Where Cooking is Fun
We want cooking to be as fun for you as it is for us.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Easy Chewy Granola

I have always loved granola. My mom used to make it for us when we were kids, but when I grew up I had to settle for the "store bought" stuff and it was never very good, so I quit eating it. (I like my granola chewy...not crunchy and hard.) I have always wanted to learn to make granola like my mom but every recipe I have ever found looked too difficult, had ingredient that I didn't have on hand or took too much time...THAT is until I found this one. I have had this recipe in my recipe files for quite some time, but never thought about trying it (mainly because I had quit eating granola). But a couple of weeks ago I ran across it and thought I would give it a try. It was super easy and I had all of the ingredients and it turned out amazing!. It was chewy and perfect (in my book) in every way!! 

Easy Chewy Granola

8 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1c. brown sugar
1 c. wheat germ
1 c. coconut (or more)
1/2 c. oil (I used canola)
1 c. cold water
1 T. vanilla
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix the oil, water, salt and vanilla together in a large bowl. Then add the oatmeal, brown sugar, coconut and wheat germ and mix thoroughly. Cover a large baking sheet (like a Texas sheet cake pan) with tin foil. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes if you like it softer or 60 minutes if you like it crunchier. Stir the mixture after 30 minutes. Let it cool completely. Store in an air tight container. 
* When you eat it, you can add chopped nuts or raisons or craisons or fruit to your granola...use your imagination and enjoy. 

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, February 26, 2010

Loaded Baked Potato Soup



One of my Favorite restaurants is Ruby River Steakhouse. Yum! I love their steak but their loaded jacketed baked potato is my favorite! Oh my gosh. I love that stuff. So when I saw this recipe I knew that I totally had to try it! A soup that tastes like a loaded baked potato? Um.. Yes please!

My sister was staying the week with us when I tried this recipe and she ran home and told my mom she HAD to make it. It was definately a crowd pleaser and is going on my menu for next week. Mmm... I can hardly wait!

I made a few changes to the original recipe I saw. I cut out green onions, added extra cheese and just used the "real bacon pieces" that you can buy at the store (in the salad dressing isle by the imitation bacon bits) instead of cooking and crumbling my own. I thought it turned out fantastic and it saved me time. Win!


Loaded Baked Potato Soup
4 baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 - cups chicken broth
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
12 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled (or a package of "real bacon pieces")
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 8oz container sour cream

Bake potatoes in the oven. Scoop out the inside of the potato and set aside. Cook bacon in the oven while the potatoes bake at 350 degrees until crispy. Crumble and set aside. Melt butter in a large pot over medium low heat. Stir in flour to make a roux. Cook about one minute stirring constantly. Gradually pour in the chicken broth and milk while stirring. Turn the heat to medium and cook the soup until it starts to thicken. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, bacon and cheese. Stir well and continue to heat for about 15 minutes allowing the flavors to blend. Mix in sour cream until well blended. Serve immediately. Garnish with additional bacon and shredded cheese.

Food is FUN not just fuel
~Dayna

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Lotsa Cheese" Filled Jumbo Shells

OH YUM...Who doesn't like cheese? Cheese makes everything better, right? Yes, I know, there are plenty of you out there that don't like cheese... but for those of us who LOVE it..this is a scrumptious recipe to try! I use to make this recipe a lot but for some reason I've gone years and never made them. I don't know why, because we loved them so much. I guess I just got out of the habit...They are a little time consuming, but well worth it. The recipe calls for "Ricotta" cheese, but Ricotta is sometimes difficult to find (at least in our area) so I tried something different...I used cottage cheese and cream cheese combined and we liked it so much better! The Ricotta has a grainy texture to it (which I don't like) and the cottage cheese made the mixture a lot more creamy...I guess its all in what you like.

