Thursday, September 29, 2011

Enter to win a $100 Maggiano’s gift card

Two of our most beloved and sought after features are back!! You know it’s fall when Butternut Squash Ravioli and Pumpkin Cheesecake are back on the menu….YUM! These two favorites are joined by the classic Chicken Fontina and grandma’s famous Beef Braciole. This month we are all about comfort food and classics – leave a comment and tell us about your family’s favorite fall dish and enter to win a $100 Maggiano’s gift card.

National Coffee Day

McDonald’s is offering free coffee from any of its 187 locations in the Bay area from 5 a.m. to midnight.

McDonald's, 7-Eleven, Krispy Kreme and local coffeeshops will be serving free today on National Coffee Day. Or look for the “McCafe Mobile” truck handing out free specialty drinks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Frugal Dietitian Giveaway: Neck pillow, Free Yoplait Chocolate Banana Smoothie, Smoothie Tumbler and a Lavender Eye Mask to 1 LUCKY WINNER

Check out my friend's latest giveaway: The Frugal Dietitian Giveaway: Neck pillow, Free Yoplait Chocolate Banana Smoothie, Smoothie Tumbler and a Lavender Eye Mask to 1 LUCKY WINNER

  • "Disclosure: The Yoplait® VIP Coupon, information, and giveaway have been provided by Yoplait through MyBlogSpark."

    • Starting this September, Yoplait Chocolate Banana Smoothie joins four delicious flavors of Yoplait Frozen Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies: Triple Berry, Strawberry Banana, Blueberry Pomegranate, and Strawberry Mango Pineapple.
    • Yoplait Chocolate Banana Smoothies have live and active yogurt cultures, and deliver 50% of the recommended daily value of calcium.
    • Available in your grocer´s freezer, each package contains enough frozen fruit and real Yoplait yogurt to make two 8 oz servings, when blended with 1 cup of skim milk.

    To ENTER: go to Facebook or reply here (click on title of post – only one entry) and write which of the flavored smoothies would be your favorite:Yoplait Chocolate Banana Smoothie, Triple Berry, Strawberry Banana, Blueberry Pomegranate, orStrawberry Mango Pineapple. This contest will end 9/30 @ 8PM Don't be afraid to add some smoothie recipes you have too!! I think my favorite is Triple Berry!!

Thai Chicken (Crockpot meal)

Thai Chicken (Crockpot Meal)

Thai Chicken
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
lime wedges for serving

In a 5-6 qt. slow cooker, combine coconut milk, curry paste and ginger; mix in the chicken, peppers and onion.
Cook, covered until chicken is cooked through, on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
Stir in the peas into the chicken mixture and cook, covered until heated through about 3 minutes. Spoon the chicken, vegetables and sauce over rice noodles or rice (We like Jasmine rice) and sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

*Our family likes a little more spice so we add more red curry paste than the recipe calls for and we felt like adding sea salt brought out the flavors in the dish.
We also like the dish a little more saucy so we used a whole can of coconut milk (13.5 oz) instead of just 3/4 cup that the recipe calls for.

Sunday's dinner; Something new with some redone leftovers

Sunday we had Chicken and veggie kebabs, grilled pineapple, rice balls, marinated/pickled cucumbers and sweet potato fritters.

We marinated the chicken and veggies in separate bags in a schezwan, teriyaki and soy sauce mixture and then grilled them until the chicken was cooked. We had some sushi style rice balls in the freezer that we steamed and some cucumbers marinated in soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.
Also, I had some leftover mashed sweet potatoes that I added cinnamon, brown sugar, some butter and some flour, add some chopped pecans. Then I pan fried them in a small amount of vegetable oil until both sides were browned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Store Bought dinner with some homemade touches

Tonight we had a store bought rotisserie chicken, mashed sweet potatoes and fried, breaded okra.
The sweet potatoes were the prepared "Simply Potatoes" that you find in the dairy section of the grocery store. After microwaving them, I added butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to the top to make them so Yummy!!

Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Last night I made Caribbean Jerk Chicken over yellow rice. I marinated thin Chicken Breast in Lawry's Caribbean Jerk Marinade for several hours and in another ziploc bag I marinated sliced onions and green bell peppers in the same sauce. I broiled the vegetables for several minutes in the oven and then broiled the chicken breast for just a couple of minutes on each side until cooked through.
I served the chicken over yellow rice topped with the onions, bell peppers, cilantro, sliced tomatoes and some jalapeno pepper slices for a little spice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mashed Potato Pancakes

We had mashed potatoes last night and I was trying to figure out a side dish for dinner tonight so here is what I made.
I added salt, pepper, flour, chives and cream cheese to my leftover mashed potatoes to make them so good!!

