Monday, April 30, 2007

Friday Feast number 141

I know, I know, it isn't even Friday. I am a little behind. Jason and I had to make an unexpected trip to Iowa for my grandmothers funeral this week, so we were a little off schedule.

How fast can you type?

I don't know the exact speed but I would say probably around 80 wpm... alot faster than I typed in keyboarding class in high school.

What is your favorite online game?

If you count Sudoku, that is it. If not, probably euchre or solitaire.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as highest), how intelligent do you think you are?

15! I am completely joking, I would say a 7 or 8.

Main Course
Name three of your best teachers from your school years.

Ok, in chronological order...
Mrs. Griffeon (6th grade and I am not sure that I spelled it right) without her, I never would have survived junior high.
Mr. Helton (high school chemistry) Awesome teacher.. I don't even know what to add to that.
Mr. Hill (I never took a class with him but he was my basketball and softball coach) Great coach.
There are many more but these are the first 3 that came to mind.. and I didn't include teachers from college and grad school which would make the list even longer!

What are your plans for this upcoming weekend?

Well, if I had written this when I was supposed to, I would say spending some time with Jason's parents in Madison. We had a great weekend. Great sights (farmers market, capitol, botanical gardens, and just spring in general) and great food. I will post pictures and better descriptions later.
If I were writing about this weekend, I would say working. Jason will be out of town at a meeting and other than a lab party at my advisor's house, I have no plans.

The Friday Feast is a weekly meme intended to "feed your mind by asking thought-provoking, mind-stimulating questions."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More zoo pictures

I meant to make a link to the rest of out pictures from the zoo this weekend. Its a little late but if you want to see more Henry Villas Zoo pictures, click here

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sweet & Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

1 Tbsp. oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1/3 cup KRAFT Sweet 'N Sour Sauce
1/4 cup KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1-1/2 cups instant white rice, cooked

HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and peppers; cook 8 min. or until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.
ADD sweet-and-sour sauce, dressing, soy sauce and broccoli; mix well. Cook 2 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
SERVE over the hot rice.

I think this was our final recipe for a while.. this was good but I am getting tired of the prepared sauces.

Recipe updates

Because I have been horrible about updating recipes.. I am retroactively loading them tonight.
A rundown of the week... at least for eating:
Sunday (4-15) saucy pasta skillet (lunch) mini meatloaves (dinner) molten chocolate cakes (dessert)
Monday.. sausage hoagies
Tuesday.. salsa chicken and cheesy rice casserole
Wednesday.. baseball game
Thursday.. Quick and cheesy sausage pasta
Friday.. leftovers
Saturday.. BBQ.. creamy lemon squares

I probably won't be very good about posting this week.. things are a little hectic. I hope everyone has a good week.

Happy Earth Day!

Since the weather was so beatiful today, we decided to go to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison. It is a small zoo but it is free. This weekend was the first that the flamingos would be out.
Other than fighting the crowd, it was a good afternoon and we have plenty of pictures including these:

First real BBQ

Last night we went to our first real BBQ of the season. We took creamy lemon squares. Jason and Jen made some grilled chicken and some amazing salad. I am in love with the new organic dressing. I think it is named Goddess. Our salads were greens, dried berries, walnuts, tomatoes, and peppers.
For dessert we had our lemon squares and Jen made 'better than sex' cake. And for dessert number 2... we made smores over the bonfire outside. It was a great time with some wonderful weather.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Creamy lemon squares

Prep Time: 25 min
Total Time: 2 hr 53 min
Makes: 16 servings, one square each

20 Reduced Fat NILLA Wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold margarine
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. grated lemon peel, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. CALUMET Baking Powder
2 tsp. powdered sugar

PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Combine wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup flour and the brown sugar in medium bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; press firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.
MEANWHILE, beat Neufchatel cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and 2 Tbsp. flour; mix well. Blend in 1 Tbsp. lemon peel, lemon juice and baking powder; pour over crust.
BAKE 25 to 28 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator.

This 'generally healthy' dessert has only 170 calories per serving. It is a very fast make and tastes great! We took this to a BBQ Saturday.. it was nice to sit outside without a jacket!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Feast number 140

What is your favorite kind of bread?

There aren't too many breads that I don't like. I am a sucker for homemade half whole wheat bread (like my mom makes). But I could probably eat a whole loaf of banana or almond poppy seed all by myself.

When was the last time you bought a new pillow?

Probably about 2 and a half years ago.. I think we bought a couple after our wedding.

