Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cajun chicken alfredo lasagna (reduced fat)

Review by Lyndee:

2 cans of 97% fat free diced chicken breast (10 oz)
1 jar Ragu light alfredo sauce
2 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
6 lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded Italian cheese (or 2% mozzarella)
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil 6 noodles per the directions on the box.  Meanwhile, drain chicken and add to a skillet with Cajun seasoning and black pepper. Break up the chunks while it warms through.  Add alfredo sauce and cream cheese.  Melt together, stirring occasionally. 
When noodles are done, drain and set three on the bottom of an 8x8 or 9x9 pan.  Layer with the chicken and alfredo sauce, shredded cheese and repeat.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let set for a few minutes before serving.  Add parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes if desired. 

The kids even liked this! Of course, I didn't tell them it was reduced fat. I just let them eat away! 

Weight Watchers slow cooker cheeseburger soup

Review by Lyndee


cooking spray
1 medium garlic clove minced
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium celery stalk chopped
6 baby carrots chopped (not in original recipe but I’m glad I added it)
1 red chili pepper (also not in original recipe)
1 lb uncooked lean ground beef ( with 7% fat)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups canned chicken broth, divided
1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
8 ounces Kraft Velveeta reduced fat cheese product cubed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
24 baked corn tortilla chips, crumbled (optional)

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds.
Add garlic, onion, celery, carrots and pepper to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Coat a 3-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray; spoon in vegetables.
Place same skillet over medium-high heat and brown beef, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, pour off any liquid and add meat to slow cooker.
In a small cup, combine flour and 1/2 cup of broth; stir until lump-free. Pour flour mixture into same skillet; add remaining 2 1/2 cups of broth.
Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon, and then pour into slow cooker; stir in evaporated milk, cheese, paprika, salt and pepper.
Cook on low setting for 2 hours.
Serve soup topped with crumbled chips.

Yields about 3/4 cup of soup and 3 tablespoons of chips per serving.

Note: If the soup cooks too long, the cheese could separate.
If that happens, combine 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup of soup in a cup; stir to a paste.
Stir flour mixture back into soup in slow cooker; cover and cook on low setting for 10 to 15 minutes (does not affect POINTS values).

This soup was awesome! It was so good I didn’t add the tortilla chips.  Figured that was just wasted calories and I liked it without just fine.  Excellent flavor and I’m a sucker for crock pot soups.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Apple pie snickerdoodle cookie bars

Review by Lyndee:

One 16.5 oz tube of Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
One 20 oz. can of apple pie filling
Cinnamon sugar (¼ cup of granulated sugar & 4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon)
Press 2/3 of the cookie dough into the bottom of an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the cinnamon sugar. Spread the apple pie filling over the cookie base. Take small amounts of the remaining cookie dough, flatten it slightly and place over the pie filling. It will not cover the pie filling completely.
Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.  Bake in a 350* oven until the cookie dough is baked - mine took about 35-40 minutes.  Allow bars to cool and cut into squares.

This looked to be a lot of cinnamon sugar when I was making it so I only used about 2/3’s of the mixture and it still had great snickerdoodle taste! This was super easy to make and made the house smell amazing.  I took this to a birthday party and tried my piece with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Can you say YUM?!?! Some ate it plan and some used whipped cream.  Regardless of how you dressed it, this dessert was a total hit.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baked margarita spaghetti squash

Review by Lyndee:

1 spaghetti squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large roma tomato (chopped)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil (I used dried)
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Using a large knife, slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Use a spoon to remove the seeds and center strings.  Drizzle the two halves with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and garlic.  Place the squash, open side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes.   Remove from the oven.  Check to see if the squash is soft and easily comes up with a fork into a spaghetti like texture.  If it’s too hard, bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, scrape and fluff the stringy squash with a fork.  Leave the squash in the skin. Turn the oven to broil.  Add the tomatoes and basil into the squash.  Stir and top with mozzarella cheese.  Broil for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

This was really good.  Easy to make.  Healthy and gluten free.  I’m a big fan of spaghetti squash so it was fun to find a new way to enjoy it.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rolo bars

Review by Lyndee:

1 box (18.25 oz) yellow, vanilla or white cake mix, dry
5 oz evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
40 Rolo Candies, unwrapped and cut in half

