Caramel Chex Mix

I got this recipe from my sister. I have no idea who gave it to her but I would say it is one of her signature dishes. She often makes it as part of her Christmas gift for important people in her life. But she has also made it for road trips to Oklahoma and long hotel stays like when my dad’s wife was in the hospital. One of the things I really like about this recipe is how my sister always adds different things to it and it still turns out good. I hope you enjoy this sweet snack.

Caramel Chex Mix by Stephanie Bourek

2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. Light Karo Syrup
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 boxes of Chex mix

In a sauce pan, melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. In a brown paper grocery bag, put two boxes of cereal. Pour hot caramel over cereal. Close and shake. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove, shake, and microwave for another two minutes. Repeat one more time. Then, carefully pour onto wax paper covered cookie sheets and let cool. Once cooled, you can add candy pieces to mix.

Other possible cereal and mix in options:

  • Chex or Crispix
  • Golden Grahams
  • Cheerios
  • Fiber One Cereal
  • Pretzels
  • Twizzlers (cut into bit sized pieces)
  • M&Ms
  • Tiny caramel chews
  • Candy Corn
  • Nuts
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Breakfast Meat Crescent Rolls

My boss hates bacon. I know, it sounds crazy. Do you know anybody who hates bacon? Her feelings about bacon rival with mine for mustard or pickles. I can’t enjoy fries when they have pickle juice on them. And my mother never understood you really can’t cover the taste of mustard or pickles even once you have scraped them off a hamburger. So if you aren’t a pork fan, you should probably steer clear of this recipe I found in the October 2011 issue of Taste of Home.

Brittany’s Breakfast Bites by Brittany Whitworth

1 package of crescent rolls (8 count)
2 eggs
3 T. cooked bacon, crumbled
3 T. chopped deli ham
3 T. shredded cheddar cheese

Scramble and cook eggs. Add cheese and meat to skillet. Evenly spoon mixture over crescent rolls and roll up into eight triangles. Bake at 375 degrees for 11-13 minutes.

Fruity Fish

During a recent trip to Sam’s Club, I picked up a package of frozen salmon. This is the third new recipe I have tried with the salmon I purchased. Not only is salmon really good for you, but I have liked everyone of these recipes. Today’s is a raspberry and vinegar mix. Perfect combination so it isn’t too sweet or to bitter.

Salmon with Tangy Raspberry Sauce by Anna-Marie Williams

1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 salmon fillets (6 oz. each)
2 T. olive oil
2 T. seedless raspberry jam
1 T. white vinegar
1 T. honey

Combine seasonings and sprinkle over fish. Drizzle with oil. Grill seasoned meat for 10-12 minutes. Whisk remaining ingredients and spoon over cooked fillets just before serving.

Nutrition Facts: (Serves four.) 1 fillet with 1 T. sauce equals 367 calories, 23 g. fat (4 g. saturated fat), 85 mg. cholesterol, 233 mg. sodium, 11 g. carbs, and 29 g. protein.

Strawberry Soup

The very first year I worked at SAFEHOME, we moved our gala fundraiser to the Doubletree. In lieu of salad, we started the June Jubilee with a cold Strawberry Soup. As someone who is anti-veggie, you know how excited I was and I had nothing to do with the taste panel. Some guests refused to eat it because they didn’t know what it was. I liked it so much I started looking for Strawberry Soup recipes. I’ve made a few over the years. This recipe I tried for the first time a few weeks ago and I really liked it. Just blend, chill, and serve.

Summer Strawberry Soup by Verna Bollin

2 lbs. strawberries, diced into 8 cups
1/2 c. Orange juice
2 c. vanilla yogurt (I used fat-free)
1/2 c. sugar

Mix all ingredients in a blender. Once smooth, put in the fridge for at least 2 hours to chill. You may garnish with fresh mint and yogurt.

Nutrition Facts: (Makes six 1 cup servings.) 204 calories, 3 g. fat, 2 g. saturated fat, 8 mg. cholesterol, 54 mg. sodium, 41 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, and 5 g. protein. 

Spicy Chicken and Noodles

I think I found this recipe in a Betty Crocker email. It’s a super simple and quick recipe. The paprika gives this recipe a little bit of a kick. I also like that it uses yogurt because it is much healthier than most sauce ingredients. The sauce is a little limited on this recipe so double it if you want a more coated recipe.

