Monday, December 26, 2011

A Blessed Family

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We did in our house!  We did our traditional throwing of reindeer food on Christmas Eve in the front yard that we had made using oatmeal, sugar, green sugar, and red glitter.Tessa was beyond excited about the gifts Santa brought.  She was enthralled with her new baby doll crib and Snow White princess doll.  She would have been perfectly happy with just those two gifts-sweet child.

We headed over to my parent's house in the afternoon to visit with my sis and brother-in-law who had flown in from San Diego.  We spent some quality time with them, my grandmother, parents, aunt and uncle, and aunt and cousins.  Boy, did we have food.  Mom made a roast, creamed spinach, cranberry casserole, potatoes, rolls, and Aunt Cathy brought her holiday fruit salad.  It was delicious!  And don't get me started on how many cookies we had for dessert.  I don't think I can look at another cookie.  My mom put her cookies out that she had made, Cathy had brought hers, and I had brought my cookies that I had made.  We probably had about 12 plus different kinds of cookies to choose from.  Too bad I'm 34 weeks preggo.  I could use a good run to sweat out all the sugar. 

This is our last week of break and we are looking forward to having my sis and her husband come stay at our house with us.  I put together my grocery list so we could have some homemade meals together.  One night this week we will be joining our Bible study group for a post-Christmas party and I'm bringing the meatballs. 

We're going to be cooking the following meals this week:  Corn and wild rice soup with smoked sausage, Chinese beef and broccoli, and for New Year's Eve we are cooking up some Hoppin' John for good luck in 2012!

Here is a meatball recipe I have used before that is super easy!  A good friend and former co-worker of mine (Kim Howard) gave it to me.
2 pkgs. frozen meatballs
1 can of beer
1 cup of ketchup
1 cup of brown sugar

Combine the last three ingredients in a bowl.  Place meatballs in slow cooker.  Pour combined mixture over the meatballs and cook on low until heated through.  So easy and yummy!

I am loving the soups I have made at home.  They make for such a light meal, but are filling at the same time.  My sis gave me the Bon Appetit cookbook for Christmas and this is the first recipe I am trying from it.
Corn and Wild Rice Soup with Smoked Sausage
12 1/2 cups low salt chicken broth, divided
1 1/4 cups wild rice (about 7 1/2 ounces)
6 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels (about 2 1/2 pounds) thawed, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 ounces fully cooked smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 carrots, peeled, diced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups half and half
Chopped fresh chives or parsley

Bring 5 cups broth to simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add wild rice and simmer uncovered until all liquid evaporates and rice is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3 3/4 cups corn and 1 1/2 cups broth in processor until thick, almost smooth puree forms.  Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-hight heat.  Add sausage and saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add carrots and onions; saute 3 minutes.  Add 6 cups broth and bring soup to simmer.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.

Add cooked wild rice, corn puree, and remaining 2 1/2 cups corn kernels to soup.  Cook until rice is very tender and flavors blend, about 15 minutes longer.  Mix in half and half.  Thin soup with more broth, if desired.  Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Garnish with chives or parsley and serve.

I get weekly e-mails from Parents magazine with easy recipes for the busy moms!  I love Chinese food, so I try my best to make it at home and not break the bank by eating out.  I can't wait to try this recipe!
Chinese Beef and Broccoli adapted from
  • 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, divided
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1 pound lean beef, such as top sirloin, sliced for stir-fry
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced red peppers
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • Quick-cook brown rice, prepared according to package directions
Make It 1. Combine 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, and the beef in a small bowl. Refrigerate 15 minutes, or up to 10 hours. Place broccoli and peppers in large bowl and cover tightly. Microwave on medium-high 5 minutes.
2. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with cooked vegetables.
3. Dissolve remaining cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water. Heat remaining oil in skillet; add ginger and garlic. Cook 30 seconds, then stir in broth and remaining teriyaki sauce; bring to a boil. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and boil 1 minute. Stir in beef, broccoli, and peppers, and cook until just heated through. Serve over brown rice.
Nutrition Facts Servings Per Recipe 4

