Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Red Lentil Enchiladas (version 2)

Here is another version of Baked Lentil Enchiladas that we liked just as much.  Why would I make a recipe so similar to another one I have?  Well, I found out while I was already half-way into the recipe, that I didn't have green enchilada sauce.  I DID, however, have red enchilada sauce.  So, I poured a can of that instead into the crockpot.  I then decided, after it was all cooked, that a creamy touch of sour cream would probably top off the meal with perfection and guess what...WE LOVED IT!  So, no matter what kind of enchilada sauce you have stocked, these are great!!!

Baked Lentil Enchiladas (version 2)

1/4 C finely chopped onions
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 C red lentils, rinsed
4 C vegetable or chicken broth (I use chicken broth, but vegetarians, will prefer vegetable broth)
2-10 oz. cans red enchilada sauce (I like medium)
1/4 C sour cream
cheese (as desired)
10-12 whole wheat tortillas

Finely chop onions and jalapeno and put in crockpot.  Rinse lentils and put in crockpot.  Add chicken broth.  Cook on low in the crockpot for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.  Add 1 can red enchilada sauce.  Stir in sour cream.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 13X9 pan with cooking spray.   Spoon into whole wheat tortillas and roll up and place in prepared pan. Pour the other can of enchilada sauce over the rolled enchiladas.  Grate cheese and sprinkle as much as desired over enchiladas.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spaghetti Squash (sorry no pics!)

This was my first attempt at making spaghetti squash and it was actually VERY easy.  I didn't know how it all "worked"...I mean the whole stringy, spaghetti-like thing.  When I scooped out the seeds, it looked like a pretty normal squash.  I found out later, that it is AFTER you bake it that it gets that spaghetti-like quality to it.  First I'll give you the directions for roasting it that I used and then I'll tell you what I did with it.

Roasting Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the squash in half length-wise (use a large serrated knife if you have one so you don't slip and cut yourself!)
Scoop out all seeds and pulp.
Place cut-side down on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until outside is easily pricked with a fork...should be very soft!
Use a fork and pull out all that "spaghetti" stuff from the inside!!!

Now...what did I do with this?

I beefed up my spaghetti!  I simply mixed it in to my whole wheat spaghetti.  It made MUCH MORE spaghetti and was virtually undetectable!  Tonight, my son ate it and had no idea there was squash in it!  Oh...and this is my son who HATES squash!  So...I call that a success!  There is only one thing I'll do differently next time...I'll make sure my daughters are out of the room before I add it to the spaghetti...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

I made these tonight and was a huge hit with the neighborhood kids and with my own little charges.  I had a hard time figuring out the baking time, but I finally figured out two ways that yield positive results.  I think I may like the broiling way a little better...but you have to watch CAREFULLY to make sure they don't melt!!!

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

10 sticks of string cheese
3 T softened butter
2 eggs
1/4 C whole wheat flour
6 T whole wheat bread crumbs (slices of whole wheat bread baked at 200 for a few hours until thoroughly dried, then blended in a blender)
3 T grated Parmesan cheese

Cut cheese sticks in half and freeze in a freezer bag for a few hours.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Mix together the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Remove frozen cheese sticks from freezer.  Spread softened butter on each cheese stick and then roll in whole wheat flour.  Roll cheese stick in whole wheat flour.  Next roll it in the egg and finally roll it in the bread crumb/Parmesan cheese mixture.  Spray foil-lined cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Lay coated cheese sticks on cookie sheet.

Now...for baking:

You can do this one of two ways.  I think I prefer the broiling method.

Broiling:  Broil cheese sticks for about 3 minutes or until lightly golden brown...but be careful so they don't melt!!!

Baking:  Bake at 450 for 5-6 minutes...once again...be careful they don't melt!!!

You will need to do a test one to see how long your oven takes to bake them.  Ovens sometimes heat and different rates and you need to be careful with these.  ALSO...make sure you wait until they cool a little to eat them, but don't wait too long so the cheese hardens back to a cheese stick.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers

It isn't often that I make a meal where each person in my family RAVES about it during and after eating it.  It isn't often that I come upstairs to find my kids eating, before the prayer.  It is NEVER when I say, "We haven't said the prayer yet," and my kids respond by saying, "We already said the prayer!"  It isn't often that my husband says, "That was AWESOME!"  more than once in the same meal.  Yep, this meal was a hit.  I think I'll make it again.

Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers

1 C sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 C melted butter
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 T milk
1 1/2  pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut in half and then into 1" strips)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together except chicken.  It will form a kind of paste texture.  Coat each piece of chicken individually with mixture.  I had to do this with my hands one at a time...it didn't take very long.  Bake on middle rack for about 25-30 minutes.  Turn chicken over and bake for another 5-10 minutes.  Turn over again and return to top rack.  Bake for a few more minutes until top is golden brown.  My family LOVED these!!!

Serve with honey, barbecue sauce or apricot preserves.  We prefer honey!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baked Lentil Enchiladas

Okay, this was not originally my recipe...but the original recipe, for some reason allowed some crunch to the lentils and my family did not love it.  Because it is so healthy, I decided to try it again and made some changes to the recipe and guess what the major difference was...THE CROCKPOT!!!  Yep, its true!  It was way easier and was made early and ready when we got home from church...and guess what...it had a very consistent texture, with no crunch to the beans, so my family really liked it!!!  I was thrilled!  So, I'm now adding a recipe I had decided wasn't going to work for my family back into my frequently prepared recipe repertoire!  Yay!

P.S.  Sorry the photo doesn't accurately portray the taste of the food...but you get the gist!!!

