Sunday, September 23, 2012

key lime chicken

Another grilled chicken recipe.... this one is great too!  

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4-6 chicken breast or 6-10 chicken tenders

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag. Whisk well to get the honey to combine.
2.  Add chicken and marinate for 30 minutes - a couple of hours
3. Grill chicken 6-7 minutes per side for breast or 3-4 minutes per side for tenders.

Friday, September 21, 2012

grilled island chicken

I always have frozen chicken around.  It is so easy to defrost some and throw it on the grill.  This marinade is really good and was so easy to make.  I use chicken tenders since they cook faster and they are easy to serve to the kids because they are smaller.

Grilled Island Chicken

1/3 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-4 chicken breast or 6-10 chicken tenders

1) Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl or plastic bag.  
2) Throw in the thawed chicken.
3) Let marinate for at least 3 hours, can also be done overnight.
4) Grill on the charcoal or gas grill, or inside on the grill  - 6-7 minutes per side for breast or 3-4 minutes per side for tenders

Serve with baked potato, green beans and a salad!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

a reminder

All around our house, I have scriptures as well as other inspirational quotes and sayings.  Mostly they are to remind me of the blessings I have but also to remind me of who is with me all the time.   My grandmother was a worrier.  I am a worrier and now my daughter is a worrier.  Some things I can control and some things I can't.  I try not to worry but life circumstances make it hard.  I found a verse that especially hits home and I wanted to have it as a daily reminder.   I wanted my daughter to have it too...  I put it in our bathrooms and we can read it each morning.

My verse:
Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Phillipians 4:6-7

What you need:

White Paper
Scrapbook Paper
Frame (whatever size you want to use) I used a 4x6


1. Type up or write out your verse, saying or quote (keep in mind the size of your frame). You may need to adjust your spacing to make sure it will be the right size.
2. Use the glass in the frame to trace the size of scrapbook paper you will need.  Then cut it out.
3. Cut out the saying. Making sure it is small enough you can see your scrapbook paper as well. 
4. Adhere the saying to the scrapbook paper. Use either double stick tape or a scrapbook tape. Don't use glue as it will leave a mark.
5. Put the glass back in the frame along with your saying.
6. Place somewhere you will see it everyday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

a family favorite - million dollar spaghetti

Last fall, I came across this blog as well as this recipe.... Million Dollar Spaghetti has quickly become a family favorite.  I do things a little differently than she does and I also do mine in the crockpot to save some time during the crunch part of my day.  You can also do it in the oven.  This recipe is so good!  You have got to try it!  The creamy cheese mixture in the middle make this recipe extra yummy.

This best part of this meal is that I can make it early in the afternoon and it is ready when we get home from our activities.  If I have it on by 2pm, we can eat it anytime after 5pm. Talk about a time save.  We can walk right in from our activities and dinner is ready.

Million Dollar Spaghetti - Crockpot Style


1lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 can/jar spaghetti sauce (whatever your favorite is)
Cream Cheese Mixture:
       5 oz Italian Herb Cooking Cream OR Philadelphia Cream Cheese
       1/4 cup sour cream
       8 oz cottage cheese
4 tbl butter
spaghetti noodles, cooked and rained


1.  Brown your meat and cook your spaghetti.
2.  Add your spaghetti sauce to your meat and let it simmer for just a few minutes
3.  Mix up your cream cheese mixture (**money saving tip for future recipe below). 
4.  Now it is time to layer, so get out your crockpot
         -- put a couple of teaspoons of butter along the bottom of the crockpot
         -- layer half the spaghetti noodles on the bottom of the crockpot
         -- put a couple of teaspoons of butter on top of the spaghetti
         -- spread the cream cheese mixture over the noodles
         -- layer the rest of the spaghetti noodles over the cream cheese mixture
         -- put the rest of the butter on the spaghetti noodles
         -- top the spaghetti with all of the meat sauce
5. Turn the crockpot on low for 2-4 hours, whatever time you need
6.  Serve with some yummy crusty bread!

