Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crock Pot Chili

Since I am sharing some of my favorite Sunday dinners, I figured I would add this one in as well. I adapted this recipe 5 years ago or so. It is a family favorite at my house.

The ingredients:
1 lb. Ground meat (turkey, hamburger, or pork)
1 lb. Sausage
2 cans Beans (whatever you have on hand…I like black beans)
1 can Tomato sauce
1 Bell pepper, diced
1 can Tomatoes
2 cups Diced fresh tomatoes (or another can)
½ cup Onion flakes (or one fresh onion, diced small)
1 clove Garlic
1 package chili seasoning or 4 Tbs. Chili powder

The instructions:
Brown meat, and add to crock-pot. Add all other ingredients, and let simmer on low for about 6 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, and cheese.

(Feel free to add more spice if you like it hot, or if you have hot sensitive kids, add a bit of sour cream to their bowl to tone down the spice a bit.)

Crock Pot Chicken Burritos

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. And hopefully some of you scored some majorly awesome deals on Friday! On to dinner!

On Sundays I love nothing more than to crock pot a simple meal to make my dinner prep time almost non-existent. This recipe in particular is extremely easy to make and I would be willing to bet good money that most of you have the ingredients on hand right now. I LOVE this recipe, and I absolutely appreciate my neighbor for giving it to me. Thanks Mindy!

The ingredients:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast (can be frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1 cup minute rice (or 1/2 c. regular rice, but will have to adjust cooking time)
1 can beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer black beans, but any kind will do)

The instructions:
Combine chicken, soup and salsa. Let cook on low for 5 - 6 hours or high for 2 - 4 (may need to cook longer if you start with frozen chicken). Chicken is done when it falls apart when squeezed with a pair of tongs. Shred chicken up and add rice and beans. If using minute rice, cook for 15 more minutes. If using real rice, you will need to cook for about an hour.

Serve on flour tortillas with lettuce, more salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, and any other toppings you would like.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Soft Ginger Snaps and Pumpkin Dip

Anyone who loves pumpkin pie will love this dessert. Its a new twist on an old tradition. Sweet, creamy, and exceptionally tasty, these cookies (along with the accompanying dip) are like a mini pumpkin pie in your hand.


The ingredients:
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. molasses
2 eggs
4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cloves (less if you prefer)
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon

The instructions:
Beat sugar, shortening, molasses, and eggs until light and fluffy. Combine remaining ingredients. Add sugar to mixture. Roll into 1" balls. Roll in sugar. Bake at 350* for 9 to 12 minutes. Serve with pumpkin dip.

(Dough balls freeze well- you can make them one or two at a time!)

Pumpkin Dip

The ingredients:
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2 c. powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

The instructions:
Cream sugar and cream cheese. Fold in pumpkin, blending well. Fold in cinnamon and nutmeg. Keep refrigerate when not in use.

(Enjoy! But don't blame me when you hop on that scale next week!)

((Pictures coming soon!))

Dessert Cheese Ball

Everyone knows that kids and husbands are some of the biggest pests come Thanksgiving Day. We love them, oh yes- there is no doubt about that, but what is more frustrating than spending all day in the kitchen slaving away only to be interrupted every 20 minutes with, "Mom! I am hungry" or "How much longer 'til dinner?" or fingers in the food... To help ease the waiting time and keep the crowds at bay I suggest appetizers placed just outside the kitchen. One of my favorites? The cheese ball! This ball is not the typical savory, nut covered, ball of goodness. This ball is sweet. And a huge hit at our family parties.

The ingredients:
1 (8-oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. confectioners sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 c. miniature chocolate chips (or chopped up regular chocolate chips), divided

The instructions:
In medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in sugars and vanilla. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours. Using a rubber spatula (or scraper) remove from bowl and place on plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, form into a ball or log. Chill in refrigerator for 1 more hour. Roll ball in remaining chocolate chips before serving. Serve with graham cracker sticks, Nilla Wafers and other cookies.

Raspberry Pretzel Salad

What is Thanksgiving without a Jell-o salad? This specific salad is the perfect blend of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy, with a touch of tart added in!

The ingredients:
Bottom Layer
3/4 c. butter
3 T. sugar
2 c. pretzels, finely chopped or crushed

Middle Layer
1 (8-oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 c. sugar
1 (8-oz.) carton Cool Whip

Top Layer
2 (3-oz.) pkgs. raspberry Jell-O (or 1 (6-oz.) pkg.)
2 c. boiling water
1 bag frozen raspberries

The instructions:
Melt butter and sugar and combine with pretzels. Press into a 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake at 400* for 5 minutes. Let cool completely. While cooling, combine cream cheese, pineapple, and sugar together. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour over bottom layer and smooth over. Combine Jell-O and water, stir until Jell-O is dissolved. Add frozen raspberries and let sit on the counter until thick but not set (about 5-10 minutes; watch closely). Pour over middle layer and refrigerate until completely set.

(This recipe can be changed up with strawberry jello and strawberries if you prefer)

((Photos coming soon!))

Tradewind Salad

This easy salad is another recent favorite of mine. It will be gracing our Thanksgiving table this year, and many years to come. It is a nice blend of taste and texture. This recipe was given to me by a friend and neighbor. Thanks Haylie!

The ingredients:
1 box (more or less) shell noodles
2 T. butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. cheese (cubed, diced, or shredded)
1/2 c. grapes (cut in half)
1/4 c. sour cream
1 c. ham (cubed)or chicken (cubed or shredded)
1 c. pineapple tidbits (or chunks)
1/4 c. mayonnaise

The instructions:
Cook noodles. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook chicken in a tiny bit of butter or oil (or brown ham). In a small sauce pan, combine brown sugar and butter over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved. Drain the pineapple and save the juice. Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, meat, and grapes. Add pineapple chunks and a splash or two of juice (adjust later to taste). Pour noodle over top and drizzle brown sugar/butter over the top of the warm noodles. Mix well and chill until ready to serve.

(This recipe is great the second day- I would actually suggest you make it the day before and let it chill overnight before serving)

((Pictures coming soon!))

Butterscotch Yams (or Sweet Potatoes)

In light of the fact that Thanksgiving is this week, I figured I would start out with some of my Holiday Go-To Dishes! Seeing as how this is also my first recipe posted, I figured I would start with my FAVORITE dish.

This recipe comes from my mother, and has been featured on her Thanksgiving Day table every year for as long as I could remember. It is sweet and rich and such a great addition to any holiday feast.

The ingredients:
6 medium yams (or sweet potatoes), cooked peeled and sliced
1 c. light Karo Syrup
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. cream (for lower fat content, use Half & Half)
1/4 c. butter (or margarine)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

The instructions:
Arrange yams in a 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake in a 325* oven for 15 minutes. In a small sauce pan combine Karo syrup, brown sugar, cream, butter, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Let boil for 5 minutes. Pour over yams and bake 15 minutes longer.

(It is a tradition in my family to use the sauce on just about everything. If you have a family member who isn't fond of yams, beg them to try the butterscotch sauce on their turkey and stuffing. YUM!)

((Pictures to come later))

Monday, November 24, 2008

In the beginning...

Welcome to my Cookbook Blog! This project that I am about to undertake is a long time in the making. Okay- well it’s been in my mind for quite some time, at least. So , without further intro, here are my stories, which when combined, help better explain what exactly I am doing…

Story #1: About a year ago I convinced my husband (whom I ADORE) that I wanted to take a course to become a medical transcriptionist. I was so psyched, and LOVED the idea of making money from home. I had all these goals and dreams about becoming an MT. So after much persuasion, I convinced my husband that it was a good idea, and I paid for the tuition to get started.

About 7 months into the program I found that I HATED it. I mean, not just a little hate. I loathed the training course! The problem was that I had paid a sizable chunk of money to this course and wanted desperately to make it work so I wouldn’t waste that money.

Yeah- that didn’t happen. I tried, I mean, REALLY I did! I tried to keep with the program, but it was not something I wasn’t even kind of enjoying. Now, I am usually the first one to speak up when someone says they aren’t enjoying school. I am a firm believer that nothing is easy, and learning a skill isn’t always going to be fun. But the difference that I see here is that what I was doing was exactly what I would be doing when the training course was over. I was listening to tapes, transcribing what was being said and hating it. If I hated it while training, what would make me like it when I finish the course?! So, with much regret (and shame) I dropped out. Since that time I have been trying to devise a way to make up the money I paid.

So here I sit. Money paid, course 2/3 finished, and a total drop out. Of course, my wonderful husband has been very supportive of my decision to stop the course. But he is concerned (as am I) about the money I spent. So I have since spent a considerable amount of time devising a plan to make up the lost money.

Story #2: About a year ago I was placed on the Activities Committee for the women’s organization of my church. In fact, I was made one of the Committee Leaders (They must not know me well, LOL!) At our first meeting, after the introductions were made, the very first thing out of my mouth was, “We soooo need to make a cookbook!” And with that I was placed in charge of collecting the recipes, typing them up, organizing them, and publishing them. I took this call very seriously, and found a great publishing company. I then proceeded to collect a BUNCH of REALLY GREAT recipes, and spent numerous hours of my own time (totally unpaid) putting this cookbook together. And you know what? I LOVED it. I learned so much about cooking and baking that it became a bit of a passion for me!

Last month the cookbook was finally proofed, RE-proofed, sent in, typed up, published and delivered. And the book looked FANTASTIC! I was so proud of it, and so happy with the final product, and so were the ladies at church. The cookbook was a HUGE success!

Combining the two stories: So, about 2 weeks ago I was talking to my husband and told him I was contemplating making a food blog. But what could make my blog different from all the other food blogs out there? Why would people want to read mine? And I puzzled over it for a few days. Then it hit me! Maybe- JUST MAYBE- I could store all of these recipes I publish on the blog (both mine and those sent in by contributors via email or comments) and turn it into a full-fledged cookbook! And to make matters even better, I could then SELL that book to try and recover the cost of my MT training gone bad.

Have fun perusing the recipes, and please help me pay for my stupidity, by eventually buying this cookbook!

(OH- and in case you want to know, this cookbook will run less than $10.00)