Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baked Salmon with Veggies

I love salmon, and my family enjoys it, too.  We tend to eat more of it in the summer when we can grill it, but when it isn't prime grilling season (my dad would argue that grilling season is a twelve month one), this recipe is our favorite for salmon.  I must admit, I have been known to overcook seafood at times, but not with this recipe.  It always turns out moist and delicious.

  • 4 4oz salmon fillets
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I love mushrooms so I usually use more)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped OR 1 can of diced tomatoes (guess which one I use more often)
  • 1/3 c sun dried tomato vinaigrette dressing (I am sure that this can be substituted with other dressings in a pinch but it is definitely best with this)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray square baking dish with cooking spray.  Place salmon skin down in dish.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients until well blended; spoon over salmon.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Difficulty:  Very easy
Time: 10 minutes or less prep; 20-25 minutes cook time
Source:  Kraft Food and Family magazine

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Friday, November 25, 2011

White Pizza Dip

This one of my favorite appetizers to bring to pot-luck luncheons and parties. People always ask me for the recipe and are amazed to learn how easy it is. The Lipton Savory Herb with Garlic soup mix isn't always the easiest to find in every grocery store; I regularly find it at Wal-Mart. Coupons for the Recipe Secret products seem to come out once or twice a year; I always stock up then! This recipe is great in the oven or in a slow cooker.

  • 1 envelope of Lipton Savory Herb with Garlic soup mix
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 1 cup (8 oz) Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz) Mozzarella cheese (I often use the entire 2 cup bag)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pepperoni (I buy the mini-pepperoni and throw it all in)
  • crackers, Italian bread slices, or crescent rolls
  1. Combine all ingredients except 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  2. Pour into baking dish (or slow cooker)
  3. Sprinke the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top
  4. Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or heat in crock pot until warm through.
Difficulty: Super Easy
Time: 5 minutes to mix, 30 minutes to heat
Source: Lipton Recipe Secrets

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Easy Turkey Stromboli

This recipe is amazing, and is a great use of leftover turkey if you have it. I wish I had a nice camera and was good at taking pictures of food (someday, maybe), but if it is any testament, my husband seriously thought I bought this stromboli pre-made.  It looked that good. Trust me, there was nothing to it! (As a side note - I am so happy my kids like spinach. You may want to use a little less if you are just introducing them to it, but the other ingredients make the stromboli so tasty that this might just be the recipe to get them to eat that green stuff!)

  • 1 lb turkey breast tenderloins (I am sure it would be great with chicken, too. Incidentally, I cooked 2 lbs and used the rest in another recipe later in the week when I made this the first time.  Use leftovers from Thanksgiving, if available.)
  • 1 pkg (11 oz) refrigerated thin crust pizza crust (like Pillsbury)
  • 1 cup pasta sauce or pizza sauce
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained (I forgot to thaw so I heated in microwave for a couple of minutes and then pressed the water out in a colander)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Colby & Monterey Jack is great in this, cheddar or mozzarella would be good, too, if that is what you have)
  • 2 tsp grated Parmesan
  • 2 tsp milk

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Boil a cup of water on medium in a large skillet. Cut turkey into strips and add to boiling water. Return to boiling, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and then chop.  **If you are using leftover turkey, you just need to make sure it is chopped.
  2. Unroll crust onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Spoon half of the sauce down the center, lengthwise, leaving about 3 inches on either side. Layer spinach, turkey, and cheese over sauce.
  3. Cut 12 strips on both sides of crust. Fold strips over filling, so they overlap. Brush with milk and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes, serve with remaining sauce.

Difficulty: When you see the finished product, it will look like it was hard, but it isn't at all!
Time: 35 minutes (15 prep, 20 cook)
Source: Parents Magazine, April 2009

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Special dinners with my family always have a broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole. Everyone makes note of where it is placed on the table; it is always the first side dish to disappear from the family feast. A great veggie side dish to bring and share with friends and family, it will not disappoint.

