Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lifesaver Candy Canes

 A great project for kids

How to Make

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Arrange the eight lifesavers into the shape of a candy cane, alternating between the two colors.

3. Bake for 3 to 6 minutes, until candies are melted.

4. Remove from oven.

5. (if desired) Make a hole in the "top most" candy by pressing the drinking straw piece into the ornament, leaving it there until the candy has cooled.

6. After the candy is completely cool, gently remove the straw and thread the ribbon or yarn through the hole to hang the ornament.

Puff Paint

 Kids activity...

This is really cool and super quick/easy.  Combine the following in a little bowl:
  • 1 tablespoon **self-raising flour
  • a few little drops of food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Then add some water to make a nice smooth paste.
Paint away (if you don't have enough paint brushes use cotton buds - they work really well).
Microwave the design on high for 10 - 30 seconds until the paint puffs and it's all nice and dry.  We did ours for 15 seconds.

**Making your own 'self-raising' flour:
  1. Using a dry measure, measure the desired amount of flour into a separate container.
  2. For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Mix to combine.

Peanut Butter Pie

This recipe is a family favorite & if you like peanut butter you'll love this pie. It isn't to rich but it's is like & sweet but in a peanut better way. I believe this is the kind of food they serve in heaven, it’s that good.

½ cup crunchy peanut butter

1 ½ cup powdered sugar

8 oz. cream cheese

8 oz. cool whip

Graham Cracker crust

Blend Peanut butter, powdered sugar & cream cheese together.

Add cool whip & mix ingredients together. (Careful not to over due it, to much mixing of the cool whip will make it flat.)

Pour into graham cracker crust. Total time on this pie is about 5 minutes, it's so simple.

Chill in fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

I haven’t tried this yet but I think an Oreo crust would put this over the top, which could prove to be dangerous.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chili (with cocoa)

My kids call this chocolate chili but it doesn't taste like chocolate at all but it is delicious!
If you have never added cocoa to your chili then you should, it will change your life in a way chili never has.

1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa

1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained

2 cans (15-16 ounces) kidney beans

2 cans (15-16 ounces) red beans

Combine all ingredients and simmer for one hour.

This chili is delicious by it’s self but one of my favorite meals is to add chips, cheese, tomatoes & spinach over the top of the chili.Think taco salad but not really.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cranberry Pie

This pie is unbelievably good! The recipe came from Suzanne Reynolds who claims that she doesn't cook, however, THIS is something she CAN make. So, with that's so easy even Suzanne can make it.
Love ya, Suzanne!

This recipe makes 2 delicious pies.
1 pkg. (3 oz.) raspberry jell-o
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup cranberry juice
1 can (8 oz.) cranberry sauce (jellied)
In a bowl combine jell-o with sugar and set aside. In a saucepan (or in the microwave) boil the cranberry juice. Pour over jell-o mixture, stir to dissolve. Whisk in cranberry sauce until cranberries are nearly dissolved. Chill to thicken (about an hour or so.)
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup cool whip, thawed
2 Graham cracker pie crusts
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla then fold in cool whip. Spread into pie crusts. Beat jell-o until foamy, pour over filling and chill overnight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Almost Snow Cream

Such a simple recipe
for an amazing drink that's not overly sweet.
Recipe from Southern Living Kids Cookbook
4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a 1-quart microwave-safe bowl, stirring gently until sugar dissolves. Microwave for 5 minutes on high or until hot, stirring once. Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows or whipped cream. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pork Potato Dinner

Ok.  Sorry for no pictures... But they ate it up before I could snap.  I mean, seriously, how many times do you have NO leftovers on a crockpot meal?!?!  Usually, we have tons of leftovers.  Not last night.  I LOVE crockpot cooking and this recipe made the family happy!

Pork-Potato Dinner

  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Potatoes
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted (or whatever you have on hand - I used cream of chicken)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Season tenderlon and put in crockpot.  Cut potatoes in halves and put in crockpot. Combine cream soup, milk, sour cream and seasonings.  Pour on top of tenderloin and potatoes.  Cool for about 5 hours on low and viola!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Okay, I bet a lot of people already know about these cookies, but they are SO easy to make and SO yummy. I got this from Shanell who got it from Weight Watchers.

