Sunday, October 25, 2009

Frightening Food! ~ 10.25.09

It's really hard for me to fathom that October is nearly over- which means Halloween is nearly here! EEKS!

I think we have all our costumes.... but Commander Fox and Chewbacca may need a little tweaking. In fact we will, as I'm typing this I'm awaiting the lady on craigslist to tell me if a Darth Vader costume is available. The seven year old has changed his mind... again. lovely.

But these precious little mummy dogs make me smile. Here's how you can make them- visit here!

Last year, we made mummy pizzas. English Muffins with sauce and mozzarella cheese. My kids do not like olives, but my husband does, so it was okay to open a jar just for decorational purposes. I've been using this simple pizza sauce recipe lately and really love it! So EASY to make!

When you serve your kids food like this... they may just make super scary faces at you while you take their picture.... oooooo..... very scary!

So this is usually what they eat for Halloween... simple food that is fast and KID-Friendly.

To find out what I will be eating for All Hallow's Eve... you'll need to check back later this week!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kitchen Tip: Chopping Herbs ~ 10.15.09

Learned this at a pampered chef party way back when and thought it was brilliant!

Put your herbs in a cup.

Insert kitchen shears (an indispensible kitchen tool I might add) and start snipping, snipping, snipping...

Voila! Dump into the dish you are preparing!

Need a tip? Have a tip? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Review: Walking Tacos ~ 10.12.09

Today's meal is brought to you by Corona and Doritos.

Kidding. But they go great together and are somehow involved in this meal I'm about to share.
I was reminded it of it last weekend while I was at Applefest up in Franklin, Pa. Tons and tons of food vendors and I saw a sign for walking tacos! You're going to love this recipe. I discovered it over at Mennonite Girls can Cook and/or Bless Us O Lord- maybe both.

A walking taco (they're a.k.a. campfire tacos) is: all your essential taco ingredients contained in a very convenient little bag of doritos! Brilliant!

I love them that way b/c :
a) my kids can eat them without tears (they get SOOOO very frustrated when their taco shell breaks and all the stuff pours out of them) and
b) they're so darn fun!

You can make whatever taco meat recipe your little heart pleases, I prefer the America's Test Kitchen one which I'll post down below. You get all your taco ingredients together in little bowls and you buy a bunch of little bags of doritos (Target has them and Walmart, too)- you can buy JUST snack size doritos, as I discovered when I went to make these the first time around.

Here we have taco meat, shredded lettuce, taco sauce, tomatoes, avocados, monterey jack cheese and queso.

Open up your dorito bag and fold the top over just a little. Scoop in your taco fillings, mix it up and bit and eat it with a fork or spoon. Grown ups, add corona with lime. YUM!

If you have leftovers, you can scoop all the ingredients onto broken up pieces of taco shells or tortilla chips.... fun and yummy snack! Little open-faced tacos. Taco bruschetta. Whatever, it's good.

My favorite taco meat recipe:
Beef Tacos - serves 4; (can double, but you'll want to cook the meat in batches)
2 tsp veg oil
1 small onion, chopped small
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp gr cumin
1 tsp gr coriander (I don't have this)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsps vinegar, preferrably cider vinegar
black pepper
  • Heat oil to medium and saute onion until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and spices and 1/2 tsp salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute
  • Add ground beef and cook, breaking up with spoon and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching, until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce, broth, brown sugar and vinegar; bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat to med-low and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking the meat up so that no chunks remain, until the liquid has reduced and thickened (the mixture should not be completely dry), about 1o minutes.
  • Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Best Ever Hot Cocoa Mix ~ 10.7.09

Gray, ominous, chilly days like this call for a hot steamy cup of the most delicious hot cocoa.
We tried this recipe last year (or the year before) and it is now a family staple! It is creamy, thick and best with your favorite topping: whipped cream or marshmallows. In the pic above we added some Ghostmallows, could you tell.

3 cups nonfat dry milk
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I uesd Hershey's as Dutch processed is hard to find)
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs cinnamon (optional)

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Working in batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground.
To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 cup (I think a 1/4 is fine) of mix into 1 cup hot milk. Top with marshmallows and cozy up with someone you love.

Makes 20 servings

Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 months (or in my case, a lot longer- just found some in my pantry and drank it tonight. it was from our last batch... last fall)

(inspired by America's Test Kitchen)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cranberry Jello Salad- a family fave

My Godmother, Deanna, made this recipe for years and its been a longstanding family tradition to have it at the Thanksgiving and Christmas tables. My kids love it and I've taken to making it throughout the year for picnics or as a fun side dish alongside pork or chicken. In fact, I'm so fond of making it that I always have the ingredients for this on hand for when I need a quick side dish- I keep them all together on the pantry shelf so that I know if I'm missing one of them or need to restock on whole cranberry sauce! Good tip.

I often leave out the walnuts when I bring it to a large group event as I'm fearful of nut allergies- so know that it tastes just as good without them as it does with them included.

Cranberry Jello Salad

1 large cherry jello (big package- or two small)
1 can Ocean Spray whole cranberry sauce
1 can crushed pineapple, drained, but not all the way
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2- 1 cup walnut pieces

Boil 1/2 cup of water; Dissolve jello with water in large bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Let sit overnight in fridge.

As I was typing this up, I noticed I taped an alternate version of this recipe to the back of my recipe card. I'm thinking I cut it out of a magazine or the coupon section of the paper. I'll post that here as it does sound interesting and the kids might really enjoy it! Let me know if you try it.