Approximately how many hours per week do you spend surfing the ‘net?

Too many... I will guess 5-10 but unfortunately that could be an underestimate!

Main Course
What’s the highest you remember your temperature being?

I think 101 but maybe it wasn't that high.

Fill in the blanks: When I ____________, I _____________.

laugh really hard, cry

The Friday Feast is a weekly meme intended to "feed your mind by asking thought-provoking, mind-stimulating questions."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame....

We have been so busy lately with work. I have been terrible about keeping up on here but I promise to update at least some recipes this weekend! Spring is finally here and that means one thing... BASEBALL. Jason and I (along with a few other friends) headed to Milwaukee last night to see the Brewers play the Pirates. The weather was crummy but that is what the retractable roof on Miller Park is for right?

Our tickets were free, which would explain why are seats were only about 4 rows from the top. But it was still fun. Of course we made up for the free tickets with food and beer. Jason got a brat and cheese curds, I got a chorizo sausage (which was very good but they served it on a torilla), and then we both got pretzels.
If you want to see all of our pictures from the trip, including the famous sausage race.. click here. Oh, and the Brew crew won 7-3.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quick and cheesy sausage pasta

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 25 min
Makes: 4 servings, 1-3/4 cups each

3 cups rotini pasta, uncooked
1 lb. Italian sausage links, cut into bite-size pieces
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup chopped onions (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
3/4 cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided

COOK pasta as directed on package.
MEANWHILE, cook sausage in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 10 min. or until sausage is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Drain sausage; return to skillet. Add tomatoes with their liquid, the onions and dressing. Cook 5 min. or until onions are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
DRAIN pasta. Toss with the sausage mixture and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Yet another recipe from I even used the leftover sauce from the sausage hoagies on Monday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cheesy Rice Casserole

2 cups hot cooked rice
1 1/3 cups French's fried onions, divided
1 cup sour cream
1 jar medium salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine rice and 2/3 cup fried onions in a large bowl. Spoon half of the rice mixture into microwaveable 2-qt shallow casserole. Spread sour cream over rice mixture.

Layer half of the salsa and half of the chees over the sour cream. Sprinkle with remaining rice mixture, salsa, and cheese. Cover with a lid and microwave on high for 8 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining fried onions. Microwave on high 1 minute uncovered until onions are golden.

Makes 6 servings.

This is an old favorite from a cookbook called 4 Ingredient Cookbook. Its fast, easy, and very tasty!

Crispy Salsa Chicken

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 35 min
Makes: 4 servings, one chicken breast each

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 pouch SHAKE 'N BAKE Extra Crispy Seasoned Coating Mix
1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Coat chicken with coating mix as directed on package. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
BAKE 20 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170°F).
TOP each chicken breast with 2 Tbsp. salsa. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake an additional 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

Another recipe from Very fast and tasty!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quick 'n Easy Sausage on a Bun

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 35 min
Makes: 4 servings, one sandwich each

4 Italian sausage links (1 lb.)
1-1/2 cups each: red and green pepper wedges (about 1 medium pepper each)
1 medium onion, sliced, separated into rings
1/4 cup KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
4 Italian bread rolls, split, toasted
3/4 cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

HEAT large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add sausages; cook 12 min. or until cooked through (170ºF), turning after 6 min. Remove sausages from skillet; drain skillet. Cover sausages to keep warm.
ADD peppers, onions and dressing to skillet; cook and stir 5 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes with their liquid. Bring to boil; cook 5 min., stirring occasionally.
CUT sausages lengthwise in half, being careful to not cut all of the way through to bottom of each sausage. Open sausages; place, cut-sides down, on bottom halves of rolls. Top evenly with pepper mixture and cheese. Cover with top halves of rolls.

A recipe from Served with french fries. Definitely worth making again.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Molten Chocolate Cakes

4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate (I used 4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 tbsp flour
1/2 cup thawed cool whip OR ice cream

Preheat oven to 425. Butter 4 (3/4 cup) custard cups or souffle dishes. Place on baking sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high for 1 min or until butter is melted. Stir with a wire wisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Blend in eggs and egg yolks with wire wisk. Stir in flour. Divide batter between custard cups.

Bake 13-14 min or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 min. Carefully run a small knife around the cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Serve immediately topped with whipped topping or ice cream.

