Monday, August 18, 2014

pizza cups

I made these for James' school lunches. I saw the idea online and loved the make-ahead concept. Plus, what kid doesn't love pizza?! Let me know if you make them, and what you think! 

RECIPE: Pizza Cups

Refrigerated pizza crust dough
Pizza sauce
Mozzerella cheese, shredded
Mini pepperoni 

Preheat oven to 450F. Grease/spray muffin tins (note: my silicone one made for much easier retrieval). Cut dough into 24 pieces (with a knife or with a cookie cutter). Press dough into muffin tins, making it go up the sides a bit. Spoon a tablespoon or so of sauce onto each dough cup. Top with cheese and pepperoni. Bake at 450F for 10-12 min. 

Best if served warm, but ideal for school lunches. Let cool (on a rack). Then pop a couple into a lunch box! Or freeze for future lunches!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

butternut squash soup

Just a slight variation from an recipe*, shared with me via our good friend Missy. Hooray for Bountiful Baskets and the yummy new recipes they encourage! 

RECIPE: Butternut Squash Soup

2 butternut squashes, peel + chop
8 c water
1/2 cube butter
3 Tbsp minced onion
2 Tbsp chicken bullion
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
8 oz cream cheese (1 pkg)
1 c milk
Gruyère cheese (opt)

Peel and chop the butternut squash. Put it in a large pot. Add water, butter and all herbs/spices. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Boil/simmer for 20 min or until the squash is tender.

Carefully purée in a blender (it's hot) with the cream cheese. Pour back into pot and add milk. Serve warm and top with shredded Gruyère cheese. Yum!

*Original recipe here:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Asian Sesame Chicken

We were thiiiis close to ordering Chinese. But I was strong and whipped this up instead. It was super quick and super easy - and way cheaper than delivery! AND it was well received! Yay! 

RECIPE: Asian Sesame Chicken

2 lb chicken breast (ish)
Asian Toasted Sesame dressing (half bottle?)
Sesame seeds (2 Tbsp?)

Heat a cast iron skillet to med-high (8?) heat. Squirt a bit of dressing/sauce in the skillet (as you would oil) then add chicken breasts. Season a bit (easy on the salt). Let one side sear then do the other. Reduce heat (6?), add more sauce, stir to coat, cover. After a few minutes, cut up chicken (not cooked through yet) into chunks. Coat with more sauce and cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through and adequately glazed. Throw some sesame seeds on top and remove from heat. Serve over rice, with a side of veggies!

Friday, February 7, 2014

cooking tip: quick brownies

Do you love brownies but hate waiting the 30+ minutes for them to bake?? Well, we did. So we tried something new (that may be common practice in most households but was a novel concept in ours): bake them on a cookie sheet*! Using a standard box of brownies, prepared as directed, this reduces the baking time to a mere 15 minutes**! Not bad, eh? We love them! The only problem? You feel like much more of a pig eating half the pan! :)

* Be sure to use one with a raised edge!
** Still at 350F.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pinoli Pasta Bake

This is our knock off of a delicious pasta they used to serve at Firehouse, one of our favorite local eats. Derek especially loved it and would get it almost all the time. We thought we'd give it a go and try our own version. It wasn't quite the same, but it was pretty close- and quite tasty! (I think their tomatoes are better- see Note#2.) Still, this version was a major hit with the whole family! We will definitely be making this again!

RECIPE: Pinoli Pasta Bake

2 oz raw pine nuts
8 oz trumpet/twists pasta
1/3 c (?) fresh basil, cut into strips
4 oz sundried tomatoes (in oil), chopped*
1/3 - 1/2 lb fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut up 
1/2 c Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
Balsamic vinegar 

Note: I used 1/2 a bag of pine nuts, 1/2 pkg pasta, 1/2 lil jar of sundried tomatoes...etc. Basically eyeball it. This is a to-taste kind of recipe.

Note #2: Firehouse uses "roasted marinated tomatoes," and they're amazing. We'll have to try that sometime!

Preheat oven to 350F. Put a med pot of water (salted) on to boil. 

Line a baking dish (8x8ish) with foil and sprinkle pine nuts on/in it. Toss in the oven (keep an eye on these, and stir every couple of minutes) until lightly toasted, about 5-6 minutes. Remove foil and nuts. 

Once water is boiling, cook pasta -- only for 8ish minutes, though. It'll cook further in the oven. Drain.

Combine pasta, basil, tomatoes, now-roasted pine nuts and sauce/dressing in an 8x8ish baking dish. Top with fresh mozzarella. Bake at 350F until cheese is melted, bubbled and brown (about 15 min).

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve warm.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quick & Easy Green Chili Enchiladas

We came home from church today hungry and impatient. I saw the green chili enchilada sauce (Hatch brand, of course) in the cupboard and suggested smothered bean burritos. Somehow that involved quickly into a super quick (and surprisingly delicious) green chili enchilada. The whole family really enjoyed it; even my critical kidlets were singing its praises and asking for seconds! Yum. Here's how we did it...

RECIPE: Quick & Easy Green Chili Enchiladas

1 can cream of chicken
1 can chicken breast (it's cooked already)
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can diced green chilis (Hatch)
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 can green chili enchilada sauce (Hatch)
6 flour tortillas, warmed

Dump the cream of chicken, chicken, beans, chilis, 1/2 the cheese and a bit of the enchilada sauce (1/3 maybe) into a medium bowl. Mix well. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, stirring mid-way. 

Pour a little of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of an 8x10 baking dish (to grease the pan, sorta). Fill the dish with rolled enchiladas (about 2-3 spoonfuls of chicken mixture inside a tortilla, rolled into a burrito, repeat), all in a line. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes (or if you're super impatient like as were, just broil on high... it was really good this way too) until the cheese is melted and bubbly and brown. 

And that's it! Easy peasy! Next step: dig in!

Friday, December 6, 2013

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

RECIPE: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c pumpkin puree
1 c sugar
1/2 c canola oil
1 egg
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 c (1 pkg) semisweet chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients until well-incorporated (usually wet first, mix, then add dry, mix, then add choc chips). Bake on a cookie sheet or stone at 350F for 10 minutes.