Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Green Beans, Sausage & Potatoes


This dish is an old stand-by that can be taken to pitch-ins, served in a pinch or anytime you want for that matter.  Who doesn't love one-pot meals?

Green Beans, Sausage & Potatoes

1 pkg. of your favorite Smoked Sausage, cut into rounds and then in half again
4 to 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 large cans of green beans (or 2 pkgs. of frozen green beans)
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. dill
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 15 oz. can chicken broth

In a large stock pot, add green beans (with juices if canned) and the rest of the ingredients.  Cook on medium for approximately twenty-five minutes until potatoes are fork-tender.

Serve

*Note, this recipe can also be prepared in a crock-pot.  Add all ingredients and cook for about 4 hours on high until the potatoes are cooked through.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Nutella Fudge



My favorite fudge is Peanut Butter, but this Nutella Fudge is a close second.  It is a little different from most fudge recipes you will find because I make it with Nutella and Molasses.  Give it a try!

Nutella Fudge

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup molasses
1 stick real butter
1 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

In deep saucepan over medium - high heat, add 1 stick of real butter.  Allow to melt then quickly add 2 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup molasses.  Bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly.  Check with candy thermometer and it should be between 230 and 235 degrees. 

Remove from heat and immediately add Nutella, vanilla and walnuts.  Pour into a 9x9" square pan sprayed with cooking spray.  This will be thicker fudge, so if you want it thinner, pour it into a 9 x 13" pan.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicken, Spinach and Cream Cheese Soup


This is one of my most favorite soups.  It is creamy with cream cheese and thickened milk....and heart with small chunks of chicken.  And the spinach...well the spinach just tops it all off and is good for you!  Try this one, you won't be disappointed.

Chicken, Spinach and Cream Cheese Soup

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into very small cubes
4 Tbsp. of frozen spinach chopped finely
1 large chicken breast, cut into tiny cubes
1/4 small onion, finely diced
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. cream cheese
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. real butter
3 cups water

In deep pan, add 3 cups of water and 1 cup of chicken broth.  Peel and dice 3 medium potatoes into small cubes.  Bring to a boil and boil just until the potatoes are tender.  Add spinach and boil another 3 to 5 minutes. 

In the meantime, in a small skillet, sauté the chicken breast cubes and onion in 2 Tbsp. real butter.  Add to mixture along with the salt and pepper.  Reduce heat, add in cream cheese and whisk slowly until it is completely melted.  Add the evaporated milk and simmer for another 5 minutes until milk is good and hot.  Do not boil! 

In a small cup, add 1/4 cup water and 3 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch.  Beat together well.  Turn off heat and immediately stir in the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until it is thick and ready to serve!

Mmmm this is so good!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Restaurant Review: Magnolia's in Charleston South Carolina


Magnolias Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
185 East Bay Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401

Visit Date:  12-10-2015

My husband and I were recently in Charleston, South Carolina.  What a beautiful city!  The rich heritage and fantastic weather made it a perfect long weekend!  The last night of our stay, we headed downtown and stopped at Magnolias Southern restaurant.  It came highly recommended by several people in the area. 

Magnolias offers a sweet southern charm unlike many I have seen.  The atmosphere was warm and inviting and the staff were amazing!  I'm sorry I didn't catch our waitress's name, but she was very attentive.  (Her name may have been Kim, but not sure)

My husband ordered the braised Short Ribs.  They were fall-off-the-bone tender.  He was delighted with the mashed potatoes and veggies.

I, on the other hand, had to have something native to the area, so I ordered the Trout stuffed with Crab.  Oh my goodness, it was fabulous.  Now, I'm not a big fish eater, but for some reason it sounded good that night and I was not disappointed. 

My daughter always gets on me for not eating enough veggies, so my dinner came with crispy kale and I was not disappointed.  I loved it!  And, the fingerling potatoes were good, although I felt they were a little under-done.

I highly recommend Magnolia's if you are in the Charleston area. 

4.5 Stars!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Walnut Cake with Burnt Butter Frosting



This is a very heavy cake, almost like a pound cake.  But, the Burnt Butter Frosting really makes it over-the-top good.  Easy to make and yummy!  Give it a try.

Walnut Cake with Burnt Butter Frosting

1/2 cup real butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. hazelnut flavoring (can use vanilla)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (1 cup for cake and 1/2 cup for icing)

Cream butter, sugar, oil, evaporated milk and eggs together.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture to combine completely.  Stir in 1 cup walnuts.

Pour into a 9 x 13" pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely and the frost with Burnt Butter Frosting.

Burnt Butter Frosting:

2 sticks real butter (burnt in microwave)  see directions below
1 16 oz. pkg. powdered sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 tsp. hazelnut flavoring (or vanilla)
1/2 cup walnut pieces

The easiest way to burn butter is in the microwave.  Place 2 sticks of butter into a deep microwave-proof bowl.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes at a time.  Check after each time and repeat until the butter takes on a brown color.  Should take about 8 to 10 minutes total.  Stir well and add in walnuts.  Frost cooled cake.

