Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Zucchini Bake

It's nearly July and gardens across the country are producing massive amounts of Zucchini. I sadly don't have a garden (once I have a yard, you better believe I'll have one!), but I am the grateful recipient of those who have them.

This is a great recipe to have on hand. Zucchini are so easy to cook with, they take on nearly any flavor you pair them with. I LOVE this recipe, and know you will too.

Summer Zucchini Bake
4 (regular sized) zucchini, sliced thin
2 carrots, grated
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (mine came from a jar of minced garlic)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Ritz Crackers, French Fried Onions, or another crunchy topping of your choosing

- Coat frying pan with olive oil. Add onion, saute. Once the onion is starting to saute, add zucchini and garlic. Cook until tender. (Make sure to not over cook the zucchini, you don't want mush!) Remove from heat.
- In a bowl (or the casserole dish that you'll bake it in) combine zucchini mixture, carrots, and soup. Mix well.
- Cook at 375 for 15 minutes in a shallow 2 quart dish. Add your topping and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until heated through.

This recipe is easy to mix up too. If you have squash, throw those in. No cream of mushroom soup? I'm sure Cream of Celery would be great too. It's such a nice way to use all that fresh produce straight from the garden.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Stromboli

My kids love Stromboli, but only the kind with ham and cheese. Mr. Blue Eyes and I like ham and cheese, too, but sometimes it's nice to zest it up a bit, don't you think?

One day I had some fresh spinach in the fridge, some chicken in the freezer, and I thought, "I wonder..."  Well, my friends, IT WORKED! And here I am to share this concoction with the world. Lucky you. :)

1 Batch of Pizza Dough (or a frozen loaf of Rhoades, thawed)
2-3 Chicken Breasts, thawed
Crushed Peppercorn and Garlic Rub (or some variation thereof--use your favorite and what's on hand)
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves

1. Rub the chicken with the seasoning and bake, fry, etc. until done. I use my panini maker to grill it. A George Foreman or out door grill would work great, too. Just cook the chicken. :)
2. Using a fork, shred the cooked chicken and set it aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
4.On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough into a rectangle.
5. Spread the mozzarella cheese over the dough until evenly covered. Spread the chicken over the cheese. Spread the spinach over the chicken. It should look like this:

6. Beginning at the upper long edge, roll the dough in toward you (like cinnamon rolls), carefully tucking spinach leaves as you go. Don't worry too much if they bunch a little. You'll win in the end.
7. Pinch the seam and ends shut and place in a jelly roll pan (or on a cookie sheet of some kind) seam side down.
8. Bake for 25 minutes.

Cut into slices and enjoy!

Source: An original


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Banana Cake with Vanilla Icing

Oh. My. Gosh!  This is delicious!  The icing is what makes it taste sooo good.  The cake itself tastes almost like a banana bread, but much sweeter and smoother. It would be yummy by itself, but with the icing...yum!  The icing is just addicting! I found this recipe on pinterest and changed a few things that worked better for me.  You've gotta try this!

2/3 c. white granulated sugar
1/2 c. sour cream (use the good stuff!)
1 egg
2 TBSP. butter, softened (use the good stuff)
2 mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. a/p flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 TBSP butter, softened
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 c. confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (glass pans heat to 350)
Cream together the first 4 ingredients. Add the mashed bananas and the vanilla. Add in the last 3 cake ingredients and mix slowly. No lumps from flour...banana lump is okay, but you really should mash those well before you incorporate them into the mix. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean! Cool completely before icing this. 
To make the icing: Cream together the butter and the confectioner sugar until smooth. Slowly add the cream in...(this is what makes it so good!)  Add in the vanilla extract and mix until smooth.  Put in the fridge if your waiting for the cake to cool because this has cream in it.  But if your cake is cooled, then ice away!
No joke...this is soo good!

*I doubled this the very first time I made it! Cooked it in a 9x13 pan and it worked well.

Monday, June 25, 2012

(Amazing!) Mint Brownies

I've tried many brownie recipes over the 20+ years that I have been married.  I recently found a great basic brownie recipe that has served us well so far.  But recently I found a special brownie recipe that is....well, I'll just say

Okay, well maybe you'd have to be married to a man who is in love with mint to call this recipe life-changing!  But even I adore these mint brownies; and I only like mint as a friend.

