Archives for the month of: March, 2013

I ran out of granite cleaner and decided to try a homemade recipe.

I assumed it wouldn’t work as well as my favorite (Method Daily Granite) but since I had all the ingredients, it was free, so I gave it a whirl. Verdict? Love it!

It leaves our kitchen countertops shiny and I’ve also been using it to wipe handprints off of the stainless steel trash can in our kitchen.

I just refill my old Method bottle whenever I run out.

DIY Granite Cleaner adapted from

Combine in a squirt bottle then shake until mixed:

  • 1/4 c. rubbing alcohol
  • 4 drops Dawn dish soap
  • 1 c. warm water

DIY granite cleaner

Our kids love making hot dog people.

Make cuts in hot dogs before cooking, and the 'arms' and 'legs' will curl out while boiling.

Make cuts in hot dogs before cooking, and the ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ will curl out while boiling.

Remove hot dogs from package and make 3 slices with a knife so hot dogs will end up with legs and arms.

Boil in a large pot of water for 5 or 6 minutes, and remove. Add details with ketchup, mustard, etc.

Garlic Parmesan Pretzel Bites

Garlic Parmesan Pretzel Bites

Melted Cheddar Cheese Dip

Melted Cheddar Cheese Dip

I made some pretzel bites and cheesy dip using a recipe from

I love how you can use frozen Texas rolls for the dough. What a time saver.

Just a few easy ingredients; frozen buns, melted butter, garlic powder, salt and parmesan cheese. The dip has milk, butter, flour, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Read the rest of this entry »

I made some pretzel bites topped with cinnamon and sugar from a recipe on They taste remarkably similar to donut holes but aren’t fried. The best part? You can use frozen Texas rolls for the dough.

So… here’s what I came up with for Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes: Just 4 easy ingredients; frozen buns, melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

Also, instead of cinnamon sugar, you can top with parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt. Yum.

Thaw rolls just enough to cut into 4 pieces.


  • 1 bag of Rhodes Texas Rolls
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. sugar


Remove as many frozen rolls as you like; each roll makes four bites. Thaw until they are just soft enough to cut. Cut each roll in half, then in half again, for a total of four pieces from each roll. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and let dough rise for 30-45 mins, until doubled in size.

After dough has doubled in size bring a large pot of water to a boil and put 10-15 pieces of dough in the water at a time, stirring gently for 45 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towels, then place on greased baking sheet and bake in preheated 375F oven for 15 mins.

After baking, brush each piece with melted butter and put pieces into a ziplock or paper bag. Cover with the cinnamon and sugar then shake gently to coat. Pour onto serving dish.

After cutting into pieces, place on greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap/non-stick spray, and let rise until doubled in size, for about 45 minutes.

Bake for 15 minutes @ 375F then brush with melted butter.

After cutting rolls into 4 pieces, boil the dough for 45 seconds then remove and place on paper towels to drain.

After cutting rolls into 4 pieces, boil the dough for 45 seconds then remove and place on paper towels to drain.

cinnamon sugar donut holes

Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mix on buttered pieces and shake to coat.

slow cooker chicken teriyaki

One of my favorite freezer chicken recipes is Chicken Teriyaki, which I adapted from The chicken comes out very tender and moist. Even our pickiest eater whose middle name should be “Ewwww I don’t like that” likes it.

It has only a few ingredients, but they make an awesome flavor: chicken breasts, teriyaki sauce, water, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar. You just throw everything into a Ziplock and freeze. Or, skip the freezer and throw everything into your slow cooker.

When you’re ready to prepare, thaw (if frozen), put everything in the CrockPot and cook 4-6 hours on LOW.


  • 6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (uncooked)
  • 1 c. teriyaki sauce
  • 1 c. water
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Tbs. ground ginger


Combine all ingredients in a Ziplock bag. I usually split up the batch into 2 bags because the breasts I get at Sam’s Club are so large (insert inappropriate anatomy joke here). Label date/instructions/etc with a Sharpie (keeps for up to 3 months).

To cook: Remove freezer bag and thaw in the fridge for a few hours, or if you’re short on time, run it under room temperature water for a bit. Once thawed, pour everything in the Crockpot and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.

If eating right away, put all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on LOW 4-6 hours.

easy chicken teriyaki

DSC_0426 03-23-13 010

Easy Slow Cooker Ranch Mushrooms

crockpot ranch mushrooms (1)

Just 3 ingredients: Mushrooms, Melted Butter, Ranch Dressing Packet

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I looooovvve mushrooms. This recipe is awesome because it is so easy, and it’s so delicious. You just throw three ingredients in the Crock Pot and let it simmer. If you’re making this for a large group, you probably need to double (or even triple) the recipe because the mushrooms shrink big time as they cook.



Wipe mushrooms off with a damp paper towel then put them in your slow cooker.

Mix melted butter with ranch mix. Pour over the mushrooms & cook on LOW 3-4 hrs.

The ranch and butter mixture does not coat all the mushrooms at first, but once the mushrooms shrink down and the mix simmers, it should be enough. If not, just add a few tablespoons of water later.

Kool Aid Taffy

Our Kool-Aid Taffy Before it Turned into a Rock

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought the kids would have fun making taffy.

We had fun trying it out, though it took FOR.EVE.R and I must’ve cooked it too long or something because it turned so hard we couldn’t pull it (I used a candy thermomemter and took it right off the heat when it hit 250F, so who knows). Later when I accidentally dropped some on the floor it broke into pieces, ha!

Also, you need tons of time for this recipe, which usually doesn’t fly with with little ones. 🙂 It reminded me of this cartoon:

kid humor

So here’s the recipe.


  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 1/3 c. room temp water
  • 2 Tbs. butter, plus more for buttering hands
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg Kool-Aid

Kool Aid Taffy


1. Butter a baking sheet & its sides.

2. In a saucepan, stir the sugar and cornstarch together. Add corn syrup, water, butter and salt and stir until the butter melts.

3. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stop stirring. Cook mixture until candy thermometer reads 250 degrees. Once it approaches 250 degrees watch closely because it cooks quickly at the end.

4. Immediately remove from heat. (If you cook it too long it will turn out very hard.) Carefully stir in vanilla and Kool-Aid Stir well.

5. Pour mixture onto buttered baking pan. Allow to cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.

6. Butter hands and pull until it becomes opaque and lighter in color, usually about 15 mins of pulling. You will need to butter your hands a few times. * if your taffy turns out like ours did, you can just skip the next steps and throw the hard glob in the garbage LOL 🙂

7. Pull into long ropes and cut into bite sized pieces with a buttered pizza cutter.

8. Wrap the pieces of taffy in squares of waxed paper and make sure to twist the ends really well to seal; store in an airtight container.

3-19-2013 Kool Aid Taffy (3)

3-19-2013 Kool Aid Taffy (5)

3-19-2013 Kool Aid Taffy (7)

Kool Aid Taffy

easy lemon cookies: just 5 simple ingredients

The kiddos and I made a lemon cookie recipe that has just 5 ingredients. The cookies tasted like little lemony bursts of goodness.

3-21-2013 lemon cookies (1)


  • 1 box of lemon cake mix
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar


Mix together the cake mix, oil, eggs, and extract. Form the cookies into balls then roll ’em in powdered sugar, and press them down a little with your finger. Bake on ungreased baking sheets at 350F for 6-9 mins. They will still be pretty squishy when you take them out, but that’s what you want. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet before removing.

3-21-2013 lemon cookies (3)

lemon cookies

3-21-2013 lemon cookies (5)

3-21-2013 lemon cookies (6) 3-21-2013 lemon cookies (8)recipe adapted from

stuffed portabellos

portabellos stuffed with baby spinach, fresh salsa and feta cheese

I have a theory about mushrooms: either you love ’em or hate ’em. I am Team Mushroom all the way (the hubby is Anti-‘Shroom). Portabello mushrooms are one of my faves, especially when they are stuffed.

A while ago I bought some stuffed portabellos prepared by our grocery store’s deli, which were stuffed with spinach, pico de gallo, and crumbled feta cheese. I baked them in the oven at home; they were very yummy but super expensive and I figured I could make my own for a lot less money.

Here’s what I came up with…


  • 2 portabello mushrooms
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • baby spinach
  • fresh pico de gallo OR fresh salsa
  • salt & pepper, to taste


Clean the portabellos: Gently rub any dirt off the tops with a damp paper towel. Snap off the stems then gently scrape off the “gills” underneath the cap using a spoon. The gills usually smell sorta musty, and take up valuable stuffable space, so they gotta go. I don’t know why but I love scraping/peeling off the spongy gills, though writing about it seems like I should be on some TLC show about weird obsessions, and also that I’m oversharing here… Anyway once the mushrooms are clean, stuff the insides with baby spinach, salsa/pico de gallo, and feta, in whatever amounts look tasty to you. I use a lot of spinach on the bottom layer since it shrinks so much as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Place stuffed portabello caps on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil for 15-20 mins or until the cheese starts to brown. You could also grill these instead of using the oven.

3-20-2013 stuffed portabellos (3)



3-20-2013 stuffed portabellos (4) 3-20-2013 stuffed portabellos (6)













Here’s a variation on these ‘shrooms: Stuffed Baby Bellas

I love preparing freezer meals because I am lazy like to plan ahead 😉 I figure I can fix a big batch of food at once then just freeze a few batches for later. I just need to remember to thaw them ahead of time, ha. My husband’s all-time favorite meatloaf comes from his Mom’s recipe. It has onion soup mix, ketchup, mustard, egg, and crushed saltines. It works with either ground beef or ground turkey (and I would think ground chicken would also work?). It bakes for 60-75 minutes, which is enough time to make everyone’s mouths water with anticipation because it smells so delicious. I also made this part of my SHOP ONCE, MAKE 10 FREEZER RECIPES post.

Mother-in-Law's Famous Meatloaf - uses ground beef or turkey.

Ok, a giant pile of raw meat in a bowl is not very appetizing but it shows a giant batch if you want to make a lot, then freeze for later (this was 10 lbs of meat, which made 5 meatloaves).

This recipe makes 2 loaves. WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 lbs. ground beef OR 4 lbs. ground turkey
  • 4 eggs
  • 16 crushed saltines
  • 2 envelopes onion soup mix
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. mustard

WHAT YOU DO to bake right away: 1. Mix all ingredients together. 2. Split in half and place each half in a loaf pan. 3. For each loaf, pour 1 c. water around the edges. 4. Bake at preheated 350F oven for 60-75 mins. WHAT TO DO if freezing (for up to 3 months): Do step 1 as listed above. Put batches of meatloaf (approx. 2 lbs each) in gallon-size ziplock bags, flatten so they store easier in the freezer, and use a Sharpie to label the name/date/instructions/etc. To prepare, thaw overnight in the fridge. Place contents in a loaf pan, pour 1 c. water around the edges, then bake in preheated 350F oven for 60-75 minutes.

And here is my all-time favorite meatloaf pan – it has an insert so the grease can drip down in the bottom of the pan as it bakes.


Mother in Law's Famous Meatloaf - just mix up and bake and OR freeze then bake.

Mother in Law's Famous Meatloaf - just mix up and bake and OR freeze (6)

You might also like… Slow Cooker Cheesy Bacon Hashbrowns