Friday, May 10, 2013

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

So I have been meaning to try this recipe for awhile. I have delayed it for awhile. I just didn't know how I felt about the combination of ingredients. And then I finally tried it... and I wondered why it had taken me so long! They were so delicious! They tasted like funnel cake stuffed with fruit. I want to try a billion different variations on these! Here is the original recipe:

Breakfast Grilled Cheese
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup small-curd cottage cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, plus more for topping
4 frozen waffles (untoasted)
1 to 2 tablespooons jam (any flavor)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more if needed
Ground cinnamon, for topping

1. Mix cream cheese, cottage cheese and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Spread 2 waffles with the jam, then top with the cream cheese mixture; cover with the remaining 2 waffles.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sandwiches and cook until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side, adding more butter to the pan if needed. (Adjust the heat if the waffles are browning too quickly.)

3. Let the sandwiches rest 1 minute before serving. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and cinnamon.

So when I made these I used frozen Strawberry EGGO Waffles and strawberry jam. I dusted them with confectioners' sugar but passed on the cinnamon. I can't wait to try cinnamon waffles with apple butter or chocolate chip waffles with hot fudge and marshmallow creme! Possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Strawberry Sweet Rolls

My daughter is on an endless Poptart ritual for breakfast. Every morning that I get to spend with her I ask what she is thinking for breakfast and she asks very politely for a Poptart. Which leaves me to fend for myself. I usually always eat a granola bar for breakfast when I am rushing out the door for work so the thought of having to eat them on the days I get to stay home with my daughter is less than desirable. This has to stop. Enter Strawberry Sweet Rolls.

Pretty simple concept. Make a cinnamon bun style breakfast treat but replace the cinnamon and sugar with strawberry jam. I can do this. Of course the whole chilling for an hour thing threw us for a loop. But in the end it was worth it. Lana exclaimed their deliciousness as we ate them. She asked to eat them again for lunch (even though Mommy rejected that idea). It was even the first thing she told her Daddy about when we passed each other on our way out to dance class and his way in from work. Success. I tried these with store bought jam this time. I think that I would like them better with homemade jam. Next time...

Strawberry Sweet Rolls
1 can crescent dough
3-4 Tablespoons strawberry jelly or jam
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place a sheet of plastic wrap over your work surface. Lightly dust it with flour. Unroll crescent dough onto plastic wrap. Spread jelly over entire dough leaving 1/2-inch along one side. Roll dough starting on the long edge with the jelly. Use the plastic wrap to help roll and roll tightly. Seal roll in your plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. An empty paper towel roll will help maintain the shape in the refrigerator if you have one handy. Just cut the paper towel roll down the center and then place the dough inside.

Remove from refrigerator, unwrap dough log and slice into sections about 3/4-inch thick. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for about 12 minutes, just until golden brown. Remove from oven and drizzle with glaze. Serve warm. 

Glaze: Combine sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chicken Roll-Ups

So it's been forever since I posted! I have been wrapped up in trying to get through some cookbooks instead of my Pinterest boards. I have been cooking more and more at home recently to try to save money. I am trying to coupon and I have saved a lot of money but it really limits cooking new recipes! I had to sneak one or two in there though! This was the first one that I tried. They baked up so pretty! The family thought they were pretty tasty as well. I think next time I will play around with some more seasonings. I thought they were a little on the bland side. Try them out and see what you think!

Chicken Roll-Ups
1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz.)
1 pkg. large crescent rolls (6 ct.)
2 shredded, cooked chicken breasts
1-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

1. Boil your chicken breasts and shred them up. After cooking my chicken, I actually popped them into my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment and it shredded them up quite nicely for me. Amazing!

2. Combine chicken, cheeses, salt and pepper. Spoon onto crescents. Form the crescents around the chicken and cheese mixture, making sure the chicken mixture is fully enclosed in the dough.

3. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle bread crumbs on top.

4. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.

Note: To reheat, just place in a 325° oven for 15 minutes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

I am a granola bar addict. I love the chewy gooey ones too. But I am extremely picky as well. The Quaker bars are tasty and chewy but I can eat them in two bites. Meaning I can eat a whole box in one day and I don't have the money to buy 7 boxes of granola bars a week. The Sunbelt ones are amazing but sometimes I have a hard time finding them in the stores. Which is a shame because their size and consistency are perfect!

