Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

I asked my mother-in-law for this recipe because my husband really likes them. He calls them Stuffed Monkey Heads and if you tell your kids that, they're guaranteed to want to eat them! :)
Stuffed Peppers
3-4 large bell peppers, any color
1/2 c. uncooked rice
1 lb. sausage
(the measurements aren't crucial for the following ingredients. Just eyeball it.)
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 t. garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 T. dry)
1/2 c. tomato sauce
2 c. grated cheese (or more)

First off, cook rice with 1 c. water. Set aside.
Prepare peppers by cutting them lengthwise and discarding seeds.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Simmer peppers for 5 minutes. Drain and arrange in a 9x13" pan and set aside.
In the same pot, brown sausage.
Once sausage is cooked through, add cooked rice, onion, garlic, and parsley. Stir and cook a few minutes.
Add tomato sauce and stir until mixture is combined.
Divide filling among the peppers.
Top with cheese.
Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes.
Yum yum!
There's a lot of wiggle room in this recipe. You could adjust or omit ingredients and add others. I used country style sausage (which was great) but next time I think I'll try italian style sausage. If you want them spicy, just add some red pepper flakes or chipotle powder. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garlic Herb Pasta

Sometimes I just want a simple, quick, somewhat light meal at the end of the day! Especially on those days when I'm just too tired to cook something big. This is such a simple and tasty pasta dish for one of those days.
Garlic Herb Pasta
1/2 lb. dry pasta, cooked
2 T. butter
2 T. chopped fresh parsley (or you could use other herbs, dry or fresh)
1 clove garlic, minced (or some garlic powder)
parmesan cheese, as much as you want
salt to taste

Toss all ingredients together and serve alongside a salad or vegetable. Enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Whoopie Pies

I got this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. In her blog she calls them homemade oreos, but I thought they turned out more like Whoopie Pies! It's a really fun recipe to make with your kids and they're very tasty.
Whoopie Pies
2 boxes devils food cake
4 eggs
2/3 c. oil

Mix ingredients well. Dough will be super stiff. Roll into 1" balls (or use a cookie scoop) and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Flatten slightly with fingertips.
Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes.
Filling (original recipe calls for double these amounts)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (1/4 c.) butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

Mix cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
When cookies are cooled, fill with cream filling.
This recipe makes about 24 sandwich cookies. I think it would be really fun to experiment with different cake mix flavors or different extracts in the filling. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Irish Dinner

One of my main purposes of this blog is to document recipes that my family likes and to remember what I made in past years for special occasions. This year for St. Patrick's Day we had a traditional Irish meal.
Our meal consisted of:
Corned Beef: cooked in the crockpot for several hours with the season packet that came with it
Potatoes: cooked with the corned beef
Boiled Cabbage: 1/2 head of green cabbage boiled and salted

So I'm hoping that I can keep this St. Patrick's Day tradition going in years to come.

Irish Soda Bread

This is a fun Irish recipe to try for St. Patrick's Day!
Irish Soda Bread
3 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/4 c. butter
1 egg
2 c. buttermilk

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut it butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Make a will in the flour mixture and add egg and buttermilk. Mix until just moistened. (Dough will look like biscuit dough.)
In a greased cake pan, form dough into a ball.
Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes or until browned and sounds hollow when tapped.
This was my first time making this bread and I must say I like it. It is much like a large biscuit and tastes very good with jam or butter.
This will probably become a traditional St. Patrick's Day food for us. Enjoy!

Sour Cream Cheesecake

I love cheesecakes! Especially when there is a sour cream layer on top. This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law and I absolutely love it!
Sour Cream Cheesecake
2 c. crushed graham crackers
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted

Combine cracker crumbs, sugar and butter and mix well. Press into a 9" springform pan. Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes.
3 (8 oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla

With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Pour over crust. Place pan on a cookie sheet (in case it leaks) and bake at 375 F for 35-45 minutes with a pan of water on the bottom rack (this keeps the cheesecake from cracking.)
Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.
sour cream topping:
2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Combine all ingredients and pour over slightly cooled cheesecake. Bake at 425 F for another 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately run a steak knife around the edges to prevent sticking. Cool completely. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
My mom always taught me that the best way to cut a cheesecake is with dental floss! Seriously, it works without making a huge mess.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chicken Alfredo

This is a simple and quick dinner that is so delicious. I adapted it from this recipe. I think this is a new favorite.

