3/31/12

April Fools Day Foods! They aren't cupcakes and that's not a grilled cheese!

Don't be fooled!  You can eat those 'cupcakes' as your main meal! But those 'sandwiches' are dessert!


Tomorrow is April 1st - traditionally known as April Fool's Day!  Do you want to have fun with food?  This is a nice trick - not mean at all - just fun and yummy!

Here's a secret: there's not a grain of sugar in these cupcakes.

This is a photo I took a few years ago when I made cupcakes and grilled cheese for my kids for dinner.  But what you are really looking at is meatloaf, mashed potatoes and pound cake for dessert!  Yes, the cute little pastel cupcakes are really mashed potatoes covering delicious meatloaf.  And that grilled cheese sandwich is really slices of pound cake with yellow 'cheese' looking frosting!  So easy but so fun!  At the time I got these idea's and more from Family Fun. 


Meat Loaf Cupcakes

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 egg

1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mashed Potato Frosting

3 cups mashed potatoes
Food coloring


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with foil bake cups. In a large bowl, mix together all of the meat loaf ingredients until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the lined cups (the liners should be about three quarters full). Place the filled muffin tins on cookie sheets and bake the cupcakes for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. 

Divide the mashed potatoes among three small bowls and stir a few drops of food coloring into each batch to create blue, yellow, and pink pastel frostings. Spread a generous dollop on each cupcake.

Makes 12 cupcakes.


Grilled Cheese Pound Cake

Pound cake (homemade or use something like Entenmann's brand)
1 cup buttercream or white frosting (canned is fine)

Yellow and red food coloring


Cut the pound cake into bread-like slices and toast them in a toaster oven just until they turn golden brown. Once they've cooled for a few minutes, stack two slices for each sandwich and cut the stack in half diagonally (slicing the sandwich before you fill it makes for fewer crumbs).

Now tint the frosting by stirring in a few drops of yellow and red food coloring (more yellow than red) to get a shade of orange that resembles American cheese.

Carefully spread frosting between the slices of each half sandwich. If you mound the frosting on one slice, then top it with the other and gently press down, the frosting will ooze out a bit and look all the more like melted cheese. Makes one sandwich.
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Chicken Quesadilla - Low Carb Option Available

Chicken Quesadilla on a Whole Wheat Tortilla

About 4 or 5 years ago I was given a George Foreman Grill.  It was nice but as a busy family of five - including teenagers - we didn't use it very often.  When cooking for a group, it made more sense to use my oven or the outside grill as I was always making so many items at once (burgers, chicken breasts, bacon, etc.).  This week it's been very quiet around our household as my two oldest kids are at school and my youngest teen has been on Spring Break in Florida with a group of friends.  It's just my husband and I - and with his busy schedule it's often just me.

Which is why I re-discovered the joy of the George Foreman!  It has been so useful this week that it's lived on the counter top and has been used in some form, every day.  One of my lunches was a Chicken Quesadilla.  Made crisp and delicious without using the stove or oven.  

Chicken Quesadilla

1 tortilla (pictured; a whole wheat, Low Carb version)
1/2 c Cooked and sliced/diced chicken (I used Tyson's Frozen Grilled Fajita Strips)
1/4 c shredded cheddar or mixed cheeses
Taco Sauce or Salsa ( Taco Bell Mild Restaurant Sauce )

Place ingredients on one half the tortilla.  You can microwave it for a 'soft' shell.  You can put it in a pan on the stove top and quickly fry it in a bit of butter or oil, bake it in the oven at 375 for a few minutes, flipping once, broil it - flipping once - or you can use a George Foreman.  Fast and easy!






Piled high with grilled chicken strips, cheese and sauce - it will cook down flat

Placed on a hot George Foreman Grill - ready to cook

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WINNER ANNOUNCED!


Winning tweet for the Easter Ham giveaway was TIMESTEP05.
Congratulations!

Winner has been contacted directly.
If the winner does not respond in 24 hours a new name
will be randomly chosen and a new winner declared by default.
Prize coupon will be mailed direct from the marketing company
donating the prize.

