*** This cooking blog is being maintained as a recipe archive for now. For current posts, please visit my main blog, Tiny Blessings! ***

Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 12/29/08

I decided that it's high time that I jump back into weekly menu planning... so here it is! :)

  • MONDAY: Our favorite bean dip, tortilla chips, grape tomatoes, and *new recipe* mushroom and chicken quesadillas.

  • TUESDAY: I'm experimenting with this *new* Sour Cream Burgers recipe, making them oval shaped to fit some sub buns I need to use up. I'll saute some onions and peppers to go on them, and serve with a side salad.

  • WEDNESDAY: We'll have our favorite snack foods for supper- the kids are getting excited about our "party" (just the four of us at home). :) So far the menu includes our favorite layered taco dip, pigs in a blanket, and meatballs.

  • THURSDAY: I'll make ribs and sour kraut in the crockpot for DH and the kids. I can't stand sour kraut, so I'll likely make myself some of my favorite potato soup.

  • FRIDAY: to be decided.... likely something in the crockpot!

Pineapple Blue Cheese Dip

I made this Pineapple Blue Cheese Dip for a party on Saturday and it was well received. I doubled the recipe (using slightly more blue cheese and green onions than the recipe called for) to make enough to fill the pineapple, and served it with Ritz crackers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chocolate Peppermint Spoons

I made a batch of these to go in gift baskets and tuck in with a few other little gifts. I've made them several times, so my measurements here are estimated as I just kind of go by feel.

Amy's Chocolate Peppermint Spoons
12 heavy plastic spoons
1/2 or so melting chocolate wafers (estimated amount)
2 drops peppermint extract
1 cup crushed candy canes
Melt chocolate in double boiler, the stir in extract and half the candy canes. Dip each spoon into the mixture, twirl to remove excess, dip again, twirl again, and then lay on waxed paper to dry. Spinkle tops ("bowl" side of spoon) with remaining crushed candy. Cool, when hard remove from waxed paper and wrap in individual cellophane bags.
Use these to stir into hot coffee or hot chocolate for a sweet treat.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dipped Oreos

Want to make some quick and easy treats to round out your dessert trays? Try this:

1 lb bag of chocolate melting wafers (found in the candy-making section)
1-2 packages of oreos
Melt the wafers per directions in a double boiler or microwave. I like to do small batches in a juice glass in my microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so. The small but deep glass is easiest for me to work with- I've found that a regular bowl or cup spreads the chocolate out too thin for me to quickly dip in. Take each Oreo and dip it in the chocolate, then place it on foil or waxed paper to dry. You'll have to work quickly, as the wafers cool and set up pretty quick. Cool and enjoy!

P.S. The Oreos I made tonight (photo above) were dipped in red vanilla flavored wafers. I like how they turned out... we'll see what everyone else thinks!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cold Weather Cooking

I've got ravioli in the crockpot... I just finished eating soup for lunch.... and I'm in the mood to start baking Christmas cookies. Gee, could you have guessed that it snowed last night? :)

I usually do sugar cookies and fudge at Christmas, and after that, it varies year-to-year. I'd like to get some things baked up and frozen so I won't be so stressed right before the numerous Christmas parties we'll be attending Christmas week. I'm surfing for some new recipes to try, but would love to hear from you if you've got a tried and true one to share!

Monday, November 17, 2008

We're still eating :)

I haven't stopped cooking.... the family's been fed... I just haven't felt up to writing about it lately. Ever since my DD's Type I diabetes diagnosis, meals and food have taken on a whole new meaning. Planned meals get changed at the last minute to balance out carbs and portions. Unplanned meals get thrown together. It's been working out fine, it just has not been particularly blog-worthy.
In the meantime, here's the excellent Baked Pasta recipe that DD helped me make last night. This one has chicken broth in it, which sounds weird, but keeps the pasta nice and moist. We used tiny shell pasta rather than ziti, and sausage rather than hamburger.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Souptacular Crockpotalooza: Potato Soup


Potato soup is one of my favorites- I like to make a big pot and eat it for lunch all week. This is my very own recipe, put together after much trial and error. I've also published it on RecipeZaar, so it's possible that you may have seen it there.

