Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

You will need:

2 # lean ground beef
2 eggs
1 c. dry bread crumbs
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 t. seasoning salt
1/2 t. black pepper
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. sugar

1 (20 oz.) can of pineapple chunks, drained BUT save the juice
1/3 c. water
3 T. white vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. seasoning salt
a handful of baby carrots
1 large green pepper, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease baking pan.

For meatballs:
Mix together beef, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, ginger, seasoning salt, pepper Worcestershire sauce and sugar. Shape into 1" balls. Place in baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes; set aside.

For sauce:
Add enough water to saved pineapple juice to make one cup. In a large pot (I used a stir-fry skillet thing), combine the juice/water mixture, 1/3 c. water, vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir in cornstarch, ginger and seasoning salt till smooth. Cover and cook until thickened. Stir in pineapple chunks, carrots, green pepper and meatballs into the sauce. Gently stir to coat the meatballs with the sauce. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

I served over brown rice. SO GOOD!!

For freezing, I made the meatballs but did NOT bake them. I stored them in a Ziploc freezer bag. I made the sauce and added the fruit and veggies toward the end and just kind of stirred them in...didn't cook the 20 minutes. I put this in a separate Ziploc freezer bag.

When it was time to prepare the meal for eating, I baked the meatballs a little longer than stated above because they were still frozen a bit. I brought the sauce to a boil, added the meatballs and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes until it was heated thoroughly and then served.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I was so excited to find this recipe!! Granola bars have gotten pricey lately...plus they've cut the quantity from 10 down to 8. This is a recipe that you can make with your kids--they are easy to make and taste DELICIOUS! Joel & I had a lot of fun making them last night before bedtime. The kids enjoyed eating them this morning after church for their snack.

I found the recipe here.

1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. honey
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 c. quick cooking oats (I used Old Fashioned)
1 c. Rice Krispies cereal
1/2 t. vanilla
2 T. mini chocolate chips (I used regular size...maybe about 3-4 T.)

In a bowl, combine oats and cereal together; set aside.

In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium-high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased pan (the recipe called for a 12x8 pan--I used a 9x13) and press to about 3/4" thickness. (Be sure to pack really tight so that they will stay together!!) Sprinkle with chocolate chips and press them into the oat mixture. Cool to room temperature (about 2 hours) before cutting into bars. If they don't seem to stay together when you cut them, put them in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden up a bit. (I had to do this and it worked great!) Store at room temperature.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Marinated Pork Chops

You will need:
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. vinegar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. prepared mustard
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. dried parsley
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
6 pork chops (I think chicken or steak would work great too!)

Combine all of the ingredients and marinade pork chops overnight in the fridge.

I baked my pork chops, with the marinade in a 9x13, at 350 degrees for 1 hour. You could also grill, if you chose (discard the remaining marinade if you grill).

*I combined all of these ingredients in a Ziploc freezer bag and froze. I pull the meat from the freezer and let it thaw overnight (the meat marinates as it thaws).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Choco-holic Cake

I found this recipe a long time ago...not real sure where from, but it looks like I tore it out of a magazine. If you are a chocolate lover, you should love this! YUM!!

You will need:

1 pkg. (18.25 oz.) chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. (3.4 ox.) chocolate instant pudding & pie filling mix
1 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream
4 eggs
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 bar (2 oz.) Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
1 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
3 T. butter
2-3 T. water
1 t. vanilla

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 12" bundt pan. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, milk, sour cream and eggs in large mixer bowl. Beat on low speed just until blended. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until done (toothpick comes out clean). Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Then transfer to a serving plate.
*If desired, you can add 1 c. chopped walnuts in when you add the chocolate chips.

For glaze:
Melt baking chocolate and butter in saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar alternately with water until desired consistency. Stir in vanilla. Pour glaze over cake.

ENJOY!! :)

Easy Vegetable Soup

This soup is SUPER easy to make!! I usually use canned vegetables because that is what my mom always used, but I'm sure you could use frozen vegetables if you chose. And the great part about this recipe is that you can pretty much change it up to your family's preferences.

I use:
1 can of corn
1 can of lima beans
1 can of cut green beans
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 c. onion, chopped (used about 1/2 c.)
3/4 c. carrots, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1 large can of tomato juice
hot sauce, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
basil & oregano, to taste

I just throw all of this together in the crockpot and let it cook for the day on low.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

No-Bake Cereal Bars

I have made these no bake cereal bars for quite a while now. They are SO GOOD but I want to WARN you...be sure to make them when you can share with someone!!