Chicken Alfredo
1/2 lb. rotini (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste)
2 T. italian dressing
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 block (8 oz.) cream cheese, cut up
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
2 c. rotissere chicken, skin removed, roughly chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a medium saucepan, heat italian dressing and garlic over medium for about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and stir until smooth. Add chicken broth, a little at a time, and stir until smooth again. Add parmesan cheese and continue to heat and stir for about 5 minutes. Toss the sauce and chicken with pasta. Serves about 4.
This was such a tasty meal. My kids even loved it because it's basically another version of mac-n-cheese! We served it with veggies and ended up mixing them together. Yum yum. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pancake Tuesday - Crepes

Today is Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. I actually didn't know much about this tradition until I did some research. It's the day in which it is custom to use up any fatty foods, such as eggs and butter, before Ash Wednesday or the beginning of Lent. In many countries, pancakes are the traditional meal of this day. So, in honor of Fat Tuesday, let's eat some pancakes ... crepes to be more specific!
1 c. flour
pinch salt
1 1/4 c. milk
3 eggs
5 T. melted butter

Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Slowly whisk wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you have a very thin, smooth batter. (For a shortcut, just blend all ingredients in a blender.)
In a greased, preheated 7" or 8" skillet, pour 1/4 c. batter and turn so the batter covers the bottom of the pan.
Cook until slightly bubbly and edges are crispy. Flip and cook on other side for about a minute. Stack cooked crepes on a plate. Makes about 10 crepes.
I ate my crepe with just a drizzle of maple syrup. My kids ate them with peanut butter and strawberry jelly. They are delicious with a variety of toppings. Try whipped cream, fruit, nut butter, honey, cinnamon & sugar, the possibilities are endless!
I hope you'll join me in celebrating Fat Tuesday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Nuts

I love all kinds of nuts and I got this idea from my husband's aunt. She makes them with just the sugar but I decided to add some cinnamon. They are so good. Next time I think I'll try pecans!
Cinnamon Sugar Nuts
2 c. raw nuts (I used almonds)
1/3 c. turbinado sugar
1 t. cinnamon
generous pinch salt
2 T. water

If you've never seen turbinado sugar, this is what it looks like. It's big crystals are perfect for this recipe.
Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat the nuts over medium-high heat. Stir often so they don't burn. Cook for about 7-9 minutes or until the nuts are softly sizzling and popping.
Remove from heat and stir in the sugar mixture and water. Stir a little. Return to heat on medium-low and stir until water evaporates and the nuts are sticky (about 3-5 minutes.) Spread onto foil and let cool.
These are a fun treat for kids, too. I'm tempted to try a sweet and spicy variety by leaving out the cinnamon and using a little chipotle chile powder ... we'll see! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Baked Corn Dogs

We don't often buy frozen corn dogs. Mostly because I don't like them and I do all of our grocery shopping! :) But today I decided to try some homemade. They were actually really fun to make with the kids and turned out delicious.
Baked Corn Dogs
1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
3 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
4 T. melted butter
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 c. whole kernel corn
7 all beef hot dogs

Combine dry ingredients well. Then add wet ingredients (except hot dogs) until it forms a somewhat stiff dough.
Form dough around each hot dog.
Place corn dogs on a well greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 17-20 minutes.
While corn dogs are baking, mix together the dipping sauce:
Dipping Sauce
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1-2 T. bbq sauce
1 T. mustard

Mix well. (You really don't have to measure these ingredients. Just eyeball it and adjust the measurements according to your taste.)
Corn dogs will be puffy and firm when done. Serve with sauce.
We had green beans with our corn dogs. It made a fun meal. Enjoy!