Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Marlboro Man's Sandwiches

Although I oversalted dinner tonight (I'm not used to using salted butter :)), our Marlboro Man sandwiches from Pioneer Woman were still really good.

This is a simple, filling meal, and we really enjoyed it, although my boys' favorite part was the baked fries. Oh well :). We also served this with some of our garden green beans, not pictured, but it was a great dinner. The calories for 1/4 of the total was 305 calories, including our 135 calorie rolls. Aaron gave the sandwiches a 6, and the rest of us gave them an 8, since they were really salty. I love how easy this was, and it really was tasty, especially if you have a free hand with the hot sauce. Tomorrow we're having Key Lime Donuts that we didn't have earlier this week.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicken and Zucchini and Potatoes

So tonight was not one of our favorite dinner nights, but it was pretty good. We'll start with the chicken. The recipe was Chicken with Vinegar and Garlic, and the recipe is found in the Italian Slow Cooker cookbook and here's the recipe:
Chicken with Vinegar and Garlic
Skinless, bone-in chicken (we used 2 thighs and 2 legs)
3 3 inch pieces fresh rosemary
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 c beef broth (or red wine)
2 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Salt and pepper the chicken.  Place the chicken in the crockpot, arrange tomatoes, garlic, and rosemary around chicken.  Pour broth and vinegar over everything.  Cook on low for at least 5 hours, better if longer.
We liked this alright, it had a pretty good, if muted flavor, and it was super easy. Owen gave it an 8, and the rest of us gave it a 7. The calories are 305/serving.

Our veggie for tonight was not great.  It was also found in the Italian Slowcooker cookbook, and part of the problem was mine.  I didn't check which setting to place the crockpot on, so I put it on low and the veggies didn't get done.  Sigh...Anyway, here's the recipe:
Zucchini and Potatoes:
2 zucchinis
1 onion
2 potatoes
1/2 t oregano
1/4 c water
1 T olive oil

Place everything in crockpot and cook for 1 1/2-2 hours on high.  Make sure potatoes are done before serving.
I can't fairly rate this, because of having to microwave the veggies and still not having the potatoes done, but what we had only got a 3 from Aaron, a 4 from me, and Owen gave it an 8 and Noah a 5. Besides Owen we really didn't like this. The potatoes were bland, and everything except the zucchini was undercooked. The total calories for 1/6 of the total were 99. Try it and let me know if it's better when it's cooked correctly :).
Tomorrow we're having PW's Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pork, Potatoes, Rolls and Cookies

Tonight we had some delicious food! We had a recipe from Our Best Bites cookbook for pork, and this was so great. Here's the recipe:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin

4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb Pork Loin Roast
1 1/2 t balsamic vinegar
2 t olive oil

Mix first four ingredients together and smoosh it all over the pork.  Place the pork in a sealable bag.  Mix together the vinegar and oil.  Pour over the pork.  Marinate for 4-10 hours.  Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes (according to the recipe, mine took a LOT longer) or until the pork reaches at least 135 degrees.  Let rest a few minutes, then serve. 

For six servings, the calorie count is 125/serving. Great, easy, and super moist and delicious. The boys gave this a perfect 10, Aaron and I gave it a 9.  Noah even asked for seconds.
Next we had Perfect Potatoes au Gratin from the Pioneer Woman.  This was also easy and delicious, and we will be having this again.  Aaron said it is his favorite potato recipe he's had in a long time.  The calories are 231 for 1/12 of the 9x13 pan.  Aaron and I gave this a 9, the boys gave it a perfect 10 again.

These rolls are fool proof and amazing.   They are Buttered Rosemary Rolls from the Pioneer Woman, and they are not even a recipe, just a really great idea for using Rhodes dinner rolls.  We loved these.  They are 135/roll (the calories depend on how many rolls you make, we made 9) and everyone gave these a perfect 10.  So good.
Last but not least come the cookies. We got this recipe from Baking From My Home To Yours from Dorie Greenspan. These are incredibly chocolatey and delicious. Here's the recipe:
Chocolate Chunkers
1/3 c flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
3 T butter, chopped into 3 pieces
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz white chips (or milk chocolate chips)
1 c cherry Craisins (Dori calls for raisins or apricots)
(Dori also calls for 1 1/2 c coarsely chopped nuts.  Because I can't send any nuts to school, we went nut free)

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.  (I just whisked them together, I missed the whole sifting thing :))
Melt butter and chocolate together til smooth and shiny.  Set it on the counter to cool.
Beat together the eggs and the sugar until pale and foamy, about 2 minutes with a stand mixer.  Beat in the vanilla and scrape down the bowl.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the chocolate butter mixture.  Mix until just incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl again and add the dry ingredients.  Mix until the dry ingredients disappear into the dough, which will be thick, smooth and shiny.  Mix in the chunks.  Drop by spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes (I only needed 10), then remove from sheet to cool. 

