Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mashed Potatoes in a Crock Pot

5 lbs sierra gold potatoes or red potatoes, diced with peel
1 c water
1 c butter, cut into chunks
1 TBS salt
¾ tsp pepper
1 1/3 c milk, warmed
Place the potatoes, water, and butter into a slow cooker.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours.  Do not remove the excess water from slow cooker. This adds to the creamy texture.  Mash potatoes with a masher or electric beater, adding the desired amount of warm milk to achieve a creamy consistency.  Keep warm on low until serving.  Potatoes keep consistency for a couple of hours after mashing. Just keep the lid on the slow cooker and serve directly from there.

*** Notes - I used the "butter gold" potatoes, don't!  They are stringy and have a weird texture.  I think I would have been happier with plain ole russets!  Otherwise this was easy & good!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pecan Pumpkin Butter Dip

One of the Bunko hostesses makes this (thanks Vicki) and it is wonderful.  I have my changes below.  

1 jar (approx. 9 oz.) Pumpkin Butter (on the jelly aisle)
8 oz cream cheese - softened
1/2 lb cooked, crumbled Bacon or 1 bag Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon 
5 - 6 green onions, chopped 
1/2 - 1 c pecans, chopped
crackers - any kind you like
Gently spread cream cheese on bottom of serving dish (I use small, shallow dish).  Spread pumpkin butter over cream cheese.  Layer bacon, onions and then pecans over top.  Serve with crackers.  Can serve immediately but better to refrigerate for several hours.   Keeps well covered for two days.  Use Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Butter with pecans or Muirhead Pumpkin Pecan Butter 

I used 2/3 of a jar of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter
I used almost a whole bag of  Bacon Bits
I used 1 lone green onion

I would also like to make this as a cheese ball. I would mix the cream cheese and pumpkin butter until smooth. Chill and then mold, roil in the bacon bits, green onions and pecans.  If you beat me to making it this way - let me know the results.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Freezer Friendly Broccoli Cheese Soup

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cup half and half
2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup frozen chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped carrots
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
In a large stock pan over medium heat, melt butter and add flour.  Whisk together while it cooks for 3-4 minutes.  Slowly stir in half and half and chicken stock, and continue to whisk together.  Cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer.  Once simmering, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  After simmering, add onion, broccoli, and carrots.  Cook over low heat for another 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add salt, pepper, and cheese.  As the cheese melts, make sure to stir well to combine.  Once cheese has melted, add nutmeg and remove from heat.  Soup will be have vegetable chunks.  If you prefer your soup smoother, use an immersion blender to get desired consistency.

We always double this and get 16 cups for lunch.  So that means 8 each.  

Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes

Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes

1 chicken breast, poached and diced
1 can cream chicken soup
1 c frozen mixed veggies
1 c cheddar cheese
1 TBS Herbs De Provence
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
2 cans Pillsbury biscuits
In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup, frozen veggies, cheese, herbs and spices.  Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin and place the Pillsbury biscuits into each cup, pressing into the bottom and up the sides.  Evenly spoon the pot pie mixture into each biscuit cup. Slide into the oven and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. Check at the 12 minute mark.  Let rest for about 3 minutes and dig in!

Ok - So those that "truly" know us, know we have to adjust recipes!  We wanted more protein to offset the carbs in the biscuit.  So we used 2 chicken breasts, only used peas and carrots, and backed the Herbs De Provence to 2 teaspoons.  By adding the extra chicken breast it needed more "gravy", so we added about another half can of cream of chicken soup.  We used Regular Grand biscuits, next time we will use the Grand Flaky Biscuits.  These are definitely a keeper.  We ended up with 16 mini pot pies, that equals 8 lunches (really only 7 because we had to taste test!). Thanks for a great recipe!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Finally a day to cook!

Ok so it's not much - but to have time to plan to fix To Die for Pot Roast  is great!  Roast, mashed potatoes and a veggie is on the menu.  The roast has been cooking since early this morning (it smells GREAT), we'll have dinner tonight and leftovers for one night this week.  So glad summer is winding down.  I've collected ALOT of recipes over the summer - now where to start cooking for fall!  Rest assured if any get the thumbs up, I'll post them.  Until them --  Happy cooking.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Oven Pancake

I finally got to meet my Aunt's high school friends I've heard many stories about!  What a great and fun group of ladies!  I made them breakfast Sunday morning so they could visit more.  With all the breakfast casseroles out there what to fix?  It had been a weekend revolved around food, so I wanted something lite, tasty and quick!   I remembered the Oven/German Pancake my mom used to make.  So I searched and found this from Betty Crocker.  Of course all who know me, know I don't make a recipe without adding or substituting something.  I added vanilla and cinnamon to this, served it with strawberries and raspberries, maple syrup and powdered sugar.  2 pie plates, 5 ladies and 1 slice left - I'd say it was a hit!  I bet this would make a great dessert also!