  • 1 bunch of broccoli, diced (I haven't used frozen YET)
  • 16 oz can of mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 16 oz jar Cheez Whiz
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  1. Saute mushrooms and onions with butter until soft. Set aside.
  2. Cook broccoli until tender. Drain.
  3. Mix mushrooms, onion, and broccoli with cooked rice.
  4. Add soup; stir.
  5. Warm Cheez Whiz in microwave and stir into mixture.
  6. Put in 9 x 13 baking dish (greased)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes.
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 15 minute prep; 45 minutes baking time
Source: Dillner Family Farm CSA recipes

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini Meatloaves

Years ago, when I made these mini-meatloaves for my husband and I for the first time, I vowed I would never make a traditional meatloaf again.  There is just something so tasty and so easy about them.  Fast forward to two kids later, and I am pretty sure I still will never go back.  When you have a meal that is a guaranteed hit, why mess with it?

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 (6 oz) package stuffing mix for chicken
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • appx 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce (sometimes I use salsa, which is delicious, too, and it would be easy to do both in the same batch if you already have a jar of salsa open)
  • appx 3/4 cup cheese of your choice (I typically use cheddar, but have also used mozzarella)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Mix meat, stuffing mix, 1 cup of water, and seasoning until well blended.
  2. Press the mixture into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray; make an indentation in the center of each one with a spoon.
  3. Spoon spaghetti sauce (or salsa) into the center of each meatloaf.  
  4. Bake 30 minutes, until cooked through.  Top with cheese and bake 5 minutes longer.

Difficulty: Easy
Time:  about 15 minutes prep and 35 minutes baking
Source: adapted from Kraft Food & Family

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin Dump Cake

This amazing fall dessert is one of the easiest things I have ever made. I had to beg for the recipe after having it at few parties. My family loves when I bring it to dinner; it is a staple at Thanksgiving dinner. Many of the ingredients will be on sale soon, plus there's usually a coupon for Carnation Evaporated Milk this time of year. Happy baking!

  • 1 can pure pumpkin (29 oz)
  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) a mini-chopper works great to speed this up
  • 3/4 stick of melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9 x 13 inch pan.
  2. Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and cinnamon until well blended.
  3. Sprinkle cake mix on top.
  4. Cover with chopped nuts.
  5. Pour melted butter over top.
  6. Bake 50 minutes.
  7. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream.
This time, I split my recipe into 2 pans for 2 different events; worked great!

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Prep is 15 minutes, baking time is 50 minutes
Source: a coworker

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This is what I am having for dinner tonight...again! It is so easy to prep and cook.  Pair it with a side of veggies and rice or some sort of potato dish, and you've got yourself a delicious and healthy meal that every member of the family will enjoy.

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I sometimes use tenderloins when they go on sale and it works great, too)
  • 4 T Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Mix mayo and cheese in mixing bowl. Place chicken on foil lined baking sheet and top evenly with cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.  (I check at 18 minutes when I use tenderloins.)

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cook
Source: www.hellmanns.com

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Grandma's Apple Crisp

Apple crisp in our house means it is fall. This favorite has been served in my family for over 60 years. My brother and I would beg our mom to make it all the time...so would everyone else. Enjoy! Note: An apple peeler/corer makes this dessert preparation much easier and faster.

  • 10-12 apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 T cinnamon sugar
  1. Peel, cut, and core apples. Place in baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together sugar, flour, eggs, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Cover apples.
  5. Melt 1 stick of butter pour over dry mixture.
  6. Bake 1 hour.
Difficulty: Easy
Time: prep: 30 minutes (if you have a peeler, this will be much faster) baking: 60 minutes
Source: my grandmother

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Baked Pineapple

I have no idea where this recipe originated, but it is one that always makes an appearance at holiday meals in my family, particularly Thanksgiving and Easter.   At some point, it became my responsibility to bring it to the family dinners, and I never mind.  It is easy and makes my house smell wonderful as it is baking.  AND it is absolutely delicious.

  • 1 med can crushed pineapple (don't drain)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2T cornstarch
  • 2T margarine, cut into small bits
  • cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Grease small casserole dish. (The one I use is a small square one marked 1.5 liters.)
  2. Mix cornstarch and sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. Add pineapple, cut up butter, and beaten eggs to the sugar mixture.
  4. Pour mixture into the casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake 45 minutes.

