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Sunday, January 29, 2012

kale chips

olive oil cooking spray
some sort of seasoning you like

rip kale into bite-sized pieces
lightly spray with the olive oil
sprinkle with seasoning
cook on 350 for 10 minutes

this was one of the weirdest things i've eaten, but it was pretty good and very healthy

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homemade fried cheese sticks

12 pieces string cheese
12 frozen empanada dough discs
Oil for deep-fat frying
Marinara or spaghetti sauce

1. Defrost the dough discs. I place them all on a plate stacked up with one paper towel in between each for 2 minutes in the microwave. 
2. Stretch out the dough disc a little if the cheese stick is a little bit longer than the disc.
3. Wrap the cheese stick in the dough disc. Make sure to press the edges of the dough so it will stay together.
4.Fry sticks, a few at a time, for 60-90 seconds on each side or until golden brown. 
5. Drain on paper towels. 

6. Serve with marinara sauce.
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blueberry white chocolate chip waffles/pancakes

these are i was inspired my a blueberry white chocolate chip muffin i saw somewhere. and it was one of the best decisions i ever made trying to make them as pancakes.

1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1 egg
3/4 milk
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

combine flour, baking powder and sugar.
in separate bowl, combine egg and milk.
add blueberries and chips.
make sure to use a lot of butter on the griddle and/or waffle maker. 
cook until golden brown.
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chicken parm casserole

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated
2-3 tbsp italian breading

combine all ingredients except mozzarella and spread over chicken.
sprinkle mozzarella over it all.
bake on 400 for 30-45 minutes.

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cilantro lime chicken and rice

Cilantro lime chicken 

One 24-ounce jar medium or mild salsa
Juice from one lime
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
One 1.25-oz. package taco seasoning
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (optional)

Directions: Add 4-6 boneless chicken breast halves (completely defrosted) to the slow cooker and coat with the salsa mixture. Cook on low 6 hours.
Cilantro Lime Rice
1 cup extra long grain rice or basmati rice--I used Uncle Ben's 90sec
1/2 lime, juice of
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
cook the rice...add the other ingredients. delightful :)

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spinach mac'n'cheese muffins & crock pot baked potatoes

Spinach Mac'n'Cheese Muffins
4 c cooked whole wheat or high fiber macaroni
1 T butter
1 T flour
1 c skim milk
1 garlic clove, minced
3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 egg
1 egg white
1 (10 oz) package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained and patted dry (or you could use 1 cup cooked fresh spinach)
Salt & pepper to taste

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 400. Lightly mist a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
2.    In a small sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, mixing it into the butter until thick. Stir in the milk and garlic and raise the temp to bring the mixture to just under a boil. Add the cheese and whisk mixture together until thoroughly combined into a cheese sauce.
3.    Remove the cheese sauce from heat and then mix in the egg and egg white (binding agents) until combined.
4.    In a large bowl, combine the pasta, spinach, cheese sauce, salt and pepper and mix together. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cups of your prepared muffin tin.
5.    Bake for 10-15 minutes until the tops slightly brown. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin. (If you want it to be an actual muffin shape, you have to let it sit longer than that.)

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes
Wrap potatoes in aluminum foil and cook on low for 8 hours. 
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last week's recipes

so i tried the whole week menu plan thing...and i failed...twice. but then last week it seemed to work out, so i have hope for this coming week as well :) there will be recipes for the ones that were made from scratch or at least scratch-ish.

meal #1: spinach and feta salad, brown rice, jerk pork.
salad: feta crumbles with mediterranean spices w/ baby spinach
entree: pre-made stir fry from publix and frozen brown rice from trader joe's

meal #4: beef stroganoff.
....i forgot to take a picture

meal #5: chicken parm casserole

meal #6: homemade chinese takeout.
frozen egg rolls from trader joe's, frozen brown rice from trader joe's, frozen stir fry veggies from trader joe's, frozen mandarin orange chicken from trader joe's

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Monday, January 9, 2012

one bowl vanilla cupcakes for two with buttercream icing

these cupcakes were AMAZING. and so incredibly simple. a great little way to celebrate wrapping up my first semester :) i found the recipe here. it's the perfect ending to a lovely dinner.

