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Friday, September 30, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce

I'll let you in on a little secret. I will sometimes make a couple of different things on a Sunday and put them in the fridge for dinner during the week. I like to multi task and I like all the smells that are coming out of my kitchen;)

But even though this one takes a little more time, you can still have dinner on the table in an hour. You can make a double batch and freeze so the next time it's even easier or use as a base for lasagna or pasta shells.

Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb ground beef or turkey (I use turkey most of the time)
1/2 medium onion diced
3-4 cloves diced garlic
6 oz can tomato paste
16 oz tomato sauce ~ you can use 2 small or 1 large can
1 can diced tomatoes ~ I used petite cut
12 oz water
3 t Italian Seasoning
1 t Basil
1 t Oregano
2 bay leaves
1 t Cayenne pepper or 1/2 C of your favorite salsa if you want it to be spicy

Brown meat with onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you're usually turkey, put 1 t Italian Seasoning in with the meat. Throw in rest of ingredients and simmer on low for a little over an hour. Remove bay leaves. Serve over your favorite pasta.

If your sauce tastes too acidic (happens sometimes from the tomatoes) you can throw in a teaspoon of sugar.

Here's your ingredients
Saute your onions and garlic with a splash of olive oil for a minute or two.
Throw your meat in. Season to taste.
Throw everything else in the pot and simmer for a little over an hour. Remove bay leaves.
Dinner is served!

This sauce also freezes well and is a great base sauce for lasagna.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miracles Of Mitch

I learned something new this year. It's Miracles OF Mitch not Miracles FOR Mitch. I learned that when the kids won sweatshirts for their fund raising efforts.

It was another great year and I'm a little slow getting these up. The kids raised $1330 this year and won another Mitchie award!! Every single dollar goes to help the kids and their parents because the triathlon has enough sponsors to cover the cost of the event. This year, just the Mitchie winners raised over $100,000, not counting what the other 900 kids who participated raised, it was a GREAT year.

Claire was fortunate enough to stand next to one of the All-Stars (kids with cancer) while waiting to jump in the water. The girl is in remission and was able to compete this year and Claire thought the girl was very cool!

The only bummer about it becoming SO big is that I don't get to take the photos I would like, but we're not complaining, just sharing the ones we got.

Max getting his medal
With their Mitchie Trophy
Running from the water to the bikes
Jersey with pinneys
He just finished

Being silly at Mommy's request
Running from the water, her least favorite part of the day
she just got her medal
Dropping off their bikes
annual shot
Some of the All Stars on stage, singing the National Anthem
The kids waiting to walk to the water.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Creamy Italian Chicken

We eat this at least twice per month. It's easy and the kids LOVE it. I love that dinner is basically ready when I walk in the door from work. OR you can make it the day before and just heat it up.

The reason we have it twice per month is because the left overs go into the freezer and I just unthaw, make some fresh pasta and dinner is on the table in the time it takes to cook pasta.

Here's your ingredients
1 pkg boneless chicken breast
1 pkg Italian Dressing Mix
1 pkg Cream Cheese~I use reduced fat
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup~I use 98% fat free
Put 1/2 cup water in bottom of crock pot. Place chicken in bottom. Sprinkle chicken with Italian Dressing Mix. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. I will use frozen if I want to cook for 6.

Here's what it looks like before you cover and ignore.

When the chicken is cooked, shred. Throw in cubed cream cheese and soup. Cover and cook for another hour. If you have kids who will eat vegetables, you can also throw in a bag of frozen broccoli. I don't have that luxury;)

Here's the finished product. If it seems thick, add 1/2-3/4 C milk to thin.

Serve over your favorite pasta. The leftover sauce, freezes well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hidden Talent

I made a dress to wear to a reunion. Claire was curious because I wasn't using a pattern. So she asked to use the left over material to make something for her American Girl doll. I showed her how to run the sewing machine. She found some "fabric" around the house and this is what girlie created.

She actually made the material for this one too. The skirt was plain white until a Sharpie was found.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pan Fried Chicken

I posted this recipe awhile back but I make this probably twice a month. I use a non stick pan and leave the butter in the fridge. The chicken tastes great without it so...