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes


  1. 1
    Mix mashed potatoes, egg, flour, salt, pepper, garlic, and any optional ingredients, into mashed potatoes.
  2. 2
    Preheat skillet and add a couple of tablespoons of Crisco shortening or oil.
  3. 3
    Make sure the mixture is not too thin.
  4. 4
    Pour 1/4 cup batter into hot pan; brown on both sides. (I added smaller amounts to make small "nugget" sized portions.)
  5. 5
    Enjoy with sour cream or applesauce.
  6. 6
Read more:

Perfect Panko Chicken with Hummus

I was at Publix shopping this weekend and they were giving out samples of this dish and it was so YUMMY that I bought all the ingredients to make it at home.
I made it tonight and everyone loved it!!


juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
4 chicken cutlets (about 1 lb)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (8-oz) container Deli cilantro/jalapeño hummus
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water

  • Squeeze limes for juice (3 tablespoons).
  • Chop cilantro.

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat both sides of chicken with hummus (about 1 tablespoon for each cutlet). Place panko in shallow dish. Dip chicken into panko (coating both sides). Wash hands.
  2. Preheat large sauté pan on medium 2–3 minutes. Place oil in pan, then add chicken; cook 3–4 minutes each side or until 165°F.
  3. Combine remaining 1/2 cup hummus with cilantro, lime juice, and water; drizzle sauce over chicken. Serve.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Calling all Moms: Ragu sweepstakes

Calling all Moms:
Let's talk about what really happens at dinnertime.

Ragu Mom's The Word On Dinner

Share your story for a chance to win a starring role in a People Magazine Ad.


A chance to be featured in a Ragú ® ad inPEOPLE magazine.

  • The winner enjoys an all-expenses-paid trip to NYC for two valued at up to $5,000!
  • She is the star in a professional photo shoot
  • AND her story is featured in a Ragú ® ad in PEOPLE magazine!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Great Snack GIveaway

Great Snacks Giveaway
Enter the Great Snacks Giveaway for the
chance to win a year's supply of Betty
Crocker fruit-flavored snacks

Use the following code to enter without purchase; 16000-12345

See if you're an instant winner now! Sign up below to play our Spin-to-Win game. Just enter your email address, date of birth and the code from your fruit snack package.

Chicken Chow Mein

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 16 oz package frozen or fresh stir fry veggies
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 8 ounces rice noodles or lo mein noodles (or whatever you have in your cabinet; I have used linguini or spaghetti noodles)
  • 1/3 cup bottled stir fry sauce
  • sliced scallions
  • chopped cilantro

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over med-high heat in a large skillet. Stir-fry chicken until almost cooked through; about 6minutes; remove chicken. Add 1 additional tablespoon of oil to pan; stir fry veggies and ginger 4-6 min. or until veggies are crisp tender. Add the chicken and stir fry for 2 more minutes until chicken is cooked.
  2. Prepare noodles as directed on package. Drain. Add hot noodles to chicken and veggies. Stir fry in sauce and heat through. Garnish with scallion and cilantro.
Source: Publix Family style magazine

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A little work to create a short cut later

I love being prepared for dinner and having ingredients ready to use in my pantry and freezer. I found this how to article in Everyday with Rachel Ray; September 2011 that I wanted to share for making meals ahead.
I am planning on using these recipes to make a ton of "Pulled Chicken" and "Pulled Pork" for the freezer for future meals.

Pulled Chicken

September 2011


  • 4 lbs. skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
  • 4 lbs. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 400°. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Place the chicken breasts on 1 sheet and the thighs on the other. Drizzle with the EVOO and squeeze the lemons on top. Sprinkle with the paprika and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Roast until the skin is crisp and the juices run clear when the pieces are pierced with the tip of a small, sharp knife, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

  2. Remove the chicken skin, then pull and cut the meat off the bones. Tear the meat into shreds. (Save the bones, skin and any juices from the pans to make broth if desired.)

FREEZE IT! Divide into 1 1/2 cup portions and transfer to resealable plastic sandwich bags. Squeeze out the air and flatten the bags. Seal and store flat in 2-gallon freezer bags.

USE IT! Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour, or pop into the fridge in the morning and let thaw all day. (The microwave can be used in a pinch.)

> Use hot or smoked paprika instead of regular.
> Add a little bit of sesame oil in addition to the EVOO.
> Substitute limes for the lemons.
> Swap in tarragon for the thyme

Pulled Pork

September 2011


  • 2 boneless pork shoulder roasts (about 5 lbs. each), cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks and excess fat discarded
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional)


  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 450°. Place all of the pork in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with the garlic, lemon zest, 1 tbsp. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. pepper. Toss well, massaging the garlic and zest into the meat. Transfer half of the pork to a large rimmed baking sheet and place both the roasting pan and the baking sheet in the oven. Roast until the meat is browned on top, about 30 minutes. Turn the pork chunks over and roast to brown the other side, 15 minutes. Remove both pans from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 325°.

