Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lasagne with "homemade" noodles

As very few of you know I have major heart burn problems. When I get stressed for a couple of weeks my presciption miracle pills ($2 each!) don't even seem to have much of an effect. Well, when it seems to finally calm down I do what I probably am not supposed to do. Eat what I have been craving for weeks! Yesterday, it was lasagne. With sausage. And lots of cheese.

When I went to pull out the cheese out of the fridge in my drawer, something caught my eye... leftover egg roll wrappers. My wheels started turning. They're just raw noodles right?
Well, it tasted like homemade noodles! It was a great change. I was however dissapointed when I was cleaning up and started looking at the recipes inside the package. I was not the first afterall. There were recipes for cannolli and lasagne! Who knew all these years? I just thought I would pass on the possibilities for everyone on the versatility of egg roll wrappers.
For more ideas you can go to the VitaSoy website.

Sorry that my first post for ya'll is not an original idea all of my own...
For my fast and easy breadsticks I just opened a can of cheap biscuits, rolled them in butter and sprinkled with lots of garlic powder and parmesan cheese. I then dumped the leftover butter into a skillet with some italian dressing for the veggies.
Give it a try next time!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Salad

Strawberry, Avocado and Spinach Salad
3 heads of Spinach or a large bag of Spinach
3 pints of Strawberries
2 large Avocado
Dressing- Mix the following in a blender:
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp of minced onion
1/4 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp of Paprika
1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Chill the dressing. Cut the avocados in generous size chunks and mix into the spinach leaves. Add the strawberries. Pour the dressing over the salad when ready to serve. Garnish with 2 Tbs of Sesame Seeds and 1 Tbs of Poppy Seeds.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Time!

I've been teasing for a couple of months about making this a blog to remember.  You remember?  Themes?  No.  Pictures?  Sure.  Blog contributors?  Absolutely! 

So, as of today this blog is no longer Brooke's Kitchen Musings, which by the way wasn't a title I was totally in love with anyway...

I've recruited help, namely my wonderful sister-in-law Karen.  I can honestly say I've never had anything that she cooked that didn't taste great, so I'm sure we're all in good hands.  She has kids, like me, so you're still going to get great family cooking, and she's frugal, like me, so it's still going to be affordable cooking.  Plus her last name is then same as mine, so it makes for an easy name.  Right?  hmmm, maybe not. 

So, introducing Karen and a soon to be named blog all about cooking with a family.  Got ideas?  We'll take 'em!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Slow Cooker Saturday (Food Storage Food...)

With the unavoidable end of the world coming, it's impending arrival on the forefront of all of our minds, we cooks need to stand up for our kitchens...we need FOOD STORAGE!  Kidding, well, sort of.  Though that is dramatic, and totally something you'd expect to hear on a street corner by some guy with a sandwich board attached to his body, it's true.  

We've been advised for years in our church to have food storage.  We've been told to have a years supply, and 72-hour kits, water storage and emergency funds.  It's important for so many reasons beyond the impending firey furnace of if you don't feel like going to the store one evening with four children attached and you need a can of beans, or some pasta.  Maybe this is on my mind because I'm planning my pantry, or because my mom just dropped off another load of food storage goodness, but it's true, and it's IMPORTANT!

So here is today's slow cooker recipe, that you can make out of food storage.  Or FOR food storage if you dry heat process it...hmmm, what a great idea! 


Mix together one pound of each of the following:

Great Northern beans
Navy beans
Green split peas
Pinto beans
Red kidney beans
Baby lima beans
Blackeye peas
Yellow split peas
Large lima beans
Pink beans
Small red beans
Black beans

Fill pint jars with dry beans, and include the following cooking directions:

Wash and sort jar of beans.  Cover with 2 quarts of water.  Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes.  remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.  Add ham or other smoked meat, 1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic, 3 tbsp. dried onion and cook for 3 to 4 hours.  Makes approximately 4 quarts of soup.

NOTE: Add 1/4 tsp. baking soda in hard water areas for softer beans.  For long term storage, bottle the dry mix using a dry heat processing method.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Past Post Reviews, Pantry Plans, New Fridge and Manicotti

I've been MIA lately, I know. I was reviewing some past posts this morning and realized I needed to follow up on a couple of them.

I made the Sweet Potato Enchiladas on Monday and they were great!  Everyone liked them and everyone but the 3-year old had seconds! 

I didn't fry the tortillas, I didn't feel the need to up the calories/fat or the effort.  I just warmed the tortillas before filling them and it worked great!  Though I'm not a fan of chili powder or cumin, I used it and it fits the recipe so well.  It was a perfect blend of sweet and spicy!

For April Fools Day I tried the chocolate dipped ice cubes and failed, miserably. I'll be the first to admit I am NOT an expert on chocolate, dipping or ice...seriously! After getting completely irritated with the process I filled ice cube trays with chocolate and made Tabasco chocolates instead. Shane's co-workers will testify that they were a great prank, definitely hot! If anyone is interested I still have a dozen in my freezer...we're not eating them!

The new pantry is coming along, slowly but surely.  I picked out my door so that's progress, right?  It's going to be nice and big, or at least much, much bigger than anything I've ever had.   Oh, and it'll have a window and a light...yeah, I'm that cool!

I got a new fridge last week.  My old fridge was doing just great and then it wasn't.  Overnight I lost a gallon of ice cream and my confidence in technology.  I vacuumed it out, Shane played around with it, we ordered the faulty part, decided to sell it, bought a new the old one is working like a dream and so is the new one...sadly, I don't get to keep both.  I mean seriously, how cool would that be?

And now, for today's recipe.  I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious!  My mom was here and everyone had seconds, even the 3-year old!  I've tried hard to integrate more meatless dishes into our menus and even my husband has no complaints.  With the manicotti and the Sweet Potato enchiladas you still get your fill without the meat.


1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach; thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup minced onion
1 egg
2 tsp. minced parsley
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese; divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese; divided
1 (26 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cup water
1 (8 oz) package manicotti shells

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. In large bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, onion and egg.  Season with parsley, pepper and garlic powder.  Mix in 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.  In a separate bowl, stir together spaghetti sauce and water.

3. Spread 1 cup sauce in bottom of 9x13 in. baking dish.  Stuff uncooked manicotti shells with ricotta mixture, and arrange in a single layer in the dish.  Cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until shells are soft. 

This recipe allows you to fill UNCOOKED manicotti, so you don't have to worry about splitting the pasta!
Here's a blurry picture of the end result, sorry!  They were so good and I was surprised at how well the pasta cooked, it was perfect!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Because It's Friday, and I Can

I don't know about you, but I've had one heck of an emotional and trying week.  It's been good in many ways, but I am glad that it's Friday.  I think I deserve a treat, and though this recipe isn't going to do it for know chocolate just isn't the key to my happiness, it should help someone out there have a better day.


1 (14 oz) package caramels
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans, divided
1 (9-in) chocolate crumb pie crust - or 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs and 3 tbsp. melted butter, mixed together and pressed into 9-in pie plate, then baked at 350° for 6-8 minutes
1 (3-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 (3.9-oz) package chocolate instant pudding mix
1/2 cup fudge topping

1. Place caramels and evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring continually, until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.  Pour into pie crust.

2. Combine cream cheese, sour cream and milk in a blender.  Process until smooth.  Add pudding mix; process for about 30 seconds longer.

3. Pour pudding mixture over caramel layer, covering evenly.  Chill, loosely covered, until set, about 15 minutes.  

4. Drizzle fudge topping over pudding layer in a decorative pattern.  Sprinkle top of cake with remaining pecans.  Chill, loosely covered, until serving time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This Week's Menu

This has been a great week!  Combine a week with my mom, lots of great food, a manic West Texas hailstorm and a new fridge...perfect!

Menu for this past week:

Sweet Pork
Marinated Chicken
Parmesan Crusted Fish
Fried Rice

Yum, seriously it was all so good!

Here's the recipe for the fish.  It'll be a new favorite, even my kids had seconds on this one!

2 lbs. whiting fillets (any white fish would be good with this)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter
3 tbsp. mayonnaise (I used miracle whip for a little tang)
3 tbsp. chopped green onion
1/4 tsp. salt

Thaw fish if frozen.  Place fillets on a single layer on a greased baking pan.  Brush with lemon juice.  Combine remaining ingredients and set aside.  Broil fish for 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  Remove from heat and spread with cheese mixture.  Broil 2 more minutes or until lightly browned.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Slow Cooker Saturday


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbsp. butter
2 (10.75 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1 onion, finely diced
2 (10 oz) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, cut into pieces

Place the chicken, butter, soup and onion in a slow cooker and fill with enough water to cover.

Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on high.  About 30 minutes before serving place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker.  Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Meatless Monday

Sweet Potato Enchilada...does it sound weird or good?  Think texture of a tamale, sweetness of a sweet potato, spicy like an enchilada.  Mmmmm. 

Sweet Potato Enchiladas
5 regular sweet potatoes
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
12 (7 in.) corn tortillas
1 (19 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1.  Wash and peel sweet potatoes.  Dice potatoes. Bring a pot of water to a boil, over medium heat boil the sweet potatoes until tender.  Drain.
2. Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl, mash with the cream cheese, green onions, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper until well mixed.
3. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
4. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat and fry the tortillas, one at a time, for about 30 seconds per side. Remove the tortillas with tongs, and drain on paper towels.
5. Place about 1/3 cup of sweet potato filling down the center of each tortilla, roll it up, and place filled tortillas seam side down in the prepared baking pan.  Pour enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese. 
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until the enchiladas are bubbling and the cheese is beginning to brown.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Want To Know Where I've Been?

I've never claimed to be a cake decorator. Ever. I'll be honest and tell you that I do enjoy making my kids' cakes for their birthday parties, and I've been able to come with a few fun ones, but I am NOT a professional. Nor do I really have the desire to be one. Thankfully my kids are forgiving and really to a kid it's all about eating the cake, not what it looks like.

My 9 year old has an obsession with Pokemon. I don't get it, but he does. Therefore, I did some quick research and planned, on his request, a Pokemon birthday party. Invitations, cake and cupcakes were all Poke-balls....whatever they are. The invites were a hit, and the kids actually loved, and identified, the cake. Yay. Thankfully the parents were as ignorant as myself and couldn't really judge the cake.

The food was easy, hot dogs, chips, lemonade and candy. But let me say now, we will NEVER, EVER have 13 9 year olds in one house again...EVER!

Here's some pictures from cakes in years past...thankfully you can't turn me into Cake Wrecks, they accept professional work only!

(hey, they wrecked these ones by themselves...)