Thursday, January 31, 2008

Great White Punch

A friend asked me for this recipe for a party I went to yesterday. She made it, but when I tasted it for the umpteenth time, I was reminded of just how good this stuff is. Almost seems too simple to be great, but believe me, it's worthy of sharing...

Great White Punch
(Marilyn Hulme, my YW advisor growing up)

1 small can limeade
11 c. water
3 c. sugar

Combine all 3 ingredients and freeze at least 24 hours in advance (but obviously can be done LONG in advance).
Remove from freezer one hour before serving.
Break/cut into chunks and serve in punchbowl with 7-Up (1-2 liters)
**Can add food coloring before freezing if you want it to be a specific color to match "theme"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Frog Eye Salad

I realize that this salad is not for everyone, but even with my "textural food hangups," this is one of my favorites! I usually rely on the back of the Acini de Pepe pasta box for the recipe, but this last box didn't have the recipe on it. So I went to to find it. I made it last night for a party I am going to today...I can't wait to dig in! (and it made a LOT, so I am sure I'll have leftovers to bring home)

Frog Eye Salad

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 quarts water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt

1 (16 ounce) package acini di pepe pasta

3 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 (20 ounce) cans pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)

In a sauce pan, combine sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pineapple juice and eggs. Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat; add lemon juice and cool to room temperature.
Bring water to a boil, add oil, remaining salt and cook pasta until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain.

Once these are both cool, combine them and refrigerate overnight.
On the morning, combine the pasta mixture with all the fruit, whipped topping and marshmallows (and coconut, if you are using). Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Makes a LOT!

**By keeping the pasta & fruit separate until closer to serving time, it keeps the pasta more "al dente" and therefore, a better texture.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chicken & Artichokes / Cookie Dough Brownies

Chicken & Artichokes over Rice
(thanks to Paige Storheim, a friend from Rochester, NY)

3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 can cream of celery
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. whipping cream OR evaporated milk
**I usually don't have whipping cream or evaporated milk on hand, so I just do a total of 1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 Tblspn. sherry (I never have this, so I just use the brine/marinade from the artichokes)
1 c. parmesan cheese, grated
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and cut into bite size pieces
**I LOVE the huge jar of artichoke hearts sold at Costco. They are in a great tasting marinade and come in handy for all of the artichoke recipes I make. MUCH cheaper than individual cans and MUCH better flavor

Mix all ingredients together.
Pour into a 9 X 13 pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly (about 1/2 hour).
Serve over rice.

Cookie Dough Brownies
(thanks to Jessica Lee, a friend from Rochester, NY)

1 fudge brownie mix (9 X 13 pan)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. softened butter
2 Tblspn. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tblspn. vegetable oil

Bake brownies according to package direction.
**my favorite are the Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownies from Costco
Cream sugars and butter.
Add milk and vanilla.
Mix in flour.
Spread over brownies (almost like a thick frosting)
Melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil in microwave.
Spread on cookie dough.
Chill until ready to serve & then keep chilled.

For anyone who loves brownies like I do, this recipe is a MUST TRY! Super YUMMY!

Slow Cookin'

No, this is not a crockpot recipe, but more of an apology for those few who actually check this blog looking to be inspired. I have been out of town for the past 4 nights, and now Marc will be out of town for the next 4 nights, which means no real dinners for us. I think Marc did a lot of eating out with the girls while I was out of town, and I resort back to a lot of noodles while he is out of town. So I don't have a lot of cooking inspiration to offer. However, we are having a old favorite for dinner tonight, and I made an old favorite last week that I never posted. So I will post those and try to get more creative next week. Happy cooking (& eating)!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cream Cheese Potato Soup

It was a cold, rainy day here in TX. Perfect soup weather. I have torn out a bazillion potato soup recipes, looking for the perfect one. This soup turned out nothing like I was expecting. It is not a cheesy, thick, hearty potato soup--definitely different than the bacon/cheddar cheese/potato soup I am used to--but definitely good in it's own right. The key ingredient is the dill weed. I love dill--it reminds me of the summer we spent in Finland....every day we would walk down to the produce market at the marina and you could smell the fresh dill at every produce stand. People would buy huge armfuls of fresh cut dill (like a massive bouquet of flowers) and use it generously in a lot of Finnnish dishes. Marc commented on how good the dill was in it, too--maybe that's why we liked it so much.
The other great thing about the soup is that it is SUPER easy to throw together....seriously. Because the potatoes are just frozen hashbrowns, there is no peeling & dicing of potatoes or any other prep work involved. I even bought a bag of cubed ham in the deli dept and just threw it in. Nice.
But because this was not a thick, hearty soup, I made grilled sandwiches and a green salad to go with it. A great meal on this cold day.

