• Ramen Broccoli Salad

    DSC_0809

     

    This salad is so good, and a great side for a hot day.  Both Ethan and Ellie were skeptical at first, but then they tried it.  Ethan had 3 servings, and Ellie had 2 servings.  That never happens!  We had it just a few days ago and it’s already been requested for this week’s menu.  Definitely a hit!

    This is a great dish for a potluck or picnic because there’s no mayo to worry about.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 12 oz. package of broccoli slaw mix (in produce section with packaged sugar snap peas, etc.)
    • 1 package of chicken or Oriental flavor Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
    • Ramen seasoning package
    • 1/4 c. grape seed oil (can use vegetable or canola oil)
    • Splash of sesame oil
    • 1/4 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 c. white sugar
    • 1 green onion, sliced (green only)

    Directions:

    1. In a mixing bowl, mix together broccoli slaw and broken Ramen noodles.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together Ramen seasoning package, grape seed oil, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar.
    3. Toss dressing mixture with the broccoli slaw until well coated.
    4. Top with sliced green onion and serve chilled.

    Ramen Broccoli Salad:

    5star

  • Broccoli Salad

    DSC_0779

     

    The kiddos and I really enjoyed this broccoli salad.  Steve not so much, but he doesn’t like these kinds of salads in general.  It’s kind of like cole slaw but with broccoli instead of cabbage.  The dressing and craisins bring a nice sweet contrast to the bacon and broccoli.  The flavors just work.  This is a great one for picnics and potlucks too.

    Ingredients:

    • 8 c. fresh raw broccoli florets
    • 1/2 c. red onion, finely diced
    • 1/2 c. cooked crumbled turkey bacon
    • 1 c. craisins

    Dressing:

    • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 c. light mayonnaise
    • 2 TBSP white vinegar

    Directions:

    1. In a large bowl combine broccoli through craisins.
    2. In a small bowl mix sugar, mayo and vinegar until smooth.
    3. Add dressing to the bowl and toss to coat and chill.

    Broccoli Salad:
    4star

  • Apricot Chicken

    DSC_0769

    Boy do I love finding a crockpot dish that is delicious and loved by all!  Makes for an easy dinner on busy weeknights.

    Ingredients:

    • ½ c. all-purpose flour
    • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • ⅔ c. honey barbecue sauce
    • ⅔ c. apricot preserves
    • ½ c. orange juice
    • ¼ c. sauce
    • 2 TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 TBSP minced fresh ginger root (the ginger root paste is super quick and handy for this)
    • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
    Instructions:
    1. In a large gallon sized bag, place the flour inside. Add the chicken and shake to coat.
    2. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray and place the flour coated chicken in the bottom.
    3. In a large bowl, combing barbecue sauce, apricot preserves, orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, pepper flakes, and leftover flour from the bag used to coat the chicken. Pour over the top of chicken.
    4. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours until chicken is tender.  Serve over rice.

    Apricot Chicken:
    5star

     

  • Ginger Scallion Noodles

    DSC_0760

    This side dish is so simple yet so good.  We seem to always have a batch in the fridge, whether for a dinner side or just to snack on.  Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
    • garlic, minced
    • 3 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 1/3 c. grape seed oil
    • 6 TBSP vinegar (we use 3 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar and 3 TBSP ancho vinegar from a local specialty shop)
    • 2 tsp. soy sauce
    • 2 6 oz. packages of Wel-Pac Chinese Chow Mein Stir-Fry Noodles (or any egg noodle or any noodle you like)

    Directions:

    1. Combine green onions through soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add salt and then add noodles and cook according to directions.
    3. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water and then add to mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.  Serve chilled.

    Ginger Scallion Noodles:

    5star

     

  • Overnight Baked Apple Oatmeal with Streusel

    DSC_0299

     

    We’ve tried a few baked oatmeal recipes, but this one is the keeper.  It’s like dessert, but it’s breakfast.  How can you go wrong with that?  It tastes a lot like apple crisp, but there’s all this oatmeal in it, so it’s good for you, right? ;)

    Steve loves crunch, so he asked me to double the topping next time. :)  The streusel topping below is the double recipe (but a single for the butter).

    Definitely a company worthy breakfast/brunch!

    Recipe adapted from A Farm Girl’s Dabbles.

