Sous Chef Sunday: Apple Pie Taquitos

I can’t think of anything more American to devour on Thanksgiving than an ooey-gooey heap of caramelized apples piled into a crispy, buttery crust.

A good apple pie can be oh-so-good, but a bad one, well, it’s just flat out depressing.

Unfortunately a lot can go wrong when it comes to the classic dessert, and I’ve yet to find/perfect a solid pie crust recipe. But the sons and I have found a way to still get our festive fix.

All the makings of a great apple pie, in a fun taquito shape. Apple Pie Taquitos. It’s genius!

And, again, it’s fun. And the sons and I are all about some fun. Serve em up warm from the oven with a drizzle of caramel syrup and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert you’ll really be thankful for!

Apple Pie Taquitos

Apple Pie Taquitos

recipe adapted from Jo Cooks

1 20 oz can of apple pie filling
12 medium soft tortillas
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
caramel syrup, optional

Directions

1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar on a plate.
2. Empty the can of pie filling onto a cutting board and chop up the apples into bite-sized pieces.
3. Lay a tortilla flat and top with about 3 tablespoons of the apple pie filling. Tightly roll up the tortilla. Brush the outsides of the taquito with butter, then roll it in the sugar/cinnamon mixture to coat the outside. Place the taquito in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and apple pie filling.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the taquitos start to get golden on top. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

Sous Chef Sunday: Teddy Bear Toast

I didn’t think anything could shift son # 4’s love of eggs for breakfast. But, one morning of helping me with these and he was hooked. He’s asked for it again every morning for a week straight. I’m so glad we found a way to put a little fun back into our breakfast routine. These adorable little teddies take less than two minutes to whip up, and make a perfect healthy and FUN breakfast option for the little ones. Don’t like peanut butter, or wanting more variety. Sub nutella!

Teddy Bear Toast

Teddy Bear Toast

a few slices of your favorite sandwich bread, toasted
banana, sliced
raisins
creamy peanut butter
 
Directions
 
1. Start by toasting the piece of bread in the toaster. Then spread the creamy peanut butter, or nutella, all over it.
2. Cut up the bananas into thin slices and put two at the top corners of the toast and one in the middle.  
3. Add three raisins making the bear’s eyes and nose.
4. Isn’t it just soooo cute?! This is a great way to sneak in some healthy options (bananas and raisins) without them complaining.

Olympics-Themed Party/Treat Ideas

In honor of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, here are two simple ideas to do with your kids to celebrate and help them feel connected to it all. And no, it’s not too late. You’ve still got another week to enjoy these sweet and simple treats. Shoot, does a party always have to be at the beginning anyway? Have a going away party for the Olympics to celebrate the great games and events over the last week and week to come. Go against the grain. You just might be creating a new tradition or find your snazzy ‘bid the Olympics adieu’ party idea suddenly trending.

I know I mentioned these are simple ideas. Just how simple? Two ingredients each. That’s it. Barely any assembly required. Lazy Mom status. That’s how I roll. At least today anyway.

The Olympics Themed Party Ideas

Gold Medals for your Champions

4 Sons 'R' Us: edible 'gold' medals

Adorbs. Totes McGoats.

Cut a fruit by the foot in half and gently bend until the ends are brought together. Slap an oreo onto said ends and there ya go. You’re ‘gold’en!

Olympic Torches

4 Sons 'R' Us: edible olympic torches

For quality control purposes, I would suggest not actually consuming ice cream cones and cheetos together, but the sons are weird and didn’t listen to my advice. No surprise there though. What could Mom possibly know that they don’t? Ok, rant over…

I, sophisticated as I am, ate my cheetos first and then (after making sure the inside wasn’t powdered orange) added a scoop of ice cream to polish off my cone. I didn’t tell them there was ice cream? They’d already eaten their cones? There aren’t anymore cones?! Oops. 😉

Back to the torches. These make the perfect edible, and adorable ‘toast’ to the Olympics. As son # 1 said, “It’s our ‘shout-out’ to Sochi.” So if you missed the boat like I did  and didn’t usher the Olympics in with style this year ((or even if you had your ducks in a row and had your Olympic party when things actually started on Friday), bid them a fond farewell with these fast, fun treats.

Sous Chef Sunday: Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups

These little grilled cheese ‘sticks’ are easy, delicious, and dippable. For all of you fellow double-dip offenders, you know exactly what I mean when I say, it’s ten times better if it’s dippable. Son # 3 dubbed these his favorite ‘eggrolls’. All the sons thoroughly enjoyed dunking them in their bowls of creamy tomato soup.These were so much more convenient than our old grilled cheese sandwich.   Son made, son tested, and son approved.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups

6 slices of your favorite sandwich bread, any kind will do
6 slices of American or Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter
tomato soup

Directions

1. Lay out pieces of sandwich bread on a flat surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten. Then, if you’re anti-crusts, use a knife to cut the crusts off of each piece of flattened bread.
2. Place a slice of cheese on top of each slice of bread, then roll up tightly to form a grilled cheese
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted. Place the grilled cheese rolls (about 3 at a time) seam-side down in the skillet, and cook on all sides until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. You can press the rolls down with a spatula to be sure that they do not unfold while cooking.
4. Remove and repeat with the remaining sandwiches, adding more melted butter if necessary. Serve immediately while the cheese is still warm and gooey with extra delicious dipping sauce tomato soup.

