Monday, March 31, 2008

Saucy Meatball Sandwiches

Over the weekend, the kids ate us out of house and home. So due to the lack of available food in the house, I went shopping this morning. In trying to figure out dinner for tonight, I remembered a recipe I saw somewhere for mixing turkey and ground beef to make meatballs, so I bought the necessary ingredients. I couldn't find the recipe I needed so I ended up finding a recipe for meatball sandwiches on Allrecipes and adapted it. I paired it with some honey carrots, sauteed cabbage, and Hoppin John. Mmmmm!

Meatball Sandwiches

1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded cheese

French Baguettes or Hoagie rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ground turkey with ground beef throughly. Add next 6ingredients and shape into meatballs. Place meatballs into a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove dish from oven and add spaghetti sauce. Bake another 10 minutes or until sauce is heated. Serve on buns with cheese sprinkled on top of meatballs. Place back in warm oven to melt cheese, if desired.

“I've got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches - it's either very new cheese or very old meat.”
-Oscar Madison in 'The Odd Couple'

Friday, March 28, 2008

One Year Later...

Happy 1st Blog Anniversary to me!

I can't believe I actually made it. Thanks to everyone who has come along for the ride so far. I hope for many more to come!

"A blog is an ideal way of doing a brain dump on a daily basis of what is going on right now, the weird, the exciting and the awful things ... I also wanted to have a record for myself, just for posterity."
-David Adams

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Strawberry Whipped Sensation

It's starting to feel like Spring, isn't it? Even though it's still cold where I live, you can just tell the air feels different. Even some of the fruit in the stores is getting better, especially the strawberries. They smell just wonderful! When my mother in law asked me to make a dessert for Easter dinner, I was happy to oblige. I was able to find a recipe from Kraft that used strawberries and gave that taste of summer. Mine didn't turn out as pretty as the picture in the magazine, but it tasted so good!

Strawberry Whipped Sensation

4 cups fresh strawberries, divided
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip
8 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos), crushed
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Line an 8x4 inch loaf pan withh foil. Mash 2 cups of strawberries in a large bowl. Stir in condensed milk, lemon juice and 2 cups of the Cool Whip. Pour into pan.

Mix crushed cookies and melted butter. Mix throughly. Press lightly on top of mixture in pan.

Cover and freeze at least 6 hours. To serve, invert onto serving plate. Remove foil. Frost with remaining Cool Whip and top with remaining strawberries, sliced thinly.
Makes 12 servings.

"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."
-Doug Larson

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Story Cookies

Happy Easter everyone! So far, Easter has been very nice here, though the big family dinner at my mother in law's isn't until this afternoon, so we'll see how the rest goes :) Yesterday, the kids and I made Easter Story Cookies, which I came across in a devotional book of mine called "More God's Abundance". The recipe follows the story of Jesus on the cross, using the ingredients to represent different parts of the story. It really gives the kids an impression of what Jesus sacrificed for us. The cookies are pretty good too! Make these the night before Easter.

Easter Story Cookies

1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Do this first, don't wait until you start the recipe. Place the pecans into the baggie and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon into small pieces. This represents when Jesus was arrested and beaten by the Roman soldiers. John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put the vinegar into a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10, 11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers and the sourness of our sin. Read Luke 23:27.

Now add one cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain the white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3: 1-3.

Fold in the broken pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

Go to bed! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight just like Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20, 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.

"For I remember it is Easter morn, And life and love and peace are all new born."
-Alice Freeman Palmer

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mini Bundt Marbled Brownies with Chocolate Glaze

Everytime I get a new toy for my kitchen, I get so happy. Is that weird? This time, I came across a mini bundt pan. The pan was just so cute, I couldn't resist. I used the recipe inside the cardboard cover that came with the pan to make these marbled brownies. They came out pretty good, considering. This pan is a bit tricky! Because of all the grooves, you have to make sure it's sprayed and floured well. But if you use too much spray and flour, it causes pits in the top of the brownies. So I need to work on finding a balance. To deal with the pits, I used a chocolate glaze to cover it. It turned out to be a great combination!

Marbled Brownies with Chocolate Glaze

Brownie Mix:

1/2 cup butter
2 oz (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup all purpose flour

Cream Cheese Mix:

1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and flour pan, set aside. In medium saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Once melted, combine the chocolate mixture, sugar, egg and vanilla in a medium bowl. With a wooden spoon, beat lightly until combined. Stir in flour. Fill each cavity 1/4 full with batter, set aside.

With electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla. Add egg and beat just until blended. Cover each cavity of batter with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture. Even out with back of spoon.

Bake on center rack of oven for 20 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes then invert onto wire rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze:

4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons hot water

Melt chocolate chips and butter on low heat until melted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and hot water until smooth. Add more hot water if needed to reach drizzling consistency.

"I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Heavenly Chocolate Angel Food Cake

How to eat a lot chocolate and not gain weight? Hmmmm. That question baffles me everyday. Then I found Chocolate Angel Food Cake. Homemade Angel Food is not complicated, but it is a little time consuming. But it just tastes so much better than store bought. One thing I do to make this recipe easier: whenever I make a recipe that calls for just egg yolks, I freeze the egg whites in a small tupperware container and use a marker to mark the top with how many egg whites are inside. Whenever I get the craving for Angel Food, I thaw out the egg whites and bake away. Waste not, want not!