Cream Cheese Potato Soup
(Quick Cooking, Nov/Dec 2003)

6 cups water
6 boullion cubes (OR 7 tsp. chicken boullion granules)
2 pkgs. cream cheese (I used fat-free and it turned out fine)
1 pkg. (30 oz) frozen cubed hashbrown potatoes, thawed (I didn't thaw mine)
1/2 c. chopped onion
**note: I used OreIda hashbrowns that had onion and peppers already chopped up in it, so I omitted the 1/2 c. onion
1 1/2 c. fully cooked ham, cubed
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dill weed

In a large pot, combine the water and boullion. Then add the cream cheese; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 18-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
About 12 servings.

Friday, January 18, 2008

No meals for the next 3 days!

Friday = leftovers, or maybe BLT's depending on how ambitious Marc is feeling (I'm working)
Saturday = date night & we're eating out
Sunday = leftovers, cereal, noodles, whatever (I'm working)

We will start next week out with all new recipes again...I already have my menu made up! See you Monday night!

Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts & Cheesy Harvest Vegetables

Both of these dishes are "so last season"--meaning they just taste like Fall--very October-November. Between the apples in in the chicken dish and the Fall vegetables seasoned with a hint of nutmeg, you can't help but think of crunchy leaves and crisp sunny days with wood burning fireplaces scenting the air. OK, enough reminiscing about the East coast....this meal was just as good mid-January in Texas.
(notice how I am not quoting Marc in my review...he was feeling too much pressure as my food critic)

Gouda Stuffed Chicken
(Light & Tasty, Feb/March 2008)

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
2 ounces smoked Gouda
cheese, cut into thin pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple
2 large tart apples, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey

Cut a slit lengthwise through the thickest part of each chicken breast; fill with cheese. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in flour mixture on both sides; shake off excess. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in 1-1/2 teaspoons oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.
In the same skillet, saute garlic in remaining oil for 30 seconds. Add broth and cider, stirring to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 12-14 minutes or until mixture is reduced to about 1 cup.
Stir in apples and honey; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until apples are crisp-tender. Serve over chicken.
4 Servings.

Cheesy Harvest Vegetables
(Kraft Foods, Fall 2006)

2 lb. mixed fall vegetables (butternut squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips and carrots), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
3 cups milk
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream Cheese, cubed
1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/3 cup crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place vegetables and milk in large saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 min. or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Add cream cheese; cook until completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently. Stir in Parmesan cheese and nutmeg.
Pour into greased 2-qt. casserole dish; sprinkle with cracker crumbs.
Bake 30 min. or until top is golden brown and vegetable mixture is heated through.

(I used slightly less than 6 cups of veggies and ended up with a little too much sauce, so don't be afraid to be generous with your veggies, plus that will feed more. If you have a small family, cut the entire recipe in half. I also used about 1lb. carrots, 1/2 lb. butternut squash and 1/2 lb sweet potatoes (to equal the 2 lb.), just because I knew that's what my family was more likely to eat)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wednesday nights meal was "just OK"

Not much worth posting as far as new recipes. I was very excited to venture out and cook steak for the VERY first time in my married life (or whole life, for that matter). I cooked up what I thought was going to a be a fabulous, and kind of fancy, dinner. Didn't really work out that way. Nothing is fancy when your 2 year old is running around the house yelling "come catch me, come catch me" to anyone that will pay attention. This creates a VERY difficult situation for Addison who wants desperately to go play, then gets up off her chair, but fears the glares she is getting from both Marc and I--thankfully she makes the better choice to stay seated and finish her dinner. But after finishing our meal, neither Marc nor I was overly impressed with it. I served "Steak O Poirve," seasoned baked potatoes, peas, and "Orange Cream Fruit Salad." Sounds good, right? It was just OK, but probably not worth typing in on this post. Better luck tonight, hopefully...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Artichoke Chicken Fettuccine

For those of you who have paid attention to the recipes I send out, you may have noticed a pattern...that I love anything with artichokes! Guess that is why this recipe caught my eye. We had it for dinner last night and Marc's comment was "This is a keeper--totally restaurant quality." Don't know if I could say "restaurant quality" myself, but it was good--even Addison loved it! (and that is saying a lot) Don't be scared off by the ingredient list or having to make a "white sauce" from scratch--just follow the recipe and it is quite easy.

