Friday, July 22, 2016

Zucchini Chili



We have had a "hot," spell here in Michigan! You would think the very last thing I would make for my family to eat would be chili! Well, Lauren only has about another month at home and then she goes back for her junior year of college. Ever since I started putting zucchini in my chili, she requests it often for dinner. I used to buy "chili ready," canned tomatoes until a few months ago I "discovered," that chipotle tomatoes add a really unique flavor. How about curry powder? I used to only associate that spice with Indian cooking. Well, oh my gosh, I have been adding a little to the chili and it bumps up the flavor to a whole different level!  The only "side effect," I seem to have from the curry powder is that it makes me sweat. I was fanning myself with a magazine last night at the dinner table and my hubby goes, "why are you doing that, we have the air conditioning on!" What my husband fails to realize is that women of my age sometimes have an "internal," heater that is on ALL the time!!!! LOL.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
12-ounce package 3-pepper and onion blend,
   frozen
14.5 ounce can petite diced chipotle tomatoes,
   undrained
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
15.5 ounce can Great Northern Beans, drained
2 large zucchini, peeled and cubed
  (about two cups)
1.25 ounce package mild chili seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups water

In a large stockpot, brown meat and then drain off grease. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order given, mix well with a large spoon and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer, cover with lid and cook 30 minutes or until the zucchini is soft, stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked rice or elbow noodles and top with shredded cheddar cheese (if desired). Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fresh Strawberry Smoothie

When I went grocery shopping last week, I forgot to pick up one of Dominic's favorite food items - chicken nuggets. Little by little, I am teaching him how to make his own meals. I have taught him to get the chicken nuggets bag out of the freezer, grab a plate, put 8-10 on the plate and then put it into the microwave. To say he was bummed out that I forgot would be an understatement. I have used the opportunity to come up with some different recipes. This afternoon, when he was telling me he was hungry for lunch, I said, "how about a strawberry smoothie?" He LOVES strawberries, but isn't so "gung-ho," about yogurt, he will absolutely REFUSE to eat it out of the container. Hmm, we moms sometimes have to get creative, so I figured a smoothie was a good way to give him the yogurt and the strawberries at the same time, with Dominic being none the wiser. LOL. Since this recipe makes three cups and both the hubby and Lauren had other plans this afternoon, I joined Dominic for our "strawberry smoothie," lunch! It was so yummy, there was not one drop left!!





Ingredients

6 ounce container Strawberry Greek Yogurt,
  any brand (I used Chobani)
6 ounce container Original Strawberry Yogurt,
  any brand (I used Yoplait)
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups ice

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency. Makes three cups. Super easy, huh?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"No-Churn" Vanilla Ice Cream



I could eat ice cream every day - that's how much I love it. I realized though, it's best to have it as a special treat - about once a month. I've thought from time to time about buying an ice cream machine, but then I probably would be eating it every day! LOL. This vanilla ice cream recipe doesn't require churning by hand or an ice cream machine. It does require an electric mixer though! My "dream," mixer is made by KitchenAid and is close to $700!! I do just fine and dandy with my hand mixer that was less than ten bucks from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Anyways, this ice cream is very rich, but oh my gosh is it DECADENT! I waited a few days after I made a batch before I went into the freezer to get myself a small bowl. About half the ice cream was already gone, so I was trying to figure out who the "culprit," was. One night that week I discovered it was my hubby. He had been going into the freezer, lifting off the top of the "Mason," jar and getting himself a spoonful at a time. I didn't know that, until I caught him, "red handed!"

Ingredients:
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sprinkles (if desired)
Directions:
Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a small bowl and add the two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix well with large spoon and set aside. In a large bowl, put the pint of heavy whipping cream. With an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream on high speed for about three minutes or until soft peaks form. Gently "fold" into the ingredients in the smaller bowl with a large spoon. Add the sprinkles at this point if you wish and mix well with large spoon. When well combined, pour into a loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches) that is lined with parchment paper and then covered with plastic wrap (so ice crystals don't form) or use glass "Mason" jars. Put in freezer for a minimum of eight hours. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Baked Kale Chips

Lauren has wanted me to make kale chips with her for a while. I didn't want to and always came up with some excuse why we couldn't. I even went so far as to buy a bag of raw kale two or three times with good intentions of making them. I ended up throwing the bag away because by the time the two of us had free time, it had gone bad.  About a month ago, Lauren and I made these. We experimented with a bunch of different "seasonings," like curry powder, lemon pepper and salt/pepper. We discovered that the Taste of Home California Garlic Pepper seasoning was an A+++++! I'm not just saying that because I am a Volunteer Field Editor for Taste of Home - I have used the seasoning on white rice, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli and cauliflower! Since I didn't take any pictures of the baked kale chips when we made them the first time, I decided to make some more "chips," today!  Raw kale by itself doesn't have a lot of flavor, so you really have to add at least a little salt and pepper if nothing else.  Here is a bunch of raw kale I bought at Kroger:


 Here is what it looks like after it is baked and seasoned - YUMMY!!!!!

