Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anna's Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Wanna sneak something healthy in a delicious CHOCOLATEY snack? Then this recipe's for you:

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups zucchini, peeled & shredded
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in zucchini. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to zucchini mixture & mix well. Pour into 2 greased 8-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 1 hour or until bread tests done.

Note: fill pans half-full, you may need more than 2 pans.
Also: Might try substituting "egg beaters" and "Splenda for Baking" to reduce the calories.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Katie's Menu Plan Aug 31

Here is this week's menu plan.

Breakfast: French Toast sticks, Pancakes, Oatmeal, Grits (I will make them eventually!)

Lunch: Leftovers, PB & J, Lunchables, Burrito Roll-ups

Snacks: Pretzels, Pizza Muffins


Monday-- Potato Minestrone Soup, Rolls

Wednesday-- Beef Stroganoff

Sunday-- BBQ Beef Sandwiches

I'd love to see other menu plans! Check out to see other menus.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pasta Salad

Recipe contributed by Cassie G. (Sorry I didn't get a picture of this one!)

1 (12 oz) package spiral pasta
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
1 c sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cans (2-1/4 oz each) sliced ripe olives, drained
6 green onions, sliced
1 (3 ½ oz) package sliced pepperoni, halved
½ c olive oil
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse with cold water and drain well. In a large serving bowl combine the peppers, mushrooms, olives green onions, pepperoni and pasta. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over salad, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Toss before serving. Yield 14 servings.

** 2 cups cubed chicken may be added if desired.

Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing

Recipe contributed by Katie C.

4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ c olive or vegetable oil
½ tsp pepper

Mix together and refrigerate. I like to serve this with grilled chicken salad.

Greek Pasta Salad

Recipe Contributed by Christine K.

3 c uncooked penne pasta (I never measure)
1 c sliced grilled chicken
1 can sliced olives
½ c chopped green pepper
½ c chopped red pepper
½ c or more crumbled Feta cheese
2/3 c Caesar salad dressing (I like Ken’s brand)

Cook pasta and combine with rest of ingredients. Eat with grilled vegetables and French bread!

Tortellini Salad

Recipe contributed by Heidi S.

1 - 20 oz package of fresh Tortellini (deli case)
1 - chopped cucumber
1 (of each) red, yellow, & green bell pepper
grape tomatoes
1 can small black olives
1 cp. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 bottle Italian dressing (I usually use about 3/4 of the bottle)

Cook tortellini for 7 minutes after water has come to a boil
rinse & cool
mix all ingredients together and chill approx. 1-2 hours before serving
mix well & serve

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Orange Juice Dessert

Recipe contributed by Cara C.

2 cylinders Ritz crackers, crushed
¼ c powdered sugar
½ c margarine or butter, melted

Mix cracker crumbs and powdered sugar. Add melted butter. Mix well. Spread ¾ of mixture in a 9x13 pan. Reserve the other ¼ of the mixture for topping.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tub Cool Whip

Mix well. Pour over crumbs in pan. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top. Freeze.

Creamy Lemon Pie

Contributed by Tera S.

6 graham cracker sheets
2 tbsp butter
11 oz fat free sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
½ c lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
1 tbsp lemon zest

Put graham crackers in the food processor until it turns into crumbs or place graham crackers in a Ziploc bag, seal and smash with a rolling pin. Melt the butter and mix with the graham cracker crumbs. Press graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate and set aside.

In a bowl combine the sweetened condensed milk and the eggs. Mix well. Add the lemon juice and zest. Mix well. Pour filling over the crust and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on the counter and then chill pie in the refrigerator. Pie can be frozen up to two weeks. (Recipe from Weight Watchers.)

Yummy Brownies

Contributed by Amber O.

2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 c margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¾ c flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ c cocoa

Mix all dry ingredients together and add all other ingredients. Spread into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Top with semisweet chocolate bits (or not). Bake at 375 for 20-24 minutes.

Pink Stuff

Contributed by Janeen B.

1 16oz Container of Cool Whip
1 Can Cherry Pie Filling
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Small can crushed Pineapple
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Chopped Pecans (optional)

Place Softened Cool Whip in a large bowl. Add cherry pie filling and sweetened condensed milk. Stir. Next add Lemon Juice and pineapple. Stir. Lemon juice makes the mixture solidify a bit. Stir in chopped nuts if desired and serve. Yummy!

Angel Lush Cake

Recipe contributed by Aubony O.

