Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spicy Chicken Farfelle

This is my new favorite...yum, I'm drooling as I type it! I've now made this several times for entertaining, and it gets rave reviews every time! Even my 4 and 6 year old ask for seconds on this one!

Spicy Chicken Farfalle
Source: adapted from Becky Higgins

16 oz. Farfalle pasta
1 c. heavy whipping cream
3-4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) (still frozen is fine)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed OR garlic salt (I use 2 tsp crushed garlic)
2 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. butter
1 lb. bacon, crumpled*
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (not grated)
1 (12 oz) Lawry’s mesquite marinade with lime juice

*I found already cooked and crumbled bacon at the grocery store that worked perfect :)

Place frozen chicken in crock pot with bottle of marinade on low for 6 hours. Pull marinated chicken out of the juices, allow to cool a little bit, and shred. Set this aside.

Boil the pasta. While pasta is boiling, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter, adding garlic, whipping cream, pepper, parmesan cheese, and crumpled bacon. Whisk together on low heat for 3-4 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine cooked, drained pasta with sauce, add chicken and stir through. Sprinkle a little bit more shredded parmesan cheese on top.

Serves: 8-12

Cook as normal, freeze. When pulling from the freezer, allow to thaw and then heat in microwave until warm.

Calories: 780

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

D's Cut Outs

I let D decorate the gingerbread men and some snowmen on her own, with zero assistance...this is what a 4 year old gives ya :)

Friday, December 23, 2011


These are a time tested favorite in my home, my mom has been making them as long as I can remember!


1/2 cup butter, melted
6 cups Corn Flakes
4 cups mini marshmallows
1 tsp green food coloring
red hots for decoration

Melt butter and marshmallows, I do this in the microwave. Stir in vanilla and then cornflakes. Using two wet spoons, scoop out "wreaths" and set on wax paper to set. Rinse spoons to keep them lightly moist with cold water to prevent sticking. Add red hot garnish.

I store in the fridge until ready to serve. They can be frozen, but they may become a little soggy then.
Serves: I made 30 wreaths from a batch

Calories:  68

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thick Cut Out Sugar Cookies

These are fabulous, but beware...dough gets thick and it blew the motor in my inexpensive stand mixer! Oh, Well, Merry Christmas to me as I got a new KitchenAid Mixer out of the deal!!

** I am not a professional decorator :)  My kids LOVE to help!
Thick Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Source: The Peppermint Plum

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
5 1/2 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla. After mixed add sour cream. Mix together salt, baking soda, and flour. Slowly add to Mixture.

On a floured surface roll out cookies to 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. I had a hard time letting myself roll them thick, so most were right at 1/4 inch! 

Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes. If they start to brown on the edge, they were baked TOO LONG. Let them sit on the tray a few minutes before carefully transferring them to a baking rack to finish cooling.

Frost with Vanilla Buttercream
2 cups butter, softened
1 bag powdered sugar (approximately 8 cups or 2 pounds)
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Mix well, color if desired, frost cookies.

Serves: 7 dozen cookies (3.5" size cutters)

Calories: 75 calories (without frosting)
If you were to use all of the frosting on the cookies, it would add 64 calories each, I only used about half (I frost lightly), so that makes my frosted cookies: 107 calories

A few of my "designs" this year

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cheesey Potatoes

This is my go to side when entertaining, a favorite of mine at home for just us too, I'm drooling just thinking of the yummy Cheesey Potatoes!!

Potato Casserole

2 pounds hash brown potatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion (I skip this!!)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (can substitute any shredded cheese, my favorite is monerery jack)
1/2 c. melted butter, seperated
2 cup crushed corn flakes

Melt 1/4 cup butter, stir in cream of chicken soup, sourcream, cheese, onion (if used), salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes and poor into a 9x13 baking dish.
Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter and mix with 2 cup crushed corn flakes. Cover top of casserole.
Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes, until casserole browns.

Serves: 10-12

This freezes great, or I like to make half, and freeze half. To cook frozen casserole, thaw and cook as normal.

Calories: 277

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rolo Pretzels


hmmm, the combination of sweet + salty = delicious

Rolo Pretzels


Preheat oven to 350. Place a single layer of pretzels on a cookie sheet. Place a rolo on each pretzel. Place in oven for approximately 3 minutes, until the rolo is just melting. Take out of oven and immediately push an M&M into the middle of each rolo. Allow to cool

Variation - use pecans in place of the M&M
33 calories for 2 pieces

Friday, December 16, 2011


Sea Salt Caramels:
Adapted from: Not So Humble Pie
Makes 60-70 large caramels

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, separated
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Line a 9 x 9 cake pan with lightly buttered parchment and set aside.
In a heavy sauce pan over medium heat combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and one cup of the heavy cream. Stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon, slowly bring the mixture to a boil.

Once the mixture boils add the remaining cup of cream in a slow trickle so that you do not cool your caramel mixture and it continues to boil uninterrupted.
Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to boil for 5-6 minutes without stirring.
Add butter one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each melts. Clip on your candy thermometer and allow to boil over medium-low heat until the mixture just hits 250°F (Firm Ball stage) stirring occasionally. This should take about 30-40 minutes, if your temperature is climbing too quickly you might need to reduce heat all the way to low. By the same token, if you're not hitting 250°F by 40 minutes you might want to increase the heat a bit.

Once you've hit the right temperature, quickly remove from heat. Stir in the teaspoon of vanilla and pour into your prepared pan. To prevent any crystallization, don't scrape the pan as you pour, just allow what clings to the pan to remain in it. Set your pan on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

Remove the cool caramel sheet from the pan and cut into pieces. Lightly press each piece onto a plate sprinkled with Sea Salt and wrap in cellophane, parchment or waxed paper.
These should keep for roughly 1-2 weeks, when wrapped and in an air tight container on the counter.
They should keep 3-4 weeks in the fridge. Best served at room temperature.

55 calories each (when yielding 70 caramels)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Candy Cane Blossoms

we will be making a second batch of these...

Candy Cane Blossoms
recipe form Hershey's

1 bag of Hershey's Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp milk
Red and Green colored sugar - to decorate

Preheat oven to 350. Remove approximately 35 candy wrappers.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls, Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 inutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies are set. Remove from oven, press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.

Yields approximately 35 cookies

99 calories per cookie

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mint Fudge

This recipe is fantastic, it came from the mom of a friend of mine.

Layered Mint Chocolate Fudge

1 - 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 - 14 ounce can of Sweetened Condensed Milk, separated
2 tsp vanilla
1 c white almond bark
1 Tbsp Peppermint Extract
1 drop of green food coloring

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate chips with 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, add vanilla. Spread half the mix into an 8 or 9 inch square pan that was lined with wax paper. Chill for 10 minutes or until firm. Leave the remaining half of the chocolate mixture at room temperature.

In another heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt white almond bark with remaining sweetened condensed milk. Add peppermint & food coloring. Spread on chilled chocolate layer. Chill 10 minutes or until firm.  cover with remaining chocolate mixture. Chill 2 hours or until Firm

I cut my pan in 7x8 rows for 56 bars (I did neatly trim the edges so there was a small amount of "waste" to taste!) 56 bars yeilds 73 calories per bar.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hashbrown Egg Bake

Hashbrown Egg Bake

1/2 package (1 lb) frozen hash browns
1 lb breakfast sausage, browned
12 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (split)
Cover greased baking dish with potatoes. Layer sausage on top of the hash browns. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheese over sausage. Mix eggs, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over hash browns and sausage. Cover and refrigerator overnight. Bake uncovered at 350° for 60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Turkey Cookies

Late is better than never right? These are the adorable cookies my sister-in-law made via pinterest

cute, right? Have no fear, a few ended up "scary" looking

Once A Month Cooking 1

This is my November menu, I didn't make it until the end of the month, and I wanted to try everything before posting :)  I used the October menu from from Once a Month Mom. Great resource, great place to start.

I ended up with 23 meals, 4 for lunch and 19 for supper. Although no one like my lunches, so I turned those 4 into like 12 for just me!

Lunches - I don't think I'll make either again, as the kids wouldn't eat them with me!
    •  3 servings
    • 2 bags  
    • Thaw and reheat, microwave or stovetop
  • BBQs
    • 2 bags
    • Thaw and Reheat, microwave or stovetop
  • Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf – used turkey instead, pretty mushy and not a meatloaf flavor we preferred
    • Accidentally only bought 1 pound meat, so made 1 instead of 2!  
    • Instructions: thaw in fridge. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing.
  • Salsa Chicken
    • 2 bags  
    • Instructions: Dump bag contents into a slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred chicken if desired. Stir in sour cream just before serving and heat until everything is combined. Serve over rice with shredded cheese
  • Chicken Enchilada Lasagna – only used 9 tortillas, recipe said 16, ended up throwing out all 3 meals, mine turned out mushy and flavorless
    • 3 meals  
    • Instructions: Thaw in fridge. Bake at 425F for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and enchiladas are heated
  • Mama’s Meatballs and Gravy
    • My advice: Best served with spaghetti sauce, otherwise a bit to mushy/moist  
    • 2 pans
    • Instructions: Bake covered at 350F for 1 hour (no need to thaw). Uncover, and bake 10 minutes longer. Serve meatballs and gravy over mashed potatoes or rice.
  • Ground Beef Stroganoff – I'll skip the red wine vinegar
    • 2 bags  
    • Instructions: Thaw. Reheat in microwave or on stovetop. Serve over hot cooked egg noodles.
  • Chicken and Stuffing Bake
    • 2 bags
    • Instructions: Thaw in fridge. Bake uncovered at 375F for 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
·         Harvest Pancakes – bad texture
·         Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins – bland taste

Crossed off items are ones we will not add to our journal to eat again.
I kept a running list of what I had so I knew what was in the freezer, it worked great!

Now I need to start my next month! Our freezer is now empty!!