I made a half recipe but still spit it between 4 custard cups. I made two cups on Sunday and kept the other 2 in the fridge and baked them tonight... very yummy! Another recipe from Kraft food and family winter 2007 magazine. This dessert is very similar to the molten chocolate dessert at Chili's (and its cheaper :)

Mini meatloaves

We made the Mediterranean style

1 lb ground beef
1 pkg (6oz) stove top stuffing mix
1 cup water
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 Tbsp A1
3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
3/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese

1 Preheat over to 375. Mix meat, stuffing mix, water, A1, and oregano until well blended. Press evenly into 12 medium muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Make and indentation in the center of each with the back of a spoon.

2 Spoon roasted peppers into indentations.

3. Bake 30 min or until meatloaves are cooked through (160). Top evenly with Feta cheese and continue baking for 5 min or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 min before serving.

Makes 6 servings (2 meatloaves each).

We decided to used the grill for this one... so we made 8 patties instead of 12 'muffins'. Then put the peppers and cheese on them when they were flipped. This is a recipe from Kraft food and family winter 2007 magazine.

Pronto Saucy Pasta Skillet

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) of your favorite uncooked bite-size pasta a1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 jar (4-1/2 oz.) sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup KRAFT Ranch Dressing, divided
1/4 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

COOK pasta as directed on package.
MEANWHILE, cook beans, tomatoes, vegetables and remaining dressing in a skillet. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
TOP with cheese; cover. Let stand 2 to 3 min. or until cheese is melted. Serve over hot drained pasta.

This was another Kraft recipe.. it was ok but we probably won't make it again anytime soon.

Friday, April 13, 2007

friday Feast number 139

When you were a child, which crayon color was your favorite?

I think it was called cornflower... it was a light blue

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest), how likely would you be to change jobs if it required you to move?

This is just not an appropriate question for me right now... I reserve the right to a veto.

Take all the numbers in your birthday and your phone number and add them up, one by one. What’s the total?


Main Course
Have you ever “re-gifted” anything? If so, what was it and who did you pass it on to?

Yes... I regifted a fruit cake that I got in high school. I gave it back to the same person who gave it to me.. I think the exhange went on for 6 years... thats a long time when you are barely 20!

Name something you need from the store.

Onions... or at least that is what the list on our fridge says.

The Friday Feast is a weekly meme intended to "feed your mind by asking thought-provoking, mind-stimulating questions."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tomato & Spinach Pasta Toss

Recipe Rating:
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 20 min
Makes: 6 servings, 1 cup each

2 cups penne pasta (7 oz.), uncooked
1/2 lb. hot or mild Italian sausage, casing removed
1 pkg. (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves (7 cups)
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

COOK pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, crumble meat into large deep skillet. Cook on medium-high heat until cooked through, stirring occasionally; drain.
ADD spinach and tomatoes; cook 2 min. or until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.
DRAIN pasta; place in large serving bowl. Add meat mixture and cheeses; mix lightly.


Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 280
Total fat 10g
Saturated fat 4.5g
Cholesterol 30mg
Sodium 550mg
Carbohydrate 30g
Dietary fiber 2g
Sugars 4g
Protein 15g
Vitamin A 45%DV
Vitamin C 25%DV
Calcium 25%DV
Iron 15%DV

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More Bleeping Snow!

I know that we live in Wisconsin and all but I thought that spring would be here by April! Instead we had a winter storm warning today that actually goes until tomorrow at 7 a.m. On one hand it was very pretty wet snow.... on the other hand it was SNOW in APRIL! Here are some pics from our drive and outside my building at work.And I can't leave out this oops!
Then we got home and had Polynesian-Glazed Meatballs.

Polynesian-Glazed Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 26 min
Makes: 4 servings

1 tsp. oil
2 cups chopped red peppers (about 1 large)
1 cup chopped onions (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cans (8 oz. each) pineapple chunks, drained, liquid reserved
12 oz. (3/4 of 1-lb. pkg.) frozen cooked meatballs
2 cups instant white rice, cooked as directed on package

HEAT oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions; cook 5 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.
STIR in barbecue sauce, ginger, garlic powder and reserved pineapple liquid. Add meatballs; mix lightly until evenly coated. Cook 10 min. or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally. Add pineapple; mix well.
SERVE over the hot rice.

This was another great recipe from We couldn't figure out if it was the meatballs or the sauce but they were almost addictive!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yay for me!

Although it has been a stressful last few weeks because of work and job searching, I did get some good news this morning. My paper was (finally) accepted for publication!
To celebrate, Jason and I went out to eat. We ended up at Abuelos.. which calls itself Mexico's food embassy. It was really good.
I had a Sangria and Jason started with a Margarita. Then we ordered way to much food.

