Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Pudding Delight

Yummy, yummy, yummy for my tummy, tummy, tummy!

Ellen (10) made this tasty dessert yesterday and we all enjoyed it immensely! Since I didn't have enough small dessert cups she made it in water goblets, and I think you will agree that they look quite lovely. To make the "Pudding Delight," as we called it, she simply made up a boxes of instant pudding mixes and layered the pudding with whipped topping.

P.S. I found some glass dessert bowls at The Dollar Tree for 3 for $1.00. They had a smaller size for 4 for $1.00. Next time Ellen makes Pudding Delight she won't need to use as much pudding!


Elissa of Proverbs 31 Maiden made the Pudding Delight dessert, and I just had to share a photo. She put a garnish of grated chocolate on top which is a great idea! Thank you, Elissa, for letting me share your dessert with The Little Red Hens' few readers. :-)

"Help for the Busy Mom"

I added the weekly menu from Menu4Moms to the sidebar in hopes that I may get inspired to try some new recipes. It's so easy to make the same meals week after week, and I need some variety in my menus. I need to do better with planning out our meals for a whole week (or two!) at a time because perhaps then I wouldn't get so frustrated not knowing what meals to prepare each day. Am I the only homemaker who has this problem?


Nachos/Taco Salad Recipe by request

This recipe came from my sweet friend Tricia. Tricia has such a kind and gracious spirit about her, and I love her dearly. Our family was recipient to Tricia's wonderful hospitality when her family had us over for dinner ---not an easy undertaking since both of have large families. The taco salad and all the fixings made for a fabulous meal, and I have made it several times since then. Thank you, Tricia!


Taco Salad

1 lb hamburger meat
1 tsp salt
1/2 can chopped green chilies
1 T salsa

Cook above together till meat is brown and cooked through
1 can Ranch Style beans
8oz sour cream

Add to meat and bring to bubble. Layer chips, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, & cheese.


Mom, will you please post that nacho topping recipe you made for Dad's birthday? Pretty please? It was so yummy, and I think I want to make it this week.

Thank you...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Vegetable Bagels

Vegetable bagels...I simply can't say enough about how good these are. They sustained me during college (the cheapest thing on the food court menu!) and now Justin and I enjoy eating them for a very healthy and filling lunch. These sandwiches are so awesome that I really can't rave enough. Try them, because they are wonderful.


Toast bagel slices
Spread both bagels with cream cheese (the thicker the better!)
Pile with vegtables (see suggested combination below)
Top with ranch dressing (I know this sounds weird, but the combination of ranch and cream cheese is totally perfect.)
Place top half of the bagel on top like a sandwhich, press down slighly, and cut in half if desired.
Serve with potato chips and cantelope. Very yummy lunch!

Suggested Vegtables:

(This is my absolute favorite combination for vegetable bagels, but if anyone else makes these with different veggies, let me know how they come out because I'm open to trying new combinations. Note that everything should be sliced pretty thinly or the sandwich may end up too big and tall to eat easily.)

Shredded iceburg lettuce
Cucumbers slices
Green bell pepper slices
Sliced jalapeno peppers (fresh or from a jar)
Sliced hamberger dill pickles
Sliced olives

ps. Tomatoe slices are good too

Vegetable Burritos

This is an awesome lunch that my mother-in-law inspired me with. She is good with thinking on her feet, because this is what she came up with one day when I asked in desperation "What shall I make for lunch?"

I know vegetable burritos sound a little weird, but they are SO good. Trust me. Look in your fridge and pull out any vegtables you have...I found that the combination of carrots, celery, onions, and peppers (jalapeno or bell peppers) works really well. Dice or chop all vegtables and saute in a bit of butter, adding salt, pepper and garlic to taste.

Warm tortillas and fill with vegetable mixture. Add sliced olives, shredded chedder cheese, and sour cream. Roll tortillas into burritos and enjoy!

Arizona Broccoli Salad

On Saturday I made a variation of a great salad recipe that I originally got from my sister-in-law (Bonny's mom!). Over the years I have made this salad many times, sometimes following the recipe and other times varying the ingredients. I have found that this salad is fast to make, and that it is usually well-received at potlucks or other gatherings. Some of my children do not like the onions in the salad, but personally I like the added flavor the onions give. This is not only a tasty salad but also colorful and appealing to look at.

