Monday, June 30, 2008

Crab and Cream Chees Wontons

1 pkg Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 can crab meat, drained
2 T flour or Wondra
3 scallions, minced ( I used regular onion and choped it up very small)
1/4 tsp onion poweder
1 egg, beaten
oil for deep fryer
Wonton Wrappers

Finely mince the scallions. Combine with cream cheese, crab meat, and flour or Wondra.

Beat the egg in a small bowl- this will be used to brush the edges of the wonton wrappers befor folding and helps to keep them together.

Place large tablespoon fuls of the crab mixture in the center of each wonton skin and brush edges with egg mixture. Fold over to form a triangel, then press edges together to seal.

Bring the two side edge coners of the triangle to the middle and press these together to form a ring.

Heat oil to 350 degreese in a large heavy bottomed pan, sufficient to cover the wontons. (We used our deep fryer)

Fry wontons until golden turning once, about 2-3 minutes. In order to avoid lowering the temperature of the oil, do not attempt to fry to many at once. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towles and serve.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's 5PM at the end of a long day, the kids are crying for dinner, you haven't been to the store, and you have no idea what to make.

Does this sound familiar?

Do you need help?

Check out for a search engine that gives you recipes that you can make right now with what you have on hand.

I read about this site in Guideposts recently and decided to check it out. I've tried other recipe sites before, but wasn't impressed by those that gave me recipes that required ten other ingredients I didn't have on hand.

The Supercook site was easy to navigate and gave me tasty looking, easy, family-friendly recipes to make. Even better, it's free to use. I'm definitely bookmarking it for future use and to help me with my menu plans.

Be sure to visit the site and let us know if you have any other planning sites you like!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tomato Basil Soup

This amazingly easy soup gets its wonderful flavor from fresh basil.

Prep/Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
1-1/2 teaspoons butter
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

In a small saucepan, saute onion and carrot in butter until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer to a blender; add basil. Cover and process until smooth. Return to the pan; stir in broth and heat through.

Tips and Tricks
This easy recipe took me much less time than 40 minutes. Double or triple the recipe for larger crowds. The carrots in the soup will give it an orangy color. I used green onion in place of regular onion and used my food chopper to finely chop the carrot instead of shredding it. I also did not peel my tomatoes.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Chop carrots and onions with food chopper. Press buttons on blender.

Turkey Lunchbox Wraps

Prep/Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

2 whole wheat tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
4 teaspoons honey mustard
6 ounces thinly sliced deli turkey
2 thin slices Muenster cheese
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 bacon strip, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1/4 cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper

Spread tortillas with mustard. Layer each with turkey, cheese, spinach, carrot, bacon, cucumber and red pepper; roll up tightly.

Tips and Tricks
I omitted the sweet red pepper and made my own honey mustard sauce. My husband and kids liked the honey mustard spread, but I would have preferred the wraps with ranch dressing instead. Use whatever variety of cheese you like. I also finely chopped my carrot instead of shredding it to save my fingers. i also used larger tortillas, so it was helpful to cut them in half once rolled up for neater eating.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free tortillas and center-cut bacon.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can shred carrots. Younger kids can layer the ingredients and help roll them up.

Mexican Pizza

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 slices

1 large onion
1 prebaked Italian bread shell crust (14 ounces)
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato
2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives
1/2 cup coarsely chopped ranch-flavored tortilla chips

Slice half of the onion and chop the rest; set aside. Place crust on an ungreased 12-in. pizza pan. Spread beans over crust to within 1/2 in. of edges. Top with cheddar cheese and sliced onion.

Bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, Mexican cheese, chopped onion, tomato, olives and tortilla chips.

Tips and Tricks
I used green onions in place of the regular onion, skipped the Mexican blend cheese and used regular tortilla chips. I also found a tiny can of black olives at my local grocery store. My husband is the only one who likes them, so I placed them on his portion only.
Make It Healthier
Use thin-crust pizza crust. Use fat free refried beans. Use trans-fat free tortilla chips.
How Kids Can Help
Spread beans on crust. Top with cheese and other toppings.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuna Stuffed Shells

This recipe comes to us from My Little Corner of the World. I can't wait to try it out!

Tuna Stuffed Shells
Nancy Dell'Aria

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


18 jumbo pasta shells
1 can (6 oz) light tuna in oil, well drained
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
1⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg
1⁄4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 can (103⁄4 oz) condensed cream of celery soup
1⁄2 cup milk
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 11 x 7-in. baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Boil pasta as package directs until just firm-tender.

