Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kraft Eat Happy Recipe Contest

So, this is the exciting news that I told you about last week. I won my first major contest with these "Cheddar Broccoli Corn Dog Muffin Bites! The prize is $5200 dollars in groceries and $5000 in cash for college scolarships. WooooooHoooooo!!!!!

The contest was sponsored by Kraft Foods and Publix Supermarkets and the challenge was to create a kid friendly recipe using at least one of Krafts Sensible Solutions products. They described "kid friendly" as being a recipe that you enjoyed making with your kids or one that your kids enjoyed eating.

When I looked over the list of Krafts Sensible Solutions products, I saw the Oscar Meyer Hot dogs and thought what kid doesn't like corn dogs? For that matter I don't know too many adults that wouldn't go for a good corn dog now and then. The broccoli in the cornbread is a good way to get a few extra veggies into the kids and it gives the cornbread a really nice creamy texture.

By using the mini muffin pan the result is a great little 2 bite snack that is a perfect after school snack. With the new football season starting, they are also really good to serve at your next football party. These little cuties are really fun to make with your kids and they are so easy that the older kids could make them by themselves!

For obvious reasons these have become my favorite snack!!

Cheddar Broccoli Corn Dog Muffin Bites

Non Stick Cooking Spray
1 (8.5 ounce) package corn bread muffin mix
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese
4 OSCAR MAYER 98% Fat Free Hot Dogs
Ketchup and mustard if desired
Sensible Solutions:
KRAFT 2% Milk Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese, OSCAR MAYER 98% Fat Free Hot Dogs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray, set aside.

In large bowl, combine muffin mix, broccoli, eggs and milk. With a tablespoon divide the batter evenly into the 24 mini muffin. Cut each OSCAR MAYER 98% Fat Free Hot Dog into 18 pieces and divide evenly on top of the muffin batter. Sprinkle the KRAFT 2% Milk Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese evenly on top of the wiener pieces and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
Serve warm with ketchup and mustard if desired.

Makes 24 mini muffin bites.

If you would like smaller muffin bites divide the batter among 48 mini muffin cups, increase the KRAFT 2% Milk Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese to 2 cups and use 8 OSCAR MAYER 98% Fat Free Hot Dogs.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Featured Blogger Recipe

Carrot Cranberry Oatmeal Stout Breakfast Cookies

This is a hearty cookie that I keep on hand ...

See Carrot Cranberry Oatmeal Stout Breakfast Cookies on Key Ingredient.

This is a recipe that I posted some time ago, but I thought that it deserved to be re posted. I recieved an e-mail from Haley at the Key Ingriedient, asking permission to feature my recipe on their web site. Well, of course I said yes and I couldn't be more proud.

These make ahead breakfast cookies are really easy and they are one of my favorite things to keep on hand. They are chock full of good for you things and they are so easy to grab as you are running out the door to start your day. They are great for an after school snack and you can feel good that the kids are eating cookies that may actually have some nutritional value.

Thanks again to the Key Ingriedient, I'll display my featured food blogger badge with pride!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Summer Side Dishes

The Farmer's Market is full of all kinds of summer squash and I just love it! It is so colorful and healthy and you can cook it in so many different ways. This great side dish was inspired by a summer time dish that my mom always made: Cucumber and Onions. She would slice the cukes really thin, then add some sliced onions and more often than not she would use the Seven Seas salad dressing shaker and mix up a package of the zesty Italian dressing to pour over the top. There always seemed to be an endless supply of this salad, it just got better as it sat in the fridge.

For this Sweet and Tangy Summer Squash Salad, I took some zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper and onions, sliced them thin and then mixed together a sweet and tangy dressing to go over top. The dressing is a cross between the marinade you would normally put on a 3 bean salad and a honey mustard vineagrette. It is a really good summer time salad, it goes great with the leftover chicken from my basic roasted chicken and just like my mom's cuke and onion salad it just gets better with time.

Sweet and Tangy Summer Squash Salad

1 large zucchini
1 large yellow summer squash
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1/2 medium white onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons red wine vineagar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh snipped chives

With a vegetable peeler, peel long thin ribbons from the zucchini and the squash. Add them to a bowl, then add the red bell pepper and the white onion. In a seperate bowl (I use a small container with a tight fitting lid), addthe vineagar, sugar and mustard. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the oil, season with salt and pepper then pour over the squash mixture. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The longer the better) Garnish with fresh snipped chives before serving.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chicken on Sunday, Dinner on Wednesday

I know that a basic roasted chicken is nothing to crow about, but when August hits full force with all it’s heat and rain, I am always looking for cool meal ideas. Heating the kitchen as little as possible is always my goal. I try to come up with good meals that I can serve all week but only have to turn the oven on maybe once. This week I roasted a chicken, one that was big enough to serve 2 or 3 times.

Now, I know that most grocery stores sell prepared roasted chickens these days, but I’m also aware of how much they cost. In our grocery store a scrawny little 2-3 pound bird is almost 6 dollars. I picked up 2 birds, each about 4 pounds, for the same price. The store bought birds are good and I use them myself, but nothing beats a juicy home roasted bird. I roast it on Sunday, throw in several potatoes to bake along with it and you have every thing you need for a quick Wednesday dinner.

Basic Roasted Chicken

1 3-4 LB chicken
several sprigs of rosemary and thyme
coarse kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1 lemon
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425.

