Friday, December 31, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Happy New Years eve! This is another super simple, but oh, so yummy recipe! I found a bunch of cookie dough mixes on a super fantastic sale (FREE with my coupons!!) and needed to find something a little different to do with some of it. I remembered seeing this idea around a few different places and decided to give it a try. The cookies turned out delicious and my girls loved helping out. My 4 year old insisted on unwrapping the candies again, "accidentally" dropping a few so she could eat them, and my 9 year old helped put them on the cookies.

1 box peanut butter cookie mix (about 18 ounces) plus the ingredients to make the dough
1 bag peanut butter cup miniatures with the wrappers removed

Preheat oven to 375. Mix cookie dough according to the directions on the box. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until light golden brown around the edges. Press an unwrapped peanut butter cup in the center of each cookie. Press down slightly once they have partially melted to make the candy more level with the cookie.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Carmel Turtle Pretzels

Maybe I am getting old, maybe I have enough kids that I don't have a lot of extra time, but I like simple. These sure were simple! My sweet little 4 and 9 year olds made them all by themselves! The 4 year old peeled the wrappers off the candy ("accidentally" dropping a few and then having to eat them. She said she was making sure they were still good), and the 9 year old put the pecans on them. They were not only simple, but very yummy too!

I found the idea over at Mrs. Bettie Rocker.

Bite sized pretzels - I used the waffle shaped ones
1 bag Rolos with the wrappers removed
Pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with Parchment paper. Place pretzels on paper and top each one with an unwrapped Rolo. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, just until the Rolo's are a bit shiny but still holding their shape. Press pecan halves on top of Rolo's and press down lightly. Allow to cool and dry before storing.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Enchilada Casserole

I'm back!! We went on vacation and then Christmas rolled around and somethings got neglected. This being one of them. I made a TON of goodies and forgot to take pictures of them, so I won't get to post all the yummies I made.

This has got to be one of my favorite casserole recipes. It is quite easy and very delicious. It is easy to adjust the heat on it by the enchilada sauce you use. I have a daughter that is more sensitive to spice, so I always use mild. The whole family loves it. A comforting plate of hot, cheesy, yummy goodness.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (28 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 (6 ounce) cans olives, sliced
18 corn tortillas
1 pound Monterey jack cheese, grated
1 pound Cheddar cheese, grated

Sauté onion with ground beef. Add olives and large can of enchilada sauce. Pour small can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 11x15 inch casserole dish (if you use a 9x13 inch casserole dish, place on a cookie sheet lined with foil). Place 6 tortillas on top of sauce. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture and 1/3 of the cheeses. Repeat 2 more times ending with the cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream and guacamole.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cranberry Orange Dream

This is another salad that could be used as a salad or desert. I use it as a salad and keep eating it through desert. My kids all love it and the pan never last long enough for leftovers.

I sometimes leave out the oranges (I did this time), and sometimes substitute raspberry Jello for cranberry. It is awesome either way.

1 ½ cups boiling water
1 (6 oz) package cranberry gelatin
2 cups cold water
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges
1 can cranberry sauce

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in cranberry sauce until melted. Add cold water. Refrigerate about 1 hour until slightly thickened. Gently stir in mandarin oranges

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter

Press into 9 x 13 pan, refrigerate until ready to use.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 (8 oz) container whipped topping

Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Stir in whipped topping. Pour over graham cracker crust, then, top with gelatin mixture. Refrigerate until set.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baked Beans

This has got to be the BEST baked bean recipe ever! I absolutely LOVE it!! I made these baked beans for our family Thanksgiving dinner and they were a hit! My brother in law couldn't stop eating them. I will usually use a green bell pepper in them, but had a red one when I made them for Thanksgiving.

2 (15 ounce) cans pork and beans, drained
½ bell pepper, diced
½ onion, diced
2 squirts mustard (about 2 tablespoons)
2 squirts ketchup (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup brown sugar
8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Mix all ingredients together. Let sit 30 minutes then bake at 375 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Roasted Potatoes

I love potatoes, especially these potatoes. They are simple, yet elegant enough for company. This time I decided to use half red potatoes and half sweet potatoes. They were delicious. I prefer my sweet potatoes savory instead of sweetened and they were perfect. Yum!!

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a large roasting pan and toss with oil, salt, pepper and rosemary until evenly coated. Spread out potatoes in a single layer. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sunday Pot Roast

This is one of my favorite roast recipes, if not my favorite. It is so easy and tasty. I love that it makes its own gravy. Cooking it in a crock pot is a nice added bonus. I love being able to make dinner in the morning and have it ready at dinner time. Most nights by the time dinner time rolls around, I am tired and not in the mood to cook. My crock pot is a life saver!

1 (3 to 5 lb) pot roast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet dry onion soup mix

Place roast in crock pot. Spoon soup over the top and sprinkle with onion soup mix. Cook on high 4 to 5 hours, or on low 6 to 8 hours. I like to shred the roast when it is cooked and serve it over potatoes or noodles. It is also great sliced with the gravy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baked Tilapia

Personally, I am not much of a fish fan. Never have been, and most likely never will be, but, for some reason, the kids LOVE fish. Fish is supposed to be very good for you, so for the sake of health, I keep trying it. My friend Tasha loves fish and couldn't believe that there was a person alive that didn't. She offered to cook some for me so I could try it. I can actually eat this fish without gagging! I just make sure to add lots of seasoning my my fish. The kids complain if I put a lot on their fish, they claim they can't taste the fish. In my opinion, that's what makes it good.

6 tilapia fillets
garlic salt
lemon pepper
dill weed

Sprinkle fillets on both sides with seasoning. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes (from frozen) or until it flakes easily with a fork.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Peppermint Meltaways

These things are incredible!! And highly addictive. They are another reason I stock up on candy canes at the after Christmas clearance sales and endure strange looks from the kids friends when they are spotted on my shelf in the middle of the summer. My darling little 9 year old said "Mom, in my world these would grow on trees". They are that yummy!

I got this recipe from my friend Jenny when I was pregnant with my first. She took them to a get together and I could not stop eating them (baby wanted them REAL bad). Maybe that's why I blew up like a balloon with him. He sure is a tender, sweet little (big) guy though. These must be the secret. On the other hand, it could have been a conspiracy. We were both pregnant and due at the same time. Maybe she was just trying to ensure that I would get fatter than her.... :)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup corn starch

In a large bowl cream butter, sugar and extract. Add flour and cornstarch and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Shape into small balls and place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not brown. Cool.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring
crushed peppermint candy

Cream butter, powdered sugar, peppermint extract and food coloring. Add milk one tablespoon at a time. Drizzle over cookies then sprinkle with crushed candy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

I love caramel popcorn. I am still in search of the perfect soft caramel corn recipe, so this will have to do until I find it. I prefer the soft caramel corn, but this is an awesome crispy recipe. It never seems to last too long at my place.

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 quarts popped popcorn (I used 2 bags microwave popcorn)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Caramel Apple Dip

I have to admit, I really don't think this stuff tastes like caramel, but that is the name of the dip. There must be some that do think it tastes like caramel, or I am sure it would have a different name. The dip is, however, very tasty, and very easy to make. My favorite way to eat it is with sliced apples. Strawberries and grapes are yummy with it too.

I got this recipe from my friend Laurie.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese , softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Bit 'O Brickle (toffee bits)

Mix together cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in Bit 'O Brickle. Serve with fruit.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kalua Pork

I love this stuff!! It is so easy and delicious. The kids all love it and also like to help shred the meat. Have you ever tried to shred pork with the help of a 2 year old and 4 year old? Well, let me tell you, it is an experience everyone should have the privilege of experiencing. I am so blessed to have so many big helpers!

