Saturday, January 17, 2009

Frosty Snowman Cake

This is a fun recipe I found in the new Pampered Chef dessert cookbook called, Festive Holiday Desserts. It is a really inspiring cookbook if you are looking for some new desserts. This one requires three different size glass batter bowls. They suggest a prep bowl (1 cup), a small batter bowl (4 cups), and a classic batter bowl (8 cups). This is what I used.

Let your kids help you with decorating this one. Have candies out and let them get creative, or help them decide what would make good eyes, nose, etc. My son absolutely LOVED this one! (so did his friend that came over for lunch that day) :) He helped decorate, so our snowman is not quite as cute as the one pictured in the cookbook. I hope you will try this one anyway.

1 pkg. (18.25 oz or 510 g) yellow cake mix (plus ingredients to make cake) I actually used confetti cake because it was on sale
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Nonstick cooking spray with flour
3 long wooden skewers (I used straws because it was what we already had)

Frosting and decorations
1 cup vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1/4 cup water
candy decorations

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. For cakes, add flour and sugar to cake mix according to the package directions. Spray Classic Batter Bowl, Small Batter Bowl, and Prep Bowl with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Pour 1/2 cup batter into the prep bowl, 1-1/2 cups batter into the small batter bowl, and remaining batter into the classic batter bowl. Place cakes in oven positioning smallest cake in front. Bake smallest cake 20-30 minutes. (I think I did 40 minutes) Bake medium sized cake 35-45 minutes and largest cake 45-55 minutes (I think I did 65 minutes). You will know when the cakes are fully cooked with the cakes spring back when gently pressed. It should not jiggle like it is still liquidy.
Cool cakes in bowls on stackable cooling rack 5 minutes; invert onto cooling rack and remove bowls. Cool completely. (Wait atleast an hour of you will have what looks like a melting snowman)

Meanwhile, for frosting, beat shortening and salt on high speed of electric hand mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add marshmallow creme and water; beat 2 minutes or until smooth.

Using bread knife at a slight angle, trim bottom edges of two smaller cakes to form a more rounded shape. Spread a small amount of frosting on center of a large platter; top with largest cake. Spread top with a thin layer of frosting. Top with medium cake, centering cake. Spread top with a thin layer of frosting and top with smallest cake. Push three skewers (or straws) down in a triangular pattern into cakes, pressing through to bottom; carefully trim skewers. Frost snowman, creating a whirled pattern. Decorate as desired. Decorate platter with remaining frosting to make it appear as if the snowman is standing in snow.

Saturday: Fish sticks (or shrimp poppers) with vegetable steamers

1 box frozen fish sticks
ketchup (for my son)
1 box shrimp poppers
cocktail sauce (for my husband)
1 bag vegetable frozen steamers

Totally out of the box meal. Way easy on a night when you know it's all you can handle. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday: Chili Cheese Dogs

Serves 4-8.

This one is so simple, but yum yum yum, and oh so cheap. Welcome to my carnival everyone.

1 can of hormel chili (or generic...I used the kind from Aldi)
hot dogs
Shredded cheddar cheese
hot dog buns

Cook your hot dogs on medium heat in a pan of water just brought to boiling. Cook beans in another pan at low/medium heat.
Put hot dog on a hot dog bun on a microwaveable plate. Scoop chili over hot dog. Sprinkle cheese over top. Microwave for about 20-30 seconds. (long enough for the cheese to just start to melt, but not so long that your bun is soggy) We ate ours with grapes and string cheese, to make my son happy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday: Onion Potatoes and Chicken Stuffing Bake

Ingredients and directions for Chicken and Stuffing Bake
1 pkg. Instant chicken stuffing mix
1-2 lb. cooked, cube chicken
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) cond. Cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbs. Dried Parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Spoon into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Combine soup, milk, and parsley. Add chicken and stir into mixture. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer.

Ingredients and directions for the Onion Potatoes
6 potatoes
1 package onion mix
2 Tbs. olive oil
Rinse, scrub, and cut into quarters, all of the potatoes.
Mix in a bowl, onion mix, oil, and potatoes.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and scrumptious.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I forgot something...about the baby food...

I mentioned making baby food a couple of posts ago and then I realized that I never linked it to the page that tells you how to make baby food, like I had intended. For those of you who are interested, you can click here to see how I have made baby food these last few months. Thanks again for the inspiration Sarah. I can't even count how much money it has saved us, and it feels soooo good to watch my little Keely enjoying the food I made right after I prepared it. Hope this helps some other moms out there.

Wednesday: Cheese Boats

Serves Four

8 slices bread
spreadable butter
4 slices American cheese (or cheddar)
12 strips of bacon cooked

This recipe is really just grilled cheese with bacon. My mother used to call them cheese boats. We loved them back in the day, and now my family loves them. Here are the steps if you need them.

Spread butter on one side of two slices of bread.
Put one slice of bread, butter side down, onto a skillet.
Place one slice of cheese and bacon onto the bread.
Top with the other slice of bread.
When the first side has browned, flip the sandwich over and cook other side. Cheese will melt and hold it together. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients until you have made 4 sandwiches. It is super yummy. We served our sandwiches for lunch with chocolate milk and soup.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday: Aaaaaaah Fazoli's spaghetti

Each Tuesday from 5-8 pm our Fazoli's does Kid's night. Kid's can eat a kid's meal for 99 cents and do a craft for free on this night. I think all Fazoli's do this, but I am not sure. Kid's night is what we did last Tuesday that I plan to do again this week. Go here to read more about kid's night at Fazoli's.

