Friday, August 31, 2012

Molasses Cookies

My mom is quite the cook, maybe I'm just biased but she can make a fantastic home-cooked meal. For as long as I can remember she's been cooking and baking, both professionally and at home.

While I definitely like to experiment more in the kitchen, my mom tends to stick to simple, good food. I have fond memories of her preparing meatloaf, pot roast and one of my favorites, her homemade chicken and noodles. She's given me her recipe and I've tried to make them numerous times but I just can't get them to turn out like hers. I don't know what it is, I give up for now.....I'll just keep visiting when they're on the menu.

Molasses cookies were a staple in our house growing up, along with her snickerdoodles (I'll have to share that recipe another time). My own kids have grown to love these cookies. Whenever grandma takes requests, they are always at the top of the list.

I think a lot of us have wonderful memories growing up that revolve around food. One of my favorites is of our Sunday visits to my grandma's house and helping my grandma and mom make homemade pizza. It's the little things like that, that we will cherish forever!

Molasses Cookies

3/4 c shortening
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
2 1/4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

In a large bowl cream together shortening and brown sugar. Add in egg and molasses, mix well. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Add to cream mixture. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and dip tops into sugar. Place balls sugar side up on a non stick cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 6-8 mins.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

German Chocolate Whoopie Pies

I just realized I made these a few weeks back, teased you with this picture on my facebook page and never shared the recipe. Shame on me!

I spotted these on another blog and instantly knew I had to make them. That was the weekend all of our kids were gone, we were planning to visit some friends and I was searching for a fun, new dessert to try.

I can't tell you how insanely good these were! They were well worth the extra time it took to make them. The coconut-pecan filling was definitely my favorite part of these cookies, I think I could have sat down and ate the whole pan. I will say, they are best enjoyed the day they're made. Any extras might be better off enjoyed with a fork because they get that moist, stickiness on top from being stored in a container.

Overall, these were another amazing dessert I enjoyed making. The recipe makes around 2 dozen, which means there's plenty to share with others. One was more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and I love having extras to deliver to friends and family.

German Chocolate Whoopie Pies

1 box German chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
3 eggs
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c water

Coconut-Pecan Filling:
1/2 c evaporated milk
11 oz bag caramel bits
1 c coconut
1 c pecan chips

Chocolate Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c cocoa powder
4 c powdered sugar
Splash of milk to thin out frosting

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or use silicone baking mats. In a large bowl combine cake mix, eggs, oil and water, mix until well combined. Using a small cookie scoop, drop spoonfuls of batter onto cookie sheets, placing several inches apart (they will spread). Bake for about 8-9 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Remove from oven, let cool on cookie sheet for a few mins before removing to a wire rack.

For coconut-pecan filling: In saucepan, heat evaporated milk over medium heat until simmering. Add in caramel bits and stir until melted. Let come to a boil, then add in coconut and pecans. Remove from heat and let cool.

Meanwhile prepare chocolate frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and vanilla together. Gradually add in cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Add just a splash of milk to thin of frosting, add more milk if needed to reach your desired consistency.

To assemble: With cookies flat side up, spread half with the coconut-pecan filling and the other half with chocolate frosting. Taking one of each, sandwich together and enjoy! Makes about 2 dozen.

Slightly adapted from: Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Monday, August 27, 2012

Barbecue Chicken and Penne Skillet

One of my favorite meals to make is barbecue pulled pork or chicken, but it seems like we always have tons leftover. It's nice to enjoy them for the next day's lunch but after that I start to get burnt out. Here's a great way to re-purpose those leftovers and create something totally new!

We made this for lunch a few weeks back and I was really surprised when all the kids really enjoyed it. I think just about everything was gone on their plates and that's one way I know it's a keeper.  You can use any sort of bbq meat in this dish and I love how it makes for a quick meal. When I have multiple children to feed during the lunch hour, I love dishes that can be made in 15-20 minutes. It makes my life so much easier!

