Broccoli Cheese Soup

I love soups, I will be sharing my baked potato one with you soon.  I find soups take awhile though, and had been on a hunt for a quick one.  I was happy to try out this Broccoli Cheese Soup, though the recipe calls for the crockpot, I made it quickly on the stove and it turned out well.

Original Recipe:


Recipe was found on Food.com.

Our Changes:


I only used broccoli, I left out the green pepper and onion and did it on the stove.  I also topped our bowls with pepper when serving.

Family Thoughts:



Everyone thought this was very tasty.  I make a similar recipe in my Broccoli Cheese Casserole, and it's so quick I love that you could even make this for lunch or decide at the last minute to have it with dinner.  Will be very welcome this fall and winter.


Macaroni Salad

Even though I refer to this recipe as Macaroni Salad, I don't actually use macaroni..haha.. usually I use shells or rotini. Everyone has their own recipe for this, I thought I would share mine with you!  A very yummy and popular summer salad.  Also great with ham dinners, steak, hot dogs and burgers or on it's own for lunch!

Recipe


Step 1:
Boil the short pasta noodle of your choice, drain and then run cold water over it - both so it won't stick together and to cool it down.

Step 2:
In a bowl combine:
  • cooked pasta
  • 1 can of drained tuna
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped red onion
  • enough mayo or miracle whip to coat
  • a bit of salt
Step 3:
Cover and refridgerate for a couple hours before serving.

Family Thoughts:

 


Everyone loves this, even the kids!  Easy to make and take to BBQ's and pot lucks.  How do you make your macaroni salad?

One Hour Rolls

As you know, I've been into bread lately!  Trying many recipes across the web, but have not tried buns/rolls yet - now is the time!  Rolls are perfect for so many occasions, kid friendly, great for turning any dinner into a sandwich (who else likes to do that??), easy to bring to a dinner/BBQ/Pot luck and you don't have to worry about crumbly cutting.  I found an amazing recipe to share with you!!

Original Recipe:


Found through Pinterest, I ended up trying out the One Hour Rolls on the What is on your menu this week? blog.

Our Changes:


No changes, followed the directions exactly!  I was surprised to see the egg, I hadn't seen a bread recipe with an egg up to now, but it worked!

Family Thoughts:


Amazing!!!  Everyone loved this, great taste, texture, SO EASY!  You simply have to try these, you will be a huge hit if you bring them to a BBQ this summer!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oreo Cupakes

Originally, I got the idea to combine chocolate, peanut butter and Oreos together in some form of a cupcake because my husband loves all of those things, so why not create a cupcake that has them all together?!

Ironically, my blogging friend Just Us Girls posted a recipe for Peanut Butter Oreo Brownie Cupcakes. I was sold! I was going to make this for Father's Day!

I originally had the idea of a chocolate cupcake and because I'm always on the hunt for great chocolate cupcake recipes, off to Pinterest I went. I came across a handful of recipes that all included my key ingredients of chocolate, peanut butter and Oreos.

Original Recipe:

The recipe that I based this dessert from was found over at Crazy For Crust, but I decided to make a few changes.

This recipe includes my 3 key ingredients plus a few more.

Our Changes:

With a few changes, this is what our recipe looked like in the end:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Oreo Cupakes

For the cupcakes:
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup light sour cream
10 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
12 Oreo cookies to be placed in bottom of cupcake liners
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

Notes:
We omitted the salt, used light sour cream, reduced the number of oreos for chopping and added a whole oreo lightly spreaded with peanut butter to the bottom of the cupcake liner.

To make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line your muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Add cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add your eggs, one at a time beating well in between each addition.
  5. Beat in the vanilla.
  6. Add half the flour mixture on low speed along with half the sour cream. Mix until just combined.
  7. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and sour cream.
  8. Fold in the chopped Oreos.
  9. Scoop batter into muffin liners, filling each about ¾ full. Bake about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk milk
½ cup chocolate chips (any kind), for drizzle

Notes:
We changed the milk from whole to 1%.
We used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate for drizzling.
We didn't put oreo crumbs on top of the cupcakes as we felt that it was fancy enough with the yummy peanut butter frosting and the chocolate drizzle.

