Friday, February 25, 2011

Macaroni Salad

Here is another pasta salad that I love!  It isn't the prettiest salad to photograph but it sure is tasty. My friend gave me this recipe about 10 years ago and I have enjoyed making it many times since,  You can use any type of pasta for this dish. I usually like to use Ditalini but the store was out of it, so I used small shells this time.

Macaroni Salad

16 oz of cooked pasta
1/2 bell pepper chopped
1/2 onion (I usually just use a couple dashes of onion powder)
1/2 can olives chopped  ( I use the whole can)
3-4 large pickles chopped
1-1 1/2 C. diced cheddar cheese (I like sharp in this one)
6 hard boiled eggs, diced
salt and pepper to taste
dash of garlic salt
1-2 C Mayonnaise
1/2 C. Sour Cream
2-3 Tbsp pickle juice

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.  Then add next 6 ingredients.

Dressing- In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, pickle juice, salts and pepper.   Mix together and add to salad. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. You may need to add more mayonnaise and salt prior to serving.

Tip: Make sure to cool the pasta before adding the cheese. It will melt it if you don't.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crunchy Oriental Noodle Cabbage Salad And GIVEAWAY

My sister-in-law makes this quite frequently for out family gatherings.  It never gets old. We love it!  It's so easy and quick. My kids and husband don't like green onions, so I usually just add them into my portion. Give it a try, you'll love it!

In honor of our first 1000 hits, I want to do a giveaway.   For this giveaway, the winner will receive 2 customized hair bows courtesy of Creations By Jennie.  Ok actually that's me.  I have another creations blog for other things I like to create outside of the kitchen. I'll customize 2 bows for you. A few samples of styles are on the link above. 

Here's is what you need to do to be the winner.  Send me a post about your favorite recipe of mine so far. Tell me why you liked it and tell one recipe/or type of food you would like to see on my blog. I will choose a winner on March 1st and let you know who the winner is.

Crunchy Oriental Noodle Cabbage Salad

1 large can cooked chicken
1 c. sunflower seeds
2 (16 oz) packages Cole slaw (with the bagged salad) 
8 green onions chopped
2 packages Oriental Ramen Noodles (broken)

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp.  soy sauce
1/4 c. Vinegar
2 flavor packets from ramen noodles

In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients.  In another bowl combine dressing ingredients and stir well. Pour over salad, and toss to coat, just before serving.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pasta Salad

6 and 3 years ago I gave birth to two beautiful girls.  Yep that's right, they have the same birthday!  In their honor I am going to post one of their all time favorites. Pasta Salad

We love pasta salad! That's about all I can say about that.   It's simple, its yummy and you can make a ton and eat it throughout the entire week.  It's very simple. Noodles, veggies, dressing, cheese and maybe even meat.  This is a great dish to use all of those veggies that need to get eaten before they go bad.  Our favorite is to put in shredded Parmesan cheese. You can use any kind of cheese though.  Also we like to put pepperoni in ours.  This time I tried using the pepperoni sticks because I had a coupon for them.  I really liked it that way. Any pepperoni would work though.

Pasta Salad

1 box of pasta (I like the tri-colored rotini for good color)

Any veggies you want
Sliced carrots
sliced olives
cherry or grape tomatoes
sliced bell pepper
purple onion

Cheese( any kind)
1/2-1 bottle of Italian dressing

Boil pasta until al-dente.  Cool and add all ingredients. Stir well and serve cold

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tangy Spinach Salad

A friend of mine made this for me when I got home from the hospital with my 4th baby.  I was never a huge spinach fan until lately and now I am finding some yummy things to do with spinach.  This one is a whole different flavor than your usual spinach salad flavors. Every one that I have served it too has really loved it.  My kids especially love it.  I would have probably never made it just looking at the recipe.  The combo just seams weird to me for a salad dressing. But give it a try, seriously, you wont be disappointed. The original recipe doesn't call for craisins, but I added them to it and it really adds to the salad.  also the dressing is a little thick, like a glaze.  You can add a tablespoon or so of water to thin it out a little.  Don't add too much though, because it will dilute the yummy flavor. The dressing recipe, goes a long way. We use it for two meals.
Tangy Spinach Salad

A bag of Spinach (I like to use baby)
3 hard boiled eggs
1 cup of dried cranberries (like craisins)
6-8 pieces of bacon crumbled

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Add all ingredients in the blender and blend well. (I use one of those hand blenders used for personal size smoothies and such)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Grape Salad

It's salad week here at Mommy's Kitchen Creations!  I've got some super yummy selections for you this week. I've got a wide variety of salads for you all.  Today's recipe comes from my dear mother.  She used to make this Grape Salad for dinner parties. We even had it at my sisters wedding.

