Saturday, November 21, 2009

Six Can Tortilla Soup

I LOVE recipes that are quick! You can't get more simpler than this recipes. Just empty six cans into a pot and heat up! It's very yummy with tortilla chips and cheese on top. If you like just a little spice, you can add some salsa to the soup.

Six Can Tortilla Soup

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn,drained
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (10 ounce) can chunk chicken
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained

Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.

Here are the results:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Turkey Bean Chili

The other day, I had to make a chili for a get together we were having over at the church. I didn't get up early enough to put everything in a crockpot, so I had to find a quick recipe that had only ingredients I had on hand. I came across this recipe for Turkey Bean Chili and it was delicious!

Turkey Bean Chili
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can chili beans, undrained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, cook the turkey, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Here are the results:

Bullies in the Headlights

Bullies in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley is the sequel to Chicken in the Headlights. It follows the Buckley family again, this time focusing on their tough times at school. Bullies are picking on them and they must fight back. The Buckley boys enjoy getting revenge until they are forced to "pixie" their bullies' family and suddenly see them in a new light.

MY REVIEW: This one was almost as funny as the first. Following this family of all boys is just plain funny. It does have a little more meaning and morals in it than the first. A cute and touching book. I recommend the audio version myself.

B and L's Strawberry Smoothie

I'm really sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been cooking though and I have some good recipes. I think smoothie season is officially over but I just love smoothies. Here's a good one I found online:

B and L's Strawberry Smoothie:

  • 8 strawberries, hulled
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cubes ice, crushed
In a blender combine strawberries, milk, yogurt, sugar and vanilla. Toss in the ice. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses and serve.

Here are the results:

MY REVIEW: I forgot the sugar, but it still tasted good. It's good basic recipe to start with for anybody who is afraid of making smoothies (but really, you can't go wrong)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Herb Rubbed Chicken Meal

I do not always have to time to cook fabulous meals for my family (contrary to popular believe). When I feel like I don't have time or effort to cook a whole meal, I go for the frozen food isle. The recipe I'm reviewing today came from a box. While shopping at Wal-mart, I saw these pre-packaged meals that say they cook in less than twenty minutes and feed 4 people. The Herb Rubbed Chicken one was on sale for $5 and the rest were their their usual price at $8.

It was pretty simple to prepare; thaw the chicken and then heat in a saucepan, bake the potatoes for 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven and microwave the vegetables for 4 minutes and BAM! You're finished!
Here's the box it comes in:
And here are the results:

It was super Yummy! The herb rubbed chicken was a little too "herby" for my taste but it tasted really good overall. My only complaint is that it says it feeds 4 but really it would feel 2 nicely. Just to show you what I mean, I took a picture of the whole plate so you could see the serving size. AND keep in mind, we fed three adults lunch with this:

See what I mean? But if you don't want to spend hours making a home cooked meal, try them out, this one was really good!

To Have or To Hold

To Have or To Hold by Josi Kilpack was a really fun read. Here's the description off of the author's website:
"Emma Blair Tribol seems to have a knack for doing things badly. She married her high-school sweetheart just days after graduating from high school to hide an unplanned pregnancy from her family and to finally live her own life. The pregnancy ends in miscarriage, and the marriage doesn't work out the way she had hoped.
Three years later, divorced and with a 15-month-old baby, she moves to Utah where she has family to help her through this transition in her life. Though she tries to find her place in the LDS church again, she feels she doesn't fit. When her employer, Andrew Davidson, offers her a marriage of convenience in order for him to receive a substantial inheritance, she doesn't see any reason not to accept. But as with everything else in Emma's life, things don't go exactly as planned. Before she can blink, she's made a mess of things all over again. She's fallen in love with Andrew,but holds no illusions that it's a good thing.
However, Andrew is also caught up in the conflicting feelings, and when he finds himself faced with everything he never wanted, he desperately seeks answers of his own."

MY REVIEW: I was pleasantly surprise at this book which seems to combine the movie The Bachelor and a Cinderella type story. This book is definitely a love story, but entertaining at the same time. I'm looking forward to reading some of her other books.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chicken Low Mein

Another FABULOUS recipe from Leanne Ely and Saving Dinner. It was very tasty and fairly quick.

I'll post a picture just to make you salivate.

You're welcome!

A Modest Propsal

A Modest Proposal by Michele Ashman Bell. Here is the description as found on her website:

"All my life I had dreamed of changing the ordinary girl’s world of fashion by designing modest formal gowns—ones that you’d actually want to wear. With my super-hero stitching I would save you mothers and daughters crying in dressing rooms over yet another “the straps are just too small” prom dress. Don’t worry, I even thought of a catchy tagline for my brand: “Modest Is Hottest.” I told you I was good!

So I moved to New York and am finally living that dream . . . well, almost. I am at one of the top fashion companies, and my designs are definitely modest— but let’s face it, when it comes to outerwear, would you want to buy a skimpy trench coat? Didn’t think so.

