Monthly Archives: June 2012

Homemade Dog Biscuits

I don’t recommend eating these yourself (although our 8-year old did give them a try). They are edible though and your pup will love them…at least ours did. We had a friend over today and they brought their pup along and he liked them too. So it’s two paws up for these tasty treats.

2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use another type of flour if your dog is sensitive to wheat)
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/4 cups hot water
Additional flour for rolling

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mix dry ingredients together.

Mix in the peanut butter and hot water. You may need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Knead the dough well.

Roll out the dough into 1/4″ thickness and cut into shapes with small cookie cutters. (We used hearts and stars, but there are some cute dog-themed cookie cutters out there.)

Bake for 40 minutes.

What did the family think? Well, the two pups who tried them LOVED them!

Where did this recipe come from? Dog Treat Kitchen

photo from Bakingdom


Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Six Ingredients or Less

Hard-Baked Eggs

You have certainly made hard-boiled eggs before, but have you ever made hard-baked eggs? Does it matter if they are baked or boiled? Some benefits of baking them are: you can bake them while you are cooking something else in the oven so it saves energy, they are easier to peel when they have been baked and the yolks don’t come out gray like they do when they are hard-boiled. This has been all over Pinterest, so I had to try it.

Whole Eggs
Muffin Tin

If you are baking them by themselves: place eggs in muffin tin and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

If you are baking them with something else: place eggs in muffin tin and bake on top rack at 350 degrees.

Let cool and peel.

photo from Alaska from Scratch

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Filed under After School Snacks, Breakfast, Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Lent, Six Ingredients or Less, Super Easy to Make, Vegetarian

Lite Alfredo Sauce (with some sneaky cauliflower)

This is not the super rich alfredo sauce you might get at your favorite Italian restaurant. This version is light and has lots of cauliflower in it. If you are trying to get more veggies into your kids (or yourself) and you are a pasta eating family like we are, then this dish might be right up your alley.

For the topping:
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/3 grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

For the pasta:
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cored, cut in large pieces (or use frozen cauliflower)
water to cover (about 4 cups)
1/2 tsp dried Italian herb blend
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
14-oz box spaghetti, cooked and drained (I used GF rice fettucine noodles)
1/2 lemon, juiced

Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and 1 tbsp olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is well toasted, and golden-brown. Stir in the thyme; remove from heat, and reserve.

In a medium saucepan, warm the garlic cloves in the olive oil over low heat for a few minutes, or until the cloves begin to bubble. Add the cauliflower, enough water to cover, dried herbs, pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook until the cauliflower is soft.

Turn off the heat. Use a stick blender (or standard blender) to puree the mixture into a smooth sauce. If it seems too thick add a little water or broth, if it’s too thin simply simmer until it reduces and thickens up. Then, stir in the cream, and add the Parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Cover and reserve.

Boil the spaghetti according to directions and drain well. Return to the pot, add the lemon juice, and pour over the cauliflower sauce. Toss to coat the pasta. Divide into four pasta bowls and serve hot topped with the toasted Parmesan breadcrumbs.

We had this with meatballs and some strawberries on the side.

What did the family think? Everyone LOVED it! Seriously, that doesn’t happen very often so I was super happy.

Where did this recipe come from? American Food

photo from iFood

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Lent, Not so Easy, Vegetarian

Cinnamon Vanilla Pancakes

My husband wanted to have pancakes for Father’s Day breakfast “if we had a mix”. Are you kidding me? You are married to a food blogger. There are no pancake mixes here. 🙂 We had these instead.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vegetable oil, or as needed (or cooking spray)

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the milk, egg, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, and vanilla extract until only a few lumps remain. Let the batter stand for 5 full minutes for extra fluffiness.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat, and brush with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (or use cooking spray). When the oil shimmers, slowly pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan. Cook until bottom is browned, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook until the center of the pancake is set and the other side is browned, about 2 more minutes. Keep warm until serving.

What did the family think? Yum! Yum! and more Yum!

Where did this recipe come from? Allrecipes

photo from Allrecipes

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Filed under After School Snacks, Breakfast, Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Lent, Vegetarian

Homemade Sidewalk Paint

I know this isn’t technically a recipe (but it does use edible ingredients). I have been wanting to do this with our kids for over a year now and today I finally had all of the stuff we needed and one child was at a birthday party so the other child “needed” to be entertained. This was the perfect activity to do today…the weather was gorgeous…and since it’s the first time we did it, I am glad there was only one child around to work out the kinks with instead of two.