My recipe made 24 cookies, and each cookie was 189 calories.  Aaron gave these an 8, saying he wasn't too sure about the fruit but thought they were great.  Owen and I gave them a 9, and Noah gave them a perfect 10.  It's nice he likes all my food so much :)  Don't those cookies look great!  I wish I could eat more of them, too bad they aren't calorie free.

Tomorrow we're having some crockpot chicken and crockpot veggies.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sticky Sticky Buns

We had a birthday celebration for my mother today, and she doesn't like cake, so my father put me in charge of making the "birthday cake," and after remembering, fondly, our mutual love of Cinnabon, I decided to make her some goody sticky buns.  In the Throwdown cookbook they are called Sticky Sticky Buns, and they are divine.  I had never made brioche before, and I am now a changed woman.  Brioche is what all sweet rolls should be made out of, don't even bother worrying about the calories.  These buns are delicious.  My dad said out of 10 they were a 15.  My mother, myself and Noah gave them a 10, and Owen and Aaron (who does NOT like any kind of roll like this) gave them a 9.  So in other words, these were awesome.  The brioche recipe I linked to is a double batch, so either cut it in half or double the goo and filling ingredients.  I cut these way smaller than the recipe called for, the said to make 8 sticky buns and I made 20, so yeah, a lot different, but my sticky buns were only 340 (only!) calories, while the original recipe for 8 sticky buns was around 900/roll.  I think I'll stick with the smaller rolls :).  I didn't mind the large amount of proofing time, it was worth it.  These are special occasion food for us, since we can't eat all of them, but if you want some, call me up and I'll make you some and save one or two for myself :).

Tomorrow we're having some pork, potatoes, rolls, and corn from my dad's garden (thanks Dad!), and some cookies for school next week.  The donuts will have to show up later this week, we aren't having them tonight.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss

We had Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss tonight from Rachael Ray.  I thought this would for sure be Aaron's favorite, but he didn't enjoy it very much.  I don't know if it was the not very strong lemon taste, or the parsley which tasted a little too strong for me, but he just didn't enjoy it very much.  I cut down on the oil/butter, and added more chicken broth instead of wine, but otherwise left the recipe as is.  The calories were split into 6 servings, 286/serving, and most of us enjoyed this with some steamed broccoli on the side.  Aaron gave this a 6, I gave it an 8, and the boys both gave it a 9.  We probably won't be having this again, but it was a good dinner overall. 

Tomorrow we're having some Sticky Buns and Key Lime Donuts.  Hooray!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Basil Cream Chicken and Crash Hot Potatoes

We had our most favorite family chicken dish tonight. Luckily, it turned out alright, even though I was caught up in an amazing book rather than deglazing my pan and checking on the chicken like I was supposed to be. This recipe still survived my lack of attention, and we all gave it a perfect 10, so I would recommend making this dinner to anyone. Here's the recipe:
Basil Cream Chicken:
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1-2 T butter
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 green onions
1/4 c bread crumbs
Basil, seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper
1/2 c chicken broth
1 c heavy cream
10 leaves (more or less) basil, chopped
1/8 t pepper
1/2 c parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Heat the butter in an oven-safe pan and add in onions and garlic.  Mix the seasonings to taste with the bread crumbs and coat the chicken.  Brown the chicken in the butter, then place covered pan in the preheated oven.  When you are ready to eat, remove pan from the oven and chicken from the pan.  Deglaze the pan with 1/2 c chicken broth.  Reduce it by half and add in the cream.  Boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to low.  Add in the basil, pepper, and paremsan cheese, and stir together.  Serve with the chicken.
This is approximately 350 calories/serving for 5 servings, depending on amounts.  A great dinner, and so delicious.
We also had Crash Hot Potatoes tonight, which we all gave a 9, except for Aaron who gave it an 8.  These were good, crunchy, simple potatoes, and we'll definitely have them again.  I took 6 regular gold potatoes and cut them in half, then followed the recipe, except I sprayed the pan with non-stick cook spray, and just used 3 T olive oil over the potatoes.  The calories per potato half are 86/half, and there were 12 servings.  The green bean casserole will be another night, we had garden tomatoes and carrots for vegetable.

