Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

I found this recipe on the back of a package of Mission Whole Wheat Tortillas and modified it a bit. My family really loved it. It was quick and healthy.

6 whole wheat tortillas, warmed
1/2 package taco seasoning
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 cup water
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 avocado
1/2 cup ranch dressing, prepared
Hot sauce, to taste
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (I didn't use this)
3/4 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
romaine lettuce, chopped

Combine taco seasoning, oil and 1/4 cup water to make marinade. Add chicken.

In small bowl, mash avocado into small chunks and mix with ranch dressing until smooth.

Remove chicken from marinade and cook in a saute pan until cooked through.

Build tacos with chicken, carrots, cilantro, lettuce, and the avocado ranch dressing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Kim Edwards invited me to contribute to this blog a year ago and I'm finally posting a recipe. I am giving these cookies as Christmas gifts this year.

Don't they look good?

Chocolate Mint Cookies

(I am adding my own notes to the original recipe because I made so many of these cookies, I learned some things along the way.)

Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 eggs
2 cups (1 bag) chocolate chips
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 boxes Andes mints (The official name is Andes Thins Crème de Menthe)

Stir butter, brown sugar, and water in small saucepan over low-medium heat until just melted. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the chocolate chips. (I think Guittard Semi-sweet chocolate chips are the best.) Keep stirring until chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

While that's cooling, beat the eggs in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Then add the eggs to the cooled chocolate-butter-sugar. Finally add the flour mixture. Stir by hand with a large spoon until there are no visible streaks of flour.

Chill dough in refrigerator for 45 minutes or more. How cold the dough is will determine the finished cookie. If you want the cookies to be thinner and crisper, keep the dough a little warmer. If you want the cookies thicker and chewier, keep the dough very cold.

Preheat oven to 350 f.

Roll the dough into 1 tablespoon size balls. I use a Pampered Chef scoop which makes the job much easier. Flatten the dough balls slightly and place 12 on a cookie sheet. Parchment paper is a good idea for this recipe because when the mint drips off the cookie, you don't have to wash the cookie sheet before you do the next batch.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. I thought 9 minutes was perfect. While the cookies are baking, unwrap the Andes mints. I gave my kids this job because they can't really mess it up (other than eat too many of them).

When the timer goes off (or a little before), open the oven and slide the rack out, quickly put a mint on the center of each cookie with the writing side up (if it's writing side down the mint tends to slip off). Then put the rack back and let the cookies sit in the oven another 15-20 seconds. Take the cookie sheet out and set it on your cook top or counter and use the back of a spoon (or an off-set spatula if you're feeling fancy) and stir the mint around the top of the cookie like icing.

Allow to cool (I put mine on cooling racks, but you don't have to). I think they are best fresh out the oven, but they are still good the next day. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fondue Recipes

We had a fondue party the other night. I found these recipes on Recipezaar and I was so happy when they all exceeded our expectations. They were very comparable to what we have had at The Melting Pot.

Cheddar Cheese Fondue
(I doubled this recipe and it was just enough for 4)

4 ounces skim milk
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
cheddar cheese
mustard powder
worcestershire sauce
(whatever you choose to use to dip in the cheese dip)

1-start with 4 oz of base (skim milk)
2-add garlic.
3-add 3 shakes of mustard powder.
5-add small amount of cheddar cheese (I added about 1 cup of shredded cheddar. small bits at a time)
6-mix thoroughly (using whipping motion until cheese is melted).
7-add five turns of pepper grinder.
8-add three to four shakes of worcestershire sauce.
9-fold in pepper & worcestershire.
10-remove mixing fork.

So Tasty!!

Mojo Fondue Broth
(I doubled this as well and after simmering for awhile as we cooked our food, I was very glad we had this much)
5 1/4 cups vegetable bouillon or chicken bouillon (We used chicken)
1/4 cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
2 tablespoons black pepper, cracked (We used 1 1/2 Tablespoons and it was VERY spicy!!)
2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh-squeezed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-Combine ingredients in saucepan on stovetop.
2-Bring to a boil.
3-Transfer to fondue pot with alternative heat source.
4-Use to cook beef, shrimp, potstickers, chicken, mushrooms, potatoes, broccoli -- or anything else you can think of.

