Saturday, December 11, 2010

Burgundy Mushrooms

This recipe is adapted from Pioneer Woman's "Burgundy Mushrooms". Look, I even stole her picture. Please don't be mad, PW.  Why adapt a PW recipe you may ask? Everything she makes is perfectly delicious! True, I say- but I didn't have the Burgundy wine, and neither did my grocery store. I desperately tried to talk myself into driving to the local wine store.. and then I didn't have any fresh Dill, but I had some other herbs.. so I went for it. And they turned out AWESOME!
I will post her original recipe and put in (Italics) what I did.

4 pounds White Button Mushrooms
2 sticks Butter
1-½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 liter Burgundy Wine (other Reds Will Work) (I used a liter of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with 2 TBS brown sugar to add the sweetness I was loosing by not using a Burgundy)
1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 cups Boiling Water
4 whole Chicken Bouillon Cubes (I used 1 TBS of chicken "Better than Bouillon")
4 whole Beef Bouillon Cubes (I used 1 TBS of beef "Better than Bouillon")
teaspoon Dill Seed (I used 1 large sprig of Rosemary, 2 med sprigs of Thyme- Just throw the whole thing in. Be sure to pick out stems before serving)
5 cloves Garlic, minced (I also added a large shallot, minced)
teaspoons Salt

Preparation Instructions

Thoroughly wash the mushrooms and throw them into a large stockpot. Add all the remaining ingredients except the salt. Stir to combine.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for six hours. (At this point, I transferred all of this into a crockpot and cooked on low for 6 hrs)

Remove the lid, then continue cooking, uncovered, for three hours. (I did this as well, I noticed it helped reduce the juices and thicken up a bit)

Add salt to taste at the end if desired. The mushrooms will be very dark in color. Simmer until needed. Server straight from the pot or in a serving bowl. Dip crusty bread in the juice—yum!

(The juice also makes an AWESOME Gravy base for your Prime Rib roast this holiday. Just freeze the left over broth. When you are ready, thaw and use it in place of your stock, along with drippings from your Prime Rib- amazing!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sicilian Style Spaghetti & Eggplant

I borrowed the Tyler Florence book, Tyler's Ultimate cook book from a friend. I've slowly been able to make a few recipes here and there... I thought I was making Sicilian-Style Spaghetti tonight. I made a mistake when I searched for it on the internet the other day. So, instead, I ended up with Sicilian Style Spaghetti & Eggplant ~ and I'm so glad I did! It was delicious!! And I still have another new recipe to try with the Sicilian-Style Spaghetti.
I copied the recipe below from - but I also made a few changes. If you want to see their version, click here: Sicilian Style Spaghetti & Eggplant

I have to say this, I loved, loved, loved the eggplant this way!!


For the eggplant:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spaghetti:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp red chile flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch rounds. Toss them with 1/4 cup olive oil and some salt and pepper. Grill them until marks have formed and they are soft, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place them onto a paper towel lined platter. Scatter over 2 cloves of sliced garlic, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the lemon juice, put on a few torn basil leaves, and season it all with salt and pepper. Set aside while you make the sauce.


Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Cook the onions until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chile flakes, garlic, artichoke hearts and a few hand-torn basil leaves. Carefully add the tomatoes and a pinch of sugar; cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Add the capers, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the spaghetti. Stir to make sure the pasta doesn't stick. Cover and return to a boil. Remove cover and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the spaghetti is al dente, drain and add the spaghetti to the tomato sauce. Add the cheese and mix well. Pile onto a platter and top it with the eggplant slices. Garnish with more basil leaves.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu #57