To make the frosting:
  1. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter until well blended.
  2. Add the vanilla and mix until blended and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  3. Turn the mixer to low speed and add half the powdered sugar with half the milk.
    Mix until just blended and repeat with remaining powdered sugar and milk. Beat on low until creamy, about 1 minute.
  4. Frost cupcakes.
  5. To make chocolate drizzle, melt ½ cup of chocolate chips in microwave. Add to a Ziploc bag and snip of a tiny tip of one corner. Drizzle melted chocolate over cupcakes.
  6. Chill to harden.

Family Thoughts:

Wow, did these cupcakes ever turn out well, but they sure are rich! The recipe ended up making 12 large sized cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes (with no oreo in the bottom). I'm not sure the peanut butter spread on the oreo in the bottom of the cupcake was necessary. Next time, I will try to make some without and see how we like them!

The family devoured this dessert and we give it a two thumbs up!

This Mommy Cooks Dinner Birthday Party LinkUp

Taco Pasta Bake

Updated with a more straight forward Ingredient list and directions - let me know when you try it!

Recipe 

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 - 3/4 of a bag of large noodle pasta like ziti 
  • approx. 1lb of ground beef
  • 1 pkg/envelope of taco seasoning
  • 1C water
  • 1/2 pkg of cream cheese (about 4oz)
  • 1 1/2C shredded cheese (I used marble)
Directions:
1. boil pasta until just cooked, drain, run cold water over it
2. brown ground beef
3. mix together taco season and 1C of water, pour over cooked beef and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced
4. add the 1/2 pkg of cream cheese to the beef mixture, stir until melted and combined, remove from heat
5. put pasta in your casserole dish or pot, mix in 1C of the shredded cheese
6. top pasta and cheese with beef mixture, gently mix until the pasta is coated
7. top with remaining 1/2C of shredded cheese
8. bake at 350 uncovered for approx 30 minutes 

Here's my original post with photos, let me know if you have any questions, and enjoy!

Step 1:
Boil pasta, don't over cook it as you will be baking it later. I like rigatoni and ziti for this recipe, but any big noodles will do.

Step 2:
While pasta is cooking, brown ground beef.

Step 3:
When ground beef is cooked through add taco seasoning mixed with 1C water and let simmer.

Step 4:



When ground beef is ready add approx. half a pkg of cream cheese and stir until melted and mixed in.

Step 5:
When pasta is ready drain and run cold water over it.

Step 6:





In a casserole dish add cooked pasta, stir in some shredded cheese, the ground beef mixture, top with more cheese, leave uncovered and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Family Thoughts:



Oh my gosh, it's so yummy, kids like it as well! Make lots so you can have leftovers for lunch the next day! :-)

Creamy Potato Salad #SAVOURTHESUMMER #Giveaway



Original Recipe:

I was inspired to try out a recipe for Creamy Potato Salad that I found on Yummy Mummy Club. After going on a Sobeys Shopping Trip, I finally had all of the ingredients that were needed to create this mouth watering summer salad!

Original Ingredients Include:
  • mini potatoes
  • Miracle Whip
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • fresh chives, chopped
  • bacon, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Coarse salt and pepper

Our Changes:

I didn't have any sour cream in the fridge (blame it on the Mommy brain), so I substitued it for Greek Yogurt. I would love to try it with sour cream as I believe it has a slightly more neutral taste.

I also didn't have any cheddar cheese, so I used a mozzarella cheese that I had pre-shredded in the fridge.

Family Thoughts:


Both my husband and I really enjoyed this salad. I kept a few potatoes plain for the children and lucky I did because my 3 year old wouldn't touch the salad, despite the fact that it had bacon in it. I was VERY proud of my 7 year old who typically doesn't enjoy creamy sauces. She tried one potato, but after giving it a solid try, she stuck to eating the plain boiled potatoes. This would make a great summer salad to bring to a friend's house for dinner or to a picnic (just remember to keep it cold to prevent spoiling!).

And now for the Giveaway!

One lucky reader over at Multi-Testing Mommy has the opportunity to win a $100 Sobeys Gift Card! What are you waiting for? Head on over and enter to win! Giveaway is open to Canadian Residents only and ends on July 31, 2012.

Rice and Cheese Balls from Everyday EASY 30 Minute Dinners

Everyday Easy 30 Minute Dinners

DK Description: For people who want new, quick, and easy family-pleasing recipes, Everyday Easy cookbooks maximize the quality of everyday cooking with minimum effort. 30-Minute Dinners includes recipes that use readily available ingredients and are simple to prepare, from quick and hearty salads and soups, to fuss-free meals, and express desserts.

