Indian Style Steak Kebabs with cilantro sauce

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just typing up this recipe today made me long for the laid back days of summer again. I miss cooking on the grill while my kids happily jump on the trampoline with carefree abandon. Now our evenings are filled with sports practices, homework, practicing music, and back-to-school nights. I feel like I barely have time to breathe, yet alone take the time to slowly cook up some juicy meat on the grill.

This recipe is one I found in a church cookbook and got excited about the different combination of flavors. My husband went absolutely crazy over this easy grilled meal and is still asking me when I'm going to make it again. Surprisingly even my kids were willing to overlook the green tinge the cilantro sauce gave to everything and eagerly gobbled it up. This one is definitely going into the keeper files.

The ingredients:
Click here for printable recipe.

1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 2 cups cilantro leaves)
1 small onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small can green chilies
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1-1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1-1/2 lbs. rib-eye steak, cut into 24 one-inch chunks
1 medium red onion, peeled
1 cup mango chutney (optional)
4 pieces naan bread (optional)
wooden skewers for grilling

Place the cilantro, small onion, garlic, green chilies, ginger, and salt with 3 tablespoons of the oil into a food processor. Process until a paste is formed. Transfer to a large bowl. Put 2 tablespoons of the paste in a small bowl and stir in the lime juice to make the cilantro sauce. Cover and set aside. Stir the curry powder into the rest of the paste.

Add the steak and coat well. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. Cut the red onion into 6 wedges and separate each wedge into 2 layers. Thread the beef and onion chunks onto eight 9-inch skewers. Brush a grill pan with the remaining oil ( I just cooked them right on my grill). Preheat grill pan, then grill the kebabs for 8-10 minutes, turning the skewers every 2 minutes. Serve with the cilantro sauce, chutney, and naan, if desired.



Lime Zucchini Muffins

Monday, September 28, 2009

Green, green, green...what is it about green foods that kids find so offensive? My kids turn up their noses at the mere sight of spinach, lettuce, or broccoli. I have to puree or chop them into indistinguishable bits too small to pick out of their food if I even have a chance of them eating it.

This recipe is from Kara over at
Kara's Kitchen Creations is full of green flecks of zucchini and lime, yet somehow my kids are quick to overlook the greenness and instead savor these zesty, moist muffins. They were a delicious, fun way to start the day and the kids never seemed to notice or care that there were two whole cups of shredded zucchini in there. Hehe--I'm so sneaky! Thanks Kara for a great recipe!

The ingredients:
Click here for printable recipe.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-2 tsp. lime or lemon zest
2 Tbs. lime or lemon juice
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded zucchini

1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds, slightly crushed

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, zest, and juice. Stir in dry ingredients, then zucchini. Spoon into well-greased or paper lined muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar, then almonds. Bake at 325° for 18-20 minutes. Makes about 15 muffins.



Pizza Joes

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Since school has started my life has gone from the normal busyness of being a mom with 5 kids to "super-crazy-busy-mom-that-has-to-be-in-three-places-at-once". Needless to say my "extra" things like cooking new recipes has gone right down the tubes and I find myself turning more and more to our old stand-by dinners. You know the kind where you always have the ingredients on hand and can throw it together in 10 minutes flat and everyone is reasonably happy with them. For me it's tortilla soup, world's easiest enchiladas, taco salad, or just plain spaghetti or tacos. It's fine and better than eating out, but sometimes gets a little old after a while. Here's a new one I found in one of the Taste of Home magazines that I am adding it to my crazy night list. It's a combination between sloppy joes and pizza, both of which the kids love. It took me 10-15 minutes to make and the kids were thrilled to be eating something different!

The ingredients: Click here for printable recipe.

1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1 onion, diced
1 jar (14-oz) pizza sauce
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 cup chopped pepperoni
1 cup shredded mozzarella (or pepper jack) cheese
6 hamburger buns, split (and toasted, if desired)
(Optional): 1 red pepper, diced (the original recipe didn't call for it, but I had an extra one I wanted to use)

Brown ground beef (or turkey) together with diced onion until meat is cooked through. Drain. Add jar of pizza sauce, spices, and chopped pepperoni. Cook on medium heat just until heated through. Serve hot over toasted hamburger bun and topped with mozzarella cheese. Makes 6 servings.