1 (3 to 5 lb) pork roast (I use a shoulder picnic roast)
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt

Place pork roast in a crock pot and sprinkle with liquid smoke and sea salt. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (can also cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, but I prefer low). Shred pork and return to crock pot with juices for an additional hour.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Manti Chicken

I have been wanting to try this recipe out for some time. I finally got around to it and loved it. I couldn't believe how tender it was. I didn't need a knife, just a fork to cut it.

I found this yummy recipe at Real Mom Kitchen.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup canola oil (or vegetable)
1 cup Sprite
1/2 tsp. horseradish
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
6-8 chicken breasts (Or equal amount of chicken tenders)

Mix together first 5 ingredients in a gallon zipper bag. Add chicken and marinate in the fridge for 2-8 hours. Grill until cooked through.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

For me, the frosting is what makes or breaks a cake. If the frosting is good, the cake is good. I have a friend who said that cream cheese frosting can make dirt taste good (as well as a few other less appetizing things). Well, I think that pretty well applies to any good frosting. Although it could make dirt taste good, I don't think I could get over the gritty texture, so I will stick to cake. I love this frosting on cake or brownies, on graham crackers or on a spoon. As long as it is on its way to my mouth, but hopefully not to my hips or backside, I love it.

I snagged this recipe from Wilton.

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
3-4 tablespoons milk

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lemon Herb Chicken

Once again, I just can't seem to come up with anything clever to write about this recipe. I guess it could be due to the fact that I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old that think they need to sleep with me. They think they need to sleep in the middle of the bed, but have to snuggle as close as they can to Mommy, no touching Daddy allowed! I don't know about you, but I like my space when I sleep. Don't touch me!! If they get put back into bed, they scream. I don't just mean cry a little, I mean scream. You know the kind of scream that could be heard a mile and a half away (maybe even half a world away). The kind of scream, that if heard by the neighbors, and I am sure it is, would make them think you were beating your child. Yup, that's the kind of scream. No one sleeps. I just don't do well on 4 hours of sleep a night. I much prefer 8 or 9.

Anyway, we all liked this recipe, but did think it was a bit bland, so I added salt to the list of ingredients. I served it with the sauce over rice. I found this recipe from Campbells one one of my coupon inserts that came in my Sunday paper.

6 chicken breasts
1 (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste

Place chicken in the bottom of a greased 9" x 13" pan. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until cooked through.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sweet Pork

I was trying to think what to write about this stuff, but nothing even semi clever came to mind. I asked my cute little 9 year old what I should write about it and she said "It's easy, it's delicious and my best friend even likes it. Everyone should try it." So there you have it. My pickiest eater says try it. It is delicious. My entire family loves it and requests it often.

1 (3 to 5 lb) pork roast (I used a shoulder picnic roast)
1 can Coca Cola
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
2 cups red enchilada sauce (I used sauce from a packet)

Cook roast with 2/3 of the Coca Cola in a crock pot on high for 4 to 6 hours. Drain liquid and shred pork. Add remaining Coca Cola, brown sugar, green chilies and enchilada sauce to the shredded pork. Cook on low for an additional 1 to 2 hours. Serve in tacos, burritos, salad or quesadillas.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Funeral Potatoes

My mom always scolds me when I call these potatoes "funeral potatoes", but to me, that's what they are. The first time I tried them was at a funeral when I was a kid, and, well, the name just stuck. Mom says I should call them "all occasion potatoes". I guess the name would suit them just fine, since they frequent the dinner table whenever there is a big get together, but I still like calling them funeral potatoes best (probably just to get Mom's knickers in a twist...). After all, I am sure that there is a funeral being held somewhere every time they are made (if not specifically for a funeral).

I will sometimes make up an additional half batch of the sauce to make them extra saucy. YUM!!

1 (24 oz) bag frozen hash browns, slightly thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 pint sour cream
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix soup, butter, sour cream, green onions and 1 cup cheese together. Add hash browns and stir to coat. Pour into a 9" x 13" baking dish. Top with remaining 2 cups cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Corn Pancakes

Here is my third and final pancake recipe. Corn pancakes! One thing that I love about these pancakes, is that the corn meal get softened so you don't break your teeth on an unsuspected, harder than rock, piece of corn meal. Have I ever mentioned that I love pancakes?

