Groundhog's Day Cupcakes

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NOTE:  This is a repost from last year when this blog was still pretty new. With Groundhog's Day coming up next week, I thought it was a perfect time to reintroduce these cute fellows to the blogging world! 


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I made my first batch of these cute Groundhog's Day cupcakes when Spencer was in first grade (he's in 9th grade now) and we haven't missed a year since then. I got the original idea from Family Fun magazine, but over the years I've made a few adaptations that make them cheaper and easier (a necessity when you have lots of little helpers and you're making an army of several dozen at a time). Kids and teachers alike love these cute little treats to brighten up a dreary Groundhog's Day!  I'm making my shopping list right now to start a little groundhog cupcake factory here this weekend!  


Click here for printable recipe. 

The ingredients:

baked cupcakes with liners
*1 package Nutter Butter cookies (or Pepperidge Farms Chocolate Mint Milanos--SEE FOOD ALLERGY NOTE)
1 package Oreo cookies (crushed)
1 jar white frosting
1 tube pink or red decorator icing (with small tip)
mini M &M's
**1 package white Betty Crocker Drizzlers (or other melted chocolate)


Directions:
1. Frost each cupcake with white frosting.

2. Sprinkle a small spoonful of crushed Oreos onto each frosted cupcake.

3. Set cupcakes aside.

4. Apply small dots of melted chocolate onto the cookies for the eyes and nose.

5. Add mini M & M's for the eyes while the chocolate is still melted.

6. Allow chocolate to set.

7. With pink or red decorator icing draw a smile below each nose.

8. Wait until shortly before serving before placing the cookies into the cupcakes. I've learned from experience that if you insert the cookies the night before they tend to get soggy and fall over, but if I wait until right before school to do this last step they'll be standing up straight when I serve them.

9. Enjoy the smiles of delight when they see this cute little fellow popping up to say, "hello"!


*FOOD ALLERGY NOTE:  if peanut allergies are a problem then Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Mint Milano cookies will work just as well.  This year I ended up with an egg allergy to accommodate as well and we used Cocoa Krispie marshmallow groundhogs and the kids LOVED them more than any other groundhog cookie we've ever used. Just make as per regular Rice Krispie treats and shape them into groundhog shapes while they're still warm. 

















Enjoy!

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Coconut Curry Chicken

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My husband loves curry and begs me to use it more often, but  I've never found a recipe I loved enough to make a regular part of our menu.  This dish here changes things though.  The flavor was great, but not overly spicy.  The chicken and potatoes were perfectly tender.  And even the kids (except for one we like to call Miss Picky) gobbled  it up and went for seconds.  As much as I liked it the first night, I thought it was even better as leftovers when the flavors had combined more. 

Click here for printable recipe.




The ingredients:

onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. oil
4 medium potatoes, cubed (I used 2 potatoes and 2 sweet potatoes)
1-lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 Tbs. curry powder
1 Tbs. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
bay leaf
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped ( I just used a can of drained diced tomatoes) 
1 can (13.5-oz) coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
hot cooked rice

Directions:  Place diced potatoes in salted boiling water and boil for 10 minutes (you want them to be not quite done).  Remove from heat, drain,  and set aside.  Heat oil on medium-high heat in large frying pan and saute onion and garlic for one minute.  Then add the chicken and continue cooking for 3 minutes.  Add all the spices and the drained potatoes and stir together well.  Let cook until chicken and potatoes are tender (another 3-5 minutes).  Add tomatoes and coconut milk and heat until sauce is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in cilantro.  Serve over hot cooked rice.  Serves 8-10.  Makes for delicious leftovers too!  Enjoy!

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Cooking with Kids: French Bread Pizza

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Every Friday night is pizza night at our house.  Sometimes we order out, but most of the time I make pizza from scratch.  The kids are pretty boring and like plain cheese or occasionally pepperoni.  Glen and I often make Bruschetta Pizza, which is one of our favorites.  The problem is is that sometimes it gets a little boring making the same old pizza every week, that's why I was so excited when I found this recipe from SnoWhite over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  It was fun, different, and easy.  So easy, in fact, that the kids could make them entirely themselves after I sliced the bread for them.  It was a hit all the way around.  They loved having control over their own pizza and I loved the little twist on the every day (or every Friday in this case.)  Thanks SnoWhite! 

Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients: 
1 loaf French Bread
1 can (6-oz.) tomato paste
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
~1 cup mozzarella cheese
Favorite pizza toppings:  Pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, etc.

Directions:  Mix tomato paste and Italian seasoning until well blended.  Slice bread into four thick slices lengthwise.  Cut each of those slices in half to end up with 8 slices.  Top each slice of bread with tomato paste mixed with Italian seasoning.
Add desired toppings.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of everything.






Broil for 4-8 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly (be sure to watch them very carefully to prevent burning).  Enjoy! 

