Pineapple angel food cake

This was so easy and everyone loved it. Mix one box of angel food cake mix with one 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, juice and all. Do NOT add the water that is called for on the box, just the dry mix and entire can of pineapple with juice.

Mix well, it will foam. Pour into a 9×13 pan and put into a preheated 350 oven for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Bagels

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We’re in bagel making heaven here. Yesterday morning I saw this post as soon as I woke up and decided I’d try right away. They are SO easy and SO yummy.

In a bread maker, or kitchen aid or Bosch or whatever, combine:

1 cup warm water (I needed a bit more)
3 cups of bread flour
2 TBS white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

If you’re using a breadmaker, set it to dough cycle. If you’re not, I’d knead well for about 10 minutes and let the dough rest about 45 minutes.

Then shape the dough into 8-10 balls, flatten, and poke holes. Let them rest for about 30-60 minutes.

First time making bagels. Seems easy, we'll see how they turn out!

Then you’ll boil a pot of water with 3T sugar to be ready when the bagels are done rising. Boil each bagel for 1 minute; 30 seconds on each side. We fit 3 bagels into our pot at a time.

Put the boiled bagels on an ungreased pan that is either sprinkled with 1T cornmeal, or use a silpat (which I did), and bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until they look just browned enough.

Nathan and I just split a bagel fresh out of the oven and the verdict is in...they are great!! This is so fun! Tomorrow: raisin and cinnamon version. Oh I'm positively giddy.

They’re not beautiful, but they are delicious!

Our first batch of 8 was gone not long after the kids came home from school, so last night I made a second batch of raisin cinnamon. SO YUMMY! I added maybe 3/4 t cinnamon to the dough mixture at the very beginning, along with about 2 handfuls of raisins. It was perfect!

Tilapia with Cilantro and Ginger

We LOVED this.

4-6 tilapia fillets (about 2 pounds)
1 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons grated ginger (from about a 2-inch piece that has been peeled)
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
Chopped green onions for garnish
Extra cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Pat the tilapia fillets dry and season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the fish in a glass or ceramic baking dish.

Place the jalapenos, garlic, ginger, soy sauce,stock, sesame oil and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse or process until very well blended. Pour the sauce over the fish. Bake for 8-12 minutes until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

The freezer meals post…

So for Shanelle and Lauren the others who asked what meals I made on the marathon cooking morning the other month, here is the info for you, finally.

My favorite freezer cooking books have been Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer, and Fix, Freeze, Feast. I am picking up Don’t Panic, More Dinner’s in the Freezer from the library this weekend. Really, though, you don’t have to stick to fancy cookbooks or special pinterest recipes.  I haven’t had good luck freezing recipes with potatoes well, but most of your “go-to” family recipes are likely freezer friendly. Some people say don’t freeze recipes with milk, cream or cream cheese – we’ve usually done just fine with those. Most soups freeze amazingly well and they’re so easy to double and triple.

And also – if a big cooking morning (which means a big kitchen cleaning afternoon for me) is too much for you – one of the other tricks I like to do is once or twice a week, cook two or three of whatever you’re making that night for dinner.  Eat one, freeze the other one (or two). Ta da. Much more manageable than planning a big cooking day.

I usually put each meal in a ziploc, then put that ziploc inside Food Saver bag and sealed it on up. This time I bought super cheap tin pans (18-25 cents) from the restaurant supply store so I could just place each meal in the pan, stick the pan inside a Food Saver bag, and seal it there. On cooking day we cut the bag open and just stick the pan in the oven, then throw the pan away. Sweet.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole x3
Chicken Parmigana x3
Cream cheese salsa chicken x 3 (was supposed to be Mariachi chicken rolls but I forgot to buy two ingredients, so made this instead – was just cream cheese and salsa blended, poured over breasts)
Chicken Satay x3
Buttermilk Herb Chicken Breasts x3
Chicken with Pesto Butter x3
Lemon Glazed Chicken Breasts x3
Loaded Baked Potato Soup x3 (was advertised as a freezer recipe but didn’t do great in the freezer – needed a bunch of work to make good the next day, so I won’t link until I figure out a better freezer version)

This manicotti is another of our freezer faves.  I’ve been bad at adding the new recipes we’ve tried and loved; should get back in the habit again.

