Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Italian Zucchini Skillet

This was BY FAR the best way I have ever had zucchini! I came up with this one on my own, and not to brag :) but it was fabulous! I could eat zucchini every meal cooked up like this! Made a wonderful side dish!

Italian Zucchini Skillet
1 T olive oil
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 bell pepper, cut into strips or pieces (any color)
1-2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1-2 tsp dry packet of Italian Dressing mix, unprepared You could probably use a prepared Italian Dressing, but this was really good
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil

In a large skillet, simmer zucchini and peppers in olive oil and seasonings for about 5-10 minutes with the lid on. When they are softened, add tomatoes and dry dressing mix. Stir occasionally and simmer for a few more minutes. Serve warm.
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Pina Colada Slushy

I discovered this delicious Slushy/Smoothie at a Relief Society activity a few years back. It is one of my all-time favorites! A dessert, a nice drink to cool down, whatever! It is a little pricey to buy those frozen Bacardi drinks, but it is so worth it. Spoil yourself for me and try this out! YOU WILL LOVE IT!

Pina Colada Slushy
1 can Frozen Bacardi Pina Colada mix (concentrate)
3 Ripe Bananas
1 can (Bicardi) full of milk
1 tray of ice

Blend it all together. Add more or less ice. The more ice- the slushier it will be.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Garden Minestrone Soup

Can you believe this whole list of veggies came out of my parents garden?! They had quite the harvest this year, and it was so fun to eat a combination of their harvest all in one dish. My mom made this delicious soup with such a yummy "fresh from the earth" flavor. I am in the mood for another bowl right now... guess I'll have to wait til next year. :) Hope you won't! Great way to get your veggies in! My girls loved it!

Garden Minestrone Soup
1 cup water
olive oil
summer squash
fresh green beans
beef bullion
Parmesan rind
salt and pepper
Italian Seasoning
Fresh Basil
Parmesan cheese

Slice, chop, and prepare veggies. Simmer all but the beans and cabbage in olive oil, including Parmesan rind, and a stem of fresh basil (that you pull out in the end) with the lid on until the veggies soften and cheese melts, pour in water and bullion mixed. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and seasonings. Serve warm, topped with Parmesan cheese.
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Grilled Zucchini Strips

We had a BBQ while I was home, and my Dad grilled up some zucchini. I thought it was a really fun way of having, so I thought I would share the idea.

Grilled Zucchini Strips
Zucchini, sliced in about 4 strips, lengthwise
olive oil
kosher salt

Coat the strips in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and basil. Grill for about 10-25 minutes, or until tender.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Lasagna Roll-Ups

This looked like a fun one in Simple and Delicious. I thought the flavor was great, and Doug and I really liked them, but I have to be honest, and maybe it was just me and my occasional impatience in the kitchen, but the were not really "roll-ups". I ended up basically just making a layered lasagna. They were all over the place and slipping apart into a big mess. I thought this would be a fabulous stuffing for the jumbo pasta shells. I think it would work a lot better and make a good filling. The roll up idea is cute and all in the magazine picture, but lets be practical! :)

Lasagna Roll-Ups
10 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 pkg. (19-1/2 oz.) Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed (I just used regular pork sausage)
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce, divided
1-3/4 cups (7 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Cook noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, until no longer pink; drain. Stir in cream cheese and 1/3 cup spaghetti sauce. Drain noodles; spread 1/4 cup meat mixture on each noodle. Sprinkle each with 2 Tbsp. cheese; carefully roll up.

Spread 2/3 cup spaghetti sauce into an uncreased 13-9 in baking dish. Place roll-ups seam side down over sauce. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. (Yield:10 servings)
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Linguine Pesto with Italian Chicken Strips

I saw this one in simple and Delicious a while back and I think I am just fascinated by Pesto in general. Sometimes it works really well and sometimes it just flops, and you can't even pretend to like it. It intrigus me, so I keep giving it a change, and this happened to be one of those times it just worked well! Yippy! This was a great mix- something about it jsut went well- usually red pepper seems too strong for me, but it wasn't in this. Made a great week night meal!

Linguine Pesto with Italian Chicken Strips
8 oz. uncooked linguine (obvisouly I was out of linguine and used penne- hope I won't get in trouble. :)
1 pkg. (6 oz.) ready-to-use grilled Italian Chicken Strips (I used 2 sliced chicken breasts from my crockpot Italian Chicken recipe.)
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 jar (3-1/2 oz.) prepared pesto
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook linguine according to package directions; drain. Add the chicken, cheese, corn, pesto, bread crumbs, red pepper flakes and pepper. Toss to coat. (yield: 4 servings)

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Bread Pudding (Crockpot)

What did I do with that old package of left over hot dog buns, you ask? Well, let me tell you. I turned them into a fabulous bread pudding! I found this delicious recipe on and put it to work! I actually cooked mine in the crockpot for a couple hours instead of baking. It was prefect and I really liked the sauce on top! So if you have a stale package of hot dog buns, or even better, some french bread or something like that, try this one out!

Bread Pudding


2 cups whole milk (or 2 cups half & half)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark, depending on taste preference)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups bread, torn into small pieces (french bread works best)
1/2 cup raisins (optional) I used craisins and it was really good!


1. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk (or half & half) just until film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.

2. Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Slowly add milk mixture.

3. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole.

4. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Pour batter on top of bread.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm. (I just did mine in the crockpot the same way and cooked it for about 3-4 hours.)

If you make the sauce to put on top of your bread pudding, adjust the sugar in the bread pudding recipe, change it to 1/3 cups sugar (the sauce has the other 1/3 cup in it).

Bread Pudding Sauce


1 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. flour
dash of salt


Mix everything together and bring to a boil for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

I was looking for a dessert to make for a baby shower, and I got this recipe from 101 More Things To Do With A Cake Mix. Peanut Butter and chocolate are a dangerous combination. This was pretty tasty!

Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
1 white or yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 cups crispy rice cereal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a spoon, mix cake mix, eggs, and oil together. Stir in peanut butter. Spread dough evenly into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake 14-18 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Set aside.

In a saucepan , melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together over low heat. Remove from heat. Fold crispy rice cereal into melted chocolate sauce. Spread mixture evenly over dessert. Cool completely and chill at least 2 hours. Cut into bars before serving. Store in refrigerator.
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Friday, September 11, 2009

The Best Meatballs

I just discovered the most awesome way to makes easy delicious meatballs on the Kraft Food website! I have never had my meatballs turn out over the stove top- baking them works so much better. You can also freeze these! I am always tempted to buy those pre-made meatballs in the freezer section just because it is so convenient, but now I'll never be tempted again, because this was so easy and tasty!

The Best Meatballs
2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1-1/4 cups water
2 eggs

HEAT oven to 400ºF.

LINE 2 (15x10x1-inch) pans with foil; spray with cooking spray. Mix ingredients until blended; shape into 32 (1-1/2-inch) balls, using 1/4 cup for each.

PLACE 16 meatballs in each prepared pan. Bake 16 to 18 min. or until done (160ºF).

COMBINE half the meatballs with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce or Creamy Brown Gravy. (See Tips.) Cool remaining meatballs; freeze for later use. (See Tips.)

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Pepperoni Pizza Skillet

This made a nice week-night meal, and I actually doubled it and used the left overs as freezer meals. I found this one in Simple and Delicious too.

Pepperoni Pizza Skillet
5 cups uncooked wide egg noodles (or other pasta of choice)
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1-1/2 cups chopped pepperoni
1 jar (14 oz.) pizza sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (4-1/2 oz)can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook noodles according to pachage directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the pepperoni, pizza sauce, soup, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and oregano.

Drain noddles; stir into skillet and heat through. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. (Yield 8 servings)
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Orange Cream Scones

Ok- who thought of these little beauties, I just want to know!!! (Well, scones in general- this amazing recipe was found in one of those collection cookbooks by Becki Black.) I love scones! I have been wanting to try them out for a few months now. Brilliant! Just as good, if not better then a muffin because it takes less time to make and then you don't even have to fill up all the cups. It was great! I was surprized how easy these were to mix up! They were delicious, too- loved the vanilla chips and orange zest! We thoroughly enjoyed them for breakfast with a tall glass of milk!

Orange Cream Scones
2 cups flour
3 T sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp grated orange peal
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup white vanilla chips
1-1/3 cups cream

Mix dry ingredients. Add cream all at once and mix until just moist. Knead 6 to 7 times until smooth. Divide dough into 2 (6 inch) rounds. Cut each unto 4 wedges. Place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-13 minutes, or until light golden. Drizzle icing over warm scones and serve warm.

Orange Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 T orange juice

Mix with beaters until fulling incorperated. Drizzle over scones.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chilled Melon Soup

I saw this one in Simple and Delicious and it sounded so good to me, and that Strawberry Soup was so good last time, that I thought I better try another fruit soup. This one was interesting. I thought I was pretty funny when I served it for dinner because it was "Soup". The family didn't know what to think, but it was what I was in the mood for. :) Doug and I just couldn't decide if it was a dessert or not. I thought it was good, but deep down inside, I feel like you really can't beat the taste and texture of a plain old slice of cantaloupe, so I couldn't help but wonder if it was a good idea to puree it. :) I don't know- give it a try and tell me what you think.

Chilled Melon Soup
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup (8 oz) plain yogurt
1 medium cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 T honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 mint sprigs
I know it was naught, but I had to add 3-4 T of sugar so I knew it was a dessert.

Place the orange juice, yogurt, and cantaloupe in a blender, cover and process until pureed. (I used my immersion blender and a big bowl.) Add the honey, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne; cover and process until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with mint springs.
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Kielbasa Chili

I am going to dedicate this one to my dad and brothers- they love polish sausages. (I've never been to keen myself- in fact this was the first time I ever bought one! So you can imagine my surprise at the delicious flavor!) This was such an easy meal to throw together; just open a few cans and do a tiny bit of chopping and you've got a great meal on the table in no time!

