Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Andes Peppermint Crunch Cookies by Andes



1 cup unsalted butter, softened **all I had was salted and they turned out great
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut** we left it out b/c my hubby doesn't like coconut
1 1/2 cups Andes mint baking chips
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2 Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
3 Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
4 On low speed, add baking soda and salt, and then flour. Mix completely.
5 Stir in oats, coconut, pecans, and Andes baking chips.
6 Measure out 2 tablespoons for large or 1 tablespoons for small cookies. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet two inches apart. Press lightly.
7 Sprinkle some of the remaining chips (from the 10 oz. bag) on top of each cookie.
8 Bake for 20 minutes for large cookies or 12-15 minutes for small. Do not overbake.

In my opinion: These are absolutely wonderful!! I will be making these every Christmas for sure. You must try them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fun Christmas Cookies


On my family blog, I listed 40+ things to do with your family for the Christmas holidays. Included are several great cookie recipes for kids. Check out the post here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bubbles

Bubbles (not edible) by Robin Ward

My Godmother gave me a wonderful cookbook for Christmas. It was put together by Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Allen, Texas. That's my other aunt and uncle's church. I flipped right to the back and found some neat stuff for kids. Enjoy and have fun with your kids!

6 c water
3/4 c corn syrup
2 c dishwashing liquid (Joy works best)

Mix together and let set 4 hours to let bubbles settle. Put the bubble solution in a shallow pan and use fly swatters as bubble wands.

Christmas Pinecones

Christmas Pinecones
Soak pinecones in any of the following solutions. When the pinecones are thrown into your fireplace fire, they will burn different colors.

1/2 lb soda to 1/2 gallon water OR
1/2 lb borax to 1/2 gallon water OR
1/2 lb salt to 1/2 gallon water

After soaking pinecones overnight, remove from solution and place in mesh bags to dry thoroughly.

Classic Salt Dough Recipe

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
Directions:
1. Mix salt and flour.
2. Add in half the water, then gradually add the remaining water.
3. Knead until the dough is smooth, this can take up to 10 minutes.
4. For flat dough ornaments roll out the dough on baking paper Or be creative and make odd shapes and wreaths (takes longer to bake)
Create: Use cookie cutters, cut-out templates, or just use your hands.Dust dough with flour and begin to add details to the ornaments with a toothpick, popsicle stick, and knife. Don't Forget: Use a straw to make a hole so you can hang the ornament.
Baking: Time varies based on thickness of ornamentTemperature: 325 degreesTime: 1 1/2 hours - or until dry
Decorate: Let cool before you beginPaint with acrylic paintsGlue on beads, buttons, or any fun accessoryPreservation: Making them last a long timeCoat with acrylic varnish when everything is dry

Graham Cracker Toffee


Yesterday at work we had a bake-off. My friend, Gretchen, made these fabulous toffee bites. I hope she doesn't mind, but I have to post this recipe.


2 sticks butter
1/2 c. sugar
chopped pecans
1 box graham crackers

Melt butter and sugar together on stove and boil for 2 minutes; arrange graham crackers on a foil lined cookie sheet, pour hot mixture evenly over the crackers, sprinkle with pecans, Bake in oven at 350 for 8-9 minutes!! Cool and break into pieces

If you want to add chocolate I found this recipe on eatboutique.com:
■About 12 whole (24 squares), (honey) graham crackers (perforated) broken into quarter sections
■1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
■3/4 C light brown sugar
■3/4 C chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
■3/4 C Chocolate chips
■1T milk
Line up the 44 pieces in a jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet with low sides), sides touching. Over low heat melt butter. Stir in the sugar – simmer (not boil) about 10 minutes – until it melts. Occasionally stir. Pour mix over crackers – spread evenly. Sprinkle w/nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Cool & separate onto aluminum foil.

Over low heat melt chocolate chips and stir in milk. Top crackers with ribbons of melted chocolate by dribbling off a spoon. Add more milk if chocolate is too thick to form a ribbon. Package and give away to friends!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Iced Pumpkin Scones by Cookie Madness Blog

I found this recipe on the Cookie Madness Blog.
Picture coming soon


2 cups all-purpose flour (9 oz) — spoon and sweep carefully
7 tablespoons granulated sugar sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Spiced Icing
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl or in bowl of food processor. Cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly.

3. Whisk pumpkin, half and half, and egg together in a mixing bowl. Pour the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and shape into a ball.

4. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick 9×3 inch rectangle. **NOTE from Stephanie: I read this wrong and patted it out to almost 9x13. I cut it into many smaller pieces since I have many small hands in my home.

5. Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.

6. Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Make Glaze: Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone. This should give you more than enough glaze!

When the glaze has set, make the icing. Melt the butter in bowl. Gradually add the sugar and stir until moistened with butter. Add the milk and stir to get a drizzling consistency. Stir in the spices. Drizzle this decoratively over the glazed scones.

Makes 6 big scones

In my opinion: I've never had scones so I don't know how these compare to others. I do know I enjoyed the pumpkin flavor.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Crunch Chex


1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal
2 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Chex® cereal
8 oz pecans


1.In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwavable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.
2.Microwave uncovered on High 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.
16 servings (1/2 cup each)

In my opinion: I love pumpkin flavored food, and I love Chex mix so these made a fabulous combination. I would like a little more pumpkin flavor so next time I might try adding some pumpkin puree.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Breadstick Bones by Pillsbury


The original recipe can be found here, but I found it much easier to buy a package of garlic breadsticks and do it my own way. Plus, the garlic breadsticks makes 16.

can of Pillsbury garlic breadsticks
pizza sauce for dipping
Creamy Italian dressing for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Open can of breadsticks. Roll out on baking sheet and cut in half, horizontally, making 16 sticks.
3. Pick up one breadstick, stretch out the ends so the dough will be thinner and cook evenly. Tie each end in a knot. Place on baking sheet.
4. Follow can directions for baking.
5. Serve with desired sauces.

