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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mexican Rice

I have been making a lot of rice lately and wanted to use the cup and a half that I had in the fridge. I was gonna just make rice with peppers and onions to go with the chicken but then thought since I was making Enchilada Chicken that I would find a recipe for Mexican Rice. This was the first recipe I came to and thought it looked perfect. I didn't have the entire amount of rice it was calling for so I just empervised a little and was not disappointed at all. This was one of the best meals I have made in awhile and looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.


1 sprays cooking spray
4 cup cooked brown rice
1 1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp ground cumin
15 oz canned fat free refried beans
10 oz frozen corn kernels, thawed
4 oz canned green chili peppers, mild, diced
1 Tbsp chili powder
3/4c. Black or Pinto Beans
3/4 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided (I like WW Shredded Mexican Cheese!)
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped (optional; for garnish)


1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a 2-quart rectangular, round or oval baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine rice, salsa and cumin. Spoon 2 cups of rice mixture into prepared baking dish and spread out to evenly cover bottom of dish.

3. In another large bowl, combine refried beans, black or pinto beans, corn (I used frozen leftover corn-on-the-cob), chili peppers and chili power. Using a rubber spatula, scrape bean mixture on top of rice layer and smooth out top.

4. sprinkle with 6 tablespoons of cheese. Top with remaining rice mixture and smooth out top; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

5. Place casserole on a large rimmed baking sheet to catch any spillage. Bake until heated through and cheese is browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

6. Sprinkle with cilantro (if desired), cut into 6 pieces and serve.

My mouth is watering just thinking of this recipe all over again.

I would like to add that I found this recipe at Down Home Dieting (

Enchilada Chicken

I have been on a Mexican themed dinner mood apparently. I wasn't for sure about this recipe but Wow, it was amazing chicken. I found this recipe out of the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook. I didn't use the same seasoning on my kids chicken or sauce so I don't know if they would have liked it but my husband sure did, that's a winner.

Enchilada Chicken
4 (4 oz) trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. salt-free Mexican or Southwest seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipolte)
4 tbsp. medium, mild or hot enchilada sauce
2 oz. (1 cup) finely shredded Cabot's 75% Light Cheddar Cheese (I used whatever was on hand)
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

Preheat over to 350. Season each chicken breast evenly on all sides with the seasoning.

Place a large over proof nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot, lightly mist with the olive oil spray and add the chicken. Cook, turning once, for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or just until the chicken is golden brown on both sides (I find myself cooking for longer than that so the chicken doesn't take as long in the oven).

Remove the pan from the heat and top each chicken breast with 1 tbsp. of the enchilada sauce, followed by one-fourth of the cheese and one-fourth of the cilantro. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 4-6 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the cheese is melted.

Per serving: 162 calories, 31 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 71 mg cholesterol, trace fiber, 230 mg sodium.

I will be making this chicken often cause it will not disappoint. It paired great with the rice I made as well....recipe to follow.

Hearty Burritos

What to have for dinner? I had 1/2 lb ground turkey in the fridge from the night before. What can I turn it into? Hearty Burritos!! I found this recipe in the Taste of Home Freezer Meals little booklet. It all came together perfectly too.

Hearty Burritos

1/2 lb. gound beef or turkey
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package (16 oz) frozen cubed has brown potatoes, thawed
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 oz) Mexican diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup cooked rice
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
8 flour tortillas (10 in.), warmed

Sour Cream, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, additional shredded cheese and salsa; optional.

In a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until potatoes, beans, tomatoes, corn, salso, rice, chili powder and salt. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese off-center on each tortilla; top with about 1 cup beef mixture. Fold sides and ends over filling.

Wrap burritos individually in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Or place burritos seam side down on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until heated through. Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, guacamole, additional cheese and salsa if desired.

To Use Frozen Burritos: Thaw in the fridgerator overnight. Bake and serve as directed.

when freezing, wrap in foil, throw into a freezer baggie and write on the baggie the date and cooking instructions.

MVP Tex Mex Bake

Here is another recipe from coupon clipping in the Sunday paper. The picture made it look really good but my picture is awful. I was not in love with it but again, my husband really liked it and I believe our kids ate chicken nuggets.