Amy's Potato Soup:
5-6 large potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons margarine
3 chicken bouillon cubes (I use bouillon paste when possible, about 2-3 TBSP)
3 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons cilantro
3 cups water

Place all of the above ingredients into the crockpot, cook on low all day.
About an hour before serving time, add in either:

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup flour

OR, as I more often do, add in about a cup of whatever kind of milk you have on hand and a sprinkle of instant potato flakes.

Garnish with:
shredded cheese or French-fried onions or croutons

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back to the menu planning...

I know I haven't been here on my cooking blog too much lately... my apologies! Since September 19, when my five year-old was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, our meals have been kind of thrown together, trying to balance her carbohydrate needs with everything else we have going on that day. This week, though, I'm starting to feel more confident and ready to jump back into menu planning. Here goes...
TUESDAY: *new recipe* Deep Dish Sausage Pizza and salad

THURSDAY: *new recipe* Beef Stew in the crockpot

FRIDAY: Chicken Hurry, steamed broccoli, rice

* If you're not familiar with Type I/ Juvenile Diabetes, it's in many ways treated the opposite of Type II, which is much more common. (Our doctor says that only 1% of children will develop Type I Diabetes.) Type II is often diet-controlled and in some cases medication can prompt the body to produce insulin as needed. My daughter has Type I, which means that her body produces no insulin at all. There are no limitations on what my daughter eats, but, every carb must be counted, she has to eat at certain times of day, and she must receive insulin injections 4-5 times daily for the rest of her life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What kind of cook are you?

You Are an Excellent Cook

You're a top cook, but you weren't born that way. It's taken a lot of practice, a lot of experimenting, and a lot of learning.

It's likely that you have what it takes to be a top chef, should you have the desire...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Spaghetti Sauce: FIF Sauce Edition

Well, true to my pattern lately, I'm a day late for the Favorite Ingredient Friday: Sauces Edition. Oh well, I'll share my spaghetti sauce recipe anyway! ;) This is a recipe that has evolved over time in my kitchen, geared to not be too garlic-y for my DH, and also not have too much meat for me. (I actually prefer meatless sauces, but DH has to have meat in his.)

Amy's Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
1 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
1 large onion, chopped and cooked with the beef
2 small cans sliced mushrooms
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2 (14 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 tablespoons dried Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon Garlic Pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all ingredients in crockpot and simmer on low all day.
This sauce works great with any kind of pasta you have on hand.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Soup's On ~ Recipe Swap

Life as Mom did a recipe swap yesterday for soup recipes. I'm a day late, but I'm sharing one anyway because I love soups. I love a lot of different kinds- potato, french onion, and broccoli cheddar are some of my favorites. Here's one I make regularly- I've shared this recipe before, but, it's one that we all love and I think it's worth sharing again! :)

Amy's I-Don't-Feel-Like-Cooking Version of Tortilla Soup:
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 can diced tomatoes/ chili peppers (AKA:Rotel- but I buy the store brand)
  • 1/2 cup salsa (guess-timated amount)~
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • several shakes of dried cilantro
  • two shakes of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 large can precooked, chopped chicken or turkey

Put that all together in a crockpot and let it simmer on low for a couple of hours. I usually do this around lunchtime and serve it for supper, so it probably cooks around 3-4 hours. Top it with shredded cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips.... yum!

Check out Life as Mom for more great soup recipes!

Friday, September 26, 2008

FIF: Broccoli Cornbread

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (8 1/2 ounce) package Jiffy corn muffin mix
Preheat oven to 400. Thaw and drain broccoli. Combine first six ingredients. Stir muffin mix into first mixture with a fork. Pour into a 13" x 9"pan that's been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes , or until done when tested with a toothpick.

This cornbread is moist and dense, best eaten with a fork. I always make it along with some sort of creamy soup, like potato soup or corn chowder.

Check out Favorite Ingredients Friday for more great bread recipes!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Diabetic sources?

Last week my five year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. She will be insulin dependent for the rest of her life.

Luckily, in this day and age, the dietary recommendations from her team of health care professionals are pretty simple: count carbs. We don't have to limit what she eats, we just have to count every bite. So, my husband and I have been taking a crash course this week in carb counting-- we probably looked like crazy people in the grocery store, reading package after package, trying to get a feel for how many carbs various things contain.