Tomorrow we're having Chicken Picatta Pasta Toss.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Filled Muffins

We had Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Filled Muffins today.  These are yummy, easy, and filling.  They have a great chocolatey flavor, but aren't overpowering, and the cream cheese center adds a nice treat.  Owen and Noah gave them a perfect 10, and I gave them a 9.  These are 304 calories each, and they are easy enough for anyone to make.  I changed the recipe slightly, I added 3/4 c sour cream and only 1/4 c canola oil, but otherwise the recipe I made is exactly the same as the recipe link. 

Tomorrow we're having a chicken dish with green beans and potatoes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Clam Chowder and Cheddar Muffins

We had some delicious clam chowder tonight and some White Cheddar Muffins to go with it.  Here is the recipe for clam chowder.  It's totally basic, a recipe I grew up with, and is as simple as you get.

Clam Chowder

1 6-8 oz can chopped clams with juice
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium gold potatoes, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 c chicken broth
6 T butter
3/8 c flour
1 1/2 c skim milk
1/2 c cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot, place potatoes, celery, onions, clams, chicken broth and clam juice.  Make sure veggies are all covered with broth, if not, add more.  Boil and simmer until all veggies are tender.  Make a white sauce with the butter and flour and milk and cream.  Mix the white sauce into the veggies and broth, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

We love this recipe, it's so easy and satisfying, and we split this into 6 servings.  Each serving is 299 calories, and we gave this soup a 9.

The muffins were pretty good, but I felt like the rosemary overpowered the cheddar flavor.  I used extra sharp cheddar instead of white cheddar, adn the rest of the recipe I followed exactly.  I liked the texture of these muffins, but I think chives or onions would go better in these muffins.  We gave them an 8, and since I got 12 muffins out of the recipe the calories were 195/muffin.

Tomorrow we're having some chocolate muffins.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Beef Taquitos

We had Beef Taquitos tonight from Our Best Bites.  A couple of weeks ago we had chicken taquitos from Our Best Bites, and the beef ones were so much better.  I cooked my beef in the slow cooker with some garlic salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, coriander and the juice from half a lime.  I cooked it all day, since I had used a tough cut of meat, and then shredded it at the end. 
I followed the recipe as stated on the website, only substituting a jalapeno for green chilis and the calories for each taquito were 145/taquito.
Owen gave the taquitos a 10, Aaron and I gave them a 9, and Noah gave them an 8.  We had some salad, some avocado, some tomatoes and some leftover chili rice to round out our dinner, and everyone really enjoyed dinner tonight.  These were easy and I will definitely make them again.

Tomorrow we're having clam chowder and cheddar muffins.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gorilla Bread and Malted Chocolate Chip Bars

We had some yummy, fattening food tonight :) Gorilla bread is porbably one of those things made to send me off of my diet. I love sweet bready food, and this just takes the top prize for being over the top delicious.   When you look at the recipe, you won't have any question about why it tastes so good.  Thanks Paula Deen for a yummy treat.  I used 16 biscuits rather than 20, and I didn't use nuts because I don't like nuts, but otherwise the recipe is the same.  There are 358 calories/biscuit (ouch!), and we gave them a 9 (Aaron and Owen), and a 10 (Vicki and Noah).

We also made cookies for the coming week, and the recipe is Loaded Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.  These are good and easy, but they are calorific :)  I cut the recipe into 16 bars, and the calories were 306/bar.  I didn't add the marshmallow bits, and I just processed an entire 5 oz box of Whoppers and added them without measuring.  These are chocolatey and delicious, the boys gave them a 9 and Aaron gave them an 8, since they weren't  Tollhouse cookies.
Tomorrow we're having beef taquitos.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicken and Noodles and Seafood Tacos

We were at my parents' house this weekend, and tried different food with them, so we get extra votes today :) We'll start with dinner. We had Chicken and Noodles from the Pioneer Woman.
These are classic comfort food. Everyone except for Aaron really liked them, and it got a solid 9 from everyone except for Aaron, who gave it a 6. My dad said he would've given it a 10 if the noodles had cooked a little longer. Sorry Dad, we were hungry :) Still, delicious and easy, perfect for a rainy Saturday night. The calories for 1 serving (I divided it into 12) were 250, and I used 4 oz more noodles than the recipe called for.