Wash the chicken thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels. Season the cavity liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the rosemary, and thyme. Cut the lemon in half and stuff into the cavity. Liberally season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper. Place in a shallow baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the hot over and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temp to 375 and continue roasting 40 to 60 minutes or until the legs are tender. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 before carving.

Now on the other hand, this award from Jersey Girl Cooks is something to crow about. This is my first blog award and I couldn't be more proud. Check out her blog, she has some great recipes and some really great music!

Thanks Jersey Girl and Happy Birthday!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cherry Bomb Bon Bons

I got some really exciting news this week, ( I’ll be able to tell you more next week), let’s just say that I needed to have a celebration!

Aren’t these things cute? They are really easy to make and my husband just gobbles them up! We all know what a sweet tooth he has. He says they remind him of the chocolate cherry cordials he used to get with his treat money when he was a kid.

I thought they fit in well with the olympics starting, the only problem with them is that they are the kind of thing that you can’t just eat one. They also seem to have their own little voices that keep saying: Come and get me!

There is no real recipe, I use a cake mix and stemmed cherries. Just mix up the chocolate cake mix according to package directions, line a mini muffin tin with liners or spray with Baker’s Joy. Then fill them about 1/2 way, drop a cherry in and bake until done.

You can cover them with chocolate if you like but they are just as good plain. These little guys are really fun to make with your kids. Great memories are made in the kitchen, so get in there and start cookin'!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tagged Two Times

Well, this week I was tagged two times! Once by Allie at Finding Inspiration in Food, and once by Lisa at Jersey Girl Cooks. Both of them have really good blogs and I encourage you to wander over and take a look. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

For the Music tag from Allie (right up my alley, Allie :) )

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your summer (or whatever season). Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs.

Eva Cassidy, one of the finest singers I have ever heard. That's what I'm always listening to. She has a clear, clear voice and her interpretation of the songs she sings is unbelievable. She died way to soon and her commitment to preforming the songs that she wanted has a lesson for all of us.

The rest of my picks are listed at the bottom of my page. Hope you enjoy!

The second tag from Lisa is to post some random things about myself.

Tag Rules:Link to the person who tagged you.Post the rules on the blog.Write six random things about yourself.Tag six people at the end of your post.Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.Let the tagger know when your entry is up....and here are 6 random things about myself:

1) Among my passions I count music as one of the highest. It's funny that the music tag came just as I started to include my favorite music on The Saucy Bird.

2) I grew up a big Tom Boy. I even tried out for little league when I was nine and this was before girls did things like that.

3) I once tried to thicken mashed potatoes with flour. Yuck!!! I was only nine and I knew that you used flour to thicken gravy and when I added to much milk to the mashed potatoes well--------

4) I love to watch my husband fly fish. If you have ever seen a someone who really knows how to cast and fish it is really quite something.

5) I hate rasberries. I had strep throat 5 years in a row and the doctor always gave me rasberry flavored cough syrup.

6) I am more at home around at a backyard barbque than a fancy restaurant.

7) I love to read and get lost in an exceptional story.

So to pass these on:

I'm running to eat
Natalie's Nibbles
Taste and Tell
Writing as I Eat

Friday, August 1, 2008

A New Direction

Since I started The Saucy Bird I have wanted to post a lot more often. What I’ve learned is that I don’t have enough time or money to create things for The Saucy Bird and for the contests that I want to enter, so I’ve decided to stop stressing about my posts and use The Saucy Bird to feed my creative soul and celebrate what I really like about cooking and creating recipes.

One of my favorite things to do is to listen to music while I’m cooking. I have finally figured out how to put music onto The Saucy Bird, so I plan on changing the music at least once a week. Sometimes the music will go with the recipes sometimes it will be one of my favorite pieces. Hopefully everyone will enjoy my music picks and I think it will help you get to know me a little better.

The song you are listening to now is What a Wonderful World performed by Louis Armstrong. This is one of my all time favorite artists. He brought New Orleans Jazz to the masses and remains one of the most entertaining trumpeters of all time. Listen to lyrics and the smooth roughness of his voice. I think it’s a wonderful soothing sound. If you have a little time, stick around and listen to the rest of my Louis Armstrong play book. If you want to hear something interesting, scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the Armstrong track: OOPs I did it again. It's the song Brittney Spears made famous, but this is the original!

This week I am including my recipe for a Sicilian Open Faced Calzone. I use the Pillsbury Pizza dough and a version of my 20 minute weeknight gravy. I bake the crust with some herbed olive oil and then top it with plenty of sauce, ham, shredded mozzerella and parmesean, thin sliced red onions and fresh baby spinach.

It reminds me so much of Louis Armstrong’s voice and this song. It has the smooth roughness of a spicy red sauce and as your eating it you can’t help but think: What a Wonderful World!

Sicilian Open Faced Calzone

1 can Pillsbury Pizza dough

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup shredded fresh parmesean

1 1/2 cups 20 minute weeknight gravy

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seed

8 ounces smoked deli ham, cut into thin strips

1/2 cup thin sliced red onions

3 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Spread the Pizza dough onto a baking sheet. Brush with the olive oil and season with the Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper and parmesean cheese. With a fork, poke several holes in the entire crust. Bake for 5 minutes.

Spread 1 cup of sauce over the partially baked crust then evenly distribute the crushed red pepper and the fennel seed. Spread the ham and onions evenly, top with the baby spinach and the mozzerella cheese. Return to the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the spinach wilted. Drop the remaining sauce with a Tablespoon evenly over the top and return to the oven for 2 minutes or until the sauce is heated through.