"Secret" Buttermilk Caramel Syrup

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I had never heard of buttermilk syrup before our friend Adam came to stay with us for 10 days. While he was here he mentioned a secret buttermilk syrup recipe that someone had given him. Of course I heard the words "secret" and "recipe" in the same sentence and I just about went berserk with curiosity first at what the heck buttermilk syrup was and then how I could get my hands on that recipe.

Try as I might I never did get Adam to reveal his secret, but what I did do is get him to tell me which recipes out there were similar to his. This is one that was supposed to be pretty close and boy it was a fun, different topping for our waffles this morning! It reminded me a little of a caramel topping--about the same consistency, but with a little bit of a milder flavor. It was especially good with some fresh berries. Yum.

Now if anyone knows a nonviolent way to get people to divulge their secret recipes, just let me know. I don't want to be knocking anyone out or anything...
Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (no substitutions)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbs. light Karo syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Combine butter, sugar, buttermilk, and Karo syrup in a large saucepan and stir over medium heat until bubbling evenly. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda and vanilla (and cinnamon if you want). Stir until blended. The baking soda will fizz. Serve warm with waffles or pancakes. Saves in fridge for up to two weeks. This is also great with fresh fruit.


Rediscovering Café Rio Taco Salad

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This recipe is one of the first recipes I ever posted here on the Recipe Shoebox, back when my sisters and my mom were the only ones who even knew this blog existed. Having just returned from a trip out west and enjoying a Café Rio salad again (but definitely preferring my homemade version), I thought I'd repost it for you all to discover (or rediscover). It's one of our very favorites!

With its rich history, thousands of places to visit, great schools, and good cultural opportunities, I'd have to say that living near DC definitely has its perks. There's only one more thing that would make it perfect....a nearby Cafe Rio [oh and maybe less traffic too]. This knock-off recipe for Café Rio's taco salad is one of our very favorite dinners to make. In fact, the last time I was out west and ordered the real deal salad from Café Rio, I found I'd actually grown to prefer this version over the real deal. I'd still take not having to cook it myself, so if you're thinking of starting your own Café Rio franchise in Northern Virginia, don't worry I'll be your first loyal customer.

When you make this, I recommend making the dressing and starting the chicken early in the day. Then about an hour before dinner, start the rice, add the spices to the chicken, chop the lettuce, and start cooking the tortillas. Right before serving heat up the black beans and start bringing your delicious feast to the table!

Click here for Printable Recipe.

Café Rio Dressing

1 buttermilk ranch dressing packet (make as per recipe)
2 tomatillos (tomato like vegetable with a husk around them--your produce manager will know where they are)
½ bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeño** (Use the seeds too if you like it spicy. You could substitute a few drops of green tobasco for the jalapeno.)

**If you don't like the feelings of your hands burning for hours (like my poor sister Kristina) PLEASE wear gloves while you work with the jalapeno (and if you go ahead and chop without protection....please don't rub your eyes or scratch yourself.) Read here if you want more details**

Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

Cafe Rio Chicken

(not pictured: chicken breasts)

1 small bottle (8-oz.) Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
3 cloves garlic—minced
2 lbs chicken breast

Cook all together in a crock pot for 4 hours, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour--this is what the instructions say. I cook my chicken in the crockpot with water and onion for 6-8 hours and then drain the water, shred the chicken with a fork, and add the dressing and spices about 1 hour before we're eating.

Café Rio Rice

6 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
4 tsp. garlic –minced
½ bunch cilantro
1 can green chiles—or equivalent fresh
¾ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. butter
½ onion
3 cups rice (I like to use brown which takes longer to cook but is healthier)

I saute the dry rice and onion in the butter until it is just browned. Then blend cilantro, green chiles and the onion together in food processor (with 1 cup of the rice water for easier blending). Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes or 50 minutes if using brown rice.

The rest of the ingredients:
1-2 cans black beans, heated
Flour tortillas
Cheddar cheese, shredded (for sprinkling on tortillas)
Shredded lettuce

Brown both sides of the flour tortillas (we use whole wheat) on a lightly buttered griddle, sprinkling a little cheese to one of the sides after it is browned. It should be slightly crisp.

Serve with the crisp cheesy tortilla on the bottom, then layer the black beans, rice, lettuce, chicken, and dressing.



Red Pepper Quiche with Butter Herb Crust

Friday, September 18, 2009

Finding myself with a few red peppers in the fridge recently, I had to get a little creative. After the usual stirfry and fajitas, I decided they might work in a quiche. Turns out, I was right! We loved this quiche straight from the oven, but it was even better cold from the fridge the next day.

The filling is delicious, but the real standout here is the crust. I adapted the recipe from Mark Bittman's
How to Cook Everything, where he advocates using butter in a pie crust, rather than shortening or oil, because of the flavor butter imparts. I'm a total convert now! The buttery herb-y flavor is simply to die for. Ever since I made this quiche, I've been dreaming of other savory fillings I can put in this crust! Just writing about it, my mouth is watering, and I think I'm going to make a chicken pot pie with this recipe tonight!

Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:

1 1/8 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. butter, cold
3 tbsp. ice water

1/4 lb. bacon
1/2 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch strips
3 egg yolks (save the whites for cupcakes!)
1/2 c. sour cream
salt and pepper
1 c. extra sharp New York Cheddar, grated, divided

For crust: Place flour, salt, basil, and thyme in a medium mixing bowl, and give it a quick stir. Cut butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients. Cut in using a pastry blender, two forks, or my new favorite method: with your hands. Using both hands, pick up some butter and some of the flour mixture and rub it between your fingers and your thumb, dropping it back into the bowl. Repeat until butter is incorporated and the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. It will happen faster than you think! Alternatively, this part could be done in a fancy schmancy food processor, but I don't have one of those.

When your butter-flour mix is ready, sprinkle 3 tbsp. water over it. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to incorporate the water and gather the dough into a ball. When you can make the mixture into a ball with your hands, wrap it in plastic, flatten it into a small disk, and put it into the freezer for 10 minutes. This will help with rolling.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Take dough from the freezer, then roll it out, either between two sheets of plastic wrap (each sprinkled with flour) or on the countertop (liberally sprinkled with flour). Roll with light pressure, from the center out. Sprinkle flour liberally if the dough seems sticky initially. If it gets sticky after several minutes of rolling, return to the freezer to firm it up a bit. When you've got it about the right size, transfer to a pie plate, trimming the excess and fluting the edges with your fingers or a fork. Return to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up again. Then start on the filling below before weighting the pie crust by placing a greased sheet of foil in the pie crust and filling with a pile of rice or dried beans. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove from oven and turn the heat down to 350°.

For Filling: With a sharp knife, dice the bacon into small pieces, and cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is at your desired level of doneness. I like mine crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and saute the onion and pepper in the bacon grease. When the onion starts to brown, turn the heat down to low and cover the skillet to soften up the veggies. Now would be a good time to weight your pie crust and put it in the oven.

Mix together the egg yolks and sour cream; add half the grated cheese. Salt and pepper - always tricky with eggs, but I found that the cheese and bacon add their own salt to this dish, so it doesn't need much, just a couple of shakes.

When the onions and peppers are tender, remove from the heat, and stir in the cooked bacon. Place this mixture in the pie crust, and pour the egg mixture over it. Top with the remaining cheese, and bake at 350° for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

Enjoy hot from the oven, cold from the fridge, or reheated. Delicious all three ways!



Kitchen Challenge: Spaghetti for 100

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The goal: Feed 65 hungry high school football players a pre-game dinner completely by myself (since I procrastinated too long to ask someone to help me) with a budget of $130.

The menu (as per my fourteen-year-old's request): Spaghetti, meatballs, fruit salad, Caesar salad, garlic bread, and cookies

Gathering supplies: One giant trip to Costco for 12 lbs. meatballs, 12 lbs. fruit, 24 jars sauce, and paper products.
Two trips to Safeway--one to buy 16 lbs. noodles and order 14 loaves of garlic bread and the other to pick up the garlic bread and buy the makings for 8 Caesar salads. (Totaled well over $200, but paper supplies will last through several more meals)

The method: Me laboring for hours over a hot stove, while my sister baked cookies by the dozens.

The results: Sauce splattered floors and walls....

a completely trashed kitchen...

a full table...

and famished football players who were scolded by their coaches to only eat "a little" so they wouldn't get sick during the game...
which meant 10 lbs. of leftover spaghetti for me to take home.

What would you do with 10 lbs. of spaghetti and meatballs if you didn't have room in your fridge or freezer to store it?

Me? I thought about reenacting "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" for my kids, but didn't think I could afford the professional clean-up services I was going to need after dropping meatballs from my ceiling.