Green Goddess Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, cut into slices
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely sliced chives
1-In a microwave-safe container, microwave cream cheese and milk for 2 to 4 minutes, whisking after each minute, until cream cheese melts and mixture is smooth.
2-Stir in sour cream, onion, parsley and chives.
3-Refrigerate until cold.

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Fondue
(I think I quadrupled this one :)

12 ounces semi sweet chocolate (I used a hershey bar)

1/4 cup skim milk

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

Melt and heat in fondue pot.

Serve with cheesecake, angel food cake, pound cake, rice krispy treats, bananas, strawberries...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

Sorry, I don't have a photo.  I made this soup for our Super Saturday at church yesterday and it seemed to go over quite well.  I've been making it for a couple years now.  It's one that I enjoy making in the fall, especially for Thanksgiving. 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 bay leaf
2 ribs celery with greens, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons ground thyme
6 cups water/6 boullion cubes (or 6 c. chicken stock)
1 (28-ounce) can cooked pumpkin puree
2 cups 1% milk (or milk of your choosing, including heavy cream if you want it heavier…)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add bay, celery, and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour and poultry seasoning and cook flour a minute. Whisk in 2 cups of chicken stock and then puree the mixture in a blender. Put back in pot, add the remaining 4 cups of stock and bring liquid to a bubble. Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate it into the broth. Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in milk and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Zucchini Brownies


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I left these out)


1/4 cup margarine
6 TBS unsweetened cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 tsp vanilla. It will still be pretty powdery, but mix until well blended. In a seperate bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in to the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts.

The batter will be very crumbling. Pour and then press it into your pan. Don't worry, the zucchini will add plenty of moisture as it cooks.

Bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven. Brownies should spring back when gently touched.

To make the frosting, melt together the 1/4 cup margarine and 6 TBS cocoa over medium heat; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the powdered sugar, milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. I blended these with my hand mixer.

Spread over cooled brownies!

*I've made these twice and my family loves them. They are chewy and moist. The first time the bottom had a sugary texture, but the second time around I didn't find that at all. I got this recipe from Allrecipes.com.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pasta with Shrimp Scampi

I saw this recipe while watching the food network the other day and my mouth was watering just watching it. It tasted as good as it looked and it is one of our family favorites now. It is from the show Barefoot Contessa.


1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
3/4 pound linguine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound large raw shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes


Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

*Just a couple of tips I picked up from watching her cook this. Everyone probably already knows these things, but maybe there is someone out there like me who had no idea these things made a difference.

When defrosting raw or cooked shrimp, never defrost under running water. It toughens the shrimp. Defrost in the refrigerator or watching closely at room temperature.

When she cooked the shrimp she placed them in the skillet and let them sit for about 2 minutes then flipped them over and let them sit for about two more minutes. That way they cooked evenly and they don't overcook and become tough.

Once the shrimp was pink she immediately removed them from the heat.

**I doubled this recipe because my whole family is huge shrimp fans. We had the perfect amount with just enough for a couple of plates of leftovers for tomorrow. I also forgot to pick up fresh lemons and so I used lemon juice from the bottle and I didn't do the zest. I can't imagine it tasting any yummier, but I will try fresh lemons next time. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Garlic and Herb Oven Fried Halibut

I found this recipe on http://www.myrecipes.com/ when I searched "kid friendly halibut recipe." It was so YUMMY!!! My kids thought it was chicken and could not get enough of it. We loved it too and it was just a bonus that it was such an easy fix and so healthy and good for you.

(Sorry for the picture, it smelled so good that we forgot to take a "pretty picture" once we had it dished up.)

1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) (I used Italian flavored breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Place egg whites and egg in a shallow dish. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in flour. Dip in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 fish fillets; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining fish. Bake at 450° for 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

**I didn't plan in advance and so I used dried spices in stead of fresh. Also, I cut my fillets pretty thick, I will cut them a lot thinner next time. The 6 minutes at 450 was plenty of time even for the thick fillets that we had. Just be careful to not overcook. My kids loved how tender it was.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pulled Pork on Buns

Put in your crock pot:

2lbs of pork (chops, spare ribs, loin, etc)
16-24 oz of BBQ sauce, (Sweet Baby Ray's is our fave)
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, break it up with a wooden spoon and stir occasionally.

Put in your bread maker, on dough setting:

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup oil
2 TBS brown sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups flour (We like 3 white and 1 wheat best, but any combo will work)
2 tsp dry yeast

When the dough is done, divide in to 16-20 rolls. I kind of pat them into a flattish circle. Bake at 400*, I usually check mine between 12-14 minutes. I think my oven runs hot because the original recipe said 20 minutes.

Let them cool, then slice like a hamburger bun. Fill with pork, and enjoy! I like to serve these with fresh fruit and veggies.

I usually load the crock pot late morning, and start the dough. Then I bake the buns after I get my son down for his nap. I love not having to rush at dinner time!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Some New Inspiration for Dinner

I just heard about this website, created by Tamra Davis..... She created all these great little cooking shows at home. I really enjoyed watching them and felt very inspired to create some new, healthy meals. My favorite thing about the shows is how she let her little boys help make dinner and how creative she lets them be.

If you have a few minutes, you should check it out:


Let me know what you think.... : )

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Halibut and Hearts

This was a quick and yummy recipe I saw on Food Network. I don't know how much of a difference the Saffron makes. I used marinated Artichoke Hearts and we served it over rice. I think the chicken broth and artichoke hearts gave the majority of the flavor.

3/4 cup Chicken Broth
12 ounce can Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped - halved or quartered (marinated or plain)
1 tsp. saffron threads
4 halibut fillets
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Heat Olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Season all sides of halibut fillets with salt and pepper. Sear the halibut in the heated oil. (About 2 minutes each side) You want the halibut to be a nice golden brown. Remove Halibut and set aside away from heat. In the same pan, add chicken broth, artichoke hearts, and saffron. Bring this mixture to a simmer and return halibut to the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes (until fish is fork tender.) DO NOT OVERCOOK. Halibut will cook VERY quickly and can get rubbery if overcooked. Quickly remove from heat and serve.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chicken with Feta Cheese

I made this last night because I was totally craving feta cheese and I loved this recipe! The only thing I didn't think about was how my kids aren't really fans of feta.... so they weren't so into it. Next time I will make their chicken with mozzarella in the middle and I know they would LOVE it! The sauce that this recipe makes is so good! (Picture and recipe from everydayfood.com)

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. In a small bowl, combine feta and oregano. Make a pocket in chicken breasts: Holding chicken flat with palm of one hand, make an incision in thicker side of each breast with a paring knife. Carefully pivot the knife to create a deep pocket, keeping the other side of the chicken breast intact. Stuff pockets with feta mixture, dividing evenly; generously season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until browned on both sides, 6 to 7 minutes per side.
  3. Cover skillet, and continue cooking until chicken is opaque throughout and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 160 degrees. about 5 minutes more. Remove chicken to a platter, and keep warm.
  4. To the skillet, add chicken stock, and cook, stirring up brown bits with a wooden spoon until reduced slightly. Add lemon juice and butter. Reduce the heat to low, and swirl pan until butter is melted, and sauce is slightly thickened. Serve chicken drizzled with sauce.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is an easy soup that I make for my family often in the winter. It's kid friendly because it isn't spicy, but you could add some tobasco if you like it with some heat.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite sized cubes
1 T. oil
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp chili powder
1 ¾ tsp oregano
1 sweet red, yellow, or orange pepper (or a combination), chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
24 oz. chicken stock (or I use 3 c. water & 4 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
3 T. fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, and oregano; cook for 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the chicken cubes, chopped peppers and cook until chicken is done. Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 7 minutes. Add corn and black beans; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Add cilantro just before serving. Ladle into bowls and garnish with tortilla chips.

Usually, I'll serve the soup with cheese quesidillas and chips and salsa.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Twisted Kisses

I have seen these on lots of other blogs but I thought I would post them here. My family loved this super easy recipe and my kids loved being so involved. I LOVE the way they taste and just how easy they are to make and I love that there is no mess!!

1 package Hershey Kisses (we used hugs too.)
1 package milk chocolate M&M's (we used Reese's pieces)
1 package pretzles

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or tinfoil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Lay out pretzles on the wax paper and place a Hershey Kiss on each pretzle.

