Monday, January 28, 2013

20-Minute Applesauce Cookies

20-Minute Applesauce Cookies

Makes 9-10 large cookies.

A sugar-free healthy "cookie" that's perfect for the wee one's breakfast or snack.
Source: Shape

3 ripe bananas
2 c. rolled oats1/3 c. applesauce1 tsp. vanilla extract1 tbsp. ground flax1/2 c. dried cherries, raisins, or a mix of both

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a fork, mash the bananas in a bowl. Stir in oats, applesauce, dried cherries, flax and vanilla extract. Mix batter well. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oatmeal Scotchies

Oatmeal Scotchies

Makes about 3 dozen.

Such a delicious cookie -- One of my favorites!  
Source: Paula Deen

1 cup soft butter 
1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar2   medium eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 cup rolled oats 1 cup butterscotch chips 3/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Scoop onto pan. Bake for approximately 9 minutes. Cool on baking sheet or cooling rack. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chalupa Pie

Chalupa Pie

Serves 6.

This was a favorite childhood meal in our household.  And now I'm realizing that adults love it too!
Source: my mom

1 8-oz. can crescent rolls
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can Rotel
1 c. sour cream (or greek yogurt)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 c. crushed tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Press crescent roll dough into a greased pie plate.  It won't look pretty, but it doesn't need to.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef.  Drain and stir in taco seasoning, Rotel, and sour cream.  Top crescent roll crust with ground beef mixture.  Top with shredded cheddar and crushed tortilla chips.

Bake for 30 minutes COVERED with foil.  Then, remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes more before cutting and serving.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti
Serves 6-8.

A comfort casserole perfect for winter from The Pioneer Woman.
Slightly adapted from: The Pioneer Woman
2 cups Cooked Chicken
3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper
1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
2 cups chicken broth From Pot
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Cook spaghetti until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, drain and combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

A heart-breaking read, but one I enjoyed.  It had my attention from the start and kept it all the way through.  This is a quick read... one I read in a week or two.

Book description from Amazon:

The debut of a stunning new voice in fiction— a novel both heartbreaking and transcendent

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Vermont Maple Bread Pudding

Vermont Maple Bread Pudding

Serves 6-8.

A rich, tasty breakfast.  Serve with fresh fruit.
Slightly adapted from: Pillsbury

12-14 oz. loaf crusty French bread, cut into 2" cubes
6 eggs
1/2 c. maple syrup
3/4 c. sugar
1-1/2 t. baking powder
1 pint (2 c.) half-and-half
1 c. milk
1/2 c. cream cheese frosting
1 container (6 oz.) vanilla yogurt

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. Place cut-up bread in large bowl.
  • In another large bowl, slightly beat eggs. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the syrup in small microwavable bowl; add remaining syrup to eggs. Stir in sugar, baking powder, half-and-half, and milk until well blended. Pour mixture over roll pieces in bowl; stir to coat well. Pour mixture into pan, pressing bread into liquid with back of spoon. Let stand 5 minutes; press down bread again.
  • Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until top is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes before serving.
  • To reserved tablespoon syrup, stir in frosting and yogurt. Microwave on High about 20 seconds or until melted. Stir; pour over warm bread pudding and spread to cover. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Loaded Chicken Nachos

Loaded Chicken Nachos

Serves 3-4

A fun, delicious meal that's perfect for Friday night.  If you use baked tortilla chips, you can make it healthier.

tortilla chips
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. black beans
1 c. diced tomatoes
1/2 c. diced red onion
sour cream

Preheat oven to degrees 325 degrees.

Spread tortilla chips over a large baking sheet.  Top with cooked chicken, shredded cheese, and black beans.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with tomatoes, red onion, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, and freshly-squeezed lime juice.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers

I loved this book and would highly recommend it.  It is a sad story, but it is beautifully written, and ends in a way that will leave you feeling satisfied and complete.  

Book description from Amazon:

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Monday, January 7, 2013

No-Peek Beef Tips

No-Peek Beef Tips

Serves 6.

I added some additional veggies to this extremely easy dinner.  Perfect for those cold mid-winter nights.  This is a great man meal, and I enjoyed it too!
Slightly adapted from: Mommy's Kitchen

2 lbs. beef tenderloin tips or stew meat (I used stew meat)
1 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet lipton dry onion soup mix
1/2 fresh chopped mushrooms

1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup water 

Add beef and veggies to a 9 x 13 inch pan.
In a large bowl mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over the meat.

Cover tightly with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.
Do not remove foil until baking time is complete.

Serve over rice, mashed potatoes or egg noodles.  I served over spaetzle.