Even though I don’t have my dream job, my family is a mess, and my love life stinks, I have a feeling things are going to change. I mean, they have to soon, or I’ll be forced to marry Jace. I did promise to become his wife only if I turned thirty and was still single, but I honestly didn’t think it was possible. Now twenty-nine, I’m cutting it way too close.

Right now I’m flying back to Utah for our Butterfly Girls reunion. And since it is the Mormon Mecca, I might find myself a modest proposal. Utah engagements can take mere weeks. Never mind, I’m not that desperate.


But maybe the girls can help. We’ve been best friends since high school. We Butterfly Girls are not the typical Pink Ladies, although we’ve definitely had our share of drama. We’ll laugh and cry over memories, from pageant glory to tragic endings, but the ones stored inside our butterfly box will surprise you most. We only open it when we’re all together, and our lives never seem the same after."

MY REVIEW: A cute LDS fiction book that I listened to while driving in the car. I heard it was a long book, but it went pleasantly fast while listening to it. The whole "meet me at the temple at noon on this date" thingy was a little too sappy for me and overall, the book wrapped up a little too nicely for me. I feel there wasn't ever a real conflict, sure she has a few job issues but nothing huge. I think this will be part of a series as I never found out what her friend put in the box. A good read for listening to in the car.

Blackberry Peach Smoothie

My husband decided to buy some blackberries from a farmer's market the other day. Great. What do I do with blackberries? When in doubt- throw them into a smoothie! Since we're not fond of the seeds, I pressed them into a wire colander thingy and juiced them. It was VERY tasty!Here's my approximate recipe:

1 C blackberry juice
2 peaches sliced
1/2 cup drinkable strawberry yogurt
1 C ice

Blend together and enjoy!

Here are the results:

Monday, September 14, 2009


I just bought the CUTEST apron I've ever seen! I bought it online tonight at Etsy. Here's the link to see it: The original Aunt Jessie's Vintage Black/White Parisian Fashionista Full Apron with a twist.
I'm so excited! I'll post pictures when I receive it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


One of my favorite LDS adventure series growing up was Emeralds and Espionage by Lynn Gardner. I was was disappointed when the series was over because it was everything I thought a book should be; action, romance, comedy. And now it was all finished.

Imagine my joy when I found out Lynn Gardner had started writing another series. Vanished is the first book in her new series.

Here's the books description:

"There is a saying that everyone has a double. In Maggie McKenzie’s case, the saying is not only true, but the starting point for a troubling—and deadly—mystery.

Maggie has just begun her first job as a full-fledged newspaper reporter. It’s a dream come true. But soon the young journalist finds she is captivated by what should be old news—a girl who vanished years ago. Intrigued by what she has heard about the missing girl, Maggie takes advantage of her travels for another assignment to try to solve the mystery of Alyssa Lawson’s disappearance. While on her cross-country quest, Maggie meets psychologist Dr. Flynn Ford, who is interested in helping her solve the puzzle—and in getting to know Maggie better. But as the pair inches closer to the truth, witnesses begin turning up dead. And it appears Maggie and Flynn could be next. Could the woman Maggie thinks might be her sister be trying to kill her?"

MY REVIEW: I LOVE this book! Maybe not as suspenseful as the Emeralds and Espionage series, but still kept me wondering the whole time. I love the (sometimes cheesy) romance. I can not wait until I get my hands on the next book!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Debbie's Giveaway

I'm pretty sure everybody know of my love of reading by now, but I also love to win things. I guess you could count that as a hobby?? My friend Debbie has an awesome blog that just celebrated it's 3rd Birthday. She's celebrating by holding three seperate contests. She's giving away a book that I'm dying to win! Check out her blog and enter to win!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Route

Gale Sears was a good friend/mentor as I grew up. Since I have moved away, I started to notice her name popping up on books. I decided to give her book The Route a shot. Here's the book's description:

"Carol, a middle-aged wife and mother, is pondering the meaning of life. On a trip to the grocery store to find some energizing dark chocolate, she sees a sign asking for volunteers to deliver meals to the elderly. When Carol decides to take a chance and help out, she's in for a life-changing-and route-altering-experience."

MY REVIEW: This story,although fictitious, is based off of Gale's experience volunteering at the Meals on Wheel program. The story follows Carol as she visits her elderly "customers" each Thursday.Although this book is a quick read, I am very impressed at the emotion depth Gale portrays in her book. As a volunteer, I know the feelings of eagerness and doubt you feel. I have also felt the sadness that comes seeing the lonley lives people live. Its a tough reality check but I really enjoyed it.

Butter Browned Cauliflower ( AKA Burnt Cauliflower)

This is a family recipe that dates back to before I was born .... probably. It's the only way I'll eat cauliflower. I'm sure it's full of fat but it's tasty! The true name for it is probably just fried cauliflower but I like it went it's burnt so I renamed it.

Burnt Cauliflower
1/2 half cauliflower broken up
4 T butter (or as needed)
1/8 C Water (or as needed)

Place all ingredients in non-stick pan or skillet. Cook on medium heat stirring frequently. Dish should be ready after about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. I like to cook it a few extra minutes and get nice burnt pieces because they taste the best in my opinion.

