Thursday, March 27, 2008

Caesar and Steak Salad

Thin cut steak

Bacon Bits
Parmesan Cheese
Croutons - I used some Parmesan seasoned toast crackers
Caesar Salad Dressing

Sprinkle Salt and Pepper on the steak and then cook the steak on a George Foreman Grill. Don't over cook!

Mix the salad together.
Top salad with steak.

Review - This salad is a delicious, complete meal and comes together quickly.

Italian Cream Cheese Chicken Over Pasta - my take

I was inspired to create this dinner after seeing this Italian Cream Cheese Chicken Over Pasta recipe.

What I did:

Take 2 (already cooked) chicken breasts and heat up in butter, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. I did add apple juice too, as the original has that listed, and I had it on hand, so decided to use it.

Then I made a cream sauce with milk, cream cheese, more Italian seasoning and salt.

I made Broccoli, and had the Italian seasoning in the boiling water.

And then I made whole wheat and white pasta (because I didn't have enough of one kind, so I mixed!)

Then I layered it all on a serving dish and made some garlic bread and *voila* ! A delicious and easy supper.

Review: This is a quick and easy meal to make, and yet it looks and tastes fabulous and like you've gone through a great effort to make it. It's a pretty no-fail recipe as you can add and subtract ingredients that you enjoy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spinach Salad with Pears and Bacon


8 ounces Fresh mozzarella, diced
4 cups Baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 ripe pears, washed, cored and sliced
4 strips bacon, cooked and diced

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste

1. Put spinach leaves, pears, bacon and cheese in a salad bowl

2. Mix vinegars, mustard, salt and pepper together in a separate dish.

3. Add oil and whisk until blended.

4. Pour over salad

Review: This is my favorite salad. Ever. And Paul's - and everyone who has tasted it. I have had salad haters tell me they love it.
Just make sure you buy Fresh Mozzarella, and don't leave out the pears. It totally makes the salad.

Ranch Pasta Salad


1 pound pasta cooked and drained
1/2 pound cheddar cheese (cubed)
5 pieces bacon (or more) cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups broccoli - cut small
1 bottle ranch salad dressing

1. Mix all ingredients in big serving bowl

2. Chill for 2 - 24 hours

3. Serve!

4. *see notes

Other ideas to add to salad:
Chopped Black Olives
Chopped Green Olives
Chopped Green Onions
Black Pepper
Sunflower Seeds

Review: This is an easy, make ahead salad. It holds great flexibility as you can add and subtract the ingredients you like, or dislike. :) I always make it up in a huge batch as it's a crowd pleaser.

Cracker Candy


1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 box soda crackers
Nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Line cookie sheet with tin foil and cover the bottom with soda crackers

3. Melt butter and sugar in sauce pan. Stir it until it boils then stir for one more minute.

4. Pour hot mixture evenly over crackers and bake for 5 minutes (should be bubbly) Remove from oven.

5. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers. When melted spread evenly.

6. Sprinkle on nuts if desired.

7. Place cookie sheet in the fridge until cool. Peel off foil and break into pieces.

Review: Nuts on this should not be optional ;) I have used walnuts and almonds and I think the addition of nuts really takes it up a notch. Or two, or three. It goes from being 'good' to 'can't keep my hands off this.' You're sure to gain pounds when you make this :) It is SO YUMMY.

Cheese Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground sausage
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs* see notes
1/2 cup chopped parsley*
1 clove garlic, minced*
1/4 Teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter

1. Combine all ingredients except the butter

2. Shape into meatballs, press firmly

3. Brown in butter in skillet over low heat

4. Drain

5. Eat as is or add to favorite spaghetti sauce

*Buy Italian seasoned bread crumbs and parsley and garlic are not needed.

Review: I have only ever made these as appetizers. They're kind of yucky to make - I hate raw meat. But they do taste good, and are simple to do.

Basic Cheese Fondue

2 cups milk
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground dry mustard
1 clove garlic - peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a medium saucepan over low heat mix together first five ingredients until almost boiling.

2. Gradually stir in cheddar cheese

3. Continue heating until all the cheese is melted.

4. Transfer to fondue dish - Keep the mixture warm and melted in the fondue dish.

5. Serve with bread or veggies

Review: Fondue is one of my favorite foods! This is a very basic recipe, but it tastes delicious. Be sure to have guests over as it's so fun to eat with friends :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cream Cheese Brownies

For brownies:

1 c butter (2 sticks), melted
2 c sugar
2 t vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 c cocoa
1 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 c chopped nuts, optional

For cream cheese topping:

1/3 c sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened or slightly warmed
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla

1. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, eggs, and cocoa, beating after each addition.

2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Add nuts if using. Pour batter into greased 9 x 13 pan.

3. In separate bowl, mix sugar and cream cheese until no lumps remain. Stir in egg and vanilla. Pour over brownie batter. Cut through batter with knife several times for a marbled effect.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until cream cheese topping is slightly browned.

5. Cool and store in refrigerator.

Origianally found HERE

Review: Before these brownies I was of the mindset that brownies from a box were the best tasting brownies ever. Now however, these are the best brownies ever.

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. raw honey
1 egg
1/2 c. real butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. raisins
Cream the butter, honey, egg and vanilla with a mixer. Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl, then add to the butter mixture. Stir until moist. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

These are *so* yummy, and healthy to boot!
Recipe from my friend Rachel.

Review: Despite the word "healthy" being in the name, these are good cookies!! They freeze well, which is nice, as we would otherwise finish an entire batch within a day or two. But they're 'healthy' - so that's ok, right?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (make sure it is melted!)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
*semisweet chocolate chips
*Heath bits

*we don't measure these - we just dump them in.

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheet with tin foil (that way you don't have to wash anything!!)
2. Combine first three ingredients. Set aside
3. In another bowl combine remaining ingredients until creamy. Add dry ingredients until just blended.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and Heath bits.
5. Use a 1/4 cup measuring scoop to shape the dough into balls.
6. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes, and then let cool on the baking sheet.

These taste best when eaten the day they're baked.
If you plan on freezing them place the shaped cookie dough on a plate and place in freezer for a few hours so they can individually freeze. Once they have, you can throw them all in a zip lock bag. Then pull out however many you want and place in a pre-heated oven. I don't think we've ever timed how long they take from frozen, but it's not much longer than from a non-frozen state!

Review: The best cookies ever. Enough said.

Homemade Pita Pockets

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

1. In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Add 1 cup of the flour, along with the yeast, and stir to mix. Add remaining flour and knead to make a soft dough.

2. Put your dough into a bowl, lightly oil the top, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise, until almost double (about an hour).

3. Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a 6- or 7-inch circle.

4. As you roll the rounds, set them aside on a lightly floured countertop or table, and cover loosely with a towel. Let rise for about 25-35 minutes, until slightly puffy. (The rounds will still be thin)

5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place 2 rounds, side-by-side, onto a wire rack, such as is used for cooling things. Place rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 4-5 minutes, until puffy and just slightly browned. (If bread is too browned, it will be dry and not pliable.)

6. Remove rack from oven and immediately wrap/layer pita breads in a damp towel, to soften. Continue baking the remaining breads, layering them between damp towels as soon as they're baked. Allow breads to completely cool.

7. Cut pita breads in half, or split the top edge, and fill as desired. :)

8. Store pitas in a plastic zipper bag in the fridge for a few days, or place in the freezer for longer storage. To re-warm pitas, wrap them in a damp towel and then wrap in foil. Place in a warm (200-250 degree) oven for about 20 minutes.


Review: These are great straight from the oven or a day old (that's as long as they've lasted here!) Store bought pita doesn't even compete.