Artichoke Chicken Fettuccine
(Simple & Delicious, Jan/Feb 2008)

8 oz. uncooked fettuccine
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
4 bacon strips, diced
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 T. chopped sweet red pepper (I omitted)
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
2 T. mayonnaise

Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the chicken, bacon, onion, and red pepper until chicken juices run clear and vegetables are tender; drain and keep warm.
In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add the broth, milk and mustard. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in Parmesan cheese and artichokes. Remove from heat; stir in mayonnaise and chicken mixture.
Drain fettuccine; serve with chicken mixture.
4+ servings.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup & Eclair Cake

It's a new week, hence new recipes. This recipe came from a friend in New York's friends' friend (seriously). I have seen a lot of Tortilla Soup recipes, but never tried one myself. Guess it was time. Marc rated it "just OK" but I thought it was good. Try it yourself and let me know what you think...

Chicken Tortilla Soup
(a friend of a friend of a friend)

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (TIP: Boil water in pot. Put chicken in and boil for 6 minutes. Turn off heat completely, but leave pot on hot burner and cover. Set timer for 12 minutes. Remove chicken from water, cool & shred)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
6 T. vegetable oil
1 (28 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1 tsp. salt
3 bay leaves
3 cans chicken broth (OR five cups water + 5 boullion cubes)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. frozen corn

Cook and shred chicken. In medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, salt and bay leaves. Stir. Add broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring to a gentle bubbling simmer and add the beans, corn and shredded chicken. Keep simmering on low for another 20-30 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips (can be homemade by baking sliced flour tortillas), but my personal favorite are Tostitos LIME chips. Place chips in bowl, pour soup over top, and top with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese. YUM!

After school today, Addison helped make this dessert for FHE tonight. Ever since recently watching the movie "Ratatouille," Addison has an increased interest in helping out in the kitchen. This was a great recipe for her to make. It is SO simple--a few prepared ingredients thrown together, no baking and only one bowl to clean. Nice. If you like eclairs and/or Boston cream pie, you'll like this dessert. When I asked Marc if this recipe was a keeper, he quickly responded "DEFINITELY!"

Eclair Cake

2 (3.5 oz) packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 oz) container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 c. milk
1 box graham cracker squares
1 container prepared chocolate frosting

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the pudding mixes, whipped topping and milk.
Arrange a single layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan. Evenly spread half of the pudding mixture over the crackers. Top with another layer of crackers and the remaining pudding mixture. Top with final layer of graham crackers.
Spread the frosting over the whole cake up to the edges of the pan.
Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.
Serves 12-14.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Whole Wheat Bread & Chunky Chocolate Cookies

As we begin a new year, we are like every other American and have committed to eating healthier. Last year for Christmas I was given a wheat grinder and Bosch mixer for the sole purpose of being able to make homemade wheat bread. I started out last year with great intentions, but by February, both appliances were packed away in my pantry. Now with a new year here, they are both out again and being used. Let's see how long this lasts......

Aunt Ilona's Whole Wheat Bread

1/2 cube butter, melted
2 1/2 c. hot water
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tblspn instant yeast
1 Tblspn salt
Mix together right in mixing bowl until yeast dissolved.
Then add enough wheat flour to make mushy, about 4+ cups.
Then add:
1/3 c. wheat gluten flour
Mix and scrape bowl.
Then continue to add wheat flour, 1 c. at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the bottom of the mixing bowl (usually at least 2+ cups)
Mix for 4 minutes.
Keep covered (with loose lid) and let dough rise until doubled in size (about 20 minutes)
Beat dough down for a couple of seconds, then dump onto greased or floured counter.
Divide into 2 equal portions adn put into greased bread pans.
Cover carefully with saran wrap and let rise to size (about 25 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
When dough has risen in the pans, handle it very carefully, or it will fall.
Bake for 27 miutes.
I like a softer crust, so I butter the tops of the loaves when they are hot.
Makes 2 large loaves.

Of course, we had to balance out our healthy intentions with a little sweet treat, too. So I tried a new cookie recipe--one that a friend brought to my Christmas cookie exchange. I have made the same chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe for 10 years now, thinking nothing else I had tasted even compared...until now. This is a great cookie! Very thick and big, with chocolate chunks. YUM!

Chunky Chocolate Cookies
(thanks to Janet Theriault)

3 sticks butter
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tblspn vanilla
Cream together the above ingredients. Then add:
4 1/4 + 2 Tblspn flour (I know, it sounds crazy, but just follow the recipe and it will turn out!)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
When well mixed, add 2 c. chocolate chunks (one small bag)
Drop by LARGE spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Breakfast for dinner!

Tonight we are having breakfast for dinner. I never thought of doing this until I read some other menu blogs and realize that not every menu has to consist of a meat, veggie and starch. Unforunately, Marc is not a fan of breakfast foods--guess it's a good thing he is out of town tonight! We are having 5 Grain Pancakes--a recipe that I got from my friend Allison Sovereign in AZ. Yesterday I pulled out my wheat grinder and made up the base to the pancake mix and threw it in the freezer (just like the recipe says)--just for nights like tonight. FYI: I am using my red wheat from my food storage, and bought the other 4 grains (barley, rye, oat groats and brown rice) in the bulk food section at Whole Foods. It took just a few minutes to grind all the grains and throw the mix together. This recipe makes a GREAT fluffy pancake--you would never know it was full of fiber! And now I have an ample supply of healthy pancake mix on hand!

5 Grain Pancakes

6 c. wheat
1 c. barley
1 c. rye
1 c. oat groats
1 c. brown rice
Mix all grains together and then grind into flour.
Then add:
4 c. powdered milk
1 Tblspn salt
1 c. baking powder
Mix together with ground grains and store in freezer.

When ready to make pancakes:
1 c. pancake mix
1 egg
1/2-3/4 c. water
2 Tblspn oil

Mix all ingredients together. Add enough water to preferred consistency. Cook on griddle.

Italian Crusted Chicken--Jan. 9

Italian Crusted Chicken
(Simple & Delicious, Sept/Oct 2007)

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine parmesan cheese and dressing mix. Add chicken and shake to coat.
Place chicken in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear.
(Seriously, SO easy. No prep work, one pan clean up, and pretty healthy, too. Great flavor and can be served with anything. We do Rice-A-Roni, since it is my girls favorite. You can also make extra or use leftovers for a tasty sandwich or salad topping.)

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups--Jan. 8

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups
(Simple & Delicious, Jan/Feb 2007)

1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. cottage cheese
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, slightly beaten
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
spaghetti sauce

In a bowl, combine the spinach, mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, and egg. Spread about 1/3 cupful over each noodle. Roll up and secure with toothpicks.
Place seem side down in a baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate over night. (I made this in the AM and cooked it that night and it was fine)
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Pour "spaghetti sauce" over roll-ups and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 33-38 minutes or until bubbly. Discard toothpicks.
8 servings.
(This is a great meatless entree, one Marc will actually eat. He even commented that it tasted "healthy.")

Garlic Lime Chicken--Jan. 7

Garlic Lime Chicken
(copied from a friends cookbook)

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tsp. mustard
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tblspn lime juice
3 Tblspn lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise into strips (I just used about 10 tenders)

Mix all ingredients (except chicken) with wire whisk. Put marinade and chicken into ziploc bag and refrigerate up to 2 hrs, NO LONGER. Pour chicken and marinade onto jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with paprika & parsley and place on top rack in oven. Broil for 15-20 minutes.
(This is similar to my Baked Lime Chicken recipe, but has a much more intense flavor, and much less cooking time. I doubled this very easily and brought dinner to a family in our ward. OH, and I served it over couscous, but it can easily be served over rice, too. It needs a bland starch with it to counter it's intense flavor.)

