Saturday, March 30, 2013

Swirly Colored Easter Eggs

I saw this idea on Pinterest.  I searched and searched the internet trying to figure out who the original idea could be attributed to.  Every link that I found went a photo but nothing had any credit to so and so on it.  Who every original posted the idea ... thank you!  My kids loved it!
There were no clear cut instructions, just an idea ... so we just figured it out on our own.

What You'll Need:

  • Shaving Foam (it needs to be foam, not gel)
  • Liquid Food Coloring
  • Tooth picks
  • Pie Plates or other shallow dishes
  • Eggs (of course)

How WE Dyed Our Eggs:

  1. I used pie plates to dye our eggs.  Squirt a small layer of foam in the bottom of your dish.  Make sure that you do not use a lot of foam ... more foam allows for less of the dye to contact the egg shell. (Learned that on the first one that we did)
  2. Drop liquid food coloring onto the top of the foam in several places.  We used coordinating colors such as Blue and Green, Purple and Blue, Yellow and Red ... we even did a rainbow one in which we lightly swirled so that it would get all of the colors on it!
  3. Using a tooth pick, swirl the dye around just enough to distribute the dye.  Do not mix too much or it will loose the swirl effect and just be a solid color.             
  4. Roll the eggs around in the foam and then set to the side on a paper towel.
  5. Allow to sit for several minutes, then gently wipe away the foam with paper towels.  Quickly run under cold water to rinse all of the foam away.
Some people claimed that the shaving foam "flavored" their eggs.  We did not have this problem, but you can use whipped cream in place of the shaving foam.
***NOTE - If anyone is able to lead me to the original post with this idea ... please let me know so that I can attribute the idea to them!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Taco Roasted Chick Peas

Yes, I realize the photo is sideways.  For some reason blogger keeps rotating it when I upload it.  Not sure why or how to fix it!

After reading SEVERAL recipes for roasted chick-peas ... my head was spinning!  So many flavors and so many different baking instructions!  I decided that since I like taco seasoning a lot .. I would go with that.  Baking though, hmmm.  I have found everywhere from 300 degree for over an hour to 45 for the 20-30 minutes that I used.  I have not tried a low and slow technique yet, but the high temp that I used made chick-peas that were crunchy on the outside and smooth and nutty on the inside.  Experiment ... that's my motto!

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 1 can chick peas (garbonzo beans)
  • 1 T grapeseed oil
  • 2t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • tiny sprinkle of Italian seasoning

Make It:

  1. Drain and rinse the chick peas.  Spread out on a couple of layers of paper towels and pat dry.  Pick out any hulls that you see.  Make sure to dry thoroughly.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a bowl and coat the chick peas.
  3. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 450 for about 20 to 30 minutes (depending on your oven).  Toss them around every so often to ensure that they cook evenly.
This is a high fiber healthy snack that is so yummy!  Enjoy!

Short-Cut Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

I found a quick version of Alfredo in my BHG cookbook.  Just a few tweaks to make it my way.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts or about 1+ pounds of cooked chicken, cubed or sliced
  • 1/2 pound Fettuccine
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 T butter
  • 3/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 2 T fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make It:

  1. Before you begin, set the cream and butter out to allow it to come to room temp.  Cook the chicken in your desired method ... I oven roasted mine at 400 for about 20 minutes or so (until fully cooked).  Just a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of S&P.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.
  3. While pasta is still very hot, toss all other ingredients in the pot with it.
Yes, it really is that simple and yes it tastes yummy!  If you like your pasta a bit more on the saucy side ... add more butter, cream and parmesan.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lentil Soup

A friend of mine gave me her lentil soup recipe years ago and I keep losing it!  I'm not sure how that keeps happening.  I decided to just make up my own!

Yield: about 4 servings

Gather Your Ingredients

  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 c. (total) diced celery and carrots
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. lentils, sorted and washed
  • Generous handful of fresh, torn spinach
  • 1 T fresh, chopped parsley

Make It:

  1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium low heat.  Add carrots, celery and onion.  Saute until they begin to get tender.
  2. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes then add the tomato.
  3. Pour lentils and stock into the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until your lentils are tender.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach and parsley.  Let sit for 5 minutes to allow greens to wilt and incorporate.

