Thursday, December 15, 2011

Home for the Holidays: Creamy Apple Cider Sauce

Creamy Apple Cider Sauce

2 TBS Butter
2 TBS Flour
1 cup Apple Cider
½ cup Heavy Cream
2 TBS Dijon Mustard
2 TBS Chopped Parsley

In heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add flour making a roux. Slowly add cider while whisking, bring to boil to thicken. Add cream and mustard. Salt and pepper to taste. Fold in parsley before service. 

Serve with a roasted Pork Loin or Roasted Chicken Half.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Home for the Holidays: Melt in your Mouth Caramels

Makes about 2 1/2 pounds
1 cup butter or margarine

1 pound brown sugar

Dash salt

1 cup light corn syrup

1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add brown sugar and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in corn syrup and mix well. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly.

Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches firm ball stage. 245 degrees on candy thermometer; about 12 to 15 min.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour into a buttered 9-inch square pan. Cool and cut into squares.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Home for the Holiday: EGG NOG PANCKAES

So we have pancakes at least 2-3 times a month for dinner. So for the holidays I thought I would "Spice" it up with some egg nog flavor in our pancakes. It adds a creamy texture and a wonderful sweet/spicy taste. There are two versions of this recipe, the homemade variety and the mix alteration version. ENJOY!

2 Eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Beat Eggs in a medium bowl until well blended, stir in egg nog. add remaining ingredients until all incorporated. Don't over mix! Let batter sit for 5 min, this allows the flour to properly absorb the liquid, adjust batter if needed.

Heat skillet or griddle on medium. Let it heat throughly!!! don't start until its properly heated, your pancakes will not cook properly! pour batter on to skillet, cook for 2-3 min, or until bubbles form on top and bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook other side for 1-2 min. Serve with favorite syrups, jams or fresh fruit... or like me... butter and that is all!

If using a mix, follow instructions on package, but swap water or milk for  egg nog. adjust if needed. Cook the same as above.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Home for the Holidays: Savory Cream Corn

Ah yes.... Cream corn... so many people have destroyed this poor side dish. I think people forget that its not mashed pulverized corn but a beautifully cut kernels smothered in a bed of a cheesy cream sauce garnished with fresh  herbs and a wonderful option of red peppers. This is a simple recipe, but fills my heart with memories of family gatherings that have passed.


3 TBS Butter
2 TBS Flour
1 1/2 Cups milk or half and half (HALF AND HALF IS BETTER)
4 Cups Fresh Corn Kernels (about 8 ears)
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper To taste

garnishes/ seasonings
1/2 tsp COHO MOJO (from Summit Spices)
1/2 cup small diced red peppers
2 TBS minced Italian Parsley

Make It

in skillet or fry pan, melt 1 TBS butter, add corn, Coho Mojo, and red peppers. Saute for 3-5 min till peppers have sweated.

In sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and make a roux. Add Milk or Half and half whisk! whisk! whisk! Turn heat up slightly till white sauce thickens. season with salt and pepper to taste. Add Parmesan Cheese. When cheese is melted, ladle cheese sauce into corn mixture. cook over medium heat for 3-5 min, until all the corn is incorporated into the cream sauce. garnish with parsley.

Left over?
Take cream corn mixture and fold it into a corn bread batter, add to a spicy chili recipe. serve as an appetizer with a warm flat bread.

how to cut kernels off the cob:

place cob in bowl, with knife, carefully cut the kernels off the cob. by having them in a bowl, you protect your kitchen from unwanted mess and lost kernels for your tasty dish.

New Series: Home for the Holidays

I know its been 800 years since I wrote any posts. Volleyball kept me really busy this year as well as my oldest daughter with her many appointments. But since Holidays are my favorite, I really wanted to share some meals from memories as well as inspire those around to change things up a little. We will have tutorials, recipes and hosting tips for the next 30 days! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Brownie Mix cookies

I know! Too good to be true? I went a little crazy on this one too..... I figured, if I could use Jello mix... what over mixes could I use? Well my next favorite thing... BROWNIES!!!!! SO enjoy!


1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp. white vinegar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 - 1/4 cup brownie mix, dry (straight from the box)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla, salt, and vinegar. Beat in the eggs, then the baking soda and flour. Stir in the brownie mix and chips. Drop the dough by a small tablespoonful onto baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Tips: The dough will be a little dry and stiff, but not crumbly! add a little milk if needed!

Jello Pudding Mix Cookies

I Really love these cookies! So there is this wonderful Mom, who has baked well over 100,000 of these cookies over the years for her kids sports teams and family gatherings. I have been a fortunate partaker of these cookies. Well we went to State for Track and Field a few weeks ago, and I wanted to make her cookies, since her last kid graduated the previous year and I was in charge of the food. I thought Ms. Hanley's cookies would help our boys and girls relax... and have a tasty treat! These cookies are soft, and chewey... and oh so tasty! You will love them! Also experiment with different Jello flavors, like butterscotch, Oreo and Fudge!

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside.
2. Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add in pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slight golden and set. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Some Tips: Use a portion scoop for your cookies.... it does wonders!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Papa Murphy's Coupon

This looks so good!!!!!!

Click here for a coupon for $4 off your next pizza!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine Delights Day 2: Nate's Mouth Watering Hamburger

Nate’s Mouth Watering Hamburger

1 lb of ground burger
1 glove garlic, minced and pasted
2 TBS Coho Mojo
1 tsp Sea Salt

6 Whole Wheat Buns
1 Tomato, sliced
6 leaves of iceberg lettuce
6 stripes of turkey bacon, cooked
6 Slices of Havarti Cheese

6 TBS Mayo
1 tsp Paprika
1/8 tsp Red Chili sauce

For Mayo: Combine mayo, chili sauce and paprika. Mix together, cover and place in fridge till burgers are ready.

For burger: preheat grill to medium high heat. In large bowl, massage meat with garlic, Coho Mojo and sea salt. Let rest for 5 min. Form into 6 equal balls. Lightly press them into patty shapes, about 1 inch thick.

Grill on each side for 6-8 min depending on doneness. Only flip once, this will keep the burger juicy.

Toast buns, spread 1 TBS of mayo on bottom bun. Add meat, cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato.


New Year Resolution Meals: En Papillote

En papillote is a technique of cooking food in parchment paper. This is ideal because you are able to seal in flavor and use the wonderful properties of steam, all in your oven. They are also so fun for kids to do as a family activity.

Cooking En Pappillote

3 TBS Canola Oil
1 large Leek cleaned and cut into fine julienne
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into fine julienne
2 Carrots, peeled, cut into fine julienne
1 lemon sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 TSP chopped dill

1 ½ cup cooked Wild Rice
8 TBS White Grape juice (for Drizzle)
1/8 cup White Grape juice (for veggie mix)
4 (6oz) Fillet of fresh fish (like Salmon or Halibut)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Cut Parchment paper into 12 x 16 inch rectangles. Fold in half and cut into large heart shapes. Brush the right side of each heart with about a small amount of the canola oil, leaving a inch of the edge to allow for sealing and closing of paper.

In large bowl mix carrots, leeks, peppers, dill, garlic, grape juice. Toss until evenly coated and mixed. Season with salt and pepper. Place ¼ cup of wild rice in center of half heart. Place ¼ cut of veggies on rice. Place fillet of fish on Veggies and Rice. And drizzle 2 TBS of grape juice evenly over fish. Top with Lemon slices.

To fold parchment packets, start at the heart center, fold and pinch at the same time. Working along the edge of the heart. When you get to the end or tail of the heat, twist to secure folds and allow for steam pockets to form.

Bake on cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes, or until packets are puffed and slightly brown.

When serving packets, slice open with a knife, allow steam to escape and serve immediately.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine Delights Day 1: Breakfast Burrito

Yes..... I know... its simple and silly, but my husband loves them!

Breakfast Burrito

1 cup grated cheddar Cheese
½ red onion, small julienne
3 gloves Garlic, minced
1 Green Pepper, small diced
1/2 cup hash browns or country potatoes
¼ cup Cilantro Leaves
3 eggs, beaten
4- 6in, Flour Tortillas
½ cup cooked breakfast sausage
½ cup cooked Bacon, chopped

in a medium sauté pan, cook onions and hash-browns, until onions are translucent. Add garlic, green peppers, sausage and bacon. Spread out sautéed mixture even in pan and pour beaten egg over contents. Let sit for about 10 seconds before stirring, this will keep your eggs fluffy. Remove pan from heat, just before eggs are finished, carryover cooking will finish them, while you warm the tortillas.

In a large skillet, on medium heat, place flour tortilla in pan. Warm for 15 seconds and then flip. (Do not let them get hard… if this happens heat is too high.) Spoon in burrito mixture, top will cheese and a few cilantro leaves. And carefully roll securing ends. Let sit in pan, seem side down for 15 seconds.  Repeat with other tortillas. Hold in warm oven till ready to serve.

Serve with salsa.

Valentine Delights and Edible Gifts

So I love cooking for my honey. And he loves to eat my creations. It's a WIN WIN situation. But I do admit that I have a hard time choosing which of his favorites that I make for special occasions like Valentines day and his birthday. So for the next two weeks I will be posting his favorite recipes to inspire me on what I should make him. Maybe you will get inspired as well.