MVP Tex Mex Bake

1 bag Success white rice
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 lb ground beef, browned (I used turkey)
4 cups tortilla chips, crushed
1 can (15 oz) seasoned pinto or chili beans
1 lb. pasteurized prepared cheese product, cut into cubes, divided
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
garnish with green onions and Wholly Guacamole when served

I think the cheese was what threw me off, I'm not a big fan of pasteurized cheese. Maybe adding some onions and bell peppers for some more pizazz.

Biscuit Sticks by Bisquick

I was looking around on Better Crocker and came across this recipe and couldn't wait to make something that could use some bread sticks; or biscuit sticks. If you don't have any bisquick, run out and get some and make these. I loved them as did my husband. Unfortunately Katrina wasn't a fan even tho she loves biscuits and breadsticks.

Bisquick Biscuit Sticks

1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup cold water

1. Heat oven to 425°F. In 13x9-inch pan, melt butter in oven.

2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir baking mix and water until soft dough forms. Place dough on surface generously dusted with Bisquick mix; gently roll in Bisquick mix to coat. Shape into a ball; knead 5 times. Roll dough into 10x6-inch rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 12 sticks, about 3/4 inch wide. Roll each stick in butter in pan.

3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

**I added garlic and grated Parmesan Cheese to the melted butter.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Heat oven to 450°F.

Chocolate Heart Heath Peanut Clusters

I got this recipe in an unexpected spot; at the hospital here in Houston Texas. My daughter was inpatient on the Bone Marrow Transplant floor (she has had a bone marrow and a stem cell transplant). She was inpatient for the shingles at the time. On the day she was finally being discharged to go home, some of the previous bone marrow families were having a gathering celebrating life and the loved ones they have lost and some really great food. I headed up there for some much needed homecooked food (you don't get that in the hospital after 7 days). I tried these amazing Chocolate Heath Peanut Clusters and fell in love. They were so different from the normal peanut clusters. The mom that made them was wise enough to have printed off the recipe knowing that everyone would be asking how they were made. I had everything on hand to make these and Valentine's Day was perfect. Give them a try and enoy :)

Chocolate Heath Peanut Clusters

1 package Chocolate Almond Bark
1 package Heath Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Chips
1 small can (about 8 oz.) Salted Peanuts

Melt chocolate bark in microwave 80-90 seconds. Add peanuts and toffee chips and stir. Drop on was paper or foil and let harden.

How simple was that.

For Valentine's Day I put these in a heart shaped silicone ice tray (who makes ice anymore, right). Eli had a great time filling the mold and popping them out once they had harden in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Savory Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers and unstuffed peppers so this was a recipe I had to try. I had to change it up a little do to the fact I didn't have minute rice but it turned out good (my husband even ate it).

Savory Stuffed Peppers
4 large bell peppers
1 cup Minute Brown Rice, uncooked
2 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Salt-Free Seasoning Blend
1 lb. lean ground roung (I used ground turkey)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 plain bread crumbs
1 jar (24 oz) low-sodium marinara sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Remove tops and seeds from peppers. Place into a deep over-proof baking dish.
Combine Minute Brown Rice, Mrs. Dash Seasoning, beef, egg and bread crumbs in medium size bowl. Blend well. Stuff mixture into peppers.
Pour sauce over peppers and sprinkle with cheese. Cover dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until peppers are tender.

I didn't have minute rice so I had to find a way to get it all together. I cooked the peppers in water for about 5 minutes to get them tender. Then I combined meat, egg, seasoning and bread crumbs and cooked on stove top. After all done, I added the cooked rice then stuffed in peppers, topped with sauce and cheese. Put in over at 350 and cooked for just 15 minutes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mod Podge Soap and Sanitizer Bottles

So I have been doing some snoopin' around other blogs and found this really cute idea and just had to share. Valentine's Day was comin and I had these foaming soap bottles and sanitizer bottles that I had gotten at Victoria's Secret months ago (they were like 90% off). I was just going to put a tag on them and give them to the kids to take to their teachers. I am so glad I stumbled onto this website. I found it on Homespun Kitchen whom got it from...wait for it...wait for it..."Oops I Craft My Pants". I Love the name.