 
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Grilled Marinated Tofu with Stir Fry Vegetables

Grilled Tofu Stir Fry




This is a recipe from my files waiting to be posted.  Those of you who visit regularly know that last summer we were surprised by and immersed into a relocation 1,000 miles away.  As I was using up all the food in the refrigerator and freezer in anticipation of the moving trucks, I was also trying to use up the propane in our grill since propane cannot be transported by the moving companies and I didn't really want to travel 1000 miles with a full tank in my backseat either.   I was grilling everything in sight!  Including my tofu.  It was delicate, but oh so good!

Buy extra firm tofu and freeze it first.  Freeze it and then thaw it.  Freezing it changes the texture and makes it more firm and easy to cube and use.


Grilled Tofu Stir Fry (with marinade)

1 pkg. Tofu - EXTRA FIRM - previously frozen solid, then thawed
1 cup water
2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T sugar
1 T salt
1 T rice wine vinegar (or white is fine)
1 t powdered chipotle pepper
1 t hickory smoke flavoring
1 t paprika
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t round black pepper
1 pkg. frozen stir fry vegetables of your choice

Mix ingredients and add the tofu.  Marinate the tofu for at least an hour or two. Remove from marinade, press gently to release some of the liquid.  Now, placing it on a few paper towels to absorb more liquid, cube it gently.

Tofu doesn't like to be grilled but it can be done.  I used an old pizza pan, oiled, and placed it on my grill.  If you have a non-stick grilling pan you are one step ahead of the game!  Grill the tofu cubes, carefully and gently turning to grill all sides.  Be careful, they are delicate.  OR if you just want to fry them, you can.  It's easier.  In a skillet add a little oil and over medium high heat add the tofu. Fry it without stirring or moving it more than you have to to give it a golden brown color and to make it 'crisp'.

When your tofu is done, set it aside and heat a pan on the stove with a tablespoon of oil.  Add the stir fry and quickly fry til hot.  Add the tofu, toss and serve.  The marinade gives it all the flavor it needs but some die-hard fans might want some soy sauce on the side if they like things really salty.






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3/30/12

Homemade Sugar Free Almond Joy Bites


My husband teases me that I'm the only person on the planet that likes Almond Joys.  I know that isn't true because I only buy Almond Joy candies at Halloween in one mini-bite sized bag and I know that one purchase isn't keeping them in business!

Right now I'm cutting out all sugar and ironically, even though I never crave sugar or chocolate - knowing I can't have it just makes me want it.  I don't like chocolate.  I can go six months and not even think about it.  But... decide to go completely sugar free and my brain starts to crave it just because I can't have it.  Silly brain.

So today I whipped up some Almond Joy Bites.  Sugar Free and quite easy.  It's funny though, after I mixed them up and made 8 bite sized candies to set on foil, I scraped the last of the chocolate mixture out of the bowl (about a half teaspoon), ate it....  and had no craving for any more.  See?  It's all mental.  :)

Sugar Free Almond Joy Bites

1/3 c Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
1/4 c Shredded Coconut  (Unsweetened)
1 t Torani Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup
1/4 c Almonds, Unroasted & Unsalted 

Amounts are up to you.  This is approximately what I used and it made 8 little inch rounds or bites.  If you added a bit more or less coconut or almonds or even vanilla syrup, you can adjust it to your personal taste.

Chop the almonds either by the edge of a rolling pin in a ziploc or with a chopper.  Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave 1 minute, stir.  If it's not quite melted, give it another 15 seconds.  Stir again.  Drop by spoonfuls onto foil.  You can leave them free form or shape them a bit with your fingers to make them round.  Let them set to harden for about an hour or put them in the refrigerator for a quick set.  I got 8 rounds from this amount.



*If you don't care about sugar; just use regular chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

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Plum Sauce for Wontons, Eggrolls and More

Making our favorite Cream Cheese Wontons - Terrific with Plum Sauce
Before we relocated to our new home, we used to live near a Chinese restaurant that would let you do a pick up order just for their amazing plum sauce.  Although similar, it seems every restaurant or fast food we've ever had plum sauce at makes it just a little bit different.  Some, I suspect just use plum jam or jelly, which is actually just fine, but we like it with just a hint of spice.  If you've made my Cream Cheese Wontons or perhaps the recipe for Meatballs in Plum Sauce then perhaps you already know the yumminess of a good plum sauce.   This version is so easy because it doesn't even have to be simmered or cooked.  Just whip it up in a minute and serve!

