Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweet & Sour Kielbasa

Being a Polish girl, I can't help but love kielbasa. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom has been making sweet and sour kielbasa. A few years ago I finally asked her for the recipe and I've been making it ever since. Hopefully someday I'll be able to pass it down to my daughter as well. I like to make this and serve it over rice, but it's also good as an appetizer at a party or great to bring to a potluck dinner! (Sorry no pictures right now, this doesn't photograph very well!)

Sweet and Sour Kielbasa

  • 2-3lbs kielbasa, cut into 1/2" slices (I like to use turkey kielbasa but beef works just as well)
  • 1 32oz Jar Grape Jelly
  • 1 18oz Jar Apple Jelly
  • 1 18oz Jar Orange Marmalade
  • 1 32oz Jar Spicy Brown Mustard (I like to use Gulden's, but any one will do)

Add jellies and mustard to 5Qt slow cooker and stir. Add sliced kielbasa and stir into the jelly mixture. Cook over low heat for 2-4 hours or until jellies are melted and kielbasa is cooked to your liking.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Being a mom of two and having a full time job, I don't get much of a chance to see my friends. Friday night, I had the opportunity to have the girls over for the night and I needed the perfect dessert to serve. It was a potluck and I figured that since most everyone was bringing appetizers and entrees, that I'd do dessert. We all LOVE cheesecake and when I came across this recipe in a Taste of Home book, I couldn't help but give it a try!

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake


  • 1 1/2 Cups Crushed Oreo Cookies
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 4, 8oz pkg Cream Cheese (I used 2 regular and 2 reduced fat)
  • 1 1/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 9oz Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Seedless Raspberry Preserves

Place a greased 9-inch springform pan on two sheets of aluminum foil, securely wrap foil around pan. Combine crushed cookies and butter. Press into bottom of springform pan.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add eggs, beat on low speed until just combined. Set aside 1 cup of batter. Pour remaining batter over crust.

In a microwave, melt chocolate. Stir in preserves until blended. Stir chocolate mixture into reserved batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls over the plain batter (do not swirl). Place springform pan in a large baking pan. All 1 inch of hot water to larger pan (cooking this way will keep your cheesecake from cracking).

Bake at 325 degrees for 65-75 minutes. Center will be set and top will appear dull rather than shiny. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer and then place in refrigerator overnight.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 4/26/2010

We've had a ton going on this past week, and I haven't had a chance to post any new recipes...and that makes me sad! I promise this week I'll get back on the ball and post some new recipes. After all, I made an absolutely delicious Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake on Friday night for girls night that I'm sure you'll be dying to try!

My husband is on vacation this week, so things are going to be a little bit unusual this week. Also, tomorrow I'm going in for diabetes testing, so it is possible that our menu may change depending on the outcome of the that.

But, for now...our menu is as follows:

Pancakes (from the freezer)
Cold Cereal

Ham/Turkey Sandwiches

Monday - Ravioli with meat sauce
Tuesday - Chicken Nuggets (never got to these last week)
Wednesday - Mexicali Casserole
Thursday - Sweet and Sour Kielbasa w/ Rice
Friday - Pizza Soup
Saturday - Chicken Cordon Bleu
Sunday - Beef Stroganoff

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jelly Donut Muffins

I found this recipe when going through blogs from the 5 Minutes for Mom Ultimate Blog Party! Honestly, who doesn't love donuts? Even better...who wouldn't want to eat a muffin that tastes EXACTLY like a donut? I'd like to send a special thanks out to Mrs. MamaHen for sharing this delicious recipe! Since we are on a low fat/cholesterol diet here, I swapped egg for egg beaters and regular jam for sugar free strawberry preserves.

Even my picky eater liked them!

Jelly Donut Muffins (adapted from Mrs. MamaHen)

Muffin Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 Cups Flour (I used 3 cups regular, 1/2 cup whole wheat)
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 2/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Egg Beaters (or 2 whole eggs)
  • Jam or Preserves of your choice (we used sugar free strawberry preserves)

Topping Ingredients:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon


Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, oil, and egg beaters (or eggs). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.

