What’s New For Dinner: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Pita Chips

Welcome to my new series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. So check her site for what she’s tried this week, too!

The whole reason for me wanting to start this series was to push me to make the things I’ve been wanting to make for awhile. Awhile back, I ordered some Tahini and Organic Garbanzo Beans on Amazon when I found a good deal on them. I didn’t realize how long it had been until I went to create the links and saw it say, “Jaycie, you ordered these on September 20, 2010.” Wow. Talk about procrastination, right? This is just one of the many things I’ve bought last year with hopes of trying to create them. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has done this. (and if so, please lie and tell me I’m not alone….)

The original recipe I found was for a Roasted Red Pepper Hummus but when I was at the store and saw the price of them right now, I cringed and debated making a plain hummus. I caved and bought one and I’m glad I did. Not only did the red pepper add a nice additional flavoring but it gave the hummus this amazingly beautiful red/orange coloring, making the dish all the more appealing. So, I did follow the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe this week but first, I had to find out How to Roast a Red Pepper. These instructions were really great and actually fairly easy to do. While it was roasting, I was putting together other ingredients so it didn’t add much time to the process. The skin peeled off so easily and I’ve now found something to add to our sandwiches and such during the week. (when peppers are in season!)

I also wanted to try my hand at making my own Homemade Pita Chips. These are just made from store-bought Pita Pockets so they are only slightly homemade. Here’s how everything looked mid-stream:


Chips coated and ready to bake. This was just batch #1 and I only used half the pockets, overall.


This is my roasted red pepper split up. I am still shocked how easily the skin peeled off and how easily the seeds and stem came off, too.


This is the hummus right before I blended in the red peppers and basil.


And this is our delicious little afternoon snack! The kids got a kick out of how I displayed it on the plate. The side bowl is what I saved for later in the week.

As I mentioned, I only used half of the pita pockets. The other half, I kept to make chicken pizza pockets for supper. I just threw in some leftover chicken from earlier in the week, along with some black olives, pepperoni, tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. I baked them at 400 degrees just until they were heated and the cheese melted. Not much more than 5 minutes. I added some fruit for a side dish and we were all set!

Verdict:
I thought that the hummus might have had a little bit too much Tahini in it. On my next batch, I’ll think I’ll dial it back just a touch. I also liked my pita chips super crispy. So I flipped them over on the other side for just an extra minute and I liked how they turned out. My kids loved this little snack and I thought it tasted a lot fresher than the store bought stuff, which I loved.If you buy garbanzo beans with no salt added like I did, you may have to add a little salt for flavoring later. But I’d wait until everything’s blended in your food processor just to be sure you need it.

This was my “What’s New for Dinner” for this week. Did any of you attempt to make anything new this week? If so, how did it turn out? Don’t forget to check out Jenn’s adventure this week. She made some Slow Cooker Southwestern Chicken Chili this week for her family.

What’s New For Dinner?: Breaded Beef and Roasted Vegetables

Welcome to my new series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. So check her site for what she’s tried this week, too!

The recipe I tried this week wasn’t the one I originally had planned. I found my original one to be a little more involved, like something I should try to make on a weekend when my hubby could watch the kids. But I’m really happy that it worked out this way as I stumbled onto a great recipe.

I had done a search on allrecipes.com for anything I could make using a Beef Rump Roast. Isn’t it great that you can search by ingredients there? I then scrolled through them to find one I could make with what I had on hand, and in the end, deciding on the recipe for Breaded Beef.

This was a fairly simple recipe to make. The kids got a kick out of the big mound of bread crumb mixture and were content to watch me dip the beef into the egg mixture and then the crumbs. If it wasn’t raw meat, I would have let them help.

Since the recipe is simple, I’ll let you refer to allrecipes.com for it. But here are the basic steps:

1) Cut the meat into 1/8″ pieces. (no picture on this one)

2) Whip up the egg and water mixture.

3) Mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt.

4) Dip the meat into the egg mixture and then the bread crumb mixture and then place onto a foil lined cookie sheet.

5) Fry up the breaded beef in some hot oil. Note: Always use caution when working with hot oils. You’ll fry it up a few minutes on one side and then the other, until fully cooked.

I then needed a side dish. I had a lot of root vegetables left over from my CSA so I decided to make a batch of Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables, but I only used the vegetables that I had on hand. If you’ve never tried Celeriac, it’s an interesting root vegetable that tastes a lot like celery. It was a new one I tried this fall.

I whipped up a little salad from leftover taco filling we had from the night before and topped it with some star and flower shaped croutons the kids had made. (I’ll share later how to make those!) Here’s what our end meal looked like:

The final verdict: Two thumbs up! I turned my head for a few minutes to help the kids with their plates and my hubby had gobbled down most of his. It was decided that this must be worked into our monthly meal plan!

