Saturday, December 17, 2011

Candy Cane Hearts

These are so cute and I'm making them for my daughter's kindergarten Christmas party. My daughter had so much fun helping me open the candy cane packages and shaping hearts out of them and then doing the sprinkles at the end.  I found the easiest way to open the packages of candy canes is just use scissors.
Have fun!  I also did this to oreos, just dipped them into the white bark and sprinkles with crushed peppermint or red sprinkles.
Candy Cane Hearts
mini candy canes (two per heart)
white almond bark
sprinkles, or crushed peppermints
Place candy canes together to make a heart shape. Melt white almond bark and put into ziploc bag and cut corner tip and squeeze enough into each heart mold to fill. Quickly sprinkle before it dries. Let sit and harden.



Friday, December 2, 2011

Mexican Chicken

The month of December is busy enough without having to worry about "what's for dinner????" This is a quick meal that comes together fast and everyone enjoys it.
Mexican Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-2C salsa(I make my own)
1 (8oz)pkg cream cheese, SOFT
1-2C mexican shredded cheese
1pkg taco seasoning (optional)
Grease a 13x9 dish and place the chicken in it. If you have a smaller family use less chicken and a smaller dish and if you have a bigger family use two dishes and double the ingredients.  Mix the soft cream cheese with the salsa and if you want an extra flavor punch add the package of taco seasoning. Mix well.  Pour over the chicken and COVER with foil and bake for 30minutes at 350. Take out and sprinkle cheese on top and bake another 30 minutes. I have also added corn to the last 30minutes of cooking time.  This creates a wonderful sauce that you serve over the top of the chicken and you could top spanish rice with this too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops

I've been making this dish for a long time. It is SO easy and very yummy and only has a few ingredients!  The other day at the grocery store my timing was just right with the meat department guy and he was putting out newly marked down meat and I grabbed the porch chops for next to nothing....I love when that happens!  This dish makes a wonderful gravy that you have to serve over mashed potatoes, or rice.
Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops
4-6 pork chops
1pkg ranch dressing mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup, (or any combo of two cans)
Spray the inside of the crockpot with nonstick cooking spray and place the pork chops inside. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the ranch seasoning package.  Put the soups on top. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours. Serve the pork chops with mashed potatoes and use the leftover sauce/gravy to put on top! You could easily add carrots to this dish too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Snickers Apple Salad

There are many recipes out there for this salad, but I thought how convenient it would be to use up some of that leftover Halloween candy! I forgot about this recipe until I needed to make something for a potluck and didn't know what to bring....sometimes that happens when a person has toooooo many recipes! LOL  I realized I had all the ingredients on hand and it used up some Halloween candy too! The recipe calls for snickers, but you could use any chocolate candy bar. Enjoy!
Snickers Apple Salad
3 tart apples, like granny smith, peel,core, chop small
3 full size candy bars, like snickers, chop fine (can also use the mini candy bars, like 9)
1 (8oz)tub cool whip...I use light  (you need every bit of help on this recipe, right?!)
1 or 2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding
I like to chop up the candy first and place it in the freezer while doing the rest of the salad. Mix cool whip and pudding together and then add the chopped apple and then the candy bar pieces. Stir well. Refrigerate for a good hour or two before serving. I was afraid the apples would turn brown before leaving for the potluck, but they did fine and they were even good the next day! Since I was bringing this to a potluck I doubled the cool whip amount and it worked great.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baked Zucchini

This is a nice way to eat the abundant zucchini!
Baked Zucchini
Slice 2 medium zucchini 1/4inch thick. Place in a bowl or bag. Drizzle around 2T olive oil, or melted butter, into the bag. Place some minced garlic and 1tsp fresh oregano in the bag and mix all the ingredients well.  Pour out onto a cookie sheet and place in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper..I think garlic powder would be good too. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, or you could even use shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 35-40minutes.  I think next time I will turn on the broiler for a couple minutes at the end to give them the extra crisp I like on the top.  The bottoms of the slices did get perfectly browned and yummy.



