Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We sometimes have breakfast for dinner...tonight was one of those nights. Omelets and hashbrowns! I make my omelets by whisking about 7 eggs (for 5 omelets) together with about 1/3 cup milk. The most important thing is to have a HOT skillet. Pour enough eggs in the HOT skillet to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 1 minute. Then add toppings...chopped ham, shredded cheese, sauted green peppers and onions...whatever you like :) Fold omelet in half. Cook for approx. 1 minute on each side. Serve with hashbrowns and toast.

Chocolate Ice Water Cake

We accidentally opened a can of German Chocolate Frosting over the weekend so I had to use it. Of course, there wasn't any german chocolate or chocolate cake mixes in the cupboard, so I chose to make this one. This recipe comes from my elementary school's cookbook. The recipe was submitted by a neighbor of mine...Nola Haddock. She was a such a sweet lady. When I was in elementary school, she was the head cook. There was a reason I LOVED hot lunch in was just like having a home cooked meal for lunch! I trust every recipe I have of when I saw this one, I knew it was the one to make for my can of frosting.
3/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 sq. chocolate OR 2 TBL margarine and 6 TBL cocoa
1 1/2 tsp soda
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups ice water
2 tsp vanilla

Combine butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add chocolate. Add dry ingredients. Add water & vanilla. Mix well. Place in oven heated to 375 for 35 minutes. YUM!! YUM!!

Cheeseburger Macaroni

This is definitely a kid-friendly recipe...and a nice change to macaroni and cheese :)
1 lb ground beef
2 ¾ cups water
2/3 cup ketchup
1 tsp onion powder
1 ½ cups macaroni, dry
2 ½ cups cheese, shredded or cubed

In large skillet, brown beef; drain. Stir in water, ketchup, and onion powder; bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 8-10 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Add cheese; stir until melted.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Orange Chicken

The other night I decided I wanted to try something different than was on the menu so I made this yummy passed with everyone with flying colors :)

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1 1/2" cubes)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg (beaten)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Oil (for frying)

Orange Sauce:
1 1/2 cups water
2 TBL orange juice (I used half of fresh squeezed orange juice)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar (I didn't have so I just used white vinegar)
2 1/2 TBL soy sauce
1 TBL orange zest--grated (I used the orange zest from the orange and squeezed)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger root--minced (I didn't have so I used ginger powder)
1/2 tsp garlic--minced
2 TBL green onion--chopped (I didn't have so I didn't use it)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 TBL cornstarch
2 TBL water

Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture and shake in flour mixture to coat. Fry chicken in wok until completely cooked. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 1/2 cups water, lemon juice, orange juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil. Combine 3 TBL of cornstarch w/ 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired add red pepper flakes and garnish with green onions. (The more red pepper flakes you add, the warmer the chicken. I will definitely add the green onions next time just to give it a little different flavor.) I served this dish over rice. It's delicious...we'll definitely be adding it to our regular menu!!! :)

ETA (August 22): I made this again this week. I had a lot of fresh veggies in the fridge as well as an open can of pineapple. Added it to the orange chicken...definitely gave it a different taste but still very yummy! More like a sweet & sour chicken this time around :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009


My friend, Michele, brought us the yummiest granola on Saturday night. I have to share her FABULOUS recipe:

6 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (she used pecans, but says almonds are really good too)
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup oil
1 cup honey
2 T water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest of one orange (she doesn't always add this)

Mix all dry ingredients together first and then add the wet ingredients. Combine until it's all moistened. Grease a cookie sheet or 9x13 pan and bake at 300 for 30-35 minutes (or more...if you use a glass dish it seems to take longer). Stir at least once while it's baking when it gets a little browned.

You could also add coconut, but she didn't this time. The amounts on the nuts & seeds can change too, depending on what you like! Her sister in law uses half honey and half maple syrup, and hers is delicious. So, feel free to adapt it to what your family likes! Her family likes the orange zest, but she made one batch with and one without. She usually makes two batches otherwise it disappears too quickly. :)

In the picture, I added it to applesauce...but you can just eat it plain! It's very flavorful! Yum, Yum!!

Cajun Chicken

We love to use our grill. Since we live where we live, we can use it year-round. Here's one of our favorite recipes for grilled chicken...

6 chicken breast fillets, skinned
6 TBL butter
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cumin

Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally, making two pieces of about the same thickness. Flatten them slightly with the heel of your hand. Lay them on a large plate or place in shallow dish. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat without letting it color (I don't always use the butter and it still works out). Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to blend well. (I pour the mixed spices into a shaker jar.) Brush the chicken pieces on both sides with a little of the melted butter or margarine, then sprinkle evenly with the seasoning mixture. Heat grill for about 5-8 minutes. Grill chicken until juices run clear.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Craisin White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 to 1 cup Craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries)
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10minutes, or until golden brown (some of my cookies only cooked for 9 minutes).

I'm usually the type of person that loves to eat cookies straight from the oven...but not these! These were tons better when they were cool...even better the next day.

Bread Bowls for Soup

I made these for our parent preschool meeting last night. They turned out very yummy and were just enough since we had other food besides soup!

1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2 TBL butter, softened
2 TBL sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups all-purpose flour OR 2 cups all-purpose flour and 2 cups wheat flour
4 1/2 TBL yeast
1 egg white, beaten

In a mixing bowl add water, milk, sugar, and yeast. When yeast is dissolved, add salt and flour. Mix well. I used my kitchen aid w/ the dough hook. It mixed for approximately 5 minutes. It seemed a bit dry so I added a few drops of water to moisten the dough just a bit. Turn dough ontol a lightly floured surface. Divide into six portions; shape into balls. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Brush with egg white. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes (the all white flour bread only took 20 minutes...the mix of white & wheat flour took 25 minutes.) Cool on wire racks. To make bowl, cut the top fourth off of bread; carefully hollow out bottom of each, leaving about 1/4" shell. I made Cheese Veggie Chowder while another mom made chili. It was very yummy! JR loved just eating the this recipe could also work for rolls...just make them smaller then you're dividing the dough.

Honey and Wheat Rolls

1 cup water
1 tsp salt
¼ cup honey
2 tsp yeast
2 cups flour
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 egg

Mix together water, salt, honey, and yeast. Then add egg. Then add flour. Mix well. Knead. Let rise for approximately 1 ½ hours. Divide into 12-16 balls. Put in greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Hamhock Soup

This was my first time making this soup. I had this soup a few years back at a church event but haven't been brave enough to try it out. After add the 3rd hamhock to our freezer at Christmas, I knew I had to put it on the menu. I had forgotten that I had bought "White Navy Beans" to put with this until I cleaned out my cupboard the next day so I used pinto beans from our storage. I had planned to have this for dinner on Sunday. Saturday night I put two cups of beans in 6 cups of water to soak overnight.

The next morning I followed this recipe:

Add ham to a crockpot (according to the recipe it can be any kind of ham...cut ham, ham bone, etc) but for the heartist of taste use the hamhock, lotsa fat!

Put the crockpot on high to start the water boiling and add the ham. Once it starts getting really hot, but not hot enough to boil in the pot, add a dash of salt and a couple dashes of black pepper to get the stock going.

Add to that: minced garlic, crushed ginger, oregano, parsley. Let it come to a boil then reduct to simmer. This is the essence of the soup stock.

On simmer add a couple pads of butter to help break up the ham. Then add: diced peeled potatoes, cut carrots, diced onions, cut celery, and beans (rinsed and soaked overnight then drained).

I simmered mine on high all day. By Sunday night, my beans were still crunchy! So we let it cook until 10 p.m. with the intent of just eating it on Monday night instead. Then we remembered we had guests coming Monday so we put it in the fridge and decided to cook it again on Tuesday. So it cooked all day on high on Tuesday. The taste was WONDERFUL!!! Very flavorful and very filling...the only problem...we still had some crunchy beans! Is there something I did wrong w/ the beans? We'll definitely make this soup again but I'll probably try different beans in it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Guacamole is not necessarily something I seek...but it's one of the things my hubby loves! So I've learned to make it. The first key is a RIPE avocado! :) An avocado skin goes dark and it's soft to the touch. Cut the avocado around the pit. The avocado will come apart if it's pulled gently. Scoop out the pit. Scoop out the inside of the avocado and mash. Mix in a dash of salt and about 1/2 tsp of lemon juice. Serve with tortillas or other favorite foods. My hubby loves it on hot dogs...a thing he picked up in Chili!

Cookin' up the dogs!

Sometimes we just roast hot dogs over a fire :) These are the nights hubby cooks!

Hawiian Haystacks

This is one of my favorite family isn't so thrilled with it but they just eat what they like of it so I can still make this once in awhile.

2 (10 ¾ oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups diced chicken, cooked
4 cups cooked rice (since a can of broth is usually 2 cups I usually use the other cup to cook the rice any water that needs to be added to make up the difference for how much rice you're cooking)

Combine soup and broth in a saucepan to make gravy. Stir to blend and simmer about 8-10 minutes, until heated through. Add chicken and heat. Layer all ingredients. First stack rice, chow mien noodles, and chicken gravy. Add other ingredients as desired.
1 cup chopped celery
1 can chow mien noodles
½ cup chopped green pepper
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 can olives, sliced
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup grated cheese
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup coconut
As you can see from the picture, we don't always use everything and sometimes I have something else we'll just give it a try on there. My husband doesn't like the sweet stuff so he avoids those things but he does like the "crunchy" things. The kids just like everything separate. Me...the higher the stack...the better :)


One of our family favorites (especially when green peppers and red peppers are on sale) is fajitas!!

I cut about 3-4 chicken breasts into strips. Cook them in a skillet until they are brown. Remove them from the skillet and set aside. Add to the skillet green peppers (and red peppers) cut into strips and sliced onions. Saute veggies. Add taco seasoning (or fajita seasoning) with about 3 TBL of water. Add chicken. Heat through. Serve on warm tortillas topped with refried beans, salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January Menu

Well, I took a month off from "tight" meal-planning with the holidays. So I got it all back together again. Here's the plan of January (I'll post "new" recipes as I make them or as I have time to post)...
1. Cheesy Chicken and noodles
2. French Dip Sandwiches
3. Crockpot Porkchops
4. Chicken and Dressing Casserole
5. Fiesta Stack
6. Chicken Fajitas
7. Idaho Chicken
8. Hawiian Haystacks
9. Hamhock Soup
10. Lasagna
11. Hamburger Pie
12. Chicken Alfredo w/ Broccoli
13. Meatloaf
14. Beef and Bean Burritos
15. Minestrone Soup
16. Cajun Chicken
17. Pizza
18. BBQ Chicken
19. Chicken and Dumplings
20. Clam Chowder
21. Beef Taco Skillet
22. Hobo Dinners
23. Chicken & Rice
24. Hurdsman Chicken
25. Chicken Enchiladas
26. Fried Chicken
27. Cheeseburger Macaroni
29. Creamy Chicken Alfredo
30. Hearty Winter Soup
31. Chicken, Noodles, and Rice