Archive | December, 2011

Baked Mozzarella Sticks made from Egg Roll Wrappers

29 Dec

So I tried this recipe from Recipe Diaries, which she got from Taste of Home, and it didn’t quite turn out how I thought it would. When I think of mozzarella sticks, I think of ooey gooey cheese that strings on for days. My cheese didn’t exactly melt in the middle of these sticks. I used string cheese, as the recipe calls for, but I think it would work a lot better if I used sticks of real block cheese. The sticks tasted good, they just didn’t mimic the original deep fried version I was craving.

Jason really liked them so I think I’ll try it again using some of the incredible Mississippi State Cheese we got for Christmas.

If you make them, let me know how you liked them/modified them… I really want this healthier version to work!

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

4 pieces of string cheese cut in half
4 egg roll wrappers cut in half
olive oil
marinara, spaghetti sauce, salsa, or ranch

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (optional) Cookies – 3-4 Ingredients!

21 Dec

So there you are, running around your house like crazy doing last minute things to get ready for Christmas. You’re cleaning the house from top to bottom, figuring out how to wrap insanely shaped gifts, and washing linens for expected guests when there is a knock at your door. A sweet neighbor has brought you a gift, and there you are, with nothing to reciprocate.

Nice gesture. But now what? Insert my Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are so easy to make, and with only 4 ingredients, you won’t be adding a trip to the grocery store to your to-do list. Plus they look great! The batter is nice and thick so the cookies stay plump and round, perfect for wrapping up and gifting.

I hope you enjoy these. We make them around our house when a cookie craving strikes late at night. They are perfect paired with an ice cold glass of milk or an ice cold White Russian. Yum!

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Time: 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: ~20 cookies

1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/3 c. chocolate chips, optional

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

14 Dec

This is so easy to make. It seriously takes all of about 15-20 minutes and works like a charm! I started making my own when I got sick of paying $13 for 1.17 gallons and figured I could make it on my own for about $2.25 per gallon.

I used to use Gain or Arm and Hammer liquid laundry detergent and so far, I have been very happy with the cleaning power of my own concoction.

I store my detergent in an empty and clean milk jug. At first, I tried storing it in an old Gain container but you have to shake the container before using it and the lip at the top of the pourer in the Gain container spilled and made a big mess. The milk jug works great! I use an old laundry container screw on lid as my measuring cup but you could use any kind of cup/measuring cup.


Homemade Laundry Detergent

Makes: 1 gallon

1/2 bar of Ivory soap, grated
1/4 cup washing soda (found in the laundry aisle in most stores – Arm & Hammer makes it)
1/4 cup borax powder (also in the laundry aisle – look for “20 Mule Team” brand)
3 c. water, plus more to fill a gallon

Put the grated soap in a sauce pan. Over medium heat, add 3 cups water and heat until soap melts. Add washing soda and borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Pour mixture into a clean gallon sized jug. Add 2 cups hot water to the bucket. Shake to stir. Now add water to fill the jug. Shake to stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel (it’s a little like magic!). You use ½ cup per load.

– This soap does not foam, so don’t be surprised when you first use it.
– This soap has no scent. Feel free to add a few drops of essential oil if you want.

15 Minute Dinner… Smoked Sausage and Vegetable Stew Over Brown Rice

13 Dec

15 minute dinner ideas are must to keep sane during the holiday season. Smoked sausage, canned tomatoes, frozen veggies, and minute rice help make this flavorful dish quick and easy to throw together on a busy night.

You can make it as mild or as spicy as you’d like… We like it HOT around our house!

Smoked Sausage and Vegetable Stew Over Brown Rice

Servings: 2-4
Level: Easy
Time: 15 minutes

1 tsp. canola oil
1/3 c. corn, frozen
1/3 c. bell peppers and onions, frozen
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. sweet and spicy jalapeños, diced
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. crushed red pepper, optional
1/2 c. smoked sausage, cut into slices, then halved
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
brown rice, cooked

In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add corn, peppers and onions, and garlic. Sauté  until thawed. Add remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato juice thickens to desired thickness.

Serve over brown rice. Yum!

– Use instant brown rice!
– Make extra rice or add another can of tomatoes to make the dish go further.

Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

5 Dec

Winter is upon us. No offense to Mother Nature, but UGH! I seriously hate cold weather. However, I do seriously love soups and stews. Cold weather is the perfect opportunity to fire up the crock pot and make something truly comforting for dinner.

A friend of mine at work suggested I take a look at the Skinny Crock Pot blog. The site is full of delicious and healthy ideas to make in your crock pot. I’ll definitely be back to check out more of her recipes. One recipe I found particularly interesting was her sweet potato and lentil stew. I changed it up a bit but if you would like to see the original recipe, which is vegetarian, click here.

Yum! This stew is delicious with herbed corn muffins!

Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

Servings: 8
Level: Easy
Time: 8 hours

1 tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, cubed
1/3 c. carrots, chopped
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. cayenne
1 1/2 c. dried green lentils
6 c. chicken stock
3  chicken tenderloins, frozen or 1 large chicken breast, frozen

Add all ingredients to crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours, or until lentils and potatoes soften. Shred chicken with a fork. Yum!

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