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April 29, 2011

Taste of Home's Mediterranean Chips and Dip


With three males in my house, we go through a ton of snack foods every week. Always being mindful of my budget, I try to make inexpensive snacks from scratch as much as I can. Recently Taste of Home magazine had a Mediterranean Chips and Dips recipe fitting this description.

This recipe is beyond simple to make. The first seven ingredients are put into a food processor and the does all the work for you. The magazine states the prep time as 30 minutes, but it took me no where near that long. I was able to make this snack while waiting for the rest of my dinner meal to cook. The ingredients were all easily found at my local grocery store, with several types of pita available.

I love this recipe because it is a super simple way to make a snack that my whole family will enjoy. Both of my boys ate this snack, with no complaints and my husband loved that unlike, hummus made with chickpeas, this recipe had no husks. This is one recipe that is sure to make a repeat appearance in my household.

For the recipe go to Taste of Home Mediterranean Chips and Dip  (Registration Required).

April 28, 2011

Gogo's Crazy Bone Bonanza




Recently I was chosen to host a Gogo's Crazy Bone Bonanza party through Child's Play Party. In return for hosting the event, I received Gogo's Crazy Bone Sticker Albums, Gogo's "Flow" Packs with 3 Gogo's and single Gogo's Packs to give out to guests in addition to items for my sons.

Gogo's Crazy Bones are small figurines that children can collect and use to play games. They are brightly colored and shaped to fit onto a child's finger. You can see more on their official website and Wikipedia article.

The party was a huge hit, with a variety of ages attending. My four-year-old, while too young for the game portion loves using the Gogo's as action figures. The older children enjoyed several game-play suggestions spelled out in the sticker book. Most of the parents have purchased additional figures since the party with one child receiving an entire Easter basket full of GGCBs. My husband and the mother of that particular child are members of the same civic organization and, during a recent meeting, the youngster could be heard playing with the Gogo's and teaching other children how to play, therefore making the game go viral amongst his friends. All-in-all it was a great party for a genuinely fun toy!



Disclaimer: I received products for my child to keep in return for hosting this party, no other compensation was received.

April 27, 2011

America's Test Kitchen's Strawberries and Grapes with Balsamic and Red Wine Reduction





For my Easter meal I try to keep my dishes light ad not overly heavy. However, when I come to fruit dishes I always end up at a loss as to what to do besides a fruit salad or boring fruit plate. This year I tried a new recipe using a reduction from The Complete America's Test Kitchen Cookbook.

This is the first recipe that I have made using a balsamic reduction, so I was a little apprehensive about how it would turn out, especially since it was Easter. However, the prep turned out to be very easy and the instructions in the cookbook straightforward and helpful. The ingredients are very basic and easy to find at any supermarket.

I was very impressed how easy this recipe was to follow and how great the recipe tastes. My two year old ate all his fruit and then commenced to steal all my strawberries as well. My mother-in-law had never had a balsamic fruit reduction before and she is now converted to the idea. However, my husband thought it was good, but a little bit of basil would have complimented the strawberry-balsamic flavor.  I would definitely use this recipe again.


This recipe can be found on page 441 of The Complete America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. It can be purchased on Amazon

America's Test Kitchen's Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel




I love sweets, but my husband tends to go for salty snacks, so if I make a cake it sits until half of it gets thrown away. Coffee cake is one thing that we can both agree on, but I tend to make the same recipe over and over. This Easter I tried a new recipe from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.

I made this recipe before everything else on my Easter menu so that it had time to cool completely, even so it crumbled when sliced. I would, therefore, recommend letting the coffee cake sit for a decent amount of time to ensure even cutting. The ingredients for this recipe are basic and were easy to find at any grocery store.  The prep was more time consuming than similar recipes, with multiples appliances needed. For a normal day this would be fine, but since it was a big holiday meal, it did create quite a bit of a mess. The one change that I made to the recipe was to bake it in a bunt rather than a tube pan. I prefer the look on the table of the bunt shape for holiday gatherings.

This was a quality coffee cake. The streusel filling gives the cake a unique quality and it isn't overly sweet. I would make this recipe again, just probably not for a holiday meal, since it creates a bit of a mess.


The recipe can be found on page 441 of The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. The book can be purchased on Amazon.