Monday: Steaks w/ Cauliflower &

Crispy Breadcrumbs

Tuesday: PWs (Ground Turkey) Meatball sliders
green salad

Wednesday: Beef Tenderloin

PWs Fancy Pants Macaroni

Thursday: Green Chili & Chicken Soup

Tortilla Strips

Friday: Out

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grilled Pesto Bread

Grilled Pesto Bread

We had this bread at Reef restaurant, here in Houston. If you watched "The Next Iron Chef" last season, Chef Caswell was one of the contestants - and Reef is his restaurant. We went there last May with my mother-in-law and her husband while they were visiting.
The bread basket they had at Reef had this delicious ciabatta bread with some pesto smeared on top and then lightly grilled. At the time, I was planning a birthday bash for my friend and new instantly that I wanted to serve this bread at the dinner.
So, I bought a baguette (mistake #1) and covered it with pesto then hubby grilled it (which could be mistake #2 - just cause he was entertaining friends at the same time, and a little distracted.) The bread turned out a little hard and crunchy. Not the way it was at Reef.
And then I sort of forgot about trying to make it again (definitely mistake #3).
Last week I made some Mashed Potato Soup and thought, "OOOH, I should try to make that pesto bread again!"
This time I bought ciabatta bread. I grilled it myself and I will not wait 6 months to have it again!

Here's what you need:
Ciabatta Loaf, sliced thin
Pesto (I used Classico Pesto, yum.)
BBQ or grill pan

Heat your grill pan or BBQ to a pretty high heat. Smother a few slices of bread with the pesto and place on grill. I grilled both sides of the bread - and because your pan or BBQ are hot, it will cook fast.

I love the smokey flavor the BBQ gives - so I recommend using it!
It's so easy and so flavorful and so cheap!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu #56

Monday: Fish & Chips

(a new recipe from my MIL, I've been craving this ever since she told me about it! I just have to get some fresh Tilapia...)

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin
PWs Fancy Macaroni

Wednesday: PWs Tequila Lime Chicken

Spanish Rice & Black Beans


Thursday: PW's Drip Beef Sandwiches

cole slaw

garlic bread

Friday: Camping

Saturday: Camping

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Menu #55

Monday: Fish & Chips

(a new recipe from my MIL, I've been craving this ever since she told me about it! I just have to get some fresh Tilapia...)

Tuesday: Tomato Sauce w/ Butter & Onion


Garlic Bread

Wednesday: Pepper Jack Chicken


Roasted Potatoes w/Salsa Verde

Thursday: PW's Drip Beef Sandwiches

cole slaw

garlic bread

Friday: Pasta with Gorgonzola and Beef Tenderloin


Saturday: out to dinner

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chili Chicken

From Adrianne Campbell (from Cuisine at Home magazine)

1 1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 T. olive oil

Combine above ingredients with chicken and toss to coat. Just grill them for a few minutes. Recipe calls for cut chunks of chicken on skewers, browned on the stove top then finished in the oven at 400 for a few more minutes. Adrianne just grills the chicken out on the grill without the skewers.

I got this recipe off the This Week For Dinner website :

I loved how easy this recipe was - and very flavorful. I also grilled on the BBQ them instead of the cooking on the stove top.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu #54

Monday: Rotisserie Chicken Quesadilla's

black beans & rice

Tuesday: PW's Drip Beef Sandwiches

Wednesday: Fish & Chips

(a new recipe from my MIL, I've been craving this ever since she told me about it! I just have to get some fresh Tilapia...)

Thursday: Bean burrito's

Friday: out of town

Saturday: out of town

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jack O' Lantern Cheese Ball

(Or just a Cheese Ball!) I hosted a Halloween Party fit for toddlers yesterday. This little guy turned out so cute! This is a recipe from my Step Mother In Law, and it's my go to Cheese Ball Recipe. For occasions other than Halloween, I roll it in Chopped Pecans.
2 (8 oz) blocks of Cream Cheese, softened
1 (4.5 oz) jar of Dried Beef (see note)
Bunch of Green Onions, finely chopped. I used 4 large ones, white and green
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
* For this party, I rolled it in finely shredded mild cheddar cheese. The face is Black Olives and the stem is a small, whole Dill Pickle*

Mix all ingredients and form a ball. Roll in desired Cheese, or Chopped Pecans, or Walnuts. Serve with assortment of Crackers, Veggies etc.