Grease two muffin tins (or skip greasing and use paper liners). Place 1 Tbsp of batter into the bottom of each muffin liner or cup. Place 1tsp of jam on top of each Tbsp of batter.

Top with more batter, filling each up until it is about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Mix sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Melt a stick of butter and pour into a bowl. Dip the top of each muffin in the butter and then in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. After it sits for a few minutes, the sugar will harden and create a nice crunchy/sugary top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese

I saw a recipe for ranch mac & cheese in a taste of home magazine the other day, and I just couldn't help but modify it and make it. One of my favorite sandwiches ever is a chicken bacon ranch wrap. So, naturally when I saw ranch mac & cheese I just HAD to add chicken and bacon to it. It turned out great, nice and cheesy with a little bit of that ranch "tang" at the end.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese

  • 1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper blend
  • 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 lb bacon, crumbled
  • 1lb cooked chicken breast, chopped (or shredded)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby cheese
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup crushed saltines
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the milk, butter, dressing mix and seasonings; heat through. Stir in chicken, bacon, monterey jack and colby cheeses until melted. Stir in sour cream.Drain macaroni; stir into cheese sauce with the saltines. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gingerbread Pancakes

Confession time! I'm a breakfast food addict...I could eat breakfast food for every meal for the rest of my life and be completely happy. I love all sort of pancakes, but I'm always looking forward to trying new things with them. I found a recipe for gingerbread pancakes, and I decided to go ahead and give them a try. I had to modify the recipe a bit as I found the batter was too thin. Next time I think I'll just cut down the liquid ingredients a bit, but this time, I just added some extra flour to compensate.

Gingerbread Pancakes

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 6 Tbsp molasses
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, whisk together molasses, oil, buttermilk and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine. If your batter looks too thin, add a little bit of flour until it looks the right consistency (using the original recipe, mine came out very watery so I just added flour as necessary).

Heat griddle over medium/medium-high heat. Drop by 1/4 cup full onto preheated griddle. When pancakes start to bubble, flip and finish cooking through. Serve with butter, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.

See...even my little guy thought they were delicous!

Menu Plan Monday - 4/19/2010

It's Monday again and time to post our menu plan. We're trying to eat out of the pantry this week, so our meal plan was a bit of a challenge. Yesterday, I took a full written inventory of both freezers, upstairs cabinets, and our "pantry" in the basement and used that list to decide what we were eating for the week. We're trying to convert over to once a month shopping, but I could use some help. If anybody out there does once a month shopping and would like to help me out, I'll take any advice that you have.

I'm also hoping to do another freezer cooking day for May. I've already got a recipe list in the works!

Anyway, on to this weeks menu. This is a week of ALL new recipes. Daring I know!

Gingerbread pancakes (from the freezer)
Jelly Donut Muffins

Lunches - As usual, lunch will be leftovers taken to work. For the kids, they'll eat lunch at daycare.


Monday - Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese (will post recipe tonight)
Tuesday - Quick and Easy Beef Stroganoff (recipe to come)
Wednesday - Leftovers (I have a hair appointment after work and hubby will be solo with the kids)
Thursday - Homemade Chicken Nuggets and fries
Friday - Appetizer and dessert night (having the girls over for girls night)
Saturday - Orange Chicken with Rice
Sunday - Mashed Potato Bowls (recipe to come!)

For more yummy meal plans, be sure to visit

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Second Blog Award!

I was so excited to log in and see a comment from Angie at Angie's Healthy Living Blog nominating me for another blog award. I've really been putting a lot into my blog and I'm so glad to see that others are enjoying it! Thank you Angie!!

As is with most blog awards, there are some rules to follow here.

The Kreativ Blogger Award Rules:

1. Post the award.
2. Thank and mention the person who gave you the award.
3. Pass the award on to seven blogs who you think embody the spirit of the Kreativ Blogger Award.
4. Name seven things about yourself that others don't know.
5. Don't forget to notify your seven Bloggers about their award and post a link to their blog.

Thanks to the Ultimate Blog Party, I've "met" a lot of new and wonderful bloggers this week. There were so many to choose from, but I decided that I would pick 7 blogs that I just started following this week to help spread the word about their wonderful and interesting blogs!

1. Cindy at This Adventure, Our Life
2. Mama Bird at Mama Bird's Nest
3. Mrs. Mama Hen at Mrs. Mama
4. Susie B. Homemaker at Susie B. Homemaker
5. Rachel at The Atwoods
6. Tammy-Lee at What's TJ Thinking
7. Holly at Living in a (Mostly) Happy SAHM World

And here goes nothing.... 7 things about me!

1. I know how to play three musical instruments - The Flute, Saxophone, and Clarinet
2. I'm an only child (ironically, my husband is also an only child)
3. I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and work a daytime job in IT Asset Management
4. I'd secretly love to be a stay at home mom, in fact I'm often jealous of those who can be. Unfortunately with the way the economy is here, I've got no choice but to work
5. I'd love to go back to college for Nursing, specializing in pediatrics or NICU
6. I like to drive alone with the radio turned up, dancing and singing behind the wheel
7. I'm addicted to cloth diapers, sadly I can't use them full time because my son is in daycare. But we use them when he's not at daycare and I wouldn't have it any other way!
8. And a BONUS one for you. I love to knit, in fact it's my stress relief when I'm not cooking my heart out. A second secret passion of mine would be to open my very own yarn/knitting shop.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mexican Meatloaf with Salsa Noodles

Due to sick kids and a busy weekend, I didn't have time to plan meals like I usually do. So, tonight was a fly by the seat of our pants kind of night for dinner. I fed the kids leftovers, and attempted to find something to do with the 2lbs of hamburger I had in the fridge. The hubby was in the mood for meatloaf, and I was in the mood for something spicy - so I got to creating! The end result was great, nice moist meatloaf with a side of salsa and cream cheese noodles. My husband was very disappointed at first that I wasn't whipping up some mashed potatoes with this meal, but as soon as he tasted the noodles he changed his mind. We'll definitely be making this one again!

Mexican Meatloaf

  • 2lbs ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning (I make my own)
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded mexican cheese
  • 1/2 cup salsa
In a bowl, mix ground beef, corn, and taco seasoning. Add 1/2 of the meat mixture to the bottom of a bread pan. spread refried beans over the meat mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 of the mexican cheese. Place the rest of the meat mixture on top of the beans and cheese, pinching around the edges to seal the meat layers together. Top meatloaf with the rest of the cheese and pour the salsa over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Serve with a side of Salsa-Cream Cheese Noodles.

Salsa-Cream Cheese Noodles

  • 1/2-1 lb cooked egg noodles
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 4-6oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

In a sauce pan, combine salsa and cream cheese over medium heat until cream cheese has melted and blends well with the salsa. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Mix sauce with cooked noodles. Serve.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baked Ziti

One of our favorite meals in our house is pasta. We love it all sorts of different ways, but one of our absolute favorites is baked ziti. We tend to change the recipe here and there, but for the most part we use this recipe. I apologize that I have a lack of pictures today. My camera battery died and I have to wait for it to charge up before I can take some more pics!

Baked Ziti

  • 1 lb ziti, cooked al dente
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 Cups Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese

In a large skillet, brown ground meat and diced onion until meat is cooked through and onions are softened.

In a large bowl, add meat mixture, pasta sauce, cottage cheese, sour cream, and garlic. Add pasta and mix until pasta is well coated. Pour pasta mixture into a 9x11 casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, combine mozarella and parmesan cheese. Pour cheese mixture evenly across the top of the pasta in the casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garden Planning

Spring is finally here in Massachusetts, and I have gardening on my mind. Last year we had a small garden, but this year I have bigger, better, plans!

