Tag Archives: recipe

Homemade Cream Soup Substitute

Alright….I’m slowly straying away from canned foods. This includes “cream of ___ soup” that is so commonly used in recipes. I’m a casserole girl. Love ’em. Cream of “whatever” soup is so necessary in American cooking….so I found a substitute using ingredients I always have on hand!

fontcandy.pngYeah, I’m not willing to pay for any apps so I can’t remove that watermark in the corner…anyway…back to the recipe…

Cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery, you get the picture. 

It takes about 10 minutes.

One batch equals one 10.75 oz can of cream of ___ soup. 

Here’s what you need:
-2 Tablespoons butter (I use unsalted)
-3 Tablespoons flour
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1/2 cup milk (I use 2%, but you can also use 1% or whole)
-1/4 teaspoon salt (you can also use garlic salt!)
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Measure everything out, since you’ll need it ready to pour when it’s time. 
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  3. Whisk in the flour. It will become a clump that looks like Play-Doh. Let it cook, stirring it around, for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Slowly stir in chicken broth. This is where I had to use a spatula to scrape the flour mixture out of the bottom edges….
  5. Slowly stir in milk.
  6. Whisk until it begins to thicken….it takes a few minutes.
  7. Let it simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally
  8. Add the salt and pepper and STIR. 
  9. Add to your recipe of whatever you’re making!

It’s that easy! 
Here are some pics of my process. 

Gathering the goodness….

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And when you add the flour, it gets lumpy like this and can get stuck up in the whisk….just shake it off…

And add the liquid and stir….I had to use a spatula here to get the flour mixture out of the edges…

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Add the rest, and let it thicken!

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Enjoy! Let me know how yours turns out!

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Chicken and Cheese Lasagna Roll-ups

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Delicious. Take a look at that. Yes, I like a lot of cheese. You don’t have to add so much. But I love it. If you want some tasty Chicken and Cheese Lasagna Roll-ups, here’s how you do it!

You will need:

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (go here to see how I do mine quickly and easily)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (yes, you can use black pepper)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese (plus more for topping)
  • 8 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (no, you don’t have to use whole wheat – but why not?)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)
  • 2 cups pasta sauce of your choice (I always use SimplyNature Marinara from Aldi)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Put noodles on to cook, according to package directions
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken, cheeses, milk, and pepper
  4. In a 13×9-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce
  5. Spread a little less than 1/2 cup of the chicken and cheese mixture on each lasagna noodle
  6. Roll in a jelly-roll like fashion….
  7. Arrange lasagna noodles seam-side down in baking dish on top of the pasta sauce
  8. Top with remaining pasta sauce
  9. Sprinkle feta cheese on each lasagna roll
  10. Cover with foil
  11. Bake for 30 minutes
  12. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese. 

I sprinkle the extra Parmesan on right before serving. The ones I saved as leftovers don’t have the Parmesan on them yet – I sprinkle it on after I reheat it. It’s best that way. 

Also, a side note on the lasagna noodles. When they were done cooking I took them off the burner but left them in the water. I took them out one at a time to put the mixture on them and roll them. That way they didn’t get all sticky together while they waited their turn. 

Here are some pictures of the process!

This is the 1 cup of pasta sauce spread on the bottom of the pan. 

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This is how I spread the mixture. I took 2 noodles out and worked on the one closest to me while the one farther away cooled. After I rolled the filled one, I turned over the one farther from me and put it closest to me to work on next, and took the next noodle out of the pan (that still has the noodles and water in it) and let it start to cool while I worked on the one closest to me.

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Here it is right before I covered it with foil to put it in the oven.

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The deliciousness covered in the Parmesan cheese, about to be consumed!

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Enjoy!

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Juicing

So, I bought a juicer

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Not to detox. 

Not to cleanse.

Not to lose weight. 

Simply because I got tired of having the same kind of juice for a week in a row. 

Every week I would buy Simply Apple or Simply Orange and would have that every morning for a week. Well, 5 days a week. I take a small bottle of it to work every morning to drink as I start my day.

But I got tired of having apple juice for 5 days in a row, or orange juice for 5 days in a row, so I bought a juicer!

My friend Teo was just here visiting for a month, and I bought the juicer after she left…unfortunately. She’s all about fresh juice, and I totally regret not buying this before she came. But hey, it’ll be here the next time she comes!

