Friday, December 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

These could also be renamed "Santa Bait" but, quite frankly after you taste them, you're gonna tell the Fat Guy in the Red Suit to fend for himself - let him know the Oreos are in the cabinet. :)

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Sticks Country Creamery Butter
1 Cup Benton's Creamy Peanut Butter
2 Cups Grandma's Best Sugar
2 Golden Hen Eggs
1 Tsp. Stonemill Classics Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Grandma's Best Flour
1 Tsp. Baker's Corner Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Sebree Salt
1 package Baker's Corner MILK Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add Vanilla and continue to mix well.

In a small bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Add slowly to peanut butter mixture. Continuing to stir until well combined.

Add in chips and mix well.

Drop by tablespoons full onto a greased cookie sheet (I use a cookie scooper to make this easier). Bake 10-12 minutes until just lightly browned and crispy on the outside. Allow to cool on cookie sheet 2 or 3 minutes before removing to cooling rack. These cookies taste best when they are cooled.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

I love holiday baking. I love that during this time of year Aldi carries some specialty items and baking chips that make Christmas Cookie baking SO FUN!

One of my absolute favorite cookie recipes is a mesh between a Rachel Ray and a Sandra Lee recipe for a sugar cookie that sports coconut, white chocolate and macadamia nuts. USUALLY, I cannot make these cookies exclusively "Aldi". That all changes for the month of December when Aldi not only sells sugar cookie dough but also white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts AND coconut!!!

It's a very easy recipe, and Kristy (my friend), it does NOT start with a cake mix BUT a cookie mix! Pardon the short cut, but I've got enough other cookies to bake that take LOTS of time and energy. It's nice to have a go to, quick recipe that tastes great and works well as a quick gift!

Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

1 Pkg Baker's Corner Sugar Cookie Mix
1 Stick Country Creamery Butter
1 Golden Hen Egg
1 Cup Baker's Corner Coconut
1 Cup Southern Grove Macadamia Nuts
1 Cup Baker's Corner White Baking Chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Place sugar cookie mix, coconut, macadamia nuts and white baking chips into a large bowl. Melt butter and allow to cool to warm. Beat egg in small bowl. Add melted butter and egg to dry ingredients and mix well.

Bake one of two ways - drop by spoonfulls 2" apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown OR spread into a 13 X 9 pan and bake 20-25 minutes - until edges are golden and center is cooked.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Pink Peppermint Ice Cream Pie

I've been doing the rounds of the Christmas Parties. Friday, we had our homeschool group Christmas party and we took Cheesecake Truffles. Friday night I took a Peanut Butter version of the truffles. Tomorrow night, my homeschool friends and I are having a Mom's night in at another mom's house. We're going to chow down on some yummy goodies. My contribution is dessert, of course. My favorite part of any meal.

I decided to make a variation of my Pink Peppermint Ice Cream. This time of year, Aldi sells a Candy Cane Cream Cookie - it's an oreo like chocolate wafer filled with mint cream that has piece of candy cane in it. Oh. Yum. So, the crust is made out of them. They also sell Peppermint Extract and food coloring this time of year!

You WILL need an ice cream maker for this recipe. I own a Cuisinart Electric Ice Cream Machine and recommend it highly. This is so worth the effort of making your own ice cream!

Pink Peppermint Ice Cream Pie

1 Pint Container Friendly Farms Heavy Cream
2 Cups Friendly Farms Half and Half
3/4 Tsp. Stonehill Classics Peppermint Extract
1 Cup Sugar
7 to 8 drops Stonehill Classics Red Food Coloring
Bentons Candy Cane Creme Cookies
1/4 Cup melted Country Farms unsalted butter
4 Candy Canes (I think they're by Excitemint - you can use their starlight mints also), crushed.

Mix heavy cream, half and half, peppermint extract, sugar and food coloring together. Chill in refrigerator for one hour. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to directions.

Process all but 4 cookies into crumbs. Add melted butter to the crumbs and mix together. Press mixture into a 9" spring form pan, come up the sides a little.

When ice cream is soft serve consistency, add the crushed candy canes and allow to mix in. Stop machine and pour soft serve ice cream into crust. Cover and freeze about 4 hours or until firm. Defrost about 10 mins and cut with a warm knife.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hamburger Rice Soup

Friday evening, one of the moms from the gym had a little holiday soiree at her house. We all dropped our gymnasts off at the gym and headed to her house for dinner and goodies. It was a delicious night. So many delectable goodies to sample! One of my favorites of the night, by far, was a Hamburger Rice Soup she made. It was so warm and comforting on a cold almost-winter's evening. Warmed me all the way to my toes. She graciously (thanks Christine!) gave me the recipe and I feel I MUST share it with you!!!! I made it for my family for dinner tonight and served it with Bakehouse Crescent Rolls.