½ cup corn meal
½ cup boiling water
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup milk

Put corn meal in a mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over the cornmeal, stirring briskly until well blended. Slowly add milk, then remaining ingredients. Beat batter until thoroughly mixed. Cook over medium heat.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Perfect Pancakes

Pancakes are my all time favorite breakfast food. If it were up to me, I would make them every single day. For some reason, the kids don't seem to think that they want to eat pancakes every day, and, well, I just can't eat the entire batch all by myself (shouldn't anyway...). I think something must be wrong with them to not want pancakes every day. Especially when Mom makes them.

One of the things I love about this recipe is that you make up a huge bowl of the mix, and then mix up a batch anytime with no effort. If I remember right, I got the recipe from an old (okay, I'll admit it, antique is a more appropriate word) Make A Mix cookbook.

1 1/2 cups pancake mix - recipe below
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine and mix well. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cook in hot pan.

Pancake Mix

10 cups flour
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
1 tablespoons salt

Combine all ingredients and blend well. Store in air tight container for 6 to 8 months. Makes 13 cups.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Corn Pop Treats

This stuff should seriously come with a big, fat (pun intended) warning! Highly Addictive!! After just one bite, some strange force takes over and controls the hand to mouth action. Try as I may, the force is always stronger than any will I posses. The force always stays strong until the bowl is gone, or close to it. I started making 1/2 batches, then 1/4 batches, trying with all my might to overcome "the force", but it had me making more every night. You might just as well make the full (or double) batch and resign yourself to the sweet, salty, buttery goodness.

Because of the aforementioned issue I have, I usually only make this around the holidays when there are lots, and lots of people around to help me eat it. The other times that I have been know to make it, is when I have been prego and baby wants it. There is just no use in arguing with baby. Baby is just as strong, if not stronger than the force. Sometimes I feel like a puppet on a string, just doing what I am made to do.

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1/3 cup corn syrup

Cook to soft ball stage or 240. Stir in:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Pour over:
1/2 bag (about 17 cups) corn pops (not the cereal, found in the chip isle).

Sprinkle with:
1 (4 ounce) bag slivered almonds
1 cup shredded coconut.

Mix well. Spread onto a greased cookie sheet to cool. Store in an air tight container.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sweet Corn Bread

Mmmmm. I love me some corn bread! Right after I had my second baby, a friend brought me some muffins made from this recipe. I fell in love instantly and I think I ate over half the batch all by myself! Thank goodness I have learned a little self control since then (or maybe it is called 5 kids....things disappear a lot faster now). Luckily, she was nice enough to share the recipe with me - no sweet talk or bribes needed. Gotta love that kind of friend! I love to eat this corn bread with honey, or butter and powdered sugar.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or paper line 18 to 20 muffin cups. Combine flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Combine milk, eggs, vegetable oil and butter in a small bowl and mix well. Add to flour mixture and stir just until blended. Pour into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks in pan for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tins and cool slightly. Serve warm. For corn bread pour batter into greased 8 inch square baking pan. Bake to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

So, I have been on a little bit of a healthy food kick lately. I am determined to loose this baby weight by Thanksgiving (okay, I will be honest for a minute. There is no way in the hot place that will be happening, but it is a nice thought. It will most likely hang around until I stop nursing. It will stay like flies on honey, white on rice, or, fat on me). You see, the problem with healthy food is, it tends to be a bit boring. I have been drinking green smoothies. Yes, green in color - think Shrek. Even has stuff in it that only Shrek should be eating. I would share a recipe, but honestly, I just throw a little of this weed, and a little of that weed in it (the stuff really looks like weeds - the stuff you DON'T want in your garden - dandelion greens....), add a little fruit and Voila! I even got my sweet hubby to try it. He admited that it was quite tasty, just as long as he closes his eyes while he drinks it. My 2 and 4 year olds love it too. They taste just like normal smoothies, but the color is a bit unnerving.

