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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mozzarella Chicken

I LOVE adding the cheese sauce
onto my mashed potatoes too!
Mozzarella Chicken; this recipe has been around for as long as I can remember cooking. I use to make this so much (in my life before kids over 17 year ago) that my family would say "If you are making Mozzarella Chicken again, we aren't coming over for dinner", needless to say this recipe got lost along the way. Maybe it was all those kids I had or my time just got lost and fancy recipes like this were no more.

My Mom & Dad
Summer 2010
It was my dad's birthday last month and with the theme of "saving money" I asked each of my parents to pick their favorite dinner, favorite dessert and I invited them over to my house for a birthday dinner celebration. My mom and dad's birthday is one day apart, but I wanted them each to have their own special dinner. My mom picked Lasagna and Snickerdoodle Cupcakes (both those recipes are already very popular here on my blog) and my dad said "Hey, why don't you make that Mozzarella Chicken you use to make a long time ago". I of course was happy to oblige and the recipe was just as good as I remembered, maybe even better. This will for sure be coming around a lot more often in the near future, I can't wait to have it again soon! It's absolutely scrumptious.



Mozzarella Chicken
from the kitchen of Tina Hudgens

6-9 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
Mozzarella Sauce (see recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp paprika

Dip chicken into eggs; then coat with bread crumbs. Heat butter in large skillet until melted. Cook chicken over medium heat in skillet until golden brown on all sides. Stir in tomato sauce and basil; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until done approx. 20-30 minutes.

Prepare Mozzarella Sauce.

Mozzarella Sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne red pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half-n-half
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat butter in small sauce pan until melted. Blend in flour, salt and red pepper. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly, remove from heat. Stir in broth and half-n-half; then heat to a boil. Boil and stir one minute; then add shredded cheese and stir until melted.

Once chicken is completely cooked arrange pieces into an ungreased baking dish. Spoon mozzarella sauce over chicken pieces, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and paprika. Set oven to 550 or broil; place baking dish in oven for 6-7 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly around edges.


Here is the scrapbook page from my Family Cookbook/Scrapbook. The photo is of my sister and I in 1991 (I was 20 years old and she was 14 years old); this was about the time I found this delicious recipe.

Scrapbook/Cookbook Page from my Family Cookbook; Volume 1
I LOVE Linky Parties and it's Wednesday.... almost Friday! Come on everyone... "WE CAN DO THIS"! What a great way to mix and mingle with lots of bloggers (and find FABULOUS recipes)! Today, this recipe is linked to the following linky parties: Creative Share Wednesdays, Gold Star Wednesdays, Homemaking Link-Up, Let's Do Brunch, Living Well Wednesdays, Show & Tell, Wandering Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Works for Me WednesdayWhats on the Menu Wednesday, What's on Your Plate, and Make it Yours Day

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Family Meal Planing 3-28-11


We are skipping our grocery budget this week and eating what we have in the house! In January of this year when I made this plan of $150 per week for my grocery shopping I did NOT take into consideration 5 weeks in a month, OPPS!!! Kinda missed the boat on that one, funny actually, but I still can't believe I didn't think about that. Well, since there is only a few of those months per year I am not gonna change my game plan. On the 5th week of the month we will just do a freezer and/or pantry clean out and work with what we have.

With this being the first week of my daughter eating GLUTEN-FREE I did pop into my favorite store; Sprouts; as they are so friendly with gluten-free labeling and spent just $52 bucks (yes, this is not going to be easy or cheap). I am excited though about getting back into my kitchen, it seems like forever since I really made some NEW recipes and did a little experimenting. So, I am excited about that.

Sorry, sun in my eyes.... But this is ME!
Apparently OVERWEIGHT!
Now, I would love to loose 10 lbs
but NEVER in a million years would I think this is
OVERWEIGHT!

But, I would first like to vent a little to my readers, in hopes to educate all of you about this sick world we have when it comes to weight. My husband and I are attending Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, which we absolutely love. It has totally got us on track by setting up a budget and a game plan for becoming debt-free and paying off our house way quicker then I ever dreamed possible. Along the way there are many other things this class takes you through like setting up Life Insurance and maximizing Retirement and things of that nature. This brought us to setting up our Term-Life Insurance policy and I just found out that my premiums are DOUBLE, yes DOUBLE because of my weight. Okay, so I'd like to show you all a picture of me. Really, OVERWEIGHT? Are you kidding me? I would love to loose 10 lbs, to look better in a bathing suit. But, never in a million years would I of thought this as OVERWEIGHT. I am so appalled and so mad, I can't even think straight. (Okay, that's all thanks for letting me vent, I guess I am going on a diet to loose 20 lbs so I can save $8,000 dollars on my Life Insurance policy!)

Now, let's move onto things that really matter! Thanks for all the prayers for my daughter who had her Colonoscopy and Upper Endoscopy last Friday to check for celiac (it takes 4 weeks for results, so I know nothing yet). WOW that is the hardest thing EVER! To watch your child be put under and go through a simple procedure, I can't imagine those who have far worse events with their children. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do with my own kids. 

Our GLUTEN-FREE meal planning is under way. I am just testing the waters here but I am slowing moving out all the Gluten-FULL products from my house and movin' in GLUTEN-FREE. I think this is how I am going to eventually cook (although I can't be sure, but that's my thoughts now). I know my son will still want his favorites every now and again, but there is no reason why I can't use gluten-free flour, gluten-free pasta and bread crumbs and things like that. I am sure the next few months will be filled with lots of trial and errors and much learning along the way. I just know that I am ready to begin this journey.

Our Family Meal Plan for this week. I'd love to hear if you have any short cuts, tricks or tips.
Check back and we will link the actual recipe!
(not all recipes will become reality so if there is not a link, we haven't made it yet)

G'ma Simple Spaghetti (we used Corn Pasta, GLUTEN-FREE)
Frog Smoothie (GLUTEN-FREE) & frozen Muffin
Logan County Burgers (on a bed of lettuce, no bun)
Sausage & Eggs
Chicken Crescent Rolls (just for my son)
Apple Sausage Pasta (NEW recipe, GLUTEN-FREE)
Carrot Raisin Breakfast Rice (NEW recipe, GLUTEN-FREE)
click for the recipe: Frog Smoothie




Also don't forget our weekly linky party
this week is "Surprise/Secret Ingredient"
(What can you hide in your food?)

Monday, March 28, 2011

THIS WEEKS CRAVINGS LINKY PARTY #22 (SURPRISE INGREDIENT) and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese w/Sweet Potatoes

THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS Linky Party #22
The Theme is: "SURPRISE" Ingredient
(What can you hide in your food?)

When I first learned about adding in vegetables into my kids food I was so fascinated that I could actually pull it off. The book I was introduced to was Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food and after cooking from this book for a few months I learned so many things that I still use to this day. The recipe I am sharing today is one of my own and it's an all time favorite. This recipe is quick, it's easy and I use it often when I am in a hurry. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with an added BONUS Sweet Potatoes. (no, this is not a paid ad for Kraft Mac & Cheese)

I store these small 1/4 cups of Sweet Potatoes in my freezer, so that I have them at all times. They only take about 30 seconds in the microwave to thaw out. (I also have cauliflower, spinach and a few others on hand).

My son is the worst eater ever and it's so crazy because my girls love food, all kinds of different foods and my son eats NOTHING. Really, he eats sandwiches with only jelly, buttered noodles, macaroni and cheese and cereal. Of course ice cream is his nightly treat and besides these few basic things he is the pickiest eater ever. Oh, but he LOVES avocados, yep the whole avocado just cut up, and he'll eat more then one if I let him.

So, sneaking in vegetables has become my favorite past time with him. I can add these sweet potatoes in his Macaroni and Cheese, puree' Cauliflower into his buttered noodles, scrambled eggs and also into his mashed potatoes. These simple things have really let me be more relaxed about his eating knowing that I can sneak in a few extra healthy vegetables here and there. I really truly recommend getting this cookbook (especially if your kids are picky), it has so many recipes and taught me so many more things about adding in things where you least expect it (spinach in chocolate cake, REALLY!), and it never hurts to be a little more healthier.



This week's theme "SURPRISE INGREDIENT" is a little harder then last week's CHOCOLATE... CHOCOLATE... and MORE CHOCOLATE in which we had over 150 link-ups of AWESOME chocolate recipes (you can bet I'll be making alot of them as soon as I possibly can)! But, I am just as excited to see what you wonderful bloggers can come up with in your secret, surprise and/or hidden ingredient recipes. It doesn't have to be a vegetable... Do you hide a snickers bar inside of a cupcake or cookie, a puree' vegetable inside of your spaghetti sauce or some spinach inside our your morning smoothie?

