Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Easy Pasta Casserole


I came up with this when i was in a hurry for dinner one night. It turned out better than I expected, and I will definitely be using this recipe again. My kids thought it was yummy too. The best part is that it is super easy.

16 ounces dry spiral pasta (or other pasta)
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
4 ounces pepperoni, sliced
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of mozzerella and cheddar)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente (slightly firm); drain.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no pink shows; drain.
  4. In a 9x13 inch casserole dish combine pasta, ground beef, bell pepper, onion, tomato sauce and pepperoni; blend well. Top with shredded cheese.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.

If you can believe it, I have more great Halloween recipes, so check back soon! ;)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Frozen Erupting Volcano's


This was by far the most impressive dessert I've ever made for my kids. They ate it up... literally. ;) I got the recipe from Gourmet Mom on the Go.

Ice Cream Sugar Cones
Chocolate Chips (or chocolate candy melts)
Ice Cream (any flavor)
Butterscotch or Caramel Ice Cream Topping
Red and Orange Candy Melts Or Red Licorice Strings
Red Food coloring

Optional Ingredients:
Candy Rocks
Flaked Coconut
Green Food Coloring

Directions:
Place chocolate chips in a bowl and mirowave on high for 60 seconds. Stir well. The chocolate shouldn't be thoroughly melted, you want it a little chunky so it looks like rocks & dirt.:)
Spread melted chocolate on the outside of the ice cream cones. Place on wax paper to dry.
If you are using candy melts for the lava "explosions", melt a small amount in a bowl, place in a plastic baggie, snip the end, and draw a few squiggly lines on wax paper. Let set completely. If you're using licorice, simply seperate the licorice strings and snip to various lengths.
Put carmel ice cream topping in a bowl and tint with red food coloring to make your lava.

When cones are dry, fill with your favorite ice cream, just to the top of the cone. Place upside down on a plate and carefully cut off the top inch or so of the cone to resemble a volcano. Get your butterscotch "lava" and fill the top and drizzle some down the sides of the cone. Place candy melts (or licorice strings!) in the top to resemble and explosion.

Serve and enjoy!

Optional: Put come coconut and green food coloring in a baggie, mix well to tint the coconut. Place around the base of your volcano to resemble grass along with a few candy rocks.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mummy Meatloaf

Picture courtesy of Gourmet Mom on the Go. We were in such a rush to devour the mummy, I forgot to take a pic.

Now this dinner was so impressive to my kids. They thought it was the coolest thing ever! The best part was that it was super easy and super tasty. I halved this recipe for our family and it was plenty to feed 2 adults and 3 kids. Yep, you guessed it, yet another great one from Gourmet Mom on the Go.

2 lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
3/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 c. ketchup
2 T. Mustard
2 eggs
1 T. grape jelly (weird, but it's awesome, I promise!)
1 C. finely shredded carrots
Garlic salt, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish Ingredients:
6-8 lasagna noodles, cooked
ketchup (optional)
2 slices cheese, any kind
2 green or black olives

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Mix all meatloaf ingredients well in a large bowl. Press into a glass bowl (make sure it's ok for the oven) and bake for 60 minutes or until center is done.
When completely cooked, Drain any fat off the meatloaf and turn onto a serving pan. Spread with a thin layer of ketchup, if desired. Cut cheese slices into circles and place on meatloaf as the "eyes".
Cut the cooked lasagna noodles in half then trim the edges so the "scallops" are cut off. Place them randomly across the meatloaf, cutting of extra and using it to fill in spaces.
Add olives for eyes and serve.

Cheesy Pumpkin Apps



These are so much fun. And my kids loved helping me make them. They are a quick and impressive appetizer, and very tasty. I halved the recipe for our family, but if bringing to a party definitely make the full recipe. Another great one from Gourmet Mom on the Go.