1 Spice Cake mix
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375*. Mix ingredients together and drop by teaspoonfulls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. WAH-LA!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Southwestern Turkey Soup

This is probably my all-time favorite soup. I found the recipe a year or two ago in a Taste of Home magazine. The picture doesn't do it justice--yeah, I'm not a photographer. I'll give you the original recipe and also write the alterations I make. It's really versatile, so you can do whatever you want with it.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth (I use water and chicken bouillion)
2-3 T. diced jalapeno pepper (I omit this since I have small kids and I don't do spicy very well)
3 tsp. ground cumin (LOVE this spice!)
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I just do a dash or two)
3 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained (I also add an extra can of beans, usually pinto or kidney)
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained (I just use a can of diced tomatoes and a can of chilies and tonight I chopped up a fresh tomato and threw it in)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn

Sour cream, coarsely crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese and sliced ripe olives, optional--it's good with or without this stuff

*I also add about half a bell pepper and some garlic and fry it up with the onion*

In a large saucepan, saute onion (and peppers and garlic, if desired) in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne. Add the turkey, beans, tomatoes and corn. I have to add a bit of extra water since I put extra beans in. Just make sure you add a little extra salt, too.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese and olives if desired. Yield: 7 servings. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup with Ravioli

I've had this recipe bookmarked for awhile now. It was super easy and yummy. The soup itself is pretty sweet with a little kick from the cayenne. The cheese ravioli totally balances out the sweetness perfectly. I loved it!

2 lbs butternut squash
2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 24-ounce package of cheese-filled ravioli
1 tablespoon molasses
Peel squash. Cut it lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut squash into 1-inch pieces.
In a large pot combine squash, broth and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 20 minutes or until squash is tender.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You may have to do this in batches. Return to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Add your butter.
Meanwhile, prepare the ravioli according to the package directions; drain. Add to soup and serve with a little molasses drizzled over the top.
I have a hard time peeling squash and I was in a hurry so.....I cut it in half, removed seeds and slime then put the squash in a casserole pan with 1/4 inch of water. I then microwaved it for 8-12 minutes, let it cool, then scooped out the squash with a spoon. I only had to boil it for 5 minutes before putting it into the blender. So much easier!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Homemade Hamburger Buns

My second post ever and it even has pictures! Are you impressed? Don't mind the deformities. My kids like to help shape the dough and I'm lazy when it comes to making my food look pretty. So, you probably think I'm weird for making my own buns, but they really are fast and easy. I don't always make them, but it's worth it. Use whole wheat flour and they are much healthier than the lifeless things you purchase in the store. They taste so good, too! Don't be intimidated, they are easy even for a novice bread maker. Here's the recipe (it makes a ton, so I cut it in half and I get about 1 1/2 dozen):

3 1/2 cups warm water

6 T. yeast

1 c. oil

3/4 c. sugar or 1/2 c. honey (I use honey and add extra cuz I like it sweet)

1 T. salt

3 eggs (I use 2 in the 1/2 recipe and it's just fine)

10 1/2 c. whole-wheat or white flour, or combination of both (I usually add a cup or so of white flour at the end)

Mix and set aside for 15 minutes the water, yeast, oil and sugar or honey. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well. The recipe says to shape the dough right away, butI like to let it rise awhile in the bowl. I think they turn out better that way. Shape dough into rolls, cinnamon rolls or hamburger buns. I make a ball with the dough and pat it down a bit on the pan for the buns. One cookie sheet holds about a dozen buns. Let rise about 10 minutes. Bake 9-10 minutes at 425 degrees. You can use less yeast, but you'll have to let it rise longer. Freeze and leftover buns for next time.

There you have it. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stuffed Artichokes

Okay so I forgot to take a picture, but they looked and tasted so YUMMY! and they are super easy, really!