Apparently I got off on a bit of a, something.... Anyway, this chili was actually quite tasty. I loved the flavor the red pepper gave it. My 11 year old and hubby loved it. The girls didn't say much (I skipped out on dinner with the family for Bunko), but I was really impressed. I adapted this recipe from one I found at the Taste of Home site.

Please excuse the picture. It was taken after my sweet little 2 year old got hold of a wisk. What a great little helper I have. I also couldn't figure out how to get my camera to work. I don't seem to get along with much that is hi tech.....

1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 (12.5 oz) cans chicken
1 (15 oz) can solid-pack pumpkin
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large skillet, saute the onion and pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I just love soup. It is such a great comfort food. One of the great things about this soup is that you make it in the crock pot. Put everything in in the morning, and enjoy for dinner. This is one of my favorite soups. I love to garnish it with some yummy avocados.

2 cups shredded chicken
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
1 can black beans – drained
1 (16 oz) package frozen corn
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (or packet mixed according to directions - I prefer the packet)
1 (32 oz) box chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf

Combine all together in a crock pot and cook on high 3 to 4 hours, or low 6 to 8 hours. Garnish with crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream and/or avocados.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mummy Pizzas

I know that Halloween has already come and gone, but this is so fun that I had to share it now. My kids all loved to help make these (the 2 year old made sure all the ingredients were good ;)). They are easy, yummy and a lot of fun.

6 English muffins
6 string cheese
1 cup pasta sauce
6 olives

Peel the string cheese in to thin pieces. Break open the English muffins and spread with pasta sauce. Lay the string cheese pieces on the English muffins to look like mummy bandages. Cut the olives in half and place on pizzas for the eyes. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Need a way to get rid of some of that Halloween candy you have hanging around? This recipe is the perfect way to use some of it up. My all time favorite desert is brownies. I love them warm, cold, frosted, plain, with ice cream.... You get the idea. :) Yumm!! You just cant go wrong with brownies. Add in some peanut butter cups, and Mmmmmm. My mouth is watering just looking at this delicious picture!!

1 box brownie mix with ingredients to mix
8 fun sized peanut butter cups (or 4 regular sized candy bars)
frosting - optional

Mix brownies according to the box directions for cake like brownies. Quarter the peanut butter cups and add to the batter. Pour into greased baking dish and cook according to box directions. Frost if desired.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quick and Easy Salsa

I love chips and salsa. It is definitely my favorite part of going out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. This recipe is super easy and tasty. My kids love chips and salsa too, and get it often with this quick recipe.

1 clove garlic, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 handful cilantro
1 jalapeño, chopped (or to taste)
1 lime, juiced
Salt to taste

Combine garlic, onion, jalapeno, lime juice and half the can of tomatoes with juice in a blender. Pulse a few times, then add remaining tomatoes and cilantro. Pulse in blender until desired consistency. Salt to taste.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Susan's Cheese Ball

Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy!!! I adore this cheese ball. It is AWESOME, even if I do say so myself. I make this every year around the holidays. I think it is the best tasting cheese ball out there. It is my own concoction that I started in high school and it just got better with age. I have had people that hate cheese balls actually like this one.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 cup chopped pecans

Soften cream cheese at room temperature. Add cheddar cheese, ranch dressing mix and green onions. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Mold into a ball and roll in pecans. I spray my hands with Pam before rolling the cheese into a ball - makes it a little easier to work with.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Crepes are my 11 year old's favorite breakfast food. They may be the favorite of all my kids. My little 4 year old calls them "those roll up things". They are more time consuming than I like, but I did give in and make them for breakfast the other day. I had some strawberries to use and thought crepes would be delicious with them. My personal favorite way to eat them is with sweetened whipped cream and strawberries. My kids usually eat them spread with melted butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Even though we usually eat them for breakfast, the also make a great desert.

