First Cookbook Give-away

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I am SO excited to announce the first of many GIVEAWAYS!  For our first giveaway, I am showcasing the cookbook "Kitchen Playdates" by Lauren Bank Deen.  I love this cookbook!  It has great and easy ideas for entertaining that include kids - including lots of great, unique recipes AND menus, activities and kid playdate ideas.  It is the perfect recipe book for families with kids - making the kitchen even more fun for everyone!

To enter to win this free cookbook, you must do the following:
1)  Follow the blog by clicking the "Follow" button to the left hand side of this page (unless you are already a follower)

2)  Fill in the information in the Giveaway box at the end of this post (write your full name and email)


Special note:  For all my giveaways, those individuals that send a recipe for me to post as well, get their name entered twice! 

Mama's Recipe Swap's Cookbook Giveaway will be open until Sunday, April 25th when a winner will be announced!  And stay tuned for more giveaways in the future!

Lastly, don't forget to keep sending your yummy recipes.  I am also looking for 2 new cooking blogs to highlight and link to - if you would like to be spotlighted on this website email me with a link to your blog.  New recipe blogs will be highlighted monthly!

Meals and Memories - Interview with a fellow Mama

I recently got the opportunity to interview a fellow blogger named Tree (aka Mother of Pearl) and here about her cooking adventures, who runs the kitchen in her household and what she TRULY thinks of cooking.

Tree brings a different outlook about her time in the kitchen - but one I think many of us share.  :)

Thank you Tree (aka Mother of Pearl) for being interviewed.

Check out Tree's blogs at: and

And don't forget to try her 2 favorite recipes:  The Ultimate Lady's Cheesy Mac and Cheese and Spritz Cookies.

1)  You mentioned that your husband is the primary cook in your household - do you share cooking time or ever cook meals together?
     Yes, my hubby went to Culinary school about 23 years ago when we first met, and its a good thing, because I honestly DO NOT like to cook! LOL  I do it out of necessity when I have to (like hubby just had his 2nd foot surgery, so I am the cook at this time).  I do love to bake, however.  We always cook together on holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc), but not on a routine basis for regulat meals.  He does most of the cooking.  I have no patience in the kitchen with my kids (ashamed LOL), but he does and has taught all of our kids to cook.

2)  What is your favorite memory in the kitchen as an adult or child?
     It would definitely have to be when my brother and I were small, and we would help our mom bake cookies, fudge, pices, etc. for Christmas.  I loved being in the kitchen with her at that time of year.

3)  What food(s) bring back the most/best memories for you?
     Probably my mom's tuna noodle casserole.  So warm and yummy!  And sadly, I've only made it once or twice since "leaving the nest" 26 years ago.  My birthday cakes were also homemade most of the time...I once had a guitar cake when I was taking lessons, and a telephone cake (because I loved to be on the phone as a teen... now I hate talking on the phone.  LOL)
4)  What is your favorite type of food or your standard comfort food dish?
     Oh "downfall" is definitely cheese and bread.  I can't get enough of either one...all kinds, too!  Nothing better than tons of gooey cheese....esp. plopped on top of or dipped with some of my favorite breads.
5)  Where do you guys get most of your recipes?
     I do have some recipes that were passed down through the family (mine and hubby's).  However, although I don't really care to cook, I am a "recipe junkie."  I LOVE to watch cooking shows and search for recipes online.  My favorites are Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, and Emeril Lagasse.
6)  Do you have a memorable kitchen disaster?
     Besides the common "burnt dish" every now and then, I can't think of one that I've had personally.  Although, we still laugh about the time that the hubby decided to use kerosene and burned all of the hair (eyebrows, mustache, etc) off of his face!  LOL  Wasn't too funny for him back then, but we can definitely laugh about it now.  (NOTE:  No cooks were injured on this day...only the ego was).  :)
7)  If you could improve any of your kitchen skills, what would you tackle first?
     Hmmm...probably that I had more patience to teach my children and grandchildren how to cook.  I really am a very good cook...just don't like it.  I want to get in there, and get it over with quickly! :)
8)  What is one tip you have learned from cooking?
     I would say, for the both of us, not be afraid to experiment in the kitchen.  Some of the best, most delicious recipes were invented by "mistake."  I wanted to write a cookbook using my hubby's recipes at one time, but he is a "make it up as you go," "never measure" type of guy, and we could never pinpoint exactly how much of anything should go in the recipes.  LOL  So, I gave up the idea.