3 artichokes (we used 4 and just doubled the recipe and had plenty of stuffing, so if you want to just make one or 2 that is fine!)
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 c celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c butter (we used more...)
1/2 c chopped mushrooms

To prepare the artichokes: Remove coarse lower leaves. Trim off the tops of the artichokes 1 inch. Cut stems off so artichokes will sit. Boil artichokes in a large sauce pan for 30 mins, or until tender. Remove center and dig out fuzz with spoon.

In butter, saute onions, celery, galic, crumbs, mushrooms. Remove from heat and add cheese. Mix and stuff the three artichokes. (Stuff the middle by the heart, and in between the leaves.) After stuffing, sprinkle lightly with parmesan cheese. Bake on a metal or glass pan at 350 degrees until hot. ENJOY!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chicken 'N Dumplings (Crockpot)

3-4 chicken breast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 can's water
4 TB all-purpose flour
2 cubes of chicken bouillon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (cut in cubes)

Combine all ingredients in CROCKPOT.  Add cubed buttermilk biscuits, make sure they are covered in liquid.  Cover and cook on low for 3 hours or until chicken is cooked and ENJOY!!!

Made this for Sunday dinner tonight.  The picture doesn't do this meal justice, the green goop on the side is green bean casserole.  This is super yummy!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rainbow Jell-O!

I made this fun Jell-O for book club this week.
The girls from my book club wanted the recipe for the Jell-O,
so I decided to make a little picture tutorial.

You'll need FIVE 6oz boxes of Jell-O.
I used 5 different colors.

TWO boxes of Knox Gelatin
One can sweetened condensed milk

Step One
Mix 3 packages of Knox gelatin in 1 1/2 cups boiling water.
Mix until dissolved.
Add sweetened condensed milk to Knox gelatin mixture.
Set aside.

Step 2
Mix 3 packages of Knox gelatin with 1 1/4 cups boiling water.
Mix until dissolved.
Set aside.

Step Three
Dissolve 1 box of Jell-O in 1 cup boiling water.
I started with blue because I wanted it on the bottom.
You can start with whatever color you'd like :)

Step Four
Add 1/4 cup of the Knox gelatin mixture to the Jell-O.
Pour into a 9x13 glass dish.

Step Five
Now the waiting begins!
Let set in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
I did 20 minutes and my layers were perfectly set.

Step Six
Pour 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk mixture over the Jell-O layer.

Step 7
Let sweetened condensed milk layer set up in refrigerator.
I let mine set 10 minutes and it was golden.
While I waited, I repeated Step 3 with the next color.
That way I was ready to add the next Jell-O
when the milk layer was set.

Repeat Steps 3-7 with the remaining four flavors.
Do not try to be speedy and use the freezer :)
My layer order was: blue, milk, green, milk, yellow, milk, orange, milk, redAnd VOILA!
You now have a beautiful rainbow Jell-O
to wow your friends and children :)

It can sit out of the refrigerator for up to three hours.
You can dig in with one big bite.

Or you can pull it apart and eat the layers separately like my Boy :)


ETA: Because the process takes a couple hours to complete,
your milk mixture and your Knox gelatin mixture
might solidify during the process.
Don't panic!
You can just pop them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds
and VOILA! back to liquid form.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Homemade BBQ sauce

Easy and Yummy

1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 c water

In a saucepan combine ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, worcestershire sauce, vinegar and water. Boil until sauce is thick. Pour over chicken and make BBQ chicken sandwhiches or use for BBQ chicken pizza.