Money Saving Tip:

When combining your cream cheese mixture, dump the entire container of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sour cream and 16oz container of cottage cheese in a bowl. Stir it all together.  When done, use half for your current recipe. Then put the leftover back in the cottage cheese container.  Mark it with "million dollar spaghetti" on top, put the container in a freezer bag, and store it in the freezer. Next time you make this recipe, set the cream cheese mixture out in the morning and it will be thawed by the time you need it!

Oven Cooking:

If you want to cook this in the oven, here are the other steps.
1.  preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Do all the layering above, but do it in a 13x9 pan instead of the crockpot.
3. Cook in the over for 40 minutes.

 spaghetti sauce & my frozen then thawed cheese mixture

Butter, Noodles, Cheese layers so that you can see

Top layer of noodles 

Complete with the meat sauce layer

I have some who like more of the cheese mixture, meat mixture 
and some who want a little of both!

Monday, September 17, 2012

perfect for fall - pumpkin cake

This is a cake recipe that was shared with me a few years ago.  It was a different flavor then and oh so good. I decided to try some different flavors and came out with this.  This is one of the moistest cakes you will ever have. It is so delicious!  No icing is necessary but you can serve it with some ice cream!  We eat it all year around here....  Stock up on your pumpkin pudding this fall why you can.  You won't be sorry! I may or may not have purchased somewhere around 20 boxes last fall. I am down to 6 and am on the lookout for when it comes back out this year.

Pumpkin Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 3oz box Pumpkin Pudding
1 8oz carton sour cream
3/4 cup oil (veggie or canola)
3 eggs
3/4 cup water
1 package cinnamon chips (like chocolate chips but cinnamon)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Spray a bundt pan with a pretty generous amount. I use Pam but you can use whatever kind of spray you have. Or you can grease and flour it, whatever you are used to.
3. Combine all ingredients except the cinnamon chips.   Mix with hand mixer or in stand mixer for 3-4 minutes until well combined.
4. Once combined, add in the cinnamon chips and stir well.
5.  Pour cake batter into prepared bundt pan.
6. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.
7.  Once done, let cake cool completely (will take a couple of hours).
8.  Remove cake from pan. Slice and serve.

Make this cake on a Friday and eat it all weekend long!  This is also a great cake to take to a potluck or a party. It is so good everyone will want the recipe!  I have tried with a couple of different pudding and chip combos. I'll share those soon!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

my binder

I mentioned my binder in yesterday's post.  I used to have a drawer that housed all of my recipes. But I needed an easier way to get at them.  I bought a 2" binder and some sleeve protectors.

 Of course, it is pink.  I love me some girly pink!

When I find a recipe I want to try, I print it then add it to the pocket on the left.  The sleeve protectors are reserved for recipes that I have tried and like.  Every month when I do my monthly menu, I pull this baby out.  All in one spot I have what I want to try and what I know we like.  I can easily flip through the recipes and right down what we are going to have on the calendar. Then I can easily add it to my grocery list.  When I am ready to cook the meal, I bring the binder back out.  The sleeve protector's keep the recipes nice and clean.

My storage spot is by the microwave, only takes up 2 inches.

So next time you head to the store, pick up a binder and some sheet protectors. It will make you feel so much more organized!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

my monthly menu

Last August, I started a monthly menu. I was trying to be more organized and make limited trips to the grocery store.  I sat down with an empty calendar and my recipes and started planning.  The last year of doing this has been awesome for our family. I rarely have to wonder what's for dinner which is absolutely awesome. I make one big shopping run towards the end of the month/beginning of the month.  I can make adjustments as needed AND we are saving money because I can buy in bulk.

So here is how I do it....
1. Print out (or write in your planner) a calendar.  (
2. Look at your current calendar and put any times that you all will be out of town or have an out of the house dinner commitment.  Mark all of these on your calendar.
3.  Pull out your recipes. I keep mine in a binder by the microwave.
4.  Start plugging in the meals you want to make.
      (I know that on certain days we have extra curricular activities that run late, those are my    
         typical crockpot days.)
5. Once you have your calendar filled it's time to make your grocery list.
6. I look at the recipe and write down everything I will need.  I do this for each one. I make tick marks when I need one pound of meat or chicken. Then I add it all up at the end.
7.  Once you have your grocery list, go to your pantry and fridge and see what you have.  You probably have most of your spices.  I mark off what I have on hand.  
8.  Take your grocery list that you now have. I look at it and see what can be bought at the bulk store and what I can just get at my grocery store.  Like if I need 6 packages of spaghetti noodles, I know that they are cheaper for a box of 6 at Sam's then buying 6 individual packages at the regular grocery store.
***All of the steps above might take 30-45 minutes. 
9. Then I add the menu to my calendar that is in my phone/laptop.  This is great because I can always look to see what's for dinner.
10. If I don't use a meal that month, I just put it at the first of the next month.

Then on one day, I go to the bulk store (Sam's in my case) then head over to Walmart or Target. I get everything that I need. Then each week if I need fresh foods or bread I go early in the week.  I write on the calendar what I will need that's fresh for that week (see the Sundays below).  Hope this helps some of you!  It definitely was a time saver for me as well as taking away the stress of wondering every day "what's for dinner?"

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chicken Teriyaki - in the crockpot!

We love us some Asian food here at our house.  I make it probably once a week. I was looking for crockpot/slow cooker recipes and found this one. I added it to my next rotation.  I made it this last week with some minor changes and it was fabulous!  My husband said he REALLY liked it and that is a rare compliment around here.   There is one change I will make next time (mixing the sauce) and another secret is the rice!

4-5 chicken breast or  8-10 chicken tenders
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
6 tbl cider vinger
3/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
1 container fresh mushrooms.
4 1/2 tsp cornstarch
4 1/2 tsp cold water
4 cups cooked rice

1.  Place FROZEN chicken in the crockpot.  Put it in frozen skips a step and you can have it cook just a little bit longer.  I always use frozen chicken and beef in the crockpot.  
2.  In a separate bowl mix sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper.  Pour over the chicken and stir up to make sure all of the chicken is covered.
3. Cook on low 4-5 hours if using thawed chicken OR 5-6 hours is using frozen chicken.
4.  I added a container of fresh mushrooms in with about 2 hours left to cook (optional!)  
5. About 30 minutes before you would like to eat, go ahead and make your rice.  We use Botan rice (see picture below). It is a Japanese rice and is soooo much better when serving Asian food.  It is sticky and a shorter grain.  It can be found at most grocery stores.
6.  About 10 minutes before you want to eat, get out about 1.5-2 cups of your crockpot chicken liquid and put it in a saucepan. Start heating on a low heat.
7. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Stir until smooth.
8.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan.  Stir with a whisk.  
9.  In  just a few minutes, you will have a thick teriyaki sauce.
10.  Dump your teriyaki sauce in the crockpot and give it a stir.
11. Serve your teriyaki chicken over rice.  I had a side of edamame too to round out the meal.

You could definitely add other veggies into this meal.  We talked about carrots and water chestnuts next time. They don't need to cook too long so you can do it with around an hour or two left.  

My frozen tenders mixed with the seasonings 

 Thick teriyaki sauce

Awesome rice to serve with your Asian dishes

Thursday, September 13, 2012

the best roast

For years, I mean years, I have been trying to find the perfect roast recipe. My mom always made the best roast but mine never turned out like hers. I have gone through pounds and pounds of meat with no success. But I am no quitter.  I keep trying recipes and finally stumbled upon this one.  It's from Martha, of course.  I have made it numerous times and every time it tastes absolutely perfect.  I will even say it is better than mom's *gasp.*  I have started buying larger roasts so that we can have roast one night then roast sandwiches the next day.  It is that good.... and it's all done in the crock pot.  Below is my roast recipe then what to do with the leftovers....

