Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chicken Broccoli Divan

This was extremely easy to make, but I thought that it didn't have any taste. The girls didn't even think about eating it, but that seems to be their m.o. lately with dinner. Anna and I made gingerbread cookies earlier that they ate about an hour before dinner, so that did not add to their desire to eat the broccoli :).

Grade: B-


4 cups cooked broccoli flowerets
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter, melted

Place the broccoli and chicken into a 9-inch pie plate.

Stir the soup and milk in a small bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the broccoli and chicken. Sprinkle with the cheese. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bread crumbs mixture over the cheese.

Bake at 450°F. for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling.

Anna looking oh so happy to eat

Emily actually escaping out of her high-chair so she wouldn't have to eat.

Lucy praying that I don't make her eat it.

Sarah...she looks like she is going to eat it, but she just set it down beside the bowl.

Sausage and Broccoli with Pasta

This dinner was very good. I made it during half time of a football game that a friend of ours came over to watch. It was quick and easy, like most of the dinners that I make are! Jen actually started to crave sausage after eating this dish. I used flower shaped pasta that Anna picked out instead of the corkscrew variety.

Grade: A-


1 1/2 lb. sweet Italian pork sausages, casing removed
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Broccoli Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/2 cup milk
1 bag (about 16 ounces) frozen broccoli cuts
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 1/2 cups corkscrew-shaped pasta (rotini), cooked and drained
crushed red pepper

Cook the sausage in a 6-quart saucepot over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic to the saucepot and cook until they're tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir the soup, milk, broccoli and 1/4 cup cheese in the saucepot and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through and the broccoli is tender, stirring occasionally.

Add the pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve with the red pepper, if desired.

"Aunt" Jane posing for the camera
Anna taking a bite
Emily putting her milk aside.
Sarah guzzling her milk down.
Lucy is showing Jane that she is strong.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Super Easy Toffee

This toffee recipe is amazing and easy you cannot ask for anything more. This recipe was circulated around the school that I teach at so I must give credit. there is not any pictures for this, but trust me, it is great.

Grade: A+

Easy Toffee
1 box of Saltines (any variety, I used multi-grain)
1 cup butter (NOT MARGARINE)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 12 oz chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Grease an 11x15 in jelly roll pan very well with non-stick spray. Line the jelly roll pan with the saltines. Boil the brown sugar and butter to 235 degrees or for 2 minutes (forms all in cold water). Pour over crackers and bake for 10-12 minutes on 325 degrees.
Take out of oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips. When the chips turn glossy, spread over evenly and sprinkle with nuts. (Chill to set 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spinach Tortellini Soup

I made this soup when Jen and the girls were in Columbus. I put a little bit more pepper in it than it called for and it had a nice kick. It was easy to make and really good.

Grade: B+


4 cups Swanson® Natural GoodnessTM Chicken Broth
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or 1 clove garlic minced
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 cup frozen or shelf-stable cheese-filled tortellini (about 3 ounces)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves

Heat the broth, garlic powder and black pepper in a 3-quart saucepan over high heat to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the tortellini. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tortellini is tender but still firm.

Time-Saving Tip: Use 1 cup frozen cut leaf spinach for the fresh spinach.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ranch Chicken Nuggets with French Fries

Not an impressive picture of the food, but it really wasn't that "impressive" of meal.

I made the ranch chicken for Jen when we were first dating. Of course it was not in nugget form however. This was an easy meal to prepare and make and only took 35 minutes from start to finish. I do not have an exact recipe for this one, so I will just write what the ingredients are and what I did and when. Enjoy!

Grade: B

Ranch dressing
Boneless chicken breast
Seasoning salt
Vegetable oil
Non-stick cooking spray

First turn your oven on to 350-400 degrees depending on how hot or cold your oven cooks. Next wash the potatoes and slice them into what ever shape/size you want your fries. Place the fries into a bowl and add oil to coat and as much seasoning salt to your own families specific taste. Put the fries in a baking pan/sheet. Place them in the oven for 20 minutes and give them a shake or turn them to check them. I am assuming they will need more time, but you would not want to burn them.
After your potatoes are in the oven, take your chicken breast out and give it a quick wash. Take out a skillet and put it on a burner on med-high heat to pan fry the chicken. Cut the chicken into the size that you want the nuggets or keep it bigger if you would want. Add vegetable oil to the skillet. In two separate bowls pour in the ranch and breadcrumbs. Put the chicken pieces into the ranch dressing and then the breadcrumb bowls and then place in the skillet. After all of the chicken is in the skillet keep an eye on it and turn it over before it starts to burn. It should have a nice brown color to it, but not BLACK. ;-)
When the chicken is ready to take out of the skillet, place on a plate that has paper towel on it to soak up any grease that is present.
Once the fries are complete, take them out of the oven. And enjoy dinner.
I made this when Jen wasn’t home and had the triplets and Anna running around. It really is that easy.

Anna showing impecable table manners ;-)

Lucy stuffing her face

Emily drinking her milk between nuggets

Sarah considering eating

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

This was an easy dump the ingredients in the crockpot and let it slow cook. I highly recommend it. The next time I make this I will by the reduced sodium beef stock because the beef was a little too salty.

Grade: B

Prep Time:
15 min
Total Time:
7 hr 30 min
8 servings
What You Need
2 lb. boneless beef for stew, cut into 1-inch cubes
10 oz. mushrooms, halved
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard
1 pkg. (16 oz.) egg noodles, uncooked
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Make It
PLACE meat, mushrooms, onions and garlic in slow cooker. Add broth, paprika and salt. Cover with lid.

COOK on LOW for 7 to 8 hours (or on HIGH for 5 hours).

MIX sour cream, flour and mustard. Add to meat mixture in slow cooker; stir until well blended.
Cover and cook on LOW for 15 min. Meanwhile, cook noodles as directed on package. Drain noodles; place in serving bowl. Add meat mixture; mix lightly. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Anna with some noodles on her face.

Sarah trying to stab the noodles before throwing it on the floor.

Lucy giving you the evil eye.

Emily taking her passafier out to squeeze in a bite.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grilled cheese (mozzarella & Basil Pesto) and Broccoli Soup

This was a great meal. The girls had the "fancy" grilled cheese and Jen and I had 1/2 sandwich and the soup. This meal was fun to make and much more fun to eat. I do not have a food processor so I used my blender to make the pesto and soup. I got the soup recipe from watching a Chef Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmare over the summer. I saw how he made it with no effort and he said how good it was. I didn't believe how good or easy the broccoli soup would be, but Chef Ramsey didn't disappoint. It was great! The girls all tried one spoonful of the soup and they all liked it (for the most part). The grilled cheese was a hit with everyone.

Grade: A+

Grilled Cheese (Smoked Mozzarella & Basil Pesto)
Basil Pesto
2 c fresh basil leaves
1 c fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 c pine nuts, toasted
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
slices of smoked mozzarella
I added cheddar cheese

*for pesto, in a food processor combine basil, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and oil and pulse until well combined but still rough in texture.

After you make the pesto, assemble the sandwich like a regular grilled cheese putting pesto, on one half and mozzarella on the other. Put them together and place in a frying pan.

Super Easy Broccoli Soup:
All you need is:
2 large heads of broccoli. Cut the florets off of the broccoli and make the stems cut down to the same size.

1. Water in a large stock up to a boil. Place the broccoli in the water for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes.
2. Using a slotted spoon pick the broccoli out of the water and into a blender.
3. Add water from the broccoli pot into the blender. Do not start with too much water as you can always add more if the soup is too thick.
4. Puree the mixture. If too thick add more water. Make sure the water is from the pot that you boiled the broccoli in.

Emily: sampling the soup
Sarah: thinks it is so good, she needs to kiss before she eats it!

Lucy: Copying Sarah

Emily: Finally feeling good enough to eat it all up!
Anna:Not pictured (sorry)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Crockpot chicken and wild rice

This was a typical crockpot meal. Easy and quick to prepare, all day to cook, and made the house smell great. After preparing this meal, I have decided that we might have to buy a new crockpot because one side of the crockpot is obviously running warmer than the other side based on the scorched evidence. I have only made one or two things in it before and have never noticed it. Jen has burnt her fair share of meals in the crock pot, but I just marked it up to Jen not setting it correctly. :-) This meal was simply to buy for and make. I didn't take any pictures because the girls were having an "off" day and it was a little too crazy. Enjoy

Grade: B

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast
8 oz package of wild rice mix
2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup
1 1/2 cups of water
4 large carrots thickly cut up.

1. Add/mix the soup, water, wild rice mix, carrots, and water into the crockpot.
2. Place the chicken into the crockpot and mix in with the mixture, make sure it is coated.
3. Cook for 7-8 hours on low or 4-5 on high.

Pretty simple.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Taco Puffs

This meal only takes a little more time than it takes to make tacos, but adds the taste of buttery buscuits. If you like flaky busciuts and tacos I highly recommend trying this one. All of the girls, (and one boy) loved this meal. It is neat and easy. Also, we steamed some green pepper and onion for the non-children.

Grade: A-


1lb ground beef (I used ground turkey)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 envelope taco seasoning

2 tubes (16.3 oz each) large refrigerated flaky biscuits (I used the ones with butter)

8 oz cheddar cheese slices or 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1) In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Cool slightly.