Then I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest. Chewy granola bars that take five minutes to make? And I just happened to have all but one ingredient in my pantry? Hopped in the car and headed out to pick up some granola to try it out immediately! The best thing about this granola bar recipe is that it had the basic granola bar recipe and then you could add what you wanted to make it the type of granola bar you wanted. I had some chocolate chip and butterscotch chips in my pantry so my first attempt was choco-butterscotch granola bars. They are delicious! Even my three-year-old gobbled them up! Now I have a dozen homemade granola bars waiting for me for quick breakfasts this week! Awesome, right? And what is even more awesome is knowing the ingredients that are in them and being able to cut them the exact size I want for a serving. Not to mention cost effective! Can't wait to make some different variations of these!

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars 
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
1/4 cup honey 
2 cups plain granola 
1 cup rice cereal (Rice Krispies, etc.) 
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips 
1/4 cup butterscotch chips

Line two 9×5 loaf pans or one 11×7 inch baking pan (see tip #4 above if you want to use 9×13) with foil or parchment. Lightly butter or spray the foil. Set aside.Combine butter, honey and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted.Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the granola and rice cereal into the saucepan and fold them into the sauce until evenly coated.Spread the mixture into the prepared pans and press firmly with a spatula to evenly fill. Sprinkle the chocolate and peanut butter chips onto the top of the granola and gently press them down with the spatula.Let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or until mostly cooled and set; lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Inspired by My Daughter's Love of "Dip"

There are so many many things that I have found on Pinterest that I have thought... "Now why didn't I think of that!" So it definitely has my noggin working in overdrive these days trying to think of new and creative ways to approach things. Here is my first official thinking outside the box Pinterest inspired idea!

I absolutely LOVE creamed chipped beef. I actually love creamed chipped ham more! But this particular night my daughter and I were in need of a fast meal. So I picked up some Stouffer's Creamed Chipped Beef and went home. My daughter is going through her picky stage so I got the bright idea to serve the meal as bread cubes with "dipping sauce" instead of the typical gravy over bread approach. My daughter eats anything if there is dip involved.

It turned out cute and at first it seemed to work. Eventually I think she realized she had been duped because she ate all the bread cubes and left most of the "dip". Maybe it will work better for someone else out there so I thought I would share! Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole

I've been meaning to make this dish for awhile now. It's a hearty main dish that is super easy to throw together, it just takes awhile to bake. My favorite things about this dish are the fact that the chicken does not require pre-cooking and that once it is in the oven you don't have to worry about it again until it's done! Unfortunately the night that I cooked this dish my husband ended up coming home late and not hungry and my daughter scrunched up her nose and refused to eat it. I will have to try it again when things are a bit more calmed down at my house. And when it's a bit chillier outside. It is definitely one of those nice filling tummy warming dishes and I thought it was delicious!

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
1 (32 oz.) bag frozen tater tots, partially thawed
1 (3 oz.) bag bacon pieces
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer half the tater tots onto the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the bacon pieces. Top with 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Add diced chicken on top. Season with salt and pepper. Add another 1/3 of the bacon pieces and another 1/3 of shredded cheese. Put the rest of the tater tots on top. Finishing with the remaining shredded cheese and bacon pieces. Pour 3/4 milk all over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about an hour to an hour and a half.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Under the Sea Birthday Party

This post should really be named "How to Throw an Amazing Under the Sea Birthday Party for Kids Using Pinterest Ideas" but I thought that might be a little lengthy. Okay so here it goes. My daughter, Lana, is turned three this month. She is absolutely obsessed with octopuses and sharks and whales and dolphins. So the logical thing to do for her birthday party this year was an under the sea theme. First we started out by sending out socktopus invitations to her little friends. I posted about these earlier but I'll put in a pic so we don't miss any of the details of the party.

