Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brownie Pudding

I was trolling my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook on Monday, and came across this recipe. I thought I'd try it for our FHE treat, and it didn't disappoint! I baked it while we were eating dinner, pulled it out right as we finished, and then it cooled while we had FHE.  Perfect timing!

It is labeled as a "Best Loved" recipe, and now I know why! I would describe it as a molten lava cake-brownie. Not really a pudding at all like the name says. You end up with a warm chocolate sauce underneath the brownie.  Sehr lecker!!  To quote the cookbook: "This classic cake comes from the pages of the January 1944 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine."

Prep: 15 min  Bake: 40 min Oven: 350 Cool: 45 min  Makes: 6-8 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups boiling water
vanilla ice cream (not really optional)  ;)

1.  Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan; set aside.  In a medium bowl stir together the flour, granulated sugar, the 2 tbsp cocoa powder, the baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla.  Stir in the walnuts.

2.  Pour batter into prepared baking pan.  In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar and the 1/4 cup cocoa powder; stir in the boiling water.  Slowly pour water mixture over batter.

3.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.  cool on a wire rack for 45 to 60 minutes.  Serve warm.  Spoon cake into dessert bowls; spoon sauce over cake.  If desired, serve with vanilla ice cream.

Shells & Veggies

This comes from the back of the pasta box, where the official title is "Barilla White Fiber Mini Shells with Zucchini, Asparagus & Marinated Tomatoes."  It's super fast and yummy.  But, it is one of those recipes that uses 3-4 different pans, so you've got a lot of dishes afterwards.  Obviously you can substitute normal shells here for the white fiber ones.

I shop at Aldi, where they have weekly produce sales.  When any of the produce here is on sale I buy it and then usually end up making this for dinner.

SHELLS & VEGGIES (20 minute prep time; 6 servings)
1 box Barilla White Fiber Mini Shells (12 oz box)
4 ripe tomatoes on the vine
4 Tbsp EVOO, divided
4 basil leaves, torn (I've used dried, too.  But it's not as tasty.  I just dump some in.)
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, diced small
1 bunch asparagus, diced small
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shredded

1.  Bring a large and a small pot of water to a boil.
2. Blanch, peel, seed and dice the tomatoes; set aside in the small pot. (I had to look up online how to do this, but it's super fast and easy, don't worry.)
3.  Marinate with half the olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper.
4.  In a large skillet, saute garlic with remaining olive oil.
5.  Add zucchini and asparagus, season with salt and pepper and saute for two minutes.
6.  Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and toss with veggie sauce.
7.  Fold in tomatoes and top with the cheese before serving.

**If you cook the pasta while you're cooking the veggies and tomatoes this is done really quickly!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Broccoli Soup

This is the Broccoli Soup we grew up on.  No idea where Mom got the recipe.  I'll even make this for a quick lunch.


Dissolve 3 chicken boullion cubes in 2 cups hot water.  Add 1 chopped onion, 10 oz (2 cups) broccoli, chopped; cook until vegetables are tender. (I like a rough chop on the broccoli, and a very finely diced onion)

In another pan melt 1/2 stick margarine.  Stir in 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 t dry mustard, a dash of pepper and a dash of salt.  Cook flour mixture for a few minutes.  Turn into a sauce by slowly adding 2 cups milk, whisking until smooth.

Blend together veggies and sauce.  Add 1 c cheddar cheese.  Stir until melted.  Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.

**If you wanted to make this vegetarian, you could use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Cream Sauce

This recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs (but she hasn't been posting for quite a while).  It's a quick meal if your chicken is fresh, or already defrosted--and not the size of Rhode Island like the ones from Sam's Club can be sometimes..  Cut them down smaller if they are, and then they'll bake in 30 minutes for sure!

Dave loves this one, and as long as you've got Chive and Onion Cream Cheese on hand, it's likely you could whip it up without even planning for it!


1 can reduced sodium chicken broth (I just do 2 cups chicken stock with boullion)
6 Ritz crackers  (I just crush up as many as I need--which is not ONLY 6)
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese (I just use the ever-exact method of "dump some")
4 bonesless skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 cup chive and onion cream cheese spread  (I probably dump about half the container and just thin as necessary)

Mix cracker crumbs and parmesan cheese in bowl.  Rinse chicken with cold water, shake off excess water.  Dip chicken in some melted butter, egg white, or plain yogurt and then in cracker mixture turning to coat.  Place in greased baking dish and bake at 350 for about 35-45 minutes or until chicken is done.

