New recipe ideas – and videos!

Posted on May 15, 2011. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

MyBlogSpark and Bisquick have put together a few recipe videos to show us lots of new ways to use Bisquick – it isn’t just for pancakes and biscuits!  This video tells you how to use Bisquick to make a delicious crumb coating for chicken tenders.  It looks great, and I would never have thought to use Bisquick for something like that.  This one is a quick and easy blackberry shortcake.  I’m not a big dessert chef, but I might make this for a dinner party.  And it would be really easy to sub a different fruit, so you could use whatever is in season.

This caprese pizza recipe is my favorite – we love homemade pizza at my house!  It looks super simple and you could even prebake several crusts to keep on hand for quick week night dinners.  You could use them for other kinds of pizza too, whatever your family likes!  I think I will try a new experiment soon – freezing prebaked crusts.  That way I can make them every couple of months and keep 10 or so in the freezer.

What are your favorite uses for Bisquick?  Do you have any great recipes that are quick and easy?  Or do you make your own Bisquick style mix?  I would love to hear your ideas!

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Labor Day, Chex Mix, and Camping, Oh MY!

Posted on September 7, 2010. Filed under: Coupons, Freebies, kids, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Not long ago I got another freebie prize package to try through MyBlogSpark.  This one was Chex Gluten-Free cereal, and it came with a coupon for a free box of Chex cereal, a perfectly sized microwave safe plastic bowl with lid for making Chex mix, a plastic microwave safe measuring cup with lid for measuring and mixing wet ingredients (for the Chex mix, of course), and a handy little recipe book with several Chex Mix recipes.

I have had store bought Chex Mix before (you know, the kind that is premixed and seasoned – it usually has cheese crackers and pretzels and nuts mixed in) and was not too impressed.  It is tasty, but has too much sodium, and a lot of people can’t eat all the ingredients due to allergies or restricted diets.  The idea of homemade Chex Mix is much more appealing to me, because I can customize it to fit any group, or just to fit my family’s preferences.  And there are several varieties of gluten free Chex cereals, so it can work if you have to feed someone with a gluten allergy.

I had intended to make the Chex mix for a picnic, which unfortunately got rained out.  So when I was planning meals and snacks for my fall camping trip with my son I decided to include homemade Chex Mix!  I really liked the look of the apple cinnamon Chex mix recipe, but didn’t have exactly the right ingredients – no dried apples or chopped walnuts.  I did however have dried cranberries and pecans, so we had cranberry cinnamon Chex mix instead.  I packed the Chex mix in the plastic bowl that came in my package and put it in the car for the 3 1/2 hour drive to the campgrounds where we stayed.  There were four of us in the car – me, my son, a friend, and her daughter.  By the time we got to the campsite, the Chex mix was gone!  It must have been a hit!

When I got home from my camping trip I did a little research and found all kinds of recipes that use Chex cereal, especially the gluten free varieties.  You can even make gluten free bread crumbs with it.  (I don’t have to deal with a gluten free diet, thankfully.  I didn’t realize how many everyday food items are off limits to people with gluten allergies, even things like meatloaf because of the breadcrumbs!)

Chex and MyBlogSpark  have also generously offered a prize package to one of my readers!  So the first person to leave a comment (with a way for me to contact you – sorry, anonymous comments don’t count for this) will get the same freebie prize package I got.  I hope you will come back and tell us what kind of Chex mix you made!

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Cascade Challenge

Posted on May 16, 2010. Filed under: Coupons, Daily life, Freebies, kids, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I got another great freebie through MyBlogSpark!  This time MyBlogSpark has teamed up with P&G to send out a freebie pack as part of the new Cascade Complete challenge.  I got a big box from UPS, with some great goodies – it was like Christmas!  A new baking dish complete with lid for easy storage of leftovers, an information pack about the new product and the challenge, a couple of recipes to try, and of course some Cascade Complete samples and coupons.  The directions for the challenge are to bake something ooey and gooey in the baking dish, let it sit at least 24 hours, and put it in the dishwasher with no scrubbing.  The idea is to show that Cascade Complete can take out even the toughest baked on messes.

Last night I made my Mexican Pasta Bake – definitely an ooey and gooey treat – and currently the baking dish is in the fridge with the leftovers in it.  We plan to eat them for lunch today, and then I will let the baking dish sit on the counter (lid on of course – I don’t want to attract bugs) overnight.  I will wash it along with a regular load of dishes, pre-rinsed as usual.  Then I will post the results.  So stay tuned!

And for anyone who is interested, here is my recipe for the Mexican Pasta Bake:

Cook 1 whole package of whole wheat pasta according to package directions.  (You don’t have to use whole wheat, but it is better for you, more filing, and I like the taste.)

Brown 1lb ground beef (you can cook onions and garlic in with it if you choose).  Drain, then add in 1 can of Rotel with juices (any flavor is fine, I used mild last night for my little guy), 1 drained can of beans (again, your choice – I used red beans, but kidney or black beans would also be great), 1 small drained can sliced black olives, and 1 cup frozen corn.  Season with chili powder and adobo, to taste.  If you have any salsa in the fridge, add 1/2 cup of that also.  Mix and heat over medium-low heat until bubbly.  Add 8oz cubed Velveeta cheese, stirring until melted.  Mix in the drained pasta.  Chop a small sprig of fresh cilantro and stir into mixture.

Spoon mixture into baking dish and top with shredded cheese (again, anything goes – I like colby jack, but cheddar, monterey, pepper jack, or even one of those mexican blends would be great).  Set oven to broil and heat dish until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This dish tastes a lot like Hamburger Helper, but is WAY healthier with the added veggies.  Plus you get to control the sodium, and you don’t have to wonder just how long that box was sitting in some warehouse before it made it to the grocery and then to you.

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Ok, so I have significantly missed my goal

Posted on January 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily life, Freebies, Recipes, Weight loss |

of eating a can of soup and reviewing it every day.  What can I say, I’ve been busy.  But I have eaten a soup every day that I have been home for lunch and have so far sampled 12 out of 15 soups.  I’m not going to review each one independently, but I’ll give you the highlights.  The only one I haven’t cared for so far is the Manhattan Clam Chowder.  I have never been a big fan of clams, so part of it is just me, but I also thought it wasn’t seasoned well.  The broth tasted like tomato juice, and the vegetables were mushy, and the clams were chewy.  All in all, nothing to recommend it.

There were a couple of varieties that I liked, but not as much as I could have.  These were mainly the ones that had beef, especially the Italian Meatball.  The broth was flavorful, the vegetables and pasta were perfectly cooked, and there was an adequate supply of the meatballs, but they were dense, flavorless little balls of meat.  They could have been a lot bigger and a lot better seasoned.  I personally like big, fluffy meatballs that fall apart a bit in the soup.  The varieties with pieces of steak in them were a little better, but there still wasn’t much beefy taste, although again the rest of the soup was great.

The vegetable soups have all been excellent, as have the chicken varieties.  My favorites have been the Southwestern Vegetable – nice and spicy – and the French Onion – excellent sweet onion flavor.  And best of all, both soups have so few calories that I ate the whole can and still had to add extras to bring the meal up to my 200 calorie goal.  I crumbled a few tortilla chips on top of the Southwestern Vegetable, and added half a whole wheat biscuit and a slice of reduced fat cheese to the French Onion.

And the absolute best of all was the Chicken and Barley.  It was the best canned soup I have ever eaten – thick and rich, very filling, and with excellent flavor.  It needed nothing added and kept me satisfied for hours.

Thanks again to Progresso and MyBlogSpark for having me try out these soups – I hope you enjoy them too!

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Another product sample from MyBlogSpark and Progresso!

Posted on January 6, 2010. Filed under: Freebies, Recipes, Weight loss |

As if the last one wasn’t great enough!  This time I received 15 different flavors of Progresso’s light soups to try, along with a very cute soup mug and a digital jumprope.  The jumprope is totally awesome – it keeps track of how many jumps you’ve done, plus it will calculate how far you have jumped in both miles and kilometers, and how many calories you’ve burned doing it.  Sadly, I’m terrible at jumping rope, but it counts my feeble 1-2 jump attempts and tallies a total even though I trip over the rope a lot.  I managed a total of 30 jumps on my trial run this morning, for a total of 0 miles, 0 km, and 1 calorie.  Hey, it’s a start.

On a more positive note, I just ate the Chicken and Dumpling soup as an early lunch.  It was wonderful!  There was a decent amount of vegetables and dumplings, although not as much chicken as I might have liked, and the broth was very flavorful.  The whole can fit conveniently into the soup mug that came with the soups (although the can holds 2 servings, and technically a person should only eat 1 serving – just saying, Progresso, you’re undermining my portion control efforts here!) and 2 minutes in the microwave got it to just the right temperature.  Even though I ate both servings instead of 1, my caloric total was only 160 calories, since it is 80 calories per serving.  If I wanted to have a slice of bread or some fruit or cheese to go with it I would only eat 1 serving so that my calorie total would still be in the right ballpark.

Over the next 2 weeks I will eat a soup a day, and I’ll keep posting about each one as I eat it.  I made a cool video of all my loot from the sample pack after I unpacked it, but sadly WordPress doesn’t support any of the video formats I can figure out how to convert it to.  If I work it out, I’ll post it later.

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Progresso samples from MyBlogSpark

Posted on November 9, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , |

I got some wonderful samples from Progresso and MyBlogSpark.  Included in the box were Progresso broth and panko bread crumbs.  Then I got a recipe book from Progresso with some amazing recipes, each on its own removable 3×5 recipe card!  We made the first one this week – Italian Wedding Soup.  It was phenomenal, and it only took 40 minutes to make the whole meal, start to finish.  I made the soup, which had meatballs, spinach, and pasta, and Italian white beans (canellini) with tomato, basil, and garlic, and crescent rolls.  Even my 5 yo liked it, and he is pretty picky.  (To be honest, he liked the soup and the rolls.  He wasn’t crazy about the beans.)  This week we are going to try another recipe from the book, Cheesy Tuna and Vegetable Chowder.  The picture on the recipe card looks great.  It looks like we will be trying one a week for a while. 😉

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Slow Cooker Chicken

Posted on October 25, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I made the most fabulous dinner last night, with a minimum of effort, which of course made it even better!  I bought a whole roaster chicken (about 7 lbs), rubbed it down with spices, and cooked it in the slow cooker!  I got the recipe from A Few Short Cuts – an awesome blog by the way – and followed it exactly this time.  I think in the future I may vary the spice rub a bit to pair it with different sides.  This time I served it with Uncle Ben’s Chicken and Wild Rice and lima beans.  Hubby wasn’t home to take a picture of the chicken when it came out of the pot or I would show you.  The only problem I had was that it was so tender it fell apart.  Literally.  I went to pull off a drumstick for the munchkin and the bone slid right out!  I’m thinking I may pull the rest and add some BBQ sauce.  I bet it would make killer sandwiches.  And as an extra bonus, the chicken was on sale for $.99/lb and I had the rest of the meal in the cabinet, so it was very budget friendly too, especially since we will get 2 meals from it.

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Betty Crocker magazine cover

Posted on August 9, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Money, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , |

I got to vote on another Betty Crocker magazine cover yesterday – this one was for the Christmas cookie edition that will come out in November.  They had some awesome looking cookies, and the information pack they sent along with the potential covers talked about some truly yummy sounding recipes.  None of them waistline friendly, of course, but we are talking about Christmas cookies here.  And brownies.  They had a best of brownie recipe section too.  I love brownies.  Yummmmmm….sorry, I got distracted.  Anyway, here is the cover I voted for:


Pretty, huh?  Keep an eye out for this magazine in a few months!

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A Handy Kitchen Tip…

Posted on August 7, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , |

I am the worst egg-cracker EVER!  I get little pieces of shell in stuff all the time, and as you probably know, they are not easy to get out!  I was bog surfing today and ran across this great tip for how to get those nasty little pieces of eggshell out much more easily by using the big part of the eggshell.  I haven’t tried it yet, but you can be sure I’ll have the chance next time I make a frittata.

I also clicked through and checked out this recipe site, which looks pretty good – although I didn’t see a lot of nutiritonal info, so I don’t know how healthy the recipes are.

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A New Adventure

Posted on July 29, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I have signed up at MyBlogSpark to be a product tester and survey taker and general contributor of opinions.  I got my first opportunity to share my opinion today – I got to select my favorite of three potential covers for the Betty Crocker casseroles and Slow Cookers magazine that will go on sale in December.  All three of the covers were beautiful, but they had a picture of 7-layer rigatoni that looked amazing.  And there is going to be a recipe for slow cooker chile mole in this edition too!  I love mole (for those of you who don’t know, mole is a Mexican specialty that combines unsweetened chocolate and peppers to make a delicious sauce – I have enjoyed it many times but have never been able to make it myself) and I really love slow cooker recipes.  What’s not to love?  You put everything in the slow cooker in the morning, turn it on, and come back to a wonderful meal at night.  And it is great for using cheaper cuts of meat too.  It doesn’t matter what the cut is – after cooking on low heat for 7 or 8 hours, it is going to be fall apart tender.  I just made this delicious recipe from Kraft for slow cooker sweet and sour chicken (except I used pork since it was on sale at my grocery) – fabulous!  Just bulk it up with extra veggies and use fat free Catalina dressing to make it a bit healthier.

BTW, for those of you who are still waiting for pics from the munchkins green belt test – I haven’t forgotten, I just can’t find the computer cord I need.  I’m going to have to buy a new one I think. 😦

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