Difficulty: super easy
Time: about 10 minutes prep, 45 minutes cooking time
Source: my mom

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Easy Chicken Bake

This is a great meal to prep the night before and throw in the oven the next evening. The best thing about it is there's only one dish to clean. My kids, who can be picky, love this meal.

  • 1 package of stuffing mix for chicken
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut in 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (thawed)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 box of dry stuffing mix evenly on bottom of 13 x 9 dish; set aside.
  3. Add water to remaining mix; stir until just moist; set aside.
  4. Place chicken over dry stuffing mix in baking dish.
  5. Mix soup, sour cream, and vegetables; spoon over chicken.
  6. Top with prepared stuffing.
  7. Bake 30 minutes.
Difficulty: Super Easy
Time: 10 minute prep; 30 minute baking time
Source: Kraft Food & Family

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sausage, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta

Every time I bring this meal to work as leftovers for my lunch, someone asks for the recipe.  It looks, smells, and tastes so good AND it is so quick and easy.  I love that there isn't a single ingredient that needs to be cut up and that it is such a healthy, delicious meal. My whole family devours it.  In fact, I am finding that I need to double the recipe these days if I want to have any leftovers!

  • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage (Sometimes, I can't find the packages of ground sausage, but often I can find sausage patties in 2 pound packages that work great.  I have even used links with the casings removed.)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, with or without Italian seasonings (NOT drained)
  • 1 bag of baby spinach (I have used regular spinach and it is good, too.)
  • 2 c penne pasta, uncooked (a little more than that usually is okay)
  • mozzarella cheese
  1. Start by boiling the water for the pasta, and cook pasta according to package directions. 
  2. While the pasta is cooking, brown the sausage and break it up so that it looks like ground meat. 
  3. Once the sausage is cooked through, dump the can of tomatoes and juices in. 
  4. Heat for a few minutes and then add the spinach a handful at a time, stirring and tossing until the spinach is all wilted. 
  5. By the time the pasta is done, the sauce should be, too.  Mix the two together, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top, and voila!  An awesome meal in the time it takes to cook pasta.

Difficulty: Super easy
Time: less than 20 minutes from start to finish
Source: adapted from a recipe on kraftfoods.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Snickers Cookies

Want a way to use up a ton of that excess Halloween candy? This holiday cookie recipe can use snickers, milky way, or even twix bars. I just bagged up all of those candies from my kids' Halloween haul and threw them in the baking cupboard to be used in a few weeks when the cookie exchange gets started. This is a great recipe for a cookie exchange because you get 4 1/2 to 5 dozen cookies out of it. Enjoy!

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 60 miniature Snickers candy bars (I cut the Halloween fun size in thirds)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream margarine, peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla.
  4. Combine dry ingredients. Add to mixture.
  5. Take 1 T of dough; flatten into a round shape in palm of your hand; place snickers bar in the center and fold dough around it. Roll in palms of your hand to form a smooth ball with Snicker totally covered.
  6. Bake 12 minutes.
  7. Remove from cookie sheet after a few minutes.
  8. Place on wire rack to cool.
  9. Drizzle with melted chocolate chips (I am a bit sloppy with this part, so I usually skip it)
Note: I make my batter and refrigerate for a bit while cleaning up the kitchen; the colder dough is easier to roll in your hands. Also, I roll enough for one cookie sheet and while that tray is baking I roll the next one so I don't lose much time.

Difficulty: Medium
Time: 15 minute prep; 12 minute baking time
Source: friend in a cookie exchange

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salsa Chicken

This is one of my "go-to" recipes. I almost always have these items in my fridge and pantry. It can be thrown together in 10 minutes before leaving for school drop-offs. If you sometimes have to fly by the seat of your pants, the chicken can go in the slow cooker frozen. This recipe is always a family favorite in our home.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning mix (4 Tbsp)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • Rice, quinoa, or pasta for serving
  1. Add chicken to slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle seasoning over chicken
  3. Pour salsa and soup over the chicken
  4. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours
  5. Remove from heat; add sour cream.
This is great served over rice, pasta, quinoa, or as a burrito. If you are looking to up your family's fiber or protein intake, add some black beans to the slow cooker.

Difficulty: Nothing to it!
Time: About 5 minutes prep, 6-8 hours in slow cooker
Source: a friend