Monday, January 16, 2012



1 – lb. fresh broccoli Break in pieces, and steam for 2 minutes.
3 cups cooked chicken breasts – Break up in small pieces
3 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese divided
2 tubes Ritz Crackers
1 stick melted butter
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/3 C. Butter melted
1/4 C. Cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 C. COLD Water
1/3 C. Chicken Broth
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Cups Milk
1 1/2 cups of the above Cheddar Cheese


In greased 13×9 pan, layer the broccoli and chicken, then set aside. In saucepan over medium heat, combine the melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in water, chicken broth, seasonings, and milk. Stir well, and continue stirring until sauce has thickened. Turn heat down to low, and add 1- 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Pour over the chicken and broccoli. Top with 1- 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese.

Melt the butter, and add the poppy seeds, and stir well. Crush Ritz crackers in large zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. Don’t crush too small. Add crumbs to the melted butter. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the grated cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until hot & bubbly.

Eat and enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

10 fun appetizer ideas for kiddies that’ll make the grown ups wanna sit at the kids table!

Hey, appetizers aren’t just for adults! Let the kids in on the action with snacks and giggles made with them in mind. Here are 10 apps that’ll ward off the hunger pangs with fun foods made just for the li’l folks.

1. Mini Corn on the Cob Bites (featured recipe)

An all-new Tablespoon exclusive recipe! Turn a box of Kix cereal and Fruit-Roll Ups into these ridiculously easy and totally adorable one-bite corn-on-the-cob treats.
15 large marshmallows
4 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups KIX cereal
6 Fruit Roll-Ups (green & blue)
1 Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the Fruit Roll-Ups into 1 1/2" triangles. The triangles should be tall, long, and skinny. They're going to become the "husks" of your corn, so you'll want to unroll them (leaving the plastic on one side of the Fruit Roll-Up) and slice them into leaf-like pieces. They don't have to be perfect!
2 In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter and add the marshmallows. Stir over medium heat until melted. Add the KIX cereal. Allow to cool just slightly.
3 Wet your fingers with just a bit of cold water.
4 Working quickly, press together a golf-ball sized amount of KIX together, the roll them into cob-shaped ovals.
5 Remove the plastic from the backs of two of your pieces of Fruit Roll-Up, gentle press the triangles on to the bottom sides of the corn "cob." Continue until all corn cobs have been assembled. Serve and enjoy!

2. Peanut Butter Turkey Bites

An all-new Tablespoon exclusive recipe! Peanut butter balls become tasty truffles in these easy as can be kiddie apps!
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 packets Gushers fruit snacks
1 Fruit Roll-Up (red and yellow)
1 Fruit Roll-Up (blue and green)
1/4 cup chocolate sprinkles
8 almond slices (cut just the 1/4" tip of each almond off to make the "beak)
16 dried wild blueberries OR mini chocolate chips
1 In a small bowl, use a fork or electric beater to mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together. The mixture should resemble a soft clay. You want to be able to mold it and have it stay in place without melting. To firm up the mixture, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until the perfect consistency is reached. To soften the mixture, add a half-tablespoon of peanut butter until the perfect consistency is reached.
2 Using 3/4 of the mixture, roll 8 balls the size of large grapes, then roll them into the chocolate sprinkles. Place these balls into a small candy wrapper. Roll the remaining mixture into 8 mini balls, about the size of a large blueberry. Gently press the blueberries for eyes and a small piece of sliced almond into the center for the beak. Place these small balls on top of the larger, chocolate spinkled balls.
3 Gently set two Gushers into the two sides of the candy wrapper to form "wings."
4 Open and unroll the Fruit Roll-Ups. Cut them in half lengthwise, then press the red/yellow and green/blue pieces together to create a seam. With a pair of sharp scissors, cut this large, multi-colored piece of fruit roll-up into 3-4" by 2" squares. Gather them into "fans" then gently set these fans into the back of each candy wrapper to create tails.
5 Refrigerate your sweet little turkeys until ready to serve.

3. Penguin Appetizers

Everyone at the table will want more of these teeny-tiny penguins! All you need are olives, carrots, and a bit of cream cheese to get the party started!
2 5.75 ounce cans small, jumbo pitted black olives
2 5.75 ounce cans large, jumbo pitted black olives
1 8 ounce pkg. cream cheese
2 large carrots
box tooth
1 Start by slicing a carrot to create a small, round circle. Cut out a small “slice” from the carrot round and set aside.
2 Using a large pitted black olive and a knife, slice from top to bottom to open the olive up. Use a small spoon or teaspoon scoop to fill the inside of the black olive with slightly softened cream cheese. Try using a cheese knife to smooth out the cream cheese and a napkin to clean off the black olive.
3 Place the cream cheese-filled black olive on top of the carrot round and use a toothpick down the center to secure.
4 Place the small carrot slice (from step 1) into the hole of a small pitted black olive. Slide the small black olive onto the toothpick to finish your penguin!

4. Pizza Deviled Eggs

Got a picky eater who would rather have pizza than a homecooked Thanksgiving feast? Now they can have their pizza and eat it too with these scrumptious Pizza Devilled Eggs.
12 hardboiled eggs, peeled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup mini pepperoni pieces
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Slip out yolks into small bowl; mash with fork.
2 Stir mayonnaise and cheese into yolks until smooth and creamy. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Fill whites with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly. Press several mini pepperoni slices onto the top of each egg. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
3 Just before serving, garnish with green onions.

5. Fruit Dip

Serve up something light and healthy before all of those hearty mashed potatoes and gravy and marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes stick to your kiddos ribs! This simple and fresh fruit dip is as kid-friendly as appetizers come.
4 oz (from 8-oz package) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1 cup marshmallow crème
1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Greek Fat Free strawberry yogurt
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
15 fresh strawberries, stems removed, cut lengthwise in half
30 pieces cut-up melon
30 grapes
1 In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, marshmallow crème, yogurt and strawberries with electric mixer on high speed until smooth.
2 Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve dip with fruit. Garnish with fresh mint, if desired.

6. Meatball Pops

What’s more fun than eating stuff stuffed with stuff? Well, these mini meatball pops, that’s what! This recipe is easy to pull together, and kids of all ages will be delighted to enjoy biting into these surprising Meatball pops!
1 can (10.2 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
10 refrigerated or frozen cooked beef meatballs, thawed
1/4 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, melted
2/3 cup finely crushed seasoned croutons
10 large appetizer picks or lollipop sticks, if desired
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce, heated
1 Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray with CRISCO® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Separate dough into 5 biscuits. Split each biscuit to make 10 rounds. Press out each biscuit half to form 3-inch round.2Sprinkle each biscuit round with cheese to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top each with meatball. Bring up sides of dough over meatball; pinch edges to seal. Brush rounded tops and sides of dough with butter; coat with croutons. Place, seam side down, on cookie sheet.3Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.4Place appetizer pick in each biscuit-wrapped meatball to form meatball pop. Serve with warm pasta sauce for dipping.

7. Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch Mix

Looking for a make-ahead appetizer that your kids can really dig their hands into? Try pulling together a batch of this easy Pumpkin Pie Crunch mix for the ultimate pre-Thanksgiving meal snack!
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal
2 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Chex® cereal
8 oz pecans
1 In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwavable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.
2 Microwave uncovered on High 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

8. Donut Hole Pops

Turkeys and acorns and donuts… oh my! Stick a donut hole on a stick, decorate it with a few basic ingredients, and you’ve got a fun little sweet that kicks off Thanksgiving with some serious personality.
1 box plain donut holes
1 package of Candiquik chocolate flavored candy melt
15-20 long, thin wooden popscicle sticks
1/5 cup chocolate sprinkles
2 tablespoons mini white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon blue or green flat, circular sprinkles
15-20 candy corns
15-20 red Jelly Belly jellybeans or red licorice candies
5 pretzel sticks, broken into half-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped nuts
For basic chocolate covered donut pops, melt the Candiquik according to package directions. Carefully press a wooden popscicle stick into the center of a donut hole, then roll it around gently until covered with chocolate coating. Allow any excess chocolate to drip off of the donut pop. Decorate immediately using any of the three techniques below.
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles
Follow the basic directions, coating the donut holes one at a time, and decorating them immediately, before the chocolate hardens. To decorate: a) Sprinkle lightly with choclate sprinkles. b)Stick donut pops into a block of styrofoam and allow time to cool & hardened.
Follow the basic directions, coating the donut holes one at a time, and decorating them immediately, before the chocolate hardens. To decorate: a) press one candy corn into the center of the donut hole to make a 'beak,' b) gently place two mini white chocolate chips tip-side down for the eyes. c) Dip the tip of a jelly bean into the melted chocolate coating, then press it gently into place below the candy corns. Stick donut pop into a block of styrofoam until hardened. d) Once hardened, melt a tablespoon of white chocolate chips in a ziploc bag, snip off a very tiny part of the corner, and pipe a bit of melted chocolate onto the 'eyes' then quickly press a sprinkle atop to make the colored part of the eye. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.
Follow the basic directions, coating the donut holes one at a time, and decorating them immediately, before the chocolate hardens. To decorate: a) press a wooden popscicle stick into the center of the donut holes. b) dip only the top half of each donut, immediately coating them with chopped nuts and pressing a pretzel stick into the stop part of the donut. c) Stand donut pops upright on a piece of styrofoam. Allow chocolate coating to harden before serving.

