Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall is in the Air!

Just had to share a little project that I did with the daycare kids this week! They turned out so adorable and the kids had a blast making them... Anything with paint is a definite hit around here!

Found this fun craft on pinterest via Find directions if you need them here!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lemon Orange Shrimp and Rice

I think that this was one of my favorite meals in a long time!! I love rice-a-roni and I love the simpleness of this meal. I also LOVE when I don't have to fight with my kids to eat supper and this was that meal! They gobbled it right up and we didn't have any problems at all...

Lemon Orange Shrimp and Rice
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

2 packages (6.2 ounces each) fried rice mix (I used rice-a-roni)
1 1/2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 cups frozen sugar snap peas, thawed

Prepare rice according to package directions, simmering for about 10-15 minutes or just until rice is tender. Remove from pan. In the same skillet, cook and stir shrimp in oil over medium high heat for 4-6 minutes or until shrimp are pink; stir in orange marmalade and lemon peel. Add snap peas and rice; heat through, mixing gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nutty Berry Trail Mix

I love a good trail mix... Finding that right mix of sweet and salty, a little bit of chocolate and having a lot of nuts - yummmm.... I saw this recipe that had a lot of my favorites and had to try it! Turned out pretty dang good and a great treat to have along with us for our last weekend of camping for the year! Much healthier then the chips that are usually busted out around the campfire after the kids go to bed! :)

Nutty Berry Trail Mix
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1 can (15 ounces) mixed nuts
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 package (9 ounces) raisins
1 package (6 ounces) chopped dried pineapples
1 jar (5.85 ounces) sunflower kernels
1 package (5 ounces) dried cranberries

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mexican Beef Cobbler

Yet another quick and fabulous weeknight meal! Definitely easy for me to throw together during naps and have ready to pop into the oven right before the daycare kids leave. I also love when I have time to help the kids out with their homework while it is cooking! Just one more chore checked off the list on our hectic nights!

Mexican Beef Cobbler
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1 pound ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
1 can (8 3/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 1/3 cups biscuit/baking mix
1 1/3 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring mixture to a boil; cook until liquid is evaporated. Transfer to an 11x7" baking dish; layer with salsa, corn and cheese. In a large bowl, mix biscuit mix and milk just until blended; drop mixture by tablespoonfuls over cheese (dish will be full). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lime Tilapia with Crisp Tender Peppers

This was a huge favorite of my whole family!! In fact a couple of days later my son asked if he could have the leftovers for breakfast... After we decided that he could have them for lunch he was ecstatic! Definitely an easy re-do... The only not so great part was peppers - I got a little crazy and heavy handed with the basil and they were not a favorite part of this meal for any of us!

Lime Tilapia with Crisp Tender Peppers
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

4 tilapia fillets
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 each medium sweet red, yellow and orange pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Place fillets on a 13x9 baking dish. Drizzle with lime juice; sprinkle with lime peel, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook and stir peppers in oil over medium heat until crisp tender; stir in basil. Serve with tilapia.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weekly Line Up - 9/21-9/28

Naptime... Oh how I love it! Time to get the house cleaned, time to get my blogs caught up on, meals planned and maybe just maybe a little bit of down time for mommy... Gotta love it! Today I have some bread bowls coming out of the oven and some chicken going in for a little chicken wild rice soup that we are having tonight for supper. Unfortunately my bread bowls didn't work so well since I am guessing my yeast must be old... Oh well, I guess we will have some thick, hearty bread to dunk in our soup! :) Ready for a whole week of new recipes every night? I am... Can't wait to try them out and hopefully they turn out better then my bread bowls did!

