Oct 25, 2013

Banana Pumpkin Muffins (allergy friendly)

This one I made up myself to give to my 9 month old who is so excited to self feed!

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 ripe banana, mushed
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 eggs OR 3 TBS flax meal mixed with 3/4 hot water - whisk, set in fridge 10 minutes
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
Teff flour and
millet flour in about a 1:3 ratio (no I didn't measure - just make it to be like muffin mix consistency)

Combine wet ingredients, beat to combine.  Add flours a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved (thick, but pour easily). add the rest of the dry ingredients.  Beat to combine.  Pour into greased muffin tins.  Bake 350 for 35 minutes.  Makes about 12 muffins.

Oct 19, 2013

Rockin' Chocolate Chip Almond Cookie Squares (Blondies)

Stumbled across this on the internet and it is great!  So easy!

Rockin' Chocolate Chip Almond Cookie Squares (Blondies)

1/4C butter (we used dairy/soy free Earth Balance)
3/4C almond butter (Barney's Brand is made in a dedicated almond facility)
2 large eggs (or 2 flax eggs for vegan version)
3/4C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4C millet flour
1 tsp baking powder (corn free - 1/2tsp cream tarter + 1/4 tsp baking soda)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips (Good Life Brand)

preheat oven to 350.  Grease 8x8 pan. Beat butters together until creamy.  Add eggs, sugar, vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix into wet ingredients until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Bake about 25 minutes.  Let cool 45 minutes.

Oct 18, 2013

Sweet and Sour Chicken Allergy Friendly

Stumbled on this online somewhere.  Pretty good.  Not amazing, but easy!  Could use pork also.  I actually think this would taste better using dark meat.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Allergy Friendly

2 TBS Ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 TBS coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2LBS chicken cubed
2TBS cornstarch/2TBS cold water OR 2tsp arrowroot powder/2ts water

Whisk to combine first 5 ingredients in a 4-6qt crockpot.  Add chicken.  Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-5.  With a slotted spoon, remove chicken.  Whisk in cornstarch or arrowroot powder mixtures.  Cook on high 15-20 minutes to thicken.  Put chicken back in.  Serve over rice with steamed broccoli.   

Apr 26, 2013

easy and amazing biscuits

This is another Cooks Country hit. I love to have biscuits for dinner every once in awhile. Throw some butter and honey or butter and jam on a hot biscuit and I am in heaven. And so are the kids. Win win, right! Well the recipe I used to use had to be rolled out and cut. They were huge, beautiful biscuits.... But bland. I got my Cooks Country magazie the other day and thought I would give these a go. So good!! And EASY!!!!  I used the large scoop from Pampered Chef to drop them on the cookie sheet with the Sil-Eco on it. So easy. You must try them!

Cooks Country Soft and TenderBiscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup mayonnaise (full fat)

1. Preheat oven to 450 and make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven.
Line a bakingsheet with parchment or a silicone mat (i have one I love called Sil-Eco on Amazon). Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk milk and mayo together in a separate bowl. Stir milj mixture into flour mixture until just combined.
2. In this step CC has you use a greased 1/4 cup measure. I used a heaping large scoop which I thought was easier. Anyway, drop scoops of dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until tops are golden about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking (I forgot this step and they were still fine). Transfer to wire cooling rack and let cool 5 minutes  (or not). Serve.

Apr 12, 2013

Thai Peanut Chicken

This recipe is from Pillsbury Slow Cooker Recipes which a great book. I changed it slightly as you will see. It feeds about 4-6 adults

Thai Peanut Chicken

8 bone in chicken thighs, about 2 LBS (4 small/med size chicken breasts)
3/4 cup hot chunky salsa (1 cup medium)
1/4 cup peanutbutter (1/2 cup, chunky if you have it)
2 TBS lime juice
1 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger (1/4 tsp ground if in a pinch)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Chopped cilantro

1. Place chicken in slow cooker.  In a bowl combine salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, and ginger.  Mix well.  Pour over chicken (could place chicken and mixture in a freezer bag and freeze to cook later.  Add a couple hours to cook time if frozen)

2. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. 

3.  Shred chicken (the recipe says to take it out and shred, but I just use two forks and shred it right in the crock.  It is usually so tender it just falls apart).  If you use dark meat, you will probably need to skim the fat.  Otherwise, mix chicken and sauce and serve over rice.

Apr 7, 2013

Chocolate Peanutbutter Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate Peanutbutter Oatmeal Bars

Mix well
14oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanutbutter (we used crunchy)
In a separate bowl sift
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Stir in
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup brown sugar
Cut in
3/4 cup butter, softened

In a greased 9x13 press down 1/2 oat mixture. Top with peanutbutter mixture. Top with chocolate chips. Top with oat mixture.
Bake 350 for 20 minutes or a little more. Do not over bake.

Quick and really yummy.

Mar 20, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (made with beans!)

Since I don't have a food processor (such a sad thing) I used a potato masher for the beans.  It worked out just fine although a food processor would be ideal.  You will have to use a little water to get the beans to a mashed potato consistency.  They are cake-like and yummy.
Chocolate Chocoate chip cookies using beans

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick butter, room temperature

1/2 cup pureed great northern beans (or other white bean)

1/4 white sugar

3/4 brown sugar

1 3.5oz package sugar free chocolate pudding mix (or regular I just had this and saw no other use for it! Could also use vanilla and use vanilla extract instead of almond)

1 tsp almond extract

2 large eggs

chocolate chips

nuts (optional)
preheat oven to 350
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a stand mixer, cream together butter, pureed beans, and sugars until fluffy.  Beat in pudding mix. 
Add eggs one at a time.  Add extract.  Fold chocolate chips.  Using a medium scoop, place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.   

Mar 15, 2013

Carrot Chowder

Someone posted a recipe for Carrot Chowder on a fb group I am a part of that looked interesting.  I played with it and created this yummy Chowder.  We served it with Cook's Illustrated Croissant rolls (which I will have to post - so good!) we had in the freezer.  Yum!  The kids really liked it. 

Carrot Chowder

1/2 stick butter
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 LBS bag carrots, chopped about 2 1/2 to 3 cups
1 QT V8 juice (the tomato kind)
1 1/2 cup water
1 LBS ground hamburger, cooked (or ground turkey, ground chicken, or smoked sausage - or omit for a vegetarian dish)
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp salt
2 can cream chicken or cream celery soup
2 cups uncooked barley

In a large stock pot with a lid, melt butter on medium heat.  Add celery, onion, garlic, and carrots.  Cook until tender, stirring often (may need to turn up the temperature and add a little of the water - you don't want them to burn).  Add water and V8.  Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetable mixture (this is optional, but I like the texture).  Add ground beef, green peppers, spices, cream soups, and barley.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. 

Halloween - this is a really bright orange color which would be fun to serve for Halloween dinner.  Pack in the veggies before the candy!

Feb 28, 2013

Tuna Melt Mac and Cheese

The inspiration for this came from a Rachael Ray show I watched a couple days ago.  Here is her original recipe, and I will say what I did differently in (parentheses).  It was very yummy - actually exceeded my expectations.  Although it is fat and calorie laden, you could lighten it up a little by using low fat ingredients adn whole grain pasta and breadcrumbs. 

Tuna Melt Mac 'n' Cheese


  • Salt
  • 1 pound hollow cavatappi or elbows with lines, or macaroni with lines
  • About 3 tablespoons EVOO, plus extra for drizzling
  • 12 ounces line-caught canned tuna, drained (3 cans regular tuna - 15oz)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley and tarragon (a little dried parsley)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion or scallions, whites and greens (yellow onion)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (1 1/2 TBS spicy brown mustard)
  • 1 to 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced (left out)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stick butter (plus 4 TBS - 6TBS total for the sauce, 4TBS total for bread crumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons flour (increased sauce by 50% so 4 1/2TBS flour)
  • About 2 1/2 cups whole milk (3 1/4 cup milk)
  • 2 cups grated white Cheddar or gruyere cheese (1 block extra sharp cheddar, and 1/2 block Colby Jack which a little Monterrey Jack shredded in there too)
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade breadcrumbs or panko (about 1 1/2 sleeves worth crackers crushed - Ritz and Toll House - used up what I had)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parm (omitted)


Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to less than al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and drizzle with a touch of oil to keep the pasta loose. (I put the pasta back in the large pot, then used it to combine everything else before putting it in a 9x13)

In a large bowl, flake the tuna and add the herbs (reserving a tablespoon or 2 (4) for breadcrumbs), onions, mustard, celery, lemon juice, EVOO and some salt and pepper. Add the pasta and combine well. Transfer to a baking dish or large casserole dish. (put everything into the large pot with the cooked pasta)

In a medium saucepot, melt 4 (6) tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute. Then whisk in the milk and season with salt and pepper, thicken to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the Cheddar (all cheese) in a figure-eight motion. Pour the sauce evenly over the pasta and tuna. Gently combine with a spoon to settle the sauce (this is why I used the big pot - stir to well coated). Cool and store for a make-ahead meal. (could freeze)

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a small pan and add the breadcrumbs and reserved herbs (omitted herbs), toss to evenly distribute the butter, remove from heat and transfer to airtight container.

To prepare, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bring the casserole to room temperature. Top the casserole with breadcrumbs and Parm cheese (omitted Parm). Bake until golden and hot through (about 30-40 minutes, make sure the breadcrumbs don't burn - cover with foil if necessary).

Feb 25, 2013

French Chicken Broccoli Supreme

A friend made this for me as a freezer meal when my baby was born.  We loved it!

1LBS fresh broccoli, broken into pieces and steamed 2 minutes
3 cups cooked shredded or diced chicken
3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
3 cups cooked rice
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1 stick melted butter
1 TBS poppy seeds

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups of the cheddar from above


In a greased 9x13, layer rice, broccoli, and chicken.  Set aside.  In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in water, chicken broth, seasonings, and milk.  Stir well, and continue stirring until sauce thickens.  Turn heat down to low and add 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese.  Stir until melted.  Pour over the chicken and broccoli.  Top with 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese.

Melt the cutter and add poppy seeds, stir well.  Crush Ritz crackers.  Add to melted butter.  Sprinkle over the grated cheese.

To eat Immediately:
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

For the Freezer (before baking):
Top with plastic wrap and foil and freeze.  Thaw before cooking.

Feb 20, 2013

Orange Dream Cake

My son loves the color orange. So for his birthday he wanted an orange cake. I could have thrown a little food coloring in a white cake mix and called it good. But that would be boring. So I started googling recipes for orange cakes and got what is basically an orange version of a Strawberry Poke Cake. Of course from experience I know that using a boxed cake mix for this (as the recipes I found showed) would yield a soggy cake. So I went to the only poke cake recipe worth using - Cooks Country Strawberry Poke Cake. I took the cake recipe and combined it with the gist of the other recipes and got a pretty yummy cake.

Orange Dream Poke Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used half orange extract and I'm not sure it made a difference)
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • Preheat oven to 350°F Butter and flour a 13x9x2" baking pan.
    In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
    Whisk together milk, egg whites and vanilla, just until egg whites are broken up.
    In the work bowl of a stand mixer (or using an electric hand beater), cream together 1 3/4 cups sugar and butter, about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add half the wet ingredients, then half the dry ingredients, then the remaining wet followed by the remaining dry. (This step IS important to get a nice flat cake!).
    Pour batter into prepared pan. Spread evenly. Bake on middle rack of preheated oven for 35 minutes. Let the cake cool for at least 1 hour. With a wooden skewer, poke about 50 holes all over the cake, not going all the way to the bottom (but as close as you can).
    For the filling:
    1 6oz box orange jello
    1 1/2 cup boiling water
    1 cup cold water
    Combine the jello with the boiling water. Whisk for 2 minutes. Add the cold water. Let it set up in the refrigerator for several minutes - about 10 - until it starts to look like syrup consistency instead of water.
    Pour over the cake.
    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours, up to 1 day in advanced.
    1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
    1 3.5oz box french vanilla instant pudding mix
    1 3.5oz box orange jello
    1 cup milk
    1 tsp vanilla (could use orange?) extract
    8oz cool whip, thawed
    In a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add ingredients through extract. Beat well. Fold in the cool whip.
    (the frosting was good but I felt like it was missing a little kick - maybe some fresh orange juice or orange or even lemon zest would have brightened it up a little)
    Spread frosting on top of cake. Slice and serve.

    Jan 11, 2013

    Garden Veggie Pasta Bake

    Garden Veggie Pasta Bake

    (makes 2  9x13)

    10 cups cooked pasta (see note below)

    3 jars 24oz Garden Vegetable pasta sauce (my favorite is Prego)

    2 LBS cooked ground beef (could omit to make it vegetarian)

    2 PKG 16oz frozen California-style veggies, thawed or added to pasta water (or Italian - the mix my local store carried had snap peas which I like fresh but not frozen so look for a veggie mix that appeals to you and your family)

    8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

    16 oz shredded mozzarella

    Save a step - after pasta has finished cooking, toss in frozen veggies for a couple minutes into the boiling water.  Drain together.  Combine all ingredients except mozzarella in a large bowl.  Divide between 2  9x13 or 4 8x8 freezer proof baking dishes.  Top with mozzarella.  Cover with plastic wrap and foil.  Freeze.  Thaw in fridge 1 day ahead.  Bake 350 for 40 minutes UNCOVERED (remove plastic!)

    The inspiration for this came from a recipe I found on-line y-e-a-r-s ago and I have lost where it came from.  I did change it a little, but the concept is still the same.  I love how the veggies are hiding in the yummy pasta!

    Jan 10, 2013

    Chicken Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake

    Mozzarella and Garlic Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake with Spinach

    Makes 2  9x13 (created by me)

    5 links mozzarella and garlic chicken sausage, chopped into small pieces (Sams Club is where I got mine)

    1 large onion

    4 cloves garlic

    10 cups penne

    24 oz mozzarella cheese, grated

    67oz jar pasta sauce - good quality makes all the difference I think.  Go for Garlic flavored if you can

    1-2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed and drained (fresh spinach could be substituted, but the mixture would have to be hot to wilt the spinach when you added it)


    Cook pasta according to directions on the box for Al Dente.  Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Add sausage.  Cook until starting to brown.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook until onion begins to brown - don't burn the garlic.  Return drained pasta to the large pasta pot.  Add mixture from the skillet, jarred pasta sauce, spinach, and about 1/2 the cheese.  Pour into two 9x13 pans.  Top with remaining mozzarella.  If baking immediately, bake for about 30 at 350.  If freezing - cover with plastic wrap and foil.  Label and freeze.  Thaw 1 day in advanced before cooking.

    Creamy Black Bean Burridos

    Creamy Black Bean Burritos
    created by me
    (makes 2 9x13 pans)

    16 (10 inch) flour tortillas

    1/2 cup vegetable oil

    2 red bell peppers

    2 large onions

    1 TBS and 1 tsp minced garlic
    2 minced jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds remove

    4 (15oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
    8 to 12oz cream cheese

    1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

    1 tsp cumin

    1/2 cup (or more) chopped fresh cilantro

    3 cups thick and chunky Salsa (a 24oz jar will do)

    1 cup dried rice + 1 cup uncooked quinoa, OR 2 cups rice (I cook my rice and quinoa together in the microwave - I feel like the quinoa gives a little more nutritional value and flavor)

    4 cups shredded cheese - cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or a mix - your choice

     optional: diced green chilies

    Cook rice or rice and quinoa according to directions.

    Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet or other large pot over medium heat. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapenos in skillet, cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour beans into skillet, cook about 3 minutes stirring.  Add salt, and cumin.  Reduce heat to low.

    Cut cream cheese into cubes and add to skillet. Gently stir until blended throughout. Turn off heat.  Stir in cilantro.

    Heat tortillas in small batches in the microwave until pliable. 

    To assemble place rice, salsa (optional), and bean mixture down the middle of the torilla and roll up.  Place in 2 9x13 or 4 8x8 (lightly oiled).   Top each burrido with a little salsa (optional), and top it all with cheese.  Either Bake immediately at 350 for about 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and foil and freeze.  Thaw before baking or cook 3 hours covered in foil, uncovering for the last half hour.  Make sure to spray the foil with some oil to prevent it from sticking to the cheese.

    ***I didn't put in the diced green chilies because my kids would balk.  I also used mild salsa and a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese which was yummy.  If you want more heat, try the chilies and pepper jack cheese, and salsa with more kick. OR if you like a more mild taste, leave out the salsa.  The jalapenos really don't add much heat.  We all really liked this one.**


    Jan 8, 2013

    Chicken Bruschetta Penne
    Created by me

    2 chicken breasts, chopped
    1 large onion
    3-4 cloves garlic, minced
    jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
    1 bunch basil, chopped
    16 oz (total for all) Provolone, Mozzarella, and Parmesan mixed
    about 5-6 cups penne
    doubled recipe for Guiltless Alfredo from ourbestbites.com

    Cook penne according to package directions. 
    Heat a little EVOO in a large skillet.  Add chicken.  Cook for a few minutes (leave it alone to brown a bit - don't scoot it around the pan just yet).  When chicken looks mostly cooked through, add onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Remove from heat.  When pasta is done, drain and return to pot.  Add chicken/onion mixture, and Alfredo sauce.  Add about 1/3 of the roasted red peppers.  Stir to combine well.  Pour into a 9x13.  In a separate bowl, combine basil and red peppers with a little bit of olive oil.  Spread on top of casserole.  Top with cheese.  Bake 350 about 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot.  Serve with a salad.

    *I made this up the other day and played with it a bit.  I *hope* I remembered it properly and not for doubling (in which case you would need 10 cups pasta and 4 chicken breasts) because I doubled it to freeze one, but then played with the extra one a bit.  So be flexible, but it is yummy.  All I remember was thinking it needed more alfredo - so maybe 1 1/2 the recipe would be OK.  Using sundried tomatoes in the alfredo mixture is good too.  Like I said, I played with it a lot

    Alfredo recipe from Ourbestbites.com:

    Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

    2 C low-fat milk
    1/3 C (3 oz) low fat cream cheese
    2-3 T flour
    1 t salt
    1 T butter
    3 garlic cloves
    1 C grated Parmesan cheese


    Place milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don’t want to burn it.

    Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.

    When it’s nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Season with additional salt if needed. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again