Hamburger Rice Soup

1 pkg Fit & Active 92% Lean Ground Beef
3 Chef's Cupboard Beef Boullion Cubes
6 Cups Hot Water
1 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Envelope dry Onion Soup Mix
1/4 Cup diced Celery (about 1 stalk)
1/4 Cup uncooked rice
1/4 Cup diced Carrots (about 1 carrot)
1/2 Tsp. Oregano
1 Tsp Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste.

Brown ground beef in a saucepan over medium heat. Drain any grease. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.

EASY! And really inexpensive!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Creamy Carrot Soup

A freak October snow storm has hit the north eastern coast of USA on Saturday. Our yard looks like a tornado hit, with downed trees and large limbs, they cannot bare the weight of snow on them due to still having most of their leaves. We did lose power, but for only a short time compared to most. Thankful for a gas cooktop on Saturday, I was able to make some soup to keep us warm. We put candles all around the house, we put a log in the fire, and we buckled down for what felt like a long winter's night. I will say, it was one of the most rewarding family nights we've had in a long time.

Well, OUR power was not out a long time, but a good friend's power was out. And still IS out. And WILL BE out until at least Thursday. Being fellow homeschoolers, and a fellow family of 5 trying to live with no heat, no water, etc for that long would just be too difficult. Now, they are cozy warm and staying with us. I confess that I sorta hope they really don't get power back anytime soon. Kind of enjoying having them all them here.

Last night was their first night here and I took out the ham I got on sale at Christmastime last year. We also had Aldi's Three Cheese Potatoes and asparagus. YUMMY. Our schedules were very opposite today, all of my stuff was cancelled, all of her stuff was on, so they were running like madmen, while I was home. It was lovely. I made a ham salad with some of the leftovers and wracked my brain on what to serve with it.

Something my husband said the night of the blackout came back to haunt my tastebuds...."Remember that really good Cream of Carrot Soup?". Oh yes. Creamy, sweet, warm, delicious? Fall in a bowl. Yeah, I was craving it.

I thought I'd share, in case there are other carrot fans out there.

Creamy Carrot Soup

2 lbs Carrots, sliced into coins
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 cloves Garlic
6 Boullion Cubes
4 Cups Water
Salt & Pepper to taste.
1 to 2 Cups Half & Half

Combine everything together in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 5 or 6 hours. Puree with a stick blender until very smooth, slowly adding cream. Start with half cup increments and use only to desired consistency. The water level of the carrots will determine how much you'll have to add.

This is excellent with a dollup of the Greek Yogurt that Aldi has recently started selling. Oh. YUM.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Aldisbury Steak

Growing up, one of my favorite TV Dinners was the Stouffer's Salisbury Steak and Macaroni & Cheese. I know, it's not fine dining, it's not high brow cuisine. But it's darn good, and it's so easy to just throw something in an oven and come back later and have dinner, voila!

A few weeks ago, I threw some ingredients in a crock pot, and made Salisbury Steaks. I will confess, I used premade, precooked steaks from a local deli - they were on sale REALLY CHEAP. BUT, they could easily be made with the premade burgers sold at Aldi - I recommend grilling them first so that they are cooked.

I did them again this evening, but did them in the oven vs. the crockpot. I adjusted the recipe a little to make it a little more to my liking. It was very good. Very good indeed. Since we're doing South Beach (mostly), we did not have mac and cheese with it, but Stouffers would have been proud! This second way was much better.

Feel free to serve with Mac & Cheese!!!

Aldisbury Steak

8 frozen burger patties, cooked
1 Can Fit & Active Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Can Fit & Active Cream of Chicken Soup
1 packet Chef's Cupboard Onion Soup Mix
1 Soup Can-full Friendly Farms Milk
1 10 oz package of white mushrooms, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 13 X 9 baking pan, mix soups, soup mix and milk together. Add in cooked burger patties, flipping to cover with sauce. Top with sliced mushrooms.

Bake for about 40 minutes until the sauce is very bubbly and the mushrooms are browned.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Zucchini Lasagna

So, I do not have a picture of this one folks because, well, quite frankly it was so good that my husband and I ate most of it! :)

Recently we started the South Beach Diet and have cut out most pastas and quick carbs. I confess, this has made my journey into cooking quite difficult. I've always relied on a starch in the meal: pasta, bread, potatoes, rices, corn, etc. All of these foods are now taboo. I mean, even when I did 2 years in the gluten-free world, I was still allowed all non-gluten versions of these foods. I even grew to like them and adjusted to their taste and texture.

But living WITHOUT them? COMPLETELY? Well, lets just say that's been an adjustment, and I'm just now getting the hang of it.

Anyway, I had been thinking of how to make a lasagna without using noodles. I'm a huge fan of zucchini, my husband is not however. So I've had to tread very lightly including it in our diet. I've slowly introduced him to the amazing way to saute it with red peppers, olive oil, garlic and italian seasoning. In recent years he's consented to (and even ASKED for it) grill it in the summer when grilling is hot hot hot! But...he's rejected all things ragout like and saucy like ratattouille. So, I was concerned when I decided to try this.

Let me just say it was so yummy that I didn't even miss the pasta!!!!

Zucchini Lasagna

1 lb ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork - choose your favorite)
1 Can Italian Style Diced tomatoes (they're in right now!)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic
2 cups cottage cheese
1 egg
1 LARGE Zucchini
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Brown ground meat until no longer pink, drain grease if using a higher fat meat. Add dice tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic cloves. Cook and allow flavors to marry well, and garlic flavor to mellow.

While this is cooking mix cottage cheese, egg and italian seasoning together in a bowl.

Using a vegetable peeler, cut very thin slices down the length of the zucchini. Creating at least 15 or so ribbons. Lay out on paper towels over a cookie cooling rack to drain excess moisture from the zucchini.

In a bread pan or meatloaf pan, layer a small amount of the meat/sauce mixture. Layer over zucchini. Spread over a layer of half of the cottage cheese mixture, Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the mozzarella. Repeat layering ending with a meat layer. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Add last 1/2 cup of Mozzarella during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.

Allow to rest about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy with a good salad and garlic bread (okay, if you're not on South Beach have the garlic bread.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spaghetti Pie

As I was saying: Cook Once, Eat Twice. This recipe is so easy to adapt to this idea. One recipes worth makes enough for 12 people, so, if you divide it between two pans, it's a perfect freezer meal.

Several years ago, we lived in sunny Phoenix, AZ. To this day, I still miss it. I had a very good friend there, and this meal was her go-to to give to folks when they had a baby, were going through hard times, etc. It was so easy to make, so freezer friendly, and so easy to complement with bread and salad. You almost craved times when you would be in need so that you would get some of this pasta-goodness for yourself!

When I was gluten free, and had a blog, I adapted this to gluten-free goodness, so if you are gluten free, make sure to adjust the ingredients to safe ones - it still works fabulously!

Spaghetti Pie

1 Box Reggiano Spaghetti
1 Cup Happy Valley Sour Cream
1 Jar Mama Cozzi Spaghetti Sauce
20 oz Fit & Active Ground Turkey (feel free to substitute with another ground meat if you prefer)
2 Cups Happy Valley Farms Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 8" Foil Cake Pans (our Aldi does not sell, but I got mine at the dollar store - 3 pans for $1)
Carlini Cooking Spray

Prepare pasta as directed on the box.

Meanwhile, brown ground meat and add sauce. Allow to cool slightly.

When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add sour cream and mix to coat all the noodles with the sour cream. Spray the foil pans with cooking spray. Divide the pasta between the two pans. Press down firmly. Sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded cheese on top. Top with half of the meat mixture.

For one pan, bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350. For the other pan, allow to cool and cover with foil. Label and freeze. It is best if you defrost before cooking - then cook at 350 for 30 minutes - if you do from frozen it will take closer to 1 hour, and keep covered for the first half hour.

You may add additional cheese on top if you desire. :)

Yeah, where've I been?

Not going to make a lot of excuses. Let's just say Spring got away from me this year! FINALLY coming to the surface and having a little bit more time for the things that give me great joy (well, aside from my family). Cooking.

Many of you know that we are homeschoolers. My children and I have been on this journey for seven years, and my oldest is about to be in 7th Grade. I can hardly believe that I've made it through all the elementary years with one of my children. Life is busy in this house and sometimes dinner is an afterthought. So, I started to investigate Once A Month Cooking. There are so many great sites on this subject, it's unreal! I have found some amazing recipes, read a lot the last few days on it and have decided it's just not going to work for ME! Surprise there. I do this with our homeschooling curriculum, I just cannot follow someone else's schedule! (I know, you're thinking I'm a control freak - well, I am) If I don't have 30 minutes to cook dinner each night, how in the world am I going to set aside an entire weekend to shop and prepare a month's worth of meals? That was what kept coming up.

What I DID like, is that many of the recipes are to make 2 dinners worth. So, instead of Once a Month Cooking - I'm (of course) adapting it to fit our lives. I'm going to start doing a "Cook Once, Eat Twice" type method. So, be on the look out for some upcoming recipes that will be easy to make double, and freeze half for a meal later in the month. If you do this just three times a week, you'll have a month's worth of meals in NO time flat! Or at least have some easy grab-and-go-to meals for those crazy busy nights. (Well, something other than take-out and hot dogs!!!).

I will continue to post regular recipes using Aldi's awesome ingredients, as well as reviews of some of our favorite Aldi products as well. I hope to see you around!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Focacchia Bread

Oh Baby, to quote Anne Burrell of Food Network Fame.

Now. Let me start by saying I am not a big fan of hers, but happened to catch the show the other day because I was trying to have some "downtime" for myself.

She was making this bread, and she made it look SO EASY. So...I'd been dreaming about making bread. I mean, I have a Kitchen Aid. I have a dough hook. I have flour. I can do this, right?

So, today was the day. I knew I'd be around the house long enough from start to finish to make it. I am so very glad I tried.

Using ALL Aldi ingredients (including the yeast which I bought when they had it at the store earlier this year - it's seasonal for them, so it might not be there right now - this is the only ingredient you may need to buy at a regular store). I used Grandma's Best Flour, Sebree Salt, Carlini Olive Oil, Baker's Corner sugar and yeast. Wow.

This recipe is just as easy as it looked, maybe even easier. I highly recommend giving it a try.

The only adjustment I made was instead of sprinkling with salt on top I sprinkled with Stonehill Pizza & Pasta Grinder. Another good Aldi addition.

I hope you try it, and I hope you enjoy it. Me? I'm looking forward to dinner tonight where I get to have some more with Meatballs & Sauce (from Aldi of course!).

Anne Burrell's Focaccia Bread

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Potato Onion Cheddar Soup

I've been soooo busy lately, I'd like to say I've been cooking, but I haven't! Nothing new, anyway. Same old same old. And using a lot of convenience foods in pretty normal recipes.

Hubby got called out of town suddenly. And I miss him. :( But when he's out of town I'm relieved of cooking duties and we "fend" for our dinners.

Tonight, I was sorely in need of a comfort food, so I threw together this soup. It turned out soo sooo yummy, and filled a need in me.

Potato & Onion Soup

4 medium Red Bliss Potatoes, peeled & large diced(about $.80 worth of the $2.69 bag)
1/2 White Onion, quartered & separated (.25 - from the mixed 3 onion pack for $1.69)
2 stalks Celery, large dice (.10)
2 Carrots, large dice(.10)
1 32 oz carton Fit & Active Chicken Broth
2 Garlic cloves, smashed & skins removed
8 oz Friendly Farms NY Sharp Cheddar (1.69), shredded
1 Cup Milk
Salt & Pepper
Tuscan Garden Real Bacon Bits (1.49)

In a large soup pot bring Chicken Broth, potatoes, onions, celery, carrot and garlic to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook, covered, on low heat until the vegetables are soft. Add Salt & pepper to taste. Using an immersion blender, or a regular blender, blend until very smooth. Return to pot (if using a regular blender). Over low heat, stir in milk. Slowly add and stir in the shredded cheese.

Top with Bacon Bits before serving.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Million Dollar Waffles

I know. You've all missed me and have been wondering what happened to me. I've been trying to come up with a way to tell you all what I've been doing. are few options:

1. We won the lottery and have been traveling around the world;

2. My kitchen exploded and I have not been cooking AT ALL because I'm living off hotel food;

3. I've locked myself in the kitchen, ignored laundry, children and all else because I was trying to come up with the perfect waffle recipe.

4. I've had a freak accident and am in a full body cast and have just learned to type with my tongue.

First, I have to give it up for my friend Jennifer who made all of this possible. A few years back our families spent a weekend together at the shore. Not only did her husband and three kids come to the shore house, but she brought all the makings (and appliances necessary) to make an all out waffle extravaganza for breakfast for us one morning. She was cleaning out her kitchen and decided to part with one of her waffle makers. And being the amazing friend she is, she immediately thought of me and gave it to me. (I think I mentioned this back when I tested the Pumpkin Waffles that were available for a time at Aldi).

Anyway, I digress, onto what I've been doing. My children and I have been on a quest that started with our studies of Europe. We are slowly making our way through My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures. When we exploring Norway, one of their books recommended a recipe to try for Norwegian Waffles. And we gave them a try. They were NOT a hit in our house - and everytime I make waffles now, my son will mention how much he hated them. I did too...they were gooey and not crusty. My quest became to find or create a recipe for waffles that would make them really crispy on the outside but light and airy on the inside. Not too sweet, and not bland. I've been experimenting and eating my results (my waistline is a tad annoyed at this, but....perfection has consequences).