  2. Using tongs, transfer the pork from the baking sheet to the pork in the roasting pan. Pour the pan juices from the baking sheet over the pork and add the wine (if using). Tightly cover the pan with foil. Continue roasting the pork until nicely tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and dry the baking sheet and set aside.

  3. Let the pork cool for at least 15 minutes, then, using 2 forks, shred it a few pieces at a time. As you work, transfer the shredded pork to the clean baking sheet and let cool completely. Pour the juices into a bowl to cool. Skim and discard the fat.

FREEZE IT! Divide the pork into 1-cup portions and transfer to resealable plastic sandwich bags. Pour a little pork juice into each, squeeze out the air and flatten. Seal and store flat in 2-gallon freezer bags.

USE IT! Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour, or pop into the fridge in the morning and let thaw all day. (The microwave can be used in a pinch.)

> Add some oregano or rosemary to the rub.
> Marinate the pork in lime juice, soy sauce and ginger for 1 hour before roasting.
> Toss the pork with adobo sauce, orange juice and beer in Step 2.
> Toss the pork with some BBQ sauce in the last 10 minutes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Betty Crocker Molasses cookie mix

I can't believe the holidays are coming soon! When I think about the holidays and cooler weather I think about baking and eating sweets.
This fall, Betty Crocker is introducing a molasses cookie mix, making this year-round favorite easy to bake in less than 20 minutes. I love using these Betty Crocker pouch cookie mixes to make an easy, sweet treat. We usually bake the chocolate chip or sugar cookies but can't wait to try the new molasses cookie mix.

MyBlogspark has provided me with One Betty Crocker® Molasses Cookie mix prize pack which includes a Betty Crocker apron, non-stick baking pan, and mixing spoon to try these new cookies and they have allowed me to share a prize pack with one of my blog followers.
In order, to enter this giveaway, you must be a follower of and post that you are a follower in a comment to this blog entry.
For a second entry, post what is your favorite fall treat.
I will randomly choose a winner of this prize pack, Friday, September 16th.

For more information on Betty Croker Molasses cookies; Check out this link

  • In addition, you can visit to download a printable coupon for $0.75 off the purchase of one (1) Betty Crocker® Molasses Cookie mix pouch today!

  • "The product, information and prize pack has been provided by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark."

    Parmesan Crusted Chicken

    One of my sons saw the Hellmann's commercial that showed this Chicken recipe and wanted to try it and then I saw the recipe in a magazine so we gave it a try.
    It was simple and easy with just a few ingredients.

    Selected Recipe
    A simple and juicy solution for dinner.

    Serves: 4
    Prep Time: 10 Minute(s)
    Cook Time: 20 Minute(s)

    print recipesend to a friend

    1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
    4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

    1. Preheat oven to 425°.
    2. Combine Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise with cheese in medium bowl. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
    3. Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
    Also terrific with Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise or Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Canola Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    The Frugal Dietitian Giveaway: Gold Medal White Whole Wheat Flour prize package

    Please check out my friend Nancy's latest giveaway at The Frugal Dietitian.

    She is giving away a prize pack that includes:

    • A VIP coupon for a sample of Gold Medal White Whole Wheat flour – 5 lb.
    • Instructions for conversion
    • Cookie Jar
    • Recipe Cards

    Let her know that I sent you if you visit her site and enter her giveaway. Thanks and Good Luck!!

    Chicken and Pastina Soup

    I found this recipe on the back of a Progresso Chicken Broth container. I made a few changes to it that made it an easier recipe for a hectic weekday night. I used Shredded Rotisserie Chicken instead of starting from scratch with boneless skinless chicken breasts. I also halved the recipe and it was just right for one dinner and a couple of leftover bowls.
    I actually cooked the veggies in a pot on the stove then transferred to to my crockpot and then added the chicken broth, tomatoes and all the spices and let that mixture cook all day on low. Then, a few minutes before dinner time I turned the crockpot to high and added the chicken and spinach and the previously cooked pasta and then served each bowl with parmesean cheese on top.

    Chicken and Pastina Soup
    A favorite with adults and children alike, this soup is the first "pasta" my young children ever ate, and they've loved it since! It is a perfect one-pot supper for the whole family.

    1 tablespoon butter or margarine
    2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
    1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
    1/2 cup diced carrot (1 medium)
    1/2 cup diced celery (1 medium stalk)
    1 cup crushed tomatoes
    2 cartons (32 oz each) Progresso® chicken broth
    1/2 teaspoon gray salt or sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 dried bay leaf
    1 cup uncooked acini di pepe pasta or other small round pasta (8 oz)
    2 cups chopped, lightly packed mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard or other greens
    1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

    In 5-quart stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken, onion, carrot and celery; cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.

