Thumbs Up Scalloped Corn

For supper last night I decided to try something a little different. I’ve got I don’t know how many cans of untouched corn in the pantry, but I seem to just keep buying it without using it that often. While adding more recipes to RecipesForMom, I came across a yummy looking corn recipe that I thought I’d give a try. It was a big hit!

We used the Scalloped Corn recipe, but changed it slightly.  Instead of frozen corn I used canned, and it worked just fine. I also sprinkled a little cheese on the top just for the heck of it, which added a bit of extra flavor.

It happened to be the best part of yesterday’s meal, since I also tried making corn dogs from a mix I had bought at the store. It was NOT so great, and the corn dogs ended up tasting like grease-soaked hot dogs. The breading just didn’t stay on. I don’t know if I used the wrong type of hot dogs or what, but this isn’t something I’ll be trying again. Next time I’ll grab a real recipe that has me mixing the batter from scratch.

Our Recipe Site Gets a Makeover

For the past several years, we’ve been taking care of a site called Recipes For Mom. I hate to say, but it’s been neglected for quite some time. All that changed a few weeks ago when we started working on redesigning it and making it a little easier to navigate.

Unlike the general recipe ideas you’ll find on Idea Queen, Recipes For Mom focuses on “real” recipes with ingredients and instructions.

One of the biggest changes to the site you’ll now see is an easy to navigate category including recipes by main dish (such as pork, chicken, vegetables, etc), recipes by type (like breakfast dishes, restaurant copycat recipes, smoothies, etc), and hoards of dessert recipes in their own section.

Another feature you’ll now see is the ability to rate and review each individual recipe. Comments are always appreciated by viewers for particular recipes, so be sure to add a few on the recipes you’ve tried!

The last feature, which we think is really just for fun, is the “random recipe” feature you’ll now see on each category. When you click on the category title of your choice, a list of recipes come up. Nothing new, right? But the fun part is it will always be different! Even if you refresh the page you’ll find the recipe list in a different order. This can be fun for those who want to randomly try something new. 😉

Any comments on the new site would be appreciated – we’re still working to get all the recipes moved over, and adding a whole lot more!

Crab Cakes Italiano

What started as something ‘cute’ to bring to a family reunion (the “Crabb” family), turned into a tradition. I am no longer allowed to bring any other food aside from these crab cakes that I’ve been making for at least 7 years in a row. This recipe is doubled to make enough, but really I think it’s easier to make as is.

I’ve had this crab cake recipe so long I’m not even sure where it came from. Regardless, it makes the BEST crab cakes I’ve ever had. So good that I’m not even waiting for the reunion this year – we’re having it for supper tonight!

Crab Cakes Italiano

Sauce
1/2 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons pesto

Crab Cakes
1 lb crab meat (I use imitation)
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons pesto (check around the pasta section at the store)
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1. Mix sauce, refrigerate

2. Combine crab cake ingredients, except oil. Using 1/2 measuring cup, shape into eight 3-inch patties.

3. Heat oil over med heat. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.

Easy right? I layer them in a baking dish when I take them to the reunion and they travel well. Although I always seem to bring home some of the sauce since not everyone likes it. Pesto use to be a hard ingredient to find and several years ago I’d have to make a trip to the city to the specialty Italian shop, but lately I’ve been finding it in the regular grocery store. I’ve even seen it in dry mix packets where all you do is add oil (which is what my dad returned from the store with one year when I had sent him to fetch it while making them at his house…he had never heard of pesto before!). This is a great option if you only need pesto just for this recipe.

I’m getting hungry just thinking of them, and can’t wait to have them for supper!

Wii Family Games Update

For those that do own a Wii and are interested in active family games, the page we’ve been working on (Family Games for Wii) for the last few weeks has been updated in a major way. When we first announced the new page, there were only 3 reviews up. After renting, buying, and begging for some reviews, we’ve added a whole lot more!

Keep in mind the ranting system we have is a little different. Instead of just one overall rating of the game, we break it down into seven different sections. For it to rate high with us, it’s got to be a fun FAMILY game that gets both adults and kids up and moving. I can’t be too easy or too hard, must get us active, get everyone involved in the game play, and of course, be FUN!

We know Wii games aren’t cheap, so we hope these reviews will give you a better idea if some games you’ve been eying are worth the money for YOUR family or not. To make buying easier, we’ve also added links to Amazon on each individual review page because we feel this is the most reliable and cheapest place to buy new and used games (again, I must brag about the smoking deal I got on Wii Play and the extra remote from Amazon – it cost me less than half of the retail price, and the only thing “used” about it was the box was open. Both game and remote had NEVER been used! Woo Hoo!).

If you have games you’d like to see on the site or have a game to review, be sure to send us a comment using the contact form on the page. If we are in need of a specific review, we might just pay you for it!*

See Wii Game Reviews.

*Reviews must be positive of games you own and love, use our rating system, and can not be of games already on the list. Please contact us for information before writing the review to check availability. If accepted, payment for review is $5 after the review is received.

Mini Pizzas

I’ve discovered the world of mini-pizzas, and I am in love. The other day I picked up mini-pizza crust (yes I know, I totally cheated, but I did use my pizza crust recipe too for a big pizza!). I let the kids make their own, even letting one of them skip the cheese (don’t ask because I can’t figure it out – he just doesn’t like shredded cheese for some reason, but loves it melted. Go figure!).

Basically I did everything I usually do when I cook pizza – brown hamburger and Italian sausage, lay out pepperoni and cheese, and open a jar of mushrooms. Since I had two small pizzas and a large one, I mixed a can of Italian diced tomatoes and tomato sauce in a bowl and used it on all the pizzas. It turned out to be REALLY good and somewhat chunky (I admit I’ve gotten a little lazy with my sauce – I use to actually COOK the diced tomatoes, but I don’t even bother anymore).

After it was all set out, I just let them have at it. Not only did we have a blast making them, but the kids ate every single bite of their own personal pizzas. I made a big one for me, and had tons of left overs, which was eaten last night because after 24 heart shaped brownies, I wasn’t cooking.

Anyway, if you are looking for something fun to do for supper, try mini-pizzas!

Heart Shaped Brownies a Sucess!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to make heart shaped brownies for my daughter’s kindergarten Valentine’s Day party. Well I’m proud to say I succeeded without any mishaps. This may be a first!

What I did was take a box of brownie mix and make it according to directions (it says to make them cake like to add another egg, which I did). I cooked them at the same temp and time, with one minor change. Instead of the recommended 9×13, I used a 11×14 glass pan. I was a little worried they would get over cooked, especially using the cake-like directions, but as it turned out they were just fine at the top temp.

Once out of the oven, I immediately used a heart-shaped cookie cutter and got 12 average size brownies out of it (with some scraps, of course, which we’ll be munching on for the next few days). Now this is important – I did NOT attempt to take the hot brownies out of the pan after I cut them. All I did was cut and let cool for 20-25 minutes, THEN took them out of the pan.

I’ve left them to cool off for a few hours before I try to frost them, which I’ll be using pink frosting that’s been heated up a bit (I’ve found out the hard way with cake disasters that warming up the frosting is a must!).

I’m so excited these came out just like I pictured them, and may do them again for Valentine’s day next year. =)

Amazon’s Awesome New Kindles

I was browsing Amazon today as I do quite often (I love window shopping from home!), and came across something quite interesting. I don’t know how I missed this very cool device before, but regardless I’m glad I found it, even if I can’t afford it right now.

The Kindle: Amazon’s Wireless Reading Device is a digital reader that lets you download books, blogs, newspapers, and more right into one device. Plus the prices on the Kindle books are so much cheaper than the ones in bookstores, it really makes up for the price of the unit.

I won’t ramble on because I don’t have one (yet), and Amazon does a great job of listing all the features. But I did want to at least mention this new toy, because I am easily fascinated with new technology. For the time being I’ll have to continue making my regular trips to the used book store and library, but this is absolutely going on my wish list!

Fun with Hamburgers

In an attempt to break away from the same old supper while watching way too much of the Food Network, we found a new favorite recipe for hamburgers.

First off, I had found an interesting type of cheese as the store. It was Havarti, which I had never heard of before. This particular block was dill flavored, and you just can’t go wrong with anything dill in this house. It was tasty, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. Since I had hamburger meat, I decided to use it on that.

To go along with this strange new cheese, I made a mock version of our Big Mac sauce (see the recipe under “Hamburgers” on the Hamburger Ideas page on Idea Queen.) I left out both types of relish, the salad dressing, and only used regular mayo. Wasn’t exactly Big Mac sauce, but it was still an interesting flavor to go along with the hamburgers.

These were good, but I quickly realized the flavor of the cheese wasn’t coming through as much as I would have liked it to. Next time we’ll be using either more cheese or making them in “inside out” fashion.

These hamburgers also made me think that there really are no rules when it comes to hamburgers. I usually don’t make this particular item very often, but I might just start now that I know I can add anything I want to them. Who knows? Maybe we’ll come up with something really fantastic the next time!

Valentine’s Day Treat Idea

Since I love to come up with creative ideas in the kitchen, I knew I was going to have to come up with something spectacular for Valentine’s day. I’m in charge of the snacks for my daughter’s kindergarten class this year, so this gives me a chance to finally use some of those cool cookie cutters I’ve had forever. We always use decorated sugar cookies in Halloween style for her birthday in October, so the cookies are out.

While shopping yesterday with a cake mix coupon, the idea hit me.  Heart shaped brownies with pink icing. It might not be the most creative, but I’m thinking it will get us some “brownie points”. Ha!

The mix I got looks like a moist cake, so I’ve got my fingers crossed this isn’t going to turn into a big mess. It also says to bake it in a 13×9, but I’m thinking if we use a bigger pan they’ll be a little less moist and easier to work with. Should they come out a little too thin, we may just make brownie sandwiches with the frosting in the middle.

This is probably one of those ideas we’ll try out directly after school the day before the party, just in case we need to run to the store for plan B.

Wish me luck!