Baked Lentil Enchiladas

1/4 C finely chopped onions
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 C red lentils, rinsed
4 C vegetable or chicken broth (I use chicken broth, but vegetarians, will prefer vegetable broth)
28 oz. green enchilada sauce
cheese (as desired)
8-10 whole wheat tortillas
sour cream

Finely chop onions and jalapeno and put in crockpot.  Rinse lentils and put in crockpot.  Add chicken broth.  Cook on low in the crockpot for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.  Add 1 C green enchilada sauce.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 13X9 pan with cooking spray.   Spoon into whole wheat tortillas and roll up and place in prepared pan. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the rolled enchiladas.  Grate cheese and sprinkle as much as desired over enchiladas.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Independence Day Ideas

Okay, I have a confession...I'm not going to be home on the Fourth this year.  I'm going to a family reunion and I'm not even making food that day...well, maybe I'll make something, but I'm not going to a barbecue or anything where I would bring anything super festive.  So...I'm going to repost from past Independence Day meals and some links to what I'm planning to do for the 24th of July...a holiday only celebrated in Utah and maybe Idaho.  Anyway...here are the posts.  Sorry for the repeats!!!

Rich, Delicious Chocolate Cake
1 C buttermilk
½ C vegetable oil
2 C sugar
½ C applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1¾ C whole wheat flour
¾ C cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 C boiling water

Preheat oven to 315 degrees. Grease and flour 9X13 pan. Mix buttermilk, oil, sugar, applesauce and vanilla. Add eggs and mix until well blended. Mix together, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients. Bring 1 C water to a boil and stir into the cake mix. Mix for 1 ½ minutes until well-blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. When cool, frost with Fluffy White, Buttercream Frosting. Five minutes before serving line up 48 blueberries in rows 8 on the top, 6 down. Then slice the strawberries in half and line them up end to end to make the stripes (make sure they are all facing the same way). SO CUTE!!!

Fluffy, White Buttercream Frosting

5 sticks butter
9 C powdered sugar
3 T milk
1 tsp vanilla

Two hours before preparing frosting, get 5 sticks of butter out of refrigerator. Whip butter for several minutes until creamy and fluffy. Add powdered sugar 1 C at a time, beating the entire time. Keep beating until frosting is very thick. Add milk and vanilla and beat.
Note: If frosting seems too thick, add an additional tablespoon of milk.

FYI...this dessert is great for Memorial Day, Labor Day, Flag Day, or if you live in Utah the 24th of July. You could also make the Ooey Gooey Not-So-Wheaty Brownies instead of chocolate cake (it is in the dessert segment of my blog) 

Obviously, this one is not exactly Independence Day ready...what I would do, if I were staying home, is to use cool whip and mix 1-2 Cups with vanilla pudding (so it is lighter) and use that instead of the chocolate pudding.  Then I would alternate with blueberries...so strawberries, pudding, blueberries pudding, strawberries, pudding, blueberries...or something like that...I will try to make it that way on the 24th.

Here is the recipe...this one uses brownies:

Ooey Gooey Not-So Wheaty Brownies
3⁄4 C softened butter
1 1⁄2 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3⁄4 C sifted whole wheat flour
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 C cocoa powder
1⁄4 tsp salt
1 C chocolate chips, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs. In another bowl mix the whole wheat flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. Bake 30-40 minutes in a greased 13X9 pan. This is a family favorite and I have yet to meet anyone who can tell that there is whole wheat in it!!! YUM!!! If using chocolate chips, fold in after mixing all other ingredients. They make take a few minutes longer to bake, but this is how I prefer to make them...they are so good!

For Fudgier Brownies: Subtract one egg. Bake 30-40 minutes.

For Cake-Like Brownies: Add an egg. Bake 30-40 minutes.

And then...you need this recipe:

Smooth Chocolate Strawberry Trifle

3 C cold milk
2-3 1⁄2 oz. pkgs. chocolate instant pudding
1-8 oz. whipped topping
Ooey Gooey Not So Wheaty Brownies
21⁄2 C sliced strawberries

Mix milk and pudding for at least two minutes, until well blended and starting to thicken. Fold in 1 C of the whipped topping. Dice brownies into 1 in. cubes.

Layer the following:
half the brownies half the pudding mix half the raspberries
Use the other half of each to make another layer of brownies, pudding mix, and raspberries. Top with leftover whipped topping and serve! Guaranteed to make everyone ooh and aah!
Note: You can substitute raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mixed berries, etc.

As for the suckers...well, there is no wheat, they are just cute. Since I usually post something fun to do with your kids on Fridays, I thought I would post this as an option for kids to make if you are having a 4th of July party at your house or going to a big get-together where there will be lots of children. Kids LOVE making these are they are easy and fun!!!

Fourth of July Suckers

Jolly rancher candies
Sucker sticks
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put three jolly ranchers in a vertical line, touching each other. (You can do this as many as will fit AS LONG AS YOU HAVE ROOM TO PUT THE SUCKER STICKS IN THE BOTTOM!!!) Melt in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and press sucker stick into the bottom of the sucker (you want at least ¾ -1 in of sucker stick inside the sucker). Roll the sucker stick completely around until the whole stick is coated in melted sucker. Add sprinkles or colored sugars while still hot. Let cool until solid (at least 10 minutes). We then wrap them in sucker bags and tie them with ribbon. Kids LOVE these and they can do ALMOST all of it by themselves!!!

Now, as for what I WANT to do...Pinterest helped me out a lot.  I want to make this drink this year:

And these parfaits look so cute and are on the lighter side of desserts:

I would like to do this fruit platter, because it is cute and healthy!

Cute stuff, huh!  There are other ideas I would like to try out, too, but I'll post those when things slow down a little! If you are in the great states of Utah and Idaho...there will be more before the 24th!