2 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 package Ranch dressing mix
1 C. shredded cheese, any kind (I used a half cup more cheese because we like it cheesy.)
1 C. crushed cheese crackers (like Cheese Nips)
Green Onion, for garnish
Green Pepper, for garnish

Directions:
Mix cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, and shredded cheese in a bowl until combined. Take a heaping spoonful, roll it into a ball shape and roll in crushed cheese crackers. For garnish slice green pepper and stick a piece on top. We didn't use the green onion.
My kids loved this part. They loved crushing the crackers in the bag and then rolling the cream cheese mixture in them. It was fun for them to make different sized pumpkins.
Serve with pretzel sticks, carrots, sliced bell peppers, pea pods, and whatever else you like.

Ghost Pancakes


I have had a lot of fun with Halloween themed food this past week. I will be posting a ton of fun treats and Halloween food, so keep checking back.
I got this Ghost Pancakes idea from Gourmet Mom on the Go. She has such fun ideas for kids.
These were super easy and my kids thought they were awesome.

All you need is your favorite pancake recipe and chocolate chips.
After pouring the batter on your griddle, press chocolate chips in flat side down for eyes and mouth. Flip and enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caramello Brownies



Here is a very special treat. Mmmm.... There's not much that I love more than a good brownie. I have a basic brownie recipe that I use all the time. It is perfect for adding things to. Depending on my mood, I will add chocolate chips, or Andes Mint, or an assortment of chopped up candybars.
I saw a Caramello candy bar at the gas station, and I just knew I had found my next brownie creation.
Here is my basic brownie recipe to which I added 2 Caramello bars to. With the price of brownie box mixes at the store, it's always good to have a basic go to recipe on hand.
The brownies in the picture look dark because I used half dark cocoa, half regular cocoa. I'm a sucker for the dark stuff.

Note: If you do not keep unsweetened chocolate squares around, you can substitute 3/4 cup cocoa and 1/4 cup oil whisked together until smooth.

Sadie's basic brownies
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate (sometimes I will use the cocoa powder/oil combo and use half Hershey's Dark Cocoa. )
3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. Microwave chocolate and butter or margarine in large bowl at HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter or margarine is melted.
  2. Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in white and brown sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder. Add any extra's that you want. For this particular time, I added 2 carmello bars broken into pieces.
  3. Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes (do not overbake).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese


I hate, absolutely despise, the boxed macaroni and cheese... but my kids love it. So in order to compromise, I decided to make my own. And I'm so glad I did because it was absolutely fantastic. Much better than the boxed stuff. My husband was very impressed too. He didn't know there was such a thing as "homemade" macaroni and cheese. :P

Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

1 package macaroni (8 oz)
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 tsp salt, Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups shredded Medium cheddar cheese
3/4 cup Ritz Crackers

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.
In a large saucepan melt butter. Mix salt and pepper with flour and add to butter. Use a whisk to stir until well blended. Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).
Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, 10 minutes.
Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.Turn off flame.
Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.
Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies


I'm on a quest to find the perfect oatmeal cookie. They are my husband's absolute favorite cookie, and if I can find just the right one, there's no telling what kind of bribery I can get away with. ;) This recipe proved to be very delicious, but I'm still on the search. One thing I find annoying with oatmeal cookies is that they are usually super soft right out of the oven, but as they cool off, they get crisper. My husband doesn't like the crispiness. He likes them to be chewy and soft, so that's something that I'm always looking for.
This recipe was very soft and chewy out of the oven, and only turned a little bit crisp after cooling off. I definitely recommend it. My girls and I had them almost all eaten before daddy came home, and they made the house smell incredible.