Here are the simple fish and shrimp taco recipes I made.
Fish Taco Meat

12 oz fish (I used tilapia)
1-2 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t coriander
Salt and Pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1 T olive oil

Heat olive oil in a skillet.  Season fish with spices to taste.  Place in pan and cook on one side, then flip and squirt lime juice all over.  Break up and serve with desired toppings.

Shrimp Taco Meat

1 lb shrimp
1 cup salsa (I used homemade)
1/2 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Juice of 1 Lime

Heat oil in a skillet.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper.  Place in pan and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.  Put salsa on the shrimp and then squirt in the lime juice.  Cook for about a minute more, until shrimp is cooked through.  Serve with desired toppings.

We gave the fish an 8, and the shrimp a 9.  The calories are 90 for 1/6 of the shrimp and 78 for 1/6 of the fish. 

Tomorrow we're having gorilla bread and some cookies.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chocolate Glazed Baked Donuts

Donuts!  These donuts actually worked, and man were they great!  We found this recipe at tastykitchen.com, and they are Chocolate Glazed Baked Doughnuts.  Aaron said they are the best donuts he has ever eaten, including store bought ones.  He gave them a 10.  I also gave them a 10.  I altered the recipe a little, I left out the nutmeg and cinnamon in the donut recipe and added 1 t vanilla to it instead, and these baked up so well.  The calories were 513/donut, but I didn't use all the glaze the recipe called for, so I'm not exactly sure how many calories each donut were.  Regardless, the donuts are lots of calories, and worth every one.  I hope you can try them!  We're having some fish tacos and some chicken noodle soup tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chili Rice

We had Chili Rice tonight!  This was delicious!  It got a perfect 10 from everyone except Aaron who gave it a 9, becaue it didn't have enough meat in it.  We had this with corn on the cob, and everyone was super happy!  This was a fast, easy to make, flavorful dinner and we all really enjoyed it.  The only problem I had with the recipe was the amount of servings it said the recipe made--4-6.  I followed the recipe exactly except I used only one bell pepper and less oil, and when the recipe was done, we had more like 12 servings.  So the calorie count for 12 servings was 294/serving.  My kids didn't even mind the spice!  We'll definitely have this again.

Tomorrow we're having a seafood stew and some cheddar muffins.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cranberry Orange Cake Donuts

So today we had a spectacular flop :(  I made donuts for the boys for breakfast, and this is what they ended up looking like:
These were supposed to be Cranberry Orange Cake Donuts, and they are moist and super flavorful, really great flavor, I just could not get them to stay together.  I tried taking them out when warm, when that didn't work with the first one, I tried taking them out when totally cool.  Here are the results.  Six donuts made into crumbs.  I give this recipe a 4, because of the great flavor and the low calorie count, only 135 calories/donut, but the falling apart obviously doesn't work.  I did halve the recipe, and maybe that was the problem, who knows.  We won't be making this one again.  Tomorrow we're trying chili rice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Spinach Chicken Stromboli

We had Spinach Chicken Stromboli tonight, using a recipe I got out of the Our Best Bites cookbook.  I made some quick marinara sauce to go along with the stromboli, and it was a big hit in our house.  Owen gave it a 10, Noah and I gave it a 9, and Aaron gave it an 8.  There were 10 servings, and the calories were 298/serving.  Here's the recipe:

Spinach Chicken Stromboli (from Our Best Bites cookbook)
1 recipe pizza dough (just use your favorite, Here's where you can find the recipe I used)
2 c shredded chicken (I cooked mine in the crockpot with italian seasoning, then when cooked through I shredded it)
2 t olive oil
Italian seasonings to taste (I used garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, salt and pepper)
1 oz parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese
2 roma tomatoes
2 c chopped spinach (I used some bitter greens from our garden)

Roll out pizza dough.  Brush with 1 1/2 t olive oil, then sprinkle with some Italian seasonings and half the Parmesan cheese.  Then put in the chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes and spinach.  Mix it all together and roll the dough like a cinnamon roll over the toppings.  Place on a greased cookie sheet, put remaining 1/2 t olive oil on the pizza and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Let cool at least 10 minutes.  Serve with your favorite pizza sauce.

This was not much work, and super delicious.  We really liked it, and we'll have it again with different toppings.

