Saturday, April 30, 2011

Grilled Pineapple

If you have ever been to a Brazilian restaurant, you know how awesome grilled pineapple is.  Oh I love this stuff! It's so sweet and delicious, it almost melts in your mouth.  It's so lice outside right now and great grilling weather! Try this out, your family will love it.
Grilled Pineapple

1 pineapple
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)

Slice pineapple (without skin) into long thick chunks. Lay them on a cookie sheet or large plate.  Sprinkle them with brown sugar and let sit for about 10-15 min.  Until they juices start to sweat and mix with the brown sugar to form a glaze.  Turn pineapple to the opposite side and sprinkle with more brown sugar. Place on the TOP rack of a preheated grill. About Medium heat. Grill for about 20-30 minutes rotating when needed.

Hint- you can grill them on the bottom rack on very low heat and just watch them because they will cook a lot faster. The slow cooking makes it so it doesn't dry out and gives it a delicious flavor.
Hint- When you see a recipe calling for brown sugar it means to pack it in the measuring cup and smash it down firm.  If you are not supposed to do it, the recipe (like this one) will state otherwise.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chewy Granola Bars

Our dear friends are heading out to Washington today. I wanted to make them something to snack on while they drive that is a little more on the healthy side.  I found this recipe over at Real Mom Kitchen.  I changed it up just a bit. I got a tub of mix nuts from Costco that are honey roasted, by Ann's House. They are so yummy and have a great medley of nuts.  I thought they would be so good to add to this mix.  I was right! So instead of the almonds... I just did 1 cup of chopped nuts. I also accidentally forgot the apples.  They were sitting on my counter and everything.  The granola bars are good, but the apples would really add some yummy flavor! Come to think of it... I forgot the cinnamon this time too.  Wow this prego brain is really getting to me!!! I guess that goes to show, this recipe is so easy, and you can mix and match any flavors that you are after.

This recipe is super easy. Don't let the list of ingredients intimidate you.  If you don't have something... leave it out. Except the oats of course :) They are the main attraction. Although I didn't have quick oats so I used my
Coach’s Oats that I had in the pantry.

Chewy Granola Bars

 3-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 Cup chopped nuts (I used honey roasted Cashews, almonds and macadamia nuts)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup shaved sweetened coconut (regular coconut will do)
1/2 cup chopped dried apples (I left this out)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I left this out)

Spray a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with cooking non-stick cooking spray.  Add oats and nuts to the pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, mix the egg, butter, honey and vanilla together. Then add the sunflower kernels, coconut, apples, cranberries, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir to coat.

Then stir in oat mixture and press into a cookie sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 13-18 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Olive Garden's Alfredo Sauce

This recipe comes straight from Olive Garden. I love it when they give out their own recipes! I couldn't find just plain Romano cheese at Wal Mart so I just got the Parmesan/Romano mix and did a cup of it.  Also something I learned real quick...Dont get the powdered stuff, get the actual grated ones. The powdered form, makes it too grainy. This recipe, serves 4
Olive Garden's Alfredo Sauce
Ingredients1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup imported Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup imported Romano cheese, grated
6 egg yolks from fresh jumbo eggs
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heat milk and cream in a heavy bottom saucepan until it begins to simmer. Turn off heat. Slowly whip in cheese, then remove from heat.
Place egg yolks in a separate bowl and slowly whip in a portion of the hot milk and cream mixture. Slowly add egg yolk mixture back into remaining cream mixture. Place back on very low heat and continually stir until simmering. Take sauce off heat so it thickens. (This will increase temperature of egg yolks, known as tempering).
Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ham and Potato Casserole

My mom used to make this for us all growing up.  I tweaked it a little to accommodate my families tastes.  She used to do this same recipe, but add frozen peas to it. She also left out the cheese.  This is a great way to use some of those Easter leftovers.

I apologize for the picture. My camera phone does not do this dish justice!

Ham and Potato Casserole

8 Medium potatoes cubed (4-5 large)
2-3 cups cubed ham
1 large can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
2 cups frozen peas (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until they are firm but cooked through. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients. Including cooked potatoes.  Stir until combined. Pour into a 9x13 Baking dish. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

Here's a great idea on how to use some of those leftover potatoes sitting in the pantry.  The nice thing about this dish, is that you can custom make them without much effort.  Just make the basic recipe and then top it with whatever you and your family likes.

Twice Baked Potatoes

4 large baking potatoes
1 cube butter
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub potatoes really well and place on a cookie sheet.  Coat all sides with oil, (vegetable, canola, olive) This helps to make it crispy. Poke the potatoes multiple time with a fork. (this keeps them from exploding in your oven) Bake at 400 for just over an hour. Or until they are cooked through.

