Saturday, March 31, 2012

Overnight, No-Cook, Refrigerator Oatmeal

This oatmeal is stored in the fridge overnight, allowing the oats to absorb the liquid and soften. It is high in protein and calcium (thanks to the milk and yogurt) and loaded with fiber (thanks to the oats). A super healthy breakfast that you can just pull out of the fridge and eat (it is eaten cold) - no fuss in the morning! Nick and I have been enjoying these all week :) Major thanks to The Yummy Life blog for this great idea.

 What you will need to get started:

  • Old-fashioned rolled oats (NOT instant, quick, or steel-cut)
  • Milk (soy, almond, coconut, or skim cow's milk)
    • We use vanilla soy milk to add sweetness.
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt (plain or flavored)
  • Desired mix-ins (see below for examples)
  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) mason canning jars
An optional ingredient is Chia Seed. Yes, the same seeds from Chia Pet! Chia seeds have a neutral taste and are packed full of Omega 3's (containing more than flax seed), protein, and fiber, and are loaded with Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin B and antioxidants. Unlike flax seed, these seeds can be eaten whole and do not need to be ground up in order for the body to digest them and absorb its nutrients. I found Bob's Red Mill brand of chia seed in the organic foods section at Giant.

1. Add the following to each mason jar:
  • 1/4 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. chia seeds (optional)
2. Put a lid on the jar and shake to combine.

 3. Next, add desired mix-ins and stir gently, to combine. We have been using fresh fruit, fruit preserves, peanut butter, cocoa powder and honey. You can use whatever you like! Some examples:
  • 1 Tbsp. blueberry preserves + 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp. strawberry preserves + 1/4 cup fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup applesauce + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter + 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder + 1/4 banana, sliced
4. Secure lid and place in fridge overnight and up to 2 days.

Garlic Cheesy Bread

I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided to cheat a little bit by using Pillsbury's Crusty French Loaf dough (find it in the dairy's packaged in one of those blue tubes like their cinnamon rolls). Feel free to make your own French bread loaves from scratch, if you have time. I made my own garlic butter (instead of buying pre-made) because it's a cinch. Use whatever kind of cheese you like! You will LOVE this bread...I mean, hello? Look at this cheesy, garlicky goodness!!

1 package Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf dough (found in dairy aisle)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. garlic salt (or plain garlic powder if using salted butter)
1/4 lb. cheese (I used provolone, but mozzarella or white cheddar would be delicious, too!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the package and place (as is) onto a lightly greased baking sheet (seam-side down). Cut 4 or 5 shallow slits on top of the loaf. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the melted butter, minced garlic and garlic salt or powder.

After the 20 minutes of baking time is up, remove the bread from the oven and brush generously with some of the melted garlic butter. Bake another 5-7 minutes or until the bread begins to turn a golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice the cheese.

Cut 1-inch slices 3/4′s of the the way through the loaf. Brush garlic butter in between each slice and fill with a slice of cheese. Bake another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.
Serve immediately.

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin (Slow-Cooker)

Stop whatever you are doing and make this right now!!! :) Not only is this recipe easy peasy, but it tastes Ohhhh. Soooo. Gooood. The pork is so tender that it just falls apart. And the glaze....wowwww. So excited to share this one! Recipe courtesy of Let's Dish.

1 (2 lb.) boneless pork tenderloin
1 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (I used low-sodium)

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over pork loin. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

About 1 hour before pork is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush pork with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are sooooo goooood. Easy to make, too. Great for a bake sale or potluck. Found this recipe at when I was looking for a dessert to make and take to a friends' house. I love black-bottom cupcakes, so I wanted to try these :) I took it as a compliment with our friends asked to keep the leftovers!

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

For cream cheese filling: In a bowl, beat cream cheese. Add sugar, egg and salt. Mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. Set aside.

For cupcakes: In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with cupcake batter. Top each with 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Makes 18 cupcakes.