Sooooo, instead we ate as much of it as we could stomach...

and offered the rest out as a "free spaghetti dinner" to our church email group.

Two hours and 11 families later I'm still dreadfully over budget, but have now earned the bragging rights to say that I've singlehandedly fed over 100 people in one day. I'm pretty sure that's got to at least start to make up for the sad fact that my kids have eaten just as much cookie dough today as spaghetti.

PS Going light on dinner didn't seem to help Spence's football team too much who ended up being totally whomped by one of the local high schools that is known way more for their brains than their brawn!


Since this is the RECIPE Shoebox, here's recipe for all this madness!

The ingredients:
24 large jars spaghetti sauce
16 lbs. thin spaghetti noodles
12 lbs. meatballs
14 loaves garlic bread

Find the four biggest saucepans in your house and start boiling water in all of them. Cook noodles as directed on package, taking care to keep track of all the different times they started boiling. Press button on smoke alarm to keep it from continuing to react to all the steam. When noodles are cooked to al dente perfection (or slightly mushy texture), drain and rinse them. Repeat this exact process exactly four more times. You may want to make sure you have a handkerchief nearby to keep your sweat from dripping into the food. Store noodles in covered containers.

For meatballs, place approximately 2 lbs. of meatballs in large glass bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Meanwhile rinse out your four largest saucepans and fill them half full with spaghetti sauce and place on medium high heat. When meatballs are heated through add to the sauce and stir occasionally. You could start wiping the splatters off your wall now, but why bother until you're done? Repeat process until sauce and meatballs are used.

When sauce is heated through and boiling, pour over warm noodles and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve warm with hot crusty garlic bread.

Enjoy--haha, as if you could enjoy it after all that!


Coconut Cashew Basmati Rice Salad

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All summer long I had these visions of all of the fun stuff I was going to get caught up with when the kids were back in school. I was going to get my butt in gear exercising, cook up all these fun new recipes, and best of all I was going to blog like crazy.

Well, school has been in session for a week now and I am having a major reality check! With five kids in four different schools (including high school for the first time), not only am I up to my eyeballs in filling out emergency care forms, packing lunches, waking up an hour and a half earlier than we're used to, but I'm SO dog tired exhausted that I haven't made a new recipe all week. Seven days in, and I'm already beginning to long for the lazy days of hanging out at the pool again.

This recipe was one I made during the summer and LOVED. It's a little more time consuming than my normal fare (especially for a side dish), but it was so yummy I ended up eating it cold for a tasty, but super healthy lunch for the next few days. The recipe says that you can substitute the unsweetened coconut with cilantro or mint, but I have to say that the flavor of the coconut would be really hard to beat.

The ingredients:

Click for printable recipe.

4 Tbs. oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cups Basmati rice, dry
1 can (13.5-oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
2-1/4 cups water
salt, pepper
1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped
8-12 scallions, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
1/2 cup shredded UNsweetened dried coconut (or freshly grated coconut--I found some already grated at Whole Foods)

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a medium, heavy saucepan with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, sprinkle with salt, and cook stirring, until soft for 4-5 minutes. Do not brown. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile add the coconut milk and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the hot liquid to the rice and onion mixture; season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low; cover tightly and let cook undisturbed for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is soft and has absorbed all of the liquid.

While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the cashews and cook, stirring, until light golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large serving bowl and fold in the scallions and coconut, fluffing the rice and breaking up any clumps. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with cashews and serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.



Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Monday, September 14, 2009

My name is Lara and I am totally addicted to anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter. I've tried to deny this problem for years, but it's just no use. I just can't get enough. I recently found this recipe for the Ultimate Filled Peanut Butter Cookie over at Coleen's Recipes and found that I just couldn't stop thinking about them--even in the middle of the night. I was a woman obsessed! Next grocery trip I made I bought the peanut butter cups and next time my daughter begged to make cookies I insisted she make these.

Too bad I was so focused on getting the PB cups that I didn't notice that I'd run out of butter flavored Crisco and did not own a mini-muffin tin.

Normally these obstacles would deter me enough to patiently wait until I could get to the store to buy what we needed before trying them, but this is peanut butter and chocolate we're talking about here and there would be no distractions! I found this recipe for PB cup cookies in a church cookbook and decided it would do the trick perfectly for satisfying my chocolate/peanut butter sweet tooth for now! It worked like a charm--these soft chocolatey cookies were just oozing with peanut butter flavor and I found my hankering perfectly satisfied at last (or at least until I can buy butter flavored Crisco and a mini muffin tin)!