Arizona Broccoli Salad

1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 c. red onion, chopped 1/2 c. raisins 8 strips bacon, fried & crumbled

1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. vinegar

Mix dressing ingredients and set aside. Combine other ingredients and then stir in dressing. Chill 30 minutes or more before serving. Ideas for other added ingredients: cauliflower; tomatoes; peanuts

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sausage Wonton Stars

I made these at Christmas last year and my sister made them for a Chinese bridal shower she gave me in May. They're perfect for a snack, an appetizer, or an addition to any Chinese-styled meal. My fiancé loved them and suggested I make them for future pot-lucks.

Makes 4 dozen

1 package (12 oz) wontont wrappers
1 pound bulk pork sausage
2 cups (8 oz) shredded colby cheese
1/2 medium green pepper chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper chopped
2 bunches green onions sliced
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing

Lighty press wonton wrappers onto the bottom and up the sides of greased miniture muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until edges are browned. In a large skillet, cook sausage over meduim heat unil no longer pink; drain. Stir inb the cheese, peppers, onions and salad dressing. Spoon a rounded tablespoon into each wonton cup. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until heated through.

Chinese-Styled Green Beans

I've been looking for more creative ways to cook vegetables so that they are more enjoyable to eat. When I went to China last summer I fell in love with some of the dishes we had and I've been craving them ever since. One of them was a green bean dish from the Sichuan University dining hall. My mom and I found a recipe that looked similar, but of course it wasn't quite the same because we do not have the same ingredients and spices in America.

This is a wonderful way to dress up ordinary green beans. If you don't like spicy food, I'd suggest halfing the amount of red peper flakes. This recipe is a little spicy, but I LOVE spicy food and will be living where some of the hottest dishes in the world are prepared, so I tend to like things hotter than some people.

Green Beans with Red Pepper and Garlic

1 pound green beans
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon seseme oil (available in the Asian foods section of Wal-Mart)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Boil enough water to cover green beans. Add green beans. Cook 3 minutes; drain. Plunge green beans into ice water immediately. Drain, set aside. In a fry pan, heat oil. Add bell pepper, stir 1 minute. Add beans, stir 1 minute. Add garlic and pepper flakes. Drizzle with seseme oil and season with salt and pepper.

If you don't have seseme oil, just skip it or substitute something else. I found out that the green beans will be mushy if you put them in the water while it is boiling. Make sure the cold water has ice. This way the beans will be crispy and bright green instead of olive green and mushy.

These are also easy to eat with chopsticks!

Lemonade Pie

For his birthday dessert, my husband wanted "Lemonade Pie". I had never made it before, but it turned out to be a lovely frozen dessert...it's tangy and refreshing, and best of all, it's super easy!


* 1 graham cracker pie crust
* 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 6-ounce can of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed (could use a full, 12 oz. can if desired, but it will be strong).
* 1 medium size (8 ounce) container of Cool Whip, thawed

Beat together condensed milk and lemonade; fold in Cool Whip. Pour into pie crust. Freeze for at least 3-4 hours until firm.

Birthday Enchiladas

My darling husband turned 24 last week and for his birthday dinner with his family, I made enchiladas. This was my second attempt at re-creating my mother's wonderful enchiladas, and after many phone coaching sessions and e-mailing back and forth with recipes and questions, they were painstakingly assembled and baked. Overall they were very good and I was pleased. The perfectionist in me must point out that they were a little dry, but not too much so. Be sure and cook them with foil, or add more sauce then I did.

Below is the recipe for the sauce with additional notes from my mom. The sauce is really what makes these enchiladas. You can vary the filling as desired.

I tripled this sauce recipe because I was serving 11 people, but I had quite a bit leftover. I followed it exactly, but I ended up having to add more flour and water because it wasn't as thick as I thought it should be. According to Mom it should be the consistancy of spaghetti sauce once thickened. Also, I didn't add nearly as much chili powder as it called for because I didn't want to make it too hot for the kids.

Enchilada Sauce

3 Tbsp. OIL
3 Tbsp. FLOUR
2 1/2 Cups WATER
SALT to taste

Heat oil. Brown the flour in the oil. To water, add chili powder and dissolve evenly. Add to browned flour. Then add seasonings. Stir to boil over medium heat. Let simmer 10 to 15 minutes or till thickened like gravy.

(notes from my mom)

That's the recipe from the book, but it won't make enough sauce for several pans of enchiladas. You'll probably want to triple the recipe, but since I don't measure I can't tell you for sure.

What I do is this:

Heat Oil.
Brown flour on medium to low heat. This takes some time, don't rush it. If the flour is fully in the oil, then it will get smooth and bubbly and will then brown. This is like you would start gravy.