The number one key to this recipe is to choose FIRM red seedless grapes.  Mushy grapes are disgusting in this dish! So make sure to pick through and get all of the mushy ones out. Also take out all of those little stems that like to sneak in. The second key to this dish, is to soften the cream cheese to room temperature. Make sure beat it by itself and then beat in the other ingredients. Every time I add everything all at once... the cream cheese end up lumpy. I'm not sure why but it does. 
Grape Salad

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (softened to room temp)
1 jar of marshmallow cream
1 (8oz) tub of cool whip
1 bag of firm purple grapes (de-stemmed)

With an electric mixer, blend cream cheese well. Add marshmallow cream and cool whip. Mix together and fold in grapes. Serve as a side dish or a dessert.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Last night I was having one moments where I was standing in my pantry thinking... hmm what to make for dinner.  I've heard it names, "the 5:00 stare". So true huh?  Anyway, next I dug through my freezer in hopes for something to jump out at me.  And it did. Chalupa.  I am all about freezer meals.  I made this a few months ago and froze the leftovers.  They come in handy when the 5:00 stare hits!

 I got this recipe from a ward cookbook. It's my friends recipe. She cooks it in the oven for a long time. I don't want to use the electricity so I just throw it all in the crock pot.  I love it! So do my kids. That's always a plus right?

1 roast (pork or beef)  I like beef
3 1/2 -4 cups pre-cooked pinto beans
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
1 small can diced green chilies
1 bottle red taco sauce
1 tsp salt.

Place roast in crock pot then add all other ingredients. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred the beef.  Eat with chips and top with lettuce, tomato, onions, sour cream, olives, green onions, shredded cheese, jalapenos and/or pepperoncinnis.

Friday, February 18, 2011

JJ's Spaghetti Sauce

We love spaghetti in our house. We probably have it at least once a week. I decided to make my own sauce and actually write it down as I go this time.  I've made some good ones in the past but can never remember what I did.  This one is really good! I think I would do less Italian seasoning next time. It's a little strong.  Although it would make a great pizza sauce that way. The key to making your own sauce is to let it simmer for a good long while, then taste it...I didn't really do that today so I added too much. The flavors hadn't married together quite yet.  You can always add more later and then simmer it a little more. 

We will start our garden this weekend, then I'll make this with fresh ingredients but today I used everything from food storage.  I had a huge can of tomato sauce from Costco that I used. I also bought a big bag of bell peppers from Costco, chopped them up into one cup portions and froze them a few months ago. So I used one of those bags.  I love having veggies on hand in the freezer for soups and things. All of the herbs, I had in the cupboard.  And the garlic, I pulled from the pre-pressed garlic in the jar. I know fresh is so much better, but lets be honest, sometimes its not always practical. Also, the nice thing about this recipe, is you have enough to put in the freezer for another meal later.  As a mom of 4 I rely on freezer meals quite often. I also love using whole wheat pasta. Costco sales it in a bulk pack. My kids love it!

One quick tip:  Cover the pot when you are boiling the sauce! This stuff flies everywhere and burns like crazy when it lands on you!

JJ's Spaghetti Sauce

1 tbsp Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (Optional)

1 large (#10) can of tomato sauce (6 lb 10 oz can)
3 Tbsp Italian Seasoning (next time I would use 2-2 1/2 Tbsp)
1 tsp onion powder
2 cans petite diced tomatoes (drained)
1/2 tsp basil (dried)
1 tsp parsley (dried)
1/2 tsp Marjoram
5 tbsp sugar (about 1/3 cup)
Salt to taste

In a large stock pot, saute oil, garlic and bell pepper for about 5 minutes, then combine all other ingredients. Simmer for 20-30 Minutes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shrimp Scampi

One of my husbands favorite seafood dishes is Shrimp Scampi.  One day I decided to learn how to make it for him.  I tried to make a copy cat recipe from one of his favorite restaurants.  I found a similar one online somewhere (I can't remember where) and changed it up a bit to make it even better!

