Friday, June 29, 2012

Almond Mice

My daughter has been wanting to make these for a long time.  She got a cookbook from a friend full of desserts and she has post it notes marking many pages. We needed to bring something to a potluck and she immediately pulled her cookbook out and wanted to make these. They seemed easy enough and she did most of the work. 

They turned out adorable and everyone loved them!  We thought about putting tails of them but decide they probably wouldn't stay on so we didn't.  We also had trouble finding the silver balls for the eyes.  My kids went to the store for the ingredients and called me saying that they couldn't find silver balls anywhere in the decorations.  We ended up just using a small tip and dotting the eyes on. It wasn't as pretty as they could have been but they still were adorable and fun.   

Almond Mice

5 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp. heavy cream
1 cup Oreo crumbs**
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
Silver balls for decorating
Flaked almonds for decorating
Red licorice for decorating ( I didn't use)

Melt the chocolate with the cream in a double boiler.  Mix in the chocolate wafer crumbs until well blended.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.  Form the dough into balls the desired shape.  I rolled mine into balls and then just elongated one side for the "nose".  Roll half the balls in the confectioners sugar until well blended.  Decorate with sliver balls for the eyes, almonds for the ears and a small length of licorice for the tail.

**I made 2 batches, one with the cream filling in the Oreos and one without the cream filling.  There wasn't a whole lot of difference, both held together fine.  The one with the cream filling were just a bit sweeter. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Baked Salsa Rice with Green Chilies, Lime & Cilantro

I still haven't bought a rice cooker or a good pan with a lid to make rice.  So I was excited to make a baked rice.  I love having rice with my mexican meals. I actually ended up chucking the rice and the beans onto the taco for one big heaping messy taco. 

Leftovers are the best! Dinner the next night was taco meat with beans, rice and scrambled eggs with spinach. Once again, it didn't stay pretty for long. All jumbled up, it tasted pretty darned good!

Baked Salsa Rice with Green Chilies, Lime & Cilantro Recipe
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

1 onion, chopped
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, with juice
1/4 tsp. tsp. ground cumin
1 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
2 tbsp. lime juice, divided
1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Saute onion in a bit of cooking spray for about 5 minutes.  Add the cumin and diced green chile peppers and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes more.  Add the salsa, broth and 1 tbsp. of the lime juice and bring to a boil, then stir in rice.

Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.  Cook the rice, covered for about 45 minutes or until all the liquid has absorbed and the rice is cooked through.  When the rice is done, fluff with a fork, stir in the other tablespoon of lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Serve hot.  Add Tabasco sauce if you'd like it hotter. 

One Year Ago...

Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sausage, Butternut Squash and Veggie Cassoulet

I'm always impressed by a dish that has a ton of veggie and tastes so good.  Joanne put vegetarian sausage in her cassoulet and I wasn't even sure that I wanted any sausage. I was thinking about just putting some large butter beans and keeping it meatless.  Chickpeas would have been good too.  In the end, I did happen to have some sausage in the refrigerator that I threw in.  It's really up to you, vegetarian or not. You really can't go wrong here.

Sausage & Veggie Cassoulet
Adapted from Eats Well with Others

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
12 oz. sausage links, cut into coins (feel free to use vegetarian if you'd like)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 zucchini, cut into coins or moons
Salt and pepper
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
Pinch of cayenne

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread butternut squash on baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 - 40 minutes or until fork tender.

In the meantime, heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the sausage coins, turning as needed until the pieces are deeply browned on all sides about 5 - 10 minutes.  Remove from pan.

Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, onions, carrots and zucchini.  Sprinkle wit salt and pepper.  Cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the canned tomatoes and the liquid along with the sausage and herbs.  Bring to a boil.  Add the beans and bring to a boil again.  Reduce the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently but continuously.  Cook for about 20 minutes.

Add the butternut squash into the mix.  Simmer for a couple of minutes and taste and adjust seasoning.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 17 - June 24, 2012

Monday: Chicken fajitas

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Smokehouse Chicken & Roasted Red Potato Salad

Thursday: Asian Broccoli Slaw Wraps

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Busy day running around, we'll probably eat out or at my dads

Sunday:  Family party, I'm bringing Bacon Ranch Potato Salad, Shredded BBQ Chicken, Berry Trifle

More menu planning ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spicy Serrano Maple Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Have I mentioned that I love sweet potatoes?  I ate this whole dish by myself. Not in one sitting, it was over 3 days, but I ate it all.  And I'd do it again.

