March 2015 archive

Bunny Rolls

bunny-rolls Easter morning can be a little bit crazy around our house.  Between the Easter Bunny coming and the kids finding their baskets, getting everyone ready for church, trying to get pictures of everyone in their Easter clothes, and getting things ready for Easter dinner, making a breakfast can add pressure to an already packed morning.  In fact around 5 years ago I vowed to never make breakfast on Easter again.  Between the time and stress (and dishes!!) that it created, I decided that it just wasn’t worth it to me.   This hasn’t gone without objections and sounds of surprise every year.

When I found these cute Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Bunnies on Tablespoon.com I thought that they looked like they would be a breakfast that I could commit to in terms of time, energy and dirty dishes. 😉

AnneOpinion

These were perfect for  Easter Breakfast.  They created almost no dishes, and were really fast to make.  Making them was as easy as opening a can of Pillsbury Italian Bread, cutting it into 8 pieces, shaping and cooking.  For pictures of how to do it go here.  You can also find the recipe below.

I wasn’t crazy about the taste but I will admit that I rarely buy rolls and bread and when you’re used to homemade, Pillsbury canned bread doesn’t compare.  But these are infinitely faster and easier than homemade and if kids are involved, they probably won’t be too judgmental about the flavor.

bunny rolls2One thing that I always wonder about when I look at a blog picture is, I see that one or two look great but how did the others look.  Well, there’s the truth.  I had most of them work out, but I had a few that the tails rolled off of.  I think when I make them again I won’t have this problem because I twisting the bottom too tightly.

 bunny-rolls-3  As you can see, that didn’t stop anyone from eating them.

Bunny Rolls
Print Recipe
Servings
8 Rolls
Servings
8 Rolls
Bunny Rolls
Print Recipe
Servings
8 Rolls
Servings
8 Rolls
Ingredients
Servings: Rolls
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Remove dough from can. Cut dough in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into quarters. Roll quarter piece of dough into a rope 15 1/2 inches long. Cut 1/2-inch piece off the end, and roll into a small ball for the tail. Fold dough rope in half, and loosely twist twice. This will be the body of the bunny. Leave ends long for the bunny ears, angled up for ears. Place on cookie sheet. Press ball of dough into folded end of twist for the bunny tail. Repeat with remaining dough to make 8 bunnies. Mix egg white with water. Brush dough with egg wash. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over dough. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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The Chocolate Chip Cookie

chocolate-chip-cookieMy poor family.  Normally I make cookies at least once or twice a week, not because I’m a super cool nice mom but because I love cookies and that’s how often I want to have them.  As you can tell from my 10 Diets Foods I Need post and my Brownie Batter Oatmeal post I have been working on trying to lose weight (making cookies so often may or may not have contributed to the problem) and so to keep temptation away I haven’t made cookies for a couple of months.  This last week I decided to briefly end the moratorium on cookies and make some to take to my kids teachers.  It was parent/teacher conferences and I know that the teachers appreciate sustenance as they stay at school all day and into the evening, and I appreciate any excuse to be able to make cookies and get them out of my house quickly.

I ran across this recipe for Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies on The Merchant Baker and wanted to try them right away.  I have always had a weakness for all things made with malt. Is there a greater joy in life then biting into a Whopper and then sucking on it until the middle has completely disintegrated or ordering a chocolate malt and getting that tiny pocket of powder that didn’t get mixed all the way in and having it fizzle away in your mouth?  No?  Just me? Well, even if it is just me, I still think that you’ll like these cookies.  Here’s why.

AnneOpinion

I loved these cookies.  They had a perfect hard on the outside, chewy on the inside consistency that I look for in a good chocolate chip cookie.

They were thick and originally they didn’t spread out very much, they more just puffed up.  I decided to fix this by dipping the bottom of a glass into sugar and using it to flatten each of the cookie balls before baking.  This gave me a thick, flat cookie like I was looking for.

I  loved the taste of this cookie dough.  I ate way too much of it.  It had the perfect balance of chocolate and malt that I was looking for.  Unfortunately this did not carry through after baking.  Something happened that made the malt flavor nonexistent.  I looked through several other recipes online and saw that most had used more malt.  I then tried a batch with double the amount of malt; the flavor was still lost.  I then tripled the amount; same thing.  I have concluded, for now, that it is very hard to get a true malt flavor into a chocolate chip cookie.  My husband and neighbor both felt the same way I did.  Even after being told that the cookies had malt, neither of them could detect the flavor.  If anyone has a recipe that really does taste just like a chocolate malt, please share!  I’d love to try it.

