Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Potato Soup

Tonight was a cold, dark, rainy night - a soup night. I had a bag of potatoes left over from a dinner I made for someone last week so decided potato soup was in order. I looked at some recipes on line for inspiration and then made a very yummy potato soup that hit the spot.

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 can evaporated milk
5 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
Canadian bacon
1 teaspoon celery seed

This is what I did:
Heated olive oil in dutch oven. I added the chopped onion and crushed garlic and cooked them until the onion was translucent. Add the broth, milk and potatoes and celery seed and cook on medium to low heat. While this was cooking I cut up the Canadian bacon and added it to the soup. When the potatoes were done I mashed them a little right in the pan with my potato masher. I left some in chunks - just kind of mashed a few times to get a little thickness. It was very yummy!
One of my favorite tricks to cool things down for the kids is to add cottage cheese to things. I added a spoonful of cottage cheese to the kids bowls and it was perfect -
Another thing I do to cool things down is add frozen peas.

Friday, October 31, 2008

German Pancakes

This morning for breakfast I made German Pancakes. You can find the recipe here on my sister's blog, Comfort Cooking. (She is a great cook and you will find a lot of good but simple recipes there!) I just spread a little strawberry jam on ours before I cut them up and the kids really liked them!! We polished off the whole pan without dad's help. We will have to make them again when he is home!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Gingerbread - ***Updated***

Tonight I am making Pumpkin Gingerbread - you can find the recipe here. It is a great fall recipe and I love to make it to give to people over the next couple of months. I am making some tonight because the kids have a friend coming over for a playdate tomorrow. I will make small loaves and freeze some for gifts throughout the season. It smells so yummy when it is baking and tastes so yummy when it is done. I may experiment with it a little this fall and see if I can make it with a little less oil and sugar - but for tonight it is the full blown version :-)
I made this again with 1/2 the oil and replaced the other half with applesauce. They turned out just fine - maybe a tad bit denser than the original, but yummy just the same. I also took my sister's suggestion (in the comments) and added a cup of chocolate chips. Yummy!!!!! Troy really liked the new version - so will probably become standard fare at our house! Thanks for the ideas, Marian!

My two little Pumpkins!

Pumpkin Bread - one of last years batches

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baked Fall Harvest Soup

I don't remember the exact name of this soup. I copied it off the wall at Weight Watchers last week and made it tonight. It bakes for two hours, so while it baked we walked to Safeway and got a yummy loaf of Asiago Cheese Focaccia bread. I figured since the soup was so low in points and I was walking to the store for the bread I could afford to eat a little. I put this all in my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker (host a party in November and get it for 60% off - I do catalog shows too!) and baked it for 2 hours. When we got home it smelled so yummy. Troy would have liked it with a little meat and you could easily add some chicken or lean beef but I don't think it needs anything else.

1/2 cup split peas
1/2 cup lentils
5 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper

Put all ingredients in covered casserole and bake at 350 for 2 hours.
1 1/2 cups is 1 point

I used a mix I had bought in a bulk section awhile back. It had split peas, lentils, and little veggie pasta abc's. I pulled them out of the cupboard by accident but decided to use them. I also added a little salt and some fresh pressed garlic. I did not have a bay leaf so did not put that in.
Everyone at my house loved it and had seconds.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Coffee Cake

Wow, two days in a row - must be a record.
This has been my standby Coffee Cake recipe for many years. Recently I made a couple of them for a retreat I did not get to go on :-( . Everyone came back raving about them so I decided I should post the recipe.
I made them on Thursday and they did not eat them until Sunday morning - so maybe it gets better with age :-)

1 Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
1 3 0z instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup nut (optional)

Beat together the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour half the batter in a greased bundt pan. Mix topping ingredients in a separate bowl and sprinkle over the first half of the cake batter. Add the rest of the cake batter.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

I always add a little more topping ingredients than the recipe calls for - makes it yummier!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Satay Chicken Pasta Salad

One of my Pampered Chef hostesses made this recipe the other night for a show I was doing. It is in the new PC catalog and it was very yummy. One thing I love about Pampered Chef recipes is that they are easy to make and usually taste very good!!

8 oz. uncooked bow tie pasta
1 cup lite Asian viaigrette salad dressing (the only one she could find was a Newman's Own)
2 tbsp Asian Seasong Mix (from Pampered Chef - I will give you the ingredients to substitute)
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium red pepper
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil
3 cups diced cooked chicken (about 1 lb)
Additional chopped peanuts (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions in (4-qt.) Casserole. Drain pasta using Colander; rinse under cold running water. Once pasta is cool, transfer to Stainless (6-qt.) Mixing Bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, for dressing, combine vinaigrette, seasoning mix and peanut butter in Small Batter Bowl; mix well using Stainless Whisk and set aside.
Cut carrots into julienne strips using Julienne Peeler. Cut bell pepper lengthwise into ¼-in. strips using (5-in.) Santoku Knife. Cut carrots and bell pepper strips crosswise into 1-in. pieces.
Chop peanuts using Food Chopper and basil using Chef’s Knife.
Add chicken, carrots, bell pepper, peanuts, basil and dressing to pasta; mix well. Garnish with additionalchopped peanuts, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings

Nutrients per serving (about 1 1/2 cups) Calories: 450, total fat 16g, saturated fat 2 g Cholesterol 60 mg, Carbohydrates 45 g, Protein 31 g, Sodium 750 mg, Fiber 3 g

Not to WW friendly - about 10 points for a 1 1/2 cup serving

You can substitute the following for the Asian Seasoning if you like: one 1 inch piece of fresh gingerroot, finely grated, 2 garlic cloves, pressed, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Silver Dollar Oat Pancackes

I found this recipe in my new Simple and Delicious (Sept/Oct 2008) It is the third recipe I have made from this particular issue. These little pancakes were not only a little healthier than your average pancake as far as the ingredients but they tasted good as well. I hesitate to make pancakes and other things like this for my kids for breakfast because of the syrup. I am just not sure about loading them up with pure sugar that early in the morning. These little pancakes were actually pretty good without syrup - though the kids did have a little peanut butter and syrup on theirs. If you haven't had your pancakes or french toast with peanut butter and syrup you are missing a treat.
I am kind of rambling here - so on with the recipe:

Silver Dollar Oat Pancakes

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg, buttermilk, applesauce and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Pour batter by 2 tablespoonfuls onot a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown. Serve with syrup. (or not :-) )
Yeild: 4 servings
WW points - 5 pancakes is 4 points

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer Corn and Vegetable Soup and Easy Chicken Melts

I have not posted here for ages and not sure if anyone still checks in but I have a couple of recipes I used today that are really good and wanted to share them. I am on Weight Watchers and have been kind of stalled out for the summer with the adoption and all but trying to get back on track. One of these recipes is a great WW recipe - the others - well- judge for yourself :-)

Summer Corn and Vegetable Soup
from "The Food You Crave - Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life" by Ellie Krieger

4 cups fresh corn kernels or two 10 oz packages frozen corn thawed
2 cups nonfat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
1 small zucchini (about 1/2 pound), diced
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons

Put 2 cups of the corn and the milk into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining two cups corn and the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pureed corn and the tomatoes and cook until warmed through but not boiling. Add the salt and season with pepper. Serve garnished with the basil ribbons.

I did not use fresh corn and I imagine if I had it would have been even better. I used Trader Joes frozen roasted corn for the whole kernels and just plain frozen for the pureed corn.

For the broth I used my homemade chicken broth.

For anyone on WW this is 3 points for 1 1/2 cups of soup or free on the Core plan.

Easy Chicken Melts
from "Simple and Delicious" Sept/Oct 2008

1 can (9 3/4 ounces) chunk white chicken, drained and flaked (I used some baked chicken cut into chunks that I had frozen)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
10 slices Italian bread (1/2 inch thick)
2 plum tomatoes, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the chicken, 1/2 cup cheese, onion, green pepper, mayonnaise, Cajun seasoning and garlic. Spread over bread slices. Top each with a tomato slice, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until bread is toasted and golden brown.
Yeild: 5 servings


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spanish Tortilla

I found different versions of this recipe in two different cookbooks. I made the simpler of the two. The cookbook version calls for egg substitute but I don't use that and on the Core program I can eat real eggs :-). It was very good and Annalynn loved it! Here is a link to a similar dinner on my sister's blog - not quite WW legal :-)!

Spanish Tortilla

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
1 to 2 teaspoons water (as needed)
8 eggs, beaten or (egg substitute equivalent to 8 eggs)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and onions, stirring to coat. Cook covered, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes are just tender, stirring frequently. If potatoes begin to stick or burn, add water.
Pour eggs evenly over potato mixture. Sprinkle with pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggs are set.
Cut tortilla into four wedges and serve with salsa (and I used fat free sour cream and avocado as well)

It Has Been a While!

It has been a while since I posted here. I started Weight Watchers and have been trying to figure out my new eating plan and thus have not been posting a lot of my tried and true recipes. I am starting to get some new ones - healthier and better for you - so watch this site for some new recipies soon!!
After a few weeks of not being to successful on the Weight Watchers Flex Plan I switched to the Core plan 3 weeks ago! I have never had weight fall off of me like it has the last three weeks! I am so excited because I feel like this is truly a way I can eat for the rest of my life. It is healthy and I don't have to count points!!! If you are wanting to loose or on WW Flex plan I encourage you to check out the Core plan!! I will write more about it later!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Easy Dinner

Tonight all my hard work paid off! I got home at 5:10 pm and grabbed a bag of chicken out of the freezer and put it in a pan of warm water and turned the oven on. I put some rice in the rice cooker and then put the chicken in my new stoneware oval roaster (from Pampered Chef) and put it in the oven. I sat down and made my grocery list and played with Annalynn. 30 minutes later I put the veggies in the microwave and at 6 pm we sat down to a delicious dinner of chicken, rice and green beans. It works!!
Also, I must say that the chicken was delicious baked in the stoneware. It was very moist and tender! Even Troy commented on how tender it was!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Freezer Fun (Part 3)

Last week Safeway had ground beef on sale for 99 cents a pound. I could not resist such a buy and bought 13 pounds. Monday was my day to prepare it all. The 7 pound package got fried with onion and garlic to add to different recipes including a double batch of my Spaghetti sauce and a batch of Santa Fe soup. The 6 pound package was made into a double batch of Barbecue Meatballs. I ended up with 8 containers each of spaghetti sauce and meatballs, 3 containers of soup (and we had one for dinner) and 9 packages of either 1 or 2 cups of meat to add to other meals.
This week we ate some of the chicken and pork that I had frozen and it was delicious! Dinner is sooo easy these days. I do have to admit that some days I feel like cooking and on those days I guess I will have to find something new to cook. We could get tired of our freezer meals if I do not interject some different things in between.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

I have not done my menu for a couple weeks as I have been busy preparing meals. I am going to be making several more meals today with hamburger. Safeway had it on sale for 99cents a pound. All of my meals this week are from my frozen meats that I have put up the last couple of weeks. You can see what I have done at this post and this post.

I don't know if we will have these meals in this order but this is what we will eat this week.

You can find a lot more menus over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Monday - Santa Fe Soup

Tuesday - Mock Sirloin Tips w/Egg Noodles and Veggies

Wednesday - Chicken w/ Rice and Veggies

Thursday - Pork Loin w/ Baked Potato and Veggies

Friday - Soft Tacos

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Freezer Fun! (Part 2)

All the preparation is done and the last of the meat is freezing as we speak. It marinated overnight in the refrigerator and now it is freezing flat on a cookie sheet. We also cleaned out my freezer. I am not sure I want to post pictures of the before - but so you can appreciate the difference I will. At the bottom of the post is everything in my freezer (meal wise) I put the numbers after each one to cross off as I use them. (It looks nicer than this in my Word document. (Check out the last picture - we learned to make Paella at our International Cooking Club last week!)

My freezer before :-(
The chicken all in bags ready for the freezer
The freezer after cleaning and stocking
Another close up of the freezer
Paella - Yummy!


2- 8 cup chicken stock
2 - 2 cup chicken stock

5 - 1 cup pkgs cooked chicken 1 2 3 4 5
2 pkg BSCB in Soyvay Veri Veri Teriyaki 1 2
3 pkg BSCB in Trader Joe’s Island Sokiyaki 1 2 3
2 pkg BSCB in Italian dressing/Apricot preserves/tobasco 1 2
1 pkg chicken strips in TJ’s Island Sokiyaki 1


2 pkg steak in Safeway Ranchhouse marinade 1 2
2 pkg steak in Oklahoma Joes steak rub 1 2
4 pkg steak, cubed 1 2 3 4
3 pkg hamburger/sausage mix 1 2 3
3 pkg meatballs 1 2 3
2 pkg spaghetti sauce 1 2
1 pkg Santa Fe soup 1


3 pkg pork with Italian dressing/TJ’s peach salsa 1 2 3
2 pkg pork with southwester rub 1 2
1 pork roast 1

Friday, January 25, 2008

Freezer Fun!