My first try at using it, honestly…I cried. Not happy tears. The oranges I bought were GROSS. I bought them in a bag. The one on the bottom was moldy, and the two that I opened were mushy. I threw the whole bag away and cried. Yes, I can be dramatic. But it’s how I felt. 

I no longer buy the oranges in bags. I buy large navel oranges. 

Round 2: Gala apples. MISTAKE. Not delicious to my tastebuds.

The apples you see below are Pink Lady or Washington or something like that. No more Gala for juicing. 

Round 3: Navel oranges. WIN. WIN. WIN. SO DELICIOUS. All the oranges below are large navel oranges.

Let me share with you some of my favorite juice combinations. If you’re wondering what will help you lose weight, detox, or otherwise improve various parts of your lifestyle, go to Pinterest. I just combine different things until I find what I like. 

Oh, and that Simply Apple bottle in all the pictures? That’s what I refill to bring my juice to work every day. Perfect size. I have 2. 

3 oranges

Orange

2 oranges + 10 strawberries

Orange Strawberry

1 apple + 1 orange + 1 carrot

Carrot Orange Apple

strawberries + pineapple

juice

1 apple + 2 kiwis + 10 strawberries

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2 oranges + 1 nectarine

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I tried adding beets. NO. Dirt. 

I tried adding celery. Not bad. Just not a favorite. Quite overpowering.

I tried adding grapefruit. Eew. Not for me. I gave the rest to my friend Reesa. 

My friend Reesa juices for nutrients. She adds lots of greens and such. Basically whatever is in her fridge. She thinks it’s delicious. If that’s your style, go for it!

I juice for taste. Yum.

My friend Teo says I’ll have withdrawals when I go stay with her this summer, since she doesn’t have a juicer. I say that I lived 25 and a half years without a juicer, I can live without it again! Yet she was at the store looking at juicers today. I know she would use it often, since she loves fresh juice. Juicers are just way more expensive in Romania. Lame. 

Update: Teo bought a juicer! She found a super powerful one that was inexpensive and bought it on a whim! She went home and juiced a ton of stuff…and loved it. I’m so happy for her!

But let’s be honest…being able to make the kind of juice I’m in the mood for is quite convenient. 

If you want to see some juice recipes from both  my style and Reesa’s style, check out our shared Pinterest board!

Pretty much the only good thing (as far as I can see) about my transmission needing rebuilt was that most of that cost was put on my Amazon Rewards credit card…and I got a ton of Amazon points, and I was able to get this juicer (and this for my Kitchen Aid!!) for free with my points. Win. The ONLY win. I think. 

FRESH JUICE FO’ DAYS.

jucing dory

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Banana Sushi Snack

Natalie walked into the kitchen to try and make a new snack: Banana Sushi. Naturally, I asked her if I could document it, and if it turned out good, blog it. She happily obliged. 

So, obviously it turned out good!

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Here’s what you’ll need:
2 pieces of white bread (can cut the crust off, but we like the crust)
1 banana
peanut butter
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Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Put the bread on a flat service, overlapping about 1 inch or less.
  2. Flatten it with a rolling pin.IMG_4531
  3. Spread peanut butter over the flattened bread.
  4. Peel the banana and put it on the bread.IMG_4533
  5. Roll the bread up over the banana.IMG_4534
  6. Slice it into about 1-inch slicesIMG_4536
  7. Enjoy!

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The kids loved it (well, the one who is allergic to peanut butter..he just didn’t know we even made it), and it is so easy!

On a related note, as I was blogging this, the kids were upstairs playing a game. Danielle and I hear Natalie yell “Lucas! Stop being a monkey and be a person!”

 

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Best Croutons Ever

There was this one time when I made croutons…OK, I’ve made them like 5 times. They are so good. 

About a year ago, my friend Trish gave me the crouton recipe that she uses, and I made them…AND THEY WERE AMAZING. I made them with both white bread and wheat bread. My friend Trish makes them with gluten-free bread. Any way you go, they will be amazing. 

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Super easy AND super delicious. And when you make them, your house smells fabulous.

This recipe makes about 3 or 4 cups of croutons. It depends on what size and type of bread you use, and how small you make them. 