Shrimp Scampi

1-2 lbs uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined (I like to leave the tails on)
1/2 C. butter
1 tsp. salt
5 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ C. chopped fresh parsley ( I usually use about 2 tbsp dried parsley)
1 tsp. lemon zest
2-3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter in a 13X9 inch baking pan in oven.  To the melted butter, add salt, crushed garlic, and 1 Tbsp. of chopped parsley.

Stir well, arrange shrimp in baking pan in a single later. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Turn shrimp, sprinkle with lemon zest, lemon juice, and the rest of the parsley. Bake shrimp for 8-10 minutes or until just done. Arrange shrimp scampi on hot serving platter; pour garlic butter from pan over the shrimp and garnish with several lemon wedges. Serves 4-6

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grilled Shrimp

Shrimp is a hot item in this house!  I have a 4 year old daughter who will eat shrimp and crab like its going out of style. I'm not even kidding. Its hilarious to watch her and my husband race to see who can get the last piece. Seafood is one of those things that I have tried to enjoy and really just can't get past the gag reflex to make the operation a success.  For some reason though... I do really well at cooking it, even without tasting it.   This recipe is super easy.  We don't splurge too often to buy seafood because its so expensive. But when we do, we like to buy the big bag at Costco and stretch it a couple meals. Tomorrow I'll share another shrimp recipe that is an even bigger hit for my family.

Grilled shrimp

1/4- 1/2 cup Olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 lb uncooked shrimp shelled and deveigned

Lay shrimp in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Mix garlic and oil together. (you can use canola or vegetable oil also or even melted butter if you want) Drizzle over the shrimp and top with salt and pepper. Let it sit for about 10 minutes in the oil and then lay shrimp on the grill. Cook on low for 3-5 minutes each.side. 

You can also add a splash of lemon juice to the oil mixture for a yummy flavor. (at least that's what they tell me :) )

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cheesy Potatoes

This one is another recipe from my mother-in-law.  It is a definite favorite in my family. I don't know what it is about this dish, but it is one of those comfort foods that just hits the spot. It's another quick and easy one to make too. You can easily customize this dish to your tastes.  We like ours really cheesy, so we add tons of cheese. You can also add a variety of shredded cheeses. I like cheddar the best, but you can use  whatever you have on hand. We also like it crispy on the sides and top, so we leave it in the oven longer.  Mmmm my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Cheesy Potatoes

1 Bag frozen hash browns
1 cube melted butter
2 to 4 tablespoons dehydrated onions
2-3 Cups shredded cheese ( I usually use cheddar)
2 small cans cream of chicken soup (I use one large can)
1 pint sour cream
1-2 more cups shredded cheese

In a large bowl, combine hash browns and melted butter.  Add cheese and onions.  Then stir in soup and sour cream. Mix well. Pour into a 9x13 pan and top with more cheese.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Husband Catcher Cookies

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!!! Back in my single days, we used to call valentines day "Singles Awareness Day."  Isn't it so true?  It's the day that tells the world whether you are taken or single. Gotta love it. I was one of those that never had a valentine on Valentines Day.  True story. My very first Valentine was my husband.  I wouldn't have it any other way either! In an effort to keep from getting sappy... I'll get on with the post. :)

I went to visit a friend of mine in Utah one day. She and her mom were making these cookies. I asked her what they were called and she told me, "Husband Catchers." Ha ha, I love it! They are so good, they'll take away the "single" stamp you've got on your forehead.

These have got to be my favorite cookie ever!  The caramel in these really makes the cookie fabulous. They are delish! I'm not sure where she got this recipe but I'm glad she shared it with me! If you are single...give it a try. Maybe it'll work.

Husband Catcher Cookies

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 c. softened butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)
48 Rolo (caramels in milk chocolate), unwrapped 9 oz. pkg.
4 tbsp. sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda; blend well.

In a large bowl, beat 1 cup sugar, brown sugar and butter until light. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Add flour mixture, blend well. Stir in 1/2 cup of the pecans.

For each cookie with floured hands, shape about 1 tablespoonful of dough around 1 Rolo, covering completely.

In a small bowl put in 4 tablespoons sugar. Roll cookies in sugar and place 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until set and slightly cracked. Cool 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to cool on wire rack.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cheese Cake

I absolutely love this cheese cake!  It's so fast and easy to make.  I have to say, it's so much better than regular cheesecake. This one is light and fluffy.

