Cornmeal Buns

>> Monday, August 23, 2010

We are in the planning stages of my daughter's upcoming COWGIRL birthday party. We have decided to do hot dogs and s'mores. Of course, we can't do anything the regular way. We are always trying to find a way to make the run-of-the-mill food taste awesome. (We have a reputation to uphold, after all.) So I thought instead of making hot dogs with buns AND cornbread, there should be a way to make cornmeal buns. One quick Google search took me right over to Martha Stewart, who never disappoints. So we made a trial batch over the weekend, and like I said, Martha never disappoints! These buns will be making their official debut at the cowgirl party in September.

A few notes:
  • The buns came out a little dense, but I think that is from over-mixing. I tried to get the dough to be "smooth, soft, and (...) not stick to your fingers when squeezed, about 5 minutes," but it wound up being more like 10, and it was still sticky. Lesson learned: stick to 5 minutes, and let it be sticky.
  • I used regular cornmeal this time, but I think next time I will make it with stone-ground. It will have more corn flavor since less of the kernel is taken out in this process. I think it might also help the bun to be less dense.
  • Since the recipe is written for slider buns, it is supposed to yield 12. But shaping them oblong for hot dog buns instead, produced only 9 (3-oz each).


Pizza- The Easy Way

>> Saturday, August 21, 2010

So I love pizza. Homemade pizza is over the moon better than the store bought- or even Pizza Hut kind! (Well, except for stuffed crust) Anyway, I had been using this recipe. But you have to plan ahead and let the dough rise and all that nonsense. I'm not good at dinners that take longer than 20 minutes prep time. I simply don't like it. So I found a recipe that makes its way around all that! It was amazing. Even my husband liked it. (his one complaint was that I used whole wheat flour to make a whole wheat crust. Oooh- sorry for being a bit healthy!)
I'm making it again this week- with a compromise, half whole wheat flour, half white flour. Should be good. I also found "pizza dough yeast" at the store today, so I'm going to try that out as well! So here it is! Have fun! 

The Sauce:

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency. All the seasonings can be modified depending on taste – add what you like! (I messed up and misread tablespoon instead of teaspoon halfway into it- put 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon oregano on there. I thought I was done for! But no! It tasted great! That's the kind of recipe I need more of!) 

The Dough:

3 cups flour, more or less
1 tablespoon honey, heaping
1 tablespoon oil, heaping
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. (If using a pizza stone, let stone heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven before baking pizza.) Put the yeast into the warm water and let it do its thing. Then mix the rest of the ingredients together, except the flour. Add flour and knead for a bit then put it into your chosen method of baking. If baking in a sheet pan, bake for about 12 minutes (checking often) until crust is browned and cheese is golden and bubbly. If baking on the preheated pizza stone, slide pizza onto stone and bake for about 8 minutes.


Thank You!

>> Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I just wanted to publicly thank who ever it was who introduced me to coconut oil. (I think Taly?) I am using it in almost everything. I heartily suggest substituting it for the vegetable oil in banana pancakes. (or waffles!)
Also- I found a Word template to transcribe all my recipes to. I intend on printing and laminating all my recipes. If you would like a copy of the template, email me at and I will send it to you.
It's been a huge undertaking, typing in all my recipes, but they were getting all stained and stuff.


3-2-1 Bean Dip

>> Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This is my aunt's recipe, and has been a family favorite at every family function.  I now take it to work potlucks, and now my coworkers demand that I bring it every time! I don't mind either. It is the easiest thing to bring to a potluck (and it will be the first thing gone)!

3 cans of chili con carne (2 mild and 1 hot)
2 8oz packages of cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat)
1 16oz. tub of sour cream (I use reduced fat)
(this is why it's called 3-2-1 bean

Add all ingredients into a crock pot, no need to stir yet.  Turn crock pot on high for 3 hours, stirring at the top of every hour.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Enjoy!!


Cowboy Cookies

I made these cookies for my family reunion last weekend and I thought I'd share the recipe here. These are my husband's absolute FAVORITE cookies. The recipe comes from his dad and he won't let me make any other type of chocolate chip cookie because he is convinced that they don't even hold a candle to this recipe. Don't tell him, but I agree! It makes a ton so feel free to half the recipe. (sorry, no pictures)

1 cup shortening
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
4 cups flour
4 cups oats
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 pkg (12 oz I think) semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix butter, shortening and both sugars together and blend well. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips last. Bake at 350 for 14 minutes.