Enjoy!

Cool butter slightly and then add in milk, flavoring and finally the powdered sugar. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hawaiian Garlic & Cheese Bread - Chris Cervantes


We had the pleasure of attending a birthday party yesterday for my very best friend, Renee Cervantes.  Her husband, Chris, is a fabulous cook and he prepared a big lunch for the celebration.  He created a fantastic bread using Hawaiian Sweet Bread that I wanted to share with you all.  I will definitely be making this one! 

Hawaiian Garlic & Cheese Bread

1 loaf Hawaiian Sweet Bread
1/4 cup melted real butter
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup cubed Swiss or Mozzarella cheese

Cut small slits throughout the bread and stick a cube of cheese into each slice.  Chris used Swiss, but I would probably use Mozzarella, as I like a softer cheese.  Melt butter and garlic together and brush over the entire loaf. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes.  The bread will fall in the center.  Remove and serve immediately.

I can't wait to try this one myself!  It was fabulous.  Thanks Chris for sharing.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mexican Cornbread


I love cornbread.  Normally I make it in a fritter, but this Mexican Cornbread is really good.  Try it with some spicy chili or with some nachos as a side.

Mexican Cornbread

2 pkgs.Jiffy Cornbread - mixed according to directions
2 diced green onions
1 can of Rotel tomatoes - drained completely
1 to 2 small jalapenos finely diced (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper

Mix Cornbread mixture according to directions.  Drain Rotel tomatoes completely and discard juice.  Finely chop jalapenos (optional) and add remaining ingredients. 

Mix and pour into 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake according to directions on box.  Top should spring back when touched.

Enjoy!


Friday, December 4, 2015

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Balls


This is the first year I have attempted to make Peanut Butter Balls.  I always thought they looked so hard to make, but they are incredibly easy!  I made them with chocolate (of course), caramel and these yummy ones with butterscotch. 

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Balls

1/2 jar crunchy peanut butter
8 oz. (1/2 bag) powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup melted, cooled real butter
1/2 package butterscotch chips
1 tsp. olive oil

In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and butter.  Mix with your hands until it is soft enough to form small balls.  Pre-form the balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix butterscotch chips and olive oil.  Microwave on low or defrost until chips are melted and easily stirred.  Stir well and dip the peanut butter balls into the mixture one at a time.  Remove with a spoon and place back on the Parchment paper to set up.  They start setting up pretty quickly.  I like to put mine in the fridge because I like them cold.

These are great to take to pitch-ins.  No cooking and really fast!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fried Potatoes with Onions


Honestly, I prefer Mashed Potatoes, but sometimes you just gotta have some fried taters.  My mom always made the very best fried potatoes and I never could quite match it....but these are pretty close.

Fried Potatoes with Onions

3 - 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 small white onion, sliced in thin strips
2 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. real butter

In skillet over medium/low heat, place olive oil.  Once it is hot (30 seconds or so), add the potatoes, spreading them evenly over the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and let the potatoes cook for about 6 to 8 minutes on the first side.  Flip potatoes and recover with lid.  Cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes on the second side.  Check to see if they are most of the way done.  If so, remove the lid, add the onions and the butter.  Flip one more time and when you see the onions start to caramelize, remove and serve.

Yum!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Homemade Pizza Dough



I love to make homemade pizza, but I am not a big fan of all of the pizza crusts / dough out there.  So, I like to make my own.  This recipe is so easy and fast and crisps up very nicely.  You can make it thick or thin, whichever you like.

Homemade Pizza Dough

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup warm water (more or less)  I start out with about 3/4 and add more if I need it

Mix flour, baking powder and salt.  Add oil and 3/4 cup of the warm water.  Mix until it forms a ball.  Dough should be easy to handle.  If it is too stiff add more water.  The dough should not be sticky at all, but very easy to pick up and handle.  Dump dough onto a floured surface and knead with your hands for 2 or 3 minutes. 

Spray your pan with cooking spray so that the dough spreads easily.  Roll out with a rolling pin and I pre-bake mine for about 3 or 4 minutes at 400 degrees.  Then remove from the oven and add my toppings.  Finish baking until cheese is bubbly - another 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fluffiest Scrambled Eggs


OK an easy one this morning.  How about some Fluffy Scrambled Eggs.  Do your scrambled eggs come out light or hard?  Here is a quick way to have scrambled eggs that are scrumptious!

Fluffiest Scrambled Eggs

2 - 3 large eggs
3 Tbsp. evaporated milk
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. real butter

In a bowl, beat eggs with evaporated milk, salt and pepper.  In a small skillet, heat the butter to hot and bubbly.  Immediately pour in the eggs and the key is to let the egg sit until they are starting to cook.  Don't start stirring immediately or they will be too soft and not thick and fluffy.  Once they start to set up in the pan, start folding them over with a soft-sided spatula.  Don't just stir them....fold them.  Your eggs will be big and fluffy!

