Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mexican, Pickles, and Breakfast!

So the enchiladas turned out pretty good, Dan loved them, I on the other hand, have come to realize that I simply am not an enchilada person.  I always thought it was just the recipe, but now I have tried a few different recipes and know it is just me...not the recipe!  These enchiladas came from the Betty Crocker cookbook.

We spend most of the afternoon Saturday canning pickles.  We made 6 jars of refrigerator pickles, and 11 jars of canned dill pickles.  We cracked open the first jar of refrigerator pickles yesterday and I decided we better make more tomorrow because they aren't going to last!

Then, on Sunday morning I made a Hash Brown Ham Quiche (Taste of Homes) for breakfast.  I had to make a few alterations because of the ingredients I had on hand, but it turned out pretty good and I definitely would make it again!

Ta-ta for now!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

While I’ve been away, I’ve been cooking up a storm…kind of! J  In the last two weeks I have made Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza (Betty Crocker), Meaty Stuffed Onions (Taste of Homes), Ham Vegetable and Cheese Fritatta, along with sautéed zucchini fresh from our garden, Banana Crumb Muffins (allrecipes.com), and fruit pizza!

Starting off with the pizza-it was pretty simple, but time consuming because the pizza crust had to rise for about an hour.  Once that was done we put fresh mozzarella down, followed by slices of roma tomatoes, and then fresh basil and oregano.  After baking it for about 15 minutes, we scarfed it down.  We were surprised with how flavorful it was, since it seemed like it would be pretty blah…neither one of us liked the fresh basil (I thought it tasted like potpourri smells), so we picked most of it off and it was much better.  So with that said, with basil it would get a 3 out of 5, but without basil, a 4 out of 5.

Then we had the stuffed onions.  These were interesting…I do not like onions, but Dan does, so I knew he would love these.  We went to the local farmer’s market (our new favorite Saturday morning activity!) and get some fresh sweet onions.  These had to boil for 20 minutes.  After being boiled, the layers literally peeled apart, making cups that we stuffed with a mixture of hamburger, Italian pork sausage, bread crumbs, parmesan, etc.  We then baked them for a bit and they were ready.  We both thought a 3.5 out of 5 was appropriate.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of them….

Tonight I made the Ham, Vegetable, and Cheese Frittata, which was a great meal!  It was very light and tasty!  It had zucchini (courtesy our garden!), peppers (we used some green, orange, and yellow-so it was very colorful!), onion, ham, and of course eggs and cheese.  The frittata was great, so we are giving it a 4.75.

Our favorite side dish of the summer is sautéed zucchini.  I just slice the zucchini up and sauté it with butter and some Lowry’s and it is so good!

The muffins are also a fun treat that Dan and I love.  They are so moist and flavorful, so if you get a chance, definitely check them out at allrecipes.com!

Last and probably my favorite for this entry is the fruit pizza!  I didn’t use a recipe for this, so I don’t have one to cite.  However I did cheat and I bought Pillsbury sugar cookie dough for the crust.  I then mixed 2 cups of cool whip with 8 oz. cream cheese, and probably between ½-3/4 cup of powdered sugar for the frosting part.  I topped it with strawberries, blueberries, and bananas.  Yummy!

Tomorrow night is going to be beef enchiladas and then this weekend we are going to do some new breakfast recipes and have Dan’s parents over!  Sorry if there are any spelling/grammar issues...usually I am a nazi about them...but I hate proof reading!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Success with the corn bread muffins!

Very proud to say that my homemade corn bread muffins (Betty Crocker) turned out far better than the Jiffy mix I tried a year and a half ago!  Dan loved them, and I even was tempted to try one…but I didn’t.  The recipe was so easy-I will never buy a mix again!

I also made chicken burritos (Better Homes and Gardens) which were excellent.  Again, a very easy recipe!  I put two chicken breasts in the crock-pot with some chicken broth and let it sit for 5-6 hours on low.  Once the chicken was cooked, I pulled it apart and mixed some salsa and fajita seasoning with it.  Then I wrapped the chicken in the tortilla shells, and baked them for about 20 minutes.  I served them with our favorite taco fixings and they were great!  Definitely a recipe I will be going back to!

