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.  

No-Bake Candy Bar Pie

Review by Rachael:

8oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
8 oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 butterfinger candy bars, crushed & divided
9 inch graham cracker crust


Cream together the cream cheese and powdered sugar
Fold in the whipped topping and half of the crushed candy bar.
Spoon mixture into the graham cracker crust
Sprinkle remaining crushed candy bar on top; refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

I had seen this recipe floating around Facebook and thought I would give it a try. As you can see by the recipe, it is really easy to prepare. The hardest part is waiting the 4 hours while it sets! 
I cut back and only used 3 candy bars, which was plenty. I would actually put a little more than ½ of the crushed candy bar in the pie mix and a little less as topping. This is a little rich for my taste, but it was good. A little goes a long way. Jason loved it so I’m sure we will be making it again….next time we will get crazy and try a different kind of candy! 

Dreamy orange smoothie

Review by Rachael:

2 cups Orange Juice
1 cup vanilla ice cream or milk
1 tsp. vanilla
6 ice  cubes

1.       Place all ingredients in blender container.
2.       Blend on HIGH 30 to 60 seconds until frothy and smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down sides.

I only tried these because the recipe was on the side of our orange juice container. They were very tasty and refreshing. Everyone loved them! Reminded me a little of an orange Julius. We will definitely make again! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Funfetti cookies

Review by Lyndee:

1 Box of Cake Mix (I used funfetti)
2 eggs
1/3 C Cooking Oil

Set oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together.  Roll dough into balls and bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 6 minutes.

You can make these with any flavor cake mix and also add candy, chocolate chips, fruit, etc.  They are incredibly cheap and easy to make.  I made mine pretty small (portion control) and got 2 ½ dozen out of the batch.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sweet chili crab dip

Review by Lyndee:

2 blocks of cream cheese
Chopped green onion
1 can crab
1 tbsp Worcestershire
2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp garlic powder
Sweet chili sauce

Mix all ingredients but the sweet chili sauce.  Chill for an hour.  When ready to serve, cover with sweet chili sauce. Serve with crackers.  

I’ve made a few hot crab dips but I needed something that didn’t need to be warm for a get together over the 4th so I threw this together.  I think it turned out super tasty.  Warning that if it sits in room temperature for too long it gets a little runny so you might want to keep it on an ice pack.  The flavor is awesome and a little goes a long way.  

Peanut butter pudding cookies

Review by Lyndee:

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 small (3-4 oz) package of vanilla pudding
2 cups reeses pieces

Mix together peanut butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, vanilla and pudding mix until completely combined.  Stir in Reeses pieces. 

Scoop out 1 tbsp balls and place on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes. 

These were easy to make and made a huge batch! They are a “thick” cookie.  Pretty tasty if you like peanut butter…which, who doesn’t? 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Healthified Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Review by Lyndee:

1 can (10 3/4 oz) 98% fat free 45% less sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1 container (8 oz) fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
8 yellow corn tortillas (6 or 7 inch), torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend (6 oz)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix soup, chiles, sour cream, milk, chili powder and cumin until blended. Stir in chicken, tortillas and bell pepper. Stir in tomato and 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon and spread mixture in baking dish.

Cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.

Instead of the tomato and bell pepper I substituted ½ a cup of picante sauce.  I also used low fat tortillas and a 2% Mexican cheese blend.  I added a dash of hot sauce and a few shakes of black pepper to my ingredients as well.  Mine was a bit runny.  I’m guessing because of the salsa.  But once I let it stand for a few minutes it was game on.  This tasted great and was very easy to make.  Next time I will make it when the kids are there for dinner because the boys would love it. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bacon, Spinach and Chive Tortilla Roll-Ups

Review by Lyndee:

1 package (8 oz) of cream cheese, softened
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
6-8 green onion stalks, chopped
one handful of baby spinach, torn in pieces
1/2 packet of ranch dressing dry mix
4 8-inch Mission flour tortillas, warmed

Mix the chopped green onions, crumbled bacon, torn spinach, cream cheese and ranch dressing mix in a large bowl. Mix until well blended.

Heat tortillas in microwave for about 20 seconds or so. You do not want the tortillas to be hot, just warm enough that they are pliable. Lay tortillas flat, scoop filling and place in the middle of the tortilla.  Spread out the filling using a butter knife or rubber spatula, making one even layer. It will not be entirely perfect!  Roll tortilla as tightly as possible until it is completely rolled up.

After all 4 tortillas are rolled, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This will make cutting the tortillas much cleaner and easier. The next day, remove tortillas from the plastic wrap and place tortillas on a cutting board. Slice 1/2 inch pieces with a serrated knife. I use a serrated bread knife.

I accidentally added the entire pack of ranch mix so I added another cream cheese and I’m glad I did.  The bacon, spinach and onions were plentiful and this way I was able to make 7 roll ups instead of 4.  I didn’t heat my tortillas like the original recipe said to and it was fine but I had just bought them fresh.  If they’ve been sitting in your fridge, I would suggest doing so. 