When they are done, allow them to cool slightly.  When they are cool enough to handle, lay potato on a side and slice long ways taking off the top 1/3 of the potato. Scoop out the 2/3 portion of the potato into a bowl, leaving a little bit around the edges to provide support. (Scoop out the 1/3 portion also if you need extra potato to add to the mix.)

Smash or mix potato "pulp" with softened butter, sour cream and salt and pepper. (you can add a little milk to make it more creamy if you want) If you use egg beaters, be sure not to over mix or it will get too sticky.

Fill the potato boat with the mixture and top with cheese. (we like sharp cheddar) Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until heated through

Top with your favorite toppings, like green onions or bacon and serve immediately.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

World's Greatest Strawberry Pie

My mom discovered this pie glaze years ago, and I've never tasted a better strawberry pie.  It's super easy too.  All you need is Strawberries, (of course) uncooked pie crust and strawberry flavor Danish Dessert. It looks like this.
The only place that I know of in all of AZ that carries it is Bashas. And only a few of them do.  You can find it just about anywhere in Utah, but AZ hasn't quite caught on yet. So, if you see us in the airport coming home from Utah, with a suitcase full of this stuff... now you know why. This would make a great dessert to add to your Easter dinner.

World's Greatest Strawberry Pie

Pie crust
1 pint of strawberries, sliced and de-stemmed
1 box of Junket Danish Dessert
Cool Whip

Crust:  Roll out pie crust and lay evenly in a pie 9 inch pie pan. (or you can buy them pre-cooked already in a pie pan... in the freezer section) Bake at 350 for about 8-10 minutes, until crust begins to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Filling: Make the filling by following the instructions on the back of the box, for the pie glaze. Allow to cool completely (you don't want the strawberries to get cooked.) Stir in sliced strawberries and pour immediately into the cooled pie crust.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours to let it set and top with cool whip.

Tip: To make a pretty edge to the pie crust. (not like the picture above... I had a stubborn pan when I made this one. lol) Before cooking the pie crust...Push dough towards the edge slightly with index finger of left hand a push dough slightly with the thumb and index of the right hand from the edge towards the center of the pie.  Your thumb and index of the right hand should be on either side of the left hands index finger.  Wow, that was harder to explain than I thought. Good luck

Friday, April 22, 2011

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

If you have never been to red lobster... you are missing out. Who cares about the seafood...they have these biscuits that are heavenly. My mother-in-law makes some seriously good ones.  I took her info and created my own recipe. It's going to be a huge hit for Easter dinner. They are so pretty too! In her words... Don't even think about counting the weight watchers points for this dish.  They are super easy. There are a few steps to them, but very simple ones.
Garlic Cheese Biscuits

2 1/4 C. biscuit mix (I used Bisquick)
2 C. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 C. Half and Half

Garlic Butter:
1 cube butter
3/4 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine biscuit mix, cheese and half and half in a bowl. (you can use milk or even water in place of half and half... but this way is so much better!) Stir until combined. Dough will be slightly moist. Drop the dough onto a cookie sheet. (do not roll, they get too hard)

In a small bowl combine butter and garlic salt and melt in the microwave.

Dust biscuit mix lightly with garlic salt and parsley flakes. Brush uncooked biscuits with garlic butter .

Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  When the dough peaks get light brown... they are done. Don't over bake!

As soon as you pull them out of the oven, brush the biscuits with the rest of the garlic butter. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deviled Eggs

You can't have Easter without eggs right?  These Deviled Eggs will make a great side to add to your Easter dinner. I used to always make these with Mayonnaise.  Then for a family bbq, my mother-in-law made them with Miracle Whip. It gets it a little more of a tangy flavor. Either way... super yummy! This recipe is for just two eggs, to make 4 deviled eggs.  So depending on your crowd, you can double, triple etc the recipe.
The main thing is to add enough mayo to make it really moist.

Deviled Eggs
2 hard boiled eggs cut in half
3-4 tbsp mayo or miracle whip (enough to make it good and creamy)
small squirt of yellow mustard (about 1/8 tsp at most)
pinch of salt
generous amount of pepper

Cut eggs in half and remove yolk.  Combine yolk and all other ingredients in a bowl and smash with a fork or beat with egg beaters until creamy. Pipe or spoon mixture back into each egg. (Only in the part where the yolk was.)

Sprinkle each egg with a pinch of paprika and garnish with finely chopped parsley and/or green onion curls. (see how to, below)

How to make green onion curls

Trim the green parts of the green onion into long narrow strings.  Place in a bowl of ice water. (make sure they are submerged) after about a minute, they will curl themselves. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Celebration Brownies

It's Easter time!  I've got some amazing recipes for you this week and next.  This week we will cover some good Easter dinner type recipes. Next weeks will include some fabulous ideas for leftovers! So don't be afraid of having extra ham, potatoes, eggs etc.  I've got you covered. 