I don't usually add my chili powder to the water like the above recipe says, but maybe that makes for no chili lumps, I don't know. Usually I just add my chili powder to the sauce after I've added the water. Do it slowly, stirring continually and you shouldn't get many lumps. Same with the garlic powder.

Also, I most always add a bit of ground cumin to my sauce. If you don't have any, it's not necessary, but it does give a good flavor. Sometimes I add a small can of tomato sauce.

Let me know how it comes out.


(my notes)
Here's what I did for the filling and assembly.
Make sauce as directed above. Brown ground beef with diced onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. After it is drained and cooled, you can mix with cheese(chedder, or Monterey Jack) for the filling. Heat corn tortillas either in the microwave or by frying with a bit of oil in a skillet for less mushy enchiladas.

Spoon just enough sauce into baking pan to cover bottom of pan. Dip warm tortillas in sauce to coat both sides. Fill them with pre-mixed filling or you can put the beef and the cheese in the tortillas separately. Roll up and place in pan. Once the pan is full, spread more sauce over the top of the enchiladas, but not so much that they are swimming in sauce. Finish by topping with more shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for apx. 45 minutes covered. Take foil off the last 5-10 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before serving so they set up.

You can see in the picture below how my assembly line is set up. I was frying the tortillas, dipping them in sauce, filling them with the ground beef and cheese and rolling them up, all in one place. The final picture is the finished enchiladas before they were cooked.

For this many enchiladas, I used 3 pounds of ground beef, 7 cups of cheese, 32 tortillas, 3 recipes of sauce, and 1 1/2 containers of chili powder.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Day in the Life of a Loaf of French Bread

I am always on the lookout for good deals when it comes to groceries. When in a store, I grab the sales papers and swing by the marked down food racks. I hit upon a bargain this weekend when I ran into Walmart to pick up a few items.

In the back of the store, our Walmart has their marked down Bakery products. I found their loaves of sliced French bread marked down to 75 cents a loaf. A great bargain in my book so I bought two!

Monday morning began our adventures with our two loaves of bread. While the children cleaned their rooms I made a hot breakfast....French Toast. A few eggs, a little milk, some cinnamon and vanilla and I had a tasty batter. This bread was sliced thinly so I was able to feed our 8 breakfast eaters on less than a loaf of bread. After grilling the battered bread, we added powdered sugar and sliced strawberries. It was a success!

Lunchtime rolled around and our French bread came to the rescue. I toasted several slices and then spread them with some canned spaghetti sauce. We added black olives, mushrooms and a few veggies that I had on hand. We topped it with grated cheddar and put it all under the broiler for a few minutes for a tasty pizza for lunch.

Much to my amazement we still had some French bread left so at dinner I garliced and buttered it for a yummy addition to our spaghetti dinner. I spent $1.50 for those two loaves of bread so it came out to less than 6 cents a serving for bread. Not a bad deal!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bonny's Intro

I'm Bonny, Jessica's cousin and Ruth's niece. I'm a stay-at-home wife and soon-to-be mom. I like to experiment with dishes from other countries and especially like making Chinese food. I also enjoy entertaining and having people over the try my new experiments.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Peach Trifle

Today I made a peach trifle in the bowl that Jessica gave me for my last birthday. I just love this bowl! It makes even a simple dessert like a peach trifle look special. I can imagine a layered salad in this bowl, or a mixed-fruit salad, or... hmmm, perhaps even tuna macaroni salad would look pretty in this bowl. I wonder, do you think my kids would eat macaroni salad if it was presented in a trifle bowl?

Recipe for this simple but yummy Peach Trifle:

1/2 yellow cake, baked and cut into bite sized pieces
1 container of Cool Whip
2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding
2 cans of sliced peaches

In a deep bowl, layer the ingredients in the following order:
cake pieces, peaches, 1 box of pudding made according to box directions, Cool Whip. Repeat the layers one more time, using the second box of pudding and ending with the Cool Whip. Garnish the top with a few peach slices. Refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

Here is the Strawberry Shortcake trifle I made a few months ago using Angel Food cake and strawberries.

I think I am going to try something different next time and use chocolate pudding, yellow cake, cherry pie filling, and Cool Whip for a Boston Cream Pie variation. The possibilities are endless.... I'd love to read more suggestions for other variations, so please comment with your ideas.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Mexican adventures

Lately every time I go to the grocery store, I invariably end up at the Mexican aisle looking at all the peppers, powders, seasonings, and sauces that I have no idea how to cook with, much less pronounce. It's hard to resist buying stuff just to experiment with it. I love Mexican food, and I'm taken with the idea of learning how to make authentic dishes. I long to learn how to make tamales...eating them at Christmas and Thanksgiving is a lost part of my heritage that I want to have again.

