Posts Tagged ‘family’

Oven Baked French Fries

November 10, 2009
First of all, let me say “yes, yes, I know…baked fries is an oxymoron!”  But quite a tasty one ;-)
Hamburger IMG_4320

Skillet Hamburger and Oven Baked Fries

Last night was supposed to be Cheesy Chicken and Veggie soup with fresh bread; however, as the afternoon came and went and the sky turned a pretty pink, I had absolutely zero initiative to pull out the cutting board and invest the necessary 20 minutes prep-time needed for the meal.  Besides, it’s been hot and sticky and warm soup just didn’t sound good any more!  So quick change of plans…Hamburger Night!

There are some grill aficionados who would just gag at the idea of pan frying hamburger patties, but to them I say “So what!”  On a Monday night when you just aren’t quite ready to let go of the weekend, there is nothing tastier than a hamburger and fries…go ahead and use your skillet to cook up those patties; it’s a very low-mess, healthy, and fast way to have a juicy hamburger and fries.

While traditional oven fries can be too time intensive for a quick dinner, if you microwave your potatoes first you can cut your baking time in half and have crispy oven potato fries ready in a snap!

Oven Baked French Fries (the fast way!)

Prep Time: 5 minutes / Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

  1. Scrub potatoes and thinly slice into rounds, wedges, or strips (the thinner the slices the faster and crispier they will cook up.)
  2. Place slices into a microwave safe bowl and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring half way through.
  3. Remove from microwave just a few minutes before potatoes are completely done; toss with a little butter or olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  4. Bake at 450°F in a single layer on a large cookie sheet for another 10-15 minutes, stirring once, until they are golden and as crispy as you would like them.

    French Fries IMG_4310

    Homemade Oven Fries


Toasted Pumpkin (and Squash) Seeds

November 9, 2009
Pumpkin Eli IMG_4149

Pumpkin Carving

Tradition seems to dictate that pumpkins be carved before Halloween; however, I see no reason for not enjoying this fun (albeit gooey) fall activity any time between Labor Day and Christmas…or whenever you can get your hands on a pumpkin!  I came to this conclusion as my sweet munchkin and I sat on our porch carving our belated Halloween pumpkin last week ;-)

Though there are many good reasons to carve a pumpkin (using large, very sharp knives to slice through the thick skin is high on my list…second only to the most excellent shoulder workout gained by plunging your entire arm into the gooey abyss of an overgrown squash to scrape out the innards), the thought of warm toasted pumpkin seeds is what gets me running to the store each fall as soon as they set out the pumpkins!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

*You can also toast Butternut Squash seeds like this, too!*

  1. Separate seeds from all the pulp with your hands and rinse under cool water (I promise it’s not as time consuming as it sounds!) 

    Pumpkin Seeds 1 IMG_4188

    Step 1: Separate from pulp and rinse

  2. Boil seeds for 10-15 min in salt water solution:  roughly (2 cups water + 1 Tblsp salt)/(half cup of seeds)
  3. Drain seeds and pat dry, then toss with either butter or olive oil (some recipes call for drying the seeds overnight before baking, however I’ve never done this and it works just fine)
    Pumpkin Seeds 2

    Step 2: Boil in salt water


  4. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350°F


Friday Fun

October 23, 2009

Friday nights should be fun…friends, family, good food, and memories!

Before leaving the house I grab an old blanket, a roll of paper towel, one small candle lantern and lighter, and a couple bottles of water.  On the way out we stop by Little Caesars for a $5 peperoni, and then head out to the lake.  Sitting cross-legged at the end of a pier; eating pizza right out of the box; watching the water change colors and sparkle as the sun begins to set; talking with Eli (my 16 month old) about the ducks as they fly by and honk, the breeze, the rippling water; scooting together under a blanket as the moon and stars start to come out, and chatting around the tiny, twinkling lantern.  This is what family memories are made of.

Have fun making your own this weekend!  Picnics don’t need to be elaborate, and the ones that taste best are often the easiest.  Here are some ideas to get you started…

Location: pick somewhere the whole family can enjoy

  1. park, playground, nearby camping ground
  2. lake or pond (have fun feeding ducks and fish with dinner leftovers!), stream bank
  3. large, grassy field where you can play frisbee or toss a ball.

Food: keep it simple; meals that don’t have to be a certain temp, don’t make a mess, and don’t require special utensils (soup is a pain because it inevitably spills, and you have to bring bowls and spoons)

  1. sandwiches and chips
  2. pita pockets stuffed with chicken salad (or other favorite filling)
  3. pizza out of the box
  4. or if you happen to be without children…a warm loaf of french bread, a good block of cheese, some grapes and strawberries, and a bottle of wine!

Activities: think of something your family loves that you haven’t done in a while



  1. play ball or toss a frizbee
  2. take a simple board game or cards (I don’t recommend cards if it’s at all windy!)
  3. take old bread or crackers you can feed ducks and fish
  4. candlelight is always a plus!

Please feel free to share!  What is your favorite dinner-time picnic memory???