In my opinion: These were a huge hit with my kids. I chose the Creamy Italian dressing because I used to work in a family run Italian restuarant and they served Creamy Italian with their breadsticks. Yummy!
In my opinion

Monday, October 25, 2010

Snickerdoodle Chex Mix

The original recipe is posted here, but we didn't think much of the popcorn in the mix, and my husband doesn't like chocolate (I know, weird), so we created our own recipe:

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal
2 cups Honey Chex
1/2 c pecans or almond halves
1/4 cup butter or margarine

The cinnamon and sugar mixture blends in more evenly when it's sprinkled on the cereal mixture a half at a time.

1. In small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals and nuts.
2. In 1-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.
3. Microwave uncovered on High 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture evenly over cereal mixture; stir. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture; stir. Microwave 1 minute longer. Spread on waxed paper or paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

In my opinion: I really liked these! There are so many new flavors to choose from, I can't wait to try them all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Dip in Crock Pot




adapted from several recipes

4 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1 c canned pumpkin pie mix (I think I may have used the whole can, I can't remember).
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 T cinnamon
chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
pretzels, apple slices, gingersnaps, etc.. for dipping

1. Add the first 5 ingredients, in order to your little dipper Crock Pot.
2. Cover and cook for about an hour, then stir well. If cream cheese isn't fully melted, cook a little longer.
3. Garnish with nuts, if desired.

In my opinion: This was a great dip and mostly healthy. My kids loved it as an after school snack.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aunt Peggy's Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion Salad by Paula

1 pound cucumbers (about 2 cucumbers), peeled and thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
In a large serving bowl, toss together the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Let the salad stand for 10 minutes before serving.

In my opinion: I have only had a Cucumber, Tomato, Onion salad once so I am no expert, but I think this recipe needs a lot of salt. It was just bland to me and a little heavy on the onions.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baked Apple French Toast by Taste of Home


I have been doing a lot of planning lately. That includes planning traditional holiday meals. I always thought a French Toast casserole would be a great idea for Easter morning and maybe a few other holidays so I've been collecting a lot of great recipes. I tried this one last Saturday and thought it was amazing.

20 slices French bread (1 inch thick)NOTE-you could bake 2-3 tubes of Pillsbury Italian loaf bread
1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling
8 eggs
2 cups 2% milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

TOPPING:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons corn syrup

1. Arrange 10 slices of bread in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Spread with pie filling; top with remaining bread. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, place brown sugar in a small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and corn syrup. Sprinkle over French toast.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yield: 10 servings.

It even tastes great reheated several days later.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin White Chocolate Drops by TLC

These are my new favorite cookies! They may even be my new pumpkin dessert!

Yields about 6 dozen!

2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 can (about 16 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips
1 container (16 ounces) cream cheese frosting
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
*Substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon each ground allspice and ground nutmeg for 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
*orange Wilton cake decorator's icing color
*sprinkles

1.Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease cookie sheets.
2.Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until well blended. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda; beat just until blended. * I added orange coloring just because! Stir in white chocolate chips.
3.Drop dough by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 16 minutes or until set and bottoms are browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
4.Combine frosting and brown sugar in small bowl. *Again, I added orange icing coloring because pumpkin things should be orange, right? Spread on warm cookies.NOTE: 72 cookies is a lot of spreadin' so next time I'll put the icing in a decorator's bag and pipe it onto the cookies!

Optional: Let the kids mess up your kitchen by sprinkling sprinkles on them!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Witch's Finger Cookies by Woman's Day



1 can (8 oz) almond paste
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 cup each green, orange and violet melting wafers (Wilton Candy Melts)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Recipe Preparation
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Have baking sheets ready.

2. In large bowl, with electric mixer, beat almond paste and sugar until well blended. Add butter; beat until blended. Beat in egg, vanilla and almond extracts. With mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt just until blended.

3. Divide dough into three equal pieces. On lightly floured work surface, roll each piece into a 24-in. long rope. Cut each rope into six 4-in.-long pieces. Place about 1 in. apart on baking sheets. NOTE from Aggieland Mommy: I did not roll each piece into a 24" long rope. I just pulled off pieces that were smaller than a ping pong ball and rolled them out. They worked fine. I made 38 3" fingers.

4. Bake 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove sheets to wire rack to cool 5 minutes, then remove cookies to rack to cool completely.

5. To decorate:Line baking sheet with wax paper. Melt candy melts according to package directions. Stir in oil and transfer to narrow glasses or cups. Hold cookie by one end and dip into candy melts. Let excess drip off then place on baking sheet and attach sliced almond for fingernail. Chill in refrigerator 5 to 10 minutes, until firm

Note: I am not sure why you have to use the oil. I have used these melts hundreds of times. Also, when the candy is just about set, you can use a toothpick or fork to score little wrinkle lines in the knuckle areas. So cute!

Caramel Apples in the Crock Pot by A Year of Slow Cooking Blog


--caramel candies. This time of year in the produce section, there should be bags of soft caramel complete with popsicle stick handles.
--apples (one bag of caramel makes 4 large apples)
--nuts/sprinkles
--2 T water

The Directions.

1. Use a 1.5 quart or larger crockpot---I used a 4 quart.

2. Unwrap all of the caramel, and add them and 2 tablespoons of water to the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours, checking every 20 minutes or so. The caramel is ready when it is shiny and can be stirred easily. Note from Aggieland Mommy- Definitely check the caramel often. I took a nap and let the caramel cook too long. The kids didn't know the difference, but I did.

3. Put the popsicle sticks into the apples by the stems. Use a spoon to ladle the caramel over the apple, and swirl to completely cover the whole thing. Dip into chopped nuts or sprinkles if desired.

4. Let cool on parchment paper or Release foil. This is important...if you use regular foil, spray it first!

Creamy Nutmeg Chicken by Fix It and Forget It Cookbook


Picture found on allrecipes.com

6 boneless chicken breast halves
oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 10 3/4-ounce cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary

1. Brown chicken in skillet in oil. Reserve drippings and place chicken in slow cooker.

2. Saute onions and parsley in drippings until onions are tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour over chicken.