  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 346
  • Protein(gm)32
  • Carbohydrate(gm)35
  • Fat, total(gm)9
  • Dietary Fiber, total(gm)6

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Morning Breakfast

Growing up, my family always had Eggs Benedict for breakfast on Christmas morning.  We always saved this breakfast for this special day.  It was soooo yummy!  My mom would make homemade Hollandaise sauce and we would use none other than Virginia ham to top off the English muffin.  My husband is not too crazy about runny egg yolks, so when we got married I searched for something to make special on Christmas morning.  I tried a few different things, but FINALLY settled on cinnamon rolls.  The recipe comes from Paula Deen, but I do NOT use her glaze on the rolls.  Please, who wants glaze on a cinnamon roll when  you can have icing???  I usually just find a cream cheese icing recipe to top them off.  These are too die for and will be making them in the next few days, but wait to bake them on Christmas morning, so we can have fresh, warm cinnamon rolls after opening presents.

Cinnamon Rolls



  • 1/4-ounce package yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons hot water


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Foodie Memories

You should see our family photos.  Most of them were taken while we were all sitting around a table of food my mom had prepared.  One of my favorite dishes she made was a chicken enchilada casserole.  My sis and I would request it in high school and when we would come home from college.  My mom made it once when we were having our high school girls' soccer team over for a spirit dinner at our house.  I remember she made two casseroles:  one that was spicy and one that was mild.  There was none left at the end of the night.  And then of course, she threw in a peanut butter ice cream pie using homemade peanut butter ice cream.  Yummmm...Anyways, that's beside the point.  The girls raved about the casserole and requested that she make it again for one of our soccer spirit nights we were doing at school.  All of the parents were bringing a dish to share, and they wanted her to bring her chicken enchilada casserole.  Needless to say, I thought it would be fun to make it this week.  I'm planning on having an easy week of cooking because it's the first week of break, but I wanted to share this recipe.  I found it online at and it seems pretty close to what my mom used to make.

FYI:  This isn't the healthiest of recipes, so be sure to serve it with a light salad on the side. 
Chicken Enchilada Casserole

3-4 chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can diced green chilies (8oz.)
1 package cheddar cheese, grated
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 corn tortillas
16 ounces sour cream

Place chicken in large saucepan and cover with water.  Sprinkle in a handful of oregano, add garlic powder and salt.  Boil about 20 minutes and shred from bones.  Save broth.

Mix soups, sour cream, and chiles in a large pan.  Add only enough broth to slightly thin.  Re-season as needed.  Simmer on low 15 minutes.  Add chicken and diced onion.

In 11 x 9 inch casserole dish, arrange 6 tortillas, spoon in 1/2 the sauce, sprinkle 1/2 the cheese.  Repeat-tortillas, sauce, and cheese.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Nutrition info:  Calories 674.6, sodium 1924.2mg, carbs, 35.1 g, protein 33.9g, fat 45 g, cholesterol 141.3 mg.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

32 Weeks...

I think the Lord shows his sense of humor through a pregnant woman's body.  At 32 weeks, I am actually feeling better than I was at 25-26 weeks, but this belly is definitely a-growin'.  I am at that point where getting from a sitting to a standing  position takes twice as long as it used to and bathroom breaks occur mostly at night.  Tessa likes to look at my belly and say, "Look at your belly, Mama!  It's sooo big!"  She is so innocently honest, and I love it.  She also likes to put her head on my belly to see if Dempsey will kick her.  He usually does.  His pesky little brother side is already manifesting itself.