Monday, August 15, 2011

BlackBottom Cupcakes

I first had these gems when I met my MIL, it was love at first bite. I got the recipe from her and tried to make them, but as always, it is never the same as the original baker's. So, in the last 13 years, I've made them twice, only because I let my MIL make them! I have not had any in a few years from her, and the hubby and I have been craving them, so I made them again....hoping they taste like hers! These cupcakes are actually gross when they are warm, have patience and let them get nice and cold in the fridge.
Blackbottom Cupcakes
11/2C flour
1C sugar
1/4C cocoa
1tsp soda
1/2tsp salt
1C water
1T vinegar
1tsp vanilla
1/3C oil
 Stir the above ingredients and pour into paper lined muffin cups about 1/3 full.
Mix the following: 2(8oz)pkgs cream cheese, 2 eggs, 2/3C sugar, 1/4tsp salt
Spoon over the chocolate mixture. Bake at 350 for around 30minutes, they won't look done, but they will set up as they cool. I did 33 minutes and it made the edges hard.
Let cool and refrigerate
Makes 24 cupcakes


Friday, August 12, 2011

Simple and Creamy Pasta Primavera

This is a great way to use up seasonal produce!
Simple and Creamy Pasta Primavera
2C uncooked spiral pasta
1pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into strips, optional
2tsp canola oil
2C cherry tomatoes, halved
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2C grated parmesan cheese
1/2C heavy whipping cream
pepper
Cook the pasta. In a large skillet, saute asparagus and carrots in oil until crisp-tender. Add tomatoes and garlic;cook one minute. Stir in cheese, cream and pepper. Drain pasta and toss with asparagus mixture.
This is from Taste of Home

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding
2T sugar
1T cornstarch
1C milk
1/3C semisweet chocolate chips
1/2tsp vanilla
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add milk, stir until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Cook and stir 1-2minutes longer or until thickened. Stir in the chocolate chips; cook and stir until melted.  Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Serve warm or cold. This recipe makes two servings...double for a bigger amount.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chocolate Biscuits

This is one yummy way to eat a biscuit! This would be a great recipe for kids to make!
Chocolate Biscuits
1pkg refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits
(I get the Pillsbury Simple brand)
1milk chocolate candy bar(use any kind)
2tsp cinnamon sugar
Flatten each biscuit into a 3inch circle. Break candy bar into 10pieces and place a piece on each biscuit. Bring up edges and pinch to seal the candy inside.  Put on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake at 450 for 8-10min.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cheeseburger Quiche

Cheeseburger Quiche
1 pie crust
3/4pd cooked ground beef
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped, optional
1/2C dill pickle relish
1/2C cooked, crumbled bacon
5 eggs
1C heavy whipping cream
1/2C milk
salt, pepper
11/2C shredded cheddar cheese
Put the pie crust in a 9in pie plate, flute edges.  After beef is cooked, stir in tomatoes, onion relish and bacon. Place into the pie crust.  In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over beef mixture and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 375 for 50-60min or until the center is cooked through.  Watch the edges of the crust the last 15min of cooking, you may need to place foil over the edges.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Strawberry Spinach Salad

There are many versions of this salad. Just throw in what sounds good to you and toss with your favorite dressing.  I like the Litehouse Raspberry Walnut Vinegarette dressing, it goes well with the stawberries! You can find it in the store over by the prepackaged salads and refrigerated produce.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
1pkg(6oz) fresh baby spinach
2C sliced, fresh strawberries
1C fresh sugar snap peas(you can find packages of this by the salad kits)
1small red onion, optional
1/2C pecan halves, toasted
Toss all the ingredients and serve with dressing. Add any ingredients you want to, you can even add grilled chicken and/or tortellini!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tortellini Primavera

Tortellini Primavera
1(19oz)pkg frozen cheese tortellini
1pkg fresh, sliced mushrooms
1small onion, chopped, optional
(green onion is good too)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2tsp butter
2/3C milk
1(8oz)pkg cream cheese, lowfat, cubed
1/2-1pkg fresh spinach
1large tomato, diced
1/4C shredded parmesan cheese
Cook tortellini. In a large pan, saute mushrooms, onion, garlic in the butter until tender.  Stir in milk and heat through. Stir in cream cheese until blended. Add spinach(it will cook down) and stir until wilted.  Drain tortellini and toss with sauce and tomato. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. ***Since zucchini is abundant right now throw it in this dish, or even sub for the spinach**can also add grilled chicken

