Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tomato Oregano Sandwiches

I am happy to say that my little vegetable garden has really taken off this year! Now I have the fortunate dilemma of having TOO many tomatoes. We are eating them 4 times a day around my house and I am sure that we are all overdosing on lycopene! I have been dicing them in omelets, topping casseroles with them, cooking them up in quesadillas, and slicing them up for a snack with a little salt and balsamic vinegar... so good! This simple summer sandwich recipe is my Mom's invention and is our lunch-of-choice as long as there are fresh tomatoes to be had.

Tomatoes- washed and thickly sliced
Salt and Pepper
Sliced Cheese (we prefer Muenster- Trust me and try it...DIVINE!)

Lay out slices of bread on a baking sheet and top with freshly sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. Top with sliced cheese and place under your broiler for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

If you are anything like my kids, you just read the title to this recipe and thought "Ewww, gross!" But the reality is that this cake is yummy good and you will never know that the zucchini is in there. It just makes the cake super moist, like with Banana Bread or Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies. Either way, it is a great way to use up some of that zucchini that I have coming out of my ears every August. Hope you enjoy!

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter- softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
4 Tbs. Cocoa powder
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugars. Add oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk and mix well. (Remember, if you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can just mix 1/2 tsp. lemon juice into 1/2 cup regular milk and let it sit for a few minutes before adding it to your recipe!) In another bowl, combine dry ingredients and then add slowly to your liquid mixture. Stir just until combined. Fold in your grated zucchini and then pour the batter into a greased 9x13 inch cake pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the batter. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

***Grating zucchini is pretty messy, so I like to wait until I have 3-4 big ones and grate them all at once. Then just scoop 2 cup- sized portions into little Ziplock freezer bags. Pop them in the freezer and you can have fresh zucchini for recipes all year! Think how good this cake would taste in December or how nice it would be to bake a loaf of hot Zucchini Bread in the winter. Yum!

***I was getting ready to post this, and I linked the recipe under desserts and vegetables. It made me smile :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

I am having my second baby in 5 days (so excited) and have been getting over a nasty cold so this week I have been in need of some good old fashioned comfort food. This noodle bake is just that. 

recipe from the Pioneer Woman
1-1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
8-10 oz. egg noodles 
1/2 c. sour cream 
1 1/4 c. small curd cottage cheese
1/2 c. green onions, diced
1 c. grated cheddar cheese 

In large skillet brown beef and drain fat. Add tomato sauce, salt & pepper. Stir and let simmer while you prepare the other ingredients. 

Cook noodles til al dente. Drain and set aside
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.
To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Boston Cream Cupcakes

I made these for my daughter's birthday this week and we all loved them! Next time, I'm going to make them with Devil's Food cake and white chocolate pudding filling and frosting, for color contrast. It's nice to have a little surprise in the center!

Chocolate ganache:
4 (1 oz.) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup cream
1 Tbs. butter 

24 cupcakes
1 box vanilla or white cake mix: Follow box instructions

2 1/2 cups milk
1 large (5.1 oz) box French vanilla or vanilla pudding (I use sugar-free)
  1. Make the chocolate ganache first, since it needs time to set up. Combine chocolate, cream and butter in a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring often, until melted. Stir well. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Ganache will thicken as it cools.
  2. Make the cupcakes according to package directions and cool completely.
  3. Combine the milk and pudding mix in a small bowl and beat for 3-4 minutes, or until thick. Let sit for a few minutes. Spoon pudding into a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip. Stick the frosting tip into the center of each cupcake and squeeze until the cupcake feels "full." (pictured below)
  4. Frost cupcakes with cooled chocolate ganache. Refrigerate until serving. Makes 24 cupcakes.

"Hole in Ones"

 These are also known as an "Egg in a Basket" or "Bird in a Nest." My husband grew up eating these and they are a favorite last-minute meal at our house, since I usually have eggs and bread in my fridge...


Cut out a small circle of each piece of bread using a biscuit cutter, a small glass or a knife.* Heat a skillet or griddle and spray with cooking spray. It is really yummy if you butter both sides of the bread, but I find that it's fine without. Place the cut bread on the hot pan, then crack an egg in the hole of each slice. Flip over when the egg begins to set and cook the other side.

*I fry the bread circles I cut out as well and my kids love them.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole

I found this delicious recipe over at eatingwelllivingthin. I love that it's healthy AND delicious! I serve this as a main dish, but it would make a great side dish as well. I've been using quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") for a few years and I've used it in soups and as a simple side dish. I buy a bag at Costco every few months and it makes a lot. My kids LOVE this casserole...

1 (10 oz. can) condensed Cream of Broccoli soup (or Cream of Mushroom or Broccoli Cheese)
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 Tbs. milk
1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc.)
1 teaspoon Splenda
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg

2 cups cooked broccoli, coarsely diced
1 1/2 cups COOKED quinoa (see below*)
Grated Parmesan cheese

*To cook quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear. In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible. Fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, Splenda, pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli. Spoon mixture into prepared casserole. Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden. Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

Per Serving: Calories 199, Protein 10 g; Fat 9 g; NET Carbs 14 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugar 1 g; Sodium 297 mg

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Red Velvet Oreo Cookies

We love homemade oreos in our family. Since we love the original chocolate ones so much I thought why not try them with red velvet too. These may be my new favorite cookies. 

2 boxes red velvet cake mix
2/3 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs

Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs. Scoop into balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes (depending on size of cookies). I do mine 1 inch and bake for about 7 minutes, don't over bake. Let cool completely before frosting  

Cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cube butter, softened 
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. powdered sugar
+ milk to consistency

Cream together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and milk until frosting reaches desired thickness. It helps to put them in the fridge or freezer after frosting to help the frosting set. 
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