"Lotsa Cheese" Filled Jumbo Shells

1 pkg. (12 oz.) jumbo shells, cooked and drained, according to package directions
4 c. (2 lb.) Ricotta cheese OR 4 c. cottage cheese + 4 oz. cream cheese
      *if you are using the cottage cheese make sure you put it in a strainer and rinse all of the creamy stuff 
        off and then drain well. 
2 c. (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 T. parsley
3/4 t. dried oregano leaves
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3 c. (about 28 oz. jar) spaghetti sauce (I think the thick sauce works best)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl (or food processor...thats what I used) stir together cheeses, eggs, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper until smooth. In a 9x13 baking dish (I actually had enough to do a little more than a 9x13...so I used an 8x8 square baking dish as well), spread about 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce. Fill each cooked shell with about 2-3 Tablespoons of the cheese mixture then place shells with the cheese side facing up, into the baking dish. Continue this process until all of the shells are filled. Spoon remaining spaghetti sauce onto the shells. Don't add too much sauce or you end up with a soupy mess. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese if desired. Cover with foil. Bake 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. ENJOY!!! 

Happy Cooking~
Julie

French Waffles

French Waffles have become one of my "all time" very favorite things to fix and eat for breakfast. If you love French Toast (and even if you don't) then I think you will like these as well. My husband has never been a fan of French Toast because the middle is always soggy...BUT...these French Waffles are never soggy...they are crisp and done and SO delish! This French Waffle recipe came about one day when I had a loaf of "day old" homemade bread (mine was a week old...) that needed to get used.... I was planning on making French Toast with it. As I went to pull my griddle from the cupboard, I saw the waffle iron in there...and a lightbulb turned on inside of my little head...the rest is cooking history, yes that is how this dandy recipe came about. I decided to try cooking my French Toast in the waffle iron and just see what happened... it turns out they were a big hit, the family loves them...yes even hubby! There is a catch though....you need to use "homemade" bread. It could be some that you made from scratch, or picked up from the bakery or even made from frozen dough...but I tried it with regular "store bought" bread and it didn't turn out at all. The bread stuck to the waffle iron and made a huge mess. BUT...don't let the "bread"factor detour you from making these, its worth the extra effort and I don't think that you will be disappointed.

French Waffles

1 loaf of "day old" bread
4 eggs
1 pt. of heavy cream or half-n-half
2 t. vanilla
3 T. sugar
pan coating (something like PAM)

butter, maple syrup or whatever toppings you want to use

Mix eggs, cream, vanilla, and sugar together. Set aside. Cut your bread into slices about 1/2 inch thick..you don't have to measure your cuts, it doesn't have to be exact...just not too thin or not too thick. Spray your waffle iron with pan coating. Dip 1 slice of bread into egg/cream mixture and place into waffle iron. Shut the lid and press down slightly so that the bread will cook clear through. When the waffle iron says it's done (light on or off, depending on your waffle iron) lift the lid and remove the French Waffle. Continue until all of your bread is cooked or until you have what you want to eat. (you can also save your egg mixture in the refrigerator for up to 3 days if you have extra and want to use it later)
Serve with maple syrup or fruit and whipped cream or whatever you like to top your waffles/pancakes with.

Happy Cooking
Julie

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I LOVE chicken. I'd rather eat chicken than beef any day of the week. I found this fabulous recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken and decided to try it out. Oh. My. Gosh. It was amazing. I absolutely loved it! It is definitely going in my meal rotation. The original recipe called for baked chicken instead of fried. I'm sure it would be good but nothing compares to fried bite sized pieces of amazingness. So PLEASE fry your chicken. Unless you are trying to be healthy... and that makes me sad for you. =) Enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
3 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breast
1 cup flour
1 cup corn starch
2 eggs
1 cup of milk

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Combine Flour and Corn Starch in a bowl. Combine egg and milk into a separate bowl. Coat Chicken in egg mixture and then flour mixture. Deep fry until Chicken is cooked.

Sauce
3/4 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. Ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. garlic

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir occasionally. Let boil. Once boiled add 1 Tbs. Cornstarch to thicken. Pour over chicken and serve with white rice.

Food is FUN not just fuel
~Dayna~

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tater Tot Taco Salad



I ran across this recipe one night when I was preparing my 2 week menu. My family isn't a big fan of tater tots but we all love anything with a mexican theme...so I thought we would give it a try. I think one of the key things to make this recipe its best is to "deep fry" the tater tots instead of baking them. This way the tater tots will be crispy instead of soft and soggy. I love the simpleness of this recipe and how quick it makes up. I had all the ingredients and didn't even have to make a stop at the store...which is always a bonus. Everyone in my family thought dinner was a hit and voted that we make Tater Tot Taco Salad again sometime. Hope your family enjoys it as well!

Tater Tot Taco Salad

4 c. frozen Tater Tots
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 pkg. (or more depending on your taste) taco seasoning
1c. or more of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. sliced black olives (my family doesn't like olives so we didn't use them)
shredded lettuce
taco sauce
sour cream
salsa
chopped tomatoes
chopped onion

Deep fry tater tots according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until it's no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning. To serve Tater Tot Taco Salad, put tater tots on a plate, top with meat, cheese, olives, lettuce, tomatoes, taco sauce, onion, salsa and sour cream.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies


As the oldest daughter in the family I was given the Sunday baking chore very early in life. My Dad's favorite has always been Chocolate Chip Cookies so I made those A LOT. I think I've tried every recipe ever printed for those cookies. I've had some major fails and some okay tries but this recipe is hands down the best recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies I have ever tried. I got this from my friend Natalie while I was at college and I refuse to try anything else. I think it's the mixture of Butter and Shortening that gives it such a great flavor. I let them cook for 8 minutes then take them out while they look 'almost' done and bang the pan on a cupboard to make the cookies "fall" (does that make sense). Let the cookies cool and then try not to eat the entire batch.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 bag of chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat till smooth. Add flour, soda and salt. Mix. Add Chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Food is FUN not just fuel.
~Dayna~

Welcome

Hi my name is Dayna and I'm a foodaholic..... Hi Dayna. My mom loves eating too but admitting it for her sounds kind of rude plus she's so skinny that you wouldn't even believe me. We LOVE food and we pretend to love cooking so we can eat all sorts of delicious stuff. We both spend hours looking online and in cookbooks to find amazing recipes and then force our families to test them for us. After months of looking at food blogs all over the Internet it finally dawned on us that "hey, we could do that" and so this blog was born.

I'll introduce you to the cooks: My name is Dayna. I'm 23 and I've been cooking forever. I've been married to my sweetheart Jack for almost 5 years. I work part time at an Elementary School and in my spare time I LOVE to craft. I hate vegetables and despise cleaning the bathroom.

My mom's name is Julie... I'll let her tell ya a little about herself.

Hi, I'm Julie...AKA "Mom".  I am older than most people think that I am and I have been around for a long time...cooking, cleaning and caring for my 6 wonderful children. I have been married for almost 23 years to my sweetheart, Deron. I am a stay at home mom, but I like to think of myself as a Domestic Engineer. I love sunshine, warm weather and the sound of birds chirping by my window. Eating good food is one of my favorite things to "indulge" in, with some of my favorite dishes being Mexican and Italian...but I will never pass up a good cheese cake!


We're SO excited about this blog. Add us to your google reader, your blog roll or whatever else you use! We'll be updating daily (except Sundays). All the recipes you find here will be tried and true. We promise not to suggest something unless we really truly think you just can't live without it. Also NO recipes without pictures. Worst. Thing. Ever. So even if you hate to cook just come back to look at all the pretty pictures. Leave us comments and let us know what you thought. Comments validate us as people. Please. We're begging here.

So there you have it. Welcome to our blog and remember that a home cooked meal is always "Better than Burgers".