*Note~ Dried Beef  I thought what the heck is dried beef? and it sounds so gross. Don't let it scare you! I found it in the isle with all the canned meats (think tuna). It was in a small, clear jar, and it's like dried, thinly sliced summer sausage. It's delicious in this cheese ball.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Popcorn 101

ok, i realize that popcorn doesn't sound that hard to make. and it isn't. you buy some microwave-thingys, follow directions on the box, and WAHLAH! you have a tasty snack. but for some reason, it always bothers me HOW much they charge for that microwave stuff. it's ridiculous. and even if you have a coupon, it's just that, well, it's something you have to find, cut out, find again when you're in the grocery store, and actually USE in order to save any money.

So here's a super easy way to make popcorn and to make it CHEAP! cause a bag of whole kernels in the store is around $1.50...

i've been doing this for years... literally - years. before i had kids. way back in the days of working full-time as a preschool teacher. so i had kids - 12 of them, usually.
and i used to get the Martha Stewart Living Magazine - that was before the whole scandal.
somewhere in some magazine, i read how easy it was to put some popcorn kernels in a paper bag, microwave it and you get some popped corn.

So, here's a breakdown of "my" recipe:
1/4 cup whole kernel popcorn
2 paper bags (if you don't have paper lunch bags, i've put it in a microwavable bowl WITH LID loosely on top)

optional: popcorn toppings

I split the 1/4 cup kernels between the 2 paper bags. I drizzle a bit of olive oil over the kernels and sprinkle some salt on top.
Then, put 1 bag into the microwave at a time - for about 1 minute (i usually put it in for 1 min and 10 sec, to be exact).
It gets all warm and popppy and yummy. add salt or butter or any popcorn toppings you like. try cinnamon and sugar if you want something sweet!

all for pennies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice, I used one ts. of each)

4 large eggs

2 cups milk

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk eggs in a large bowl with milk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined
Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter into waffle iron. Drop lid and cook until golden brown. 
Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp, while making the rest of the waffles.

Menu #53

Monday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

garlic bread

Tuesday: Mashed Potato Soup ( )
crusty bread

Wednesday: Mini-Meatball Sandwiches (we didn't make this last week)

garlic bread slider rolls

Thursday: Pan-Fried Chicken

Mashed Potatoes

Salsa Verde

Friday: Fajita Panini's ( )

Saturday: Fish & Chips

(a new recipe from my MIL, I've been craving this ever since she told me about it! I just have to get some fresh Tilapia...)

Menu #52

Monday: Chicken Tortilla Soup (cheddar, cilantro, sour cream)

Brown Rice

Tuesday: Ranch Chicken (Smoked Cheddar, Bacon)

Roasted Potatoes


Wednesday: Lasagna (Spinach, Ricotta)

Garlic Bread

Thursday: Pan-Fried Chicken

Mashed Potatoes

Salsa Verde

Friday: Mini-Meatball Sandwiches (on slider rolls flavored with garlic bread seasoning)

Green Salad

Saturday: Work Party -- Burger Throwdown!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

French Toast Waffles

Okay fine, I stole 2 recipe ideas from Tyler Florence's new Cookbook, Family Meal. This is brilliant to a busy mom! French Toast Waffles.
I'm going to post my french toast recipe:
4 eggs
1/4 c. milk
2 Tbs. melted butter
1 ts. vanilla extract
1/2 ts. cinnamon
Beat all ingredients until well combined.

I used Wheat Sandwich Bread, but you can use any bread! I imagine a day old French bread would be amazing.

Preheat your waffle maker. Spray with Pam, or wipe with oil to prevent sticking.
Dip the bread in the batter and place on your waffle iron. Once each "square" is filled with bread (Mine makes 4), drop the lid as if you are making waffles.
Cook until brown and crispy.