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  With your mixer, beat cake mix, evaporated milk and butter until combined. Mixture will be thick and sticky. Divide batter in half and press 1 half into the bottom of the pan. Bake until just set, approximately 8-9 minutes. Remove base from oven and place Rolo candies, caramel-side down on top. Drop remaining batter on top of Rolos in teaspoon sized amounts. Bake for 24-26 minutes longer until top begins to golden. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

These were easy to make.  Cutting up the Rolo’s is a little annoying but was definitely worth it. Do not overcook your first bake when you are trying to set the crust! It’s going to continue baking after you put on your Rolo’s and the rest of the batter.  These went over well at the fundraiser and were a nice sweet treat.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not your average grilled cheese BLT

Review by Lyndee:

2 slices French bread
1 slice cheese (I used American but any flavor you love would work)
4 pieces bacon (cooked)
1 slice of tomato

Butter one side of each piece of bread.  Set a piece butter side down in the pan.  Add half a piece of cheese, the bacon, tomato and then the other half of cheese and the top bread (butter side up).  Grill in the pan until golden brown and the cheese becomes melty. 

I had a hankering for a grilled cheese the other day. But I kind of wanted a BLT too.  And I had a tomato on the counter that needed to be used up.  When I went to look at our bread supply I realized we were out of sandwich bread so my choices were a hamburger bun or a loaf of French bread.  This is when I decided I was going to make a grilled blt, minus the lettuce because let’s be real, warm lettuce is gross.  This was amazing!! I actually moaned when I took the first bite. I instantly sent a picture to my sister bragging about the best grilled cheese, BLT, random sandwich I have ever made that can be made in under 10 minutes.  Winning! 

Parmesan & garlic green bean fries

Review by Lyndee:

French Green Beans (I used fresh green beans. Wash and snap off the ends)
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
pinch of Pepper
Salt to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425°.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and add green beans.
Drizzle oil, parmesan, and garlic powder over the green beans. Toss the beans in the mixture.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crispy. I like to mix them up about half way through. Sprinkle with salt when done. Serve them with Cajun Aioli (mayonnaise mixed with Cajun seasoning). Enjoy!

I’ve been trying to come up with new sides that are low carb and when I found these, I was excited.  I love green beans and I had a bag of fresh ones, so it seemed like the perfect fit. Simple to make and a fun twist on your conventional veggies.  I thought they tasted excellent.  So good, I didn’t even bother making the aioli because I just ate them as is.  I’m a big fan of these and will definitely make them again.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

French Dips in the Crockpot

Review by Lyndee:

2-4 pounds of some type of roast meat (rump roast, chuck roast, etc!)
1 can (10.5 oz) beef broth
1 can (10.5 oz) french onion soup
1 bottle or can (12 oz) beer (or equal amount of water or broth)
french rolls or other crusty rolls
sliced cheese (Swiss, Provolone…I used pepperjack)

Place your roast in the crockpot and pour the broth, french onion soup and beer on top. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours. About 30 minutes before eating, take out the meat and shred. Place meat back into the juices and stir to flavor all the meat. Split your rolls and top with sliced cheese. Bake at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes or until rolls are nice and toasty. Top rolls with shredded meat and add a cup of the au jus (yummy meat juices) on the side to dip your sandwich in. 

This recipe was awesome! It couldn’t have been any easier to make and the taste was superb.  Such a great variation to our traditional roasts in the crockpots I’ve always made.  I will definitely be making these again.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Crockpot Italian chicken

Review by Lyndee:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 block cream cheese
2 cans cream of chicken
1 packet Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot.  Cook on low for four hours.  Serve over pasta or rice. 

It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe.  I love the dump it in the crockpot and go method.  And this was delicious! I added a sprinkle of garlic and some parmesan cheese over egg noodles and I’ve been eating it for lunch all week.  Yum! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cheddar bacon ranch rollups

Review by Lyndee:

2 blocks cream cheese
6 strips bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 ranch packet
Pack of flour tortillas

Let cream cheese soften to room temperature.  Add ranch packet, cheese and crumbled bacon.  Spread on onto tortillas.  Roll up and set in fridge to chill for a few hours.  Slice up before serving. 