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Blend together in blender on high for 1 minute. Preheat crepe pan (or you could use a flat bottom frying pan) over medium heat. Butter the bottom of the pan (I use a frozen stick of butter and just circle it on the bottom of my pan - the frozen butter makes it easy to work with) and pour in about 1/4 cup of batter. When I pour the batter in, I hold my pan up off the heat and angle it a little. I pour the batter in the center of the pan and rotate the pan around to cover the bottom only with a thin layer of batter. Cook until small holes form in the crepe (about 1 minute), then flip over and cook about an additional 30 seconds.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mama's Rice

This recipe came from a local fresh-mex restaurant called Cabo Grill. The restaurant closed down in the fall of 2008, but, I happen to know a previous owner quite well and was able to snag the recipe with just a little sweet talk. Thank goodness I am good at sweet talking, because we were there weekly. I am still having withdrawls.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons jalapenos (I use an entire jalapeno)
2 tablespoons onion
2 tablespoons tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bullion to make the broth)

Melt butter over medium high heat. Add jalapenos and onions and sauté until onions are clear. Add tomatoes and salt, then rice. Sauté until rice starts to turn light brown. Add chicken broth. Let come to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

White Crescent Rolls

Out of all the things I love to cook/bake, bread is probably my favorite. There is nothing quite like hot fresh bread. Plain, or smothered in butter or honey butter. Mmmmmm This is probably my very favorite roll recipe. The rolls come out tender and delicious.

My kids like to help me roll up the crescents. My sweet little 4 year old will even make me "special" rolls. I just don't know what I would do without all of my super special helpers. I would probably have way too much time on my hands (although my house would probably be immaculate). :)

I usually use instant yeast and just mix it in with the flour, instead of proofing it in the water. The instant yeast makes it go a little faster.

1 ¼ cup water
½ cup butter
1/3 cup powder milk
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 ½ cups flour

Proof yeast in ¼ cup water, sprinkle with a little sugar. Melt butter in remaining water. Add powder milk and sugar, then add yeast and egg. Mix in flour and let rise 1 hour. Punch down and divide in 2. Roll each half in to a circle. Cut into 12 pieces and roll from the large end to the small end to make a crescent. Cover and let rise 20 to 30 minutes. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Brush with melted butter.

Recipe from my friend Beth.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Refried Beans

I LOVE refried beans! They are so easy and versatile. I like to eat them just plain or topped with salsa, but they are also great in burritos. My sister married a guy from Mexico and this is how she makes his beans.

1 pound pinto beans
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic

Put beans in a pot with at least 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let boil 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit 2 hour with the lid on. Drain beans and then cover again with water. Add salt, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours, or until tender. Drain off liquid and save to add back into the beans. Mash the beans - I use a potato masher. Gradually add in liquid while you are mashing to get the consistency you want.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are the favorite of my oldest daughter. They are very easy and very yummy, and only have 3 ingredients, what could be easier than that? They are made with a box of cake mix. Boxed cake mix in recipes was right there with canned soup, but, like canned soup, has climbed the totem pole. Now I will proudly admit that I use either. I actually think it makes me look smart - it saves time. :)

1 Box spice cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
2 cups chocolate chips

Mix cake mix and pumpkin until well combined (it will seem very dry at first, but will moisten when it is all mixed together). Add Chocolate chips. Drop on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Banana Bread

This banana bread is the most light and moist banana bread I have ever tried. I always double the batch and it is lucky to survive for 24 hours. My sweet little 4 year old asks me to help her make it all the time. We just get started and then she decides she needs to go watch cartoons. She will come back to help me again when the bowl needs to be licked. For some reason, I still fall for it. Man she is good!

When ever I have over ripe bananas, I put them in the freezer to save for this recipe. When I am ready to make banana bread, I pull the bananas out that I need and let them thaw. Then I just open one end and let the banana slither out. They don't even need to be mashed after they have been frozen.

1 cup sugar
¾ cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sour milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Beat all ingredients. Pour into 1 large or 2 medium loaf pans. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

This is oh so yummy! It is the perfect desert for the holidays. With the stores around already pulling out Christmas things, I figured I would throw this one in now. I stock up on candy canes after Christmas when they are on clearance. I have gotten some kinda strange looks from my kids friends when they see candy canes on the shelf in the middle of summer. I am more than happy to take the looks (all meant with love, I'm sure), to have this delicious cheesecake whenever I want.