I also found these 90 second brown rice packages at the grocery store. They are AWESOME and I use them ALL the time. I throw some minced carrots (give them a spin in a mini food processor or chop by hand), minced onion and garlic in a pan with teaspoon of Olive oil. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add rice, soy sauce, probably 2 T, 2 t of garlic powder and a small drizzle of sesame oil or olive oil, cook together until heated through. This is our cheater fried rice and it only took about 6 minutes.

Max requests this meal more than anything else I make:) I have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes.

1 pkg boneless Chicken Breast cut into bite size pieces
3 T Butter
1 t Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cut your chicken into bite size pieces. LOVE my kitchen sheers for this job.
Throw your chicken and butter into a pan. Season and cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spam Throne

My ex husband is from the SPAM Capital...Austin, MN. He used to say that SPAM stood for "Super People Austin Minnesota". Yes, he's a dork.

My kids Bumpa (Grandpa) worked at Hormel Corporate offices for over 30 years and now volunteers at the Spam Museum. The kids also have a few other relatives employed by Hormel.

I can also admit that although I went down kicking and screaming, if I slice Spam really thin and pan fry..I actually like it. Tastes very similar to bacon and we have it about once a month with our pancakes. For those of you who haven't looked at a can of SPAM since you were a kid..they got rid of that nasty film AND it comes it lots of flavors now.

Anyway, it seems only fitting that I post this photo from the State Fair.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


It is what's for dinner around our house about twice a month. If I'm feeling sassy, they might get some fried Spam or bacon but most the time, it's just pancakes. A carb friendly dinner for my active kids.

The left overs go into a ziploc and the kids reheat for breakfast. Put pancakes on a plate, cover with a paper towel and zap for about 30 seconds.

ALSO..this is my favorite recipe but if we're busy...the recipe on the side of the Bisquick box makes decent pancakes. I've included my favorite recipe because it shows you when to flip a pancake so you don't have mushy ones.

1 1/2 C Milk ~ I've used Buttermilk and that's good too
3 T Butter
1 Egg
3 t Vanilla

1 1/2 C Flour
1/4 C Sugar
4 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt

Melt butter with milk in microwave for about 1 minute until butter is melted. Add Vanilla and Egg. Whisk to combine.

Add dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Heat your griddle to 325 or on the stove a med-high heat. Drop batter by 1/4 C onto griddle. Cook a minute or two until batter starts to bubble. Flip and cook another minute. Serve with butter and syrup.

People flip too soon. See the bubbles that are starting to pop? That's how you know it's time to flip.

I also make bite size ones for the kids. Started doing it when they were little so I wouldn't have to cut them and now Claire requests them this way.

Nice and golden brown, just flip and let the other side cook.

Breakfast is served

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baked Chicken Nuggets

I make these at least once a month with some frozen french fries. The kids love them and I've left off the cheese in recent months to make them a bit healthier and no one notices:)

3 Chicken Breasts washed and cut into nuggets
1 Egg beaten
1 C Panko bread crumbs
1/2 C Fresh Parmesan cheese

Wash and cut your chicken. Pat dry and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder..just sprinkle over the top, flip and repeat.

Dip chicken in egg wash.

Mix bread crumbs, cheese and 1/2 t salt. Roll chicken pieces and put on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. I flip at about the 12 minute mark. Be gentle, you don't want to lose any of the coating.

You could make your life easier and buy the chicken already cut into nuggets or strips but since I didn't, just use your kitchen shears to cut into nuggets
Get your ingredients lined up
Dip in egg first
Make sure they have plenty of coating
Put on sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes, gently flip and cook another 8-10

Dinner is served

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I'm hearing...

A few people have said/asked some things the past few weeks that got me thinking I need to address a few things. kids do not get a gourmet meal every night. FAR from it. My kids, as I've told all of you are fairly fussy so I keep it simple for them and my other recipes are shared with friends.

Second...I don't ever make some one's "speciality" for them. It makes me nervous. But, if you want to make something that you consider "my" speciality and share...thank you.