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Garden Potatoes

We are getting a ton of garden new potatoes! An easy way to preserve potatoes is to blanch them. Clean them real well and then peel them if you don't like the peel. I love the peel on new potatoes, plus when they are small they are the pits to peel! Then dice them the size you would want them for stew or casseroles. Have boiling pots of water on the stove while you are prepping the potatoes. After they are cut up the size you want them then throw them in a pot full of boiling water for 5 minutes. (this takes several pots of boiling water going at the same time)The time starts when you throw them in the water, not after it starts to boil again.  Then drain the pot and rinse potatoes under cold water and drain very well. I lay out kitchen towels on the counter and put the potatoes on these to just drain a bit more and let them completely cool. Then take quart size freezer bags and fill them full, getting any air out. Place in the freezer in a single layer until frozen, then you can stack them after fully frozen.
It is so awesome during the winter to go to the freezer and pull out garden fresh potatoes for my stew or casseroles! Garden potatoes just have a different taste than store bought, YUMMY! And freezing is SO much quicker and easier than canning. I like this method because the potato holds its texture and does not get mushy like you would think freezing them would do. You do however need to be AWARE that when you add these already blanched potatoes to a recipe that they are partially cooked already and will cut your cooking time down, otherwise they may get mushy. Like if you were making mashed potatoes with them, it will not take the full amount of time to boil them, it takes like 10minutes and they are ready to mash!         ENJOY!
Linked to Totally Tasty Tuesdays



 
Here I roasted the potatoes in the oven with Freddy's burger/fry seasoning

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken

This week is fair week in our town.  We started it off by winning free tickets to the Diamond Rio concert! They are an awesome country group with so many hits and they put on a wonderful show.  It is so awesome to see a band that has been together for 20 years and still play a show like it was their first show.  They seemed very genuine and happy to be in our small town. Then last night our 5 year old daughter wanted to go Mutton Busting before the rodeo.  She has never done this before, but as we explained what she would be doing, she was thrilled to try it.  For those of you who don't know what Mutton Busting is, you put your innocent, helpless child on the top of a sheep in a pen and then they let the sheep out and it takes off running with your child on its back and the child who hangs on the longest wins the prize.  This idea thrilled my daughter, this is like the perfect thing for her.  She does this with her dog all the time so she knew she had this one.  We paid the 10 bucks and signed the paper saying we wouldn't press charges on them if she got hurt and put her in a long line of anxious kids. Then it was her turn and the one she was to ride was an awnry one and it was already bucking when it came down to me her before she got on it.  My daughter saw the chaos and the bucking and the cowboys put her helmet on and placed her on the awnry sheep and then the gate never opened......she chickened out!  I really do know she would have done it if it weren't for the sheep bucking and going crazy before she was placed on it.  My husband and I were kinda let down that we just lost 10 bucks and had no show of her riding the sheep, because we knew she would give that thing a ride!  But, I also look at it as a blessing, I think God was protecting her from getting really hurt because that sheep had already bucked a kid off.  We then went to a great rodeo and I got my yearly funnel cake, oh I love those things!  Tonight will be carnival rides and if I am lucky, another funnel cake!
This dish is wonderful and easy. It calls for chili powder, but I didn't add that, I just kept mine sweet with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and the brown sugar. I bought chicken tenderloins instead of the chicken breasts, so I didn't have to cut the chicken. I got this wonderful recipe from the cute blog, Full Bellies, Happy Kids.  She has some yummy recipes on that blog!  I think next time I make this dish that I will combine my bacon wrapped green beans with this recipe.  Put the chicken then green beans and wrap bacon around the both and then use the green bean sauce to pour over the top, I think the combo would be perfect.


Brooke waiting in line for the Mutton Bustin!

 Brooke at the carnival-Braedon went to the Tractor Pull with grandpa

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cookie Salad

This is a fun recipe that I adapted from the cute blog, Chef In Training.  I already make a fruit salad similar to this, but this recipe has the addition of cookies! YUM!
Cookie Salad
2pkgs instant vanilla pudding(I only used one and it was fine)
2C buttermilk, I used 2% and it was great
2(11oz)cans mandarin oranges, drained
1(20oz)can pineapple tidbits, drained(I used crushed pineapple,drained)
1 tub cool whip (light)
I also added a can of drained fruit cocktail
1package fudge striped cookies

Mix buttermilk and puddings together. Fold in cool whip. Add drained fruit. Crush up cookies, not too small. Mix all together and refrigerate for several hours. Really, any fruit combo would work for this. Adding fresh cherries and strawberries would be good.

There just wasn't a good way to take a picture of the finished product!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Crockpot Beef Tips

I have been on a mission lately to clean out my three freezers, um yeah, I said three! One freezer is mainly for the half beef we get each year, so that helps me justify having three. But, still food finds its way to the back and when I finally find it, it is attached to a hunk of ice! So, with prices of fuel and basically everything else going up, I've got to be even more frugal than I already am.  Our half beef order for this coming year is due anytime so I had to rearrange frozen foods and this put me on a mission...again....to use up stuff that has been sitting in the deep cold way too long.  I had a couple packages of stew beef and since it has been over 100 and high humidity off and on for weeks on end I am not about to make a big pot of stew with it! But, I will however get my wonderful crockpot out and make this yummy recipe for beef tips. It is so easy to throw together and you can serve it with mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles. It has a wonderful gravy.
Crockpot Beef Tips
2packages, or around 2pounds, beef stew
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1pkg onion soup mix
1 soup can full of water
Throw everything in crockpot and stir well. Cook on low 8 hours, or high 4-5 hours, or until beef is cooked through. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles along with the gravy it makes.