    Stir in tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper and bay leaf; heat to boiling. Stir in pasta; reduce heat.

    Cover; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in greens just until wilted. Remove bay leaf. Serve with a twist of additional freshly ground pepper and sprinkle of cheese.

    10 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

    2009 © and ® /TM of General Mills © 2009 NapaStyle Inc.

    Creamy Crockpot Italian Chicken

    Creamy Crockpot Italian Chicken

    4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (cut into pieces)
    1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
    1/3 cup of water
    1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
    1 can (4 oz) mushrooms stems and pieces, drained
    Hot cooked rice, noodles or mashed potatoes

    Place the chicken breast pieces in a slow cooker. Combine salad dressing mix and water; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low 3 hours. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Pour cream cheese mixture over chicken. Cook 1-3 hours longer until chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.
    I also plan to either make a salad or make what my kids call "Oriental Vegetables" which is cut up veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots with rice wine vinegar and soy sauce so they have a pickled effect. I usually cut the veggies up several hours before dinner and let them marinate in the soy sauce and vinegar in the refrigerator until dinner time.

    I came across this recipe in a thread called "What's for supper tonight?" on one of my favorite coupons/deals websites called

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Thai Chicken Drumsticks

    Thai Chicken Drumsticks

    Kana Okada

    By: Jean Galton
    From: Dinner


    • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated and coarsely chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • Salt and pepper
    • 8 chicken drumsticks (2 lbs.)
    • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
    • 2 cucumbers—peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

    AN EXTRA BUCK WILL BUY YOU...a handful of roasted peanuts to chop up and add to the rice for crunch and rich flavor.

    Make Cheaper Chicken Wings!... The marinade will season up to 2 dozen drumettes.


    1. In a food processor, puree the cilantro leaves and stems, garlic, oyster sauce, half of the lime juice and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

    2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400°. Place the chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, turning once, until cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the rice, 2 1/4 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt over medium-low heat. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes; fluff with a fork.

    4. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, cilantro leaves and remaining lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken and rice.
    This recipe is from September 2011.

    • We actually added some Thai Basil and some sliced Hungarian Wax pepper to the marinade mixture in the food processor for a little bit of heat. Also, about 2 tbsp of Peanut oil was added.
    • My husband actually grilled the drumsticks instead of using the oven. He quick seared them about 5 minutes on each side and then indirect heat for about 50 minutes.
    These were tender and delicious and my boys LOVED them!

    Unbelievable Spinach Calzones

    I made these yummy calzones this week from a recipe I found on

    Unbelievable Spinach Calzones
    recipe image
    Rated: rating
    Submitted By: WHEATFIELDS
    Photo By: Scotdog
    Prep Time: 1 Hour
    Cook Time: 30 Minutes
    Ready In: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
    Servings: 8
    "Delicious, satisfying, and very easy to make. My kids will even eat spinach this way! We serve them with warmed spaghetti sauce to dip them in and a salad. Yum!"
    1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
    2 eggs
    2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
    3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped
    spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 (32 ounce) package frozen white
    bread dough, thawed
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    2. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and spinach. Set aside.
    3. Divide the bread dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece out to about an 8 inch circle. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the ricotta filling onto each circle, fold over and seal the edges. Place onto a greased cookie sheet.
    4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until nicely browned on the tops and bottoms.
    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2011 Printed from 9/3/2011

    I did a couple of things differently though. I used refrigerated pizza dough instead of frozen bread dough. Here is how I used and filled the dough; from another calzone recipe I have used for sausage and vegetable calzones;
    • Unroll pizza dough on clean work surface. Pat out to 15x11-inch rectangle; cut lengthwise in half, then cut each piece crosswise into thirds. Top dough rectangles with mixture; fold in half. Seal edges with fork. Place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
    • I also spread melted garlic butter on top of the calzones before cooking and when there was only a few minutes left to cook I brushed on a beaten egg white for a nice color.
    • They are good with a garlic butter or marinara sauce for dipping.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    The Frugal Dietitian

    I wanted to tell everyone about a blog I follow that has Deals galore and Nutrition FOR ALL!

    or you can like her on Facebook @!/TheFrugalDietitian

    Here is a picture of a giveaway I won from her blog last week; A tote bag, a pedometer, a Cuisinart mug, and lots of great nutritional information and recipes.

    Make your own crab salads

    Make your own crab salads

    Last night for dinner we had "Make your own" crab salad.
    Here is a list of the toppings I put out for everyone to make their own salads:
    • Imitation crab
    • Seashell pasta
    • Scallion
    • Bell pepper
    • chopped boiled egg
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Cucumber
    • Carrots
    • Shredded cheeses; Mozzarella and Parmesan
    • Salt and pepper
    • Ranch dressing
    We also had fruit and garlic bread.