Tag Archives: receta rápida y fácil

An asparagus recipe for picky eaters

An asparagus recipe for picky eaters

How do you feel about asparagus?  I love “Junior Asparagus” from VeggieTales, but haven’t had very much experience cooking with the bumpy green stalks.  Ok, make that no experience.  The other day a very large bag of it came home from Costco, and I had no idea what to do with it.  Resisting the urge to let it quietly grow a fuzzy green beard in the bottom of the refrigerator, I decided to get on the ball and check out Pinterest for some asparagus recipe ideas.

I felt very hesitant about cooking it at all, since I have never been impressed with any of the stalks I’ve tried in the past.  And obviously my kids haven’t been eating it if I haven’t been offering it.  Dilemma!!  But then I found this asparagus gratin recipe over at Apron Appeal that looked so cheesy and good, I figured anyone could choke it down!  🙂asperagus gratin recipe tried by dennasideas.com

I liked the way the white sauce was made with water from boiling the bottoms of the asparagus.  I changed up the recipe a bit since I didn’t have the same cheeses and basically used Parmesan in the sauce and a bit of Tex-Mex grated cheese mix to sprinkle on top.  But I didn’t really add much cheese at all (less than the recipe called for)  And added bacon bits, sort of an added incentive for picky eaters.

Since I was busy trying out this new recipe (at the last minute) I ran out of time, so supper was….asparagus gratin over white rice!!  Ta-da!  When I whipped the tray of asparagus out of the oven the reactions were so funny!  Mostly along the lines of “Mom, whaaaat’s thaaaaat??” >insert disgusted emoticon<  ahem, Let me introduce you to asparagus my dear ones.

Long story short, it received a thumbs up from almost all 6 of us, and a double thumbs up from one adult and one child.  I really enjoyed it, but am not exactly rushing out to by asparagus again….not sure why….maybe because someone felt it was sad to be eating “Junior”…..

But I do really recommend this recipe and you should head over to Apron Appeal and try it out the next time you have a bag of lonely asparagus!  I really liked the way the gratin (white sauce) browned up under the broiler, it looked so very nice……………….well now that I’m seeing my photos, maybe we should try it again….!

asperagus gratin recipe tried by dennasideas.com

(click on highlighted links above to get to the recipe)  (se puede encontrar la receta aqui)

Easy Pink Dough Valentines for Preschoolers


An easy way for toddlers and preschoolers to celebrate Valentine’s Day!  Pink dough to play with!  Mix up a quick batch of pink colored dough and break out the heart cookie cutters!  The recipe I used is at the end of the post.  Here’s my nostalgic look back at my babies busy at work on their “Valentines”Pink Dough for Preschool Valentines by dennasideas.com - Page 008We’re going to make something!Pink Dough for Preschool Valentines by dennasideas.com - Page 007Pink Dough for Preschool Valentines by dennasideas.com - Page 005Squish that pinkness!Pink Dough for Preschool Valentines by dennasideas.com - Page 004The idea was to get them to make a Valentine on the table, then I would photograph it as their “valentines” for Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa.Pink Dough for Preschool Valentines by dennasideas.com - Page 006And that’s what we did.Pink Dough for Preschool Valentines by dennasideas.com - Page 002Pink Dough for Preschool Valentines by dennasideas.com - Page 001It was a lot of very pink fun!  I had to play a bit, too….Pink Dough for Preschool Valentines by dennasideas.com - Page 003Here’s the recipe I use for play dough:

2 and 1/2 cups of white all purpose flour   (I’ve tried it with whole wheat flour, and let’s just say…No!)

1 cup of salt  (fine, not coarse)

2 small packages of Kool Aid  (the ones without real sugar)  this is optional. if you don’t have Kool Aid, then add food coloring

3 tsp. vegetable oil  (canola oil is good)

2 cups of boiling water

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the boiling water.  Stir it all together very well and turn out onto a surface where you can knead it a bit.  It will be hot, so let it cool a bit before kneading.  Then knead away until it becomes smooth.  When it’s cool enough, the kids can start playing.  As soon as it’s cool enough, either play with it or seal it in plastic bags so it doesn’t start drying out.  This will last for quite awhile in a sealed bag.   Note:  the Kool Aid is just for easy color and aroma!  We used cherry for Valentine’s day.  If the kids love the smell so much that they taste it, it won’t hurt them at all, just a little salty.  If there’s worry about the flour, then I’d say don’t add the Kool Aid and then it won’t smell appetizing enough for little ones to put into their mouths!

Fun for the kids to make, and the photos are easy to send to everyone online, no mess, no snail mail! 😉  Just digital cuteness from the kids!  Happy ❤ weekend!

Quesadilla Dogs!!

Quesadilla Dogs!!

Have you ever eaten a Quesadilla Dog??  I’m guessing that you haven’t, since I’m pretty sure that my Mom invented this delicacy!!  Well, I suppose if you’ve attended Eston College, then maybe you have, since I introduced them when I worked there…. 🙂 but I don’t know if they are still serving them….not the healthiest thing on the menu!  (but I think they are super yummy and worth a blog post!)

For those times when you feel like having a hot dog but don’t want all that soggy bun….or when you’d like a quesadilla, but a little more substantial….it’s the Quesadilla Dog!!

Super easy to make for a quick lunch (supper, snack or breakfast!!)  I think that if you like hot dogs or smokies, you’ll enjoy this twist:

Quesadilla Dogs

everything you need:

hot dogs or smokies

tortillas (flour or corn & flour blend)

grated cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)

jalapeños (optional!)


ketchup and/or salsa!  (optional!)

skillet or frying pan  (oil is optional)

What to do:

First heat up the smokies/hot dogs however you like.  To do this quickly, I usually throw them into the microwave (after pricking them) on a plate with a bit of water and heat them like that.  The yummiest way would be to fry them up!! Haha!  Or you could boil them or grill them….or use leftover bbqed smokies!!  Anyways, heat them up a bit.  Oh, and start heating up your skillet or frying pan now, too….

Get out the tortillas.  We usually use those whole wheat, whole grain ones with all the little flax bits in them, like this…just because…denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsbut this last time we tried the flour and corn blend ones and they were very tasty!  Now get out the grated cheese!!  (we always use mozzarella, just because)…denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsLay the first tortilla out and add the hot dog and sprinkle it with cheese:denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsNow add some pickled jalapeños if you like them!!  Go for it!denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsRoll up the tortilla and fix it in place with a toothpick (this is one of the corn & flour tortillas)denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsSet that little baby into the hot skillet….I don’t use oil or anything, I just brown them on all sides in a dry skillet.  Of course they are super delicious fried up in oil!!!  (At Eston College we used to quickly fry them up in the deep fryer!! ahhh!)  But, you know, I try and not fry too much just because…blah blah blah…..denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsdenna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsWhen they are toasty on all sides, serve them up!!!  Either pull out all the toothpicks, or remind everyone to NOT BITE down on one!!  Serve with choice #1 Ketchup, choice #2 Salsa or choice #3 Sour cream and Salsa!!  🙂  Everything tastes yummy!  (Oh booy, I get soo hungry when I post about  my favorite foods!)denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogs

Let me know what you think if you try this out at your house 🙂

Gnocchi & Toki

Gnocchi & Toki

Say it so they rhyme: “ñokee & tokee.”  That’s what we had for supper last night.  I just had to put the recipe on here because it’s been such an easy hit for our dinnertime!  The first and only time I have tried gnocchi was 13 years ago when my mother-in-law made some for us to try and I loved them.  I’ve been thinking about them ever since, but seeing the packaged stuff on the shelves at the store just didn’t convince me to buy and try.  The other day on Allrecipes.com I found a recipe for made-from-scratch ricotta gnocchi that reviewers said was easy and delicious.  (I just laughed when one reviewer said that no real Italian would have garlic powder in their kitchen, much less use it in gnocchis!  No Italian in me so I just proceeded with the recipe).  They are usually made with potatoes but this quick recipe is made with ricotta cheese.  To my surprise it was easy to make, super yummy and everyone ate it and asked for seconds!

Last night when I made the gnocchis, I timed myself to see how fast I could do it.  Forty minutes from beginning to boil the water to setting the food on the table!  Not bad! 🙂  And I tried something new yesterday, too.  Instead of using ricotta cheese, I put cottage cheese in the food processor and blended it up until it looked just like ricotta.  No one noticed any difference!  I’ll be doing that in the future for sure.denna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supper

So I thought I would add the recipe and a few photos here so you can try it at your house!  If you like cheese, home made food and a quick supper, dig in!  The recipe is on Allrecipes here along with a simple sauce (which I haven’t tried) or you can try out my easy sauce idea.

Gnocchi ingredients:

1 (8 oz.) container of ricotta cheese  (or I use blended cottage cheese, about 1 cup and a half or so)

2 eggs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (whatever kind you have, fresh or not)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. pepper  (I use fresh ground, but if you don’t like to see it, use white pepper)

1 tsp. salt

1 cup flour, or as needed

(cubed mozzarella cheese to add into tomato sauce)

  • Stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl until evenly combined. Mix in 1 cup of flour. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough.
  • Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, and roll into 1/2-inch-thick ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces, and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use if not cooking right away.
  • Make a sauce.  What I use is a jar of spaghetti sauce (Newman’s Own, Sockarooni) with red peppers in it.  Add a few Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, some dried or fresh basil, fresh chopped parsely, some paprika and a few Tablespoons of butter.
  • While sauce is simmering, (or before!) bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil the gnocchi until they float to the surface, about 2 minutes, then drain.  I boil them in batches, as I roll and cut them.
  • To assemble the dish, stir cubed mozzarella cheese into the sauce and allow the heat of the sauce to soften, but not melt the cheese. Place gnocchi into a serving bowl, and spoon sauce overtop, or instead, simply add just-boiled gnocchi right into the sauce.