 I have had people ask me where I bought it. I am guessing that is a compliment, like, this is SO good!! Or maybe an insult, like, you can't cook, must be store bought. Hmmm Maybe I shouldn't think that hard about it. I think I am giving myself a complex, OUCH!

 Anyway, I love everything about this cheesecake. The smooth, creamy, minty yumminess of it just makes my mouth water. Yumminess? I think I need to make a dictionary with all my new words. Make sure that you use a high quality white chocolate, or it will not set up right. I used Callebaut white chocolate. This recipe came from a local morning show on (I think)channel 5. I did make some adaptions to the recipe.

12 oz (2 ¼ cups) high grade white chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 to 4 drops red food coloring
12 candy canes, crushed
14 to 16 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreo), crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix butter and chocolate sandwich cookies and press in the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan. Melt chocolate and cream on medium low heat. Watch closely and stir often to prevent scorching. Cool in refrigerator. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and peppermint extract. Add food coloring and cream mixture and beat 3 to 4 minutes, until fluffy. Gently fold in crushed candy canes, reserve some for garnish if desired. Pour into crust and keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

So here is my confession. Actually, I have 2 confessions. The first is, I don't have much tact. I have a lot more than I used to, but still seem to be lacking. If I say something that seems, well, less than kind, what little tact I have must be hiding. Probably hiding by the hand of my 4 year old. I lose my keys, phone, jewelry, hair brush, etc all the time. I don't really lose them myself, my sweet little 4 year old just decides that I need to spend a good part of the day playing "hide and seek" with out my knowledge. You know, if she weren't so dang cute, I would be forced to sell her to the gypsies! Confession #2 - I used to be a "from scratch" only type of person. If a recipe called for a can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup, I would pass it up without a second thought. I thought that using canned soup in recipes was cheating and for loosers (I guess that would fall into the hiding tact category...). Well, either I am a cheating looser now, or canned soup is not bad in recipes. I think I will stick with option B.

Now that fall is here, I can make soup again!! Well, I always could make soup, it just seems more seasonally appropriate now. This soup has such a homey feel to it. A nice warm bowl of creamy, hearty, tasty goodness.

4 bullion cubes (I used 4 teaspoons Better Than Bullion)
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup half and half
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
2 1/2 cups cooked noodles (I used Country Pasta - it takes longer to cook, but tastes more like homemade)

Simmer veggies in chicken stock with bullion until tender - about 20 minutes. Combine soup and half and half. Add to the veggies with chicken and noodles. Simmer all together for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whole Wheat Pancakes

I was reading through my entries and thought to myself, how boring am I? Wow! Show a little personality already. In my defense, I am kinda new to this whole blogging thing, but I will try a little harder to not bore you to sleep before you even get to the recipe. Yes, bore you to sleep in the 2 whole lines before the recipe. I had a hard time getting through them too. I think I have a semi-permanent indentation of the keyboard in my forehead. I guess it serves me right for being so boring. Every time I look in the mirror I will have a nice little reminder. I do not guarantee to be un-boring (is that even a word? Guess it is now), just not as totally boring as I have been.

I love pancakes! I could eat them everyday and not get tired of them. I have 3 recipes that I absolutely love. This is one of them (thanks to the wonderful ward cookbook, without which, I would never have had this recipe). I don't make pancakes very often, maybe once a month. When I was pregnant with one of my kids (my last? I don't remember for sure, the time seems to fly by faster than I can keep track), I made pancakes probably 2 times a week, at least. I guess my oldest got tired of them, because he complains every time I make them "Mom, why do we always have to have pancakes? I want crepes." Crepes just take way to much time. Anyway, this recipe uses whole wheat. Yup, un-ground whole wheat. What a great way to use the 5 gallon buckets of wheat in my food storage.