3. Cover. Cook on low three hours or until juices run clear. Serve over mashed or fried potatoes, or rice.

In my opinion: This was a delicious meal. The nutmeg definitely reminded me of the flavors of Christmas. It is a meal we'll have again.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Crumble by Betty Crocker


Apple Crumble by Betty Crocker

3 large apples, peeled, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

Topping
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz)® oatmeal cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 300°F. Spray bottom and sides of 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, toss filling ingredients. Spread mixture in baking dish.
2. In same large bowl, stir cookie mix and melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling.
3. Bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with pecans. Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature .
In my opinion: This was so amazing! It was like Apple Heaven with a buttery oatmeal cookie on top. One of my favorties for sure!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buffalo Chex Mix

not to be confused with my Spicy Chex Mix

1 stick butter
2 1/2 T hot wing sauce
1 packet Ranch dressing
2 c Parmesan Cheese Crackers such as Cheese-Its
2 c pretzels
5 c Rice Chex
5 c Corn Chex

1. Preheat oven to 250.
2. Melt butter in large roasting pan. Add hot wing sauce
3. Sprinkle in Ranch seasoning and mix well.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to coat well.
5. Bake at 250 for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

In my opinion: These were good! My husband and I still prefer my spicy recipe, but we ate half the batch in one day, so we obviously liked them.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Apple-Pecan Crisp by Betty Crocker


2/3 cup maple-flavored syrup
1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 large baking apples (about 5 1/2 lb), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 12 cups)
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® oatmeal cookie mix
3/4 cup chopped pecans


1.Heat oven to 375°F.
2.In large bowl, stir together syrup, flour and cinnamon until blended. Add apples; toss until evenly coated. Spread in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish.
3.In same bowl, with pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives in opposite directions), cut butter into cookie mix until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans. Crumble mixture over apples in baking dish.
4.Bake 30 minutes. Very loosely cover with foil; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until apples are tender.

In my opinion: OH MY! A taste of apple Heaven with an oatmeal cookie on top. This one is really rich and didn't last long in my house. You must try this. It was super easy to make and had few dishes to clean up.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caramel Apple-Nut Bars by Betty Crocker


2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup caramel topping
3 tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 medium apple, peeled, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans


1.Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, beat 2 cups flour, the oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and butter with electric mixer on low speed, or mix with spoon, until crumbly. Press about 3 cups of the mixture in pan. Bake 10 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour. Sprinkle apple and pecans over partially baked crust. Drizzle with caramel mixture. Sprinkle with remaining crust mixture.
3.Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows.

In my opinion: These were really good bars. Even my son, aka Mr. Picky, loved them. I think I will use a little more apple and caramel next time.

Cowboy Hash and Eggs, Texas Toast and Salsa by Rachel Ray

This is another recipe that I tried long ago and lost the card for. I made it in November '04, long before I had a houseful of kids. My notes said this was good, but it looks like a lot of steps so I know I won't have time to make this again for a very long time.
12 medium sized mushrooms, quartered
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
8 small red potatoes
3 slices applewood or hickory smoked bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning) or coarse salt and pepper
Hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco), to your taste
2 cups, 8 ounces, shredded sharp Cheddar, pepper jack or smoked Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 extra large eggs
4 thick cut slices bread, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, white, wheat or crusty farmhouse
1 clove garlic, cracked away from skins
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or several drops hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco) Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Yellow Tomato Salsa: Any flavor or variety of store bought salsa that you may have in your pantry is a fine substitute here as well
3 medium or 2 large yellow tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
Salt

Chop all veggies for hash. Pierce potatoes with a fork and cook on high in microwave 5 minutes. Remove potatoes from microwave oven and cool for 5 minutes.

While potatoes are working, add chopped bacon to a large skillet over medium high heat and brown until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain, wipe pan and return to heat.

Preheat your broiler to high. Preheat a nonstick griddle pan for frying eggs over medium heat.

Chop or wedge potatoes. Add oil to the skillet which you returned to the heat, then potatoes. Begin to brown and crisp potatoes, 2 minutes on each side. Use this time to chop your salsa ingredients.

Combine salsa in a small bowl and season with salt.

Back to the hash: add the mushrooms to potatoes. Brown mushrooms a minute or 2, then add peppers and onions and season mixture with grill seasoning blend or salt and pepper, then hot sauce. Cook 3 to 5 minutes longer until veggies are just tender and potatoes are cooked through. Turn off heat and add bacon back to the pan. Combine bacon with the veggies then add cheese to the pan to evenly cover the mixture. Tent the skillet with foil to gently melt cheese over vegetables and potatoes and to retain heat.

Add a couple pats, 1/2 tablespoon butter, to preheated griddle pan. Crack extra large eggs on to griddle and fry to desired doneness. Eggs may, of course, be scrambled as well. As you like!

Place thick cut bread under broiler and toast 6 inches from heat on both sides. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a small cup with a clove of garlic and ground cayenne pepper or a few drops of hot sauce. Melt in microwave for 30 seconds.

Brush toast with garlic cayenne butter and sprinkle with parsley. Remove from broiler.

Transfer vegetable and bacon hash to plates. Top each portion with a single fried egg or arrange the fried eggs evenly over the platter. Serve with Texas garlic toast and serve the salsa on the side to compliment either menu item.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Creamy Corn and Turkey Soup by Kraft

I just found this recipe in a stack in my classroom. I first made it in January of '05. Thank goodness I make notes on my recipes because I don't even remember making this. My notes said that I used chicken and I might use more cream cheese next time. Overall, this was a good soup and I said I'd have it again. Now that I've found the recipe, I guess I will :)
1/2 cup chopped onions 1 Red pepper, chopped, divided
2 Tbsp. Butter or margarine
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
1 can (14.75 oz.) cream-style corn
2 cups Chicken broth
3/4 cup Milk
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

COOK onions and half the red peppers in butter in large saucepan on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.

ADD cream cheese; cook on low heat 3 to 4 min. or until melted, stirring constantly. Stir in turkey, corn, broth and milk.

COOK 5 min. or until soup is heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with remaining red peppers and black pepper.
Kraft Kitchens TipsSubstitutePrepare using PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese.Special ExtraFor more robust flavor, roast and peel the red peppers before chopping. Add to soup along with the turkey. Or, use drained, jarred roasted red peppers instead.

Make AheadSoup can be made ahead of time. Cool, then refrigerate up to 2 days. Reheat before serving.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monoprint Painting



I saw this on Family Fun and thought it would be great for my kids:
Materials
Washable, nontoxic tempera paint
Cookie sheet
2 large pieces of paper
Cotton swabs, plastic utensils

Instructions

To start, ask your child to squeeze blobs of washable nontoxic tempera paint onto a cookie sheet.

Lay a large piece of paper on top of the paint and have her smooth it down with the palms of her hands. Lift off the paper, then lay the print flat to dry.

Next, encourage your tot to make designs with her fingers, a cotton swab, or a plastic utensil in the smooth surface of the paint that remains on the cookie sheet. Lift off additional prints on clean sheets of paper. You can add more paint as desired

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lime Chicken Soft Tacos by allrecipes.com

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was going to make this, only she was going to make the chicken in the Crock Pot. She was making lime rice to go along, I'll have to ask her how she made the rice. I can't wait to try the tacos.


1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
10 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup salsa

Directions
1.Saute chicken in a medium saucepan over medium high heat for about 20 minutes. Add vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, green onion, garlic and oregano. Simmer for an extra 10 minutes.
2.Heat an iron skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan, warm, and turn over to heat the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve lime chicken mixture in warm tortillas topped with tomato, lettuce, cheese and salsa.

Notes from my friend who made this in the Crock Pot: We really liked it. I ended up adding more of the flavorings (lime, cilantro, garlic, sugar) toward the end. I put it in (on low) around 9 am and turned it off at 4:30 pm or so. I think next time I'll put it on a little later (the edges had some burnt spots). It was really good and shredded easily with a fork. We all decided it's definitely a recipe to repeat often.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Cutest Things

Lately I've been visiting a lot of other cooking and baking blogs. I stumbled upon Bakerella and until tonight, I thought it was just another good baking blog. Today's post blew me away. The author has created the most adorable cake pops and now she has a book coming out this fall. Please go check out her amazing creations!
Bunko-The cutest things! Oh, I already said that. But they are!

Rudolph

Frosty
There are MANY, MANY more......





You can join her group on Facebook, too! If you haven't already, join Aggieland Mommy Cooks on FB as well.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goofy Goo by McCormick



This is definitely for older kids.

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons white glue
2 tablespoons water
Paper cups
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon borax laundry booster
McCormick® Assorted Food Colors and Egg Dye or McCormick® Assorted NEON! Food Colors and Egg Dye

DIRECTIONS
1. Mix glue with 2 tablespoons water in a paper cup.
2. In another paper cup, mix 1/4 cup water, borax and 10 drops of food color.
3. Stir 2 tablespoons of the borax mixture into glue mixture until well blended. It's fun to play with in your hands! Store in an airtight container.
TipsTest Kitchen Tip: To avoid stained hands, wear latex gloves

Playtime Pasta by McCormick



This looks like hours and hours of fun!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Dry Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS
Assorted uncooked pasta shapes, such as ziti, macaroni, shells, bow-ties or rotelle
White vinegar
McCormick® Assorted Food Colors and Egg Dye or McCormick® Assorted NEON! Food Colors and Egg Dye
Small resealable plastic bags

DIRECTIONS
1. Put a handful of pasta, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 to 3 drops food color into a resealable plastic bag. Shake until pasta is tinted.
2. Spread pasta on paper plate or paper bag to dry.
3. Tint pasta different colors in separate bags.
Kitchen Tip: For pasta necklaces, use pasta with holes in the middle for stringing - like ziti or rotelle (wagon wheels). String them together with yarn.

Colored Desert by McCormick


Do your kids love to play with colored sand? Mine do. Here is how you and your kids can make it at home:
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Dry Time: Overnight

INGREDIENTS
White sand or salt
Jars with lids
McCormick® Assorted Food Colors and Egg Dye or McCormick® Assorted NEON! Food Colors and Egg Dye
Clear jars or containers

DIRECTIONS
1. Pour sand or salt into jars with lids.
2. Add a few drops of food color to each jar and replace lid.
3. Shake like crazy!
4. Open the jar and let sand or salt dry overnight.
5. Pour layers of different colored sand or salt into a decorative jar or vase.

Kool Aid Play Doh


Image found on Google

Ingredients:
• 1 1/4 cup flour
• 1/4 cup salt
• 1 pkg unsweetened Kool-aid (just the dry koolaid, don't mix it into juice)
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:
1. In a bowl, mix flour, salt and kool-aid.
2. Stir in water and oil
3. Knead with hands for about 5 minutes.
4. Store in ziploc bag for up to 2 months.
5. Use like playdough.
6. Smells wonderful and takes on the color of the koolaid.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

SOUTHWESTERN MONTEREY JACK & SHELLS by Land O'Lakes



Preparation time: 20 min Baking time: 30 min
Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings

Casserole Ingredients:
7 ounces (3 cups) uncooked dried pasta shells
1 pint (2 cups) LAND O LAKES® Half & Half*
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 cups) LAND O LAKES® Jalapeño Jack Cheese, shredded

Topping Ingredients:
1/3 cup crushed nacho-flavored tortilla chips

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish with no-stick cooking spray.

2. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain.

3. Heat half & half in 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until half & half just comes to a boil (3 to 4 minutes). Add cream cheese, stirring until mixture is smooth and thickened (2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in green chiles and salt. Add cooked pasta; toss to coat.

4. Spread half of pasta mixture evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish; top with half jalapeño jack cheese. Repeat layer once with remaining ingredients.

5. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over top of casserole. If freezing, skip this step until time to put in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

*Substitute 2 cups milk.


In my opinion: We love this cheesy dish. I have been looking for the recipe all summer. I thought I must have left it in my classroom, but after searching there, I went through my cookbooks and found that I never copied it to a card. I can't wait to make it again.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paula Deen's Baked Spaghetti


2 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 small bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup grated Monterey Jack
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


1. In a stockpot, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar, and bay leaves.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
3. Crumble the ground beef in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until fully cooked, with no pink color remaining. Drain the fat from the meat, and then add the ground beef to the stockpot.
4. Simmer for 20 more minutes.
5. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
6. Cover the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with sauce. Add a layer of pasta and then a little less than 1/2 of each cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce.
7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese, return it to the oven, and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 more minutes. Cut into squares before serving.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ease of Preparation: Easy

In my opinion: Everybody loves a Paula Deen recipe, right? I mean, I have tried about 50 of her recipes so far. I did love this one, but I'll have to admit, with 4 small children, it is a bit time consuming. I also made a note on my recipe card that it dirties a LOT of dishes. It might be worth while to double the recipe and freeze one.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Penne with Tomato and Smoked Cheese by Betty Crocker


3 cups uncooked penne pasta (9 oz)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups Alfredo pasta sauce
1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese (4 oz)

1.Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray 1 1/2-quart casserole with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
2.Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat tomatoes to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cook uncovered 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated.
3.In 2-quart saucepan, heat Alfredo sauce over medium-low heat until warm. Stir in cheese until melted. Mix sauce, pasta and tomatoes. Pour into casserole.
4.Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until hot in center.

In my opinion: This was a good pasta dish. We haven't had it in a long time, it's time to try it again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Biscuits

by my friend Terri
Picture coming soon.

This recipe can easily be doubled and divided into 4 8x8 pans.

1/3 c chopped green pepper
1/3 c chopped onion
3 T butter
1/4 c flour
1 1/2 c milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 c cooked cubed chicken (I always cook tons of chicken, chop it, and divide it into baggies to have on-hand in the freezer. You can get enough for 4-6 meals and clean the pan once.
1 c frozen peas
2 tubes regrigerated biscuits (or keep the frozen biscuits on hand)
3/4 c shredded Cheddar cheese
**I might add 4 oz sliced mushrooms if I have them on hand'

Preheat oven to 425.
1. In a large saucepan, saute green pepper and onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended.
2. Gradually add milk and soup; whisk until blended. **Add mushrooms if you are going to.
3. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
4. Stir in chicken and peas. Transfer to a greased 13x9 (or 4 8x8s if recipe is doubled).
5. Separate biscuits and arrange over the top. Note-sometimes I buy one tube and split the biscuits in half horizontally.
6. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Directions for freezing: Follow steps 1-4. Let cool completely and cover with foil. Write cooking directions on the foil and then freeze. To cook, just thaw TO ROOM TEMP (or the biscuits will not cook thoroughly) and bake at 425 until mixture is warm, about 10-12 minutes. Add biscuits & cheese (steps 5&6), and bake until biscuits are done.

In my opinion: We love this recipe. We have it really often and never get tired of it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Feta and Spinach Lasagna Rolls



This is a "cook in bulk and freeze" meal. I got the recipe from my friend, Julia, when I heard that she and some other friends were doing this together, and I anticipated how busy my nights were going to be once Stephen had to go back to working 12-9. As if our work schedule wasn't enough to make you tired, Lauren has dance on Mondays and Girl Scouts every other Thursday, and I've signed Caleb up for soccer. I still have no idea how I am going to shuttle all 4 kids to these places, and on those nights when we'll be getting home just in time for dinner, I am going to turn to my good ol' friend, Crock Pot. But on the other nights, I'll be pulling pre-made meals from my freezer and so I tried this recipe.

3 1/2 (16 oz) boxes lasagna noodles **** see note below
24 oz crumbled feta cheese (5 c)
32 oz low-fat cottage cheese
32 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
1 c shredded Asiago cheese (4 oz)
1 c shredded Parmesan cheese
2 t black pepper
15 oz frozen chopped spinach, water squeezed out and leaves broken apart

Tools:
8 one-gallon freezer bags, labeled
Large bowl (5 quarts)
Stockpot for boiling noodles
strainer?
baking sheet
****pastry bag(s)

What you need for preparing the meal:
2 c marinara or pasta sauce (or more to taste)
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese (or more to taste)

1. Working in batches, boil noodles until flexible enough to roll, but not completely cooked.
2. Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients, except spinach, in large bowl. Stir in spinach leaves last.
3. Place partially cooked noodles on a clean work surface in a single layer (do not overlap). I used a piece of foil. Measure how long 4 lasagna noodles would be if lined up end-to-end.
4. Spread about 3 T filling down the length of each noodle. I cut the noodle in half vertically first. Roll noodle and place seam side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Place rolls in the freezer for 30 minutes.
5. Divide frozen rolls evenly among the freezer bags. Seal and refreeze.

*******This procedure was taking a super long time, and the noodles seemed too narrow to me. My hands were covered in filling from trying to roll the noodles. As I was nearing the end of 3 hours of boiling noodles, arranging the filling "just so", and rolling them, it dawned on me that 1) I could use a pastry bag to fill the noodles, and 2)instead of the time spent on rolling hte lasagna noodles and partially freezing them, I could have used canolli/manicotti noodles! This epiphany came from working with Nancy and Charlie at their family Italian restaurant. It would have saved SO much time.

When preparing:
Use a 9x13 when preparing 10 rolls.
1. Place lasagna rolls in a greased baking dish. Cover with foil; completely thaw in refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Pour 2 c marinara over rolls and top with mozzarella; replace foil.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center is hot and cheese is melted.

In my opinion: These were really, really good! I think I'll use more pasta sauce next time, but I like my pasta smothered in sauce. I don't think I'll get tired of eating all 7 bags that are left in the freezer.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cherry Almond Blonde Brownies by Land O'Lakes


2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
Drizzle Ingredients:
2 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet baking chocolate (or white)
1 teaspoon shortening

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine brown sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add eggs and almond extract; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking powder; beat until well mixed. Stir in almonds and cherries.
3. Press or spread mixture into greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake for 28 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is set. Cool completely.
4. Combine chocolate and shortening in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Drizzle over brownies. Cut into bars.

