Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Couscous Pilaf Salad


I have been horribly neglectful of this poor little blog. But I have a good excuse. So while I have been doing a lot of eating, I've lacked the energy to take pictures and post. But I found this recipe in my old binder, made it, consumed a lot of it, and had to share it. This is courtesy of my friend Catherine.

1 box of Near East Couscous
1 1/3 c. and 2 T. vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
1 T. canola or olive oil
1 onion chopped (yellow or spanish)
2 T. cider vinegar
1 T. curry powder
1 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. each of salt, cumin and cinnamon
1 c. fresh or frozen peas
1/2 c. diced red or green peppers
1/3 c. chickpeas
1/4 c. raisins (optional)
2 T. sliced almonds (optional)

Follow the directions on the box of couscous and use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water to cook the couscous in.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, remaining stock, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, cumin and cinnamon. Mix. Add in all vegetables and optional mixings and cook through. Add to couscous and toss gently. Can be served hot or cold.

My Recommendations:
To make this recipe more kid friendly, you can cut down on the amount of curry powder. My two don't eat this even if I leave out the curry powder all together, so I always add the full amount. You can also add any vegetable you would like such as broccoli or cauliflower. Lastly, I always tweak the amounts of chickpeas, peas and almonds, putting in more chickpeas and almonds and less peas.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Creamy Buffalo Chicken Soup


When I spotted this recipe at A Mommy's Blessings, I knew I would have to try it. One of Al's favorite things to eat is buffalo chicken (remember how he hoards the buffalo chicken dip?), so the soup would have to be popular as well. And it sure was. I'm fairly certain that there will be a rumble over the leftovers.

6 c. milk
3 c. shredded chicken
3 cans cream of chicken
1-2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. hot sauce
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1-2 c. shredded cheese

Add all ingredients to crock-pot and stir until combined. Cook on high for 1-2 hours.

My Recommendations:
I cut the recipe in half because we didn't have much milk left and we were still left with plenty of leftovers. Next time, however, we will not be cutting it in half!

I didn't have cayenne pepper so I subbed in chili powder, and also added a good amount of salt and pepper. Other than that, this recipe needs no tweaking, it's that good. It was perfect with some toasted honey wheat bread on the side for dipping.

Homemade Strawberry Orange Julius


It was the first semi-nice day in a really long time (remember our 78 inches of snow this winter?). So I decided to celebrate by making us a cool, frothy Orange Julius.

My brother and I used to make these all the time when we were in high school, so although I knew the basic ingredients, I needed a refresher on the quantities. While searching, I couldn't find any recipes that didn't include either egg whites or whole eggs. Adding raw eggs kind of skeeved me out (remember - I am scared of raw meat), so I crafted my own.

2 c. orange juice
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. white sugar
1 t. vanilla
handful of strawberries (optional)
tray of ice cubes

Add all ingredients to blender except for ice. Blend. Add ice. Blend until smooth.

(No judgement on my smeary glasses, k? Thanks)

My Recommendations:
These were delicious and my kids could not drink them fast enough. I don't think they took a breath until they had finished their entire glass.

It's entirely up to you how much ice you want to add, and whether you want to add eggs. From what I read, the egg/egg white is what makes the drink frothy, so I'm sure it would be delicious. But still skeevy in my humble, warped opinion.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sausage Wontons

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

Next week is Al's birthday so I'm putting together a menu of his favorite things. I'm awesome, I know. This recipe tops the list of his favorites and was introduced to us by his mother. I usually hesitate to make anything his mother has because she is amazing in the kitchen. And because the one time I did, Al mentioned that it wasn't as good as his mother's. He may or may not have been in the dog house big time for that sweet little comment.

But because I'm so awesome, and because it's his birthday, I'm going to make these. And he's going to like them.

Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home
1 package (12 ounces) wonton wrappers
1 pound bulk pork sausage
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby cheese
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
2 bunches green onions, sliced
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing

Lightly press wonton wrappers onto the bottom and up the sides of greased miniature muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until edges are browned.

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until browned; drain. Stir in the cheese, peppers, onions and salad dressing. Spoon a rounded tablespoonful into each wonton cup. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until heated through. Yield: about 4 dozen.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Taco Soup


With all this cold weather and snow (over 70 inches this winter), I've been pulling out all my "comfort food" recipes. I got this recipe from one of my virtual playgroup moms and it is one of my favorites for cold winter days. It's easy to make and we almost always have all of the ingredients on-hand, so it's a cinch to throw together at the last minute.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 package Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix (not dip mix)
1 package taco seasoning (or a homemade version)
1 can chili hot beans
1 can corn
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can rotel

Brown meat and onions. Add all ingredients to a pot (do not drain any of the cans), and simmer for one hour.

My Recommendations:
I never brown my meat in a frying pan, but instead boil it. While the meat is browning, I chop up the onions and throw them in the frying pan to brown. And sometimes when I'm lazy I don't brown them at all - doesn't make or break the meal. Instead of cooking this on the stove, you could also just brown the meat and onions and then throw everything together in the crock-pot.

Also, I usually sub out the rotel in favor of plain diced tomatoes, and replace the chili hot beans with just chili beans because my kids can't handle the spice.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Muffins


These muffins are a cinch to make and are under 100 calories (if you pay attention to that sort of thing). The kids are obsessed with these, and they are perfect for breakfast, snacks, or to pack in a lunchbox.

I found this recipe at one of my fav recipe sites Shades of Jaim. Seriously check out her recipes.

1 box spice cake mix
15 oz. can pumpkin
1/2 c. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and fill each baking cup 1/2 way with batter. Bake according to directions on box. Yields 24 muffins.

My Recommendations:
I tried the original recipe which was for Chocolate Pumpkin muffins, but I wasn't too crazy about it. The spice cake mix and pumpkin goes much better together in my opinion. Also, I have made multiple batches of these and then frozen them so we can have some on hand.

*This post is linked to Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap*

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes


With bubba's birthday party being snowed out, I wanted to make an extra special treat for him, and these did not disappoint. I have very fond memories of my dad making these for my brother and I when we were younger, and hopefully my children will remember how much they enjoyed these when they are older.

(Adapted from this Betty Crocker recipe)
1 box cake mix (we used Funfetti)
water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake box
24 flat-bottom ice cream cones

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Make cake batter as directed on the box. Line ice cream cones on a baking sheet, and fill each cone 3/4 full of batter. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cones to cool completely, and then frost and decorate as desired.


My Recommendations:
My cones came out a little flat so next time I will add more batter so they more closely resemble an ice cream cone. Also, I frosted them, let the frosting harden, frosted them a second time and then added sprinkles before the frosting hardened.

*This post is linked to Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap*