Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick -to -the -Table Hoagies...or is it a Sub?

Where I grew up, it's called a hoagie. People here in NC get the biggest kick out of me calling it that. Those who know what a hoagie is here say that I'm showing my true colors from Pa. (as if my Steelers hat doesn't give it away!)

hoagie - a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments); different names are used in different sections of the United States.

These sandwiches are quick to make and very filling - a great plus on a busy sports-filled school night. You can save money by buying whatever deli meats and cheeses are on sale that week. Another great plus is that they can be made individually to everyone's liking.

Assemble the sandwiches on a baking sheet so that they can be placed right into the broiler right before eating. 

Here's the key ingredients to our hoagies:

You must start with good crusty hoagie rolls. Cut the rolls 3/4 of the way apart but make sure that you do not slice them all the way through!

Next comes the deli meats: turkey, black forest ham & salami, all sliced thin. 2 pieces each per sandwich.

Then provolone, sliced thin. Again 2 pieces per sandwich.

Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese becomes bubbly and the buns have toasted.

Fill with any/all of the following: onions, lettuce, tomato, black olives, banana peppers

Top with my homemade vinaigrette:

1/2 C. olive oil
1/2 red wine vinegar
2 TBSP Italian seasonings
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp sugar or sweetener

Whisk together all ingredients and spoon on top of hoagies.

A hoagie by any other name will hopefully taste just as good for you!

Trail Mix Brownie Bites

What do you do with those healthy trail mix bars that your kids (or at least my kids) won't eat? Do you shove them in the back of the pantry hoping that one day one of the kids will be starving and only find those to eat? I've come up with a better way to use them. Make these delicious, chewy brownie bites. They were a huge hit with my kids.

If you have your own homemade brownie mix and/or trail mix bars, you can certainly use them in this recipe but since I'm left with very little cooking time at home this week, I opted for a boxed brownie mix and boxed trail mix bars.

Trail Mix Brownie Bites

1 boxed brownie mix + ingredients from the box to prepare the brownies
2 chewy fruit and nut granola bars, broken into small pieces
1 C. mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 325*

Lightly spray a mini cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Mix together brownies following the recipe on the box.

Add in granola and marshmallows. Stir well, until the granola and marshmallows are completely covered in the brownie batter.

Drop batter into mini cupcake cups, filling each cup 3/4 full.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes. The batter in the middle will be slightly soft but will continue to bake after you remove them from the oven. Be careful not to over bake the brownie bites or you will end up with little stones on your hands. (Ask me how I know about that one.)

Once you remove the brownies from the oven, allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully slide a knife around the outer edge of each brownie bite, loosening them from the cups. Allow to cool another 5 minutes and then remove them to a cooling tray.

Store in a sealed container or Ziploc bag to keep them soft and fresh.

I'm participating in Tasty Tuesday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Ready for School & Relying on Family Favorites for Dinner

Admittedly, I've been a bad blogger for a while now. For that, I'm sorry. I have missed blogging every day terribly. But because I chose to step back and focus on the things at home that needed to be done before school starts this coming Wednesday, I was able to attend my daughter's orientation day today more relaxed than I have ever been at those meetings. I went in knowing that I would not have to spend a cent and that I would'nt look like a lunatic at WalMart tonight with all of the other parents who put school shopping off until the last minute.

We have new clothes and shoes ready for wear. New back packs are stuffed with school supplies and signed forms ready to walk out the door. Bedtime routines have be put into action. Soccer practices are going well and we've worked out routines on how we will handle practices that are on school nights - I've even written down some menus for those crazy nights.

At the end of last school year, I was asked to join our PTA School Board. I gladly accepted because I love being involved in my children's schools. I wear the new hat of "hospitality leader" for the teachers and staff. Everyone seems to work well together. They've been so nice to welcome me into their group. I will be busy running around doing school "things" for the next couple of days.

On top of all of this, my husband has decided that he's looking for a change in his line of work - not changing companies, just jobs within the company - this will mean that once he gets the bid, he will be in for weeks of training - and taking this 3rd shift man and putting him on a daylight schedule means loads of fun for me. (not!) But, I'll deal with that when the time comes. He loves his job so if this makes him happy, we will make it work. Now we wait to hear might be a week or it might be a year... let's just hope it's sooner than later.

I'm not complaining, really! I'm just happy to see school roll around this year. I'm ready to get back into a regular routine. Maybe I'm getting old. I've never been a "routine" type of person. I even miss menu planning. I plan on starting that again this week. And with all of this planning, I'm going to pencil in some definite blogging time for me!

