Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hey All Viewers!

I've gotten behind in my posting and I apologize. Today I finally caught up, so I hope you enjoy the newest 8 posts. Bon appetite everyone!

Easter Story Cookies (or Savior Cookies)

Object lesson that teaches the Easter story while making a treat.

You Need:
1 c whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 c sugar
zipper baggies
wooden spoon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. This is important! Don't wait until you're 1/2 done with the recipe.

Activity Description:
To make the evening before Easter.
Place pecans in zipper baggies and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3. Don't add nuts until the end.
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 c sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know Him and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.
Go to bed! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! (Even though it's hard to tell in the picture.) On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.

Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange extract (for a stronger orange flavor, I added the gratings of 1 orange peel to the extract)
2 drops yellow food coloring
1 drop red food coloring

1 9" graham cracker crust
whipped cream
orange segments, peeled

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add sour cream and vanilla and beat well. Place 1 c of creamed mixture in small bowl and stir in the orange extract and food coloring (I at least tripled the food coloring.) Pour remaining cream cheese mixture into crust. Spoon orange cream mixture on top by tablespoons, then swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Bake 30-35 minutes or until firm around the edges. Allow to cool 1 hour then cover and chill for at least 8 hours before serving. Serve with orange segments and whipped cream.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

deli sliced beef, turkey, or other deli meat
2 lbs chicken breasts
deli sliced ham

2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1/4 c milk
4 oz cream cheese (softened)

Layer bottom of 9x13 pan with beef, turkey, or other deli meat. Cut chicken into 8 tenders. Wrap chicken in ham. Spread sauce over top of chicken. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Healthier version:
For sauce use 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese and skim milk. I only use 1/2 the sauce recipe and it is plenty. I use 10 slices of lean thin deli sliced turkey on the bottom (10 calories per slice). I use 2 thin slices of ham per tender (about 24 calories per slice). With all substitutions, it makes 8 servings at 332 each. Without wrapping the chicken in ham, each serving is 284 calories.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie

Like a giant peanut butter cup!

1 9" oreo pie crust
1 egg white
1/2 c chocolate chips
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 c peanut butter
1 1/2 cans sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c confectioners' sugar
1 8 oz container whipped topping

Brush crust with egg white and bake according to package directions for "crisp" crust. Place chocolate chips in a small microwaveproof bowl and heat on 50% power until melted, about 1 minute. Spread melted chocolate over bottom and up the sides of the pie crust. Refrigerate.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, condensed milk, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy. Beat in confectioners' sugar. Fold in whipped topping.

Spoon mixture into chilled pie shell. Smooth top. Return to refrigerator and chill completely before serving.

The crust was very difficult to cut. I would recommend using just an oreo or chocolate crumb crust without the melted chocolate chips. I topped the pie with reeses peanut butter cup crumbs and drizzled melted choc chips on top. That made it plenty chocolatey. The filling actually makes enough for 2 pies.

Mint Brownies

1 c butter plus 1 Tb
2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1 c nuts, optional

Mint Frosting:
1/2 c margarine
4 Tb milk
2 tsp mint extract
1 lb powdered sugar
green food coloring

melt 1/2 c margarine and 2 c chocolate chips

Bake brownies on jelly roll size pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool brownies. Frost with mint frosting then chill for 20 minutes. Spread slightly cooled icing over frosting. Chill until icing hardens.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c sour cream
1 can green chiles (my kids only let me put in 1/2 can)
1/2-1 lb chicken breast, cooked and shredded or 1 lg can chicken (I use Kirkland brand canned chicken.)
grated cheese

Layer: tortillas, sauce, cheese in casserole dish (I layer three times) and bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Healthier version:
Use 4 1/2 1oo calorie tortillas, 3/4 c sour cream and 1/4 c skim milk, and only 4 oz shredded cheese for the entire casserole. To get away with using less tortillas, I use a smaller casserole dish. Calories with substitutions is 207 per 1/8th of casserole.

Mexican Bean Casserole

1 lb ground beef
2 tsp minced onion
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1 taco seasoning mix
2 c cooked rice
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz sour cream
grated cheese
1 can olives, optional
tortilla chips

Brown ground beef, onion, and green pepper. Drain fat. Add taco mix and water. Cook rice. Add to meat mixture: tomato sauce, kidney beans, cooked rice, and olives (save enough to put on top). Put in 9x13 pan. Spread on sour cream and cheese and garnish with olives. Line pan with tortilla chips. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.

Healthier version:
Use only 1/2 lb ground beef and only 2 oz grated cheddar cheese. Calories with substitutions is 227 for 1/12th of casserole (not including tortilla chips).

Chicken Tacos

2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 c chicken broth
1 c salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg taco seasoning

cooked rice

grated cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and other taco toppings

Put chicken and sauce in crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. Once chicken is cooked, shred chicken then put back in sauce. Stir in desired amount of cooked rice.

Healthier version: Without rice, there is 110 calories per 1/4 c serving. Makes 19 servings. Calories does not include tortillas and toppings.