We had another 4th of July get-together so I made Chocolate Mint Brownies (Taste of Homes).  These bars have a special place in my heart because in college, one of my professors would make these for our class quite frequently.  She called them her “boat bars” and I just found out a few months ago from a friend that she actually won a boat in the contest she entered the bars into! 
Anyways, the recipe was pretty easy but it took a while to complete because it had to cool completely between each layer that was added.  Also, there are 3 sticks of butter in the whole recipe so not exactly diet-friendly! 

My last recipe to include in this blog is the Chicken Tetrazzini (Betty Crocker) that I made for supper tonight.  This is a recipe that I have had my students make during the pasta unit, but I myself have never made it or tried it.  My students always love it, so it has been something that I have been meaning to try, but now finally got around to doing it.  With all of that being said, it was really good!  It basically is pasta and chicken with a creamy white sauce that has chicken broth, whipping cream, and parmesan added to it. 
My 5 year old cousin/God-daughter was over today and stayed for supper.  She knew I was making chicken tetrazzini and being extremely picky and having no clue what tetrazzini meant, she kept asking me, “what am I going to eat?”  Dan and I don’t cater to her when she is here as far as making her something we know for sure she will eat.  We make her try what we are eating and then she can have some cottage cheese or fruits/vegetables to go with it as well.   I was anticipating a fight with her to get her to eat this, but she loved it.  She took one bite and said, “Wow! This is really good!” and then ended up eating more than I have seen her eat in months!  So with all of that said, it was great! 
(For some reason the picture of the chicken tetrazzini isn't uploading, I will try again later)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Well the heat is on, so what better way to spend some time in the kitchen…right? J
I made Fiesta Chicken Breasts (can be found in the Betty Crocker cookbook) last Thursday and they were a hit!  I marinated the chicken breasts for an hour in lime juice and vegetable oil.  After letting them marinate, I popped them in the oven for about 35 minutes and made some rice to go with it.  The chicken was very flavorful, with a nice fresh taste.  Dan instantly declared they deserved a 5, I’m pickier, so I thought a 4.5. 
After the chicken was done, I put the pan in the dishwasher.  The next morning when I was putting the clean dishes away, I noticed the lime juice literally started to blister the finish on the pan and it was now peeling.  Needless to say, we got rid of the pan, but just a little FYI-next time use a glass baking dish.

Last week I also made Chocolate Revel Bars (from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook).  My aunt makes this every now and then for family get-togethers, so I wanted to try my hand at them.  They were pretty easy, but the top part was a little putzy for me.  The recipe made a 10”x15” pan so I divvied them up and sent some to my parents and the rest went to a 4th of July family get-together at Dan’s aunt’s house.  I got many complements on them so I would give them a 5!

Saturday morning I woke up oddly ambitious and made Toffee Bars (Betty Crocker) and a Bacon-Broccoli Cheese Ball (Taste of Home). 
The Toffee Bars were very easy and delicious!  Definitely  a 5 out of 5!  I sent a third of the pan with my brother (who literally ate half of them on the spot :/ ).  My parents got another third of the pan, and we kept the last third of the pan.  I went and had lunch at my parent’s today and theirs were gone already too!  I will definitely make these again in the future-they are a great treat to take to parties or keep on home and face temptation! J

The Bacon-Broccoli Cheese Ball was also pretty easy and tasty.  I took this over to Dan’s aunt’s house as well, and I got even more compliments on this.  It was as simple as mixing an 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened, with one teaspoon of pepper, one cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and one cup of chopped broccoli.  Once this is mixed together, form it into a ball and roll it into crumbled up cooked bacon.  Serve with your favorite crackers and voila! An instant hit-super easy and tasty appetizer!

Tonight I am making Dan some corn bread muffins (Betty Crocker) and chicken burritos (Better Homes and Gardens).  Before I go get cooking I wanted to share a little story about corn bread muffins.  I for one-do not like them…at all.  Dan, however loves them.  When we were dating and engaged, for some reason Dan decided that before he would marry me, I had to make him some corn bread muffins.  Since I can be stubborn, I decided that was going to prove him wrong and make him marry me without getting his corn bread muffins.  A couple months after we got married, I bought a Jiffy box mix and made him some corn bread muffins.  I was bummed with how they turned out…a little dark and dry.  So today I am going to make some from “scratch” and hopefully impress him! 

Happy 4th of July everyone!  Make sure to take some time and remember what the holiday is truly about.