1 cup milk
¾ cup raw whole wheat
½ cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 tablespoon honey
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla

Blend milk and wheat in a blender for 4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend 3 minutes more. If you are using a Vita Mix or similar blender, only blend for half the time. Otherwise, you will be cleaning cooked batter off the bottom of the mixing container thing (sorry, having a brain laps. Seems to happen often....)

Monday, October 11, 2010

3 Envelope Pot Roast

I love my crock pot. It makes dinner so easy and there are so many things that I can do with it. I got this recipe from Laura at Real Mom Kitchen and we really enjoyed it. I really liked the flavor the seasonings added to the roast. I used the drippings to make a gravy. Super easy and delicious.

1 (3 to 5 lb) roast
1 package brown gravy mix
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 package Italian dressing mix
2 cups water

Mix water with mixes and pour over roast in a crock pot. Cook on high 4 hours or low 6 hours.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I love Mexican food! This is probably my favorite recipe. It is super easy and really yummy. My whole family loves it as well.

3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
1 (6 oz) can olives, sliced
1 pound Colby jack cheese, shredded
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (I use a packet of McCormick enchilada sauce seasoning and mix it up. It makes about 2 times as much so I save the other half for something else)
12 (8 inch) corn tortillas

Butter both sides of tortillas and heat in a skillet to soften. Lay chicken and cheese down the center and roll. Place seam side down in baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and olives. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Taco Soup

Fall and soup seem to go hand in hand. I love soup!! This recipe is one of my oldest daughters favorites (I would say favorite, but as soon as I said it, she would change her mind just to be contrary :)). It is simple and delicious and always a hit.    

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion
1 package mild taco seasoning
1 (16 ounce) can cut corn
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans
2 cups chicken broth
1 (28 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

tortilla chips
grated cheese
1 (6 ounce) can olives, drained and sliced
diced avocados
sour cream

Brown ground beef and onion in heavy sauce pan, drain. Stir in remaining ingredients except toppings. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love me a good chocolate chip cookie.  This recipe is not only good, it's perfect!  At least in my opinion.  I've tried lots and lots of chocolate chip cookie recipes.  Since I found this one, I haven't tried another recipe.  And that's been at least 3 years!  These Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies are chewy, chocolatey, and perfectly delicious.  It may just be the last chocolate chip cookie you'll ever use.

1 pound butter
1 ½ cup sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons vanilla
3 eggs
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour
4 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla, eggs, salt and soda. Blend in flour well. Fold in chocolate chips. Divide dough in 2. Roll each half into a log 1 inch thick. Cut into disks ½ inch thick. You can also just drop the dough by the spoonful and press down slightly. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Recipe adapted from World Wide Ward Cookbook.

Cold Chicken Salad

I have had this recipe for close to 10 years. It was served at a baby shower when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. There are so many ways to serve it. I have used it in croissants, wraps, in lettuce bowls, or just plain. Very tasty anyway you eat it.

3 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1/4 cup water chestnuts
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup celery, sliced
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups Chinese noodles

Mix chicken, water chestnuts, celery, almonds, green onions, grapes, salt and pepper. Mix lemon juice and mayonnaise. Just before serving add sauce and Chinese noodles to chicken mixture.

Strawberry Fluff

I absolutely love this stuff! I got the recipe out of a ward cookbook a couple of years ago and make it often when strawberries are in season. It makes a great salad or desert. I personally use it for a salad. I like how well the tart of the strawberries compliment the sweet of everything else. It is also delicious with orange Jell-O and mandarin oranges in place of the strawberry Jell-O and strawberries.

2 (3 oz) packages tapioca pudding (I use Jell-O brand)
1 (3 oz) strawberry gelatin
1 (8 oz) container cool whip
1 cup sliced strawberries
3 cups water

Bring water to a boil and add tapioca and Jell-O. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour into an 8 x 8 inch pan. Let cool in the fridge, but not set up. When cool, add cool whip and strawberries. Stir until blended well. Refrigerate until set.
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