Here is what you will need:

  • 6 slices of bread
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Trim the crust off of the bread.
  3. Slice the bread, and then cube it. You can decide on the size. However you choose, that will be the size of your croutons.
  4. Mix melted butter, garlic salt, parsley, and Parmesan until no longer lumpy.
  5. Toss butter mixture with cubed bread in a medium bowl until the cubes are evenly coated.
  6. Cover a baking sheet with foil. You don’t need to do this, but it really makes for an easier cleanup.
  7. Spray the baking sheet (or foil, if you covered it) with non-stick spray.
  8. Spread the coated bread crumbs in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes and check to see if they are dry, crispy, and golden brown.
  10. If they need more time, check it every 3 or 4 minutes. Sometimes mine are done in 15, sometimes it’s 25. It depends on the kind of bread I use. 
  11. Take the croutons out and turn them over. I just use my fingers for this. They’re not super hot, and it doesn’t take as much time as you think it would.
  12. Bake for 15 more minutes, until they are done. Again, if it needs more time, give it more time.
  13. Let them cool. Eat some while you wait. 
  14. Store the croutons in an air-tight container, or a Ziplock bag (my preference).
  15. Enjoy!

They are great on salad, in soups, or just eaten as a snack! I took them to class plenty of times and my friends enjoyed eating croutons with me. 

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Easter

Happy Easter! It is wonderful to know that Jesus Christ has risen!

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Here is a short video about Easter and Christ:

Here is a longer video about the story of Easter:

To learn more about Easter, check out this website.

I encourage you to find time today to thank our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for their sacrifice. It is such a great and wondrous gift.

I also hope you find sometime to bake today! Here’s some recipes that might make your Easter delicious:

Sheridan’s Speedy Rolls

Thick, Soft Sugar Cookies

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Easter Bird Next Cupcakes

Again, Happy Easter! He lives!

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Brown Sugar Banana Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream Icing

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I know, right?! Sounds disgusting. But hear me out…

I found it online (surprisingly, not from Pinterest this time), and decided to try it…even though I don’t like avocados…

First of all, this was my first time using my new Classic Kitchen Aid!!! (You can read about how I got it here)

My opinion of these? I LOVED the cupcake part, but didn’t love the icing…but that’s probably because I don’t like avocados. It wasn’t horrible, and it wasn’t for me. 

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Thanks to everyone who was a taste tester for this experiment!

My roommate Carolyn‘s opinion of these? She didn’t like ’em…she liked the cupcake, and she liked the icing, but she didn’t like them together. Weird.

My favorite ASL teacher Judy‘s opinion of them? Very good! And interesting…(after she told me it looked like mold and would make people sick…haha)

Two random guys‘ opinions of them? Very good!

My ASL Club Officer’s and advisor’s opinions (Thanks Seth, Melissa, Diana, Trish, and Brandon)? Very good!

Brandon said you can’t really taste the avocado…it’s very sweet.

So there you have it! 8.5 out of 10 testers loved them! 85% success rate? I say you HAVE to make them now.

Are you ready to try ’em? 

This makes 12-20 cupcakes, depending on how full you fill the liners…I made 16 cupcakes

I recommend refrigerating the cupcakes!

Here’s what you’ll need for the cupcake:
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3 large ripe bananas, mashed

Here’s what you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Line a cupcake tin with liners
3. In a bowl, whisk egg
4. Add brown sugar
5. Mix until smooth
6. Stir in vanilla extract
7. Add sour cream and melted butter
8. Mix
9. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg
10. Mix dry ingredients with wet 
11. Add mashed bananas 
12. Mix until the batter comes together. The batter will be thick.
13. Scoop into liners
14. Bake for 15-18 minutes
15. Make the icing while you let the cupcakes completely cool

Baking is so much faster when you have a Kitchen Aid!!

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Here’s my cooling cupcakes!

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Now it’s time for the icing!

Here’s what you need:
2 ripe avocados
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt

Here’s what you do:
1. Cream the avocados and butter together until smooth
*(Confession: This was my first time cutting up an avocado [remember, I don’t like them!], so I was so ridiculous that I Googled it…so if you need to know how to cut and peel an avocado, this is the page I used to learn! I thought it was really easy and fun!)*
2. With the mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar one cup at a time
3. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt
4. Add the vanilla
(More sugar can be added if you’d like the frosting to be thicker)
5. Frost the cupcakes!

The icing is such a beautiful green color!

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Frosting can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. I recommend refrigerating the cupcakes. And I also recommend sharing them with your friends, and letting me know how yours turned out!

And let me just reiterate…I love my Kitchen Aid! It makes baking so much easier and faster! And considering that I bake cupcakes at least every other week, it’ll definitely be loved forever!

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