Barbecue Chicken (or Pork) and Penne Skillet

8 oz. penne pasta
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 c leftover bbq pulled pork or chicken
14 oz. can diced tomatoes w/green chiles, undrained
3/4 c diced bell pepper, I used both green and red
1/2 c beef broth
1 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated or shredded cheddar cheese to top with

Cook pasta according to package. While that's cooking, in a large skillet melt butter, add in oil, garlic and peppers and saute for a couple mins. Add in tomatoes, broth, chicken, cumin, salt and pepper. Let simmer until heated through. Drain pasta and add into skillet. Sprinkle cheese on top and let melt. Remove from heat and serve.

Adapted from: Real Mom Kitchen

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekly Menu 8/26

I'm bracing myself for what could be a really crazy week around here. Our daughter begins her first full day of kindergarten tomorrow, we've been trying to eliminate naps for the past month or so but she still gets tired in the afternoon and needs some rest. I'm hoping things will go okay but I know it could be a rough few weeks until we're adjusted. I've also got another wedding order for this weekend along with our daughter's 5th birthday party. It might be one of those "what was I thinking?!" weeks. At least having a game plan for meals will help with the craziness! Here it is:

Pumpkin Muffins
Silver Dollar Pancake Sandwiches
Cereal or Toast with fresh fruit

Pizza Bites (I'll be making up extras for the girls' lunches too)
Snack-y Lunch (think homemade lunchables)
BBQ Chicken Quesadillas
Leftovers x2 (it's only the little one and I on Thurs and Fri)

Walking Tacos
Chuck E. Cheese with extended family
Grilled Chicken w/ Tomato-Pineapple Salsa
BBQ Ribs with homemade dinner rolls

Fresh fruit: watermelon, kiwi, grapes, bananas
Fresh veggies w/dip
Goldfish crackers
Peanut Butter and Jelly Swirl Bread (I'm really excited to try this recipe!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Random Eats: Meatloaf Burgers and Energy Bites

I wanted to share a couple of dishes we enjoyed this week, while I didn't change much of the original recipes, they were really good and I know our family will continue to enjoy them more often. First up are these delicious meatloaf burgers. I've had them on my menu for the past two weeks and finally got around to making them Monday night.

I followed the recipe for the most part, of course I left out the onions so my children wouldn't have a fit. I thought these were delicious, especially with a nice juicy tomato from the garden on top. Next time I think I'll be sneaking some bacon into these!

We also enjoyed these no-bake energy bites for snacks throughout the week. I apologize for not having a picture to show you, you'll just have to make them for yourself now and see. My good friend Angie has been making these for awhile now and I finally got around to trying them.

They're the perfect snack for when I'm craving something sweet. While I love chocolate, I'm not a fan of eating plain chocolate chips. I did add a very small amount to the mix, but I also substituted butterscotch chips. Yummy! I loved the peanut butter, butterscotch and chocolate combination in these. The kiddos even gobbled them up, we'll definitely have to keep these on hand for quick snacks!

Well I'm off to get started on a cake order I have for tomorrow, a sports themed first birthday. How fun! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

I love to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast but I don't make them very often as they do require a bit of planning ahead on my part and well, mornings can be quite hectic around here. I have a favorite recipe that I use and every so often I'll try to make up a double batch to keep in the freezer for when we're craving a fresh baked cinnamon roll.

Well now we can enjoy the taste of cinnamon rolls a little more often, but with using either a homemade baking mix or Bisquick. I first seen this recipe over on Money Saving Mom's blog.  While I haven't tried making my own homemade baking mix just yet I did have some Bisquick on hand to try these with.

These were really easy to make, I had them mixed and in the oven within 15 minutes. Everyone enjoyed them, they're filled with yummy brown sugar and cinnamon filling and topped with a simple powdered sugar glaze. Of course they had a biscuit texture and flavor but overall I think we'll be enjoying this quick and easy breakfast treat a little more often. Next time though, I think I'll try making up my own batch of this homemade baking mix and see how they turn out.

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

4 1/2 c Bisquick
1 1/3 c milk
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 c brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

1-2 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk

In a large bowl mix Bisquick and milk together, dough will be sticky. Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead about 8 times. Roll dough out into a rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Roll dough up and cut into rolls, I got a good 15 out of mine. Place into a greased baking pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 mins.