That being said, I do love these cookies and after upping the amount of malt and not finding the results any better, I have decided that it’s best to just leave it the same as the original recipe.  I believe that the malt does add a nice texture to these chewy chocolate chip cookies even if it doesn’t provide a “malt” flavor.

I appreciated the mild chocolate flavor that the 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder added.  It gave it a nice hint of chocolate with out making it a chocolate cookie.

I thought that using the 2/3 milk chocolate chips to 1/3 semi sweet chips was perfect. I also used Ghiradelli chips.

Would I/will I make these cookies again? Yes!  Would I call them a “Malt Chocolate Chip Cookie?”  No.  I will just make them as really good chocolate chip cookies and leave people to wonder what is giving them that awesome texture and nice chew.  Malt, it’s my new secret ingredient.  Shhh!

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Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
45-50 medium cookies
Servings
45-50 medium cookies
Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
45-50 medium cookies
Servings
45-50 medium cookies
Ingredients
Servings: medium cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until incorporated. Add flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix together slowly until dough is formed. Add both kinds of chocolate chips and stir in with lowest mixer speed or by hand. 5.Gradually add flour mixture, using lowest speed on mixer or stirring in by hand. Scoop cookie dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. I used a medium sized cookie scoop. Place glass with a flat bottom into the bowl of sugar and use it to flatten one of the cookies. Repeat for each cookie making sure to dip into the sugar between each flattening. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. After cooling completely, store in an airtight container.
Recipe Notes

 The Merchant Baker slightly adapted by AnneOpinion

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DIY Corkboard Placemats

placemats4Do you ever feel like you’re needing a change? An update?  I’ve been feeling that lately but I don’t have the time/energy/money to do anything too big.  I’ve found that even making a small change can make a room feel fresh again.  For my kitchen I decided that getting some new placemats would hopefully breath some new life into the room.  Looking around I found that the ones I could buy either were really pretty, but not practical for my messy bunch, OR they were plastic and cheesy, OR the cost more than I was willing to spend when buying a set of eight.

Lucky for me I spotted this tutorial on LollyJane for adorable corkboard placemats that you do yourself.  The post was a guest post from Janine at Happy Happy Nester.  Her placemats were unique and I loved how your could personalize them.  The execution took me longer than I was expecting.  Hopefully with my tips, you can make yours in no time.

AnneOpinion

The first thing that I had to do was to find the corkboard placemats.  The tutorial assumed that you would have some that you would want to repurpose. Since this was not the case for me, I first thought that I would just buy corkboard and cut it down.  After looking at several stores (fyi-home improvement stores do not carry corkboard) I found a roll of it at Hobby Lobby.  I unrolled it and left it laid out for several days to let it “uncurl.” That didn’t work and since it still wouldn’t lie flat, I started to look for a new solution.  The new solution proved to be much easier.  IKEA sells corkboard placemats.  Yeah!!  You can get a pack of 4 for $3.99 and they work perfect.

Next step, picking out a wrapping paper.  Janine turned me on to Papersource and I am so grateful.  I had such a hard time picking out which wrapping paper I wanted for my placemats.  I finally decided on four papers, which coordinated into pairs.

placemats3Garden Roses and Hydrangea

placemats1Donuts and Macarons

Squeal!!  Aren’t they the cutest?  I ended up ordering them off of their website and had them in less than a week.  Next I went to a local copy center to cut them down.

Now I just needed to laminate the paper and get the right glue.  Janine recommended Crafter’s Pick “The Ultimate.”  I used it and I am very happy with the results.  I found it at Hobby Lobby.  I know that you can also order it off of Amazon.  For the lamination I started to call around and I found that would cost me $5 a foot to get it done in my area.  I remembered a store from my college days in Provo, Utah called Stevenson’s Genealogy that had really cheap laminating.  Cheap enough to mail?  I’ll let you be the judge.  I did eight placemats and each was one foot of lamination.  Here that would have cost me $40.  Stevenson’s charges .69 cents a foot for a total for $5.60.  Yep, totally worth mailing it.  The staff is friendly and helpful if you want to call and ask any questions.

