Let’s make it simple and healthy. I grew up eating stuffed bell peppers at my Mom-Mom’s house. She always used green bell peppers and cut off their tops to stuff. This is a twist on her recipe that I know she would have loved. Bonus for you: This make 6 bell peppers. They are perfect for lunch or dinner the next day. You’re welcome! – AF
Stuffed Bell Peppers
1 lb lean ground turkey meat
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1 T chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 t garlic powder
1 t cumin powder
salt to taste
3 large sweet red bell peppers, washed
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked
Olive oil spray
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a little olive oil spray in a medium size sauté pan and heat on a medium flame. Add onion, garlic and cilantro to the pan. Sauté about 2 minutes and add ground turkey. Season with salt and garlic powder, and cumin and brown meat for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through. Add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Combine cooked rice and meat together.
Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds. Place in a baking dish. Spoon the meat mixture into each pepper half and fill it with as much as you can. Place all stuffed pepper halves on the baking dish and pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan. Cover tight with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Place in oven until cheese is melted.
I was curious about this zero calorie snack. Many have pinned it on their Pinterest boards claiming they will make it one day. Well, my day came last Friday. Simple, Easy, Delicious, and NO GUILT! It took only ten minutes for my boys to polish the plate. Eat your veggies!- AF
1 small head of cauliflower
1 t olive oil
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
Cut cauliflower florets into bite-sized pieces and place in a medium bowl. In a small bowl combine cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add olive to cauliflower and gently toss. Add seasonings; toss well to coat.
Spread cauliflower on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees and bake until cauliflower is tender, but not mushy, stirring halfway through, about 10 minutes.
It’s getting crazy in our kitchen. In celebration of Mardi Gras, we dished up Jambalaya. This crockpot Jambalaya, packed a punch straight from The Big Easy. Cook it all day for a perfect dinner on Fat Tuesday or anytime you want a little taste of New Orleans. Is there such a thing as too many beads?- AF
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chicken broth
2 t dried oregano
2 t Cajun seasoning, I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
1 t cayenne pepper
2 t dried parsley
1/2 t dried thyme
1 lb frozen cooked shrimp without tails
In a crockpot, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.
Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.
Serve with your favorite rice. We used white rice this time.
“Throw Me Something, Mister!” It’s Mardi Gras time! Try something a little different this year with King Cupcakes. You will earn some beads and only remove a cupcake liner. These yummy cakes with a flavorful frosting will be a perfect treat on Fat Tuesday. And like all my versatile recipes you can change colors for events throughout the year. Laissez les bon temps rouler!- AF
1 box yellow cake mix (if you are making cupcakes with white as color, use white cake mix)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Food coloring (let the fun begin)
In an electric mixer at medium speed, beat all of the ingredients (except food coloring) together. Divide the batter equally into three bowls and use food coloring to create the color you want. (for my King Cupcakes, I made yellow, green, and purple.)
Prepare your muffin tins with cupcake liners. Use a spoon for each color. Start with one color and pour about 1 spoonful of batter up against one side. Continue using a spoon for each color. Fill in with the other colors. Messy is okay. They will not look perfect but will turn out okay.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Use toothpick to test if cupcakes are completely baked. Makes 24 cupcakes.
1 cup butter, barely softened
4 cups powdered sugar
3 T milk
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
In an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar in small amounts until completely mixed. Now, add 1 T of milk at a time until you like the thickness. Mix in vanilla and cinnamon. If you want colorful icing, mix in your desired food coloring. You may want multiple colors of icing, so divide icing in bowls to add food coloring.
Okay, crayons get broken. That does not mean they are useless and should be thrown out. Would we do that with a chocolate bar? No, we would melt that sucker down and top our ice cream with it. It is time to take crayons to their second life. Making my own crayons is a family tradition that I did with my Mom-Mom and my Mom. As a child, I loved to color but to make my own crayons, Stop the Blender! William and I had a great time making crayons. Of course I turned it into a science lesson with a colorful reward. Now, hold your hand high and repeat: “I will never throw a crayon away again. It has a purpose and deserves a second chance!” Coloring brings out your inner-child! -AF
Create your own Crayons
Gather your used (or new) crayons. Take off the wrapped, seriously do this while watching the latest episode of Up All Night. It’s a little tedious, but worth it.
Two options here: (1) Use a butcher knife and chop the crayons into 1/2 inch pieces. (2) Have your munchkin get involved with breaking them up–great fine motor skills
Fill the tin or mold about half way with crayon pieces. Design your own color mixtures. We designed a cool camouflage heart with browns, greens, and tans.
Bake at 230 degrees until the crayons are melted, approximately 12-15 minutes.
Let the crayons cool and remove from tins/molds. Tip: if your crayons stick in the tins, place tin in freezer for an hour and the crayons will pop out.
Fill with your favorite colors
I love Pickles! Slices, spears, and juice. Don’t knock a dill pickle snow cone. My boys love their pickles too. On a Friday afternoon, I whipped up this snack before they even knew I was busy in the kitchen. It was a success complete with an empty plate. I’m thinking this coating will work nicely with a variety of veggies. Next up, oven fried jalapeños. You can take the girl out of Texas, but you cannot take the spice out of the girl! -AF
Oven Fried Pickles
1 jar dill pickle, slices
1/3 cup flour
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t hot sauce
1/2 t Tabasco
1 t garlic powder
1 t Cajun seasoning
1 t pepper
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
Here we go:
Turn oven broiler on high.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and flour. Add Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Tabasco, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, and pepper. Mix well.