Chicken and Noodles Paprika

2 c. uncooked cholesterol-free noodles
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/3 c. plain fat-free yogurt
2 tsp. flour
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. chopped fresh or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
Chopped green onion (optional)

Cook and drain pasta. Cook chicken, then slice into 1/2 inch strips. In a small bowl, mix yogurt and flour. In the same skillet you cooked the chicken, heat broth, thyme, paprika, and onion to boiling. Reduce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir in yogurt mixture into broth. Stir constantly, until thickened. Add chicken back to pan to coat. Spoon over noodles and serve.

Nutrition Facts: 420 Calories. 7 g. of fat, 70 mg. cholesterol, 240 mg. sodium, 55 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber, 6 g. sugar, 37 g. protein. Recipe serves two.

Notes:

  • I make this recipe without the slices of onion.
  • I grill the chicken because it is healthier than cooking it with oil.
  • The website recommends serving this with steamed fresh broccoli.

Bubble Pizza

My uncle Tom is also my godfather. When I was a kid, he was the cool uncle because he was the young, single one. I remember when he used to star in the theatre productions as a college student at Wayne State. I got to be the voice recorded for a child ghost in one of them. I also remember my elementary school would always take a field trip to the college for their Spring Production because the plays were always kid friendly. After the productions, the actors would stand outside the theatre and give autographs. Everybody thought it was so cool that Alibaba, the star of Alibaba and the Magic Cave, hugged me and got stage make-up all over my face. Uncle Tom was also the uncle who gave me a doll that shot confetti and a Godfather’s gallon jug filled with candy. (Needless to say, I’m pretty sure these weren’t things my mother wasn’t too happy with her baby brother about.)

I was a 3rd grader when he married my aunt Annette. I was so excited to be a part of their wedding. I remember the first time I tried Cherry Coke was at their first apartment in Lincoln. After my uncle finished student teaching, Tom and Annette moved to Iowa. We didn’t go to visit them a lot but I remember my aunt always cooking up some new recipe. I don’t remember exactly when we tried Bubble Pizza but it was a fun spin on traditional pizza.  

Bubble Pizza by Annette Fletcher

1 jar of pizza sauce
1 can of refrigerator biscuits, cut into quarters
Your favorite pizza toppings (hamburger, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, mushrooms, etc.)
Mozzarella cheese

In a bowl, mix pizza sauce, chopped biscuits, and pizza toppings. Pour into a greased glass 13 x 9 pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 15- 20 minutes. Top with cheese and cook another 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted to desire.

 Notes:

  • Recipe is done with biscuits are no longer doughy – which usually take a little longer if you use the larger kind of biscuits.
  • I was just thinking today, this might be fun to try with a garlic Alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, spinach, and mushrooms. Or maybe a breakfast or Mexican pizza version.

Off the Grill

Grandpa Fletcher and his grandchildren honoring his father in Allen’s Centennial Parade.

Today is my Grandpa Fletcher’s 79th birthday. I couldn’t think of a better recipe to share when I think about him than a burger. I also learned May is National Burger Month…so another perfect reason to share this recipe.

When I think back to my childhood days at Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher’s house, my grandpa was always grilling dinner. Usually, it was Wimmer’s Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. And grandpa is very particular about his burgers. He only uses 97% fat-free ground top sirloin. He seasons them simply with a few shakes from his Tupperware tall salt and pepper shakers. And Grandpa only cooks the burgers one way – well done! Grandpa is so known for his burgers my nephew wanted to start a business with him. FHH – Fletcher’s Hot dogs and Hamburger would only serve meat. Grandpa would grill and Brock would be the runner to cars stopping by to pick them up. The 4H fair project did earn Brock a top ribbon.

But it some ways, grandpa had already done this. My Grandpa Fletcher is a Shriner. You know, they guys who drive around in those little cars, right? But not only did my grandpa drive a car in area parades, he was also great about volunteering his time for this charity. For years, he drove children and their families in the Shriner’s van to their hospital in Minnesota. When my grandparents moved to Yuma, my grandpa spent 2 or 3 days every week during the winter months grilling hamburgers at fundraisers for one of his favorite charities.

Today’s recipe isn’t as simple as Grandpa Fletcher’s burgers but I thought it was a good recipe. I got this recipe from the Kansas City Star some time ago. I made them for the first time last week. I hope you enjoy this spin on my Grandpa’s classic recipe.

Meatloaf Sliders

8 oz. 97 percent fat-free ground beef
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 large egg
1/4 c. plain breadcrumbs
2 T. low-fat milk
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. freshly chopped parsley (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 c. ketchup
6 whole-wheat slider buns

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients the ketchup. Mix well and form into six (3 oz.) patties. Grill patties to desired meat readiness. (4 minutes per side for well done.) Serve on a cocktail bun topped with ketchup.