This recipe book is quite the book! It has so many features that I loved, it will be hard to list them all, but I will try.

Here are the main features that I really like about this book:
  • The full colour, detailed photographs of every recipe!
  • Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Guidelines
  • The detailed techniques pages
  • The simple instructions
  • The servings size listings
  • The prep time and cook times on every recipe.
This recipe book is extremely easy to read and follow! I really enjoy the layout.

There were quite a few recipes that included seafood and fish, something that I do not make. However, having said that, there are many recipes in this book that I can't wait to test out including:
  • Chicken Poached in Coconut Milk
  • Waldorf Salad
  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Danish Meatballs
  • Pork chops with Green Peppercorn Sauce
  • Bulgur with Mixed Peppers, Mint and Paprika
  • Filet Mignons with Walnut Pesto
  • Pan-fried Ham with Pineapple Salsa
  • Egg and Fennel Potato Salad
  • Cauliflower Gratin
  • Carmelized Pork Tenderloin with Pecans and Apricots
  • Hamburgers
  • Turkey Burgers
  • Pork Scallops with Bread Crumb and Parsley Crust
  • Zabaglione
  • Pineapple Flambe
  • Strawberry Yogurt Mousse

I tried out the Rice Balls with Cheese on page 96. This was definitely a family hit! Truth be told, I forgot to add the cheese and they were still super yummy. Surprisingly they were very easy to make too. I had leftover risotto from the night before that worked perfectly with this recipe.


Rice Balls with Cheese
Excerpted from Everyday Easy 30 Minute Dinners / copyright 2012 DK Publishing,

INGREDIENTS:
salt
1 1/4 cup cold, cooked Arborio or other risotto rice
2 balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted
olive oil, for frying

METHOD
  1. Generously season the cold risotto rice with salt, then roll it into 12 even sized balls.
  2. Push a cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball, then cover so that the cheese is enclosed.
  3. Roll each ball first in the beaten egg, then in the toasted bread crumbs. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry each ball for 2-5 minutes, or until golden.
    Serve hot.

My changes:

I had made a traditional risotto with onion, garlic and carrots one night. The next night, I used that cold risotto to make these rice balls. Yummy! I actually forgot to add the cheese in and they still tasted amazing. I also used canola oil instead of olive oil.

Family Thoughts:

The whole family was disappointed that I didn't make more of these 1 bite wonders! We LOVED them! This is another great way to sneak veggies into my picky guy(s).

Potato Gratin Cups

I admit I am not a lover of scalloped potatoes and things like that.  I think because my Gramma made them very watery and kinda tasteless and it really turned me off.  So I wasn't too sure about these, but would love a few different ways to introduce potatoes to my family.

Original Recipe:


Found on The Spohrs are Multipling, she shares a lot of fun recipes that are handed down from her family.

Our Changes:

 


I used yellow potatoes and just used marble cheese, but we followed the steps word for word.

Family Thoughts:

 


A huge hit!  Even the kids liked these yummy potatoes dripping in cheese.  I adored them and shared a couple with my Mom, she says I am on potato duty at family dinners now.  :-)  So quick, easy and tasty, we will be making these again and again!

BBQ Turkey Drumsticks

Summer is officially here and if you haven't already, it's time to turn on that grill. I'd love to share with you a favourite around here - BBQ Turkey Drumsticks! Visit Turkey Farmers of Canada for all the nutritional and preparation info you need for every cut of turkey, and some amazing recipes too!

Recipe

Step 1:
In a pot combine..
  • 4C water
  • 1/4C sugar
  • 1/4C brown sugar
  • 1/4C kosher salt
  • 1-1/2t seasoning (we like Canada's own CattleBoyz Smokin' and Grillin' Rub or their Smokey Southwest Seasoning & Rub)
 
 


Bring to a boil then let cool.

Step 2:
Put 2-4 turkey legs in the brine and store in the fridge for 6+ hours.




Step 3:
Pat drumsticks dry, put a seasoning rub on them (we used CattleBoyz here again)



Step 4:
BBQ on med-low heat for approx. 45 minutes - 1 hour 15 minutes. Or BBQ med-high with the drums wrapped in foil. As drum sizes can vary, it’s always best to check doneness by ensuring the internal temperature has reached 165F (74C) using a digital thermometer.