This may sound like one easy recipe, but give it a try.  The evaporated milk gives them a richer flavor than regular milk does.

Enjoy your Holiday weekend....I'm sure I will have some great turkey leftover recipes coming soon!

Debi

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ham / Turkey Roll Ups


 
 
These wonderful little appetizers are great to take for a pitch-in or to use as a snack before your Holiday meal.  The Pesto gives them that little kick and makes them so flavorful.

 Ham and Turkey Roll Ups

12 large flour tortillas
1/4 lb. deli ham (I use Honey Ham)
1/4 lb. deli turkey
1 jar Pesto (or homemade)
1 small tub softened cream cheese

Lay out 2 tortillas side by side.  On one tortilla spread about 2 Tbsp. Pesto and then layer either the ham or the turkey (or a combination of both).  On the other tortilla, spread about 2 Tbsp. cream cheese.  Place the two tortillas on top of each other and start to roll them up tightly.  Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.  Remove and slice into thin rounds.  Place into a sealed container until ready to serve.

Repeat the process until all 12 tortillas have been used and/or all of the meat has been used.  You can also use deli roast beef or any other deli meat you prefer.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Upside Down Raspberry Muffins


Ohh, these little creatures are scrumptious!  I started out making these a cake then decided, nah! I'll just do them in a muffin pan...and boy am I glad I did.   They are so moist.  You will love these and they are easy! 

Upside Down Raspberry Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

12 heaping Tbsp. Raspberry Jam
1 cup sugar
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick real butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. hazelnut or vanilla flavoring
1 cup evaporated milk

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons of water
1/2 tsp. hazelnut or vanilla flavoring
4 Tbsp. crushed mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.)


Spray large muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside. 

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir well to combine.  In a separate bowl, mix sugar, softened butter, eggs, evaporated milk and flavoring.  Beat well with a hand mixer or fork until smooth. 

Place about 2 Tablespoons of batter into the bottom of each section of the prepared pan.  Top with 1 heaping Tbsp. of quality Raspberry Jam.  Cover with the remaining batter.  Batter will come almost to the top, but that's ok because they will rise up and a little over forming a little edge around the bottom.  (This depends on how deep your muffin pans are.  Fill them to within 1/4" of the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until they are starting to brown on top.  While they are baking, mix your glaze.  Remove from the pan onto a cooling rack and remember that they will be flipped upside down so that the Raspberry is on the top.  Drizzle with the glaze.  Garnish with crushed nuts.  I used a combination of almonds and walnuts, but you can use whatever nuts you like.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Honey Garlic Baked Chicken


I wanted something different last night, so I threw together a sauce and baked this chicken.  It was fabulous.  The blend of garlic and sweetness made for an extraordinary flavor.  Give it a try.

Honey Garlic Chicken

2 Tbsp. honey
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Basil
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
3 Tbsp. melted real butter
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
4 Tbsp. water

Mix all ingredients above

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split in half long-ways.  I use a cast iron skillet, but any baking pan will do.  Spray bottom of pan with cooking spray and then place chicken breasts on the pan.  Using a basting brush, brush the mixture above onto the chicken, flip and coat the other side.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, flip, baste again and bake another 15 minutes on the other side.  Flip1 more time and finish baking another 10 minutes.

Chicken should be browning and juicy!

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Beef Tips in the Crock Pot


Beef must be the way to a man's heart because my man loves Beef!   These Beef tips are so good, hearty and filling.  And pretty easy to make.  Cutting them into cubes before you cook also speeds up the cooking time. Put them into the crockpot and they are ready when you get home from work.

Beef Tips in the Crock Pot

1 large Round Steak, cut into small cubes
1 small white onion, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 small can mushrooms (optional)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 can beef broth
1 cup of water
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. rosemary

Put all ingredients into the crock pot and put the lid on.  Turn it on low and cook for 6 hours, or turn it on high and cook for approximately 4 hours. 

During the last few minutes of cooking, remove about 3 cups  of the broth to a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  In a small cup with 1/2 cup of water, beat in 2 heaping Tbsp. of cornstarch.  Pour the cornstarch mixture into the broth and stir constantly until it thickens (which won't take long).  Pour back into the crockpot.  Turn off and serve!

I serve these with mashed potatoes, of course!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Walnut Crunch Candy


This candy is similar to a brittle, but not quite as crunchy.  It is between a fudge and a brittle consistency.  You can use any type of nuts, but Walnuts are my favorite.

Walnut Crunch Candy

2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 stick real butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1 cups finely chopped walnuts

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, mix sugar, evaporated milk, whole milk, vinegar, butter and salt into pan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes.  Stir in the 1 cup of chopped walnuts and cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour immediately onto the waxed paper, spreading it out as thinly as you can.  This will harden very quickly, so you must be fast!

Cool completely for about 2 hours, break into chunks and eat!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Crock Pot Cheesy Chili Mac

 

A Crock-Pot is a wondrous thing!  The lid on mine even locks so it keeps all those juices in.  This Crock Pot Chili Mac is so easy and cooks on high in about 4 hours or on low in about 6 hours.

Crock Pot Cheesy Chili Mac

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 15.5 oz. can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 15 oz. can Rotel Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 cup hot water
1 tsp. Italian Seasonings
1 cup uncooked macaroni
2" section of Velveeta Cheese
1 15.5 oz. can navy beans (optional)


Brown the ground beef with the onion in a skillet.  Drain well and add to the Crock Pot.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Do not add the macaroni yet.

Cook time:  on High for a quicker meal - 3 hours
                    on Low if you will be gone all day - 5 to 7 hours

Add macaroni and cook another hour.  Be sure to test the macaroni before serving to make sure it is done.  If not cook additional time.

Enjoy!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Review for Double T Diner - Frederick MD

Good morning everyone, well I survived vacation, but I sure missed cooking.  We visited the Washington, DC Metro area.  I was invited to participate in Dachtoberfest and to be a speaker.  We had a great time and then stayed the following week for some R&R (vacation). 

I wanted to give a review of a wonderful diner we ate at in Frederick Maryland. 

                                  The Double T Diner - Frederick, MD



I have to say, we stopped at the Double T on a fluke.  We were heading to another restaurant beside the Double T, and the line long was outside waiting to get in.  I said to my husband, "Oh, let's just try this little place."  So, we did and I have to tell you it was fabulous!

To start, let me tell you about the atmosphere.  The Double T is all shiny and silver on the outside and looks like the old fashioned diners of the 50s.  I loved that!  However, when we walked inside, it was huge, yet homey!  I was really surprised.  It had the lunch counter and then plenty of seating. 

We were seated immediately and within moments our waitress, Tina, came over to our table.  Tina was great!  She was prompt and attentive. In fact, all of the other waitresses within the establishment were fun...  They truly seemed to enjoy their work.

There was a table next to us with a family of 5.  Their waitress was a hoot!  She was giving one fellow a hard time because he ordered the "Mile High Meatloaf."  I will tell you, that meatloaf was the biggest meatloaf I had ever seen....she was telling him he probably couldn't eat it, and we joined right in with the fun coaxing him on....of course he did finish it...but I would say he was one full man!

When Tina brought our food, which was within moments, it was fabulous.  I ordered the Coconut Shrimp and expected to get maybe 5 or 6 shrimp for the low price, but I had over a dozen shrimp!  My husband ordered the Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and said it was fabulous!

They also have some fantastic looking desserts.  We purchased a huge Chocolate Éclair and the next day we ate it in our hotel room.  Oh, my gosh it was decadent! 

So, a should out to the Double T Diner in Frederick, Maryland.  If you are ever in the area, I encourage you to give them a try! 

A Special shout out to TINA who was Fabulous!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Freezing Corn



Fresh Corn off the cob is fantastic.  This recipe is the best recipe I have ever found to freeze corn off the cob.  If you like fresh corn, you'll love this recipe.

Freezing Corn

24 ears of corn
Water for boiling (about a gallon more or less)
2 quarts of water
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper

Wash and prepare corn for cooking.  In a Very Large pan, bring about a gallon of water to a boil.  Drop about 6 ears of the corn into the water and bring back up to a boil.   Once boiling, boil for about 5 minutes and immediately transfer into a sink filled with ice water.  This will shock the corn and stop the cooking process.  Repeat with the rest of the corn.  Be sure to bring the water back up to a boil before you put the next batch of corn into the pan. 

Once the corn cools where you can handle it, using a knife, cut the corn off of the cob.  Dip out enough corn to fill a baggie (thick storage type) to almost full.  Pour about 1/8 cup of the mixture below into the baggie of corn and seal tightly.  Freeze immediately. 

Mix:  2 quart of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 Tbsp. ground pepper and 2 tsp. salt in a bowl or pitcher.  Shake or stir to mix.

By using this recipe, when you are ready to cook the corn, all you have to do is place it into a sauce pan and add 2 Tbsp. butter and cook for about 10 minutes.  The corn will be sweet and fresh and fabulous every time!

You can also use this recipe for freezing corn on the cob.  Cut the corn in half and instead of taking it off the cob, place the 1/2 ears of corn into a large baggie and add about 1/4 cup of the water mixture and then freeze.

Enjoy corn all year long!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Waffle Fry Nachos


Try a different kick from the same-ole, same-ole Nachos with chips.  I baked the waffle fries so they are much healthier.  It's a nice change!

