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North Carolina, United States

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inmimiskitchen@yahoo.com

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1. All my posts are written for myself first (with my followers in mind of course). If I make money from a post due to third party advertising such as Google or Foodbuzz, then so much the better.
2. If I write about a product, cookbook or restaurant, chances are that I received the product, cookbook or meal for FREE.
3. If I write a review about a product, cookbook or restaurant that was not FREE, I will disclose that in my post. I will always write about local establishments and businesses (non-chain) gratis- I support local businesses and hope you will too.
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5. If you are interested in sending me a book or product to review, or want me to review a restaurant, please know that I make every effort to post reviews within 4 weeks of receiving a book, within 2 weeks of receiving a product, and within 1 week of dining at a restaurant.
6. I write for several websites and print publications in addition to my blog and my writing interests are strictly food or cooking-related, so please make sure that your book or product is food-related in some way.
Thursday, February 25, 2010

$2 Dinners- These Kid Pleasing Meals Won't Break the Bank

This week's $2 Dinners column is about home-cooked meals that have kid-appeal, and that won't break your budget. I know a little bit about kid-pleasing meals because I raised two picky eaters of my own back in the day. These days, I cook for two little men who are not only picky, they have a deep-rooted love of burgers and fries, pizza, etc. that makes it a challenge to get them to eat home-cooking!


These two cuties are my grandsons and they are the light of my life. Once a week, they come to my house for supper, and I absolutely love to see those sweet little faces at my dining room table! Sometimes though, I have a hard time convincing them to try what I've prepared, because just like most other kids, they would much rather eat junk food and fast food instead of home-cooking. The youngest one, Tyler, would eat nothing but french fries and candy if he was allowed (and as many bananas as his tummy will hold); and the oldest one, Brandon, eats really well sometimes and other times he won't eat anything but pizza and hot dogs.

I must confess that sometimes I give in and serve pizza, or we go get kids' meals from the McDrive-thru. After all, it's a Mimi's prerogative to spoil her grandchildren right? But, the fast food is just an occasional treat, and I would rather feed a home-cooked meal where I control the ingredients and I know what's going in those precious little bodies of theirs. Besides, not only is fast-food not a good choice nutritionally, it gets expensive too!

So how do I get them to eat? I give them the fast-food flavors they crave in a home-cooked, budget-friendly casserole! Check it out...these recipes are kid-tested and approved, taste great, and the best part? They're inexpensive to make at only $1.27 per serving and 90 cents per serving respectively.
Thursday, February 18, 2010

Year of Soup Recipe Challenge Week 7- Gumbo with Smoked Sausage



Mardis Gras was last week in New Orleans, and since I'm a week behind with my Year of Soup Challenge posts anyway, I figured it couldn't hurt to post a real 'Nawlins-style soup recipe...Gumbo with Smoked Sausage. I'm not really sure if Gumbo technically qualifies as soup, but it's certainly soup-like and that's close enough for me!

Gumbo with Smoked Sausage

2 celery ribs, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 lb. smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Hot cooked rice (optional)

In a large skillet, saute celery, onions, pepper, and carrot in oil over medium heat until tender. Add flour and stir until blended; gradually add broth, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat; add sausage, tomatoes, oregano, thyme and cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer on low heat until heated through. Serves 4.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

$2 Dinners- Feed Your Family Twice With Just One Rotisserie Chicken



A tender, juicy rotisserie chicken from the supermarket is one of my favorite $2 Dinners shortcuts, and I love to find new ways to use this economical and incredibly versatile deli treasure. While the “slice-and-serve” aspect is one of the nicest benefits of a rotisserie chicken, the real beauty of this deli convenience food is that it’s a quick and budget-friendly source for cooked chicken to use in recipes. It takes a few minutes to get all the meat off the bones, and yes, it’s kind of messy, but the results are worth it because you get an average of 2 ½ to 3 cups of meat when you’re done.

