Strawberry Pretzel Salad

January 27, 2009 at 7:04 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This recipe is a new favorite. I discovered it a few years ago, and from what I can tell every family has their own way of making it. I just picked one of the variations and tried it, I love strawberries and it sounded too interesting to not try. Ever since then, it has been requested over and over again. Misha’s work requested it for the work pot-luck, every time he comes home with an empty dish. I just discovered this year that his work divides it into 6 pieces, and the 6 of them eat it! I had thought that the potluck party was a few more people, but little did I know that he and his coworkers eat this entire thing themselves! His coworkers now request it every pot-luck.

Though it is very easy to make, it does take a few hours (not of actual cooking time, but do this, then cool, do that then, refrigerate, then do this and let sit overnight for the jello to set). So it just takes a little bit of planning ahead.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
various sources, this is one of those recipes where every family has their own variation

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar, divided
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese
1 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed (cool whip)
1 6 ounce package strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 16 ounce package frozen strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix together pretzels, 4 1/2 Tablespoons sugar, and melted butter.
  3. Press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Note: Be sure to not overbake, the crust will get too hard.
  4. Set aside the pretzel crust to cool completely.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Fold in the whipped topping. (I forgot this once, oops! It still turned out yummy though!)
  7. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled pretzel crust. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
  8. In a medium bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water.
  9. Once mixed, mix in the frozen strawberries and stir until thawed.
  10. Spread mixture evenly over the cream cheese mixture. Note: I normally pull out the strawberries and “organize” them on the cream cheese, since they don’t really spread evenly themselves. That and if you can place the strawberries in a quadrant-like format, you can easily slice down the grid, and everyone gets a strawberry! But I’m crazy like that.
  11. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least a couple hours. Note: I usually let it sit overnight.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

A few quick notes, I only make this the night before. I wouldn’t let it sit any longer than that. Also, after the first slice be sure to finish the rest quickly. Misha likes it a few days later, but I find that the pretzel crust gets a little soggy and messy. Though it usually doesn’t stay around that long. It can also be hard to cut, so if you are taking it to a pot-luck bring a nice sturdy knife to get through the crust. I also like to have people guess what the crust is, I had my Father-in-Law stumped for quite some time! ry, Eas

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Spaghetti Pie

December 9, 2008 at 10:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Spaghetti Pie

I have been looking for new recipes to try that are good weeknight dinners. Misha’s aunt knows about the blog, so I thought that I would try something new on our usual Monday night dinners. We usually do a 5-ish mile hike on Monday nights while Misha is in class, so I was looking for something easy to finish/do after a hike.

Spaghetti Pie
Adapted from Allrecipes via About a Bit of Everything.

Ingredients

2 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half (we used barilla plus, and maybe a bit more than 2 oz)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons sour cream (I used low fat)
1/2 pound ground turkey (I could have used more)
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
2/3 cup tomato sauce (I would use more if I added more ground turkey)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a bowl combine the egg, Parmesan cheese, and cooked pasta.
  3. Press the pasta mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased casserole dish or pie plate. Spread with sour cream. Note: The sour cream was easier said than done, I spreaded it as best I could.
  4. Preheat oven to 350.
  5. Crumble turkey into a skillet, add the pepper, onion, and butter. Cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.
  6. Drain fat out of meat.
  7. Add minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  8. Stir in tomato sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  9. Spoon into spaghetti crust.
  10. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  11. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
  12. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I could have used more ground turkey. It was good, but just a different way to do spaghetti. I liked the variation though, a nice way to change the usual pasta dinner.

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Sausage Bean Casserole

December 1, 2008 at 9:42 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Sausage Bean Casserole

Misha and I were in the mood for something easy and simple, and since it has been cooling off a bit lately I thought that this would be the perfect time for this dish.

Sausage Bean Casserole
Adapted from and a cookie for dessert.

Ingredients

1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 (16 oz) package light smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth (low sodium, fat-free)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons tomato paste (somehow the whole 6 oz can was used, so I just upped the brown sugar a bit to taste)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon mustard (I added)
3 (16 oz ) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf (omitted)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional, omitted)
3 slices white bread (I used breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (omitted)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat (this recipe uses a dutch oven, but since I don’t have one I used a saucepan and a casserole dish).
  3. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  4. Add onion and turkey sausage to pan, saute for 5 minutes or until browned.
  5. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  7. Stir in brown sugar, tomato paste, thyme, pepper, beans, bay leaf, and mustard. Add ground red pepper, as desired.
  8. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Place bean mixture in casserole dish.
  11. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over bean mixture, and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  12. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until browned.
  13. Discard bay leaf.
  14. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I missed the spinach that Brooke added, so I think that I will add that next time for a little extra nutrition. This dinner hit the spot and was perfect. We even made more the next night. This recipe is on our list of easy weeknight meals. A perfect meal for a cold day in Southern California.

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Drop Biscuits

November 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Biscuits

I was looking for something easy to go with dinner, and I had recently starred this recipe from and a cookie for dessert’s blog. They sounded perfect, and easy. Great for a weeknight meal.