Remove from oven and let cool for a few mins. Meanwhile combine powdered sugar and milk to make glaze. Drizzle over warm biscuits and serve. These are best eaten while warm.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Caramel Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

Last night we hung out with some friends from my husband's softball team. We had some great weather (minus the few random rain showers), the kids all played well together and we enjoyed some good eats including these decadent brownie cups.

I usually get asked to provide desserts when it comes to gatherings and I have to say I don't ever complain! I have so many different recipes bookmarked and ideas in my head especially when it comes to desserts that I don't know if I'll ever have time to complete them all.

These are definitely one of the most decadent desserts I've ever made. I started with a boxed brownie mix. While I do try to cook from scratch as much as possible, sometimes we just can't go wrong with a little Betty Crocker in our life. I baked these in a mini muffin pan and then topped them with a Rolo. After they cooled I made up my favorite peanut butter frosting, this stuff is just one big bowl of goodness I tell ya. I don't get a chance to use it on any of my cake or cupcake orders since it contains cream cheese and whipped cream and those are not ingredients I can use with a home-based business.

You'll have a good amount of extra frosting with this recipe so you can plan to use it on a batch of cupcakes, a small cake, sandwiched in between some cookies....I wouldn't even judge if you sat down and ate it by the spoonful. It's really that good, I promise!

Caramel Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

1 box fudge brownie mix plus ingredients called for on package
Rolo candies, unwrapped (I used about 40 or so)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c peanut butter
3 c powdered sugar
1 c whipped topping, thawed

Unwrap Rolo candies and chill in freezer while you prepare and bake brownie bites. Preheat oven to 325. Prepare brownie batter according to package instructions. Grease 2 mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray. * I used a family size Betty Crocker brand mix so I ended up with close to 40 brownie cups, other brands might only yield closer to 2 dozen* Using a small cookie scoop drop batter into prepared cups, filling about 3/4 way full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately place a rolo candy (small side down) into each brownie bite. Bake in oven for 2 more mins and then remove to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before trying to remove from pan.

In the meantime make your frosting, cream together butter, cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add in powdered sugar. Finally mix in the whipped topping. Once brownies are cooled, remove from pan. When you're ready to serve, top each bite with a dollop of frosting. I inserted a large star tip (Wilton 1M) into a pastry bag to decorate mine. Store extra frosting in the fridge.

Makes around 40 brownie bites

Quick reminder: I have a cookbook giveaway going on for all of my Facebook fans. Make sure you head on over for your chance to win!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Menu 8/20

Well we're going into our first full week of school now. The past week was so busy that I'm looking forward to a much slower pace this time around. Here's what on our menu for the week, feel free to share what eats you'll be enjoying in your house!

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits
Mini Pancake Bites

Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad
Corndog Muffins
Ham and Eggs
Leftovers x 2 or sandwiches (for the little miss and I)

Meatloaf Burgers (never got around to these last week)
Ham Steak
Spaghetti w/ homemade sauce
Chicken Wraps (Buffalo and regular)
Grilled Double-Decker Pizza Sandwiches (I'm thinking my hubby and kids will really enjoy these!)

Fresh fruit (kiwi, peaches, grapes, blueberries)
Grape Caterpillar w/yogurt
Energy Bites
Peach Crisp Bread

I'll be back tomorrow with an amazing dessert to share with you! We went to a friend's house this evening to hang out with my husband's softball team, I brought along some caramel peanut butter brownie cups. Yum, TO.DIE. FOR! They were a huge hit to say the least.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oatmeal Apple Pie Bars

Today my kids headed back to school. Both girls were pretty excited I think. Our oldest started 7th grade and is looking forward to being involved with sports this year. Our almost 5 year-old started kindergarten, I surprisingly held it together really well this morning! I honestly love having them home with me everyday but I know they enjoy their time at school as well.

I can't believe how big they've both gotten!

I love to have some sort of snack or treat ready for them when they come home from school. Sometimes it's some fresh fruit and crackers and other times it might be something special like these bars.

