Monday, August 30, 2010

September 17th Meeting

UPDATE: Carmen has graciously volunteered to provide the food & beverage for the meeting. So just bring yourself and your decorating idea!
This month's meeting will be held on Friday, September 17th
from 6:30 - 9:00 pm at Carmen's house.
Her address is 110 Aspen Court, Slippery Rock, PA 16057.
(She is about a mile from Giant Eagle.)

Our topic for this meeting with be "Dealing with Discouragement"
and our speaker with be Mrs. Marlene Lott (sister of Mrs. Red).

This month's Fun Feature with be "Easy and Inexpensive Decorating Tips." If you have any ideas that you can share with the ladies, please bring a sample. We are looking for ideas that use something for other than it's intended purpose like storing pasta, bean and rice in jars on your counter, frig or cabinets. Anything easy, fun or inexpensive will do. We'll even let you google something and pass it off as your own idea. Impress us!

Please refer back to one of the first posts for details on the meeting's purpose, what to bring and our policy on bringing children. My intent is to record the speaker at each meeting. If you cannot attend for some reason, I can email you or burn a copy on a CD if you make a request. It would probably be a good idea to ask someone that is going to take notes for you.

Cheesy Zucchini Bake

I know gardening season is almost over, but this is well worth a trip to the grocery store and paying every penny they are [over]charging for the veggies. A friend gave me some zucchini, squash & tomatoes a couple weeks ago. As my kids would say "I'm not a big fan of zucchini & squash." I've sauted the zucchini & sqaush before with seasonings but it was only okay. So I decided to go to the trusty and typed in the ingredients I had on hand. Thus . . .

Cheesy Zucchini Bake

2 medium tomatoes, sliced and quartered
2 small zucchini, sliced
2 small yellow squash, sliced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded monterrey-jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 bread crumbs

1. In a large bowl, lightly stir zucchini, squash, tomatoes, seasonings and 1/2 cup of monterrey-jack cheese. Pour into greased, 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
2. Top with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until veggies are fork-tender.
4. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and let stand for 5 minutes.

Serves: 6

I've typed it up how I made it. Hey, rules were meant to be broken, right?!? If you'd like to see the original recipe, click here. The photo is from because my hubby snagged his work laptop and my photo of this recipe is on the laptop. A side note: I made this once with yellow tomatoes -- not the same result. I much rather have the red tomatoes!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The World's Easiest Breakfast

Do you make breakfast for a large family or a very hungry small family? These few tips may come in handy.

The first "recipe" is for bakin' bacon and can be used by anyone. It takes a little bit of forethought but is real easy and so less-messy than the traditional method.

Baked Bacon
Directions: Lay bacon out on cookie sheet in a single layer. (I recommend covering the cookie sheet with aluminum foil for easier clean up. You can also place a rack on the cookie sheet to help drain the grease from the bacon while cooking.) Place in preheated oven at 325 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until reaches desired crispiness.

* Because the baking temperature is low, the gease doesn't pop and splash. I bake a pound of bacon at once and store in a resealable bag in the frig. It's nice pulling out a couple pieces for BLTs, wraps, salads or breakfast without the pain of frying up a little at a time.


The second "recipe" is for cooked eggs. Again another different but easy method. The original recipe comes from Click here for the link to the recipe online. These work great for breakfast sandwiches as they are the right size for a biscuit -- just add cheese when they come out of the oven and it melts perfectly. Add your baked bacon -- Mmmm!

Muffin Tin Eggs
Directions: Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Place a small dab of butter in the bottom of each cup (optional as I forgot because I couldn't access my computer and they turned out fine). Crack egg in each cup. Break up yoke if desired. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until eggs are done how you like them. Serve warm.
Bake until completely set and use for salads. Saves peeling shells! I made mine in a 6 cup muffin tin since we don't need a dozen eggs. You could use a 12 cup muffin tin and make less. Just remember to fill unused cups 1/2 way with water so you don't scorch your pan.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Beef Enchillada Casserole

Those of you that know me have probably noticed I have an obsession with Mexican food especially enchilladas. I recently came across another way to enjoy them. This is by far the easiest and quickest way to prepare them. Plus you don't even have to heat up the oven which works well during the summer months.

We purchase ground beef from a local farmer in large quantities. The last time we got meat I decided to brown up 10 lbs ahead of time and freeze them in smaller quantities (3/4 - 1 lb packages). Let me just say this is one of the best ideas I have heard of in a long time. It is so easy to just pull out a package of meat, let it thaw and throw it into something come dinner time. I browned some meat with green peppers, onions and chili powder and some with just onions (will add garlic next time). This is great for lasagne, sloppy joes, enchillada, tacos, chili and many other recipes.

Beef Enchilada Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp taco seasoning mix
1/4 tsp salt
1 can (10 oz) enchillada sauce
3/4 cup water (I recommend 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup thick and chuncky salsa (choose your heat level)
8-10 flour tortillas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided (I used dried)
1 cup shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese blend, divided
sour cream

1. Combine beef, seasoning mix and salt in skillet; cook over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking beef into crumbles. Add enchillada sauce, water and salsa to skillet. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

2. As beef mixtures cooks, place tortillas in a stack and cut into 1-in pieces using pizza cutter. Chop cilantro.

3. Arrange half of the tortillas evenly over bottom of a deep dish baker; top with half of the beef mixture and half of the cheese. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the cilantro over cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, beef mixture and cheese.

4. Microwave on high 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with remaining 2 tbsp cilantro Serve with sour cream and tomatoes, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Note: This is a Pampered Chef recipe so the deep dish baker is a stoneware piece. I'm guessing it would work just as fine with a pie pan or casserole dish. If you try it without the stoneware, let me know how it works! Also, if you use already prepared beef and just mix in the enchillada sauce, water and salsa, you may want to leave in the microwave closer to the 5 mintues or more since it isn't heated from cooking it right then.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Baked Beans

I don't know why baked beans only get a spotlight during the summer picnic season. They make the house smell so good while baking and taste so wonderful -- especially this recipe! My friend shared her recipe with me, so I thought I'd share it with you instead of depriving you of such wonderful goodness! Thanks, V!

Baked Beans

1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 c ketchup
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 can kidney beans
1 can pork n beans
1 can butter beans

1. Brown beef, bacon and onion in a skillet; drain.
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
3. Place in oven-safe dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Note: You can add an additional cans of beans to get more volume.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Crunchy Whole-Grain Chicken

My friend lent me a couple Pampered Chef recipe books. I have some stoneware and wanted to find a couple new recipes. I made this recipe according to the directions and then adjusted it. The original recipe calls for cutting chicken tenders into 1 1/2 in pieces -- sorry, not for me. I don't have that kind of time with three kids running amuck while I'm making dinner. So the second time I made this chicken recipe, I used chicken breast and cut them into 2-3 pieces. It turned out just as good.

Crunchy Whole-Grain Chicken

2 lbs chicken breast
Dry ranch dressing mix
1 egg white
6 cups whole-grain chips (ie, Sun Chips or similar)
1/4 tsp paprika
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. For chicken, cut chicken breasts into 2-3 pieces. Whisk together 1 tbsp of the dressing mix and egg white. Crush chips in a resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tbsp dressing mix and paprika and shake well.

3. Add chicken to egg white mixture; mix well to coat. Add a couple pieces of the coated chicken to crumb mixture; shake to coat with crumbs and arrange in a single layer on rectangle stone (or cookie sheet). Repeat with remaining coated chicken and crumbs.

4. Spray chicken generously with cooking spray. Bake 25 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and centers are no longer pink. Remove from oven. Serve warm.

Yield: 6 servings