[This sauce is tangy, but not hot. For those of you who like your BBQ sauce super spicy, you can experiment. My husband added crushed red peppers to his.]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Curry Scented Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, 2 1/2 lbs (6 cups cubed)
2 large sweet apples (fuji or honeycrisp)
3 medium onions
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 8 oz container mascarpone cheese
2 tsp salt
sour cream and snipped fresh chives (optional)

*Peel squash and apples. cut into 1 inch cubes and dice onions.
*Melt butter in large pot over medium low heat. Add onions. Cook 5-6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add squash, apples, brown sugar and curry powder. Cook and stir 1 minute or until curry powder is fragrant. Add stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 24-26 minutes or until squash is very soft. Remove from heat.
*Carefully ladle about one-third of the squash mixture into blender container. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour blended soup into a large bowl. Repeat two times with remaining squash mixture.
*Return soup to pot and whisk in mascarpone and salt, until mascarpone is completely dissolved. Return to simmer over medium heat and remove from heat. garnish each serving with sour cream and chives if desired.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Peach Coffee Cake

We've made this with an apple filling as well as peach. I love it because it's not overly sweet for breakfast. And the topping has just the right amount of crunch. So yummy!
recipe from the Better Homes and Garden cook book
2 cups sliced, peeled peaches - fresh or frozen
1/4 cup water - a little less if using frozen
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
For filling, combine peaches and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for about 5 minutes. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a little bowl, add to fruit. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more; set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in the 1/4 cup butter until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside. In another bowl combine the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Spread 1/2 the batter into a greased 8x8 baking pan. Spread on the filling. Drop remaining batter in small mounds onto filling.
Now, onto the topping. In a small bowl stir together your flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over coffee cake. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
*If you don't have buttermilk on hand, substitute sour milk. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1/2 cup and let sit for 5 minutes before using.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mango Strawberry Crush

Totally Kid Friendly! And the best part? They think it's dessert! You'll be the coolest mom on the block when you let them eat it for breakfast!
2 large, ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and chunked
10 strawberries, hauled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
Put all your ingredients in a blender and blend it up until think and smooth. Pour into 2 ice cube trays. Freeze until hard. Place fruit back into the blender. Blend, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender, until crushed. Spoon into bowls and serve. 4 servings
You can pretty much do this with 4 cups of any juicy fruit.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Peach Butter

I saw this recipe on and figured I should be able to substitute peaches for the apricots. I did and it turned out perfectly.

This makes 3 pints or 6 8-ounce jars
10-14 peaches - peeled, halved, and pitted
1/2 cup water
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Put the peaches and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until peaches are soft, about 20 minutes.
Pour peaches and juice into a blender and puree it using the pulse not liquefy it. Measure out 6 cups of puree and pour it into a clean pot. Add sugar and lemon juice. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens. This could take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. You can test it by placing a glass plate in the freezer for a few minutes then drop some peach butter on the plate. If it spreads then it's not quite done. You want it to hold it's shape.
Prepare your canner, jars and lids. Ladle hot butter into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rim and place on lids. Place jars in canner. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars, let cool and store.

Banana Peanut Butter Chip Bread

So last week Larry had me buy him some bananas for his lunches, so I bought a bunch of six. This week guess how many brown bananas were on my counter? Four! Good thing it was cooler today since I had to turn on my oven. Here is the recipe I used (I had an idea to add the peanut butter chips because I love peanut butter and banana sandwiches even if I can't eat them right now).


1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened**
2 eggs, room temperature
4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces peanut butter chips, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees placing rack on the next to the lowest position. Grease and flour the bottoms only of one 9-inch loaf pan or 2 8-inch loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans; set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the sugar and butter. Add one egg at a time until well incorporated. Add the milk, vanilla and bananas and beat well.

In a smaller bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add in small increments to the banana mixture. Make sure you do not over mix as the dough will become chewy. Once well incorporated hand fold 8 ounces of the peanut butter chips into the batter.

Divide dough depending on the pans you are using. Sprinkle the top of the pan(s) of dough with the remaining chips. Bake 9-inch loaf for approximately 1-1/4 hours, 8-inch loaves for about 1 hour and the 4 mini loaves for around 45 minutes. Cool 5 minutes then loosen the sides and remove from pan(s). Cool completely before slicing or storing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pie

3 large chicken breast, cubed and cooked
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen peas and carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 can chicken broth
Ready made pie pastry (I like a double crust)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place one of the pie shells in a 9-inch pie plate making sure to crimp well over the edge other wise it will shrink into the plate; cook per package directions, set aside.