1 can (20 oz) Dole Crushed Pineapple, undrained)
1 pkg. (3.4 oz) Jell-O Vanilla flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup thawed cool whip topping
Mixed berries to garnish
1 Angel food cake (store bought or from mix)

Cut angel food cake horizontally into three layers.
Mix pineapple and dry pudding mix in medium bowl. Stir in whipped topping. Layer cake with filling mixture.
Top with mixed berries, chill in fridge 1 hr.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Recipe contributed by Heidi S.

3/4 cp. white sugar

3/4 cp. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cp. Crisco

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

2 1/4 cp. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

mix first 5 ingredients together
combine the last 3 ingredients together in separate bowl
slowly add to the first mixture
place dough in mini muffin tin {about 3/4 full in each slot}
place in oven @ 350 for 7 minutes
as soon as they come out, push a Reese’s cup in each slot

Chewy Low-Cal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe contributed by Ginette K.

1/2 cup regular sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg white
1 cup flour, all-purpose
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup miniature, semisweet, chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugars, margarine, vanilla and egg white in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto greases cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Move to wire rack to finish cooling.

Each Cookie; 60 Calories; 20 calories from fat; 2 grams fat; 0 mg Cholesterol

Creamy Orange Jell-O

Recipe contributed by Kay H.


Prepare cooked pudding as directed on package, using the ½ cup of sugar and the egg yolks. Cool 5 minutes. While cooling, prepare the orange jell-o, using ½ cup less cold water than directed on the package. Wisk the jell-o into the pudding and stir until well blended. Pour into an 8 x 8 dish. Refrigerate until form. Top with the cool whip, and if desired, the oranges and nuts.


Basic Decorating Cream Cheese Icing

Recipe contributed by Kay H. Kay is a professional cake decorator, so I'm sure this is great!

Place the first 9 ingredients in the bowl in this order and mix well.

2 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Clear Vanilla
2 tsp. Butter Flavoring
½ tsp. Almond Extract
2 TBLS. Lemon Juice
2 Cups Crisco Shortening
1 8oz. Pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Room Temp.)
1 Stick of Butter (Room Temp.)
½ Cup Flour

Add the following, alternating until desired consistency is reached.

4 – 4-1/2 lbs Powdered Sugar (pure cane sugar is the best)
3 TBLSP. Meringue Powder
(Do Not pour Liquid directly onto the meringue powder, you will get lumps)
1/3 to ½ Cup Liquid – milk, evaporated milk, water, whipping cream, ½ & ½,

-Evaporated milk gives a bolder taste
-Whipping Cream gives a creamier texture
-Sometimes I use a combination of evaporated milk and either whipping cream or ½ & ½.

Icing needs to be a medium / soft consistence to spread on cakes and thicker for doing decorations. If your icing does not spread easily it is too thick just add liquid a little bit at a time. If it seems droopy or too soft you need to thicken it up with more powdered sugar.

You can add any flavor of instant pudding to either ice or fill your cake. (you will need additional liquid.)

Any special flavorings or extracts. (Butterscotch, Cherry, Lemon)

If you want fruit flavored icing try some fruit juice. (pulp free or strained is best)
Remember colored juice = colored icing.

For chocolate icing add unsweetened Cocoa, cooled melted chocolate chips, I’ve even used ice cream syrup; not my favorite but it works.

For Spice Icing add cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg. Great for carrot or spice cakes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Katie's Menu Plan Aug 24

Here's my menu plan for this week.
Breakfast: French Toast Sticks, Oatmeal, Potato & Herb Pancakes, Grits (didn't do it last week...)
Lunch: Leftovers, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Lunchables, Burrito Roll-ups
Monday-- Homemade pizza
Tuesday-- White Chili
Wednesday-- Pork Chops & Rice
Tursday-- Family BBQ
Friday-- Taco Pinwheel
Check out more menu plans at

Chicken Waldorf Salad

This recipe was contributed by Janeen B.

Grilled or Broiled Chicken Breast Sliced or Chopped (Amount will vary depending on number of servings usually 1 Breast per person)
2 Hearts of Romaine Lettuce chopped
Red Grapes Sliced in two
2-3 Stalks of celery chopped
1 5oz container of Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese
1 cup of Candied Walnuts or Pecans
1 red onion slices (optional)

Toss together and top with Blue Cheese Dressing

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

This recipe was contributed by Daria P.