Also, want to make some valentine inspired treats for a loved one, friend or maybe you are wanting to woo a new someone....  I am also going to post some of my valentine creations over the next two weeks.


ps... on a side note.... to give me some organization, and motivation on when I will continue to post my New Years Meals throughout the year... because we always need a little boost, each week on Monday and Tuesday I will post those creations.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grandma's Favorites: Pat's Beer bread

Pat’s Beer Bread

3 Cups Flour
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
½ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Salt
12 oz Light Beer
1 Cup Rolled Oats (optional)
½ Cup Chopped Almonds/sunflower seed mix (optional)
8 TBS Melted Butter

preheat oven tp 375. Butter bottom and sides of 9 x 5 bread pan. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the beer and mix well. If using the rolled oats, soak in beer for 10 min before adding them to mixture. Add the almonds and sunflower seeds at this time as well. Dough will be thick and Lumpy. Spread into pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and spread melted butter on top, return to oven and back for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool in pan for 10 min, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Freezes great and is great as toast.

Other options: try using a cup of your favorite cheese.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mango and Chicken Salad

4 grilled chicken breasts
2 large mangos, peeled, halved and stoned
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts
½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded

½ cup low fat coconut milk
½ tsp ground coriander
1 TBS Thai fish sauce
1 TBS brown sugar
2 Green onions, finely sliced
1 TBS Finely chopped mint
2 tsp finely chopped fresh lemongrass

salt and pepper

First to make the dress, put all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cut chicken and mango flesh into cubes and place in a large bowl with the cashews. Toss to mix.

Divide the shredded lettuce between 4 plates, and top with chicken mango mixture. Stir the dressing and pour over salad to serve. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

A great variation of this salad is to eat Jamaican Jerk chicken one night.. and use the left overs for the salad. Also tomatoes are a great addition.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Resolution Meals: Sweet Ginger Kabobs

Sweet Ginger Salmon Kabobs

For marinade:
3 TBS of Minced Ginger
2 TBS of Minced Garlic
2 TBS of Honey
1/8 Tsp Hot Chili Flakes
1/8 Cup Frozen Orange Juice (do not Constitute)
¼ cup Olive Oil
½ cup water
2 bunches of green onions, mince the greens part, leave the white/light green part for kabobs.

2 lbs of salmon Filet, Skinless and cut into 1 ½ in cubes
Remaining green onion pieces 1 ½ inch long

Combine all ingredients for marinade and whisk for 30 seconds. Lay salmon pieces in a glass 13 X 9 casserole dish, do not stack on top. Preheat Grill. (a George Forman Grill works great for this) Pour marinade over salmon and let soak for 15 min. in the mean time, take skewers and soak in warm water to prepare them for grilling. On skewers, alternate salmon pieces and green onions. Grill each skewer for about 6 ½ min flipping gently once.

Serve with Wild Rice, mixed sautéed Zucchini and a slice of Lemon.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Coupons Galore and the never ending question of "What's for dinner?"

So I get asked all the time how I can make or get some many things on sale or discounted.... well its a process... not to difficult, but it does involve knowing when stuff will go on sale and when to use your coupons.

For example, at your local grocery store they might have a customer savers card, like Safeway/Carrs.

Let's Say that Progresso Soup is $2.30 a can. (Just an Example)
     The store has a customer discount with its card members that brings the price to $1.99 a can.
     Also they are having a bonus coupon day to save .30 a can bringing the price to $1.69 a can.
     Then use the coupons from this site which would bring your price down to $1.29 a can.

That is how I do it. I make my menu plan each week. I use things in our pantry and buy fresh filler ingredients for each menu. When I get home from my grocery trip, I take about 1-2 hours portioning and prepping items so that they are easy and ready to use. Stick to the menu and get all our family members involved.

Here are some places that I check for Coupons

Target Coupons
SmartSource Coupons
Red Plum

Also check your local adds and especially on Sunday! There are always tons of coupons there! Target and Walgreens always do a great job of accepting multiple coupons for  items!

Good luck!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Resolution: Greek Yogurt Smoothie

I know its hard to get kids... and certain husbands to eat healthy, here is a great way to start off any day. you get 2-3 servings of fruit and the protein from the Greek Yogurt is enough to sustain you till its time for a mid morning snack! My kids love these!

Greek Yogurt Smoothie

Any or all of the following
1 ripe Mango sliced
1 cup Strawberries, quartered
1 ripe Banana, quartered
½ cup blueberries
½ cup raspberries
1 cup orange juice
1 cup skim milk
1 cup Greek yogurt (any flavor)

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend away.  Depending on the ripeness of the fruits, you may need to add more juice or milk.

Serves 4-6

Notes on Greek yogurt: If has more protein that regular yogurt and a lower fat content.  It is a good ingredient to sub for things like sour cream as well.