OK, this picture makes this look disgusting, but it is a hard meal to photograph, you'll just have to trust me that its way better than it looks!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crockpot Kielbasa Supper

This is a fast and convenient crockpot supper that won't heat up your kitchen. I used potatoes from our garden and prepackaged coleslaw.
Crockpot Kielbasa Supper
2pounds fully cooked kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks
(I use one package fully cooked turkey sausage)
1package shredded coleslaw mix
1can chicken broth
3 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
or about 6-8 new potatoes, halved
Salt and pepper
Throw everything in a crockpot, it will look like a lot of cabbage, but it will cook down.  Mix well and cook on low around 8 hours. I start my crockpot after lunch on low and it is done by supper, so each crockpot cooks differently.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Macaroni Salad

I love macaroni salads, they are so fun to play around with and add different things each time.  It usually depends on what I have in my fridge at the time as to what all I add in when I make it.  To me summer time equals salads, any kind!
Macaroni Salad
3C uncooked elbow or rotini pasta
6-8 eggs, cooked, chopped
3/4-1C real mayo
1/2C sweet pickle relish, or dill pickle relish
1/2C onion, I like half white, half green onion
1tsp black pepper
salt to taste
Add ins, optional:1/2C finely chopped celery, 1/2C green peas, cubed ham
Cook pasta and rinse and drain with cold water. Mix pasta, mayo, relish, onion, pepper, salt, and any add-ins together. Then add in chopped eggs and stir gently. Refrigerate for atleast a few hours, overnight is better. Stir well before serving.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tomato Spinach Pasta Salad

I wait to make this pasta dish when my garden is just right. It is hard because the spinach is about over as the temps rise, but the tomatoes are just starting.  This is wonderful and very adjustable to your own add ins.
Tomato Spinach Pasta Salad
3C uncooked rainbow rotini
3C chopped fresh spinach
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1(8oz)bottle ranch salad dressing
1C(I use one small can)sliced black olives
2C shredded cheddar cheese, sometimes I use cubed cheese
3T milk
3/4C sliced green onion, I use less
Cook pasta.  In medium bowl, combine ranch and milk and stir well.  Drain pasta; rinse with cold water to cool. In large bowl, combine cooked pasta, spinach, olives, onions, tomatoes and cheese.  Pour dressing mixture over salad and mix well.  Refrigerate until serving.
I add fresh ground pepper and I also think it needs crunch, so I use almost a whole bottle of McCormicks Salad toppings.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

 This is very easy to make and has the option to frost the cake, but I found the cake so moist that it didn't need frosting.  You can not taste the zucchini, so kids will get their veggies and not even know it! 
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1pkg pudding included devils food cake mix
1tsp cinnamon
2C shredded, zucchini
1/2C buttermilk
1/2C oil
3 eggs
1/2C chopped nuts, optional
1/2C semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 13x9(I used a bundt pan). In a large bowl, blend cake mix, cinnamon, zucchni, buttermilk, oil and eggs at low speed.  Beat 2 minutes at high speed. Pour into pan; sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips. Bake for 35-45minutes, or a bundt pan for 50minutes+, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve plain or frost.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Green Beans and New Potatoes

This is a recipe I grew up with and it is pure comfort food. My family grew the garden with the new potatoes and  green beans and grandma canned it all. We would sit at many a ball game and snap green beans together because we knew what goodness it would bring!  I could seriously eat this for dessert every night.  I can still remember as a kid seeing the canned new potatoes downstairs in the basement at my grandma's and thinking how disgusting they looked, but I always put that image aside and devoured each can! My grandma taught me how to can years ago and there is a lot that goes into it, but oh how it is worth it! I prefer to freeze most things, it is much easier and quicker, but when it comes to this dish I preserve it by canning it! This version below is adapted to the crockpot.
Green Beans and New Potatoes in the Crockpot
Adjust the amounts to the size of crowd you are feeding
2pounds fresh green beans, snapped
1pound bacon, partially cooked...or 1 ham bone with some meat on it
1 onion, chopped, optional
1-2pounds red new potatoes, rinsed and cut in half
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp salt
Place the green beans, bacon or ham bone, and onion in the crockpot. Add water only to cover the beans and cook on low for 3 hours. Remove ham from bone(if using) and discard the bone. Add potatoes to crockpot and the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for one hour, or until the potatoes are tender. Make sure they are cut in half.

