Monday, March 31, 2014

Six Sisters' Stuff Cookbook Review and 10 Book Giveaway Plus Oven-Baked Tacos

The Publisher provided me with a copy of this book for the purpose of this review, but all opinions expressed herein are my own.

A Year With Six Sisters' Stuff: 52 Menu Plans, Recipes, and Ideas to Bring Families Together

This is the newest cookbook from the sisters behind the popular blog, Six Sisters' Stuff.  

I didn't waste any time diving into this cookbook.

I loved their first book, but I think I like this 2nd book better :)  The recipes are all simple, family friendly, dishes with familiar ingredients and there is a mouthwatering photos of every recipe.

The layout is different than their first book.  Rather than being divided into specific categories, it is divided by meal plans.  There are 52 meal plans in the book, each of which contains a main dish, a side dish and a dessert.  Some of the recipes are from scratch while others use mixes and short-cuts.  I think there is a really good variety of dishes.
  First, I made these Oven-Baked Tacos.  I always love new taco recipes.  This one is super simple and perfect for a week night.  Baking the tacos softens the shells a bit which makes them a little easier to eat, plus it melts the cheese which holds the filling together better.  

Then, I tried the Chicken Parmesan Crescents, which is now a family favorite and I made the Banana Crumb Muffins which are delish as well.  

Overall, if you want a cookbook full of dishes that your whole family will love, then this is the book for you.  A lot of the recipes remind me of food I grew up eating.  I love it.

You can purchase it at Amazon, Walmart, Deseret Book, Barnes & Noble and other retailers.
Oven-Baked Tacos
adapted from: Six Sisters' Stuff

1 Lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1 oz.) pkg. taco seasoning
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. chunky salsa
12 hard taco shells
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Optional toppings: diced tomatoes, lettuce, olives, sour cream, cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef.  Just before it is cooked through, add the diced onion and saute until tender.  Add the minced garlic and saute 30 more seconds.  Add taco seasoning and stir to combine.  Stir in the beans and salsa.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  In a 9x13-inch baking pan, line up all taco shells.  Fill each one with a couple scoops of the beef mixture and pack down into the shell.  Top each taco with shredded cheese.  Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with your favorite toppings.  Makes 4-6 servings.    

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekly Menu Planning Saturday #3

Bob's Basil Rub Chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and Easy Overnight Dinner Rolls

Mini Biscuit Chicken Pot Pies with steamed broccoli
Use leftover Bob's Basil Rub Chicken




Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry
Buy extra broccoli for the Mini Biscuit Pot Pies and an extra red pepper for the Roasted Brussels Sprout and Bacon Carbonara.

Menu-Plan Day and Take-Out Night

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Magnolia Bakery Famous Banana Pudding

Magnolia Bakery is a bakery that I have always dreamed of going to.  I have one of their cookbooks and I have made many treats out of it, but I always wondered if the recipes really are the same as the treats they serve in the bakery.

A few months ago I was on vacation in L.A. and discovered there is a Magnolia's down there.

Getting there was quite the adventure.

I don't know how anyone does it in California.  GPS would have to be a must in your car.  Just getting from San Diego to L.A., I counted 7 different freeways we had to merge onto and that drive was less than 2 hours.  Oh and don't accidentally get off the wrong exit, because you can't just flip around and get right back on it.  You will find yourself taking a very very long detour . . . not speaking from experience or anything :)

I have realized it is a piece of cake driving here in Utah and the traffic here is nothing.

Anyway, Magnolia's was so cute inside.  It was late when we got there and a lot of things were sold out, but I did leave with half a dozen cupcakes and of course I tried their Banana Pudding.

Their Banana Pudding is one of the things they are famous for.
It was delicious and the employee told me it really is the recipe in the cookbook.

So, I made it when I got home from vacation.  It is so light and fluffy and feels like a cloud of amazingness in your mouth.  It is sweet and the bananas and Nilla Wafers make it extra special.

I could have eaten the entire batch by myself.
Magnolia Bakery Famous Banana Pudding
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk     
1 1/2 c. ice cold water
1 (3.4 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
3 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 c. sliced bananas
1 (12 oz.) box Nilla Wafers

In a large bowl, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined.  Add the pudding mix and beat well.  Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.  It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, whip the cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until no streaks of pudding remain.  

Serve with sliced bananas and crushed Nilla wafers.  Serves: 8-10 

To serve this like Magnolia Bakery: Make three layers of Nilla Wafers, sliced bananas and pudding in a 4-5 quart capacity glass bowl.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 hours up to 8 hours, but no longer.   

Jenn's Notes: Magnolia's recipe does not add vanilla extract.  I prefer to serve this as individual servings and I add the sliced bananas just before I eat it, so they don't turn brown.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Strawberry Swirled Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

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I look forward to Saturdays just so I am able to sleep in.  I love my sleep and I usually have no problem sleeping in, but last Saturday I woke up bright and early.  So, what's a girl to do? 

Make a delicious loaf of lemon poppy seed bread for breakfast of course.

When "The Mr." woke up, I had a fresh piece waiting for him, he ate it and then immediately said, "I better eat another piece of that right now."  Needless to say, it is absolutely delicious.  The strawberry jam layer adds a bright flavor.

You can easily switch it up with another flavor of jam, like blueberry, peach or raspberry.
The texture is soft and moist and exactly what I look for in a quick bread recipe.

I like to add a little meringue powder to my glaze and that way it gets nice and hard, like an icing you would get from a bakery.  It's my new little trick.  

This is the perfect Springtime Bread and I have already made it twice.

I betcha can't eat just one slice :)

You might also like:
Almond Poppy Seed Bread with Orange Glaze
Orange Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread with Orange Glaze
Lemon Zucchini Bread with Lemon Glaze
Homemade Peach Freezer Jam
Strawberry Swirled Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. imitation lemon extract (or 2 tsp. grated lemon zest)
3/4 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbl. poppy seeds
1/3 c. strawberry jam 

Lemon Glaze
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. imitation lemon extract (or grated lemon zest)
1-2 Tbl. milk (or fresh lemon juice)
1 tsp. meringue powder, opt. (this helps the icing harden)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg, egg white, vanilla and lemon extract and mix until well blended.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds.  Add dry ingredients and greek yogurt alternately to the batter, starting and ending with dry and mix until just combined. 

Spread half of the batter into a 9x5-inch loaf pan.  Top with strawberry jam, leaving a small border around the edge.  Do not swirl the jam.  Top with remaining batter and carefully spread out evenly.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert to a wire rack and cool completely.  Meanwhile, make the glaze.

For the Lemon Glaze: Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy, adding enough milk to reach desired glaze consistency.  Pour over cooled bread and allow to harden.  If you are in a hurry, you can pour this over the warm bread too.  

Jenn's Notes: I am personally a big fan of imitation lemon extract.  If you do not care for it, be sure to use fresh lemon zest instead.

Slightly adapted from: Cooking Light

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weekly Menu Planning Saturday #2


Use leftover Soft and Chewy French Bread to make the sandwiches

Use extra cottage cheese from Easy Baked Ziti


Use leftover sausage from Hash Brown Sausage Breakfast Casserole and any leftover peppers and cheese from the week.

Menu-Plan Day and Take-Out Night

For Dessert

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chicken Florentine Red Pepper Sandwiches

This sandwich is soooooo GOOD.  It is loaded with flavor.  I adapted this awesome marinade recipe from these Sweet Dijon Pork Chops for this chicken and it is so flavorful.  We served with our favorite Roasted Ranch Veggies.

This sandwich filling is delicious, but you don't have to stop at sandwiches.  It is so versatile. You could make it into a pasta dish, a quesadilla filling, a salad topping, a creamy soup, a pizza topping and a grilled cheese.  Or, how about adding artichokes and cream cheese to make an amazing dip?  
Chicken Florentine Red Pepper Sandwiches
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2 chicken breasts, marinated
2 Tbl. olive oil (I used Avocado oil)
1 roasted red pepper, chopped (from a jar or homemade)
2 heaping cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tbl. crumbled Feta cheese, for serving
2 sandwich buns (I used Ciabatta), buttered and toasted

Sweet Dijon Chicken Marinade
juice of one orange (or lemon)
3 Tbl. Dijon mustard
1 Tbl. soy sauce
1/4 c. light brown sugar
a few dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbl. chopped green onions

For the marinade: Whisk together all ingredients and pour over chicken.  Allow to marinate as long as possible, preferably overnight.

To prepare:  Heat two medium skillets over medium heat.  Add one Tablespoon of oil to each of the pans.  To one pan, add the marinated chicken breasts, discarding the marinade.  Cook until internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, flipping halfway through.  You will want to get some good color on the chicken.  

To the other pan, add the roasted red peppers and onion and saute until onion is tender.  Add the spinach and garlic and heat until spinach is cooked down.  Reduce heat to low.  Chop up the cooked chicken and add to the pan with the red peppers and spinach.  Stir to combine.  Serve on toasted buns and top each with some Feta cheese.  Serves 2.  

Jenn's Notes: You could add another chicken breast or two to the same marinade recipe and not have to double it. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cookbook Review Plus Slow Cooker Beans and Rice

The publisher provided me with a copy of this cookbook for the purpose of this review, but the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Do you remember when I told you guys about the Young Chef's Cookbook and shared a yummy Raspberry Cream Cheese Spread recipe?  Well . . . the author, Christina Dymock, has come out with another great book.  This one is dedicated to the slow cooker and includes over 90 mouthwatering dishes.

You will also get Christina's tips on how to purchase a slow cooker, care for your slow cooker as well as some food safety tips while using a slow cooker.  Like how every time you lift the lid, it takes 20 minutes to heat back up to the previous temperature and she tells you what that can do to the food.

The recipes are all well-rounded.  There is a great variety of ingredients and the recipes include lots of veggies.  I LOVE my veggies :)

There is even a whole section dedicated to Chili!!!

I tried the Rice and Beans recipe and I thought it was delicious.  I adapted a few things with the ingredients I had on hand, but it turned out great.  I will definitely be making this easy side dish over and over again.

Some of the other recipes that I cannot wait to try are:
Shredded Beef Salad
Sweet Chicken Rice Bowls
Fiesta Chicken Stacks
Bacon Cheeseburger Chili
Ham and Beans
Cilantro Lime Rice
Pumpkin Pudding Cake
Caramel Nut Cheesecake

You can purchase The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cookbook at Amazon, Sam's Club, Costco, Deseret Book,  Seagull Book and many other retailers.

Rice and Beans, Beans and Rice
adapted from: The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cookbook
(Printable Rice) or (Printable with Picture)

2 c. brown rice
2 (14.5 oz.) cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can kidney or black beans
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Seasonal (seasoning)
1 tsp. garlic powder

Place the rice in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker.  Add the other ingredients and stir well.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.  Stir before serving.  Serves: 8

Jenn's Notes: I made 1/2 a batch, I used Brown Minute Rice, 1 whole can of pinto beans and I did not add Seasonal, but added a little seasoned salt instead.  Since I used Brown Minute Rice, it only took about 2 hours to cook.  I thought it was delicious.    

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Weekly Menu Planning Saturday #1

I'm starting something new on the blog today.  I am always searching for inspiration for my weekly menu and I'm sure you all are too.  Each week, I will share with you some delicious dinner ideas and hopefully make the stress of wondering "What's for Dinner" a little easier.            


Use leftover ham and honey mustard from My Malibu Chicken


Lighter French Toast Casserole
Use leftover Texas Toast from Deli Cordon Bleu Sandwiches for the bread

Fiesta Ranch Chicken with Steamed Broccoli

Use leftover carrots and zucchini from Roasted Ranch Veggies & Broccoli from Fiesta Ranch Chicken

Menu Plan Day and Take-Out Night

For Dessert:
Pistachio Cake Mix Cookies for St. Patrick's Day (March 17th)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blueberry Pancake Banana Bread or Muffins

Remember when I made Blueberry Pancake Muffins using Blueberry pancake mix?  I really liked those muffins . . . the texture, the flavor and everything.

I still haven't actually used the blueberry pancake mix for pancakes and it has still been sitting in my pantry.  It was time to get rid of it.  On the shelf right below, I had some very ripe bananas that I needed to get rid of.      
Blueberry Pancake Banana Bread was born.  I am loving using this pancake mix for bread or muffins instead of pancakes.

You might think why not just buy a muffin mix?  Well, my pancake mix was around $1.60 and I can get a few batches of muffins out of it and last time I checked at my grocery store, 1 box of muffin mix was more than that. 
I have had my super-mini loaf pan for a while, but haven't had success until now.  I finally figured it out, one ice-cream scoop full of batter is perfect.  Which is the exact amount as a muffin.

Mini loaves of bread make me happy :)  Look how cute they are.

This bread is light and fluffy and delicious.  Grab that pancake mix out of your pantry and see what flavors you can come up with.  Oh . . . and if you come up with a good one, be sure to let me know, so I can try it too.  
Blueberry Pancake Banana Bread
slightly adapted from: Krusteaz
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2 eggs
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. mashed bananas, about 2 large
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. blueberry pancake mix
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Topping (Opt.)
1/4 c. sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and water.  Add the vanilla, mashed bananas and vegetable oil and whisk until well combined.  Add the pancake mix and cinnamon and mix together until just combined.  Divide batter between a well-greased regular muffin tin (or extra-mini loaf pan) or mini muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake regular muffins for 16 minutes or mini muffins for 10 minutes.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nicole's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I never ever ever would have tried this recipe if it wasn't for my good friend, Nicole, raving about how good it is.

This is not your typical creamy mac & cheese.  This recipe, my friends, is all about the FLAVOR.   REAL GOOD FLAVOR.  I love the texture too, but it is more of the clumpy and creamy texture than  a smooth and creamy texture.

  This was one of the first "from scratch" recipes I learned to make when I first started cooking.  Which means it is as EASY as can be.  If you can boil pasta, then you can make this recipe.

My whole family loves it and I know yours will too.
Nicole's Baked Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from: Nicole W.
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

8 oz. elbow macaroni
1 (16 oz.) carton low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 c. sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp. dried onion flakes
salt and pepper
8 oz. Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbl. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, sour cream, beaten egg, dried onion flakes, salt, pepper and grated Cheddar cheese.  Drain pasta when done and stir into cottage cheese mixture.  Pour into a greased 8x8-inch casserole dish.  Add bread crumbs to a small zip-top bag and add the melted butter (add just enough to barely moisten the bread crumbs).  Shake bag until crumbs are coated with butter and sprinkle evenly over casserole.  Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serves: 4

Jenn's Notes:  Italian seasoned bread crumbs taste great, but I also like to use Panko bread crumbs combined with dried parsley and Johnny's Garlic Seasoning.  I sprinkle it over my casserole and spray the top with butter spray.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Bars

I'm not really a country music fan, but I have been watching Trisha Yearwood's cooking show every Saturday morning and I kinda really like that girl :)

Her food always looks delicious, but I think this is the first recipe of hers I have actually tried?  

Have you ever had butterscotch and peanut butter together?  What a combination!  So so good.  Have you ever had Scotcharoos - the peanut butter flavored rice krispies with chocolate and butterscotch topping?  Well, similar flavors, minus the chocolate.  I knew I loved that combo, so I knew I would love these. 

I made these one weekend, devoured them and then made them again for work.

They are rich and chewy and it is hard to stop at just one.

Have you tried any of Trisha Yearwood's recipes?  Which ones are your favorite?

P.S.  Trisha, you were rocking that red shirt the other day!
Butterscotch Peanut Butter Bars
adapted from: Trisha Yearwood
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. butterscotch chips
  or 1/4 c. white chocolate chips and 1/4 c. butterscotch chips

Peanut Butter Icing
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
a few Tbl. of milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13x2-inch pan with cooking spray.  Cream together butter, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter until very light and fluffy.  Mix in the egg and vanilla.  Add the baking soda, salt, flour and oats and mix until combined.  Press dough evenly into prepared pan.  It will be very sticky and might not look like enough to fill the entire pan, but it will.  Sprinkle butterscotch chips over the top.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with peanut butter icing.  Allow to cool.  Cut into squares and serve.     

For the Peanut Butter Icing:  Combine all ingredients and stir together until smooth and creamy.  If mixture is too thick, add a little more milk.  Spread over warm peanut butter bars.    

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