Nutrition Facts: 227 calories, 7 g. of fat, 1.5 g. saturated fat, 58 milligrams cholesterol, 26.5 g. carbs, 16 g. protein, 635 mg sodium, 1 g. fiber. Makes six servings.

Notes: I did try them with melted American cheese as well. They were also good…but the cheese isn’t necessary with all the flavor.

Bang Bang Shrimp

One of my board member’s, Laurie, posted this copycat recipe for Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp on her Facebook page. I had loved eating it from the restaurant so I thought I would give the recipe a try. It was very good.

The first time I ever tried Bang Bang Shrimp was last summer with my ex-boyfriend M. We loved the food at Bonefish and immediately wanted to go back for dinner.

My friend Michele also loves Bonefish Grill. She and her husband Jason had them cater their wedding last fall. They even had Bang Bang Shrimp as part of their meal.

I hope you enjoy this recipe with a little bit of a kick.

I served the shrimp with my recipe for Basil Orzo Pasta with Feta.

Bang Bang Shrimp by Teri

1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined smaller shrimp works best
1/2 c. mayo
1/4 c. Thai sweet chili sauce
3-5 drops of hot chili sauce
1/2 to 1/3 c. cornstarch

Bread the shrimp in cornstarch. Fry it until lightly brown. Drain on paper towel. Mix sauces with mayo. Add shrimp to bowl to coat. Suggested serving on lettuce topped with chopped scallions.

Nutrition Facts for original recipe: (Recipe serves four) 297 calories, 12 g. fat, 2 g. saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol, 6 g. sugar, 30 carbs, 2 g. fiber, 17 g. protein.

Recipe modifications:

  • Per Laurie’s suggestion, I added a little garlic powder, onion powder, and ground black pepper.
  • If you want it a little less spicy, Laurie suggested using Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce.
  • Laurie also suggested subsisting a box of fish and chips mix from the grocery store for the cornstarch. I used cornstarch.
  • I used fat free mayo to reduce the number of calories. I thought it tasted just fine.
  • I also made sure I used Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce. I used to date a guy from New Orleans and he was picky about using this sauce. I have to say, he is totally right. I don’t think it is as hot as Tabasco sauce and taste way better. You can find it at Price Chopper and Super Wal-Mart. I think Hy-Vee might even be carrying it now.
  • I also used the bite-size pre-cooked shrimp when I made this recipe. I cooked it in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and it went super fast.

Milk-less Cereal

When I was a kid, my sister and I had to agree on what cereal we were getting at the grocery store. My mother allowed us one box and we had to finish it before could by a new one. The other option was Corn Flakes. This was the cereal my father ate ever morning (and still does 40+ years later).

Stephanie loved cereals like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Frankenberry. I, on the other hand, enjoyed Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Stephanie and I used to scope out the boxes at the grocery store. What were the new cereal choices? What box had the best toy? (But we weren’t allowed to dig through the box for it – you got the prize if it dumped out in your bowl.) We usually ended up with something healthy like Crispix or Triple because we could both agree to eat that cereal. If we picked Life, we mother would even eat a bowl or two. Probably our favorite – oh so bad for you cereal – was Ice Cream Cone cereal. We didn’t really like the “ice cream” but we loved the “cone” part of the cereal.

One of my favorite cereal memories was when Stephanie and I request Frosted Mini-Wheats. My mother tried to warn us that we would not like them but we didn’t listen. The commercials made them look healthy but sweet. That really wasn’t the case. If you have ever eaten Shredded Wheat, you know what I am saying! My mother held to her guns on not letting us get a new cereal. She finally agreed that if we could get something else to take the box, she would replace it with a new cereal. I can’t remember if Stephanie said we got Bob Colligan (our super sweet next door neighbor) or my Grandpa Fletcher to take the box off our hands. But trust me, we never made that mistake again!

Today, Stephanie and I always have several different kinds of cereal on hand at our homes. I bet on any given day we have at least 4-7 boxes in our cupboards. Most of Stephanie’s boxes are to make Caramel Chex Mix and I just like to eat different kinds every day.

If you saw my recipe for the Crunchy-topped Strawberry -Kiwi Parfaits, I got this recipe from the same flyer. It is probably one of the few times you can enjoy Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal without milk.

Crunchy Yogurt Parfaits

8 medium strawberries, sliced
1 1/3 c. fat-free strawberry Yoplait yogurt
1 c. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cut up six of the strawberries. Layer strawberries, cereal and yogurt in two containers and repeat. Top with a whole strawberry. Serve immediately.