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-2 Tbsp. milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
green food coloring (2-3 drops)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp. butter

1.  Set oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9"x13" pan with foil, making sure the foil can extend over the edge by a couple of inches (you'll lift the brownies out later with that).  Spray with cooking spray.
2.  Chop your unsweetened chocolate and the butter into chunks.  Place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.*  Set aside to cool.
3.  In a mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla for two minutes.  While that's beating, mix together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.  With the mixer running, slowly pour in the melted chocolate and beat until it is well-combined.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture by spoonfuls and mix just until combined.**  Pour batter into pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a knife poked into the center comes out clean.
4.  Cool brownies completely on a wire rack for better air circulation around the pan.  Once the brownies are room temperature, make the frosting.  Combine all the ingredients, starting with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of milk and adding more after mixing if necessary.  Spread evenly over the brownies and chill while you make the glaze.
5.  Place the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30-second increments until melted, making sure to stir well in between.  Set this aside to cool for about 15 minutes, then pour atop the brownies and carefully spread it out over the mint frosting.  Chill again.  When the chocolate has set, lift the brownies out of the pan with the foil "handles".  Cut and serve.***

*Don't over heat.  Stirring well in between will help the chocolate melt a little more.  It should just barely have melted all the way.
**It's okay for a bit of flour to not be mixed in.  Over-mixing the batter will mess up the texture.
***I cut mine in a 4 x 6 grid to get 24 brownies.

Source:  Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen (I didn't realize how close our blog name is to their cookbook until our blog had already been named.  At any rate, they have a wonderful website and an exceptionally beautiful cookbook!)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins (No Flour)

I've been looking for more recipes that don't include flour and/or dairy.  By way of Pinterest, I found this one!  *If you want a totally gluten-free version, simply use the gluten-free oats. =)

3 Very ripe bananas, mashed 
1 C Vanilla Almond Milk (I used original flavor almond milk and it was still yummy) or cow's milk
1 T Coconut Oil (optional: helps to moisten the oats a little more and make the outer layer crisp) 
2 Eggs
1 T Baking Powder (Yes, Tablespoon)
3 C Old Fashioned, Quick,  or Gluten-Free Oats (I know, that's a lot of options ;)
1 tsp Vanilla
As many MINI chocolate chips as you like (I used about 1/2 C)

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375* (I put that in bold type because I seem to always forget this step)

First, mash your bananas

Mix together all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and 
let the batter sit while you're preparing the muffin tins. 
*This is really important in this recipe because it gives the oats a chance to release their natural thickening agent.* I was AMAZED at how these turned out looking like I had added flour.  

Spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray or use muffin liners. 
Give your batter another quick stir as you add the chocolate chips.

Evenly divide the batter into approximately 15-18 muffins.  (Or 6 mini bundt ca)

Bake 20-30 minutes. My first time making this recipe I used regular muffin tins with liners. You can attempt to eat them while they're hot, but the muffin liners may not come off very easily.  You'll definitely have a better time getting them off when they're cool.  
Have I mentioned what a great texture these guys have?  Great texture. 

*Adapted from Green Lite Bites Banana Oatmeal Cups with Chocolate Chips

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fresh Blueberry Cobbler

So, somebody brought home two pints of fresh blueberries and that means I had to make something with them quick before they went all mushy.  You know the story.  Anyway, I pulled out a few cookbooks and, since it was 10:00 in the p.m., there was no time to be really creative.  Enter my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook--you know, the orange one, circa...I have no idea, because I lost the title page with all that good info on it.  But I can always find a recipe in there when I have an ingredient and don't have a clue what to make with it.  Hope you enjoy this cobbler.  We did...with a scoop of vanilla ice cream--can't believe I had that in the freezer!

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups fresh blueberries (or 2 1/2 cups because some of mine got eaten first)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan.  Stir in blueberries and lemon juice.  I added about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water because it needed a little more juice.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

2.  Pour mixture into ungreased 2-quart casserole; keep blueberry mixture hot in oven.

3. Cut shortening into the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, the baking powder and the salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in milk.

4. Drop flour mixture by 6 spoonfuls onto hot blueberry mixture.

5. Bake until topping is golden brown, 25-30 minutes.  Serve warm.  Makes 6 servings.

Source:  Betty Crocker's Cookbook, New and Revised Edition

Monday, June 18, 2012

Brownie/Cookie Cups

This is a quick, convenient fix that satisfies youth and adults.  Nothing wrong with a little convenience!


brownie mix (family size)
2 pkg. refrigerated cookie dough (the kind that is scored)
24 snack size Reese's cups


1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Push 1.5 squares of break-apart refrigerated cookie dough into the bottom of each section of a muffin
3.  Place 1 Reese's cup upside down on top of cookie dough.
4.  Top with prepared brownie mix, filling 3/4 full.
5.  Bake for 18 minutes.

Notes:  Obviously you could half this recipe.  Next time, I think I would opt to use homemade cookie dough.  I loved using the square baking mold as opposed to the traditional round muffin tin.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Simple Chicken Parm

This is a great recipe that will be ready in 30 minutes. It's simple and low in calories... just the way I like it!!

