Monday, June 30, 2014

4th of July Desserts....

As we head into the 4th of July weekend, I wanted to gather a few ideas for 4th of July Desserts....Our friends from St. Louis are coming to Cleveland, so I wanted to make something festive and fun!

Although that 4th of July layered cake is ADORABLE, considering my (lack of) baking skills, I predict this will create more grief than it is worth...So, I will be going for the fruit kabobs and brownies topped with cool whip, strawberries, and blueberries or a combo of these two.

Have a safe and FUN 4th of July holiday everyone!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

THANK YOU FOR SHARING: Your Favorite Family Dinners...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who shared a family favorite dinner recipe (keep them coming!)  You guys ROCK! (please let me know if I have forgotten any as I have been gathering them all week...)

After falling into a routine of making only dinner recipes I know by heart (in other words, those I've made a gazillion times), it is refreshing to discover new quick and easy dinners...We all have a stash of simple, crowd-pleaser recipes we make time and time again.  I thought it would be fun to gather and share.

Particularly after having one of the busiest summer weeks ever (dance recital + baseball + swim team + Radkids camp + sail camp + good friend moving to Boston = ONE CRAZY MAMA)...we are in desperate need of something new and interesting in our dinner rotation.  

Enjoy and happy summer to you all!

My kids would eat ICE CREAM all summer if they could!

Ground turkey with taco seasoning, rice, beans, and cheese mixed together in a tort. bowl or just in a dish.

“My kids favorite recipe. Easy and their favorite!” 
- Jodie Mylen

Pork tenderloin, 1 can of root beer and favorite BBQ sauce
Put the pork in your crock-pot. Pour root beer over it. Cook on high for 5 hrs. Drain root beer, shred the pork, pour in BBQ sauce, mix it up and voila! It's ready!!! Put it on a bun/roll and it's done.

“It's super easy and always a hit! One of our favorites and the simplest meal I make!”
-Tara Walsh

Note > We also love this recipe and add cole slaw on top of sandwiches..delish!  We pour an entire 2-L of root beer over pork and cook on low for 6 hours, mix with 2 sauces: KC Masterpiece Honey  + Daddy Sams BBQ

Take 4-5 chicken breast (thawed or frozen) put in crock-pot, add a jar of salsa or green verde sauce, packet of taco seasoning, and some corn or black beans if you like! Cook in low about 6 hours then shred and put into shells
- Maggie Hobelman Ahern

BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato)
- Jessica Wharton

Frozen turkey burgers, haricot verts w/ butter (still crunchy), cut up cucumbers & tomatoes with oil & vinegar, noodles w/ shredded cheese & butter OR corn on the cob & cut up strawberries with whipped cream for dessert.
- Jacqueline Byrne

Serve with brown rice/ peas on side…
“All the boys (Dad included) love it!”
- Heather Hampton Koelling

Cook diced onion in olive oil until soft add minced garlic and stir until fragrant. Add one can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, salt and pepper. Place boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the tomatoes and add a half-cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until chicken is done. 20-25 min Options: 1) eat as is 2) add kalamata or black olives toward the end of cooking, 3) add bag of TJ's "Melodious Blend" (frozen garbanzo beans, lentils) or another frozen veggie.

Serve over brown rice, a grain blend or a bed of baby spinach.
- Jen Brigham

Plan ahead slow-cooker: place a large pork shoulder in slow-cooker, add 2 c chicken broth, 2 cans of Herdez green salsa, maybe some chopped onion if you feel like it and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high or low for a long time until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Remove pork from the crock-pot, shred with two forks, add back some of the cooking liquid. Serve in corn tortillas, with fresh diced white onion, cilantro and limes. You can also brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker if you're feeling ambitious. If you don't have a slow cooker, you can do this in a large Dutch oven on the stovetop to start and then throw it in the oven, covered tightly on low--250ish for a long time.
- Jen Brigham

Sprinkle a packet of beefy mushroom Lipton soup mix on the top. Then, a can of cream of mushroom soup on top of that. Place potatoes, carrots, and onions all around the meat, up against the edges of the baking casserole. Foil the top tight, put in oven at 11:00 AM, let it go at 250 until dinnertime.
“Something kids will eat.  Kids lick their plates!”
-Sonja Skerbeck

It only takes about 15 minutes from package to table. While the salmon is cooking in the toaster oven (350-375 for 12-15 min depending on the size if the cut), I cook up some frozen veggies.
- Katherine Swit Bass

Cook one bag of Knorr Mexican rice. After cooked, add avocado, jalapenos, red onion, black beans, corn, salsa, Cholula, etc. Cook ground beef with taco seasoning. Add meat to rice mixture, stuff into flour tortillas with sour cream and eat!!!
- Molly Gruszka Kerckhoff

My kids love to help in the kitchen. Smoothies are a favorite. I give mine choices and they choose what to throw in the blender. That seems to guarantee they eat it, when they choose. Same goes for tacos and homemade pizza. Place toppings on platter and they pick.
“Full bellies every time!”
- Amy Kunde

Marinade Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire
4 fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 T garlic salt
salt pepper (combo)...

Marinate for 5 hours and grill.

“I usually make it w/an orzo salad”
  - Jen Sika White  

1 ½ lb chicken cutlets
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 6 ears corn)
1 ½ cups diced red bell pepper
½ cup light sour cream
3 T basil pesto
½ cup shredded fresh basil

1   Spray grill pan w vegetable-oil cooking spray.  Sprinkle cutlets on both sides w ½ t salt and ¼ t pepper.
2   Grill cutlets over med heat, 2-3 min per side, turning once, until browned and cooked through.  Remove to a platter.
3   Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, heat 1 T canola oil over med heat.  Add corn and bell peppers.  Sprinkle w ½ t salt and ¼ t pepper and cook 5 min.  Remove from heat.  Stir in sour cream, pesto, and ¼ cup of shredded basil.  Spoon over cutlets and sprinkle with the remaining basil.

Makes 4 servings.

“Kids devour it”
-             Brooke Ferber

Course salt and ground pepper
1 lb rigatoni
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets (about 4 cups)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 T lemon juice
4 anchovy fillets, minced
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
Parmesan, grated for serving

1.    In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to instructions.  In last 2 min, add broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp-tender.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain pasta and broccoli.
2.    Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, anchovies, ½ t salt, and ¼ t pepper.
3.    Add sausage to pot and cook over med-high heat, breaking up meat w wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8-10 min.  Remove from heat, return pasta and broccoli to pot, and add oil mixture.  Toss well to combine, adding enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta.  Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

“Another favorite – anchovies are key ingredient”
- Brooke Ferber

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz tomato sauce
½ cup salsa
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder (more or less to your liking)

1)   Place chicken and tomato sauce in pan over med high heat.  Bring to boil and then add other ingredients.  Let simmer 20 min.
2)   With a fork, shred the chicken.  Cover and cook pulled chicken another 10 minutes.

** I will also put all ingredients into the slow cooker on low for 4 hours or so making it super easy.

Serve with burrito fixings – I sauté red, yellow, orange peppers with red onion in olive oil and garlic, make some Spanish or Mexican rice, maybe some black beans and some shredded cheese.

“Girls love this one!”
-      Tammy Ardire 

3 oz pkg cream cheese (softened)
2 Tbsp butter (divided)
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
Some chopped scallions
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp milk
1 can crescent rolls
¾ cup crushed croutons

1.) Mix cream cheese and 1 tbsp butter, beat until smooth.  Add chicken, scallions, salt, pepper, milk, and mix well.
2.) Separate crescent rolls into 4 squares and press perforations to seal.
3.) Spoon ½ cup chicken mixture into center of each square.  Pull 4 corners of dough to center to close and pinch edges.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet
4.) Brush tops with 1 tbsp melted butter and sprinkle with crushed croutons.
5.) Bake @ 350 for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden

I serve this usually with asparagus sautéed in olive oil and garlic and some rice or mashed potatoes.

“Ryan loves this one!”
- Tammy Ardire

Combine 2 eggs, 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup grated or shredded parmesan, 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, 3 cloves minced garlic, salt, pepper, 1/4 lb ground hot Ital. sausage (or a little olive oil if you omit this), 1 lb ground beef or bison. Add a splash of milk if needed. Roll into ~15 meatballs and bake at 400-425* for ~20 minutes, turning once. Add to your favorite tomato sauce. Can use with French loaf for meatball sandwiches or pasta for spaghetti and meatballs. Salad as a side. Can freeze meatballs raw or cooked if you make a double batch.
- Jenny Korb McPheeters

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you (or the fishmonger) can skin the 1 lb. salmon fillet, that's great. If not, no worries. The skin will peel off easily when cooked. Heat a dry ovenproof sauté pan over high heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, rub both sides of a 1 lb. salmon fillet with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning-sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned. Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked to your liking. Serve with sautéed spinach and some pearl couscous (which usually comes out of a box for me).
- Jenny Korb McPheeters

(Recipe to come)
- Kim Roy Barner


1 lb chicken breasts
2 T olive oil
½ cup diced yellow onion
1 T minced garlic
8 oz small, dry pasta
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups chicken broth
Juice from one large or two small lemons
1 cup water
1 t dried basil
1 t salt
¼ t red pepper flakes
½ t pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat.
2. Add onion and stir, cooking until soft and nearly translucent.
3. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds.
4. Add chicken and cook until just browned.
5. Stir in pasta, tomatoes, chicken broth, lemon juice, water, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
6. Bring to boil and continue to stir often, uncovered, for about 9 min, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
7. Remove from heat, sprinkle cheese on top, and cover for 10 min, or until cheese is melted and remaining liquid is absorbed.

(From Yellow Bliss Road Blog, Adapted from Martha Stewart)

“Tried this one tonight and it was good and easy!!”
- Jen Berkowitz

5 chicken breast fillets, skinless
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth, no sugar added
1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds (I used much less)
1/4 cup honey

1.) Cut up the chicken into bite-sized cubes (about 1 x 1).
2.) In a large skillet add chicken and broth, turn to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the chicken is nearly cooked through.
3.) Pour in the honey and sesame seeds and stir well.
4.) Cook until all liquids have cooked out and the chicken begins to brown.
5.) Serve over brown rice with some broccoli on the side.