1 egg white
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c flour
1/4 heaping tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbsp milk
In a bowl, add egg white and sugar and whisk until combined. Add in vanilla and melted butter and stir until mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in milk. Divide batter equally between the 2 cupcake liners. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until cake is set. Let cool completely, then frost as desired. 

buttercream icing
1/2 stick butter
4-6 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. milk
beat the ingredients with a mixer. the ingredient measurements up there are a little bogus. i started with 2 heaping tablespoons with a 1/2 stick butter and a little bit of milk, but i keep adding stuff until i get it to where i want it. 

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lemon grilled chicken & couscous

this recipe originated from here. this is part of an awesome series called "dinner & a movie" by From Me to You. i absolutely LOVE these recipes. they have become favorites. on the original website there's also a recipe for pita bread and hummus. i served the two dishes below with a salad of baby spinach and mediterranean feta crumbles. delightful.

lemon grilled chicken
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley
salt/pepper to paste

1. pound out chicken to 1/4 inch thick, season with salt and pepper to taste
2. combine lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, & garlic in a bowl
3. dredge chicken and let set in marinade in the fridge for an hour (i did it the night before...caution, if you marinade it that long it's really lemon-y, which i liked but you might not)
4. grill

1 cup israeli couscous
1 nectarine, peeled and chopped
handful of dried cranberries

1. bring 4 cups of water to a boil
2. add couscous and fruit
3. simmer 8 minutes and drain
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imitation starbucks berry coffee cake

i didn't take this picture...but it seriously looked like this when i made it, which i feel like doesn't always happen. original recipe can be found here.
this recipe seriously tastes just like the berry coffee cake from Starbucks. here it is!

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon

1 cup sugar (plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling on top)
1 egg, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups fresh blueberries

½ cup buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.
4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

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imitation outback potato soup

this potato soup for real is as good as the soup from Outback, and i am a stickler for potato soup. it is so good and ridiculously easy. here's the recipe. enjoy!

1 30oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
3 14oz. cans of chicken broth
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 pkg. cream cheese 

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot except cream cheese and cook on low 6-8 hours.
One hour before serving add the cream cheese. I had a hard time getting the cream cheese to melt so I whisked it up, which helped. I'm not really sure why it wouldn't melt well, but I guess it might have been because it was generic and not Philadelphia...I am convinced Philadelphia cream cheese is the only way to go. 
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menu planning

so i'm working on this whole planning and prepping ahead of time so i will cook dinners and not resort to eating out during the week thing. on saturday i spent some time looking through my pinterest cooking board and some cookbooks and planned out the entire week. it took some time, but i'm thinking it'll tend to get easier and easier, especially as i find recipes that i like to repeat. on sunday while sunday night's dinner was cooking i prepped for the next two nights of dinner so that all i had to do tonight was actually cook it rather than spending 20 minutes or so prepping and then cooking. it was so nice after a long day of work to have an awesome dinner take a total of about 15 minutes. i have high hopes for this process to make dinner-making easier. i'm going to put my menu plan for this week below in this post and i will be posting really successful recipes throughout the week. any links within the menu are links to the original source of the recipe. enjoy!

Menu Plan for Jan. 8th-Jan. 14th
breakfast: coupons to BK
lunch: velo fellow after church
*bake blueberry breakfast cake tonight


breakfast: blueberry breakfast cake & yogurt
lunch: leftover soup, simple chicken wrap
dinner: lemon grilled chicken, couscous, spinach & feta salad

*put on dinner in slow cooker before leaving for work
breakfast: cereal & yogurt
lunch: spinach & feta salad, simple chicken wrap
*cook chicken for tomorrow while fixing rice

breakfast: blueberry cake
lunch: leftover cilantro lime chicken
(also...lunches are flexible. sometimes i eat leftovers, sometimes i make a sandwich. depends on the mood, but i am trying to pack my lunch before i go to bed each night)
dinner: chicken pot pie (thank you elee)

*put baked potatoes in crock pot
breakfast: cereal & yogurt
lunch: leftover chicken pot pie
dinner: beef stroganoff & baked potatoes

breakfast: starbucks gift card
lunch: teacher outing
dinner: in fort mill

in fort mill
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free printable

i made this to help me with menu planning. so far it has helped having a chart. here it is below in case you want to try it. if you click on it, it should open the original in a new window.

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