Friday, June 29, 2012

Grape Salad

I'm so excited to share this recipe with you. Don't be fooled by the title, this is definitely not healthy. But it is SO yummy. Our neighbors had us over for a barbeque last weekend and Jeanelle served this as a side/dessert. One of their family favorites, and it immediately became one of ours! EASY and so good and hey at least it has fruit in it! You and yours will love it and beg for you to make it again.


2 lbs. green seedless grapes
2 lbs. red seedless grapes
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. crushed pecans

1. Wash and stem grapes; set aside.
2. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla by hand.
3. Stir grapes into mixture and pour into large serving bowl.
4. Combine brown sugar and pecans and sprinkle over top.
5. Chill overnight (or at least a few hours).

- This makes a lot so unless you're making it for a pretty large group or want lots of leftovers, halve this.
- Jeanelle used light/low fat sour cream and cream cheese and it tasted great.
- You can obviously eat it without chilling but it's just better that way.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mom's frosting

We never had store-bought frosting growing up, and I still don't like it to this day! Mom's tastes the best. I made some cupcakes for my brother-in-law's Eagle Court of Honor yesterday, and I completely regret not using this recipe! But I didn't want to risk not being able to make it firm enough to stand, so I used Our Best Bites' frosting recipe.
We went patriotic 

 It was good and it looked really cute, but not as tasty in my opinion. So, lesson learned.

Mom's frosting
4 Tbsp. butter, softened (not melted!)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4+ c. milk

Combine ingredients with hand mixer or stand mixer. Add powdered sugar or milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

All the little kids loved the edible stars

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Italian Cheese Loaf

I made this for a ward recipe exchange and everyone loved it! Sorry no pic.

Italian Cheese Loaf

1 loaf (1 lb.) French bread
2 c. diced fresh tomatoes
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. grated Romano cheese
1/4 c. chopped ripe olives
1/4 c. Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

1. Cut top half off loaf of bread; set aside. Carefully hollow out bottom of loaf, leaving a 1/2 in. shell (discard removed bread or let the kids gobble it up!).
2. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon into bread shell; replace top. Wrap in foil. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice and service warm.
Yield: 12 servings

- I didn't have the fresh basil or oregano so I just used the dry spice, however you call that form of it. :)
- You can get creative with this. I've heard of people doing french bread pizza for an after school snack. Same idea as this, you just top it with some sauce and cheese and whatever your kids like (pepperoni, olives, etc.), broil it for a bit, and you've got a fun quick little pizza.
- I can't tell a difference between grated romano and grated parmesan. There probably is, but I'm sure grated parmesan works great too if that's all you have on hand.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chocolate Cream Cake

I'm not sure how I let two Wednesdays go by without posting. My apologies. One thing's for sure: when you try this cake, you'll quickly forgive me. You're welcome, in advance, for bringing this chocolatey goodness into your life.

An awesome father deserves an awesome father's day dessert. This is what I made...

It took 3 days to finish with 5 people working on it. And although it undoubtedly set me back on my weight-loss efforts, it was so worth it!

Chocolate Cream Cake

1 package devil's food cake mix: mix and bake according to directions. Bake in 8 or 9 in. round pans.

Stabilized Whipping Cream
1 envelope (1 T.) unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
In small saucepan, combine gelatin with water, let stand until thick. Stir constantly over low heat until just dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly but do not allow to thicken. In large mixing bowl, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until slightly thick. On low speed, graduatlly add gelatin, then beat on high until cream is thick.
This will hold up for 4 or 5 days. You can use it on waffles, crepes, cheesecakes, for dunking strawberries, or whatever else you feel like putting it on.

Chocolate Frosting:
4 T. cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
4 T. butter or margarine, softened
2-3 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Cut the round cakes in half using either a leveler or a bread knife, so that you split the layers horizontally. This is NOT like cutting a pie. Now you should have 4 round layers. You only need 3, so you can either freeze one for later use, or leave it out on the counter and watch is mysteriously disappear within 24 hours. :)
On cake platter put your first cake piece, then layer the whipped cream on top. Repeat layers, ending with cake on top.
Take your frosting and slather it all over till it is even and looks pretty.
Personally, I think cake tastes best cold, so I like to refrigerate cakes for several hours before eating them. Just a tip.

This cake is from Lion House Classics. Seriously, everyone should have this cookbook.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake

People joke about having a sweet tooth- I joke about having a mouth full of sweet teeth. I've decided recently that at least one of my teeth must have a hankering for garlic though, because I just can't get enough of it! I have always loved garlic bread and garlic-y pasta, and this recipe did not disappoint.

I suppose it's never a good thing to start off a recipe with 1 cup of butter. Unless it's a cookie, of course, but this is obviously not a cookie! You should definitely try it anyway.

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

16 oz. uncooked pasta (rotini, farfalle, penne, whatever you have)
1 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (I used a garlic pepper blend and it was awesome)
2 cups cooked and diced chicken
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained well
5-6 green onions, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

-Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is boiling, melt butter and whipping cream together over medium heat, stirring constantly.

-Once the butter has completely melted, turn the heat to low and add the parmesan cheese, salt, and garlic powder/garlic pepper. Stir until the cheese has melted also.

-Drain the pasta once it has finished and return it to the pot. Add the alfredo sauce, as well as the chicken, tomatoes, and green onions.

-Pour everything in a 9x13 baking dish and cover with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and is awesome-looking! Serve with garlic bread, if you're crazy about garlic like I am.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tender Grilled Salmon

Every year my father in law goes fishing in Alaska. If we pay the shipping he'll send us all the fish we want! So for most of the year we have a freezer full of fish (mostly salmon and halibut). We didn't grow up eating fish (unless frozen fish sticks/fillets count!) so I've had to do a lot of experimenting. I'll be posting a few of our favorite salmon/halibut recipes since I think I'm the only one of us sisters that has ever allowed fish to enter my kitchen. Ok maybe Steph? :) I prefer halibut over salmon; salmon has a slightly more fishy taste. But neither of them taste strongly like fish I don't think. So try it sisters!! Salmon has a ton of Vitamin D so it's especially good to eat in the winter when you're not getting your 20 minutes of sun each day. Isn't it cool that there's a ton of salmon in Alaska, where people really need the extra Vitamin D!?! God planned that one pretty well.

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Rinse salmon fillets then pat dry with a paper towel. Season with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

If you don't have a grill you can bake it like I do! I'm sure it's SO much better grilled though. Cover pan with foil (optional but makes clean up so much easier! Learned that trick from Steph and Linds). Bake at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork (may be longer if your fillets are pretty thick in the middle). Then broil for 5 minutes to crisp the top.

That white stuff is the salmon fat and is supposedly really good for you. From what I've heard salmon at the store is pricy, but if you LIVE in Alaska (ah hum Lindsay) or you know someone who loves to fish like I do then it won't be!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Breakfast Sandwiches

This morning I was feeling inspired to try something I saw on Pinterest (because we know the chances of actually doing those things we pin is small...) :

So I put cheese on bread and put it in the toaster, laid on it's side.
Meanwhile, I made two over-easy eggs (with garlic powder and Louisiana hot sauce on top).
Plop them on top of the toast and sprinkle cheese as desired.

All in all, it took about 3/4 minutes.

All in all, I enjoyed thinking about it for the next 2 hours.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Avocado Tacos

These don't really have much of a "recipe". They are so versatile, you can pretty much just use whatever you have on hand. That's what I love about Mexican food! For some reason, everything just goes together so well. Here's what we used last night, but feel free to change it up as you prefer.

First of all, tortillas. We used these green-colored, jalapeno and cilantro tortillas that were really yummy and gave it an extra kick. Regular ones work just as well, but that's why the color is off in the picture.

For the filling:
1 can of black beans drained and rinsed, then heated up in the microwave
mexican rice
fresh salsa
1/2 of a yellow bell pepper (just because it was in the fridge and needed to be used)
spinach (put on after the picture was taken)
sour cream

If you're trying to cut out some carbs and watch calories, you could always do without the tortilla and just mix it up as a salad of sorts. It is so yummy! Although, as I have been posting this, my 5 yr. old son (the picky eater in the family) said, "Make sure you write that the kids didn't like it, but the adults did!" hahaha. It's true, he just had a cheese tortilla. And my girls just ate different options of the filling. My 3 yr. old almost ate a whole avocado by herself, and my 18 mo. old filled up on black beans and rice. There's something in this meal for everyone!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chicken noodle soup, sans chicken

Yes, I'm re-posting from my own blog. It's lame, but my baby got her 4 month shots this morning, so I will be snuggling with her instead of writing a cool and original post.

My mom makes the best chicken noodle soup. Whenever she comes to visit she makes a huge pot of it and then we store it in jars in the freezer to pull out on sick days or I-don't-feel-like-cooking days. What's cool about the recipe is that it was a mistake! Probably one of the best mistakes ever too. I finally got up the courage to make it a few months ago, though I've thought about it randomly ever since I left home. Do you ever hesitate to make someone else's recipe? I am always afraid that I won't make it as well and that would really upset me... so it always takes some convincing for me to make another person's recipe. Weird, I know. So here is my meatless adaptation of Mom's adaptation of Lion House Classic's Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup. That's a lot of adapting.

2 tsp. chicken soup base or 2 bouillon cubes
4 cups chicken stock, or water, or broth (I used stock for more flavor)
2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 bag of frozen peas (16 oz)
1 Family Size Cream of Chicken Soup
1/4+ cup evaporated milk
4 cups cooked rotini pasta

Heat the chicken base and stock/water/broth together. Add your carrots and celery (NOT the peas- yet) and cook until the veggies are tender. I cooked my noodles and then my peas while the veggies were cooking. Add cream of chicken soup and let that simmer for a few minutes. Then add the noodles and peas and evaporated milk (start with 1/4 cup and then keep adding until it's the thickness you want) and let that heat through.

Sorry for another soup in the summer... but it's a great meal to make and then freeze for busy summer days!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mom's Maple Syrup

I'm posting twice this week since I was MIA last week. This morning we had Steph's cinnamon pancakes for breakfast topped with Mom's classic homemade maple syrup. I decided I needed to post the syrup recipe; not because it's a very unique recipe but because most people don't even think of making syrup. It's easy and quick and while it has a lot of sugar at least you're avoiding all the high fructose corn syrup found in the store bought stuff.


1 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. mapleine
 *For Cinnamon syrup, substitute the mapleine for 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

Combine sugar and water in small pan, bring to boil and boil until sugar's dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla and mapleine.
You can refrigerate the left overs and reheat another day! Or serve cold but I like it warm. The cinnamon syrup is not as good left over. It gets a "boogery" texture as my husband so appetizingly likes to call it. :)

Someone correct me if I'm misquoting Mom's recipe!

Baked Potatoes

We live in Idaho so you shouldn't be surprised that I post a lot of potato recipes!

Preheat oven to 425F. Scrub potatoes (I usually use russet*), pat dry, prick with fork. Place right on the oven rack and bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until tender. For softer skins you can wrap the potatoes individually in foil or rub potatoes with shortening.
Baked potatoes are good for you but can be not so good for you if you lather them with butter and cheese and sour cream! But we usually do a little of that anyway, AND top with canned chili. I hesitated to post that after looking at the sodium content of 1 cup! So use it somewhat sparingly. :) We always have potatoes and a can of chili on hand so we have this meal when I really need to go grocery shopping and can't think of anything else in the kitchen that we have that could combine to make a good meal. So in case anyone else has days like that, here's an idea. Oh and corn bread/muffins go great with this meal too. Just go ahead and stock up on those Jiffy boxes. They're "America's Favorite" for a reason!
*You can bake sweet potatoes/yams this same way. 

Cami is the queen of twice baked potatoes... maybe she'll share that with us soon! A yummy twist to the regular baked potato.