Friday, December 30, 2011

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, Avocado & Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette~by Kelsey

I found this recipe on via Pinterest.  It is really good, fairly easy, and fairly healthy.  I chose to use canned corn, even though it calls for fresh.  I will also cut back on the oil a little next time I make it.  Also, the avocados don't keep very well once you put them in the salad, so make sure you add them just before serving.

Serves 6 - 8


2 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh corn, cooked, cooled and kernels cut off the cob
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots (you'll need one medium shallot)
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I like Colavita)
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
½ cup chopped cilantro, plus more to garnish
2 Hass avocados, diced


Combine all ingredients except avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a few springs of freshly chopped cilantro if desired.  Serve at room temperature.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Spicy Chicken-Corn Chowder ~ by Sarah

I got this recipe from Aunt D'Lynn.  (I think she got it from Better Homes and Gardens.)  It is good, but yowzers it's spicy!  And I even was very conservative with the spicy stuff.  So if you like spicy, you'll love it.  If you're like me and spicy things make you run for a glass of milk, you might want to just barely spice it up.  Because it would be delicious even without the heat!  I think next time I make it I will eliminate all things spicy and maybe add some smoked paprika.

8 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb. (about 4 boneless, skinless breasts) bite-sized raw chicken pieces
1 1/2 c. chopped red sweet pepper
1 c. chopped sweet onion
1-2 chopped jalapeno peppers (I used half of one and it was spicy enough for me!)
4 minced garlic cloves
1/3 c. flour
6 c. reduced sodium chicken broth
2 large Yukon potatoes, chopped
2 c. frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (I used 1/4 t. and it was plenty for me!)
2 bay leaves

(I used my Dutch oven to make this in--worked perfectly!)  Cook bacon.  Remove.  Reserve 1 T. drippings.  Add chicken.  Season.  Remove.  Add pepper and onion.  Cook till tender.  Add jalapeno and garlic.  Cook 3 minutes.  Stir in flour.  Cook 1 minute.  Add broth and potatoes.  Boil, then reduce heat.  Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.  Stir in bacon, chicken, corn, cream, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves.  Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leaves and serve.

I stole this picture from Better Homes and Gardens.  I forgot to take my own and Wes loved this (he loves spice so much he even added Frank's Hot Sauce!) so it didn't last long!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fudge~by Kelsey

From  It works best to double the recipe and put it in a 9X13 pan.

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Place the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter in large microwave-safe bowl.  Zap in microwave on medium until chips are melted, about 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking.  Stir in nuts, if desired.  Pour into well-greased 8X8 glass baking dish.  Refrigerate until set.

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies~by Kelsey

Lydia found this recipe in Grace's Williams-Sonoma Cookbook for Kids.  I am a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter!

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter with electric mixer on medium speed until blended.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat on low speed until blended.  Shape the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, placing 12 balls at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Dip fork in flour and press each cookie twice to make a criss-cross pattern.  Bake until golden, about 8-10 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the pans for five minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Meanwhile, add the chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl.  Add the shortening.  Microwave on high for one minute, stir, then microwave again for 30 seconds longer or until melted.  One at a time, dip half of each cookie into the chocolate, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator just until the cookies set, about five minutes.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.  Makes 24 cookies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pork Chops with Stuffing and Apples ~ by Sarah

I am about to give you the recipe for something my husband wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole.

This is why I made it for the first time when I was at Grandma's and Granddad's house and three hours away from him.

My friend, Miriah, made it for us this summer at our annual EOU girls' trip to the cabin and I loved it.

pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
1 box Stove Top stuffing (I love the cornbread kind--Miriah uses that or the pork kind)
1 can apple pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown pork chops in skillet.  Meanwhile, cook Stove Top according to package directions.  Spray 9x13-inch pan.  Spread apples in bottom of pan.  Top with pork chops.  Top with Stove Top.  Cover and bake 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer.  So easy and so delicious! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread ~Molly

I stumbled upon this recipe while trying to find something to bake with pumpkin that isn't pie or bars (I've already made-- and ate-- those things this month. Twice.) This bread isn't overly pumpkin-y but it's delicious! I followed the recipe exactly (except I used all-purpose flour instead), but you can knead by hand if you don't want to bread out the KithenAid. The dough is pretty sticky, so I make sure you use a ton of flour when you roll it out. If you want to see the original recipe, go here:

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Butter Rum Glaze Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon rum 

Make the pull-apart bread dough: Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the 2 tablespoons of butter. Let it bubble and foam and when you see it start to brown, stir it so that it browns evenly. When it’s the color of dark honey, remove it from the heat and pour it into a large heat-safe mixer bowl to cool. In the same saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk until it bubbles. Remove it from the heat and pour it into the bowl with the butter. Let these cool until they’re about 100-110 degrees F (use a candy thermometer to check). Set the saucepan aside for another use later. I use the same one throughout the entire recipe; why do more dishes?

Stir the sugar and yeast into the milk/butter mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes to proof (it should foam; if it doesn’t, discard it yeast and try again with new yeast). Stir in pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup flour. If you haven’t already, fit your mixer with a dough hook. Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring between each addition. When the dough is combined, knead on low speed with a dough hook until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes with a mixer).

Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour until it doubles in size (After it rises, you can put it in the fridge overnight to use it in the morning, but let it sit out for half an hour before rolling if you do.)

Make the filling: While the dough is rising, whisk the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Toward the end of the rising time, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter for the filling in the saucepan over medium-high heat and brown it as directed above. Put it in a small heat-safe bowl to cool for use later.

Shape and bake pull-apart bread: Knead a sprinkling of flour (about 1 tablespoon) into the dough, deflating it, and recover it. Let it sit to relax for 5 minutes. Flour a large work surface and turn your rested dough out onto it. Roll it out to a 20 inch long and 12 inch wide rectangle, lifting corners periodically to make sure it’s not sticking. If it seems to be snapping back, cover it with your damp towel and let it rest for 5 minutes before continuing (I had to do this twice during the process).

Spread the browned butter over the surface of the dough with a pastry brush and then sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top, patting it down to ensure it mostly sticks. Joy the Baker encourages you to use it all even though it seems like a ton, but I admit I got squeamish at the amount and only used most. It was fine despite my nerves. Go ahead and pile it on.

With the long edge of the rectangle toward you, cut it into 6 strips (do this by cutting the rectangle in half, then cutting each half into equal thirds. I used a pizza cutter). Stack these strips on top of one another and cut the resulting stack into 6 even portions (again, cut it in half, and then cut the halves into equal thirds). Place these portions one at a time into your greased loaf pan, pressing them up against each other to fit them all in. Cover the pan with your damp cloth and place it in a warm place for 30-45 minutes to double in size.

While dough rises, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (or 325 if you have a glass loaf dish instead of a metal pan). When it’s risen, place the loaf in the center of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until dark golden brown on top (if you take it out at light golden brown, it’s liable to be raw in the middle, so let it get good and dark). Cool for 20-30 minutes on a cooling rack in the loaf pan while you make the glaze.

Make the glaze: In your saucepan, bring the butter, milk, and brown sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove it from heat, add the powdered sugar and rum, and whisk it to a smooth consistency.

Assemble and serve: Use a butter knife to loosen all sides of the bread from the loaf pan and gently turn it out onto a plate. Place another plate on top and flip it to turn it right side up. Drizzle glaze over top. Serve each piece slightly warm with a drizzle of glaze.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Penne With Chicken Thighs ~ by Sarah

I saw this on The Pioneer Woman's website the other day and wanted to try it because it looked quick, easy, and good!  It was delicious--who knew chicken thighs could be so tasty?!?

**Note...make sure you remember that you need to allow for 1 1/2 hours of baking time!

Click here for her step-by-step instructions with pictures all along the way:


  • 8 whole Chicken Thighs, Bone-in, Skin-on
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 jars (24 Ounces Each) Marinara Sauce
  • Fresh Basil - To Taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, For Sprinkling
  • 16 ounces, weight Penne Or Rigatoni

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown chicken thighs quickly on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a separate plate.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon grease/oil. Add onions and garlic to pan and stir around to cook, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in marinara sauce and stir to heat. Add chicken thighs back into the sauce. Cover and place pan in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. (You may also simmer on the stovetop on the lowest heat possible.)
Cook the pasta according to package instructions Serve 1 chicken thigh with sauce over pasta, adding more marinara if needed. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve. (For smaller children, you can cut the meat off the bone for them. Chicken is very tender!)

(Pioneer Woman photo)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crunchy Rice Casserole~by Kelsey

This comes from my Taste of Home Ground Beef Cookbook, it's a must-have cookbook that I use ALL the time.  The kids LOVED this casserole, which is rare, and it disappeared so fast that I didn't even get a picture.  I will take one next time I make it.

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups corn flakes, coarsely crushed
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

In a skillet, cook beef, onion, and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.  Add the ketchup, mustard and salt.  Mix well.  Transfer to a greased 2-qt baking dish.  Top with cooked rice.  In a bowl, combine the cheese, soup, milk, and Worcestershire sauce.  Pour over rice.  Combine cornflakes and butter, sprinkle over top.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until heated through.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chocolate Muffins~by Kelsey

This recipe is from  They are called "muffins", but lets be honest, it's cake for breakfast.

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream, water, milk, oil and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for five minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No-Bake Chocolate Truffle Pie ~ by Sarah

Molly made me this pie years ago and I insisted that she write the recipe down for me. I remembered it the other day and made it. It was delicious!

3/4 c. (about 17) caramels
1/4 c. evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. (one regular-sized bag) chocolate chips
1 c. whipping cream
3 T. butter
1 prepared chocolate crumb crust (Fred Meyer was out, so I had to improvise my didn't work out so well.  I recommend that you try to buy one!)

Melt caramels and milk together over low heat.  Pour in crust.  Melt other ingredients together.  Pour over caramel mixture.  Refrigerate until set (about 4 hours).  Serve with whipped topping.  (I bought extra whipping cream and whipped it up for the topping.  I didn't add sugar because this pie is rich, so the more bland whipping cream is a nice balance.

I forgot to take a picture and I remembered as I began eating the last slice the next day!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Corn Salad ~ by Sarah

My aunt makes a corn salad that I love, so searched the Internet until I found a recipe that seemed pretty close. It's such a great summer dish!

2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 purple onion, diced
1 green onion, diced (or half green and half red)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
chili cheese Frito corn chips

Combine everything put the chips in a bowl and mix well.  I also added some pepper, salt, and Salad Elegance.  Just before serving crush the corn chips into big chunks and add to the salad (to your desire).  You want to add these right before serving or they get soggy.

Peanut Butter Corn Flake Cookies~by Kelsey

 These are super good.  Seriously.  And so easy.

1 cup sugar
1 cup karo syrup
1/2 stick butter
Stir until blended, then let come to a boil and boil for 45 seconds
1 cup peanut butter
7 cups corn flakes

Drop by spoon full onto wax paper OR press into a jelly roll pan.  Let them harden, and enjoy!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Orange-Spiced Sweet Potatoes~by Kelsey

This recipe is from my Crock Pot Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes cook book.  I really like sweet potatoes, and this actually seems more like a dessert than a vegetable.  Maybe it's all the butter.  And sugar.  But it's really good and smells awesome!

2 lbs sweet potatoes
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
Juice of one medium orange
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
toasted pecans (optional)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cajun Rice Dish~by Kelsey

This recipe came from my super-fantastic Ground Beef Cookbook from Taste of Home.  Seriously, you need to have that cookbook and 50 lbs of ground beef from the Wasco Market.  This recipe calls for Cajun seasoning, which I could not find at Fred Meyer, so I made up my own mix of garlic, chili, cayenne, and onion powder.

5 cups of beef broth
2 cups of uncooked long grain rice
1 pound of ground beef
1 medium onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper (I used orange)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

In a roasting pan, combine broth and rice.  Mix well.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.  Add to rice with vegetables, salt, and Cajun seasoning.  Mix well.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes more, or until rice is tender.  ( I found it took almost an hour more for my rice to be tender.)

I put soy sauce on mine, Josh added Frank's hot sauce.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Marinated Tomato Salad with Herbs

The Pioneer Woman now has a television show on The Food Network. I watched a sneak peek a few days before it came on, and they showed her making this dish. I love fresh, homegrown tomatoes, so I wanted to give it a try. It is amazing! We had friends over for a barbecue dinner and it was definitely the hit of the evening. Even brawny meat and potatoes guys were going back for seconds. I highly recommend this!

6 to 8 ripe tomatoes
4 green onions
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful fresh parsley leaves, lightly chopped
12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Cut the tomatoes into 4 wedges, then cut the wedges in half and add to a bowl.  (I forgot to cut the wedges in half again.)

Lop off the tops of the green onions, then slice the white and mostly light green parts really thin. Add to the tomatoes.

Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, dash of salt and pepper to a jar. Screw on the lid and shake to combine. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and toss.

Add the herbs and gently toss to combine. 

Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

There is no way this would be good with store-bought tomatoes in the winter, so make it now while you can get good homegrown ones!  I got mine at the produce stand and they were excellent!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sugared Rhubarb Muffins~by Kelsey

 I found this recipe on  It was quick, easy and good!  I doubled it, because 12 muffins don't last very long around here.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb


  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in rhubarb.
  2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
One muffin equals 226 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 153 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1-1/2 fat.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pulled Pork Sandwiches ~ by Sarah

When I make a pork roast, I am more excited about dinner the next night.  I use whatever roast we have left over to make pulled pork sandwiches.  I love, love, love them!  They are quick and easy and a great way to utilize leftovers.

leftover pork roast (I cooked mine using the Three Packets and a Roast recipe for pork roasts.)
barbecue sauce
salt and pepper to taste
hamburger buns

Shred pork roast with two forks.  (I usually do this the night before, after we're done eating, when the roast is still warm--it's easier to shred.)  Put meat in pot over medium heat.

Make sure this is the barbecue sauce you're using.  If it's not, don't follow my recipe until you go get some!  Kidding.  Kind of.

Dump some sauce on the meat, salt and pepper, then give it a taste to see if you think it needs more sauce.

Mix well and begin to heat it over medium heat.  Stir occasionally.

Serve on hamburger buns (we always buy whole wheat, but any variety will work).  I put them under the broiler to toast them a bit, first.

If you're watching your waistline, you can do what I do.  I put mine on a sandwich thin instead of the big, carby, hamburger bun.  I actually like this better because I love the meat the most, so the taste isn't overpowered by all the bread.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mocha Fudge Cake ~Molly

I found this recipe in Self magazine adapted from a spa in Arizona. It's delicious! I added powdered sugar on top and ate it with ice cream (Mom added milk, but that's gross).


  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 oz unsweetened, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray

  • Heat oven to 350˚. Beat sugar and butter in a bowl until combined. Beat in eggs, then chocolate, then sour cream. Sift flour and baking soda in a bowl; add to chocolate mixture. Beat in coffee, vanilla and salt until combined. Coat a 9" x 13" pan with cooking spray; pour in batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 minutes.

  • 279 calories per slice, 11 g fat (6 g saturated), 42 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein