears.
~Raspberry Almond Braid from Willow Bird Baking: Evidently braids are truly on my mind right now. This one is less seasonal but just as delicious looking.
~Fiesta Chicken from Heavenly Homemakers: I love that this is a crock pot recipe and that it can be served either over rice or in tortillas. Ease and options are great!
~Monte Cristo from 5 Dinners in 1 Hour: I've always wanted to try a Monte Cristo though I'm not really sure why, maybe because of the name. Whatever it might be this looks like an easy enough recipe to make.
All images are from the original recipe source.
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

We actually had muffins from the original recipe quite some time ago and must have enjoyed them because I put the recipe on a card in my box. However, recently when I went to make the muffins I didn't have enough butter on hand to make the topping as directed. Instead I used applesauce and discovered a delicious combination. The small amount of applesauce called for brings a large flavor to the muffins. These are a perfect fall muffin, especially if you're short on butter or apples.

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
 Print Recipe
Adapted from: Happy in Dole Valley  
Yields: 12 muffins
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 T applesauce
2 T flour
2 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
   1.  Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients; mix until just moistened. Fill 12 muffin cups.
   2.  In a small bowl mix topping ingredients; divide topping among muffins, gently spread.
   3.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Menu October 15

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins: I adapted this recipe from Happy in Dole Valley and ended up with a muffin with a slight apple taste. It's a winner with all of us! {Recipe coming soon}
Tomato Soup: After many trials and failures I've finally found what we think is the best tomato soup. It makes many apperances on our table because of it's ease and the simplicity of the ingredients. {Recipe coming soon}
Triple Chip Blondies: You must check this recipe out! It was absolute perfection, sweet, buttery and creamy and sure to become a frequent dessert in our home.

On the Menu...
 ~Last week I doubled three meals for the freezer. Also, one meal was from the freezer from last month. I love freezer cooking!~
Baked Potato Soup {in the Crock Pot}
Sweet & Sour Chicken {Crock Pot}
Aloha Burgers {New}
Stromboli {made it this weekend and it's waiting in the freezer}
Chicken Fajita Pizza
Brunch TBD 

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Melts

No one {well, practically no one} is going to deny the goodness that is sure to result when you combine peanut butter and chocolate. This recipe uses the two plus bananas all warmed through for an irresistible snack or treat.
The recipe below is written for just one sandwich but it's easy to make these assembly line style. Be sure to make more than you think you'll need because everyone will definitely want more than one!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Melts
 Print Recipe
Yields: 1 sandwich {double, etc as necessary}
Adapted from: Rachael Ray

Ingredients per sandwich:
2 slices bread
1/2 T butter, room temperature
1 T peanut butter
1/2 banana, sliced
1 tsp chocolate sauce

   1.  Spread soft butter on one side of each slice of bread. On the other side of the first slice spread the peanut butter. Top with bananas. On the non-buttered side of the second slice of bread spread the chocolate sauce; put on top of bananas.
   2.  Cook in a non-stick skillet or griddle for about two minutes or until slightly browned; flip and cook two more minutes or until slightly browned and warmed through. Cut in quarters; serve warm.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Menu October 8

Apple Cinnamon Waffles: This flavor combination has always been a winner in our house and these waffles were no different. They weren't as crispy as our waffles usually are and many of them pulled apart in the waffle maker but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the taste!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins: Call me weird but I don't usually care for chocolate chips in my muffins {hence putting them on top instead of in the batter}. Because of that, while there was absolutely nothing wrong with this recipe I'll probably just stick to my normal pumpkin muffin recipe.
Animal Crackers: These were a fun experiment and delicious. They didn't taste like animal crackers but instead almost like a Christmas cookie {probably because of the all spice}. In the end I probably won't put the work into them again.