 

You can put the kale into a green salad or add some dried cranberries, salted sesame seeds, walnuts or pecans and raisins and you have an awesome homemade "trail mix!" One important thing Lauren and I found out the first time we made these kale chips is that you have to eat them immediately or at least within a few hours after you make them for maximum freshness!


Ingredients

1 bunch raw kale
Non-stick cooking spray
Seasoning of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Using a pair of kitchen shears, remove the "leaves" from the tough "stalks," of the entire bunch of kale. Cut into bite-size pieces, put into a medium bowl and then rinse with water. Dry thoroughly with a kitchen towel to remove all the excess water. Place a single layer of kale on the two cookie sheets. Spray liberally with the non-stick spray and then sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until they are starting to crisp up. Remove from oven and let them cool slightly. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Peanut Butter/Oatmeal/Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

 


I made a batch of peanut butter cookies about a week or so ago with melted milk chocolate chips on top and the hubby was like, "where are the peanut butter cookies with the chocolate?" Since I only had made about six cookies with the melted chocolate, I had to break the news to him they were long gone. I like to keep the hubby happy, so I made more of the peanut butter cookies with the addition of old fashioned oats, plus milk chocolate chips melted on top. My husband has been working hard today cleaning and power washing our back deck. He came in briefly for a little "break," and he saw the cookies on the tray and said, "can I have one?" I told him to help himself. I think he now has enough energy to finish his outside project!

Ingredients

18-ounce jar smooth peanut butter
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup oats, old fashioned

For Topping:

1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, put the peanut butter, eggs, white sugar and oats. Mix well by hand with large spoon until smooth. Put in fridge covered for an hour or if you are impatient like me, just go ahead and roll into 30 equal-sized balls (a little less than a size of a golf ball). The batter will be a little sticky. In a small bowl, put the one tablespoon of  white sugar. Place 12 balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and then with a fork, dip first in the white sugar and then press down in a criss-cross design. Bake for 16 minutes or until the cookies are starting to brown. Remove from oven and let them sit for five minutes on the cookie sheet and then remove to wire rack to continue to cool. When completely cool, put the one cup of chocolate chips either in a small saucepan on the stove and slowly melt, or put in a microwaveable bowl and start with 30 seconds and keep adding 15 seconds at a time until the chips are completely melted, stirring with a small spoon.  Spread evenly between the 30 cookies. Put sprinkles on top if desired. The cookies will keep up to three days covered at room temperature.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lemon Muffins with Lemon Glaze




I love going to the Dollar Tree around where I live.  It is the ONLY place I buy my greeting cards and colored sprinkles. I recently discovered they sell lemon juice. Yahoo! I could buy a bunch of lemons and squeeze the juice myself, but how much time would it take to squeeze 32 ounces?!?!?! More than I am willing to take, I can tell you that! I can always tell how much my family likes my, "bakery," by how long it takes them to wipe out muffins, scones, biscuits, etc. Just 48 hours ago, there were 12 lemon muffins, this morning there was one. Yep, these will definitely become a "regular item," in Cathy's Kitchen!

Ingredients

2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze (optional)

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside. In a large bowl, put the flour, white sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, eggs, milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Mix well by hand with large spoon or with electric mixer until smooth. Distribute batter evenly between the 12 paper liners. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Remove to wire rack to continue cooling. Keep muffins covered at room temperature for up to three days. If desired, you can make a lemon glaze. In a small bowl, put the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Mix well with small spoon and then drizzle evenly between all the muffins! Enjoy!!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Baked Cinnamon/Sugar Tortilla Chips



What if I told you that you could whip up a tasty treat for your friends and family in less than 30 minutes? I have been wanting to test out this recipe for YEARS. Yes, YEARS. The reason I had waited for so long was because I thought they were really hard to make or I needed to use a deep fryer. Well, these are not hard at all to make and you can bake them in your oven! Given that I had purchased a pack of flour tortillas earlier in the week at Kroger for just a $1.00, I knew it was time to give it a try, figuring if it was a disaster, I would have only spent a little over a buck (considering butter, sugar and cinnamon were also in the recipe). Much to my amazement, they turned out AMAZING!!!! Yeah! Since all of my chips from the first batch are gone, I guess I better go back to the Kroger and stock up on flour tortillas!


Ingredients

1/4 cup melted butter, unsalted
 10 8-inch flour tortillas
  (I used La Banderita soft taco flour tortillas)
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove, melt the butter. Set aside. Separate the 10 tortillas and on each tortilla put about 3 teaspoons of the melted butter on one side only, either spreading the butter with a pastry brush or with a teaspoon. Set aside. In a small bowl, put the white sugar and cinnamon and mix well with a small spoon. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly on top of each tortilla. With a pair of kitchen shears or using a knife, cut each tortilla into eight equal sized wedges (triangles). Place each wedge, cinnamon/sugar side up, on an ungreased cookie sheet. I used a 14-inch by 16-inch cookie sheet and could fit 24 wedges on it at a time. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tortillas are starting to crisp up. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool. Store in a covered container for up to two days. For maximum freshness consume within 24 hours!!!