Because we are thifty gourmets here at $2 Dinners, we know that 2 ½ to 3 cups of meat is enough for not one, but two dinners, and the best part is that you didn’t have to cook the chicken yourself! So what can you do with all that lovely chicken? The possibilities are endless, but the following quick and oh-so-easy recipes will get you started.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Year of Soup Recipe Challenge Week 6- Bacon Cheeseburger with Fries Soup




The Year of Soup Recipe Challenge is rolling right along here at Mimi's Kitchen, and for week 6, I have a recipe for you that's based on and American fast food favorite...bacon cheeseburgers with fries!
I know it sounds off-the-wall, but the flavors we all love in this classic combination translate surprisingly well into a soup too. Besides, anything with bacon in it can't be all bad (can I get an "amen")? This soup is a snap to prep, goes from stove to table in about 30 minutes, and it tastes amazing! Give it a try this week...I bet your kids will love the idea of "cheeseburger soup" (my 6-year-old grandson, who loves soup, said he thought cheeseburger soup was "crazy" but after tasting it, his mom said he asked for more!)

P.S. Sorry there's no picture of the soup...I came up with this long before my blogging days (aka the days when I obsessively photograph everthing I cook!)

Mimi's Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
3 cups water
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
2 cans cheddar cheese soup
1 lb. ground beef
4 cups buttermilk (or plain milk)
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter, softened but not melted
2 cups shredded cheddar
4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
croutons (optional)

In a large pot or soup kettle, heat olive oil over medium-high heat; add onions and cook until translucent. Add potatoes and next 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain. Add ground beef to potato mixture. Stir in milk.

In a small dish or bowl, combine flour and butter using two forks; gradually add to soup, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until soup begins to thicken. Reduce heat; stir in grated cheese until melted. Garnish with crumbled bacon and croutons.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Birthday Banana Pudding Recipe

Tomorrow is our baby girl's 25th birthday...I'm feeling very sentimental and reflective. Just yesterday I was 25 and it was her first birthday, and now she's grown and has babies of her own. Where did the time go?

We had her birthday dinner tonight, and just like I expected her to do, she asked for banana pudding instead of cake for her special dessert. I've been making this recipe forever, and honestly, it's so quick and easy, I don't mind making it at all!

Here is how I make Stephanie Lee's Birthday Banana Pudding-


2 boxes instant vanilla pudding
3 cups cold milk
1 box vanilla wafer cookies
3 ripe bananas, sliced
1 tub of whipped topping



Pour cold milk into a large bowl. Add pudding mix and whisk until combined and mixture is beginning to thicken. Let sit for 5 minutes.





Layer bottom of a large, clear bowl with cookies; top with bananas and pudding; repeat layering, going up the sides of the bowl, until you have used all the pudding. Top with whipped topping and refrigerate until time to serve.


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Monday, February 1, 2010

Year of Soup Recipe Challenge Week 5- Tuscan Chicken "Noodle" Soup


It's week 5 of the Year of Soup Challenge here at Mimi's Kitchen! This week's recipe is a yummy take on chicken soup with an Italian twist. It's easy, delicious, and you can have it on the table in 30 minutes!

Tuscan Chicken "Noodle" Soup (Serves 4)

8 cups chicken broth
½ cup diced carrot
½ cup diced celery
½ cup chopped onion
2 cups (16 oz.) refrigerated mini cheese-filled ravioli
1 cup cooked chicken, diced
¼ tsp. dried parsley
¼ tsp. garlic powder
3-4 fresh sage leaves, chopped (or 1/8 tsp. dried sage)
1 small sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary)
salt and pepper to taste
splash of white wine (optional)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a 3-qt. stockpot, heat chicken broth to boiling; reduce heat and add carrots, celery, and onion. Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Add ravioli and cook according to package directions. Stir in cooked chicken, parsley, garlic powder, sage, rosemary, white wine, and salt and pepper; simmer 5 minutes. Serve and sprinkle with grated Parmesan, if desired.

Time-Saver Tip of the Week:
I keep a bag in my freezer labeled “stock”, and whenever I have odd amounts of veggies, I toss them in the bag until I have enough to use for making vegetable stock. I have a second, larger freezer bag labeled "soup" that I use to save smaller bags with scraps of leftover rice, meat, etc. (even small pieces of leftover cheese are good additions to your “soup” bag). I freeze these items in small bags, separated by type, and add them to whatever kind of soup I decide to make later on.
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Food for Thought:

"In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom."

- Barbara Costikyan

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