Waffle Fry Nachos

1/2 to 1 whole pkg. Waffle Fry Potatoes - frozen  (depending on how many you are feeding)
2" to 3" thick chunk of Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes 
3 Tbsp. your favorite salsa (I use my homemade fresh salsa see earlier post)
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 tsp. cayenne or hot sauce
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp. ground pepper
2 to 3 cups finely shredded lettuce
2 green onions, finely diced for garnish
Sour Cream for garnish

Place frozen Waffle Fry potatoes into preheated oven and bake according to package directions.  You can deep fry these for a crunchier potato, but they aren't as healthy!

Brown ground beef and onion in deep skillet.  Drain grease. 

While ground beef is cooking, into a deep sauce pan add:  2" to 3" thick chunk of Velveeta cheese cut into cubes, 1/4 cup of milk, 3 Tbsp. of salsa, 1/2 tsp. of cayenne or hot sauce and ground pepper.  Heat over low heat, stirring often until cheese is completely melted.

Once the ground beef is drained, add it back into the pan (off the heat) and then pour in the Cheese mixture and mix well together. 

To pull together:  Place waffle fries on a plate and top with the hamburger/cheese mixture.  Add shredded lettuce and sour cream on top for garnish.  Can sprinkle with green onions and additional salsa also.

HINT:  The cheese mixture is also a great dip for parties, snacking, etc.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


This chicken noodle soup is much heartier than most brothy types of soups.  It has rich Cream of Chicken soup in it. It gives it such a rich, full flavor.  You will love it!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. real butter
2 cans chicken broth
1 can of water
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
4 baby carrots, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dill
1/2 pkg. Wide Noodles


Chop up chicken into bite sized pieces.  In a dutch-oven (deep pan), melt the butter and sauté the chicken breasts until just done.  (about 10 minutes).  Add in diced carrots, diced celery, both cans of chicken broth and the can of water.  Boil for 15 minutes or until carrots start to get fork tender. 

Add pepper and dill and stir in.  Add in the can of Cream of Chicken soup and stir well to mix completely.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.  Add the noodles and cook another 10 or 12 minutes until the noodles are done.  Stir often to make sure they do not stick.

Serve and Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

BBQ Round Steak


Sometimes I just want something different when it comes to red meat....so now and then I will BBQ some quality Round Steak.  If you cook it low and slow it will be fall-apart tender.  Try it!

BBQ Round Steak

1 large round steak
1 cup catsup
3 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. real butter

I use a cast iron skillet to make this dish because I can stick it right in the oven.  Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Place 2 Tbsp. real butter in an oven-proof pan.  Stick the pan in the oven to melt the butter. 

Meanwhile mix the BBQ sauce in a bowl:  1 cup catsup, 3 Tbsp. honey, 1 Tbsp. white vinegar and seasonings.  Whisk to combine.  Remove the pan with the melted butter from the oven and place the round steak in the pan.   Turn it over once to make sure you get some butter on both sides.  Pour the BBQ sauce over the round steak.

Place pan back in the oven and cook at 300 degrees for at least 1 1/2 hours.  Meat should be tender enough to pull apart with a fork.

Enjoy!



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hamburger Steak with Brown Gravy





Have ground beef and don't know what to fix?  I'm often the same way.  I am always looking for different recipes.  Same-ole-same-ole gets old after a while.  Kick it up with this easy

Hamburger Steak and Brown Gravy

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/4 cup bread or cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. Italian Seasonings
1 large egg

Mix above well and form into large patties.  Place in a deep skillet on medium heat.  Add 1/2 whole onion, sliced thinly, 1 can beef broth and 1 can of water.

Simmer, turning patties once until broth starts to cook down and thicken.  About 15 to 18 minutes.  Remove patties to a serving plate and leave broth on the stove.   Beat 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch into 1/4 cup of water and pour into the broth.  Stir immediately to form a gravy.  Place patties back into the broth and remove from heat. 

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Yummy!  Enjoy...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Shortcut Swedish Meatballs


I love these Swedish Meatballs.  They are simple to make and taste fabulous!  If you aren't into making meatballs from scratch, you can buy the bagged/frozen ones to use, but be warned, they aren't as good as homemade ones.  The sauce is thick and rich and anything over pasta has to be good, right? 

Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs:

1 lb. lean ground beef
6 Ritz crackers, crushed
1 egg
2 Tbsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. catsup

Mix ingredients well and form into balls.  Place on cookie sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 15 to 18 minutes or until done.  Remove and drain on a paper towel.

Meanwhile, while meatballs are cooking, sauté 1/4 cup diced onion in a large stock pot with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Once onions are translucent, add the following ingredients:

Sauce:

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can beef broth
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. Parsley flakes
1 tsp. Italian Seasonings

Cook for 15 minutes or so over medium heat until starts to thicken down and then add in the meatballs.  Gently toss the meatballs to coat completely with the sauce.

Noodles:

In separate sauce pan, boil 1/2 pkg. of wide egg noodles in 2 quarts of water and 1 Tbsp. salt
Cook for about 12 to 14 minutes or until noodles are done.  Remove and drain.  Add noodles back into the pan (with heat off), and add in 2 Tbsp. real butter and 4 Tbsp. milk.  Toss until creamy.