“Kids loved!”
-       Michelle Rocco Hunt  

Make brown rice and top with either salmon (just olive oil, salt, and paprika, bake at 350) or chicken (olive oil, salt, emril’s chicken rub spice mix and grill) finally top with fruit salsa (any fruit kids may like, although I usually try to include chopped strawberries and pineapple, red onion which I chop big so kids can pick out, lime juice, and salt, and let marinate a little while)…

“Usually a crowd pleaser”
-      Dawn Blair  

Ohio City 4 Cheese Raviolis breaded with half Italian breadcrumbs and half panko, fry in olive oil and top with marinara and ground turkey
- Dawn Blair

- website shared by Susan Gummersbach  

(go to website for more detailed info on ingredient list and step-by-step directions for making several meals at one time to freeze)

Here are her 15 favorite crock-pot recipes.
  • Recipes feed 4-6 adult people.
  • No measurement is exact, for veggies, chop and estimate a handful.
  • When preparing the bags, keep the meat raw. Take proper precautions and appropriate cleanliness for raw meats!
  • Be sure to label bags.
  • Cook meats to approx 165 degrees, all slow-cookers vary in cooking time…mine usually cook in 4-6 hours.
  • ALL items in the recipe go into one freezer gallon size bag (even the liquids)…the bag goes into freezer for 4-6 months.
  • When ready to make dinner, either thaw in fridge for 12 hours OR place bag in a bowl of warm water for 30 min before putting in slow cooker. 
  • It is OK if meat is still frozen when it goes into slow cooker.

POT ROAST- 1 chuck roast (2.5-3 pounds), carrots, onion, potatoes (red, or sweet for paleo) garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. 16 oz beef broth. 

FRENCH SHREDDED BEEF- 1 chuck roast (2.5-3 pounds), 4 tsp homemade ranch seasoning, 1 tsp homemade Italian seasoning, onion, garlic, 16 oz beef broth. Serve on bread, or serve alone for paleo as shredded beef. 

GREEN CHILI BEEF- 1 chuck roast (2.5-3 pounds), 1 jar green salsa, garlic, onions

CHICKEN FAJITAS- 4-6 breasts. Onion, red pepper, green pepper, tons of Mexican seasonings, 8 oz chicken broth. 

ITALIAN CHICKEN- 4-6 breasts.  6 tablespoons Italian seasoning.  8 oz chicken broth. 

CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS 4-6 breasts, 1 cream mushroom, 1 cream chicken, 1 cup coconut milk last 45 minutes, in last hour- add one can of cut up biscuits (the kind you peel paper off and remove/separate the uncooked round pieces) (cut them to about 1" pieces before adding into the crock pot)

CHEESY CHICKEN - 4-6 breasts, 1 can of mushrooms, 8 oz chicken broth, Last hour add: 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, bag of frozen broccoli. 

 HAWAIIAN CHICKEN- 4-6 breasts, 1 can pineapple, 1 jar of Hawaiian BBQ sauce. Add 1/2 cup water when it goes into crock-pot. 

RANCH CHICKEN 4-6 breasts. 1/4 cup homemade ranch seasoning. 16 oz chicken broth. 4-6 potatoes (red or sweet for paleo). 

GREEN CHILI CHICKEN - 4-6 breasts, 1 jar green salsa, garlic, onions.

PORK TENDERLOIN single pork tenderloin. Onion, sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons homemade ranch seasoning, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 6 oz red wine.  Last hour: add a bag of frozen mixed veggies. 

RANCH PORK CHOPS- 4-6 chops. 6 tablespoons homemade ranch seasoning. 4-6 potatoes (red or sweet for paleo). Carrots. 8 oz chicken broth. 

ITALIAN PORK CHOPS- 4-6 chops. 6 tablespoons Italian seasonings.  Last hour add: bag of frozen peas or veggies, 1/4 cup coconut milk.

CHILI 1 pound cooked (and cooled before putting into bag) ground beef or turkey, 2 cans BBQ beans, 2 cans tomatoes, 1 can black beans, 2 cans white beans, garlic , Diced onion, tons of seasonings (add red chili pepper flakes if you want it spicy, or even sub out tomatoes for ro-tel). 

PHILLY -cube steak, raw cut into strips. Red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion. 8oz beef broth, seasonings. . Last 30 min top with provolone cheese (or leave plain for paleo). Serve in bread or alone. 

HOMEMADE RANCH SEASONING- store in airtight container (double or triple!)
               2 tbsp dried parsley, crushed
               4 tsp dried dill weed
               4 tsp onion powder
               1/2 tsp paprika powder
               3 tsp dried onion flakes (tastefully simple onion)
               4 tsp dried chives
               2 tsp garlic powder
               1 tsp ground pepper

HOMEMADE ITALIAN SEASONING- store in airtight container (double or triple!)
               2 tsp dried basil
               1 tsp garlic powder
               1/2 tsp paprika powder
               2 tsp dried onion flakes (tastefully simple onion)
               2 tsp dried oregano
               2 tsp dried rosemary

               2 tsp dried thyme