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups oats (Use Quaker Quick or Old Fashioned. Do NOT use instant.)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

1 Cream shortening and sugars, add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

2 Sift flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and mix well. Add raisins and nuts. Add oats last.

3 Spoon out by rounded tablespoonfuls on to greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Aussie Chicken


A good friend sent me this recipe to try. I love trying out new recipes, of course, and I gave it a shot only modifying a few things here and there. My husband LOVED it and begged for more, and my kids liked it a lot too. I served it with beets (our favorite vegetable) and mashed pototes, and the whole meal looked extra fancy because of the chicken. The honey mustard sauce had a great flavor and I actually used it as a "gravy" on my mashed potatoes. My kids thought I was weird, but I thought it was delicious.
Thanks Jolene for the yummy recipe!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/2 inch thickness2 teaspoons seasoning salt
6 slices bacon, cut in half
1/2 cup prepared mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
DIRECTIONS:
Rub the chicken breasts with the seasoning salt, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until crisp. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, corn syrup, mayonnaise and dried onion flakes. Remove half of sauce, cover and refrigerate to serve later.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the breasts in the skillet and saute for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove from skillet and place the breasts into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Apply the honey mustard sauce to each breast, then layer each breast with mushrooms and bacon. Sprinkle top with shredded cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken juices run clear. Garnish with parsley and serve with the reserved honey mustard sauce.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Creamy Ranch Chicken


This recipe is really easy, but tastes like it took hours to make. It is delicious! My kids and husband scarfed it up and asked for seconds. I found it at Mmm Cafe while blog surfing and looking for an easy dinner one night. I love that I had all the ingredients on hand.


6 slices bacon
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons ranch dry salad dressing mix
1 1/4 cups milk
3 cups egg noodles or fettucini
3 tablespoon finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Start your water for your pasta. Cook noodles according to package directions.
2. Cut bacon into narrow strips, then again into tiny pieces. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels.
3. In the same skillet, cook chicken until no longer pink, turning to brown evenly. 4. Mix flour, salad dressing mix, and milk in a small bowl. Move chicken into saucepan. Pour flour mixture over chicken. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in bacon. Serve over noodles.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fun Kid Lunch


I told my kids that for lunch we were having Octopus and seaweed and they looked at me horror struck. When I put their dishes in front of them, their eyes almost popped out of their heads. This isn't the most healthy lunch, but I guarantee it will be slurped down in no time. I fix this lunch on those days when the kids are restless and need a distraction. They think it's the best lunch ever!

Octopus and Seaweed

1 package Ramen Noodles (or any noodles would work)
Hot dogs
Food Coloring
Sprinkles

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add noodles. Cut hot dogs leaving about 2 inches at the top. Turn over and cut lengthwise again. This will leave four "tentacles". Add hot dogs to boiling water. Boil 6 to 7 minutes. Drain water and carefully remove hot dogs. Add food coloring and seasoning to noodles. Put noodles on plates and top with hot dogs. Use sprinkles for eyes and mouth. Watch your kids eyes light up.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Autumn Cereal Balls


I was in the mood for something different... and to experiment. Some kind of treat to celebrate fall. I looked in my pantry and threw together a bunch of ingredients and came up with these cereal treats. The only problem is I'm not exactly sure how much of which ingredient I put in since I was winging it. (oops!) So I'm guessing here, and until I make them again, I don't know if I'll be leading some poor cook astray... So, if you want to brave this recipe and make them and tell me if they turn out right, it would be great!! For me that is. ;)
But seriously, my kids and I gobbled these up. They were a real treat.

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 /2 package miniature marshmallows
9 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup roasted peanuts
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 bag of mini Reese's pieces (for baking)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Over medium high heat in a large sauce pan, combine the syrup and sugar, bring to a boil and continue to boil for one minute. Reduce heat to low and stir in the margarine and peanut butter until melted. Add marshmallows and stir until well blended. Add white chocolate chips.
  2. Pour the cereal into a large bowl. Add the peanuts and Reese's Pieces. Stir in the marshmallow mixture so that the cereal is evenly coated. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Form cereal mixture into balls and lay on wax paper.
  3. Melt Chocolate chips with 1 TBS shortening in the microwave. Stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Drizzle on top of balls.
*If you try this recipe and find the mix too dry, I would recommend adding extra peanut butter and marshmellows.
If you find the mix to sticky and wet, add more cereal, and stick the balls into the refrigerator to let firm.