Football cupcakes

>> Friday, August 13, 2010

My husband LOVES football. More specifically, the Seattle Seahawks. So I thought of ways to incorporate that into his birthday "cake". I found this video and it was exactly what I was looking for! Cute and easy! So here are the pictures to what I did. This is also a great treat to make for during the Super Bowl!

Instead of using m&m's for the boarder of the football, I used about 3/4 of a package of white chocolate almond bark, melted it in a pan, and died half of it green, and half of it blue... Seahawks colors!! (when coloring white chocolate, use food coloring that is not water based... trust me).

I spread the chocolate on wax paper over a baking sheet and let it cool in the fridge.

After it cooled, I broke it up in pieces with a knife.

I used one package of Devil's Food Cake mix and it made enough to make two footballs, but I made one football and then had matching cupcakes.

I used an 11x17 glass baking dish. I would have used a baking sheet, but I liked the high side walls just in case of an accident :) And it seemed to fit perfectly anyway!

I spread the frosting just like in the video, with extra frosting on the side to support the chocolate pieces.

For the extra set of cupcakes, I used one extra tub of frosting. I used the whipped chocolate kind and it was perfect for this cake! Since my husband and I work together, I took everything to work and surprised him with this football creation. The extra cupcakes were great for the co-workers grabbing. Since it was my first time decorating like this, it took me about 40 minutes because I did NOT want to mess up. Prepare to get messy, I don't know how they stayed clean in the video! Overall, these were a big hit, and I would make them again for the next football fan!


Birthday Pot Roast, Asparagus, and Garlic Bread

My husband requested this meal for his birthday two days ago, so this is why "Birthday" is in the title :) I was just going to post the recipe to the pot roast, but the side dishes were very easy and tasty too! So there are three recipes with two pictures below.

Crock Pot Chuck Roast
1 chuck roast
1 package of lipton beefy onion soup mix (make sure it's beefy! I used two paskages because we had a huge roast)
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste

Poke holes in the roast with a knife. Place in a crock pot. Pour in water, soup packet, and salt. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch of asparagus
1-2 Tbsp. Olive oil
Garlic Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse asparagus and snap off ends. Place in small baking dish and drizzle oil over them. Sprinkle garlic salt (sometimes I will do fresh minced garlic, thyme, and salt. This is much easier though). Lightly stir so each asparagus has oil and garlic salt. Bake in oven for 30-40 min, testing with a fork for tenderness.

Garlic Toast
1 loaf of French Bread
Garlic powder
Parmesan cheese (grated or powdered)

Preheat oven to 350. Slice bread to desired width and place in cookie tray. Spread butter onto bread. Sprinkle with garlic powder, then Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.


Chocolate Cake like NO OTHER!

>> Thursday, August 12, 2010

Does this NOT look like the most scrumptious thing that could ever go in your mouth!?! Well- it does to me. And since i have started this new way of eating for the next three months (I refuse to use the D I E T word), I needed to find something so yummy to celebrate my 25th year of existance. So I will be back to report on this recipe Monday!!

Healthy Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from a recipe at LowCarbFriends

Makes a single 9" layer cake, which can be halved and stacked for the taller cake you see here!

1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans
OR 1 1/2 cup cooked beans, any color
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted organic butter OR extra virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup erythritol plus 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract OR 1/4-1/3 cup honey plus 1 teaspoon stevia OR 1 cup Splenda
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon water (omit if using honey)

Mint Chocolate variation:
2 teaspoons mint extract (in place of 2 teaspoons vanilla)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9" cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute. Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly.

Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water. Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps! Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat butter with sweetener (erythritol or honey) until light and fluffy. Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition. Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix. Finally, stir in cocoa powder and water (if using), and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.