The ingredients:
Click here for printable recipe.

2-1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 package (10-oz.) peanut butter cups, cut into chunks and FROZEN
1 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl beat butters, sugars, and vanilla for 3 minutes. Add eggs to wet ingredients one at a time. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir in frozen peanut butter cups and chocolate chips. Roll into balls and bake for 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Beware: The dough is just as good as the baked cookies! :)



Orange Streusel Muffins

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Breakfast is a big deal at our house and when I say "big deal" I mean bigger than ice cream kind of deal. My kids would like it if we have something fancy for breakfast every day and they'd like it even more if I made them breakfast foods every day for dinner. As much as I love the big breakfast feasts along with them, my waistline does not handle all those calories first thing in the morning very well, so I try to limit it to a couple times a week.
Now I'm pretty picky when it comes to muffins, but this recipe caught my eye right away. I love crunchy streusel toppings almost as much as I love anything citrus-y, so I knew these would be a hit (which they were).

Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:
2 cups flour (I used half whole wheat, half white)
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup orange marmalade (or mandarin oranges, drained and cut in half)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 Tbs. grated orange rind
1 egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. butter

For streusel topping: Combine all ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.

For muffins: Stir dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients, then add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle streusel topping evenly over muffins. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.



Tarragon Shallot Egg Salad Sandwiches

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I made this recipe from Epicurious for a book group meeting I was attending with friends, but since I still had to cook dinner for my family, I just decided to make a big double batch for them. I had never cooked with tarragon before, so I was a tad nervous at whether it would be good or not and I got even more nervous when I chopped the fresh tarragon and was totally convinced it smelled like black licorice (not my favorite). But when I made a little sample sandwich for myself to try before sharing it with my friends I found it so delightfully tasty that my little sample soon turned into a much larger sandwich sized snack! :) Surprisingly my kids totally adored the complex flavors too and were begging me to make it again soon!

By the way, if you totally want a fun book group read, let me suggest one of my childhood favorites, "Anne of Green Gables". We all dressed up, wore white gloves, brought Anne-ish foods (like this egg salad), made raspberry cordial, and had a fantastic time discussing Anne and Gilbert and all our favorite quotes.
I totally felt like a little girl again having a tea party with her friends.

The ingredients:

Click here for printable recipe.

8 large eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
1-1/2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp. tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
12 slices seedless rye bread (I used pumpernickel)
mayonnaise for spreading on bread (optional)
3 cups tender pea shoots or shredded lettuce (I used broccoli sprouts)

Hard boil eggs and allow to cool. Peel eggs and finely chop.

Stir together eggs and remaining salad ingredients in a bowl with a fork.

To make sandwiches, spread mayonnaise on rye bread, add eggs salad and top with pea shoots.

*Note: Egg salad can be made a day ahead of time. Keep chilled and covered. *



Skillet Pork Chops (or Chicken) with Zucchini

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ever since my sister-in-law Karey started a produce co-op, I've had the challenging quest of cooking with fruits and vegetables that I don't have much experience zucchini. Of course I'd eaten it before, but I'd never cooked with it much until now. Now I'm one of those people who's always got my eyes peeled out for a fun, new way to cook it up. We loved the zucchini soup we made and really enjoyed some zucchini lime muffins (coming soon) and the zucchini sausage quiche, but this one was a little more out of my comfort zone. I'm not a huge meat person and I'm not a cooked vegetable fan, but somehow the savory flavor and the balance of the heavy meat with the vegetables was just perfect. This was definitely a good one to file away into the zucchini recipe archives.

As a quick side note: The kids are finally back to school and I'm ready to PARTY (or maybe just turn up the music and mop up a summer's worth of dirt from my floor)!

Click here for Printable Recipe.

The ingredients:
3 Tbs. flour
5 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 pork chops (about 3/4-inch thick) {I used chicken breasts}
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 medium onions, sliced (I only used one)
1/3 cup water
3 medium zucchini (I only used two)
1/2 tsp. paprika

In a large plastic bag, combine flour, 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, salt, dill weed, and pepper. Place pork chops in bag and shake to coat; shake off excess flour and reserve.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high; brown pork chops (or chicken) on both sides. Reduce heat. Place onion slices on chops. Add water to skillet; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Place zucchini slices over the onion.