In my opinion: These bars were really yummy! I think next time I'll add white chocolate to the batter before baking.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Orange Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting by Paula Deen



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure orange extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 recipe Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.
Orange Brownies:
Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, allow to cool and pierce entire cake with a fork. Spread the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting over completely cooled brownies. Cut into squares.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together with a hand-held electric mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until it is all combined and smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice. Spread over brownies.
Yield: enough frosting for 1 batch of brownies
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Orange Pecan Cookies by Paula Deen

1 c butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 T orange zest
2 T fresh orange juice
1 large egg
2 3/4 c a.p. flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c finely chopped pecans

1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in orange zest and OJ. Add egg, beating until combined.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour through salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined. Beat in pecans. Divide dough in half. Shape each dough half into 2" wide log. Wrap each in parchment paper. Chill for at least 8 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Cut dough into 1/4" (thin) slices. Place on baking sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove from pans and cook completely on wire racks. Store in airtight container for up to one week.

In my opinion: These were good cookies. The texture resembled shortbread cookies.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Bars by Baker's Chocolate



1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened, divided
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
1 egg yolk
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1 cup PLANTERS Chopped Pecans, toasted


1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Lightly grease foil; set aside. Beat 3/4 cup each of the butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Blend in egg yolk. Add flour and salt; mix well. Place in prepared pan; press firmly onto bottom to form crust. Bake 16 to 18 min. or until golden brown.
2. MEANWHILE, place remaining 1/4 cup each butter and brown sugar, the corn syrup, whipping cream and vanilla in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 4 min., stirring every 2 min.; set aside. Cool crust slightly on wire rack. Spread butter mixture evenly over crust.
3. BAKE an additional 18 to 20 min. or until set. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate. Continue baking 1 to 2 min. or until chocolate is melted; spread chocolate evenly over dessert. Sprinkle with pecans. Cool completely. Refrigerate 30 min. or until chocolate is firm. Remove dessert from pan, using foil handles. Cut into 36 bars or diamond shapes. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

In my opinion: These are the BEST bars/cookies I have ever had. I am drooling just thinking about them and now I realize it has been way too long since I had them. So I'll be off to the store tomorrow for the ingredients.

Mustard and Peppercorn Crusted Rib-Eye by Paula Deen


4 large rib-eye steaks (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, at least 6 ounces each)
4 tablespoons brown mustard
4 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
1 to 2 tablespoons finely ground black pepper, optional
Kosher salt

1. Brush rib-eyes with mustard on both sides. In a shallow bowl, or on a plate with a deep center, combine crushed peppercorns, ground pepper, if using, and salt, to taste. Pat pepper mixture onto steaks and crust thoroughly on all sides.

2. Prepare your grill by lightly spraying the grate with non-stick cooking spray and then preheat the grill. When the grill is hot, place the rib-eyes on the grate and cook until desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for rare. Add 1 to 2 minutes for medium-rare and so on. The best way to test steaks for doneness is to poke it with your index finger; rare will be soft, medium-rare will be slightly less soft, and so forth. Never flip a steak more than once; let it cook for half the total cook time before flipping. Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes in a warm place before serving.

In my opinion: Holy Moly, this was fabulous! My hubby put a little too much seasoning on it, but it scraped off easily. This will be a regular on our grill.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Golden Amaretto Cake from Spirit of Christmas cookbook

1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 c amaretto
6 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water
1/4 t almond extract
6 T amaretto
1 c confectioners sugar, sifted

1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 7 ingredients in mixing bowl and blend well.
2. Pour into 2 greased and lightly floured 6 cup gelatin molds (I used 2 cake pans).
3. Bake 40-45 minutes until done.
4. Combine 6 T amaretto and confectioners sugar. While cakes are still warm in molds, poke holes in cakes; pour liqueur over. Allow to cool in molds 2 hours.

In my opinion: This was pretty good. I think I am more of a frosting girl so I would describe this as more of a coffee cake. Next time I'll make an amaretto buttercream frosting. My neighbor really liked it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Slow-Cooker Chicken Gumbo by Robin Miller



1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (10-ounce) package frozen okra, thawed
2 links andouille sausage, diced
1 cup chopped onions
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups reduced-sodium tomato juice
2 cups cooked rice

In a slow-cooker, combine the chicken and all remaining ingredients except the rice. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Serve over rice.

In my opinion: This was my first time to make Gumbo and I've only eaten it once (a long time ago). I thought this was really easy to make, just chop everything up and toss it in. The flavors were just wonderful. We will definitely have this again and again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Couscous with Mushrooms by The Deen Brothers

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces white mushrooms, quartered and thinly sliced
1 medium (about 1 cup) Vidalia onion, finely chopped (I used a white onion)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked couscous (found in stores near the rice)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves, optional, for garnish

1. Heat the oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes more.

2. Add the chicken broth and the salt. Bring to a boil and stir in the couscous. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover it, and let it stand until all the liquid is absorbed, about 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Uncover and fluff the couscous with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the basil, if desired, and serve immediately.

In my opinion: This was the first time I have ever made couscous. The first time I ate it was when a friend brought me a meal after having my 4th baby. She mixed fresh rosemary in hers and it was wonderful. This recipe was wonderful too! My husband liked it and he doesn't like mushrooms. It was pretty easy to make, I actually chopped the mushrooms into smaller pieces. We had it with chicken and salad but it is a great rice substitute with any meal.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raspberry Bars by Bisquick


2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup raspberry spreadable fruit, jam or preserves

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Grease square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Mix Bisquick mix, oats and brown sugar in large bowl. Cut in butter, using fork or pastry blender, until mixture is crumbly.
2. Press half of the crumbly mixture in pan. Spread fruit over crumbly mixture to within 1/4 inch of edges. Top with remaining crumbly mixture; press gently into fruit.
3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown; cool. For 24 bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows
In my opinion: What a super simple recipe! Who doesn't keep Bisquick on hand?
These are in my oven now so check back for my review.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Grilled Rosemary & Garlic Red Potatoes

This is something I came up with on my own. They turned out great.

1 1/2 lbs red potatoes (washed)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
rosemary (fresh is best but I used dried)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut potatoes, if necessary, to the size of the smallest potatoes so they will cook evenly. Place potaotes in a grill pan. Drizzle with olive oil (enough to cover potatoes).
2. Press 1 garlic clove over the potatoes.
3. Salt and pepper to taste. Add rosemary (rub dried rosemary in your hands to awaken the flavors).
4. Toss until coated.
5. Place on the grill for approximately 12-15 minutes, stirring, if necessary, to keep from burning. When the potatoes are easy to penetrate with a fork, they are ready.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Join me on Facebook

Welcome!
I love to collect and try new recipes. In the past, I didn't have a good place to keep recipes I had tried or even new concoctions I came up with. I go through phases of collecting different types of food, such as Crock Pot recipes or freezer friendy recipes. Now I post them here and make them available to anyone else who loves cooking and baking.

Feel free to join 'Aggieland Mommy Cooks' on Facebook and please share your favorites or your cooking blogspot as well.

Buffalo Blue Cheese Chicken Sandwich by Betty Crocker




1 3/4 lb ground chicken (found with the ground turkey)
1/4 cup Buffalo wing sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 3 drops red pepper sauce
6 burger buns, split
6 leaves green leaf lettuce
1/4 cup refrigerated chunky blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (weskipped this)

1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. Carefully brush oil on grill rack. In large bowl, mix chicken, wing sauce, salt and pepper sauce.
2. Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch patties, each about 4 inches in diameter. Place on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 12 minutes or until thermometer inserted in center of patty reads 165°F.
3. Place buns on grill, cut sides down. Cover grill; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted. Place lettuce and patty on bottom of each bun. In small bowl, stir together dressing and blue cheese. Top patties with dressing mixture and tops of buns.

In my opinion: These were pretty good. The chicken was a little dry...not sure why.

Garlic Grilled Tomatoes by Paula Deen



4 ripe red tomatoes
House Seasoning, recipe follows
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise, season with House Seasoning. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook until just starting to turn golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the garlic and oil into a heatproof bowl.

2. Oil the grill and set for high heat. Place the tomatoes cut side down and grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over, top with the garlic oil mixture and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from grill and top with thyme, House Seasoning and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.


House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

In my opinion: These tomatoes were good even though we didn't have any thyme. I watched the video before posting this and Paula salts and peppers her tomatoes after she takes them off the grill. I think we'll do that next time.

Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake a la mode by Paul Deen


1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 slices pound cake
Raspberries, for topping
Nuts, for topping
Whipped cream, for topping

1. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juice and 6 pineapple rings (save remaining juice and pineapple for another use).

2. Combine butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

3. Brush half of the mixture on both sides of pineapple rings and cake slices.

4. On an uncovered grill over medium heat, cook pineapple and cake for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown, brushing occasionally with remaining pineapple juice mixture.

5. Top each slice of cake with a pineapple ring. Top with raspberries, nuts and whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately

In my opinion: This was a yummy dessert. It said "a la mode" so we added a little scoop of vanilla ice cream. My 5 year old asked for more.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Easy BBQ Ribs by Kraft

4 lbs pork ribs
1 c BBQ sauce


1. CUT ribs into 2-rib sections.
2. PLACE ribs in Dutch oven or stockpot. Add enough water to completely cover ribs; cover with lid. Bring to boil; simmer on medium-low heat 20 min. Drain.
3. HEAT grill to medium heat. Grill ribs 10 min. or until done, turning occasionally and brushing generously with barbecue sauce

In my opinion: We've never made ribs before so we don't have much to compare to, but not only were these EASY to make, they tasted fabulous! I'm not sure that there's a need to try another recipe.

Friday, July 2, 2010

4th of July



So what are you having for the 4th?

Down here in the South, we like to grill so, weather permitting, here are some ideas for your 4th feast:
Decorations-
tablecloths
festive lights
red, white, and blue ribbons
red, white, and blue candles
star shaped ice cubes (add confetti inside before freezing)

Breakfast-
Star shaped pancakes topped with whipped cream, berries, and red, white, and blue sprinkles along with "stripes" of bacon

Lunch/Dinner-
Ribs, steak, sausage/brats, or burgers
Dessert-
Strawberry Shortcake by Paula Deen
Fruit pizza made with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Cobbler
S'Mores

Fun for the kids-
Rice Krispie treats made with red, white, and blue sprinkles OR M&Ms, then cut out with star cookie cutters and drizzled with red, white, and blue icing or melted candy melts
Red or blue Kool-Aid
Red or blue Jell-o or Jell-o jigglers

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Homemade Crayons and Tye-Dye Candles

This is another idea from iMOM.com

1.When you have accumulated a box full of broken crayons you can gather them up and evenly distribute them (without the wrapper) into a small muffin tin.
2.Bake them in the oven at 200 degrees until the wax is fully melted.
3.Remove the tray from the oven and set it in the freezer for half an hour.
4.Once the wax hardens and cools you should be able to easily remove little "crayon cookies" from the tin.
(If you would like you can add some glitter to the mix before you bake them for a little more sparkle.)

To create tie-dye candles you can follow the same baking instructions above, and use the melted crayon wax to dip small white candles in. You can find the candles in the ethnic food aisle of your local grocery store or at the dollar store. The wax creates a tie-dye effect and you can accentuate the waves by tracing them with glue and adding glitter or acrylic rhinestone jewels.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Make Your Own Play-Doh

This is another idea sent to me by iMOM.com

Recipe #1

•1 cup flour
•1/2 cup salt
•1/2 cup water
•A few drops of food coloring

1.Measure out 1 cup of four, and pour it into a bowl.
2.Measure out 1/2 cup of salt, and add that to the bowl.
3.Add 1/2 cup of water to the above mixture.
4.Mix until mushy.
5.Add a few drops of food coloring, and then knead the dough. (Add more food coloring for more intense color.)
Recipe #2

•3 cups flour
•1 cup cold water
•1 cup salt
•2 tablespoons cornstarch
•2 teaspoons vegetable oil
•A few drops of food coloring
1.In bowl, mix water, salt, oil, and food coloring to make a bright color.
2.Gradually add flour and cornstarch until the mixture becomes doughy.
Recipe #3

•1½ cup flour
•1 cup salt
•1/2 cup water
•2 tablespoon oil
•A few drops of food coloring
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ice Sculpting for kids


Picture from Family Fun website

I received this idea from iMOM.com

1.Start your preparations for your ice sculpting at least 10 hours in advance.
2.Fill plastic containers, ice trays, muffin trays, or milk cartons with water and add a couple droplets of food coloring.
3.Store them in the freezer and wait until the water is frozen solid.
4.When you are ready to start building, take the objects outside and have your kids help remove the ice from the containers.
5.Let your children try stacking, sorting and building with the ice.

Stephanie's idea: For more fun, use shaped ice trays such as stars (found at Wal-Mart around the 4th of July) or hearts, etc..... (found at IKEA or craft stores such as Hobby Lobby)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff by Paula Deen



2 lbs. beef tips (aka stew meat)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 can cream of onion soup
1 (8oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained ** I use pre-sliced fresh mushrooms instead
1 tsp. pepper
1 (8oz) cream cheese
1 (8oz) carton sour cream
1 (16oz) package of egg noodles, cooked and hot

In a slow cooker combine beef tips, onion, onion soup, mushroom soup, mushrooms, and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours (it only took me 6 hours when I prepared this). When done cooking, stir in cream cheese and sour cream and mix until combined. Serve over hot cooked noodles.

In my opinion: This was fabulous! I even loved the leftovers and I am not one for leftovers. I'm putting this at the top of my slow cooker favorites.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Very Cherry Cake by Paula Deen

1 cup butter, softened
1¾ cups sugar
2 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup whole buttermilk
5 egg whites, beaten until stiff
1 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries
Cream Cheese-Cherry Frosting (recipe follows)
Garnish: maraschino cherries

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray three 9-inch baking pans with nonstick baking spray with flour.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add cherry juice and vanilla, beating until combined.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; sift. Gradually add to butter mixture, alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating until combined after each addition. Gently fold in beaten egg whites until mixture is smooth. Gently stir in maraschino cherries.

3. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese-Cherry Frosting evenly in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with maraschino cherries, if desired.

Makes one 9-inch cake


CREAM CHEESE-CHERRY FROSTING

• 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• ¾ cup butter, softened
• ¼ cup maraschino cherry juice
• 6 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Slowly beat in cherry juice until mixture is smooth. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth.

Makes about 4½ cups.

In my opinion: This was a fabulous cake. I think it will become a Valentine's Day tradition.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Welcome!

Welcome to my recipe blog. Please feel free to join my group on Facebook. Just type in, "Aggieland Mommy Cooks."

As you will see on the right, under labels, (scroll down a little) there are lots of categories to choose from.

Feel free to leave a comment about how you found me and what you are looking for. I am currently looking for more, yes MORE Crock Pot and Freezer recipes. Pretty soon I'll be doing the grilling thing again though...well my husband will be...and we'll be looking to try some new recipes on the grill too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Snow Ice Cream


recipe from allrecipes.com

1 gallon snow
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk

When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Serve at once.


Here's one from Paula Deen
8 cups snow, or shaved ice
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place snow or shaved ice into a large bowl. Pour condensed milk over and add vanilla. Mix to combine. Serve immediately in bowls

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars



•2 sticks margarine (or butter if you want to indulge) -- softened
•1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar-- packed
•3 large eggs
•1 teaspoon ground ginger
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1 and 1/2 cups flour
•1/4 cup minced dried cranberries
•1/4 cup Lindt or Perugina or other quality white chocolate -- coarsely chopped
•1/4 cup minced candied ginger


•For Frosting:
•4 ounce cream cheese -- softened
•1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
•2 Tablespoons butter -- softened
•1 teaspoon vanilla


•For Garnish:
•2 Tablespoons minced dried cranberries
•1/3 cup white chocolate chips (e.g. Ghiradelli or Guittard) -- melted
Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

1. Beat butter and sugar together for the cake base, and add eggs/vanilla beating until fluffy. Sift together flour, ginger, and salt and then add to the butter/sugar mixture beating well. Fold in the cranberries, chocolate and ginger. Spread thick batter in pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden.

2. When cake is cooled, mix all frosting ingredients together and spread a thin layer over the cake. Immediately sprinkle with the minced cranberries. Then use a cake decorating bag of melted white chocolate with a tiny decorating tip (like the size used for writing on cakes) and drizzle the chocolate over the cake.

3. Cut this into bars immediately because the white chocolate hardens pretty fast and makes cake cutting messy

In my opinion: These bars are GREAT! I have never had them at Starbuck's so I don't know how they compare, but I loved making them myself. My husband does not like chocolate so I am always looking for white chocolate recipes and this is one we'll make again and again.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Cupid's cups made with lime jello-"Leprechaun's ..."
Dipped marshmallows
Dipped pretzels
Bailey's Irish Cream Cake
TONS of yummy dessert (Bailey's Irish Creme and Creme de Menthe) recipes here.
Irish Coffee Brownies
Irish Cream Bread Pudding
Shamrock Milkshake
Irish Cream Cheesecake
Iced Irish Cream Coffee



Leprechaun Fizz-
Ingredients: • lime sherbert • ginger ale or spriteDirections: 1. One recipe I do every year with my kids, is what I call the "Leprechaun fizz". I just use clear plastic cups, put a scoop of Lime sherbert in each cup, and fill with ginger ale or sprite. It's sickenly sweet to me, but the kids sure love it! The love to watch the green fizz.

Monday, March 8, 2010

St. Patrick's Day



I can't believe St. Patrick's Day is in 9 days. I'm a little late in my planning for fun things to do with my kids. Here are some ideas so far:

Grasshopper Pie (not for the kids)

Leprechaun's Kiss (like Cupid's Cups but using green Jell-O)
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Marshmallows on a stick dipped in melted green candy (Wilton) and with sprinkles added
Green tinted white chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles

More to come....