Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Minestrone

Brrrrr..... It is SO cold outside! Makes me feel like soup! My favorite recipe this year is for Minestrone. Cody's parents always get this at Olive Garden and it looks so good! I searched the internet for one that our family would like and ended up combining several different recipes. I think we've got a winner! The kids LOVE this soup, too! They don't even mind that it's packed full of vegetables. Good kids we've got here!

Minestrone
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 pound each of gr. beef, gr. turkey and pork sausage (I brown a pound of each all together and then freeze the rest to use later...always thinking!)
2 c. celery
2 c. carrots
2 c. fire roasted tomatoes
2 c. tomato puree
1 can beef broth
1 package dry French onion soup
5 c. water
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. marjoram
salt and pepper
1 c. zucchini
1 pound hearty pasta (we like campanile)
1 can cannelloni beans (optional)

Brown meat and onion, set aside. Cook carrots & celery with tomatoes, broth, soup & water until tender. Add spices and zucchini and simmer while pasta cooks in another pot--just until al dente (still a little chewy or it will get mushy quickly).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stuffed Peppers


I realized I had only posted recipes of sweet desserts and goodies. We really do eat healthy meals, too! This is one of our most recent favorites. The colorful peppers were on a great sale at Fareway, so I knew we had to do something special and new with them. I found this recipe on my favorite recipe blog, Janet is Hungry. I did tweak it to use a box of wild rice and I added the diced peppers and a little more cheese to make it more appealing to our family. Everyone LOVED this meal! It will definitely be one to make again--when the peppers are on sale!

Stuffed Peppers


4 medium peppers (I used a variety of colored ones because they were on sale!)
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice
1/2 tsp. each dried basil & dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 fresh tomatoes, diced

1-2 c. Italian Blend Cheese (or whatever shredded cheese you like)


1. Cut tops of peppers and scoop out insides. Dice the usable parts of the tops of the peppers and set aside.

2. Brown beef with onions, drain excess fat. Add herbs.

3. Make wild rice according to box directions. (Optional--add package of seasoning or leave plain)

4. Stir in diced tomatoes, diced pepper tops and meat mixture to the rice. Also stir in 1 cup of the cheese.

5. Stuff peppers and place in a baking dish. If you have extra filling just scoop it into the dish around the peppers. Sprinkle tops generously with grated cheese on each pepper. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Bread

I love cranberries and anything that has cranberries in it! I had been so excited to make it since I bought the cranberries. Today was the day! This bread is pretty healthy, too. Maybe someday I'll get brave and try to add oatmeal or wheat flour! I always double this recipe because 1 bag of fresh cranberries = 2 c. chopped. I also try to make a few muffins with some of the batter for our family to enjoy.

Cranberry Orange Bread
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. orange juice
1 t. orange rind, grated
1 egg
1 c. chopped fresh cranberries


Sift dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Combine orange juice, rind and egg. Mix together and add cranberries. Bake in greased small loaf pans or one large one until bread in slightly brown & toothpick comes out clean when inserted. (around 30 min. for small pans and 50-60 min. for large pan)

**Quick breads will have a better flavor if you store them overnight before slicing and serving them.**

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins

These muffins are really good! They sound weird, have weird stuff in them, but the kids loved them! This is from my favorite cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. It's the best cookbook I own! The only thing I would do differently from her recipe would be to stir in all the brown sugar at once rather than swirling half of it in the batter at the end...just my own little tweaking! I also made them in a mini muffin pan so the boys could enjoy them without a ton of crumbs! They tend to "stuff" rather than take graceful dainty bites like their sister! Anyway, here's the recipe!

PEANUT BUTTER and BANANA MUFFINS

1 c. firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 c. natural peanut butter
1/2 c. cauliflower puree (or carrot puree)
1/2 c. banana puree
1 large egg white
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini-muffin pan (24) or muffin tin (12).
In large mixing bowl, mix brown sugar, peanut butter, vegetable and banana purees, and the egg white using a wooden spoon.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir to mix. Add to other mixture. Stir just to combine. Batter will be a little lumpy--don't over mix.
Fill muffin tins and bake until muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. (15-20 minutes) Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to one month.

Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2008

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Last recipe for the day!

I'm so excited to start this blog, but I don't want to dwaddle all my "naptime" away! Here's a recipe from my friend, Abby. Abby is one of those girls you just admire right away and hope she'll be your friend! She's an awesome cook, amazing artist, and mom to a super cute little boy, Henry! This is what she brought to our MOPS meeting this morning. They were SOOOO yummy! I have to post this today, so I don't lose it on the small pink heart paper she wrote it on! She didn't give me the name, so I guess I'll just call them Abby's Gooey Pull-Apart Bread! Yum!

2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed (cut into 1 in. cubes)
Put in layers in 9x13 pan & set aside

Combine:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk

Melt together and pour on top of bread dough.

Bake @ 350 degree for 30 degrees.

Let the recipes begin!

Here's our favorite recipe of the week. You know it's a good one when you've made it 3 times in a week and they still taste good! These cookies are great for on-the-go breakfasts! Cloe has preschool 3 mornings a week, so it's wonderful to have something healthy the kids can eat in the car! I do have to give credit--I stole this recipe from another blog (Janet is Hungry--I don't know this lady, but she is seriously one awesome cook!). Of course, I had to tweak it a little, so the applesauce and regular oatmeal are my additions. Try them! They're great!!!

Banana Oatmeal Cookies


1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups regular oats (not instant)
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Beat shortening, sugar, egg and bananas well.

2. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

3. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

4. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.

5. Bake 8-10 minutes at 400F. Cool on wire rack. (Makes 12 large cookies)

From the beginning now...

The longer I get to experience life as a stay-at-home mom, the more I realize I love cooking! I'm not a chef and really don't claim to be one.   I'm just a mom and wife who wants to make food that my family loves! There's nothing better than hearing little voices say, "Mmmmm, Mommy, you make yummy food!" or hearing my wonderful husband ask for more!  My other passion is packing my recipes with vegetables and fruits that my family may or may not know about! It's fun to see them devour brownies that are packed with spinach and carrots! Mac-n-cheese loaded with carrots! Muffins stuffed with cauliflower! (I know, I know--that one really sounds gross, but trust me, they're delicious!) The delicious possibilities are seemingly endless. The only problem--the recipes always seem to be hidden when I go to make them!  This blog will hopefully help me organize the good recipes and have them here to share with you!
I'm also a stay-at-home mom who loves Jesus!  At a young age, I realized that my sin was separating me from having a relationship with God.  Jesus Christ died on the cross and paid for all of my sins...past, present and future.  When I placed my faith in Christ, those sins were forgiven and a relationship with God began.  My goal is to share the life-changing love, grace, and mercy of Jesus with everyone I meet--whether in person or through this blog.  I'm definitely not a perfect person...that's more than apparent if  you know me!  But God is at work in my life--the more I study His Word, the Bible, the more I learn about who God is and about His plan for my life. 
So that's me!  I hope you'll visit often!