Today's post comes from Good ol Betty Crocker.  I changed it up just a bit. It's super easy and turns out so festive, I love the way they look!!! If you are a brownie lover, this is a fabulous recipe.  I'm not a huge brownie lover and still liked these. You may also like to try my Mohaffes Mooshey Brownies.  They are Divine as well.

Spring Celebration Brownies

1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) brownie mix (I used the fudge brownie mix)
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup pastel-colored candy-coated chocolate candies
1/4 cup (heaping) semisweet or milk chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon shortening (I used butter)

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray or shortening. Make brownies as directed on box-except bake 5-6 minutes less. Sprinkle with marshmallows; bake 5 minutes longer or until marshmallows are puffed and golden. (they will puff a lot and then come back down after a little bit outside the oven.) Sprinkle with candies.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave chips and shortening uncovered on High 10 to 15 seconds; stir until smooth. Drizzle over bars. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. For easier cutting, use plastic knife dipped in hot water.

Special thanks to my dear friend Stephanie for taking the picture!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Srawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Our friends made this for us one time and we all just fell in love with it. This salad is so light and fresh! It's also, super easy.  I asked for the dressing recipe, and come to find out, I had it all along. It comes from a book called The Essential Mormon Cookbook. 

We got this book as a wedding gift. I didn't realize what a great book it was until just lately when she showed me this recipe. The only strange thing to me about this recipe, is that it is a poppy seed dressing, and the poppy seeds are optional.  I don't know about you but that seems quite funny!

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing 


Baby spinach
1 pint of strawberries sliced
1-2 cups Candy Coated Chopped Pecans (recipe below)

In a large bowl, pour in desired amount of spinach. Top with strawberries and pecans.  Serve with poppy seed dressing.

Poppy Seed Dressing

1 1/4 Tbsp    poppy seeds (optional)
3/4 Cup        vinegar
1/2 cup         sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp    grated onion
1 1/2 tsp       salt
3/4 tsp          dry mustard
1 1/2 cups    vegetable oil

Mix everything in a blender. Refrigerate unused dressing for future use. Keeps up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Candy coated pecans


Chop pecans and pour into a skillet.  Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over the pecans.  Over medium low heat, stir continuously until sugar is melted and begins to crystallize.  Remove from heat and let cool on a plate.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Easy Homemade Baby Food (vegetables)

Buying baby food adds up so fast.  It can be a huge damper on your budget.  Although it's nice to have, I enjoy making my own when I can. It's so easy too. And healthier.  The best way to store it is to pour it into ice trays and freeze them as ice cubes.  Then once they are frozen, just dump them into a freezer bag and pull from them as you need. I like to just take a day and do a huge variety to stock up on different ones.  We got some sweet potatoes in our basket from Bountiful Baskets so I figured I would make up some for my daughter. This one is a lot thicker because she is so much older.  If you have a younger one, just add a little more of the juices into the blender. That will make it an easier consistancy for baby to swallow. 

Easy Homemade Baby Food 

1-2 cups water
3-4 cups chopped sweet potatoes

Clean and peal sweet potatoes and cut into cubes. In a pot, add water and sweet potatoes. Steam at medium heat, covered until tender.  Make sure to keep an eye on it. If the stove is up too high, the water will boil out and burn the potatoes. When tender, put sweet potatoes into a blender. (Reserve the liquid.)  As you blend, add leftover liquid from your pot (this has a lot of good nutrients in it). Be sure to add just a little at a time, so that you can get the consistancy that you want.  Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, dump into a freezer bag that is labled with the type of food and the date. When ready to serve, thaw as many cubes as you need in a sandwich bag under warm running water and pour into a bowl. You can also add rice cereal if you need to thicken it up.

Some vegetables have a little bit higher water content than others. The water you use to steam with will depend on that.

You can do, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, butternut squash etc with this recipe. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

This recipe comes from Paula Deen.  As you know by now, I love my soups! This one has got to be the best soup on the planet! I changed it up a little bit from her recipe, to make it even better for us.  Mmm, I love this soup. The best part, is that it tastes just like lasagna. It's amazing!
Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

1 lb ground beef
1   onion, chopped
3   cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
1   (32 ounce) box chicken broth
2   (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
2   (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups broken lasagna noodles
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large stock pot, combine ground beef, onion, and garlic. Cook until browned. Stirring occasionally. Drain well. 

Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Top with mozzarella and serve immediately.