Of course we attached a little birthday invite and hand delivered them. This was Lana's first party with friends instead of just family so it was pretty much a big deal. The next thing I did was make a plan of attack for decorating the house. I wanted to use an idea that I saw on Pinterest about using scrapbooking paper to cut out animal shapes to decorate a room. So I googled some coloring pages on fish, sharks, octopuses etc., printed them out on card stock to make a template, then traced it onto some scrapbooking paper. I cut out the various aquatic animals and decorated them with googly eyes. Then I taped blue tissue paper up to cover all the dining room walls and taped the sea creatures to it - adding some sand and plant life around the bottom. Ta-da! Instant dining room turned ocean floor! Next we took the idea of stringing balloons onto fishing line to create lanterns (Pinterest) and instead used it instead to make "bubbles" on the ceiling and a "sea curtain" door.

Luckily right after I decided to go with an ocean theme for the party I happened upon some clearance fish dishes at Walmart. Snapped them up for the ocean nibbles buffet! The kids each got to take one of the sectioned fish plates home as part of their favor. The menu? Jell-O Jiggler fish and starfish, veggie tray, meat and cheese tray, goldfish crackers, pretzels, gummy sharks, Swedish fish... tried to squeeze as much ocean-themed stuff in there as possible. For the punch I got some blue Hawaiian Punch and poured some it the night before into a fluted bundt pan. Plopped some Swedish fish in there to have fish "swimming" in the "ocean." Nice bonus was that as the ice ring melted it didn't dilute the punch because it was... well punch!

And of course we had the cake! I dabble in cake decorating so I decided to practice some figure modeling this year. And some chocolate molds. It all came together quite nicely. Yellow cake bottom, strawberry cake top with buttercream frosting, vanilla wafer "sand," chocolate lollipop aquatic life and of course Lana and her octopus topper! The kids loved the fact that they could eat the sea creatures!

Okay that covers the decorations and food. Now for the party games! I just took some good old classics and gave them an ocean twist. First up: Ocean Bean Bag Toss! This game was super easy to do. My Mom and I had made Lana some bean bags to play with out of some bed sheets awhile back. My husband bought some black poster board and drew the ocean design on it with Sharpie paint. We actually kept this to continue playing with after the party!

Next was painting wooden fish. The fish we got at Michaels for a dollar a piece! They came with paintbrushes too! Of course I do recommend that if you are indoors to cover your floors (we covered ours in newspaper and butcher paper) and have smocks for the kids to wear (we used some of Daddy's old work shirts). Then just give them some paint and let them go! We let the finished products dry on the kitchen counter for the remainder of the party and then put them in the kid's gift bags for each child to take home.

Next game was Pin the Ice Cream Cone on the Octopus. I had an old poster from my Mom's teaching days of an octopus. I simply cut out some cones from scrapbooking paper and attached it to the octopus with double-sided tape. Then I cut out an ice cream scoop for each kid, labeling it with their initials to be able to tell who's was who's in the end. We blind-folded the kid's with a scarf. The kids did really great with this!

And the big finale was Oceans in a Bottle directly from Pinterest. I was concerned about this activity because it could have gotten very messy and after the painting activity the floor cover had to be trashed. But the kids listened and followed the instructions to the letter. It was the hit of the party. I do recommend pre-measuring the "ingredients" out for the kids. And dollar store funnels to have for each kid is a must! I did a couple test runs beforehand to see how much of each thing was needed for the bottles I had bought. It was so much easier just to hand out the cups for the kids to pour into the bottles! Smooth sailing!

Ocean in a Bottle 
18 ounce beverage container 
10 shells per container 
1/4 cup sand 
Green and blue food coloring 
Silver glitter 
Mineral or baby oil 
Hot glue gun

  1. Pour sand and shells into clean bottle.
  2. Mix a drop of blue and green food coloring into 6 cups of water, then fill the bottle halfway.
  3. Add a pinch of glitter.
  4. Fill the rest of the bottle with oil, leaving a little air space at the top.
  5. Run a bead of hot glue around the bottle opening and screw the lid on quickly. 
And that was my daughter's super awesome ocean-themed birthday party. I'm glad that it was a success and the kids all had a great time. Me and Daddy definitely need a year to regroup and gear up for the next one.

 Happy third birthday Lana! We love you!