2 TBS butter
2 eggs
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla (my addition)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (my additon)
2 c assorted fresh berries
Powdered sugar, if desired
Heat oven to 400°F. In 9-inch glass pie plate, melt butter in oven; brush butter over bottom and side of pie plate.  In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly with wire whisk or hand beater. Beat in flour, milk and salt just until mixed (do not overbeat). Pour into pie plate.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until puffy and deep golden brown. Serve pancake immediately topped with berries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cooler Corn (Corn for a Crowd)

as many ears of corn to feed the crowd
boiling water
ice chest

Cooking corn on the cob for a big crowd, using only boiling water and an ice chest:  Give your cooler a good wash and scrub, then place all the corn peeled and hair removed all in the cooler.  Pour enough boiling water over to cover the corn. Close the lid of the cooler tight and let it set for 30 minutes.  This works perfectly. The corn will keep warm and ready to eat for at least 2 hours. Enjoy! --- To make at home use a smaller cooler- same principle.

I did this Saturday for a BBQ, drained the corn about 12:30 pm, when we bagged the leftovers at 8 pm, the Ziploc's got "steamy".  AMAZING!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mini Baby Lemon Bundts

Photo from Flavors by FourMini Lemon Bundt Cakes
1 c I Can't Believe it's Not Butter - Softened
1 c Buttermilk
3 c flour
2 Lemons
4 Eggs - room temp
2 c Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Pam Cooking Spray
1/4 c Powdered Sugar
William-Sonoma or Homemade Lemon Curd (Optionoal)
Raspberries (Optional)
Start by preheating the oven to 350. Spray your mini bundt or regular sized bundt pan with Pam and set aside. Combine your flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream your butter and sugar on medium for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Then add one egg at a time mixing in between additions.  Add the dry ingredients in three different segments, alternating with the buttermilk until everything is completely combined. Then zest in one of the lemons, be careful zesting for some reason always makes me nervous. Remember to zest just until you get to the white part, don't zest the white it has a bitter taste. Juice that lemon and another one into a small bowl so you don't put in the pits, add 1/4 cup of that lemon juice into the bowl. Mix on medium for another minute or two until both the zest and the juice are mixed in.  Using an ice cream scooper, fill each individual bundt mold with batter. Give the pan a few shakes and taps so the batter falls deep into the whole and goes around the middle divider. Add more batter until they are filled just a little bit from the top. Bake for 20 minutes until they spongy and a light golden color, a toothpick should come out clean.   Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then allow them to cool on a rack completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, fill with lemon curd and top with a raspberry if desired.
Ok, so time was running short so I cheated and used a lemon cake mix with 1/2 lemon juiced and the zest of the lemon.  I did get 24 mini bundts.  (adding a couple to the freezer to see how they freeze - will update later).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Sangria

My sister in law got this recipe with the ingredients and a "chalkboard" wine glass as a end of year teacher gift.  What a great gift!  She made the sangria for my niece's graduation party with the on the side so you could choose.  This was so good, not heavy or too sweet (like some pre-maded) sangria's.

1 750 ml bottle Red Wine (she used Trader Joe's)
1 bottle Pomegranate Italian Soda (World Market)
1/2 bottle Blood Orange Italian Soda (World Market)

Garnish with sliced citrus fruit (my sil used red and green apple, cantaloupe, strawberries).

Update - I made this for a party yesterday!  I used cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, lime and lemon thinly sliced and quartered and some watermelon I had leftover.  I also added about 1/3 of a bottle of white wine that was left from dinner Saturday nite, the whole bottle of  blood orange soda, and a small bottle of san pellagrino sparking water.   This filled one of the "large plastic jugs" with a spout.  With about 10 people drinking on this by the pool (hence the extra soda and water),  There is a little left.  Will definitely make and take again,  Was nice and light by the pool.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Freezer Friendly Broccoli Cheese Soup

This has become our favorite soup.  We bought the disposable soup cups and lids from our local restaurant supply.  A double batch gives us each 12 cups. Basically 2 weeks of lunches (if our stash isn't found :)) Thanks to Tricia for a great recipe.

¼ c butter
¼ c flour
2 c half and half
2 c chicken stock
½ c chopped onion
1 ½ c frozen chopped broccoli
1 c chopped carrots
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
¼ tsp nutmeg
In a large stock pan over medium heat, melt butter and add flour.  Whisk together while it cooks for 3-4 minutes.  Slowly stir in half and half and chicken stock, and continue to whisk together.  Cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer.  Once simmering, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  After simmering, add onion, broccoli, and carrots.  Cook over low heat for another 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add salt, pepper, and cheese.  As the cheese melts, make sure to stir well to combine.  Once cheese has melted, add nutmeg and remove from heat.  Soup will be have vegetable chunks.  If you prefer your soup smoother, use an immersion blender to get desired consistency.  Freezing Directions: Prepare soup as directed above and allow to cool.  Divide into quart or gallon freezer bags, label, and freeze.  To serve: reheat in microwave for 1-2 minutes or on stove top for 10 minutes until warmed through.   Servings: 4

