Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adios! and a Give Away!

Tomorrow I am off to L.A. to leave on a 7 day Mexican Riverra Cruise with my Hubby to celebrate our 10 year anniversary! It will be crazy to leave behind all of our little kiddos, but I think it will be a MUCH NEEDED BREAK! Our parents will be taking turns with the kids and my 2 AWESOME back-ups will be taking over my basket site for a few weeks. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to hold a give away while I am gone. I love The Pampered Chef and have been a Pamoered Chef consultant since my oldest was a little baby. I will be giving away a VEGGIE WEDGER worth $18. This is one my favorite new spring products. It comes with a base that you cut on so the blades go all the way through. I use it to wedge oranges, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. It's great and I am sure there are other uses as well. If you are interested in ordering Pampered Chef products, or hosting a cooking/catalog show, please let me know or e-mail me your info!

How to enter the Give Away

1. Become a follower of our blog and post a comment letting us know. If you already are a follower, then post a comment on this blog post letting us know.

2. Facebook or twitter or blog about this giveaway and leave us a comment on this blog post letting us know.

* Contest will be open until Midnight MST on Sunday, May 8, 2010 . Contest is open to Continental U.S. residents only!

* 1 winner will be randomly selected (from and announced on this site the following week. Please check back to see if you won, or leave your email address with your comment. The winner will need to contact to provide name and shipping address.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beef Stir-Fry

This is a stand-by basket recipe! It's quick and easy and tastes great. I like to use a beef fajita mix to make things even easier, plus the beef in the mix has a great flavor!

1 bunch broccoli, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 large green bell pepper, sliced

2 tablespoons oil

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 teaspoon fresh ginger root

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 package cooked beef fajita meat or 1 lb beef top sirloin steak, sliced

1/2 cup beef broth

2 cups rice

Cook rice according to package directions. Mix together soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Place meat in mixture and marinate 15 minutes in mixture while you chop veggies. Heat oil in large skillet. If using raw steak, cook beef 1-2 minutes or until outside is no longer pink, reserving marinade. If using fajita mix skip this step. Add veggies to skillet, stir-fry in oil 3-4 minutes. Add in beef and marinade. Cook another 3-4 minutes until veggies are tender and beef is heated through. Add in beef broth, bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute stirring gently, until sauce is thickened, serve over rice.

Lil' Bit O' Everything Soup

When I don't use all of my veggies up I like to chop them up and freeze them to use in soup later. You can substitute in whatever you like/need to get used up!
2 stalks celery, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 green chili, diced

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 small diakon, diced (Japanese Raddish)

1 sunchoke, peeled and diced

2 potatoes, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

1/2 cup corn

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans Italian stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 can chicken breast meat, drained



salt and pepper

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add in celery, onion, chili, garlic, diakon, and sunchoke. Cook 4-5 minutes until tender. Add in potatoes and carrots. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Add in corn, kidney beans, tomatoes, and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat 20-3o minutes. The longer you simmer the more the flavors blend together.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicken and Chayote Hash

I made one of the recipes from my Chayote Squash post. It was called Chicken with Chayote Squash and Potato Casserole, but it's not really a casserole at all so I am calling it a HASH. This was really yummy, and MY KIDS ATE IT REALLY WELL. My husband said it would be yummy as a breakfast, with out the chicken with some fried or scrambled eggs.

1 pound chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 pound potatoes, chopped

3 chayote squashes, peeled and chopped (I used disposable gloves when peeling, worked out great!)

1 small onion, finley chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped (I did this more for the benefit of my kids, leave them bigger if you want)

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon salt

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, add in onion, pepper, garlic, salt and black pepper. Saute 1-2 minutes or until fragrant, add in chicken. (I seasoned my chicken with a Bell Pepper and Herb Rub) Cook 1-2 minutes on each side. Add in potatoes, squash. Stir together and cover. Reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally until potatoes are soft and chicken is cooked through. Stir in parsley and tomatoes. Cook another 2-3 minutes until tomatoes are heated through.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Basket Round-Up!

This week I got a Conventional Basket, and also One of the Beans and Grains Packs! I am excited to learn to incorporate those into my cooking. This week I found a lentil soup crock pot recipe so that should be fun! Hopefully even though there are only 3 recipes here I will be catching up on some of my planned recipes like Beef Fajitas with Mango Salsa, Shepherds Pie, and Chicken Asparagus Risotto! For ingredients to those check the "menu" labels!

This week's menu:

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken with Corn on the Cob and Candied Sweet Potatoes


5-6 chicken breasts

bar-b-que sauce

corn on the cob

sweet potatoes


brown sugar

Chicken with Chayote Squash and Potato Casserole

Ingredients and Recipe HERE with my post about Chayote Squash!