Joel needed a treat for Cub Scouts so I decided to make these. I had seen a recipe a long time ago that used Cheerios instead of the Rice Krispies, so I decided to try that this time. Cheerios weren't bad but having them made with Rice Krispies is definitely our favorite!!

1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. Rice Krispies (or Cheerios...I've also used corn flakes)
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips

Spray a 9x13 pan (for thicker bars) OR a jelly roll pan (for thinner bars) with cooking spray.

Mix sugar and syrup in a large pot/dutch oven and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the cereal. Pour mixture into the sprayed pan. Press into pan until even (I usually do this by spraying the back of a large spatula and start pressing from the middle out to the edges.).

Melt butterscotch and chocolate chips together--you can do this on the stove top over low heat or in the microwave. Just be very careful not to burn! Frost the bars.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Party Bread

This recipe is one I've had for a while. One of the girls I worked with several years ago brought it to a meeting and it was SO YUMMY! I have continued to make it over the years. Since having kids, I've started to leave the green onions off of half so that they can/will eat it. I've also used this a lot for parties where I've had to take an appetizer or a side...most people really enjoy it!

You will need:
1 loaf of Italian or French Bread (Italian bread is easier to work with)
8-16 oz. of Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (I only use 8 oz.)
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2-3 t. poppy seeds
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

Set oven to 350 degrees.

First cut your bread lengthwise and then crosswise--I usually make two long cuts down the length of the bread and then make several cuts across the width of the bread about 1 - 1 1/2" apart. Place the loaf of bread on a piece of foil that will be big enough to wrap up the bread.

Then shove the cheese into all of the slits in the bread.

Combine the melted butter, poppy seeds and green onions and pour evenly over the bread. Sometimes I'll sprinkle dried basil over the top of the bread.

Wrap the bread up in the foil, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Then undo the foil so that the top of the bread is exposed and bake for 10 minutes more, or until cheese is all melted.

ENJOY!!! :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chicken Stuffed Shells

Love this dish! We can get about 3 meals out of this so I divide it up and then freeze what we can't eat in one meal.

You will need:
1 box Jumbo Shells
1 box Stove Top Stuffing (we used Chicken flavor)
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 c. cooked, chopped chicken
1 c. mayonnaise (light works fine)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 soup can of water
1 c. Parmesan cheese

Cook shells according to package directions. Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions.

Add celery, chicken and mayo to prepared stuffing; mix well. Fill cooked shells with about 2 T. of stuffing mixture. Put shells into a 9x13 dish or 2 or 3 8x8's.

Pour soup & water into a bowl and mix with a whisk. Pour soup over stuffed shells. Top with Parmesan Cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

To freeze: Cover with foil.

To serve: Thaw completely. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

I found this recipe at Freezer Friendz.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This is our favorite homemade salsa recipe!! I am hoping to make some this week!

You will need:
2- 10 oz. cans Ro-Tel
1- 26 oz. can whole tomatoes (w/most of juice, but not all)
2-6 t. canned, diced jalapenos (6 t. is VERY hot!)
1/2 c. red onion, diced
1 1/2 t. garlic salt
1 1/2 t. cumin
1 t. sugar
2-3 stems of cilantro
juice from 1 lime (I used about 1/4 c. bottled lime juice if I don't have a lime.)

Place everything in the blender (or food processor)and blend well…do not puree!

Chill & serve with tortilla or pita chips.

ENJOY!!! :)

**You can use fresh tomatoes if you have them!! YUM!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I love guacamole! Just made some of this today! YUM!!

You will need:
3 avocados, remove the seeds and scrape out the inside
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c. lime juice
1 t. salt
1 t. fresh, minced garlic
about 1/4 c. red onion, chopped
cilantro--don't really know how much I used...maybe like 6 sprigs, chopped

I put the avocado and lime juice in my food processor (or blender) to get the avocado nice & creamy. I also mixed in the other ingredients (EXCEPT for the tomatoes), to get everything finely chopped and mixed well. Scrape into a bowl and stir in chopped tomato. Chill. Serve with tortilla chips (pita chips are yummy too!).

ENJOY!! :)

*If you do not have a food processor or blender, you can just mash the avocado with a fork, it just won't be as creamy.

Sausage Casserole

This is one of my favorite breakfast casseroles! I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.

You will need:
3/4 of a package of a sausage roll (I used "regular" and added salt & pepper and probably about 1/2 t. of rubbed sage), cooked and drained (I have also used the turkey sausage crumbles by Jimmy Dean.)

3 small potatoes, shredded, drained (I soaked up the water with a paper towel)

1/4 c. butter, melted

3/4 of an 8 oz. bag of shredded cheddar cheese

chopped onion, based on your preference (I probably used about 1/4 c.)

1 c. cottage cheese

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8x8 dish with cooking spray.

Stir together potatoes and melted butter. Spread into bottom of baking dish. In a bowl, combine sausage, cheddar cheese, onion, cottage cheese and eggs. Pour over potatoes.

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until done.

*This is half of the original recipe. If you need more, double it and put it in a 9x13. The amount of butter above was the amount for a 9x13...I accidentally forgot to halve it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Bake Energy Bites

I thought I'd make these today because I had everything on hand. I thought they tasted pretty good. I found the recipe at Smashed Peas and Carrots. Update: I just found another version of these here. I'm going to have to try these too!

You will need:
1 c. oatmeal (I used old fashioned oats)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. honey
1 c. coconut
1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (I used regular sized chocolate chips)
1 t. vanilla

Mix everything in a medium bowl until well mixed. Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then roll into balls and enjoy!

Store in refrigerator for up to a week.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

Sorry...I always mean to take pictures but I forget. :(

I made Chicken and Dumplings the other night for the first time. It was really good! We all really liked it but I'd probably change a few things. This was a good recipe to start with.

I found the recipe here.

You will need:
4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken
6 c. chicken broth
1 c. water

For the dumplings:
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 1/4 t. salt
1 c. plus 2 T. milk

Pour chicken broth and water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat.

To make the dumplings, in a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and milk. Stir until smooth and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to a 1/2" thickness. Cut into 1/2" squares (a pizza cutter makes this job very easy!).

Drop each dumpling square into the simmering broth. The dumplings will partially dissolve to thicken the broth to make a gravy. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until thick. Stir often. Add the chicken and cook another 5 minutes. Season with pepper.

I served this with mashed potatoes and green beans.


*Next time I would consider adding celery, carrots and some other seasonings to the broth/gravy portion of the recipe. I'd also cut back on the dumpling recipe, would probably cut it in half but I'm not sure how this would affect the gravy. The dough for these was super sticky...but I also had a "helper" in the kitchen so I may have lost count of the number of tablespoons of milk I added. ;) I'll have to pay more attention next time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chicken Quesadillas

Do you have one of these?

I love to make Chicken Quesadillas in it. YUM!!!

You will need:
Burrito sized flour tortillas
Shredded cheese (we prefer a mexican blend)
Cooked, cubed chicken
Tomatoes, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Green chiles (I used canned--chopped & peeled)

I place the cheese on the tortilla first and then layer all of the other ingredients. I place a second tortilla on top and then put in the quesadilla maker and cook for 4 minutes. So easy and good!

There are so many options for quesadillas. My kids would prefer JUST cheese but I make them eat some chicken in there too. I am also able to get away with cilantro in theirs and NO ONE complains! ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Peanut Butter Pizza

We used to make this a lot when I was younger and lived at home. I remember it being really good...my sisters do not remember it at all...neither does my mom...but I KNOW that I am NOT making it up! HA! My daughter received a kids' cookbook and there was a similar recipe in it. It was one of the things she had picked to make. Her recipe called for a few extras that we did not have on hand but otherwise it was the same...and just as good as I remembered it! :)

Peanut Butter Pizza
You will need:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
2 c. marshmallows
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Mix together sugars, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and egg. Add flour. Press into 12" pizza pan or onto stone to make a crust--make a rim around the edge.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Then sprinkle marshmallows and chocolate chips (M&M's are good too!) on top. Bake until marshmallows brown a bit.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheesy Grub Sandwiches

I made these tonight for dinner. Everyone really liked them!! I found the recipe at Real Mom Kitchen. I also made these homemade fries...YUM!!

You will need:
1# ground beef
2 t. McCormick Montreal steak seasoning
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
3/4 c. milk
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Brown beef in a skillet with the steak seasoning and Worcestershire sauce until full cooked. Drain off grease (I also rinsed my meat with hot water) and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat until it turns golden brown. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil; cook until thickened. Remove from the heat and blend in cheese until melted and smooth.

Add cheese mixture to the beef mixture. Stir until combined.

Serve on hot dog or hamburger buns.

Cranberry Chicken

I found this recipe in our church cookbook. I've passed over it for a few years thinking that maybe some day I'd get brave. In my opinion, it has a strange combination of ingredients. Well, I got brave and I have to say we were all PLEASANTLY surprised! :) And it is super easy to make! Thanks Cathy B. for sharing this recipe!