Baked Chicken Marsala

I came up with a new favorite Chicken Marsala recipe, starting with a recipe from an old community cookbook. I love that the dish is finished in the oven, resulting in saucy, bubbly, cheesy goodness :) Serve the chicken and sauce over pasta with a leafy green salad or steamed veggie.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into nugget-size pieces
3/4 cup flour (or more, if needed)
2 eggs, beaten
3 or 4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chicken bouillon (1 cube + 1 cup boiling water)
1 small can of mushrooms
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Marsala wine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare 2 shallow dishes - one with the beaten eggs and one with the flour. Heat 2 Tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Dip each chicken piece in the egg, dredge in the flour and then place in hot, buttered skillet. Cook the chicken pieces until golden-brown and no pink remains (adding more butter, as needed). Place cooked chicken in a baking dish.

Reduce heat to simmer/low and add chicken bouillon to the chicken drippings in the skillet. Slowly stir in Marsala wine. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.

While simmering, place mushrooms over the chicken (in the baking dish) and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Carefully pour the simmering cooking wine and drippings over the chicken in the baking dish. Place in oven to brown for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Glazed Pork Chops

I have never been a pork chop fan...until now :) Super easy, super cheap, and super delicious! The cayenne pepper and brown sugar are the perfect spicy/sweet complement to each other. I found this recipe on

4 thick-cut pork chops (boneless or bone-in - doesn't matter)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. EVOO

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the brown sugar and spices.

Trim excess fat from the pork chops. Rub pork with the brown sugar/spice mixture (all over on both sides). Use all of the spice mix.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the pork chops and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned.

If you are using an oven-safe skillet, place the skillet in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to make sure they are cooked through. If your skillet is not oven safe, transfer the chops to a baking sheet lined with foil then place in the oven.

Remove the chops from the oven and drag each side around in the thick glaze that has formed around the chops in the pan prior to serving.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Squares

Make these oatmeal squares for quick, grab-and-go breakfasts during the week! They remind me of baked oatmeal - yum! They are healthy, too - no butter or oil and only 1/4 cup of brown sugar! Top with more peanut butter, if you like :)

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large mashed banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Mix together the quick cooking oats, light brown sugar, baking powder, kosher salt and ground cinnamon.

Add in the vanilla extract, milk and egg. Mix the ingredients together. Then add in the mashed banana and peanut butter. Combine all of the ingredients.

Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8x8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Cut into squares and enjoy!

Spaghetti Night at the Kipe's

Spaghetti is a staple at our house. It is usually my go-to dinner when I don't have a lot of time. Instead of buying spaghetti sauce (like Ragu), I like to use plain tomato sauce and add my own spices. It saves you a couple of bucks, too..I can get a 15.5 oz. can of Giant-brand tomato sauce for 79 cents! Cheap, cheap, cheap! I usually have the other ingredients in my pantry (onion, garlic and spices). You can buy a small box of spaghetti for less than a dollar and you only need a 1/2 lb. of ground beef.

The texture and flavor of this sauce are perfect for us, but feel free to make your own changes like adding ground turkey, mushrooms, or other spices (such as red pepper flakes). There is no need to add tomato paste unless you like a really thick sauce.

Note: This recipe is perfect for 2 people. You will definitely want to double (or triple) the recipe if you're serving 3+.

I usually serve spaghetti with a small leafy green salad and garlic bread. I like to make my own garlic bread by using leftover sandwich bread or hamburger buns. Preheat your oven to 425. Place bread on baking sheet. Spread each slice with butter and sprinkle with desired spices (I use garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, thyme and parsley). Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, pop it in the oven for 5-7 minutes and you're done!

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (15.5 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf
Hot, cooked spaghetti

In a large, non-stick skillet, brown and cook the beef over medium heat (there is no need to add oil because of the fat from the meat). Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a small bowl and keep warm. Drain some of the grease, reserving about one teaspoon - use this to saute the onion and garlic (in the same skillet) until tender.

Add ground beef back to the pan and add the tomato sauce and seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve over hot pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.