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with Sweet Potatoes
from Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (follow the recipe on your favorite box)
1/4 cup puree' sweet potatoes

Make a box of your regular Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and then add in 1/4 cup of puree Sweet Potatoes along with the milk, butter and cheese sauce.

I store puree sweet potatoes in ziploc baggies (1/4 cup) in each bag (or in little plastic to-go containers); and store in my freezer.  This adds in some much needed veggies to the kids favorite meals and they don't even know it!

I LOVE Linky Parties and it's MONDAY already! Let's do this bloggers... it's a fresh start to a NEW week! I can't wait to mix and mingle with all of you and see what has been cooking in your kitchens! Today, this recipe is linked to the following linky parties: Homemaker Monday, I Made It MondayJust Something I Whipped Up, Made by You MondaysMaking the World Cuter, Market Yourself Monday, Melt in Your Mouth MondayMotivate Me MondayMouthwatering MondayJust Another Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Your Recipes, My Kitchenand My Meatless Mondays

*****************************************************
Now onto the LINKY PARTY! Please only link recipes with our theme!
This week's theme is: SURPRISE INGREDIENT

(What can you hide in your favorite recipe?)

Here is a complete list of the past weeks and a list of what's coming up on This Week's Cravings!

If you are a regular link-up we're excited to see what you made! If you are new please read & follow the simple rules, so everyone can enjoy the linky party! If you forget to link back or add a button IN YOUR post you will receive a gentle reminder. THANKS A MILLION!

Please Grab Our Button!!!

This Week's Cravings Past & Future Recipe Links


This is a BLOG HOP Party so please visit other links
and meet some great BLOGGERS!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bird's Nest - Eggs & Potatoes (GLUTEN-FREE)

Today, is the day! One of my twin daughters has to officially start eating Gluten-Free (at least for now), until we have a for sure diagnosis (celiac or just an intolerance to gluten). But, starting today we will be going down an unknown path of GLUTEN-FREE. This recipe was so very simple and yet we were so happy to find out that it was all GLUTEN-FREE.

Bird's Nest (Eggs & Potatoes)

1 to 2 eggs
1 cup of frozen hashbrown potatoes
1 - 2 tsp of Grandma's Salt

Spray skillet with non-stick spray and heat. Add in frozen hashbrowns and begin to brown. Once they are completely cooked, spread them all out to the outer sides of the pan leaving a round circle in the middle of the pan. Crack egg, add to the pan; sprinkle with Grandma's Salt (or other seasoning) and begin cooking. For an over-easy egg let cook completely on one side and flip for just a second; then serve.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mighty Meaty Nachos with Neely's BBQ Sauce & Seasoning

Did you know that yesterday was NATIONAL CHIP and DIP DAY ? Yep, March 23rd, every year!
I guess I should of posted this ULTIMATE Chip & Dip recipe yesterday! But, better late then never!
One of my favorite pictures of my daughters and I (Summer 2008)
(although the one on the left hates the double chin)
These nachos are the ULTIMATE treat! It's just perfect for one of those days when you want to indulge yourself in pure goodness. My daughters and I LOVE this special nacho recipe, we even have it for dinner (often), my husband, although he LOVES it, does NOT think it's enough for dinner... (but WE DO)! Good thing we get to have dinner many nights without him (life of an oil work'in fireman). I first saw this recipe for the Neely's BBQ Sauce and BBQ Seasoning watching them on Food Network and I just knew I had to try it and then we got the wild idea to pair up the Neely's BBQ Sauce with our Mighty Meaty Nacho Sauce that we just LOVE and WOW... the combination of these recipes is OUT OF THIS WORLD!


Neely's BBQ Sauce
from the Neely's on Food Network

2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp ground mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and mix well. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cooked uncovered, stirring frequently every 15 minutes, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Barbecue Seasoning
from the Neely's on Food Network

3/4 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups paprika
3-3/4 tbsp onion powder

Mix all ingredients together and re-bottle. 

Mighty Meaty Nachos
www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes  (re-posting from January 20, 2010)

32 oz Velveeta Cheese
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chillies
1 lb Sausage, browned and drained
1 lb hamburger, browned and drained
1 small jar of salsa
1 can cream of mushroom soup small, fajita size flour tortillas (or just use chips if don't want to make fresh) 3-4 cups vegetable oil kosher salt 

Melt Velveeta cheese on stove top, then add in Rotel, meat, salsa and soup. Mix together. Keep warm in crock-pot.