This time I used the personal sized pre-made crusts.  I also like to use the regular size pre-made crusts. I have a make your own crust recipe as well that I'll post, but I really just like to by it since I can get it for about the same price.

The key to this cheese cake is you want to beat the cream cheese at room temperature by itself and then add the other ingredients.  If you mix it all together at once, the cream cheese gets lumpy.

Cheese Cake

8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

8 oz cool whip

With an egg beater, blend  up cream cheese. Then add sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Blend well then stir in cool whip. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups graham crackers (I like them blended up in the blender)
1/4 Cup sugar
1 cup butter (melted)

Mix well and press firmly in a pie pan. Add cheese cake mixture and chill for at least an hour before serving.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cocoa Roasted Almonds

Its day 4 of Valentine's Week! This one is a great chocolaty treat to sit and snack on while you watch a movie and snuggle with your sweetheart.

I had a friend ask me to make her some Cocoa Roasted Almonds one day. I had never made them. I browsed around and didn't find a recipe that I liked, so I decided to just add to the
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds recipe that I have.  Next time I would add a little more salt to bring out the Cocoa flavor more.  These are really yummy!
Cocoa Roasted Almonds

1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups whole almonds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt ( I would use about 1/2 tsp)
2 Tbsp Cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted butter cooled
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Lightly beat the egg white and add vanilla.  Beat until slightly frothy. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated. Add the butter, stir to coat.  Mix the sugars, salt and cinnamon and sprinkle over the nuts.  Stir to coat, and spread evenly onto a 10x15 inch cookie sheet.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir every 20 minutes. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Ultimate Valentine- Sugar Cookies

My 5 year old daughter gets to go on a special date tomorrow night with her daddy. Her school is doing a daddy daughter dance for valentines day. How cute is that? We were in charge of the cookies for her class party so I thought... why not make a big sugar cookie valentine for her valentine... her daddy!  I think that the daddy daughter relationship is absolutely priceless!  So that's why I named this post, the ultimate valentine.

I found that if you roll them out a little thicker, they tend to keep their shape better.  This time I used the Betty Crocker cookie icing. It dries really quick. I usually just use cake frosting, but I think I really like this kind.
Sugar Cookies
1 C. Butter
1 C. Sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Roll out dough on a floured surface and cut into shapes. Bake 7-10 minutes. Use Frosting to decorate.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pecan Turtles

Today's treat is simple and fun to make.  It's a great one for the kids to help out with and take to their school teachers as a valentine.  My mom made these for me at Christmas time and I loved em! I think I have eaten 5 just since I've started writing this post!

Pecan Turtles
1 bag of Rolos
an equal number of pretzels
an equal number of pecan halves

Unwrap rolos. Place a rolo directly over the center of the pretzel. Put in a preheated 250 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  You want them to get soft but not loose their shape. Remove from oven and immediately place a pecan on top of the rolo and press down. Allow to cool. You can put these in the fridge for a few minutes to let the chocolate harden faster.

A quick tip:  You can also make these using the microwave.  You can place them in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds to soften the rolo.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Its the week before Valentines day! This week I want to share with you some recipes to show your Valentine that you have been thinking of them. Nothing says love and romance like a Chocolate covered strawberry right?  I love these things!!! I really think that I could eat them all day.  They are so much easier to make than people realize.  Here's a couple tips and ideas on how to make them. 

When choosing your strawberries, make sure to get the large bright red ones if you can.  They just look so pretty when they are huge and covered in chocolate. Also I originally was going to say you can use pretty much any type of chocolate, but I found one today that you can't use.  I had some left over Christmas candy that I figured I could melt down and use.  Just a word for the wise... those chocolate oranges still have an orange flavor even though they say milk chocolate on them!  Not so good mixed with strawberries!  Just warning ya. 

For the most part, if it's milk chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips or even the chocolate almond bark... it works.  Also if you want to use white chocolate, the same thing applies. White almond bark or white chocolate chips works great.  I think I like the white chocolate ones the best.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

A Pint of Large strawberries
About a cup of melted chocolate

When melting the chocolate, you can use a double broiler if you have one. I don't, so I just cook it right on the stove and it works fine. I like to use a small frying pan. You do have to have the stove on very low!!  You also have to stir almost constantly to prevent burning. When the chocolate is melted hold the strawberry by the leaves over the pan.  With a spoon, pour the chocolate over the strawberry (or you can dip the strawberry in the chocolate). Leave a little bit of the strawberry showing at the top. Hold over the pan to let the excess drip off. Place on a plate and refrigerate for about 5-10 minutes. This allows the chocolate to harden quickly. I then like to drizzle the opposite color of chocolate on top to give it some character. Put back in the fridge until time to serve.