On the Menu...
  ~I usually plan my menu a week or so at a time. This month I'm trying doing a whole month. I already have all my meals picked out and all the ingredients I'll need. Now all I'll have to do each week is pick meals from the list and make sure we still have enough fruit on hand. So far, money wise, it seems to be working out okay. I have everything I need and still have a fair amount of money left in the grocery budget for stellar deals that pop up.~

Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
Chicken Pot Pie
Cream Cheese Pasta
Chimichangas with Mexican Rice
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Cinnamon Roll Breadsticks {New}

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Foreshadowing

After almost a month of not posting any recipes I've found recently I had a hard time choosing just five. These five that I choose are all ones that, given the time and ambition, I would love to try in the near future.
  • Soft & Chewy Homemade Bagels from Life Blessons: I've made bagels a handfuls of times but it's been probably close to a year since I've done it. This looks like a good recipe to re-enter the delicious bagel world with.
  • Apple Crisp Pizza from The Girl Who Ate Everything: What a fun idea! A classic dish with a fun twist.
  • Crunchers from Confections of a Readaholic Mom: A no-bake dessert that provides "sweet and salty, chewy and crunchy." Sounds good to me! {Bonus: You're sure to find crackers on sale in these coming weeks.}
  • Pumpkin Gnocchi Treats from Weelicious: I'm thinking if you leave the glaze off of these you could almost pass them of as a semi-healthy snack.
  • Meltaway Cookies from Landee See, Landee Do: No eggs and simple ingredients you likely already have on hand could make these a great go-to cookie recipe. That and the fact they look delicious!
This is linked to Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Breadsticks with Garlic Butter

This is one of many recipes that I tried for the first time when we had company. Why do I do that to myself? I'm fortunate in that I've never had any major disasters. Anyway, these breadsticks were far from a disaster, instead they've become a mainstay in my menu planning.
After trying a few different methods I've found a great way to keep these in the freezer to pull out for unexpected uses. That, along with keeping a batch of Garlic Butter on hand, means breadsticks are never more than 10 minutes away from the table!

 Print Recipe
Source: Clover Lane

1 cup warm water
1 T yeast
3 T brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 T oil

   1.  Pour water in a large mixing bowl; sprinkle yeast and brown sugar over top. Allow yeast to bubble, about five minutes.
   2.  Add flour, salt and oil; mix with dough hook until dough forms a ball. Cover and let rise one hour.
   3.  Roll dough out to size of cookie sheet. {I usually split it between two sheets.} Transfer to greased and cornmealed sheet. Using a pizza cutter cut into breadsticks. Let rise 1 hour.
   To Serve Immediately: Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Spread with Garlic Butter {recipe below} and serve warm.
   To Make For Freezer: Bake at 375 for 5 minutes. Store in a freezer bag. When ready to serve, place on greased and cornmealed sheet and bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes. Spread with Garlic Butter {recipe below} and serve warm.

Garlic Butter
3 T butter, softened
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp onion powder

Monday, September 24, 2012

Menu September 24

Stuffed Peppers: I avoided making these at first because they seemed complicated. Once I got started, however, I realized that breaking it down into a few smaller steps made it quite easy. We really enjoyed these peppers and all the different flavors in them.
Chicken Noodle Soup: We're slowly working our way back to a weekly soup night and I'm excited! There's something about chicken noodle soup that just can't be replaced. I wouldn't call this a replica of the canned stuff but instead it had it's own twist with amazing flavors. {Recipe coming soon}
Apple Cinnamon Pancakes: Again, we are loving the return to fall flavors. My husband is a big fan of cinnamon so it's quite possible these are his favorite brunch food.
Peanut Butter Muffins: These are wonderful! They're somehow creamy and, like she recommends, a smear of jelly is the perfect touch.

On the Menu...

Sweet & Sour Chicken {Crock Pot}
Ham & Peas Mac & Cheese {from the freezer}
Crepes with ham & cheese filling
Southwestern Pizza {using dried black beans for the first time}
Brunch TBD

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

I happened upon this recipe a few months ago in Woman's Day magazine and, unlike most recipes I find, I tried it immediately. Since then I've made these cookies numerous times because these Easy Peanut Butter Cookies have quickly become a family favorite.
With only four ingredients they are incredibly easy to put together {hence the name}. In fact, in the time it takes your oven to warm up you can mix the dough and prepare the first sheet to bake.

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
 Print Recipe
Source: Woman's Day
Yields: ~4 dozen 

1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
   1.  Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.
   2.  Drop by heaping teaspoon onto baking sheet, slightly flatten. {These cookies don't spread a lot so it's okay to put them close together.}
   3.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.
This is linked to URS.