These are absolutely delicious!! I love them. They may be one of my new favorite roll ups.  Easy to make, different than your standard Mexican roll up and there’s spinach so I’m counting that as healthy.  Ha!  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jello cake

Review by Lyndee:

1 white cake mix
1 box strawberry jello (or flavor of your choice)
1 tub cool whip

Make cake according to directions on box.  Let cool.  Prepare jello as directed.  Once the cake is cooled, poke random holes in the cake with a straw, chopstick or knife.  Set in fridge for at least three hours.  Once ready to serve, spread cool whip across the top for your frosting. 

It doesn’t get much easier than this cake.  And it’s so yummy! I love having jello cake in the summer because it seems so light and fruity.  I’ve yet to meet anyone that doesn’t love jello cake.  We had this at my birthday party last weekend and I only got one tiny piece because the party-goers devoured it in a flash.  

Pizza Rolls

Review by Lyndee:

1 frozen bread dough (thawed)
Shredded cheese
Italian seasoning
Garlic powder

Spray a frozen loaf of bread with nonstick spray and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to thaw for a few hours at room temperature. Roll dough out to approximately 11 x 11 square. Lay pepperoni on dough covering entire surface. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle on Italian seasoning and garlic powder.  Start at one edge of square and roll up dough.  Brush some melted butter on the top and sprinkle with garlic. 

Bake at 375 degreees for 15-25 minutes (until top turns golden brown). 

This was easy to make and tasted pretty good.  I wanted sauce though.  I dipped it in some marinara but next time I would add it to the dough before putting on the pepperoni and cheese.  You could add whatever ingredients you wanted (other meats, veggies, etc) to customize your pizza roll.  I cut my roll in half before baking.  One bread dough made enough for three-four people.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Buffalo chicken taquitos

Review by Lyndee:

4 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
12 soft taco, flour tortillas
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated (I used colby jack) 
4 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese
1/3 cup Frank's hot sauce
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash or seasoning salt 
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small sauce pot over medium low heat, melt butter.  Add Mrs. Dash, garlic powder and Cajun seasoning. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Add cream cheese and stir until melted and completely combined with butter and spices. Wisk in hot sauce and milk and simmer for 5 – 8 minutes. Add salt to taste. Combine chicken and sauce.

Lay out a tortilla; fill with about ¼ - 1/3 cup chicken and 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese.  Tightly roll up taquito and place on a greased baking sheet; repeat until chicken is gone. Brush taquitos with vegetable oil on all sides. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes; rotate them every 5 minutes, until golden brown.

These were so yummy! The boys gobbled them up and the two that were left got eaten a few hours later as a snack.  Very easy to make and tastes great.  I used 6 oz of cream cheese because I had that much left.  I used canned chicken breast and the flavor was still great.  I didn’t turn them every 5 minutes.  Just brushed with the veggie oil and then baked.  They came out a nice crispy, golden brown.  These are definitely going into the dinner rotation. 

Cheesy Bacon Onion Dip

Review by Lyndee:

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided
8 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces OR 1/2 cup bacon bits
1/4 cup onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pie dish or other small oven-save dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a medium bowl blend together cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo until creamy. Stir in 3/4 cup Swiss cheese (about half). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute your onions for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat using 1 tablespoon of olive oil or reserved bacon drippings. Add to the creamed mixture and stir until evenly distributed. Spread this mixture evenly in the bottom of your prepared baking dish.

Next, sprinkle the remaining swiss cheese over the top of the creamed mixture. Finally, sprinkle the bacon evenly over the top. Season with a little bit of freshly ground pepper on top. At this point, you can cover it and put it in the fridge for up to 5 days or continue and bake it up!

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dip is bubbly and cheese begins to turn golden brown. Serve with crackers or chips!

I made this in the crockpot for a birthday party.  Mixed as directed but added half the bacon to the mixture. Then sprinkle with remaining cheese and bacon and cook on low for 3 hours. I served with tortilla chips and ritz crackers. This dip disappeared before some of the people at the party even got a chance to try it.  Yum! Will definitely be making this dip again.  

Sex in the driveway

Review by Lyndee:

We were looking for a fun summery drink for my birthday party and there’s just something appealing about a drink that’s blue. 

1 oz blue curacao
1 oz peach schnapps
2 oz vodka (citrus or regular)

Mix alcohol over ice and fill the rest of the glass with sprite.  Garnish with citrus fruit if you wish. 

We slice up oranges, lemon and limes and froze them.  When it was time for the party we made a huge batch of this using 12 oz of the blue curacao and peach schnapps, 24 ounces of vodka and filled the rest of the container with sprite and the frozen fruit.  It was a huge hit at the party. Will definitely be making this again!