What you will need:
1 crockpot
1 tbl corn starch
2 tbl cold water
3 tbl worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper
1 arm roast (around 3 pounds), I have used all different cuts of roast
2 cups carrots (I use the mini snack carrots)
1 onion (sliced... I use frozen chopped up onions)

1.  In crock pot, stir together water and corn starch until smooth. 
2.  Add carrots and onions.
3.  Put roast on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Drizzle with Worcestershire sauce.
5. Cook on low for 10 hours (or on high for 6 hours)

Once you are ready to dish up your roast, you can use a fork and get pieces out of the crockpot.  Make sure and drizzle a little bit of the juice to drizzle on top.  Serve with mashed potatoes.  Such a great hearty meal.  Perfect for fall!

Roast Sandwiches

The next day for lunch or for dinner you can have roast sandwiches....  

1.  Take about 3/4 cup of the roast juice and put it in a saucepan.  Heat it up on low. 
2.  Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour. Whisk together while it is heating up.  Once it reaches the consistency I want for my gravy, I take it off the heat.  You can use more or less flour depending on how thick you like your gravy.  If you get too thick, add more roast juice.
3.  Heat up your roast in the microwave.
4. Once roast is heated, shred with a fork and then mix it with the gravy.  

Now, you can serve the roast mix on regular bread or a bun or whatever bread product you like. I serve it on the frozen yeast rolls I get from Sam's. These are the best rolls and I use them for everything! They only take 10 minutes in the oven and they are to die for!  

Pair your roast sandwich with chips or fries or leftover mashed potatoes.  Oh so good...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

job jar

Do you have sassy children? I do. I have the ones that like to talk back.  Well, I got tired of it one day and invented our family job jar.

It's simple really.  If I feel like someone is being particularly sassy, rude or disrespectful, they get to draw a slip out of the job jar. This job is done immediately unless it is the go to bed early job which no one likes.  I included some things that just aren't very enjoyable like cleaning up other people's spaces.  I included chores that I try to do every couple of months and some that get done more often.  

Here are the jobs that are presently in our jar. 

-Clean siblings bathroom. This includes the toilet, sink, countertops and emptying the trash.
-Vacuum the living room, kitchen rug and cubby room rug.
-Dust the living room, dining room, entryway, and piano room.
-Dust your room and your sibling’s room.
-Sweep (with a broom) all of the tile in the hallways, entryway, kitchen and cubby room. 
-Clean mom’s bathroom. This includes the toilet, sink, countertop and emptying the trash.
-Clean dad’s bathroom. This includes the toilet, sink, countertop and emptying the trash.
-Dust your parent’s bedroom.
-Go to bed 15 minutes early.
-Clean the refrigerator. This includes taking all of the food out and wiping the glass and plastic down.
-Wipe down all of the baseboards with a wet paper towel.
-Vacuum the green couch, green chairs, and yellow couch in the piano room.
-Wipe all of the window sills down the a wet paper towel.
-Clean out under your bed or your closet. Mom picks.

What you will need:
a jar
scrapbook paper: optional

Open a word document or get out a piece of paper. Type or write down the jobs.  Cut into strips.  Then make a cute little lable for your jar.  I think it makes it look happier for the doom and gloom that awaits inside.  Put your label on your jar, insert your jobs.  And there you have it. Next time a kid is sassy you have an easy way to handle it.  

One of my children has done lots of these jobs where the other two haven't done quiet as many...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

smores bars

Goodness... goodness in a pan. I had seen these Smores Bars floating around on pinterest for a while.  They were tempting me so I finally made them for our small group on Sunday evening.  These are fabulous. Easy to make and even better to taste! I doubled the recipe and it was enough to make 1-13x9 and 1-8x8.  The secret at the end is to flatten out your dough... stay tuned for that tip.  These are super rich so a small piece goes a long way!