After many failures, and not-so-muches, and even a few this-is-close's....I think today we have finally arrived. I'd be so tickled if you'd try them too and let me know what you think. Oh...and by the way, don't be a stick in the mud and only try these with Maple Syrup - I melted 2 Tbs of Vanilla Frosting in the microwave tonight and drizzled it overtop instead of syrup....OH MY goooooood!!!! Should be illegal!

Million Dollar Waffles

3 Cups Baker's Corner Baking Mix
2 Tbs. Grandma's Best Sugar
2 Tsp. Spice Corner Cinnamon
Pinch of Sebree Salt
1 1/2 Cups Milk
2 Golden Hen Eggs
3 Tbs. Carlini Vegetable Oil

In a large bowl mix together baking mix, sugar, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, mix together milk, eggs and oil. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until blended (careful not to over mix, but mix until most of the clumps are gone).

Cook in a waffle iron according to waffle iron's directions.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Superbowl Treats #2 - Pepperoni Pinwheels

Instead of ordering a bunch of pizzas, how about making a couple of hand held pizza treats for your Superbowl party guests? These are incredibly easy to make, and even easier to eat!

Pepperoni Pinwheels

2 Pkgs Bueller's Crescent Rolls
1 Cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 Cup diced Priano Pepperoni Slices*
1 Cup Priano Traditional Spaghetti Sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix shredded cheese and diced pepperoni together in a medium bowl.

Open crescent rolls and separate into two large rectangles (each one made up of 4 triangles). Seal edges together. Spread 1/4th of cheese and pepperoni mixture on each rectangle, leaving about 1/2" at the long edge of each one. Roll up lengthwise and seal edge. Cut each rectangle into 6 pinwheels. Place cut side down on a prepared cookie sheet (cover with tinfoil and spray with Carlini cooking spray). 12 should fit on each cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

While baking, heat spaghetti sauce to serve for dipping.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Superbowl Treat #1 - Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

This recipe is loosely based on a Paula Deen recipe. In Paula's original recipe, she coats the bites in a brown sugar and chili powder coating before baking. Hers are really good, I had to adjust for dietary concerns for us. I get around the coating by marinating the chicken in hot sauce and a little bit of brown sugar.

I made a homemade honey mustard dipping sauce, and they were, in a word, Ahhhhh-mazing....they got eaten even by the kids! YUMMY!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

2 lbs Kirkwood Chicken Breasts (5.00)
1 lb package Appleton Low Sodium Bacon (2.69)
1/4 Cup Burman's Hot Sauce (.99/btl - .15 worth used)
1 Tbs Grandma's Best Brown Sugar (.05)
Box of toothpicks

Mix together hot sauce and brown sugar. Cut chicken breast into 1" cubes, marinate for about 1 hour (or even up to overnight) in hot sauce mixture.

When ready to bake them, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak about 50 of the toothpicks in water. Cut bacon strips into thirds. Wrap each piece of chicken in bacon and secure with toothpick.

Place chicken bites on an aluminum foiled broiler pan. (cut the aluminum foil at the slats so that the fat can drip off). Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.

Serve with Honey Mustard Sauce:

1/2 Cup Burman's Mayonnaise
3 Tbs Burman's Spicy Brown Mustard
2 tsp Honey (or more to taste)

Mix together well and serve on the side.

Makes about 40 to 50 chicken bites.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


We don't know who's playing yet. But we know that it's coming, and that with the Superbowl, comes parties. And what is a Superbowl Party without awesome food??? WHAT???

Well, the next few recipes will be dedicated to nibbles to have at your Superbowl feast!

Here's hoping Green Bay makes it least for Hubby's sake!

:) Keep a look out they'll be a comin!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hello All! Happy New Year!

Well...The holidays are over, the decorations are packed away and even PUT away! WHOOOOOOHOOO. Well, aside from the house looking a little bare, my middle is quite full....gained a little bit this year!

I'll be trying to highlight and critique and create some recipes for healthy, light, cooking. :) Hopefully! :)

Fit & Active goodies are lined up on all of the shelves and in the special sections of the store. This is a great time to stock up. They go away around late January, early February, and don't return until folks are prepping for swimsuit weather. Some things are popular enough that they're in the store all the time. There's a lot of stuff right now that's not usually there because they're taking advantage of all of us and our New Year's Resolution to lose weight and get healthy.

Been trying a few new products the last few days, as soon as I can get some pix, I'll be a-postin' .