So with that, I grabbed my ModPodge and my scrapbook paper and went to work. Unfortunately Katrina was sleeping cause of a headache and Eli was sleeping because he was just tired, so I done it on my own.

I paired up some different pattered paper, thought of a few ideas and this is what I came up with. I even found a few patches that I glued on that worked perfectly. I was just amazed at how much stuff I do have on hand to do these things. I love crafts and have crafty things but doing them is another thing.

If you love these, go check out Homespun Kitchen and "Oops I Crafted My Pants.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I am not a fan of Snickerdoodles but I love Blondies and when you combine the two...AMAZING. I found this recipe on Donna's site "My Tasty Treasures". I made these for Christmas goodies to pass out and I wanted to eat them ALL myself, I fell in love.

2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter- room temperature
2 eggs- room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP sugar mix with 2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar 3 - 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time mixing well after each. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture and spread in greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle combined sugar and cinnamon mixture over top and bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Don't overbake!! Cool and cut.

Old-School Peanut Butter Squares

I originally posted these last year for Easter when I made Bird's Nest Treats. Katrina had been after me for a week or so to make them again for her school lunches. So after dinner and the clean up, I whipped these together. Literally, i whipped them. I asked Katrina to help me but I had them done by the time she came into the kitchen. I have already eaten 2 of them too. So good and reminds me of the one's we had at school. Thanks to Tried-and-True Cooking with Heidi for sharing this recipe with us on her blogspot.


1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
5 cups crisp rice cereal (puffed rice)

Combine corn syrup and sugar in medium saucepan. Stir until well blended and cook on medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Let boil for about 30 seconds and remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and mix well until well blended. Stir in cereal and mix until blended. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Lightly spray hands with cooking spray and then press mixture into pan. Cool and then cut into squares.

I cut them up and portioned 1/2 the pan into baggies for kids' lunches and the rest are for snack at home (minus the 2 I already ate).

Mini Banana Nut Bread

Katrina and I made the teachers Banana Bread for Christmas. Her teacher liked it so much that she sent us a Christmas card over break to tell us how much she loved it and to say thanks. Her birthday was coming up and Katrina wanted to make her teacher another thing of banana bread. I found this recipe for Mini loaves (In my Taste of Home Cooks who Care edition) and it was another winner. My husband ate it up (he loves banana bread). This recipe is perfect if you only have like 1 or 2 banana's and want some delicious banana bread. I am now craving some warm banana bread.

Mini Banana Nut Bread

3 tbsp. shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
3 tbsp chopped walnuts (we omitted these just in case there were any nut allergys).

In a small mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with banana. Fold in walnuts.

Transfer to a 5-3/4-in.x 3-in x 2-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325 for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tangy Carrot Coins

I have been skimming through my Taste of Home cookbook (2000 edition) and found this recipe. I was just going to steam the carrots and then remembered finding it and I am glad I did. The carrots had a great taste.

Tangy Carrot Coins
1 pound carrots, sliced (I used baby carrots and cut into 3rds)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp salt

Place carrots in a saucepan. Add 1 in. of water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 7-9 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Add the butter, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and salt; cook and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until sauce is thickened and carrots are coated. Yield: 4 servings.

Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken

Everyone loves their slow-cooker or crock pot and here is a great recipe just for that. I used my Saladmaster pan and it was done in only 2-3 hours (oops). This chicken was falling apart and was "Dustin" approved, he loved it.

Slow-Cooker Salso Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa
1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup (condensed)
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

(I found this recipe on SparkPeople. I used all normal fat and sodium items)

Add chicken to slow cooker. Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning. Pour salso and cream of mushroom soup over chicken (I mixed the two and then poured it over chicken). Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream (I omitted the sour cream).
Serve with rice.

That all seemed really easy and it was. After trying this chicken, I wanted to use it with noodles. Enjoy :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Skillet Lasagna

I love lasagna but it seems like a pain to make. Once its out of the oven, you cut into it and try scooping it out onto a plate, it's a mess. I found the perfect recipe to let me enjoy it all again. Most of all, MY family enjoyed it.

