Thursday, October 24, 2013

Muddy Buddy Snack Mix

My kids' teachers have been GREAT this year, and have tolerated quite a bit, to be honest.  I have no idea how preschool and Kindergarten teachers do it.  I teach high school students and I know the patience that requires!  That being said, when listening to stories of the day, we have often said, "Wow! That was really nice of Miss So-and-so, wasn't it?"  In response, my kids have decided that they want to do something nice for their teachers.  Specifically, they wanted to make cookies.  Not wanting quite the project would entail on a weeknight, I decided that we would instead make them this treat, which is well-known and popular and absolutely delicious.  I could never make a batch without plans to give most of it away...I just have no self-control.

Be aware of peanut allergies and corresponding rules of your child's school if sending this snack to teachers!
  • 9 cups of Rice Cereal squares, like Chex (feel free to use corn or wheat or a combination of all three)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
  1. Measure the cereal into a large bowl.  
  2. In a medium bowl, add peanut butter, butter, and chocolate chips.  Microwave on High for 45 seconds.  Stir.  Microwave for 45 seconds longer.  Stir.  At this point, the mixture should be smooth; if need be, microwave for 20 seconds longer.  Stir in vanilla.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture over the cereal and gently mix until coated.
  4. Put 3/4 cup of confectioner's sugar into each of two gallon-sized resealable bags.  Put half of cereal mixture into each bag.  Gently toss until coated.  Spread on parchment paper to cool.

Difficulty: Super easy; kids can help a lot
Time: depends on if the kids are helping!  This takes me about 30 minutes when my 6 and 4 year old help with the measuring, mixing, etc., but it takes less than half of that if I am doing it by myself.
Source: I think I may have made this with a friend in high school the first time. It was her mom's recipe. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mini Lasagna Cups

I never make lasagna; it seems really involved to me, and I really don't want a whole tray of lasagna. So...I was trying to find a way to get rid of my extra wonton wrappers after making amazingly good taco cupcakes...I came up with this recipe. In our house, we like things spicy so I include hot sausage in my meat mixture; you can just use more ground meat or ground turkey if you prefer a milder taste.

  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 pound hot sausage
  • 1/4 pound lean ground meat
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

  1. Brown and drain hot sausage and lean ground meat.
  2. Add sauce to meat mixture.
  3. Spray 12 yield muffin tray with cooking spray. Place a wonton wrapper in the bottom of each tin.
  4. Put ricotta cheese in the bottom of each wonton wrapper.
  5. Layer meat mixture on top.
  6. Add mozzarella cheese.
  7. Place another wonton wrapper and repeat the layers (ricotta, meat, cheese)
  8. Bake at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes.

Time Management Tip-I buy my ground meat and sausage in large quantities and usually freeze in 1 pound increments. I will thaw 2 pounds of meat and brown it all in one large skillet. After I drain the meat, I divide into 4 portions. I keep one portion for the meal and bag, label, and freeze the other three. Next time, all I have to do it reheat or throw in a pot with spaghetti sauce.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 15 minute prep, 20 minute baking time
Source: I was inspired by the taco cupcake!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


We have had a lot of adjustments to make in our family this year, with this being the first year that our kids are attending two different schools with two entirely different routines.  At my daughter's school, breakfast is provided at around 9 am.  She arrives prior to 7 am, so we send her with a piece of fruit that she eats when she gets there and she is good until breakfast time.  My son, on the other hand, arrives at school at 6:35 am and his lunch is at 10:50.  He has the option of purchasing breakfast in the cafeteria, but we prefer to send him with a breakfast to hold him over until lunch.  So far, this has been a favorite.  I make a batch on Sundays, put them in the refrigerator, and heat them in the microwave in the mornings.

  •  1/3 lb bulk Italian sausage
  • 3 eggs + eggs necessary for corn bread mix
  • 1/8 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 pkg (8 1/2 oz) corn bread/muffin mix
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook sausage over medium heat in a skillet 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  (I usually make extra sausage in the morning when cooking breakfast to be time-efficient with this step.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, seasoned salt, and pepper.  Pour into the same pan and scramble until no liquid egg remains.
  3. In a large bowl, prepare muffin mix according to package directions.  Fold in sausage, scrambled eggs and 1/2 cup cheese.  Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
  4. Bake 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Difficulty: easy
Time: approximately 25-30 minutes total
Source: Taste of Home magazine, September 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fiesta Meatloaf

One of my kids' favorite foods is meatballs. I use their love of meatballs to get them to eat other foods that include ground meat. In this recipe, along with many others, I add salsa saving me the trouble of chopping onions and peppers. It really is a time saver, and the added spice keeps my husband happy.  I've made it without black beans, but my husband requested that I try to add more beans to our diet to take advantage of  both the protein and fiber.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 package stuffing, 6 oz
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal, uncooked
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup salsa, divided
  • 3/4 cup Mexican cheeses
  • optional chopped fresh veggies (I throw in whatever is around)

Forgot the  beans in the first this can opener!


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients, except 1/4 cup of salsa and 1/4 cup cheese.
  3. Shape into loaf in a 13 x 9 baking dish. (Ever since I made Joyce's mini-meatloaves, I make this recipe in muffin tins; baking for 30 minutes)
  4. Top with remaining salsa.
  5. Bake 1 hour.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese; continue baking 5 minutes.
  7. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Time: 10 minute prep; 65 minutes baking
Source: Adapted from Kraft Food and Family