Chicken Mango Rice Salad

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I made this recipe a few years back after discovering it in an old family cookbook, but then somehow that page fell out of my book and got forgotten. Then last week I rediscovered it while visiting my parents and got excited to try it again. I had vaguely remembered enjoying it all those years ago, but to my family it seemed like a brand new dish. I was encouraged when the kids kept peering over my shoulder while I made it and commented about how much they loved mango and how good it smelled, but when my super picky teenage son took the first bite and started raving about how much he loved it I knew we had stumbled across a winner! Never mind that it's a healthy dish, I just loved that the rice and chicken were perfectly seasoned and oh so moist and tasty. We'll never let this one slip away again!

For a printable recipe click HERE!

The ingredients:
1-1/2 cups rice (before cooking)
3 cups water
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced (we usually use two avocados)
1 mango, peeled and diced (we usually use two mangoes)
3/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1-1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
3-1/2 Tbs. lime juice (~the juice of 2 limes)
1/3 cup olive oil

Cook rice as directed on package.  Set aside.

Add cooled, diced chicken breasts (I sauteed mine with olive oil over medium heat) to rice, then add in the mango, avocado, and chopped cilantro. Toss together, then in a separate bowl combine lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper then pour over chicken/rice/fruit mixture. Stir just until combined. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 8.



Strawberry Pretzel Jell-o Salad

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This is one of those dishes that sounds weird before you try it, but after sampling it at a party one time my family all fell in love with the salty/sweet/fruity combination. My kids have actually been bugging me to track down the recipe so I can make it for them again. This recipe is a combination of two I found--one from my Mom's church cookbook and one from Horse Jumper at Recipes Anonymous (an awesome foodie blog I just discovered). It's a little tricky getting it to look nice (as you can tell from my pictures), but I think the secret is to take your time. Allowing the crust and the Jell-o to cool before proceeding will make a big difference. Watch out when you make this, because it's totally addicting.

The ingredients:
2 cups hard pretzels, crushed
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbs. sugar
1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese
12 ounces Cool Whip
1/2 cup sugar (I left this completely out)
1 package (6-oz.) strawberry Jell-o (or other flavor)
1 package (16-oz.) frozen strawberries, thawed (raspberries are also really good)
2 cups boiling water

For the crust, mix together crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Press into a 9x13-inch baking dish and bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Cream the cream cheese and sugar together, then slowly add Cool Whip until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled pretzel crust.

Mix gelatin in boiling water, then add thawed strawberries. Allow to cool,but not to set, (about 10-15 minutes) then spoon carefully over cream cheese mixture. If you pour the Jell-o mixture over the top before it has cooled you will get little chunks of the cream cheese mixture break off and float to the top. It still tastes fine, but it doesn't look as pretty. Garnish with fresh strawberries. Serves 10-12.



Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Poppy Seed Dressing

Sunday, July 26, 2009

This salad recipe I got from my Mom just screams summer with its spinach, fresh strawberries, and orange poppy seed dressing. The dressing is slightly sweet and perfectly complements all the fresh ingredients. Since we were so busy while we were in Utah, I just loved that we could whip this fancy looking salad together in just a few minutes to share with visiting relatives. The flavors have a better chance to combine if you can make it in advance, but it's still good made 5 minutes before you need it.

The ingredients:

1 package baby spinach
1+ cup strawberries, sliced

1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. powdered fruit pectin (for lower sugar recipes)
3/4 tsp. poppy seeds

SUGARED NUTS (almonds, pecans, walnuts):
1/2 cup nuts
1/4 cup sugar

Whisk dressing ingredients together. Pour over spinach and strawberries and chill for about 2 hours before serving.

Meanwhile in frying pan, cook nuts and sugar together over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts and coats nuts. Remove from heat immediately and let them cool, separated on a plate. (Don't use wax paper, as they will stick to the wax paper).

Just before serving, stir salad together again and sprinkle sugared nuts over the top.



Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

Friday, July 24, 2009

This past week I found myself unexpectedly out of town with only one of my five kids at my grandmother's funeral in Wyoming. My grandmother was a beautiful lady who would have been 94 next week. She raised 11 children and left a legacy of love, faith, service, hard work, and handiwork that I will never forget. While, of course I still miss her very much, my heart is full when I think of the happy reunion there must have been when she was finally reunited with my grandfather. I was thrilled to be there to honor her life and legacy.

So now I'm back home after a week away completely surrounded by (and enjoying) all the rambunctious noise and chaos that goes with having five kids, but realizing that with all my traveling and readjusting back to reality that I haven't typed up any recipes for a couple of weeks. Generally I try to have at least a week or two cushion of recipes made, typed, and scheduled to publish every other day, so I don't have to stress when life gets crazy that I don't have time to post. But here I am now with a pretty substantial stack of recipes that I've made but still need to be typed and I can't seem to without further ado....Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles (typed and published the same day). :)

This is another one of those recipes I tried from the awesome Sisters' Cafe that I really enjoyed. I made it one time at home for my family and then made it again for my extended family in Utah while we were there last week. The first time I made it I added one whole cup of water as indicated on the original recipe and thought it made the sauce just a little too watery, so the second time I tried it with only about a third of a cup and thought it was perfect. My family (especially my Dad) went gaga over the slightly spicy savory sauce. I highly recommend adding the water slowly until you get to your spiciness level.

I actually had enough natural light at my parents' house that I didn't have to go outside to take the picture. :)

The ingredients:
1 lb. whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles
2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 - 1 cup water (the original recipe calls for a whole cup, but the second time we made it with only a 1/3 cup and we much preferred the spicier flavor)
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cups chicken breast, cooked and shredded (One time I sauteed it on low heat and the other time I stuck it in the crockpot)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds

Set the water to boil and cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile prepare sauce in the food processor (or blender). Place garlic and ginger in food processor until well chopped. Add peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until well combined and slowly add hot water (to taste). Set aside.

Place olive oil in hot skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in cooked chicken breast, cilantro, and salt. Stir until heated through.

Add sauce and chicken mixture to noodles. Toss to coat and garnish with peanuts and sesame seeds, if desired. Makes 6 servings.



Berry Filled Coffee Cake

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

After finding this recipe on Coleen's Recipes, ogling over the pictures, and then reading about how this was the BEST coffee cake they'd had in over TEN YEARS, I knew that this was a recipe we didn't want to skip! My sister and daughter made it one morning while my husband was out of town and it was so perfectly moist and heavenly with the luscious fruit filling that we easily ate it all in one sitting. Then a couple weeks later, while organizing and tagging all my photos my husband caught a glimpse of this picture and started drooling on the spot. He couldn't believe we made something so yummy looking while he was out of town and begged me to make it again soon. The second time we made two of them, to share with guests we had in town and the guests were just as enamored with it as we were! Thanks Coleen!

12 ounces of frozen raspberries(I used blueberries and Coleen used finely chopped strawberries)
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch

2-1/4 cups flour (I used part whole-wheat)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups COLD butter, sliced into thin pats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk (no substitutions)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the fruit filling, heat the fruit, sugar, and cornstarch together over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbling. Remove from heat and set aside while preparing the batter.

For the batter, mix flour, sugar, and butter together with a pastry blender until you have fine crumbs. Remove 1/2 cup of the fine crumbs and set aside for later. To the remaining crumbs add the baking powder, soda, salt, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla, mixing just until batter is moist (do not over-mix).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 10-inch tart pan (I used a 10-inch springform pan instead). Using your fingers, press 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan, pushing the batter evenly across the bottom and one inch up the sides of the pan (flouring your fingertips will help here).

Once you have the batter spread out and pushed up on the edges, gently pour in the fruit filling and spread it around the bottom. With the remaining 1/3 of the batter, place small teaspoon size pieces of batter in an irregular pattern on top of the fruit. I used my fingers to gently spread the batter around more evenly, but it's very important to be careful not to push the batter down into the fruit. You want it "floating" on top of the filling as much as possible.

Finally, sprinkle the reserved crumbs over everything. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.



Cooking with Kids: Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today's recipe for my Cooking with Kids series I found on the Sister's Cafe. I just discovered this wonderful website and its five sisters who all love to cook and share their recipes. Not only do they have oodles of yummy looking recipes to try (I've already printed 6 I want to try soon), but their website is exactly how I envision this little blog to be someday with all four of us sisters, the two sister-in-laws, my mom, and a favorite cousin all taking turns sharing our favorite recipes. Of course since the average age of all their kids is about 2 while mine is 8, it might be a while. LOL! :) I also recently tried their zucchini soup and loved it. Thank you Sisters for your inspiration!

This freshly squeezed recipe was extra fun for the kids to do themselves--cutting, squeezing, and stirring all by themselves and the tasty, refreshing results were just as scintillating for the grown-ups as it was for the kids. Be sure to check out my other Cooking with Kids ideas.