Tomorrow we're having some baked orange cranberry donuts.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Teriyaki Bites and Cheesecake

Today was a busy day, but we had fun making a special dinner for Owen who had his first day of first grade today! Noah and I missed him like crazy, but we'll adjust, right? Anyway, here's our dinner tonight, you can find it at ourbestbites.com. We had Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Skewers, and we made them appetizer size rather than skewer size.  The chicken and bacon received a perfecct 10, but Owen and Aaron didn't like the pineapple as much so the whole toothpick received a 9.  Noah and I gave it a 10 even with the pineapple.  These were delicious, easy, and super fun for the boys.  They are also only 66 calories per toothpick, when you make 24 little bites. We also had tater tots which the boys in our family, including Aaron, swear are the perfect food :).

Now onto our special dessert. We were watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay, I love cooking shows and the boys have decided they like them too, anyway, we were watching the cheesecake episode, and Owen said he had to try the Caramel Apple Cheesecake.  Owen is not super into desserts, so I wasn't sure how well this would go over, but I told him for his first day back at school we'd have this cake.  So Noah and I made it, and Noah and I gave it a 10.  Owen gave it an 8, and Aaron gave it a 6, since we all know Aaron doesn't like desserts.
This was fun to make, although time consuming, and I only made tiny alterations. I didn't have walnuts so I used pecans in the crust, and didn't add any nuts on top, so I used 1/2 the nuts the recipe called for. I also don't cook with alcohol, so I used some cider instead, and I think it was too sweet because of that, but still delicious. Finally, I didn't have any creme fraiche so I just mixed a little sour cream and cream together and spread that on top of the cheesecake. The calories for 16 servings were approximately 550/serving. We had to watch what we ate so we could afford a slice of this cheesecake. This is worth making and definitely worth the calories to eat it. Yum!

Tomorrow we're having Chicken Spinach Stromboli.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chicken Salad and Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

We had some yummy recipes today! For breakfast we had some apple stuffed rolls from Ourbestbites.com, and the recipe is a take on their pizza rolls.  It's found in their cookbook, but here is the recipe.
Stuffed Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

1 package refrigerated pizza dough or 1 recipe homemade (I used homemade) pizza dough
2 c shredded green apples, about 3 apples
3 T brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1 T flour
1 T butter, melted
1 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
6 T powdered sugar
1 T butter, melted
1/4 t vanilla
1-2 t milk
Preheat oven to temperature specified in pizza recipe.  Spray a baking dish.  Roll out the pizza dough, and cut into 3 inch squares.  (I had 25 squares at the end, because I can't roll out a perfectly straight rectangle :))  Combine the shredded apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour.  Divide it evenly between your squares, and roll them up with the seam side down in the plate.  (I ended up having less filling than dough, so I made a few with some prunes.  If you like prunes, these are fabulous, if you don't try some other fruit).  Combine 1 T butter, sugar and cinnamon, then crumble over the rolls.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown on top.  Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.  While the rolls are cooling, mix together the powdered sugar, 1 T butter, vanilla and milk.  Drizzle on top of the rolls and serve.  These are best served warm, but they are great after cooling too.

We gave these an 8, and with the addition of 1/2 c prunes, the calories were 111/roll for 25 rolls.
Dinner was delicious, and also from the Our Best Bites cookbook.  It was a Spicy Honey Chicken Salad and it was fabulous.  The chicken had so much flavor, and the salad ingredients all went together really well, especially with the dressing.  We gave this a 9, and the calories for 6 servings were 456/serving.  We will definitely be having this again.  The most time-consuming part was boning and skinning the chicken, and if you bought it already boned and skinned, you would have a dinner that only took about 15 minutes.  Delicious and fast, my favorite :)

We are having some chicken and cheesecake tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Burritos and Taquitos

Let's start with lunch. Aaron made lunch for us today, hooray! He did a great job and it was nice to have someone else make food for us. We had beef and bean burritos from the Pioneer Woman, and her Grilled Corn Guacamole as well.

These were both really good, they both got perfect 10's!!!  We love when that happens.  We cut the burritos recipe in half, and made 6 burritos, so the calories were 520/burrito.  Too bad, because they are so delicious!  The guacamole was also great, the corn adding a really nice touch of sweetness.  The guacamole was split into 16 servings, with 71 calories per serving.  We had plenty of guacamole left over for dinner, and we served it with these Creamy Chicken Taquitos.
I love being able to make baked instead of fried food and having them turn out well. These were delicious, we gave them an 8 because they could have used just a bit more flavor. I made 13 taquitos from the recipe, and the calories for each were 155. I cooked the chicken in the crockpot with some homemade salsa and salt, and then shredded it. This was fast and easy, and we'll definitely make it again. Tomorrow we're having some apple rolls and a chicken salad.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Muffins, Oven Fried Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Roasted Cauliflower

I have so many recipes to share with you today! We had some breakfast food, and we tried 3 new recipes for dinner tonight. First the breakfast recipe was a recipe from the Ocean Spray website. Cranberry Blueberry Muffins I was sure were going to be divine. I was wrong :(

The batter was flavorless, and although I often like not super sweet muffins, these were not sweet enough.  I was really disappointed, we gave these a 4.  The calories are 199/muffin, since I cut the oil in half and substituted sour cream for 1/2 the oil.  I think if I added some vanilla and some lemon peel, the muffins would be better, and maybe a little more sugar.  I didn't like them enough to want to play with them though.
On to dinner!
Our potatoes tonight were Twice Baked New Potatoes from the Pioneer Woman.
These were really good, we gave them an 8, and for 8 baby potates, so 16 servings, the calories were 87/potato half.  They are small, but super tasty.

We had oven fried chicken from Cook's Illustrated's Best Recipe cookbook.  That's my favorite cookbook, and we loved this, just like all their recipes.  Here's the recipe.

Oven Fried Chicken

2 full chicken legs (2 drumsticks and 2 thighs), separated                 3.5 c buttermilk
1/4 c salt                                           1/8 c sugar
1 t paprika                                                     1 1/2 heads of garlic, separated
2 bay leaves

2 T oil                                          3/4 c bread crumbs
1 egg                         1/2 T dijon mustard
1/2 t dried thyme                              1/8 t garlic powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper                                       1/4 t oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together in a bag the sugar, salt, paprika, bay leaves, and garlic heads.  Mash them together with a rolling pin.  Add buttermilk and bagged mixture together in a large covered pot, then fully submerge the chicken.  Place in refrigerator and brine for 2-3 hours.  Remove from brine, shake off excess, and sit chicken on a wire rack over a cookie sheet in fridge for 2 hours. 
Mix together oil and bread crumbs in a shallow dish.  In another shallow dish mix together egg and mustard and the spices.  Take chicken, dip it in the egg mixture, then coat completely with the crumbs.  Place on wire rack over cookie sheet (I used a broiler pan) and repeat for all pieces of chicken.  Position oven rack to upper middle position.  Bake at 400 for 40 minutes.

This was so delicious, so flavorful, and although it took a lot of time in the fridge, it wasn't a lot of work to actually make it.  We gave this between a 9 and a 10, (2 of us gave a 9, 2 of us gave a 10), and the calories were 329/serving.

We tried oven roasted cauliflower from the Pioneer Woman's second cookbook, and we gave this an 8.  This was tasty and pretty healthy, I reduced the oil and butter to make it better for us. 

Roasted Cauliflower
1 small head cauliflower                 2 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
3/4 c panko                            2 T butter, melted

Cut up cauliflower into bite-size pieces.  Drizzle with the olive oil and salt and pepper.  Cook in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven, place in a serving dish, and cover with the panko mixed with the melted butter.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes approximately, and serve.

The calories on this were 189/serving.  It was a really yummy dinner!

Tomorrow we're having some burritos and taquitos.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beef Stew and Bread

We had this delicious Hassleback Garlic Cheesy Bread tonight, and I really enjoyed it. Noah and I thought it was a 9, and Owen and Dad thought it was a 7, so we averaged an 8. The calories for 8 servings, which is a lot of bread, was 361 calories per serving. I would definitely make this again, I would just wait until we had someone else visiting since there is a lot of bread :)

We also had beef stew, and I based it on the recipe from the Pioneer Woman's second cookbook.  However, I changed it quite a bit.  Here's my recipe:

Beef Stew
1 lb stew meat              1/2 an onion           
2 T butter       2-3 carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced               3 c beef broth
1 T Worcestershire Sauce           2 T cocktail sauce
1 T red wine vinegar               1 T flour
Salt, Pepper, and Paprika to taste        6 new potatoes

Melt butter in a soup pan.  Add seasoned stew meat (salt and pepper) and brown until browned on all sides.  Remove beef, add in onion.  After onion is softened, add in beef broth, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cocktail sauce and paprika, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 1 1/2-2 hours on low.  Add in potatoes and carrots, then cook for another 1/2-1 hour.  If sauce is too thin, take a little broth and mix it with the 1 T flour.  Mix it back in and let the stew cook a little longer.  Serve!