I know all these recipes sound like alot to make, but we make up the BBQ Sauce and have it in the refrigerator at all times (works great on meatballs and other things too). We made up the BBQ Seasoning once and have never had to make it again. So, we just through together the cheese dip and there you have it. The ULTIMATE Mighty Meaty Nachos with the Neely's BBQ Sauce and Seasoning.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Family Meal Planning (3-21-11)


My grocery shopping went perfectly this week, my $150 dollars was spent at Farmer's Market and Costco! And how I ever got out of Costco for $133.00 bucks, I will never know. But I went in with a list and got JUST WHAT I needed, not wanted. So, there will be NO grocery store shopping for me this week and no coupon'ing either. Except yesterday, I went for a quick trip to Walgreens where I got two killer deals, that I was very excited about!

Walgreens deal of the week: my daughters SUPER DUPER outrageously expensive deodorant is $12.00 bucks, yes seriously $12 bucks each! It's Secret Clinical Strength SPORT, yep had to add the SPORT on there and $2 or $3 extra bucks for that, but I will tell you she SWEARS by it and says, it's worth $12 bucks not to STINK! Anyhow it was $9.99 and buy one get one half off AND I had two $2.00 coupon (which you can use one for each of them) $9.99 + 4.99 -2.00 -2.00 = $10.98 for 2 (YEP, SUPER HAPPY MOMMY!!! and both my daughters can rest assure that they will NOT STINK) and second deal was Kettle Chips (they are GLUTEN-FREE too) were $1.33 with a $1.00 coupon = .33 cents (YAHHHHHHOOOOOOO for ME!!!)  That's it, those were my super duper deals for the week!

Kayley (left) & Ashlyn
(Kayley is having the tests)
Well, it's gonna be a slim week for us in the meal planning department. With our final week of eating GLUTEN-FULL, so that my daughter can have her Colonoscopy and Upper Endoscopy this Friday (checking for celiac)! Your prayers.... are welcome, wanted & needed... it's always scary seeing your children have any kind of medical procedure done and I know she will be just fine... but we would love all the prayers we can get! Then as of Saturday we will be "attempting" to be a GLUTEN-FREE house!

Our Family Meal Plan for this week. I'd love to hear if you have any short cuts, tricks or tips.
Check back and we will link the actual recipe!
(not all recipes will become reality so if there is not a link, we haven't made it yet)

Scrambled Eggs on Toast (just that... no recipe needed)

click for the recipe: Grilled Cesar Chicken Sandwich
 OVER 100 CHOCOLATE RECIPES ALREADY LINKED-UP... COME ON OVER AND SEE
Also don't forget our weekly linky party
this week is "CHOCOLATE... CHOCOLATE... and more CHOCOLATE"

Monday, March 21, 2011

THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS #21 (Chocolate) and Beacon Hill Cookies (GLUTEN-FREE)

THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS Linky Party #21
The Theme is: Chocolate...Chocolate and MORE Chocolate


We are into our 21st week of THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS linky party and I am excited each and every week. The two other bloggers I do this with From My Tiny Kitchen and Delightful Country Cookin' have become great blogging friends and this entire adventure has been so much fun! Thanks to all who began this with us 21 weeks ago, Thanks to all who have just joined in recently and Thanks to all of you for coming back each and every week to link up your recipes. I particularly LOVE seeing all the recipes because it gives me so many more ideas (and believe me I've made plenty of them).

Let's get to the CHOCOLATE... CHOCOLATE... and MORE CHOCOLATE which is the theme for THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS! As you may or may not know our linky party is very unique, we don't just have you link up a million and one things that takes forever to look through! We link up ONE THEME each week and it's pretty specific, but it's also FUN & INSPIRING.  Then anytime you need a recipe for the crock-pot, looking for a soup or some fun recipes with cherries.. then all you need to do is click on over to THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS HOME PAGE and here we have them all saved for you....


This week I am making a GLUTEN-FREE cookie recipe, that actually my son picked out from my 500 Cookies: The Only Cookie Compendium You'll Ever Need (500 Series Cookbooks) Cookbook. We did not intentionally pick this out because it was GLUTEN-FREE but I am so glad he stumbled upon this, because as of next Saturday we are going to be a full-blown GLUTEN-FREE house (and I know my boys are not going for this, but the girls in the house are so ready). This cookie was the PERFECT treat to satisfy the chocolate craving.

Beacon Hill Cookies
from 500 Cookies: The Only Cookie Compendium You'll Ever Need (500 Series Cookbooks)
 

5 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cups chopped pecans
1/2 tsp vanilla (make sure it's gluten-free)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt chocolate. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add 1/3 of the sugar, beat for another minute, then add 1/3 more sugar. Beat again until the whites are stiff, and then fold in the remaining sugar.  Fold the nuts, chocolate and vanilla into the mixture.

Drop level teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are cracked and firm to touch.




I LOVE Linky Parties and it's MONDAY already! Let's do this bloggers... it's a fresh start to a NEW week! I can't wait to mix and mingle with all of you and see what has been cooking in your kitchens! Today, this recipe is linked to the following linky parties: Homemaker Monday, I Made It MondayJust Something I Whipped Up, Made by You MondaysMaking the World Cuter, Market Yourself Monday, Melt in Your Mouth MondayMotivate Me MondayMouthwatering MondayJust Another Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Your Recipes, My KitchenUnwasted Homemaking Party, Sweets for Saturday and My Meatless Mondays

I LOVE Linky Parties and it's Wednesday.... almost Friday! Come on everyone... "WE CAN DO THIS"! What a great way to mix and mingle with lots of bloggers (and find FABULOUS recipes)! Today, this recipe is linked to the following linky parties: Creative Share Wednesdays, Gold Star Wednesdays, Homemaking Link-Up, Let's Do Brunch, Living Well Wednesdays, Show & Tell, Wandering Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Works for Me WednesdayWhats on the Menu Wednesday, What's on Your Plate, Sweet Tooth Friday (gluten-free) Slightly Indulgent TuesdayGluten-Free WednesdaysReal-Food Wednesday, Food & Health Carnival
*****************************************************
Now onto the LINKY PARTY! Please only link recipes with our theme!
This week's theme is: CHOCOLATE...CHOCOLATE... and MORE CHOCOLATE

Here is a complete list of the past weeks and a list of what's coming up on This Week's Cravings!

If you are a regular link-up we're excited to see what you made! If you are new please read & follow the simple rules, so everyone can enjoy the linky party! If you forget to link back or add a button IN YOUR post you will receive a gentle reminder. THANKS A MILLION!


Please Grab Our Button!!!

This Week's Cravings Past & Future Recipe Links


This is a BLOG HOP Party so please visit other links
and meet some great BLOGGERS!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie Cupcakes

Happy St. Patrick's Day (click here for over 70 GREEN recipes from THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS linky party), and boy do I have a special GREEN recipe for you today! This is OUT OF THIS WORLD! My daughter said this is the best cupcake I have EVER made. And considering I bake all the time, I take it that this is one of those FOREVER keep recipes. I first got my inspiration from another girl scout cookie cupcakes I made last week Peanut Butter Patty Girl Scout Cookie Cupcakes and then another blogger Ladybird Ln linked up this recipe Chocolate Mint Cupcakes which is almost exactly what I was thinking. And so as the Irish would say.........


Kayley & Ashley
I really hope you ALL decide to make this DELICIOUS CUPCAKE... I guarantee you will not be disappointed. We made these for one of my girls BEST FRIENDS for her birthday (which was yesterday.... "SWEET" 18th Birthday Ashley)!

Ashlyn & Ashley










My girls have spent the last 5 years with Ashley (which they meet at their Jr. & Sr. High School). I know they are really gonna miss her next year (as they are Juniors and she is a Senior this year)!  It just won't be the same without her! Maybe with a little LUCK they will all end up at the same college!




Now onto this cupcake extravaganza.... and yes I've already txt'd and facebook'ed a few folks so I can try and buy some more girl scout cookies, CUZ WE ARE ALL OUT!!! And I know we will need to make these cupcakes again soon! (Now if only I could make a GLUTEN-FREE version, I guess I will have to get started on that too!)


Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie Cupcakes
from Tina Hudgens with Inspiration from Others

Chocolate Cake Mix, we used Triple Chocolate or Devil's Food Cake (follow directions on the back, then crush one tube of the cookies very finely and mix in the batter)

White Cake Mix (follow directions on the back; and then add 6 to 8 drops of Green Food Coloring to mixture)

Fill the mini-cupcake tin with half chocolate and half "green" cake mixture and bake as directed by the box. About 12-14 minutes. Cool and then frost.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
from Magnolia Bakery in New York City
frosting recipe updates 10-13-11

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
6-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
Green Food Coloring

Place butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On medium speed in an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.

Crush a few additional Thin Mint Cookies to decorate with. 
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