Saturday - Pizza for the kids - we are going to a party!! Where I will be taking a *caramel drizzled pumpkin poke cake...
Sunday - *Java Roast Beef
Monday - *Best Burger Ever
Tuesday - *Slow Cooked Pork Chops
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - *Cheesy Chicken and Rice
Friday - *Easy Garlic Chicken

Extras: *Individual Baked Oatmeal, *Ranch Dressing

* - new recipes

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crock Pot Taco Casserole

As I have said in the past, my family loves a good taco recipe... This was no exception! :) I made this up one morning and threw it in the crock pot so that it was ready for supper and it did not disappoint - it was very hearty and filling! I did make a minor change to the recipe though... I am NOT a big fan of soggy chips and I feel like whenever you add chips to a recipe and then bake them in the middle, they are going to turn out soggy. So, instead of layering the chips inside the casserole I just crushed them up and added them to the top of each serving after the meal was finished cooking. Same great taste, none of the sogginess!

Crock Pot Taco Casserole
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
2 drops tabasco sauce
1 (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup frozen corn
2 (16 ounces each) cans of chili with beans
3/4 pound cheese
nacho cheese tortilla chips

Brown ground beef. Add onion, garlic and green pepper and cook until tender. Add tabasco, tomato sauce and chili powder and stir to combine. Place meat mixture into bottom of crock pot sprayed with cooking spray. On top layer the crushed chips, corn, chili and cheese. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pumpkin Caramel Monkey Bread

I finally finished filling my face with this delicious monkey bread long enough to sit down and add this recipe to the blog... It was so warm and delicious - it was the perfect end to my workout this morning. Did I mention that the only reason I work out is so that I can be the food lover that I am? LOL!! It was pretty easy to throw together, even at 5:30 in the morning... My one recommendation? I would probably only use 3 cans of biscuits because mine took a REALLY long time to cook and the outside got more done then I wanted and the insides were still not all the way cooked. I debated it when I was piling in the last can but went with it and now I am wishing that I didn't... So, judge your pan as you are adding and remember to leave room for expansion!

Pumpkin Caramel Monkey Bread
(recipe found at

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
4 cans flaky layers refrigerated biscuits
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Heat oven to 350. Spray 6 cup (9") fluted tube cake pan with cooking spray. In large ziploc bag, mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Separate each can of dough into 8 biscuits; cut each biscuit into quarters. Place 6-8 biscuit pieces in sugar spice mixture; shake well. Continue to add more biscuit pieces to sugar spice mixture until all are completely covered. Place biscuit pieces in pan. In 1 quart saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar and pumpkin over medium heat. When mixture begins to boil, cook and stir 1 minute. Pour over biscuits in pan. Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cook in pan 10 minutes. Place plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan and serve warm.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Swiss Turkey Stromboli

This is the first of the recipes that I have tried with the whole wheat dough that I posted about yesterday. The kids weren't super excited about the mushrooms in this stromboli but I thought that it was fabulous!! I loved the whole wheat dough and I will definitely be using it again...

Swiss Turkey Stromboli
(recipe found in Taste of Home - Healthy Cooking)

3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 portion whole wheat pizza dough
3 slices reduced fat swiss cheese
6 ounces sliced deli turkey
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water

In a large nonstick skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in oil until tender. Stir in mustard; set aside. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 15x10" rectangle. Layer cheese, mushroom mixture and turkey lengthwise over half of dough to within 1/2" of edges. Fold dough over filling; pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under. Transfer to a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Combine egg white and water; brush over dough. Cut slits in top. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Serves: 4
Points: 8 points per slice

Monday, September 17, 2012

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I have been thinking about finding a good dough that I can make up and throw in the freezer and be able to take out and use for homemade pizza. I have a dough that I like already but I haven't ever tried to freeze it so I am not sure how it would turn out. This dough that I found has enough for 3 times AND it came with a few recipes that sounded good to me! So, I tried it out and it was pretty good! I used one and froze the other two... this means that the recipe that I first tried was really good and now I need to go back and try using the dough out of the freezer! Time to make some homemade pizza!!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
(Recipe found in Taste of Home - Healthy Cooking)