9)  As a fellow blogger, what blogs do you follow the most and what do you love about blogging?
     I really just began "seriously" blogging a couple of months ago.  I have found MANY new and exciting blogs to follow (including Mama's Recipe Swap) and try to keep up with and comment when I can.  Here are some of my favorites...

10)  What are your favorite recipes?
     Paula Deen's "The Ultimate Lady's Cheesy Mac and Cheese" and my mom's "Spritz Cookies"

Spritz Cookies

This is my Mom's Spritz Cookie recipe.  She still makes these every Christmas and sends a box off to us.  She uses the exact same spritz cookie press from when I was a child.  :)

Submitted by:  Tree

Preheat oven to:  400 degrees                               Cooking time:  7-10 min.

     -  1 cup butter
     -  3 egg yolks
     -  2 1/2 cups flour
     -  2/3 cups sugar
     -  1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
     -  Favorite sprinkles or food coloring

1)  Combine the butter, sugar, egg yolks, and extract in a large bowl.
2)  Add the flour and mix by hand.  Spoon into the cookie press and press onto cookie sheets.
3)  Sprinkle cookies with colored sugars (or use red and green food coloring on smaller batches of the dough).  Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 min.

The Ultimate Lady's Cheesy Mac and Cheese

I don't always use all of the various cheese, but it still coms out so gooey and good  - one of my family's favorites!

Submitted by:  Tree
Created by:  Paula Deen

Preheat oven to:  350 degrees                               Cook time:  30-45 min

     -  2 cups dried elbow macaroni (4 cups cooked)
     -  1/3 cup grated Cheddar
     -  1/3 cup grated Swiss
     -  1/3 cup grated Jack
     -  1/3 cup grated Colby
     -  1/3 cup grated Muenster
     -  1/3 cup grated Gouda
     -  1/2 cup Sour Cream
     -  4 Tbl. butter, cut into pieces
     -  6 eggs
     -  1/2 tsp. salt
     -  1/2 tsp. pepper
     -  1 cup milk
     -  Nonstick spray

1)  Preheat oven.  In a large pot, bring water to a boil.  Season water with salt and cook macaroni until al dente, about 10 minutes.  Drain pasta and place in a large bowl and while pasta is still hot add all the cheeses.
2)  In a separate medium bowl, using a whisk, combine the sour cream, butter, eggs, salt, pepper and milk and add to the macaroni mixture.
3)  Spray casserole dish with nonstick spray and pour macaroni mixture into the dish.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.  Top with additional cheese, if desired.

Spring Smores Bars

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yummy, colorful and kid and adult friendly! 

Submiited by:  Dana Newbrough
Taken from:  Kroger recipe collection

      -  1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
      -  1 3/4 c. (11.5 oz pkg) milk chocolate chips morsels
      -  3 1/2 c. minature colored marshmallows
      -  7 1/2 oz. chocolate-covered graham crackers, broken into bite-size pieces

1)  Line 9 in. square baking pan with heavy-duty foil
2)  Heat cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 1-2 min. or until bubbles appear around edges.  Remove from heat.
3)  Add morsels; stir until smooth.  Cool, stirring occassionally, for 10-12 minutes.
4)  Add marshmallows; stir to coat.  Gently stir in graham crackers pieces until combined.
5)  Spread mixture into prepared pan; press down lightly.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.  Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.  Refrigerate any leftovers.  Makes 16 bars.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Muffins

I know that many of us cheat with these and buy the box mixes. But these are SO easy, probably include all the ingredients already in your cabinet and are SO MUCH better. Melt in your mouth delicious. I like to make the big jumbo muffins and then just the extra batter to make the mini-muffins to freeze for my little 1 year old. We all end up with chocolate all over our face after eating these, but SO worth it!