In a saucepan melt the 1 Tbsp. of butter and add onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder and sage; cook until tender.  Add the 1/4 cup butter and melt; add the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add chicken broth and stir until thickened.  Stir in cream.  Add  chicken and vegetables to the sauce.

Place chicken mixture in cooked pie shell and top with raw pie dough.  Make a couple of slits in the top, crimp the edges around the pie plate, brush with egg wash and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1 (8 oz) can seasoned tomato sauce
1 can tomato soup
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. chili powder

Brown meat in oil.  Add onion and celery.  Cook until tender but not brown.  Drain off grease.  Add tomato sauce, soup and seasoning.  Simmer uncovered about 20 minutes.  Serve on toasted hamburger buns or on top of cornbread.

Easiest Beef Brisket Ever!

4-5 lb. beef brisket
garlic powder
2 bottles Catalina dressing

Season brisket on all sides liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place brisket in roasting pan.  Cover brisket with dressing, cover pan with foil and cook in oven at 325 degrees until tender, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.  You can slice on the diagonal for slices or you can shred it for shredded beef sandwiches.  Super easy!!

Grandma Pearce's Classic Chicken Divan

This recipe has been in our family for as long as I can remember (at least 40 years) and is a family favorite.

2 (10 oz) pkgs. frozen broccoli spears (you can also use the new microwaveable bags just make sure it equals at least 20 oz)
2 cups chicken broth or 1 can broth
1/2 whipping cream
6 chicken breasts, boiled and cut in large pieces (you can also use non-breaded chicken tenders)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
cooked egg noodles, follow directions on package

Cook broccoli as package directions indicate, drain.  In a sauce pan melt butter, blend in flour, cook for 1 minute.  Add chicken broth and stir until mixture becomes thick.  Stir in cream, 1/2 cup of cheese, salt and dash of pepper.

In a 9 x 13 pan pour 1/2 cup of sauce and spread in bottom of dish.  Place all of the broccoli on top of the sauce then pour half of the sauce on top.  The next layer is the cooked chicken, top with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then broil until the sauce is golden around the edges and on top.  Serve on top of egg noodles.

*Hint: We usually double the sauce recipe so that we have enough for the egg noodles and just in case someone doesn't like the broccoli they still have something to eat!

Texas Strawhats

This recipe is similar to chili but definitely a different flavor, but oh so yummy!  The spices is what makes this so good.  I serve it with tortilla strips, cheese and onion.  It is also pretty quick.

1 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped green pepper
3 Tbsp. oil
2 lbs. ground beef
2-3 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/2 cup ketchup
2 cups water
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
dash of hot sauce
tortilla strips
shredded cheddar cheese

In an extra large skillet, cook onion, celery, and green pepper in hot oil until tender but not brown.  Add ground beef. Brown lightly, drain off grease.  Add remaining ingredients except chips and cheese.  Simmer uncovered 45 minutes stirring occasionally.  Serve in a bowl and top with the chips and cheddar

Homestyle Chili

I make this recipe sometimes with just all ground beef for those that have a more frugal budget and it tastes just as amazing but I am posting it the way I make it most of the time.  

To Start:
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. EVOO
2 lbs. ground beef
2 lbs. mild Italian sausage
2 lbs. chuck roast, cut into cubes

In a large stock pot add butter and EVOO and melt over a medium-high heat.  Add the chuck roast cubes, salt and pepper liberally.  Brown meat until nice and caramelized, about 8-10 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium and add the onion, bell pepper, ground beef (salt and pepper) then and sausage.  Brown meat until ground beef and sausage are cooked through and onions and bell pepper are tender.

4 cans (14-16 oz) stewed tomatoes, do not drain
1 cup hot water
2-4 packages of Chili-O mix, depending on your taste preferences
3 cans dark red kidney beans
3 cans pinto beans

Mix well to combine all the flavors, turn heat to low and cover.  Let it go, stirring occasionally until the chuck roast is tender, about 2 hours.  Right before serving add a bag of frozen corn (or not).  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar and chopped onion. Yum!!!!!

