Oct 232013
 

We’re just over a week away from Halloween.  Since we have a four day weekend starting tomorrow I had the brilliant idea that the kids and I would sit down and finalize plans for their costumes and then shop for supplies this afternoon.  We made a list and headed out to our first stop:  Wal-Mart.

Let’s just say it did not go so well.  Even though each kid has known what he wants to be for Halloween for a while now, today no one could commit to said costume choice.

Matthew, who wants to be Peter Pan suddenly decided he wanted to be… Candy Corn. A Peacock. Peter Pan. A Lego.

Zachary, who has been asking to be the Tick Tock Croc for months decided he wanted to be… Rock Paper Scissors.  (Seriously.)

Nicholas, who was willing to be Captain Hook to keep with the theme, changed his mind and wanted to be… A White Ninja.  Ninjago. Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I thought I might lose my mind.  I went so far as to turn the car around and head home because nobody would stop talking about what they wanted to be for Halloween.  It was bad.  Tears were involved, especially after they realized the car was heading towards home.   Eventually I turned back around and went to Wal-Mart but we came home empty handed.

The last thing I wanted to do when we got home was make dinner, but we had to eat.  So I dug around in the pantry and pulled out a bag of quinoa.  It’s become a staple in our house in the last couple of years and I knew I could pull together a quick meal with it.  I tried out a new recipe tonight, and here it is…

Quinoa Pizza

Quinoa Pizza

Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
  • your favorite pizza toppings (pepperoni, sausage, veggies, etc)
  • salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasonings, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse quinoa well. Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer and cook about 15 minutes.
  2. Prepare any toppings while quinoa is cooking.
  3. When quinoa is finished, add pasta sauce and toppings and stir to combine.  Then add shredded mozzarella. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasonings.
  4. To serve, spoon the quinoa mixture into bowls and top with more mozzarella cheese, if desired.

Quinoa Pizza takes all of 20 minutes to make and it was a big hit with two out of three boys. Dan liked it, too.  I consider that to be a success and it will go into rotation around here, especially on crazy baseball nights, or to follow disastrous afternoons like the one we had today.

Tomorrow is a new day, and will be filled with new adventures.  Say a prayer for us as we venture into the local craft stores and attempt to make Peter Pan, Tick Tock Croc and Captain Hook come to life!

Recipe inspiration found at Girl Makes Food.

Sep 152013
 

Churro Cupcake - cinnamon cake with a cinnamon buttercream topped with a churro.

Churro Cupcake – cinnamon cake with a cinnamon buttercream topped with a churro.

It’s Mexican Night with our Community Group and we’re bringing dessert!  These tasty little treats are sure to hit the spot.  Enjoy!

Churro Cupcakes
(24 Cupcakes)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • small bowl of cinnamon sugar mixture (approx. 1/4 cup sugar to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together using a stand mixer until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time,mixing until just combined.  Then add vanilla.
  4. Alternating between flour mixture and milk, add a little bit at the time, stirring until just combined, beginning and ending with the flour mixture flour mixture over the butter mixture and gently stir in until barely combined. Add half of the milk, mixing until just combined.  DO NOT overmix.
  5. Fill each muffin cup with about 2 tablespoons of batter.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with one or two crumbs clinging to it.
  7. Cool cupcakes for 2 minutes and then dip the top of the cupcakes in your cinnamon sugar mixture.
  8. Cool completely before frosting with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting.

 

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (A stick equals 1/2 cup)
  •   4-41/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
  • 2-2.5 tsp. milk, to desired consistency

Directions:

1. Cream butter on medium speed.
2.  Slowly add sifted sugar.
3.  Add vanilla.
4.  Add milk a little at the time until you get the consistency you desire.  (The stiffer the frosting, the better it will hold its shape when piping.

When cupcakes are completely cool, pipe your frosting on, sprinkle a little more of your cinnamon sugar mixture on top and then garnish with a small churro slice.  I bought my churros at Tijuana Flats, but you can also find them at Costco.  Or, if you’re ambitious you can make your own!

(Recipe adapted from Legally Delish.)

Nov 132012
 

I am so happy that the weather in Florida has finally figured out that it’s November!  Why?  Because I have a not-so-secret love of casseroles.  Just ask my husband!  He’s been known to walk in the house in the middle of July and find me making anything from Chicken Pot Pie to Mexican Lasagna.  I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m crazy for heating up the whole house when it’s 95 degrees outside, but sometimes a person just needs a good casserole.  And folks, let me tell you, the one below is a good casserole!

 Marsala - Close Up

Chicken Marsala Casserole

(adapted from Rachael Ray’s Marsala Chicken-and-Mushroom Casserole)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • two cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped roasted chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons grated asiago cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees .
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and  mushrooms and cook, until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir in for 1 minute.
  4. Add the marsala and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken broth and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. In a greased 8.5-inch by 11-inch dish, spread the rice evenly across the bottom; top with the chicken.
  7. Pour the marsala mushroom mixture to cover the chicken and rice.
  8. Cover dish with foil and bake until bubbly, approximately 35 minutes.
  9. Remove foil, sprinkle with asiago cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  10. Serves six.  (7 Points Plus, per serving)

You want to make this for your family.  Trust me.  They will devour it, just like mine did!  And if you’re watching what you’re eating like me, you will appreciate the fact that it’s only 7 Points Plus per serving!  I love making a recipe that calls for  fresh ingredients, and is still manageable on Weight Watchers.  I hope you enjoy it, too!

Oct 312012
 

Beer Bread

Ingredients:

  • 12oz beer (I like Amber Bock)
  • 3 C. self rising flour
  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, optional

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
2. Combine flour, sugar and cheese; stir in beer. Dough will be sticky.
3. Pour into prepared loaf pan and cover with melted butter.
4. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool in pan for 30 minutes, then turn out and serve.

Source: Me, thanks to some Internet reseach

My notes: I started making beer bread after having some at a Tastefully Simple party. This recipe tastes so close to the mix from Tastefully Simple that you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference! In fact, the only difference I can see is TS Beer Bread costs $5.00 for the mix, plus the beer and this recipe does not! I did some research online and took several recipes into account and then created this one. Enjoy!

Oct 312012
 

Taco Soup

  • 2 pounds browned ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped and sauteed with the beef
  • 1 beer
  • 1 15 oz can corn
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans
  • 2 cans Rotel (hot or mild)
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pack ranch dressing mix
  • 1 pack taco seasoning

Directions:
Dump all ingredients in a big ol’ crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh chopped onions, broken up tortilla chips and beer bread.

Source: Southern Living, doctored up by me

My notes: This is another recipe I like to make for a family who has just had a baby, or needs a meal, especially in the fall/winter, and it definitely hits the spot on Halloween!  It’s the perfect meal to have before trick or treating.