The World’s Easiest Cheeseburger Sliders

I’m definitely a foodie at heart. I come from a long ling of women who love good food, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done my job of instilling that same feeling in my boys. While normal sized food is always great, there’s just something about food in miniature that I just can’t help but adore. It’s just so cute and fun. Not to mention, with four growing boy, two growing teenage boys who inhale food like vacuums, it’s often a whole lot less messy. With those things combined, sliders are a huge hit with this mom. Still, it was a wee bit time consuming to have to shape each petite patty by hand. Then I stumbled on this genius kitchen life-hack, and BAM! Mind.Blown. This recipe, literally, is for making the easiest sliders ever. Ever.

Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: The World's Easiest Cheeseburger Sliders

1 1/2 pounds, 93% lean ground sirloin
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (12-count) Kings Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls (or slider buns)
6 slices cheddar or American cheese

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.   In a bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, and salt.  Gently press mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan so that it makes one large patty of even thickness.  Use the tines of a fork to poke holes throughout the meat.  Bake for 30 minutes.  As it bakes, the meat will shrink away from the sides and liquid will accumulate around the edges of pan.  2. When fully cooked, remove the pan from oven (keep oven turned on) and carefully drain off the liquid.
3. Top the meat with an even layer of sliced cheese; return pan to oven for about 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes.
4. Cut into 2-inch squares (or the size of the buns used), making 12 mini- hamburgers.  Serve with dill pickle slices and ketchup.  Serves 6 at 2 sliders each.

A Candy Cane Craft: Teddy Bear Sleds

I used to look at candy canes and see one of two things. A. cute, simple, and in-expensive tree decorations, or B. something gross I wouldn’t eat and would most likely collect dust in the Christmas bin until next Christmas. Boy, was I missing out! Still inexpensive, candy canes are great for Christmas-time crafts, like these adorable Teddy Bear Sleds. Who wouldn’t be tempted to eat these sledding teddies? They’re just so adorable. The youngest son loved these, so much so that he wouldn’t even eat his for a whole day. He’s never not eaten candy IMMEDIATELY. That’s never happened before, like not in the history of ever.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

These little guys are so ‘bear-y’ cute! Sorry, I couldn’t resist 🙂

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

They’re almost too cute to eat. Almost.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

A Candy Cane Craft: Teddy Bear Sleds

fun size snickers bars
mini candy canes
mini teddy grahams
chocolate frosting

Directions

1. Attach candy canes to the sides of unwrapped candy bars, using frosting, to look like sleigh rails. Let dry.
2. Again using the frosting, attach 1-2 teddy grahams to the top of the sleigh. Let the frosting dry again.
3. Enjoy your sleigh-riding teddy bears!

Pizza Pancakes

Do your kids love pancakes? Mine sure do. Coincidentally, pancakes were also one of the first things we taught them how to help us, and help themselves, make. When I heard ‘pizza pancakes’ I was intrigued. When I saw the recipe, I was inspired! All 4 Sons got in on the action. This delicious little hybrid was a fun new twist and a real treat for the kids. Pizza pancakes and it’s cast of characters are now set for a recurring role on our family’s dinnertime menu.

Pizza Pancakes

4 Sons 'R' Us: Pizza Pancakes

 

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, diced
  • 1 cup sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • pizza sauce, warmed
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine the biscuit mix, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Combine eggs and milk. Stir the wet ingrediets into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in the cheese, pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms, if using.
  2. Pour batter by 1/4 cup-fuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top and continue cooking until the seconds side is golden brown.
  3. Serve with warmed pizza sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Mummy Dogs

I love seeing the look on the littlest son’s face when I make him ‘fun’ food. Holidays provide the ultimate opportunity to surprise him. Still, sometimes I just don’t have the time, or the energy, but these Mummy dogs are so simple and quick. From start to finish it took less than 20 minutes. Add some fun to your Halloween lunch or dinner with this adorable idea.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Mummy Dogs

recipe adapted from Pillsbury

  • 1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls, or homemade crescent roll dough
  • 2 1/2 slices American cheese, quartered (optional)
  • 10 large hot dogs
  • cooking spray
  • mustard or ketchup

Directions

  1. If using Pillsbury crescent roll dough, unroll the dough sheet. Press together at the perforations to seal it into one large rectangle.
  2. Cut the rectangle into ten ‘bandages’. Stretch the bandages a bit to elongate them.
  3. Wrap one bandage around one hot dog and 1 quarter of cheese. Repeat for each hot dog.
  4. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate the ‘bandages’ so that the hot dog shows through for it’s ‘face.’ On an ungreased baking sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down).
  5. Spray the dough lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 13 to 17 minutes or until the dough is light golden brown and the hot dogs are hot.
  6. With mustard, draw features on the ‘face.’