Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rolo Cookies

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 bag Rolos

Let your kids unwrap the Rolos for you.

I made a double batch in these pictures, so there were a lot. By the end, I was giving them each 5 at a time and having a race to see who could unwrap them first.

Combine butter, sugar, eggs, and remaining ingredients, except for the Rolos of course.

Roll dough around Rolo to make small ball. They will be fairly large, about inch and half in diameter. Roll in sugar.

Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. When they come out of the oven, they will still be rather round and tall.

Drop pan to flatten and spread the melted Rolo through cookie. Sometimes even after I do this I have to use my spatula to whack them and flatten a little bit. Let them cool on pan.

Obviously these taste best while still warm so the inside is melted, but they are still good when cooled. After they cool you can microwave for a few seconds to melt the inside.

Originally posted 12/1/05 without picture

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Involving your Kids in the Kitchen

There was an interesting article today in the Deseret News about cooking with children. The article highlighted a new business that teaches cooking classes to young children, “although parents can always pull out some kid-friendly recipes and hold their own class at home.”

Of course we can.

That’s right. With summer nearing and many a mother wondering how in the world she is going to entertain her kids this summer, let your children help you in the kitchen. Cheap entertainment, and after your grocery shopping is done (which you have to do anyway), no gas money or registration fees required.

I don’t believe you have to enroll your kids in all sorts of classes and activities and lessons to give them exposure and experience. I think a simple trip to the grocery store can teach them a lot if you take advantage of the opportunity. Same thing goes for your kitchen. There are so many things you could teach them, and they are so useful! And fun! And cool! And scientific! The next generation will thank you. Your daughters will feel competent in the kitchen cooking for their families, and honestly, your future daughters-in-law will love that their husbands know how to cook. (If you want to learn more about the science of cooking, check out Alton Brown and his show Good Eats on The Food Network. That is a cool show. One of the few shows I miss from the days of cable TV.)

The cooking class referenced in the article says that “interestingly enough, class registration for boys outnumbers the girls 5-1.” We could go off here about your sons not living off of Hot Pockets when they leave home for college, or being able to cook for themselves when they go on missions.

I’m going to quote from the article to tout some of the benefits of cooking with your children, and also to give you some ideas of where to start.

“During the summer months, parents can harness some of their kids' free time by helping them improve their cooking skills. It's entertaining, and the results are usually a tasty bonus. There's also a future pay-off when kids can begin fixing dinner or whipping up a family treat on their own.

"The fun thing is the parents who are calling and saying their kids made Sunday dinner, or that Joey's eating lettuce for the first time," Beutler said. "If they make the sauces themselves, they're more interested in eating it."

[Note: Who doesn’t want more help in the kitchen, and who is having a hard time getting their kids to eat certain food? Maybe this could help you out.]

"I saw a Young Chefs Academy in Oregon and fell in love with it," Dismuke said. "I adore kids and I love cooking. You're teaching this lifelong skill. I think it's so important to know the basics."

“Parents who want to spend quality time with their kids this summer should head to the kitchen, said Lacey Lee, who is teaching a four-week series of children's classes at Ace Hardware in North Salt Lake. Cooking helps stimulate creativity and is a confidence-booster, she said.

"I come from a very athletic, competitive family, and I found that cooking is the one thing you don't have to compete in," Lee said. "You can create something on your own and feel that you've accomplished something. You don't have to worry about winning or losing or being chosen last on the team. And I believe that everyone has the ability to learn something in the kitchen."

"She added that growing up, she was allowed one hour of TV-watching per day. "My mom felt it was very important to foster our imagination and creativity," she said. "So instead of watching TV, we learned a lot of things like cooking and sewing and how to change a tire."

"Cooking is also a bonding experience, she said. "I have 19 nieces and nephews, and I was a nanny for two years, and I've never had a kid who doesn't want to help me in the kitchen."

"The first class in Lee's four-week series discusses kitchen equipment and safety, with recipes for simple snacks.

Later, “the budding cooks practiced skills, such as measuring flour and cracking an egg without getting bits of shell into the bowl.

"I want to start out introducing them to the kitchen, because I know some kids who have never touched a spatula or know what it's used for," she said. Through the weeks the kids progress to breads, cakes and entrees such as lasagna.

"As the weeks go on, they will certainly learn enough to be able to help Mom with dinner. A 7- or 8-year-old would just need to have their parents take it out of the oven."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Spike Chicken

Thanks to my friend Stephanie for this great tasting and easy recipe. You should definitely look through her recipes. They all look so good.

The secret ingredient to this chicken is the Spike seasoning. Like Stephanie, I had to go to the Good Earth grocery store to find it.

Chicken cutlets
Olive oil
Spike seasoning

Heat olive oil in hot pan, place chicken in pan, lightly sprinkle with Spike, cook until center is cooked through.

I sprinkled both sides of the chicken breast with Spike but I used too much seasoning. Stephanie says sometimes she will sprinkle the Spike into the olive oil and cook it that way. Next time I make this I will still sprinkle each side of the chicken, just use less spice than I did this time.

My first time making it, this piece was good but had too much seasoning:

This one was perfect (and closer to what Stephanie's look like too!).

This recipe was too easy. It will definitely be added into the regular rotation at our house.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Easy Garlic Bread

I found this stuff at Costco that makes awesome garlic bread. It's basically garlic and parmesan cheese.

You mix it into a softened stick of butter, spread the garlic butter on the bread, toast under the broiler or bake at 350 for 10 minutes, and it turns out heavenly.

Just watch it closely so it doesn't burn if you put it under the broiler like me.

I keep my leftover garlic butter in an old margarine tub in the fridge.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I love this spaghetti sauce. It's thick, just the way I like it. This is really easy, and not too sweet like so many store bought pasta sauces (in my opinion).

I always make it with angel hair pasta. This last time I tried to mix things up and used linguine. My husband appreciated the variety and liked it, but I decided I liked the angel hair better and the angel hair is easier for the kids to eat. They had a hard time getting the fatter noodles on their forks. I always break the angel hair in half before I put it in the boiling water. Also easier for the kids to eat themselves so I don't have to cut the noodles up on their plate before eating.

I made up this recipe myself and just kind of throw it together every time I make it so forgive the vague directions and measurements.

1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 zucchini, sliced or chopped
tomato sauce, 32 oz. or more

Brown your meat in an electric fry pan with an onion. Add the green pepper, sliced mushrooms, zucchini (I like big chunks in little half circles but my family isn't as crazy about zucchini as I am. Last time I chopped it up small and my husband approved it).

Add tomato sauce. Honestly, the amount of tomato sauce I use depends on what vegetables I have on hand. I just add tomato sauce until it's the consistency I want it. At least 32 oz. and usually more I think.

Add garlic and basil. To be honest, I never measure these either. About a teaspoon of garlic. And I usually just sprinkle the basil over the top so it covers everything, probably 2-3 teaspoons. Or more. I don't know. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of sugar to help with the acidity of the tomatoes (probably depending on how the heartburn is that day, haha) but not usually.

Let it simmer 10-15 minutes.

Serve over angel hair pasta and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic bread and a fresh salad.

The pictures at the very top have a yellow and orange pepper (I was trying to use them up) and this picture at the bottom has a green pepper and whole wheat linguine pasta instead of angel hair.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Get Out of the Kitchen

Amy asked if I ever do freezer meals, and which ones freeze the best. She wants to get out of the kitchen in the heat of the summer.

I usually don't do freezer meals. My mom has left me with a freezer full of dinners when I have had a baby, and they are a huge help. I love taking a meal out of the freezer, letting it defrost on the counter or in the fridge, and popping it into the oven at dinner time. Easy dinner when you don't have time or don't feel like cooking.

Normally I only cook dinner 3 or 4 times during the week because I can make one dinner go for two meals. I've found that when I am planning menus before I go to the grocery store, if I can come up with 3, sometimes 4, dinners that is good for my family.

So here are the meals my mom has frozen for me in the past that froze well:

Sausage and Rice
Chicken Enchiladas

These are some of the meals that come to my mind first when I am thinking "easy dinner:"

Taco soup
Tomato macaroni soup
Chicken enchiladas (if you have your chicken ready or use canned or precooked frozen chicken they are a breeze to assemble) These would also freeze well.
Chicken Salad sandwiches
Sloppy Joes
Salmon, seasoned with seasoning salt and lemon pepper, cooked with a little butter in my oven (inside foil) since our grill died
Spike chicken
Chicken divan (again, if your chicken is ready it assembles quickly)
Broccoli chicken
Chicken and rice
Italian crockpot chicken

I have other meals that are pretty easy too, but the list above are my go to dinners that I think of first because my family eats them and they are healthy. As I look over the list, I guess these are meals that don't require much food prep, i.e. meat or vegetable chopping. When I am looking for easy, I throw one of these together and steam some fresh or frozen vegetables (usually green beans, brocolli, or corn) as a side dish.

In the summer I don't cook as many soups, as much as I love soup. I go crazy on the soup as soon as it gets cold outside. But when it's hot outside and I don't want to heat up the kitchen with the oven, I usually cook on my stovetop or electric frypan on the countertop. Or, if I remember to start dinner early enough in the day, use the crockpot. And someday when we have one, a grill.

Here are other recipes that are easy and will keep you out of a hot kitchen in the summer. Some of them are soups because they don't heat up the house with the oven, even though you may not feel like eating hot soup at the end of a hot day.

Italian Crockpot chicken
French dip sandwiches
Ham and swiss sandwiches
Chicken Salad sandwiches
Tacos or Taco Salad
Sloppy Joes
Esau's pottage
Pinto bean soup
Beef Stroganoff
Fajita Quesadillas
Tuna noodle casserole
Broccoli beef
Stuffed peppers
Turkey tenders
Salmon marinade
Salmon sprinkled with lemon pepper and seasoning salt
Pork chops
more soups? I guess these are all on the stovetop
Broccoli chicken
sausage and rice (this one can even cook in the microwave)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Esau's Pottage

This recipe comes from my sister-in-law Nancy. This meal is especially great for little kids and has great flavor. My kids all scarf it - even my picky 3 year old. Nancy claims this meal is so easy you should make some homemade rolls to go with it. I agree!

Our family also loves to eat it with Cheezits on top.

2 c. lentils
8 c. water
5-6 beef or chicken bouillon cubes
3 Tbs. dried onion
4 carrots, chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
2 Tbl. bacon bits
1/2 tsp. salt
garlic powder

Mix together in crockpot. Cook on high for at least 4 hours.

Originally posted 1/29/08 without picture


I started this blog awhile ago for my own convenience. When I started I didn't have any pictures, just a bunch of recipe ingredients to make it easier when someone asked for a copy of a recipe (no more writing it out by hand, or missing an ingredient, or writing down the wrong measurement). It was also great for cooking when I was out of town. I could access my recipes from anywhere - my mom's house, the family reunion, or sometimes even pull it up quicker on the computer at home than I could find it digging through my recipe box.

I didn't tell anyone about my blog for a long time because I didn't want them to get on, see 5 whole recipes on here and say, "Wow, Whitney, that's great. Whoop-de-doo. So what. You typed up a few recipes." My goal was to eventually get my whole recipe box on here. Then I discovered how much I like to have the pictures of my recipes too.

I have a lot of recipes I've already posted without pictures. I am in the process of going back and trying to add pictures for every recipe. Somehow it makes them new all over again. I figure you are more likely to try a new recipe when you can see a picture of it instead of just reading through the list of ingredients. At least that's how I am.

I have actually been going back and adding pictures to a lot of my past posts for awhile now. But nobody knows it unless you are searching through my archives. So I have started re-posting recipes as I have a new picture to go with it. Enjoy.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fruit Dip

I haven't had this for awhile, and I forgot how good it is. Even my 5 year old said "Mmm mmm mmm!" when I set it in front of him. Hey, if this stuff gets my kids to eat fruit, that's success in my book.

Large jar marshmallow cream (13 oz.)
8 oz. cream cheese - room temperature (low fat won't work)
1 Tbl. lemon juice

Mix together with whisk attachment, and serve with fruit: apples, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, etc.

Originally posted 1/13/06 without picture

Monday, May 05, 2008

Birthday Cake Roll

I don't like birthday cake and ice cream. Not even a temptation to me. But this cake roll? Love it. For my birthday I either want this, or chocolate zucchini cake.

Chocolate cake mix

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Make chocolate cake mix as directed on the box. Bake in a jelly roll pan that is lined with foil and sprayed with PAM. Bake for a shorter amount of time because of the different pan (about 15 min).
Let cake cool and then remove from pan by carefully lifting out the foil liner. Line pan with a piece of plastic wrap and replace cake in pan with foil side facing up. Carefully peel the foil from the cake.
Let ice cream soften slightly and slice into ½ inch slices and completely cover the top of the cake with ice cream. Use a spoon dipped in hot water to smooth over top of ice cream and fill in all gaps.

Slowly roll the cake into a roll using the plastic wrap to help you. This takes 2 people.

Leave entire cake roll wrapped in plastic wrap, wrap in foil, and freeze until ready to slice and serve.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Fudge Cream Cookies

1 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. soda
8 Tbl. cocoa
1 1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour

Spoon onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Cream Filling:
3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. softened butter (don't melt)
4 Tbl. flour
4 Tbl. milk
4 tsp. milk (odd measurments, but easier to remember)

Mix well and spread between two of the cookie wafers. Or eat them open faced.

(Try to make your cookies small. Otherwise it's like eating a sandwich.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Chicken Salad

This is my dad's creation, and it makes delicious sandwiches. This is really fresh and very filling. I love to make an open faced sandwich on whole wheat bread with this. My kids eat it too.

Chop: (I used my chopper for the carrots and pickles and a knife for the celery)
3-4 large carrots
4-5 celery stalks
and enough small dill pickles to make about 6 cups of chopped veggies altogether

Mash up 3 cans of Costco Chicken and stir it into the veggies.

Add approximately:

5 Tbsp of Kraft "Olive oil " mayo (50 calories per Tbsp or about 1 Weight Watchers pt)

6-8 Tbsp of Kraft "Reduced Calorie" Mayo (20 calories per tbsp or 0 Weight Watchers points if anything is really zero points but water)

Then add mustard to the right consistency (probably about 1\4 tsp. or a little more)

This is really healthy - about 2 Weight Watchers point per cup and you can make a sandwich with less than that.