Looking to feed a crowd? Just double or triple the brine and you are good to go!


Family Thoughts:


Everyone loves these huge drumsticks. They taste great, are fun to eat and hold, fun party food and summer BBQ's.

Giveaway:

 

 

 Enter below for your chance to win this great BBQ Prize Pack from Turkey Farmers of Canada to help you get grilling turkey this summer!

Homemade Mac & Cheese

For as long as I can remember, my Mom's homemade Mac & Cheese was my comfort food. Whenever she asked me what I wanted for dinner, this would be my choice! The following recipe is a slight twist on my Moms, but it truly reminds me of my childhood. I hope that it will do the same for my children.
~Amanda


Homemade Mac & Cheese

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 375 gram box of maccaroni noodles (we like the Smart Pasta made by Catelli)

DIRECTIONS:
Step 1:
Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until desired consistency has been reached (approximately 10 minutes).

Step 2:
While pasta is boiling, melt butter in a medium sized pot over medium low heat. Once melted, add flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
Step 3:
Whisk 2 egg yolks and salt into milk. Slowly add milk mixture to butter mixture, stirring regularly. Cook over medium heat until sauce is thick (it should coat the back of a wooden spoon when it is ready).

Step 4:
Remove sauce from heat source and add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Step 5:
Drain pasta, return pasta to pot and stir in cheese sauce.
Step 6:
To make this dish even yummier, pour pasta mixture into an oven proof dish, sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Watch the top and cover with foil if the cheese starts to brown.

Family Thoughts:

The whole family gobbled up this traditional and simple recipe for Mac & Cheese! This is comfort food at its best!

Take #1:
I was rushing to make this dish and didn't read the recipe properly. I ended up using 2 whole eggs (whites and yolks) instead of just the yolks. The sauce ended up being a curdled mess, but I didn't realize this until I had mixed it all together.

This was take #1 of our Mac & Cheese meal:


Have you ever had any food disasters that you would like to share with us?! We'd love to hear about them.

Fun Food Friday: Ants on a Log



I put in a few too many chocolate chips in the container, but you get the picture! Have fun putting ants on a log. Spread an apple piece (or celery) with peanut butter and stick raisins or small chocolate chips on top as ants! Fun!

P.S. That adorable purple silicone teddy bear was found at the Real Canadian Superstore, a President's Choice product! How much fun is that?!

No More Composter or Green Bin Stink Thanks to Eco Compo!

We have recently been introduced to a wonderful, all natural product called Eco Compo that that both facilitates the composting process and also enhances the quality of the end product: nutrient-rich soil.

Eco Compo eliminates compost and garbage odors naturally! No more poisonous spray!

Feel free to head on over to Multi-Testing Mommy to read a full review of Eco Compo.

Hidden Valley Ranch Potato Salad

When I think of summer salads Potato is a big one for me. I've discovered a new way to make potato salad that absolutely everyone loves!

Recipe


Step 1:



Rinse a bag or two of small red potatoes, the ones I buy are called Little Gems.  Slice them in half and put them in a medium pot, cover with water, a dash of salt and boil.  Don't boil them too long, you don't want mashed potatoes, just cooked but still firm enough to keep their shape.

Step 2:



While they are boiling, get ready some chopped bacon, possibly some shredded cheese, green onions, and 1/2 - 1C Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.

Step 3:
Drain potatoes, run cold water over them, combine everything into a salad.

Step 4:
Refrigerate for an least a couple hours and serve.

We used Original Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, but this would also work perfectly with their cheese and spicy ranches!


Hidden Valley:


Thanks so much to Hidden Valley for sending us bottles of all their ranch dressings.  Not only have we been trying new recipes like this Potato Salad, the kids have really been enjoying the Cheese Ranch dressing with cucumbers and other yummy veggies!

Family Thoughts: 


Where before the kids would often turn up their noses at potato salad, they love this one with their favourite, Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing in it.  The bacon adds a great texture and flavour, it's a big hit!

Keurig Coffee Maker Giveaway with @HomeCoffeeSolns

We sure do love our coffee around here! If you do too, wouldn't you LOVE to get your hands on a Keurig Coffee Maker to make brewing coffee super easy, fresh, fast and convenient!

GIVEAWAY TIME!
Prize: Keurig B40 Single Cup Coffee Maker
Giveaway is open to Canadian Residents only and closes on July 22, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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