Here are the results:

A Playdate With Death

While visiting Mexico, I brought along a few books to read while lounging in the sun. A Playdate With Death by Ayelet Waldman was a book I randomly picked from the library, the only criteria was that it was a mystery.

Here's the books description as found found on the author's website:

"No one ever said motherhood was a walk in the park, but Juliet Applebaum is doing her best. She's been showing up (more or less) on time to pick up her daughter from preschool. She's trying (in vain) to discourage her two-and-a-half-year-old son's interest in firearms. And between planning playdates and playing dress up, she's even managed to fit in some much-needed kid-free time, working out with a personal trainer at the local health club. It's going well. She's losing weight. She's even happy—until her trainer commits suicide.

A charming, cheerful aspiring actor, Bobby Katz seemed to have it all—and Juliet just can't believe he died at his own hand. She suspects that there's a much more sinister explanation—and that it may lie with Bobby's parents, who never told him he was adopted. Or with his grieving fiancé, a recovering addict who just fell off the wagon. Or with his birth mother, a woman he had recently started to look for—who had gone to great lengths to ensure that she would never be found. Always up for a task that will get her out of the house, Juliet keeps running down secrets—until, at last, she runs into the truth…"

MY REVIEW: What a "blah" book. Sure there are twists and turns, but really there's no action, just some plot you have to figure out, that of course you can't with the information you've been given, until the very end. Let's not forget the whole " I am woman, I can juggle everything" theme that seems be very prominent through the entire book. Overall, not a big fan and I don't plan on reading anymore from this author. It was fun and interesting to randomly pick a book though!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Provincial Tomatoes

I HATE whole, fresh tomatoes! That said, I'll eat tomatoes any other way. I found this recipe a few years ago and fell in love with it. It's not really an appetizer as it is a side dish. I usually add a little bit of mozzarella cheese (instead of asiago) to hold the toppings together.

Provincial Tomatoes

2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons dried parsley

1.Preheat your oven's broiler.

2.Place tomato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, season with a little salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Mix together the Parmesan cheese, Asiago cheese, bread crumbs and parsley; sprinkle over the tomato slices. Drizzle a little bit more olive oil over the top.

3.Broil for 5 minutes, or until the top is golden and toasty.

Here are the results:

Chicken in the Headlights

While on our vacation to Mexico (see previous post) we needed something to listen to in the car. Chicken in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley was a hilarious book! Here's the description on the back on the CD cover:

"What are a mother and father to do with SEVEN rambunctious boys under the age of eleven? For the Buckleys, the days are filled with running, yelling, food, wrestling, and burping- even through family home evening. Every night culminates in an epic bedtime battle.
When the school year ends, however, Mom and Dad decide to harness some of their boys' apparently inexhaustible energy and buy some goats and chickens for them to take care of While they are initially thrilled with the 'responsibility,' the boys soon learn that it's far tougher - and far funnier for the reader-than it appears.
If you've ever spent any time around boys, this hilarious and occasionally touching story will have you laughing 'til it hurts and fondly remembering some of your own childhood adventures."

I thought it was funny, but my husband was constantly rolling on the floor laughing his guts out! He grew up with lots of boys in the family and I think it hit close to home. It was a good, CLEAN read that makes you laugh. I would highly suggest it, and we're currently reading the sequel Bullies in the Headlights.

Mexico Trip

One of my most favorite hobbies (and probably most expensive) is traveling! I've been all over the world and now I enjoy going different places with my travel-deprived husband. Sorry about my hiatus from blogging, I was out of the country, literally. Here's some pictures!

Here's the beach where we stayed. As you can see, we pretty much had it to ourselves!

Our turtle friend at the aquarium! It was so cool!
A whale skeleton!
We had a great time!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nana's Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash?? What is that?? I just happened to get one of the little babies when I picked up my basket at the fruit co-op. I had no idea what to do with it so of course I went to (my favorite recipe website) and did a search for acorn squash. Most of them had you cook for them for an hour in the oven and I did not have the time. I chose this recipe that microwaved the squash and then broiled it for 5 minutes to let the brown sugar and butter melt. I really enjoyed the recipe but my husband ate one bite and ask me if I wanted his (the nice way of saying HE didn't want it). That's OK. He's not a big squash fan and at least he tried a bite or two. If I get an acorn squash again, maybe I'll try another recipe that isn't so sweet. But for the record, I liked it!

Nana's Acorn Squash
  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  1. In a microwave safe casserole dish pour enough water to reach 1 1/2 inches in depth. Place the squash halves cut side down in the water, and pierce the skin with a fork a few times. Microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
  2. Sprinkle each half with salt and pepper to taste. Place 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar in each half.
  3. Broil 5 minutes, or until butter is melted. Mix the melted butter and sugar into the flesh, and serve
Here are the results:

Italian Stuffed Zucchini

It's time to use up those ingredients sprouting from the garden! Yay!! So I cook this delicious Italian Stuffed Zucchini one night for the husband. He eats it and really enjoys it. Then he tells me I can never make it again because he doesn't like zucchini, even though it was really good, he just can't get over the fact that it was zucchini. Well...... I told him I WILL be making it again and he WILL like it. I have made it several times since and he has liked it every single time. So there!