2) Flatten half of the biscuits into 4-in. circles; lace in greased 15-in x 10 in x 1 in. baking pans. Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture onto each; top with two cheese slices or 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Flatten the remaining bisuits; place on top and pinch edges to seal tightly. Bake at 400 degree for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Anna, giving herself a round of applause for the camera

Emily is ready for bed before eating her dinner, but that's OK.

Sarah picking her food apart before she eats it.

Lucy, being Lucy, stuffing her face.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meat and Corn Bread Squares

It doesn't look that great, but this was the rest of the dinner after the first night.

This recipe was another good one. I had to tone the spiciness of the meal because of the young girls, but it was still good. If I was going to make this again, I might cut the recipe in half and then make half spicy and half mild. If you like corn bread and a meat filling that taste tacoish, then this would be a good one to try. It didn't take that long and it didn't have too many ingredients.

Grade A-


1 lb ground beef

1 Tbs cornstarch

1 Tbs dried minced onion

1 to 2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 14 1/2 oz can tomatoes, cut up

1 4 oz can diced green chili peppers drained

3/4 c all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

2 beaten eggs

1 8 1/2 oz can cream=style corn

1/2 c milk

3 Tbs cooking oil

1 c shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a large skillet cook meat till brow. Drain off fat. Stir in cornstarch, onion, chili powder, and garlic salt. Stir in undrained tomatoes and chili peppers. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. (I didn't add chili peppers and not all of the chili powder).

2. In a mixing bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. In another bowl combine eggs, corn, milk, and oil. Stir egg mixer into dry mixture. Add cheese. Stir just till moistened.

3. Spread half of the batter into a greased 2 qt rectangular baking dish. Spoon meat mixture atop. Top with remaining batter. Bake in a 375 degree oven about 30 min or till golden brown. Let stand for 5 min to serve, cut into squares. If desired, pass salsa.

And believe it or not, Anna did enjoy her dinner, after her melt down.

Emily after a rough chiropractor appt.

Sarah enjoying her food.

Lucy eating away

Anna having a pre-dinner fit, how adorable

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tortellini, Chicken, and Vegetables/ Green Beans with Cream Sauce

These two meals both turned out wonderful. I prepared this meal on a Sunday because I would have the most time to cook, but it only took me a little over an hour to make both dishes. The Lucy didn't "dig" the food to much. However, she hasn't enjoyed very much today. The main dish was very bright and colorful. Anna said it looked like a rainbow. The sauce that went with the green beans was amazing. I am going to look to use the sauce in some other meals in the future. The Tortellini was easy and I doubled the recipe so it would be plenty for two nights worth. The recipe that is below is not doubled (just a warning). Also, I used fresh green beans and milk in the green bean dish.

Grade: A

Tortellini, Chicken, and Vegetables

1/2 c chopped onion

1 Tbs margarine or butter

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 c dry white or red wine

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp basil

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 9 oz package refrigerated fresh cheese-filled tortellini

2 c loose-packed frozen mixed vegetables

2 c chopped cooked chicken

1 Tbs cornstarch

1/4 c cold water

1. For sauce, in a medium saucepan cook onion in margarine or butter till onion is tender but not brown. Add undrained tomatoes, wine, thyme, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook tortellini according to package directions, except stir in frozen vegetables along with tortellini. Drain cooked tortellini and vegetables; keep warm.

3 Stir chicken into sauce. Combine cornstarch and water; stir into sauce. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Pour sauce over tortellini and vegetables; toss well to coat. Makes 4 main dish servings.

Green Beans with Sherry Cream Sauce

1 lb green beans (fresh) or two 9-oz packages frozen cut green beans

1/2 c sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 c chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs margarine or butter

1 Tbs all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper

1/4 c bee broth

1/4 c milk
2 Tbs dry sherry, dry white wine, or beef broth

1. cut fresh green beans into 1 inch pieces. Cook fresh green beans, covered in a small amount of boiling water for 20-25 minutes or till crisp-tender. (or, cook frozen beans according to package directions.) Drain; return beans to saucepan.

2. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan cook and stir mushrooms, onion, and garlic in margarine or butter about 4 minutes or till tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Carefully add beef broth and half-and half all at once. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Stir in sherry. Stir sauce into cooked beans in saucepan; heat through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sarah trying to excape

Emily, actually enjoying her dinner for once.

Anna trying to figure out how to get the food to fly out of her bowl and into her mouth.

Lucy trying out the new horizonal drinking cup.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Macaroni

Okay, this is the first repeat recipe to be on the blog. It is and it isn't. It is almost the same recipe as down below, the same ingredients, but I free handed the amount. I dumped the entire box of macaroni in and used 2 cups of milk with a spoonful of flour and a countless number of American cheese slices. The sauce wasn't setting up at all, so I added more cheese and some flour. It thickened up and when combined with the whole wheat noodles, it was great. There isn't any pictures, but it was thick and delicious. Also, we added diced ham to it.