Drop Biscuits
Allrecipes via and a cookie for dessert
Makes 12

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 cup cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Stir in butter, milk, garlic, and cheese until just moistened.
  3. Drop batter on a lightly greased cookie sheet by the tablespoon.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden on the edges, about 8-12 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

These biscuits hit the spot, and as Brooke mentioned, a perfect base for adding other herbs or cheese (we added garlic and cheese).

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Matzo Ball Soup

November 30, 2008 at 4:01 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Matzo Ball Soup

I wasn’t feeling great the other evening, so though we had leftovers for Misha I wasn’t feeling well enough to eat them. My usual go-to meal for nights like these is Matzo Ball soup. It is quick, easy, simple, good, and great for nights that you don’t feel great.

Matzo Ball Soup

Ingredients

1/2 cup Matzo Meal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
4-6 cups chicken broth
3 carrots, peeled and sliced

Directions

  1. Blend matzo meal, eggs, vegetable oil, and salt in a bowl until mixed. Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add carrots.
  3. Pull matzo meal mix out of the refrigerator and form into 1 inch balls. Try to handle the mixture as little as possible, and roll very gently. Note: The less that you handle them, the better. It helps to make them light and fluffy.
  4. Gently place matzo balls into the boiling chicken broth.
  5. Cover tightly, and cook for 30-40 minutes (they should be floating).
  6. Ladle soup with a few matzo balls and carrots into a bowl. Serve and enjoy!

I love this soup. I usually have leftovers for a few lunches or dinners.

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Chicken and Veggies

November 13, 2008 at 6:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Key Lime Pie

This is one of our favorite stand-by recipes. It is so easy to throw together and really good. It is also one of those recipes that it is easy to remember what you need, in case you are out and about when you are trying to figure out what to do for dinner.

Chicken and Veggies
Adapted from Elly Says Opa.

Ingredients

3-4 Chicken breasts (or whatever type of chicken you fancy)
4-5 potatoes (Depends on how big they are)
2-3 carrots
1 onion
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
salt
pepper
oregano
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chicken broth

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Peel and chop up potatoes and carrots into large pieces.
  3. Cut up onion into larger chuncks.
  4. Add some extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon to a baking dish.
  5. Add chicken, potatoes, carrots, and onion to the baking dish, and turn them around so that they are coated with the olive oil and lemon juice.
  6. Add salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic to the chicken and veggies.
  7. Flip the chicken and mix the veggies, then salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic the other sides.
  8. Add chicken broth to the pan, and squeeze the remaining half-lemon over the chicken and veggies.
  9. Bake at 400 for about an hour, basting the chicken and vegetables as necessary. Note: The onions tend to brown on top, so keep an eye on those.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

So easy and so good. We usually serve this with a simple salad.

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Sweet and Sour Chicken

October 29, 2008 at 7:07 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Sweet and Sour Chicken

We went over for dinner at the ILs and made fried rice and sweet and sour chicken.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Adapted from All-Recipes.com.

Ingredients

1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour or corn starch
1 1/2 green bell peppers, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken meat, cut into strips

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat blend reserved pineapple juice, soy sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar. Mix in flour (or corn starch) and stir until thickened.
  2. Stir bell peppers, celery, and water chestnuts into the saucepan.
  3. Mix in chicken. Cook and stir until heated through.
  4. Stir in the pineapple chunks before serving.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

This was nice and simple and good.

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Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder

October 13, 2008 at 5:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Corn Chowder

I am working on getting more ready-to-go dinners in the freezers so on the nights that we don’t feel like cooking we don’t go out. I was in a soup mood and while asking about Potato Cheese soup someone sent me this recipe. It sounded good, and easy, and perfect for some leftover chicken I had that I wanted to do something with.

Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder
Adapted from Cooking Light.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, celery, and potato, cook for 3 minutes or until tender stirring frequently.
  3. Add flour, cook 1 minute stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients.
  5. Bring to a boil, cook until thick (about 5-10 minutes).
  6. Serve and enjoy!

This was a fairly simple corn chowder and both DH and I liked it. I think DH’s favorite part was the chunks of chicken in it. It made about 6 servings, I froze two dinners in a ziplog bag in the freezer.

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Pulled Pork

September 30, 2008 at 11:06 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Pulled Pork

I was in a car accident on the way to work on Wednesday. After DH picked me up and we finished calling the insurance company and taking my car in for weeks of repairs, we knew that an easy brainless dinner was in store for that night. Since it was still early, we decided that we had enough time to put some pulled pork in the crock pot and recover from the day.

Pulled Pork
What’s Cooking boards on thenest.com.

Ingredients

2-4 lbs pork butt roast (or tenderloin)
1 onion, sliced
1-2 cans of root bear or some other cola-ish soda (we have used Dr. Pepper before)
salt
pepper
1 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce (we used KFC Masterpiece Sweet and Tangy in hopes of recreating our favorite Firestone’s “Pig Sandwich” pulled pork)
Buns

Directions

  1. Put pork in the crock put. Add some salt and pepper, put onions on top, and pour soda into the crock pot. Soda should just about cover the pork.
  2. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. The longer and the lower the temperature, the better.
  3. When pork is falling apart, drain the liquid out of the crock pot and shred the pork with two forks on a cutting board.
  4. Put the shredded pork back into the crock pot. Add the bbq sauce and mix well. Let cook on low for another hour.
  5. Serve on toasted buns and enjoy!