I have the "Calorie King" book and I've Googled countless food and diabetic websites, but if you know of a specific resource I should check out, I'd be grateful for your help.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 9/8

This is a short menu plan this week-- DH is home for another week on vacation, so plans tend to change at the last minute. ;)

MONDAY: It's my birthday, so all I know is I'm not cooking! :)

TUESDAY: turkey, sauted zucchini, pasta We got some tequila-lime marinated turkey breasts at the store. I'm going to try cooking them in the crockpot.

WEDNESDAY: *new recipe* Zippy Beef Tips in the crockpot, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli

FRIDAY: ? leaving Friday open for now, not sure of our plans yet

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Awesome Banana Muffins

Run, don't walk, to make these awesome banana muffins. I made them by the recipe with only two changes: I used 4 medium bananas instead of 3 large, and, I used 1/2 cup chocolate chips in place of the walnuts since nobody here likes walnuts. These baked up nice and moist in exactly twenty minutes. We have unanimously voted these as our family's new favorite muffins- I hope you'll enjoy them, too!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 9/1

NOTE: I accidentally linked up on the Mr Linky @ I'm An Organizing Junkie as "Amy @ Tiny Blessings", which is my other blog. Feel free to pop over there for a visit, too, but if it's a menu you're looking for, you're in the right place! :)
DH is home this week on vacation, so I have a feeling the menu plan will get changed, but hey, at least it's a starting point! ;)

MONDAY: kielbasa, my favorite ranch potatoes, steamed broccoli

TUESDAY: pepperoni stromboli, salad

WEDNESDAY: Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast with veggies

THURSDAY: crockpot salsa chicken (literally just chicken tenders covered in salsa)~ made into soft tacos

FRIDAY: eating out

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sparkling Jello

I don't usually share my craft projects here- I post those over on my main blog. But, since I did this one in such a big font, I figured I may as well share it here, too, so I can share the recipe!My kids love Jello made this way. Note: I always use sugar-free Jello. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 8/24

I have a feeling this week is going to pass by in one quick blur. I'm working four days and I have a couple of medical appointments, DD has soccer, and DH has several hours of overtime scheduled. In between all of that, we have to find time to eat! :)

These are all tried and true favorites- no time to try new recipes this week!
  • MONDAY: beef enchiladas (using crockpot beef machaca), stewed tomatoes, refried beans
  • TUESDAY:Italian Subs, potato salad, baby carrots & dip
  • WEDNESDAY: sliced turkey & gravy (frozen entree), stuffing, peas
  • THURSDAY: BBQ ribs in the crockpot, mini ears of corn on the cob
  • FRIDAY: crockpot pizza casserole
Have a great week~ and if you're looking for menu inspiration, head over to I'm An Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Menu Plan, week of 8/17

I'm finally back on track with getting my menu plan done on Sunday evening- whoo hoo! :) Everything on the menu is from the pantry and freezer. If I get over to the farm market we'll add in fresh peaches and tomatoes.

SUNDAY: Tonight I experimented in the crockpot with chicken tenders, homemade taco seasoning, a drained can of corn, some salsa, and a can of cream of mushroom soup. We had this in flour tortillas with cheddar cheese. I liked it, but I think it would be better over rice instead of in tortillas. There's some leftover cooked rice in the fridge, so for lunch tomorrow I'll try that and see! ;)

MONDAY: crockpot cube steaks (another experiment: trying them with mushroom soup, gravy mix, and onions in the crockpot), mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli

TUESDAY: pepperoni stromboli, tossed salad

WEDNESDAY: Zesty Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with potatoes, green beans

THURSDAY: homemade sausage pizza, tossed salad

FRIDAY: broiled pork chops, alfredo noodles, steamed mixed veggies

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Chicken Experiment

Last week, as I mentioned, I tried an experiment in the crockpot. It worked out really well, and I'll definitely be making it again. My 2 year-old ate two helpings. And the best part? It was SO easy!

Amy's Crockpot Ranchero Chicken
2 cans Campbell's Creamy Ranchero Tomato Soup (found at Big Lots for $.90 a can)
1 lb. chicken breasts
1 bag frozen peppers & onions

Place chicken in the crockpot and cover with both cans of soup. Cook on low all day. About an hour before serving time, break the chicken up into bite-sized pieces and stir in the peppers & onions. Cook another hour or until peppers and onions are done.
Serve over top of cooked pasta.

Unfortunately, I have read that Campbell's is not going to make this soup any more. I read on the Campbell's site that you can substitute a can of tomato soup and a heaping spoonful of salsa in any recipe that used that soup.