April 26, 2011

Chef Walter Staib's Potato, Mushroom and Onion Casserole



Easter dinner can tend to be monotonous, with the same recipes year after year. So for Easter dinner this year I wanted to try some new cookbook recipes that I hadn't done before. I bought Walter Staib's The City Tavern Cookbook about 6 months ago, but have only done a couple of recipes, so for Easter I prepared the Potato, Mushroom and Onion Casserole.

Most of the recipes in this cookbook use simple, basic ingredients. The ingredients for this recipe were easily found at my local grocery store and the prep was not overly time consuming. I did have to bake the casserole about 15 minutes longer than the recipe suggestion, but my oven tends to run cold. My husband salted the dish and was trying to be sensitive to those at our dinner not tolerant to sodium and therefore the dish was undersalted. I would recommend using a larger amount of salt since it's going directly onto potatoes.

Everyone at my dinner table enjoyed this dish. My mother-in-law especially liked the texture of this potato casserole recipe and my husband is now refusing to eat boxed scalloped potatoes. The mushrooms added an umami flavor and gave a nice color to the onions during the saute process. I would definitely make this dish again and this will be our new potato recipe.

For the recipe see Walter Staib's The City Tavern Cookbook, page 218. You can buy it at Amazon.

Apricot-Peach and Gingersnap-Crusted Baked Ham



Every Easter we purchase the same spiral ham from Sam's and pretty much prepare it the same way. Last year we tried a county ham, which I thought was too salty, my husband on the other hand liked it, This year we decided to try something different to see if we could come to a compromise. Using a recipe from the April 10, Charleston (WV) Sunday Gazette-Mail, I prepared Apricot-Peach and Gingersnap-Crusted Baked Ham.

This recipe was fairly simple to make. I did have to substitute the apricot-peach jam, to half apricot and half peach jam respectively, Additionally, the 8 pound boneless ham that I was able to find was not a traditional spiral cut.

This recipe turned out okay; not great, not bad. The pan sauce was the best part of the dish and compensated for the ham that was less than stellar in terms of quality. My husband thought the skin was tough and I thought the ham was salty. This was a fun recipe to try for a change, but I think next time I would make the pan sauce and use something else to bast the ham.

I was unable to find a link to the recipe on the Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail's website, but it can be found here Apricot-Peach and Gingersnap-Crusted Baked Ham.

April 25, 2011

Bon Appetit Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash



Since temperatures are in the 80's in my area this week, I'm cramming my last few soup, stew, and chili recipes in before the thermometer hits the 90's. This weekend I tried the Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash from the February issue of Bon Appetit.

This dish takes a considerable amount of prep and cooking time: three and a half hours, combined. Pre-planning is definitely involved to get this recipe ready for the dinner table. The ingredients are easily accessible, though, and everything was available at my local grocery store. The only negative aspect of prepping is the cutting and peeling of the butternut squash, which can be time consuming.

I did forget to buy the pickled jalapenos and sour cream as suggested for serving. The other substitution that I made was to use the black beans available at my grocery store, not special order the beans from the two websites that Bon Appetit recommends. The added expense was not something justifiable for my family budget and I feel that the dish tasted great regardless.

My two-year-old loved this recipe. He ate his whole bowl and asked for seconds. My four-year-old also ate his whole serving and had leftovers for lunch today. I thought it was a good tasting chili, but I think that next time I would add more salt, it was a little sweeter than I think was intended. Many people would balk at the idea of meatless chili, but I thought this vegetarian (vegan if you skip the dairy toppings) version was a great way to introduce healthier and less-expensive recipes to my household. I will definitely make this recipe in the future (with more salt and the suggested toppings).

For the recipe visit Bon Appetit Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash.

(Note: Sorry about the unimpressive photo. My iPod Touch was the only camera available at the time.)

April 24, 2011

Bon Appetit Shrimp and Coconut Curry with Green Beans




My four-year-old is obsessed with shrimp. Whenever I make a shrimp dish the rest of the family has to guard their plates because he will go around picking shrimp off everyone elses plates. Green beans are another hit with the kids in our house, so when I saw a recipe for Shrimp and Coconut Curry with Green Beans in the December 2010 issue of Bon Appetit, it was a perfect fit for our family.

The prep time for this recipe was rather time consuming. I am not a fan of shelling and deveining 2 1/2 pounds of shrimp, especially when my young sons insist of helping mommy cook. It took me longer than the 35 minutes the recipe suggests to prep. It might be that I'm slow, but I'm thinking the estimate is on the low side. I did have to make a substitution for the lemongrass stalks. I used 2 tablespoons of grated lime peel as suggested, Additionally, I had a hard time finding 3/4 pound of green beans that looked good enough to cook. Most of the green beans that I sifted through at the grocery store looked like they hadn't been picked recently. I did luck out with having no trouble finding Madras curry powder; there were even multiple brands available at my local Kroger.

This recipe was a big hit with both of my children. They ate their whole plate and asked for seconds. The only problem I ran across is that I had to add a large amount of salt at the end of the cooking for flavor. The final taste was good and my whole family was able to enjoy this recipe, it's one that I would make again.
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For the recipe go to Bon Appetite Shrimp and Coconut Curry with Green Beans

April 23, 2011

Family Fun Spanish Beef Stew



 This is the time of year that I love to make stew and chili dishes. The weather outside is often dreary so I try to make the dishes I prepare in spring warm and welcoming. Last week I served Spanish Beef Stew  and this week I cooked Spanish Beef Stew from the February issue of Family Fun.

This recipe takes shopping and prep time. The ingredient list is long and I had to go to multiple stores to find everything needed. Additionally, this is not a recipe which can be made spur of the moment at the end of the day, the cooking time is two hours and the prep approximately 30 minutes. Part of the cooking time the dish can be left to stew, but there is still a substantial amount of hands-on cooking involved.

I had to make a couple of substitutions. None of my local stores had red new potatoes in stock, so I followed the recipe suggestion and served the stew over egg noodles. Additionally, I did not use applewood-smoked bacon, I just used what I already had in my fridge. I ended up modifying the recipe from its original form to correct a blunder. When I went to check on the stew after it had simmered for an hour, my stew had little to no liquid left. In order to remedy this situation, I added additional red wine and beef stock. The end result was a caramelized, sweeter stew than the original recipe, which my husband and sons preferred. The one thing that I would change about this recipe is that I would substitute lamb meat for the beef. The beef was better when shredded on the plate rather than cubed and using lamb would eliminate this need.

My two year old liked this dish, he ate everything except the beef. My husband loved the taste, but agreed that lamb would be a good substitution; my five year old was indifferent. All in all this is a good stew recipe if you have the time and can find all the ingredients.

If you are interested in the recipe go to Family Fun Spanish Beef Stew.

April 22, 2011

All You Coconut-Curry Beef




Finding new beef recipes for the slow cooker is often difficult. Most recipes involve pulled beef or beef roast, which while good, can be redundant if done frequently. So I was interested when the April issue of All You magazine had a Coconut-Curry recipe.

The ingredients for this recipe are easy to find, with even my local Kroger having three different brands of coconut milk, including a generic. The prep time is very short and the time in the slow cooker is only 4-5 hours, much shorter than many recipes.

The one substitution I had to make was to the tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are not available at my grocery store, so I substituted grape tomatoes and cooked them in the slow cooker the last 30 minutes to soften. The most noticeable thing about the recipe is the 1 tsp of cayenne. This recipe is spicy for children. When I served this recipe to my four and two year old for dinner I had to mix in plain Greek yogurt. It was fine for my husband and I, especially the leftovers the next day, which were much milder.

If I was to make this recipe again I would make sure that I had Greek yogurt for my children to mix into their servings. The taste of the dish is nice, just a little spicy for younger palates.

For the recipe go to All You Coconut-Curry Beef.

April 21, 2011

Martha Stewart Everyday Food Cheesy Chickpea and Sesame Crackers





My two boys go through a very large amount of snack food every week. I hate buying everything pre-packaged so I try to find as many from scratch snack recipes as I can. One of the recent issues of Martha Stewart Everyday Food had a recipe for Cheesy Chickpea and Sesame Crackers that looked promising.