Place noodles on your plate and ladle the meatball mixture on top (or you can mix it all up in the pan, your choice).

Serve and Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Breakfast


A friend of mine recently told me about using Spaghetti Squash to make a breakfast.  I had never had Spaghetti Squash.  I'd had Zucchini and yellow Squash, but never this type.  So, she sent me a recipe, and of course I mixed it up to make it my own...but it turned out really good!  Give it a try....it's pretty healthy!

Spaghetti Squash Breakfast

1 spaghetti squash
     Scoop out insides, remove seeds and separate into strips, wash and spread out a paper towel to dry

4 slices of turkey bacon
     Chop turkey bacon into small pieces and saute' in a skillet until crispy.  Add:

2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. diced onions
Readd the spaghetti squash

Saute' all above ingredients until chicken broth cooks down and then add 2 eggs, beaten with 3 Tbsp. milk.  Stir until combined and remove from heat.  Top with 1 cup fresh grated mozzarella cheese.  Put lid on pan for about 1 minute to let cheese melt.

Serve

Note:  Don't add salt to this recipe.  It is very salty because of the chicken broth.  If you add salt, it will be way too salty!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tips on Tuesday


Good morning everyone....we are going to share some Tips on Tuesday today!  What I'm going to share today is just some little things I do around the kitchen to make my life easier.  I hope they help you in some way:

1.  Making Gravy:  Making gravy doesn't have to be hard.  Most people say their gravy turns
     out lumpy or too thick, etc.  Let's talk about making gravy for a roast....but this can work
     for any broth you have.  I think Cornstarch is one of the best products ever invented!  Let's
     say you have just made a roast and it has a beautiful broth on it.  You have some mashed
     potatoes to go along with that succulent piece of meat.  How about some gravy?  Uh no, it's
     too hard!  Well, I'm here to tell you that NO IT ISN'T.... even you can make fabulous gravy.
        step 1:  Remove the roast from the pan and set it aside to rest.  Turn the burner down to
                     medium/low so the broth remains hot.
        step 2:  In a small cup with about 1/4 cup of water in it, beat in 2 heaping tablespoons full
                     of  cornstarch. 
        step 3:  With whisk in hand, pour the cornstarch/water mixture into the broth and
                     immediately whisk, whisk, whisk.  You will find that the broth quickly thickens
                     into a beautiful gravy.  If you find it isn't thickening like you wanted (maybe you
                     have a LOT of broth)...just redo the process, slowly adding a little bit of
                     cornstarch/water at a time until it is thickened.
        step 4:  Add the roast back into the gravy and then serve


2.  Stop buying pre-bagged cheese....  Start by buying block cheese and invest in a good s
     shredder.  Shred your own cheese.  It tastes better and has less additives.

3.  Stop using margarine....margarine is mostly chemicals.  Start buying Real Butter.  You can
     buy it at Wal-mart or any grocery store.  It is more expensive, but is much healthier for you. 
     Buy the unsalted butter for recipes.

4.  Organize your kitchen by buying large jars with lids.  When I bring home boxes of pasta,
     baking mix, rice, etc., I immediately open them and put them into these large jars.  I have
     them all labeled with a label-maker and on shelves in my kitchen.  They look more attractive
     than boxes and bags and stay fresh longer.  I bought mine at the dollar store

5.  Invest in a roll of Parchment Paper.  Use it for dropping those No-Bake cookies on or for
     lining a cookie sheet when you are roasting vegetables.  Using Parchment Paper makes
     clean-up so much easier.

6.  Watch cooking shows like Food Network, etc. You will get tons of tips and ideas and new
     recipes.  There is no harm in learning from others.  If you want to be a better cook, watch  
     better cooks work.

7.  Go meat shopping on the 1st day of each month.  Most grocery stores run meat specials on
     the first day of each month.  Watch the store ads and buy those meats that are on sale. 
     Freeze them to use throughout the month.  You will save a ton of money instead of going to
     the store every time you need meat.

8.  Invest in a small chest freezer.  Most refrigerators simply don't have enough space to buy
     sale items and store them.  A small chest freezer will start at only around $159.00 or so.  A
     good investment for the cook!

9.  Don't cut meat on a wooden cutting board.  Used a hard plastic type.  Chicken especially! 
     Wooden cutting boards are great for vegetables, etc., but don't ever cut meat on them.  They
     should never be used for raw meat.  They can hold too many of the germs left over from
     cutting meat and it is really hard to ever get them clean enough.  Instead use the plastic type
     that you can scour.

10.  And finally, before you store leftovers in your refrigerator, make sure they are completely
     cooled.  Don't put away hot foods into a container. It can cause condensation and even mold
     quicker.  Cool the food completely and then put it away.

