Sante Fe turkey stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppersIf you are trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight, make these. Except make them less messy than I did, HA!

I discovered this recipe on Lauren Elizabeth’s blog, which lead me to the site of the recipe, which lead me to a whole new set of recipe ideas. What I love about it is you could make up all the ingredients for it, and freeze them and make it for one. You could also double it, prep the whole thing ahead of time, and it would be a great bake-off dinner to take to a family. It is also super healthy, but also filling, and got rave reviews from my husband, and even A who mainly picked out the turkey and corn, but he still said he loved it!

Happy Wednesday!

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Breakfast for dinner

Happy afternoon everyone! After a rainy morning and afternoon, we decided to do a bit of baking last night and make breakfast for dinner. On our menu were bagels and the muffins I mentioned on Friday. I use this recipe for the bagels, it’s my favorite. A and B have requested a cinnamon crunch bagel for Christmas, so I’m going to start figuring out how to create that. The bagels were of course excellent as usual. The muffins were delicious. You should go make them right now.

Here is a little photo journey of our baking process.

IMG_3841 IMG_3843 The boys’ favorite part is watching the bagels boil.

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And asking if they are ready yet.

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I always thought that making bagels would be very difficult, but it is quite simple! It takes a bit of time, but it is well worth it.

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Then of course, we made the muffins as well. I was a little worried that the pears would all sink to the bottom, but they were distributed really well, and the combination of the regular flour and whole wheat flour was excellent.

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And lastly I had to share J’s new word: Pumpkin!

IMG_3864He’s ready for Thanksgiving now!

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Mint chocolate chip cookies

Mint chocolate chip cookies. They all started because I saw this:

Cupcakesandcommentary - mint chocolate chocolate chip cookieswhile shopping at Target. As you can see I used most of the package to make the cookies (there are none in the see through spot, ahhh!).

If you love mint chocolate chip, you will love these cookies. They are a combo of cookie/brownie texture and they will make your day!

Cupcakes and commentary / Mint chocolate chocolate chip cookies

So here is the basic recipe (it makes about 22 cookies, using a tablespoon size cookie scoop):

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/8 tsp of salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs of unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli’s….cause it’s fabulous)

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 to 2 cups of winter mix chocolate chips (dark chocolate and mint morsels)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.

3. On medium speed cream butter and sugars together (using a mixer) until smooth (about three minutes). Add in the egg. Add in vanilla extract. Mix until blended.

4. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until flour disappears. Stir in mint and chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake cookies for 9 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges, but still soft in the center (don’t over bake!). Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

Mint chocolate chocolate chip cookies

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Flourless chocolate cake

For B’s birthday this weekend he requested chocolate cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I let him pick out the ice cream brand (he likes Bryers…I prefer Ben&Jerry’s, but it was his birthday!), and picked out the type of chocolate cake.

I went with a flourless chocolate cake because it is similar to a brownie (which B likes), but is a bit lighter in density. It turned out so good! And it is one layer which means no chance of not being level (as many of my two layer cakes are).

Since it turned out so well, I thought I would share my process. The recipe is from Real Simple. I picked the recipe because it looked easy to follow (which I like). However I personally think these two ingredients made the recipe:

Ingredients I splurged and got Ghiradelli chocolate. Because it’s delicious.

IMG_3178 So the first thing you do is slowly melt the butter, cream, and chocolate chips (the recipe calls for a crushed chocolate bar, but I used the chips. Less mess, and it turned out the same).

IMG_3179Then you consult the recipe…I had to share that this is the way I usually use recipes (from my iPad…thanks to my Dad! No more having to print out every recipe from the laptop).

IMG_3181Then you whisk together the rest of the ingredients…and I suggest using a whisk from Anthropologie. You’ll feel classy. HA!

IMG_3182And butter a springform pan and cover with cocoa powder and tap off the excess in the sink.

IMG_3185Once the heated chocolate/butter mixture is cool whisk it into the egg/cocoa powder mixture. Make sure it’s cool so you don’t scramble your eggs.

