My favorite place in the world is in my kitchen with my children. The laughter and memories made while cooking and baking together are irreplaceable. This blog lists some of our favorite recipes & experiments in the kitchen. Check back regularly for new posts, and be sure to check each week to get the recipes featured on our Cooking with Mommy online radio show!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Two for the Price of One

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of update on Monday! I was feeling a little under the weather & slept most of the day. I am happy to report, however, that you will still be getting your Monday & Wednesday recipes today. =) Thanks for these recipes goes to Sue Butler. These are great recipes for kids to make with a grown-up helper supervising.

This is a great recipe for breakfast!

Postman's Smoothie

1 frozen banana, sliced
1/4 cup each of three other frozen fruit or berries (blueberries, strawberries, mango, peach, etc.)
Enough juice to cover fruit in a blender (orange juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, etc.)
1 container (6 oz.) fruit yogurt
1/2 tsp. coconut extract

Place all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth. Stir often in the process. Serve with a straw or garnish with fruit.

This is a yummy sweet treat, just for the kiddos! (Okay, you can share with grown-ups!)

Baked Cinnamon Balls

2 cups crushed corn flakes
1 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup chopped nuts
2 tsp. vanilla

Blend butter, sugar, and vanilla using an electric mixer. Add crushed corn flakes, cinnamon, flour, and nuts and mix thoroughly. Roll into one-inch size balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. After cooling slightly, roll in powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Delicious Desserts

Today's radio show was all about delicious desserts you can make with kids in the kitchen. Our first recipe with Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. We hope you love it!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box (20 oz.) Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup cocoa

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Blend eggs and butter in bowl until smooth. Add cookie mix and cocoa.

Stir until thoroughly incorporated. (We recommend using an electric mixer. This is not a very wet mix, so it can be hard for the child or grown-up helper to mix thoroughly - although I usually do it by hand. =) I hate the extra dishes!) If using a mixer, this will take about 1 1/2 minutes.

Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet. This recipe yields approximately 1 dozen large cookies. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack. Then enjoy!!!

Our second yummy recipe was Mini Caramel Chocolate Cheesecakes. Yummy!

Mini Caramel Chocolate Cheesecakes

**Note: We forgot something!!! On our radio show, we forgot to tell you that we added 1 egg to the cream cheese mixture. We have included it in the below recipe.**

2 T. butter, melted
5 graham cracker sheets
1/8 c. sugar

Cream Cheese Mixture
2 pkgs. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. sugar

24 Rolos candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray (like Pam).

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Place 5 graham crackers in ziplock bag and mash until crumb consistency. Mix melted butter, crushed graham crackers, and 1/8 c. sugar. Put approximately 1 teaspoon in each muffin tin and press down.

In large bowl, mix softened cream cheese with vanilla, lemon juice, and 1 egg. Once consistency is smooth, mix in 1/4 cup sugar. In your electric mixer, pour 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. Start at low speed, increasing to highest speed. Mix until heavy whipping cream has consistency of whipped cream, approximately 1-3 minutes. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

Place 1 unwrapped Rolo candy in the center of each muffin well. Do not push into crust; let rest gently on top of crust. Pour approximately 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture over the top of the Rolo. (Cream cheese mixture will be taller than muffin pan well.)

Place in oven for 25 minutes, or when edges are just starting to become golden. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool on cooling rack. Enjoy!!!

Join us on BlogTalkRadio next Friday when we talk about creative breakfast ideas. And check back on this site on Mondays and Wednesdays for new recipe ideas! In the meantime, go make some memories in the kitchen with your kids!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Build Your Own..., cont.

Okay, so another favorite in our house building on the "Build Your Own.." concept is Build Your Own Pizzas. My husband used to work as a multi-unit supervisor for a pizza franchise, and in my opinion, makes the most FABULOUS pizzas. He's our resident pizza expert, so we often give the job of making the dough to daddy.

Sometimes, though, when daddy's not home (or just doesn't feel like making the dough) we opt for something more easy. Who said that making a meal with kids needs to be tough? There are three options for your pizza dough at home, if you are not taking the homemade dough route. First, is the packaged dough shells. These tend to come in a plastic package, often in the deli/bakery section of your grocery store. Secondly, some grocery stores have pre-made dough patties in the bakery for purchase. They look like moist balls of dough in a bakery plastic bag. Lastly, in the refrigerated case at the grocery, near the canned biscuits, you can find cans of pizza dough.

For easy nights, we often go for option number three. We find it is best to parbake (partially bake) the dough before putting any toppings on it. Set your oven for the temperature on the package. After it has preheated, place your dough on a pan (we prefer stoneware for this), and place in the oven for 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye on the dough. You want it to be slightly hardened on the outside, and starting to become golden, but you do NOT want a fully baked crust. Use your judgement on this folks.

Assemble various pizza toppings. Be creative here. While you can definitely purchase pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni, you can also branch out with various veggies and alternative sauces. Try an alfredo sauce as your base or cheddar instead of mozzarella. See what veggies or fruits your kids may want to try - or try your hand at a dessert pizza. The possibilities are endless.

Check back tonight, and I will post a pizza recipe to try out with your family. I'm going to check with our resident pizza expert for a creative recipe from his recipe box.

Until then, have fun cooking in the kitchen with your kids!!!

Sorry that it took so long to post this recipe. Apparently, I did not give our resident pizza expert enough notice regarding my need of a recipe. I promise to give him better notice in the future. In the mean time, I am sure you will not be disappointed. As promised, a creative pizza recipe straight from the mind of Master Pizza Maker, Mark.