Italian Stuffed Zucchini
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Italian-style dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup frozen burger-style crumbles (I just leave these out)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise. Hollow out the zucchini.
  3. Place the scraped out zucchini into a medium bowl. Combine zucchini, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, TVP and pasta sauce. Mix well.
  4. Place mixture into hollowed out zucchini. Arrange zucchini in a baking dish, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese; bake for 40 minutes.
Here are the results:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Garlic Asparagus with Lime

Since I've been posting so many photos without the recipes attached, I though ya'll deserved a good recipe. So here it is:


1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced (You can use a small amount of red onion instead)
1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1/4 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste


Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and shallots, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in asparagus spears; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Squeeze lime over hot asparagus, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving plate, and garnish with lime wedges.

Here are the results:

Tuna Nicoise Salad

This recipe from Saving Dinner was probably the most picture perfect recipe I've ever made! Although I'm not posting the recipe, you can basically see what's in the salad. I couldn't find any tuna steaks so I just used salmon and it turned out wonderfully! A deliciously light meal on a hot Summer Day!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Irresistible Peach Smoothie

I had all this fruit from this cool Co-op (I'll write about this later) and I had to use it all up! I received some delicious peaches in my basket and decided I needed to make a smoothie. I didn't have any ice cream so I just used ice instead. It tasted good, but not Jamba Juice good. It did hit the spot on a hot summers day and I have not doubt it would have been better with vanilla ice cream instead of plain ice!

Irresistible Peach Smoothie

2 cup(s) (peeled, pitted and diced ) peaches, about 3 medium
1/2 cup(s) (low-fat) Milk
1 cup(s) vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon(s) (fresh) lemon juice

peach slices, for garnish, optional

Combine diced peaches, milk, ice cream and lemon juice in a blender; puree until nearly smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately garnished with peach slices, if you like.

Here are the results:

Toasted Cousous Salad with Chicken

Another DIVINE recipe from Saving Dinner. There are a few recipes out of this book that I consider 5 stars, meaning to me, they are spectacular, my husband LOVED them,I will make them several times and often, and if I were to have this dish at a restaurant, then I would order it in the future. This recipe fits that description and it was sooooooo yummy!

Toasted Couscous Salad with Chicken

Buy the book and try it out!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cathy's Banana Bread

When ever I make banana bread, it's gone within two minutes of me removing it from the oven. Literally. Not only does my husband snarf it down, but I usually can't keep my hands off it either! Now, banana bread in general is ALWAYS good but I found a recipe that is to die for, and I haven't ever tried another one since. It's called Cathy's Banana Bread and here it is:

Cathy's Banana Bread
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (I use 3)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch pan, or two 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  2. Combine banana and sour cream. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and banana mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir into the banana mixture. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan or pans.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
Here's a picture:

Black Bean and Rice Salad

You're probably going to get sick of me posting recipes from Saving Dinner. I went shopping last week so I should have recipes to last me through about two weeks (since I don't cook every night). The Black Bean and Rice Salad was one of the recipes from Saving Dinner. It was vegetarian but it turned out to be a nice,quick, and refreshing on a hot summers night.

Here's a pic:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Other Side of Heaven book review

I just finished The Other Side of Heaven by John H. Groberg. I've seen the movie and liked it, but I wanted to read the book because it was on my book club list and people said they really enjoyed it.

This story recalls John H. Groberg's LDS mission experiences in Tonga. It tells of his difficulty integrating into their culture including but not limited to: the language, the tradition, and the food. He also endured many physical challenges that could have taken his life, but with strength from above, he got through it all unharmed.

I really enjoyed reading about the Tongan culture. Many times I laughed out loud because some things sounded so bizarre to me and I can only imagine this Mormon boy from Idaho experiencing this foreign land. It was very eye-opening though on what they value and I believe we could truly benefit from incorporating some of their values into our lives.

I was also amazed at the experiences he recalled about his physical trials. He survived a fierce hurricane that wiped the island out of food. His companion and him suffered from starvation until a boat arrived months later. He tells stories of being thrown into the ocean during storms. It's truly amazing he survived. After reading this book, you come away knowing that he had constant help from God.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mom's Meatloaf and Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I LOVE my mom's meatloaf. It was what I grew up on and it is still the best I've tasted to date. Making this the other night sent me on a trip down memory lane.
Mom's Meatloaf

1-1 and 1/2 lbs ground meat
1 egg
salt & pepper
dried onion (about 1-2T)
Wheaties or Cornflakes,crushed (about 1/4 to 1/2 C)
grated carrots
1 can tomato sauce (small)

Combine all ingredients except only add 3/4 of the can of tomato sauce. Shape into loaf and spread remaining 1/4 can on top of loaf. Bake @ 350F for at least one hour