For the sauce pour 1/4 cup of chicken broth and cream cheese into skillet.  Cook, stirring constantly.  Simmer 3 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Note: this happens fast and if you let it go it gets thick and clumpy so as soon as it's all melted and slightly thick, it's good to go.  Serve sauce over chicken.

**I melt down the cream cheese and then start adding the broth as necessary to thin to desired consistency.

Turkey Goulasch

Marisa gave me this recipe.  I have no idea where she got it from.  I'll post a picture the next time I make it. I make this whenever red peppers are on sale.  The only thing I have to make sure to buy to make this that I don't always have on hand is the ground turkey and the red pepper (unless you don't have marjoram in your spice rack).  I think this is kid friendly, besides being quick.  Penelope likes this one a lot, which makes it a winner in my book!

Turkey Goulasch

1/2 lb elbow macaroni
1 T butter
1 lb white ground turkey breast
2-3 cloves galic
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 T sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried marjoram
black pepper
1 c chicken stock
1 c sour cream

Cook macaroni separately.  Heat a deep dish over medium heat.  Add EVOO then butter & ground turkey.  Break meat up into chunks, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic, onion, red pepper and seasoning to turkey.  Cook 5-6 minutes then add chicken stock and sour cream.  Bring to a bubble and reduce heat to low.  Add cooked macaroni and stir.  Let pasta absorb some of the sauce.

Mexican Chicken and Rice

Mom got this recipe off of the side of something...meaning, she cut it off of something, somewhere, at some point in her life. Regardless, it's super quick and yummy--and makes great leftovers to take to lunch at school or work!

Mexican Chicken and Rice

1 T Oil
1 ob cubed boneless chicken
1 each small onion & green pepper, chopped
1 10 oz package sweet corn, thawed (I always throw it in frozen)
1 c chicken broth
1 c mild salsa
1 1/2 c minute rice
1/2 c cheese

Heat oil--add chicken, onion, pepper & cook until chicken is done.  Add broth, corn, salsa--boil.  Stir in rice.  Cover.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add cheese on top.

**I have made this in both an electric skillet and on the stove top in a skillet.  Both work great. Mom traditionally uses the electric skillet. :)

Quick, Post-Baby Meals

I have a lot of friends (and sisters) who are either getting ready to have a baby, or have just had one. Cooking becomes a whole new ball game with your first kid in the house.  I think everyone finds their own rhythm post-baby, but I have found that:
  1. I don't have freezer space for freezer meals
  2. I don't like most meals once they've been frozen and cooked, I like "fresh."
  3. It's too hard for me to remember to pull something out of the freezer earlier in the day so I can bake it later.
My solution is to have an arsenal of quick meals that I know I can throw together quickly with a screaming newborn, or start earlier in the day when the babies are napping.  Honestly, for the first 8 weeks of the baby's life I stick with the 30-minute type meals, and then get more adventurous.  And, sometimes we consider hot dogs a "homemade" meal.  It's not until my kids are 6-9 mos old that making dinner becomes "easy" again.  Until then I'm timing dinner around little ones whose unhappy time is always when you're trying to make dinner at 5pm.

The other thing you have to consider is that I enjoy cooking.  I like planning meals and going grocery shopping.  I like standing in front of my pantry and open fridge and freezer and thinking of meals that I can make with what I see.  I know that is not every one.  Hopefully this list is helpful to you.  I'll write another post with a list of ingredients that I always like to  keep in the pantry that make meal-planning easier (for me).

I also always keep pre-cooked ground beef in my freezer. That recipe is here on the blog, too (Ground Beef Mix).  That saves me a lot of time, and if all else fails we eat tacos...again.  My husband never complains.  He loves tacos!  You can also do pre-cooked chicken for the freezer.  I haven't done it myself because I just use frozen chicken breasts and cook them earlier in the day when the kids are napping if I need to.  But, I can post that recipe on the blog, too.

Most of these recipes are already on this blog, and if they aren't I will be adding them shortly.  I have tried to categorize these meals based on the amount of time it takes to prepare them. But within each category they are in no particular order. Enjoy!


30-Minute Meals
Sausage Pitas
BLTs (Yes, you need a recipe--you have to cook the bacon the "Sonic" way!)
Mexican Chicken and Rice
Sloppy Joes
Beef Stroganoff
Broccoli Soup
Turkey Goulasch
Sesame Chicken
Fajitas (if you don't count marinating the chicken)
Easy Baked Tilapia
Greek Shrimp Scampi
Fish Tacos (I have 2 kinds posted on the blog)
Thai Peanut Noodles
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Chicken Salad
Shells and Veggies

Long(er) Baking Time, Short Prep
Chicken & Wild Rice (Mrs. Pardee Chicken)
Chicken and Mushy Rice
Beef Stew

Prep Earlier in the Day, then put in oven at dinner time (or simmer long periods of time)
Chicken Delight
Chile Colorado Burritos
White Chicken Chili
Honey Lime Enchiladas (these could be 30-minute, too, if you prep the chicken earlier in the day)

Crock Pot
Ranch Pork Chops
Chicken Fettucini
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Chicken Tikka Masala
Black Beans & Rice

Ground Beef Mix

This is the recipe Mom uses from her "Make a Mix" Cookbook.  I do this every time I buy ground beef.  The recipe is for 4 lbs of ground beef, but I usually do it with my 5 lb-ish portion from Sam's.

4 lbs beef
1 lg onion chopped (3 T minced onion)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Brown your ground beef and add all spices.  (I usually add them once I've dumped the grease a time or two).

Store the ground beef by the pound in quart-size freezer bags.

**When I use this ground beef for a recipe, I just pop in in the microwave and cook it for about 2 minutes to defrost, then use it for whatever recipe calls for pre-cooked beef.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Grandma Enchelmaier's Nut Stölen

This is a family history recipe from my Great-great-grandmother in Germany.

4 ½ tsp. Yeast
½ c. Warm Water
1 c. Warm Milk
2 eggs
1 c. Sugar
½ c. +3 T Unsalted Butter
1 ½ tsp. Salt
5 ½ -6 ½ c. Flour

Dissolve yeast in the warm water with a tsp of sugar.  Mix sugar, butter, milk and salt in the microwave until smooth.  Add eggs and yeast.  Add 2 c. flour and beat until smooth.  Add the rest of the flour and knead.  Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled.

Nut Mixture:
1# Pecans, chopped
1 c. Sugar
½ c. Unsalted Butter

Heat well until mixed on stove or in the microwave.

Divide dough in half, roll out into a large rectangle.  Sprinkle with nut mixture, roll up, and seal all the edges and place seam side down.  Shape into a horseshoe shape ale let rise until doubled.  Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle on sweet icing while still warm.

Sweet Icing
Mix 1 c. powdered sugar, 1T milk and ½ tsp. vanilla until smooth.

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

I use this recipe if I need to feed a large group or if I want to take food to another family and still have some for us.

3-4 c. Chicken, cooked & shredded
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese
1 c. Sour Cream
¼ c. Onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. cumin
2-3 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 can Rotel Tomatoes
2 (20 oz) cans Enchilada Sauce, red or green

In a sauce pan, melt cream cheese, all but 1 cup shredded cheese, and sour cream, when smooth add chili powder, cumin, rotel, onion, and chicken.
In 2 9x13” pans pour a small layer of enchilada sauce.  Spoon chicken mixture into the tortilla, roll and place seam side down in the pan.  Continue till the mixture is gone.  Pour the remaining sauce on, then top with cheese.  Bake uncovered at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
*If you really fill up the tortillas, you only need 1 9x13” and 1 9x9” OR cut it in half.

*This can also be made ahead of time or frozen.  Just bake covered and increase the baking time (45ish minutes for refrigerated).  Uncover for the last 5-10 minutes to let the cheese melt and bubble.

Bean Salad

½ tsp. Salt
¾ c. Sugar
½ c. Vinegar
3T. Oil
3-4 cans Beans, drained & rinsed
½ c. Celery, diced
½ c. Green Pepper, thinly sliced
¼ c. Onion, thinly sliced
2 Hard Boiled Eggs, sliced

Mix salt, sugar, vinegar, and oil together then combine all the ingredients, refrigerate.
*This recipe is gluten free if your beans are.  Bush beans are all gluten free.*