Monday, December 30, 2013

Simple Orangle Dreamsicle cake

I have found many different ways to make this cake. This is probably the simplest.
1 yellow cake mix (and what is needed to make the cake so 3 eggs And 1/3 cup oil)
2 pkg of Orange Jello
1 pkg of vanilla pudding
1 cup milk (for the pudding)
1 tub of Cool Whip
First make cake as directed in a 9x9 square pan. Let it cool completely.
Poke wholesale throughout the cake. I used the handle of my spoon since it round and about the size of my finger. An end of a small wooden spoon may work well.
Then prepare 1 box of the Orange jello. Then pour over the top of your cake. Make sure you pour evenly and in all the wholesale you made.
Then cover the cake and put it in the fridge for 4 hours.
Then make the pudding with the milk. Then add the last package of Jello straight into the pudding mixture. Stir together well.
Then fold in the Cool Whip. Once the topping is all mixed then spread on top of your cake.
I topped it with some orange zest and a few orange slices.

Tortellini, basil, and fire roasted tomatoes soup

Sorry I've been MIA for so long. Life got busy, tablet broke, and my daughter started school full time.
Anyway, I have a new easy dinner recipe for you.
Tortellini, basil, and fire roasted tomatoes soup.
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic
1-quart chicken broth
6 oz. fresh or frozen tortellini
14 oz. canned diced fire roasted tomatoes with their liquid
10 oz. spinach, washed and stemmed; coarsely chopped
8 – 10 leaves of basil, coarsely chopped
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add broth and bring to a boil.
Add the tortellini and cook halfway, about 5 minutes for frozen tortellini, and just a minute or two if using fresh.
Add the tomatoes and their liquid, reduce the heat to simmer and cook just until the pasta is tender.
Stir in the spinach and basil and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Kitchen Toy!

Early this month was my birthday, I turned the big 3-0. As a gift, my parents gave me a food processor. So today I made the Chicken Bruschetta Pasta from Pampered Chef. It really made this recipe a million times easier. No more fine chopping, I can add the tomatoes in the wedges the recipe suggests.

Husband is listing off all the things he wants me to make with the processor. He wants a pesto sauce and home made salsa. I guess you can watch for those recipes when I find out what works.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pot Stickers and Chow Mien

I love those frozen pot stickers you find at the whole sale food stores. I snack on those things like I'm getting paid to. I always wondered how hard could it be to make them myself. So I gave it a shot.
The pot stickers.......
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup shredded green cabbage
1/3 cup chopped green onion (4 medium)
2 teaspoons chopped gingerroot
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1small red bell pepper, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1egg white
1package (10 ounces) round wonton skins
2 cups chicken broth
4 teaspoons soy sauce
Mix all ingredients except wonton skins, broth and soy sauce.
Brush each wonton skin with water. Place slightly less than 1 tablespoon chicken mixture on center of skin. Pinch 5 pleats along edge of half of circle. Fold circle in half over chicken mixture, pressing pleated edge to unpleated edge. Repeat with remaining skins and chicken mixture.
Spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Cook 12 pot stickers at a time in skillet about 3 minutes or until light brown; turn. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook about 1 minute longer or until liquid had evaporated. Repeat with remaining pot stickers, broth and soy sauce.
The Chow Mien....
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
ground black pepper, to taste
2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 (5.6 oz) packages refrigerated Yaki Soba noodles (found in the produce section of the grocery store)
2/3 c. chopped celery (chopped diagonally)
1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
2 c. chopped cabbage
In a small bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Set aside.
Remove Yaki Soba from packages and discard included flavoring packets. Rinse noodles well, drain, and set aside.
Heat oil in a large wok or skillet. Add celery and onion and saute for about 1-2 minutes or until onions start to become soft and transparent. Add cabbage and saute an additional minute or so.
Toss Yaki Soba noodles and soy sauce mixture with the vegetables over medium-high heat for an additional 2-3 minutes or until noodles are heated through.
It was so easy to make both the pot stickers and the chow mien. I am going to have to try both again with some changes. First, although I found the pot stickers tasty, I found them soggy as well. Either I did something wrong or I need a different recipe to suit my taste. Also in the chow mien I used Napa cabbage. It worked great in the pot stickers but just didn't taste well in the chow mien. I might try using bok choy next time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!!!

I hope all you moms out there are enjoying your day!

I received a beautiful piece of art by my daughter. It was a lovely portrait of me. Hubby cooked a delicious breakfast and even cleaned up after himself. He bought me roses and a card. I have gotten so many wonderful hugs and kisses from my daughter and its only 10:30 am. I will be going to my own mother's house in a few hours. Then we will come home again for dinner. Hubby is making dinner tonight as well.