Third...I was raised that we sat at the dinner table every night, ate together and shared our day. In my teenage years, that was difficult because of activities but the table was still there and I made an effort to be sitting in my seat as often as I could because it's what we did.

I have raised my children the same way. A lot of people thought it was odd that a dining room was a "must have" when I bought a house. But for me, it's my comfort zone and even if we're eating McDonalds, we're eating it at the dining room table, telling 3 things from our day and connecting. Even with our busy schedule, I am still fortunate enough to sit at that table with my kids 4-5 times a week during the school year because I make that a priority. Summer we go with the flow and it doesn't seem to happen as often. I don't think any less of you if you don't sit at a table. As I said, "it's MY comfort zone".

The fourth one hurt my feelings a little bit...I NEVER turn up my nose at things that other people make, nor do I judge. I APPRECIATE every meal, cookie and snack that is given to me. I have always said, "I don't care if someone wanted to drop off a frozen pizza. I'm just grateful I won't have to cook that night".

Lastly, there has been a lag in new recipes for a variety of reasons:

My hard drive blew up on my computer and I lost several recipes that I was going to post so now I'll have to make them again to get photos.

My kids still aren't too adventurous so that hasn't made me too ambitious:)

School, dance and hockey started, i.e., life started again and we're a bit busier and bit more tired at the end of the day.

I also am taking a class on-line. I've decided it's time to cross a regret off my list and finish my college degree even if it's only one class at a time.

SO..with all that said, the next couple of weeks are going to be the recipes that you've seen. Recipes that are eaten in my house on a regular basis, we eat the same things OFTEN, because I know they are things that my kids like and I hope yours do as well.

AND, thank you so much for stopping in and reading or trying a recipe here or there. I started this blog simply to have recipes that were measured correctly for my friends and kids and to show you that I'm not a master in the kitchen. I'm an everyday cook who wanted to show you that you can do this too:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Alanna!

Today is Alanna's birthday. It also makes ME feel old. My birthday is tomorrow. So since there is only one day difference, we've celebrated together since we became friends. She informed me the other night that this was our 27th birthday together.

I said, "that can't be because we're only that old".

Here we are last year...

Happy Birthday Alanna!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicken Wings

Baked chicken wings have to be the easiest thing to make. An added bonus is that my kids love them.

What you'll need:

Family package of wings
Cooking Spray
Your favorite seasoning or just salt and pepper~I used Greek seasoning this time

Cut your wings in half and discard the little extra piece that you don't eat. Spray your cookie sheet with an edge. You need an edge so the grease doesn't spill over into your oven. Spread the wings out (I only used a small package this time), season, spray with a little cooking spray and put in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Flip and cook another 30. Serve.

Not the greatest photo, sorry.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Max!


That's right BLINK...for those of you that have older children you know exactly what I'm talking about. You blink and your baby has grown into someone you don't recognize.

I swear it was only a short time ago that I was chasing him around the house to get something that he shouldn't have, his excited giggle ringing through the house.

Wasn't it only yesterday that I had to spritz my magic Mommy dust so he could walk on the hot lava and not be trapped in a room?

And, wasn't it only a moment ago that he was 9 months old and climbing out of his crib like a monkey?

Today my baby is another year older. Since his last birthday, he is 6 inches taller, a few pounds heavier and has a voice I don't recognize.

He is a planner and likes to know how his day/week/month is going to play out. So it should be no surprise to me that his recent conversations with me have been about high school and college.

But when he says things in regard to either, I have to stop myself from saying, "that's years from now, you don't need to worry about that". It's not years from now, high school is NEXT year. BLINK and I'll be moving him into his college dorm room!

I know I have to stop obsessing about how fast time is going and just enjoy the here and now...or maybe I should start advocating for colleges to offer family dorms so I can go with??

I also realized when I looked for a photo of him, that I need to start taking more photos of just Max. But this face..this face is the one that I see the most. He's cracking a joke or being sarcastic. Yep, that's my boy.

But, then I looked up and saw this photo from his 100th day of Kindergarten. This is the age that my mind is stuck on:(
Happy Birthday MAX!