9. Appetizer Pinwheels

Appetizers that look like cookies and taste like paradise are so hard to come by. Which is why you ‘d best nab this recipe and serve it to your kids. Isn’t it high time they learn the flavor of Utopia? And to think! All you needed was a batch of these cute little appetizers.
2 packages (17.3 ounces each) frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 containers (7 ounces each) refrigerated basil pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto or yellow pepper pesto
1 egg, beaten
1 Heat oven to 400°F. Roll each sheet of puff pastry into 14x10-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface.
2 Spread half of a container of pesto over each rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch edge on long sides. Loosely roll pastry from short end; brush seam end with egg and pinch to seal. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
3 Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

10. Mini Crescent Dogs

The one. The only. The proverbial fave. Gotta have ‘em!
2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
48 cocktail-sized smoked link sausages or hot dogs (from 16-oz package)
1 Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll both cans of the dough; separate into 16 triangles. Cut each triangle lengthwise into 3 narrow triangles.
2 Place sausage on shortest side of each triangle. Roll up each, starting at shortest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point; place point side down on 2 ungreased cookie sheets.
3 Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, switching position of cookie sheets halfway through baking. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Guacamole Brushetta

As a California girl at heart, I will find any excuse to enjoy homemade guacamole. This time I’ve put a spin on my traditional guac by serving it up as the centerpiece in this simply delicious bruschetta recipe. And how can you go wrong with this arsenal of flavor-packed ingredients? The crunchy French bread serves as the perfect host to the avocado mixture, which is overflowing with fresh lime juice, tomatoes and chopped cilantro.

Guacamole Bruschetta
Yield: 12-15 servingsPrep Time: 15 minCook Time: 6 min
½ loaf French bread
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tomatoes, medium chopped
2 avocados, medium chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Slice the French bread on the diagonal into ½" rounds and place on a baking sheet.

Toast the sliced bread in the oven for 3 minutes, then flip each piece over and toast an additional 3 minutes.

Remove the toasted bread from the oven and immediately rub with the clove of garlic (it works best to first cut a small tip off the garlic clove so that the oils will seep out).

Brush the tops of the garlic-rubbed toasts with olive oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix together gently making sure the avocado is well coated in the lime juice.

Spoon a portion of the mixture onto each of the garlic toasts and serve.

3-Ingredient slow cooked Pulled Pork sandwhicih

Only 3 ingredients to moist, flavorful pulled pork that can be prepared in minutes and cooked in a slow cooker.

The lazy days of summer are almost here and as the temperature climbs, my willingness to slave in a hot kitchen diminishes.

This easy 3-Ingredient Pulled Pork can be thrown together in a slow cooker without much effort and without heating up your house. Spend the day at the pool and come back to delicious, fall apart in your mouth pork.

Get your notepad ready for the ingredient list. Think you can handle it? Pork tenderloin, root beer, and your favorite barbecue sauce. Bam! Dinner is done!

Now you could use a pork shoulder or butt here but I prefer the healthier and leaner pork tenderloin because it makes shredding so much easier because there’s no need to meticulously separate the meat from the fat. And because the pork cooks in root beer it doesn’t need the extra fat that a pork shoulder or butt offer to keep it moist.

The root beer acts as a tenderizer and after soaking in it all day, the pork practically melts in your mouth. Not only does the root beer work better than a store bought meat tenderizer, it gives the pork a hint of sweetness. I’ve used other flavors of soda, but root beer is by far my favorite. But feel free to experiment with your soda of choice!

Serve warm on top of hamburger buns with some corn on the cob and a salad.

Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 6 hrs
Serving Size: 8 Servings
1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin (pork shoulder or butt can also be used)
1 (12 ounce) can of root beer
1 (18 ounce) bottle of barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns
1Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker and pour the can of root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until pork shreds easily with a fork.
2After pork has cooked, drain and discard the root beer. Shred the pork and place it back in the slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce over the pork and stir to combine. Serve immediately or keep warm in slow cooker until ready to serve. Serve on hamburger buns.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Elephant Cookies

One tip for cutting out the elephant shapes; dip the cutter in flour first so that the dough slides out better, especially with a slim shape like the elephant trunk. I use a silicon pastry brush to dust off the excess flour.
2 1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Add to mixing bowl. Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, baking powder and salt).
5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape. Mix on low speed for 3o seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again. They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

Royal Icing
You can find my favorite royal icing recipe here. The consistency of icing is key for easy decorating.
6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar
*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavour (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe.
In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.
Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.
Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.
Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.
Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Decorating Steps
What you’ll need:
Piping Tip #2
Piping Bag
Small fondant rolling pin
Fondant and heart punch cutter (*Optional – Heart can be piped with icing)
Gel paste colors
Step One:
Outline the elephant shape with royal icing. For detailed decorating tips, this tutorial may be helpful for you.

Step Two:
With the same icing, flood, or fill in your shape.

Step Three:
Let the base dry for at least 6-12 hours.

Step Four:
Add the ear by outlining and filling in right away.

Step Five:
Add a small black dot of icing for the eye. Let the ear and eye dry for a minimum of 6-12 hours.

Step Six:
Roll out your white fondant to about 2mm thick, and punch out a heart shape.
Step Seven:
Adhere fondant heart to ear with a dab of icing.


World’s Easiest Boiled Eggs

Raise your hand if you enjoy making boiled eggs? I’m raising mine because I make them every week. My two boys LOVE boiled eggs. Guess what? I ate eggs nearly every day while I was pregnant. I craved them scrambled, boiled and fried and sadly, I still like them. So, no wonder they love eggs.

I also am the executive devil egg maker on hubby’s side of the family. I’m recruited at every event. So, I’ve learned to love making boiled eggs and I’ve nearly perfected them (No one is perfect).

Here is the world’s easiest way to make boiled eggs.

1. Fill a pot with water and set the temp to high. Add desired amount of eggs making sure the water covers the entire egg. Bring it to a boil. DON”T CONTINUE TO BOIL. Once it begins, remove it from the heat and put a lid on it. Set your timer for 15 minutes.

2. Ding! Pour the hot water off and immediately fill your pot with cold water. Add as much ice as you can to this water. If it melts in a few minutes, add more. The water should be icy cold when you put your hand in it. If not, continue adding ice.

3. After about 10-15 minutes (no set time), pour NEARLY all of the water off reserving about an inch.

4. Put the lid on and now it’s time to play bumper cars. You heard me, shake those babies bumping them together back and forth. You’ll look ridiculous, but I promise it’s worth the goofy look so you’re not peeling each one under cold running water. Just continue to shake, shake, shake for about a minute and voila! When you remove the lid nearly all of your shell has fallen off the egg and they EASILY peel off without peeling the egg off.
There that’s my method of boiled eggs. I store them in a ziploc bag (dated-because they have a week long shelf-life) in the fridge and I’ve saved myself time, energy and money (because I didn’t buy the boiled eggs in a bag sold at the store). And my boys are happy all week long. I add them to my chef salad or eat them as a protein snack.

P.S. If you’re making deviled eggs, whip your yolk with your wire whisk in your mixer. And whisk a long time and add a tablespoon or two extra mayo and top it with a sliced olive with pimento. All your in-laws will think you’ve went to culinary school!

Have you ever tried this bumper car method? Do you make deviled eggs? Now you can!

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1) Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Slip out yolks and mash with fork.
2) Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Fill whites with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I took one day and did a big preparation project for crock pot meals. So that I would have meals to put in a crock pot so when I got home from working all day, dinner would be ready to eat. There is nothing more rewarding then to walk into a home full of good smells.

All the preparation was for only slow cooker recipes. Basically, all I did was chop vegetables and assemble ingredients.

Even with doing it this way, it was still a 3 hour affair, but during this time I was able to finish all the cooking for as many meals as you can buy ingredients for. Most importantly when I get home from work and my feet are aching, like they normally do. I don't have to worry about dinner. I can ladle up a bowl of my crock pot meal, pour a glass of wine and set down to enjoy an awesome meal with my husband and relax. That's HUGE for me.

I chopped all the vegetables and put them into the gallon ziploc bags, then added the meat, then added the spices from the recipes below. This gives you variety. You are not eating the same recipe every night. Variety is the spice of life.

Once I was done and cleaned everything up, I felt like I had invented electricity! I thought I was such a genius for finally (it took me over a year, people) getting once a month cooking down to an efficient and easy art form.

I use a ton of vegetables in each meal, because I don't tend to eat a lot of veggies through out the day, so I try and get them all in at dinner.
Use the following recipes and add the desired ingredients. Then freeze.

To cook, take out of freezer and set on counter for about 30 minutes, then dump contents of bag into slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.
I am telling you it will change your life! Give it a try and tell me how it went!

Healthy Mama Barbecue Chicken
3 medium unpeeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 large green pepper, cut into strips
1 large red pepper, cut into strips
1 zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
2 pounds chicken thighs or drumsticks
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard (I wasn't sure if this meant actual mustard or the spice so I did a little of both)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Dump everything into two gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer.

Stephanie's Goulash
3 cups chopped onions
2.5 cups coarsely chopped green sweet peppers
4 large beets, peeled and diced
2 cups of carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into one inch cubes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 teaspoons Hungarian paprika or regular paprika (I used regular)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked noodles
1/2 dairy sour cream

Dump everything into two gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer. EXCEPT the sour cream, that is for garnish after the meal is cooked.

Chicken Curry
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons curry powder
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 pounds chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups chopped peeled sweet potatoes
2.5 cups baby carrots
2 cup coarsely chopped mango
1 cup chopped onion
1 zucchini chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chicken bouillon
.5 cup raisins (for garnish)
.5 cup peanuts or cashews (for garnish)

Dump everything into two gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Best Broccoli of Your Life

You preheat the oven to 425.

Take 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli (I just got two large bunches), cut into florets (but relatively big ones.) Here’s the key that she doesn’t mention in the recipe: dry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them. I saw an episode of Julia Child cooking with Jacques Pepin once when Pepin revealed he doesn’t wash a chicken before putting it in a hot oven: “The heat kills all the germs,” he said in his French accent. “If bacteria could survive that oven, it deserves to kill me.” By that logic, then, I didn’t wash my broccoli; I wanted it to get crispy and brown. If you’re nervous, though, just wash and dry it obsessively.

Now, it’s easy. Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. (She says 5 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, but I just eyeballed it.) Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too.

Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.”

I shook the pan around a bit as it went, but not sure that’s necessary.

When it’s done, take it out of the oven–and here’s where it gets really good–zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add 1.5 Tbs more olive oil, 3 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I left those out), and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. She also has you add 2 Tbs julienned fresh basil, but I left that out too.

You won’t miss it: the magic combo of the crispy broccoli, the garlic, the lemon and the cheese will make this the best broccoli of your life. I guarantee it; you will go ga-ga over it. I’m so ga-ga over it that I would seriously consider a trip right now to the store just so I could make this for lunch. Broccoli for lunch? After trying this, you’ll never want to eat anything else for breakfast, lunch or dinner ever again.
Normally, broccoli gets squishy when you cook it. Not this broccoli; it develops an amazing brown crust in spots. Then you toss it with lemon juice, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese and you’re in heaven.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Summer Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

1 medium uncooked yukon gold potato(es)
1 spray(s) cooking spray
1/2 cup(s) uncooked celery, chopped
1/4 cup(s) (chopped) uncooked onion(s), chopped (or 1 large shallot)
4 piece(s) corn on the cob, kernels removed with a knife
1 cup(s) sweet red pepper(s), diced
4 oz uncooked Canadian-style bacon, diced
2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Pierce potato in several places with a fork; microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool; peel and mash.

Meanwhile, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper; sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Stir bacon and milk into saucepan; stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes (do not allow to boil). Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.
Feel free to substitute your favorite fresh vegetables like asparagus and broccoli for the red pepper. Or to save time, substitute 2 cups of frozen corn and 1 cup of frozen, diced bell pepper for the fresh corn and red pepper.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Want to eat a BIG bowl of cookie dough?

Of course you all said yes.
Right? Right?

Good, because the following recipe is so delicious you’ll want to do just that.

The graham crackers as dippers was just simply perfect.
This dip is high in protein, gluten-free, and it can even be sugar-free!

Cookie Dough Dip

Inspired by this awesome recipe.

1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained) (250g)
1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup nut butter (You can get away with using only 3 T. If you use peanut butter, it’ll have a very-slight “pb cookie dough” taste, so if you don’t want this, you can sub oil.)
up to 1/4 cup milk of choice (Start with 1 T, and add more as needed)
Sweetener (see note below, for amount)
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 to 3 T oats (or flaxmeal) (You can omit, but also omit the milk if you do)
Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a food processor, and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips.