Monday, March 31, 2014

Banana Chia Oatmeal

Today we had temperatures in the 60's. I know, say what?

It is Spring after all, but this is North Iowa folks, we've been having the coldest winter on record almost. In fact it snowed this last Thursday and believe it or not, tomorrow the forecast for northwest Minnesota is... SNOW.
Yep, good old snow. Not a sprinkling either, up to a foot. Yeah, you read that right, 12 inches deep.
 So... I am going to make sure I make this for breakfast, because when it's cold, this is the perfect way to start your day. Right?!

This hearty oatmeal is chock full of bananas, chia seeds for protein, drizzled in agave syrup or maple for sweetness. Top with more banana slices, even some nuts, you won't want to ever make another packet that instant glop again.

This ain't oatmeal for sissy's. 

The chia seeds plump up after cooking almost like tapioca. Chia seeds offer one of the richest food sources for omega-3 essential fatty acids. They are also rich in proteins, dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Of course when your family is eating this awesome oatmeal they won't care one lick about all the good nutrients they're getting. 


But you'll know. and that's all that is important, right? 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Turkey Swedish Meatballs

Whenever my family heads up to Minneapolis, I always try and make a stop at one of my favorites, Ikea.
It's a huge store, three stories I think and I love wandering through all the different vignettes or rooms they have set up with all their products as if you are in an actual home. You want to purchase all the items shown just to try and copy it, it's cool really. 
They have an enormous cafeteria also, that is famous for serving meals so inexpensive you'll do a double take, seriously. Their most famous entree is the Swedish Meatball dinner obviously. You actually buy the meal based upon how many meatballs you'd like. (it's super cheap!)
We love them, and I prefer to make my own at home with a lean ground turkey or chicken. 
The simple white sauce, covering buttery noodles combined with the flavorful meatballs just oozes comfort. Comfort 101.

So whenever I am missing the big city north of us and I'm wanting some easy comfort food I make these sweet little meatballs. These were served with a side of grilled zucchini and crimini mushrooms. I must have been channeling Spring. 

1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp minced parsley, fresh or dried
1-2 tbsp milk-May not need at all

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt & pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg

  1. Preheat a large skillet to medium and drizzle in 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
  2. Mix and shape meatballs to the size of a Ping pong balls.
  3. Place in skillet and brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Remove to a plate. 
  4. Add in 2 tbsp butter to skillet, melt and whisk in 2 tbsp flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and whisk to combine, heating until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste and add in 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg. 
  6. Add meatballs back into sauce and stir to coat, reduce heat to low, cover and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through and sauce is thickened and reduced. 
  7. Serve over buttered egg noodles.

This recipe is shared on My Link Parties

Also shared on Weekend Potluck 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Veggie Ranch Shooters

Eighteen years ago, she was born and time moved at a snails pace. 

Then she was one, three, five and all of a sudden the years started to fly by. Literally, zoom past me.

All the while my children were growing, and number three child, McKinley-known as McKi to almost all, was fast approaching her high school graduation. 

And then...


It's almost here. Tonight was her Senior Expo. An event at her school that has each and every Senior student doing a public presentation on a field, subject or idea that interests them. They are required to speak knowledgeably on what they choose. They need to use graphics, Powerpoint and such to support them and also have examples.  

McKi chose to do a presentation on Knitting. She taught herself to knit over a year ago and has since been active in the Knitting Club as well as teaching others to knit. She has made mittens, hats, scarves, headbands, dog sweaters, dish cloths and so much more. She has made things per order for paying customers even!

Every family was to contribute 2 dozen cookies, bars or some sort of baked good to share (we live in a small community, there are 68 kids in her graduating class). 

Needless to say, I don't even try and compete with the ladies in this community when it comes to baking. Oh gad no!

So instead I decided to bring something a little "lighter". With a decided "crunch factor" that did not involve popcorn or a cookie crust. 

Yeah, it had vegetables in it and you know what, that's okay. Because...


Gone, poof, blink, zippo, no more. 

So...har har hardy har, not everyone likes a 500 calorie, sugar laden bar.

Now, I like sweets now and then, given the choice though, I'd dip  veggies in ranch any day. 

So maybe I'll make these babies for her graduation open house...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Taco French Bread Pizza

I know, you're going "what"?

Take one look and you'll get it...

Totally, get it. 

See, told ya.

Toasted French bread, hollowed out and slathered with creamy refried beans, topped with seasoned taco meat. Sprinkled all over with cheese and baked for 10-12 minutes, until toasty brown and the cheese is all melty. Topped with lettuce, cilantro, tomato, olives, more cheese and a sour cream drizzle. 

Hang on, I fainted a little. 

And then I had to show another shot...

Yeah, you want to make this. It's serious good food. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Skillet

Okay I caved. I jumped on the Chicken Enchilada Skillet wagon, and boy am I glad I did. 

Hah! So is my family. They're the ones that really reap all the benefits.

But who on earth wouldn't want to share with a great recipe like this?

I mean, everyone loves a good enchilada, and these are super easy, super flavorful and made in just one skillet.


Those four words should sway anyone. Wait maybe this will...

See, it really is all that. 

The good thing is, it comes together super fast, uses everyday pantry items and you can speed up the prep even faster by using cooked chicken. 

Either way you're in for a delicious meal and your family will be high-fiving and fist pumping their way through their plate!!

The WHOLE enchilada pan and...

What you'll be digging a fork into (or are you foregoing the plate?).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Easy Baked Apple Purses

These scrumptious little babies are a tribute to the delectable French pastry Chausson aux Pommes, which are delicate buttery "slippers" filled with a tender apple compote. 

Now, back to reality and the frozen tundra that I live in called North Iowa. 

Ahem...far, far removed from anything remotely "French". 


That doesn't mean I can't pretend try to come up with a recipe that might come close. Actually once you taste these you may just think you're in Paris!

Well, yeah, that may be a stretch, but not that far. 

They are beautiful little purses of baked goodness, filled with tender apples cooked in butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Drizzled with a brown sugar glaze...

oops sorry, I drooled a little on my keyboard.


wait for it..


They're made from refrigerated biscuits.  !!!

Yeah, I know, every true baker just threw up a little. But here, look at it again. 

You know you'll be stopping by the refrigerated dough section the next time you go grocery shopping. 

Don't forget the apples!

1 can of large buttery biscuits
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into a a 1/2" dice.
1/2 cup of butter-1 stick
1/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a muffin tin with non stick spray.
  2. In a saute pan over medium heat melt the butter and add in both sugars.
  3. Add in apples, cinnamon and vanilla. Saute for 10-12 minutes, until bubbly and apples become tender. Set aside. 
  4. Meanwhile using a rolling pin, flatten out each biscuit to a 4-5" circle and push them into the muffin tin wells. 
  5. Fill each well with apples. Bring up the sides of the biscuit and pinch together and twist slightly to make a purse shape. 
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  7. Using the leftover glaze, there will be a little, add in powdered sugar to make a glaze, about a 1/4-1/3 of a cup, and drizzle over the warm "Purses". 
  8. Voila! Bon appetit!!

 There's only three here...

Okay, who took the other 4 or 5???

Ahh, that's better, a close up of the yummy-ness.

This recipe is shared on My Link Parties

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Taco Pizza Ole'

Everyone loves tacos...

They're the perfect little handheld meal. Seasoned meat wrapped in a soft or crispy shell, showered in cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sauce and even sour cream or guacamole if you're lucky!

Well, no wonder when I layered all that goodness on a crispy, chewy pizza crust my family went gaga on me. 

I was like, what? It's just a taco pizza, no big deal and they were like...



Okay, so maybe they didn't shout (hence uppercase), but it was abundantly clear they wanted me to make this OFTEN!

Lovely Ladies Linky

Okay, I said, okay fine. 

I mean, its almost a crime how easy it is to throw together. I actually feel a little guilty I don't have to put more time into it. 

Nah...not really, the guilty part. 

Anytime I don't have to stand in the kitchen for over an hour on a weeknight, I'll take it. 

Make this baby on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Just use leftover taco seasoned meat from Tuesday!!

That's the secret. 

Leftover taco meat...shhhhh, don't say it too loud. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Slow Cooker Mulligatawny

 I actually did a little jig after I made this recipe...

Mulligatawny or Chicken Curry Soup puts me in a happy place every time and this made me do a little dance.

I just really love all the curry flavor and it's chock full of vegetables, its hearty and in my eyes is just the embodiment of "comfort food" in the soup or stew category.

I initially fell in love with this soup years ago when a neighbor girl and I became friends and her mom used to make this for her lunch, from a can of PepperRidge Farms condensed soup. They had recently moved back to the states from India and this was a taste of that exotic country for them.

I would go over and play with her just so her mom would make this for us! She knew it and didn't mind in the least. 

Alas, this soup is either no longer made by PF or it must not
marketed in the US anymore. 

Enter in Seinfeld from way back in 1995, the "Soup Nazi" brought Mulligatawny soup to America, no matter how elusive it was for the actors in the show to get it...

But it's easily available here, and you can make it without even waking the "soup nazi"!!

This is a super simple, knock it out the box, SLOW COOKER version. 

Yep, you read that right, SLOW COOKER!!

Bonus--it's FAT FREE, yessiree BOB, no fat used to make this here soup.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Double Decker Tacos

At first I didn't believe a co-worker of mine when she said the only way she makes tacos at home was in the Double Decker style--I never use the hard, prepared shells (I recently found a box in the pantry and it was over 4 years old-ahem!), it seemed like cheating, I guess.

Oh, and don't worry I threw them out. I DO practice FIFO generally, this box got hidden...

I just always went the old school route and served regular corn or flour tortillas heated on a comal (traditional flat cast iron pan used to heat tortillas) or softened in a towel or foil in the microwave or oven.

Anyway, after hearing her sing the praises of using a hard shell corn tortilla, and wrapping a soft flour tortilla around it, after spreading it with sour cream, intrigued me. I wanted to give it a try, so I broke through my hesitation and bought a box of prepared corn tortilla taco shells....don't worry I used them the same night!

Also, I've learned quick and easy doesn't mean you miss out on it being good and even just darn great... 

But after tasting these my family threw down the gauntlet and refused to eat them any other way in the future. Say what? It's a taco mutiny in my home...

Then I had one and well... I had to agree, they were awesome. Dang it.