a cooking blog from one foodie to another... I rarely if ever use real measurements... my recipes are more like guidelines... but along the way we usually land on something kinda delectable...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Kastner Kids Cook: Jeremiah

Tonight was day 1 of The Kastner Kids Cook. So far its been a lot of fun.  The kids have LOVED planning their menus, shopping for their groceries and are eagerly awaiting (all but Jeremiah) their chances to cook.

Jeremiah's Menu:

Mozzarella Sticks
Tater Tot Casserole
Dirt Cake

He did a MARVELOUS job!  Find links to his recipes above.

Dirt Cake

1/2 pckg of Oreo crumbs, crushed
2 big pckgs of choclate pudding
1 big container of Cool Whip

Layer the above (in that order) in a dish and top with gummy worms.

[Sorry!  I forgot to take a picture before we had some.]

Tater Tot Casserole

We LOVE us some tater tot casserole!  Here's our version (well at least our current version. It is CONSTANTLY changing.):

Tater Tot Casserole

Brown 3lbs of ground beef.
Mix in 2 big cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup.
Add 1 small bag of frozen corn.

Pour that mixture into the bottom of 2 9x13 pans.
Cover it with American cheese or shredded cheddar.
Cover with a single layer of tater tots.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cake Pops!!!!

Ohmigosh!  I did it!!!!  And guess what? It WAS as easy as it looked (okay well once I stopped being cheap it was).

My kids tried cake pops at Starbucks last week and they LOVED them!  So I googled, and decided to try to make them.  Well if this foodie wasn't also a cheapie then it woulda been a BREEZE!  As it was I ended up having to run to Walmart in the middle of my project to spend the couple of bucks I shoulda just spent in the FIRST place!  See I didn't want to pay for the Wilson candy melts... so I decided to follow a cheapskate recipe that used melted chocolate chips instead DON'T DO IT!!!! SPEND THE STINKING $2.50 and buy the candy melts!  They melt and top with EASE and they harden SO quickly too!

Cake Pops

1  cake mix (any flavor; we did devil's food) prepared according to package directions
1 can frosting (any flavor; we did chocolate fudge)
lollipop sticks
2 pckgs Wilton candy melts (pick a color; we chose PINK)
sprinkles (we chose chocolate)

Crumble the cake into crumbs in a bowl. Mix in the entire can of frosting until thoroughly combined.

Roll the cake & frosting mixture into balls. (This part gets a little messy.)

Place the cake balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

Stick a lollipop stick in each one and freeze for 1 hour or more.

Put the Wilton candy melts in a bowl and pop it in the microwave for 2 min. Stir. Heat for 30 seconds at a time stirring in between until completely melted. [sorry I was too frazzled by my late night trip to Walmart... forgot to take a pic of this part]. Dip the cake pop in the candy coating. Cover completely. Decorate quickly before the coating hardens.

I bought little styrofoam balls that John cut in half so I would have stands for my pops.

[There are SO many cute ideas for these!  I LOVED the yellow pops with black smiley faces. You can make them to fit any holiday: white bunnies at easter, red/white/blue patriotic pops, reindeer, etc... Bakerella is OVER-THE-TOP with rabbits, Mickey Mouse, et al... you should REALLY check it out!]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chocolate Bombs

So a FB thread from Friday night introduced me to Applebee's Dessert Shooters. I looked up a copycat recipe, made it easier (because there was NO way I was making chocolate mousse from SCRATCH!) and ohhhhhhhhhh MYLANTA!  Heavenly dessert!  We're calling them (Jeremiah named them):

Chocolate Bombs

12 oreos
1 small pckg. instant chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups milk
16 oz. cool whip
6 Tbsp. Godiva white chocolate liquer
6 oz. chocolate chips
6 Tbsp. hot fudge sundae topping
whipped cream

Crush Oreos and place 2 Tbsp. crumbs in the bottom of 6 small glasses.
Whisk milk into pudding mix until thoroughly combined; fold in cool whip and Godiva. Scoop onto oreo crumbs.
Chop up chocolate chips; sprinkle on mousse.
Top with a layer of hot fudge.
Cool 20 - 30 minutes in fridge.
Top with whip cream and serve.

[Be careful the alcohol apparently settles at the bottom of the mousse cuz WOW that last bite is POTENT!]

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mexican Pizza!

You know I love me some Mexican food!  Well I came up with my own Mexican Pizza idea. I don't like the meat that most peops put on a Mexican pizza. PLUS I didn't really plan this one in advance so I'm just making use of what I have around.

Mexican Pizza

bread machine pizza crust (I made this one whole wheat by doing 50/50 wheat and white flour.)
enchilada sauce (from a can)
cheddar cheese
green peppers (from the GARDEN)
sliced beefsteak tomatoes (from the GARDEN)
sliced black olives
black beans

layer it all on there... bake 15 - 20 on 425

Tomato and Olive Pizza

New pizza experiments tonight.... Not quite sure how it will even turn out (I'll stick the pics in after I get it outta the oven):

Tomato and Olive Pizza

Roll out a bread machine pizza crust onto your pizza pan. (I made this one whole wheat by doing 50/50 wheat and white flour.)
Spray the crust with EVOO cooking spray.
Scatter halved, pitted black olives and halved cherry (or grape) tomatoes over the crust.
Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan over the entire pizza.
Spritz with a light spray of EVOO cooking spray.