3 packages (1/4 ounces each) quick rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups whole whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, salt and whole wheat flour; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat water and oil to 120-130 degrees; stir into dry ingredients. Stir in enough white whole wheat flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky). Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Punch down dough; divide into three portions. Use immediately, refrigerate overnight or freeze for up to 1 month.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekly Line Up - 9/14-9/21

So we are off and running with our new school schedule... Got all the kids off to school and we are finally starting to settle into a routine, as much as we can settle into a routine that is! :) My 2nd grader is loving his new class, my kindergartener gets to start going full time as of today and my baby girl started preschool yesterday... Where has time gone?? Going to be pretty quiet around my place on the mornings that they are all at school! This past week was a lot of running, a lot of sports watching and while that is a lot of fun for me, it will be nice this next week to have some quiet evenings at home with nothing going on. Have a great weekend!

Friday - Supper out with the family!
Saturday - *Taco Casserole
Sunday - *Chicken Alfredo Pasta Pies
Monday - *Easy Taco Melts
Tuesday - *Cheddar Beer Chicken Tacos
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - Bacon Cheeseburger Rice
Friday - Chicken Wild Rice with *bread bowls

Extras: *Pumpkin Granola, *Pumpkin Caramel Monkey Bread

* = New recipes

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ranch Pork Chops

Again, when we went camping the other weekend I was looking for quick and easy... Quick and easy to throw together before we left for the day and quick and easy to clean up after we ate for the night! :) Hey... we were supposed to be relaxing, okay?? 3 ingredients?? Does that sound easy enough for you? It does to me... I brought those three ingredients along and we had another fantastic crock pot meal at the campground... Yay pinterest!!

Side note - lately I have been using my cream of everything mix that I found on pinterest a while back, but for the sake of "quick and easy" I just bought a can of cream of chicken to bring along... Like I said, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

Ranch Pork Chops
(recipe found on pinterest via

pork chops
1 envelope hidden valley ranch
1 can cream of chicken soup (or use this recipe for cream of everything mix)

Mix together hidden valley ranch and cream of chicken soup. Add up to one soup can of water depending on how long you will be cooking the pork chops in the crock pot. Dump into your crock pot and add pork chops. Give it a stir to cover pork chops and let it cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Taco Stuffed Shells

We love tacos over at our house and we loved any kind of stuffed pasta. This was one meal that I felt was sure not to disappoint... It takes a little time to do all the stuffing of the shells but once you get past that part these are such a yummy meal!! I just got all these ready during nap time and popped them in the oven before all the daycare kids left and we were ready to roll when everyone walked out the door. That works pretty well on a busy weeknight! Not to mention the fact that ALL my kids loved this meal and you know that doesn't happen every day! :)

Taco Stuffed Shells
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 (4 ounces) cream cheese
12 large pasta shells, cooked al dente
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
3 greens onions, chopped
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Cook ground beef until brown, add taco seasoning and prepare according to package. Add cream cheese and simmer until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour salsa on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Fill taco shells with meat mixture and place on top of salsa, cover with taco sauce. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and top with crushed chips and cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

French Dip Sandwich

Growing up my family owned the restaurant in town for a few years... I didn't get a chance to get into the kitchen, I was busy with school, sports and all the rest but I did get to waitress there a bit to make some extra money and to help out the family... This is where I had my first french dip sandwich and it was delicious! I'm a dipping kind of girl so to have a sauce to dip a sandwich into made my day!! I haven't made my own french dip EVER so when I saw how easy this recipe was I decided the time was now... They turned out delicious and I have to say - the meat was so juicy and tender I didn't really even need the au jus... I took all the ingredients with us when we went camping and popped it in the crock pot before we left for the day. It was great to have supper ready and waiting for us when we got back from all of our adventures!

