Aunt Holly's Homemade Happiness

Something fresh from a Wisconsin Girl

Meatless Mondays – Baked Cheesy Bean Burritos June 18, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Aunt Holly @ 3:32 am

In my contast quest for eating healthy and losing weight I have debated on becoming a vegetarian.  The only issue with this is that my husband doesn’t want to give up meat .  I enjoy cooking and sharing meals with him.  Yes I could make substituions, but this could start to get costly, so I find a healthy balance.  I have basically chosen to eat meat only when we eat meals together. I know there are ways around this, but for now I am eating less meat, and have adapted to not eating meat at least one day out of the week.  I go the whole day… if my husband decides to eat meat outside of dinner that is his choice.  And yes, sometimes meatless Monday gets skipped over and becomes Wednesday…but you get the idea.  No matter what your family does for meals these are simple, gooey, melty, and trust me, you won’t even miss the meat.  Also, I buy most everything whole grain/whole wheat.  If you want to use white flour tortillas go ahead.

Here is what you need:

8 oz of shredded “mexican” cheese, divided
2 cups of salsa, divided (fresh or in a jar…you choose the heat)
2 – 15 oz cans or black or pinto beans rinsed and drained
8 oz of mushrooms chopped (if you dont like mushrooms, skip this)
8 – 8 inch whole grain flour tortillas (I try to look for the ones that are about 100 calories each)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line bottom of baking dish with tin foil for easier clean up.
In a large bowl combine all of the beans, half of the cheese, all of the mushrooms and a little more than half of the salsa.  Mix well.
Take one tortilla and place a spoonful of the filling in the middle.
Roll into a burrito with closed ends.

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Place in a 9×13 dish and continue untill all of the tortillas are rolled.  You may end up with a little extra filling.  You can snack on that or save it for a fun salad topping for lunch.

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Take the rest of the salsa and cheese; distribute over top of burritos.

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Cover with tin foil.  Bake in oven for about 15 minutes, remove foil and bake for about 5 more.  Serves 3-4 people.

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Zucchini Relish June 14, 2012

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When you grow a vegetable garden one of the vegetables you can end up with a lot of and easily is our friend the zucchini.  While it tasted delicious in many recipes, theres only so much fresh zucchini one can find appealing.  So last summer I picked up a copy of Better Homes & Gardens Canning Edition Magazine.  They had a whole section of zucchini recipes.  We tried a few…but this one we fell in love with.  It has all the wonderful sweet crunchiness of pickle relish but with a twist.  And this way you can save your extra cukes for pickles.  Joey and I like this best on burgers, chicken and hot dogs, and I’ve even added it to potato, tuna or chicken salad…but the possibilities are endless.  And it is easily doubled or tripled. (That way you don’t have to leave your extra zucchini on your neighbors doorstep and run away)

Here’s the recipe.

5 cups finely chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions (3 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped green sweet peppers (1 medium)
1/4 cups finely chopped red sweet peppers (1 medium)
(We used our food processor to chop all of the ingredients quickly.)
1/4 cup pickling salt
Cold water
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 t. celery seeds
1 t. ground tumeric (optional)
1/2 t. mustard seeds
1 or 2 drops green food coloring (optional – I omitted)

 
In a large non-reactive bowl combine zucchini, onions, and sweet peppers. Sprinkle with salt, toss gently to coat. Add enough cold water to cover vegetables. Cover and allow to stand at room temperature for 3 hours. Transfer vegetables mixture to a large colander set in sink. Rinse with cold water; drain. In a 8 quart stainless steel, enamel or nonstick heavy pot combine sugar vinegar, the 1/4 cup water, celery seeds, turmeric, and mustard seeds. Bring to boiling, stirring until sugar dissolves, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 3 minutes. Add drained vegetables mixture and if desired green food coloring. Return to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Ladle hot relish into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (starting with the canner water returns to a full rolling boil) Remove jars from canner. Makes 5 half pints.

 

Simple Salad Dressing June 12, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Aunt Holly @ 3:47 am

I like making my own salad dressings.  Especially when I have delicious lettuce & spinach I have grown myself.  I think it tastes better.  Here is a simple one you can make using ingredients you already have.  You can modify it to suit your taste.

Ingredients:

1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (About 2-3 lemons worth)
3/4 to 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic (powdered or minced)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Put all ingredients in mason jar, cover with lid tightly and shake well to combine.  Will keep fresh in fridge for up to a week.  Enjoy!

 

Breakfast Potato Casserole May 30, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Aunt Holly @ 3:48 am

Ever put a bunch of ingredients together, stick it in the oven, and figure it will taste good just because there’s really no reason why it couldn’t?  Thats totally how this happened for me.  One Sunday morning I was looking to “spice up” some breakfast potatoes.  Who knows how this happened, but its good, simple, cheesy, warm and if you are every going to a pot-luck style brunch you can bring this and everyone will love it.  Plus, these are ingredients you may have on hand, or in your freezer.  I only go grocery shopping every 2-3 weeks (if I can help it) so I pretty much always have this on hand.

Here’s what you need. One package of frozen breakfast sausages (10 count).  I like the turkey kind.  8 ounces of shredded cheese (reduced fat cheddar is good stuff) and one 21 oz bag of frozen potatoes o’brien.  What are these?  Well, they are hash browns with peppers chopped up in them.  They take regular old hash browns to a tastier place.  And, if you have it, one bunch of green onions.  You can use frozen onions, or regular chopped onions, but I like the look and taste of the green ones.  It goes together in about 5 minutes, and bakes for 30.

 

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Turn your oven on to 450 degrees.  Take out a 9×13 pan.  Spread the frozen potatoes evenly in the bottom of the pan.  Then place the chopped onions on top and distribute them evenly.

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Chop up the frozen sausages into coins, distribute them in the pan, then cover evenly with cheese.  Now cover with tin foil.

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Bake covered for 30 minutes. Then remove tin foil and bake for 5 more minutes.

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Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes and then serve.  Buttered rye toast goes well with it or some eggs.  But it’s pretty filling on its own.  There won’t be leftovers.

 

Easy Breezy Summer Punch

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I love a cool drink on a hot summer day…who doesn’t?  And as much as I love lemon water, or my favorite fall back - lemonade and diet sprite…sometimes I want something more tropical…or what I like to think of as more tropical.  Plus, if you are in a pinch and want to bring something to a party we can find these ingrediants generally at your local gas station or corner drug store.  And you can kick it up a notch easily to make it into an “adult beverage”.  So I will list the recipe as making this for an individual, and for a larger quantity – like for your next bbq or pot luck.  Plus, if you don’t add the liquor, it’s very kid friendly….but isnt that the case for all punches?

So first you need lemon-lime soda (diet or regular) and the mucho mango flavor drink from the Arizona Tea Company.  I put a picture so you can get an idea of what you’re looking for.

 

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So for an individual serving you will take a glass (choose the size depending on how much refreshment you need).  Fill the glass with ice.  Pour about 1/2 to 2/3 with the lemon-lime soda.  Then you fill it the rest of the way with the mango-y goodness.  If you want to make it more adult-friendly add a shot or 2 of coconut rum.  I am sure plain rum would do, but the coconut rum gives it a tropical taste.  The amount of rum you add is on you…I guess that is determined if you want to remember where you left your flip-flops and hula skirt at the end of the night ;)

For the big batch you want to take 2 2-liter bottles of lemon-lime soda and 3 cans of the mango stuff and mix well.  Add enough ice needed to keep it cold, and serve it up punch style in a pretty punch bowl.  If you want to add the booze to this I would bring the rum and leave it up to the individual on how much they want per glass.

There you have it, like I said, this is all about being simple.

Easy breezy!

 

 

Slow-Cooker Carrot Cake May 21, 2012

My favorite day to bake is Sunday.  Joey & I dont make plans on Sundays so we can relax.  For whatever reason, baking is relaxing for me.  If it stresses you out I am sorry.  Then again I am not really into exercising and some people think thats relaxing.  This past Sunday it was way too hot for me to even look at the oven, much less turn it on.  I understand why people like to grill a lot during the summer.  Joey laughs at me because, unlike his Wisconsin-born wife, he grew up down in the deepest southern part of Illinois, where its ok for it to be 85 degrees on May 20th.  Yuck.  But I really wanted to bake.  I was wanting carrot cake.  I dont know where this strange desire came from.  If you know me it was probably something I saw on some cooking show and it sounded good.  So, I posted my disappointment on my facebook page, and one of my “fans” replied that I could bake in my slow cooker.  Honestly, it seemed kind of strange, right?  But I love & trust my slow-cooker so I figured I would give it a try.  Thank goodness for search engines! I have adapted the cake recipe from recipetips.com.  Thats where the original recipe is.  I made some adjustments.  The cream cheese frosting recipe is mine.  This is pretty basic.  Also, its as easy as a box cake and tastes 100 times better.