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

1 1/2 cups egg whites (10 to 12 large size)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Put egg whites into a large bowl, let come to room temp. (about 30 minutes). Sift powdered sugar, flour and cocoa together three times, set aside.

Add cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar about 2 Tablespoons at a time, beating the mixture until stiff peaks form.

Sift one fourth of the powdered sugar mixture over the egg whites and fold in gently. Repeat until all of the powdered sugar mixture is gone. Pour into an ungreased 10 inch bundt pan. Cut through batter to remove any air pockets.

Bake on lowest rack at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Immediately invert cake and cool. Loosen cake from pan and remove.

Serve with chocolate syrup and/or whipped cream.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Great New Site

I heard about this on the news, but I didn't get a chance to look at it until today. It's really cool. Check it out....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Something On My Mind...

I know that my blog is usually about food and family stuff, but I've have something on my mind for the past few weeks now that I want to share. I have noticed that many bloggers post about "stalkers" or "lurkers" looking at their blog and not commenting. Now I know that the internet is a whole different animal than every day interactions between people, and therefore has a whole different set of rules. But I have to voice my opinion here, just because I have personally experienced both "lurkers" and "stalkers".

Having a blog myself for the past year, I know people look at my blog and for the most part, don't comment. And that is ok for me. I made my blog public and I know that anyone can look at it. Am I curious who is looking at it? No, not really. Where they are from does interest me. It seems almost exotic to have someone half way across the world reading what I write. But it's not a necessity that I know who is looking. It's nice and it's a chance to make new friends, but that is all.

When you start a blog, you have a choice to make it public where anyone can see it, or private where you can choose who sees it. Why put your blog on the World Wide Web if you don't want the public to see it? Blogs, to me, are like books- I go to the library or book store to read something someone else has written. I don't feel an obligation to notify the author when I read their book, why do I have to comment if I choose to be interested in someone's blog? I mean it's nice to comment, but do I have to be called a "stalker" if I don't? Seems a little strong to me. Maybe I am missing something here, I don't know.

I realize that some people see blogging as a popularity thing, and that is fine too. But to call someone a "lurker" or even a "stalker", I don't know about that. Unless someone is harrassing the blogger or being particularly nasty, I can't see what harm is being done. Now, I have a stalker who stalked me in real life in the past and now does so on the internet. I have to say that I wish the only thing she did was not comment on my blog! But that is a story for another post.

If anyone out there has an opinion about this, I welcome it. Though I won't post nasty comments, differences of opinion are wonderful.

Just had to get that off my chest.....

"A stalker will look for any kind of attention, positive or negative. A vast majority of them don't see themselves as stalkers.
-Jill McArthur

"If I wouldn't say it to a reporter, I wouldn't say it on my blog.”
-Jason Goldberg

Monday, March 10, 2008

Homemade Mac and Cheese

After her swimming lesson on Saturday, my middle daughter had a craving for mac and cheese. She was searching the house high and low for that boxed stuff. I offered to make her a batch of homemade mac and cheese. Pretty daring for me, since I usually don't do as well with cooking as baking, or at least I am not as brave with spontaneous cooking! But this recipe was quick and easy. And it turned out great, if I do say so myself!

Mac and Cheese

4 cups cooked elbow (or your favorite pasta) macaroni, drained
2 cups grated Cheddar Cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add cheese to macaroni while macaroni is still hot. Combine remaining ingredients and add to macaroni mixture. Pour into casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Top with additional cheese to taste.

Adapted from The Lady and Sons Savannah County Cookbook

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience."
-James Beard

"I have an enormous fondness for delicious food. It's very comforting."
-Teri Garr

Friday, March 7, 2008

Best Ever Cherry Cobbler

Cobbler is one of those desserts that is harder to resist than most. It has the good for you fruit which is topped with a sweet cake like layer. Yum! I used fresh cherries for this recipe. I just cut them in half and pitted them. I imagine that canned cherries would work too. Blueberries would be just as delicious and I think I will try those next time I make this. Try serving the cobbler warm with cream over it. It's out of this world!

Best Ever Cherry Cobbler

3 cups fresh cherries or blueberries
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

Toss together the first 3 ingredients in an 8-inch square baking dish.
Beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat at low speed. Drop batter in small clumps over cherry mixture, covering as much surface as possible.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool briefly.
Serve with whipping cream, ice cream or cool whip.

"If life is a bowl of cherries, then what am I doing in the pits?"
-Erma Bombeck

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Coupon Clipping

I just found this site and thought I'd share it. Since grocery costs are now going through the roof, every little bit helps!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Grand Marnier Chocolate Cream Sauce

Recently, I was craving something chocolaty and also rich and creamy. I found this recipe in a flyer from a local grocery store, of all places! It was easy to whip up and versatile. You can use it to top cake or ice cream, or get even more creative. It's tempting to just drink the stuff, if you ask me! I used rum in my recipe instead of Grand Marnier (didn't have any around) and it was wonderful.
Grand Marnier Chocolate Cream Sauce

1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup Grand Marnier or 1 tsp. orange extract
1 Tablespoons butter
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate

In a small pan, combine butter and cream on medium heat. Add Grand Marnier and whisk. Turn heat to low and add chocolate pieces. Stir constantly until melted. Turn off heat and whisk for another 2 minutes. Strain through sieve and serve.
Makes enough to serve 8.

“I reckon I tried everything on the old apple, but salt and pepper and chocolate sauce topping."
-Gaylord Perry