Hope I learned ya sumpin' ....thanks for reading

Debi

Monday, October 19, 2015

Taco Salad



I love this Taco Salad.  It can feed the masses....it makes a huge amount and will probably feed 6 to 8 people (depending on their portion size of course).  It has meat and salad and the sweetness of Catalina Dressing.  You'll love it!

Taco Salad

1 small head of lettuce
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 1/2 cups Catalina Dressing (more or less)
2 green onions, diced
1 can Kidney beans, drained
2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
Crumbled up Doritos or Tostito Chips

Brown ground beef in a skillet.  During last few minutes, add taco seasoning packet and then drain well. 

Meanwhile, chop 1 head of lettuce into small bite-sized pieces and put into a very large bowl.  Dice and add 2 green onions.  Add kidney beans, hamburger and hamburger.  Toss well to mix.  Pour 1 1/2 cups Catalina Dressing over top of salad and toss to mix. 

Crumble about 3 cups of Doritos or Tostito Chips and add to salad.  Toss one more time and serve.  Top with Sour Cream.

This is a semi-cold salad, but it is very filling.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Granny Smith Apple Pancake Rings

 
 
Here is a different twist on breakfast!  The Granny Smith Apples give this a little tartness to go along with the sweet pancake batter and syrup.  My grandbabies loved these when I made them.
 
Granny Smith Apple Pancake Rings
 
1 Granny Smith Apple, core and slice apple very thinly into rings
 
For Pancake Batter:
     1 1/2 cups flour
     2 Tbsp. sugar
     2 tsp. baking powder
     1/2 tsp. baking soda
     1/2 tsp. salt
     1 1/4 cups of milk (more or less)
     2 eggs
     2 Tbsp. real butter
 
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Stir well to combine.  Beat eggs in a separate bowl and add to the dry ingredients.  Add the butter and then the milk by adding first 1 cup and then additional milk until it is the desired consistency.  You want it a little thick because you are going to dip the apple rings in it.
 
Dip an apple ring into the batter, coating both sides evenly.  Fry in a skillet with real butter or oil.  Butter just gives it a better flavor and you don't have to butter your pancakes before you add syrup.
Flip once first side is lightly browned.  Should be about 3 minutes on each side (estimating).
 
Remove from heat and serve with your favorite syrup.
 
The key to these is getting the apple rings very very thin.....They are fabulous!
If you don't like tart apples, any apple will do.  Enjoy!
 
 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Chicken Pockets


This little Chicken Pockets are so easy to make and so very good.  All you need is a chicken breast or two and some refrigerator Crescent Rolls.  You have a quick meal that the kids will love...why wouldn't they, they are so cute?

Chicken Pockets

1 - 2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into tiny cubes
1 pkg. refrigerator Crescent Rolls
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. basil
1/2 can cream of chicken (can be doubled, but rest of ingredients need to be doubled too)
1/4 cup water
1/2 stalk celery, diced
1 green onion, diced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut chicken breasts into small cubes.  In skillet, over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil, chicken, ground pepper, salt, basil, celery and green onion.  Sauté until chicken is done, but not crispy.  Add 1/2 can cream of chicken and 1/4 cup water.  Cook down until the sauce gets thickened.  It will need to be pretty thick to stay in the crescent rolls.

While chicken is cooking, lay out Crescent Rolls on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Press them out a little with your fingers so that they are larger.  You can buy the extra-large Crescent Rolls, which work best for this. 

Once chicken mixture is done and thickened, spoon a tablespoon-full onto the wide end of each Crescent Roll and then top with some mozzarella cheese.  Starting with the wide corners, fold them up and over the chicken, then pull the tip over and tuck under the other side, forming a pocket.  Pinch the corners together as best you can.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes or until Crescent Rolls are browned on top. 

Serve and Enjoy!  You can also take chicken salad and place them in Crescent Rolls, add cheese and bake.  Just as good!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015



Chicken Fried Rice is such an easy and quick dish to make on one of those "in late from work" nights....  You can whip up a batch in less than 30 minutes.

Chicken Fried Rice

1 can Chicken Broth
1 cup of water
2 chicken breasts, skinless and cut into small pieces
2 green onions, diced
3 baby carrots, sliced very thinly
1/2 stalk celery - finely diced
2 Tbsp. real butter
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups instant white rice (Minute Rice)
2 eggs beaten with 2 tbsp. milk and scrambled in a separate skillet (optional)

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in skillet and add green onions, baby carrots, celery, ginger paste and soy sauce.  Saute' for 5 to 6 minutes and add chicken pieces.  Saute' until chicken is cooked through.  Add 1 can of chicken broth and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and add rice.  Rice will cook quickly, so stir constantly.  Cook until rice is tender and cooked through.  About 5 to 6 minutes.  Add more water if it cooks down and rice isn't done yet.

You can pre-scramble 2 eggs with 2 Tbsp. milk and stir into the mixture right before serving.  This is optional.