I figured using up cocktail sauce I made earlier this week was a good idea, and we liked how the base tasted, just a little kick from the horseradish.  I made it too salty, but we gave it an 8 anyway because it was really tasty.  We split this into 4 servings, and the calories are 463/serving. 

Tomorrow we're having some breakfast muffins and some chicken, potatoes, and cauliflower. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meatballs and Breakfast Bars

Remember on Sunday I made this Pasta Recipe?  You can find the recipe for Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce at the Pioneer Woman's website.  We didn't love this on Sunday, but we really enjoyed it today with some baked meatballs.  I took the Pioneer Woman's original meatball recipe from her 2nd cookbook and made it my own, using some Alton Brown techniques and what I had on hand.  Here's the meatball recipe

Baked Meatballs
1 lb ground beef
1/2 c panko, divided
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/8 c milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients together, reserving 1/4 c panko.  Mix until uniform.  Make 12 meatballs, roll them in the reserved panko bread crumbs, then place in the cups of a mini muffin tin.  Cook for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  Serve immediately. 

We gave these a perfect 10!  They went well with the sauce, and tasted great just by themselves.  I love serving them without having to fry them, it's healthier and less mess.  Two meatballs are a serving, and the calories are 323/serving.

For breakfast this morning we had Blueberry Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars, and these were really yummy.  Aaron's Grandpa, Noah and I all thought they were delicious, we gave them a 9, but Owen and Aaron didn't love them as much.  They gave them a 7.  These were 149 calories/serving, and they were really easy.  I like that there is no flour, and that they aren't very sweet, so they are a good breakfast food.  The only change I made to the recipe was to use crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy, and I really thought the added crunch was great.

Tomorrow we're having Pioneer Woman's beef stew and some cheesy garlic bread.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shrimp and Couscous

So tonight I forgot to take pictures until we were all the way done with our food, so you get the leftover pictures :)  We had Israeli Couscous Taco Salad and Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp for dinner tonight, and what a great dinner it was.

The shrimp had great flavor, and was super easy, but since we cooked the shrimp with the shells on and they were a pain to take off after cooking, we only gave the recipe a 7.  If it had been shelless it would have been a 9.  The calories for 1/2 the recipe, so one pound of shrimp, four servings is 291/serving.  We'll definitely make this again, I'll just shell the shrimp first then cook it in a pan.

The couscous taco salad was soooo great.  I give it a 10, so does Noah, and Owen and Aaron gave it a 9.  It was fresh, fast, easy and amazing.  The flavors were great, and it was pretty healthy.  We made the full recipe, and cut into 6 servings the calories were 320/serving.  I could probably eat this every day, it's so flipping good :). 
Tomorrow we're having some breakfast bars, and some meatballs from the Pioneer Woman.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pork Chops and Grits

We  had Pork Chops with Apples and Creamy Bacon Cheese Grits tonight, and it was delicious!  This was in the Pioneer Woman's second cookbook, and we all really enjoyed it.  We made six servings, and the calorie count was 473 calories per serving.  Aaron gave the pork a 10, he loved it, and the boys agreed, they also gave it 10.  I gave both the grits and the pork chops a 9, Noah gave the grits a 10, Owen gave the grits a 7, and Aaron gave the grits an 8.  These were definitely the best grits I've ever had, so hooray!  The sauce was flavorful, the apples very tasty, the pork chops sweet and savory, and the grits nice and creamy.  I cut the recipe in half but left it still 6 servings, and I used 1/2 cream, 1/2 milk in the grits because I didn't want them to be so rich.  We really liked this meal, and will make it again.  I would recommend it to anyone.  Tomorrow we're having shrimp from the Pioneer Woman and a couscous salad.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Throwdown Steak and Creamy Tomato Pasta

