I enjoy cooking, my children’s schedule this year is making it harder for me to find the time to make complicated meals. Between dance and basketball it seems like there is usually something going on at dinner time that requires me to drive someone somewhere. So quick simple meals are a necessity for me right now. This sausage and broccoli recipe took less than 30 minutes to make, and it was delicious. I was surprised at how good it tasted, but the combination of the broccoli with the spicy sausage really worked. I will be making it again, and if you are looking for something quick give it a try!
I love chili, especially this time of year. Chili is the perfect wintertime food, because it is warm and filling and spicy. Plus there are so many recipes and variations I rarely make it the same way twice. Sometimes I make Cincinnati Chili, sometimes I make Texas Chili, sometimes I make White Chicken Chili, and sometimes I make it vegetarian. The possibilities are endless. To help celebrate Chili season and its variations the Chili Appreciation Society International and Bruce Foods sent me some Mexene Chili Powder and Louisiana Hot Sauce to review.
I am always looking for fun activities to do with my kids. Yesterday we went ice skating, and one of the things I realized while we were there is that I haven’t been doing as many fun activities with my children as I used to when they were younger. It seems that I am always busy, but not always busy with the things that are most important! Of course an outing is not always possible, but there are many fun things to do around the house.
I am always looking for something new and different for breakfast. I am also trying to eat more fruit, and this is a delicious way to do that. I made this Apple Cherry Bake for breakfast, and it was sweet and tasty.
It is kind of like a fruit crisp, only without the topping. It does take a while to bake, but I think it would work well in a slow cooker, so I am going to try that next time and start it before bedtime. It is a perfect brunch dish, and would go well with muffins or eggs to make a complete and tasty meal.
We have been eating more vegetarian food lately, partly because it can be healthier, and partly because my 18 year old is a vegetarian and she is still home on college break. I made this recipe for Vegetarian Chili earlier in the week, and it came out very tasty. I added in a little sauce from a can of chipotle chile in adobo sauce, and it made a huge difference in the taste. I didn’t add any of the chilies from the can, but just poured in about a teaspoon of the sauce. It added a rich smoky flavor to the dish. It is amazing what a big difference a small addition can make.
With trying to eat healthier I’ve been eating lots and lots of salad. So I’ve been looking for ways to make my salads more interesting and go beyond the standard lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. I made this Spinach Pear Salad and it was delicious. I haven’t ever used fruit with salad greens much before, but I can see it is an excellent combination. My husband usually has a token serving of salad, but he had seconds of this one and finished the bowl off.
It is always good to have a nice, hot lunch as an alternative to sandwiches. I used to make lunch for my children almost every day, because we homeschooled and I wanted to make sure they got a healthy lunch. But now my oldest is in college, my middle child is in public school and just my son and I are left at home. He complains frequently that I never make lunch anymore now that it is just him, and instead we have leftovers or sandwiches. But it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time making a meal for just two of us. This is a quick and easy lunch for us.
Working on the assumption that almost everything tastes better with chocolate, I decided to add chocolate chips to my Meringue Cookies this year. I like to make Meringues, because they are so simple and involve so few ingredients, and they melt in your mouth when you eat them. They are also about as low calorie as you can get for Christmas cookies. The only drawback is my recipe calls for cream of tartar, which I only use a few times a year. So I usually have to ransack the pantry to find it, because it has invariably ended up all the way in the back underneath something.
I love the Peppermint Kisses candies. They look so cute and you can really taste the candy cane flavor. So this year instead of making cookies with chocolate Kisses I wanted to use the Peppermint Kisses in a cookie. I kept it very simple and just put them on top of sugar cookies as they came out of the oven. The resulting cookie was delicious and super easy to make. If you aren’t into baking you could use refrigerated dough and end up with a very easy dessert to take for a party or cookie exchange.
As soon as I saw these cute little Golden Nugget Squash at the Farm Market I knew I had to find a recipe for them. They look like little pumpkins, so they are perfect for Halloween. I used a recipe from Cooking Light, although I modified it to add more vegetables and changed the sausage to pork sausage. This was delicious, and I will be making it again soon. The spicy sausage went perfectly with the squash and quinoa, and one squash per adult was the right serving size. The squash had a very mild flavor, so the kids liked it better than something stronger like butternut squash.
I like to cook food from all different cultures, because it is fun to try new things. I don’t get to travel much, but at least I can experience food from all over the world. This weekend I wanted to make a dish with pierogies. Pierogies are an eastern European dumpling that is stuffed with mashed potato filling, and I had a box sitting in my freezer just waiting to be used. So when I was asked to create a meal with Hillshire Farm Gourmet Creations Sausage I thought it would be perfect to combine with the pierogies, because sausage and mashed potatoes are a great combination.
I love apple pie, and fall seems like the best time to make it. I found this recipe in the The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion cookbook, and decided I had to try it. It uses rum and cider in the apple pie filling, which intrigued me. It was delicious, and the small amount of rum enhanced the taste. I modified the recipe a little to cut the amount of sugar in the recipe and increase the cinnamon. I think most apple pie recipes use too much sugar, apples are so naturally sweet already they just don’t need much extra. I use very little sugar in my apple pies, and no one has ever complained they aren’t sweet enough.
I like delictica squash because of its size – It is the perfect size to for two people. Since it is small it is much easier to cut than a large squash like butternut, and it doesn’t take as long to cook either. I usually just pierce it with a knife, microwave it for 10 minutes and serve. But this weekend I made it a little fancier by adding apples and cinnamon and baking it, and the result was delicious.
I’ve used the Philadelphia Cooking Creme a few times lately to make quick recipes. It is perfect for those nights I don’t feel like cooking, because it is a quick and easy sauce. It isn’t a gourmet meal, but it is quick and better than take out. Plus I usually use the cooking creme as part of a pasta dish, and my kids love pasta so I know they will eat it. This is a recipe for Cajun Chicken Pasta I threw together last week. I always have cooked chicken in the freezer, so that is what I used in this dish. But if you don’t have cooked chicken just add it to the frying pan before the veggies.
Today is National Guacamole Day! I love avocados and guacamole, they are amazingly delicious. With football season started it is a great time to serve guacamole and chips as a half time snack, or serve tacos and burritos as an easy meal. One of my favorite ways to have guacamole is with eggs and cheese, so I made a Guacamole Cheese Omelet for breakfast today, and have included the recipe below.
I have a lot of eggplant from my garden this year. I only planted one plant, but it is producing like crazy. It is kind of odd, since the green pepper plants right next to it are doing nothing. So I’ve been searching for eggplant recipes. I like this Eggplant Parmesan recipe because it doesn’t involve frying the eggplant, which defeats the health benefits of eating vegetables in the first place. By not frying the eggplant and using just a little cheese this makes a great, nutritious side dish. I made this with my white eggplant and heirloom tomatoes, but I’m sure it would be great with purple eggplant and regular tomatoes too.