Mix remaining Parmesan cheese with reserved flour mixture; sprinkle over zucchini. Sprinkle paprika on top. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until pork chops are tender. Makes 6 servings.



Orange Julius

Monday, September 7, 2009

When I think of orange juliuses I think back to the days when my husband and I were first married. We were still in college and as poor as can be, but madly in love with each other and always searching for any way possible to spend time together without spending much money. A typical date night for us would be a bag of microwave popcorn, a ferocious game of Scrabble (we're both pretty competitive), and orange juliuses as a special treat.

Somehow over the years (almost 16 now) we have found new traditions and ideas for date nights (plus a few kids) that have put our Scrabble game on the top shelf. It had been several years since I'd had an orange julius when I stumbled across this recipe and got excited to try it again. The kids thought I was the coolest mom ever for letting them have this with their dinner and I couldn't help but smile at all the fun memories drinking it brought back for me. Scrabble anyone?
Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:
1 can (6-oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder (**see note below about using regular milk instead)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup cold water
10-12 ice cubes (I like it icier so I used 20)
Orange slices and mint (optional garnishments)

In a blender, combine the first five ingredients and process at high speed. Add ice cubes, a few at at a time, blending until slushy. Garnish with orange slices and mint if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

**if desired you could eliminate the powdered milk and water, and just add 3/4 cup milk or vanilla yogurt instead**



Zucchini and Sausage Quiche

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I've made zucchini dishes for dinner and even for dessert, but here's my first try at zucchini for breakfast. This zucchini and sausage quiche was hearty and delicious, and since we'd cooked it up the night before it was perfect for a crazy Sunday morning getting out the door to church. We served it up with some fresh fruit and orange juice and even my kids who aren't usually the biggest quiche fans, seemed to really enjoy it. Yum!

The ingredients:

Click here for printable recipe.

1 pkg. pie crust mix (I made my own)
1 lb. zucchini, shredded (2 cups)
4 Tbs. butter
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausages
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Prepare pie crust mix, following label directions. Roll out to 14-inch round on lightly floured surface; fit into a 10-inch fluted quiche dish (or pie plate). Trim pastry overhang to 1/2-inch. Flute to make a stand up edge. Prick shell well over surface with fork. Bake in preheated oven at 450° for 8 minutes; remove to wire rack; cool slightly.

Saute zucchini in 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet for 5 minutes or until tender. REmove to bowl. Remove casing from sausages and crumble and cook sausages in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, until no pink remains. Drain.

Spread cooked zucchini evenly on bottom of pastry shell; sprinkle crumbled sausage and Swiss cheese over zucchini. Set aside.

Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Add milk, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper; blend well. Pour into pastry shell. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, then lower to 350° and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until center is almost firm, but still soft. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

*Note: We cooked our quiche the night before, refrigerated it overnight, then reheated it the next day. It was still great and really eased the morning rush. *



Milky Way Cake (no Milky Ways required)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My sister has been staying with us this summer and lucky for us (not so lucky for my waist line), she loves to make delicious desserts regularly for us. Recently she kept telling me about a Milky Way cake that her roommate always made that she wanted us to try. However, after seeing Melody's beautiful version over at Cheat Day Cafe and Tina's take on Paula Deen's Milky Way cake at Mommy's Kitchen (each containing several Milky Way candy bars melted into the batter) I was convinced that we needed to buy Milky Way candy bars for it.

Finally I looked at the recipe myself and realized that there are absolutely NO Milky Way candy bars in this Milky Way cake and that I already had all the ingredients right here in my house. She made it on the spot. At first I had absolutely no idea why this is even called Milky Way cake, but then I tasted its smooth texture and perfect fudgy moistness and I thought to myself that this cake is absolutely out-of-this-world AWESOME. It may even be the best tasting cake in the whole Milky Way. :)

Tasty, smooth, fudgy, and moist though it may be, I still couldn't take a good picture of it to save my life.

Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 Tbs. cocoa
pinch of salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vanilla

1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 + 1/8 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

For cake, cream butter with sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, and salt. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk alternatively to butter/sugar mixture; stirring just until combined. Add boiling water, baking soda, and vanilla. Bake in greased and floured pan for 25 minutes at 350°.

For frosting, boil together sugar, milk, and butter for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Pour evenly over cake. (My daughter also sprinkled the white chocolate chips over the top for fun, but the recipe did not call for that).



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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