Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Creamy Pasta Primavera

Tonight's recipe was based on a recipe that Jen found, but we tweaked it to be our own dish. Using the basil, zucchini, and yellow squash all from our garden, we made this easy pasta dish and it was great. The last meal lacked not only taste (that was not cream of mushroom) but also color (as I commented the picture looked like vomit). So the meal tasted great and extremely colorful. Anna helped tear the basil. She loved the meal as well.

Cook 3 cups of pasta (we used heart pasta)
Meanwhile, Saute the veggies with 2 Tbs Zesty Italian salad dressing, basil, and oregano. When the veggies are ready, add 1 cup of chicken stock and 8 oz of cream cheese. Stir the pasta into the veggies. If it is too runny, add some parmesan cheese.

It is pretty easy and really good. I give it an A-.

Anna with her basil

Emily and Lucy

Sarah and Anna (of course)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pork Chop Dinner with Rice and Veggies

It kind of looks like vomit

I cannot exactly review this dish because I did not follow the recipe to the T, but the taste of cream of mushroom soup is all that we could taste from it. The recipe was from a cookbook titled Betty Crocker's quick & easy cookbook. It was not too difficult and the pork loin was very tender, but again TOO much cream of mushroom taste. I substituted a zucchini and squash from our garden for the bag of frozen veggies, but that should not have made that much of a difference in how the dinner turned out. It was runny even after I cooked it for 15 minutes longer than the recipe called for. If I had to do it all over again, I would have only used one can of cream of mushroom soup. Overall, I would give it a C-.


6 pork boneless loin chops

2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 bag frozen baby peas, carrots, pea pods, and corn, thawed and drained

1 can chicken broth

2 cups uncooked instant brown rice

1. Spray 12-inch non stick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Cook pork in skillet about 5 minutes, turning once, until brown. Remove pork from skillet; keep warm.

2. Heat soup, vegetables and broth to boiling in same skillet, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Top with pork. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes longer or until pork is slightly pink in center and rice is tender.




No picture of Anna because she was not in the mood.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Whole Wheat Bagels

On this Sunday, we changed around when we would be cooking meals because my sister (Nicole) is visiting this coming weekend and I will be cooking on Friday because of this. Anyways, Jen told me that she was having a craving for bagels so I made her some whole wheat bagels while she was shopping with Anna. I had made bagels one other time and I found out that they are not that hard to make, they just take a lot of time. Jen said they were nice and chewey. Below is the recipe that I made from Better Homes and Gardens and the pictures are of the kids enjoying a snack of bagels while "swimming."

4 1/4 to 4 ¾ c all purpose flour
1 package active dr yeast
1 ½ c warm water
¼ cup sugar
1. In a large mixing bowl combine 2 c of the flour and yeast. Add the warm water, 3 tbs of sugar, and 1 tsp of salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour.
2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Cover and let rest 10 min. Grease a baking sheet.
3. Working quickly, divide dough into 12 portions; shape into smooth balls. Punch a hole in center of each; pull gently to make a 2-inch hole. Place on prepared sheet. Cover; let rise 20 minutes.
4. Broil bagels 5 inches from heat 3 to 4 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, in a deep 12 in skillet or large pot bring 6 cups waater and the remaining 1 tbs sugar to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer bagels, uncovered, 2 to 5 at a time, for 7 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Place drained bagels on a well-greased baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes or till tops are golden. Makes 12.

No bagels in this picture, just thought it was a cute pictures of the girls "cooking"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Zucchini Blueberry Bread

Tonight we had leftover steak for dinner, so I thought I would contribute with a post (this is Jen). I joined a book club and had to take a snack to the meeting--in case you were wondering the book was Three Weeks With my Brother by Nicholas Sparks which I highly recommend. In planning my snack I wanted to use some of the zucchini we are growing in the garden as well as some of the fresh blueberries my mother-in-law brought us and hence, blueberry zucchini minimuffins and mini loaves.

3 eggs

1 c. oil

3 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 c. flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

2 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together. Fold in zuchinni. Beat in reamining dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries.

Bake large loaf 50 min

Small loaves 35 min

Minimuffis 22 min.