Ingredients
 
For cake:

3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup oil (I used grapeseed, vegetable will do fine)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1.5 cups grated carrots – packed

For cream cheese frosting:

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
2 cups powered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
dash of cinnamon
1-3 tablespoons of milk if needed to reach desired thickness

Peel & grate carrots; set aside. Grating carrots is great stress relief.

In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar, eggs, water and vegetable oil together.

Add the flour, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon & pumpkin spice mix. Blend just long enough to mix all ingredients.

Stir the grated carrots in by hand.

You can grease the slow cooker or for easy removal you could use this new item I found thats tinfoil and parchment paper fused together.  You need to try this stuff.  It is fantastic.  But greasing it will work too.

Place four or five paper towels over the top of the crock and cover, this helps absorb the steam from extra moisture.  Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 2 to 3 hours. Do not peak for at least 1 hour.  My slow cooker is 5 quarts and after 2 hours it was done.

The cake is done when firm in the middle. If toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, its done!

Remove sleeve (crock) from cooker and put on cooling rack.  After 20 minutes you can remove cake, or you can let it cool in in there and frost it.

Some people serve their carrot cakes with whip cream.  If I ever do this, please, send me in for some sort of mental help, because if I can find any reason to make and consume cream cheese frosting, I will.

Now…the icing on the cake…hehehe.
Cream Cheese Frosting

In a mixing bowl cream together cream cheese, butter & powdered sugar untill well combined.  Add vanilla or almond extract.  If you need to thin it out add 1 tablespoon of milk untill you have reached the thickness you want.  So easy, but so delicious.

Simple, yet greatly satisfying.

 

Honey Vanilla Whole Wheat Pound Cake May 17, 2012

I love to bake.  I also love watching cooking shows. So when the host of a cooking show was making honey vanilla pound cake I was inspired.  I am trying to avoid white flour so I made it with whole wheat pastry flour.  I also made quite a few changes to the recipe to get the honey and vanilla flavors to stand out, despite the wheat flour.  But this is good stuff.  I made it into muffins and brought them to a potluck.  Then my husband and I watched this kid eat 3 of them right in a row.  Actually he ate one, then went and grabbed 2 more.  I thought for a moment he was going to share one with his sister.  Nope. At least they have fiber in them, right? Kids crack me up.

By the way, this is good on its own.  But if you add some fresh berries and vanilla ice cream you won’t be disappointed.

This yields 1 normal loaf (4×9 loaf pan) AND 6 muffins.  When I made this into just muffins it made 21 muffins using a 1/4 cup scoop.

Heres what you will need:

- 1 cup of unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup honey (use fresh local honey if you can.  We make and can our own pear honey.)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/4 whole wheat pastry flour

I start with all of my ingredients at room temperature.  My Mom did this also when baking most things.  She also taught me to never over beat the flour.  She said it makes for tough baked goods.  Thanks Mom!

Method:

 

Cream together butter & sugar.  To properly cream together butter & sugar you need to beat it on medium speed for at least 3 minutes.  I ususally go 4 minutes.  It will be nice and fluffy.

Add the vanilla & honey while the beater is on medium-low untill well combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and start adding the eggs one at a time, mixing them in for about a minute each.

Scrape down sides of the bowl and add the baking soda and salt.

Now add the buttermilk and flour in 3 seperate additions starting and ending with flour.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through.

Pour into prepared pans.  Smooth out the dough in the loaf pan so its even.

Bake muffins about 25 minutes and the loaf for an hour.

Cool for about 20-25 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.

 

Here’s the copy & paste recipe.  I appreciate if you replicate it you give me the correct credit.

Honey Vanilla Whole Wheat Pound Cake

This yields 1 normal loaf (4×9 loaf pan) AND 6 muffins. When I made this into just muffins it made 21 muffins using a 1/4 cup scoop.

Heres what you will need:

- 1 cup of unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup honey (use fresh local honey if you can. We make and can our own pear honey.)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/4 whole wheat pastry flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter & flour loaf pans, line muffin tins.
Cream together butter & sugar.  To properly cream together butter & sugar you need to beat it on medium speed for at least 3 minutes.  I ususally go 4 minutes.  It will be nice and fluffy.
Add the vanilla & honey while the beater is on medium-low untill well combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and start adding the eggs one at a time, mixing them in for about a minute each.
Scrape down sides of the bowl and add the baking soda and salt.
Now add the buttermilk and flour in 3 seperate additions starting and ending with flour.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
Pour into prepared pans.  Smooth out the dough in the loaf pan so its even.
Bake muffins about 25 minutes and the loaf for an hour.
Cool for about 20-25 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.

 

Enjoy!

 

 
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