Saturday, April 16, 2011Orange Fruit Cups
I first made these several years ago for my oldest daughters American Girl Tea Party. I wanted a snack that was not only pretty, but healthy. Fruit salad in orange cups were perfect for the occasion. I have made them for several parties since then, and they have always gone over well.
Pick you favorite fruit for your fruit salad. Today I used oranges, pineapple, grapes and strawberries. You will also use a tub of cool whip.
Depending on the number of cups you want to make you will need 1 orange two 2 fruit cups. I made 6 today, so I used 3 oranges. You can use clementines, but your cups will be much smaller.
Cut the orange in half using a zig zag pattern. If you prefer you can use a straight cut, but they will not be as fancy. I like the zig zag look because the shape mimics a flower or egg shape.
Use your knife and score around the pulp near the peel. You will then use a spoon to scoop out the pulp. Add to your fruit salad. If you are making a lot of fruit cups you might not need to place all the orange pulp in the fruit salad, it's your choice.
Mix all of the fruit together. If you want to serve the fruit this way, add to the cups now.
But if you prefer an added treat...
Stir in about half of tub of cool whip into the fruit mixture.
Scoop the fruit whip into the orange cups. You will have more fruit whip than what will fit in the cups. Either serve the extra whip in a pretty bowl or use to refill the cups if someone wants a second helping. (They usually do!)
Orange cups are great for serving at Easter togethers, baby showers or birthday parties.
Easter Cake Pops
Playing with my new cake pop maker was so much fun! I didnt really make any other crafts this afternoon because I literally could not find my hot glue gun until 5 mins ago. I finally found it in a bag of Valentine's Day crafts. Oh well, at least I found it.
This is what the cake pop maker looks like when a cycle is done, if you are messy with the spillage like I am.. LOL! Because of the size of the cake pops, they cook very quickly. Only 4-5 mins for each cycle.
If you want to try and make cake pops and do not have a cake pop maker, there is a basic how-to recipe on E-how.com.
An important step when making cake pops is to add a little bit of melted chocolate to end of the stick when inserting it, and then allowing it to harden before dipping the pop. The hardened chocolate helps keep the stick in place.
These are some of the supplies I used to make my Easter pops. Red hots, sprinkles, various gels, cookie icing, Laffy Taffy in yellow and pink, gum paste and colored Wilton candy melts.
To make the bunny, I dipped a pop in white chocolate, and allowed it to harden. I had a hard time finding something white to use as the ears, so I decided on gum paste. (which kind of tastes like marshmellow) I tried marshemellows, but I just could not get it to look right.
I used my smallest oval mini cookie cutter, and then shaped the gum pate into a tear drop shape. I added it to the bunny head with a little bit of melted chocolate.
My bunny's face is still pretty basic because I still need to invest in edible markers. I used a red hot for the nose and gel for the eyes and mouth.
To make the chick pop I used Laffy Taffy for the wings and cookie icing for the beak. Place the taffy in the microwave for 5 seconds to soften it enough to make it easy to work with.
DO NOT go longet than 5 seconds. I went 10 seconds with my pink taffy and they all melted together. I had to spread it out and let it cool before I could work with it. I also had a really hard time removing it from the board I was working on.
Here is a version of a pink bunny. I used the pink Laffy Taffy for the ears. When I made one bunny with longer ears they kept falling down, so you might need to keep them on the shorter side. Personally even though this is meant to be a bunny, I kind of think it looks like Piglet.. LOL!
I also make a few pops using two colors of chocolate and sprinkles. I thought they kind of looked like Easter Eggs even though they are more round than egg shaped.
I had a little bit of chocolate left when I was finished making my pops so I decided to make one more kind of pop. Friday I made browies in my mini muffin tins. I was going to make pops out of them but they were too moist and soft. Now that 2 days have passed there some that were strong enough to hold up with warm chocolate. I dipped it in the leftover chocolate, added some sprinkles and a red M& M to look like a cherry. Yum!
One cake mix makes A LOT of cake balls with the BabyCakes Cake Pop Maker. I made 18 today, and still have about 60 left. I am going to try and freeze them to use at another time. There is no way we can eat that many cake pops in a few days, no matter how good they taste.
Sunday, March 27, 2011Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bites
My family really likes bacon, eggs and cheese. Today while trying to think of something quick for dinner, I thought why not make those ingredients and make them into small little bites.
I got out my mini muffin pan and sprayed it with cooking spray. I used 8 eggs and milk and made a scrambled egg mixture.
Since I did not have any bacon on hand to fry, and that would make the recipe much longer I decided to use Hormel bacon pieces. I also used sharp cheddar cheese.
I put bacon pieces in each of the individual cups. I then added cheese to the top. I placed it in a 350 degree oven. I was not sure how long to cook it so I checked it every 5 mins or so.
It took 12-13 minutes for the cups to cook all the way through.
Super Simple Creamy Pasta
I adapted the creamy chicken penne from Kraft into a simple recipe I knew my kids would eat. I used only a few ingredients Barilla Plus whole grain pasta, frozen broccoli and the new Kraft Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme.
My broccoli was a green giant steamer. I did put it in the microwave for a couple of mins so that it was thawed but not totally steamed. I placed it in a skille with a little bit of olive oil to heat it up more.
Cook the penne in a separte pot. After draining the water, add to the skillet. Add a full container of the Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme. This is also when you could add cooked chicken. I forgot to take it out to thaw so I left it out tonight.