Today I went shopping! Not your average grocery shopping trip. I bought 29 pounds of meat for $51.89. I found some deals and being inspired and motivated by the recent "Investment Cooking Classes" by my Pampered Chef consultant, Sharon, I decided to freeze some meat and meals. From that 29 pounds of meat I hope to freeze a minimum of 27 meals. That is $1.92 a meal for the meat! That is pretty good, I think. Below are some pictures of before. I wish I had thought to take pictures before I started. Add to these two pictures 5.5 pounds of top round steak which is already prepared for freezing. (2 meals with rub, 2 meals marinating in a steak marinade and 4 meals of cubed beef for stew or goulash.)
On top of all of these meat meals I already have two meals of soup frozen, 2 batches of spaghetti sauce, 3 meals of meatballs, and three batches of hamburger/sausage mix cooked for nachos or quesadillas.
That is 37 meals!!! I hope this does not become addicting - because the idea of this is that you should only have to do it every few months. The other thing is that I like having all this stuff frozen and prepared so having a little bit of a hard time convincing myself to take it out of the freezer and use it :-). I also need to get my freezer organized. It is a mess and I need room to put all this when I get it done. Hmmm! maybe I should have thought about that before I started!
When I am finished tomorrow I will try and remember to take a picture of everything! I am using several different marinades and rubs and as we try the different ones I will let you know the ones that are really good. Some are "homemade" and some are bottled.

Pork Loin and Chicken - before. I had the butcher cut the pork loin for me.
The chicken already in the pot. It will become soup stock and meat for enchilladas, quesadillas and soup.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

Another week and back at the menu planning. Today I actually made a couple of soups that we will have later in the week and will also freeze some for another day. I am getting motivated to try and cook ahead and have some things in the freezer. My only issue with doing this is I really like variety in my menus and kind of cook what I am feeling like eating at the time. I guess things will last a long time in the freezer and I just have to remember they are there. Anyway, on to my menu for this week. You can find other menus and ideas at Laura's blog, I'm An Organizing Junkie

Wednesday - Santa Fe Soup

Thursday - Out to a Welcome Home Party for friends

Friday - Leftovers

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Santa Fe Soup

I have come across a Pampered Chef Consultant that does "Investment Classes" instead of the traditional Pampered Chef shows. She teaches a series of 5 classes on different subjects. They are basically giving you tips and hints how to cook from scratch more economically and efficiently. In November I hosted a Baking Show where she showed us how to bake ahead and have plenty of things in the freezer for the Holidays and the rest of the year as well. Recently my sister hosted a show on Soups and Stews. It was very helpful and we got some great recipes. One of the recipes that she gave us and my sister made it for the show was this Santa Fe Soup. It was very yummy! This makes a lot of soup and the idea of her recipes is that they are all freezable and you can make a large batch and then freeze some for more meals. As I try some of the others I will post them.

Santa Fe Soup

1 lb. ground chuck, cooked and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans Pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans Mexican stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes, chopped
2 packets taco seasoning
1 packet dry ranch dressing (optional)
1 can green chiles

Cook ground beef. Drain, add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. (If you do not want chunks of tomatoes you can puree them in a blender) Simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla or frito chips on the side.

If you do not like beans in the recipe you can substitute with ones of your choice.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Barbecue Meatballs

Tonight I am helping to organize a potluck with some of our leaders in our International Ministry at church. We are going to have salmon, a chicken dish (probably something Indian) and I am going to make these Barbecue Meatballs. This is my little sister's recipe and I am looking forward to trying it. I think I will make it a little earlier in the day (like during someone's nap) and then put it in the crockpot. It will make it easier to stay warm and transport to the dinner. I will add an update to let you know how they turn out. * See update below

Barbecue Meatballs

3 lbs. ground beef
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1 c. oatmeal
1 c. cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder

2 c. ketchup
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. chopped onion

Combine meatball ingredients and form into 80 small meatballs. Bake the meatballs until done, about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Drain off any grease then add sauce and bake 30 minutes more until onions in sauce are done. Serve over rice. These freeze very well. Make meatballs and freeze on cookie sheet. Store in freezer bag.

*Update - These turned out very well. I baked them and then put them in the crock pot and added the sauce cold. They were in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours. They were hot and ready before that - probably 3 hours.
We had them for leftovers the next couple of days and Annalynn loved them. She ate two bowls with rice.