The heartburn and acid reflux that comes this late in pregnancy has definitely started to settle in, but it has not stopped me from wanting to eat everything in sight.  Moderation is key!  This week, I need to get rid of MORE rockfish (and he's out fishing again today, so who knows how long we will be eating rockfish), and london broil and porkchops are on sale at the store.  And of course, I had to throw in a stew recipe.  This week we are making:  sausage stew, broiled rockfish cakes, dry rubbed london broil, and garlic-parmesan pork chops. 

*This recipe makes A LOT of stew, so feel free to reduce whatever you want and use whatever you have in the fridge.
Sausage Stew

yield: Serves 6
  • 1 1/2 pounds veal or pork sausages
  • 3/4 pounds sweet Italian sausages

  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound boiling potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 1 16-ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen green beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Heat heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausages and cook until brown, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer sausages to plate; cool slightly. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons fat from saucepan. Add onions to saucepan and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Add bell peppers and garlic and continue cooking until bell peppers just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in wine and boil 1 minute. Add potatoes, tomatoes, broth and tomato paste. Simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in green beans, sausages and herbs. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Add all cheeses and stir.

*I've made something like this before, but this recipe is much simpler than what I made before.  I can't wait to try them.
Broiled Rockfish Cakes
1 pound shredded cooked rockfish
1 large egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Rockfish Preparation  (Foil Steamed):Remove skin and all dark meat, then place filets in foil packet
Drizzle with fresh lemon juice
Lightly salt and pepper
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of basil over filets
Seal packet tightly-cook 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Cooking time will vary with thickness of filets. Fish should flake easily.
Mix all ingredients together, excluding rockfish, with whisk. Add rockfish to dressing mixture. Put covered mixture in refrigerator for about 1 hour. After 1 hour, form cakes with mixture and return to refrigerator for about 1/2 hour.
Lightly spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place cakes on cookie sheet and place under broiler at low temperature until they are beautifully browned. Flip, and do the same for other side. There is no filler in these cakes, it is just pure delicious rockfish.

*I haven't made this recipe in a while, but dry rubbing london broil or marinating it is pretty much the way to go when cooking it.  I'll probably serve this with mashed potatoes and maybe a side of cooked carrots. 
Dry Rubbed London Broil
Adapted from Food Network recipe courtesy of Dave Lieberman

1 (2 pound) London Broil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 recipe Dave's rub               (mix all ingredients in a small bowl)
   -2 tablespoons chili powder
  - 1 tablespoon dried oregano
   -1 tablespoon sweet paprika
   -2 teaspoons garlic powder
   -4 pinches salt
   -15 grinds black pepper

Rub London broil with olive oil and then coat generously with dry rub.  Let stand for about 15 minutes at room temperature.  Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Place meat on grill and grill for about 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare.  Remove from heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing on the bias.

*Pork chops pair really well with Dijon mustard.  I've found that any recipe that has Dijon mustard included with pork chops is delicious.  I hope you like this recipe as much as we do!  I'll probably serve this with a salad, rolls, and some kind of apple-something.
Garlic Parmesan Pork Chops
adapted from Southern Living

6 boneless pork loin chops
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup butter or margarine, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons jarred minced garlic
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Sprinkle pork chops evenly with salt and pepper.  Stir together milk and mustard.  Dip pork chops in milk mixture; dredge in breadcrumbs.  place pork chops on a rack in a broiler pan.  Back pork chops at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat; add garlic, and saute 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in cream, wine, and cheese; reduce heat, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes ( do not boil).  Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter until melted.  Serve with chops.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy December!

Yeah, it's been crazy.  I never got back on to post Thanksgiving recipes.  I may just have to wait to post some good holiday cooking this month instead!  On another note, my Food Network magazine arrived!  I LOVE this magazine.  It is one of the best food magazines money can buy.  I got it for my mom last year on her birthday and she has loved her subscription, too.  It is money well spent!  I am going to try some of the recipes from it this month.

Anyways, my hubby has been a fishing machine.  He and his dad love to go fishing for rockfish this time of year.  We have lots of fish in the freezer, so I've been looking up ways to cook it other than frying it.  My husband is a huge fan of a good 'ol fish fry.  I'll eat it fried, but not every time.  Needless to say, you'll see rockfish on the menu this week.

Some recipes we are going to try this week are:

So-Quick Seafood Chowder (thanks to Robin Rodgers), Taco Pie, Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry, Swiss Mushroom Burgers

1.  So-Quick Seafood Chowder:  I got this recipe from a former co-worker of mine.  We would celebrate the end of the nine weeks by bringing in different soups.  This was the soup she brought in.

12 oz. orange roughy (I am going to use our rockfish or you can use any mild white fish) fillets, cut into chunks
1/2 (28 oz.) pkg. frozen hash browns with onions and peppers
1 cup water
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of potato soup
1/4 cup Hormel Real Bacon pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preparation:  Bring hash browns and water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Reduce heat, cover, simmer for 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in evaporated milk, soup, bacon, salt and pepper.  Return to a boil.  Add fish, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.  Serve immediately.  Makes 2 quarts.

2.  Taco Pie:  This comes from this month's Food Network Magazine.  We'll do a Mexican dish every week or so in our house.  I like that this changes it up a bit and isn't the tried and true taco kit!

3 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas, halved
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 pound ground pork
Kosher salt
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 4.25 ounce cans chopped green chiles
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded mozzarella (reduced sodium)

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large skille over medium-high heat.  Add the tortillas and cook, flipping a few times, until golden, about 3 minutes.  Remove with tongs and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
2.  Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cayenne and cook 30 seconds.  Add the pork and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, chiles, and corn.  Season with salt.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
3.  Arrange half of the tortillas in the bottom of a 9 to 10 inch pie plate.  Top with half of the meat mixture, then half of hte cheese.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas, meat and cheese.  Cover loosely with foil and bake utnil the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.

Per serving:Calories 590; Fat 36 g; Cholesterol 76 mg; Sodium 723 mg; Carbs 41 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 29 g

3.  Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry:  I made this recipe from Food Network one night because I didn't want to get take out from a Chinese restaurant.  And oh my, we loved it!  It's well worth the ingredients and prep to get it done.  So delish!


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 breasts), sliced against the grain
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
About 1/3 cup chicken broth or water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cups broccoli, trimmed sliced stalks (about 1/4-inch thick) and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)
Serving suggestion: rice


Toss the chicken with about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the sherry, and the sesame oil in a bowl. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with the 1/3 cup broth or water.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, to taste. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Get the skillet good and hot again, and then heat 2 more tablespoons oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if need to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if you like. Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter or divide among 4 plates; serve with rice.
Cook's Note: The garlic and ginger can be chopped together in a mini chopper to save time

4.  Swiss Mushroom Burgers:  This is another one from this month's Food Network Magazine.  And  I really am a mushroom person despite what a previous blog post said.  I actually seem to crave them when I am pregnant.

1 1/4 pounds ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 8-ounce package sliced mixed mushrooms
1 tbsp Worcestshire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
4 thin slices gruyere cheese (I'll probably just use Swiss)
4 buns, split and toasted

1.  Preheat the broiler and line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil.  Lightly mix the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon peper in a large bowl.  Gently form into 4 patties, about 3/4 inch thick.  Arrange on the broiler pan and brush both sides with olive oil.  Broil until browned, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare.

2.  Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook 2 more minutes.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 2 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.  Combine the ketchup and mustard in a small bowl and set aside.

3.  Top each patty with one quarter of the mushroom mixture and 1 slice hceese.  Return to the broiler to melt the cheese, about 1 minute. 

4.  Spread the buns with the ketchup mixture; sandwich with the patties and some lettuce.  Serve with chips and/or pickles

Per serving:  Calories:  544; Fat 31 g; Cholesterol 110 mg; Sodium 1343 mg; Carbs 30 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 38 g.