Plum Sauce

3/4 dark plum jam
1 T rice vinegar
1T dark soy sauce
1/2 t chili sauce

Combine and mix with a whisk. Serve with eggrolls, spring rolls, wontons and more.
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Brussels Sprouts


I've posted previously about how much I love Brussels Sprouts made this way but I know I have new readers every day and I just love them so much I'm happy to repost since I just made these again this week.  My husband hates Brussels Sprouts but he will eat about 3 or 4 when I make them this way. I eat enough for both of us and then have the leftovers the next day. 

Make sure you allow them to cook long enough on each side to get nice and dark, caramelized and crisp.  You can add just a smidgen of sugar or brown sugar if you wish to start the caramelization process.


Brussels Sprouts
Butter
Olive Oil
Fresh minced garlic
Smidgen of sugar or brown sugar if you wish to start the caramelization process
Salt and Pepper

Cook sprouts in a pan or microwave until just tender.  Heat a dollop of butter and about a tablespoon of  olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Add the sprouts.  Turn the heat down a bit and let them cook, stirring once in a while until they are golden brown and the butter starts to caramelize them.  Add the garlic in the last 3 minutes of cooking as you don't want it to burn and get bitter.  Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
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3/29/12

FREE GIVEAWAY NUMBER ONE IS HERE! Tweet to win a FREE ham just in time for Easter!

UPDATED: Contest is now closed. Watch for another free giveaway contest coming soon!



Everyone has traditions in their family.  Roasted Turkey for Thanksgiving, Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve and an Easter Ham are just a few from our family.   This Easter let's celebrate some new and sophisticated recipes for our much loved ham

The National Pork Board offers not only great information and tips but recipes!  Perk up your pork with one of their featured recipes:   

And thanks to the National Pork Board for supplying the prize coupon, I have a free ham to give away to one lucky follower!

Thyme-Basted Ham with Roasted Grapes


What do you do to win an Easter ham valued up to $30?

Just follow me on Twitter and retweet this awesome contest to win!
Those who are followers of AmericHousewife and retweet this contest (including copying me @Americhousewife  of course so I know!) will be entered into a random
drawing to win a ham valued up to $30.

 

 



Winner's name will be randomly drawn on Saturday, March 31st at noon CST.  
Winner will be direct messaged through Twitter and/or email to let them know they have won and to get the mailing information for the prize coupon.
Prize supplied by National Pork Board and mailed direct to winner in the form of a coupon to be redeemed at your local grocery store in 2012.  
One prize will be given. If the winner does not respond to my tweet and/or email within 24 hours a new name will be drawn.





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Homemade Wonton Chips


I don't know what I can say to get you to try making these 'chips' but if you do, you'll probably thank me. So crispy and so good! You only need one ingredient and then oil to fry them. That's it. How can something so simple be so good?

I love these dipped into a cream cheese and banana pepper or cream cheese and jalapeno pepper dip or cheese ball. But they are crazy good dipped in a plum sauce or duck sauce and of course a bit of soy sauce on them isn't bad either!  I don't even salt these or use any seasonings on them.  They don't need it.


Wonton Chips

1 pkg. egg roll wrappers or wonton wrappers
hot oil to cook them in

If you are using wonton wrappers, just cut them in half from tip to tip to form 2 triangles.  If using larger egg roll wrappers, cut in half from corner to corner and continue slicing in halves until you have 8 triangles out of each egg roll square.  Heat your oil to medium high hot - which if you drip a drop of water into the oil it will bubble and spit.  Fry about 8 triangles at a time, flipping both sides til golden and crisp.  Drain on paper towels and serve plain or with a dip or sauce.  If your chips are getting too dark too fast it means your oil is too hot.  Turn it down a bit.  They should take about 30 seconds for each side. 