Jason and his Grande dinner at Abuelos
it included:
a chile relleno
chicken enchilada
beef echilada
cheese enchilada
beef taco
papas con chile
and guacamole
I had the Monterrey (I think I am trying to figure out where to start in the picture)
It was a chile relleno, chicken salsa enchilada, creamy chicken enchilada, spinach enchilada, avocado enchilada, chicken taco, beans, papas con chili, and guacamole.
AND we had dessert... tres leches cake.
And now I have not one but 2 boxes of food leftover!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Chicken Alfredo Pesto Pasta

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30 min
Makes: 4 servings, 1-1/2 cups each

2 tsp. oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups milk
1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-oz. tub) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
2 cups red pepper strips (about 1 large pepper)
1/4 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp. pesto
8 oz. (1/2 of 16-oz. pkg.) angel hair pasta, cooked, drained

HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 7 min. or until cooked through.
STIR in milk and cream cheese spread; cook 3 min. or until cream cheese spread is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Add peppers, Parmesan cheese and pesto; stir. Cook 3 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
ADD pasta; toss to coat.


Substitute 1-1/2 cups roasted red pepper strips for the fresh red pepper strips.

Jazz It Up
For more intense flavor, stir in 1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel or 1/2 cup dry-cured olives along with the peppers, Parmesan cheese and pesto.

This recipe was from It was pretty good. We didn't have red pepper so I used a green and an orange pepper. It really needed salt but otherwise no complaints. The roasted red pepper and olives from the suggestions would probably be really good!

There must be two Easter Bunnies!

Today was a pretty normal Monday. We woke up and took the rental car back that I used for my trip to Iowa. Then it was a normal work day. When we got home, we had a package in our mailbox. It was an easter box/basket from Ken and Natalie. We now have even more goodies... some chocolate bunnies (I called dibs on the crispy chocolate bunny, Jason will have to make do with the milk chocolate one) and two carrot bags (Reese's Pieces), an Easter card and the special baseball section of Newsday.
For dinner tonight, we continued the weekly menu (from last week) and made Chicken Alfredo Pesto Pasta and some more of my sister's homemade rolls.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!

Sorry I have been so bad about posting lately. Work has been crazy and on Thursday of this week, I headed to Iowa for a job interview and then spent Saturday with my family. It was a great trip, but its always nice to be home.
Thursday night and Friday were my interview. Then on Friday night, my mom, sister and I had dinner with my uncle Ed and aunt Catherine. Saturday we went shopping and Kohls (for almost two hours). I got a new sweater (only $7), a new bathmat and some new PJ's. Then I made a roundtrip to Leon to pick up my dad from work. We had Easter dinner last night. Andrea cooked.. it was all great. We had ham, homemade rolls, a casserole that my grandma used to make with macaroni and corn, green beans, 7-layer jello, and a strawberry dessert... I was so stuffed.
This morning before I headed back, my mom gave us easter baskets. Mom made some biscuits and gravy with some of the leftover ham and then I drove back to Madison. I made good time but I am beat!
Here are some pictures of our Easter goodies.. Jason's basket has a baster, a propane tank reader, lots of candy, and bunny poop. Mine was the same with the additional can colander and little whisk.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Friday Feast number 138

When you travel, which mode of transportation do you prefer?

If it didn't take so long and gas wasn't so expensive I would prefer driving... you get to see more of the trip.

Have you ever met a blogging friend in person?

Well I don't really have blogging friends that I didn't already know.. so I guess technically the answer is yes, but I would say no.

When was the last time you were really, really tired?

Now.. this week has been so busy.

Main Course
If you could have dinner with any one fictional character from a book or movie, who would it be?

Charlotte from Charlottes web... she was so smart!

Fill in the blank: One day, I hope to see _______________.

Bora Bora in person.

The Friday Feast is a weekly meme intended to "feed your mind by asking thought-provoking, mind-stimulating questions."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Cheesy Meatball Subs

Jason made dinner tonight.. another recipe from kraft

1 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
12 oz. (3/4 of 1-lb. pkg.) meatballs
4 crusty sandwich buns, split
3/4 cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

COMBINE spaghetti sauce, water and Parmesan cheese in large skillet. Add meatballs; stir gently to evenly coat. Bring to boil on medium-high heat.
REDUCE heat to medium; simmer 8 min. or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally.
SPOON into buns; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Great fast recipe.. really hits the spot for a meatball sub!