You will need:
6 chicken breast halves
1 can cranberry sauce
8 oz. Western salad dressing
1 packet of dry onion soup mix

Place the chicken in a baking dish. In a bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, dressing and soup mix; whisk it together. Pour over the chicken. Bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours.

*NOTE: The recipe called for whole berry cranberry sauce. I only had the jellied kind of cranberry sauce in my cabinet so that is what I used. It also said you can use fat free Western dressing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ham & Cheese Sliders

I have been seeing recipes for Ham Sliders popping up all over the internet lately so I thought I'd give them a try. I made them for our small group last week and I think they were a hit! :)

I pretty much used the recipe I found at Comfy in the Kitchen.

You will need:
1# thinly sliced ham lunch meat (I used Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Smoked Ham)
8 oz. package Swiss cheese slices (I used Kraft Big Slices)
12 larger Hawaiian flavored dinner rolls
1/2 c. butter or margarine
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/3 c. brown sugar

Cut each of the rolls in half so that you can make a sandwich. Make sandwiches with ham and cheese--I used about 4 slices of the lunch meat and half of a slice of cheese. Place these sandwiches in a 9x13 baking dish.

In saucepan on stove top, combine butter, mustard, Worcestershire, poppy seeds and brown sugar. Bring to a low boil. Pour evenly over the tops of the sandwiches.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

I used to have a bread maker when Tim & I first got married. I used it quite a bit. It quit working shortly after we moved here 6 years ago so I'm wondering if it was damaged in the move?? So I've been several years without one. I decided that I would buy one with some money that I received for Christmas. It has been great!! The kids love having the fresh bread and have fun helping make it being it is SO EASY!!

We made these last night for this morning's breakfast. The kids LOVED these!! I found this recipe over at Money Saving Mom.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups flour (Add a bit more if dough seems too wet after first few minutes of kneading in the bread machine.)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Filling: (MSM doubles this...I did not and my family thought it was plenty)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup brown sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons (or less) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the dough ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed and run on the dough cycle. After the dough cycle is finished, roll the dough into a large rectangle and spread it with 2 Tablespoons melted butter and 2/3 cup brown sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon cinnamon.

Roll up and cut into 10-15 rolls and place in two greased round cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until browned. Spread the icing on as soon as they come out of the oven.

You can also cover the unbaked rolls with plastic wrap, stick them in the refrigerator overnight, and then bake in the morning. (This is what I did. I had to bake them a little longer than the 20 minutes, closer to 30 minutes.)


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chicken Salad

I love Chicken Salad! I make it several different ways but this is one of my favorites.

You will need:
2 1/2 c. cooked & cubed chicken (canned chicken works well too if you're in a hurry)
1 c. thinly sliced celery
1 c. red grapes, cut in half (you can use green too...I prefer red)
1/2 c. chopped onions (I've used sweet or red onion)
1/2 c. light mayo
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. cider vinegar
1 1/2 t. yellow mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1/8 t. pepper

Combine chicken, celery, grapes and onions together in a bowl. Combine remaining ingredients for sauce and pour over chicken mixture. Refrigerate for an hour or so and serve.

This is super yummy on croissants; but also good on a whole grain bread.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Freezer Cooking Day

With the cheap price of chicken and pork loin this week at Meijer, I decided to do a little bit of freezer cooking the other day. I haven't done this in a long time so it was fun getting a lot of stuff done for future use. A lot of these recipes are new to our family so I'll have to let you know what I think later. ;) I will also post the recipes that do not have links later in another post.

In about 4 hours I was able to make:

New! Cranberry Chicken
New! Cabbage Rolls (2 meals)
Banana Bread (2 loaves)http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Chicken Southwest Roll-ups (3 meals)
Beef Southwest Roll-ups (3 meals) Note: I changed the chicken to cooked ground beef.
New! Bada Bing Pork Chops
New! Honey Mustard Chicken
New! Breakfast Burritos (enough for 13 breakfasts)
New! Pulled Pork for Sandwiches (2 meals)

I saved enough plain chicken and plain pork for one meal each. I will choose what to do with these later.

I also had leftover cabbage that I chopped up and put in a bag to freeze. I will use this to throw into some soup some time. I also had some celery in my fridge that was meant for something and I didn't end up using it. So I chopped that up as well and put into two ziploc bags, 2 cups each. I will also use this in soup.

Do you put meals in the freezer for future use? If so...what are your favorite recipes?