Bake 15 - 20 minutes on 400.

Jami's Oooey Goooey Brownies

I'm not a fan of brownies from a box mix. Really and truly the from scratch brownies are not much harder. If you're gonna dirty a mixing bowl, you might as well GO ALL THE WAY! We're having brownies tonight because after 3 LONG years I finally broke down and bought a new Pampered Chef Rectangular Baker. It was a long and PASSIONATE love affair I had with my stoneware baker... I made EVERYTHING in that baker:  brownies, tater tot casserole, pizza spaghetti, lasagna... EVERYTHING!!!!  Then one day I had it sitting on the stove and someone turned on the wrong burner underneath it.  A loud explosion! and my baker was no more.  That was THREE YEARS ago!  ugh!

 But the love affair has reignited and tonight we make a nice fatty treat to help season that baby up!


4 squares Baker's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Microwave chocolate and butter (about 2 - 3 minutes; until butter is completely melted).
Stir until chocolate is complete melted.
Stir in sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
Stir in flour and chocolate chips until well blended.
Spread into pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kastner McMuffins....

This is John's new breakfast staple... it's quick... it's yummy... it's PACKED with protein. Dependent upon how virtuous we're feeling (and how long it has been since we've been to the store)... this is healthy or decadent. Here's what you need:

healthy - Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread or English Muffin
mediocre - whole wheat toast or english muffin
very little nutritional value - generic white flour english muffin from Walmart

healthy - make your own turkey sausage patty... no recipe for this one yet but I'm tackling it next week and will post it when I master it
mediocre - turkey sausage patty from Walmart
heart attack in patty form - maple flavored pork sausage patty from Walmart

only one way to do this one

healthy - leave it off
medicore - provolone or mozzarella
fattening - cheddar

Pop your bread in the toaster.
Wrap your sausage patty in a paper towel and heat it in the microwave. (our micro takes 1 min)
Spray a glass custard dish with non-stick spray; crack an egg into it; use a fork to break up the yoke a little so it doesn't explode. Wrap entire custard dish in a paper towel to prevent splatters, allowing your egg to breathe while it cooks. (our micro takes 1 min)
Layer sausage, egg and cheese on your bread choice (add some butter or mayo to your bread if you're being truly decadent) making a sandwich.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tomato Basil Rotini

Found a recipe at one of my FAVORITE sites Kraft Foods.... (I love them even after they started charging for the AWESOME Kraft Food & Family magazine they used to send for FREE.) But Walmart didn't have Philadelphia Sundried Tomato and Basil Cream Cheese Spread.  I figured I would just concoct some of my own, but I forgot to buy the sundried tomatoes!  ERGH!  In the end, we ended up with a Jami recipe based off a Kraft Recipe.  Here's what I did:

Boil two packages of rotini. (I used plain old normal rotini but you could use tri-color or whole wheat too.)
Saute 6 cloves of pressed garlic in 4 Tbsp. of EVOO. (My Pampered Chef Garlic Press is definitely one kitchen tool I could NOT live without!)
Add cooked pasta and one entire tub of Philadelphia Cooking Creme Original. Cook a few minutes.
Stir in 5 BIG fresh tomatoes (from my garden); chopped (just minutes after they were pulled from the vine... MMMMMM).
Mix in 1/4 cup fresh basil and 4 Tbsp. (actually much MUCH more for the Kastners; I mixed is a couple of handfuls; then I sprinkled more on each person's dish) parmesan cheese.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tortilla Lasagna

[a recipe from the KING of the Kastners' kitchen]

I gave John a recipe from Prevention. He applied some Kastner flair and the result was an AMAZING dinner!  (and I'm not saying that just because I didn't have to cook it).

1 1/2 cups of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 diced fresh jalapeno
1 diced white onion

Bring the above ingredients to a simmer in a saucepan. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan with tortilla chips. Pour the sauce over the chips. Layer cheese on top of the sauce.

Bake 20 minutes (or until the cheese bubbles) at 400 degrees.  YUM!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

3-Cheese Mini Lasagnas

I got the idea for this recipe out of Prevention magazine, so in THEORY it is healthy. It really doesn't have too much bad for you although cheese can be fattening so watch your amounts; however, the cheeses in this recipe: mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta are all pretty virtuous.

Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Wonton Wrappers (my new FAVORITE ingredient!!!)
Petite Diced Tomatoes
Ricotta Cheese
Garlic powder

Mix about 1/4 cup ricotta with 1 tsp. basil, oregano, and garlic powder (I just used clumps and pinches for my measurements). Stir until thoroughly incorporated. Spray a muffin tin with olive oil spray. Press a wonton wrapper into each muffin cup. Add 1 Tbsp. diced tomatoes, 1 tsp. of seasoned ricotta, a pinch of parmesan and a pinch of mozzarella to each wonton. Repeat ALL layers: wonton, tomatoes, ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella.

Bake at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand at least 5 minutes to firm up before serving.

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