*If you want a quicker chili leave out the chuck roast and this can be on your dinner table in 45 minutes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Flip-floppin' homemade ice cream

Who needs an ice cream maker when you can do this with just a few Ziploc bags? You're hands may be frozen, but it's a fun activity to do with your kids.
We double this recipe for our family of 5 and then take turns flipping the two bags. The boys think it's funny to wear snow gloves while they flip. It's actually a very smart idea!
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup grape juice (we've made it with grape, but this time we used peach nectar - yum!)
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup rock salt
5 cups crushed ice
2 1-quart zipper bags
1 gallon zipper bag
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour creamy grape mixture into a 1-quart zipper bag; carefully seal bag. (The first time we made this we only used one bag and our ice cream tasted, now we use two 1-quart baggies. I'd definitely recommend it.)
Place about half of the rock salt , about 2 cups of crushed ice, and the sealed 1-quart bag in a 1-gallon zipper bag. Seal it up tight!
Place the bag on a flat surface. Gently flip bag, end over end, for 5 minutes. Open the 1-gallon bag over a sink, and drain water. Add remaining rock salt and another 3 cups of crushed ice. Reseal. Continue flipping the bag, end over end, for 15 more minutes.
Drain the water again. Wipe the 1-quart bag filled with soft serve ice cream dry. Snip the corner and squeeze into individual bowls. Makes 1 1/2 cups of ice cream.
If you prefer a little firmer ice cream, like we do, then freeze the bag for 2-4 hours before serving.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home-Baked Pizza Made Easy

I love this pizza dough because it is sooo stinkin easy and really good at the same time! (plus who doesn't like pizza?)

2 ½ to 3 c all-purpose flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
½ tsp salt
1 c warm water (120 to 130 degrees)
2 tbsp cooking oil or olive oil

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 ¼ c of the flour, the yeast, and salt; add warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl. Beat on high for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 mins.

Make two 12 inch thin crust pizzas, put on greased pans. We let them sit out for 30-45 mins before putting them in the oven. This isn't necessary but really makes the dough better in the end.

Bake crust on greased pans @ 425 F for ten minutes. Then take out and add sauce and toppings (this one has our favorite BBQ sauce with chicken and 3 kinds of cheese! yum!) Put into oven for 10 more minutes. You can also make mini pizzas @ 425 F, and for not as long as the bigger pizzas (8 minutes, then 5 minutes)..

You can freeze the dough as well. Thaw in fridge overnight. (This dough is actually better when it has been frozen and then thawed!!)

zucchini soup

Ok this is super easy
2 or 3 large zucchini's slice them up and cook then down till very soft in a frying pan, drain the water you wont need it.
1 cube butter
throw all of it in a blender or food processor and puree it!
THAT'S IT!!! super easy and you could throw some bacon in it or cheese or tomatoes or whatever your little heart desires!!!

BBQ Garlic Mushroom Swiss Burgers

1 lbs hamburger
2 Tbsp fresh garlic
garlic salt
soy sauce
1 onion sauted
1 cup chopped mushrooms
4 slices swiss cheese
4 oroweat sandwich thins
( honest they are delicious) buns
tomato, and all the fixin's ya like.

Mix first 5 ingredients and we judge it by smell( since you can't taste raw meat) and make 4 patties, throw them on the BBQ and cook for 5 min. or so on each side.
Saute onions and mushrooms when burgers are just about done put 1/4 the onions and mushrooms on patty and put a slice of swiss cheese on top to melt. Toast the buns (if ya like) and fix to your liking. Don't get mad at yourself if they don't turn out like Adam's garlic burgers. He has been trying to perfect them for a while now. Enjoy cuz we did!!