Corn Starch
Food Coloring
Muffin Tin
Paint Brushes
Stir Sticks (we used popsicles sticks)

Put about 2 T of corn starch in each muffin tin “hole”. Decide what colors you want. We got creative and used Food Network’s May icing article to help us make some fun colors….pink lemonade and green gummy were a couple of our favorites. You don’t have to have some sort of color guide though, just have fun with it. I will tell you though, that the more vibrant the colors are, the more fun it will be, so don’t be shy with the food coloring.

DO NOT USE A PAPER EGG CARTON LIKE WE DID!!! IT WAS A BAD IDEA!!! If you have a styrofoam one, then maybe use that. Otherwise, use the muffin tin.

Once you have all of the food coloring drops in the corn starch, then you want to add the water. You want to have about equal parts water to corn starch and you don’t want it to be too runny. Star conservatively…you can always add more water. Mix each color with your stir stick and make sure to rinse it off between each color.

Now it’s time to have some fun!

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Filed under Six Ingredients or Less

Chile-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with Tomatillo Salsa

I knew this would be too spicy for the kids, but the hubs and I like spice so I thought I would give it a try. This would be perfect for a weekend cookout. The spicy (not super spicy, just flavorful spicy) chicken with the cool tomatillo salsa is the perfect combo.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder (We didn’t have any of this, so I left it out.)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
Kosher salt
2 tomatoes, diced
3 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced
1/4 cup finely diced red onion

Butterfly the chicken: Slice each breast almost in half horizontally (do not cut all the way through); open like a book so the chicken lies flat.

Combine the olive oil, garlic, ancho chile powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, chipotle chile powder, 1 teaspoon lime juice and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Preheat a grill to medium. Meanwhile, make the salsa: Toss the tomatoes, tomatillos, red onion and the remaining 3 teaspoons lime juice in a bowl; season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Brush the grill grates with olive oil. Grill the chicken, turning once, until marked and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Top with the salsa.

We had this with avocado slices on the side.

What did the family think? Well, I loved it. I knew the boys wouldn’t like it so they had pasta and my husband was still recovering from a fairly major dental surgery, so I was the only one who got to eat it.

Where did this recipe come from? Food Network Magazine

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Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Mexican

Chipotle Beef Tacos

I love it when there are a lot of colors on my plate, so this dish put a smile on my face. The red from the tomatoes and the green from the zucchini mixed with the colorful cole slaw on top was just perfect. I also loved the almost smokey flavor that the chipotle chile powder gave these tacos.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef chuck, ground turkey or ground chicken
1/2 large white onion, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 10-ounce can Mexican-style diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, diced
2 cups coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
Juice of 1 lime
Freshly ground pepper
8 tostadas (flat crisp tortillas) or taco shells (hard or soft)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, onion, and the chipotle chile powder; cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, beans and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is just tender, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the coleslaw mix, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

Divide the tostadas/taco shells among plates and spoon the beef mixture on top. Top with the cheese and coleslaw.

We had these with some strawberries and apple pie for dessert.

What did the family think? Hubby and I ate them as written above and loved them. Our oldest had his with just the meat and our youngest just had a cheese quesadillas because he will melt into a puddle on the floor if he is forced to eating anything that might actually have flavor. 🙂

Where did this recipe come from? Food Network Magazine

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again

Snack Ideas: The Kids Are Home for the Summer and They’re Hungry

Snacks are an essential part of summer. The days can be long and the kids get hungry. They need a little extra fuel to get them through all of that swimming, baseball playing and sprinkler jumping. Hopefully this list of (mostly) easy and (mostly) healthy snacks will keep their bellies full until mealtime…or at least until they ask for another snack. 🙂

*Apple slices dipped in peanut butter
*Apple slices dipped in Nutella
*Fresh fruit (keep some already prepped and ready to go on the kitchen counter or in the frig)
*Carrots sticks, pepper strips, celery sticks for crunching, munching and dipping
*Hummus with pita chips (we love Trader Joe’s hummus)
*Dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried bananas, etc.)
*Frozen yogurt tubes
*Yogurt and granola parfait
*Peanut butter and cracker sandwiches
*Cheese cubes or string cheese
*Chips and salsa
*Chips and guacamole
*Crackers and cheese
*Hard-boiled egg
*No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Balls
*Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
*Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies
*Mini Chocolate Chip or Blueberry Muffins
*Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dip
*Graham Cracker sticks (dip in yogurt or softened cream cheese for extra yumminess)
*Zucchini Bread
*Fruity Peanut Butter Sushi
*Chocolate Chip Cookie Pretzel Bars
*Strawberry Nutella Muffins
*Mini Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches
*Sunshine Cupcakes
*Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins (These are a little bit of work, but they are SO good!)
*Graham Cracker Sandwiches
*Banana Bread
*Peanut Butter Krispies
*Pretzel sticks to dip in peanut butter
*Vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit parfait (strawberries, blueberries and bananas work well)
*Fruit leathers

Please share your ideas with the rest of us…we’d love to hear them!

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Filed under After School Snacks, Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Six Ingredients or Less, Super Easy to Make, Vegetarian

Lunch (and a Few Breakfast) Ideas: The Kids Are Home for the Summer and They’re Hunrgry

The kids are home from school and now you have to feed them lunch every. single. day. 🙂 It might be easy to fall into the chicken nugget/hot dog/peanut butter and jelly rut, so here’s a list of ideas to jazz things up a bit and make lunch a little more interesting. These are a few ideas from our house as well as some ideas from readers on MommaCooks’ Facebook page.

First of all, lunch doesn’t have to be eaten at the kitchen table. Take it outside to the back porch, spread a blanket out in the grass or even in the living room for a picnic. Take your lunch to the park or invite some friends over for lunch. Heading to the pool later in the day? Why not go a little early and have lunch by the pool?

Now that the kids are home for the summer (or will be soon) the possibilities are endless as to what they could have for lunch since it doesn’t have to fit in a lunchbox. Here are just a few ideas to get you started and please share your ideas as well.

*Peanut butter and apple slice sandwich
*Peanut butter and jelly spread on a tortilla
*Banana dogs
*Breakfast for lunch (eggs, pancakes, etc.)
*Macaroni and Cheese-We eat this a lot on the weekends
*Bean and cheese burritos
*Quesadillas (we use our panini maker) (cheese, scrambled egg and cheese, turkey and cheese….the possibilities are endless)
*Put peanut butter and a banana in a tortilla, wrap it up and slice it
*Make your own pizza bar with their favorite toppings to choose from. Use pitas, English muffins or naan for the crust.
*Cheddar cheese and apple slice sandwich
*Chicken/tuna/egg salad sandwiches
*Mini frittatas
*Egg muffins
*Egg (and bacon) Cups
*Sunshine Eggs
*Yogurt and granola parfait
*Pasta with marinara
*Leftovers from last night’s dinner
*Use bagels or tortillas instead of bread for their favorite sandwich…it’s amazing that this one little change can make something old new again
*Make something on the grill…hamburgers, hot dogs…eating something from the grill makes it much more interesting, especially in the middle of the day
*Peanut butter and honey sandwich
*Hard boiled eggs

A lot of these ideas could be used for breakfast as well. Hopefully your summer mornings are a little more relaxed and you can get away from the standard get-you-out-the-door-as-quickly-as-possible breakfast options that can come into play during the school year.

Summer is one of my favorite seasons because of the amount of fruits and veggies that are available and in season. Try not to get stuck in a fruit and veggie rut…explore the produce aisle with your children. Try something new and if you see something interesting, but you’re not sure how you’re supposed to eat it, ask the produce manager. Our favorite “standard” summer fruits are grapes, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloup and strawberries. The chart below is also a good reminder when shopping for produce.

Have some ideas that you’d like to share? Please do. We are all trying our best to feed our kids healthy lunches this summer, so let’s help each other keep it interesting as well.


Filed under Six Ingredients or Less

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Balls

These are SO good and perfect for a quick snack and just enough chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. I made ours with just chocolate, but I think coconut would be a good addition too.

1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips or coconut (mix and match these however you want, but all together there should only be 1/2 cup)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter, and butter. Stir until melted and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in cereal and oats. Let the mixture cool for about five minutes and stir in the chocolate chips/coconut/dried cranberries/raisins.

Drop mixture by the tablespoon into mini paper cupcake or candy liners. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. (I just skipped the cupcake holders/liners and put them directly on the baking sheet.)

What did the family think? Only two of us have had any so far, but these are SO yummy and perfectly bite-sized.

Where did this recipe come from? I got it from Two Peas and Their Pod and they got it from Martha Stewart.

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Filed under After School Snacks, Definitely Making it Again, Desserts, Six Ingredients or Less, Vegetarian