3. Meanwhile mix tuna, bread crumbs, onion, egg, 1⁄2 the parsley and the lemon juice to blend.

4. Drain pasta shells. Rinse gently to cool; drain. Fill each shell with 1 Tbsp tuna mixture. Place in prepared dish.

5. Whisk soup and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat; stir in remaining parsley. Pour evenly over shells. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight, if desired.

6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Greek Rice & Lemon Soup

There is a fabulous little Greek restaurant here that makes the best rice and lemon soup. I finally found a recipe to try to duplicate it:

Yield: 6 servings
Prep: 30 minutes

2 Tbs butter
1/3 cup minced green onions with tops
6 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup uncooked white rice
4 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp white pepper

Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add green onions. Cook and stir about 3 minutes or until green onions are tender.

Stir in chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.

Beat eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk until well beaten. Add lemon juice and 1/2 cup broth mixture to bowl. Gradually return egg mixture to broth mixture in saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until broth mixture thickens enough to lightly coat spoon. Do not boil.

Stir in pepper, if desired. Garnish with fresh mint and lemon peel, if desired.

Suggested Sides:
Fresh Pita Bread

Friday, June 13, 2008

Miniature Shepherd's Pies

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 pound ground beef
2-3 large green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups baby carrots, finely chopped
1 cup petite peas
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 cups mashed potatoes

In a large pot, brown the ground beef. When almost finished, add the onions, carrots and peas. Stir and cook until veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle corn starch over meat mixture and stir to combine.

Add broth and stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Spoon meat mixture into muffin cups. Top with the mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 for twenty minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Tips and Tricks
Substitute regular onions if you don't have green onions. I used my Pampered Chef food chopper to finely chop the carrots. You can also substitute other veggies. I used corn and I presteamed it in the microwave to save time. I also added some Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce to darken the gravy. I usually make my own mashed potatoes from scratch, but on hot or busy days, will use a pouch of instant flavored potatoes.
Make It Healthier
Use lean ground beef and rinse beef before adding broth. Use low sodium broth.
How Kids Can Help
Chop veggies with food chopper. Measure broth.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Chicken Teriyaki Pasta Salad

Prep: 2 hours (marinating), 10 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

1 cup oil
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2/3 cup light wine vinegar
6 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine dressing and mix well.

6 chicken breasts, cooked, cooled & diced
12 oz cooked bowtie pasta

Marinate in dressing at least 2 hours.

2 oz mandarin oranges, drained
16 oz drained water chesnuts
1 cup honey roasted almonds
1 cup honey roasted peanuts
1 bag dried cranberries
1 bag chopped romaine lettuce
1 bag baby spinach

Toss all together & enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All Day Crock Pot Chicken

Yield: 6-8 Servings

2 cups chicken broth 2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper dash ground allspice
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste dash ground ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tsp salt

Remaining ingredients:
6 chicken breast halves
6 to 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
1 small bell pepper, green or red, seeded, cut in strips
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold milk
1/4 cup cold water

Combine marinade ingredients in a non-reactive container with lid or a large seal able food storage bag; blend well. Add the chicken to marinade; cover or close bag and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight. Place the marinated chicken in the slow cooker. Pot Add marinade to cover chicken. Sautee mushrooms in the butter, then add to chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. About 1 hour before done, add mandarin orange sections, green pepper and ginger; stir well. When done, mix together the cornstarch, milk and cold water, then gradually add into the slow cooker while stirring; cover and cook 15 minutes longer, until thickened.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Herbaceous Beef Burgers

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds ground beef sirloin
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped dill
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
One 4-ounce log goat cheese, quartered
olive oil
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
4 crusty whole grain kaiser rolls, split
4 leaves green-leaf lettuce
1/4 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
4 thin slices red onion

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. In a large bowl, combine the beef, parsley, dill, chives and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 4 mounds. Press 1 piece of cheese into the center of each mound, then form a patty around the cheese. Drizzle the patties with olive oil and grill for 4 minutes on each side for medium.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mustard and honey; season with salt and pepper. Layer each roll bottom with lettuce, cucumber, radish, onion and a burger. Spread honey mustard sauce on the cut side of the bun tops and set into place.

Tips and Tricks
I used a little less than a pound of meat and made four smaller burgers. I used dried dill, fresh curly parsley, and omitted the chives altogether. You could also substitute green onions. I used spicy brown mustard in place of Dijon, cream cheese instead of goat cheese, and left the radishes off. Make sure the meat is sealed well around the cheese, because the cream cheese I used leaked out as the meat cooked.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Serve on whole wheat rolls. Use low-fat or fat-free sour cream.
How Kids Can Help
If you place the meat and ingredients into a plastic resealable bag, kids can mix the meat. Kids can also measure ingredients and mix the sour cream topping.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

5-6 cups cooked rice
2 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 small can diced green chilis
3 tbs mayonnaise
2 tsp dried onion flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients & cook on stove top or bake until cheese is melted & casserole is heated through.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Panko Crusted Chicken

Prep/Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 pound chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
olive oil

Using a pastry brush, apply a thin layer of salad dressing to the chicken. Roll in bread crumbs. In a large skillet, cook the chicken in olive oil until crispy and chicken is cooking through.

Tips and Tricks
Try using different flavors of salad dressing for a unique meal.
Make It Healthier
Use low fat salad dressing.
How Kids Can Help
Brush dressing on. Older kids can coat the chicken in bread crumbs.
Suggested Sides
Baked potatoes (in microwave), green salad, steamed peas

Chilled Leek and Summer Squash Soup

Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

6 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, washed and chopped
1 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Two 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and yellow squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and, using a blender, puree the mixture in 2 batches, adding one can of chicken broth to each batch. Stir the batches together and refrigerate until chilled.

Tips and Tricks
I'm not a fan of squash, but the leeks and broth in this recipe disguise the squash nicely. Another way to get veggies into your kids.
Make It Healthier
Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Press buttons on blender.

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Prep/Total Time: 10 minutes + chilling
Yield: 4 servings

2 medium cucumbers
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 green onions, chopped
Fresh dill, optional

Cut four thin slices of cucumber; set aside for garnish. Peel and finely chop remaining cucumbers. In a bowl, combine the buttermilk, sour cream, sugar, dill, salt, pepper, green onions and chopped cucumbers; mix well. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with cucumber slices and fresh dill if desired.

Tips and Tricks
This recipe is a great way to use up veggie garden bounty. I use powdered buttermilk and follow the directions to reconstitute it.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Peel cucumbers with veggie peeler. Measure and mix ingredients.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Meals In A Jiffy

Recently, I posed a question to the members of an online forum I belong to. "You have ten minutes to get dinner on the table. What do you make?"

Overwhelmingly, the answers were things like hot dogs or macaroni and cheese or canned soup. Things, in other words, that are quick but not necessarily healthy.

Hot dogs or macaroni and cheese or canned soup make a quick and easy dinner every once in awhile, but what if your consistently pressed for time? A friend of mine with two kids in school, sports and other activities, who also commutes an hour each way to her full time job, and who is a single mom, says that she rarely has time to put a lot of effort into making dinner. She says, "My schedule means I don't have the time or the energy to cook a complicated meal, but I also don't want my kids to eat a lot of processed foods that are unhealthy." Her solution was to invest in a copy of Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals cookbook, and then further slash the time spent cooking by buying convenient versions of healthy ingredients. Precooked and precubed white meat chicken, for example, or shredded cheese over block cheese or prewashed bagged salad.

Tonight, I fed my family Panko Crusted Chicken with salads, steamed peas and baked potatoes. The meal actually took me about fifteen minutes to cook, because I was also refereeing a disagreement over a toy between my kids. But had I been able to give dinner my undivided attention, it would have been on the table in ten minutes.

Here's how: I used Perdue chicken tenders over chicken breast, because they are smaller and thinner, thus cook faster. I used a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of ranch salad dressing to the chicken, rolled them in panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and then cooked them in olive oil in a skillet. While the chicken cooked, I scrubbed and pierced a couple of potatoes, then microwaved them on high for 8 minutes. Then I made the salads. When the potatoes were done, I used my Pampered Chef microwave steamer to cook the peas for 5 minutes.

By the time the peas were cooked, the chicken was nice and crispy and the potatoes had cooled enough to eat. Dinner was served!

This meal did require some forethought, because I already had my meat thawed and my lettuce and other produce washed and ready to chop. But it required very little of my time to make it and I felt good that I had prepared a healthy and tasty meal.

I also like the Perdue Perfect Portions chicken breasts because they can be baked in ten minutes without thawing them. I also utilize instant brown rice and frozen vegetable mixes to make fast and easy stirfries on busy nights.

How about you? Given the Ten Minute Meal challenge, what would you make?