Saturday nights dinner menu

Cahoon's Crockpot Roast
("Favorite's" cookbook)

3-5 lb. beef roast
garlic salt, to taste

Garlic salt the roast and place in crockpot (no need to brown first)

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
1 can beef gravy (I forgot to buy this, so I just added 1 1/2 c. water and some dry gravy mix I had)
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 T. vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. Worcestershire sauce

Mix all together and pour over roast. Cook for about 12 hrs. on low, or 6-7 hours on high. Remove roast. Strain gravy and thicken with a mixture of cornstarch and cold water until preferred consistency.
(We did not use the gravy since our potatoes did not require gravy. But it does make a lot of gravy that would be great over mashed potatoes!)

Blue Cheese Potatoes
(Quick Cooking, March/April 2002)

2 lbs. red potatoes, cut into chunks
1/4 c. whipping cream, whipped (but not sweetened)
1/4 c. crumbled bleu cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
1/2 lb. sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, fold whipped cream and bleu cheese into mayonnaise. Drain potatoes; gently stir in bleu cheese mixture. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve warm. 6-8 servings.
(OK, so they aren't low fat, but man, they were so good!)

Steamed Baby Carrots

OK, so their really isn't a recipe for these. I just steamed about 1.5 lbs. baby carrots for about 25 minutes, then tossed with butter and brown sugar. YUM!

Tart Lemon Ring Mold
(Taste of Home, April/May 2002)

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 c. cold water
2 pkgs. (3 oz. each) lemon gelatin
2 c. boiling water
1 can (12 oz.) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
2 c. whipping cream
3 Tblspn. powdered sugar
fresh strawberries

In a small saucepan, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until gelatin is dissolved. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve lemon gelatin in boiling water. Stir in unflavored gelatin mixture and limeade concentrate. Refrigerate until slightly thickened.
In a small mixing bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 Tblspn at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat the gelatin until frothy. Stir in the whipped cream. Pour into an 8-cup ring mold (I used a bundt pan) coated with nonstick cooking spray; refrigerate until set.
Unmold onto a serving platter (easy to do if you float the pan in warm water for just a few seconds to loosen the mold). Fill the center and surrounding edges with sliced strawberries.
10-14 servings.
(This made for a great, fresh presentation. Very pretty with the soft yellow and red. It is quite tart, so it was not everyone's favorite, but I love anything citrus and thoroughly enjoyed it. It would be great in the summertime, especially at a BBQ or other outdoor party)

Mint-Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
(Simple & Delicious, July/August 2007)

1 pkg. Suzy Q's (or DingDongs, Ring Dings, etc.)
3 c. mint chocolate ice cream, softened
12 Oreo cookies, crushed, divided in half
2 c. whipping cream (or Cool Whip)
1/2 tsp. mind extract, optional

Line a large loaf pan (8 X 4 X 2") with plastic wrap. Place 4 Suzy Q's (I used 6 Ding Dongs) in pan, completely covering the bottom. Spread ice cream over the Suzy Q's; sprinkle with 1/2 of the cookie crumbs. Press remaning Suzy Q's (or another 6 Ding Dong's) on top. Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours.
Just before serving, remove from the freezer adn invert onto a serving plate. Remove pan and plastic wrap. Combine whipped topping and extract, if desired (I left it out); frost top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
Slice and serve.
8 servings.
(Super easy to make--in fact, it's a great recipe to let kids make. I thought it might be so simple that is would just taste like a few ingredients served together, but it was actually better than I thought. Marc even compared it to a Baskin Robbins cake!)

More Than Just Noodles

Every afternoon, Addison (6 1/2) asks, "Mom, what's for dinner?" When I take even more than a milisecond to respond, she says "Noodles! Can we PLEEEEASE have noodles?" Now Ellery (2) has taken after her sister and only wants noodles as well. With as much as I enjoy cooking, I have found that I give in to the boring (but oh so very simple and easy) request of noodles on more than enough occasions. My New Years Resolution for 2008 is to get through the 12" high pile of recipes that I have collected (ripped out of magazines, printed off the internet, asked for from friends/neighbors, etc.). We are going to try new things on a regular basis. It is time for more than just noodles.

I began last week and cooked at least one new recipe each night. On Saturday night I was feeling quite risky and cooked an entire dinner of new recipes (including dessert) and invited some friends over to be guinea pigs with us. Luckily, we all liked all the recipes. I thought I would share those with you first, so here they are...