Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Parmesan Pasta

This pasta was so yummy and super quick to make! What's not to love about that?

Found this recipe at KraftFoods
Prep: 5 min - Total time: 20 min.
Makes: 4 servings

  • 8oz spaghette, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine (I didn't use this much)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely (I used dried parsley and just sprinkled it in until I had as much as I wanted)
Cook spaghetti in large saucepan as directed on package; drain. Place in bowl; cover to keep warm. (when I drain my pasta, I also like to rinse it a bit unless I put sauce on it right away because otherwise it gets sticky. Rinse in hot water so the pasta doesn't get cold)
Melt butter in same pan on medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir until tener. Add spaghetti; toss to coat.
Add cheese; mix lightly. top with tomatoes and parsley.

Come back soon for the recipe for the salad. My first ever experiment in the kitchen on my very own. Simple, I know, but it was really very tasty!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Valentine's Chex Mix

This is a recipe I found from and it was really quite good. I made it for a ward party, hence the fluted pan (I didn't have anything else that was red!). For those are familiar with muddy buddies, it's a very similar recipe only this one uses white chocolate so I liked it a whole lot more!

  • 9 cups Rice Chex cereal (I actually used about 7-1/2 cups corn chex and 1-1/2 cups wheat chex)
  • 1 cup white vanilla baking chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (I used more than this so it would be more white)
  • 1/2 cup red, white and pink candy-coated chocolate candies
  • 1/4 cup red or pink jimmies sprinkles, optional

In large bowl, place cereal. In small microwaveable bowl, microwave baking chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute/30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.
Place 1/2 of the cereal mixture in 1-gallon food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake well to coat. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool (about 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, stir candies and sprinkles into remaining cereal mixture. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool (about 15 minutes).
In serving bowl, mix cereal mixtures. Store in airtight container.

One of the things I like about this recipe is that is can be used for virtually any holiday - a little change of the colors of the candies, and it works for anything!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mediterranean-style grilled salmon

Click on the photo to be taken to the Mayo Clinic site ( and see nutrition facts) where I got this recipe.
I will admit, I was a little apprehensive about trying this recipe because I'm not a huge fish or seafood fan (seriously, my fish cuisine is usually limited to canned tuna and salmon and the occasional imitation crab - yes, I've tried it all and I thought it was disgusting). But it actually turned out really yummy (despite the overwhelming fishy smell when it first started cooking) and I'm excited to eat it again.

  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 salmon fillets, each 5 ounces
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 4 green olives, chopped
  • 4 thin slices lemon
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler.
In a small bowl, combine the basil, parsley, minced garlic and lemon juice.
Spray the fish with cooking spray. Sprinkle with black pepper. Top each fillet with equal amounts of the basil-garlic mixture.
Place the fish herb-side down on the grill. Grill over high heat. When the edges turn white, after about 3 to 4 minutes, turn the fish over and place on a small section of household aluminum foil. Move the fish to a cooler part of the grill or reduce the heat. Grill until the fish is opaque throughout when tested with the tip of knife and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 145 F (about 4 minutes longer).
Remove the salmon and place on warmed plates. Garnish with green olives and lemon slices.

Our own directions for cooking it in your broiler (We don't have a charcoal grill so we made ours in the broiler instead. Like I said, it still turned out fine, but here are our suggestions for adapting the directions just a tad):
Turn on the broiler before preparing salmon and move rack to lowest spot in oven. Prepare salmon as directed above.
Line broiler pan with tinfoil and place salmon on broiler pan herb-side up (that's important because the heat comes from above when broiling). Cook until top begins to look finished; then turn it over. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until fish is done (don't ask me how to tell because I have no idea - we just cooked it until we were sure it wasn't still raw and I have no idea what "opaque" means).
Garnish as above (and this was so yummy!).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Taco Ring

I got this recipe from my wonderful sister-in-law and we love it around here. We could probably have it a few times a month and not get tired of it!


  • 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained (we used ground turkey the last time we made this and it turned out really yummy!)
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 TBl. water
  • 2 pkg. refridgerated crescent roll dough
  • green pepper
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • onion
  • black olives
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • Any other topping you like (I really like ranch dressing and taco sauce on mine)
Combine cooked meat, seasoning, cheese and water. Arrange crescent triangles into a circle with points outward on your pan (Works best on a cooking stone, but you can use on a baking sheet).

Scoop meat into crescent rolls, then fold points over the meat and tuck under base.

I like to put cheese on top of mine before I bake it because I really like cheese.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 375. Then use toppings.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Out of this ingredient?