The recipe is very simple and easy to follow and uses ingredients that would be available at almost any supermarket (even my Kroger). I did have to add more than the recommended three tablespoons of cold water to the dough, I used another 2 tablespoons. Without the additional water the dough would not have come together properly. I would also recommend topping the crackers with salt before going in the oven, they were lacking the slightly salty flavor which most crackers have.



For fun my husband added bacon salt to the top of a few of the crackers. I wasn't sure what the outcome would be, but the end result was good and added the necessary salt flavor without being over powering.
It would be a fun addition that I would try again.

I did notice that the next day after I made the crackers that the only ones still crisp and not soft, were almost burnt looking. I would recommend putting the crackers back into the oven to crisp them up before eating them again. I'm on the fence on this recipe because of how they taste after sitting overnight, I think I would use this for a party where they would be consumed right away and stay crisp, not for an everyday snack food.

To find the recipe go to Cheesy Chickpea and Sesame Crackers.

Martha Stewart Everyday Food Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower and Chickpeas



 Chicken is a staple in our house, which I cook two or three times a week. My boys are picky about the type of beef that they will eat, but if a meal involves chicken, they will lick their plates clean. Roasted chicken is an especially easy and well received recipe in my house, so I am always on the lookout for a new option. A recent issue of Everyday Food had a recipe for Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower and Chickpeas that I tried.

This recipe is simple, with only 7 ingredients (two of which are salt and pepper) and easy to put together. The roasted vegetables turned out great, with the chickpeas adding a nutty flavor. My one complaint is with the roasted chicken, it lacks flavor. My husband's solution was to dip his serving in barbeque sauce, while my children ate it without noticing the blandness. If I was to use this recipe again, I would add flavor to the chicken after transferring it to another pan, it needs something to enhance the flavor of the roasted chicken. As the recipe stands, the vegetables are great, the chicken just basic.

For the recipe look in the April issue of Everyday Food.

Note: Recipe not currently available on the official Martha Stewart website, will post when available.

April 20, 2011

All You Shredded Beef Tacos




In my constant search for less time consuming meals to feed my family, slow cooker meals always stand out. The January issue of All You had a Shredded Beef Tacos recipe that is easy and uses a small number of ingredients. The best part is that I can start the meal in the morning and forget about it until dinner time.

This recipe is super easy to make and takes very little time. The only problem that I encountered was that my local Kroger does not carry chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, so one again I had to turn to Walmart. The recipe smelled great in the slow cooker all day, making me even more hungry by the time dinner rolled around. My two boys both liked this recipe, my husband preferred the Taste of Home Slow Cooked Carnitas.

When I reheated the leftovers in the slow cooker we added different toppings than the first time around and that made a large difference in taste. I had some ramp salsa (the substance on the left side of the taco in the photo) that my mother-in-law had given me a while back, that I had never been able to come up with anything to do with and this recipe was perfect. It added an extra layer of flavor to the beef and made a great topping.

To find the recipe go to All You Shredded Beef Tacos.

Food and Wine Black-Bean Turkey Chili



I have a hard time finding turkey recipes that my family will enjoy. My husband is a bacon and beef guy, with intermittent amounts of chicken and my sons could eat chicken all day and be content. So when I was flipping through the March issue of Food and Wine and saw a recipe for Black-Bean Turkey Chili, I was intrigued.

This recipe was a big hit in my house. My 2 year old ate his entire bowl and my husband actually heated up the leftovers and ate them the next day. I was only able to find one type of chili powder in my area, so I used 2 tablespoons of chili powder and a frozen, chopped chipotle chili in adobo sauce. The flavor turned out nice, with the right subtle undertones from the chili. I ground my own turkey, which I prefer to the pre-ground supermarket options, the texture is better. Finally, I added cilantro to the chili at the end, which brought out the flavor. This is a recipe that I would definitely use again, especially with the fact that it has 36gm of protein per serving.

You can find the recipe here Black-Bean Turkey Chili.

April 19, 2011

Parents Cake-Mix Cookies

Recently during a sale at Kroger I stocked up on cake mix and frosting, which were free after coupons. However, I have been stuck with all the stockpile and nothing to bake, my husband is not a fan of cake and my four year old prefers licking off all the frosting. The April issue of Parents Magazine has a cookie recipe that is perfect for my family. Using only 5 ingredients it makes sandwich cookies from cake mix.

