Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hunger Games Inspired Menu

Who's excited for The Hunger Games movie?! We are!
So in preparation we decided we wanted to cook a Hunger Games premier feast! It is during our spring break so we have lots of time for prepping and cooking. We brainstormed and came up with these ideas:

  • "Peeta" chips with hummus
Main Menu:


  • "The Girl On Fire" Marg

So that's what we are planning. It may change by the time March 23rd rolls around though. I hope this has inspired some of you to have a premier party of your own. I would love to hear your ideas! 

I have high hopes for the movie and I hope it doesn't disappoint! The trailers have been really promising.

Happy Hunger Games! 


Monday, February 27, 2012

Panko Crusted Stuffed Chicken

It seems like I am always trying to find recipes that will use up left over perishables. This week I had spinach, tomatoes, and a variety of Italian cheeses. I remembered this recipe for stuffed chicken and knew that it would be perfect for getting rid of my excess ingredients! It is fast, fresh, and tasty! The original recipe only calls for Parmesan and ricotta cheese, but I had some Romano so I threw that in too. Make sure to rinse the chicken before you start so that way the Panko crumbs will stick a bit better. My chicken breast were huge so the filling filled two up nicely, but if you have some smaller ones I think it would make three. This is a great weeknight meal and it is on the healthier side. Score!

In other news, my dad left for Africa last Thursday. He and some other guys will be there for the next couple of weeks building wells and sharing their faith. I am excited to hear all about it when he gets back! In the mean time, please keep him and the rest of the crew in your prayers! 

Panko Crusted Stuffed Chicken

  • 1 cup of low fat ricotta cheese
  • Small handful of baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced with seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dash of oregano
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Italian seasoned panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together the ricotta, spinach, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, sea salt, pepper, and oregano. 

Rinse the chicken breasts then cut a long horizontal slit along the center. Fill the cavity of the chicken breast with the ricotta mixture. Season each side of the chicken with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Carefully dip the chicken breasts in the panko crumbs until both sides are evenly covered. Close the slit together with toothpicks or halved kebab sticks. (sorry, I wish I had remembered to take a picture at this point, but sometimes I just get in the zone, haha!)
Heat the olive oil in an oven proof skillet on the stove over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown, flip the chicken over and place the skillet into the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This week has been a bit hectic with school and tests so I knew an easy crock pot meal would be a great help. This soup couldn't get any easier! You open some cans, slice an onion, throw in chicken breasts and spices, let it cook in the crock-pot for a while, and viola! A delicious homemade soup that is filling, healthy and delicious. Plus you have lots of leftovers for a quick lunch. The recipe calls for two chicken breasts, but if they are large I think one would be plenty. I have only cooked it on the low setting, but if you try the high setting, let me know how it goes!

Well I have to get back to the books! Happy almost Friday!

Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 2 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts 
  • 2 cans Ro-Tel
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried cilantro
  • tortilla chips
  • shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese


Put chopped onion, cans of beans, rotel, corn, chicken broth, water, and spices in crock-pot and stir to mix. Put chicken breasts on top of mixture and make sure they're at least partly submerged in liquid.

Cook on high 6-7 hours or low 8-9 hours. Before serving remove the chicken breasts from soup and shred.
Return chicken to crock-pot, stir to combine.
Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

Adapted from:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

One day, my dear friend Analise brought these cookies to class to share. They are the most delicious oatmeal cookies I've ever had! They're slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, which adds up to the perfect cookie! They were fast and easy to make too. I love when I already have all the ingredients on hand! If you are a person who likes raisins, I think you could easily sub out the chocolate chips for raisins. But in this house, chocolate could never, ever be replaced by raisins, hehe.

You can check out the original recipe (and many other yummy recipes) at Lady Mix Alot's blog

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 In a medium mixing bowl  combine oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. 

Add in eggs, one at a time, beating after every addition. Mix in vanilla.

Slowly add the flour cup by cup until it is all added.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Form dough into medium size balls, place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Gee, thanks for the recipe Roomie! Remember in 2nd year when we wore matching outfits and went jumping on a room full of trampolines for hours?? Here's a picture to jog your memory!