I linked this recipe over at Mandy's Recipe box!


There is nothing quite like a field of Kansas Sunflowers!


My dad, grandma, me, and my sweet Brookie
Can you believe my grandma is 91! She sure doesn't look it!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zucchini Beef Quiche

Here is another yummy way to use up that green stuff staring at you! The original recipe does not call for hamburger, but I highly suggest adding it.
Zucchini Beef Quiche
3C zucchini, peel and shred, press out any excess moisture
1 onion, chopped fine, optional
1/2C parmesan cheese
1/2C shredded cheddar cheese
1/2C oil
3T parsley
1tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1C bisquick
4 eggs, beaten
I add 1/2-1pd cooked ground beef
Combine all the ingredients and stir well. Grease a 8x8 or even a 13x9 and add mixture. Cook at 350 for 30-40minutes, or until cooked in the middle and egg is set. If using the 13x9 adjust the time and watch for doneness.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Zucchini Beef Casserole

I'm sure most of you now have so much zucchini you don't know how to use it all up and are running out of people to give it to! It is funny how a garden works... during the long winter months we can only dream of having fresh tomatoes and produce from our garden and then during the dog days of summer we can hardly give our produce away because we have so much!   This recipe is fantastic for hot summer days because it uses the mircrowave and it uses up all that zucchini sitting on our kitchen cabinets staring at us! The recipe calls for the hamburger to be raw while cooking it in the microwave, but I do not like the consistency of the meat this way, so I cook the meat and then add it to the dish to microwave.
Zucchini Beef Casserole
1pd ground beef, lean
1tsp garlic powder
11/2C diced zucchini
1(14.5)oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2C instant rice
1/2C water
1/4C chopped onion, optional
1/4C soy sauce
3/4tsp dried basil, optional
Crumble beef into a 2qt microwave safe dish(this is where I precook the meat and then add it). Sprinkle this with garlic powder.  Cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes(unless you precook the meat). stir. Heat 1-2 minutes longer, or until cooked and its not pink.Drain if needed.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover and microwave on high for 20-25minutes, or until veggies and rice are tender. Stir twice during the cooking time.
This is a great dish and the kids loved it too! I'm sure you could adjust this to a slow cooker as well.


Visit Mandy's Recipe Box for other zucchini recipes

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Creamy Tortellini

I have made this recipe many times and it is always yummy and the kids love it and get their veggies too!  It is adapted from Kraft foods.  It uses up some spinach and tomatoes from the garden and is convenient because it uses refrigerated tortellini.
Creamy Tortellini
2 pkgs (9oz each) refrigerated cheese tortellini, uncooked
~I have used beef ravioli and that is good too
4oz pkg of cream cheese, cubed, I used light
1C milk
6T grated parmesan cheese, grated
1/4tsp black pepper, I use lots more
1bag (6oz) fresh spinach
1C quartered cherry tomatoes
I like to add in 8oz sliced mushrooms
Cook tortellini according to pkg directions.  Place cream cheese in large skillet. Cook on low heat until its melted, stirring every so often.  Whisk in milk slowly, stir in 4T of the parmesan cheese and black pepper.  Add spinach; stir to coat. Drain pasta and add to spinach mixure in skillet; mix lightly. Sprinkle with tomatoes and the rest of parmesan cheese right before serving.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Creamed Potatoes and Peas

There is nothing quite like fresh peas and potatoes from the garden. Growing peas is easy, it is the shelling them that is SOOO time consuming. It seems it takes a million pea pods to shell and make just one tiny bowl of peas! But, oh the fresh taste of peas are amazing...nothing can quite describe it. Then you go and add fresh red potatoes from the garden and the combo is out of this world!!!! This is an oldie but goody recipe that always pleases and brings a smile to your tummy.
Creamed Potatoes and Peas
1pd small red potatoes
21/2 C frozen peas...or fresh
1/4C butter, cubed
1 green onion...a must in this recipe, even if you don't like onion
1/4C flour
1/2tsp salt
2C milk
Scrub and quarter potatoes; place in a large saucepan and cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 10minutes. Add peas; cook 5 minutes longer.
In another saucepan, melt butter.  Add onion and saute until tender. Stir in flour and salt and gradually add the milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1-2minutes, or until thickened. Drain the potatoes and peas and add to the sauce and toss.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The BEST Popsicles