Today we had the steak and pasta we were supposed to have yesterday.  I received Bobby Flay's Throwdown cookbook for Mother's Day this year, and so I have a bunch of recipes to try from that.  They'll be showing up here in the months to come. Today we tried Disco's Hot 'n' tangy New York Strip Steak, and we really enjoyed it.  We only used one 8 oz steak for the 4 of us, and so the calories were only 210 per serving, and that included the marinade to be used as a dipping sauce.  We gave this a 9, and the marinade uses soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, habanero chili (we used jalapeno), lemon juice, orange zest, ginger, salt, pepper, and Coke.  Mix it all together, then add the steak and marinate 2-4 hours.  Because we had guests for dinner (thanks for coming guys!) we didn't have the steak last night as planned, so I marinated my steak for 24 hours.  It still tasted delicious, and the meat was tender and moist.  I'll definitely make this again. 
The pasta we had alongside the steak was the Pioneer Woman's Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce, a simple recipe that was not one of my favorites.  This was not super flavorful, and I felt like the cream was overpowering.  Next time I would cut the cream from 1 cup to 1/2 cup at least, and I would up the spices.  We had divided it up into 8 servings in the calories counting, but we had way more than 8 servings, so the calorie count isn't super accurate.  The calories we figured out were 392/serving, but that would have to be really huge servings.  I only cooked up 6 oz of pasta, because we just don't eat as big of servings as cookbooks call for.  Noah gave the pasta a 10, Owen gave it a 7, and Aaron and I gave it a 6.  Like I said, the cream was just too much.  We'll be using the remainder of the pasta on Wednesday with some meatballs.  Tomorrow we're trying another recipe from the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Apple Oat Cake

I made Apple Oat Cake tonight, and it is delicious.  281 calories/serving, and I give it a 9 for being seriously tasty while still healthy.   I made it in an 8x8 pan, rather than the size called for, and it baked in 30 minutes.  This was fast and a great cake to make when trying to be a little healthier.  Tomorrow we're having the steak and pasta I talked about yesterday.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fried Food Friday

It's Fryday! That's right, I went against my normal inclination and had a day of frying things. And since it's on a Friday it's even better right ;)? I actually really dislike frying food, it seems like a waste of oil, it's unhealthy, and it's messy. Those are all things I dislike, however, fried food is inarguably delicious.  These recipes were no exception.  Our first recipe was Puffed French Toast, and it was a perfect 10!  Hooray!  Wait until you hear the calorie count.  For one slice of toast, the calories are 312.  Gulp!  They  were crunchy, delicious, and flavorful, and you don't need any syrup or butter on them, so that helps with the calories I guess :)  We had these with fresh berries for lunch and every one loved them.

Next we had popcorn shrimp from Cook's Illustrated. This is a simple recipe, fast and delicious, but again, it's deep fried.

The calories for 2.5 oz of shrimp are 370, and the calories for homemade cocktail sauce for 1/6 of a cup are 49.  Aaron and I gave the shrimp and cocktail sauce a 10 and Owen gave it an 8 and Noah a 9.  The popcorn shrimp is just spices with bread crumbs, but I used Panko bread crumbs rather than regular dry bread crumbs this time, and  I think the regular dry bread crumbs work better.  Anyway, take the shrimp, season it, dip it in egg, then cover it in bread crumbs, then fry away!  The cocktail sauce is ketchup, prepared horseradish, lemon, tobasco, salt and pepper.  Mix it all up and serve.  So easy, so great.  We've had this meal before and we'll have it again because it just is so good.  It'll probably be another 6 months though because I hate frying :).  Tomorrow we're having some pasta from the Pioneer Woman and a little bit of steak with it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Crispy Coconut Chicken and Grilled Stuffed Zucchini

We had crispy coconut chicken fingers and grilled stuffed zucchini for dinner tonight.  These were delicious.  I have found my new favorite way to make zucchini.  I gave the zucchini a 9, and everyone else thought it was a 7 or 8, but since my kids didn't complain about eating zucchini, I consider that a definite success.  I cut the recipe in half, and we made the zucchini 4 portions, and the calories were 150/serving.  The chicken fingers needed sauce, and I didn't want to make it, so we gave the chicken fingers an 8.  Everyone thought they were great, just needing a little sauce.  I think next time I will put less curry powder in, and definitely make the sauce recommended in the recipe.  The calories for two chicken strips were 275 calories.  This was a light, yummy dinner, and I'm glad we all enjoyed it!  Tomorrow we're trying a new kind of french toast and having popcorn chicken.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Butterscotch Brownie Banana Muffins

Happy 4th of July!!!  Hope you are all having a great day.  We're with family having fun and celebrating.  Here is where you can find today's recipe, Butterscotch Brownie Banana Muffins.  These are easy and delicious, and a great way to use left over brownies and bananas!  I love Peabody's site, she's funny and real and has great recipes every time. 

We gave these a 9, they are so moist and who doesn't love butterscotch and brownies for breakfast?  They are 187 calories/muffin because I changed the oil to sour cream, and I used chocolate yogurt instead of vanilla because that is what I had.  Tomorrow we're trying Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers and Stuffed Zucchini.  Have a wonderful holiday!