I can feel good about serving these for a snack because they're not loaded with sugar and instead filled with lots of fresh apples. Even if you're not a dessert lover, I know you would enjoy these bars simply for the buttery oatmeal crust and topping.

Oatmeal Apple Pie Bars

Apple Filling:
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Oatmeal Crust:
1 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c brown sugar
1 c quick oats
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking spray. To make filling: melt butter in a med-large skillet, add all other ingredients and cook for about 10 mins, until apples become tender and caramelize. I added just a tsp of water to thin the filling out a bit, you might not think this step is necessary.  Set aside and let cool while you work on crust.
To make crust: Whisk flour, salt, baking soda, brown sugar and oats together. Add in melted butter and mix together. Take about 1 1/2 c of oat mixture and press into bottom of baking pan. Top with apple filling. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over apple filling. Bake for 30-35 mins. or until golden brown. Let cool and cut into squares.

Slightly adapted from: Once a Month Mom

And now for my giveaway winner.......Angie Webb! I happen to know Angie's a school teacher so these apple gifts just seem fitting for her :)  Thank you again to all of my readers, I appreciate every one of you and I hope you enjoy reading my recipes!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Freezer Spaghetti Sauce

Are you swimming in tomatoes right about now? I've got the perfect way to use them up without spending an entire day in the kitchen canning! My spaghetti sauce is so simple, it's made in the crockpot so you can go about what you're doing and stored in the freezer.

I've been making this each summer for the past 3 years or so, I'm not even sure where I exactly came across the recipe. I adapted it a little bit to suite our tastes and I love making it each year when we have extra tomatoes coming out of the garden.

It has a bit of a chunkier texture, which I love but if you don't like that, feel free to puree your batch in a food processor. My hubby doesn't like big chunks of veggies in his sauce so I usually try to smooth some out for him.

Freezer Spaghetti Sauce

2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, diced (I also had 1/2 yellow pepper on hand so I threw that in as well)
1/2 c canola oil
16 c chopped tomatoes (I usually figure 1 large tomato = 1 cup)
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
1/4 chopped parsley
1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1- 6oz can tomato paste (for each batch, when ready to serve)

In a large skillet, saute together the onion, garlic, pepper and oil. Cook until onion is transparent. Transfer to a slow cooker and add in chopped tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Let sauce cool, then pour into quart-sized freezer containers. Store in freezer until ready to serve. When ready to use, let thaw and stir in 6 oz. can of tomato paste to thicken sauce. Makes 3 qts.

A couple weekends ago this was my Saturday afternoon project. I was able to put away 3 qts of this sauce and 9 qts of sweetcorn. I can't wait to enjoy it during the winter months!

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway! You have until Wednesday!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekly Menu 8/13 and Giveaway!

Hubs and I are thoroughly enjoying our weekend without the girls but I'm so ready for them to come home now! I joked yesterday about how boring our life would be without kids.

This week the kiddos head back to school, Thursday to be exact. Besides preparing for that, we have lots of extra activities filling our evenings along with some cake orders. Some of our meals this week will be more simple since we'll be going from one thing to the next.

Blueberry Muffins
HM French Toast Sticks

Grilled Cheese
Snack-y Lunch (think hm lunchables)
Crunchy Lemon Garlic Chicken   (I think we'll make these into strips for the kids)
Leftovers x2 (it will only be the little one and I so no use in making a big lunch for 2)

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
Sloppy Joes (We never did make these last week)
Meatloaf Burgers
Grilled bbq chicken drumsticks

Fruit- Watermelon, Strawberries, Kiwi, Bananas
Veggies w/dip
Chex Mix
English Muffin bread w/strawberry jam
Cheese and Crackers

Now for the fun stuff!

 In honor of my 100th post I'm giving away this adorable apple kitchen towel and apple cookie cutter. Apple season is right around the corner believe it or not and I have a thing for apples in my kitchen. Almost all of my appliances are red and I love any sort of apple decoration I can get my hands on!