Layered with spinach and a fantastic tomatillo serrano pepper sauce, this was incredible. 

This was supposed to be inverted on a plate after cooling. I skipped that step as I wanted to dig into it fast.  Plus, in the past, I haven't had much luck with inverting things.  I put this in an 8 x 8 in. pan because I don't have a deep dish pie plate and I was afraid mine was going to be too small. I used a lot of potatoes though.  I think this would have inverted nicely though and made a great presentation.  Maybe next time.

Spicy Serrano Maple Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Cooking on the Weekends

1 cup roughly chopped tomatillos
2 tbsp. chopped serrano, seeds removed
3/4 cup half and half
2 cups pepper jack cheese (I used a bit less)
2 tsp. garlic, minced
4 tbsp. maple syrup, divided
3/4 tsp. salt
About 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp. butter, melted
2 cups packed, fresh spinach leaves

Combine the tomatillos, serrano pepper and half and half into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Add the cheese, garlic, 3 tbsp. of the syrup, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Slice the sweet potatoes with a slicer fairly thin.  Set aside.

Add the melted butter to an 8 x 8 in. pan or an 8 in. pie plate.  Add the other tablespoon of maple syrup and swirl around. 

Neatly add two layers of sliced sweet potatoes directly over the butter syrup mixture.  They should be overlapping and layered.  Add the remaining sweet potatoes to the cream mixture and use your hands to be sure that each slice is well coated with it. 

Layer about a third of the coated sweet potatoes on top of the first two layers already in the pan.  Then add half of the spinach. Repeat with 1/3 more coated potatoes, then the rest of the spinach.  Then layer the last of the sweet potatoes on top.  Pour any remaining cream mixture on top and move around so it seeps into the dish.  Bake in oven at 425 for 20 minutes.  Then, turn the temp down to 375 and cover with foil and bake for another 30 - 35 minutes. 

Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Place on a plate or a platter that is a couple of inches larger than the cake pan, upside down on top.  Flip over gently to invert potatoes.   (I skipped this part and we just dug in but I'll bet it would have been gorgeous inverted on a platter.)

One Year Ago...

Strawberry Lemonade Muffins

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Roasted Veggies with Pineapple

Pineapple is one of my favorite things to add to foods.  It's sweetness blends well with many foods and changes it just enough to make it unique or different. I just added pineapple to baked beans last night. I also love what it does for topping on a meatloaf with BBQ sauce. Eating with a pile of roasted veggies was incredible as well.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can add what you'd like from the refrigerator.  Don't skip the garlic though.  It might not be your first choice with pineapple but I loved the contrast in flavors. It certainly made for an awesome, healthy side dish!

Roasted Veggies with Pineapple Recipe
Adapted from Our Eating Habits

1 can pineapple chunks
2 small zucchini, sliced into coins
1 handful of baby carrots
2 bell peppers
1 onion, chopped into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all the veggies, the pineapple in the juice and the spices together in a 9 x 13 in. baking dish.  Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes or until veggies are done to your liking.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 10 - June 17, 2012

I made the tortilla chicken last week and we liked it a lot. I forgot to make the avocado salsa along with it so I'm going to make it again this week.  Other than that, it's kinda clean out the cupboards week.  We have so much stuff that I just don't want to go grocery shopping this week except for milk and fruit. 

Monday: Sweet Baked Beans & raw veggies

Tuesday: Tortilla chicken with avocado salsa

Wednesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs

Thursday: Tilapia & Coleslaw

Friday: Pizza (I haven't decided what kind yet)

Saturday: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos

Sunday: Leftovers

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Pepitas

I was looking to make something light, fresh and easy. This certainly fit.  The pepitas were awesome but you could certainly use sunflower seeds if you can't find pepitas.

I love carrots and this was such a good marinade for them.  I've been trying to make healthy side dishes like this. This is especially nice and light for the summer.

What healthy and light side dishes do you recommend?

Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Pepitas
Adapted from Good Cheap Eats

4 cups shredded carrots, 1 bag
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, pepitas and cilantro.  In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, cumin, oregano and pepper.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Toss the dressing with the carrot mixture.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  Stir before serving. 

One Year Ago...