French Dip Sandwich
(recipe found on pinterest via

2-3 lb roast
2 cans beef broth
2 packages lipton onion soup mix
sub rolls, hamburger buns, whatever bread you want
cheese (I used pepperjack cause I like the kick! :)

Place roast in crock pot - I always spray my crock pot for easier clean up... Add broth and soup mix. Cook on low 7-8 hours and shred with a fork. Place beef back in crock pot to soak up all the delicious juices and open up your buns. Place meat and cheese on buns and eat away... You can use the juice left in the crock pot for au jus if you are so inclined!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Slow Cooker Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken

Wow, things have been a little hectic around here... Started daycare and school back up full time and I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off! Trying to get back into the swing of things and find a routine but that obviously didn't happen this past week! :) I am finally getting a chance to sit down and get a few recipes posted today... Papers and pictures are piling up and I have some good ones to share! :) Hope you enjoy...

I found a couple of recipes that were pretty similar and I wanted to try both of them... This is the first of the two. Definitely yummy, especially with the glaze on top! Our family enjoyed this a lot and you know that I love any recipe that I can use frozen chicken breasts with!!

Slow Cooker Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken
(recipe found at

4-6 chicken breasts
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon lime soda
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
rice or noodles, cooked

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken in slow cooker. Mix together remaining ingredients except cornstarch and water and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4 hours. Take chicken out of slow cooker and pour remaining sauce into saucepan. Mix together cornstarch and water, add to sauce pan and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes and allow to thicken. Serve chicken over rice or noodles and top with glaze.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Grape Kabobs

This was a new summer favorite at my house! Of course another quick treat that I saw on pinterest and just had to try... Frozen grapes were a sweet and healthy treat that I remember having a lot at a friends house while I was growing up but have never taken the time to make them. Throwing them on the kabob just makes the fun never end - hey we're easy around here... Shake it up a bit and the kids will gobble anything down! :) Seriously - I had to start buying two bags of grapes, one to freeze and one for the fridge that's how fast they were flying off the shelf!!

Grape Kabobs
(recipe found on pinterest)


Pretty self explanatory! Grab your grapes, give them a wash... skewer them on a skewer and throw them in the freezer. They have a fabulous texture that even I could not get enough of!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sugar Crunch Popcorn aka Blue Popcorn

Right before school started I let my 3 oldest kids have a sleepover... They each got to pick a cousin to have over for the night and they had a blast playing in the woods by our house, tearing up the toy room and ultimately settling in for a movie and popcorn before bed. I thought that I would make a special treat of popcorn from a recipe that I had found and the kids went bonkers over it!! They loved that it was blue and I was asked pretty much every day after that if they could have more of the "blue popcorn".

Well, it was such a hit I thought to myself "this would make a great back to school gift for their teachers... Of course our school colors are purple and gold so I busted out 2 batches and made a little of each color. They turned out awesome, if I do say so myself! :) And the kids got to eat the leftovers... win, win! I'm sure you can come up with a fancier container then I did - I'm good in the kitchen, not so much in the craft room! LOL! :)

Sugar Crunch Popcorn
(recipe found at

1/2 cup popcorn, unpopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon food coloring

Pop popcorn and salt to taste. Set aside in a large bowl. In a medium size pan add the remaining ingredients. Stir over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Cook for 1 minute at a rolling boil and remove from heat. Pour sugary sauce over your popcorn and cover your bowl securely. Shake until sauce covers all of the popcorn. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then serve.

Hints: I tried to make this in a paper bag because I didn't have a big enough bowl with a cover for a double batch... This didn't work so well! The sugary sauce started seeping through the bag! :( It still turned out but I still have little blue dots all over my kitchen from when I was shaking it!! So, make sure your bowl is big enough to allow some shaking room!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dunkaroo Dip

We took this on our camping adventure to Duluth and it was a fun little treat to have sitting around the campfire or for an afternoon snack. We all thought it was super good but you definitely can't have too much or you will go into sugar shock! :)

Dunkaroo Dip
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 box funfetti cake mix
2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cups cool whip

Mix together all ingredients and chill for an hour. Serve with animal crackers, graham crackers, nilla wafers, etc...