Ingredient = Amount = Substitute
  • Allspice = 1 tsp. = ½ tsp. cinnamon & ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • Baking Powder = 1 tsp. = ¼ tsp. baking soda & 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Broth (beef or chicken) = 1 cup = 1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
  • Catchup = 1 cup = 1 cup tomato sauce, ½ cup sugar & 2 tsp. vinegar
  • Chives (finely chopped) = 2 tsp. = 2 tsp. finally chopped green onion tips
  • Chocolate chips (semi-sweet) = 1 ounce = 1 ounce sweet cooking chocolate
  • Cornstarch (for thickening) = 1 Tbsp = 2 Tbsp all purpose flour to 4-6 tsp. quick cooking tapioca crumbs
  • Cracker Crumbs = ¾ cup = 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Cream Cheese = 1 cup = cottage cheese beaten until smooth
  • Dry Mustard = 1 tsp. = 1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  • Flour (cake) = 1 cup sifted = 1 cup minus 2 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • Flour (self-rising) = 1 cup = 1 cup minus 2 tsp. all-purpose flour plus 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder & ½ tsp. salt
  • Herbs (fresh) = 1 Tbsp. = 1 tsp. dried herbs
  • Milk (sour) = 1 cup = 1 Tbsp. lemon juice & 1 cup milk
  • Milk (buttermilk) = 1 cup = 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Milk (whole) = 1 cup = ½ cup evaporated milk
  • Onion (fresh) = 1 small = 1 Tbsp. minced onion, dehydrated
  • Sugar (brown) = ½ cup = 2 Tbsp. molasses in ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Sugar (confectioner’s) = 1 cup = 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • Sugar (maple) = ½ cup = 1 cup maple syrup
  • Tomatoes (fresh) = 2 cups = 1 (16oz) can diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce = 1 (15 oz) can = 1 (6oz) can tomato paste plus cup water
  • Wine = 1 cup = 13 Tbsp. water, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • Worcestershire sauce = 1 tsp. = 1 tsp. bottled steak sauce
  • Yogurt = 1 cup = 1 cup sour cream
I am not pretending to be an expert on these things. I found this helpful information in "Busy Woman's SlowCooker Cookbook."

Herbs & Spices – used for what?

BASIL – Good with stews, roast beef, ground beef, lamb, fish, vegetables, and omelets
BAY LEAVES – Has a pungent (strong) flavor. Good in seafood, stews, and vegetable dishes.
CARAWAY – Use in breads, soups, cakes, cheese, and sauerkraut
CHIVES – Good in salads, fish, soups, and potatoes
CILANTRO – Southwestern dishes, rice, beans, salads, fish, and chicken
CURRY POWDER – A combination of spices that give a distinct flavor to meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables
DILL – Both seeds and leaves may be used. Leaves can be used as a garnish or cooked with soup, fish, potatoes, and beans
FENNEL – Has a hot, sweet flavor. Small quantities are used in pies and baked goods, and the leaves can be boiled with fish
GINGER – It is a pungent root and is used in pickles, cakes, cookies, preserves, soups, and meat dishes
MARJORAM – It adds flavor to stew, stuffing, lamb, fish, poultry, and omelets
MINT – It is great in beverages, soup, peas, carrots, lamb, cheese, preserves, and frut desserts
OREGANO – It can be used whole or ground, in pizza, tomato juice, fish, eggs, omelets, stew, gravy, poultry, and vegetables
PAPRIKA – A bright red pepper that is used as a garnish for potatoes, salads, and eggs, and as a spice used in meat, vegetables, and soup
PARSLEY – Can be used dried as seasoning or garnish. Use in fish, soup, meat, stuffing, and mixed greens
ROSEMARY – It can be used to season fish, stuffing, beef, lamb, poultry, onions, eggs, bread, and potatoes. It is great in dressings.
SAFFRON – It is used in breads, soup, rice, and chicken
SAGE – May be used in stuffing, fish, omelets, poultry, tomato juice, breads, and cheese spreads
TARRAGON – Used in salads, sauces, fish, poultry, tomatoes, eggs, carrots, green beans, and dressing
THYME – Leaves may be sprinkled on fish or poultry before baking or broiling

I am not pretending to be an expert on these things. I found this helpful information in "Busy Woman's SlowCooker Cookbook."

It takes How Much?

