Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Baked Spaghetti

This was such a yummy recipe... and EASY to make! The kids love spaghetti and will eat so much of it when we sit down at the table. I saw this recipe and wanted to try the baked version and I am so glad that I did. They tasted delicious and the meatballs added to the top was some that the kids loved. It made 8 mini loaves so I figured that we would have leftovers for the next day but the kids loved them so much that the two we had leftover had to be cut in half and passed out amongst the kids... Shoot - it was a good thought anyhow! :) It did call for a homemade alfredo sauce, but I went the lazy way for once and just used a jarred sauce.

Baked Spaghetti
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

6 cups cooked thin spaghetti noodles
12 ounces alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian Meatballs (small bag)
25 ounces marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 and grease mini loaf pan. Mix cooked spaghetti with alfredo sauce. Fill each of the mini loaves with the pasta and press down on the top to pack in it, adding more as necessary. Sprinkle the tops with about 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350. While the spaghetti is baking, heat Italian meatballs and marinara sauce. Put a little sauce in each bowl, add one of the baked spaghetti loaves, top with Italian meatballs and more marinara sauce.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BBQ Ranch Chicken Wonton Cups

I made these for our ECFE class when we had a potluck and they were a huge hit... All the kids, especially my own, chowed on these! The adults were also asking for the recipe before we were even finished eating. I love a great hands on meal that the kids are excited about as well.

BBQ Ranch Chicken Wonton Cups
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup ranch dressing
Wonton wrappers
shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook up your chicken breasts; then chop into small pieces. Preheat your oven to 375. Combine the chicken, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing in a medium sized bowl. Spray your muffin tins with non-stick spray. Place a wonton wrap in each section and gently press it down to the bottom. Place a small spoonful of barbecue-ranch chicken mixture on top of each wrap. Then sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Then re-layer again: wonton, chicken mixture, cheese. (Each cup will have two layers of all ingredients.) Cook at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread Mini Muffins

My niece was a part of my daycare this year and she LOVED to be able to cook and bake with me so we did a lot of that! A lot of time she would ask to bake and I would check out what we could make with the ingredients that I had on hand... This was one of those days - luckily I always have browned bananas in my freezer and mini chocolate chips in my pantry! :) These were fantastic!! I am in love with mini muffins and how they are so fun and popable. These were a hit with everyone that we shared them with...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread Mini Muffins
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 medium banana)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Generously coat donut pans/mini muffin tin with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and egg. Then add banana, oil, and vanilla extract, mixing until thoroughly combined. Stir in the flour mixture, stirring until there are no lumps. Transfer batter to a piping bag, or to a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off. Carefully fill each donut indentation 3/4 full. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until donuts are slightly browned and spring back when touched. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely. Place wax paper under a wire rack to collect any drippings for an easy cleanup. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Slowly add 1 tablespoon milk, whisking constantly until you get a smooth frosting. Add remaining tablespoon of milk and / or sugar if needed to get the right consistency. Dip the top of each donut into the frosting and transfer to a wire rack. Then dip the top of each donut into the chocolate chips and press to coat. Donuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days but are best when eaten fresh.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cake Mix Waffles

This was a fabulous little treat for the kids after school one day. I mixed up a package of cake mix that I found on sale after Valentine's Day (blue raspberry flavored) and made these on the waffle iron. The kids thought that this was one of the more fun treats that we have had for a while. I topped it with ice cream and folded it in half and ate it like a sandwich - delish!!

Cake Mix Waffles
(Recipe found on Pinterest)

cake mix
ingredients listed on cake mix package

Mix up cake mix. Cook on heated waffle iron. Top with ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chicken Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings

Again, a warm stew/soup on a rainy day is the best! It is even better when it is thrown together in the crock pot so that you don't have to stand over it and watch it. The dumplings were not as doughy as when I have made chicken and dumplings before so I liked that much better than normal chicken and dumplings. I doubled the batch so I was able to send the extras over to my grandparents house to share with them and my aunt and uncle that were staying with them at the time. They cleaned it up pretty quickly and raved about it the next time that I stopped over. For them I also made a loaf of this whole wheat garlic herb bread. Super yummy! :)

Chicken Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen green beans
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg white
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a 1 1/2- or 2-quart slow cooker, combine carrots, green beans, celery, corn, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Top with chicken. Pour broth over mixture in cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. To make dumplings, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. In a small bowl combine egg white, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. With chicken still in the pot, break it up into pieces or shred it. In a small bowl, combine milk and flour until smooth. Stir into mixture in cooker. Using a spoon, drop cornmeal dumplings dough into 8 mounds on top of hot chicken mixture. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted into a dumpling comes out clean. (Do not lift cover during cooking.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

These are seriously one of the most delicious cookies that I have ever made! They are soft and chewy and so yummy that I ate waaayyy more than I should have... The combo of the coconut and the oatmeal is fabulous and they were gone quickly after I made them.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

1 cup butter, slightly softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugars, until they are well-combined. Add one egg and mix until it’s fully incorporated. Then add second egg and vanilla and mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the wet mixture. Mix until well-distributed. Add about 1/2 of the flour and mix until the flour is JUST incorporated. Scrape down the sides of your bowl, and then add the second half of your flour, mixing until just incorporated. You don’t want to overmix. Add oats and coconut, mixing until they’re JUST incorporated. Roll dough into balls, or use a cookie scoop to evenly portion out the dough. Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat liner, leaving about 2″ between each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are very lightly brown, but the center is still light in color and puffy. This will result in a very moist, very chewy cookie. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. Once they’re fully cooled, they can be stored in a ziploc bag or airtight container for up to a week.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Smoked Sausage Alfredo Bake

This recipe had quite a few steps to it but it was definitely worth the work. It was a great cheesy main dish that my family really enjoyed, especially with the chunks of sausage thrown in.

Smoked Sausage Alfredo Bake
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

16 ounces dry pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 (12 oz) fully cooked smoked sausage, any variety

Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente; drain. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour. Whisk in chicken broth until smooth, then stir in half and half. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella until cheeses are melted and smooth. Slice sausage into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the sauce, along with the chopped parsley and cooked pasta. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Preheat broiler. Pour the pasta mixture into a lightly greased, 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.