We ended up with 23 frozen meals for later (ate one of the potato soups that night). As for cost? I don’t know. I bought all the chicken the night before, on sale for $1.79/lb for the boneless skinless breasts. I spent about $75 on the chicken alone. I tried adding everything together but am guessing – I feel safe saying it was all well under $125 for 24 meals, which averages what…about $5/meal?. Some things like cream cheese were on sale for $1/8 oz, which is a huge sale and really helped – the potato soup and salsa chicken used a bunch of that.

Any questions?

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

We all loved this! It’s from Taste of Home. I was going to add just 4 cups of milk instead of the 2 cups of half and half but the calories were relatively low with it, so I added it for extra flavor. The store was out of fat free half and half.  We’ll try that next time.

1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini (I used prob 2/3 of a 19 oz bag of frozen)
2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) reduced-sodium condensed tomato soup, undiluted
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
Cook tortellini according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the soup, broth, milk, cream, tomatoes and seasonings. Heat through, stirring frequently. Drain tortellini; carefully add to soup.  Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Nutritional Facts
1 cup  equals 245 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 42 mg cholesterol, 756 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein.

chicken cordon bleu cassrole

This is going to be a lame, pictureless post for all of you, but I’m writing it down so I can remember to put it in my recipe binder.

I pinned a recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole and Sunday when we wanted chicken cordon bleu (but I didn’t want to do the work) I remembered the recipe. Looked it up: it was kind of complicated. I was looking for help in being…lazy. Googled, found a few more, but they all had substitutes for cream of chicken soup or fancy toppings. Blah.

We just pounded down some chicken breasts and put them in a baking dish. Topped with cheese (I had mozz, I’d use swiss if I had it). Topped with Canadian bacon since we didn’t have ‘real’ ham. Mixed up 1 can of cream of chicken soup and maybe a cup of sour cream, then poured about half or a bit more than half of that on top of the bacon. Then I had bread crumbs in the freezer. I melted a few tablespoons butter, and threw into that some dried onion, some of Paula Deen’s House Seasoning I had in a bag leftover from something else, and 2 cups of bread crumbs.  Stir.  Put that on top of the the sauce.  Cover with foil. We baked it for an hour.

NEXT TIME: I’d leave off the bread crumbs until the last 20 minutes or so, they got a bit over-browned on the edges.

Yum.

OH MY GOSH: I just had a thought: I bet that would be easy to do in the CROCK POT!! Boo ya.

Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark

First: this blog is on my nerves. When I open the main page, the categories and search function don’t show up. WHAT A PAIN.  I’m kind of over wordpress but don’t know where else to go.  Anyway, when I come to this blog to search my own archives I usually know exactly what I’m looking for, so in google I’ll type juliecooks sugar cookies.  Or juliecooks french bread. Anyway, I know there’s not many friends and family that read here, but if you do, maybe that will help.

Now, the yum.

via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Do you read that blog? It is one of my stand by blogs for recipes. They’re family friendly, usually easier/faster, use normal ingredients, and her archives are nice and easy to search. Anyway. This was the treat we made this week.  It was super easy and super yummy. She calls it “salted chocolate toffee pretzel bark” and if you want, add a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the chocolate when it’s done. I wasn’t in the mood.

It’s super easy: Preheat oven to 375. Take 8 oz (1/2 a one lb bag) small pretzels, broken into little pieces, and put them on a foil lined jelly roll pan. Then in a pot combine 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter. Nice and healthy. Stir until combined and then when the little bubbles show up, let it cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Right away, pour over the pretzels. Don’t worry if every pretzel isn’t covered because it will spread out more in the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes inside the oven. As soon as you take it out, sprinkle 1 cup to 1.5 cups of chocolate chips on top. Let them sit for 2-3 minutes and then use an offset spatula to spread them around and make a nice chocolate layer.  It will harden in awhile if you leave the pan out, we put it in the fridge to harden the chocolate.  When it’s hard, peel off the foil and break into little pieces.

I haven’t done Christmas neighbor gifts for a few years but I might do this in December for the neighborhood. It’s SO good.