This recipe makes enough for our family of six with no leftovers.  Next time I will double it because everyone wants leftovers to take to school/work the next day!  Here’s a hint that was in the recipe reviews:  put the ricotta in a strainer to get rid of some extra moisture, if it seems too moist.  I did that the first time, but there didn’t seem to extra moisture.  With the cottage cheese, I just blended it and never strained it and it seemed fine.  I have been varying the amounts of ricotta/cottage and parmesan and even flour, and it seems to be fine.  I would suggest not to cut back on the garlic and pepper and salt, though.denna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supperHere are the little (or not so little) gnocchis after you have rolled them into ropes and cut them.  I was trying to be fancy like the store bought ones, and used the tines of a fork to make impressions on them (that’s supposed to help hold the sauce).  Last night when I made them as fast as I could, no little marks, and they were smaller than those in the photo above.denna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supperI didn’t boil very many at a time, as I wasn’t sure if they’d all stick together….then later I’d just boil the ones that were just cut, then while they boiled for 2 or 3 min. I would be cutting the next ones.denna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supperThe first time I made the sauce (pictured here) I added chicken, but last night it was just plain tomato and cheesiness, yum!  Here’s the sauce that we buy at Costco, this flavor hasn’t been a favorite until now, because of the red peppers….denna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supperdenna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supperI was just adding the gnocchis to the sauce as they cooked up.denna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supperAnd then last night, I added the cubed mozzarella instead of shredding it over top.  I think most of us really liked the cubed cheese, but I added too much (oh well, I enjoyed it!)denna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supperdenna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supperdenna's ideas: making homemade ricotta gnocchi for supper

Maybe you are wondering what the Toki in the title is.  If you have been to Guatemala, you have probably heard of the drink called “Toki” and if you lived there long ago, you probably know the jingle from the TV commercial “Toki, Toki, Toki, te quita el calor!”  For some reason this drink mix has a little North American Native pictured on it, and he used to appear in the commercial beating his little drum.  ???  🙂 Anyways, it’s something I grew up with, and we happen to still have some Rosa de Jamaica flavored Toki drink crystals (that is hibiscus flower flavor) that our Guatemalan family sent us.  The kids figured that we should drink it because Toki rhymes with gnocchi!  It was a great supper!!denna's ideas: Toki drink  mix from Guatemala

The 5 Minute Individual Chocolate Chip Cookie Midnight Snack


Oh, forgot to mention that it’s a Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Mmmm….what a lovely new recipe I have found!

The other night I was searching on Pinterest for brilliant ideas to add to my online idea-board stash….and I was feeling kind of hungry.  And then suddenly I found this recipe….just the thing to test out for a late night snack!

It turned out to be the perfect Midnight Snack for One…..or for Two, if you feel like sharing! 😉  There’s nothing like a hot chocolate chip cookie with a cold glass of milk….except a hot chocolate cookie that is ready in 5 minutes or less!

See if this convinces you….

Here’s the recipe with a few of my own tweaks:

5 Minute Individual Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 Tbsp. melted butter

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. white sugar

1/8 tsp. salt (or a big pinch)

1 egg yolk

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup white flour

2 Tbsp. chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a small micorwave-proof dish or bowl.  Add the sugars and salt and lightly beat in the egg yolk with a fork.  Add the vanilla and then the flour, a bit at a time while stirring. Stir just until mixed.  Add the chocolate chips and mix in.  I’m afraid that I already have this recipe memorized.  Oh, a note: you can cut down a tiny bit on the sugar, and another: don’t use whole wheat flour!  Microwave on high power for 40-60 seconds….I found that 40 seconds were just right.  Now pour a glass of milk and dig in!!   (I found this recipe on a site that wasn’t a proper blog or anything, so that’s why I didn’t post the link).This is what it looks like right out of the microwave!Share a bite!I was fairly pleased with the texture, it’s not exactly like oven-baked, but it’s yummy nonetheless.  Quite addiciting….don’t ask me how many times I’ve already “tested” out this new recipe…

The perfect quick snack for a chilly autumn evening! (and for breakfast and for lunch and for an after-school snack….)