Here are the results:

I also made some biscuits. If you've ever been to Red Lobster before, you've had my favorite cheese buscuits. They are cheesy and just plain divine! I was very excited when I came upon this recipe that claimed they tasted just like Red Lobster cheese buscuits! They were very excellent and very easy. Try them!
(I put my changes in bold)
Cheddar Bay Biscuits:
4 cups baking mix (I use bisquick)
3 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded (I use 1 Cup)
1 1/3 cups water (I use milk instead)

1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.In a mixing bowl, combine the baking mix, cheese, and water. Mix until dough is firm. Using a small scoop, place dough on the prepared pan.
3.Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
4.Combine the melted butter, garlic powder, salt, onion powder and parsley. Brush over baked biscuits immediately upon removing from oven.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Almond Mandarin Salad

I always hated being asked to bring salads to get togethers. I could never figure out what to bring. And I did NOT want to bring those yucky grandma salads! I think I've made my weaknesses into strengths by experimenting with salads. This Asian themed salad tasted alot like Wendy's Mandarin Salad but better! I always splurge and buy the pre-cooked bacon because I haven't mastered THAT art yet.

Almond Mandarin Salad

  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry hot mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 bunch green onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  1. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until evenly brown. Drain, cool, and crumble.
  2. To make the dressing, thoroughly blend the vinegar, honey, dry mustard, celery salt, paprika, and olive oil.
  3. Place lettuce, oranges, green onion, bacon, and almonds in a serving bowl. Toss with dressing and serve.
Here are the results:

Great Greek Pasta

I just have to rave about my favorite cookbook at least once on my blog! Saving Dinner (by Leanne Ely) is the best cookbook I own. There, I said it. The concept is to shop once a week and then make dinners that take less than 30 minutes to prepare. They are usually easy and 98% of the time delicious!

Whenever I have company over, my go-to recipe is Great Greek Pasta from her book. I just found her recipe she published online so I'll link it here.

Great Greek Pasta
Serves 6

1 pound rigatoni, uncooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small red onion, chopped
3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons oregano

In a large pot, bring water to boil for pasta. Cook till al dente, drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, and saute till translucent, but not brown. Add chicken and cook until chicken is done, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low and add tomato, feta, lemon juice and oregano. Add pasta. Stir until completely heated through, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Per Serving: 482 Calories; 8g Fat; 39g Protein; 61g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 80mg Cholesterol; 224mg Sodium. Exchanges: 4 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with a huge spinach salad. I make mine with baby spinach, thinly sliced red onion, a smattering of raisins, some hard boiled egg if I have it and a balsamic vinaigrette.

VEGETARIANS: Skip the chicken and add a can of drained and rinsed white beans. YUM!

KOSHER: Skip the cheese or chicken.

GLUTEN FREE: Make sure the pasta is gluten free OR you could serve this atop a bed of brown rice.

Here are the results:

Doesn't that look yummy??!!

I'm trying to get people to come over for dinner more often so just give me a shout out! (you may or may not be experimented on just to warn you!)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Scalloped Cheese Potatoes

I didn't get a picture of the Scalloped Cheese Potatoes I made the other night for dinner but I did try them and they turned out OK. It was a basic recipe for side of easy potatoes. I needed something fairly easy with the ingredients I had on hand, and this did the trick nicely.

Scalloped Cheese Potatoes:

  • 4 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, divided
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  1. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and soup. Layer half of the mixture in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Dot with half of the butter and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

The Best Barbequed Chicken Ever

Growing up, we basically had one recipe for chicken on the BBQ, but it was a good one. Everybody always asked us for the recipe! Don't be turned off by the lemon-lime carbonated beverage (Sprite or 7-up do nicely). Carbonation tenderizes the meat and makes it so good! We used the Marinade Master for twenty minutes, but without one, simple marinade in the fridge for at least an hour, or even overnight.

The Best Barbequed Chicken Ever
  • 12 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I REDUCE THIS TO 1/2 CUP)
  • 2 cups lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  1. To Make Marinade: In a medium bowl combine the oil, lemon-lime beverage, soy sauce and garlic powder. Stir thoroughly until you have a good mixture.
  2. Put chicken and marinate together in a plastic container and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 to 18 hours (6 to 9 hours if using skinless, boneless chicken breasts) before barbequing.
  3. Barbeque slowly - don't overcook. Turn frequently, basting with marinade with each turn. Cook until meat is no longer pink in the center and juices run clear. Discard any remaining marinade after use.
Here are the delicious results:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo

My DH always get Fettuccine Alfredo when we go out to Olive Garden. It's his all-time favorite. Which is why I was really excited when I found this recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo. My husband said he really liked it but I wasn't a big fan. Here's the recipe I used.

Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo
8 ounces Cream cheese -- cut in bits
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese -- grated
1/2 cup Butter or margarine
1/2 cup Milk
8 ounces Fettuccine; cook -- drain

In large saucepan combine cream cheese Parmesan, butter and
milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Toss pasta lightly with
sauce, coating well. Leftovers freeze well.

