Friday, October 31, 2008

Caramel Apples

Ok, this is a revelation to me- caramel apples aren't hard to make! They seem so difficult and time consuming! But I made some today- and they aren't! Here's the formula:

craft sticks- like popsicle sticks
6 medium fuji apples
1 tbsp. and 2 tsp. milk
12 oz. caramels- they are soft and square (about 42 individuals)
decorations- like sprinkles, candy corn, etc.

Remove the stem from each washed apple. Spray a baking pan. Jam a craft stick into the top of the apple.
Unwrap the caramels (this is the hardest part) and place in a bowl. Add the milk and microwave for 1 minute. Stir and then return to microwave for another minute. Allow melted caramel to cool briefly.
Dip apples in melted caramel until coated evenly and allow excess to drip off. Decorate quickly and place on baking sheet. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Creamy Skillet Chicken

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. water
3/4 c. uncooked rice
2 c. cooked, diced chicken
2 c. thawed (but previously frozen) mixed- vegetable medley
(try broccoli, corn, and peppers)

Whisk soup & water in a non-stick skillet. Heat 2-3 mins.
Stir in rice, cover and reduce heat to low for 20 mins.
Add chicken and veggies, and heat 3-4 minutes.

4 servings

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pita Tostadas

This is such an easy dinner! And yes, I do have a fondness for pitas.

1 can refried beans
diced red onion
chopped green bell pepper
1 small can sliced black olives
1 small can diced green chiles
shredded cheese
shredded lettuce
sour cream

Arrange pitas on baking sheet. Spread beans evenly. Top with onion, pepper, olives, and green chiles. Bake at 425 for 8 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle cheese on top. Then add salsa, sour cream, and lettuce.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Red Potatoes & Ham

Warning: this is a bit less than "healthy", but of course, ridiculously yummy.... and don't forget it's a slow cooker recipe.

2 lbs. red potatoes, quartered
2 c. cooked ham- in chunks
1 can cream of potato soup
1 envelope dry ranch dressing
8 oz. cream cheese- softened

Put potatoes and ham in slow cooker. Mix soup and ranch in separate bowl, then pour over potatoes and ham, stir until well combined. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hrs. Add cream cheese during last hour. Stir before serving.

Note: throw in some frozen vegetables with the potatoes while you're at it. I particularly like broccoli!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cake Mix Cookies

1/3 c. cooking oil
2 eggs
1 box devil's food cake mix

Combine and scoop into small balls on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.

Tip: Use aluminum foil on your cookie sheets so you don't have to wash them. Saves so much time!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Southwestern Wraps

OMG- I have missed these so much! There was a tiny little place at UNLV that used to sell these. I still crave them, so I re-created it to the best of my ability. Laura and I really liked the finished product!

Burrito or larger sized flour tortillas
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
3/4 c. black beans- rinsed
1/2 c. kernel corn- rinsed
1 tomato- diced
1 small can sliced black olives
shredded cheese
jalapenos (optional)
cooked chicken- plain- diced (optional)
chipotle ranch salad dressing (or just regular ranch)

Mix up above ingredients like a salad. Pour on the dressing and salsa to taste. Pile onto the middle of the tortilla, tuck in the ends and roll tightly like a burrito. Slice down the center for your wrap. Mmmm!

Makes about 4 medium-sized wraps

Friday, October 24, 2008

Healthy Banana Pancakes

These are more for my kids, I make 'em and freeze 'em in advance. Then toast 'em in the morning. But they taste good to grown ups too! Make sure you mash the banana pretty finely with the tines of a fork- or use a food processor.

2 c. flour - you can do all white, or whole wheat, or half & half
2 tbl. sugar
2 tbl. flaxseed meal
4 tea. baking powder
1/2 tea. salt
2 eggs
2 c. milk
4 tbl. cooking oil
1 1/2 -ish mashed banana

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately then combine in large bowl until moist, beat on low- batter will be lumpy.
Pour in 1/4 c. portions onto a hot griddle, flip when bubbles appear in the middle

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Country Skillet Supper

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/8 tea. garlic powder
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. sliced zucchini
1/2 tea. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 c. uncooked corkscrew pasta

In large skillet, cook beef, onion, & garlic powder until brown. Drain off fat, add soup, broth, tomatoes, zucchini, & italian seasoning. Heat to boil, then add pasta. Reduce to a simmer- cook 15 minutes stirring often until pasta is done.

Note: Optional sliced black olives to top.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Mom's Mexican Casserole

...this was a staple growing up, and a bonus- the husband likes it too!

6 corn tortillas
1 1/2 lb. ground beef- browned
1 onion, diced- browned with beef
salt & pepper
chili powder
1 can kernel corn
2 small cans tomato sauce
sliced black olives
2 c. shredded cheese

Mix meat, dash of salt & pepper, chili powder, corn, olives, & tomato sauce. In a greased 13x9 pan, layer corn tortillas, meat mix, & cheese. Repeat about twice.
Bake at 325 for 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

No Soy Stir Fry

...because the husband doesn't like soy sauce...

3 c. water
5 cubes chicken bouillon
2 c. rice
2 tbl. cooking oil
1 lb. chicken breast (opt)
4 c. assorted veggies (ie: bell peppers, celery, carrots, onion, snow peas, water chestnuts)
2 tea. cornstarch
1/2 tea. garlic powder
1/4 tea. ground ginger

Bring 2 c. water and 3 bouillon cubes to a boil and add rice. Cook until rice is done. Set aside
In skillet, heat 1 tbl. oil and add chicken. Cook until chicken isn't pink. Remove chicken and add veggies, cook for 5-10 minutes and add chicken back in.
In separate bowl combine 1 c. water, 2 bouillon cubes, ginger, cornstarch, garlic powder and 1 tbl. oil. Pour over veggies & simmer for 5 minutes, until thick. Serve over rice.

Serves 4

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ham & Asparagus Pasta

4 c. dry bowtie pasta
10 oz. frozen asparagus (or broccoli)
8 oz. cubed ham
8 oz. chive & onion cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. milk

In large pot, cook pasta. Add veggies the last 5 minutes and then the ham for the last minute or two. Drain. In smaller saucepan, heat cream cheese and stir in milk until thick and saucy. Pour over pasta and serve.

Serves 4

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chili for Dummies

This is cheap and easy chili- no frills, just goodness!

1 lb. ground beef
1 packet chili seasoning mix
1 can diced tomatoes
4-8 oz. water (depending on how soupy you want it)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 small can sliced black olives

Brown meat & drain. (May I suggest browning the meat in the bottom of your soon-to-be chili pot? Saves on dishes!) Add chili packet and mix well. In a large pot combine the meat, tomatoes, beans, olives and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 mins. Serve with shredded cheese & sour cream, and cornbread on the side!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Husband thought he didn't like cornbread. Well, turns out his family does not add heaps of sugar in their cornbread. Having successfully converted a non-cornbreader, I can safely say this recipe is tasty.

2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. flour
1 tbl. baking powder
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 1/4 c. milk
3 tbl. cooking oil

Mix wet & dry ingredients separately, then combine and pour into a greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 400 for 20-25 mins.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pita Pizzas

These are great for kids and parties! So easy, I could eat one every day. I make singles in our toaster oven for lunch sometimes.

pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese- shredded
toppings- pepperoni, ham, chicken, olives, onion, green pepper, pineapple chunks, mushrooms, etc.

Preheat oven to 350, make up your own pita pizza and arrange them on cookie trays. Cook in the oven for 10 mins, until cheese is melted and golden.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Italian Burger Melt

1 lb. ground beef (or frozen beef patties for the lazies- like me)
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 tea. Italian seasoning (or more to taste)
1/4 c. water
1 slices mozzarella cheese
4 buns, toasted

Shape beef into 4 patties (skip this if you do frozen patties). In skillet on medium-high heat, cook patties until browned. Set aside and pour off the fat. Add soup, water, & italian seasoning. Add patties, cover & cook 10 minutes. Melt cheese on top and serve on toasted buns.

Makes 4 burgers

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Homemade Mac & Cheese

...because powdered cheese creeps me out. I had to look for a good recipe, and maybe I'm the only dummy who does that. But here it is, and the kids love it.

1 c. dry macaroni elbows (or any other type of fun pasta)
1 tbl. butter
1 tbl. flour
dash of pepper
3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese

Cook mac in unsalted water for about 10 mins. Drain & return to saucepan. In med. saucepan, melt butter & stir in flour & pepper. Add milk and stir until thickened Pour sauce over macaroni & add cheese. Cook over low heat for 3-5 mins. stirring frequently. Let stand to cool.

Makes 3-4 kid sized servings.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Black Bean Salsa

This is my go-to salsa recipe, and it makes a heap- so basically I can have it all week for lunch!

2 cans sweet kernel corn
2 cans black beans
1-2 chopped tomatoes
1 chopped onion
1 packet taco seasoning
2 tea. cumin
chili powder (opt)
juice of 2 limes
cilantro- chopped
1 small can sliced black olives
1 small can diced jalapeƱo (optional)

Combine and chill, then serve with tortilla chips.

8-12 servings

Cool Cucumber Dip

1 1/2 c. finely diced cucumber
2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. chopped parsley
Pita Chips (for dipping)

Combine & refrigerate. Serve cold.

6-8 servings

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Slow Cooker Burrito Bake

Clearly, I'm not a professional food photographer. But I swear it tastes great!

1 lb. ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can black beans, with liquid
1 can pinto beans, with liquid
2 (10 oz.) cans tomatoes & green chiles, drained
10 medium flour tortillas, torn into pieces
4 c. grated cheddar cheese

Brown beef and drain. Stir in taco seasoning. Layer one-third of each ingredient starting with beef in the order listed above. into a greased 4 1/2 to 6-qt. slow cooker. Repeat layers twice more, cover and cook 6-8 hrs. on low or 3-4 hrs. on high.

Makes 8 servings

Note: top with salsa and sour cream.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kielbasa Potato Skillet

We had this for dinner last night, so we have a picture! Although I made a double batch, so it's huge!

1 tbl. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. sliced bell pepper
1 lb. diced red potatoes
1/4 tea. pepper
6 oz. lean turkey kielbasa, sliced
1 1/2 c. frozen broccoli
1/2 c. shredded cheese

Melt butter in skillet on medium heat. Add potatoes & pepper. Cook 10 mins. Add kielbasa, broccoli, onion, & bell pepper. Cover & cook for 8-10 mins. stirring frequently. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese. Let cheese melt for a minute and serve.

Makes 3 servings

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Minestrone Soup

1 tea. cooking oil
1 c. chopped onion, celery, green bell pepper, zucchini, red potatoes, & carrots
1/4 c. sliced black olives
28 oz. diced tomatoes (you can do fresh or canned)
6 c. water
2 tea. salt
2 tea. worcestershire sauce
1/4 tea. pepper
2 bay leaves
1 can kidney beans
1/2 c. cooked macaroni elbows

In large pot add chopped veggies, olives, oil, water, salt, worcestershire sauce, pepper, tomatoes & bay leaves. Stir until well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Add kidney beans & macaroni, then simmer for 30 mins.

Serves 8-10

Note: low-fat, and safe for diabetics

Monday, October 6, 2008

Heavenly Chocolate Squares

Bonus- dessert!

30 Chocolate graham crackers
2 (8 0z.) softened cream cheese
3 c. milk
3 pkg. Instant chocolate pudding
1 tub (8 oz.) Whipped topping, thawed

Arrange 15 graham squares on the bottom of a greased 13x9 pan. Beat cream cheese in bowl with mixer until smooth. Gradually add 1 c. milk. Add remaining milk and pudding mix. Beat on low speed for 2 mins. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread half the pudding mix over graham squares. Add remaining grahams on top, then adding the last layer of pudding mix. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Cut into squares and serve- you can add more whipped topping to garnish.

Makes 18 servings

Southwest Fettuccine

9 oz. uncooked fettuccine noodles
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 green bell pepper- cut into strips
Black olives, sliced (to taste)
Southwest seasoned chicken (optional)
Shredded cheese- cheddar, monterrey jack, etc.
Sour cream

Sautee bell pepper in skillet with small bit of cooking oil. (add optional chicken as well) Cook fettuccine as directed & Drain. Combine tomatoes, chicken, bell pepper, and olives in skillet & cook over medium high until heated through. Pour tomato mixture over fettuccine. Sprinkle servings with cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Note: you can also used pre-cooked noodles for less mess.

Feeds 2-3