The kids wanted me try to make it look fancy with lemon wedges and the sugar rim, just like at the restaurants. It cracked me up
doing it though, since we normally drink out of plastic Target cups.

The ingredients:

5 lemons
5 limes
5 oranges
5-6 cups cold water
2-3 cups sugar (we used 2)

Once you have juiced all the fruit, add the water and sugar to taste. Exactly how much water and sugar you add will depend on how juicy/sweet/sour your fruit is. I added 2 cups of sugar and 6 cups of water. Makes 2 quarts.



BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Every once in a while you come across a recipe and you just know without a doubt that you're going to love it. This one I found on Marin's Creations was one of those. I started salivating the moment I read the ingredients and we were not disappointed with the fresh, flavorful results. My husband and kids couldn't stop raving about it and still keep asking me when I will make this delicious hearty salad again. Thanks Marin for a great recipe---next on my list are those yummy looking chicken burritos!

The ingredients:

(Oops! I forgot to add the BBQ sauce to the picture.)

2 hearts of Romaine, chopped
1 can corn
1 can black beans
15 grape tomatoes, halved (or just chopped tomatoes)
3-4 cooked chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
favorite BBQ sauce
Mozzarella cheese

DRESSING: (the dressing reminded me a lot of my favorite Cafe Rio dressing recipe, except not so spicy)
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk (I like to use buttermilk)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of one lime (or 2 Tbs.)

Place lettuce in a serving bowl. Layer with corn, black beans, and tomatoes. Mix cooked chicken with BBQ sauce and top over salad. **I cooked the chicken in the crockpot, drained it, then added the BBQ sauce.** Sprinkle mozzarella over the top.

Place dressing ingredients into blender or food processor and combine well.
** I prepared the dressing earlier in the day to give the flavors a chance to blend. **

Drizzle over salad.



Thai-Style Black Bean Salad

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm not very good at side dishes. Most nights I make our main course and then totally as an afterthought throw on a handful of carrots or a salad from a kit on to the plate. As part of trying out new recipes for this blog, I've been trying to be more adventurous and thoughtful into what I serve along with the main course. This black bean salad recipe from Healthy Cooking was right up my alley! It was fresh, easy to make, unique, and totally delicious! It was the perfect accompaniment for our Grilled Honey-Lime Chicken Sandwiches.

The ingredients:
1 cup frozen corn
1 can (15-oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp. salt

Cook corn according to package directions. Transfer to small bowl; add the beans, onion, celery, red pepper, cilantro, and jalapeno.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and salt. Pour over bean mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.



Sugar Free Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

While I often adjust my recipes slightly to make them a little healthier for our family, I'm still somewhat of a wimp when it comes to going totally sugar or fat free. I found this recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins in one of my Light and Tasty magazines and decided that they looked good enough to try--even without any added sugar! The kids thought they were the coolest thing ever with the jelly filling inside and ate them up without hesitation. I thought they were okay and just a tad bland without sugar, but since the kids liked them so much I will definitely make them again.

The ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup reduced-fat chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup fat-free milk
3 Tbs. butter, melted
1/3 cup 100% strawberry spreadable fruit

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the eggs, apple juice concentrate, peanut butter, milk, and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon half the batter into cups. Spoon about 1-1/4 teaspoons spreadable fruit into the center of each; top with remaining batter. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 1 dozen muffins.



Hearty Taco Casserole

Monday, July 13, 2009

You've probably noticed by now that my family has a thing for Mexican food. I make it at least a couple times a week and it's one of my fail safes--if I make Mexican no one complains (which is a big feat when you're cooking for 7 every night). This is a recipe I found in an old edition of Light and Tasty and I knew just at a quick glance at the ingredients that my family would love it. With its thin crust on the bottom, the savory taco filling, then the fresh toppings this is definitely going into the keeper files!

The ingredients:

2/3 uncooked brown rice
1-1/3 cups plus 4-5 tablespoons water, divided
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. cold butter

1/2 lb. lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

In a small saucepan, bring rice and 1-1/3 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in enough remaining water to form a soft dough. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Press into a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until very lightly browned.

For filling, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the beef, onion, green pepper, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add water, taco seasoning and cooked rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs and cilantro. Spread over crust.

Cover and bake for 15-17 minutes or until filling is set. Cut into squares. Top with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Serve with salsa and sour cream. Makes 8 servings.



Nana's Broccoli Salad

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This recipe is an old classic from my Nana Crain. I was surprised the first time I had this salad as a college student at how much I liked it, since I had never really liked broccoli before. The fun sunflower seeds, Craisins, bacon bits and tangy dressing make this healthy salad enjoyable even for the pickiest eaters and it's a great way to get my kids to eat all their veggies!

The ingredients:
2 bunches broccoli
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. vinegar
3 Tbs. sugar
Add-ins according to your preferences: sunflower seeds, Craisins, bacon bits, grated cheese

Chop broccoli into small pieces. Stir in desired add-ins.

Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar together then pour over broccoli mixture. Stir together. Serve immediately.



Hershey's Chewy Chocolate & Chip Cookies

Friday, July 10, 2009

What can I say? These cookies were simple, easy, and perfectly chewy. Sometimes we make them with chocolate chips, sometimes with white chips, and other times with peanut butter chips. Whatever you use, they're delicious!

The ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 package (12-oz.) chocolate, peanut butter, or vanilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until well-blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture until well blended. Stir in chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.



Bruschetta Pizza

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's not very often I try a new recipe and like it so much that I actually make it three times before I finish typing up my post. I tried this Taste of Home recipe with fresh tomatoes and basil out for our Friday pizza night tradition three weeks ago and have made it every Friday night since then and we love it just as much the third time as the first. I imagine that with how much Glen and I enjoy it that I'll probably be making it the next several Fridays as well!

I love the savory combination of the fresh tomato, basil, and basalmic vinegar topping and Glen loves the hearty sausage and pepperoni layer. Not surprisingly the kids are sticking with their plain old sauce and cheese version, but we're loving our new fresh tasting savory *adult* pizza! (The last time I made it, Glen was out of town so I made it without the meat and really enjoyed it vegetarian style too).

Click here for Printable Recipe

The ingredients:
Click here for Printable Recipe

1/2 lb. pork sausage
1 prebaked Italian bread shell crust (14-oz.)
1 pkg. (6-oz) sliced turkey pepperoni
2 cups (8-oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1-1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme)
1/2 tsp. basalmic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a small skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Place crust on an ungreased baking sheet. Top with pepperoni, sausage, and cheese. Bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, sliced basil, oil, garlic, thyme, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Spoon over pizza. Garnish with additional basil if desired.



Cooking with Kids: Ice Cream in a Bag

Monday, July 6, 2009

This episode in the Cooking with Kids series was the kids' favorite yet! Put a few simple ingredients in a bag, seal it up inside another bag filled with ice, then toss it around for a few minutes and VOILA! Fresh homemade ice cream. I'd made homemade ice cream before that seemed to just take forever, but these were all done in less than five minutes and it was some seriously creamy, good-tasting ice cream. It was fun and easy enough that even my older kids got in on the action! Don't forget to check out my other Cooking with Kids ideas and feel free to contact me if you have any other great ideas we could try.

The ingredients: ( I made half batches for the youngest three and it was still plenty for them)

Click Here for Printable Recipe

1 cup half and half
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
rock salt
quart size ziploc bags
gallon size ziploc bags

Pour half and half, sugar, and vanilla into quart size ziploc bag. Seal.

Meanwhile place 4-6 cups ice and 1/2 cup rock salt into the gallon size bag.

Place sealed half and half mixture into the bag filled with ice and salt. Seal.

Toss, knead, wiggle, and whatever else you can think to keep the bags in motion for about 5 minutes (they used hot pad holders to keep their fingers from getting too frosty).

Half and half mixture will thicken into ice cream consistency after about five minutes.

Remove from bag, add desired toppings, and serve immediately.



Watermelon Smoothies

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Need something sweet and refreshing at the end of a hot summer day? This watermelon smoothie from the Family Fun magazine will just hit the spot with its cool tangy sweetness. My kids loved the fact that the finished product looked just like a watermelon slice with its chocolate chip "seeds" and I loved the fact that they're getting a whole serving of fruit disguised as a treat!

Click here for Printable Recipe

The ingredients:
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 cup crushed ice
1 cup watermelon, raspberry, or lime sherbet
4 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a blender, combine the watermelon, ice, sherbet, and lime juice; cover and process for 30 seconds or until smooth. Stir if necessary. Pour into chilled glasses; sprinkle with chocolate chips. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

If you have any leftover watermelon you need help getting rid of after you make the smoothies, I know a couple of kids who could help you problem!


About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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