Place Panko bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Dunk each pickle slice into the egg mixture, then coat it in the Panko bread crumbs.
Place coated pickles on a baking rack above a baking sheet and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place pan in the middle rack of the oven. Broil for about 3 minutes on each side.
Serve with Ranch dressing
Everyone needs a little treat they can pull together without thinking. Tomorrow is William’s Valentine’s party and we needed a sweet treat for his teachers. Several years ago my Aunt Loree entered this tasty sweet into our family’s recipe box. The truth is that White Chocolate Popcorn is extremely addictive. I believe it is necessary to sample to make sure your batch is perfect! Hopefully these bags of popcorn will last until tomorrow morning! -AF
A Treat for Our Teacher
White Chocolate Popcorn
2 bags microwave popcorn (My sister and I swear by the natural pop, no butter)
1 pkg. white almond bark
*bonus- colored Wilton Candy Melts
Pop popcorn according to package directions. Place in a very large bowl.* Remove all unpopped kernels.
Melt almond bark in microwave. When completely melted, pour over popcorn. Toss to coat evenly and then spread popcorn on wax paper.
Here’s the bonus: if you want to add a splash of color, melt 6 candy melts and drizzle over coated popcorn. Add red for Valentine’s, green for St. Patty’s Day, etc.
Let cool completely. Add some flair with almonds, M&Ms, pecans, etc, if you are feeling it. Store in an airtight container.
Great for little gift bags. Pour popcorn into clear cellophane bags and top with a coordinating bow.
*I use a plastic cake carrier. Pop the lid on and you can shake the popcorn and almond bark for the best coating.
Drizzle with LOVE
With the day of love right around the corner, it’s time to celebrate by twirling around the kitchen in a pink tutu… or whipping up something for those you love the most. I inherited a wonderful trait from my mother. Many of her loving gifts come straight from the kitchen. She is always willing to prepare our favorites when we come to visit. Now having my husband and son, I know the special feeling you get when you create a dish of actual love. Tonight, while Chris was traveling, William and I drooled over these red velvet brownies. We washed these decadent treats down with a cold glass of milk. Don’t worry Chris, we saved some for you! – AF
Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Frosting
Don't Drool on Your Keyboard
Red Velvet Brownies
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 oz red food coloring
2 t vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
White Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
4 oz good-quality white chocolate, melted
1 – 2 T milk or heavy cream
Let’s make the brownies:
In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 t vanilla into a thick paste until no lumps of cocoa remain. Set aside.
In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and remaining 1 t of vanilla, mix well. Turn off mixer and add in the cocoa mixture. Continue to mix until blended. Slowly add in the flour and salt. Mix on low speed, just until combined. Scrap the sides of the bowl to make sure there is no remaining flour. The batter should be a consistent red.
Pour the batter into a buttered and floured pan. An 8X8 baking pan (regular brownies) or 9X13 baking pan (thinner brownies.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (8X8) or 25 minutes (9X13). Cook until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies. Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack about 1 hour.
Let’s make the frosting:
In a mixer, cream butter until soft and fluffy then beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar small amounts at time. Add in the melted white chocolate and beat on low speed. With the mixer on low, add in milk 1 tbsp at a time and beat at medium speed until the frosting has reached the consistency you like it.
You have a couple of choices: Frost the brownies in the pan. Or you can cut the brownies and frost individually. You can cut the brownies in squares or in shapes.
Mom, what are we having for dinner? That’s the golden question on the way home from school. An easy answer if you have this little recipe trick up your sleeve. You can feel confident that these chicken strips are not fried and loaded with horribleness. My little man always requests seconds. Keeping it Real!- AF
Baked Chicken Strips
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 t Italian seasoning
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
In a Ziploc bag, mix Panko, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan together; set aside. Flatten chicken to 1/2 inch thickness; cut into 1-inch wide strips. Combine garlic and oil in small bowl. Dip strips into oil mixture and drop in bag to coat with Panko mixture. Arrange strips on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Serve with favorite dipping sauce.
It’s just a few short hours until kick-off. I’m throwing a “Hail Mary” for anyone that needs a last minute idea. The Mighty Big always scores, well BIG with my family. Invented in my teenage years, it has been served at many family celebrations. We are all geared up for the big game. Hoping my Pop-Pop’s team, The Giants, score big! We know he has the best seats in the stadium! -AF
The Legendary "Mighty Big"
The Mighty Big
2- (11 oz) Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf
1/2 cup Italian Dressing
Your favorite sandwich toppings
Open both loaf containers. On a baking stone or sheet, form a circle. Bake using directions on containers, 350 degrees usually about 26 minutes. Let bread cool. Slice horizontally. Take Italian dressing and massage into bottom layer of bread.Using your favorite sandwich toppings, create your Mighty Big. We add ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce, red onions, and tomatoes. Then slice your Mighty Big into handheld sandwiches. Makes about 8 sandwiches.
Create a Mighty Big circle