Serve and Enjoy!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Chicken Flatbread Pizza



I often make flatbreads because they are something simple that I can throw together when I get home from work.  Chicken is one of my favorite things to use on flatbread because it isn't greasy like ground beef and your flatbread can be garnished many different ways.

Chicken Flatbread Pizza

1 chicken breast, skinless, cut into small slices cooked in 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. of  minced garlic
1 tsp. melted butter
2 diced green onions
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
1 can petite diced tomatoes (drained well)
1 large flatbread (can be purchased at the grocery or made homemade)

Chop chicken breast into small, thin slices and sauté in a skillet with olive oil.  Cook until chicken is done (about 12 to 15 minutes), remove and drain on a paper towel.

Lay out flatbread on a baking sheet (I use a stone).  Melt 2 Tbsp. minced garlic with 1 tsp. melted butter and brush over the top of the flatbread.  Using the petite tomatoes, drain well and sprinkle over the top of the garlic/butter until entire flatbread is covered with tomatoes.  Next add the chicken, green onions and finally the Mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle top with the Basil and Italian Seasonings.

Bake at 375 degrees until cheese gets bubbly and starts to lightly brown on top. 

Cut and serve!  Mostly, Enjoy!



Friday, October 9, 2015

Crockpot Ground Beef Minestrone Soup


Fall is upon us.  What a great time to try out some new soup recipes.  I whipped this up the other night and got rave reviews on it from both my husband and my step-son.  It is hearty and so tasty.  Give it a try!

Crockpot Ground Beef Minestrone Soup

1 lb. ground chuck - cooked and drained
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 white onion, diced
1/2 small carrot (or 6 baby carrots), sliced in long thin pieces
2 cloves minced garlic
1 stalk celery, diced
1 can whole potatoes - drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
1  28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1  15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Oregano
1/4 cup spaghetti noodles that have been broken into small pieces

Cook ground chuck and drain well.  Add to crockpot.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the spaghetti.  You will add it last.

Cook spaghetti noodles in boiling, salted water for about 10 minutes.  Drain and add these to the crockpot.  

Turn crockpot on high and cook for about 3 to 4 hours.  You can cook this all day if you want to put it on low and cook it 6 to 8 hours.

Note:  If you want, you can use 2 medium potatoes instead of canned potatoes, but you will need to dice them in cubes and boil them for about 10 minutes before adding them to the crockpot.

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Honey Bacon Bread


Sometimes you just want something sweet in the morning.  Cinnamon rolls are fantastic, but take quite a while to make from scratch.  And of course, we want our bacon, right?  Well, try this yummy recipe for a quick and sweet breakfast that adds the bacon we crave!

Honey Bacon Bread

1 lb. bacon
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and spray it generously with cooking spray.  Unroll the package of crescent rolls into one long rectangle.  Carefully press the edges of the triangles together and continue to press it outward until it is as thin as possible.  Make sure all of the edges stay together.  Pick the dough with a toothpick all over.  Set aside.

Chop the bacon with a knife and then cook it until it is just a little less than crispy.  It will finish cooking in the oven.  Drain on a paper towel. 

Drizzle the with the 1/2 honey and then sprinkle 1/2 of the brown sugar evenly over the top.  Add the bacon pieces and then drizzle again with the honey and top with the rest of the brown sugar.

Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature and then cut into chunks or squares to serve.



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Crockpot London Broil Roast


There is nothing like coming home at the end of a long day to smell dinner in the crockpot.  Normally, if I have time, I cook my roast on the stovetop, but when I know I am going to have a long day, often, I will throw a roast in the crockpot and let it cook all day.   Add some potatoes and carrots and you have an entire meal ready when you walk in the door.

Crockpot London Broil Roast

1 large London Broil (1 1/2 to 3 lbs.)
1/2 stick real butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1/4 medium onion, sliced thinly
6 medium potatoes cut in quarters (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
1 small bag of baby carrots
1 stalk of celery, sliced in small pieces
Water

Set crockpot on Low. Place roast in bottom of crockpot and add butter, pepper and soy sauce.  Cover with just enough water to come to the top of the roast.  Cut potatoes into quarters and place in the crockpot around the sides of the roast.  Dump bag of baby carrots and the sliced celery.  Place the lid on the crockpot.  I have one of those types that the lid locks down.   They are really good because they lock in the steam.  Allow to cook for 6 to 8 hours.  The longer you cook it, the more tender it will be.  I recommend 8 hours.

Don't leave out the butter.  The butter is the key to any roast.  It will keep it moist and it will literally fall apart. 

When buying a roast, watch the amount of fat on the roast.  You need a good amount of fat to add flavor, but you don't want one that has too much fat. 

Sometimes a roast can tend to be gristly so try to get a good cut.  My favorite is this London Broil.

In case you are wondering, you don't need salt with this recipe because of the soy sauce.  It is salty enough.  It is also a natural meat tenderizer.  So, with meat, switch to soy sauce instead of Worcestershire for a more tender result.