snack pack

I love to cook. Not that I have time to cook right now with a toddler. And a job. And did I mention that toddler? But when I do get the perfect storm of being home in the afternoon, Lila taking a nap, me not needing a nap, etc. then here is what I like to nom on.

Peter's Baked Feta

1/2 pound feta cheese
Olive oil
-Break feta into small slices. Lay out single layer in a large sheet of aluminum foil. Cover in olive oil and oregano. Fold aluminum foil edges together and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Mama Mann's Bells Dip
My friend Mary Allen and I used to consume gallons of this dip when we were on break the summer we worked at a girl's overnight camp in Brevard, NC. Her mama would always greet us at the door to take our dirty camp laundry and hand us a bowl of dip. Mix all ingredients and refrigerate before serving.
1 bunch of chives
2 ripe tomatoes
1 can Rotel
1 T Accent
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 cans chopped green chilies
2 cans chopped black olives
1 1/2 c shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 1/2 c shredded swiss cheese
8 oz. Italian dressing

Tequila Lime Marinade
2 T tequila
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 jalapeno
2 scallions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T brown sugar
1 t black pepper
1/2 t sea salt
2 lime wedges
-Mix marinade, then add 1.5 lbs skirt or flank steak to marinate at least 6 hours. Goes great in fajitas or enjoy straight off the grill. (Recipe from "Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes From Foster's Market" by Sarah Foster)

Arizona Chicken Pasta
Rotini pasta (we use whole wheat)
Two chicken breasts
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Can of Mexican Rotel
Can of black beans 
Shredded Mexican cheese
Sour cream
Avocado, sliced
-Cook rotini pasta. In a deep saucepan, cook chicken breasts in olive oil, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. When chicken is barely cooked through, add a can of Rotel and a can of black beans. Simmer until chicken is completely cooked through. After draining the pasta, place on plate, along with a chicken breast and several spoonfuls of rotel and black bean mixture. Melt cheese over the pasta in the microwave. Add sour cream and avocado on top. 

Rebekah's Taco Soup
1-2 lbs ground beef, browned
1 packet of Ranch Dip seasoning
1 packet of Taco seasoning
1 can black beans
1 can white beans
1 can chili beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 can hominy (I sometimes leave this out)
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
-Cook meat, drain.
-Into crock pot, add all 7 cans (I usually drain the beans and the corn about half way so its not so oily). Add several cans of water to desired consistency. Lastly, add both packets of seasoning.
-Cook on high heat for a couple of hours. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Mimi's Winter Stew
I still remember coming home from school during winter afternoons and breathing in the yummy smell of my mother's stew when I opened the front door.
Large package of sliced stew beef
1/2 c of flour
1 large onion, diced
32 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables
5 stalks of celery, diced
3 small cans of tomato sauce
5 large potatoes, chopped into small chunks
3 c of water
salt and pepper
-Brown meat. Then roll in flour, mixed with salt and pepper.
-In large crock pot, add floured meat, chopped potatoes, celery, onion, bag of mixed veggies, tomato sauce and water.
-Cook on low for several hours into vegetables are tender.

Grandma's Meat Loaf
For real ya'll, it's from my grandma. Better R-E-S-P-E-C-T
1 egg
1/2 c milk
2 c soft bread crumbs
2 lbs. ground beef
2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T fine chopped onion
-Break egg into bowl, and beat lightly with fork. Add milk and bread crumbs and mix. Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and onion and mix well. Shape into loaf in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Marcia's Penne Alla Vodka
This is a great recipe that looks and tastes fancy, but is so easy to make. This is our go-to dinner guest entrée.
4 T olive oil
4 T minced garlic
4 T vodka (I promise, it does not taste the same without it. So get over it and head to the ABC store)
2 c heavy cream
2 c marinara sauce
penne pasta
fresh Parmesan cheese
Toppings: grilled shrimp or chicken, artichoke hearts, sliced olives, canned diced tomatoes
-Boil the penne pasta.
-Cook the shrimp or chicken to add to the finished dish.
-In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and brown the minced garlic (be careful not to burn it).
-Take the saucepan off the stove and add the vodka (away from the stove heat). Cook for 2 minutes to burn off alcohol.
-Add the heavy cream and marinara and simmer until the cream sauce thickens.
-Pour sauce over the cooked penne pasta and add chicken/shrimp and any additional toppings. Top with fresh Parmesan. 

Pizza Rolls 
2 cans refrigerated pizza dough (comes in cans like biscuits)
Garlic salt
Italian seasoning
Can of spray olive oil
1 c sliced pepperoni
Chopped vegetables (we like green bell peppers, mushrooms and black olives)
2 c shredded Italian cheese (I use the shredded bag kind)
Marinara sauce for dipping
-Preheat over to 450 degrees.
-Dust a large cutting board or a piece of wax paper with flour and roll out each pizza crust separately (will make two rolls eventually)
-Season each crust with garlic salt and italian seasoning
-Lightly spray each crust with olive oil
-Top with a layer of cheese, a layer of pepperoni and a layer of vegetables. Then cover with another layer of cheese. 
-Starting at one end, roll the dough and ingredients into a tight log. Slice into 1 inch sections
 -Place on lightly greased pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. 
-Serve with marinara sauce for dipping (Recipe from Tidy Mom)

Mediterranean Seven Layer Dip
17 oz container hummus 
1 cup tzatziki sauce
2 small tomatoes, diced + drained
1 6oz can sliced black olives, drained
1 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 scallions, sliced
olive oil
salt & pepper
-Spread the hummus on the bottom of a serving dish. Spoon the tzatziki on top and spread on top of the hummus. Top the tzatziki with a layer of tomato, black olives, feta, pine nuts and scallions. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Serve with pita chips. (Recipe from Cooking With My Kid)

Stuffed Peppers Mole
1 8 oz. package of Spanish style rice, cooked
4 large green peppers
1/2 c whole kernel corn
2 T water
salt and pepper
2 c cooked ground beef
3 T mole sauce
1/2 c shredded mexican cheese
-Cut tops off of peppers. Remove membranes and seeds. In large pot, immerse peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and drain peppers.
-For filling, in a saucepan combine cooked rice, cooked beef, corn, mole sauce and water. Cook uncovered over medium heat until heated through, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Stuff filling into peppers and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Crockpot Chipotle Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
Frozen chicken breasts (we used 6 breasts to feed 4 people and have leftovers)
10oz sliced fresh mushrooms
Half of an onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sweet potato (peeled and chopped)
2 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 C chicken broth
1 t chipotle pepper
1 t paprika
1/4 t black pepper
Sour cream to taste (stirred in while serving. this is a crucial ingredient!)

-Add the frozen chicken to the crockpot. Prepare the vegetables and add on top of the chicken. Put in the broth and add the spices. 
-Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the chicken is done and is beginning to shred.
-Before serving, stir in the sour cream. 
-Serve over pasta or brown rice. (Recipe from Make It Fast, Cook It all time favorite crockpot cookbook) 

Lemon Artichoke Stuffed Chicken
4 chicken breasts
3 oz. goat cheese, softened (I use the unflavored kind)
Zest of 1 large lemon
10 oz. jar marinated artichokes, drained and diced
Paprika, salt and pepper
-Cut pocket in chicken breast (slice horizontally without going all the way through chicken)
-Mix together goat cheese, artichokes, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stuff filling into pockets in chicken.
-Place chicken on foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and paprika.
-Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. (Recipe from Eating For IBS)

