Friday, September 29, 2006

What I did today....

Isn't my bread pretty? I can't wait to eat it.

I'm serving the rolls for dinner with this super easy recipe for chicken breaded with French's Fried Onions. I've never made it before, so we'll so how it comes out.

I also made more
cream puffs for a bridal shower tomorrow that Mom and I are hosting for a friend. They came out so pretty that I couldn't resist taking another picture!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Taco Soup

If you want a quick and tasty meal, this is it-- Taco Soup!

Tricia emailed this recipe to me yesterday, and since I had most of the ingredients on hand, I made it for supper tonight. Matthew thought the soup was so delicious that he had three servings. Well, at 14 Matthew usually eats multiple servings at every meal, but the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed the soup, too. It must be the ranch dressing mix that gives the soup such a good flavor. Who would have thought of putting ranch dressing in soup? I will definitely be making this recipe again!

Taco Soup with Black Beans

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
15 1/4 oz can corn, undrained
15 oz can black beans, undrained
15 1/2 oz can red kidney beans, undrained
1 envelope dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 envelope dry taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
tortilla or corn chips
shredded cheese
sour cream
1. Combine all ingredients except chips, shredded cheese, and sour cream in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 4-6 hours.
3. Garnish individual servings with chips, cheese, and sour cream.

Notes: I did not have kidney beans so I substituted pinto beans. I added an extra can of diced tomatoes and an extra can of pinto beans to make a larger quantity. It's a good thing I did, too, because there wasn't much soup leftover. We ate the soup on top of tortilla chips on a plate and not in a bowl.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Breakfast Fun

This is what my husband does when we have pancakes and sausage patties. =)

Yesterday I made homeade granola using this recipe from Tammy. It came out really good, and I even left out the brown sugar in an attempt use less sugar in my diet. It still was slightly sweet though because the recipe also calls for honey (only I didn't have any honey, so I used pancake syrup instead). This makes a very filling and healthy breakfast!

As the weather turns cooler, I've really enjoyed making breakfast for Justin and me. Some of the satisfying breakfast combinations I've made are listed below...

Granola in milk with yogurt and peach slices on the side
Oatmeal with diced apples, bananas, or peaches cooked in with it, with fried eggs and milk
Malt-O-Meal cereal with wheat germ cooked in it, with fruit on the side
Yogurt smoothies made with fruit and protien powder, served with peanut butter toast
Fried eggs with salsa and chips
Peanut butter bagels and fruit
Cold cereal with grapefruit halves
Scrambled egg burritos

I've found that if I have eggs, various fruits, and a couple types of cold and hot cereals in the pantry, I can come up with endless options for breakfasts that are fast, filling, and healthy.

happy breakfast!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cream Cheese Eclairs

Although these are normally only made for very, very special occasions--like tea parties with the queen, today the urge for cream puffs hit me and I made them just for the fun of it! We took them to our prayer group at church tonight and everyone enjoyed them.

So easy to make, and light and delicious to eat, these could quickly become addicting. Not a good thing in my case, but today I was very good and only ate 2 and 1/2 of them. I especially like how the filling contains cream cheese. Very yummy.

Cream Cheese Eclairs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons boiling water

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2 For shells: In medium saucepan bring 1 cup water to a boil, stir in 1/2 cup butter and salt. Stir until melted. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet.

3 Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.

4 For filling: In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup of milk, a little at a time, into softened cream cheese, until creamy. Beat in remaining 1-1/2 cups milk and pudding mix. Stir until thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Cut tops off cooled pastry shells and fill. Replace tops.

5 For icing: In small saucepan, melt chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter over low heat. Remove from heat and, with electric mixer, beat in confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water. Beat until smooth. Drizzle over filled eclairs.

Makes 20-24 pieces

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sandwich Inspirations

The wonderful thing about being pregnant is that all sorts of amazing food inspirations hit me all the time. Now that I'm past the 'everything-tastes-yucky' stage, I often find myself daydreaming about all the yummy things I feel like eating and making.

Today it was turkey-guacamole sandwiches. Mix up some fresh guacamole by combining one avocado with some sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Imagine taking two slices of toasted wheat bread. Start with thinly-sliced deli turkey breast. Add thick slices of chunk cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato slices. Bacon would be good too, but I didn't think of that until just now. Finally spread with a thick (like 1/2 in. thick) layer of fresh guacamole. Serve and eat with tortilla chips.

Now doesn't that sound good?


Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a recipe I clipped from my newspaper, and it was awesome. It tasted like something you might get at a restaurant. Not only was it rich and full of flavor, but it was very aesthetically pleasing too. The soup is a reddish color with lots of flecks of color. Topped with baked tortilla strips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro, it made an appealing meal.

The night I made this soup, we ate outside on our porch and I set it all up for a picture--the soup was in the foreground with our glasses of water and tea-lights in the background. Just as I was about to snap a picture for you, my camera battery died, and I wasn't able to get a picture. Trust me though, this is very good!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

6 corn tortillas cut into 1/2 in strips
non-stick cooking spray
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion diced
1 T chili powder
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 T ground cumin
1 T dried oregano
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes--do not drain
8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado diced
1T lemon juice
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray tortilla stips with cooking spray and spread them on a baking sheet. Bake until the are crisp and golden, about 8-10 minutes

In large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, add the onion and cook unil lightly browned. Stir in chil powder, crushed garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves and cook until fragrant (about 3 minutes).

Add the broth to the stockpot and stir well. Place 2 cups of the broth in a blender along with 1/2 cup of the toasted tortilla strips (reserve the remaining strips for garnishing the soup) and puree until smooth. Return the pruee to the pot.

Add the diced chicken, tomatoes and juice. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves and season with salt and papper.
Dice avocado and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Serve in soup bowls topped with avocado, cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro

Serves 4-5

Personal notes:
I added more then 1/2 cup of the tortilla stips, and some of the tomatoes and chicken to the broth that I pureed for a thicker broth. I also added some of the cilantro into the soup, and garnished with sour cream. Next time around I would use a little less chili powder, because it was a little spicy in my opinion, and I would make more of the tortilla strips for garnish because there can never be too many of them...they were yummy!