Seasoned Chicken Burrito

Hello! I have never done this before and so here I go.
This is DIET food so don't be alarmed it's good.
4 large chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup canned black beans
4 wheat tortillas
1 cup brown rice or uncle ben's country inn mexican fiesta rice, cooked
1 cup shredded mexican cheese
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapenio chopped (optional)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 avocado, diced
optional sides are 1/2 cup salsa
4 Tbsp. sour cream

preheat oven to 400*. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until done. Remove chicken and dice.
Heat beans, warm tortillias in a pan or in microwave. Divide the cooked rice and add it to the center of each tortilla; top with the chicken, lettuce, beans, onions, cilantro, tomato, and avocado. Fold up the bottom part of the tortilla, then roll each side over. I put the sour cream in also! Adam couldn't believe it was diet food!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

French Toast Sticks

Holy will hate yourself for eating these. They are soooo not good for you, but totally worth it!

What you'll need:
2 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
12 slices Texas style toast, cut into thirds
3/4 cup sugar mixed with 4 teaspoons cinnamon
In a large skillet, heat 1/4" of vegetable oil over medium heat (you may need to add more after a few batches). In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, flour and baking powder. Test oil heat by flicking some water into the pan. If it pops, reduce heat. If hardly anything happens, turn up the heat. If it sizzles, it's just right.
Working quickly, dip each bread stick into the batter and shake off excess batter before placing in hot oil. Cook until puffed and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Then roll into cinnamon sugar mixture. Place in a 200 degree oven to keep them warm while cookin' up the rest. Serve with syrup to dip them in. You won't be disappointed. They taste just like a donut. Delicious!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins

We've made these muffins many times using the original recipe (found on, but seeing as how we have plenty of zucchini, I substituted one for the apple. It made for a great muffin!

2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins (sometimes we substitute chocolate chips)
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup coconut (optional for Amber!)
1 apple, peeled and shredded (or 1 medium zucchini, shredded)
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffins pans (it makes about 24 muffins). In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, soda, salt and cinnamon. Add carrots, raisins, coconut, walnuts and apple.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil and vanilla. Add to carrot/flour mixture, just until moistened. Scoop into muffin cups and sprinkle on a little sugar to add a little crunch. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Potato Chips"

These are not really potatoe chips, its just they end up looking like them. They are baked potatoes that taste like a mix between curly fries and potato wedges if you do them right. These are SUPER SIMPLE to make and that's why I love them.

about 4 medium russet potatoes
2 tbsp butter/margarine - melted
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a baking sheet.

Cut unpeeled potatoes into 1/4-inch slices, but don't cut all the way through. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet cut-side up. Spread slices apart without breaking.

In a small bowl, mix butter and oil together, then lightly brush mixture over potato skins and in between slices (ok I admit it, I just pour the butter and oil all over the potatoes!). Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 40 mins, or until potatoes are tender and edges are brown (best when edges are crispy).

When they come out of the oven, the bottoms are kinda hard so I just cut all the little circle (chips) off and then we dip them in ranch. (But you can do whatever you like with them!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lime Ice

A really refreshing summertime treat!

2 1/2 cups sugar

5 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh lime juice (about 5-6 limes)*

1 tablespoon grated lime peel

Combine sugar, water and salt in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring continually, over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and cover. Boil for 5 minutes, do not stir.

Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice and grated peel. Pour into a 9x13 glass pan. Cool at room temperature for 10-20 minutes before putting it in the freezer. Freeze, covered with plastic wrap, until frozen, about 3-4 hours. Break it up and put it into a chilled mixing bowl. Beat it with an electric mixer until slushy, but do not allow mixture to melt. Pour back into glass pan and spread evenly. Freeze lime ice for another hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Spoon into chilled dessert dishes and serve.

*The original recipe calls for lemon's, but since my bountiful basket was loaded with limes, I decided to change it up. I'm thinking of trying this out with watermelon juice...yeah, that's gotta be good!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Shaved Zucchini Salad

I saw this recipe on It was a great way to use up some of the veggies from our garden.

2 tablespoons grated onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 zucchini, shaved with a vegetable peeler into ribbons
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved (or whatever you have in your garden)
1 small bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Whisk together the onion, lemon juice and mustard. Add the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in the shaved zucchini, tomatoes and green onions. Stir to coat and serve.