Skillet Lasagna

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1-1/4 cup water
8 oz tomatoe sauce
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 cups broken up whole wheat lasagna noodles (I used regular)
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1/4 cup fat free grated Parmesan cheese
Dash Basil and Pepper (optional)
1 egg
Shredded fat free mozzarella cheese for garnish

(As I am typing this up, I am realizing I forgot the egg. I dont know what it would have done, but it was amazing without the egg).

In a large skillet, brown beff with onions and garlic. Drain.
Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt.
Stir in uncooked pasta.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Combine cottage cheese and parmesan cheese.
Mix in the egg.
Sprinkle in basil and pepper to taste.
Drop cheese mixture by rounded tablespoons onto pasta mixture.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.
Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and serve.

I have had this recipe for some time and just never made it. I am SO glad I did. It was simple, fast and delicious. Pairs well with garlic bread and salad.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Best Chocolate Pudding

So I love chocolate pudding (who doesn't) but trying to stay away from prepackaged foods. I made pudding in school back in the day in HomeEc, why not now. So I found this recipe and had to give it a try (the picture to the pudding looked yummy too).

Best Chocolate Pudding

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (you want to use a good quality chocoloate; use 70% bittersweet if you want more of a dark chocolate kick)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if your pretty sure there are no lumps...I didn't strain) into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.

3. If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.

Ok, so at first taste I didn't love it. It had a different taste than I was used to. Later on that day when I tried it again, I was falling in love. It tastes like REAL chocolate and not imatation. I will definitely be making this a lot.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Breaded Ranch Chicken

We had this for dinner tonight and I was a big fan. I love the breading and the ranch flavor. This will be made again. I found this recipe in the Taste Of Home cookbook from 2001.

Breaded Ranch Chicken

3/4 cup crushed cornflakes
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 envelop ranch salad dressing mix
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 pounds)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

In shallow bowl, combine the cornflakes (I put them in the bullet to get them crushed fine), Parmesan cheese and salad dressing mix. Dip chicken in butter, then roll in cornflake mixture to coat. Place in a greased 13x9 in baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes or until done.


Apparently we wanted to use all these graham crackers up cause here is another recipe with graham crackers. Im sure most of everyone has heard of these. Katrina and I are big fans.


Cool Whip (we used plain and chocolate)
Graham Crackers (some store sell chocolate graham crackers; try those)

Take a Graham Cracker, break it in two. Top one side of the cracker with a big scoop of cool whip, then top with another half of cracker. Squish down just a bit till it oozies to the sides. I placed them in a sandwich baggie then on a cookie sheet and placed in freezer.

Can take about an hour or so to freeze and then eat up. This is a much lighter version to eating an ice cream sandwich and fun because the kids can make them. Be creative and add mini m&m's or mini chocolate chips to the sides in the cool whip. You could even add food color to the cool whip for special holidays like Valentine's Day or St. Patty's Day.
I ate 3 after they were frozen.

Graham Crackers with Frosting

So what do you do with leftover put it on Graham Crackers of course. I remember eating graham crackers with chocolate frosting in school and loved them. This frosting was not the same but it hit the sweet spot.

Chocolate Lover's Frosting
3 cups sifted powdered sugar, divided
2/3 cups Nestle Toll House baking cocoa
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
5-6 Tbsp. milk divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, 2 tbsp. milk and vanilla in small mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in remaing sugar and milk until smooth.

I put the frosting in a baggie, snipped the corner and my daughter and I frosted the graham crackers and topped with another graham cracker. My husband was a big fan as was Katrina.

Chicken with Sage Gravy

I found this recipe in the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook. Looking for some healthier recipes with taste. I will be making this chicken again.

Chicken with Sage Gravy

4 (4 oz) trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage (I used dry sage)
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup canned fat-free chicken gravy (I didn't use fat free....guess this isn't a BL recipe now)

Rub the chicken breats with the olive oil and season all over with the sage, salt, and pepper.

Place a medium nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot, add the chicken and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown on the outside. Add the gravy and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.

(I took the chicken out of skillet after the 9 minutes and cut up and it was still pink and just put back in skillet to cook in the gravy).

Serve with mashed potatoes w/ more chicken gravy :)