These were ok.  Not my favorite rolls ups ever. Just a bit bland.  I think next time I would add some green onion and a little garlic powder to the cream cheese mixture.  Or maybe a few more pieces of bacon. They were definitely easy to make though and they all got eaten at the party so that’s what counts. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Meat & noodle casserole

Review by Lyndee:

½ cup diced onion
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 pounds lean ground beef, pork or turkey
½ bag macaroni or other noodles
1 cup cheddar
1 cup mozzarella cheeses
2 tbsp cream cheese
optional seasonings: I used salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic and a dash of hot sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brown onions and meat in pan.  Boil noodles according to directions and drain.  Once the meat is browned, mix in cream cheese and diced tomatoes.  Remove from heat and stir in noodles.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove tinfoil and top with the shredded cheeses.  Bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is golden brown.  (This can also be refrigerated overnight and cooked the next day. ) Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy. 

I used ground pork for this recipe because it was something different and I had it on hand.  I used egg noodles instead of macaroni.  The original recipe did not call for the cream cheese but I felt it was a nice touch.  I made mine last night and warmed it up today for lunch.  I added a little bit of spaghetti sauce as I knew it probably dried out a bit in the fridge last night.  It was a pretty tasty casserole that was easy and cheap to make.    

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Super simple bisquick chocolate chip cookies

Review by Lyndee: 

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
2 3/4 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 oz)

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in Bisquick mix, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, d about 2 inches apart; flatten slightly. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

These were a very easy cookie to throw together and they tasted great. I did small cookies for portion controls o we ended up with 36 and the boys enjoyed a few bites of cookie dough as well.  You could easily add white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, cranberries or nuts to these for some variety.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fruity white cake (healthified)

Review by Lyndee:

This wasn’t meant to be a blog post but I made this cake last week and the boys loved it so I thought I would share it here.  Just a few easy steps make this an awesome summer sweet treat!

1 white cake mix (lemon cake mix is great too when topped with fruit)
1 can diet 7-up or spite
1 container fat free cool whip
Sliced fruit

Mix cake mix and soda together in a bowl. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 pan.  Spread batter in pan and bake according to directions on the box.  When cooled top with cool whip and fruit.  I used strawberries and kiwi this time but you can use peaches, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or whatever fruit trips your trigger.  It’s light, fun, healthified and delicious!!! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Potato & ham casserole

Review by Rachael:

2 cups potatoes, cubed
2 cups ham, cubed
1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
¼ cup finely chopped minced fresh parsley
¼ cup butter
1 tablespoon chopped onions
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups milk
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces processed cheese, shredded

1    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.  Combine potatoes, ham, corn & parsley; set aside. In a saucepan sauté onion in butter for 2 minutes, stir in four until blended well. Gradually add milk & pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat & pour over the ham mixture. Stir to mix well.  Pour into greased 7x11 baking dish. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake 5-10 minutes longer until cheese melts.

I had some ham to use up and found this recipe. I had everything on hand except for a can of corn. I used dried parsley that I had in the cupboard. The prep takes a little bit of time but it’s not a hard recipe. 1 tablespoon of onion just didn’t seem like enough so I ended up adding more: I didn’t measure it, I just added.  I took mine out after it had been in another 10 minutes with the cheese on it, the cheese wasn’t exactly like I was hoping but I didn’t want to overcook the dish. I also had some homemade bread crumbs that I want to use up so I sprinkled a light layer of those on before I put on the cheese.

Next time I would not put so much parsley, it was good but a little too much for my liking. I also added a lot of pepper & salt after it baked to give it some more flavor. All & all it was a good, flavorful dish. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Olive oil bread dip

Review by Lyndee:

I’m pretty much a carb addict and I love me a nice baguette or rolls dipped in olive oil “stuff” like you get at nice Italian restaurants.  When my hubby brought me home some fresh bread I decided to give this a try, because let’s be honest, a girl can only eat so much toast. 

1 tbsp minced basil
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp rosemary
¼  tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp olive oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice about 1/8th of a tsp

Combine all ingredients except olive oil and lemon juice.  Mix in food processor or with a fork.  Stir in lemon juice and olive oil. 

To serve: combine about 1 ½ tsps of spice blend to 3-4 tbsp olive oil in a small dish.  Dip bread of choice. 

This didn’t come out perfect.  I realized while typing this that I didn’t add the lemon juice and olive oil to the spice prior to adding the larger amount of olive oil.  That may be why it tasted much better once it sat and melded together for a few minutes.  It was a lot of measuring but pretty easy to make and something fun to do with bread.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Baked zucchini crisps

Review by Lyndee:

My friend Kara has gotten me totally addicted to the baked zucchini from Crunchtables.  Not kidding, I probably eat it 3 times a week or more.  My mother-in-law brought over some zucchini from the garden the other day so I decided I would attempt to make my own version of this delicious dinner side. 

3 large zucchinis, cut into rounds ¼ inch thick
3 large eggs
½ cup flour
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tsp. dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil.  Arrange 3 shallow, wide bowls or pie plates in a row. In the first bowl, stir together flour, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together eggs, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. In the third bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, oregano, and ½ tsp. salt.  Working in batches, first dip zucchini in flour mixture, then transfer to egg mixture and toss until coated. Finally, coat zucchini in breadcrumb mixture. Arrange zucchini in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes then using tongs, flip the coins over and cook for another 7 to 12 minutes more.

These were ok.  Not quite as good as the ones I buy but definitely healthier. I think I should’ve cooked them a few minutes longer to get that desired crispiness.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Gram’s Fat Free Pineapple Cake

Review by Jami:

This recipe was my grandmother’s and I don't know how she came across it, but she made it frequently, especially after she no longer cooked much. My mother can still hear her chuckle about all the rave reviews from her card club friends.  She shared it freely and now at least half of Iowa has her secret fabulous recipe...guaranteed to get the same rave reviews.

1 box of angel food cake mix
1 can of crushed pineapple

Heat oven to 350 before mixing. Do not butter or flour the pans you are using. Place pineapple in the bowl and fold in the cake mix. Bake as directed.

Fat free frosting: 1 fat free Cool Whip mixed with 1 or 2 fat free flavor yogurt containers (I like raspberry but feel free to experiment). Top with fresh fruit if desired.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mashed cauliflower

Review by Lyndee:

1 bag frozen cauliflower pieces
8 oz cream cheese (I used a reduced fat onion and chive)
2 tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Boil cauliflower according to directions on bag.  I added a dash of salt while it was cooking.  Drain and mash cauliflower. Add cream cheese, butter, salt and pepper to taste. 

My mother in law makes this all the time and it’s always awesome.  Her version tastes way better than mashed potatoes, to me.  Mine was a little lumpy.  Don’t think I cooked the cauliflower quite long enough. I mashed it with a fork the best I could.  Then I tried to use a hand held mixer and I had chunks flying all over the kitchen. Bad idea there.  Even though mine wasn’t smooth and creamy like hers, it was still super tasty.  If you want to do a healthy swap use a light cream cheese or do half cream cheese and half greek yogurt.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Review by Lyndee:

1/4 + 1/8 cup honey
3 tbsp soy sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 pork loin chops, boneless, trimmed of excess fat, 4 oz each

In a shallow dish, whisk together honey, soy sauce and garlic. Coat chops in mixture.
Reserve left over honey mixture for basting. Place chops on greased grill over med high heat, close lid and cook, basting 2 times.

Number of Servings: 6

These were ok.  Rob liked them better than I did. I mixed up the marinade (adding a splash of sesame oil) and let the chops soak in the fridge for 3 hours.  I baked them at 350 for 35 minutes. Then I broiled them for 2 minutes to caramelize the honey.  I’m not sure if the flavor would’ve been more prominent if I had grilled them or what.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Overnight Ham and Cheese Breakfast Enchiladas

Review by Lyndee: 

2 cups cubed and cooked ham
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
10 flour tortillas (6-8 inches)
1 1/4 cup half-and-half
4 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
salsa, sour cream, and additional green onions for serving

In a medium bowl stir together ham, green onions and 2 cups of cheese (save the remaining 1/2 cup for later). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to scoop out cheese mixture onto a tortilla. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down in the baking dish. Roll up all tortillas and place them into the baking dish with the sides touching.
Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, salt, and flour. Pour over tortillas. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350º. Bake covered for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over enchiladas. Bake for 10 more minutes or until tops are golden brown and the egg mixture is set.   Serve with salsa, sour cream, and additional green onions.

I was a little skeptical of this recipe.  When I poured on the egg mixture it didn’t seem to cover much area and I didn’t want dry, crunchy tortillas.  I baked it last night and warmed it for breakfast this morning to have all week.  It was surprisingly excellent.  Very tasty! I added just a tiny bit of salsa and sour cream on a few bites but it wasn’t needed because it’s so rich and yummy.  Definitely will put this on the docket for when company is coming to town.   

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mom’s Zesty Tomato Soup

Review by Jami: 

I love this soup so much, I usually make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. I prefer it spicy but feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper to your personal taste level. It doesn’t take much to give this soup zip, so start small if you’re not a fan, or do away with it completely.

The original recipe adds a slice of bread pulverized in the food processor, but I eliminated this step altogether as the soup is thick enough without the extra carbs.

½ onion, diced
Red pepper flakes
28 oz. can of whole tomato
1 tbl brown sugar
1 bay leaf
Olive oil
1 cup veggie broth

Saute onion until tender in olive oil with red pepper flakes and bay leaf in a soup pot. Add the can of whole tomatoes with juice (do not drain) and brown sugar. Cook briefly until warm and sugar is dissolved. Remove bay leaf.

Using a hand blender is the easiest way to blend ingredients, right there in the pot. Add another tbl of olive oil and the broth, blend until smooth.

At this point add spices to taste, I like some garlic and basil while Mom adds a tbl of brandy. I also like to add extra protein, as I often struggle to meet my daily recommendation. Unflavored protein is great because you can cook it into almost any dish, just blend well. In this case, I like some hemp seed protein which adds a little bit of a nutty flavor with a slightly chewy texture. This is all optional so please experiment and let us know the results. I would love to hear your personal recommendations. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Puff & Stuff Spinach Rolls

Review by Jami:

I had some artichokes that I’ve never used. I bought them on a whim to experiment with, but always got distracted by some younger, better-looking recipe. I went online and watched a few videos about how to cut them, none of which were super helpful. I’ve decided that fresh artichokes are too annoying for a lazy gal like me, and from now on I’ll stick with frozen or jarred. Anyway, I got through the ordeal, chopped up the ‘chokes, added spinach, cream cheese and garlic. I smeared it on a puff pastry and baked till golden.

I would like to add that one should be careful about removing all of tough outer leaves. I think I got wrapped up in using as much as I could and left a few chewies on there. It just seems wrong to cut away most of the item and just use the small inner bit. Regrettably, my frugalness got the better of me on that one.

1 fresh artichoke or several jarred hearts
½ package of frozen spinach
½ package of cream cheese (I like the light, but use whatever you prefer)
1 tbl of chopped garlic
1 sheet of puff pastry

Chop artichoke and mix with other ingredients. Unthaw the pastry sheet and place on a cookie sheet. Smear a layer of spinach mix onto the pastry. Roll into a log, cut into slices and bake at 350 until pastry is crisp and golden (about 20 minutes)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lazy cake cookie bars

Review by Lyndee:

It was a crazy, busy week with lots of travel, tragedy and heartbreak.  But the bright spot of my weekend was a visit from an old friend that I adore.  She was coming Saturday afternoon and I wanted to make a dessert to have on hand, but didn’t want to spend all afternoon doing it. So I found this recipe and gave it a try.

1 box yellow or white cake mix (I used yellow)
2 eggs beaten
5 T melted butter
2 C M&M’s or mini chocolate chips (I used regular size chocolate chips)

Mix all ingredients together.  Put in a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 min or until golden brown.  Cut and serve once cool. 

These were definitely easy to make and tasted pretty good for as little effort as they took.  You can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookie bars.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Growing green onions

I've seen posts on here that you can "regrow" green onions and was intrigued. I finally tried it the other day because we go through green onions in our house faster than toilet paper.
The directions were easy: Take the white ends that are left after you use the green stalk.  Place them in a jar of water and sit in a sunny spot.  They will start sprouting in a couple of days. Just clip off what you need and change out the water and rinse the roots every so often.
I put three little stubs in the water four days ago and holy cow, look what I have now! This is awesome! Success!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pork Roulade

Review by Lyndee:
Caution, this looks way harder to make than it really is.  And it's so worth the few hours wait while it bakes in the oven.

2-3 pound pork loin
1 pound Italian sausage
1 pound bacon
Minced garlic

Fresh parsley
Fresh basil
Olive Oil

 Preheat oven to 400.  In a food processor chop up parsley, basil, garlic and olive oil until it creates a nice pesto consistency.  Set aside.  Filet your loin in half lengthwise so it unfolds into one big piece of meat.  Using a meat mallet, pound your loin flat.  Cover with pesto. Sprinkle on some minced garlic. Layer on the uncooked Italian sausage.  

Start at one end and roll tightly.  Cover with bacon strips and tie up with meat string.  We didn’t have any of this on hand but we asked the nice guys at the Hy-Vee meat counter and they gave us a little bit to use.  

Bake for 3-4 hours until the roulade reaches 165 degrees on your meat thermometer.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Just before serving remove the string and slice up. If you don’t want to bake it you could do this on the grill too. 

This was amazing! All the flavors came together in a beautiful way. The bacon on the outside was crispy and wonderful. The pesto and sausage flavors blended throughout the loin.  We ate this with some roasted baby potatoes.  It would be great on French bread as a sandwich for leftovers too! Delicious and something totally out of the ordinary than what we usually cook.  Yum! 

Mom’s super easy sloppy joes (maidrites)

Review by Lyndee:
I don’t know about where you come from, but around here sloppy joes are a very popular potluck and dinner dish.  I’ve never been a big fan of manwich but I love the way my mom makes sloppy joes and they couldn’t be easier. 

2 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tomato soup

Brown ground beef in a pan with some chopped onion.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Once cooked through, turn heat to medium and add your canned soups.  Stir.  Add a squeeze of ketchup and stir again.  Cook until soups mixture is warm, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.  Serve warm on a bun or over mashed potatoes.  

Bacon Spinach Cheese Ball

Review by Lyndee:

6 slices bacon
6 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper     

In a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside to cool and drain on paper towels. Chop when cool.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from the skillet. Add the spinach and cook over medium heat until wilted and cooked through. Sprinkle the spinach with salt and set aside on a cutting board to cool. Chop finely when cooled.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook until it's translucent and a tiny bit golden at the edges. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Add cheese, onions, garlic, half of the chopped bacon, chopped spinach, and cayenne pepper and stir well. Roll the cream cheese mixture into a large ball and then roll in the remaining chopped bacon. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.

This was my first time ever attempted a cheese ball.  First of all, make sure your onions are cooked through. Mine were still a bit crunchy.  Also, crumbled the crap out of your bacon. I used half within and half to roll the ball in like directed but as you can see from the picture, it barely covered my ball.  The taste was very good but the presentation was lacking some style points. It was more of a cheese blob than a cheese ball.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cinnamon Toast Crunch bars

Review by Lyndee:

4 cups mini marshmallows
¼ cup butter
4 ½ cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal

On the stove over low heat, melt butter and marshmallows, stirring constantly.  Grease an 8x8 pan with butter or nonstick spray.  Once butter and marshmallows are melted, stir in cereal until well coated.  Press into pan and let cool.  Cut and enjoy. 

These were super easy to make.  Just like rice krispie treats but with cinnamon toast crunch.  If you don’t like the cereal, these bars aren’t for you.  But if you do, this is a fun and easy twist to a traditional cereal bar dessert.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cheesy Ham Biscuit Pull Aparts

Review by Lyndee:

1 egg
2 T. milk
1 (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Biscuits
3/4 cup diced ham pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
3 oz. (3/4 cup) finely shredded Mexican-styled cheese
1/2 t. granulated garlic

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 11 x 7 or 12 x 8 glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat egg and milk with a wire whisk until smooth. Separate dough into individual biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters. Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly. Fold in ham, cheese, onions and granulated garlic. Spoon mixture into prepared dish, arrange biscuit pieces in a single layer.

Baked at 350 for 23 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. You can either cut into squares or just pull apart and serve.

This was ok. Not my favorite breakfast ever.  I think I would try it again but use 2 eggs and bacon instead of ham.