I need to start getting ready so I will have to cut this short. Enjoy your mother's day!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chicken Bruschetta Pasta from Pampered Chef

Recently went to another Pampered Chef party. I know, I sound like I'm addicted or something but they are all fundraisers for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I do have a shopping list a mile long but that will be over time. I have plenty of Pampered Chef parties in my future. The consultant made this wonderful pasta dish that everyone said would be something my husband would love. He usually makes a bruschetta every time we have a party so everyone associates bruschetta with my husband. Here is the Pampered Chef recipe for Chicken Bruschetta Pasta.

Chicken Bruschetta Pasta Ingredients:

 2 Chicken Breast
3-4 Plum Tomatoes
3/4 c. Olive Oil
2-3 Cans of chicken broth *to cover pasta in DCB
1 lb. Farfalle
4-6 Leaves of fresh Basil
3 Cloves of fresh garlic
1 Tbsp Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning Mix
Salt and Pepper (dash of each)
fresh Parmesan Cheese

Place chicken breast into a large ziplock bag and flatten them with meat tenderizer. This will allow them to cook more quickly and evenly. After flattening them, place them in the deep covered baker with some PC Italian Seasoning.

 Cook for 8-10 minutes (longer if not flattened). Chop with salad chopper and remove from baker.

 Break pasta in half, put in baker. Pour chicken broth over spaghetti until it is covered. Microwave for approx. 16-17 minutes, mixing a 8 minutes. Add fresh basil, a little olive oil into manual food processor.

Use garlic press to mince 3 cloves of garlic into manual food processor. Slice tomatoes into wedges (veggie wedger works wonders!) and add to manual food processor. Add salt and pepper.

 Drain pasta from DCB. Mix chopped chicken, pasta and olive oil mixture together, grate parmesan cheese on top and serve!

Well of course I don't have every thing pampered chef but I do have plenty of cooking supplies that can get the job done just as well. So don't think you need the deep covered baker or the manual food processor (though those are both great products that I would love to have) you can substitute with your own items. I used a blender instead of the food processor. Would of been better to have the manual food processor and any food processor than a blender but it got done. I also used my Corningware to cook this in instead of the deep covered baker. My substitute was a package of Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning Mix was a package of Wishbone Italian Dressing and Seasoning Mix.

Hope you enjoy this one, my hubby certainly did.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Terrible Day in Boston

The Boston Marathon is a long standing tradition. We here in Boston take great pride in our city, it's people, the history, and traditions. To have such an awful attack during such a day as Patriot's Day, a time of remembrance of all those people that forged our nation, during such an iconic event as the marathon, it has shaken us all to the core. Though my heart goes out to those families of the victims from today's attack. I feel we here in the Boston area, as a community, need to rise up from this tragic event and carry on. We are a strong community, we are tough, we are fighters, and we will hold true to the memory of those who came before us, those people that fought for freedom. They had unwavering strength, they were afraid but never let that fear stop them from going on. We can't let those that feed off fear to win. We will move on, help those who are in need of healing. But rest assure that Boston will fight to find out who is responsible and those people will feel the weight of justice. This day will forever be remembered here in Boston.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pasta e Fagioli

Nothing like having a hot soup on a chilly day. And when we are all feeling like we are coming down with something Pasta e Fagioli is the perfect thing to take that chill away. It's comfort in a bowl!

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion; diced 1 cup
1 large carrot; julienned 1 cup
3 stalks celery; chopped 1 cup
2 cloves garlic
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can red kidney beans; with liquid
1 15-oz can great northern beans; with liquid
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 12-oz can V-8 juice
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 pound Ditali pasta; (1/2 package)

Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; saute for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except pasta), and simmer for 1 hour.

About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.

Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.

I served it with a bit of freshly grated parmesan. It hit the spot. I'm now sitting with the hubby watching the Bruins game wrapped in several blankets. The lovely warm feel has now worn off. At least it got me through clean up.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tangy Orange Chicken with Green Bean Mandarin Salad

I made a orange chicken that had a bit of a kick to it. With a green bean salad on the side. It was a great dinner....

Orange Chicken


2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
white pepper
oil (for frying)
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon ginger root, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili pepper
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Orange Sauce for Stir Fry:

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons white vinegar
1 orange, zest of


It is easier to prepare the orange sauce first. Put soy sauce, water, sugar, white vinegar, and orange zest in a bowl. Whisk it up and set aside. In a large bowl stir together egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the oil and mix well. Stir cornstarch and flour together. Mix flour mixture and egg mixture. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees. Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp. (Do not overcook chicken). Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.

Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant; about 10 seconds. Add and stir-fry crushed chiles and green onions. Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth and add to chicken. Heat until sauce is thickened. Stir in sesame oil last minute. Take off heat and serve over rice.

Green Bean Mandarin Salad

1/2lb fresh green beans
1 can of mandarin oranges
Ground pepper (lightly to taste )
Olive oil to drizzle
Balsamic Vinegar

Clean green beans. Boil green beans to al dente. Throw green beans in large bowl of cold ice water. Drain. Add can of mandarin juice and all. Toss in pepper and oil. When green beans are well coated add Balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve cold.

Slimy fun

My daughter had no school today due to the district having a half a day. She is only in half a day kindergarten so they just give them the day off for both A.M. and P.M. Though we were both feeling under the weather I didn't want the day wasted in front of the TV. I got this recipe for slime from our visit to the Boston Museum of Science. It's super easy and fun.

All you need is borax, water, food coloring, and glue. You can use white glue for a creamy looking slime or the clear glue. We used white glue, I buy two for a dollar at the Dollar Tree since we are using the entire bottle.

1) First take a cup of water and dissolve a teaspoon of borax right in the measuring cup.
2) In a bowl empty the bottle of glue then add a half cup water.
3) Add food coloring and stir it up.
4) Then add the borax mixture.
5) Stir it up.
6) Once you see it sticking together start kneading it with your hands.
7) Once a majority if not all the liquid is soaked in you are all set to play with it.

Things happen quickly so this takes minutes. Luckily it cleans up easily. Just make sure your kiddos don't flick the slime around like my daughter did. Still it wasn't terrible to clean. It's what I get thinking I could leave her with it while I folded laundry.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rescue From The Attic

Rescued from my parent's attic was a doll I had when I was young. She was a mess to say the least. The poor doll's hair looked like rats had made a nest and was living in it since 1994. The sad thing was I had already tried saving this doll once already. But today I tried something that actually worked. I used a Magic Eraser on her face, arms, and legs. I suggest that if you are going to try this to test an area first as I have heard Magic Erasers can take shine off of surfaces. Then I added about 2 or 3 Tablespoons of fabric softener to a spray bottle of water. I shook it to get the fabric softener mixed well with the water. Then I sprayed it all over the doll's hair. Using a wig comb, I had one for my daughter's American Girl dolls, I worked in small sections slowly  brushing from the bottom up. It came out great. Her hair looks almost as good as the day I got her decades ago. I have a few of my daughter's Barbies that are going to get their hair done next.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Crescent Roll Tacos

Many years ago, when I was about 16 or so, I went to a Pampered Chef party hosted by a friend of my mom. There were so many great items but one stuck out. A pizza stone. They made these delicious tacos stuffed inside crescent rolls. My mom and I both loved the tacos we bought the pizza stone and had to make the Crescent roll tacos as soon as we got the pizza stone. My mom and I have been making them ever since. Thought I would share the recipe with you....
Crescent Roll Tacos
1lb ground beef
1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or taco cheese (4 ounces, so like a half of the typical 8oz bags)
2 tablespoons water
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
Cook ground beef in large skillet over medium heat 7-9 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; drain. Remove pan from heat and stir in taco seasoning mix, cheese and water.
Preheat oven to 375F. Unroll crescent dough; separate into triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on pizza stone with wide ends overlapping in center and points toward outside. (There should be a 5 inch diameter opening in center.) I use my Pampered Chef pizza stone, but any flat round pan should work--perhaps even a pizza sheet, but I'd spray it with Pam before adding the crescent rolls. Remember when using a pizza stone to preheat the stone. Scoop meat mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangles up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. (Filling will not be completely covered).
Bake at 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup for Lunch

I fell in love with Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup when I was pregnant with my now 6 year old daughter. There was a Panera Bread across the parking lot from my work. I would get the Broccoli Cheddar Soup almost every other day. My mom had come across a copycat recipe and we together tried it out. The first time we over pureed it so be careful. I used a hand mixer right in the pot and just chopped up the large chunks of broccoli. I also bought the carrots already julienned and the sharp cheddar in the bag shredded. Also, the first time we had made it we used white cheese but the orange cheddar is needed. You can taste the difference! Here is the recipe.....

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar


Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.
I hope this comes out as good as the second attempt. It taste spot on with the orange cheddar.

Mongolian Beef

Made a dish that I wasn't too sure how it was going to taste. My husband helped me by cooking the meat and we cut the prep time down in half. This is all prep work, the meat cooks so fast since the meat is so thin. My husband said it was the best thing I've made.