Here's a pic:
Now that I've cleared that up..... My favorite recipe I've tried so far for Fettuccine Alfredo has to be this one. Here's the recipe:
Homemade Chicken Fettuccine :
  • 8 ounces fettuccine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown chicken and mushrooms in butter until chicken is cooked through. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Add whipping cream and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Add Parmesan cheese when at desired consistency. Serve over noodles.

Super Simple Salmon

Boy, I have a lot of recipes to catch up on. I was in the mood for something quick and healthy yesterday and stumbled across this recipe for Super Simple Salmon. I followed the recipe exactly and it so so delicious! DH even said he would make it for himself when I'm away. I served the Salmon with brown rice and carrots I steamed above the rice. If you've never tried a rice cooker before, you are totally missing out. I could never get rice right and finally broke down and asked my DH for one for Christmas one year. My rice has turned out perfect ever since. Here's the rice cooker I use. It also has a steaming basket that you can steam vegetables in while cooking rice. I love it. Anyways, here the recipe I used for the salmon.

Super Simple Salmon
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 (6 ounce) salmon
2 tablespoons butter
4 lemon wedges
1. Stir together the garlic powder, basil, and salt in a small bowl; rub in equal amounts onto the salmon fillets.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook the salmon in the butter until browned and flaky, about 5 minutes per side. Serve each piece of salmon with a lemon wedge.

Here are the results:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July Steaks

My husband got the Marinade Master as a bonus from his employer this year and we've really liked the results so far. You basically put the marinade and the meat together in the container, vacuum out all the air, the Marinade Master spins the container for less than twenty minutes, and you're ready to grill. All the meats have turned out flavorful and tender. Yummy!

We decided to try out the Steak Marinade at because it had such high reviews. It turned out pretty good. My husband said it was not a five star recipe, but overall it was tasty.

Steak Marinade
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients together and place steaks into freezer bag with marinade, preferably overnight.
  2. The original recipe used balsamic vinegar.Seems I never had that on hand so I just used white and listed that in the recipe, but balsamic is definitely better.
Here are the results:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rainbow Jello

My co-worker was giving me a hard time today because I hadn't posted any recipes lately. So I thought I would share my favorite dessert recipe. It's called Rainbow Jello and it is superb! It was a must have at all family gatherings. It sounds like it's a lot of work, but there's a lot of refrigeration time. Here's the recipe:

Rainbow Jello
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 (3 ounce) package lemon flavored gelatin
  • 1 (3 ounce) package lime flavored gelatin
  • 1 (3 ounce) package orange flavored gelatin
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cherry flavored gelatin
  • 1 (3 ounce) package black cherry flavored gelatin
  • 2 C. sour cream (divided)
  • 6 C. hot water (divided)
  1. In a small bowl (or measuring cup) stir lemon gelatin mix into 1 Cup hot water for 2 minutes or until dissolved.
  2. Pour 1/2 C. of mixture into a 9x13 inch glass dish. Cover and let set in fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. While waiting for first layer to set, add 1/3 C. sour cream to remaining lemon gelatin mixture. Stir until mostly dissolved (there will be a few lumps)
  4. After first layer has set, approximately 20 minutes, pour second mixture on top and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 in order with remaining flavors.

Here's a picture:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tomato Bread Salad

I think I was watching a cooking show (surprise, surprise) when I saw this guy making a bread salad. I searched the Internet and couldn't find his exact recipe but I found this recipe that came pretty darn close. The only changes I made were to saute the onions until soft, toast the bread a little, and I also added about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the dressing mix.

Boy was it tasty! My husband said it didn't fill him up, but taste wise, it was excellent. It was a great way to get rid of my bread. This was certainly a risky recipe but I'm proud to say it turned out great!

Here are the results:

Tomato Bread Salad

8 cups Italian bread cubes
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (I cooked mine until soft)
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

In a large bowl, combine the bread, tomatoes, basil and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients; drizzle over bread mixture. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I LOVE CHINESE FOOD! Just so you know. Anyways, the first time I had lettuce wraps was at P.F. Changs and they were dang good. So I began my own quest to make delicious lettuce wraps. The first recipe I tried was this one for Asian Lettuce Wraps. They turned out very good, but unfortunately I do not have a picture, but both me and my husband enjoyed them very much.

Since I had such luck with Rachael Ray's last recipe I tried, I decided to give her a shot again. I made her Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps. I can't decide if it was the hoisin sauce or the ginger that made it hot, but it was a little too hot for my taste. (Keep in mind that I am a wimp when it comes to spiciness though) It was the very first time I cooked with Shitake mushrooms and that was an experience. They had a very strong flavor before they were cooked that I do not recommend trying, but after they were cooked they taste just OK. Overall, I'm glad I tried the recipe because it was good, it was just not something I'd order again if I went to a restaurant.