These were great! I love how crispy the bread gets! No more soggy French Toast in this house, yum!
Please excuse this picture, it's from my phone, and snapped in a not so pretty manner as ravenous children were attacking me.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chili Relleno Rice

I have to confess that I did a very bad thing. I was browsing around Barnes and Noble this week and I came across Tyler Florence's new Cookbook, Family Meal. While I flipped through it I came across a recipe that sounded soooo good, and would match perfectly with the Ribeye Steak and Corn on the Cob Meal I was planning to cook for my family who was visiting from Colorado. I didn't want to be obvious (not sure on the rules about stealing a recipe without buying the book); which, by the way, is fabulous and is on the top of my Christmas list this year. So as I was trying to memorize the recipe, I decided to do this:
Camera phones come in handy sometimes. Is this illegal? Should I not be airing my dirty laundry on this blog? Well, either way, I will buy the book, I promise. And I feel much better now.

Chili Relleno Rice

2 Cups Cooked Rice
2 Cups Sour Cream
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 (7 oz) Cans Chopped Green Chili's
2 1/4 Cups Cubed Monterey Jack Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, cream of chicken soup, green chili's, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
In a casserole dish, add rice. Pour cream mixture and over the rice. Drop in cubes of cheese and stir to combine. Cover and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until warm and bubbly and slightly brown on top. Delicious!!
Recipe from Tyler Florence Cookbook, Family Meal

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Burger Throw down!!

Last weekend, my husband's work friends came over for a BURGER THROW DOWN!
It was so much fun, and such good food - there were all kinds of burgers... but our camera was (always is) on the fritz ~ so I am posting the pictures that are actually focused.

There were burgers stuffed with portobello mushrooms, sauteed white onion and marscapone cheese (one of my favorites...)
Another burger was blended with steak sauce and smeared with a jalapeno ranch secret sauce and topped with spicy pepper relish and sat on a hawaiian bread sandwich roll.
The winning burger (I know, I can't believe I didn't get a good picture of it) was made with ground rib-eye, smeared with a horseradish cream sauce and topped with sauteed mushrooms and swiss cheese. The rib-eye was so rich and delicious and the sauteed mushrooms were very flavorful.

I hope these burgers inspire you to make something a little different...

The health-nuts of the group made this one. It was a bison burger - with some dried cranberries in the burger (sounds weird, but was really good), topped with spinach, sprouts, avocado, red onion... They cooked it perfectly, it was very tender.

These were lamb burgers/sliders. Mixed inside the meat was chopped mint and some garlic. They were cooked over a charcoal BBQ instead of the gas grill. Then topped with feta, rosemary and more mint, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The marble rye bread was brushed with olive oil and lemon zest and broiled. Again - cooked perfectly and so many fresh flavors.

This was one of my husbands burgers -- inspired by a Cricket Burger he had on his trip to Denver, CO recently. It was a half pound burger of lean ground beef, seasoned with tapatio sauce, salt & pepper. Then topped with (gulp) cream cheese and fresh diced jalapenos! The spicy hot was cooled by the creamy cream cheese... good job babe!

ok, this is the other burger entry by my husband - inspired by our favorite appetizer at our favorite family restaurant, Outback Steak House.
Again, a half pound burger made with lean ground beef seasoned the same way. Then topped with (drum roll, please!), CHEESE FRIES!! French fries fried to golden perfection (by me), then smoked cheddar and crumbled bacon were piled on top. He popped them under the broiler to melt the cheese a bit... ooohhh -- heart attack on a plate, but so good!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carrot Coriander Soup

This one comes from my friend Gretchen Buegge -- I knew her in San Diego and now she and her family live in Yakima, Washington...


3 1/2 cups of carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

3 Tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

1 stick of celery (sliced), plus 2-3 pale leafy celery tops

2 small potatoes, peeled and sliced

4 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken)

3 tsp ground coriander

1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander (also known as cilantro)

3/4 cup of milk

salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Peel and chop carrots. Heat the oil and 2 Tbsp of butter in a large saucepan. Saute onion over gentle heat for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened. Do not allow to brown.

2.) Slice the celery and chop the potatoes. Add them to the onions and cook for a few minutes, then add the carrots. Continue to cook over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring and then cover.

3.) Reduce the heat even further and sweat vegetables for about 10 minutes. Shake the pan or stir occasionally so the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pan.