IMG_3187 Then pour it in the pan and cook it at 350 for 35-40 minutes until set (mine took 40 mins).

IMG_3189Then let it cool in the pan for an hour.

IMG_3196And top with powdered sugar, once fully cool!

Flourless chocolate cakeAnd that’s it!

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Granola bars

So I had to hang up on my cousin the other day because A and I were in the middle of boiling sugar (A was WAAAY back from that, obviously) to make these:

Granola barsThe base recipe was a Pinterest find, from the blog My Kitchen Escapades you can see it here.

What I really like about these is they retain their chewy-ness (is that a word? I’m making it one), without getting tough (overly chewy, hard for the boys to eat), or crisp (crumby mess). Once you make the base recipe you can mix in pretty much whatever you want. The blog that I found it on has suggestions as well.

A and I decided on 1/3 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup chopped M&Ms and 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips:

Granola barsAnd we left out the coconut called for in the recipe, mainly because B does not like coconut.

A declared these our “September Granola Bars” because we were supposed to be making them as part of our fall fun activities (more on that later), but he told me it was not fall yet so these did not count.

Granola BarsBut don’t they look delicious! So yummy.

So we’ll be back with another round when it is actually A declared “fall” and A wants to make ones with white chocolate chips, chopped candy corn, fall M&Ms, and golden raisins. I think the addition of the golden raisins ups the healthiness factor by 100 percent, right? HA!

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A month of meals and a grocery list

So here is a little organization tool I worked on to make my life easier this fall:

CalendarI used an old marker board calendar I had to create a monthly dinner plan for us.

However, before I created the calendar I came up with an extensive list to help make our grocery shopping planning easier.

I divided it into two sections. One is dinner ideas, with a list of main ingredients, and sides. The other is a main grocery list for items we should have stocked, or ideas for breakfast items, snack items, etc.

I printed them out on card stock and taped them on the inside of one of our kitchen cabinets using washi tape:

Dinner ListOnce I had that compiled, I set about putting together the monthly calendar of meals. It is not all completed (as you can see above) because we weren’t sure what A’s soccer schedule would be at the time.

Overall I have been really pleased with how it’s working out, especially because I have forgotten less at the store when I go grocery shopping and we aren’t spending a good part of the weekend trying to decide what we are going to fix the next week.

I uploaded our complete list into a PDF file, so you can see our ideas and our typical meal plan list. Enjoy!

Dinners (CupcakesandCommentary) PDF File

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Cheesy egg muffins

Usually we have a pretty standard mix of breakfast items that they choose from. Blueberry muffins, cereal, yogurt, granola, and bananas are favorites. I let A pick from those items (or similar ones) for breakfast. However, he will sometimes come up with a really random request. The other morning he thought it would be “hilarious” if I made cheesy egg muffins. He even made a song up about them. He thought he was pretty funny asking for something I didn’t have.

However, I did have a cheesy egg muffin recipe that I got from my Mom, and I made it that morning for him. A was shocked that I was able to make what he assumed was a crazy request. These are a great little breakfast muffin (they are more like a baked omelet) and you could add whatever you liked to dress them up (diced ham, pimentos, or green onions would be tasty):

egg muffinAll you need is to whisk up five eggs…

eggsPut all toppings in a bowl with the eggs…

egg muffinsPour into six greased muffin cups…

egg muffinsAnd bake them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes:

egg muffinsAnd all done!

egg muffinsA preferred his topped with ketchup (that’s a family thing) as did I, however, J liked his plain. Enjoy!

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Cilantro Hummus

I had a plan to make these enchiladas yesterday. A and I have been working through making various recipes this summer (we did pesto, marinade, and a bechamel…or cheese sauce as A calls it). I whipped up this simple hummus with A (his favorite part was getting to press the button on the food processor, and of course, taste testing). While J was not interested in testing the hummus before, he loved it in the enchiladas!

So on to the recipe. Hummus is really so easy to make:

1 drained rinsed can of chickpea or cannellini beans

Juice of one medium lemon (I used half and then added the other half, add to taste)

1 diced clove of garlic

1/4 cup of tahini paste

1/8 cup of canola oil (you traditionally use olive oil, but I used canola instead since we were putting it in an enchilada recipe)

1 bunch of chopped cilantro (about 1/2 loosely packed cup)

Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in the food processor:

Hummus: CupcakesandcommentaryPlace the cover on and blend until desired consistency.

IMG_2723This is the consistency I like, check for seasonings and adjust as necessary.

Then make enchiladas!

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Or serve it up as a dip:

HummusOr do both! You’ll have enough!

And it’s easy enough that you can make it while a certain toddler is rearranging your kitchen:

IMG_2727I seriously don’t know where he gets that from. 🙂

 

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Sunrise punch popsicles

Sunrise punch is a drink featured on The Pioneer Woman’s show that the boys love. It’s similar to an Orange Julius, except with the added pineapple. I love that it has milk in it and A hardly ever drinks milk, so it’s a great way to sneak it in. It makes a lot, so the last time I made it I divided it into Popsicle molds to have on hand for the boys. I leave out the meringue powder (which I have not been able to find in a store), and I use two percent milk instead of whole milk.

Yesterday after J screamed through much of dinner (teething/late dinner), I grabbed two Popsicles and headed out back with the boys (I had three, but one of my vintage Popsicle molds fell apart on the way out the door, so none for me).

They were as big of a hit in frozen form as they were as smoothies!

Cupcakesandcommentary/ Sunrise Punch Popsicles IMG_2594 IMG_2596

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Turkey Rigatoni

Easy. Cheesy. Pasta. Three words that are kid pleasing meals. The best thing about this dish is that you can prep it during nap time, and then stick it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. Or you can prep it and freeze it. Or you can just make it all up and cook it off right after and it will be delicious!

So your basics…2 cups rigatoni pasta cooked to al dente:

Turkey Rigatoni

It’s not going to seem like much, but it is:

Turkey Rigatoni

Marinara sauce (I sauteed half a medium onion for five minutes on medium, 2 cloves of garlic for thirty seconds, then sauteed half a finely chopped turkey kielbasa, then threw in fresh basil leaves, oregano, parsley, and 3/4 of a bottle of Newman’s Own marinara):

Turkey RigatoniAnd let it cook while the pasta is cooking and you are shredding the cheese:

Turkey Rigatoni8 oz of mozzarella and Parmesan (I used the jar…AHHH! Shock!)

I tossed the cooked pasta with the marinara:

Turkey Rigatoni

Layered on the mozzarella:

Turkey Rigatoni

Then the Parmesan:

Turkey Rigatoni

Then placed two tablespoons of cold butter around the top:

Turkey Rigatoni

Then I baked it off at 375 for twenty minutes (thirty if it’s cold, about an hour if it’s frozen…foil the top if it’s frozen!):

Turkey RigatoniLet it cool for five to ten minutes and then eat! Yum! The full recipe is below.

Turkey Rigatoni
Nicole: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of rigatoni
  • ½ of a package of chopped turkey kielbasa
  • ¾ of a bottle of Newman's Own marinara
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, ¼ cup of fresh parsley, 10 small fresh oregano leaves all chopped together
  • ½ of diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 tbs of canola oil
  • 1 8 oz block of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbs of cream cheese
  • ½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs of butter diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cook rigatoni al dente according to package directions.
  3. In a saute pan, heat canola oil at medium heat. Saute yellow onion for 5 minutes, then saute garlic for about 30 seconds stirring constantly. Add turkey kielbasa and cook for five minutes at medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Turn heat to low, add marinara and herbs and let cook on low for about fifteen minutes.
  4. Add cooked pasta to a 9x13 baking dish. Mix with turkey marinara. Stir in cream cheese. Layer mozzarella, then Parmesan, then butter on top. Cook for 20 minutes until bubbly and golden. Let sit for five minutes after taking out of oven.

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