Smores Bars

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs 
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 kind size milk chocolate bars (like Hershey's)
1 1/2 cup (12 oz) marshmallow creme fluff (not melted marshmallows)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease 8" square baking pan.  
3.  Grind your graham crackers to crumbs. I used big crackers and put them in my little chopper to make crumbs.
4.  In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. 
5.  In small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.
6.  Divide dough in half and press half of the dough into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.  Use your fingers to make sure none of the bottom is showing.
7.  Place your king size chocolate bars onto of the flattened dough.  2 should fit perfectly.  If you need to, break into pieces.
8.  Spread the marshmallow fluff on top of the chocolate pieces.  This was a little tough.
9.  Use your fingers to make flattened disks of the remaining dough. Place the disks on top of the marshmallow.  Do your best to cover all of the fluff.  
10. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned.
11. Cool completely, then serve!

Monday, September 10, 2012

apple cutter, er potato cutter

Someone suggested using an apple cutter to cut a potato.  I thought to myself "this is a great idea."   Soon I would find out that this is easier said than done.

I got my potato and my apple slicer.  Now is where you need that 3rd hand.  An apple has a flat bottom, so it stands for you while you slice. Potatoes, no flat bottom. It was super hard to get the potato still so that you could apply pressure on the cutter.  Once you do, you can push hard and slice the potato. Be careful not to slice your finger in the process.  

You do get nice uniform fries once you get through the cutting process. The middle fry is a bit wonky so you will need to cut it in half.  

Overall, it is easier just to cut them with a knife.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

chocolate chip smore cookies

If you love smores and you love chocolate chip cookies, you will LOVE this recipe!  The recipe I followed was for GIANT cookies. I tried to make them smaller but they still end up about 6" in diameter. When I made them a second time, I made them even smaller but they still were around 3" in diameter.  This recipe also makes A LOT of cookies so you could easily half it.

So this is for a smaller sized version. This recipe will make a couple dozen cookies.

What you will need:
-  dough for chocolate cookie cookies
-  graham crackers - I used the Lil' Squares which is about the size of a half dollar
-  chocolate candy bar, broke into squares (I used the 4 square mini bars.
- marshmallows - I used the smores flat ones and cut them in half

First you make the cookie dough or you could buy the prepackaged dough.
2 cups plus 2 tbs flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbs butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips.

To make the cookie dough: Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.  Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined – the batter should look a little lumpy.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Put in the fridge to chill for around 30-45 minutes. 

After your dough has chilled, you can assemble your cookies. First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Then get your pans ready. Line your cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper (not wax paper, it will burn).  

Take a small spoonful of the cookie dough and flatten it. It should be the size of a half dollar and not real thick.  Do this 6 times and arrange them with plenty of room on your cookie sheet.

Then top each piece of flattened dough with a graham cracker square, marshmallow, candy car square then top with another graham cracker square.  

Now get a spoonful of cookie dough again, a little more this time, flatten it out as well.  Pick up the other dough topped with smores ingredients.  Carefully, wrap the dough around the smore.  Use your fingers to pinch together the bottom cookie dough and the top cookie dough.  You may need to pinch other places of the dough as well. When you are done, it will look like a cookie brick or turtle shell. Make sure there aren't any holes and that you can't see your smore.  You may need to get extra dough to help this.

Complete the rest of the cookies on your sheet.  If you can, line 2 cookie sheets and fill the other pan up as well.  

Bake the cookies for 20-24 minutes at 325.  Once baked, transfer the cookies of the cookie sheet. I left mine on the parchment paper and just moved the paper to the countertop to cool. You can also transfer your cookies to a cooling rack. 

You can serve these cookies warm or they are good room temp.  We ate on them for several days. Store in an airtight container.

 The finished product... a giant smore cookie!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

seasonal to do lists

Last summer, I was reading a friend's blog and she made a list of fun things to do in the summer with her kids.  I put that on my to do list for this summer.

In late May, I gathered the kids and asked them what fun things they would like to do during the summer.  I added all to a list and came up with our summer to do list.  I don't think that this idea has to be just for the summer months.  I plan to do one for each season.  Fall can be filled with things like football games, applesauce making, going on walks, and visiting the pumpkin patch. Winter can have a list that includes snowman building, having a hot chocolate bar, and ice skating. Spring can include visiting parks, feeding the ducks, and going on a spring break trip.