Here's how you can win:

1) Follow Been There Baked That using google reader (over there on right hand side of page)
2) Follow Been There Baked That on Facebook
3) Follow me on Pinterest
4) Tell me what you're most looking forward to this Fall?

That gives you 4 chances to win! Leave a separate comment for each entry. I'll choose a winner at random on Wednesday, August 15th.  Good luck!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: Miserly Moms

Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy

My July book to read was Miserly Moms: Living well on less in a tough economy by Jonni McCoy. I've owned this book for over a year now and just hadn't gotten around to reading it, July was probably the perfect month out of this year to do so.

Last month, the company my husband works for filed for bankruptcy. It was definitely not something that was expected. We're very thankful that he's been able to stay employed there for the time being and help with the whole bankruptcy process but we'll soon have to be moving on to something else and it's always scary not knowing what your future holds. With that being said, we've had to tighten our belts a little more than normal and be even more aware of where our money's going.

A lot of what's featured in the book our family already embraces, but I will say it was a nice refresher and I did learn a few new things. Jonni does a great job outlining each area of our lives where we can cut costs. Our grocery bill is one of easiest areas in which you can save money and I'm not talking about only using coupons. Sure coupons are great and can help you to get that food bill down, but regular menu planning, purchasing items that are on sale and cooking from scratch also help.

We have a family of 5 and I aim to spend around $60 each week at the store. Some weeks I spend more and some I even spend less. I don't coupon much either. I strive to stick to a menu plan each week; before I do my grocery shopping, I scan the weekly sales flyer's to see what's on sale. I make sure to stock up on items that are at their rock bottom price and then try to plan our meals around what else is on sale for the week. I also try to cook from scratch as much as possible, this means I don't buy very many processed foods or snacks. We try not to eat out very often, occasionally we'll order pizza or on special occasions we might take the whole family out to a restaurant. All of these things helps me to keep our grocery budget low and is part of what helps us to afford for me to work from home and be here with our kids.

The author also includes many recipes for some of her family's favorite dishes but also ones for homemade cleaners and frugal craft ideas to do with your own children. I really liked how after each section she would list some books that would provide additional information on the subject she discussed. I have a few that I'm hoping our local library has available.

If you enjoy reading about ways to help you lower your monthly expenses or maybe you're a mom that's hoping to someday be able to stay home with your children; I think you would enjoy and hopefully benefit from Miserly Moms. Like I said, I didn't particularly learn many new ideas or concepts but it's definitely filled with good, valuable information that I like to be reminded of.

Well the hubby and I are off to hang out with some friends this evening. My parents took all 3 girls for the weekend and headed up to the river. I've been busy baking away today, take a look at these!

Don't they make your mouth drool? I promise to share the recipe next week!

One last thing, can you believe this is my 100th post?! I'm pretty excited, I'll be back on Monday with a fun giveaway to celebrate. Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mini Pancake Bites

Summer's coming to an end soon and next week I'll be sending the oldest 2 girls back to school (at least I'll have one home with me still). We've had a great summer and I hope I've done a good job in helping them to create some awesome memories!

Part of those memories include food, what can I say? Some days I think my life revolves around it but I wouldn't have it any other way. They've enjoyed our little hand-held breakfast dishes just as much as I have, from the mini omelets to the pumpkin donut holes.  And just the other day we made these adorable pancake bites.

I had these in mind to add to my freezer stash, right before school starts I try to start adding lots of pancakes, waffles, muffins and anything else that might make our mornings a little bit easier. I used my go-to pancake recipe for the base and added in different mixings. The kids even had fun helping to prepare these, I let them drop the blueberries and sausage into the muffin wells. We ended up with about 2 dozen blueberry and 2 dozen sausage pancake bites. Served with a little bit of maple syrup, these were amazing! Perfect for their tiny hands and I was able to put away a good amount for the freezer. They'll come in handy in the next few weeks, that's for sure!