Mongolian Beef Recipe:


1 lb of flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise (I used sirloin tips cut into thin strips)

1/4 cup of cornstarch

3 teaspoons of canola oil

1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger (about 1/2 inch piece)

1 tablespoon of chopped garlic (about 2 -3 large cloves)

1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup of soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

3 large green onions, sliced crosswise into thirds

Prepare the meat:

First, make sure the steak slices are dry (pat them dry) and mix them with the corn starch. Using your hands or a spoon, move them around to make sure all pieces are coated. Place beef slices in a strainer and shake off excess corn starch (see picture bellow).

Make the sauce:

Heat half of the oil in a large wok at medium-high and add the garlic and ginger. Immediately add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and pepper flakes. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl. Don't worry if the sauce doesn't look thick enough at this point. The corn starch in the beef will thicken it up later.

Cook the meat and assemble dish:

Turn the heat up and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook, stirring until it is all browned (this is a quick thing). Pour the sauce back into the wok and let it cook along with the meat. Now you can choose to cook it down and reduce the sauce or leave it thinner. Add the green onions on the last minute so the green parts will stay green and the white parts crunchy.

Serve it hot with rice.

It was amazing, too spicy for the kidlet, but the adults loved it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bruins Game Reese's Trifle

Tonight is the Boston Bruins vs the Tampa Bay Lightening. As we are watching the game, I was making something sweet to have for the 3rd half. I made a Reese's Trifle, trifles are my husbands favorite kind of deserts. Here's how I did it....

There is a brownies layer, a whip cream layer, a peanut butter layer, a chocolate pudding layer, and I toss a bag of Reese's minis chopped in half on top.

Start by making the brownies, I did this in a 9x13 pan as I find it easy to crumble. Then make the pudding, I made 2 boxes of chocolate pudding though I didn't use all of it.

For the whip cream layer....
2 cups Heavy Cream
3-4 Tb granulated sugar

Beat heavy cream and sugar together on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.  Stick bowl in the fridge until you are ready to put in trifle dish

Peanut Butter Layer
2 cup creamy peanut butter
16oz of whipped cream cheese, softened
2 cup powdered sugar
4 Tb milk

Beat peanut butter and cream cheese together until creamy.  Add powdered sugar and mix well.  Add 2 Tb of milk.  Take 1 cup of your whip cream mixture from the fridge and fold it into the peanut butter mixture until just combined.

Now layer the brownies, chocolate pudding, then peanut butter mixture, then whipped cream. Do this twice then toss the chopped Reese's on top. There you have it. Enjoy!

I'm going to watch the rest of the game and eat this trifle.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hot chocolate

I will pick dark chocolate over milk chocolate any day. For some reason I've been making my hot chocolate with regular Hershey's Cocoa powder for years. Then I had a friend turn me on to Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa powder. I will never bother to make hot chocolate without the special dark again. Also, you can add in a bit of cayenne pepper to taste and it completely adds to the richness of the dark chocolate. My husband was worried my daughter would freak out over the spice of the cayenne, but she loved it that way. I added some marsh mellow and some heavy whipped cream. Sprinkled a bit of the cocoa on top and my daughter thought it was the best thing in the world. Try it out!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Wicked Easy Alfredo

I love easy meals, I'm not much of a cook. I do hate packaged meals so when there is a need for an easy meal, its got to be at least semi homemade. I like to make the sauce ahead of time and put it in the freezer. Fridays are always so busy with dance class after school that dinner has to be made quickly. I take out the sauce before Morrigan gets off the school bus and it defrosts while we are at dance. I throw on some water when we get back, put in the pasta after the water boils for 9 minutes. I put the sauce in a sauce pan and heat it up. I love those Perdue Short Cuts Italian flavored chicken strips. I heat those up in the microwave. Also, Morrigan loves broccoli so I heat up frozen spears in my Pampered Chef Microwave Steamer (if you don't have one of these, go buy one, now!) In some water for 4 minutes. I bowl the pasta, throw on top the broccoli and the chicken, pour the sauce on top, sprinkle some parmesan cheese and nutmeg and you have yourself a quick and easy dinner that should of taken you a lot more time and effort.
The sauce....
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.)Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Just cut up the cream cheese into cubes and throw into a sauce pan. Cut up butter as well. Add the parmesan, milk, butter, pepper, and garlic powder and heat it on low until all is melted. You got yourself an Alfredo sauce, it's that easy! You can put the sauce in either a plastic container or just in a freezer bag and freeze it to be used later. I also like to freeze them into cubes in a ice cube tray for easy single servings. I eat Alfredo with pasta for lunch sometimes. To change it up, I also heat up some carrots and peas in with the broccoli and leave out the chicken as a quick lunch. 9 minutes to prepare the pasta and I have an awesome lunch. Its as easy as making a box of Mac and cheese.
Give it a try, play round with it. I wouldn't mind seeing what a little parsley and/or cayenne pepper might taste like in this sauce.