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3/28/12

Low Carb Cheese Biscuits

A low carb, no sugar biscuit with melted cheese

I'm currently waiting on an online order of baking products including coconut flour, which I intend to use to tweak to see if I can make a great Southern style biscuit recipe I'm happy with.  In the meantime, I wanted biscuits and I didn't want to wait for my order to be delivered.  I decided to make due with a Red Lobster style cheese biscuit.

I have a recipe from about 2005 that calls for Soy Flour, which I find the flavor to be too strong for me and I don't care for it.  So, I used it as a brainstorming guide, but played with ingredients and came up with these using a low-carb baking mix I already had on hand and adding three other ingredients.

My final thought on this version is it is very close to a Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit if you don't cut them and just drop them on the baking sheet.  I wanted to use mine for a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit so I patted them out to a rectangle and cut them into rounds.  I also added an extra slice of cheese on each to melt on top.

The flavor is definitely the whole grain, low carb taste you have to expect when using a low carb bake mix, however it's not as strong as soy flour.  I would make these again if I'm serving them with a soup or a meal like I would order from Red Lobster.  Not a bad low carb, sugar free version of a drop biscuit.  I'm still going to play around with using coconut flour though after I get my online order.

Low Carb Cheese Biscuit

3/4 c Bob's Red Mill Low-Carb Baking Mix
1/4 c Almond Meal
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 t baking powder
1 t Splenda
1/2 t powdered garlic
1 egg
1/4 c heavy cream or half and half


Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.  Stir in the cheese.  Blend the egg and cream in a small dish or mug and add to the dry mix.  Roll or pat the dough out to about 8X8" and either cut into squares, cut with a small biscuit cutter, or if you don't want to pat it out, use a tablespoon and make 'drop biscuits' straight onto the baking sheet.

Bake on a greased baking sheet at 375F about 10 minutes until golden brown.  I placed a slice of cheddar on each biscuit before baking, which you can see in the photos.




Stir the cheese into the dry mixture

When it forms a dough, pat or roll it out to cut if you don't want to do a drop biscuit

I cut mine into circles

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Cream Cheese and Jalapeno Won Ton Poppers

Jalapenos - chopped and ready to meet the cream cheese


Jalapenos and cream cheese... it's a beautiful marriage of flavors.  Wrap them up in wonton wrappers and it's a match made in heaven.  So easy yet so incredible.  I typically use the small wonton wrappers but this time I had some large sized egg roll wrappers on hand.  I decided to wrap them like a spring roll and enjoy a 'bigger' popper. 

I threw this together the other night.  No recipe needed or used of course since it only used a few ingredients.  You can add to it if you wish.  Play with the recipe and see what you think.  Unfortunately we were so busy eating them all that I didn't get a picture of the finished product. 





Cream Cheese Jalapeno Poppers

1 package wonton wraps or egg roll wrappers
1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
Jalapenos - fresh, canned or jarred.  Amount is up to you.  Taste for your desired 'hotness'
Garlic - again it's up to you.  Start with 1 teaspoon minced or about 1/2 t dried powder and adjust
Onion powder (about 1/2 teaspoon) you can leave this out if you wish or add minced fresh green onion

Soften cream cheese in dish in the microwave for just 20 seconds or so.  Chop the jalapenos and mix together.  Add the garlic and/or onion powder if you are using them.   Lay a wrapper out on your desired surface (baking sheet, parchment, foil, plastic wrap) and place a small amount in the center.  If you are using a square wonton wrapper, see the triangle fold below; If you are using an egg roll wrapper, see the wrapped photo below.  Seal the edges with water or beaten egg white.  Fry in hot oil until golden brown, flipping to both sides evenly.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve. 


These are cream cheese wontons made with wonton wrappers (another post) but it shows how to fold the triangle shapes.





This was when I made them using egg roll wrappers.

Place filling center. Pull bottom edge up and over. Fold each side in then roll from bottom up and fold top down like an envelope or a burrito.  Seal the envelope with your finger dipped in water on the edge.




Ready for the oil


Fry golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot.





If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - American Housewife at Amazon
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3/27/12

So Excited! Not one but TWO giveaways coming up!

Today I entered into agreements with two fabulous companies to offer giveaways on this website... one you're going to want for Easter and the second you'll want anytime - but it's going to be especially fabulous this summer.