All that was left was to cut down the lamination all around the paper and then glue it onto the placemat.  I squeezed glue all around the edge of the placemat and used a popsicle stick to spread it thin.  I didn’t worry about doing this with the glue on the rest of the placemat.  Once I had the top of the placemat on where I wanted it I used the glue bottle to rub it down so that it was smooth and there were no bubbles.

placemats2I am so in love with the results.  These placemats would make a perfect present for Mother’s Day (thinking ahead!), teacher presents, and wedding presents.  They can easily be personalized for each individual.  They would also be perfect for a themed dinner party.  So many possibilities!

placemats-5Oh, and here’s one more picture I couldn’t resist including.  Boy 5 likes to stand by me when I’m shooting pictures and today he got a little bit anxious for me to get done.  Can you blame him?

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Cuban Sliders

cuban-slidersI love everything in miniature. Slinkys, cupcakes, and babies to name a few.  Sliders have always had a place in my heart for that reason.  The little round buns, the cute little hamburger patties.  What’s not to love?

There’s only been one time that I remember not being impressed by sliders. For a number of years date night, for my husband and myself, consisted of one of us putting kids to bed and the other going and picking up take out and a movie.  On one such night I had ordered the sliders from Chili’s, which always looked adorable in their commercials.  When I got home I was dismayed to find that I had gotten a full size hamburger, cut into quarters, with a toothpick in each quarter.  Oh, and I got to pay a couple of dollars more than a regular hamburger for the privilege of having them do that.  Just for the record Chili’s, I was not impressed.

Alright, rant over.  So, I found these Cuban sliders from House of Yumm and they looked so good (and cute) I knew I had to try them.  They reminded me of the fabulous Ham and Cheese Sliders on The Girl Who Ate Everything with a little bit of a twist, and I’m always up for a good twist on a recipe.

AnneOpinion

The original recipe looked delicious but I couldn’t figure out what made it a Cuban. It seemed like it was just a ham and cheese sandwich with pickles and Dijon mustard. Really good, but nothing special.  Since I’d never had one, I did some research and found that a traditional Cuban has ham, salami, pork (prepared with a special blend of spices), Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon.

I immediately knew I could add the salami.  The pork presented the harder part.  The point of making this is that it’s something easy to assemble and takes little prep work.  I didn’t feel like making a pork that had to cook for 24 hrs qualified. 😉  I decided that the simplest thing to do would be to forgo the pork and add the spices to the melted butter and mustard mixture that you pour over the top of the sliders.  I found a recipe on The Fork ran away with the Spoon that was for “sazon complete,” a Cuban seasoning mix.  I referred to this as a guideline for what to use and what ratio to keep things in.  The results were pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

I used baby Swiss cheese because I don’t like the strong flavor of Swiss.  I also decided to make my Hawaiian rolls because I had some pineapple juice on hand and needed to use it.  The rolls were perfect with it, but you can buy them just as easy.  The store bought ones are about half the size so adjust the recipe accordingly if you use them.

Everyone in my family loved them!  They were also great the next day in lunches and as after school snacks.  They can be eaten cold or reheated in the microwave for about 30 seconds. They also would make a great party or buffet food.

So, make some of these, crank up the Will Smith, and “Let’s go to Miami!” (did I just really date myself)

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Cuban Sliders
Print Recipe
These cute little sliders are bursting the flavors of Miami. Perfect for a crowd, but can easily be scaled down.
Cuban Sliders
Print Recipe
These cute little sliders are bursting the flavors of Miami. Perfect for a crowd, but can easily be scaled down.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to Cut rolls in half, horizontally, and place in 2 9x13 pans. Cut ham slices in half. Fold each slice in half and place one on each roll. Cut slices of cheese in half and place one half on each roll. Place one slice of salami and one pickle in the center of each roll. Replace top on each roll. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Slowly pour over sliders, making sure to cover each with the mixture. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Uncover the pans and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Recipe Notes

This recipe was made using homemade King's Hawaiian Rolls.  If using store bought, they will all fit in one 9x13 pan and some adjusting of ingredients may be needed.