This morning started with a pot of pinto beans on the stove. I'd originally planned to make cornbread to go with them, but as the day progressed, dinner plans got progressively bigger. Mom e-mailed me her recipe for green chili, and I learned how to make fried potatoes from this website. Both came out well---Mom, you would be proud of my green chili. It was so yummy, but not hot enough. Next time I'll use more chilies.

Here are pictures from dinner...the green chili looks red because I put a can of tomato sauce in it. Does it look right, Mom?


Beans and fried potatoes...yummy!

Below a rough recipe for the chili that my Mom makes. There are no measurements, but you can get the general idea. We eat green chili in our beans to add flavor, for smothered burritos, and with chips.

Cook ground beef with salt, pepper, and chopped onions till meat is brown. Remove meat and onions from pan.
Brown flour in the remaining oil, adding vegetable oil if necessary.
Add water, garlic powder, salt, chili peppers, and optional small can of tomato sauce.
Add meat back in.
Simmer till thickened.


This recipe below comes from the cookbook and is similar to the recipe above, but with measurement guidelines. We always use pork or ground beef instead.

Green Chili from the cookbook:

1 1/2 lbs. beef chuck
garlic powder
salt/pepper to taste
1 tsp oil (to brown meat)
4 Tbsp. oil (to brown flour)
4 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
4 Anaheim chili peppers, diced
3/4 cup meat broth (meat juices)

Cut meat into bite size pieces, season well before cooking. Heat skillet, add oil and brown the meat, saving meat juices. Add water as needed to make meat broth (at least 3/4 cup), cover. Once meat is cooked, set aside.
In a cooking pot, heat oil and brown the flour. Add onion and saute, then add tomatoes, chilies and mix well. Add meat broth, stirring over low heat. Simmer 5 to 8 minues, covered.
Add meat to cooking pot, mix, simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Leave covered until serving time. (Serves 4 to 6).

Monday Morning Breakfast

I am in the process of revamping my menus.

Breakfast is always a challenge for me. For one, I am not much of a breakfast eater but my 7 little (and not so little) chicks at home are firm believers of breakfast. There is also something about Monday mornings that demand something a bit enticement when it comes to breakfast food. The proverbial carrot of food that says, "...come to the table, awaken your tastebuds and begin a brand new week!"

I am trying this for some of our Monday Mornings....it was a hit today!

Cheesy Apple Toast

1/2 cup softened cream cheese
2 apples, peeled and sliced thinly
cinnamon and sugar mixture*
12 slices Raisin Toast

Toast both sides of the bread. Spread with cream cheese and then top with sliced apples. Sprinkle with a light dusting of the cinnamon and brown sugar mixtre. Place under broiler for 2 minutes. Mmmmmmm!

* Keep a mixture of sugar and brown cinnamon in a large salt & pepper shaker or something similar. It is wonderful to use to add just a little extra zip to many recipes with just a shake of the wrist!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Julie's Intro

I am Julie, married to my wonderful DH for 25 years and a mom to 8 great children plus a new Daughter in Love! Making a home for my family is one of my greatest joys! It is my heart’s desire that our home is a loving, inviting refuge for my family, our friends or anyone that the Lord brings to our door. My prayer is that it is a place where you can put your feet up and your burdens down. Filling our home with sweet memories, the sound of laughter and tempting smells are all a part of my days. I look forward to sharing what is simmering on the stove, growing in our gardens and happening within our home!

Easy Garlic- Cheese Biscuits

Dinner last night was so yummy, so satisfying, and so aesthetically pleasing to me, that I had to take a picture and post it. We had a baked potato each, topped with sour cream and cheese, asparagus cooked in butter to the perfect stage of crispy doneness, and these super easy biscuits that my husband whipped up (recipe below).

I'm finding I really like the combination of baked potatoes and asparagus... a couple weeks ago we had the same meal, except instead of the biscuits, we had little bowls of cantaloupe. It's so fun to find new and different combinations of foods that go well together. I'm not very good at it, so it's exciting to find something that works so well. If anyone reading has any other good vegetable meal combinations, please share them in the comments!

Easy Garlic-Cheese Biscuits

Prep: 10 min. Bake 10 min. Yield: 10-12 biscuits

2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded chedder cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 tps garlic powder

Heat oven to 450

Mix all ingredients with a wire wisk untill soft dough forms; beat vigorously 30 seconds. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by 10-12 spoonfuls about 2 inchs apart.
Bake 8-10 mintes or untill golden brown.

Happy Eating!!!