Creamy Chicken and Noodles

This recipe was inspired by a few recipes.  This one from Cleverly Inspired, one that my mom used to make and another one that a friend shared with me.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian Dressing Seasoning Mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 c. chicken stock
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 to 2 T fresh, chopped parsley

Make It:

  1. Quickly brown the chicken breasts in some oil.  Then drain the pan and wipe it with a paper towel.
  2. Place butter, cream cheese, Italian dressing mix, cream of mushroom soup and chicken stock in the pan.  Allow it melt together and whisk until smooth.
  3. Place chicken back in the pan, top with mushrooms, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Make sure that your chicken is cooked through. Cooking times will vary.
  4. Serve over a bed of cooked egg noodles and top with fresh, chopped parsley.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Grandma's Potato Soup

I have tried for a very long time to perfect my grandma's potato soup recipe.  It is a non-traditional recipe and I love it!  I have lasting memories of her making potato soup especially for me when I visited.  I don't think that I will ever "nail it".  I'm not sure that it is even possible to duplicate a Grandma's recipe...they always have a way of making it a little extra special.  I have come close to her delicious recipe and I want to share it with you!  *Note:  My grandma didn't measure anything, she just sprinkled and poured until it looked right.  You can easily adjust measurement to obtain the spice level or consistency that you prefer.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 5 slices of white american cheese
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 4 cups of milk
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make It:

  1. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender.  Drain water and return to pot.
  2. Sprinkle the steaming hot potatoes with the spices and then lay cheese over them.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes to allow cheese to melt.
  3. Smash the potatoes to the consistency that you desire.  I like to leave mine lumpy.
  4. Return to low heat and slowly whisk in the milk.  Stir occasionally until the soup is warmed through.
  5. Taste test to check the spices.  Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.  Serve with scallions, bacon pieces and shredded cheese.
**Variation:  In lieu of using garlic powder and onion powder (the way  my grandma did) toss 4 to 5 whole, peeled cloves of garlic and a small, quartered onion or shallot into the water when cooking the potatoes.  Then mash them all together when they are tender.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Breakfast Minis

My original inspiration for this came from Spoonful's Mini Frittata Recipe.

Breakfast casseroles are probably my favorite food.  When my first daughter was born, I joined a group at my church called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  This is where I was introduced to the world of breakfast casseroles!  I would show up, half awake, still in my jammies and with a baby in tow.  And then ... they provided childcare and FOOD!  I have been in this group for 8 years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how much variety there is when it comes to breakfast casseroles.

The reason I love the muffin cup idea is that no one in my family likes the same thing.  This way, each muffin cup can have different add ins and I only have to cook once!  You could place them on a biscuit or eat them as is.  Freeze them for a quick "on the go" breakfast.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs (depending on how many you want to make)
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • meat add-in items (cooked sausage or bacon, ham, Canadian bacon)
  • veggie add-in items (onion, garlic, sweet peppers, tomato, mushroom, spinach, zucchini)
  • shredded potatoes (you can use frozen, but it's just as easy to peal and shred one or two potatoes)
  • shredded cheese (i used cheddar)
  • salt and pepper to taste
The amount of add-in items depends on how many "muffins" you are making.  If you have a favorite, you may choose to add more of that item.

Make It:

  1. Start by prepping all of your items.  Cook your meat if needed.  Dice all of your veggies, remember that they are going into muffin cups so you will want a fine dice.  Shred your potatoes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk your eggs, cream and salt and pepper until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Spray your muffin cups with a light mist of oil (for this I like to use my Pampered Chef Kitchen Spritzer.  It allows me to have spray oil without the added chemicals.)
  4. Place your desired add-ins (about 1 1/2T seemed just right for me) in the muffin cups and then pour egg mixture over them until just below the top of the cup (a scant 1/4c is what mine measured).  Be careful not to overfill the cups, eggs puff up when they cook.   (I put the veggies etc in first because I was afraid that if I put the eggs in first the eggs would over flow when adding the veggies.)
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25  minutes.  Make sure that you do not over cook the eggs!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pasta with Meat and Veggie Sauce

  • 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained (you could also use turkey or chicken if you prefer)
  • 3 cups of diced veggies (celery, carrot, green pepper, zucchini, onion, mushroom)
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • A pinch of Italian Seasoning (if desired)
  • 2 1/2 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c. water 
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 lb. cooked pasta
  1. After you brown and drain your meat, place it back into the skillet along with your firmer veggies (the ones that take the longest to cook).  You will continue to layer in your veggies until everything is in your skillet.
  2. When you have all of your veggies in the skillet, add a pinch of Italian Seasoning (if desired) and your tomato sauce.  Add the 1/2 c water as needed, to get the consistency you desire for your sauce.
  3. Cover and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Toss the parsley in last, after the sauce is removed from the heat.  Coat pasta with sauce and serve.
**Tips from Little Mamas's Kitchen:
  • I use a fine dice on my veggies because it makes it harder for my kids to pick them out.  You can make your veggies any size that you want, but make sure to be consistent so that they will cook evenly.   
  • Use whichever veggies you prefer or have on hand.  I often use this recipe as a way to use up fresh produce that needs to be eaten soon.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hermann Photo Walk

Last night I went on a photo walk with a group of about 10 to 12 people who loves cameras :)  If you are wondering, "What is a photo walk?"  It is just what it sounds like, we walk around and take photos.  It's pretty fun!  Especially for me because I get to talk with people who are more experienced than I.

It was cold, cloudy and every thing was dead and snow covered.  I just couldn't find my inspiration.  I did, however, walk away with a few photos that I like.