What you will need:
Piece of 8 1/2 x11 scrapbook paper (any design but light colors work best)
8x10 frame (or you can do smaller or bigger)
Dry erase marker

In a word document on your computer, make a list of all the things you would like to do.  Make it a fun font and big enough where you can see it from far away.  Insert your scrapbook paper and print your list.  You will want to leave the glass in the frame.  Use the glass to cut your paper into the size of the frame.   Put your new list into your frame.

As you complete things on your list, use the dry erase marker to check them off.  My daughter put the date by some.

We had our framed list on the kitchen counter top.  When we needed an idea of something to do, we just looked at our list!   We didn't get them all done but we had fun doing the things that we could! Can't wait to make our list for fall.

Friday, September 7, 2012

cream cheese corn

I was needing a side for the mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches and decided with this: cream cheese corn.    It was super quick and easy and will become a regular on our menu.  It is very creamy and a great way to get those veggies in!  My recipe is below.

1/2 pound of frozen corn or 2 cans corn
1 tbl butter
4 oz cream cheese (you can use full fat or low fat) 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine corn, butter and cream cheese.  Stir and make sure all is melted butter and cheese is melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Optional: You can also add red pepper flakes, I did not.   Serve alongside any dish.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

mini pumpkin donuts

Um, yum.  I was craving some pumpkin the other day.  I found this recipe and was ready to bake!  I purchased this mini-donut pan from Amazon and a couple of days later I was finally really ready...

I followed the recipe below. The only thing that I would change is I wouldn't coat the entire donut in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  I would just do the tops.  I also made a vanilla glaze to top some of them as well. These were a big hit with my family. I will definitely make them again!

Mini Pumpkin Donuts

Makes 48 mini donuts

For Donuts:

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (I put the extra in a freezer bag in the freezer)
1/2 cup skim milk

For Coating:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

For Vanilla Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbl skim milk
1 tsp vanilla
(put all in small bowl and combine).

Preheat oven 350 F.  Spray the donut pan with Pam and set aside.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture and stir until just combined, careful not to over mix.
Using a pastry bag or a steady hand and a spoon, fill each donut cup with the batter.  The donut cups should be fairly full, but not overflowing. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until donuts spring back when gently pressed (if you're using a larger donut pan, allow them to bake for 12-15 minutes).  Tutn donuts out onto a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes.  I put foil under my racks to prevent a big mess.

While the donuts are cooling, melt butter in one bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon in another.  When donuts are still hot (but not too hot to touch), quickly dip each donut  top in melted butter, then dip in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Or omit the butter step then dip the top in the vanilla glaze mixture.

*Note: If you're not going to serve the donuts immediately, you can bake them up to a day in advance and store them in an airtight container.  Do not coat them in the butter/cinnamon-sugar mixture until just before serving or they may get soggy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

mozzarella grilled cheese & marinara sauce

Wow! These are so easy and so good!  Martha posted about these several years ago: Mozzarella Grilled Cheese & Marinara sauce.

I made them for the kids one day and wondered WHY I hadn't ever thought of this before. It is so delicious and so easy!  I serve them with chips or a baked french fry. Last time I served them with a cream cheese corn recipe and oh my goodness.  These are perfect for a snack or a meal.

1 package sliced mozzarella cheese
1 loaf of bread (I used my usual honey wheat)
butter or butter spread
2-3 tbl olive oil
1 jar marinara or pizza sauce

1.  Heat large skillet or pan. Then add olive oil to coat the bottom.
2.  Open jar and heat up pizza sauce in saucepan.
3.  Butter your bread on one side.
4. Place buttered bread in pan.
5. Top bread with cheese.
6.  Add second piece of bread (butter side up).
7.  Cook until a light golden brown on one side, then flip.  Should only take a couple of minutes per sandwich.

I can fit 3 sandwiches in my pan at once.  Once the sandwiches are done, ladel the sauce into a small dipping bowl. Cut your sandwiches in half.  Then enjoy dipping your mozzarella goodness into the sauce.