In general these were a sucess. The mini muffins were a little odd looking, kind of lumpy on top but I think that is because Anna helped fill the cups. The babies loved the bread and I figured it was a good way to get some veggies into them. As you can see from the pictures though, blueberries can stain.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tangy Grilled Beef

Tonight's meal was taken from the Campbell's recipe box and was interesting. The beef was a lot thinner than I was expecting, so it cooked super fast and I did not time it out to finish the same time as the rest of the meal. The sauce was great and tasted a lot like Heinz 57. The side items that I made was wild rice and grilled zucchini that was fresh from our garden. Emily was upstairs sleeping because of her sickness, so the Sarah and Lucy are the only triplets in the pictures. Picky eater Anna ate an entire piece of steak (5 total bites)! As you can see from the pictures, she loved the sauce and a little extra butter on her steak.
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup (Regular, Healthy Request® or 25% Less Sodium)
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 1/2-pound boneless beef sirloin steak, 3/4-inch thick
Stir the soup, sugar, lemon juice, oil, Worcestershire, garlic powder and thyme in a medium bowl.
Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the steak for 10 minutes for medium-rare or to desired doneness, turning the steak over once halfway through cooking and brushing often with the soup mixture.
Heat the remaining soup mixture in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.
Slice the steak and serve with the soup mixture.Tip: When you remove the steak from the grill, let it stand for a few minutes before slicing. This "rest" time lets the juices distribute evenly throughout the meat, so they don't all run out when you slice it.

Sarah loves her zucchini and rice

Lucy is conducting the family

Anna is all about the butter and sauce.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Corn-Bacon muffins and Corn Chowder

There was not enough veggie pizza leftover for the whole family to eat on Wednesday, so the children got pizza and I made corn chowder and muffins for me and my wife. It might seem weird to make hot chowder in the middle of July, but the hi gh today was mid-seventies and my mom left us four ears of corn. The two meals were super easy and from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook. Below are the recipes and pictures of my children "eating" the muffins.

Bacon-Corn Muffins
1 ½ c flour
½ c cornmeal
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 beaten egg
1 c buttermilk
1/3 c cooking oil
5 slices
1. Grease twelve 2 ½-in muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a mixing bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and ¼ tspsalt. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.
2. In another bowl combine egg, buttermilk, and oil; add all at once to dry mixture. Stir just till moistened (batter should be lumpy) Fold in bacon.
3. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake in a 400 degree oven 18020 minutes or till golden. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups.

Corn Chowder
6 fresh medium ears of corn
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green sweet pepper
1 tbs cooking oil
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 c cubed peeled potato
1 tbs flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 slices bacon
1. In a large saucepan cook onion and sweet pepper in hot oil till onion is tender but not brown. Stir in Chicken broth and potato. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 min. Stir in the corn. Cook, uncovered, about 10 min more or till potato and corn are tender, stirring the mixture occasionally.
2. In a small bowl combine milk, flour, salt, and pepper; stir into corn mixture. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 min more. Add bacon; cook and stir till heated through.

Anna likes her butter! Emily gives it a YUM!
All gone for Sarah Messy Lucy

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Garden Vegetable Pizzas

Tonight's meal was a garden vegetable pizza made with a puff pastry for the crust. It was an easy meal that all of the girls ate.....even the picky three year old Anna ate it! The recipe was from the Campbell's website and the ingredients are below. It doesn't seem like there will be enough left over to make up tomorrow's dinner. I would suggest this meal.

1 pkg. (10 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Shells
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 lb. small broccoli flowerets (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 1/2 oz. mushrooms, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium green OR red pepper, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
3/4 cup Prego® Traditional Italian Sauce or Prego® Organic Mushroom or Tomato & Basil Italian Sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Swiss cheese (about 4 ounces) Directions:
Thaw the pastry shells at room temperature for 40 minutes or until they’re easy to handle. Heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry shells into 7-inch circles. Put the pastry circles on the baking sheets. Using a fork, prick the pastry circles thoroughly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Leave the pastry circles on the baking sheets, and place the sheets on wire racks. Set aside.Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, pepper and onion and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp.Spread the Italian sauce over the pastry circles to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Divide the vegetable mixture among the pastry circles and top with the cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Sarah and Emily