Taken from: Mr Collection

Preheat oven to: 400 degrees                                                  Cook time: 15-20 min

- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c. light-brown sugar
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2/3 c. milk
- 1/2 c. butter - melted and cooled
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 package (12 oz) chocolate chips
- Optional: 1/2 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease your muffin cups. Keep in mind that cooking times might vary depending on size of muffin cups.
2) In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt.
3) In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the milk mixture and stir to just combine. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
4) Spoon batter into muffin cups; bake 15-20 min or until knife inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean. Remove muffin tin to wire rack; cool 5 min and remove from tins to finish cooling.

- For a dessert twist - add cranberries and white chocolate chips
- Add your favorite fruit - blueberries or cut up raspberries, etc.

Creamed Spinach and Ham Broilers

Friday, April 2, 2010

My new favorite open-faced sandwich.  To those haters that do not think it sounds good -- please try it!  It is scrumptious! :)

Submitted by:  Dana Newbrough
Found in:  Rachael Ray Magazine

Cooking time/Prep:  45 min total

     -  1 (9 oz) bag spinach
     -  6 Tbl. butter
     -  4, 3/4 in. thick slices of bread (french or country loaf)
     -  1/4 c. finely chopped onion
     -  Salt and pepper to taste
     -  3 Tbl flour
     -  2 1/4 c. milk
     -  1/4 lb. thinly sliced smoked ham (preferably Black Forest)
     -  2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
     -  3/4 c. gruyere cheese (though I use Munster or Provolone - gruyere might be better, but much more expensive)

1)  Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  In a large saucepan, cook the spinach and 2 Tbl. water over medium heat until wilted, about 5 minutes; drain and transfer to a small bowl.  Let the spinach cool, then squeeze out excess water; finely chop.
2)  In the reserved saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Brush the bread slices on both sides with half of the melted butter and arrange on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.  Toast in the oven until golden, about 15 minutes
3)  Meanwhile, add the onion to the butter in the saucepan and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occassionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in the flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occassionally, until thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce.  Add the spinach to the remaining sauce in the pot and season with salt and pepper.
4)  Preheat the broiler.  Divide the creamed spinach among the toasts and top with ham and tomato slices; season with salt.  Top with the reserved white sauce and cheese.  Broil until cheese is bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Easy Homemade Doughtnuts

Okay, this was a childhood favorite and an easy way to score high points with your kids.  It is far from brain-science people - it is just good!!

Serve as breakfast or an after-school snacks.  Kids and adults alike will be clammering for them.  Who needs Dunkin' Doughnuts -- okay yes, that went too far.  I am obsessed with Dunkin'!  ;)

Submitted by:  Vicki Marshall and Dana Newbrough

     -  2-3 cans of refrigerated biscuits (your favorite)
     -  2 large gallon zip-lock bags (with GOOD seal)
     -  cooking oil
     -  cinnamon, sugar and powdered sugar

1)  Heat oil  in large skillet for deep frying (or use deep fryer).  Place individual biscuits in oil, once hot.
2)  Quickly brown biscuits on both side.  Remove to paper-towel lined plate to drain grease.  Once doughnuts are done fill one large bag with mixture of cinnamon and sugar (to your liking) and fill the other bag with powdered sugar.
3)  Put warm doughnuts in either bag and shake until covered.  Lay out on plate and enjoy!!

Apple Pork Chops

To be honest, when I first read this recipe I thought -- NO WAY!  But, because I was over budget that week for groceries and happened to have these ingredients, I thought what the heck - I'll try it.  It was surprisingly good and oh so simple.  Many thanks to the creator!

Created by:  Cassi Pope
Found in:  Recipes from Home cookbook, created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Preheat oven to:  350 degrees                     Cook time:  45 min

     -  6 Pork Chops
     -  1 box of your favorite stuffing (I love cornbread!)
     -  1 can of apple pie filling

1)  Preheat oven.  Grease the bottom of a 9"x 13" baking pan.
2)  Brown pork chops in a skillet on medium-high heat.  Prepare stuffing according to directions on box.
3)  In bottom of greased pie pan, put pie filling.  Place pork chops evenly over pie filling; top everything with prepared stuffing.
4)  Cover and cook for 35 minutes.  Uncover and cook 10 minutes more.
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