4.) Add the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Half cover the pan and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are tender.

5.) Remove 6-8 tiny celery leaves for garnish and finely chop the remaining celery tops. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan and saute the ground coriander for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

6.) Reduce the heat and add the chopped celery tops and fresh coriander and saute for about 1 minute - set aside.

7.) Process the soup in a food processor or blender and pour into a clean saucepan. Sitr in the milk and coriander mixture. Season, heat gently, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve the soup garnished with the reserved celery leaves.

*** also tastes good garnished with a bit of sour cream, cheese or hot pepper sauce.

I got this recipe from "The Complete Vegetarian" cookbook. I tweaked it just a tad. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

PW's Corn Chowder with Chili's

I made Pioneer Woman's Corn Chowder with Chili's for dinner tonight. It was so good! She is such a fabulous cook! I have loved every recipe I have ever tried. Which is a lot. This was great for a nice Fall meal. I served it with a baby green salad with a honey vinaigrette, and crusty sourdough bread. Delicious! You can find the recipe HERE

Menu #51

Monday: Caramelized Onion & Proscuitto Pizza

Green Salad

Tuesday: Chili


Wednesday: Pasta w/ Gorgonzola & Beef Tenderloin


Thursday: Hamburgers

(with smoked cheddar, bacon & jalapeno's)

Baked Beans

Friday: Ravioli w/ Browned Butter, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, & a vegetable

Garlic Bread

Saturday: Mom's out of town!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Menu #50

Monday: Chicken, Brie, & Fig Panini

Corn Salad (corn, bacon, blue cheese, grape tomatoes)

Tuesday: Caramelized Onion & Proscuitto Pizza

Green Salad

Wednesday: Lasagna

Garlic Bread

Thursday: Roast Beef

Carrots & Potatoes

Friday: Spaghetti with Meatballs & Kielbasa Sausage

Green Salad

Garlic Bread

Saturday: Hamburgers

(with smoked cheddar, bacon & jalapeno's)

Baked Beans

Friday, October 1, 2010

Recipe Revisited

Fall is my favorite season. I love the cool air, the smells, the colors...
I made these today and thought we should revisit this yummy recipe to celebrate Fall
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Baked French Toast with Berries

This is another one of my favorite Breakfast recipes. This is often served at our MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schooler's) Brunch. It is seriously delicious! It's French bread, soaked overnight in a mixture of eggs, milk and vanilla. Then topped with a streusel like crumb topping, fresh berries and baked. Then again topped with Fresh sliced Strawberries and finished with a dusting of Powdered Sugar. Come on! Yum!
This recipe serves about 6-8, Double if making for a large crowd.

1 French Bread Loaf (Cut into 1 inch squares)
3 Eggs
3 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Ts. Vanilla
2 1/4 cups milk (Sometimes If I'm feeling naughty, I will do 1 1/4 cup milk, and 1 cup half & half)
1/2 cup Flour
6 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon (If you have "Pumpkin Pie Spice, try using it instead, it's delicious!)
1/4 cup Butter (cut in small slices for topping)
1 1/2 cups Fresh Berries (I use Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries)
1 cup Fresh Sliced Strawberries
Powdered Sugar for dusting
Grease a 9x13 baking dish.  Place bread squares in the dish.  It's ok if they overlap.
In Medium bowl, lightly beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and milk (and/or half and half if using)
Pour mixture over bread squares, toss lightly.  Make sure if the slices are overlapping that you spoon the liquid in between and all around the pieces.  You want every piece soaked!
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven 375.
In small bowl, combine flour, butter, brown sugar and spices.  Cut in butter slices until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Scatter mixed berries (EXCEPT STRAWBERRIES) over bread and sprinkle  evenly with crumb mixture. 
Bake 30 minutes, covered with foil, and 10-15 minutes un-covered until golden brown.
Top with fresh sliced Strawberries and a dusting of Powdered Sugar.