These are BY FAR, the BEST popsicles you will EVER taste! It makes store bought popsicles taste like water!  My husband shared this recipe with me when we first got married.  He said his mom made these all the time while he was growing up and he will not eat a popsicle unless it is this recipe.....in other words, he was telling me that I WILL make these for him!  I wanted to know what all of the fuss was about so I made them and sure enough....they are wonderful! It is fun because you can use any flavor of kool aid and you can even use the sugar free. Our favorites are grape and cherry.  You have to have popsicle molds for them and I have found that the old tupperware ones are by far the best and easiest. 
The Best Popsicles
1 (3oz) pkg grape jello
1 pkg grape kool aid
1C sugar
2C hot water
Mix the above ingredients together and add 2C cold water and mix well.  Pour into molds and freeze.  Use any flavor of jello and kool aid!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Make Your Own Cherry Pie Filling

This is a great recipe to use all of those fresh picked cherries! I got the idea from the wonderful blog, Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  I like to make a bunch of this recipe and put one pie worth in a mason jar and freeze it.  It is SO nice to go to the freezer when I want to make a pie, or use a recipe that calls for canned cherry pie filling, and grab a mason jar full of fresh cherries and thaw it and dump it in!
Make Your Own Cherry Pie Filling(like the canned version, but much better!)
3C cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted
11/2C sugar
cornstarch for thickening
Combine the cherries with the sugar in a big saucepan(I usually triple the amount to make a few batches at once). Bring this mixture to a boil while stirring.  Mix around 3T cornstarch with 2/3 C water(I like to use 1/3C water and 1/3C cherry juice, leftover from the fresh cherries) and mix this in a cup until well combined. When cherries are boiling add cornstarch mixture a bit at a time while constantly stirring until thickened. You may not need the entire amount of cornstarch mixture, just add a bit at a time while stirring and as soon as it starts thickening up like gel then stop adding it. You want it to resemble the gel like mixture that you would find in a can of cherry pie filling.  Use this right away in a recipe that calls for one 21oz can of cherry pie filling, or freeze in a clean mason jar for later use.
This recipe linked to Totally Tasty Tuesdays!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cranberry Cherry Pie

Cherry season is upon us! We pick cherries from a neighbors trees each year and when we take our walk or bike ride each night we make it a habit to go by the trees to see if the cherries are ready for pickin. It is always around the Fourth of July when they are ready!!!  The kids LOVE picking cherries and then helping me pit them.  I pit some right away to make this yummy pie with and then I freeze some cheeries with the pit to use later and then I also like to make cherry pie filling and put it in mason jars and freeze.  This is a yummy cherry pie that comes together quickly if you use canned cherry pie filling.
Cranberry Cherry Pie
3/4C sugar
2T cornstarch
1(21oz can) cherry pie filling, I make my own
2C cranberries, I used dried
Pastry for double crust pie
In a bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in pie filling and cranberries.  Line a 9inch pie plate with bottom pastry and trim. Pour filling into crust.  Roll out the remaining top crust and make slits in it, or use a star shaped cookie cutter and make several stars in the top crust(looks very festive for the Fourth of July). Put top crust on pie and seal and flute edges. Arrange the star cutouts on top of pastry. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cover edges with foil. Bake at 375 for 55-60minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad

I get such gratification from going outside to my garden and picking fresh produce to create meals with to feed my family.  It's like going waaaaay back in history and living like people use to, before there were Walmarts. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy today's modern conveniences, but I also enjoy not having to depend on any. Plus with a garden, I control, for the most part, what goes into my food. No pesticides and no chemicals.  This is a fun recipe to use all of that seasonal produce during the summer months. You can sub any veggies for the ones listed.
Garden Fresh Pasta Salad-recipe from my wonderful mother-n-law
1 large bottle italian dressing
1 whole bottle of McCormicks Salad Supreme
1/2 onion, red is best, diced small
11/2green peppers, diced small, I use less, or use a combo of red,yellow,orange,green
2 cucumbers, diced small
2 tomatoes, I use lots of cherry tomatoes,cut up small
11/2small pkg extra thin spaghetti, cooked, I have used just one package and it works fine
Cook spaghetti and rinse and drain with cold water. Chop all veggies and add to the pasta, along with the dressing and salad supreme. Refrigerate atleast a couple of hours. Stir before serving.
*if you don't serve this right away, add 1/2 the dressing before refrigerating and then the rest of the dressing before serving
*this is also good served warm

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sugar Snap Peas and Mushrooms

Why, oh why, oh slimy snakies, do you have to bother me? I don't know why snakes like to find me, maybe I'm a snake whisperer and I just don't know it yet? Maybe if I let them live long enough they would tell me what they are wanting, but I just don't give them a chance.  It doesn't matter where I have lived, or where I am walking, the snakes always find me.  I have learned to keep my trusty shovel or hoe near by so I can chop their little heads off when they sneak out of nowhere to scare me.  I know it is not their fault, they are just being snakes, trying to make their way through the world(without some woman chopping their head off!).  But, I can't take it when I'm trying to water my plants or garden and they want to surprise me,or they surprise my kids and then they won't play in the backyard again until they see mom kill it and see the proof of its dead body.  It really is a tough world for the poor things, not many people like them.  I don't mind them really, it is more about their sneaky snake appearances that bother me....you never know where and when they will appear...like yesterday when I was headed out to the garden and I stepped on one! About a two footer and I stepped on it just right to make it go up in the air! About the same time my sandal flew off while I was trying to kick it(out of pure reaction)it took off under the fence, which was fine, but I know the summer is young and I know I've got to go out to that garden a million more times yet, and I do NOT want to think I'm going to step on that slimy snake every time I walk out to the garden! So, I watered and weeded the garden and then headed back to the house, knowing any step I take may send a slimy snake up in the air again if I step on it! So, I was being oh so cautious, I guess too cautious, because there was that darn snake again and I only missed stepping on it by a few inches....again! I swear I was looking intently before each step I took, but somehow those slimy critters are right in front of you and you can't even see them down in the grass until they move.  Darn things, why do they have to be so sneaky? Like last summer, my daughter was outside playing at my grandparents house in the country and I knew something was wrong when she was on a dead sprint toward me, with a look of terror on her face. Sure enough, up by the water faucet at the house, a 4-5 foot bull snake was cooling himself off.....which was bad news for me, because this momma wasn't going to let it get away so that later on one of my kids could find it again and get bit while playing..SO, off to get the shovel I went(and my grandpa!) and between the two of us with shovels trying to chop its head off, I'm sure it was pretty comical to watch! That 4 foot snake put up a good fight and boy the bigger ones sure have tougher skin, we couldn't even break its skin! But, with sheer mommy determination and about 30 minutes time, grandpa and I got it....pure teamwork! Each summer I end up killing a few, and a few get away, I guess this summer will be no different, ugh! I guess I will just have to hang moth balls off my clothes when I go outside!
Very soon my sugar snap peas and brussel sprouts in the garden will be making their way to our dinner table, so I have rounded up some of my favorite ways to eat them to share with you.  Sugar snap peas are one of those veggies that you don't tend to think much about, they aren't like the popular corn and green beans.  But, they are so very good and crunchy, with the perfect combo of tart and sweet. They are great by themselves(year around you can find them prepackaged by the bagged salads) or to put in salads or pasta dishes.  There is a huge difference between snow peas and sugar snap peas....in the store they are right next to each other. Snow peas are not as sweet, and in my opinion, not as good, so I always get the sugar snap peas.  You just eat them whole, you don't crack them open like regular pea pods and only eat the pea.  I hope if you have never tried them that you will very soon, I think you will like them. And if you don't like them raw, here is a great way to eat them with added flavor.  It is so fun trying new foods and trying new ways to cook foods. Fresh produce is always better than canned....and very often has a totally different taste than canned. Enjoy the summer and all the seasonal flavors that are out there....go taste something new, you just may like it! Go find your local farmers market and support the local farmers, and buy fresh!
Sugar Snap Peas and Mushrooms
1T olive oil
1/2pound sugar snap peas
8oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
2T, more or less, soy sauce
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the peas and mushrooms and cook until they are tender, 4-6minutes or so.  Turn off the heat and add in soy sauce and stir to combine.  Taste and add more sauce if desired.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Creamy Frozen Fruit Cups

This is a refreshing and cool and somewhat healthy dessert for those hot summer days! My mother-in-law served this a few years back and I fell in love with its yumminess.  It is elegant enough to serve compay and kids love it.  Enjoy!
Creamy Frozen Fruit Cups
8oz cream cheese, can use light
1/2C sugar
10oz jar cherries,drained
11oz can mandarin oranges, drained
8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2C chopped pecans, optional, but very good!
8oz cool whip, light
Halve 9 cherries and set aside, along with 18 slices of mandarin oranges, for garnish.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together.  Place cupcake liners in 18 muffin tins.  Pour mixed ingredients into 18 liners and top with the cherries and slices of oranges you had set aside for garnish and then freeze.  Remove from freezer atleast 10minutes before serving.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fast Eggs for Busy Mornings