Kielbasa Chili
1 lb. smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, halved and sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) chili with beans
1 can (8-3/4 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (2-1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained

In a big pot or Dutch oven coated with cooking spray, saute kielbasa until browned. Stir iin the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until heated through (yield: 7 servings)
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lime Milk Shake

I saw this recipe in Simple and Delicious and it just made my mouth water to think of it, but I couldn't find any Lime Sherbet at the store, so we came up with our own version and it turned out pretty good.

Lime Milk Shake
2-1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup limeade concentrate
3 cups lime sherbet, softened

Place all ingredients in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately. (yield 6 servings)

Our version:
2-1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup passion punch concentrate
3 cups orange sherbet, softened
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Zucchini-Cranberry Bread

I have had a zucchini sitting on my counter for a couple weeks now, and when I stumbled across this recipe on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and just knew what to do with that zucchini! This bread is amazing! The best zucchini bread I have ever had! I loved the cranberries- I had no idea they would add so much! I am not the most amazing cook, but I am learning what a difference some things can make. Particularly, I have found that citrus zest can completely transform a recipe! It took this one up a whole notch! It was delicious! If you have a zucchini that is just crying out to be transformed into something tasty- give this one a try!

Zucchini-Cranberry Bread
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese (I used cream cheese)
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one orange (I used a lemon)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups grated zucchini (I don't peel it- I love the green color and you can't taste it.)
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 heaping cup dried unsweetened cranberries (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, rinsed, pated dry) (I just used Crasins)

Preheat oven to 350F.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, oil, mascarpone cheese, vanilla, zest, and sugar. Beat until mixtures turns a pale yellow, about 3 minutes.

Add zucchini and mix until incorporated.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until incorporated but don’t over mix, treat this like you would muffins.

Fold in cranberries.

I used 4 super mini loaves (they are super tiny, only like 3 inches in length) and two mini loaves. You can also use 2 standard sized loaf pans. Spray with baking spray or grease and flour.

Bake for 30 minutes for super mini, 45 for mini, and for 1 hour for standard size. As always, check by using a knife or wooden skewer to test for done-ness.

Remove from oven. Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from loaf pans and continue to let cool on wire rack. Glaze if desired.

Adapted from my Mom.
Cranberry-Orange Glaze
1/3 cup jelled cranberry sauce
juice of a large orange
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted

Mix together with a whisk. Pour or brush on bread.
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Friday, September 4, 2009

"Secrets in the Sauce" BBQ Ribs

Texas Road House has nothing on this when you consider the price, flavor, and that is this is coming out of your own kitchen! Doug wants to have Rib Tuesdays! We both thought this one was Prize Winning (which it was- it won first place in Taste of Home.) So yummy- I'm glad I tried this one!

"Secrets in the Sauce" BBQ Ribs
2 racks pork baby back ribs (about 4 1/2 lbs.)
1-1/2 tsp. pepper
2-1/2 cups barbecue sauce (I used honey BBQ)
3/4 cup cherry preserves (I couldn't find cherry anywhere, so I used peach)
1 T Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced

Cut ribs into serving-size pieces; sprinkle with pepper. Place in a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over ribs.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Serve with sauce.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Italian Pasta Salad

This is a side dish my in-laws always make for get-togethers, and it had really grown on me, so I'll share the recipe.

Italian Pasta Salad
8 ounces rotini pasta
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 large diced tomato
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup pitted black olives, sliced
*Sometimes they throw cucumbers there, but when they do, I ask myself, "Why?" :) I don't get along very well with cucumbers, but if you do, by all means, add them (as long as I'm not coming to dinner. :)
1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and rinse with cold water until completely cool.
  2. In large bowl, combine pasta, vegetables, cheese, and olives. Toss well with dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
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Apple Yogurt Parfaits

Wish I could claim the picture but this was a Simple and Delicious, Taste of Home dish that I found... ... and have fallen in love with! It is pretty typical that we have yogurt, apple sauce, or cereal for breakfast (those are usually our options) but I had never thought of combining them. What a delightful surprise in flavor! The yogurt makes the applesauce really yummy and creamy! We have tried the granola, rice crispy, or a handful of honey bunches of oats, and I think that is my favorite so far. All in all, this makes a great breakfast!

Apple Yogurt Parfaits
1 cup sweetened applesauce
Dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup granola with raisins
1-1/3 cups vanilla yogurt

In a small bowl, combine applesauce and nutmeg. Spoon 1 T granola into each of four parfait glasses. Layer each with 1/3 cup yogurt and 1/4 cup applesauce; sprinkle with remaining granola. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings

(***I can't beleive I just wrote that all down. This one is not rocket science. In fact, Amberlee made ours, and she pretty tickled about herself dishing everyone up and hiding the applesauce as a surprise. She thought she could trick everyone and make it look like cereal and milk. :) Frankly- I don't think it matters what amount or what order. It is the combination that matters on this one!)

Basil Parmesan Puffs

So delicious!!! (Apropriate that I found them in Simple and Delicious! :) These little guys would make a great appetizer or side dish! I whipped them up in no time and they really dressed up our typical spaghetti dinner! It was hard not to take more then my share! :)
Basil Parmesan Puffs
3/4 cup water
6 T butter, cubed
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup minced fresh basil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in basil and cheese.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: about 2 dozen
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