Food for ingredients = quantity = yields

Apple = 1 medium = 1 cup

Bread crumbs = 1 slice = ¼ cup

Butter = 1 stick = ½ cup

Egg whites = 8-10 = 1 cup

Egg yolks = 10 -12 = 1 cup

Lemon = 1 medium = 3 Tbsp lemon juice

Noodles (uncooked) = 1-1/2 cups = 2-3 cups cooked

Macaroni (uncooked) = 1-1/4 cups = 2-1/2 cups cooked

Spaghetti = 8oz = 4-1/2 cups cooked

Nuts, chopped = ¼ pound = 1 cup

Nuts (walnuts, unshelled) = 1 pound = 1-1/2 cups

Onion (chopped) = 1 medium = ½ cup

Rice (regular) = 1 cup = 3 cups cooked

Rice (wild) = 1 cup = 4 cups cooked

Sugar (brown) = 1 pound = 2-1/2 cups

Sugar (white) = 1 pound = 2 cups

I am not pretending to be an expert on these things. I found this helpful information in "Busy Woman's SlowCooker Cookbook."

Extraordinary Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can't remember for sure, but I believe I got this recipe from Kraft. And they really live up to their name! They are truly extraordinary!

  • 1 & 1/4 cup granualated sugar
  • 1 & 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 bag chips (24 oz) I didn't even come close to using this many
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, beat sugars, butter, shortening, vanilla & eggs with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda & salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
- On un-greased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
-Bake 12-15 minutes, or until light brown. (it only took about 8 minutes in my oven) Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

About 5 dozen cookies

As you can see, I made these cookies with mint and chocolate chips. That turned out really well.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Food Substitutions & Other Ideas


Can substitute applesauce for oil in baking recipes. The best results is to use half oil and half applesauce.

Vanilla Joy shares a secret about baking with butter:

"I have a few little baking tricks I use that greatly improve the overall taste and “nutrition” of baked goods.

First of all, I typically use less sugar than the recipe calls for. I will usually use 2/3 - ¾ of the total amount, mostly when making cookies but also with sweet breads like banana or zucchini. If you like your cookies and breads really sweet, you might not like it my way, but I don’t like a cookie that has so much sugar that I can actually taste each granule.

So if you like things a little less sweet try using less sugar - don’t be afraid to experiment with your recipes.

I also only ever use half the butter a recipe calls for and never shortening. Shortening is an abomination, DON’T EVER EVER USE It!… Unless you’re making a pie crust. Then you have to use shortening. But otherwise, just use butter!

If a recipe calls for butter and shortening (usually the same amount is required, like ½ c. of each), I would use the full amount of butter and none of the shortening. If a recipe only calls for butter, I cut that measurement in half.

I have never been disappointed with the result. The taste is the same, just less greasy. I don’t like to have to wash my hands with soap and water just because I touched a cookie, so this second little trick suits me just fine. And it’s better for you!"

from Kendra Seel

At Costco I found a product called "Cold milled flax seed". You can substitute this ground flax seed for oil, butter, and egg. It is a good back up for your food storage. I have made bread, waffles, pancakes and I can not tell a difference (I substituted for the butter or oil). I haven't sub'ed for eggs yet. I made the NM chocolate chip cookies today and sub'ed for the butter and it was a little more difficult. I ended up needing to add milk because they were dry. They tasted pretty good but they didn't taste like the NM cookies. I think next time I will try subbing for the egg or just trying out an easier cookie recipe. By the way on the outside of the container it will tell you how much to substitute for. Flax seed is also very good for you, it has a lot of omega 3 which is the health fat in fish and which is why fish is so good for you.
I'll be honest - I don't remember where I got this idea for substitution. I wish I could remember, but I honestly don't. But heck, if it works, use it!
I've received some questions about how substituting flax for butter or eggs is supposed to work. You can visit these sites for more in-depth information about this particular substitution if you are interested:
This is found in

How to substitute flax for butter and oil in recipes

Ground flax seed can be used to replace butter, margarine and other oils as well as eggs in many of your everyday dishes.

Fat: When baking, you can replace part of all of the fat, depending on the recipe. If you substitute flax for all of the fat, be sure to increase the liquid in the recipe by 75 percent as ground flax absorbs liquid. Be aware, too, that baked goods that include flax will brown more quickly – you may need to adjust cooking time or loosely cover baked goods with foil towards the end of the cooking time.

Substitute: 3 tablespoons ground flax seed for every 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or oil.

Eggs: For vegans or vegetarians who don’t eat eggs, ground flax is a suitable substitution in baked goods.

Substitute: 1 tablespoon ground flax plus 3 tablespoons of water for each egg. Let flax and water mixture sit for several minutes before adding to your recipe.


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