1 Cup Flour
½ tsp. Salt
¾ Cup Sugar
½ Cup Milk
2 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 Tbsp. Oil
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 ¾ Cup Hottest tap water
¼ Cup Cocoa

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl combine milk, vanilla, and oil. Add to dry ingredients and stir by hand until smooth. Spread evenly in 9x9 or 8x8 inch pan.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and cocoa, then carefully pour tap water over all. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, inverting spoonful of cake so the sauce is on top.

Friday, August 21, 2009


This recipe is from Michelle H.

3 tablespoons corn syrup
6 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, combine the syrup and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.
I found a very good web site for pate choux. This website has a recipe and excellent instructions with pictures on how to make the choux.

Plated Desserts Demonstration

Today we had our first Lunch and Recipe Swap. Michelle H., our resident chef, did a demonstration on dessert plating. Simple Presentations:
  1. The dessert alone-- This will usually only consist of a wedge of pie or cake, a piece of pastry, or a single scoop of ice cream or two.
  2. The dessert plus a garnish-- This can be as simple as a sprig of mint. Fruit is another suitable garnish that is very popular. You may choose to use some berries whole. Large pieces of fruit should be diced into small pieces or sliced. Another way to add a garnish is to use ice cream. This is done by forming the ice cream into a quenelle. A quenelle is formed by using two spoons to shape the ice cream into an oval. Some other ideas might be to add some whip cream, a small cookie, or chocolate curls.
  3. The dessert plus a sauce-- Some ideas for a sauce would be to use a fruit sauce, chocolate, or a creme anglaise. This is a simple vanilla sauce, that is made from milk, sugar and egg yolks. Typically you don't place a sauce on top of a dessert, but use the sauce to decorate the plate. This can be done by placing a small pool of sauce in the middle of the plate, or on the side and then placing the dessert close to the sauce. you may also consider dazzling or even coming up with your own design for your plates. Use your imagination and have fun.
  4. The dessert with a garnish and a sauce-- With this method you simply use all of your components on one plate.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicken in Mushroom Sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup fat free plain yogurt

Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a separate bowl, combine soup and yogurt. Pour over the top of the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until chicken is tender.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Paula Deen's Cheesy Garlic Grits

Katie asked for a good grits recipe - here's one I've tried from Paula Deen. It is good!

6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups regular grits
16 ounces Cheddar, cubed
1/2 cup milk
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces grated sharp white Cheddar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 4-quart casserole dish.

Bring the broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in the grits and whisk until completely combined. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grits are thick, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cubed Cheddar and milk and stir. Gradually stir in the eggs and butter, stirring until all are combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with the white Cheddar and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Katie's Menu Plan Aug 17

Here is my menu plan for this week. School starts tomorrow, so I am trying to be more organized for breakfast and lunch as well.

Breakfast: Yogurt Parfaits, Scrambled Eggs and Toast, Grits (the kids found them at the store and wanted to try them, so if you know a good way to prepare them please share!)

Lunch: Leftovers (always an option for the kids, but usually they don't take it), PB&J from the freezer, Lunchables (on sale, so I got them as a special back-to-school treat)

Monday-- Stuffed Shells

Tuesday-- Curried Chicken Salad

Wednesday-- Leftovers or Chicken nuggets

Thursday-- Cilantro Lime Chicken Wraps

Friday-- Chicken Salad for Recipe Swap at lunch (I will post the recipes!), Eat out for dinner

Saturday-- Hawaiian Haystacks

Sunday-- Dinner with family, we are bringing dessert. I will probably make Peanut Butter Bars.

Check out other menu ideas at

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Food Tidings

I found this site that I wanted to share with everyone.

This site helps you organize meals for friends or family that are going through a transitional period in life. I thought it was a great idea and would cut down on all the headache of organizing help!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Super-Easy Chili

The kids wanted chili-dogs for dinner last night, but I had no canned chili (our usual stand-by). In looking through the freezer and pantry, I found ground beef and some Campbells condensed tomato soup.

I combined the (cooked) ground beef and the tomato soup, added some chopped onions, then spiced it up with cumin, chili powder, and a bit of cayenne pepper. It was really good chili. I may stop buying the stuff in the cans!

You could also add beans to this chili recipe to make it heartier. I left them out since it was intended to top the chili dogs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Katie's Menu Plan Aug 10

I found this site that encourages people to plan menus. I always do a monthly menu so I only have to endure shopping at Wal-Mart once a month, and then I pick up other perishables needed throughout the month at King Soopers during my weekly Grocery Game trip. Then I come up with a day-to-day weekly menu at the start of each week. This works for me because then I know which days I need a quick meal or a crock-pot meal depending on what's on the calendar.

I thought it would be good to share our menu plans so we can get ideas from each other and also so we can link up any good recipes we find online (but aren't ours, so we can't claim them). I hope you enjoy and this is helpful!

Menu Plan for the week of August 10:

Monday: Pizza, carrots, cucumbers & apples

Tuesday: Chicken in Mushroom Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Corn Bread

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans, Fried Potatoes, Biscuits

Thursday: Spaghetti, Herbed Dinner Rolls

Saturday: (BBQ) Hot dogs, Hamburgers, Watermelon, etc

Sunday: Mexican Meatloaf (I make double and put one in the freezer)

Let me know if you want any specific recipes I have listed!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes

(I adapted this from a recipe I found online at You can adapt the different ingredients to suit your tastes - I never measure, so the measurements below are kind of guesswork, but close enough to what I use. The original recipe calls for green grapes, but I prefer red grapes for the color.)

4 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1/4 to 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cups mayonnaise or plain yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Dijon or prepared spicy brown mustard
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups grapes, halved

In a small saucepan or skillet heat 2 Tbsp of oil. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the curry powder and salt and heat for another 30 or so seconds. Remove from heat.

As the curry mixture cools, place chicken, 2Tbsp oil and celery in bowl and toss. Add grapes and toss.

To the cooled curry mixture add mayonnaise, lemon juice, and mustard. Add this to the chicken and toss well. It is not necessary to chill before serving. Serve with lettuce or on bread or a roll. Enjoy!

Carne Asada Street Tacos

1 pound round steak or skirt steak
Meat Tenderizing powder
Adobo Seasoning to taste
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Corn tortillas
1-2 limes, cut into wedges

Sprinkle Meat Tenderizer over steak per directions on label. Season meat with Adobo seasoning (use sparingly because the tenderizer is VERY salty). Put seasoned meat into a ziploc baggie and add oil. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Cook steak on grill over med-hi until medium rare, or desired wellness. Meanwhile, chop onion, cilantro, and limes. When meat is finished cooking, let stand for 5 minutes, then chop into thin strips. Heat tortillas in a skillet over med-high heat until warm and soft. Keep tortillas warm in tin foil. Assemble tacos with onion and cilantro and squeeze fresh lime juice. Serve with pico de gallo and guacamole if desired.

Cream of Mushroom Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner

1 lbs chicken breast, cubed
1 15 oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Hot, cooked rice

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken and cook thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour Cream of Mushroom soup over chicken and stir until coated evenly. Add cheese. Cook until cheese is melted. Serve over hot, cooked rice.

Pepper Steak

1 to 1 1/2 lbs round steak, cut into 2 inch strips
1 Green bell pepper, chopped
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 Clove minced garlic
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Cooked rice

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add round steak and garlic. Cook until steak is browned. Add green pepper and cook until tender. Add tomato sauce and stir until meat mixture is evenly coated. Sprinkle enough oregano to cover the surface of the skillet and salt to taste. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 - 20 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and tender. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Amigo Tortilla Soup

1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound boneless chicken chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
10 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup salsa
1 Tablespoon lime juice

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat; add onion and saute until translucent. Add chicken and cook until brown. Stir in cumin and chili powder. Add remaining ingredients except for lime juice. Simmer until heated through and chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and add lime juice. Serve with cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, black olives for garnish.

My children love this!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fruit Smoothies

1 ripe banana
1 c fresh, frozen or canned fruit (I have done frozen strawberries, raspberries and canned peaches)
1/2 c plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 c apple juice
1 tbsp wheat germ (if you are feeling like a healthy kick!)

Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until combined. Add extra juice if it is too thick.

** This has been a staple at our house this summer. The kids love it and it's good for them!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Green Chile Enchiladas

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can (15 oz) black beans
1 can (15 oz) corn
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
8 flour tortillas (I think mine were 10 inch?)
1 can (10 oz) green chili enchilada sauce
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Dice and cook chicken in a skillet. Add corn, black beans and cream cheese until combined (if it is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk). Divide mixture between the tortillas. Roll and place in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Pour enchilada sauce evenly over the top. Cook for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Cook 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.


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