Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras Everyone! I didn't plan early enough this year for a little Mardi Gras Celebration but I am gathering ideas and recipes for next year.

For us Catholics, Mardi Gras means preparing and feasting for the beginning of Lent tomorrow. That also means I'm dusting off my meatless recipes for meatless Fridays!

So click here to see what I'll be making.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Valentine Treats

Cupid's Cups.

White chocolate covered pretzels!

Abby helped dip some marshmallows.

Caleb's turn.

Lauren's turn!

The final product.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dipped Marshmallows

A girl in my daughter's class brought chocolate dipped marshmallows for everyone so I thought I'd look up the recipe and find some fun V-Day pics. I'd like to dip these in white chocolate for my husband. I found this recipe and picture on the French Knots blog.

And here are some more I found on "Ramblings of a Crazy Woman."

And a few more from Grace Violet.

Don't forget you can also dip pretzel rods too!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

This was sent to me by a friend. It comes from this blog.
shortening for greasing
powdered sugar for dusting
2 1/2 tbsp Knox plain gelatin (a little less than 4 packets)
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp vanilla
1/8 tsp red food coloring
1 tsp peppermint extract
Okay, before you begin: this recipe makes enough to fit a 9X13 glass dish. I made another batch that was half this size, using an 8X8 glass dish, and halving all the ingredients and it worked perfectly as well. Also, a few variations. Want just plain marshmallows? Omit the food coloring and peppermint extract and use 2 tbsp of vanilla instead of just 1. Want chocolate marshmallows? Again, omit the food coloring and peppermint extract, use 2 tbsp of vanilla instead of just 1 and add 1/3 cup cocoa powder right after the sugar mixture combines with the gelatin mixture on low speed.
1. Grease the 9X13 dish with shortening and dust with powdered sugar the same way you would flour cake pans. You’ll have to move the powdered sugar around more with your hands rather than the hitting-the-sides process as with flour. Set aside.
2. Whisk attachment in place, combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the mixing bowl. This needs to sit for 15 minutes, which is about how long the next part will take, so keep on reading!
3. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. (about a minute)
4. Turn the heat up to high and stick your candy thermometer in. Now it’s time to sit back and watch. Heat on high until the temperature is between 242 and 248 degrees F. NO STIRRING, just wait and watch it bubble and smell that sugar! It takes about 10-14 minutes if you make the whole batch, a little less if making a half batch. When between 242 and 248, remove from heat.
5. Back to the mixer, turn speed on to low and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture. Increasing the speed one setting at a time for about 10 seconds each, eventually get to the highest setting on your mixer. It’s wait and watch time again! You’re waiting for the mixture to double-to-triple in size, get a shiny, waxy white color and look really thick. This will take between 10-15 minutes. When it’s done, keep the speed on high and add in the vanilla, red food coloring and peppermint extract. (Um, can I tell you how happy I am that I made these the same shade of pink as my KitchenAid mixer? SO HAPPY).
6. With a spatula, spread evenly into your prepared pan. (Don’t worry about scraping the bowl clean–it’s near impossible because of the stickiness). Dust with more powdered sugar and use your fingers to spread it around. (I love the soft feel of it!) Leave uncovered for about 8-10 hours, or overnight.
7. Do-do-do-do-do, and we’re back! Sleep well? Cover a cutting board with powdered sugar and plop out the giant marshmallow onto it. You can loosen the sides with a knife. With a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, dipped into powdered sugar every time if necessary, cut out the heart shapes. Roll the sides in the powdered sugar so there are no sticky parts left. If you just want to make square marshmallows, dip the knife in powdered sugar and cut to desirable size, again rolling the sides in powdered sugar. Done!!! Store in an airtight container, or package them up in cellophane and go woo someone with a sweet tooth.

Very Raspberry Frappe

I just found this recipe that I had torn out of Better Homes and Gardens last year. I can't wait to try it.
1-1/2 cups frozen or fresh raspberries
3 Tbsp. raspberry liqueur or milk
1 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
2 cups raspberry or other berry gelato or ice cream
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped chocolate bars, crushed shortbread cookies, or chocolate wafer cookies
To top drink: Chocolate bars, shortbread cookies, or chocolate wafer cookies
1. Thaw raspberries, if frozen. Place 1 cup berries in blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Press puréed berries through fine-mesh sieve into bowl. Discard seeds. Add liqueur and jam to pureed berries; whisk until smooth.
2. For frappé, in blender or processor combine berry mixture, gelato, and milk. Cover and blend or process just until combined, stopping blender to scrape down sides as needed. Stir in chopped chocolate or crushed cookies.
3. Divide remaining berries and frappé between two chilled glasses. Top with chocolate or cookies. Serve with long-handled spoons. Makes 2 servings.
2 servings

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken by my friend Jennifer B

2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of cheddar soup
noodles or rice

1. Spray Crock with Pam.
2. Add chicken.
3. Add soups.
4. Cook 7-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
5. Serve over noodles or rice.

In my opinion: This is definitely yummy and easy so we have it often.

Valentine's Day 2010-Edited

Valentine's Day shouts, "Chocolate!!!" but there are so many wonderful treats you can prepare for the day of love. For breakfast last year we made heart shaped pancakes and let the kids spray whipping cream on top, add syrup, and shake on sprinkles. We even had cherries to top them off.

The dessert possibilities are endless. You can prepare fondue or make a cheesecake.

You can make heart, flower, and lip-shaped cookies, Cherry Rice Krispie Treats, or just settle for pink cupcakes.

There's always fudge and truffles.

My husband doesn't like chocolate (I know, he's strange) so I have been collecting white chocolate recipes.
-Here is a Valentine candy bouquet that I made several years ago.
-Don't forget about Creme Brulee or strawberry shortcake.
-For dinner you can make a homemade heart-shaped pizza or heart-shaped breadsticks with a pizza fondue sauce. You could make any type of casserole or chicken pot pie in a heart-shaped pan.
-Whether you are baking for your sweetie, your kids, or a party, you'll find what you're looking for with the resources above! But don't forget, the kids don't really care WHAT you make, it's the time you spend together!
-Let me know if you find a fun site I don't have listed.
Edited to add-This site has Valentine Smoothies that look fabulous (thanks Rebecca).
I also found these fun looking recipes and these "Cupid Cups."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie for Breakfast by Bisquick

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 40 min
Makes: 6 servings

1 lb ground breakfast sausage
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
2. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in salt. Spread in pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.
3. In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients with fork or wire whisk until blended. Pour into pie plate.
4. Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

In my opinion: This was a great dish! I love Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie so it's no wonder.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Italian Sausage Melt by Betty Crocker

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 45 min
Makes: 4 servings (1 cup each)
1 1/4 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons very hot water
1/2 lb bulk spicy Italian pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup Alfredo pasta sauce (from 16-oz jar)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray bottom of 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, butter and water until dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan.
2. In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage and bell pepper over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain if necessary. Spread sausage mixture over crust; spread pasta sauce over sausage. Sprinkle with cheeses.
3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture is bubbly around edges and cheese is lightly browned. Sprinkle tomatoes and basil over top.

In my opinion: This was a very interesting recipe with a unique flavor. It took a lot of work and a lot of dishes so I won't be trying this again until my kids are all older.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary by Paula Deen

1 1/2 pounds small new red potatoes (about 15), scrubbed and dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pare a narrow strip of peel from the middle of each potato. In a large bowl mix the oil, garlic, and rosemary; add the potatoes and toss well. Transfer the potatoes to a shallow baking pan and roast until potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a knife. Serve hot. These can also be chilled and served with fried chicken or ham.

In my opinion: I LOVE potatoes and I LOVE Paula Deen so I knew I couldn't go wrong with these. I served them with Onion Baked Chicken by McCormick.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Velveeta Tex-Mex Beef and Potatoes by Kraft

prep time 10 min total time 45 min makes 6 servings, about 1-1/3 cups each

1 lb. ground beef 1 red pepper, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Taco Seasoning Mix 1/2 cup water 4 cups frozen Southern-style hash browns (cubed not shredded variety) 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen corn 1/2 lb. (8 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes Make It!HEAT oven to 350°F.

BROWN meat with peppers and onions in large skillet; drain. Return to skillet.

STIR in taco mix and water. Add potatoes, corn and VELVEETA; mix well. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish; cover.

BAKE 20 min.; stir. Bake, uncovered, 15 min. or until heated through.

In my opinion: This was a good dish. It was a quick one for sure.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Onion Baked Chicken by McCormick

1 tablespoon McCormick® Onion Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Italian Seasoning or 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Paprika
3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken parts
1 tablespoon oil

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix onion powder, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and paprika in small bowl. Place chicken in shallow baking pan. Brush with oil. Coat chicken evenly with seasoning mixture.

2. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Serving suggestion: Oven Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary by Paula Deen

In my opinion: This was good. Just have a plan to debone the leftovers and use them in another recipe the next day.

Game Day Grub

When I lived in Fort Worth, my friends from church would always get together for the Super Bowl and of course it was one big foodfest. I found out they still get together so I'll have to plan a trip up there one year. Anyway, I got to thinking about my own menu for the big game and here are some of my favorites:

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Ultimate Party Meatballs
Crock Pot Cream Cheese, Sausage, and Rotel Dip
Sausage Squares


Other ideas:
potato skins
sausage balls

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken by A Year of Slow Cooking Blog

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut in 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour (I used Pamela's Baking Mix)
olive oil, for browning the chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (I'd opt for little-to-no pulp. The pulp can taste a bit bitter when cooked)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup

Use a 4 quart slow cooker for best results. Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Go ahead and throw away any remaining flour, we won't need it. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook it, just sear it enough for the flour to stick and get a nice coating.

Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Taste. If you'd like the chicken to be a bit sweeter, add a touch more sugar. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.

In my opinion: This was really good, another SC recipe for me to add to my collection!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Granny Smiths in a Blanket

recipe by Kendra Bailey1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for topping
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for topping
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
20 Red Hots candies
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for topping
2 (9-inch) unbaked refrigerated piecrusts
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium-sized saucepan, mix sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and Red Hots. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately take off the heat and add butter. Mix well until all candies are dissolved.

Cut each piecrust into 3 wedges (thirds) and wrap the apples all the way around, leaving the hollowed part of the apple exposed. Place apples in a 9-inch-by-13-inch greased baking dish.

Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on each apple and place a dab of butter into the hole of each apple. Pour the hot syrup over the apples. Bake for about 50 minutes, basting with the hot syrup every 15 minutes or so. If liquid begins to get too thick, add a little water to thin. Serve warm apples topped with vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle a few cinnamon candies around the plate for garnish.

In my opinion: These tasted fabulous. Be careful not to leave them in their juices for long or the bottom will get soggy.


Do you find that when you are planning your menus, there is a trend? For example, I am currently going back to my Slow Cooker and even though I have 24 recipes on this site that I like, I am looking for more!

Maybe it's because I have not been in the mood to cook lately. Another trend I suppose. I am 23 weeks pregnant and without my husband home evenings, it makes me too tired to cook and clean-up while balancing the needs of my 5 year old, almost 4 year old, and 2 year old. Plus, there is Girl Scout night and dance night. Seriously, who has time to cook? Then you add in the factor that I am going to be nursing a newborn in less than 17 weeks....sheesh...I have to use the SC or else my kids will become fast-food junkies when this baby comes.

Have you ever been to the blog: A Year of Slow-Cooking? The author started the blog based on her New Year's resolution to use her SC every day for a year. She got on Rachel Ray....got a book deal...and has been on Good Morning America....all because of her blog!

I love her recipes. She has more than just main dishes. She has tons of dips, drinks, desserts, and even kids' activities for the S.C. With the Super Bowl coming up, I find myself copying her dip recipes. So AFTER you check out my "Crock Pot" recipes....go check out her site.

Also....someone left a comment on my blog that they have a healthy slow-cooker blog so I am checking that out and I'll let you know what I find. If you have a favorite SC recipe, please share with me!