85 down : 280 to go

Make your own pizza night


Well naturally this gets a 5 star rating. How can you not like it when you do it yourself? Your crust, your way, your toppings, your way. The boys love this. It’s always funny to see how their bread dough turns out. I’m convinced someday they’ll be able to toss the pizza dough, but for now we’ll go with car shapes! We began with frozen white bread dough. Around noon, I set the oven to 175°, placed the bread dough in a greased loaf pan, covered it with a greased piece of plastic wrap. Once the oven reached temperature, I turned it off and placed the loaf pan inside. Every so often I’d check on it, but mostly I just left it in there and left it alone. Around 5:30 I pulled it out (it was about the size of the pan now) and flipped it out on a silicone mat. It was evenly divided into 6 hunks and we each took one to create our crust to our liking. I went with an oval, #1 made what looked like an eggplant, #2 just made a square, #3 was a very abstract rounded shape and #4 went with a race car (I caught him making wheels, he was using it like play doh, I had to explain that it wouldn’t all bake together and I wouldn’t be able to transfer it to the pan like that!)

Once the dough was sufficiently shaped we added the toppings. I came to find that I was out of pizza sauce (one of those great pantry mysteries) so we used tomato sauce and pizza seasoning from a grinder container. I went with ricotta cheese, sauce, seasoning, monterey jack, cheddar, mozzarella and bacon bits. The boys used a little of everything, in addition to those we also had blue cheese, sour cream, pepperonis and cottage cheese (which was unanimously dissed). I had them apply their toppings ON the baking sheets. We really just left them use what they wanted. After all the toppings were on we popped them in the oven, I’d say it took each pan about 15 minutes to get done. I can say mine was yummy and since nobody left any on their plates I’d have to guess that they were all happily satisfied with theirs too.

I had big plans to follow this recipe for homemade pizza dough, a real Italian style, it would have made enough for 6 full size pizzas, I could have froze the extra and pulled it out whenever to do this again, but as it goes in a house with 4 kids (likely in many a house with 0 kids too) time just gets away and good intentions fly out the window. But hey, I had frozen bread dough in my freezer that needed to be used to, so it all works out in the end!


84 down : 281 to go

Grilled Taco-Spiced Chicken


  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (from 1-oz package)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
Oven Directions: Heat oven to 375°F. Line shallow baking pan with foil or spray with cooking spray. Place coated chicken in pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).
Heat gas or charcoal grill. In shallow bowl, mix taco seasoning mix and oregano. Brush chicken with oil; sprinkle with taco seasoning mixture.
Place chicken on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).
Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, mix barbecue sauce, chili sauce and cumin. Cover; microwave on High 30 to 60 seconds or until hot. Serve sauce over chicken.

Makes 4 servings

Source : Old El Paso

Summer is here! Another fine afternoon spent swimming, all of us have our burn marks to prove it. Swimming always makes me tired and not likely to feel like making dinner. Being burnt to a crisp makes it 2x as bad. Thankfully the hubby got off in time to grill this mighty tasty chicken. The chicken was moist and had wonderful flavor. So often it skin-on chicken that is in a grilling recipe. Skinless seems to dry out faster, but not with this one. I highly recommend this sauce for your next chicken BBQ!

We took the 4 kiddos to see Cars 2 tonight. They’ve been anticipating it’s arrival, it came and we made them wait (aren’t we meanies?) We were waiting for daddy to have an evening at home so we could all go. #4 was on the edge of his seat the whole time, I’m not even sure if he blinked. At various intervals I would hear a gasp or “awesome!” When it was over he says “We hafta get that movie!”

The previews for the next few movies look promising too. Muppets (yes, we can’t wait), Happy Feet 2, and there was a new Spy Kids movie that they seemed very excited about.

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Beefy Hash Brown Pizza


  • 5 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 10 ¾ ounce can cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 15 ounce can pizza sauce
  • 16 ounces shredded pizza cheese, divided
In bowl, combine potatoes, soup, egg, salt and pepper. Spread mixture into greased 15×10-inch baking pan. Bake at 400º for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium heat, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in pizza sauce; keep warm. Sprinkle 2 cups cheese over hot crust. Spread meat mixture over the top; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer until cheese melts.Makes 8 servings

Source : Taste of Home 2003 Annual Cookbook

As I am still working on that dining room, this was the easiest recipe of my week to fix. Last night we resorted to ordering pizza because we were in full on shelf building mode and didn’t feel like taking the time to fix dinner. I unfortunately regretted it for the rest of the night as the pizza gave me incredible heartburn. I was not going down that road again tonight.

We love hash browns of any variety in this house. I did not wait for mine to thaw, it just made it a little more difficult to stir in the soup and egg. The boys really like a recipe like this, I can eat it, but wouldn’t want to have it every night, that’s for sure.

Gray base

Taped off for stripes

Yellow took 3 coats







Here’s a peek at the work we’ve been doing for the past week. The shelving is built and anchored to the wall. Filling has begun, although the hope had been to fit all media on the shelves, I think it might take another wall! At this point I have all the books from the kitchen and attic loaded on, I still have my room, 2 boys rooms and living room books. Then I had wanted to add magazine boxes to store all the magazines I keep (mostly photography and cooking types), dvd and vhs movies, music cds and photo albums. We may need to rethink this plan.

I got built in!

Finished shelves

Loaded with books from attic & kitchen

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Pineapple Casserole


  • 2 (20 oz) cans pineapple tidbits
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheese
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup crumbled crackers (or cornflakes or potato chips)
Drain pineapple and reserve 6 tablespoons juice. Combine flour and sugar to make a paste with juice. Add pineapple, cheese and butter to paste. Pour into 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkled crumbs over top and bake at 350º for 20 to 30 minutes.

Makes 8 servings

Source : www.cooks.com

This was a dish I fixed for a picnic tonight. The hubby actually picked it, I was deciding between a bean casserole and this. Any casserole was the direction I was given. Out of fear of bringing something as a duplicate, I went with this simply because the hubby suggested it and I’d never personally heard of it. I chose the tidbits over the chunks because I wanted something easily bite sized and went with crushed crackers rounds of a certain red box variety because I needed them for the BLT dip recipe I fixed for picnic #1 today.

I was a little apprehensive, but figured apple pie is always made with cheddar cheese, so why not pineapple. The hubby taste tested it after it came out of the oven (and cooled slightly) and said it was certainly good enough to take to the picnic. At the picnic, several people came to tell me that it was really good. Although I didn’t personally try it, based on the reactions to it, I gave it a 5 star rating. Now I know that it is a good choice for future gatherings with friends. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of it!

81 down : 284 to go

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas


Schmiford Images: 2011 &emdash; Bean and Cheese Enchiladas_6518 2011 06 24

  • 15 ounces dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 ounces diced green chile pepper, drained
  • ½ cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  • 15 ounces hot enchilada sauce
  • 10 ounces mild enchilada sauce
  • 8 (6 1/2-inch) fajita size flour tortillas (not corn!)
Heat oven to 375 °. In large bowl, mix beans, chile peppers, corn, chili powder, salt and cumin. Slightly mash beans; stir to combine. Add 1 cup cheese.
In medium-size bowl, stir together two cans enchilada sauce. Stir 1 cup of the enchilada sauce into bean mixture.
Spread 1/4 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce in 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Brush one side of a tortilla with enchilada sauce. Spoon 1/4 cup of the bean mixture in center on sauced side; roll up. Place enchilada in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and bean mixture. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top to cover. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
Bake at 375°  for 15 minutes.

Makes 8 servings

Source : Parents.com

In my hurry at the grocery store, I saw fajita and tortilla and good $, and grabbed a bag of CORN tortillas by accident. As a warning, the corn did not roll, but crumbled. In the end I made more of a lasagna then enchiladas. I put the sauce down, 4 tortillas (3 flat and 1 broken up to fill holes), a layer of the bean mixture and then repeated until all my stuff was used up ending with tortillas on top covered in sauce. I baked it the same and it tasted fine, but the boys were disappointed they weren’t in rolls. The measurement for the Pepper Jack is less because it was an 8 oz brick or a 16 oz brick, so I just got the 8 oz. The hot enchilada sauce was only available in a 15 oz can and instead of having something else hanging out in the fridge to become a mystery, I just dumped the whole can in. The only boy that seemed to mind was the youngest who has an aversion to all things ‘picy anyway.

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  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2½ (12 ounce) packages Oscar Mayer bacon bits
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Crumbled cooked bacon or thinly sliced green onions, optional
  • Assorted crackers or chips
In large bowl, combine sour cream mayonnaise, bacon, tomatoes and onions. Refrigerate until serving. Garnish with bacon and green onions if desired. Serve with crackers or chips.

Makes 6 cups

Source : Taste of Home

After the previous disaster with the cookies, I opted for this for picnic #1. It just so happens that I had it on my menu for the week as a night time snack for the boys and I. I used Kraft Olive Oil Mayo (my little attempt at healthy) and although cooking bacon would have made it much better, I just didn’t have time for that. Hubby ran to the store quick and picked up several packages of bacon bits. As is normal, I taste tested it with a Ritz cracker and found it much more preferable to the applesauce bricks. I make a much better kielbasa dip, but it will work for tomorrow.

79 down : 286 to go

Applesauce Cocoa Cookies

Schmiford Images: 2011 &emdash; Applesauce Cocoa Cookies_6520 2011 06 24

  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease cookie sheets.(I didn’t because I have the amazing sheet from Ikea!)
Cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg and blend well.
Sift all dry ingredients together and add alternately with applesauce and water to creamed mixture. Be sure to add flour first and last.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.

Okay, I admit, these were awful! Like little bricks! Terrible! They were intended for the first of two picnics that we are attending tomorrow. I cannot take them! Is it because I opted to use real sugar in place of the sugar substitute? Because I stirred, but didn’t sift the dry ingredients? I think it’s because they were suppose to be “healthy” and cookies are goodies not healthy. Peanut butter will be the technique I use to make cookies healthy from now on, no more applesauce cookies. These will be poolside snacks for the boys (who will eat anything at the pool because they are just ravenous when swimming) and on to recipe plan B for picnic number 1.