Bake for 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done with the top is rounded and firm to the touch. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again on to a cooling rack. Let cool until cake reaches room temperature, then cover in plastic wrap or with cake dome (I use an overturned plastic chip bowl). For BEST flavor, let cake sit over night. I promise this cake will not have a hint of beaniness after letting it sit for eight hours! If you are stacking this cake, level the top with a long serrated knife, shaving off layers until it is flat and even. Frost immediately before serving
~57.6g net carbs for the whole cake using erythritol/stevia.
~5.7g net carbs per 1/10th
~125.6g net carbs for the whole cake using honey/stevia.
~12.56g net carbs per 1/10th

Healthy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough to thickly cover one layer, or fill and frost a halved stacked layer

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter, softened, OR 7 tablespoons nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon erythritol, powdered, OR 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered
5-6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons half and half OR coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Good-tasting pure stevia extract, to taste

Optional addition for a glossy finish:
1 fresh organic egg yolk

Cream the butter in a small bowl until fluffy. Powder erythritol or xylitol in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet for a minute or two, until extremely fine in texture (reminiscent of powdered sugar). Let sweetener settle in grinder before opening the top. Stir powdered sweetener into butter with a spatula, then beat until smooth. Slowly blend in the cocoa powder (unless you want to redecorate your kitchen), vanilla, and sea salt. Beat in the half and half and egg yolk, if using. Add stevia, starting with 1/16 teaspoon. You'll probably use less than 1/4 teaspoon. Just keep tasting and adjust sweetness to your liking.

~7g net carbs for the frosting, using erythritol


P90x Chicken Salad

>> Monday, August 9, 2010

This cooking blog is SO great that I now am in need of shedding off those extra calories. My husband and I are signed up and rockin it out with P90x... which means (sad music begins for dramatic effect)bland, tasteless eating for the next 90 days. (enter sad face...)
BUT- luckily we have been able to find some great recipes that are HEALTHY and YUMMY!
This recipe was one I got from the P90x book and it was surprisingly good. It might make the cut post 90 days as a recipe to hold on to.

6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 tbsp low-fat mayo

3/4 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp green onions, diced

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp fresh dill ( I skipped this)

1/4 celery, diced (skipped this too)

(I seriously enjoyed this so much that I might go home tonight and make a triple batch to take for lunches at work)

Poach, bake or grill the chicken. Once cooked thoroughly, set the chicken in the fridge to cool off a bit. Dice chicken (or place in processor,as I did, and add the other ingredients to mix together). Gently combine the chicken with the rest of the ingredients and chill until ready to serve.

I ate it with some whole leaf lettuce and added some tomatos on top! Yum, another thought that could be good would be to add some sliced avocato on top. Would increase the fat count but its the better fat. :)

217 calories, 6g fat, 32 g protein, 7g carbohydrates, 79 mg cholesterol, 257 mg sodium

*If you give this one a GO leave me a comment. I am interested to see if anyone else enjoyed it.


Garden Salsa

>> Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is my mom's recipe, and I have to say, my FAVORITE recipe! Note: After all the chopping, slicing and squeezing, it takes about 2 hours if you have no help... but TOTALLY worth it!

Here's what you need (makes a good party-size amount):
18-20 roma tomatoes*
1 large onion
1 bunch of cilantro
4 limes*
3-4 garlic cloves
1 jalepeno pepper
1-2 tsp. salt

Finely dice tomatoes, onion (I used a food chopper for the onion), cilantro, and garlic; add to a large bowl. Roll limes on counter top with pressure from hand to loosen the inside of the limes, then squeeze juice from all 4 limes into bowl. Finely chop jalepeno pepper (note: if you are a spicy wimp, like me, use only 1/3 of the pepper, and 1/4 of the seeds; otherwise go for it!) Add salt to taste. Let sit in the fridge for about 30 min to 1 hour for juices to combine, and ENJOY!

*Use organic if possible. Not only are they better for you, but they are much more juicy and flavorful! Makes for a very very delicious salsa!


Chicken Tetrazini

>> Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I make this recipe for company sometimes because it's impressive (I think). But let me tell you, it's not quick or easy :) And it uses a lot of dishes. But if you're not scared of those small details then you're in for a great meal!

8 oz pasta (penne rigatte works well)
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 & 1/2 TBsp butter (for sauteing veggies)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1-2 celery sticks
1-2 chicken breasts cooked and chopped
2 cups grated cheese
1/4 - 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom (save the can)
1/2 bar or 4 oz cream cheese
1/2 soup can milk

Cook pasta al dente and drain. Saute veggies in butter. Mix in large bowl. Add cheese and cooked chicken.