This recipe is so super easy and fast that my two year old was able to help. Additionally, it uses ingredients that a lot of people already have in their pantry. The taste is what is to be expected from boxed cake mix and pre-made frosting, not great, but passable. One thing remained the same, my four year old still licked off all the frosting.


Here is the recipe if your interested Cake Mix Cookies (Registration Required)


April 18, 2011

Martha Stewart Living Little Boy Blueberry Scone


With two small boys in my house, I never have as much time to bake as I would like. A recent issue of Martha Stewart Living had a number of recipes intended for a a baby shower that caught my attention, especially the Little Boy Blueberry Scones.

The recipe was easy to follow and the ingredients basic. The only problem that I can across was that the first batch of scones look great visually, but after re-patting the dough, some of the blueberries got smashed and the second batch was slightly discolored. I didn't have any coarse sanding sugar to top the scones, so I sprinkled a small amount of granulated sugar.

The scones had a good taste, my two year old ate two for breakfast. I  used butter instead of the lemon curd and they tasted fine.I decided not to add the Lemon Curd topping because in my family it would just lead to a large mess. I would use this recipe again if I had the time to spare, they take about 2 hours total, which can be hard to find some days.

Here is the link to the recipe Little Boy Blueberry Scones.

April 17, 2011

Hormel Compleats Kids Meals Part II


Last week I reviewed the Spaghetti and Meatballs and Beef Ravioli Hormel Compleats Kids Meals. This week I will share my (and my boys') thoughts on the Pasta and Chicken and Macroni and Beef meals.


My four year old was the taste tester for the Pasta and Chicken meal. When he saw the package in the cupboard he specifically asked for it, as he really loves soup and pasta dishes. He loved his meal so much that he ate his entire plate and then licked all the sauce that was left (an unfortunate habit that he learned from his father). I tried the meal and thought it tasted a little bland, but as I stated in my previous post these meals aren't made for adults. My four year old told me that this 'soup' was his favorite of all the Hormel Compleats Meals he tried.



My two year old taste tested the Macaroni and Beef meal. He didn't seem to feel either way about it, he ate some of it, but didn't seem overly impressed. I tried it and thought it was a little sweet, but better than similar kids canned equivalents. Overall, it got a so-so review.

My two sons liked all of the meals as a whole. I feel that they are a quick way to get a lunch on the table and would buy them again if I found them on sale or with a coupon ( I don't pay full price for anything!). You can find out more about the products at Hormel Webpage.



In the spirit of full disclosure, Hormel Foods provided samples of Hormel® Compleats® Kids Microwave Meals for me and my family to try. No payment was given and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own. 

April 16, 2011

Taste of Home Slow-Cooked Carnitas


Good slow cooker recipes are often hard to come by, so I jump on any new options I find. This recipe is a double bonus since it involves pork, a family favorite. I was readily able to find all the ingredients at my local Kroger, and the prep time was short and easy. I love being able to throw everything in the crock-pot in the morning and not have to worry about it until dinner time. 

I did make a few changes to the original recipe. I used chicken broth instead of tequila, didn't want to have to run to the liquor store. Additionally, I substituted flour tortillas for corn, since we already had them on hand. The corn tortillas had a better texture and tasted delicious. 

Both my kids and my husband liked this recipe and I have even heated up the leftovers again in the slow cooker and they still tasted great. I would definitely recommend this slow cooker recipe as a easy, worry-free meal idea. 

For the recipe go to Slow-Cooked Carnitas  (Registration required)


April 15, 2011

All You Peanut Butter Oat Bites

I'm trying to cook more snacks from scratch for my two boys, instead of buying a ton of junk using coupons. In that effort I noticed these Oat Bites in the April All You and bought the ingredients. The list of ingredients is short and all easily available at the supermarket and the recipe is easy enough that my four year old was able to help me in the kitchen.

The color of my Oat Bites looks a little dark because my sons were impatient and the mixture was still slightly hot when the chocolate chips were added. The effort of rolling the balls was slightly time consuming, especially with impatient children. The worst part was that I had to add more honey due to the fact that the balls wouldn't stick together. The end result of the recipe was okay. My four year old was less than impressed, my two year old like them. I thought that they took more effort than the taste was worth, they were just okay, nothing spectacular. The recipe did use accessible ingredients and is better for you than many cookie recipes. For that reason, I might give them another try in the future.