Spinach Lasagna
1 box of lasagna noodles
1 lb. bag cut-leaf spinach
1/2 c cut carrots
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T olive oil
1/4 fresh pepper
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 c marinara sauce
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 lb. shredded mozzarella
-Cook the lasagna noodles until almost soft (just a little undercooked).
-Cook the spinach according to package directions, adding crushed garlic and pepper. Drain spinach well, then put in food processor. Add cut carrots to food processor and chop until a spinach, carrot mixture.
-Mix ricotta cheese with eggs and set aside.
-In a 9"x13" glass baking pan, spoon thin layer of marinara sauce over bottom of whole pan. Cover with a layer of shredded mozzarella. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread a layer of ricotta cheese mixture, and then spinach mixture in a thin covering. Add another layer of lasagna noodles. Add more marinara sauce, cover with a layer of shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of lasagna noodles. Then a layer of ricotta, then spinach mixture. Then another layer of lasagna noodles. Then marinara, then mozzarella. Having fun yet?
-Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (if it's been refrigerated) in a preheated 350 degree oven, or until ricotta is set.
-Let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Summer Waldorf Pasta
1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta
3/4 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
3 T lemon juice
1 1/2 t ground cumin (if you have it just lying around)
3 pieces of celery, chopped
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 nectarines, chopped
1 bunch chives, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
3/4 c chopped pecans
-Cook pasta and rinse with cold water.
-Mix together mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, cumin and 1/4 c water.
-Add pasta and toss. Let sit for 10 minutes.
-Stir in celery, bacon, nectarines, chives, and pecans. (Recipe from Rachael Ray)

Overnight Blueberry French Toast
French Toast ingredients
12 slices of bread, cut into cubes (I use a loaf of soft french bread)
1 8oz package of cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
12 large eggs
1/3 c maple syrup
2 c milk (I use whole milk)
Blueberry Syrup ingredients (totally optional, made the next morning)
1 c sugar
1 c water
2 T cornstarch
1 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 T butter
-Arrange half of the bread cubes in the bottom of a greased 9x13 glass dish
-Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and blueberries evenly over the bread
-Top with the remaining bread cubes
-In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, milk and syrup
-Pour over the top of bread, cover dish with foil, and let sit overnight in the fridge (VERY important as the bread then soaks up the mixture)
-The next morning: Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes uncovered, or until golden and fluffy. Top with Blueberry Syrup or good old regular syrup. 
-Syrup instructions: Cook water, sugar and cornstarch until thickened. Stir in blueberries and simmer for 10 minutes. Add butter and serve until melted. Serve over french toast. (Recipe from Chef In Training) 

Sarah's Chocolate Snowballs
-Prepare in advance: mix chocolate syrup, water, and sugar in a bowl. Mix until reaching a watery, sweet consistency.
-Pour chocolate mix into clean ice cube trays and freeze. Keep in freezer for whenever your sweet tooth desires.
-In a mason jar (ya'll this MUST be served in a mason jar!), put a chocolate mix ice cube. Then add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little bit of milk or half and half. Crush up the chocolate mix ice cube, mix and enjoy!

Dori's Pumpkin Muffins
1 c vegetable oil
2/3 c water
4 eggs
2 c canned pumpkin
1 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
3 c sugar
3 1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking soda
-Mix wet ingredients together with mixer. Then add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, till inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Ellie's Apple Dip
8 oz. cream cheese block, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c heath toffee bits (in baking aisle by chocolate chips)
1/2 c powdered sugar
-Use a mixer to blend all ingredients, then refrigerate for a few hours. Serve with granny smith apples, pretzels or graham crackers.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Bars
Yes, I realize there are two pumpkin dessert recipes posted. I like pumpkin. Sue me.
1 pkg. yellow cake mix (set aside 1 C to use in topping)
1/2 C butter, melted
3 eggs
1 jar Muirhead Pumpkin Pecan Butter (sold at Williams-Sonoma during Nov-Dec or at
1/2 C milk
1 T flour
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
1 t cinnamon
-Preheat over to 350 degrees.
-Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but 1 C in a mixing bowl (set 1 C aside). Stir the melted butter and 1 egg into the cake mix. Press the mixture into bottom of 9"x13" glass dish.
-Mix the jar of pumpkin pecan butter with 2 eggs and milk. Pour this mixture over the cake mix in the dish.
-Stir the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of pumpkin squares.
-Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cut into 2" squares. (Recipe from Muirhead Foods)

Lila's Snacks
I have attempted to make my own baby food for Lila. We'll see see how it goes. Click here for recipes and directions for how you can be a granola mommy.