Place in the oven for 4-6 minutes (remove when the kisses have softened)

Once out of the oven press an M&M on each kiss.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chocolate Sandwiches

These were absolutely to die for!

2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
4 large slices challah or Italian bread, (cut 3/4 inch thick)
4 ounces thin semisweet chocolate bar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1) In a large, shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk; set aside.

2) Form two sandwiches with the bread and chocolate (break chocolate as necessary to cover bread without extending over edges); dip both sides of sandwiches in egg mixture to coat.

3) Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat; transfer sandwiches to skillet. Cook, pressing occasionally with a spatula, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Cut in half, and dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pumpkin Blender Wheat Waffles

My friend Christina forwarded this recipe to me from http://everydayfoodstorage.net/ We just tried these waffles this morning, and they were pretty good. You can make them completely from food storage.

Pumpkin Blender Wheat Waffles
1 Cup Milk (3 T. Powdered Milk and 1 C. Water)
1 Cup + 2 Tbs Wheat Kernels, whole & uncooked
2 Eggs (2 T. Powdered Eggs and 1/4 C. Water)
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Pureed, Cooked Pumpkin
1-1/2 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 Tbs. Sugar
Put milk and wheat kernels in blender. Blend on highest speed for 4 or 5 minutes or until batter is smooth. Add eggs, oil, baking powder, salt, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and honey or sugar to above batter. Blend on low. Pour batter into hot prepared waffle iron from the actual blender jar (only one thing to wash!)
For a yummy variation, put chopped pecans on the top of the batter in the waffle iron before closing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Apple-Onion Pork Chops

I got this recipe from Allrecipes, and I really liked it. The apple chunks get very tender and were almost applesauce when I served them. I just piled the toppings on top of the porkchops.

I think it needs a side dish, and I'm guessing you could add some little red potatoes in the pot and they would cook up great. I'll update you if I try it!


  • 4 (4 ounce) lean boneless pork loin chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups sliced red onion (1/2 inch slices)
  • 1 large tart apple - peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, brown chops in 1 tablespoon oil on both sides over medium-high heat. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, cook onions and apple in remaining oil over low heat until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Return pork chops to the pan. Add vinegar; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until meat is tender.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

a tid bit I forgot about my families favorite meal

In case you didn't read the comment I left, I forgot to mention to add 1/4 tsp salt and a dash of pepper to the roux after you add the milk.

Our families favorite dinner - gets gobbled right up!

MAC & CHEESE, BROCCOLI & FRUIT SALAD: This takes about 30 minutes!
While pasta water is boiling, start fruit salad (see *).
Cook 1 lb. of your favorite pasta in a large pot(we like bow tie) don't forget to salt the water when you add the pasta. While it cooks make the white sauce (or roux)
In a small sauce pan (with tall sides) melt 4 TB butter over medium heat, or just a tad warmer. Then whisk in 4 TB flour until it's smooth. Slowly, while whisking add 2 cups milk (we use 1%). Continue to check on it and give it a stir while you prepare the rest of the meal, it will start to thicken up, when it's just barely thickened, turn heat to low. Grate about 2 cups, give or take of your favorite cheese (we use mild cheddar and sometimes a combo of that with mozzarella too), set aside.
*Prepare the fruit salad by draining off two cans of peaches (and chop into bite sizes if needed) and save about 1/2 cup of the juice. Add peaches to a bowl along with one large can drained mandarin oranges. Use 1/4 package of a small package of vanilla pudding and whisk in the peach juice. Stir into the fruit and let sit in the fridge until serving time, then add one banana sliced and toss in.
Steam a bunch of broccoli in the microwave by cutting into bite sized pieces, add a few TB of water, cover and cook checking every few minutes and giving it a stir, total time is about 7-9 minutes.
When the pasta is done drain it off and put it back into the pot. Stir in the white sauce,toss in the cheese and stir until all the pasta has cheese on it, then cover with the lid.
While you grab all you need to dish up, the cheese will melt up and be ready to serve. I usually bake mine in a casserole dish, but discovered if you let it sit in the pot for a few minutes it's just the same as if you bake it essentially except for a golden crust on the top, but time is too precious!
We have what we call "Dinner Captain" where a kid gets to choose the meal and help prepare it and my 5 year old boy ALWAYS chooses Mac & Cheese.