And this is the “What’s New For Dinner?” for us this week. Did any of you try anything new, too?

Kellogg’s Cereal Printable Coupon and Recipe

RedPlum has a new $1/2 Kellogg’s Cereal Printable Coupon that’s valid on Rice Krispies, Crispix, Corn Flakes or All-Bran Cereals.

I thought I’d share as I know several of these cereals are used in holiday baking items.

Here’s one recipe you can make with Crispix:

“People Puppy Chow”

1) Melt together 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. You’ll have to stir frequently or it will burn very quickly. I’d recommend keeping it on a lower heat.

2) Once melted, pour over Crispix cereal (1-12oz. box) that you’ve already emptied into a large bowl. Stir the cereal mixture (gently or you’ll break them) until all the cereal is covered.

3) Immediately put the chocolatey mixture into a brown paper bag that’s been filled with 1/2 bag (1lb.) of powdered sugar. Close up the bag and shake it until the sugar covers the cereal. It will look like this when you are done:

I usually put some of these into small sandwich bags and tie with a red ribbon as a little gift for someone.

Turkey and Noodles Recipe: Freezer Cooking Style

I thought I’d share this recipe in case any of you had some leftover turkey and were looking for ideas on how to use it. This recipe is one that you can freeze for a later date when you are hungry for some of that yummy turkey again!

Ingredients:
96 oz. of Turkey or Chicken Broth
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
1/2 Cup of Diced Onion
1/4 Teaspoon of Pepper
1 lb. of Frozen Noodles (I love the ones by Reames in the freezer aisle)
1/4 Cup of Flour
1 1/2 Cups of Milk
4 Cups of Cooked Turkey
Salt

How To Make:
In a large pot, heat broth to boiling. Add salt, onion and pepper. Add frozen noodles and bring to a boil again. Then reduce heat to keep from boiling over but let it still bubble freely. Cook for 10 minutes. In a bowl, stir flour and milk together and then add to the bubbling pot. Cook until the juices are somewhat reduced and slightly thickened. Add turkey. Salt to taste. Cool.

Once cooled, divide into the portion-size that you like and freeze. Don’t forget to label and date your freezer bag!

When you want to make this on a later day, thaw, remove from freezer bag and then reheat in a saucepan on low heat or you can also reheat in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.

If you want a little color and veggies, you can consider adding some peas or carrots to it.

I typically make this and serve it over a nice heaping of mashed potatoes. It makes for a great meal just like that.

Thanks to 30 Day Gourmet for this recipe! It’s become one of my favorites that I make with any of our leftover turkey.

Homemade Pretzel Recipe: Conveniently At Home


Welcome to my series called Conveniently At Home. The idea of this series is to slowly transition myself from buying pre-made or processed foods and eventually make most of my foods “from scratch.” This will be a slow journey but one worth the wait!

My kids absolutely love pretzels! I was really excited to see that my Make-A-Mix book had a recipe in there for them. What’s cool about this book is that it will give you a Master Recipe for something, and then share several recipes you can make from that one mix with additional ingredients.

For the pretzels, you need to make their Hot Rolls Mix. (They also give you 19 other recipes you can turn the Hot Rolls Mix into!) The Hot Rolls Mix makes 22 Cups but you’ll only need 5 Cups for the Pretzel Recipe. I just save the extra for another day or another recipe.

Prep Work: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease the cookie sheets that you’ll be using.

Hot Rolls Mix
5 lb. (20 cups) of all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons salt
1 cup instant nonfat dry milk

Mix all of those ingredients together in one bowl:

After making the mix, then proceed with the recipe for Pretzels. Here are the  ingredients you’ll need:

5 cups of Hot Rolls Mix (above)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 1 of the 1/4-oz. packages)
1- 1/2 cups of lukewarm water, about 110 degrees
2 eggs, beaten -in one bowl
1/4 cup veg. oil or melted margarine
1 egg, beaten – in a second bowl
2 tablespoons of coarse salt


1) In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Then stir in the 2 beaten eggs and add the oil or margarine.


2) Add 5 cups of the Hot Rolls Mix and stir well. (You can add more Hot Rolls Mix if you want to make it a softer dough.) You’ll then knead the mixture for 5 minutes until the dough is fairly smooth.


3) Take parts of the dough and roll them into ropes about 1/2″ diameter and about 18-24″ long. (The kids did these. They had so much fun rolling them!)


4) To form the pretzel shape, you make a circle shape and then twist the ends twice. Then bring the ends up onto the circle shape. For the kids, it was easier to just make the shape pictured above and then take each end and bring it to the opposite side of the pretzel. Place the pretzel onto the greased cookie sheet.

5) Then take the 1 beaten egg mixture and brush a little bit of it onto each of the pretzels. Finally, sprinkle the coarse salt on top of each pretzel.

6) Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes until brown and crisp and you get something yummy looking like this:

I made a pretty big batch and then froze any that we didn’t eat, after they had cooled. On the days when the kids are hungry for one, I just take some out of the freezer bag and microwave them on a microwave-safe plate until they are warm.

I store my leftover Hot Rolls Mix in a secure air-tight container for another day when we feel like making more pretzels. It saves me time to not have to keep making that mix over and over.  Or I can use it for another recipe in the book.

This was just one fun adventure that I had with the kids. Remember to always keep your kids safely away from the oven and hot cookie sheets!  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Not only was it a fun afternoon activity but we made our snacks for the day plus are ready with future snacks for another day!

You can check out past Conveniently At Home Recipes that I’ve shared, too.

Disclaimer: Always practice safe cooking and handling methods when in the kitchen.

Yummy Zucchini Cake Recipes from Readers

I shared a link on the Coupon Geek Facebook Page about freezing zucchini and a few of my sweet readers offered some recipes that they use for zucchini. I thought I’d share them with all of you in case you have an over-abundance of zucchini or wanted to try something new.

This one comes from Reader Lisa R.:

BLUEBERRY WALNUT ZUCCHINI CAKE

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350
Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan

In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside

In large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla and make sure mixture is smooth and creamy. (Next, Gradually stir in dry ingredients mixture.) Fold in zucchini. Fold in blueberries.
Pour into greased baking pan. Top with chopped walnuts

Bake for 55-60 minutes until top is golden brown and toothpick in middle comes out clean.

Let cool. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Cut serve and ENJOY!

This next one is from Reader Nikki L.:

ZUCCHINI CAKE

3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups grated Zucchini

Sift dry ingredients into LARGE bowl. Add eggs, oil, zucchini and nuts. Stir until no dry pockets remain. Pour into greased 9X13 pan. Cook @ 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick (or knife) poked in center comes out clean.

Nikki shares that they eat theirs without frosting but that a cream cheese frosting might be a nice addition to it.

A very big thanks to both Lisa and Nikki for taking the time to share these with my other readers. I greatly appreciate it!


I actually made Lisa’s Zucchini Blueberry Walnut Cake tonight, since I had all the ingredients here. I took a picture of a slice. It smelt so good that I couldn’t wait for it to cool completely before I stole a slice. I meant to add the walnuts to half before I baked it and the kids distracted me and I forgot. I gave my son a slice and he said, “Yum, yum, yum!” :)

Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe:Conveniently At Home


Welcome to my series called Conveniently At Home. The idea of this series is to slowly transition myself from buying pre-made and/or processed foods and eventually make most of my foods “from scratch.” This will be a slow journey but one worth the wait!

There’s just something about sun-dried tomatoes that seems to make a regular pasta dish seem a little more gourmet. I’m not sure what it is about it or maybe that’s just me. I finally splurged the one day and bought a bag in the store. The price seemed high but after making these, I can see why. It takes a lot of tomatoes to make one little bag. But, with summer here I know that soon some of you will be like I normally am each year and having an over-abundance of tomatoes and no idea what to do with them. So I thought I’d share this simple recipe that I found online at AllRecipes.com. I often find a lot of good ones on that site.

I had to laugh at how simple these are to make. Now, I haven’t ever tried to make these outside as real “sun-dried” but I did find this was a nice thing to make on a cooler summer day in the oven to avoid turning on the heat.


What you’ll need:
4 lbs of tomatoes (Roma tomatoes work best)
Salt (to taste, optional)

(Yeah, it’s that simple!)

How to Make Them:

1) The first thing you must do is cut them in half and cut out the seeds. Roma tomatoes work best for this recipe.


2) Next, cut them into small pieces/strips. (You can keep them in just halves, but they take much longer to cook.) I laid mine on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Some I added salt to, others I didn’t. In the end, I think I did like the salted ones better, but you may want to try it both ways at first, too.

3) Then you are going to cook them at 200 degrees. Now it takes a long time for these to cook, so plan accordingly. I cut mine in such small pieces and our oven cooks fast so it took me about 4 hours. But some take up to 12 hours or more. (This is why you’ll want to do it on a colder day to utilize all that extra heat!) This is what mine looked like when I was done and I had less than the 4lbs when I started:

You’ll want to bake them until they take on a leather-like feel and still pliable. You don’t want them crispy (or over-dried) but still juicy in the middle. I can’t tell you how to store them as I gobble these down within a day or two and I’ve just kept them in the fridge in a Ziploc bag. I’ve heard you can store them in olive oil, but not sure any specifics.

These have come to be a nice little snack for me. Even the kids love eating them plain. And they are just fabulous when added to pasta dishes. They are a great way to use an over-abundance of tomatoes from the garden!

If you have a favorite recipe that you order when you dine out or have been getting store-bought, you should see if you can find a comparable one online to see if you can make it Conveniently At Home, too!