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, oh how I love sweet potatoes.  I buy them at Costco in a 10 lb. box.  I can't possibly think of a meal that I wouldn't want to eat a sweet potato. I don't eat them with every meal but I do a lot. 

I was impressed with these burgers as they pressed together nicely and were incredibly delicious.  I admit, I ate more than my share and was quite full.  They are packed with protein and very healthy and filling.  There is only a small amount of quinoa in these but I suggest making a larger batch as it stays in the refrigerator quite well.

I ate mine plain and didn't use a bun but the family ate theirs as burgers and loved them.  

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers Recipe
Adapted from Once a Month Mom

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cups sweet potato, cooked and mashed (I used a bit more)
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 cup quinoa, cooked
3 tbsp. oats, partially ground
1 tbsp. sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. taco seasoning (I used a combination of chili powder, cumin and coriander)

Mash half the beans in a bowl until paste like.  Add in the rest of the beans and give it a light mash but keep them a bit chunky.  Add the mashed sweet potato and taco seasoning.  Mix in the onion, garlic, corn, black beans, quinoa, sunflower seeds and ground oats until just combined. Form into balls, between your hands and flatten into a patty.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes, flipping once half way through.  Serve with guacamole.


2 avocados, fairly soft, peeled and pit removed
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 serrano pepper, minced
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 roma tomato diced

Pour lime juice and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Mash avocados roughly into the vinegar and juice.  Stir in spices.  Mix in red onion, serrano pepper, cilantro and tomato. 

One Year Ago...

Mexican Meatloaf

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 4 - June 10, 2012

Monday: Chicken & Spicy Serrano Maple Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday: Tortilla Crusted Chicken & Salad

Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Vegetable Enchiladas

Saturday: Cherry Vanilla Baked Oatmeal

Sunday: Chili


More menu planning ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Rice Crispy Treats

One of my favorite things is making food for potlucks.  I enjoy trying to figure out something new to make that I wouldn't normally make for just my family.  Not that I don't love making dessert for the family but I know I would eat way too many if they all were here.  This way I just was able to eat the ends for a nibble.

I made the mistake of not putting oil on my hands before trying to spread them out.  Uh, not smart.  They were sticky and gooey and got all over my hands.  The good part was that before I washed them, I was able to lick my hands.  So I washed them up, sprayed a bit of cooking spray on them, and they were able to be spread really easily. 

When it came time for rolling, I decided to stop half way and cut it in half.  This way, the cinnamon rolls weren't quite so big around.  I wanted them to go farther. After all, I was serving them at a party with about 60 people. 

I did end up making a second batch for the party and I'm glad I did.  They went over great and everybody loved them. My husband and kids are already requesting them again!

Cinnamon Roll Rice Crispy Treats Recipe
Adapted from Baking and Boys

1 bag mini marshmallows
4 tbsp. butter
6 cups Rice Crispies cereal, I used gluten free
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Cinnamon filling:
6 tbsp. butter, softened or melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp. corn syrup
1-2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Spray a 15 x 19 in. baking pan with cooking spray.  I didn't have one of these so I just used a large cutting board sprayed with cooking spray.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the marshmallows and butter.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until  melted, it takes about a minute and 1/2. Add the cinnamon and stir.  Add the cereal and combine.  Spray your hands with cooking spray and press the cereal mixture evenly in the baking sheet.  I cannot stress enough how much you'll want to spray your hands first.  This is sticky stuff!  Get it thin but even. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine the brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon.  Stir to combine.  Remove the rice crispy treats from the baking sheet (if they are in one).  Spread the cinnamon/butter mixture evenly over the treats.  Roll the treats up starting from the long end.  If you want smaller treats, stop rolling half way and cut the crispy treats.  If you want large ones, just keep rolling the whole thing up.  Now you'll have 1 or 2 rice crispy logs.  Slice these into rolls at desired thickness.  I kept mine pretty thin as I was trying to make them go a long way. 

In another bowl, combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup and vanilla.  Add one tablespoon of the milk and whisk together.  Until the icing is the desired consistency, add a little more milk at a time until it is the thickness you'd like.  Put the icing in a plastic bag and snip a corner.  Drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls.  Let sit until the icing is set, about 30 minutes.  I thought they were so sweet that I only used a little icing. 

One Year Ago...

Salted Browned Butter Crispy Treats