One of our favorites. A dinner, that with planning ahead of time, is easy, quick, and doesn’t require much.

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Green Goddess Dip

September 22, 2008 at 9:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Green Goddess Dip

We made this for the UCLA tailgate this past Saturday. It was very very good and we are still enjoying the leftovers.

Green Goddess Dip
Inspired by ATC.

Ingredients

1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced green onions
2 Tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dill
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until the flavors have blended (I let it sit overnight)
  3. Serve with fresh veggies or crackers. Enjoy!

My family loves dill so I added a bit extra. It was very good, but much better after it had sat overnight and the flavors had all blended.

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Florentine Turkey Meatloaf

September 22, 2008 at 9:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

We made this last week, I needed something that I could throw in the oven and not pay attention to for a few since DH and I were helping a friend out.

Florentine Turkey Meatloaf
Adapted from …and a cookie for dessert.

Ingredients

2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup ketchup, divided
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs (or 1 egg and 2 egg whites), slightly beaten
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed (optional)
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
3/4 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line loaf pan with foil. (I have a “fancy” loaf pan that has two sections and drains the fat out. I line the bottom pan to catch all the fat and keep my pan nice and clean. It was a wedding gift, at first I thought that it was strange, but now I love it!)
  3. Combine ground turkey, 1/4 cup ketchup, bread crumbs, onion, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and fennel seed in medium bowl.
  4. Press half of the turkey mixture into the foil-lined pan.
  5. Press a 1-inch indentation down center of mixture, leaving 1-inch thickness on all sides.
  6. Toss the spinach and mozzarella cheese together. Spoon the mixture into the indentation, mounding it into the center.
  7. Press remaining turkey mixture evenly over top, sealing edges.
  8. Bake 60 minutes (mine took a little longer). Spoon remaining ketchup over meat loaf (I also added a bit of cheese). Bake 15 minutes longer.
  9. Let stand 10 minutes and enjoy!

DH and I liked it, but the spinach/cheese mixture in the middle was dense. I love spinach, but it was almost too much, not in terms of quantity but with how “solid” it was. If anyone has any suggestions for some way to make it lighter or more airy spinach in the middle I would love to hear!

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Corn Souffle

September 16, 2008 at 11:52 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Corn Souffle

We made this for a family dinner on Sunday night. I forgot to take a picture when I pulled it out of the oven (we were running out the door). This picture is taken from the little leftover.

Corn Souffle
My mom.

Ingredients

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. shredded jack cheese Note: I usually use 16 oz of a mixed blend from Costco for the two cheeses.
7 oz. can diced ortega chilies
8 oz. can creamed corn
10 oz. frozen corn
1/2 stick melted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup low-fat sour cream
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine everything in a bowl.
  3. Butter/spray 9 x 13 pan. Add mixture to pan
  4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done (browned on top). Sometimes it takes a bit longer than an hour, but every oven is different.
  5. Enjoy!

This recipe is so easy to throw together and I normally have everything on-hand just in case we get asked last minute to some dinner and need to bring something.

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Skillet Braised Tomato Green Beans

September 16, 2008 at 11:30 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Skillet Braised Tomato Green Beans

This was also for our nice dinner at home. We made these once before and really enjoyed them. DH normally won’t touch green beans but he will devour these. (He also isn’t a huge fan of tomatoes, try to explain that!) We had this with a bbqed steak and Crashed Potatoes.

Skillet Braised Tomato Green Beans
Not sure where I found this recipe.

Ingredients

olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1 can diced tomatoes (I used one with Italian seasoning cause I was lazy, but usually I add the basil spices on my own)
salt
pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. (I use a skillet that has a lid)
  2. Add the shallot and cook until golden-brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.
  4. Add diced tomatoes and green beans.
  5. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

DH and I love these green beans, and they are so easy and quick!

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Easy Asian Cole Slaw

September 12, 2008 at 9:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Easy Asian Cole Slaw

This is one of my favorite easy salad recipes. It is great for a pot-luck, or just a salad when you feel like something different. It is so simple to throw together.

Easy Asian Cole Slaw
DH’s Aunt shared this with me.

Ingredients

Dressing
1 cup canola oil
6 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 Top Ramen “Oriental” seasoning packets

Salad
1 lb Cole Slaw salad (I used a broccoli-slaw)
2 packages Top Ramen noodles

Directions

  1. Break up the Ramen noodles (it works best to break them up in the package).
  2. Mix dressing.
  3. When ready to serve, mix everything and enjoy! Note: Since 1 lb of Cole Slaw is a bit much for DH and I, I just mix individual servings of everything and keep the Slaw, dressing, and noodles separate until ready to serve.

I’m sure there are other ways to dress this salad up, but this is a nice simple recipe (and easy to remember when I am in the grocery store).

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