Mix very well in the skillet
I served it with a little bit of grated parm on top and a mini corn on the cov as a side. Everyone seemed to like and it my son who is ususally picky wanted seconds. It is definitely a simple meal that can be made when you are short on time.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Kara and I really enjoy marshmellow pops. I have been looking around online for some ideas for St.Patrick's Day. I found a really cute shamrock pop, but could not find anything for leprachauns. Using only what we had on hand, we came up with this little guy. I would have been able to be more detailed with the face if I had edible markers, but all we had was cookie icing, candy melts and gels.
To make the leprachaun coat, push a marshmellow on a lollipop stick, leaving enough room for another marshmellow. I melted some green Wilton candy melts in the microwave for 60 seconds, stirring at the 30 second mark. I used a spoon to cover the marshmellow with chocolate. I did not dip into the chocolate because it would get green candy all over the stick.
Once the candy coating was hard, I pushed on a second marshmellow onto the stick. This time I turned it on it's side to make the head. Leave just a little bit of room to add a mini marshmellow hat in a later step.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Make Ahead French Toast Casserole
I mentioned earlier today that I was going to bake a Make Ahead French Toast Casserole today for my pantry/freezer challenge. This recipe is not only very frugal, but tastes great!
Melt a 1/4 cup of butter and spread around the bottom of your baking pan
Make a mixture of 1 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture on top of the bread. Layer on 6 more slices and sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture on top.
You will next make an egg and milk mixture. Mix together 5 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk and a tsp of vanilla extract. My mixture was not mixed as well as it could have been, because I used a bowl that was too small. Pour mixture over the bread.
Cover with foil and refridgerate overnight OR if you want it for dinner like we did at least 4-6 hours.
When your are ready to bake, place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minues with foil on, and then 15 more minutes with foil off. Makes 4-6 servings
Before eatting I added some strawberries and syrup on my serving and it was delicious!
** BAKING TIP** When mixing my sugar mixture, I found that my brown sugar was hard. I did a quick search on the internet to figure out how to soften it. I found if you add a small bowl of water in the microwave with the hardened sugar (beside it, not on it) it will soften your sugar. Well this sort of worked. I did a one minute round and then three 30 second rounds but my sugar was still not soft enough to use. It reminded me of the consistency of a block of cheese. I then thought, hmm, I wonder if I can grate it. Turns out YOU CAN! It made a little big of a mess, but I quickly got the amount of brown sugar I needed.
**SAVING MONEY TIP** This meal is perfect if you need to feed a lot of people on very little money. With sales, this recipe literally cost my just pennies to make. I bought the Aunt Millies bread on sale Buy 1, Get 2 free.. Depending on how you look at it, this could have been the FREE loaf (LOL) or it averaged out to be $1.06 per loaf. The brown sugar was only .89, and I used only 1/8 of it, about .10 worth. The cinnamon and vanilla extract was such a small amount, they were only only a few cents each. Lets say .10 for each. The eggs were on sale for $1.18 and I only used 5 or about .50 worth. The milk was on sale for only $2 and only a cup and a half is needed. The Log Cabin syrup I bought on sale with coupons for only $1 a bottle. We used only half of bottle. The butter I used was FREE with coupons. The strawberries were also only $1 and only 2 members of my family used them. This casserole cost me way under $5 and the family loved it and wanted more. This recipe is definitley a keeper.
Homemade Potato Salad
recipe and then added a few of our favorite ingredients.
Bacon Chicken Alfredo Tutorial and Review 01/30/2011
I had a chance tonight to make the recipe I posted a few days ago. I did make some minor changes because the Healthy Cooking Magazine that I was following had a typo and was missing a few ingredients from the ingredient list. Once I was partway through the recipe and saw that I needed spinach, I realized I did not have any one hand. You can see the Taste of Home/Healthy Cooking recipe here.
Cook fetticcine according to the box. The recipe calls for 1 lb of whole wheat. I used a box of regular that was partially used. (someone decided to use some on their own without asking). It didnt matter though because what I had still made PLENTY.
I am out of chicken breasts in the freezer (though they are on sale this week at VGs) I did have canned chicken on hand. This is the busy moms version of bacon chicken alfredo.
Cook the chicken, 1 TBSP of butter/margarine and garlic in a skillet. I used garlic powder instead of mincing a clove which I did not have on hand. Cook until no longer pink.
This part I will change the next time I make it. The "healthy verison" has you make your own alfredo sauce. I will probably save time and use it from a jar. Also the recipe version, makes a little too much sauce.
Pour 3 cups 2% milk and 3 TBSP corn starch into the skillet (after you removed the chicken and sat it aside) Stir until smooth and then add 1 cup of half and half. Bring to boil, until thickened.
This morning when I made breakfast, I made extra slices of bacon. This saved a lot of time to have it pre made. If it is not made ahead of time, you should cook it first thing.
Add a pkg of thawed spinach (which I did not have), the chicken, 3/4 cup of parmasean cheese, 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning, and half of the bacon to the sauce mixture. Stir until well blended/cheese is melted.
Add the drained fettucinne to the sauce. Stir and mix well until the pasta is totally coated. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon and 1/4 cup parmasean cheese on top.
Overall this recipe got good reivews. Everyone would like to try it again with the spinach next time. The recipe claims to make 8 servings. I think it is more like 8 EXTRA LARGE servings. It made so much that we have a ton of leftovers. I think I will cut this recipe in half the next time I make it and use jar alfredo sauce instead making my own to save time.