Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vegetable Pizza, a great appetizer!

Last weekend we had a family bridal shower and my cousin brought this delicious Vegetable Pizza appetizer. I told her I MUST have the recipe to share it with all of you. It is an easy recipe to throw together and very tasty! Enjoy.

Vegetable Pizza
3 8 oz. packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 1/2 - 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1 oz. package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped green onions1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped olives, optional (I've had olives on it and I loved it!)
1 cup cut carrots
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Roll out the crescent roll dough onto a cookie sheet inch baking sheet. Pinch the edges together to form a flat crust. Bake crust for 12 minutes in the oven. Once finished cooking, remove crust from oven and let cool 15 minutes without removing it from the baking sheet.
In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and dry ranch dressing. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange broccoli, tomato, green onions, olives, carrots, and cheddar cheese over the cream cheese layer. Chill for one hour, slice and serve.

~ Krista

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lemon Chicken Farfalle

How did my hopes of an "easy" meal turn out to be so gourmet? I often ask myself why do I do this when my kids don't even appreciate it fully or like all the ingredients! My youngest doesn't like eating noodles and my other two little kids LOVE noodles but nothing green. So sadly, this meal was not for them. But as for my husband and me we really enjoy making this meal.

Years ago when we were first dating we went out to eat at a little Italian restaurant that since has gone out of business. We both fell in love with a dish that had a hint of lemon with chicken, spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts. We were hooked. So as things go we have recreated this little dish. This has become a staple dish that we make for our friends and family often. So when I looked in the fridge and had these ingredients I said, "Tonight is the night for Lemon Chicken Farfalle" it's impossible to make such a gourmet meal with out our favorite french bread too! It was delicious. Since my little family will only eat half of a french bread I always have an extra to make our favorite Pesto Chicken Sandwiches for tomorrows dinner. Yum.

~Diana

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Lemon Chicken Farfalle

3-4 chicken breasts, sliced
1 pkg. button mushrooms, sliced in quarters
1 lb. farfalle (bowtie) pasta noodles

Brown chicken in lemon juice with lemon pepper and salt for seasoning.
Remove chicken from skillet. Begin boiling farfalle (or bowtie) noodles. Put one package, sliced button mushrooms in the pasta boiling water for 1 minute. Remove mushrooms and set aside.

Lemon Cream Sauce:
3 T. butter
2 t. flour
1 quart half and half or heavy whipping cream
1 c. Parmesan cheese
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 T. Lemon Pepper Seasoning
1-2 T. lemon juice (add at very end when cream sauce is thick)

1 10 oz. package spinach
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts (simply toast on low heat in sauce pan. Stir constantly and remove from heat once they begin to brown.)

Melt butter then add flour. Stir together to create a roux. Then add the half and half. Stir together cooking only on low. Once the cream is heated thoroughly, add the chicken bouillon. Then add Parmesan cheese. If sauce needs to be thicker add more Parmesan cheese. Do not cook on a high heat it will curdle the milk! When sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add torn spinach leaves. Then add mushrooms and chicken to simmer until noodles are done. Serve immediately. Add lemon juice at very end. *I like to do it to individual portions because the chances of curdling is less because it's off the heat. Optional: Add ¼ c. toasted pine nuts to individual portions and top with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Canning Craze! Three unique recipes; Jalapeno Jelly-Pickle Relish-Salsa


This past few weeks I have spent many hours in the kitchen doing some yearly canning. My garden tomatoes have become ripe, so it was time to bottle several quarts of my homemade salsa. There is nothing better than a batch of salsa made from ripe tomatoes from your garden--yum! If you have never tried canning salsa, give it a try! It really comes together quickly if you have a food processor to help you with all of the chopping.

This year I have added a unique addition to my canning schedule...bottled sweet relish. That sounds like something my grandmother would make (probably because she does!). I was really unsure about this adventure in my kitchen, but my cute neighbor assured me that it would be easy to make and would be 100x's better than the relish you can buy in the store. She knows what a hot dog loving husband I have, and how much relish we go through on a regular basis. So, she brought me over a huge bag of cucumbers and told me to try her recipe.

The finished product...delightful! It was so good I had a hot dog for lunch the day I made it--that is weird for me! If you have cucumbers in your garden, or see some on sale at a store near you, give this recipe for homemade sweet relish a try. You will LOVE it!

Canned Sweet Pickle Relish

*From Cooks.com
4 c. chopped cucumbers, about 4 medium--keep skins on
2 c. chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. salt
3 1/2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. apple cider vinegar with 1/4 c. water
1 t. turmeric
1 T. celery seed
1 T. mustard seed (I didn't have this so I just used dry mustard powder and it worked great)

Combine cucumbers, onions, green and red peppers in a large bowl; sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours. Drain thoroughly; press out excess liquid.

Combine sugar, vinegar and spices into a large saucepan. Heat to boiling. Add drained vegetables and simmer 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into half pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in a water bath 10 minutes in boiling water. Makes about 8 half pints.

Okay, now for my third and final canning adventure this week...Jalapeno Green Pepper Jelly. My friend brought me some of this last year for Christmas and it has since become a favorite appetizer or snack for our family. The sweet and spicy of the jelly and the coolness of the cream cheese is the perfect combination! This jelly is also great as a dip with shrimp or added to stir fry's. Bottle up a few batches of this Jalapeno Jelly for the next time you need to WOW your family or friends with a new snack.

Jalapeno Green (or Red) Pepper Jelly
2 cups chopped green bell pepper (or red bell peppers)
1/4 cup chopped jalapeno (if you like it more spicy, keep the ribs and seeds)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 packages pectin (liquid or powder)
4 drops green food coloring
6 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids


Process bell pepper and hot pepper in a food processor until finely minced. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring. Pour into sterilized jars and seal*. Place in a water bath at a rolling boil for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last Week of Case Lot Sales in Utah! NEW Posts: Positively Preparing


One more week of case lot sales :( I hate to see these sales go. Every day I have this panic feeling, like..Do I need anything else from the case lot? Do I have enough wheat to last me a life time? Did I buy a year supply? Ahhh! I just sent my husband back to the store for 24 more cans of white beans..can you ever have enough beans? Not in my family!

So..if you are in Utah and are able to take advantage of the GREAT case lot sales from Maceys, Harmons, Reams, and Smiths then have fun stocking up your food storage. If you do not live in Utah, but live in surrounding states that have a Smith's grocery store, they are having an amazing case lot sale, so check with your local store and see which items are on sale. (We are offering everyone a FREE chance to login to our website this week to see all of the good deals. View this post on our blog to see how to login for FREE!)

Okay, besides loving case lot, I have a new and exciting LOVE! I have always loved emergency preparedness, but have a renewed love for it these past few months. In my church I was given the calling (assignment) to help the families in my neighborhood to become better prepared. This left me feeling responsible for 191 families...ah! Just a little overwhelming. However, as I have begun my preparations and coming up with ideas, I have been thrilled with what we have been able to accomplish in just a few weeks.

I am going to be starting something new called, my 'Positively Preparing' posts on my blog. Why this name you ask? Well, I feel with anything in life we have to have a positive attitude. Becoming prepared is a BIG goal and can be overwhelming to many people. I hope as we take baby steps to becoming prepared that we will all be able to accomplish our goals together...with a positive outlook. Getting prepared really can be super-dee-duper FUN!!
Each month I will encourage you to accomplish ONE small step towards your emergency preparedness goals and ONE small step to becoming prepared with your food storage.

Because we are a half way through this month I am going to simplify our goals and only focus on ONE area of preparedness for September. This goal is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT step of becoming prepared. It is having your 2 WEEK SUPPLY OF WATER. Having an adequate supply of water in case of an emergency is crucial. No one can live more than a couple of days without water. Water is such a large part of our everyday life--washing, bathing, cleaning, cooking, drinking, etc. You really can't have enough water storage in my opinion!

Do you need a few tips on water storage? Download this handout I have created with basic water storage information. (I will have a handout for each preparedness goal for each month, so put together a simple folder so you can keep all of your resources in one area).

WATER STORAGE 101 HANDOUT


MONEY SAVING TIP: If you live in Utah near a Harmon's grocery store, EVERY Tuesday they have their Aquarius 24 pack of water bottles on sale for $1.99. They have a limit of 2 24 pks. per person, so keep that in mind. Hey..bring your whole family each Tuesday to get 2 packs of water and in a couple of weeks you could have your 2 week supply. (14 gallons is approximately 3-4 (24pks.) of water bottles) This is a FABULOUS price, so stock up! For those outside of Utah, watch for 24 pks. of water bottles to go on sale for around $2.50, and then stock up when they do.

You can also store water in 55 gallon drums, 15 gallon drums, in emptied out 2 liter pop bottles, in emptied out laundry detergent containers (only for cleaning), in empty Gatorade or Powerade bottles, etc.

One other tip: If you can afford a water filter (around $50-$80) these are great to have to take the headache out of rotating your water. Just buy a filter and then you can store your water as long as you need t. Just filter your drinking water when it comes time to use it. Once your water storage in your home is also depleted, you can use your filter to filter other water sources; your toilet water, a pond or water source nearby, water heater water, etc.

The filter I use is the Katadyne and it seems to work well.

Friday, September 10, 2010

College Football Is Here Again....

When the leaves start changing and the nights become slightly cooler I know that college football is here again which makes for a VERY HAPPY husband! We had our first BYU football party last week with homemade pizza and the most delicious breadsticks. These breadsticks were sooooooo easy! I made one batch and used one half for the pizza crust and the other half for the breadsticks. So if you have a football loving husband surprise him with a cozy night in watching his favorite team!
Delicious Breadsticks
3 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup sugar
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar onto the warm water and allow it to sit for a few minutes until bubbly. Then add the following,
7 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt (I usually add the salt after I've added 3-4 cups flour so the salt won't stunt the yeast)
2 Tablespoons italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
Once all of the ingredients are combined allow it to mix for 5-10 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
After I made this recipe I immediately split the dough in half and reserved one half for the pizza dough and the other for the breadsticks. For the breadsticks roll the dough into a large rectangle. Using a pizza cutter cut the rectangle into strips. Take each strip and twist it into a long breadstick. Place on a greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with more garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt, parmesan cheese or anything you desire.

I sprinkled Johnny's Garlic Spread on mine which was delightful! I also sprinkled additional salt and garlic powder as well. Once the breadsticks were out of the oven I brushed them with butter and sprinkled some more of Johnny's. You can find Johnny's Garlic Spread at your local Costco, it is a must have! I let the breadsticks rise for 15 minutes or so before I placed them in the oven.

I also placed the breadsticks on the top rack towards the end of the baking time so they could brown up a bit.

My son LOVED these breadsticks! Notice his adorable football shirt, he will have to wear it every Saturday from now until the end of the season!

My daughter supported my husband's favorite team by wearing blue but she insisted on keeping her ballerina tutu on for a girly touch!

Our favorite pizza is SUPREME so we placed olives, green peppers, onions, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese all over this delicious pizza! It was sure yummy! I baked the pizza at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes on pizza bricks.

This is a very easy recipe and the breadsticks are fool proof, you must try them! Enjoy!

~Krista

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Great food storage recipe your family will LOVE: Navajo Tacos




Are there meals that bring you back to your childhood? There are three meals that will always make me think of my mom in the kitchen and remind me of funny memories linked to these foods. The first one being Mincemeat Pie. She makes several of these pies every Thanksgiving and I am not sure they ever get touched by anyone but she and my Dad. I was sure as a kid this pie was made with some kind of mystery meat. The second funny meal was Meatloaf. This meal for some reason made me think it was made of buffalo meat. Why you ask? Good question! My mom's meatloaf is actually the best I have ever had, but as a kid I must have thought she said Buffalo-loaf? Wierd!

Another meal that was always one of my favorites, that seemed fairly uncommon, was Navajo Tacos. This name is probably not politically correct, but this name fits this meal for me. My uncle used to live on a Navajo Indian Reservation down in Monument Valley Utah and we used to go to a little whole in the wall restaurant that made the best Navajo Tacos. They were piled high with chili, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, etc. Ever since having the authentic Navajo Tacos as a child, these have been a favorite meal of mine ever since. Yes, the deep fat fried scone is not necessarily healthy, but they sure are delicious! It is kind of fun to have dinner and dessert all with the same dough! Try these scones with chili or with my favorite honey butter recipe (below).....YUM!

Fried Dough
2 1/2-3 c. flour
1 c. water
1/2 t. salt
3 t. baking powder


Combine all of the ingredients together until dough is smooth. Dough will be pretty sticky. Place a generous amount of flour on your counter and peel off a ball of dough from the bowl. Pat it in the flour and then stretch the dough into a flat oval shape scone. Dust off the excess flour and then place in a large frying pan that has 1 inch of cooking oil that has been heated to a medium low temperature. Scones will burn easily if the oil is too hot. Fry the scone on each side for about one minute or less. Once scone is golden brown on both sides you can remove it from the oil and drain on a paper towel.

For the Navajo Tacos top the cooked scones with chili, shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced olives, cilantro, green onions, diced tomatoes, salsa, and guacamole. This recipe is a great one to keep on hand in case we ever have to live solely out of our food storage. The dough is made from all long term food storage items and you can keep in your storage canned chili, olives and salsa. With cheese in your freezer you could have a meal put together with all 'food storage' items. This recipe is a keeper :)

Time for dessert? You can either roll a hot scone in cinnamon and sugar or serve with honey butter. Here is one of my favorite recipes for Honey Butter:

Cinnamon Honey Butter
1 cube butter, slightly softened
1/4 c. honey
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
Dash of salt
1/4 t. cinnamon (optional)


Whip together until all is combined and butter is smooth and soft. Serve over a warm scone. This butter is also great on homemade whole wheat bread!

FINGER LIKIN' GOOD!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lemon Heaven: Homemade Lemon Ice Cream, Lemon Cake & Lemon Crumb Bars


I am a HUGE fan of anything lemon. Since I was a young girl I have always loved anything with a lemon flavor or sour twist. In fact, as a teenager my friend and I used to drink lemon juice out of the fridge (it's amazing my teeth have any enamel left!). Nothing is really ever sour enough for me. However, this homemade lemon ice cream my uncle made the other day was the perfect thing for my lemon craving. Don't worry, I would only rate this a 5 on a scale of pucker-power, but the flavor is the perfect combination of sweet and sour. For those end of summer BBQ's or for an extra special treat on a warm day, this homemade Lemon Ice Cream is DIVINE!! Thank you Craig for this amazing recipe. This recipe actually originated from my husbands Great Grandma Laura who just turned 106 yesterday...Happy Birthday Grandma!
You could say this recipe is tried and true...for nearly a century :)



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Homemade Lemon Ice Cream

1 1/2 quarts of lemonade
2 c. sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 small can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 c. milk

Heat half of the lemonade and all of the sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Add all other ingredients and if possible refrigerate before freezing ice cream. Remember to use 8 parts of ice to 1 of salt when freezing.

Here are two of my other favorite lemon recipes: Lemon Crumb Bars and Lemon Cake. These Lemon Crumb Bars I found on the food blog The Pioneer Woman and was skeptical at how good they could really be. I brought them to a bridal shower and they were everyone's favorite. They were subtle in their lemon flavor but were surprisingly fresh and creamy tasting. They are a new favorite! This is also a great 'food storage' recipe. The only item that can't be stored in your food storage (or freezer, for the butter) is the fresh lemon zest. You could do without this zest if you had to and use store bought lemon juice instead of fresh and you have a dessert recipe you can make from your long term storage...an added bonus!

Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1-⅓ cup All-purpose Flour

½ teaspoons Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 stick (1/2 Cup) Butter, Softened

1 cup Brown Sugar (lightly Packed)

1 cup Oats

1 can (14 Ounce) Sweetened Condensed Milk

½ cup Lemon Juice (fresh or store bought)

Zest Of 1 Lemon

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES.

Mix butter and brown sugar until well combined.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.

Add oats and flour to butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine.

Press half of crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 11 inch pan.

Mix together condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread onto the bottom layer of the crumb mixture. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture, but don’t press.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow pan to sit on counter for 30 minutes after baking. Cut into squares and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until cool.

Serve cool.






You will not find a cake that is more moist than this one! The sour cream and the pudding mix in this cake makes it extremely moist and oh, so delicious! If you do not love lemon, you can always exchange the lemon cake mix with chocolate, and add a chocolate pudding instead of a lemon pudding. This is my g0-to doctored up cake mix recipe that makes every cake moist :)


Perfect Lemon Cake
From You Got Served
Cake:
1 package lemon cake mix
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 small package lemon instant pudding


Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Mix with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes. Pour into a greased 9x11 pan or two round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Don't overbake or the cake will be too dry!