I'm hoping to get my husband to work building me a nice big raised garden bed. We're planning to plant zucchini, summer squash, green peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes (2 kinds), cucumbers, green beans, and maybe some lettuce. We tried broccoli last year, but we never got any, so I think I'm going to skip it this year. In my window box, I'll be growing fresh herbs, and in the side yard I plan to grow strawberries. We also have a plum tree in our front yard.

I'm really looking forward to the savings we'll get on produce for the summer. Besides that, there is nothing like fresh veggies right from the garden!

So tell me gardeners, what will you be growing this year? Do you have any handy tips for a 2nd year gardener?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Zucchini Summer Squash Parmesan w/ Chicken Sausage

I had planned on making homemade gnocci for dinner tonight, but I had so much to do today that I didn't end up having the time to do it. I took a quick survey of what I had in the fridge, and all I had was some garlic flavored chicken sausage, zucchini, tomatoes, and summer squash. At first, I thought I was going to whip up some pizza dough and make some sort of squash/sausage pizza. Then I decided that I was kind of in the mood for pasta since our original plan had been gnocci. I didn't want to just steam the squash, so I decided to come up with my own little "squash parmesan" concoction. What started out as a completely unplanned meal ended up being absolutely delicious! This could also be prepared without the sausage for a vegetarian dish, for the us the sausage was an added bonus and it allowed us to use it before it went bad.

Zucchini & Summer Squash Parmesan w/ Chicken Sausage

  • 1lb Al Fresco Garlic Chicken Sausage, sliced
  • 2 Summer Squash
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2-1 Cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs (make your own using Italian Seasoning if you'd like!)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 lb cooked pasta of your choice (we used penne)
  • Pasta sauce of your choice

In a large skillet, cook sliced chicken sausage and onions until sausage is browned on both sides and onions have slightly caramelized. Set sausage/onion mixture aside in a bowl. In the same skillet, add summer squash and zucchini, cook until squash beigns to soften. Add diced tomatoes to the skillet. Once the vegetables have cooked through, put them in the bottom of a 9x11 casserole dish. Top the vegetable layer with the sausage and onions. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan evenly over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve over pasta with sauce.

**NOTE: An alternate way to doing this would be to dip the zucchini/summer squash in an egg mixture and then coat with breadcrumbs and line the bottom of the casserole dish - however I was out of eggs and this approach worked out good for me because the juice from the tomato helped the breadcrumbs stick to the veggies nicely.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Five Minutes for Mom is hosting their 4th annual ultimate blog party, and I'm very excited to be joining in the fun this year! I've participated in other years on an old blog, but this is my first time participating from this one!

For those of you stopping by my blog for the first time, grab a drink and a snack, sit down, relax, and get ready to enjoy some super yummy recipes while I tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Amy. I've been married to my husband for two years now and we have two beautiful children. Our children were both born premature due to preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, and truly are our miracles in life. I work a full time job. I love to cook, spend time with my children, go hiking, and of course, I love to blog!

Around Thanksgiving of 2009, our family decided to make some big changes. My husband and I have both gained quite a bit of weight since our marriage back in 2005, and we decided that it was time to lose the weight and get healthy. We joined weight watchers and the weight started falling off. However, after a point we hit a plateau. We realized that a lot of what we were eating was processed foods - when we checked the labels, there were times where we didn't even know what some of the ingredients in our food were. A good friend of mine had recently begun a journey to cut out processed foods, so we decided to join the bandwagon. We were able to cut out canned soups, packaged pasta/rice mixes, and even things like crackers and breads. I started this blog as a way to keep track of our recipes and our journey to getting healthy.

I hope you enjoyed your stay, and I hope you will come back to visit and enjoy some delicious recipes with us! Be sure to head back to 5 Minutes for Mom and visit lots of other fun and exciting blogs that are participating in the Ultimate Blog Party 2010!