Mini Pancake Bites

2 c flour
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c oil
Fillings such as blueberries, sausage or bacon
Maple syrup to serve with

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or butter 2 mini muffin tins and set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in eggs, milk and oil and mix well. With a small cookie scoop, drop batter into muffin wells, about 3/4 full. Drop in desired fillings, I used 2 blueberries for each one or just a couple chopped pieces of sausage for the others. Bake for 8-9 mins. Serve with syrup on the side. Makes 48 pancake bites, store your extras in the freezer.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Weekly Menu 8/6

I always like reading other blogs and seeing what everyone's planned for their weekly menus. I usually get some inspiration for new things to try or I might be reminded of a dish I haven't made in awhile. I thought I'd try to post my weekly menus for you to see, maybe you'll find some new favorites or maybe not. One of my goals for the year was to make sure I'm taking the time to plan out our meals each week. I'm happy to report I've done really well in doing so, some weeks a little better than others. This week I've got quite a few new dishes we're trying, I'm hoping they all turn out and I'll be posting the recipes soon!

Mini Pancake Bites
Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls

BBQ Chicken Penne Skillet
Cheese Quesadillas
Leftovers or Sandwiches

Chicken Ranch Ranchero with Rice
BBQ slow cooker chicken sandwiches
Chicken and Corn Hashbrown Bake
Sloppy Joes

Fruit (grapes, peaches, blueberries, cantaloupe)
Veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers)
String Cheese
Oatmeal Apple Pie Bars

Well that's what we'll be eating throughout the week, we are kid-free this weekend so I didn't plan anything for while the kids are gone. What's on your menu this week? Are you trying any new recipes?


Friday, August 3, 2012

Southwestern Pasta 'n' Beans

I'm always on the lookout for new side dishes to try. Seems like we have the same veggie, potato or salad dishes. It's fun to change it up a bit. I came across this recipe in an old magazine, it's something different and I had all the ingredients already on hand.

This made for a quick weeknight meal before softball games. I served it alongside some grilled chicken and it was delicious. We'll definitely be making this more often for a change of pace.

Any big plans for the weekend? Now that everyone in our house seems to be feeling a little bit better, I'm hoping to actually relax a little bit. I am excited to do a little bit of freezer cooking though, planning to make some spaghetti sauce using tomatoes from our garden. We're also planning on freezing a bunch of sweet corn this weekend so we'll have that to enjoy through the winter.....yum!

Southwestern Pasta 'n' Beans

8 oz bow tie pasta
1 med red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
16 oz can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I used some pinto beans that I already had in the freezer)
3/4 c vegetable broth
3/4 c salsa
2 tsp cumin
1/3 c minced fresh cilantro

Cook pasta according to instructions on package. While that's cooking, in a large skillet, saute pepper in oil (feel free to use some onion as well if you family likes that) for about 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add garlic, cook for another 1-2 minutes longer. Stir in beans, broth, salsa and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, let simmer, uncovered for 6-7 mins or until heated through. Drain pasta, stir into bean mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Veggie Crostini

It's been quite a week already I tell ya! We took a couple days off to enjoy some time with our kids and be able to do some fun things with them. But life happens and we spent all of last weekend and Monday passing around a flu bug. Luckily myself and our oldest never got it but it was not fun, washing bedding, towels, everything in the house pretty much; everyday for 5 days straight! Ugh! Luckily everyone was feeling better yesterday and hoping it stays that way for a little while.

Enough with my rant. I made these appetizers last weekend because they are one of my favorites to make during the summer when I have fresh veggies from the garden and farmer's market. And to be honest, I was just craving them!

I always make sure to serve them any time we have a bbq at our house and they always go over well. They're an easy appetizer that you make up ahead of time if needed and can set out for awhile. I start with a fresh baguette, no I don't make my own, maybe someday though.

I top each slice with a herbed cream cheese spread that's seasoned with garlic, dill and parsley. From there the crostini is garnished with cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes. These are so delicious! I have to stop myself from eating too many, I always say I could make a meal out of them.

Veggie Crostini


1 baguette, sliced
Olive oil
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Cucumber, diced
Yellow pepper, diced
Tomato, diced


To make herbed cream cheese, mix cream cheese, mayo, garlic powder, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil on each slice and bake at 350 for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer slices to a serving platter. Top each slice with cream cheese mixture and veggies.

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