Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Berry Cream Cheese Danish Pull-Apart Bread

I attempted a recipe I came across on the web. I couldn't get the image out of my mind so after a few days, I tackled it. You can find the original recipe here.

I made a batch of my basic bread dough instead of using pre-made dough. I also followed the suggestion to mix freezer jam with cream cheese for the filling. The result was amazing! The only thing I will do differently next time is drizzle the whole pan with frosting - it won't keep it healthy, but it will be soooo good. You could also make the presentation a little cleaner by baking them like cinnamon rolls instead of jamming them all into the pan. But, hey - no one complained at our house. The entire 9x13 pan was devoured for breakfast!

We will most definitely be making this again.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Garden Bounty

Cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash - oh my! Our garden jungle as we are calling it this year, has started to produce. We haven't been focusing much on it this year since we have been working so hard to grow grass in the backyard that was torn up during our septic tank re-do. We got it planted and then basically just let it be. The plants have grown like gangbusters and are all overlapping each other - hence the term garden jungle. We have to dive into it to find the produce that is hiding.

The season of creative cooking has begun. I always ask myself, "What can I make for dinner using stuff from the garden?" I've put squash in pasta dishes, cookies, casseroles, and cakes. The cucumbers find their way into lots of salads and sandwich fillings. The tomatoes are just beginning so we are just enjoying them. The creative uses for them will come in a few weeks.

I love just slipping out the backdoor and picking fresh ingredients! The kids love it too - they fight over who is going to dive into that jungle of squash plants to find the onions hiding underneath. I find myself going to the grocery store much less this time of year since we have a large basket of fresh items on the counter. It gives us more money to use on other fun activities which seem to abound this time of year.

Soon I will share some of the creative recipes I've come up with. But, here's a reminder of an old favorite - Garden salsa. It uses zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and onions all of which we have ready to pick.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Building Forts

We've had a string of days where the temperature has been right at or over 100 degrees. It's just too hot to want to be outside. That means creative inside play. The kids built a multi-room fort the other day and played for hours. Oh the joys of being a kid!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Frosted Meatloaf

We were invited to a 50s themed party recently. We were asked to bring potluck dishes that were popular in the 50s. I had to do a little research. Jello molds, casseroles, and meatloaf were all options I came up with. I was intrigued by a recipe titled "Frosted Meatloaf." I had never heard of this before. With a little more searching, I learned that frosted meatloaf is a traditional meatloaf with mashed potatoes on top - frosted like a cake. My husband decided this is what he wanted to try.

I turned to my favorite recipe for meatloaf. You can use whatever recipe you like. Just bake as directed.

Once removing from the oven, top with warm mashed potatoes. I dressed up some instant mashed potatoes with a little sour cream and chives from the garden.

Then sprinkle with grated cheese. Return to the oven if needed to melt the cheese.

Slice and serve.

The family loved it when I made one for a trial run. We then made another the next week for the party. It was a hit! 
You can very easily make extra meatloaf mixture and store it in the freezer to make preparation go quickly the next time you would like to serve it. I always use at least 3 lbs of hamburger when I am doing this. Since you can form the mixture into meatballs, meatloaf, or hamburgers you have lots of options, but you only have to get your hands dirty the one time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Remember my last post for Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken? Finally, I'm grabbing a chance to give you the instructions for making some amazing enchiladas using up all that yummy broth left from cooking the chicken.

Here is my crockpot full of the chicken broth salsa combination after I removed the chicken breast for shredding,

Add to your broth one 8oz brick of cream cheese. Allow it to melt and mix well.

Add back in some of the shredded chicken.

I like to stuff them full of white beans also.

Here is the enchilada filling all ready to go.

I like to use the green chile sauce when I make chicken enchiladas.

Pour a little sauce in the bottom of your 9x13 pan.

Roll up the enchilada filling in flour tortillas. Top with more sauce and a layer of shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 until heated through. It usually takes 45 minutes or so. I have also been known to cover them with plastic wrap and microwave them for about 10 minutes. (I made sure when we bought our microwave that it would accommodate a large pan and still have the tray rotate. That feature has been a life saver many times when it comes to having dinner on the table in time for the rest of the night's activities!)

Bag up and freeze any remaining enchilada sauce and filling for another day. Or, make up an extra pan of enchiladas and freeze the entire thing ready to go. 

This dish is one that all of my kids love! Enjoy!