Monday, August 29, 2011

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

We love macaroni and cheese. This is just a slight variation from the one in my old Betty Crocker cookbook. Perfect, simple and delicious!

12 oz elbow pasta(about 16 oz fresh if you have the means, Gluten free pasta is great too!)
1/4 cup butter*
1/4 c flour*
1 T Dijon  mustard
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c milk(you can add 1/2 cup more milk if you like it saucier!)
2-3 c cheese(more or less for your preference, any kind, I like a mixture of sharp cheddar and colby jack or occasionally I will do pepper jack and/or chipotle cheddar for a kick!)
*to make GF use 2 TB butter and 3 TB cornstarch

**nutritional boost
ad 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and 1 cup frozen(defrosted) cauliflower after the milk has thickened, but before the cheese and puree all together with an immersion blender!

Heat oven to 350.

Cook noodles according to package directions

Melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and heat until smooth and bubbly. Add in seasonings.

If making GF whisk cornstarch into cold milk, melt butter, then add seasonings to the butter.

Slowly whisk in milk and heat and stir until thickened.(about 15-20 minutes)

Remove from heat and add in shredded cheese and stir until melted

Gently fold noodles and cheese sauce and put into casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and some more shredded cheese, bake 20-25.

You can skip the baking , leave it un-topped and separated it into individual portions and it freezes nicely. Just make sure to stir it well during the reheating process! I heat it in the am and pack it in a thermos for the kids' school lunches!

Here it is made with cut up turkey smokies and the nutritional boost:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Berry Almond Chicken Salad

Wendy's has a new salad and was pretty tasty but their chicken is SO salty, the lettuce mostly consists of iceberg lettuce with a few leaves of other varieties thrown in and the price made my jaw drop, so I decided to make my own version. I think I may have a new favorite salad!

All amounts are to your preference!

Mixed Greens( I like Safeway organic spring mix with baby spinach added)
Sliced Strawberries
Shaved Asiago(or parmesan if you dont have asiago)
Sliced Grilled Chicken (I just grilled some up with a little garlic powder, onion powder seasoning salt and lemon pepper)
Sliced Almonds
Raspberry Vinaigrette(homemade or store bought, the Wendy's version uses one made with Acai juice but if you cant find one plain Raspberry is great too. I will work on a replica recipe of that)

I added carrots too because my family LOVES carrots(seriously we go through a costco 10 lb pack in less than 2 weeks!)
--any other veggies you like but watch your flavors, zucchini and cauliflower are mild, broccoli might be a powerful flavor and over run the berries....etc...

Place on a plate (in the order given to make it pretty LOL)

Dig in! Easy as that!

Original Spudnuts Doughnuts!

My mom grew up in West Seattle and she fondly remembers "Spudnuts". She was on a facebook page about remembering West Seattle and she brought them up and was lucky enough to find someone whose dad was very close with the owner of several of these franchises. She was able to retrieve the original recipe from her dad's paperwork. THANK YOU MELODY!!

This recipe makes about 4 dozen doughnuts

Recipe is easily halved if you dont need alot LOL, which is what I did for the first batch.
4 cups milk(I used 2 %)
1 cup shortening( I think next time I would use butter flavor shortening)
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup warm water(I used the potato water)
2 packets yeast(4 1/2 tsps)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 TB salt
12+ cups flour

Bring Milk and shortening to a boil over medium heat, stir often, taking care not to burn the milk.
Remove from heat as soon as shortening is melted and milk just begins to boil.
Cool Completely.

Add sugar and mashed potatoes to the cooled milk, stir well and set aside.

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add in soda, powder and vanilla.
Let it set until very foamy, about 30 minutes.

Add in eggs and salt mix well then add in milk mixture.

Add in flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until you have a nice dough that holds together. It will be sticky but not so sticky you cant work with it. Remember the flour measurement is + or - , it all depends on your flour, if it was sifted, if it had settled ETC so add carefully.
(I switched to the dough hook about 2/3 way through the flour addition)

Allow to rise until doubled.

Roll and cut to shape( I didnt have a real doughnut cutter so I improvised LOL) and allow to rise again.

Heat oil to 375 and fry each doughnut until golden brown. A good minute on each side depending on the thickness of your doughnut.

Drain on wire racks with paper towels under them.

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1-2 TB warm water
1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine all until desired consistency(the original is pretty thin I believe) and dip still warm doughnuts to cover.

Just to see what happened I baked a batch of them at 375 for 15 minutes....they turned out pretty darn tasty!!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Breakfast Popsicles

How about a "treat" for breakfast? Who turns down a popsicle?
Lots of variations to make your favorite!!

1 1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt(I use greek yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla(if using plain yogurt)
3 ripe bananas
1 packet Carnation Instant Breakfast*
1/2 ripe avocado(optional but a good nutrition boost)

Place all in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into popsicle containers and place a stick.
Freeze overnight or at least 4-6 hours

Run a little warm water over the forms to help get them out.

Tip: Soak your popsicle sticks in water for an hour beforehand, it makes them not float to the top and helps them adhere when freezing(dont you hate it when you are trying to get the popsicle out and the stick comes out but not the popsicle!!)

Per Popsicle:(makes about 8 depending on the size of your forms)Using chocolate CIB
no avocado, 2% plain greek yogurt LINK
with avocado, 2% plain greek yogurt LINK
no avocado,  2% vanilla greek yogurt LINK
with avocado, 2% vanilla greek yogurt LINK
I use full fat for my 7 year old:
no avocado, full fat greek plain LINK
with avocado, full fat greek plain LINK

* any flavor you like! Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry all are delicious! You can add other fruit such as strawberries or blueberries or peaches( Extra fruit is probably best with vanilla flavor or you can omit the instant breakfast all together too!) If you omit the CIB and use plain yogurt you may want to add some honey to sweeten it to taste.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hawaiian Lasagna

I wanted to do something a little different. We love Hawaiian Pizza so I decided to do a little twist on that!

3 cups pizza sauce (homemade* or jarred, your choice)
1 cup ricotta cheese(or cottage cheese)
1 egg
2 TB pineapple juice
1/2 TB sugar
8 oz thinly sliced ham or canadian bacon
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella(or a smoked provolone/mozz blend)
1-20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained with juice reserved**
9-12 Lasagna Noodles(depending on your pan size you may need 3-4 per layer)***
Other Hawaiian toppings as you see fit:
Roasted Red Peppers
Green Peppers
Make it fiery with jalapenos

In a food processor or blender combine ricotta, egg, pineapple juice and sugar. Process until smooth, set aside

Place 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish
Layer 3-4 noodles across.

Spread 1/2 the ricotta, 1/2 the ham, 1/2 the pineapple (1/2 and other toppings you are using, I used roasted red peppers just on 1 layer) 1 cup of the cheese and 3/4 cup sauce.

Add another layer of noodles and repeat layering process.

Add last layer of pasta and top with remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for 45 minutes, uncover and cook 15 minutes more until internal temp is a minimum of 165

Remove from oven and replace foil loosely, allow to set for 15 minutes.

*Perfect amount homemade pizza sauce:
1-15 ounce can tomato sauce
1-6 oz can tomato paste
6 ounces water
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 Tbsp sugar
Combine all and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minuets. Cool and use.

** I REALLY wanted to go with fresh pineapple, I think it would make this SO much better but the ones at the grocery store were WAY too much money and I didnt want to drag my kids out to the local produce stand. Next time I will go fresh for sure, about 2 cups diced is what you need.

*** You do NOT need to cook dry noodles first, even if they arent "no-boil", just dip them in hot water before layering and pour about 1/3 cup water around the edges, then repeat about 1/2 way through cooking if it looks dry at the edges.

Friday, August 12, 2011

100 Grand Bars

Yummy copy cat of 100 Grand Bars, also call 100,000 Dollar Bars!

20-25 Caramels(this depends on how thick you want your coating)
12 oz package milk chocoalte chips
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal

Melt Chocolate chips in a double boiler until smooth.

Remove from heat and add in Rice Krispies.
Place in the fridge and cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, you dont want it TOO firm but firm enough to hold its shape.

Unwrap caramels and roll into slim tubes about 1.5 inches long.( as you can see I started with 30, but that was too many with this amount of coating LOL I ended up with 20 with a thicker coat)

Take each shaped caramel and press coating around it, I found working with my hands sprayed with cooking spray helped avoid sticking, place on a piece of waxed paper and allow to set until firm.

My boys helping unwrap caramels!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

White Bean Macaroni Casserole

I got this recipe about 8 years ago and I have since tweaked it into my own. Makes for a tasty meatless dish

12 oz macaroni noodles
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup milk
1 TB parsley (fresh or dried)
1 TB chives(fresh or dried)
1/2 TB oregano(fresh or dried)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups white beans(also works well with black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, whatever you like!)

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Boil and drain your macaroni. Return to cooking pot, add beans and toss with seasonings

In a blender combine cottage cheese, tomato sauce and milk. Blend until smooth.

Pour cottage cheese mixture over pasta and gently combine.
Pour pasta into a greased casserole dish.

Top with bread crumbs, cheddar and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake 10 minutes more.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

I went out with my sister and some friends to Stymies Bar and Grill . For dessert we had an AWESOME Peanut Butter Pie, I was challenged to create a similar recipe. So here it is! I did this in a 9 inch spring form, I think next time I would use an 8 inch.

2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs(I use these minus the filling)
2 TB white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 tsp gelatin
2 tsp warm water
8 oz cream cheese, softened(you can use light if you want)
1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter(if you use a sweetened PB you may want to adjust the sugars)
1/2 cup white sugar(fine or even powdered works best)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 TB butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips(I use Ghiradelli Chips)
1/4 cup  peanut butter(creamy or chunky is up to you)
**Next time I think I would use 6 oz chocolate chips and 2 TB peanut butter. The topping was a little too thick.

Preheat oven to 350

In a bowl combine cookie crumbs, sugar and butter. Mix well.

Press into the bottom of a spring form pan(8 or 9 inch) and up the sides about 1 inch.

Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven, remove and cool completely.

Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, set aside

Dissolve gelatin in warm water

Beat in the cream cheese until light and fluffy,

Beat in sugars, then add in peanut butter and vanilla. Beat well.

Gently fold whipping cream into the filling.

Very carefully pour filling mixture into the crust.

Refrigerate until set.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler stirring until smooth, add in peanut butter and mix well.


Allow to cool slightly , then spread evenly over the set filling.

When the chocolate is about 1/2 set or so score it into slices so you dont crack it when cutting into it, its ok if you dont though , just heat your knife slightly and cut very slowly.

Remove the spring-form,

slice and enjoy!