I'll be announcing the first giveaway within the next few days on my site and on Twitter - so be sure you are hooked up on Twitter to hear about when to enter to win!








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Grilled New York Strip with Marinade Recipe

Green salad, grilled steak and sauteed mushrooms and onions
Eighty degrees and bright sunny days.  The last two days have been incredible weather wise, and last night's meal was the perfect ending to a beautiful day.

I've already posted this recipe before, but not only is it the one we use the most, but you can play with it to make it yours.  Last night I used Grape Seed Oil, powdered garlic and Brown Sugar Twin and it was still just as incredible as always.

Steak Marinade

1/3 c soy sauce
2 T  oil
1 T brown sugar
3/4 t garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
1 t ground ginger
1 t seasoning salt (like Lawry's) 

Mix all ingredients, whisk until blended and cover your favorite steaks with it.  I find it easy to use a gallon sized Ziploc baggy - place 4 or 5 steaks in it, add the marinade, flip it over a couple times to cover the meat and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, (up to about 3-4 hours).  Turn often to make sure the meat is marinated evenly.  Grill as usual to your favorite level of 'done'.



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3/26/12

Taco Ring on a Pizza Stone

Image from Taste of Home
Although I'm not a home party person, I've been wrangled into attending a couple in my time (although fewer than the average woman I bet! Ha).  About ten years ago I agreed to go to a friends Pampered Chef party and she served the Southwestern Chicken version of this ring-dish.  It was really delicious and easy to make and I truly liked it - although we've only had it once or twice since then because I never have store bought crescent rolls on hand.

This is the same idea, but it's the Taco Ring version.  When I made this I didn't take a picture so I had to find one online.  Sorry about that!  But I wanted to show you what it looks like.

Use taco meat as the filling and filling typical taco toppings.  It is a spin on 'taco pizza' and is quite good, although a bit messy to serve.  You can also replace the ground beef with cooked and shredded or diced chicken.  Remember, I always say to use a recipe as a guide or an idea and then play with your food! 


Taco Ring

1 lb. ground beef
1 package dry taco seasoning mix
2 T water
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 8-oz cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 c salsa
3 - 4 c lettuce, shredded
1 tomato, diced
1/4 - 1/3 c chopped onion
1 - 4 oz. can sliced black olives
sour cream and guacamole


Brown and drain the ground beef, add taco seasoning mix and water.  Simmer about 5 minutes.  Unroll the crescent dough; separate into triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on a pizza pan with the wide ends toward the center of the pan, overlapping each other and the ends pointing out like the rays of the sun.

Spoon the meat mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle. Bring points of triangles up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough.  Bake 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.  To the open circle center of the ring place the rest of the ingredients;  lettuce, cheese, diced green pepper, tomato, olives and onions. Top with sour cream and guacamole or serve it along side for people to add their own.
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White Cake Mix Cookies

A few years ago not too many people had heard of using a cake mix to make a simple but delicious cookie. The thought was you either had to make them from scratch, buy cookie dough in the refrigerated section of the grocery store or there were a couple cookie 'mixes' on the market (not like now where there are 20 different cookie mixes you can buy). Someone, at some point used a cake mix to make cookies and the idea caught on.

Now, almost everyone knows about this quick and easy tip - but just in case you don't, this one is for you! Quick and easy cookies from a mix. I've posted this before (as well as my chocolate, lemon and snicker doodle varieties - you can use the SEARCH bar to the right to browse if you wish) but a good recipe is worth posting again. Enjoy!


White Cake Mix Cookies

1 dry white cake mix
1/3 c oil
2 eggs
1/4 c flour *if* it's too soft to hold it's shape


Mix the cake mix, oil and eggs. If it's too soft to make small balls add just a bit of flour, no more than 1/4 cup. Form into balls, flatten slightly and bake on parchment in pre-heated 350 degree oven. Cool slightly and frost to decorate.
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3/25/12

Homemade Twix Candy Bars (that really taste like Twix)


Yesterday I went to the store to purchase "Easter Bunny" goodies for baskets.  Since two of my kids are in college now I also bundle up surprise baskets for them and ship them to them at school.  For the most part I'm not a candy or sweet lover so I can make up baskets without snitching any.  No Snickers or KitKats call my name and I can easily bypass all the goodies... except Twix. 


I bought mini Twix for the baskets and after dividing them evenly between the three kids there was one left.  We couldn't have that now could we?  I had to do the only fair thing... eat it.  (Not doing sugar free yet until tomorrow so I was still in my safe zone! Ha).  Yes, Twix are beloved by me and my family.  Luckily for me I found this homemade Twix recipe about 16 years ago and not only have I been making them ever since, they really do taste like the candy bar!  A Christmas favorite around here.



*Start with Walker's Shortbread  as they look and taste like a real Twix center.  But if you can't find them locally and don't want to order them, you can find square Lorna Doon cookies in your grocery store that will work too. 


Twix Candy Bars

35 caramels - unwrapped
2 12-oz. bags milk chocolate chips
1/4 c water
1 box Walkers Shortbread Fingers 

Combine the caramels with the water in a small pan and melt over low heat.  Place the shortbread cookies side by side on an ungreased or lined cookie sheet.  Spoon a dab of the melted caramel on the cookie.  Place all cookies in the refrigerator until firm.  Melt the chocolate chips in a double broiler or in the microwave.  Remove cookies from the refrigerator and dip each one into the melted chocolate.  Tap off excess and place on wax paper.  Let them set up at room temperature - can take up to several hours depending on the heat and humidity of your home.
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3/24/12

Whipped Cream Fruit Salad



This is what I call a 'back pocket' recipe.  A recipe you keep in your back pocket to pull out when you need to use up something, or need a very quick last minute addition to a meal, etc.  This is actually something my Grandma would make so when I think about it, it's usually a childhood memory of eating this while I was barely able to see over the edge of the kitchen table and my elbows were pretty much at the same level as my ears.

Don't worry about amounts and feel free to go crazy to add what you wish.  I made this the other night to use up some Yellow Delicious apples my daughter had insisted we buy because she loves them and was going to eat all of them.  No one else in our household likes Yellow Delicious apples.  She didn't, and I was left with two lonely, pathetic looking apples.  I mixed it with a crunchy Braeburn apple and a banana.  You can also add sweet things if you are so inclined.  My Mom likes to make this with chopped up Snickers candy bars.


Whipped Cream Fruit Salad

Heavy Cream (plus a bit of vanilla and sweetener) OR if you are Cool Whip kind of person, use that
Fruit:  apples, bananas, Mandarin oranges, grapes, etc.
*optional;  chopped up Snickers candy bars, mini marshmallows

Whip the cream and add vanilla and sugar or Splenda to taste.  I like about 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar or Splenda per cup of heavy cream with about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Start with 1 tablespoon, taste, and add by 1/2 tablespoons until it's as sweet as you like.

Stir in various chopped or diced fruit.   Apples and Snicker bars are my Mom's favorite.  When I make this I tend to stick with all fruit.  Serve right away or chill until needed.
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Pink Grapefruit Margaritas

I have been waiting forever to post this from deep in my files.  I was going to post it last summer but those of you who have been around An American Housewife for a while know that my husband was relocated 1,000 miles away last May and I was suddenly thrust into a busy world of working full time, single parenting three kids and selling our home, yada yada.  My website and posts from last summer weren't really what I had planned back in April before our world shifted.  Believe me, I didn't have time for a Pink Grapefruit Margarita last summer - although I probably needed one. Or three.  :)

I had kept a photo in my files of this drink forever but ironically, I cleaned out my files about 2 months ago and deleted the image.  My bad.  So... I just used the internet to get a image this morning.


Pink Grapefruit Margaritas


1 c  ruby red grapefruit juice
1/2 c  fresh squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 c  triple sec orange liqueur
3 c  ice
1 c  silver tequila
1 lime cut in wedges, optional Kosher salt

Rim the glasses with a lime wedge and dip in salt.  Set aside.  Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, triple sec and ice in a blender. Pour in the tequila, stir.
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3/23/12

Homemade Stuffed Pizza Bites

Homemade Stuffed Pizza Bites

When my husband and I were first married (eons ago!) I was intimidated by the use of yeast in recipes so if we were to have any sort of homemade pizza in our home it came from a horrible dry pizza mix you add water to or the canned refrigerated version.  Since we had very little money, I rarely splurged on a luxury like canned pizza dough but when I did, there was a favorite my husband liked;  Pizza Pockets.  Large rectangles full of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese sealed on the edges with a fork.

Over the years I've made the pockets a few times (and I'm happy to say I've mastered yeast by now) but I guess by the time our family was full of teenagers it was just easier to make pizza into... pizza.  Last night I made pizza bites by request from my 16 year old daughter.  Instead of large rectangles, they were made into smaller 2-bite rounds.  I also splurged on the canned pizza dough, which made them SO fast and easy to whip up.  I used mozzarella sticks because they are easier to slice and fill the pockets, whereas grated or shredded mozzarella tends to go all over and want to poke out the edges.  You can use smaller Hormel style pepperoni which will fit perfectly, but I use deli pepperoni, which is large so I had to quarter mine.  Play with the recipe.  Make it yours.

Homemade Stuffed Pizza Bites

1 can refrigerated pizza dough or homemade dough for 1 crust
6 mozzarella sticks, string cheese or about 1 1/2 cups of grated or shredded
Pepperoni pizza slices (or your choice of filling; sausage, etc.)
2 T butter
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1 scant t bottled minced garlic)
1/2 t dried Italian Spice mix
3 T grated Parmesan cheese

Roll out the crust to a rectangle on parchment paper or a lightly floured surface.  Cut it in half, then each half in half, and again.  This gives you even columns.  Now slice into 3 rows.  You should have 24 pieces roughly square shaped.  Top each with a couple slices pepperoni or a little bit of your favorite filling and about 2 or 3 pieces of mozzarella cheese, depending on how small you sliced them.  Fold the corners together and pinch the edges to form a ball.  Make sure they are sealed so the cheese doesn't leak out when cooking.  Place seam side down in a greased or sprayed 9X9 ish sized baking pan.  I used a round deep dish pizza stone.  Now melt the butter, garlic and seasoning in a small cup or dish in the microwave and spoon or brush over the balls of dough in the pan.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 425 for about 16 minutes or until golden brown and done.  Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.


Filling each dough square/rectangle with pepperoni and mozzarella

Sealed into little balls, in a baking dish, topped with butter and ready to bake!



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3/22/12

Birthday Cake Pancakes

Image and idea from Betty Crocker's website


I guess I'm a little goofy in the fact that I don't really crave sweets like most people apparently do, and of course if you are a regular reader, you already know I'm not a fan of chocolate.  However, there is something I love and have since I was a child;  white cake batter.  Not the cake - just the batter!

When I started to see various versions of cake batter and birthday cake pancakes around the net I was reminded of when my kids were little and I would surprise them by putting sprinkles in their regular pancakes.  This takes it one step further and adds a bit of cake flavor to the pancake as well.  We are getting ready to do low carb again so these aren't going to be on our menu any time soon but I wanted to add the idea to my files.  This little gem will be waiting for us at the end of our 2 month low carbing run!   Thanks to Betty Crocker for the image since I've not made them yet but because the BC recipe used Bisquik (which I never buy or have on hand) I found a recipe that uses homemade ingredients in addition to the cake mix.  I already know I'm going to tweak it to use a white cake mix, a little more of the mix for a heavier cake flavor and I'll use Splenda and a tiny bit more vanilla. 

Birthday Cake Pancakes

1 1/2 c  all purpose flour
2/3 c  yellow cake mix
1 T sugar
3/4 t  baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 t  vanilla extract
1-2 c milk
assorted sprinkles


Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add 1 cup of milk, egg and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.  Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if needed for a cake batter like consistency.

Preheat a skillet or electric grill. Fold desired amount of sprinkles into batter. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with vanilla glaze.


Simple Glaze

1 c  powdered sugar
1 T milk
1/2 t vanilla extract
assorted sprinkles

Mix milk, extract and powdered sugar until glaze forms. Add more powdered sugar or milk to your desired consistency. Mix into glaze and drizzle on pancakes. Sprinkle with candies.











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