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Super Easy Tostadas

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Necessity is the mother of invention and this mother here is always in need of something in the kitchen.  No matter how carefully I plan my menu each week, there always comes a day when I'm out of something I need for making dinner.  One time I was hurriedly making tacos for dinner and realized we didn't have taco shells.  Luckily we did have tortillas, but since the kids aren't fans of soft tacos I was left in a quandary on how I could get this dinner onto the table pronto!  That's when "Super Easy Tostadas" were born.   I just crisped up the tortillas (two options listed below) and added a layer of refried beans to hold all the toppings on the shell.   My family was happy with the yummy new dinner and I was happy to add a fun new creation to the quick dinner arsenal.


Click here for printable recipe. 

The ingredients:
1 can refried beans
3/4 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1 pkg. taco seasoning
6 flour tortillas
favorite taco toppings:  shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, black beans (drained)

Directions: 
You have two options for cooking the flour tortillas into tostada shells:

Option #1
 results in a super easy, crisp plain tostada shell:  Heat oven to Broil and place tortillas onto a baking sheet.  Broil until tops are crisp and brown (you will have to watch them VERY closely.  This step usually takes 2-3 minutes at most.)  When tops are brown, remove from oven and flip the tortillas.  Place back in the oven and remove as soon as they are brown and crispy.  The second side generally takes a minute or less, so be careful not to leave them unattended.  Note:   They will bubble up while broiling.


Option #2
 takes a littler longer, but ends up less crisp and tastier:  Preheat a griddle and grease with a stick of butter.  Add tortilla and cook until the bottom is lightly browned and slightly crisp, then flip.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the browned side of the tortilla and cook until bottom is browned and cheese is melted.
 



Cook tostada shells and set aside.  Brown meat and season with taco seasoning as directed on package (mine says add 3/4 cup water and seasoning packet and simmer).

Layer each tostada shell with refried beans as the base layer (this gives all the rest of the ingredients something to stick to, so it won't fall off the shell as easily.)  Then top with meat and favorite taco toppings.  Makes 6 tostadas. 

Enjoy!

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Oatmeal Cake

Sunday, January 10, 2010

 With oatmeal and whole wheat flour, this easy cake packs a more nutritious punch than any cake mix ever could.  I loved its cinnamon-y flavor and moist crumb and look forward to experimenting more with it.  Next time I want to make a boiled coconut frosting and maybe sprinkle some chopped pecans over the top.  This would also be excellent with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! 



 Click here for printable recipe.


The ingredients:
CAKE:
1-1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)

1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

ICING: 
2 Tbs. melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2-4 Tbs. milk

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.  Place oatmeal in a small bowl and our boiling water over it.  Let stand for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile cream butter and sugars together; add eggs, vanilla, and oatmeal.  Mix well and blend in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.


Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Cake will be dark brown.
FOR ICING: Mix melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt with a mixer.  Beat in enough milk to achieve consistency of glue.  Drizzle icing over warm cake with the tines of a fork.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

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Ranchero Chicken Crostada

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

After a 20-inch snowstorm canceled the last few days of school right before Christmas and extended our winter break to a full two weeks, we had a wonderful holiday season filled with sledding, food, family, and far too little sleep.  Now after three days of trying to reestablish our routine again, I wonder if I'll ever get my groove back!   I did make lots of old favorite meals, in addition to several new recipes over the break, but it looks like it's going to be a slow process getting back to my blogging again.   The gigantic pile of laundry awaiting to be folded is calling my name just a little too loudly these days, but I thought I'd sacrifice my housework for a few minutes and type up this recipe just for you.  Yeah, yeah.  I know I'm such a martyr serving my adoring fans like this.  °Ü°
The one thing I love about church cookbooks is having familiar names to go with the recipes.  After just a couple of weeks with the cookbook, I'd already picked out my cooking soul-mates, knowing that if it's their recipe then we're sure to like it.  This is one of those I tried just because I loved everything else I made of hers and sure enough it was delicious too!   It was fresh-tasting and flavorful and my kids especially adored the ranch flavor and the whole pie crust part of it.   We'll definitely try this one again. 
Boy I have to say blogging is way more fun than laundry!  
     


Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:
1 roll Pillsbury pie crust, thawed
2 cups shredded chicken
1 can (10-oz.) mild Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. ranch dressing powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup shredded cheese
1 can (15.5-oz.) black beans, drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
lettuce, chopped
ranch dressing

Directions:   Roll crust onto Pam-treated baking sheet.  In large mixing bowl, mix chicken, Ro-Tel, cilantro, ranch powder, cumin, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, black beans, and red pepper.  
Spread chicken mixture onto pie dough leaving a 1-2-inch border around the edges.  Fold this border up over chicken to make a deep-dish pizza-like crust, forming pleats every 2 inches or so.
   Brush olive oil on crust.  Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes.  Top with chopped Romaine lettuce and drizzle with ranch dressing.  Enjoy!

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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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