Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Here is the recipe round-up for this year's Thanksgiving.  We also had Simply Lemonade (blueberry flavor).

Brussels Spouts - halved, seasoned with olive oil, smoked sea salt and pepper, and roasted at 400* for 45 minutes.

Turkey - Honeybaked Ham

Stuffing - Stove Top

Cranberry Sauce - Ocean Spray

(This is not very impressive so far!)

Mashed Potatoes - I did make these. I used whole milk, butter, and lots of salt.

Sweet Potato Casserole - Susan's recipe per John's request. Everyone liked it.

Rolls - Jamie's recipe

Simple Apple Tart

Pumpkin Roll

Gravy - 1 T. butter, 1 T. flour, 1 c. chicken broth. Nothing fancy.

And a turkey cheese ball for appetizer.

Jamie's Rolls

My goal these days is to only put tried and true recipes on this blog, mostly so I can find them again! This roll recipe is from my sister-in-law Jamie.

Jamie's Rolls
1 t. sugar
2 T. yeast
2 c. warm water

Dissolve and set aside 5 minutes before use.

In Kitchen Aid add:
3 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. salt

Beat with mixer.  Add yeast mixture.  Then add:

1 egg
1/4 c. oil
2 1/2 c. flour
more flour until the dough isn't sticky (I added nearly a cup this time).

Knead with Kitchen Aid 3-5 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes. Knead with mixer 5 minutes more.

Place in a greased bowl Coat top with oil—place a greased plastic lid (do not seal shut) or damp cloth over bowl. Let rise 2 hours or more.

Punch down. Form into balls.  Place on jelly roll pan—6 rows of 4 Let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour (or longer).   Bake 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.   Makes 24 rolls

Turkey Cheeseball

Here's the turkey cheeseball we made this year. My original idea!

It's just my regular cheese ball recipe, covered in nuts with carrots, Craisins and Wilton candy eyes for a face/feet.

We also made one for Halloween that was covered in crushed Doritos and had an olive jack-o-lantern face.

Dipped Marshmallows for Roasting

John had the idea to start a new tradition of roasting marshmallows on Thanksgiving. He made these special marshmallows for roasting. They are actually pretty easy.  Just get the marshmallow wet, then press it in the crumbs.  He used:

  • graham cracker crumbs and shaved chocolate
  • peppermint crumbs and shaved chocolate
  • Oreo crumbs
  • graham cracker crumbs
  • peppermint crumbs
  • and more Oreos

We don't have a BBQ, so we went to the park with some charcoal and roasted them in the grate.  Yum! My favorite was the Oreo.  John liked the peppermint with chocolate shavings. The kids liked them all.

Simple Apple Tart

Every year I try to recreate the apple tart Leonard has made, but my recipe sources always disappear.  So, here is the simple apple tart I made this year.

Simple Apple Tart

Sweet Pastry Dough
1 1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 egg
1 T. cold water

2 pounds apples, peeled and sliced
2 T. melted butter
3 T. sugar

1/2 c. sugar

Make the dough and cool in the refrigerator 1/2 hour.  Press into tart pan.  Fill with apples and fold the dough over the edges of the apples. Brush melted butter over the tart edges and the apples.  Sprinkle the sugar over the apples and tart edges. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes (I over cooked mine with that time) rotating every 15 minutes.

Make a glaze by boiling the apple cores and peels with 1/2 c. sugar and a small amount of water. (I think this could really be cut down. I'll try one apple peel/core and 2 T. sugar next time.)  Let the tart cool 15 minutes, then brush on the glaze.

I had a helper brushing the glaze on the tart.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Susan.  I'm not a fan of sweet potato casserole, but this version is growing on me.

Mom's Sweet Potato Casserole

1 29oz can of yams
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. evaporated milk
1/4 c. butter softened or melted
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. brown sugar

Grease 8x8 baking dish.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat all ingredients together. Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Don't let it burn on the edges.

*Note: I had to bake this for an extra 25 minutes. Not sure if my oven is off, if it's the elevation or what. The edges didn't burn, the center just took a long time to set.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Swampy Alligator Birthday Cake

Well, apparently all I make these days is birthday cakes. And I didn't even make this one.  Not only did I buy frosting, it was already purple.  But Dalton loved it, so whatever.

Dalton requested a "Swampy" cake (from Disney's Where's My Water?).  I showed him some alligator cakes, but then we found this fun Swampy squirt toy and decided to do that instead.  The ducks are cupcake picks, and I bought white and blue gumballs and white sixlets to be the bubbles in Swampy's bath.