Worlds Best Chili

It has been really cold here lately. I have enjoyed making some delicious soups to warm up my little ones. I  decided to experiment one day on making my own chili and came up with this one. I love it!!!  It so simple and so full of flavor. One thing that adds some great flavor is to add the can of Chili beans.  This isn't a can of Chili.  There are actually ones called chili beans in the bean section of your grocery store.  They have some chili flavor added to them and make it really tasty. You can also add any kind of beans you want to this one. This is just the combo that I usually use. Also you will want to use Pace salsa.  I've tried it with other kinds and it's just not nearly as good.  Pace really does the trick for this dish! Also if you like really thick chili, drain all of the beans and tomatoes except the chili beans.  If you like it soupy, just open the can and dump it right in.  I like to drain the kidney, pinto and red beans and leave everything else.

I also love to top it with freshly chopped onions, cheese and sour cream. My mom really likes her chili with a little bit if pickle relish. Sweet or dill. You can also add chopped avocado and/or olives. This recipe makes plenty to feed my family of 6 and freeze the leftovers for another meal. It makes a great freezer meal.

Worlds Best Chili

1 Can kidney Beans
2 Cans Pinto Beans
1 Can Red Beans
1 Can Chili Beans
2 Cans petite diced tomatoes
1 lb hamburger (cooked)
1 16 oz jar of Pace salsa.
Salt and pepper to taste.  ( I really like a lot of pepper in mine)

Brown hamburger. Add all ingredients into a large crock pot. Simmer on low for 8 hours. Serve with chopped onions, cheese, sour cream, relish, avocados or olives.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I have really enjoyed making this dish for dinner guests. It's a huge hit! I adapted this recipe from another creamy vegetable soup recipe I got from my friend.  The thing that makes this soup the best, is the sharp cheddar cheese. You can make it with regular cheddar cheese, but it just doesn't give it that robust flavor that the broccoli needs.
Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 cube butter
1/2 cup flour
6 cups milk
2 potatoes cubed
2 bunches broccoli chopped
1/2 onion diced
1 can chicken broth
2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese 

Put all vegetables in a pan with a half cup water. Cover and cook on low to steam until tender. Stir frequently.

In a stock pot on medium heat, melt butter, add flour and stir until thickened.  Slowly stir in milk and stir until thickened (it will get creamy... not really thick.) Add vegetables, broth and stir in cheese.  let simmer (10-20 minutes) until vegetables are soft. stir frequently to prevent burning.

Cucumber Punch

Girls night outs have become a huge hit in my little group of friends. Especially as a mom, it's nice to stop and take a little moment for myself, to help me rejuvinate a little bit. One night we had a pamper party at my friend Ambers house.  We had massages, pedicures, eyebrow waxs, and of course FOOD! Cucumber punch was on the menu that night and I have been hooked ever since.  If you are anything like me... I was thinking, cucumbers in punch? Really? That is just weird right?  Just try it once and you will be hooked too. The cucumbers give it a really light flavor. It compliments the lime very well. One thing to remember is, do not make up the limeade by adding water, just pour it in straight. You can also easially make this with sugar free soda and limeade for a diabetic friendly drink.

Cucumber Punch

2 (2 liters) of any lemon lime soda
1 can of frozen limeade
1 cucumber sliced

Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl. 

Sweet Corn Side Dish

My mother-in-law makes the best corn in the world. Every time we would go to their house for dinner and corn was on the menu, I would load my plate. Something about it was just so yummy. Her corn was always so sweet. Finally I asked her how she makes it. She told me her secret ingredient. Are you ready for this?  Sugar! That's it, just sugar.  So simple yet I never thought to add sugar to my corn.  Also, it works best with frozen corn. For some reason, it just tastes so much better than out of the can.  Of course when corn is in season, fresh is even better!

Sweet Corn Side Dish

4 cups of frozen corn
4-5 tablespoons of sugar
4-5 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp salt

Put all ingredients in a small pot on the stove. Cook on low until heated through. (about 15 minutes) Stir Occasionally.