Here's the final results:

Here's a better look at the ingredients:
Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps
2 cups, 4 handfuls, fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 1/3 to 1 1/2 pounds thin cut chicken breast or chicken tenders
2 tablespoons light colored oil, such as vegetable oil or peanut oil
Coarse salt and coarse black pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger root, finely chopped or grated, optional
1 orange, zested
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
1 small tin, 6 to 8 ounces, sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons hoisin, Chinese barbecue sauce, available on Asian foods aisle of market
1/2 large head iceberg lettuce, core removed, head quartered
Wedges of navel orange -- platter garnish
Remove tough stems from mushrooms and brush with damp towel to clean, Slice mushrooms. Chop chicken into small pieces.
Preheat a large skillet or wok to high.
Add oil to hot pan. Add chicken to the pan and sear meat by stir frying a minute or 2. Add mushrooms and cook another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to season, then garlic and ginger. Cook a minute more. Grate zest into pan, add bell pepper bits, chopped water chestnuts and scallions. Cook another minute, continuing to stir fry mixture. Add hoisin Chinese barbecue sauce and toss to coat the mixture evenly. Transfer the hot chopped barbecued chicken to serving platter and pile the quartered wedges of crisp iceberg lettuce along side. Add wedged oranges to platter to garnish. To eat, pile spoonfuls into lettuce leaves, wrapping lettuce around fillings and squeeze an orange wedge over.

Baked Lemon Pasta

If you haven't heard of The Pioneer Woman, shame on you! Not only does she write an entertaining blog, she has some pretty good recipes on there. I'm always on a quest for a good pasta salad, so when I came across her Baked Lemon Pasta recipe, I knew I had to try it.

Instead of baking it, I took her suggestion for a cold pasta salad and refrigerated it. I actually think loses most of it's flavor when it's cold. I would also recommend using a different pasta if you know you are serving it cold because spaghetti just gets messy cold.

Served cold, I probably wouldn't make it again, but the next day I microwaved it and it was way YUMMY! I imagine that's how it would taste if I baked it like the original recipe said. I'm sure it's not low in fat, but it was good and I'll save the recipe for sure.

Here's the final product:

Easy Mushroom Rice

I am constantly on the lookout for recipes that I can make with ingredients I have in the pantry. I found this recipe for Easy Mushroom Rice while surfing my favorite cooking website I have to admit, I followed the advice of others and substituted cream of mushroom for the french onion soup. It turned out a little dry so I'll have to actually make this recipe as written to give it a worthy review. The rice was not all the way soft and I think that had to do with my substitution.

Here's the final product:

Easy Mushroom Rice
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Combine rice, onion soup, beef broth, mushrooms and butter in an 8x8 inch casserole dish.
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 60 minutes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tomato, Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta

I was really in the mood for a pasta bake today and got online to try and find a really good recipe. I came across this recipe from Rachael Ray that looked pretty good. I have to say, I am a fan of quick meals and her idea of 30 minute meals sounds really good, but most of the time, I don't have the ingredients she calls for and it takes me an hour to make her recipes. But despite all that, I decided to give this recipe a try.

Here is the end results:It turned out very tasty! My husband gave it 5 stars and he doesn't do that very often. It was my very first experience with Ricotta cheese and it turned out great. I did use dried basil instead of fresh basil since it costs an arms and a leg, but other than that I followed the directions. It took me about 50 minutes to make, which was pretty good considering Rachael Ray said it should take about 40. This one's going into my recipe box for sure!

Here's the full recipe:

Tomato, Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta


  • 1 pound small shell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan in a slow stream
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small to medium yellow onion
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed Italian tomatoes, any brand
  • 1/2 cup, 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup store bought basil pesto sauce
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water. Add small shell pasta and cook the pasta to al dente doneness which means that the pasta will still have a bite to it or be a little chewy. The pasta will soak up more juice and keep on cooking after we drain it, so we need it to be a little under cooked. The shells will probably cook about 9 or 10 minutes.
Preheat a deep, big skillet or a medium sauce pot over medium heat.
Place garlic on the cutting board and place the flat of your knife on top of each clove. Carefully give the garlic a whack with the palm of your hand to separate the cloves from the skins. Throw out the skins and chop up the garlic. Remember to keep your fingers curled under and the edge of your sharp, chef's knife tilted slightly away from your body.
Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan by pouring a slow stream of it twice-around-the-pan. This will be about 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Do not let the oil pour out too fast. You are looking for a slow, steady stream. Add the garlic to the oil. To chop the onion, cut the ends off and cut the whole onion down the center. Wrap half and save it. Cut the other half into thin slices then twist the slices a quarter turn and chop them again. Hold the tip of knife on the cutting board and lift the back of the knife up and down over the onion to make the pieces really small. Add the chopped up onion to the garlic and oil. Cook, stirring a lot, 5 minutes until the onions are mushy and look cooked.
Add the tomatoes to the onions and stir. When the tomatoes come to a bubble, reduce the heat under the sauce to low. Stir in basil pieces to wilt them. Season the sauce with salt and peppe, to your taste.
Preheat your broiler to high and place a rack in the center of the oven.
Drain pasta shells. Add them to a casserole dish. Add pesto sauce, 1 cup of ricotta cheese and a handful of grated Parmigiano, too. Stir carefully and coat the hot pasta with the pesto and cheeses. Pour the hot tomato and basil sauce over the pasta, as much as you like. You can always serve a little extra at the table, to pass around. Shred up some mozzarella cheese with a grater and scatter it over the pasta. Add a final sprinkle of Parmigiano to the mozzarella as well. Place the casserole under the broiler in the middle of oven, 10 to 12 inches from the heat. Let the cheese melt and bubble on top, 3 to 5 minutes.

Book review for A Perfect Day by Richard Paul Evans

One of my favorite hobbies is reading. I can and have literally read through the whole day! I went to the library book sale last year and they were selling whole boxes of books for $5. One of the books I got was A Perfect Day by Richard Paul Evans.

Here's the summary inside the cover:

"Robert Harlan has three loves in his life: his wife, Allyson; his daughter, Carson; and his writing. A sales rep for a small radio station, he has hopes of one day leaving it all behind for a successful writing career. When he is unexpectedly laid off from his job, Allyson encourages him to pursue his dream of writing. He writes a novel entitled A Perfect Day, based on the last few months Allyson and her father Spent together as he died of cancer.

The story becomes a huge success and Robert finds himself swept into a new world, far from his wife and home. In time, Robert loses track of the things he loves most... until he meets a stranger who begins telling him intimate details about his past, his present and, most important, the brevity of his future. Thinking that he has just months to live, Robert begins to discover the truth about himself: who he has become, what he has lost, and what it will take to find love again."

Overall, this is just an OK book. A few times I wanted to peek at the ending to make sure everything turned out OK. I do admit, it did make me a little more grateful for my family and all they do for me. This book certainly had a strong morale behind it and wasn't just a book you forget about after you're done reading it. It was an easy and thought provoking read and kind of makes me glad I'm not famous!

Monday, May 18, 2009


I decided I needed something quick and easy to make tonight since my husband hadn't eaten dinner and was getting home late. I saw a bag of italian flatbread and decided I could base a meal around them.

Here are my ingredients I used for the wraps:

Italian Flatwraps

Smoked Deli Turkey



Sliced Mild Cheddar Cheese

Sliced Roma Tomatoes

Sour Cream and Salsa Mixed

It was very filling and very scrumptious! SUCCESS!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Flower Pens!

People are always stealing pens from my place of work. The customers think that our pens are really nice and some even ask if they can take them. Ummm.... No, you can't. We actually pay for our pens, we do not get them for free. No touchy! So I decided to make pens with flowers attached to them so it would be harder for customers to steal. They were actually much easier than I thought. I used the following:

Nice pens ( I LOVE the G-2 Pilot pens)
Long stemmed flowers of your choice
Floral tape
Flower shears

Cut the flower's stem to the desired length. Hold your flower firmly against the pen. Leaving about 1/2 an inch, start wrapping the floral tape around the bottom of the pen, keeping the floral tape tight. Work you way up the pen, gradually including your flower. Stop about a half an inch from the top of the flower and work your way back down. The floral tape will stick to itself so there is no need for glue. To end the tape, you simply need to just ripe the tape and smooth down.

Here's how my turned out:
I think they are lovely! The total cost at the craft store was $10.09 (not including the pens). It will make around 12 depending on what kind of flowers you get. Yay for me!

First Day!

I love reading other people's blogs but I'm not sure how good I will be at my own. I have decided to post what my hobbies are for a few reasons:
A. To show myself what I have done so I can pat myself on the back!
B. To encourage others to try new and different things!
C. To have fun!

My first order of the day was to bake some bread. Bread brings back many memories for me and one of my favorite types of bread is Dilly Bread. Some of it's unusual ingredients include: cottage cheese, dill, and salt but it all comes together and makes it so fabulous. Here's the link to the recipe.

And here's the final product:

Photography is definitely a hobby I need to work on. I'm hoping that the more I cook and photograph, the better I get!

I also thought of making this lovely Poppy Seed Chicken casserole but I didn't have all the ingredients. I decided to go out on limb. Those who know me, know I NEVER have done this before. I usually follow recipes very strictly and I NEVER make up my own recipe. This was a first and it didn't turn out bad surprisingly. I had to use what I had in the cupboards and the fridge. Can I name it Sunday Surprise or is that taken yet? Oh well here it is:
Sunday Surprise:
1 large can chicken
1 small can mushrooms
2 T poppy seed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 C. sour cream
1 package Stove Top Stuffing

Mix the first five ingredients together and bake in the oven @350 degrees for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare Stove Top Stuffing according to directions. Once chicken mixture is done, remove from the oven and top with stuffing. Put mixture back into the oven for another 15 minutes until bubbly.

Here's the final product:
My Dear Husband ate it and said it was good. He usually gets fed much better than cream of chicken but he is grateful for anything. He's so wonderful!

Thus concludes our Sunday dinner. I was very happy with the results and can't wait to try something new!