Here is the recipe if you want to try them Peanut Butter Oat Bites.




Mark Bittman Pasta, Greens and Beans




Parents Magazine has been publishing Mark Bittman recipes every month as part of it's collection of Simple Suppers. I'm a big fan of this concept because the dinners are very easy and my kids have liked all of them that we have tried so far. For the April issue the recipe is Pasta, Greens and Beans. I haven not done a lot of pasta with beans incorporated into them directly, so this recipe was enticing.

The only problem that I encountered was that I had to buy the prosciutto at Walmart because my local Kroger does not stock it. The recipe was easy to follow and my husband and kids loved it! My four year old was able to help me prepare most of the recipe and loved having time with me in the kitchen. I like the fact that beans are used as a protein, and anything with bacon or prosciutto wins points all around in our house. This is a great easy pasta recipe and one that I will use again in the future.

You can find the recipe on the Parents website Mark Bittman Pasta, Greens and Beans. Registration required.

April 14, 2011

All You Magazine's Stir-Fry Your Way Recipe

My family loves stir-fry so I am always trying to find new recipes. I came across a recipe from a recent edition of All You that looked promising. The recipe was emphasizing low carb options, so it used brown rice, which I did not use because I have tried numerous times to get my family to eat it without any success, so I used white rice. The vegetables I used were broccoli and sweet bell peppers, which were on sale for the week at Krogers.

The recipe was easy to follow and didn't take a large amount of prep time. My four year old was able to help me out without any problems, which is a plus. I used slightly less than one pound of meat, I just used the two chicken breasts I had left over from a recipe a couple of weeks back. My husband liked this recipe, he thought the flavors were nice and for a weeknight meal it was a winner. I thought that the recipe was okay, it wasn't anything too exciting, I have found recipes that I like better and don't take a lot more effort. I think if I did this recipe again I would not drain the pineapples and add in the juice, it lacked a sweetness that the juice would add. I would also add a larger variety of vegetables and maybe some water chestnuts for flavor.

If you want to try out this recipe you can find it here Stir-Fry Your Way

April 13, 2011

Hormel Compleats Kid's Meals




Recently I was given the opportunity by She Speaks for my kids to try out the new Hormel® Compleats® Kids Microwave Meals. I was sent one package of each of the following flavors:

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Pasta and Chicken
  • Beef Ravioli
  • Macaroni and Beef
In addition, I was sent coupons to share. So far my kids have tried two of the flavors, Spaghetti and Meatballs and Beef Ravioli.


The first flavor my kids tried was the Spaghetti and Meatballs. My four year old was the taste tester for this product. He loved it, especially the meatballs. When I tasted it, I thought it was a little sweet, but the product isn't geared towards adults. 

My two year old was the taste tester for the Beef Ravioli. He is a huge ravioli eater and really liked this product. I thought that it tasted a little bland, but my two year old thought it was delicious and finished the whole thing.
The only problem I had with these products was that the packages were very hot when they came out of the microwave. The plastic when heated, was very hard to remove and I almost burnt my fingers on both flavors.

All in all, my boys gave these two products two big thumbs up. You can learn more about these meals at the Hormel Webpage.




In the spirit of full disclosure, Hormel Foods provided samples of Hormel® Compleats® Kids Microwave Meals for me and my family to try. No payment was given and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own.

Reuben Sandwich Leftovers: Everything But the Corned Beef




What do you do with the leftovers from a Reuben sandwich, when you run out of corned beef? The solution in my kitchen is a take on the Rachel sandwich. Since there was no coleslaw to be had in our house I used sauerkraut, Jewish rye, Swiss cheese, Turkey deli-cuts and the Russian dressing from yesterday. After it was put together I grilled it on my waffle/griddle until it was nicely browned. I actually preferred this sandwich to the reuben, but everyone else in the house is still in love with yesterday's sandwich. This sandwich was a great way to use leftovers and tasted delicious!