Lentil Soup with Ham and Bacon



Beef Broth

Dried Lentils

Chopped Ham





Dried Marjoram

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chayote Squash

The chayote fruit is used in both raw and cooked forms. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash, it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crisp flavor. Raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, and it is often marinated with lemon or lime juice. It can also be eaten straight, although the bland flavour makes this a dubious endeavor. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of amino acids and vitamin C.

PREPARATION TIP: Make sure to peel the squash under running water. It has a juice that comes out while peeling and will dry to your hands that is very hard to get off!

Many of the recipes I found were some variation of this, I don't have a lot of those ingredients on hand so not sure that's what I will do with mine:

Chayote squash vegetable(subzi)

Ingredients: 2 chayote squash(chow chow), peeled and diced

•1 onion

•3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

•1/2 tsp turmeric powder

•salt to taste Roast and powder coarsely:

•2 tbsp white sesame seeds

• 3-4 red chilies Seasoning:

•1/2 tsp mustard seeds

•1/2 tsp urad dal

•few curry leaves

•few sprigs green coarinder(cilandro)

•1 tbsp grated coconut.

Directions: •Cook diced squash,turmeric powder and salt. •Heat oil. •Add the mustard seeds, when it pops add onions, and saute till translucent. •Add the cooked squash. •Mix well,sprinkle sesame powder,coconut,curry leaves and coariander.

Here is a different one I found that looked really yummy! Chayote Gratin


2 chayote squash

1 Fuji apple

2 cloves garlic , finely minced

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1-½ tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup milk, warm

2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon

black pepper, freshly ground

3 tablespoons caramelized onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed at room temperature

2 teaspoons palm sugar, freshly grated

1 sprig thyme

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley (without stems), chopped

¼ cup Gruyère cheese

Preparation: Prepping the chayotes and apple: Peel, core and slice the apple, lengthwise, into 8 pieces. Peel, stone and slice the chayotes the same way. Steaming the chayotes and apple: Bring a pot with a little water to a boil. Add a steamer insert, place sliced chayotes and apples in the steamer and steam for about 20 minutes. Remove them from the steamer and let cool a bit. Once they are cool enough to handle without discomfort and have dried thoroughly, transfer to a baking dish (previously greased with olive oil), fanning the slices and alternating 2 pieces of chayote with 1 piece of apple, just as you would an apple pie. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepping the filling: In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sprig of thyme. Cook until fragrant. Add the pearl onions. Toss until slightly browned. Add sugar. Cook for about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add parsley and the caramelized onions. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Remove and discard the thyme. Making béchamel sauce: In the same pan, melt the butter over medium-low so it won't burn. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Bring the heat back up to medium-high (the butter should be hot and golden) and add the flour. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon for approximately 2 minutes. The flour should absorb the butter and form a paste. Add the warm milk in 3 stages. Increase the heat while constantly stirring for about 4-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add mustard and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another minute. Add the pearl onions and stir well. Let the sauce rest until it's time to assemble the dish.

Assembly time: Spread ladles of the béchamel sauce to cover the chayotes and apple. Finish with a layer of Gruyère cheese. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 400°F and broil for about 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden top. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm. Serve with white meat.


1 pound of chicken thighs or legs

1/2 pound of potatoes

5 chayote squashes

1 small onion

1 small green pepper

1 small tomato

1 or 2 tablespoons of salt (you decide)

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 teaspoon of grounded black pepper

1/4 of canola oil

1 cup of water

Fresh scallions

Fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS: Clean your chicken and take the skin off. Chop the tomato, onion, green pepper, scallions and parsley together. Peel your potatoes and chayote squashes and cut them in small pieces. Once it's all done put in your cooking pan, adding the salt, water, oil, black pepper and garlic.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cicken and Strawberry Salad

One of my favorite things about summer are berry salads. With Bountiful Baskets it's possible even on a SNOWY DAY like today! I know it's April, but what can I say, I live in IDAHO! Tonight I boiled and chopped the chicken, I think if I make this recipe again I will cook it in the skillet after I brown the almonds, that way it gets some of the sugary butter flavor on the chicken and maybe use a citrus rub on the chicken as well.
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 quart strawberries, cored and sliced

1 head romaine, chopped into bite size pieces

4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

Mix together vinegar, sugar, oil, paprika, and worcestershire sauce. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours. In a skillet melt butter and sugar. Stir in almonds and cook until golden brown. Remove from heat and cool. Toss together strawberries, lettuce, chicken and almonds, mix with dressing right before serving.

Sausage and Veggie Scramble with Banana Zucchini Muffins

I like having breakfast for dinner. I am not a huge morning person, so usually breakfast is cereal or instant oatmeal. Not that a smoothie or pancakes or even something like this would take too long, but really I am just not in the mood to do it in the rush of getting a husband off to work and kids off to school.
Banana Zucchini Muffins

3 eggs

1 cup applesauce (or 3/4 cup oil)

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 cups grated zucchini

3 smashed bananas

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon plus (pumpkin pie spice)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 325*. (I used a kitchen aid, but you could easily do this by hand in a large bowl) Beat eggs until until light yellow and frothy. Add applesauce, sugars, zucchini, bananas and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together wet and dry ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in cranberries. Divide into lined muffin tins. (This will make 3 dozen) Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake, remove to wire rack to cool. (The flavors really come out when they are cool)

Sausage and Veggie Scramble

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/2 green bell pepper diced

3 green onions with tops sliced

2 large sausages (I used sun-dried tomato chicken sausage with basil and tomatoes), cut into small pieces (I quartered and sliced)

12 eggs

1/2 cup mozarella cheese, shredded

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add veggies and sausage, cook 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add in eggs. Mix together and let cook 3-5 minutes before stirring, repeat until desired doneness. Stir in cheese, mix to melt.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Better Late Than Never? Basket Round-Up!

Have I mentioned we are in the process of finishing our basement? We started at the begining of March doing basically everything ourselves, but we decided to hire out the sheet rock, tape and texture, which started Monday. It's very exciting, but we had to FINALLY move EVERYTHING out of the basement so I spent much of last week and all of the weekend working on that. So some of my meals got pushed back (I will still be making Chicken and Asparagus Risotto from last week's menu) and I really hadn't even thought about what to do with the items from this weeks basket until today! Chicken and Strawberry Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette Romaine Lettuce Strawberries Chicken Breasts Pecan Halves orange vegetable oil vinegar dijon mustard Fajitas with Mango Salsa fajita steak mix green bell peppers onion mango jicama (or sunchoke) jalapeno pepper lime juice salt chili powder cheese Shepherds Pie ground beef tomato soup green beans garlic salt dried thyme carrots potatoes cheese Banana-Zucchini Muffins and Veggie Omelets flour salt baking soda baking powder cinnamon vanilla eggs brown sugar white sugar apple sauce bananas zucchini crasins eggs tomatoes bell pepper asparagus

Sunday Pork Roast (Yes I made this on a Tuesday!)

Growing up I don't remember my parents cooking many things, I am an only child and honestly it was easier for the 3 of us to eat out, especially with 2 working parents. The few things that I remember my parents making either came from a box or a jar, with the exception of a Sunday Roast. This recipe is actually not my parents recipe (which is a good standby): Pork Roast, water, onion soup mix, potatoes and carrots. For today's roast I wanted to use more fresh ingredients from my basket.

1 boneless pork roast (I used a butt because it comes already tied!)

Salt and Pepper to taste

4 garlic cloves, pressed

4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1 lemon, cut into thin slices

3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon chicken boullion (or one cube)

2-3 pounds potatoes

5-6 carrots

1 bunch asparagus

2 tablespoons flour

Disolve boulion in warm water. Place roast in crock pot, rub with salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. (If roast is not tied, tie with twine) Tuck lemon slices around roast. Pour chicken broth into the bottom of the crock pot. Cook on low 7 hours or high 2 hours. At this point place chopped potatoes and carrots into the crock pot. Cook on high 1 hour. Stir in chopped asparagus. Cook an aditional 30 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Take Roast and veggies out of crock pot. Let stand 10 minutes then slice pork before serving. Discard twine and lemon slices. Transfer juices to small sauce pan, mix flour with about 1 cup cold water. Add flour mixture to sauce pan and cook until thickened for gravy.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chicken and Squash Casserole

I think this recipe turned out really good, my kids love stuffing and ate it really well. It's another one of those that the picture doesn't do it justice. I love meals that incorporate lots of vegetables so this was a winner for me.
4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 medium onion, diced

3 carrots, shredded

3 small squash, chopped into bite sized pieces (zucchini, mex squash, yellow squash)

4 chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces

6 mushrooms diced

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup sour cream

1 package chicken stuffing mix

Preheat oven to 350*. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Add onion, carrots, and squash. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 7 minutes or until squash is tender. Transfer into large collander to drain. Add chicken and mushrooms to skillet. Cook 7-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add vegetables back into skillet. Add soup and sour cream and mix well. Transfer to a 9X13 baking dish. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stuffing mix to skillet. Toss until butter is absorbed. Top casserole with stuffing mix. At this point you can choose to leave the stuffing on top or mix it into the casserole. Today I mixed it into the casserole. Bake 20-30 minutes.