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bacon and Parmesan Pasta (aka Pasta Carbonora)

1 lb bacon (2-3 pkgs bacon bits)
1 pkg penne pasta
1 c heavy whipping cream
8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 c parmesan
2 eggs
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, start the sauce.  Now, you’ll wanna add a cup of heavy cream and the package of cream cheese to a saucepan and heat on low.  Once the cream cheese is nice and smooth, remove from heat.  Now add these guys… Two eggs and 1/2 cup of the shredded parmesan   Mix well.  If you’re freakin’ out about the eggs not being cooked, don’t.  The heat from the pasta will cook ‘em right up!  You’ll wanna fry up some bacon, and chop it all up.  Drain pasta and return to pot.  Now add the sauce mix and chopped bacon.  Mix well to coat.

I took this to our sunday dinner with the in-laws and neighbors.  I pre-made the sauce, pre-cooked the pasta.  I re-heated the sauce as the pasta reheated.  This was very good.  Almost as good as the pasta carbonora we had in Italy 25 yrs ago.  It re-heated well, is filing enough you could serve as a "light" dinner w/a salad.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Stop and give thanks to those you serve and have served and those who have died for our freedom.  We live in a world that young men and women have given up time from their families so we can spend time with ours.

God Bless America

Friday, May 24, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Cake

4 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (I used special dark chocolate bars chopped)
1 stick unsalted butter (I used salted)
¾ c sugar
3 lg eggs
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
Butter an 8 inch round cake pan, line pan with wax paper and butter wax paper.  Melt chocolate and butter in a small metal bowl placed over a saucepan with boiling water. Turn burner down when water starts boiling, but keep at a simmer. Stir until you have a smooth mixture. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. When well combined, add in eggs. Stir until smooth, then add cocoa powder. Stir until just mixed.  Pour into pan and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, and then invert onto cake plate or serving platter.  

This was VERY good and easy!  Being who I am I had everything measured out before I started, that worked well. After you add the eggs (I beat slightly) it gets thick and then thicker when you add the cocoa powder.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Made this for a "girls" lunch at work.  Didn't have fresh basil, used cheese sticks (use what you have, right?).  This was delish!  The avocados turned a little, but what you would expect if you were cutting them for your lunch in the morning.

2 avocados, cubed
2 tomatoes, cubed
Fresh mozzarella, cubed
Fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
Girard's Champagne dressing
salt & pepper, to taste
Combine avocado, tomato, mozzarella, & basil in a large bowl.  Top with dressing and toss to coat.  The dressing is available at Kroger or Target.   This salad is best served fresh, although I've made it at night & eaten it for lunch the next day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pull Apart Bread

OK, so I love finding blogs or Facebook pages dedicated to food!  Took this to dinner and it was DEVOURED!  I think this also goes by Crack Bread.  My nephew doesn't like ranch, so we didn't tell him (shh don't tell my secret), and he loved it!

1 loaf of Italian Bread
8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend (I used colby jack)
16 oz crisp cooked bacon, diced (I used 2 pkg bacon bits)
½ c unsalted butter, melted
1 TBS Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix
Prepare 2 sheets of aluminum foil to wrap bread in, overlap the foil so the bread will be completely covered. On a cutting board, slice bread in 3/4-inch intervals, being careful to not cut all the way through. Cut again, crosswise, not cutting all the way through. Slide bread onto foil and stuff cheese between all cuts: sprinkle with bacon. Mix melted butter and ranch mix, with a fork, and drizzle over top of bread evenly. Wrap foil around bread snuggly and bake at 350 for 15 minutes; uncover and bake 10 minutes more. Serve hot. Enjoy! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Shredded Chicken

Wish I could give credit to the owner of this idea!  Saw it on either Facebook or a someone's blog. Wish I had thought of this simple idea!

Perfectly shredded chicken in seconds.... throw cooked chicken (still warm/hot) in Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment. Turn to speed 4-6 and in 20 seconds you'll have perfect, restaurant style shredded chicken.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tomato Basil Chicken Penne

Got this thru a facebook share.  OMG!  So good! So easy!  and perfect for summer, a pasta meal that isn't heavy with sauce.  We've had this several times and I made it for Savannah's b-day at work.  I just put the 9x13 in my roaster oven (work friends said only I would have a "portable oven") and off to work we went.  With salad it is a perfect meal.  Thanks to Cris at GOODENESSgracious for a new favorite.  I'm sure I'll have more.

12 oz Box Penne- Cooked
1 1/2 lb Chicken Tenderloins- Cooked and Cubed
2 15 oz Cans Diced Tomatoes with Basi, Garlic and Oregano
1/2 C Fresh Basil- Chopped
1 Clove Garlic- Minced
1/2 C Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Combine all ingredients except pasta and cheese in a skillet and heat through.  Add in pasta and mix well before pouring into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Top with cheese and broil for 3-5 minutes until cheese melts and browns slightly.  (I have baked at 350 for about 30 minutes, and it "baked" in the roaster for 2 hours at 250).