Simple Chicken Parm

6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (around 1lb to 1.5lbs.)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
spaghetti, cooked, drained

- Heat oven to 400ºF.
- Dip chicken in egg whites, then in bread crumbs. Make sure to coat the whole chicken.
- Place in 13x9-inch pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake for 20 to 25 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF).
- Top with sauce and cheeses.
- Bake 5 min. or until mozzarella is melted.
- To serve, place chicken on top of a bed of spaghetti! Enjoy!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mango Salsa

Fresh homemade salsa in the summer? YES, PLEASE! How can you resist those veggies?? (fruit...if we are technical.)

Oh. My. Goodness.

8-10 Medium sized garden tomatoes
1 Red Onion
3 Mangos*
0 - 3 Jalapeno peppers
Fresh Cilantro, chopped, to taste
1 Tbsp Salt (or to taste)

1. Chop your tomatoes and onion up. Mix them in a Large bowl.
2. Dice your mangos and add them to the mixture. Here is a great video on how to dice a mango. We learned the checkerboard method when we lived in the Caribbean.

3. Deseed (or not) your Jalapenos and dice them up. I used three Medium sized jalapenos, got every seed out of each one, and our salsa wasn't hot at all. But if you've ever experienced jalapenos--you can't bank on them. :) I use surgical gloves to deseed and I don't take the gloves off until I'm finished handling the pepper, because only an idiot would cut up jalapenos, wash her hands and then harmlessly scratch an itch by her eye, right? The burning sensation is harmless. (Oy! Can you hear the sarcasm drip??)
4. Using scissors, cut the leaves of fresh cilantro and add them to the mix. We really love cilantro so we put in quite a bit--maybe 1/3 of a bunch.
5. Stir in the salt to taste and serve with your favorite chips!


Source: An Original from watching many people make many different types of salsa.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pineapple Creams

Pineapple is one of my favorite things to eat.  I love this fruit!  Fresh, out of the can, the juice, icecream, pineapple cake, dried slices,...etc.  I love anything pineapple.  One of my fondest memories is going to the Dole Pineapple Plantation on the island of Oahu with my husband and eating pineapple icecream while standing in the pineapple field.  That was some yummy stuff!  I came across a pineapple icecream recipe on pinterest (that the creator had concocted while trying to copy a dessert she had tasted at Disney World.   Well, I have never had one of those particular desserts, but like I said, I love pineapple.  So, I decided to try it.  It is really good!  Its not very sweet, but just enough.  I froze it first as the original recipe suggested and then I froze it overnight.   I like it both ways! But, I think I like it better when its softer.  This is really yummy! Enjoy!

2 -20 oz cans crushed pineapple with juice
2 TBSP Lemon juice
2 TBSP Lime juice
1/3 cup white granulated sugar (I think I would like to add a bit more next time)
1 and 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, whipped
Drain the pineapple, and reserve the liquid. Set aside, adding 2 TBSP of this pineapple juice into a blender, or food processor. (I used my Ninja!) Into the blender add drained pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and 2 TBSP pineapple juice. Mix until smooth.  Pour into ziplock bags so it can lay flat and freeze quickly.  Whip the cream and refrigerate until needed.  When its slushy (about 1 hour and 45 min for me) pour into the whipped cream and gently stir until its all incorporated.  Freeze again in ziplock bags or container of your choice...for at least an hour. It will be the consistency of homemade icecream.  Its really yummy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Banana Pops

When I was a kid my mom used to make a version of these as an occasional treat for me.  I make them now with just a couple of slight changes, but they are still just as tasty.

creamy peanut butter
wheat germ
popsicle sticks

1.  Peel bananas, then slice in the middle to make 2 equal sections.  Carefully insert a popsicle stick into the cut end of each banana half.  Place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper and place in freezer for 30 minutes.
2.  While bananas are freezing, melt peanut butter for about 15-20 seconds in a microwave-safe bowl.  Add Nutella and stir well to combine; set aside.  Pour wheat germ onto a small plate and set aside.
3.  Remove bananas from freezer.  "Frost" each banana with the PB/Nutella mixture.  Roll the frosted banana gently in the wheat germ and place back on wax paper.  Repeat with each banana pop.  Return pops to freezer until ready to serve.
4.  Remove from freezer for 10-15 minutes before eating (to allow bananas to soften a bit).