April 12, 2011

Marth Stewart Candied Spiced Chickpeas

I'm always looking for new recipes for snacks that my kids will eat. The idea of candied spiced chickpeas sounded like it would be nutritious and sweet.  The recipe was easy enough to follow. My main complaint is the amount of effort it took for the final product. The chickpeas have to be stirred in syrup for 12 minutes and then fried. It's not the best recipe for kids in the kitchen, too much of a possibility of burns.


My four year old did not like this recipe at all, took one bite and sad that it was 'yucky', my two year old on the other hand loved them and ate almost the entire batch. I thought the chickpeas tasted okay, but they took a lot of effort and only yielded a small amount.The final taste just wasn't worth the effort. I was excited to try this recipe, it sounded great, but after the final product, I don't think that I would try it again. 


Martha Stewart Candied Spiced Chickpeas.

Irish Soda Bread, Corned Beef and Reubens

Right after St. Patrick's Day all the corned beef was on clearance, so I picked up a 5 pound brisket. It sat in my fridge until yesterday when it was 85 degrees and a perfect day for the crock-pot. I made Irish soda bread from a great recipe that I found online years ago that uses two cake pans to make a perfect crunchy crust, best Irish Soda Bread Recipe.



Everyone in the known world, but me uses water and potatoes in their crock-pot when doing corned beef, but I'm not one of them. I just throw the in the corned beef and cabbage and let it go for about 8-10 hours on low. Works great!


After the corned beef was done in the crock-pot I took it out and sliced it, and then decided that reubens would be a better option for my kids. To make the reubens  I used Jewish rye, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, 1/2 cup of mayo, 2 Tablespoons chili sauce (Chili Sauce). They turned out great, even my husband the Reuben snob asked for seconds.

All in all a great crock-pot option for an 85 degree day!

April 11, 2011

Martha Stewart Living Inside-Out Stuffed Chicken Recipe

Sunday seemed like a good day to try a roasted chicken dish and I had just pulled a recipe out of Martha Stewart Living magazine, so I figured I would give it a try. My chicken was slightly larger than the 4 1/2 pound bird that the recipe used, so my oven time was about 1 1/2 hours instead of 1. Also I forgot to get more oven twine, so my birds legs aren't as pretty as they would be if they were tied. 

The chicken was a basic roasted chicken, it came out fine, but was just your run of the mill roasted chicken recipe. The main highlight was the dressing. I used a roasting pan instead of a skillet and the dressing turned out crunchy on the pans periphery and soft on the part under the bird. When mixed together it gave the stuffing a great texture, that my husband loved.

I would use this recipe again just for the dressing, which was great. The roasted chicken was just that, roasted chicken. I liked that the dressing used a large amount of fresh vegetables, which I am always struggling to get into my kids diet. Overall, it was a good basic roasted chicken and dressing recipe.

Here is the link if your interested Inside-Out Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Dressing.


April 10, 2011

Leftover Pork Tenderloin Breakfast Recipe



I had a large amount of leftover pork tenderloin from my previous post Honey Marinated Pork, so my husband decided to make a breakfast for our two sons. He seared the sliced tenderloin and after is had browned for a little bit, he added BBQ sauce as a glaze and then added a little more sauce after they were done.  For the egg, he fried it over hard and seasoned it with Applewood Bacon Salt. Then he made a balsamic vinaigrette reduction and drizzled it on top. My two year old loved it, my four year old ate the pork and not the egg, so you win some, you lose some.



April 8, 2011

Bon Appetite's Honey-Marinated Pork with Germolata


My family is a big fan of pork, so when I come across recipes using it, it tends to be well received. This is from one of the recent issues of Bon Appetit magazine. Oftentimes I have a hard time finding the ingredients for a lot of the recipes in Bon Appetit because the only grocery stores in our area are Kroger and Walmart, making the selection limited. However, this recipe uses readily availiable ingredients and is easy to make.


After marinating the pork for two hours I seared it in a stainless steel pan. I prefer stainless steel for searing because it creates a nice even browning, without burning. 

 I didn't have a large amount of left-over marinade for the sauce, but it came out perfect all the same. My husband liked it so much that he ate the leftovers in the pan with Wheat Thins after dinner.



The overall results of the recipe were very nice. It tasted great and even my two young sons ate every bite. The only thing I had to change was to add a little more white wine, since the sauce was a little thick.

If your interested in trying the recipe for yourself you can find it at Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolota
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