Recipe from AnneOpinion adapted from House of Yumm

 

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How to Clean the Jets in a Whirlpool Tub

whirlpool-tubMy friend moved into a new home last summer.  One of the things that she and her husband were excited about was the whirlpool tub in the master bedroom.  I asked last week how they were enjoying it and she said that they hadn’t used the jets yet because she had never figured out how to clean them.  What?!?!  I know that I do this all of the time too.  It’s not that the task is going to be hard, but that I just never take the time to figure out how.  I helped her get the tub clean the next day and you’ll be amazed at how easy it really is.

AnneOpinion

I’ve been using this method for years and it works great.  This just cleans the insides of the jets, not the outside.  You’ll still need to clean the surface of the tub and the jets.

Allow 45 minutes to complete the process.

How to clean the jets: Fill the tub with enough hot water to cover the jets.  While filling the tub add in 1/2 a cup of bleach and 2 tablespoons of  dishwasher soap powder (I use Cascade).  Run the jets, on max power, for 15 minutes.  Empty the tub.  Rinse out any debris that is left. (yes, it will be very gross!)  Refill tub with water (doesn’t need to be hot) and run jets for 10 minutes.

Your tub is ready a luxurious, relaxing bath.  Make sure and take one!

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10 Diet Foods I Need

10-diet-foodsDieting is something that I am pretty much an expert at.  I’ve been doing it on and off since I was 10.  I’ve tried many, many different diets over the years, and I’ve found what works for me.  It’s pretty basic: diet and exercise.  I don’t “cut” anything out of my diet.  I have been through so many trends over the years saying that you need to cut out fats or cut out carbs or cut out grains.  I’m sure that in a few years there will be something new.  I’ve decided that moderation in all things is what works best for me.  I try to eat whole grains, veggies, fruits, and lean proteins; things that are low in fat and/or contain good fats.  I count calories; like every single one.  I use the My Fitness Pal app to help me keep track.  It’s amazing how quickly calories add up when you keep track of them.  You also find very quickly that you don’t want to waste your calories on things that aren’t going to fill you up or make you feel good.  I’m not even tempted to eat that piece of chocolate cake or French fries when I know that they will cost me 1/3 of my daily calories.

I love food and need to have things that I enjoy eating on hand to make sure that I can stick with my goals.  Sometimes I make things that I love that are nutritious and low in calories like Peanut Butter and Honey Balls and Brownie Batter Oatmeal, but sometimes it’s nice to have something that is already made and I can just enjoy it with little or no prep work.  I have put together a list of foods I have found that I love to eat and help keep me on track.  I love all of these products, and I have not been compensated by anyone to share my views.

AnneOpinion

Kodak Minute Muffins- These muffins are whole wheat and packed with nutrition.  My favorite is the blueberry.  They work great as a warm “grab and go” breakfast.  I love to have them for breakfast, a snack or a dessert.  You just add water and cook in the microwave for one minute.

Cheerios- These aren’t just baby snacks.  If you haven’t tried them in a long time, you need to.  They are really good.  A one cup serving is only 100 calories.  This means that I can have 1 1/2 cups with a cup of Cashew milk for 175 calories.  That’s music to this cereal girl’s ears.

Unsweetened Cashew Milk- I loves this stuff.  It tastes good, it’s thick and creamy and it’s only 25 calories in one cup.  Top that off with it having more calcium than dairy milk = winner, winner chicken dinner!

Pre-Packed Salads- I don’t have any particular brand that I like of these.  I get them in the produce section of my grocery store, and I love to keep a couple on hand.  They come with a salad in the bottom and separated on the top is four things to mix into the salad, and dressing. For example, the Santa Fe comes with chicken, cheese, roasted corn and red peppers, crushed tortilla chips, and a spicy southwest ranch dressing.  These are perfect when I want something special (fill in restaurant/fast food) for lunch.

Multi Berry Oatmeal (from Trader Joe’s)-Besides being delicious, this oatmeal is full of nutrition with wheat, rye, chia seeds, flax seeds and barley in addition to the oatmeal.  It has a little bit of a nuttier flavor than regular oatmeal (which I love) and has strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. I love that it stays with me for the morning and I don’t feel hungry an hour later. 

Casein Protein Powder- Speaking of feeling hungry an hour later, that is the reason that I’ve switched from whey protein powder to casein.  Both of them are dairy based protein powder.  I have read the difference between the two described this way.  Whey protein metabolizes like skim milk and casein like cottage cheese.  This means that if you have just finished weight lifting and you want something to begin to repair your muscles, whey is best because it all goes to work right away.  You will also be hungry an hour later.  The casein, on the other hand, breaks down slowly giving you a full feeling for a longer time.  If I have just finished lifting I like to use half a scoop of each to get the benefits of both, but if I’m having a protein shake for dinner, it’s casein all the way.

Kind Bars-These bars are packed with whole nuts and sometimes dried fruit and chocolate.  Can’t forget the chocolate. 🙂  There are a number of varieties that you can get.  My favorite is the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew.  I love the crunch of the nuts, the sweetness from the chocolate, and the tart contrast that the dried cherries and cranberries bring.

PB2- If you love peanut butter and are having to watch your fat and/or calorie intake, this is the product for you.  I normally use it to add a peanut butter flavor to things.  My favorite is to add two tablespoons to my chocolate protein drink, along with 5 cubes of ice, and mix it in the blender to make a chocolate/peanut butter milkshake good enough to help me resist eating that Reese’s calling my name.  I do sometimes mix it up as peanut butter (just add water) to put on pancakes or toast with some bananas and lite syrup (I like Mrs. Butterworth’s), but it’s not the real thing, at all.  Don’t think that it will be the same as your creamy, thick and full of fat peanut butter because you will be incredibly disappointed.  That said, it’s made with real peanuts and brings a completely authentic peanut butter taste to whatever I add it to.

Chobani Flips- These Greek yogurts come with a fun corner of crunchy goodies that you pour into your yogurt just before you eat them.  I feel like I’m eating a delightful dessert when I have one.  My favorite is Salted Caramel Crunch (caramel flavored yogurt with pretzels and chocolate) and a close second is Key Lime Crumble (lime flavored yogurt with white chocolate and crunchy graham crackers).

Clif Z Bars- These are marketed as being for kids, but adults can eat them too.  Along with being all organic and good for your body, they have less calories than a similar product geared toward adults.  I like the Chocolate Chip and the Iced Oatmeal best, but the Chocolate Brownies isn’t far behind.  At around 130 calories a bar, they’re a perfect snack to keep with you “on the go.”

So that’s it.  I hope that you got a new idea (or two) of a new food you can try.  If you have something that you love, please tell me about it!  I know that I’m always on the lookout for new recommendations of tasty things that I can eat when watching my calories and nutrition.

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Brownie Batter Oatmeal

brownie-oatmealI have been working on losing weight for the last couple of months.  This means that one of my favorite things, brownies, have been off the table.  Diets, in general, means that real chocolate is off the table.  There are lots of diet products out there that are chocolate flavored, but unless real chocolate is used there always seems to be a weird artificial taste.(just for the record, that doesn’t stop me from eating them.  I’ll take what I can get)

Making things myself is one way that I know that the chocolate is going to be real.  I saw this Brownie Batter Breakfast Bake on Running with Spoons.  As a side note, go there and check out the cute spoon Amanda uses for her pictures.  I think that it would definitely make breakfast (or anything) taste better.  Alright, back to the Brownie Batter.  I tried it that night for dinner.  Yes, when I’m dieting I don’t stick to having breakfast foods at breakfast time or dinner foods at dinner.  I figure if I’m not going to eat very much, I’m going to eat what I feel like (that falls within my diet food parameters.)

AnneOpinion

I made the recipe just like the it was written the first time.  I really loved it until I plugged it into my fitness app and found out that it had 370 calories. (audible gasp)  I restrict myself to 1200 calories a day when I’m trying to lose weight.  This means that I generally don’t eat a meal that has more than 250 calories, and I really try and get it closer to 200.  I loved this so much though that I decided to try and work on getting it down to within my calorie needs.

Right off the bat I decided to cut the amount of chocolate chips in half and used mini chips so that they would leave their chocolately goodness throughout the whole thing and I used my Mrs. Butterworth lite syrup instead of pure maple syrup. (that’s 75 calories gone)

I originally tried to get the flour calories down by subbing in cornstarch as a thickener. This had a slight bitter flavor.  No go.  The flour also had a little bit of a bitter flavor.  I eventually left it out all together and took out 56 calories by doing that.

I had this every morning for a week straight. I wanted to be thorough for you, and if it that meant that I got to have super yummy chocolate oatmeal for breakfast every day, well I was willing to make that sacrifice.

I like to make two or three when I make it.  I put one in a ramekin to eat now and the other two in half pint jars to keep in the fridge for later in the week.  This made it so easy to grab a good nutritious breakfast (or snack) when I want them.  I tried it in the microwave, in the oven, cold from the fridge to the microwave and oven, and here’s what I’ve decided.  Cooking time isn’t any different straight from the fridge or making it that morning.  I prefer it from the oven.  The texture is better.  If I don’t have time for the oven, the microwave is fine.

Brownie Batter Oatmeal
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 5 minutes
Brownie Batter Oatmeal
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: person
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325, if using oven. Mix all of the ingredients together in a ramekin or 1/2 pint mason jar. Cook in oven for 15 minutes and let rest for 5 before eating. If cooking the microwave, cook on full power for 2 minutes. Let rest for 5.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion  adapted from Running with Spoons

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Friday Night Fish Tacos

fish-tacosI hate making dinner on Friday.  Anyone out there want to give me an “Amen?”  Friday, more than any other day, I feel like I shouldn’t have to make dinner.  Sure we can get pizza, and that’s what happens lots of the time, but sometimes I don’t want to even have to go out and fight the crowds for anything.  Yeah, I know, how lazy can I be?  I don’t want to have to make dinner and I don’t want to go out to get it.  Luckily I have Fish Tacos up my sleeve.  I pick up the ingredients earlier in the week and then they’re ready and waiting when my fit of super laziness begins.  These fish tacos are unbelievably simple and I feel like I’ve gotten takeout from Rubio’s.

I thought about “jazzing them up” for a picture.  I even was at the grocery store with red cabbage and Cotija cheese in my cart, but I decided that the whole point of this was to give you an easy recipe that was actually the way that I make it.  Remember this is my lazy dinner that I don’t want to put much more effort into than serving cold cereal.  Feel free to add to it if you want.

AnneOpinion

The ingredients that I use are basically all from Trader Joe’s.  The cabbage and lime I get anywhere, but the fish nuggets, corn tortillas and salsa verde are all TJ’s.  If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, you can still make them, just make sure and get similar produces.

The kind of corn tortillas that you get can make a big difference.  Make sure and get some that are more on the authentic, fresh side vs the bland lifeless ones that you get at most grocery stores.

Here is how easy this really is.  Put the fish nuggets on a pan and cook them.  Warm the tortillas in the microwave.  Cut the fish nuggets in half and place in the corn tortilla.  Top with salsa, cabbage and a squeeze of lime and enjoy the fruits of your labors.  That’s it, done, the end. Oh, and be ready for the complaints of how much these taste like they’re from a restaurant. You can just smile and say “Thanks!  I worked all day on them.”

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Friday Night Fish Tacos
Print Recipe
Friday Night Fish Tacos
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook fish according to directions. After fish has cooked, cut each of the nuggets in half. Cook corn torillia in microwave for 10-15 seconds. Place three fish nugget halves on warmed tortilla. Add salsa and cabbage. Repeat for each fish taco. Enjoy your Friday night take out that you made in a flash!
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The Tale of Two Oreo Trifles

strawberry-oreo-triflemint-oreo-trifleOne of the reasons that I started this blog was because I wanted to give an honest voice.  So many times I would see things on blogs that were beautiful, but didn’t taste good.  Take this Strawberry Oreo trifle, I was so excited to make it, and I was able to get a beautiful photo of it.  I was looking forward to being able to post a pair of trifle recipes (a Strawberry Oreo and a Mint Oreo) that you could make. Unfortunately that’s not how it worked out.  First of all, I would not recommend ever buying the Strawberry Oreos.  Their artificial strawberry taste isn’t good.  Now, I do believe that there is such a thing as good artificial strawberry flavor, McDonalds strawberry shakes and strawberry gummies come to mind.  However, the Strawberry Oreos were disappointing.   Next, I made Jello strawberry pudding to go with it.  That was not good either.  Apparently making good artificial strawberry isn’t very easy.  Long story short, I tried to make it better by turning it into a strawberry cheesecake mousse but lots of ingredients later, it was still just OK.  Sorry.  I’m hoping to have a good recipe for strawberry trifle sometime in the future.

Today though I do have a good one for Oreo Mint Trifle.  Here’s the deal on it.

AnneOpinion

These trifles are so super simple to make.  Chopped Oreos and different kinds of instant pudding made from a box mix.  Doesn’t get much easier than that!

I have found that generic instant pudding mixes are not the same as name brand (and by that I mean Jello).  Splurge for the name brand.

Mint Oreos are sooo good.  Be careful not to eat too many of them before you make your trifle(s). 😉

Adding the Cool Whip to the chocolate pudding is a great way to make a faux chocolate mousse.  The lightness of it is a good contrast to the heavier mint pudding.

I made the mint pudding by adding mint extract and green food coloring to vanilla pudding.  It worked great!

Enjoy this St Patty’s Day treat!

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Mint Oreo Trifle
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Mint Oreo Trifle
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Rough chop Oreos. Make vanilla pudding according to directions. Add mint extract and food coloring. Make chocolate pudding according to directions. Fold Cool Whip into chocolate pudding. Layer Oreos in the bottom of the cup, next add chocolate mousse and finally mint pudding. Repeat layers and top with Oreos.
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Chicken Gyros with Biscuit Flat Bread

chicken-gyrosI remember smelling a gyro for the first time when I was sixteen.  I immediately fell in love.  Unfortunately, eating one was a different story.  I couldn’t understand how I could love the aroma so much and not like the actual gyro.  I tried again a couple more times over the years, not believing that I really didn’t like them, but every time, I had the same reaction to the taste.  Then one day I bought lamb shanks with mint sauce and I was very excited to try such a fancy sounding dish.  One bite and I instantly knew two things. 1. I don’t like lamb and 2. that was the reason I didn’t like gyros.  Luckily the second was remedied very easily by just ordering chicken gyros instead of the original.  Now, I love them as much as I first thought that I would.

To make the recipe that my family enjoys, I’ve combined recipes from two different sites, Tide and Thyme Chicken Gyros and Real Mom Kitchen 3 Minutes Flat Bread.  They work well together and make a great dinner.  They also would work well at a party (you could make the flat bread with regular biscuits), or a great on the go meal.  They’re very flavorful, but not spicy.  A great combo if you asked me.

AnneOpinion

The chicken is quick to prepare.  It’s one that you can do first thing in the morning, and let it sit in the refrigerator all day, or put together an hour before you need to cook it.  I like to use thighs for this recipe.  They are generally thinner than chicken breasts, giving you a better seasoning to meat ratio and they stay moister after being grilled.

I went through the trouble once of making a homemade tzatziki sauce and I didn’t feel like my home really appreciated it, so now I just put out cucumber ranch dressing for people to use and everyone really likes it.  (I know we’re not authentic, but if that’s what they like, it’s a lot easier on me.)

The flatbread is one that I originally found as part of a flatbread tacos recipe of Real Mom Kitchen.  That was good, but we really like using them as flatbread for our gyros.  What are they you might ask?  Grands Biscuits.  That’s right, the Pillsbury biscuits that come in a tube.  They work great for the flatbread, they’re easy to keep on hand, and they cook up in a couple of minutes each.  I have used generic ones and they work fine, except that they tend to have larger chunks of shortening, which can kind of gross you out when your flattening the biscuit before cooking.  If you don’t think that would bother you, go for generic!  I decided for me, I’m spending the extra for the Pillbury.

The gyros will be a little bit smaller than you might be used to, but are the perfect size for kids or adults with smaller appetites, and hey, it you want more you can always for 4 like my hubby. 😉

I hope you enjoy these gyros and if you try the flatbread for anything else, let me know.  I might like to try it too.

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Chicken Gyros with Biscuit Flat Bread
Print Recipe
Chicken Gyros with Biscuit Flat Bread
Print Recipe
Instructions
  1. Add garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, and oregano to a gallon size plastic bag. Add in chicken, seal and gently shake together. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat the grill. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and then grill , making sure to cook completely. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips. Meanwhile, roll out, or shape with your hands, each biscuit into a 6-in. circle. On a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook each biscuit for around a minute on each side or until golden brown. Top the pita with the chicken, tzatziki or Creamy Cucumber Ranch, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and lettuce.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from Tide and Thyme and Real Mom Kitchen

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