The photo was from Taste of Home website, although the recipe slightly different.
I don't know who to give credit for the recipe because it's in our MOPS group. I found many similar recipes on the web.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu #49

Monday: Fajita Panini's

Homemade Potato Chips

Tuesday: Skirt Steak

Chili Roasted Potatoes


Wednesday: Penne Pasta

(Chicken, Goat Cheese, Fresh Tomatoes, Pesto)

Green Salad

Thursday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Cole Slaw & Fried Onions

Friday: Taco Salad

Chips & Salsa

Saturday: Chicken with Spinach & Pepper Jack

Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fajita Panini

Last Christmas I got a panini press. It's been ok - just trying to figure it out with as less mess as possible.
I also got/get the Food Network Magazine - It's been ok - just trying to figure that out with as less mess as possible, too. In each magazine they have little booklets that you can remove. In each booklet are 50 recipes - all focused on one thing such as, pasta sauce, pizza, after-school snacks, summer drinks, burgers, etc... (If I could just get these little booklets, and forget the magazine, I would!)

So, in their October 2010 magazine, Food Network inserted their booklet on..... 50 PANINI!
It totally rekindled my love for panini.

Last night I made Fajita Panini -
Yes. Fajita Panini.

I followed their instructions - which are so simple.

1. Brush the inside of a split sub (I used a crusty loaf of bread) with olive oil.
2. Fill with sliced grilled chicken (I used rotisserie chicken), sauteed peppers and onions, and shredded pepper jack cheese (I used sliced pepper jack).
3. Press and cook until golden.

So your list of ingredients looks something like this:
-- Sliced Chicken Breast (Rotisserie, Grilled, or even that kind you can find in the frozen section in the grocery store that's already cooked, you just reheat, do you know what I mean?)
-- Sliced Onions & Peppers (I used half of a red onion, a quarter of both red & green peppers)
-- Pepper Jack Cheese (sliced, shredded or slivered :))
-- Bread of Choice
-- olive oil for brushing

Heat your panini press. I heated mine to about 350 degrees. (if you are cooking on the stove, preheat a skillet with butter or oil to medium low. Add your sandwich, then press a heavy pan on top to weigh it down. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side -- that's all from FN Mag)
Sautee your onions and peppers in a little bit of olive oil (i used butter, yum), about 5-8 minutes.
It's really all about assembly after that. Put as much chicken, onions, peppers, cheese as you like. Press it like a panini and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melty.

I think next time I will put another slice of cheese on it - and I had cilantro, which I totally forgot to put on it. But I think it would have been so good in it, too.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!

Menu #48

Monday: Asparagus & Shiitake Risotto

Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter


Wednesday: BLT Skewers

Crusty Bread

Thursday: Pepper Jack & Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Mashed Potatoes

green beans

Friday: 16 minute beef & bean burritos

Saturday: Pizza

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back-to-School Breakfasts: French Toast Sticks

I had some time this morning, so I broke out the thick cut bread. The plan was to make a big batch and freeze whatever was left. I think I ended up freezing 5. So, the batch wasn't quite big enough for my 3 kiddo's and me.

French Toast Sticks

8 slices of thick cut bread
2 T butter
4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar (or if using sugar substitute, cut in half again)
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla (I always use a little more. i love that stuff!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 T orange juice

Preheat oven to 375, place the butter on a baking sheet in the oven to start warming.
Cut the bread into 3rds.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl (i always end up pouring it into a shallow bowl - easier to dip the bread in) and beat well to combine.
Dip the bread sticks into the egg mixture and place on the warm baking sheet (make sure to swirl the butter around the whole baking sheet).
Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping the sticks over halfway through the cooking process to toast both sides.

TO FREEZE: allow the sticks to cool thoroughly, place in a freezer bag. To reheat, place in a toaster oven or oven at 375 for approximately 8 minutes. They can be microwaved for a couple of minutes, but may be a bit soggy...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back-to-School Breakfasts: Yogurt & Fresh Fruit

This morning I hit a home-run. My Kindergartner loves yogurt. Today, I simply put a few pieces of fresh fruit on top. Raspberries, Blackberries and banana's. Try some granola on top, too.