Grade: B+

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Wet" Burritos

This is not an exciting post, and no pictures, but I figured that I haven't posted anything in a few weeks, so it here is a little something.

For my burritos, I took 1 lb of ground turkey and browned it with sliced tomatoes from our garden and very mild yellow peppers. The reason I added the tomatoes and peppers during the browning phase is because I find ground turkey dries out easily. After it was browned, I drained the liquid and added the taco seasoning mix and 3/4 cups of water mixed it all together and brought it to a boil.

While the meat was browning I set the oven to 350. Place the soft taco shells face up and fill them with the meat and sliced cheddar cheese. seal the burritos and place them in an 8x10 pan. Layer the top with shredded cheese and place in the oven until the cheese is melted. It's pretty simple and easy and that is why it was my quick meal for the week.

Grade: B

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese and Zucchini Cornbread

This is all that I got after all my girls were fed. Boo Hoo, luckily it is an easy meal to make again.

What an amazing meal. Everything was eaten by everybody. I do not like baked macaroni and cheese. I hate how dry it always is and crusty cheese top. But this mac/cheese tasted almost exactly like shells and cheese that you buy in the store. I knew that the food would be a big hit with Anna because that is one of the few things that she will always eat. Anna didn't "dig" the cornbread, but it was awesome! I should have taken a picture of Lucy after she shoved everything into her mouth area! The one complaint that I have about this dish is that we ate everything and did not have leftovers for the next day, not even for my lunch. The picture above is all that I got to eat. If you make this I would definately double it if you have more than three people eating it. Enjoy.

Grade: A+

Macaroni and Cheese
1 c dried elbow macaroni
¼ c chopped onion
1Tbs butter
1 Tbs flour
¼ c milk
1 ½ c shredded American cheese
1 medium tomato
1. Cook macaroni in unsalted water about 10 minutes or till tender but still firm
2. Meanwhile, for cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan cook onion in margarine or butter till milk all at once. Cook and stir till slightly thickened and bubbly. Add American cheese, stirring till melted. Stir in cooked macaroni. Transfer mixture to a 1-quart casserole.
3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or till hot and bubbly. If desired arrange tomato slices atop macaroni for the last 5 minutes of baking. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Zucchini Cornbread
1 c coarsely chopped zucchini
1 c milk
½ c chopped onion
2 eggs
¼ c vegetable oil
1 ¼ c cornmeal
1 c all-purpose flour
2 Tbs white sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c shredded Cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F Grease a 10-in cast-iron skillet, and place it into the oven while it preheats.
2. Place the zucchini, milk, eggs, onion, and vegetable oil into a blender, and pulse 5 to 8 times, until thoroughly mixed and the zucchini and onion have been chopped into very small pieces.
3. Mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Pour the zucchini mixture into the cornmeal mixture, stirring to combine, and gently mix in the Cheddar cheese.
4. Carefully pour the batter into the hot greased skillet, smooth it out with a spoon, and bake until the cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Anna happily eating away.

Lucy before the macaroni exploded on her face.

Emily stuffing her face while Sarah drinks

Sarah deciding when to jump in

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weeknight Spaghetti and Meatballs

This was a quick meal from Rachael Ray's Comfort food cookbook. I cannot stand Rachael Ray, she bugs the hell out of me, but Jen had this book so I decided to look through it. Obviously, it took 30 minutes. Plus, I added garlic bread on a French loaf. The kids seemed to like it (of course Anna thought it looked awful and filled her plate with Ranch dressing). There are a lot of ingredients, but it is simple.

Grade: B


1lb ground beef

1 egg beaten

1/2 small onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c grated Parmesan

1/2 c Italian bread crumbs

Ground black pepper

1Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/2 c beef broth

1 can (28 oz)crushed tomatoes (I had know idea that they had "crushed tomatoes)

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 pinches dried oregano

3/4 lb spaghetti, cooked (I used a whole 13 oz box)

Combine meat, egg, onion, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, and little pepper in a bowl.

Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle in oil. Roll small balls and drop into hot pan. When all the meat is rolled and in a pan, give the pan a good shake and cover. Cook meatballs for 8 min, giving the pan a good shake frequently to keep meat from burning. If balls are browning too quickly, reduce heat a little.

Add broth and let reduce for 1 or 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes, then oregano and parsley. Simmer until pasta is ready. Toss pasta with sauce and serve with garlic bread and grated cheese for topping.

I made garlic using butter and garlic salt. (Pretty complicated)

Anna adding her Ranch

Sarah looking very Beatleish

Lucy, picking a choosing what to eat (or throw on the floor)

Emily, nice and neat (tonight)