Go to if you have not already. Sign up and print yourself off a coupon for free spaghetti when you buy a drink.

For us, total looked like this:
1 drink $1.59
1 small spaghetti FREE
1 kid's meal $ .99
All the breadsticks you can eat FREE

With tax, a meal for my son and I cost us $2.76.

Fazoli's is doing an Italian revolution thing right now and more coupons are yet to come, so get yourself signed up.

Go here to find a Fazoli's restaurant near you. Don't have one nearby, cook some pasta and add some sauce, and Voila...dinner is served.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday: Taco Tater Skins

To turn this into a meal, serve with soup from the can

6 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbs. taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
15 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, chopped
Salsa and/or sour cream, optional

Bake potaoes at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until tender. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes lengthwise into quarters.Scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4 inch shell. (save pulp for another use...maybe to go with lunch tomorrow?)
Combine the butter and taco seasoning; brush over both sides of potato skins. Place skin side down on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese, bacon, and onions. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and/ or sour cream if desired.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Out of the Box Meal Plan for January 12-18

Okay, so this past month for me is truly an "out of the box" month. Things have been crazy over here and I have barely had any time at all to plan dinner, let alone make dinner and then get to the dishes afterward. I worked a seasonal job that will be ending very soon. Things are starting to slow down again in my life and I am trying to get caught up on all the things that I couldn't get to while I was working. I made lots of baby food this week and I felt great about that. While I was cutting the apples I came up with an idea to get my (almost) three year old to eat some apples too. (I will show you that in a minute.) There were many nights when I worked that my sweet husband had to come home from work and whip up with something for dinner...usually from a box in the pantry or a box in the freezer. I have; however, managed this week to mix in some fun ideas that did not come from a box to keep your interest, and keep you coming back. :) All of these recipes use only a few ingredients and most are VERY easy. Here's the plan this week.

Monday: Taco Tater Skins
Tuesday: Fazoli's for me and my son for $2.76
Wednesday: Cheese Boats
Thursday: Chicken Stuffing Bake and Onion Potatoes
Friday: Chili Cheese dogs
Saturday: Fish Sticks or shrimp poppers with vegetable steamers
Sunday: Reuben Sandwiches
Bonus: Frosty Snowman Cake
Someone had mentioned the idea of adding some good lunchtime ideas. I will have a few of those the next time I post. For this week I am adding a new, kid-friendly, way to pack fruit into your lunches.

I am showing you these ideas with apples, but you could use pears, cucumbers, and possibly even carrots. Use whatever suits your needs for that lunch.

What you need:
Apple corer
Little cookie cutter(s)
Cutting board

Idea One: Apple rings
1. Core the apples, making sure to get rid of all seeds.

2. Slice the apples into thin slices.

Idea Two: Fun shapes
1. Slice the apple from the side of the apple, avoiding the core altogether.
2. Lay apple slice flat on cutting board and push cookie cutter through. Children can eat the shape and the shape outline.
3. Let your kids help you if they are old enough...or for some of you, young enough. ;)
This is a long post. I apologize for that. Here is the shopping list for the week:

Reuben Sandwiches
8 slices of Rye bread
Thousand Island salad dressing
4 slices of Corned beef
4 slices of swiss cheese
spreadable butter
1/2 can of sauerkraut, rinsed and drained well

Taco Tater Skins
To turn this into a meal, serve with soup from the can
6 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbs. taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
15 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, chopped
Salsa and/or sour cream, optional

Fazoli's for me and my son for $2.76
$2.76 and a Fazoli's restaurant

Cheese Boats
8 slices bread
spreadable butter
4 slices American cheese (or cheddar)
12 strips of bacon cooked

Chicken Stuffing Bake and Onion Potatoes
1 pkg. Instant chicken stuffing mix
1-2 lb. cooked, cube chicken
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) cond. Cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbs. Dried Parsley flakes

Chili Cheese dogs
1 can of hormel chili (or generic...I used the kind from Aldi)
hot dogs
Shredded cheddar cheese
hot dog buns

Fish Sticks or shrimp poppers with vegetable steamers
1 box frozen fish sticks
1 box shrimp poppers
cocktail sauce
1 bag vegetable frozen steamers

Sunday: Taco Pizza

Here is what you will need:

1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tsp olive oil
3 cups (give or take) flour (I use half white flour half whole wheat)
1 tbsp cornmeal

Sauce of your choice
Taco Sauce
Black Beans
Nacho Chips
Hamburger (optional)

In order to make the dough do the following:

1. Dissolve 1 package of yeast into the 1 cup of water in a mixing bowl.
2. Add 1/4 tsp salt.
3. Add 2 tsp. olive oil
4. Add 2 cups of flour

Mix for about one minute.

5. Add remaining flour and mix until the dough clings away from the bowl.
6. If you have a kitchen aid mixture keep it on setting 2 for about two minutes longer, if you do not take the dough out and knead it for 2 minutes. (Work your stress out!)

7. Grease a bowl. I use olive oil.
8. Place the dough into the bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Dough will double in size.
9. Remove and punch down.
10. Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal onto a pizza pan and roll the dough out until it is shaped somewhat like a pizza.

1. Brown hamburger and mix in half a packet of taco seasoning.
2. Boil black beans until ready (if using canned this is really easy).
3. Cut up lettuce.
4. Cut up tomato.
5. In a sauce pan mix your pizza sauce with taco sauce. Use just enough for your pizzas. The taco sauce gives the pizza sauce a nice zesty flavor.

Put all of the above onto the dough and bake for 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees!