September 26, 2014

Banana Split Trail Mix

Every year the Arts and Crafts Department at our county fair hosts two special baking contests.  Last year on was a dish made with apples as the main ingredient and the other a unique popcorn flavor.  This year they challenged us once again to a contest called "Stuck Up" (any food on a stick) and "Hit the Trails" (trail mix).

The trail mix contest was a lot of fun.  I ended up making a really good banana split trail mix (if I may say so myself).  But my presentation wasn't over the I didn't place.  :(  Trust me...I learned my lesson.  We made up for it in round two with these Buckeye Bars!

Everything I used can be found at Walmart.  If you want to use something fancier by all means please do...

I'll try not to make this too difficult...  Pour the ingredients into a bowl and mix.  

That's it!  Store in an air tight container!  Or maybe divide it among jars and give away as gifts.

Banana Split Trail Mix

by Simple and Sweet Creations


  • 12 ounces dried pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup banana chips
  • 6 ounces strawberry yogurt covered raisins
  • 8 ounces vanilla yogurt covered raisins
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Store in an air tight container.

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September 25, 2014

Baked Apple

It's official...I'll be able to survive in college!  Last night I perfected the most important microwave meal of the day...DESSERT!  Here's what my diet will consist of: Microwave Eggs for breakfast (and lunch, and dinner) and then this baked apple for dessert. :)  What college kid would complain about that?

Unfortunately, I won't be able to enjoy my mothers apple pies, crisps, and dumplings in a college dorm.  They'd get stolen before I had a chance to take a bite!  Mmmmm...I can taste 'em right now! 

I love how simple this little treat is to make.  Literally in 3 minutes it's all done.  And it only makes a single serving!  I had it for dessert last night, but it could make a great pre-workout or after-school snack, or even a mid-day treat.  Pair it with some greek yogurt, scrambled eggs, or milk for a breakfast too.

Cut your apple in half and scoop out the core.

Place cut side down in a microwave bowl with some water.

Microwave 1 1/2 minutes, flipping the apple over halfway through.  Be careful!  The apple and water may be hot!

Place apple on plate and stuff the centers with oats and brown sugar.  You can use honey or another sweetener instead of brown sugar.  I'd drizzle about a 1/2 tablespoon of honey over each core.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and microwave another 30 seconds.  Look how delicious :) But be careful...mine was pretty warm...

Baked Apple

by Simple and Sweet Creations
  • 1 small apple
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon instant oats
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or other sweetener)
  • cinnamon
Cut apple in half and remove core.
Place cut side down in a microwave bowl with water.
Microwave 1 1/2 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Place apple on plate and fill centers with oats and brown sugar.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and microwave 30 seconds.

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September 24, 2014

Chicken Alfredo

Every weekend I try to plan out our dinners for the upcoming week and make a grocery list.  I've found we throw out less food, spend less at Walmart, and eat less of the same things.  I even made up a "master list" of all our favorite main dishes, side dishes, and vegetables.  It really helps when your trying to plan a week ahead!

This week we strayed a little from our plan.  Oh well...I write in pencil for a reason.  We were supposed to have Ham on Tuesday, Lasagna Rolls on Wednesday, leftovers Thursday, and Chicken Alfredo on Friday.  But lasagna got bumped up to Tuesday and we needed another quick meal tonight so Chicken Alfredo it was!

This whole dish can come together in 30 minutes if you know what you're doing. It's one of the main reasons we make it so often. Anything quick, easy, and delicious is a crowd-pleaser at my house! The recipe is written for a single batch, but it can easily be doubled. We like to double the sauce (soup, parmesan cheese, pepper, and milk) and the more broccoli the better!

Start by melting the butter in a pan.  Add the chicken and cook until no it's longer pink.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta and broccoli according to package directions.  You can use linguine, rotini, or just about any other type of pasta.

When the chicken is fully cooked, stir in condensed soup, milk, parmesan cheese, and pepper.  Cook until heated through.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, broccoli, and chicken mixture.  That's it!

In under 30 minutes you can make a delicious meal and even have leftovers for lunch...

Chicken Alfredo

  • 8 ounces linguine or other pasta
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Heat butter in skillet. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, stirring often.
Cook pasta and broccoli according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
When chicken is fully cooked, add soup, milk, cheese and pepper and heat through.
Combine pasta, broccoli, and chicken mixture in a large bowl.

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Spaghetti Squash

Every year it seems our garden gets bigger and bigger.  We're always finding new things to grow (or at least try to grow).  Does anyone else find this happening to them too?  Eventually we'll run out of space...right?  

Last year we tried spaghetti squash.  My aunt said if we planted one for her too she'd take some also.  Ok.  We can do that.  So since my dad and I really like squash and we figured we could freeze some, we planted four spaghetti squash seedlings...


Squash (as we learned the hard way!) grows like a weed.  It practically overtook the whole garden!  And my aunt took maybe six out of the fifty.  We had so many I was debating not planting any this year afraid it would happen again.

We ended up planting four squash again... but they're different types don't worry!  Hubbard, butternut, buttercup (which never came up!), and spaghetti.  So if anyone has great ways to use these squash please let me know!!

Usually I just steam it in the oven to cook it.  Then I either eat it plain, add spaghetti sauce, mix in other meats/vegetables, or layer it for lasagna.

If your squash will fit, microwave it 6 minutes, flipping halfway through. This will make cutting a lot easier.  Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane.  

Place squash, cut side up, in a glass baking pan.  Cover the bottom of the pan with water and wrap with foil.  Bake at 350*F for 30-35 minutes or until the strands start to easily pull away with a fork.

Eat plain, with sauce, or mix in other vegetables!

Spaghetti Squash

by Simple and Sweet Creations
  • spaghetti squash
Microwave squash 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane.
Place, cut side up, in a glass baking pan.
Fill the bottom with water and cover the pan with foil.
Bake at 350º F for 30 to 45 minutes or until strands easily pull away with a fork.

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September 23, 2014

Italian Chicken

Without a doubt, I think chicken is my favorite meat.  No matter what you do to it (besides burn it!) it tastes amazing!  Some of my favorite chicken dishes Chicken and Rice, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Nuggets, S&P Chicken, and this Italian Chicken.

Quick and easy, it makes a perfect weeknight dinner.  Especially when I forget to set something out or I need leftovers for the rest of the week.  Usually I end up making extra for lunches!  I'll either cube it up add it to a salad, mix in a little BBQ sauce and put it on a sandwich, or throw it in a container and eat it as is.  No matter which way I reuse it, it still tastes amazing on Friday.  

It's best not to over marinate the chicken.  I've found that it becomes a little dry sitting for over an hour.  If you have to choose between 15 minutes or 1 hour and 15 minutes, do the 15 minutes.  It will still taste fine!  And this recipe is written for a conventional oven, but in the summertime we love to throw it on the grill!

Start by cutting your chicken into cubes.  I've found it's easiest (and safest!) to use scissors.  Place chunks in a small bowl.

Pour Italian dressing over the chicken.  Be generous here!  You want the chicken completely covered.

Slide the marinated chicken cubes on skewers and place on a foil lined baking sheet.

Broil on high 8-10 minutes per side or until chicken is no longer pink inside. You'll have to watch carefully.  Unfortunately the cooking time varies with every oven.

Serve with a salad or baked potato for the perfect meal!

Italian Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • Italian dressing
Cut chicken into chunks and place in a small bowl. Cover with Italian dressing and marinate in the refrigerator 30-60 minutes.
Slide marinated chicken chunks on skewers and place on a foil lined baking sheet.
Broil on high 8-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Cooking time may vary depending on your oven.

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Lasagna Rolls

It's always a struggle deciding what to make when people are coming for dinner.  The meal can't be too messy, or too plain, or too difficult but at the same time has to be delicious, presentable, and sometimes even make ahead. Would you laugh if I suggested lasagna?

What!  Lasagna is so messy!  It falls apart right when you cut it!  

Calm down, calm down.  Don't worry I would never serve traditional lasagna to guests...but these lasagna rolls.  Now that's a different story...

I got the idea from Pinterest and tweaked our family recipe to make my own version.  The result...beautiful, delicious, everyone-asking-for-seconds thirds lasagna rolls you can even serve for a fancy dinner.  And the best part, you can make each roll however you'd like!

For example, Abby only likes sausage in hers.  But my dad wants peppers, onions, sausage, meatballs, and whatever else I can find in his.  With lasagna rolls everyone's is made just the way they like it. Yay when everyone's happy!!

Start by cooking the lasagna noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, combine the shredded cheeses, cottage cheese, egg, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well.

Carefully lay the noodles on a flat surface and evenly spread with cheese mixture.

Add your favorite toppings.  (ex. sausage, meatballs, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, peppers, zucchini, etc.)

Cover the bottom of a baking dish with spaghetti sauce.

Roll up and place in prepared pan.  Cover each roll up completely with sauce or the noodles will burn.  Cover with foil and bake in a 350*F oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and sprinkle the tops with mozzarella cheese.  Bake another 5 minutes, uncovered or until cheese is melted.

Look how beautiful!  But let them sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Lasagna Rolls

by Simple and Sweet Creations
  • 6 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 16 ounces small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 quarts spaghetti sauce
  • Optional fillings (sausage, meatballs, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, peppers, zucchini, etc.)
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Cool slightly before assembling.
Cover bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan with sauce.
In a medium bowl, combine mozzarella, colby jack, and cottage cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well.
Lay noodles on a flat surface and spread evenly with cheese mixture. Add fillings and roll.
Place in prepared baking pan and spread tops with sauce.
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes in a preheated 350*F oven.
Remove foil and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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September 18, 2014

Individual Turkey Meatloaves

Mondays have become my busy days.  Some weeks I even have to pack my breakfast, lunch, and dinner Sunday night!  To simplify this meal prep and still have a delicious meal I'm experimenting with some of my favorite dinners, making single servings and freezing them.  The first experiment...meatloaf...

I absolutely love meatloaf.  While chicken is my favorite, if I have to have beef it better be a meatloaf.  Warm, cold, fresh, day-old, there's nothing like my mom's homemade recipe.  But being the cook I am I had to try something different. Solution...turkey meatloaf!  It'll be perfect for my grandpa who has to watch his red meat intake too!  My version has been adapted from All Sorts of Pretty.  

One batch makes either 12 muffins (2-3 per serving) or 6 ramekins (1 per serving).  After using the muffin tins I think I'd make them in ramekins simply because they'd be easier to clean.  Not that the muffin tin was terrible but I'm all about easy clean up.

Start by preheating your oven to 350º F.  Combine the ground turkey, eggs, oats, zucchini, onions, garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.  Mix until everything is well incorporated.  It's almost impossible to over mix!

Evenly divide among 12 muffin tins or 6 ramekins.  Bake muffins 25-30 minutes or ramekins 35-40 minutes.  

In a small bowl, combine ketchup, sugar, and dried mustard.  This sauce is so good...try not to eat it all like me!

Spoon (whatever sauce is left) evenly over the meatloaves.  Bake another 5 minutes.

Look how beautiful...and delicious!  The batch made 12...but I won't tell you how many I actually froze.  Let's just say they didn't all make it...

Turkey Meatloaf

by Simple and Sweet Creations
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oats, ground
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated
  • 1/3 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or other sweetener)
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Combine first nine ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well.
Evenly divide among 12 muffin tins or 6 ramekins.
Bake muffins 25-30 minutes, ramekins 35-40 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine ketchup, sugar, and mustard powder.
Spoon evenly over meatloaves.
Bake additional 5 minutes.

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September 17, 2014

Microwave Scrambled Eggs

Over the last several years I've mastered cooking with an oven. The grill...that's another story. And the crock pot (as long as you remember to turn it on) is pretty hard to mess up. 

Unfortunately, college dorms permit none of these kitchen appliances. :( Microwave cooking?

My lack of appliance resources has inspired me to perfect some of our favorite comfort foods in the microwave. It only seems fitting to start with breakfast. Eggs anyone?

This took a lot longer to perfect than should have. I won't tell you how many times I blew them up and was left scrubbing the microwave. But now I got it! Yay!! And it must be your lucky day because I'm going to share it with you too! The hardest part is choosing whether you want your eggs scrambled or in a sandwich...

Start by cracking your eggs in a cereal bowl.  Add cheese and any other mix ins. I like broccoli, but you could also use onions, peppers, ham, sausage, bacon, etc.

Cover and microwave 20-25 seconds.  

Stir and continue microwaving in 20-25 second intervals, stirring each time.

Stop when the eggs reach your desired consistency.  

Serve with toast, a bagel, piece of fruit, etc. for a well-rounded, filling breakfast.