    Ingredients:

    Oatmeal:

    • 2 T. unsalted butter, melted (I used Country Crock Light)
    • 3 c. skim milk
    • 1 c. unsweetened applesauce
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 c. brown sugar (if you like your oatmeal less sweet, then add 3/4 c. of brown sugar, or whatever you desire; we like sweet)
    • 1 heaping T. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • 2 20 oz. cans of sugar free apple pie filling, apples chopped
    • 3 c. old fashioned oats
    • 1 c. steel cut oats

    Streusel Topping:

    • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 c. old fashioned oats
    • 2/3 c. brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 4 T. unsalted (real) butter, at room temperature, cut into pea size pieces, (do not melt)

    Directions:

    1. Spray a 10 x 10 (4 qt. or 10 x 13) baking dish with cooking spray (or larger pan if doubling the streusel topping).
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, milk, applesauce, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla. Chop the apples in the pie filling and stir in the apple pie filling; then add in the old fashioned oats and steel cut oats and combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish and spread oatmeal mixture evenly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
    3. In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter with the same fork until there are large pea-sized crumbs. If you prepare this the streusel topping the night before, cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight, just don’t add it to the oatmeal mixture until you are ready to bake it in the morning.
    4. Bake: Preheat oven to 375*.
    5. Take the plastic wrap off the baking dish and top it with the prepared streusel. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until oatmeal is thoroughly hot and the streusel is golden brown. If you’d like a crisper streusel, set the oven to broil and let it crisp up to your liking.

    Overnight Baked Apple Oatmeal with Streusel:
    5star

  • Courtney’s Frittata

    DSC_0267

     

    Our good friend Courtney gave me this recipe.  We had it a potluck breakfast/brunch.  It is beyond good.  Both kiddos loved it, so I knew I needed the recipe.

    I adapted the recipe by replacing the goat cheese with feta, because at least 2 of the 4 of us don’t like goat cheese, and I also replaced the eggs with egg beaters to “lighten” the dish up a bit.

    I made it for dinner and we got 2 dinners out of it, and the leftovers were just as good heated up as the dish was the first night.

    This dish is sooooo good that you can proudly serve it to company!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
    • Butter
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • ½ bundle of asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
    • 1 c. cottage cheese, drained
    • 8 oz. goat cheese or 6 oz. crumbled feta (reduced fat)
    • 14 eggs or large carton of egg beaters
    • Cavender’s Greek seasoning

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Thaw spinach and squeeze it out in paper towels to get all water out.
    3. Heat butter in a pan and caramelize the onion.
    4. Heat water to boil, add some salt, and blanch asparagus until just tender.
    5. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and sprinkle with spinach through cheese; beat eggs with seasoning (or sprinkle with Cavender’s add the egg beaters and sprinkle with additional Cavender’s).  Pour into dish and swirl contents a little with a knife.
    6. Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes, or until just set.

    Courtney’s Frittata:
    5star

  • Easiest Apple Cake Ever

    DSC_0272

     

    This is the easiest apple cake ever!  It’s “healthy” too since the recipe uses a boxed angel food cake mix, and there’s no added fat.  It’s delicious, and everyone loved this treat.

    Top with fresh fruit, like strawberries, or strawberry coulis and add whipped cream.

    Note: when cake cools it does deflate a bit, but it’s just as tasty!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 box of angel food cake mix
    • 1 20 oz. can of apple pie filling (sugar free), cut apples if desired

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350*
    2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl combine the angel food cake mix and the apple pie filling (if you want smaller pieces of apple, cut the apple pieces before mixing with the cake mix), and stir to combine.
    4. Poor batter into the prepared pan and cook for 30-35 minutes or until done (knife will come out clean).
    5. Top with fruit and whipped cream.

    Easiest Apple Cake Ever:
    5star

  • Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake with Chocolate Frosting

    DSC_0151

     

    Ssssshhhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone that this chocolaty decadent dessert actually has zucchini in it!!!!!  If someone didn’t tell you there was zucchini in it, you would never ever know, and I’m not kidding.  The zucchini just melts into the cake, and you are left with an incredibly moist chocolaty treat!

    As far as desserts go, it’s on the “healthier” side.  My kiddos devoured it (and so did Steve and I)!

    Recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies.

    Ingredients:

    Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • 2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 1/2 c. grated zucchini (about 2 medium size)

    Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:

    • 1/3 c. milk
    • 1/3 c. butter
    • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 1 c. mini chocolate chips (or preferred chocolate)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg and vanilla.
    4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.
    5. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir well. The mix will be quite dry… TRUST the recipe; then gently stir in the zucchini and spread the mixture into your prepared pan.
    6. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cake is done.
    7. While cake is cooling, combine butter, milk and sugar in a small pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Allow mixture to boil vigorously for 30 seconds; then remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Immediately pour over warm cake. Let cool completely before cutting so the frosting has a chance to set.

    Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake with Chocolate Frosting:
    5star

  • Cinnamon Rolls with Frosting

    DSC_0263

     

    When I make cinnamon rolls, I usually make my grandmother’s recipe, which is more like a sticky bun/cinnamon roll.  This weekend I tried a new recipe…one with frosting.  It was a hit.  Everyone loved the frosting!  How could you not love a cinnamon roll with frosting?!?!?!

    I lightened the recipe up by using Country Crock Light spread in place of the butter for both the cinnamon rolls and frosting, and it worked very well.

    Recipe adapted from Temp-Tations.

    Ingredients:

    Dough:

    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 (1/4-oz.) packet active dry yeast
    • 1 cup milk, heated until warm
    • 5 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, melted
    • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 c. Bisquick baking mix
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 3/4 tsp. salt

    Filling:

    • 5 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, softened
    • 1 c. dark brown sugar
    • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon

    Frosting:

    • 3 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, softened
    • 1 c. powdered sugar

    Directions:

    1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Whisk in yeast, milk, and melted butter and let sit for 10 minutes.
    2. Add the remaining Dough ingredients to the mixing bowl, and mix into a sticky dough. Transfer to a well-floured surface and knead, adding additional flour, just until no longer sticky. Return ball of dough to the mixing bowl, cover, and put in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
    3. On a well-floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out dough, until it is a large, 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Spread the softened butter on the surface of the dough to start the filling. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough.  Roll the rolling pin over the brown sugar and cinnamon to press all of the filling into the dough (and it makes it easier to roll).
    4. Line two jelly roll sheets with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
    5. Grab the short side of the dough, and roll entire length of dough into a pinwheel, pressing firmly as you go. Slice rolled pinwheel into 1 1/4 inch thick rounds and evenly spread about 9 (3 rows of 3) onto the jelly roll sheet.  You may need to pinch the ends so the roll doesn’t unroll.  One sheet may have fewer rolls, but that’s ok. Cover and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
    6. Preheat oven to 400* and bake cinnamon rolls 18-22 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
    7. Combine melted butter and powdered sugar to create the frosting. If frosting is hard, microwave 10-15 seconds to soften. Spoon frosting over cinnamon rolls while still hot, and serve.
    8. The next day, microwave your rolls for 15-30 seconds, and it tastes like it’s right out of the oven.

    Cinnamon Rolls with Frosting:
    5star

     

  • Beer Mac-n-Cheese and Beer Bread

    DSC_0256

    If you like homemade mac-n-cheese you’ll definitely enjoy this version made with beer and bacon.  It’s so creamy and so flavorful.  If you don’t like bacon, leave it out, but bacon is a favorite in our house.  It was kid approved by the man-cheese eating kiddo (the non mac-n-cheese eating kiddo wasn’t home for dinner).  I added chipotle Tabasco to mine and that put it over the top for me!

    Beer bread: we’ve been making it for quite some time.  It is beyond good and beyond delicious and beyond easy!  We usually make a loaf, but this time we opted to make biscuits.  We’ll stick with the loaf from here on out because the biscuits didn’t have the same moist tenderness that the loaf has.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese recipe from A Spicy Perspective.

    Beer Bread recipe from Food Network.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. elbow pasta
    • 12 oz. Shiner Bock (or favorite beer)
    • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used cream cheese with Greek yogurt)
    • 1 lb. cheddar cheese (not preshredded)
    • 1 c. crumbled bacon

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese directions:

    1. Place a large pot water on the stove to boil. Once boiling, add generous amounts of salt and add pasta; cook pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, pour a bottle of beer in a skillet. (Choose a light crisp beer that you like to drink.) Turn the heat on high, and add the cream cheese in medium sized chunks. As the beer starts to simmer, break the cream cheese into pieces with a whisk and whisk into the beer.  Add the shredded cheese and whisk until completely smooth.
    3. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour it into the cheese sauce. Reduce the heat to low, then stir and cook another 3 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
    4. To serve, scoop the beer mac and cheese into bowls and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese:
    4star

     

    Beer Bread

    Ingredients:

    • 3 c. self rising flour
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 12 oz. bottle of Shiner Bock beer (or favorite beer)
    • 3 TBSP melted butter

    Beer Bread Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.
    2. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and beer and mix well. The mixture should be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. At the last 3 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter and return to oven.

    Beer Bread:
    5star