Hawaiian Summer Dream Pizza

1 can refrigerated pizza dough
1 6oz tub of pineapple cream cheese
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 bananas, chopped
1 small can of pineapple tidbits, drained (Reserve liquid.)
1/3 cup coconut flakes
2/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup chopped Macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to temperature indicated on pizza dough package baking instructions. Spray a 10x14 cookie sheet with cooking spray. Carefully stretch the dough to the length and width of the cookie sheet. (We sometimes use a small rolling pin for this, although Mark usually uses his hands.)

Bake the dough until lightly golden brown, approximately 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it. As we stated earlier, we don't want it to get overdone. (As this is a dessert pizza, we are baking the crust more thoroughly.)

Remove pizza from the oven and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix until smooth and creamy. Apply to pizza dough leaving a ½ inch border for your crust. Evenly sprinkle the following toppings (in order) on the pizza: bananas, pineapple tidbits, coconut flakes, and Macadamia nuts.

Combine brown sugar with 1 ½ tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice. With a spoon, drizzle the brown sugar mixture over the top of the pizza.

Place pizza back in the oven and bake an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Build Your Own...

We've found in our home that sometimes the fun in the kitchen is unrelated to the process of cooking. Kids want to feel that they have a part in preparing the meal, but sometimes, they are happy to be part of the assembly process. One of our favorite Family Night dinners is Build Your Own Tacos & Burritos.

Mom or Dad brown a pound of extra lean ground beef with taco seasoning added. If you are feeling adventurous, you can let your child help with this, although I definitely caution you against leaving them unsupervised. The stove-top is can be a dangerous area of the kitchen when you are not watching your child at ALL times.

After the meat is ready, with help from the kids, we assemble bowls of various toppings. Ideas can be endless on this meal. Some of our standard toppings include lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, cheese, Lizano (a delicious sauce from Costa Rica), refried beans* (pinto or black), black beans*, spanish or white rice, etc. (*Hint: We season our beans with Goya seasoning packets, found in the ethnic aisle of your local grocery store.)

Once all of the toppings are selected, we warm some tortillas (flour or corn) and some taco shells. Everyone gets to build his or her own taco and burrito, and we head to the living room to watch a family-friendly movie. Be sure to pull out the picnic blanket to save your carpets!

Other variations of the Mexican Build Your Own... theme include Build Your Own Fajitas and (my favorite) Build Your Own Mexican Breakfast Burritos. Similar to the Build Your Own Tacos & Burritos, when making the breakfast burritos, replace the ground beef with chorizo, a mexican sausage you can buy at your local grocery store or Latino grocery. We also scramble some eggs, and include most of toppings in the original burrito meal. It is a delicious way to start your day!

Do you have a facorite Build Your Own... meal? Let us know! We'd love to hear your ideas!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Our Radio Debut

Today marked our radio debut on Kaiya was at my side as my trusty co-host, and I found that there are definitely some kinks to work out. We can cover A LOT in 30 minutes. I guess we'll have to find more content & create specialized segments, or cut the show back to 15 minutes. My vote is for more content, but I know I can find a million kitchen related things to talk about! Did I mention my favorite place in the world is in the kitchen with my kids? (I like my hubby in there, too! He's a terrific cook!)

As promised, the featured recipe on today's show, Twice Baked Potatoes Delight is listed below.

Twice Baked Potatoes Delight

5 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened (8oz.)
3 T. ranch seasoning (or a 1 oz. pkt.)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping
1 T. bacon bits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake potatoes in microwave on HIGH for 16 minutes. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients, being sure to incorporate fully.

After potatoes have cooled enough to handle safely, cut slice down center of the potato, stopping halfway through the potato. Gently spoon potato out of the potato skin, being careful not to tear the skin. Set the potato skins to the side, to be used later. Using a potato masher, mix the potato into the cream cheese mixture.

Spoon the potato/cream cheese mixture into the potato "pocket" created by the potato skin. There will be a lot of filling, so be generous. Place filled potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese 5 minutes before cook time is finished.

Next week's radio show is all about desserts. Join us for this tasty show! I can't wait. Chocolate, anyone?!?!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In the Kitchen with Kids

My favorite place in all of the world is in the kitchen with my children. As I walk to the kitchen to begin cooking dinner or baking some wonderful dessert, my children scurry crazily across the house, racing to arrive at the kitchen first. They are so proud of their aprons and their REAL child-size cookware and bakeware. Their library of children's cookbooks rivals my own collection of cookbooks.

Oftentimes, the kitchen soon is a mess, but the lessons learned and the memories made during that session in the kitchen will carry them throughout their lives. I am sure of it. In the midst of the laughter and sounds of happy taste-testers, my children are learning math, nutrition, and science. They are learning how to read a recipe, and they are learning how to provide for their families when they are older. They are also learning the value of time spent with family.

So, in honor of my three favorite snugglebugs, I am going to keep this journal of our kitchen adventures. Check back often for recipes and ideas to use in your kitchen!

In the meantime, here is one of our EASY favorites:

Cherry Dump Cake (My 5 year old LOVES to make this all by herself!)
1 large can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter, melted
1 c. chopped nuts (We prefer pecans!)

Grease a 9x13 baker. Layer the ingredients in the order listed above. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until slightly golden. Enjoy!!!