Monday, June 28, 2010

Beef Macaroni Casserole

This is nothing fancy, just a quick, easy, basic recipe to get dinner on the table!

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 small onion chopped finely
8 oz tomato sauce
1 TB flour
1/2 cup water
1 cup macaroni noodles, cooked
1 cup shredded cheddar, or whatever you have

Brown the meat & drain off the fat.

Add the onion & saute for a couple of minutes. Then combine the flour & water in a bowl until there are no flour lumps & then add that to the pan. Let simmer about 5 minutes then add the cooked macaroni noodles. Stir it all together & pour into a casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese & bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bran Muffins

1/2 cup raisins
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups bran cereal (such as Kellogg's All-Bran® Original Cereal)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 apple, cored and shredded
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup honey

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper cupcake liners.
Beat the egg with milk in a bowl, and mix in the bran cereal and raisins. Let the mixture stand until the cereal absorbs the liquid, about 5 minutes. Gently mix in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, melted butter, shredded apple, mashed banana, and honey, and stir a few times to mix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

What I did: I doubled the recipe and put them in the freezer. I pull out a couple at a time as needed and microwave them. This recipe is pretty flexible, so use what you have. I don't like raisins, so I used craisins. I used 2 bananas, and no apples. Used some brown sugar instead of honey. I think I also threw in a little plain yogurt. I think I will use honey next time though, b/c they needed some more sweetness - we've been putting honey on them.

Source: original recipe was "Roxie's Bran Muffins" from

Monday, June 14, 2010


Have you ever made your own yogurt? Did you know you could make your own yogurt? I was curious about this b/c my kids like yogurt and its not exactly cheap and they put tons of sugar in it. I researched it a little online and there are tons of websites that will tell you how you can do it. I decided to experiment with the crockpot method b/c it seemed the simplest. It did not turn out perfectly the first time, but not bad. It was just a little runny which may have been my yogurt starter or may have been that it was not warm enough for the "incubating" period. Anyway, if you think I'm crazy and no way are you going to bother making your own yogurt, I understand and I'll see you with my next post. Otherwise, if you are curious or a little interested, read on.

The recipe/method I used came from a site called Nourishing Days. You can click on that link to read her actual post - and many of the comments that followed were helpful. This is basically how it goes:

1. Turn your crockpot on LOW and add 1/2 gallon milk (skim is fine)
2. Heat on LOW for 2 1/2 hours - you are looking for a temperature of 180 degrees before moving on to the next step...
3. Turn off the crockpot and unplug it. Let it cool with the lid on for 3 hours. The temperature you are now looking for is 110-115 before moving on to the next step...
4. Remove 1-2 cups milk and place in a bowl. To this add 1/2 cup plain yogurt w/live active cultures and mix very well (I think this is where I went wrong - I used Dannon, which the ingredients says has live cultures, but I guess not enough. After researching more, there should be a "live active cultures" seal stamped on the container. Stonyfield Farms seems to be a good starter that other people use, so that is what I will try next time.)
5. Pour yogurt/milk mixture back into crockpot and mix thoroughly with a whisk.
6. Put lid back on crock & wrap entire crock in 1-2 thick bath towels.
7. Let culture overnight 8-12 hours (or longer if you want it thicker)
8. Stir and store in containers of your choice. Reserve 1/2 cup to use for your starter for the next batch.
9. Refrigerate at least 8 hours before using.

I stored mine in small 4 or 6 oz containers (can't remember if they are Glad or Ziploc, but you know what I mean). That way the kids could still have their own personal yogurt. This is also where you can experiment with different flavors by adding mix ins. Some suggestions are vanilla extract, jam, powdered drink mixes (Nesquick or Crystal Light, etc), jello powder, pudding mix (this helped make it thicker too). Or just use it plain for smoothies, on top of fruit, with granola or as a substitute for sour cream on tacos, etc.

**After making it a few times now, I have found my kids don't like it unless it's thick like the kind from the store. So I add & whisk in 3/4 cup milk powder in the very beginning with the regular milk.

I'm curious if anyone else has tried this (or if they will try it), so please comment! If you are going to try it I would recommend reading a little more online , but don't overwhelm yourself. This seemed to be the simplest method.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coconut Tres Leches

I usually don't like this cake b/c often it has a little bit of an eggy taste, but this recipe does not have any eggs in it except in the baked cake. Plus it's coconut - yum!

I must also let you know that this cake is NOT soggy. I promise. When you are pouring your "tres leches" over the cake you will be thinking - "this is going to be so soggy!" and when you take it out of the fridge a couple of hours later and look at it, you are going to think, "this is going to be soggy and gross!" But it won't be. It will be moist, but not soggy at all, and so coconutty & yummy. I must also tell you that it won't be pretty. After you've stabbed it all over and doused it in the milk mixture, it's not pretty. So don't make this for a potluck, you have to plate it up with the whipped cream, toasted coconut and bananas to make it look pretty. I should have taken a picture... the original recipe has some pictures though if you want to see.

Cake: yellow cake, baked in 9x13 pan

Milk Syrup:
1 can (15 ounces) cream of coconut (not coconut milk or coconut water! Check in the Asian or Hispanic food aisles. They didn't have it at my Super Walmart)
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnishes:2 medium-size ripe bananas
Sweetened cream (see instructions below)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (bake it at 350 degrees on cookie sheet until golden brown - watch it closely and stir a few times)

In a blender, combine the cream of coconut, evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla and process until smooth.

Pierce the completely cooled cake all over the top with the tines of a fork or a thin wooden skewer. You need LOTS of holes in the cake for the milk to soak in, so poke it ALL over.

Gradually pour the milk mixture over the cake. Let the syrup soak in, then pour on some more until all of it has been used up. When you have finished, not all of the milk will be completely absorbed and might be pooling on the top but that’s ok because it will absorb as it refrigerates. Cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until all of the milk is absorbed, 2 hours.

Cut the cake and plate it with sliced bananas, whipped cream and toasted coconut, if desired.

Whipped Cream:Pour 1 cup heavy whipping cream into a large (preferably chilled) bowl and beat it on high until thickened 1 ½ minutes. Add ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Makes 2 cups.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, June 7, 2010

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (1-2 limes)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream (to lighten them up, I have substituted sour cream with good results)

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour (I tossed mine together in a ziploc bag in the morning and let it sit in the refrigerator all day).

Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.