You can also make cupcakes and bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. The cupcakes will fall after they come out of the oven, but this is normal. Just fill up the indentation with more frosting.

Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, very soft
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar, then the juice and the zest. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (I added about 6 cups total). Use and store at room temperature. (Don't refrigerate and it will last in a covered container for about three days.)

Garnish with berries, if desired.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Iron Chef Competition--here we come!!






I am a HUGE Food Network junkie and have always dreamed of being in a food competition. Well, yesterday I had my shot! Well, almost. We stayed the week in the Marriott in Park City and one of their activities during the week was an Iron Chef competition. Our family LOVES to cook so we thought this would be a fun activity. We had three teams..my two sisters on one team, Diana & me on another, and then all of our kids on their own team. We met in the lobby of the hotel, were given our 'secret' ingredient of refried beans and we were on our way! It was funny how intense it was. Thanks to the Mock Cafe Rio Salad meal I made earlier in the week we couldn't have been given a better ingredient. Diana and I whipped together an entire enchilada in less than 45 minutes. We are calling it Enchilada Extraordinaire! We had everything in our enchiladas from pulled pork, our spicy Black Bean Salsa, queso dip, pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, guacamole, etc....wow! Pretty much everything but the kitchen sink! We were quite pleased however with the end product. It was spicy..but delicious!

Although we put our sweat & tears into our enchilada, our children's Refried Bean Cupcakes won the prize. These were a huge hit! They replaced the 1/3 c. oil in the cake mix with a 1/3 c. of refried beans. I knew of this trick but wasn't sure the refried beans in a Cherry Chip cake mix would work, but it did! They were delicious! So, if you ever need to cut a few calories for a dessert and need a way to use up those beans in your storage, try these food storage cupcakes.

Food Storage Bean Cupcakes
1 cake mix
1 1/4 c. water
1/3 c. smashed beans (refried beans, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, etc.)

3 eggs
3 T. sour cream (helps make them a little more moist--optional)

Mix ingredients together and bake as box directs. Frost as usual.


Here are the four Iron Chef competitors:
*Refried Bean Cupcakes
*7 Layer Dip *Enchilada Extraordinaire (my family was laughing at me--I can't do things in small portions, I had to crank out an entire 9x13 enchilada when we just ate dinner...that is so my style!)
*Pork Verde & Refried Beans with Bacon and Green Chilies

The kids were thrilled their cupcakes won their parents!!


FREE FAMILY FUN IDEAS:
Put together your own family Iron Chef Event! It was SO much fun and would be an awesome family activity or even a great date night idea. Get a few families or couples together, choose a mystery ingredient, separate for an hour or two, come back together with your finished product, have them be judged and enjoy eating your creations. We were surprised at how fun this activity was!

For those in the Park City Area, there is a free activity your family might LOVE! If you hike from the bottom of the Alpine slide, there is a trail that goes straight up the mountain to the top of the Payday Ski lift. We figure it is about a 2-3 mile hike and takes about 1 1/2 hours (if you have 5 three year olds like we did). For those people who hike to the top of the mountain you get a FREE ride down the ski lift. The ride down the mountain on the ski lift takes 45 minutes and is SO beautiful and relaxing..the perfect pay off to a long hike. Bring a lunch and make a day event out of it. The views are breathtaking and it was a great family activity--even with 10 kids under the age of 10!












Another free event in Park City Utah is the Olympic Park. We took the kids there to watch the Olympic athletes practice their jumps on the ramps. The kids loved to watch their spins in the air, jumps, and landings. The adults went on the Zipline and the Alpine slide while the children could watch from below (those rides did cost money). It was a really fun activity!

Have a great last few weeks of summer!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Clearplay DVD Player Winner!

Congratulations to Karen Scoffield of Utah! She is the winner of the Clearplay DVD Player for August's giveaway.

September's giveaway is in conjunction with Food Storage Made Easy's Parade of Giveaways. Enter to win a FREE membership on our site and then visit their site to see the other GREAT giveaways!

KSL News Story--Coupons vs. Deal Shopping

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Studio 5

Deals to Meals KSL TV News Story

Three Easy Steps to Food Storage