Warm up soup, cream cheese, and milk in a separate bowl and pour into the pasta mixture.

Mix it all together and place in a greased pan. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Yield 6 servings.


Chili Frito Salad

This is one of my favorite summer recipes! It's very simple and tastes absolutely delicious. Here's what you do:
1. Make a salad. (You could even get the bagged kind and just dump it in a bowl. EASY!)
2. Warm up a can of chili.
3. Open a bag of fritos.
4. Get the Ranch dressing out of the fridge.
5. Combine all ingredients on your plate. It can be in any order; I like to put the salad first, then chili, drizzle the Ranch, then top with fritos. However you do it, the end result is a yummy dinner!


Make Ahead Monday!

>> Monday, August 2, 2010

So I did some meal planning yesterday! I have been cooking up a storm today- then storing the fruits of my labor away in the fridge. (hopefully I won't be cooking much the rest of the week!) It has worked out pretty well, and I'm happy with the results! Thought I'd share in case you'd like to try it next week!

Week's Meals:
Meatball Subs
Soft tacos
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Taco Salad

(there's four because our family cannot resist going out to eat a couple times a week- even if it is In n Out!)

I'm making subs one night, using the meatballs in spaghetti the next, tacos using the taco stuffing, and then topping on a salad later on in the week! The meatballs and the taco stuffing also freeze well. Pretty versatile!
Here's a quick shopping list so you'll  have everything to make meals!

4 lbs. ground beef
plain breadcrumbs
block of mozzarella and cheddar cheese
1 can chicken broth, and 1 can beef broth
fresh parsley
dried oregano
garlic powder
fresh garlic- I bought two, but they had a lot of cloves, so I have tons of extra
black pepper
dried basil
red pepper flakes
1 onion
rice (I used brown- nutritious!)
chili powder
ground cumin
16 oz. tomato sauce (or 44 oz. if you're using this in lieu of crushed tomatoes like me, if not, get 28 oz. crushed tomatoes too!)
12 oz. tomato paste
1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans
Deli Rolls
taco toppings
salad (lettuce- if you like to chop your own!)
1 box Spaghetti
Spaghetti sauce (or double the sauce from the Meatball sub recipe)

Have fun!


Meatball Subs

1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs or crushed saltines
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey

To dredge the meatballs:

1 1/2 cups flour in a shallow baking dish
In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together EXCEPT the meat. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes so the breadcrumbs/crackers can soak up the liquid a little bit. Add the meat and mix well with your hands until all the ingredients are combined.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil. Form golf ball-sized meatballs and dredge them in the flour until lightly coated. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet about one inch apart. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until the meatballs are completely cooked through.
When the meatballs come out of the oven, let them sit for about 15 minutes. Gently scrape off any fat and place the meatballs in a 9X13-inch baking dish (or similar size). Pour the hot tomato sauce over the meatballs.
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce) 
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar (this helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes on low. Keep warm until the meatballs are finished baking.

To assemble the sandwiches, slice the buns in half. Place 3-4 meatballs on each bun and cover with desired amount of sauce, top with Mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded. Serve immediately with lots of napkins.
*Note: When I make these, I often prepare and bake the meatballs earlier in the day. To reheat, I place the meatballs in the pot with the simmering sauce and let them warm up together. And since I know someone will ask, the meatballs freeze great. Freeze them, unbaked, on a baking sheet. Once frozen, they can be placed in a freezer-safe ziploc bag. Bake them (without thawing first), adding 6-7 minutes to the baking time. Incidentally, they also freeze great after they have been baked. Freeze them in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and reheat them in the simmering sauce until they are warmed through.


Taco Stuffing

2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups water
1 cup rice (white or brown)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
In a large pot, brown the ground beef or turkey with the onion and garlic and cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are translucent. Drain any accumulated grease. Add the water, rice, seasonings, tomato sauce, tomato paste and beans. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmeruncovered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, watching to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot (if you are using brown rice, it may need to simmer for up to 60-70 minutes). The mixture will seem very watery at first, but after simmering, it will thicken to perfection as the rice absorbs water and all the ingredients meld together.
Serve as the filling in a taco, ontop of a taco salad, dip with tortilla chips, or freeze the leftover meat/rice mixture to defrost and reheat later.


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