  • Amounts:  I end up using about 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1/2 Tbsp. Nutella, and 1/2 Tbsp. wheat germ per banana pop.
  • You can use just peanut butter or just Nutella.  You could also try different nut butters like almond or cashew.
  • You can roll the frosted banana in nuts, coconut, sprinkles, anything you want.
  • It may not necessarily be a "lite" recipe, but it's better for you than an ice cream binge!
Source:  adapted from my mom

Saturday, June 9, 2012

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches


1 3 pound pork roast (if frozen, thaw before prepping)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Montreal Steak Seasoning (or your favorite steak seasoning)
3-4 cups Root Beer, Dr. Pepper or Coke
1 1/2-2 cups Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce
6-8 rolls for serving

1.  Season your pork roast generously with the steak seasoning.  Be sure to massage the spices into your roast really well!
2.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and sear all sides of the roast.
3.  Pierce roast a couple of times with a fork and place in a large crock pot.
4.  Pour soda over your meat, cover and cook on low for about 7 hours; or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
5.  Remove roast from crock pot and shred with two forks.  Put shredded meat back into the soda juices, cover and cook for 1 more hour.
6.  Drain juices from crock pot and pour in BBQ sauce.  Mix well, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until BBQ sauce is heated through.
7.  Serve pulled pork on yummy rolls and enjoy!  You could also add a handful of cole slaw to each sandwich for texture!

Source:  Jamie Cooks It Up!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Autumn Chopped Salad

Oh Pinterest, how we love thee and how we love the world of food that you have brought to us!  I pinned this recipe the other day and my sister and I made it last night.  Oh so good.  It was a big hit with all!  Even the guys.  Just love chopped salads.

6-8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 medium pears, chopped (we used one green and one red)
1 cup dried cranberries (love me some Craisins!)
1 cup chopped pecans
8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp and crumbled (we used pre-packaged real bacon pieces, because of time)
4-6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette (we used Newman's Own, my personal favorite)

1.  Combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta on a large platter.
2.  Drizzle generously with the poppy seed dressing, followed by the balsamic vinaigrette (you should end up with about a cup of dressing, so adjust the quantities of the two dressings according to your taste bud preferences).
3.  We added chopped, cooked chicken to this recipe when we made it because we were using it as a main dish.  Grilled would be a great option on the chicken, but we were in a hurry so we picked up one of those awesome rotisserie chickens at the grocery store.  Yeah, one of those....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Crock Pot Pineapple Baked Beans

This recipe is sassy, sweet and sour (not to mention super easy and quick).


1 lb. bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 (31 oz.) cans pork and beans
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup brown sugar
1 (16 oz.) bottle ketchup
6 T. Worcestershire sauce


1.  In a large skillet, cook bacon until halfway cooked.

2.  Add onion and green pepper.

3.  Contiue to cook until bacon is crisp and onion and green pepper are softened.  Drain.

4.  In a 3 qt. crock pot, blend together pork and beans, pineapple, brown sugar, ketchup, and   Worcestershire sauce.

5.  Add bacon mixture to beans and stir to combine.  Cook on low for 3 hours.

Serves 12.

Source:  Real Mom Kitchen, Keepin' It Real In The Kitchen by Laura Powell

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Enjoy-Your-Food-Storage Chicken Salad

Do you ever wonder if something truly good can be made from your food storage? Like, so good that if you didn't know it was from food storage you never would have guessed it? Well, the answer is yes. This chicken salad was made at a Shelf Reliance party featuring their Thrive products and it was soo tasty! You don't even have to worry about cooking the chicken if you have Thrive's freeze-dried chicken...

1 1/4 C freeze-dried chopped chicken
1/2 C freeze-dried celery
1/3 C dehydrated minced onion
3 C water
1/2 C mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine chicken, celery, onion, and water in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low; simmer until the mixture is rehydrated. (This should take about 10 minutes.)

2. Pour mixture into a colander and allow to drain for another 10 minutes, then cool in the refrigerator.

3. Combine the cooled chicken mixture with the mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy atop crackers or as part of a sandwich--whatever tickles your fancy!

Source: Lightly adapted from the Thrive Cookbook--Food That Fits Your Lifestyle (The only adaptation was the onion because we didn't have Thrive's freeze-dried onion.)

Special thanks to my mom, Anna, for her help with this post. :)

Mormon Morsels--Mind the Gap

Image from Microsoft Office Clip Art

Several years back, our parents took us four girls on a trip to Great Britain.  It was a good trip and so interesting!  I loved soaking in local culture and learning new words and phrases.  One of my favorites was "mind the gap."  This was an important phrase when riding the Tube (subway in London).  There is a gap between the train and the platform and you definitely do not want to step there!  You are probably wondering why I would name this post Mind The Gap.  Well last night my husband and daughter and I were having a discussion as we knelt for family prayer.  He was talking about the gap between where we are and where we think we should be.  Ladies, you know where I am going with this.  We all compare ourselves to others, thinking that we will never measure up and that we will never make it back to live with our Heavenly Father.  And you know where that discouragement comes from--the Adversary who wants to use that gap to his advantage.  However, Christ, with His infinite Atonement takes care of that gap and if we let the Atonement work in our lives the way it's meant to, we can accept where we are and know that as long as we are keeping the commandments, living the gospel to the best of our ability, then that gap is bridged by our Savior.  He is minding the gap for us.

Have a wonderful Sabbath. Enjoy your church meetings and your families.