This girl of mine was all over the salad!
I feel the need to explain her look....we were outside playing in the sprinklers. Otherwise, she would be dressed with her hair combed. There, I feel better.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts

24 small brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated cheese of your choice

Wash the brussels sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and gently rub each half with olive oil, keeping it intact (or if you are lazy just toss them in a bowl with a glug of olive oil).

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don't overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they're tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.

Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese. While you might be able to get away with keeping a platter of these warm in the oven for a few minutes, they are exponentially tastier if popped in your mouth immediately.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Strawberry pie

I asked Amber to take some pictures of this pie, because goodness knows she's much better at that stuff than I am!
I will issue a warning about this pie: Be prepared for the whole thing to disappear in one sitting! Okay, here goes:

Pastry shell:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 Tablespoons ice water

Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture. Gently toss with a fork. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. You don't want it stick, just wet enough to make a crumbly ball. On a lightly-floured surface, roll dough from the center to the edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Generously prick bottom and sides of pastry in pie plate with a fork. Prick all around where bottom and sides meet. Line pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 5-6 minutes more, until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

8 cups medium strawberries
2/3 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Remove stems from strawberries. Cut any large strawberries in half lengthwise; set aside.
For glaze, in a blender/food processor, combine 1 cup of the strawberries and 2/3 cup water. Cover and blend until smooth. Add enough additional water to the mixture to equal 1 1/2 cups. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in blended berry mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Cool for 10 minutes, off the burner, without stirring.
Spread about 1/4 cup of the glaze over bottom and sides of baked pastry shell. Arrange half of the remaining strawberries, stem end down, in the pastry shell. Carefully spoon half of the remaining glaze over fruit, thoroughly covering each piece of fruit. Arrange remaining fruit over first layer. Spoon remaining glaze over fruit, covering each piece. Chill for 1 to 2 hours. Great with whipped cream!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Green Beans with Prosciutto and Gouda

I found this recipe on after receiving way too many green beans from my bountiful basket. It was pretty amazing, but had a little too much olive oil for me. So, I'm going to cut it down a little for the following recipe.
serves 8
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced white onion
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/4 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/4 lb Gouda cheese, cut into sticks
Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, onion, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add additional salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and boil for about 3 minutes or until bright green and a little tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
Toss the green beans and dressing together and let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Heat remaining olive oil in a medium saute pan over med-high heat. Add the prosciutto to the hot oil and cook for just about 2 minutes. Add the prosciutto and Gouda to the green beans and serve at room temperature. It's also good cold the next day.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grilled Summer Sandwich with Garlic-Herb Mayonnaise

This sandwich may not look like anything special, but it is worth it's weight in gold! Who knew that zucchini would be so yummy in a BBQ chicken sandwich. And....oh, man.....the mayo has to be the best thing about it all! I really am not a fan of mayo, but when you add garlic, lemon juice and all kinds of herbs....yeah, I'm sold!

recipe from my favorite grilling cookbook, Modern Grilling
serves 4-6 depending on the breast size
4 chicken breasts, pounded flat
1/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
4-6 of your favorite sandwich rolls
olive oil
1 zucchini cut in thin slices lengthwise
4-6 slices of Havarti cheese (about 1/4-1/2 pound)
Garlic-Herb Mayo (recipe below)
Preheat grill to medium
Barbecue your chicken for about 4 minutes per side, make sure you coat it well with barbecue sauce. When cooked through, remove from grill and set aside.
Brush a little olive oil on the cut side of each of your rolls and brown on the grill (oiled side down). Grill zucchini at the same time (without olive oil).
Now put your sandwich together. Layer on your chicken, zucchini and then the Havarti. Place back on the grill to melt the cheese. Watch it closely! Remove from heat and spread on your Garlic-Herb Mayo and enjoy!
Garlic-Herb Mayonnaise
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1-2 cloves of crushed garlic (I love garlic so 2 was perfect for us.)
3-4 drops of Tabasco sauce (optional, we didn't use it)
Whisk all the ingredients together and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. DELICIOUS!