Almost forgot! Here are the prizes I'd LOVE to win if I'm lucky! :)

The Grand Prize of course, who wouldn't love a new laptop?
US7 – Tupperware Prize Pack – the winner will receive a box filled with fun Tupperware goodies
US8 – Buds to Bloom Photo Tile Necklace ($95) – Features custom photo tile, hand stamped mom charm & bead cluster. The Ultimate Mommy Necklace!
US16 – A custom-made tutu for a baby or little girl. This can be made in any color combination you like (classic pink or your favorite team colors). Tutus made by Sweet Patootie’s are the fluffiest little girl tutus you’ll find – like a REAL ballerina’s tutu! Great for costumes OR everyday play!
US27 – One lucky winner will receive a Collected Recipes Cookbook binder, coordinating 8.5″ x 11 stationery, full page plastic protector sheets, and a pack of coordinating recipe cards.
US32 – $25 Target Gift Card!
US39 -Be My Guest certificate ($250 value) for one lucky winner, (2 night stay for a family of four) at any Hilton Garden Inn.
US42 – One winner will receive a copy of American Food Writing: An Anthology With Classic Recipes valued at $40!
US43 – A copy of Get Out!: 150 Ways For Kids and Grown-Ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future and The Frugal Foodie Cookbook will be shipped to one lucky winner.
US47 – Muffintop Mama, a site dedicated to mamas and fitness, is giving away Muffintop Mama attire to one winner: Simple tanks to help you sweat!
US51 – Two winners will receive a lillebaby EveryWear carrier – the carrier you can wear every way, every where. Choose from Style, Sport or Organic.
US83 – Disney Mickey 5-in-1 Tasty Baker by Pop Art. An all in one table top appliance that bakes pancakes, cakes, quickbreads, biscuits and donuts and more into 6 bite sized shapes (Mickey mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto) in about one-third the time. It can even cook eggs.
US96 – A laundry prize pack from Mrs. Meyer’s! 64-oz laundry detergent (HE compatible), 80-ct dryer sheets and freshener. One winner will pick their choice of scent!
US105 – Get Fit Pack: One “lucky” winner will get a triple threat of Jillian Michaels. Pack contains 30 Day Shred, Yoga Meltdown, The Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout. Pack also includes an aluminum water bottle to help stay on track and stay hydrated!
US110 – A body butter sampler set with three of our most intoxicating scents to pamper your body from head to toe with skin indulgent mango, cocoa, and shea butter for two winners.
US112 – $50 Amazon Gift card
USC 37 – One winner will receive a $50 gift card to on here but that’s not it! There will be many other giveaways listed on my party post that you’ll want to check out!!!
USC 39 – A $50 paypal cash prize for one winner.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hawaiian Turkey Meatballs

Our plan for tonight was baked ziti from the freezer, but I forgot to take it out to thaw this morning so I had to come up with another plan. I had one package of ground turkey in the fridge so I decided to search through some of my cookbooks for something I could use it for. We had mexican food the past few days, so I was craving something sweet. While flipping through a cookbook that we got from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital our children stayed at for so many weeks after their births, I found a recipe for Hawaiian Meatballs. I did a lot of modifying to make the recipe a bit healthier, and the result - absolutely delicious!

Hawaiian Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 lbs Ground Turkey
  • 2/3 cup Saltine Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Can Pineapple (reserve juice)
  • 1/3 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 4 Cups Cooked Rice

In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, cracker crumbs, onion powder, egg, salt, ginger, and milk. If mixture is too wet, add more crumbs, if too dry, add milk as needed. Form meat mixture into 1 inch balls (will make approximatley 24 meatballs) and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mix cornstarch and brown sugar in a small bowl. Stir in reserved pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken and boil. Continue to boil and stir for one minute. Turn off heat and add meatballs and pineapple to the sauce. Stir to coat meatballs and pineapple evenly. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Breakfast Cookies

I've seen quite a few recipes for breakfast cookies now and I've been dying to try them. This time around I decided to try a modified version of an Ellie Krieger recipe. These cookies are big, moist, and almost cake-like. I thought they were delicious, and just one cookie was enough to keep me feeling full until lunch time! I changed a few of the ingredients due to what I had in my cabinet and also because of my husbands allergy to tree nuts.