It was really easy and I like how it turned out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Angry Birds Cake

Happy Birthday to John! I made this yellow Angry Birds Cake out of a 9x13 cake.  I cut out two triangles to layer, and used the scraps for the feathers.

I certainly could have done a better job frosting it, if I'd had more time.   And more frosting. Tip: Freeze the cake as long as you can to keep the crumbs to a minimum.

Apparently birthday cakes and Halloween costumes are about the only fun crafty/cooking things I do anymore.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Kindergarten Lunch

It's Maggie's last week of Kindergarten, so I thought I'd record what she likes to take in her "snack" to school.  She's pretty much had the same three meals all year long in her Cinderella lunch box. I might have sent a bean tortilla or two.

cheese stick (NOT string cheese)
Laughing Cow "triangle cheese"


Wheat Thins
Pretzel Crisps
tortilla chips


Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

This is basically my first successful homemade macaroni and cheese.  You can make it all in one pot.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

2 cups uncooked pasta
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c. flour
salt pepper
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. chicken (I use pre-cooked chicken strips to make it even easier)
1/2 lb broccoli
1/2-3/4 c. milk

Cook the pasta.  Add the broccoli in for the last few minutes.  Drain everything and set aside.  Melt the butter and whisk in the flour and salt and pepper.  Slowly add the chicken broth until blended.  Stir in the cheese until melted.  Mix in the pasta and broccoli and the chicken.  Slowly add enough milk to loosen the sauce as desired.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe earned a rare compliment from John.  I got it all put together in 20 minutes before picking Maggie up from school, so it would be ready to bake when we got home from Disneyland.  So not only is it yummy, it's easy and fast.  The taste is really mild.

I used frozen pre-cooked chicken cubes, because I've determined I can't cook my own chicken much cheaper, and certainly not any tastier.  So I'm splurging on pre-cooked chicken now.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
8 8-inch flour tortillas
2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups grated cheese (I used Colby Jack, but next time I want to try Monterey Jack)
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 small can green enchilada sauce
1 cup sour cream

Mix the chicken with 1 cup cheese and fill the tortillas.  Put them seam down in a greased 9x13 pan.  Melt the butter on the stove top, stir in the flour.  Add the chicken broth, then the enchilada sauce and cook until thickened.  Stir in the sour cream and pour the sauce over the enchiladas in the pan.  Top with the rest of the cheese and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn is one of our new favorite snacks.  It's easy, it's filling, it's really cheap, and the kids think it's a special treat.  We first tried it on New Year's Eve when we had a movie night in the living room, with the sleeping bag.

Put 1/4 c. popcorn kernels in a paper bag. Fold the top of the bag down.  Microwave on the popcorn setting, or for 2-2 1/2 minutes. listen carefully and turn the microwave off when the kernels slow down popping. Mine cooks for 2:15.

I don't add oil or anything, though I've heard it will help more kernels pop. I like that it's really low-cal and fat free.  Also I can reuse the paper bags if I don't add oil.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lego Birthday Cake

I made a Lego cake for Maggie's 6th birthday.  I used the "recipe" and instructions from BHG and I'm happy to say it turned out great.  Pound cake, marshmallows and frosting made from 2 lbs powdered sugar and 3/4 c. milk.  Plus, lots of Wilton food color gel.

The frosting felt a little like finger paint as I was dripping it on, but it turned out really nice looking. It hardened up, making the cake pieces easy to move onto the platter.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

This is one of Maggie's all-time favorite dinners. I use IKEA frozen meatballs, and serve it with jasmine rice.  I got the sauce recipe from the Our Best Bites cookbook, via Jodi.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

3/4 c. brown sugar
3 T. flour
3/4 c. pineapple juice (1 small can)
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. vinegar
3 T. soy sauce

Whisk everything together (I find it easy to mix the brown sugar and flour before adding liquid) in a saucepan.  Add the meatballs and boil for 20 minutes.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pork Tacos with Sweet Lime Slaw

This recipe is from Every Day with Rachael Ray, except I changed up the pork a bit.  It's really good, and the kids love it.

Pork Tacos with Sweet Lime Slaw

1 lb boneless pork loin
1 t. chipotle rub
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 t. sugar
1/2 c. sour cream

Sprinkle chipotle rub on the pork, and grill it.  Slice it into strips.  Mix the coleslaw ingredients together.  Add the lime zest, lime juice, and sugar to the sour cream.  Mix the dressing on the coleslaw.  Serve everything on tortillas!