For the last 6 months, I've been buying greek yogurt. It has a higher protein value as well as less sugar than regular yogurt. All of which makes you fuller and last longer in your body. Most resources say to get the low-fat or non-fat version, because it can be high in saturated fat. I never paid much attention to the brand I buy, but it turns out mine is full fat. I'm not too worried for my kids, they all need to put on some weight, but you may care. So think about that when your standing in front of the yogurt aisle.

Greek yogurt is also richer and thicker than traditional yogurt. All of which adds to the texture and flavor. The kids find it tastes more like a dessert than a healthy snack or, in this case, breakfast.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back-to-School Breakfasts: Birds Nest

For this mornings try-out, I made Birds Nests...

With a piece of whole wheat bread, make a cut-out with and shape cookie cutter you have. Try to make sure the cutter fits within the perimeter of the crust, so your nest stays pretty.

I buttered the toast and put it on a pan that was warmingover a medium heat. Then crack your egg and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Then flip it over (i had to use 2 spatula's this morning to make sure it flipped cleanly) and let it cook for a couple of more minutes.

The finished product. A fried egg inside a lightly toasted (and buttered!) piece of toast.

The yolk was still soft, too!
I'm scoring big with my 3 year old, but the Kindergartner is still wanting cold cereal. ~sigh~

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back-to-School Breakfasts: Whole Grain Waffles & Banana's

School is starting back up in a week! The summer has flown (and crawled) by. My 4th grader and I are trying to get back into the routine of things - going to bed early, waking up early(ier), and finding breakfasts that my 5 year old (and Kindergartner!) will eat, besides cold cereal.

This morning I saw a bunch of oh-so-ripe banana's in the fruit bowl and a vision of whole grain waffles with sliced banana's on top flashed before my eyes.
So I popped a few waffles into the toaster, sliced some banana's on top and drizzled with agave syrup (if you haven't tried agave, you HAVE to! i love it in place of sugar or honey, or in this case, maple syrup). Agave has less sugar than syrup, a lighter taste than honey and adds the right amount of sweetness.
It's so easy and so good. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rainbow Jell-OOOOOOOOOhhhhh!

A friend of mine made this Jell-O for her daughter's 2nd birthday party. I forgot how much I enjoy a bowl of this gelatin delight with a dollop of cool whip... so refreshing, so delicious, so EASY!
You'll Need:
5-6 small packages of Jell-O in different colors/flavors
Cool Whip (or any whipped topping)

What You'll Do:
Make one recipe of Jell-O at at time, follow the directions on the box.
Then pour into any glass dish. Place in the refrigerator until firm.
Repeat the process with the remaining Jell-O packages.
(I recommend making this the day before a party or get-together, that way it has over night to set.)
Before you are ready to serve, top with cool whip (or any whipped topping).

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm calling this one Salad Pasta...

...instead of Pasta Salad :) Pretty Clever, huh?

A few months ago, a friend of mine made a pasta salad from a recipe on the back of a (gasp!) Simply Pasta box... That gasp! is tongue in cheek - who am I to judge where someone gets a recipe, as long as it is good! And it was. Good, that is.
I've tried to find that recipe a few different times. And when all else failed, I just made up my own. So here is my version of that recipe,

Salad Pasta
4 oz Gemelli Pasta, cooked and cooled
a couple of handfuls of Romaine lettuce (I used half of a bag of salad)
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 small can of black olives or Kalamata olives, sliced
your favorite dressing - i used a Kraft sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (one of our favorites for pasta salad), my friend used a jar of basil pesto and it was delicious!!

I also sauteed some chicken breasts in olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. Then sliced them and served alongside the salad pasta.

Menu #47

Monday: Pasta Salad

Rotisserie Chicken

Tuesday: Caramelized Onion & Proscuitto Pizza

Green Salad

Wednesday: Chili Chicken


Corn Salad

Thursday: Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter


Garlic Bread

Friday: Taco Salad

Guacamole & chips

Saturday: 16 minute beef & bean burritos

spanish rice