Adapted from:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Strawberry Muffins

One morning this weekend, I woke up early and knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. So I got up and decided to make Luke breakfast. I found some strawberries in the back of the fridge that needed to be used up soon (I hate wasting food) and remembered this recipe. They turned out so moist and yummy. These are not super sweet which we like because we are generally not fans of really sweet things for breakfast. Although  I will get a craving for a Krispy Kreme occasionally! We had these with cold glasses of chocolate milk, which was the perfect combination!

Strawberry Muffins
yields 9 muffins

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line muffin tin with paper liners. 

In a small bowl, combine oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Beat lightly. 

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Toss in chopped strawberries and stir to coat with flour. Pour in milk mixture and stir together.

Fill muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Adapted from:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

Our Valentine's Day dinner was a great success! For our main dish we made these delicious stuffed shells with a homemade meaty tomato sauce, yum-yum! The recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman so you know it's going to be great!

I love cooking with red wine. I love the way it smells and the way it tastes... it just adds such a depth of flavor. Plus you get to feel sophisticated, even if you're using a $5 bottle of wine! I will definitely be making this sauce recipe again for other pasta dishes. I was thinking that it would be good to put into mason jars and give to some of my friends and family who like to cook, it's so versatile!

I used this technique to stuff the shells and it made it so much easier! I was done in no time. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this. Also we learned what "chiffonade" meant and how do it. Thanks Wikipedia!

Our appetizer was margherita flatbread. They were good, but we don't think we've quite perfected  the recipe yet. I'll wait to share that when we have! But it looked pretty, so here's a pic.

After dinner we built our fort. It had the 3 C's of a perfect fort: Comfy, Cozy, and Cool. Baha, I just made that up, but it works! I do think this is the best fort we've built yet! And I remembered how much I love the movie Away We Go. If you haven't seen it yet go watch it!

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

  • Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounces jumbo pasta shells
  • 30 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces parmesan cheese, grated, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated romano cheese
  • 1 whole egg
  • 12 leaves basil, chiffonade
  • 2 Tbs minced parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.

Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar, salt and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and parsley. Stir until combined.

To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Adapted from:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Walker Chili

The last time I made this chili, it was snowing for most of the day. It was great to come home to a house that smelled of this delicious chili. This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Amy. It is absolutely delicious and is sort of like a taco chili. We top it with extra-sharp cheddar and we use lean ground beef to make it a bit healthier. It is very hearty and filling, perfect for a cold winter's day!

In other news, we had our Valentine's Day feast yesterday and it turned out so good. Props to Luke for going to the grocery store and getting all the ingredients by himself, it was a lot of stuff! Anyways, I can't wait to share the recipes with you guys! Happy Friday!

 Walker Chili

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano


Begin heating olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the onion and cook until clear. Add the ground beef and garlic. When the beef is almost brown, add the bell pepper and chili pepper and continue to cook until the beef is browned. Drain fat if needed.

Pour this into the crock-pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Turn on low and cook for 8 hours. 

Serve with cheese, crackers, and/or sour cream. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mexican Cornbread

Growing up, every Christmas morning my mom made this recipe for breakfast. She got this recipe from a fellow student when she and my dad were in Texas for X-ray school. Ever since, it's become a family tradition! When Luke and I went down to Rolla Christmas morning my mom had made this, and boy was it good! Luke had been asking when we were going to make this at least twice a week ever since then. So we finally made it and it turned out great! It's more of a casserole type dish than traditional cornbread so we had it as our main course for dinner the other night. It is crispy on the outside, and moist and flavorful on the inside! If you don't like spicy foods you can use regular sausage rather than the "hot" sausage we used. Or if you like really spicy things you could add some diced chili peppers. Our version is sort of a medium heat I guess!

Speaking of Christmas, I already bought my first present for Luke, am I crazy? I was worried I would forget about it by next Christmas, ha! Cheers!

Mexican Cornbread


  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 lb. hot sausage
  • 1 box Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 - 16 oz. can creamed corn
  • 10 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 can Rotel, partially drained


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Cook the onion and sausage in a skillet until the meat is browned. Drain excess fat and set aside. 
In a bowl, mix the Jiffy, egg, milk, creamed corn, cheese, and Rotel. 

Fold in the onion and sausage.
Pour into greased 13x9 inch pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Cut and serve.