Speaking of blogging, I always wonder if other bloggers are like me and go back to actually cook the recipes they've blogged about again and again or if you just cook your recipes one time and move on?  If you're reading this, I'd appreciate it if you would post a comment and let me know how you feel/what you do with your recipes.

Here's some of the recipes from my blog that we've enjoyed for the past couple of weeks:

Oven Fried Chicken

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast and Hash Brown Casserole

Picnic Pasta Salad

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Red Pepper & Parmesan Talapia

Turkey Sloppy Joes

My kids and I have plans to make rice krispy treats, chocolate covered pretzel stacks, granola bars and August's Cookie Carnival cookies this week.

I'll see ya soon!

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Brown Sugar Apple Topped Cinnamon Cupcakes

My husband loves apples in any form. I'm always searching for quick and easy apple recipes that I can whip up after dinner so that he can enjoy a sweet treat before leaving for work. (Yep, we're one of those non-traditional 3rd shift families.)

When I found a recipe for cooked apples, I knew right away that he would like it. It didn't disappoint, either.

Quite simple, too..... apples, butter and brown sugar. Comfort food at its best.

Cooked Brown Sugar Apples
by ewriggs

3 medium apples, peeled & sliced into 8 sections
3/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 stick butter or margarine

Melt butter in a non-stick pan. Set aside.

Peel apples. Slice each apple into 8 sections and then slice each section into thin strips. Cut all apple strips in half and drop into a bowl. Stir in 3/4 C. brown sugar. Mix apples and brown sugar until the apples are well coated.

Warm butter again. Stir in apples and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until the apples are soft and the sugar and butter start to get thick. Remove from heat and spoon into dishes. Serve immediately.

**My notes**  My apples were really juicy and ended up making the butter and brown sugar mixture a little too thin. I stirred in an extra 1/4 brown sugar while the apples were still cooking. That was all that was needed to thicken the syrup perfectly.

I served this apple topping over cinnamon cupcakes, which are simply a boxed white cupcake mix prepared accordingly with 3 TBSP of cinnamon + 1 tsp nutmeg added to the batter.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cookie Carnival - July Round Up!

Can you believe that it's August already? I have no idea where the last couple of months have gone.

July's cookie recipes were Pillsbury's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for our kids' baking recipe and Rosemary-Cheese Spritz Cookies from the Food Network for our regular monthly cookie.

Take a look at these beauties:

Tiffany@The Bake-Off Flunkie made the cheese spritz cookies. She said "My first reaction was, "Ewwww!". But when I looked at the picture and recipe I decided it actually looked and sounded promising. Maybe even tasty. And tasty they were; delicious, rich, buttery, and irresistible are other words I'd use. As they cooled I popped one after another in my mouth--you know, just. one. more. Gracious they were good. I absolutely couldn't leave them alone."

Michelle@Something New is Cooking made the oatmeal raisin cookies. She said "The cookies were so delicious! Hard to stay out of them!"

Katrina@Baking and Boys made both cookies!

For the oatmeal raisin cookies, she said "These were the perfect thickness, crispiness, chewiness and had great taste.  I will for sure make this recipe again—over and over."

For the cheese spritz cookies, she renamed hers "Thyme-Cheese Crackers". Be sure to check out her blog to read about the changes that she made and why she calls them addictive.

Rebecca@beurrista made the oatmeal raisin cookies. She switched out the raisins for toffee bits in her oatmeal toffee cookies.

Juliana@horneAndo Algo made the cheese spritz crackers. She said "Perfect for a snack or just a few mates in the morning, they saw their fate on two occasions ... simply delicious!"

Krista@TheSwans made the oatmeal raisin fact, lots of times! Check out her blog to read why she didn't have a picture of her cookies to submit this month. (**wink**)

Vivian@Let's Try These made oatmeal craisin cookies. She's a newbie with the Cookie Carnival and says "I like challenges as they tend to motivate me!" - welcome, Vivian! 

and I made chocolate covered raisins and oatmeal cookies. These cookies didn't last long in our house! Everyone loved the added chocolate on the raisins.  

Thanks for a beautiful round up, ladies! 

I love to hearing from everyone so if you're checking everything out, I'd really appreciate it if you would take a couple of minutes to stop by and post a comment!  

If you would like to join the Cookie Carnival, click on the tab at the top of the page that's titled "Join the Cookie Carnival!" 

I'll see ya at the end of August, if not sooner! 

Happy Baking!
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