Breakfast Cookies

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup egg beaters (or 1 egg)
  • 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup bran cereal flakes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts (unsalted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Combine butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugars have dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds.

Add flour mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add oats, flakes, raisins and peanuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using between 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Wet hands and use palm of hand to flatten cookies until about 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Celebrating 100 with a fellow blogger

I stumbled upon the blog, All home Cooking. All Year Long. one day when searching for a recipe for smores brownies. I instantly fell in love with Michelle's blog and have been hooked ever since. She, like many of my other favorite bloggers, is on a mission to keep her family away from processed foods and eating all homemade foods.

She is celebrating her 100th day of blogging this week and will be hosting a giveaway to celebrate. If you haven't checked out her blog, I think you should. She has some wonderfully delicious recipes and other wonderful kitchen tips! Congrats Michelle on your 100th day of blogging!

Menu Plan Monday - 4/5/2010

This week we have a lot of new items on our menu thanks to a very successful weekend of freezer cooking!

Whole Wheat Raisin English Muffins
Gingerbread Pancakes
Pumpkin Molasses French Toast Sticks
Breakfast Cookies (recipe to come!)
Honey Wheat Toast
Peanut Butter Banana Stuffed French Toast

Monday: Mexican Skillet
Tuesday: White Chicken Chili (recipe to come!)
Wednesday: Baked Ziti (recipe to come!)
Thursday: Brown Bag Burritos
Friday: Make Your Own Pizza Night
Saturday: Homemade Gnocci (recipe to come!)
Sunday: Dinner with Family

To view more yummy meal plans, check out

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Stuffed French Toast

I saw the idea for this french toast on a Food Network show a few weeks ago and I've been craving it ever since. As a kid my mom used to make me peanut butter and banana sandwiches all the time This french toast was not only delicious, but brought me back to my mother's kitchen with every bite.

Peanut Butter Banana Stuffed French Toast

  • 6 Slices honey wheat bread (cut thick)
  • 2 Ripened Bananas
  • Honey (to drizzle)
  • Peanut Butter (I used creamy)
  • 4 eggs (I used 1 cup of egg beaters)
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp Rum
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Preheat griddle on medium heat.

Spread each slice of bread with peanut butter to your liking. Top three slices of bread with sliced bananas and drizzle the honey over the bananas. Top each slice with a banana-free slice of bread.

Whisk remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Dip both sides of each sandwich into the batter and place on griddle (feel free to grease the griddle with a little bit of butter or non-stick cooking spray). Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Cut in half and serve warm with butter and maple syrup (add powdered sugar if desired).

General Tso Chicken w/ Chicken Fried Rice

My husband and I have a takeout weakness...Chinese food. In fact, it is the only takeout weakness that we have. Most nights we can keep ourselves from the temptations of takeout, but when it comes to Chinese food, we tend to give in more often than not. The takeout tastes wonderful, but it takes a toll on our digestive systems. I decided to try and come up with our own version so that we'd be able to know what is going into our food and maybe avoid the upset tummy that follows takeout too.

We all loved both recipes, so from now on, I think we'll be having Chinese take-in instead! I did fry the chicken this time, but I think that next time I'm going to try baking it instead to make it a little more healthy.

General Tso's Chicken

Chicken Ingredients:
1-2lbs Boneless Chicken Breast cut into 2 inch chunks
2 Eggs
2 tsp Cayenne pepper
salt/pepper - to taste
1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Cornstarch

Sauce Ingredients:
Zest of 1 Orange
1 Cup Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

General Tso Chicken Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cayenne, salt and black pepper to taste. In a paper bag, shake together salt, pepper, flour and cornstarch. Dip the chicken in batches, first in egg mixture, then in the flour mixture and shake to coat. Set on a wire rack and let sit 10 minutes. In the meantime, add about 1 inch of oil to a large heavy skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat and preheat so that oil is ready for frying when chicken is done resting.

While chicken is resting, prepare sauce. In a large straight sided saute pan combine orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar, butter, hot pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce. Stir, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.

Carefully place chicken in hot oil and fry until golden and crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to the saute pan with the sauce and toss until evenly coated. Serve with Chicken Fried Rice (recipe below).

Chicken Fried Rice

4 Cups cold cooked rice
1/2 lb cooked chicken breast, chopped
4 Green onions, chopped
2 Eggs
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp oil
Salt/Pepper - To Taste


In the bottom of a wok, or large stir fry pan, scramble the eggs until firm. Remove eggs from pan and set aside. Add oil to pan, followed by the rice and soy sauce. Stir fry the rice until warm all the way through. Add chicken and green onions and stirfry for a few more minutes until all ingredients are heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Whole Wheat Raisin English Muffins

My friend Heather has a delicious recipe for whole wheat english muffins, and I've been dying to make a cinnamon raisin version. I finally got around to it this weekend during my freezer cooking day and I couldn't help but eat one hot off the griddle. They were delicious! This morning, I used them to make my husband a sausage egg and cheese sandwich and he loved them as well!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon/Raisin English Muffins - Modified from Out of the Box Into the Kitchen

1/2 Cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 Cup warm milk
1/4 Cup canola oil
1 Egg
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup All-Pupose Flour
1/2 Cup Raisins
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Cornmeal


In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, sugar, raisins, cinnamon and salt. Using stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, 1/2 cup at a time to form a soft, sticky dough. Switch to dough hook and knead lightly for 1-2 minutes (do not over-knead).

Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Roll dough out on a cornmeal-dusted board until about 1/2" thick. Cut with a 3-4" cookie cutter or juice glass. Cover with a dishtowel and put in a warm place to rise another 15 minutes or so. Sides will expand and look cracked.

Heat a griddle over medium-low heat. Cook muffins on the hot griddle, about 7 minutes on each side.

Honey Wheat Bread

I've been trying to find a good "everyday" bread recipe for a while now and finally I've found it! I knew this one was a winner when my husband looked at me and said "we are never buying bread in the store again".

Honey Whole Wheat Bread (Makes 2 Loaves)

2 Cups Warm Water
1Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Honey
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
5 Cups All Purpose Flour


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey, and stir well. With paddle attachment on a stand mixer, mix in whole wheat flour, salt, and vegetable oil. Work all-purpose flour in gradually. Remove paddle attachment and switch to dough hook. Knead using dough hook attachment for 7-10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a well oiled bowl. Turn it several times in the bowl to coat the surface of the dough, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Punch down the dough. Shape into two loaves, and place into two well greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise until dough is 1 to 1 1/2 inches above pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Freezer Cooking Days - April

A few months back, I attempted a freezer cooking day and was pretty successful. March was a busy month for me so I didn't get around to doing it again, but this month I decided to try it again. With two kids running around and my husband outside doing yardwork, it has been quite difficult to get any done, so I decided to split my cooking into two days this month.

My plan is as follows:

Breakfast Cookies (x2)
Raisin English Muffins (x2)
Honey Wheat Bread (2 loaves)
Pumpkin French Toast Sticks (x2)
Gingerbread Pancakes (x2)

White Bean Chicken Chili (x2)
Brown Bag Burritos (x2)
Baked Ziti (x3)
Chicken Tetrazzini (x2)
Gnocci (x2)
Mexican Skillet (x2)
Pizza Dough (x4)
Paprika Chicken Stew (x2)
Chicken Enchiladas (x2)

I went grocery shopping on Friday night and planned on cooking all day on Saturday, but ended up not getting started until 1:00. I still got quite a bit done. I was able to get the breakfast cookies, english muffins, and honey wheat bread completed. I was also able to get the beans and meat prepped for my other recipes. I'm hoping to get a couple things done today before we have to leave for Easter dinner at my Grandmother's house.


Related Posts with Thumbnails