I don't typically make my eggs in the microwave, but I am NOT a morning person, and there are going to  be mornings that these recipes below will come in handy for me.  I'm not sure why my brain doesn't want to wake up in the morning, but it is bad...real bad.  I literally can't function in the morning until that first cup of coffee...and I only drink two cups.  I'm talking it is so bad that I bump into the walls all the way down the hallway to get to the kitchen to get the cup of coffee! It is terrible because my husband is a major morning person and he is already whistling when he turns off his alarm in the morning and then (when he is brave) he will try to wake me up by talking to me, or snuggling me....and this has proven to be dangerous at times....but, bless his heart, he just wants me to be awake like he is...and I really do want to be awake and in a good mood, but my brain is just so foggy in the morning.  He has learned after all of these years, and a few blows to his arm, to quietly exit the bedroom after he turns off the alarm in the morning and go directly to the kitchen and start the coffee, God bless him! That is love!
I got these recipes from the magazine, Kraft foods.
Quick Egg Sandwich
1 english muffin (or toast, or biscuit)
1 large egg
2 strips cooked bacon (optional)
1 slice cheese
Place an english muffin half on a microwavable plate and carefully crack the egg on the muffin, so that the egg white does not run off the sides. (this is kinda tricky at times) Microwave on high for 40 seconds.  Fold bacon strips in half and place over the egg and then add the slice of cheese. Top with remaining english muffin half. Microwave on high for 30 seconds longer or until egg white is set and yolk is thickened around the edges.  If you decide to use toast or a biscuit you may want to create a whole to hold the egg, so it won't run off the edges.

Cheddar Eggs
Spray a small microwavable cup(I use a coffee cup) or bowl with cooking spray.  Add 1 egg and 1Tbsp water; beat lightly with fork.  Stir in 1/4C shredded cheese.  Microwave on high for 11/2minutes or until egg is cooked, stirring after 1 minute.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 'Stuff'

My kiddos camping in the backyard!
My daughter(on back) with her best buddy Kenzie


My daughter finally wearing her dress I made her last summer!

My daughter and her bestest friend Sadie

Our neighbor graciously allows us to have our garden behind his house in the alley, the closest is pumpkins, then burpless cucumber, then brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas


Tomatoes, zucchini, spinach

potatoes, carrots, tomato
 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Peachy Fruit Salad

I actually got to sit a bit yesterday and catch up on my food blogging! I love when that happens. Although the reason I got to sit was because I was under the weather, but atleast something good came out of it and I got to browse through tons of recipes and catch up on some of my favorite food blogs.  I got this easy and delicious recipe from a very wonderful blog, Real Mom Kitchen.  Laura has the best pictures and recipes and even has a cookbook out...my pictures on my blog are terrible and when you visit this blog you will know just what to compare them with..oh, to have a nice camera and be able to take pictures like this gal does....and to have a cookbook! To have my own cookbook, well, that would just be a dream of mine, how fun and exciting!  This fruit salad is just perfect for hot summer days and the pie filling makes a wonderful sauce for the fruits, yum!
Peachy Fruit Salad-Real Mom Kitchen
1 (21oz)can peach pie filling
1 (20oz)can pineapple chunks, drained
1 (11oz)can mandarin oranges, drained
2 firm bananas, sliced
1C mini marshmallows
1C sliced grapes(I didn't use grapes)
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix and refrigerate until serving.


Friday, June 17, 2011

No Cook HomeMade Ice Cream

I can't remember where I got this recipe, but I'm sure glad I found it! It has no eggs and no cooking! You must like vanilla in order to like this recipe because the vanilla flavor is fabulous! Fresh fruit or chocolate is wonderful on top of it, but I enjoy it all by itself in all its glory!  I have not made this yet this summer, it has not been hot enough here, but I saw this recipe and I thought I would share it with those of you who have already experienced some hot summer days and are craving homemade ice cream! Really you don't need hot weather to make this, but it does help it taste that much better!
No Cook Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
2quarts Half-n-Half
1/2pint heavy cream
11/2C sugar
4tsp vanilla
pinch salt
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and pour in your ice cream container and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.  YUMMMY!!!! Rich and creamy and vanilla-eee!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I made this recipe for my husband for our first Valentine's dinner 13 years ago.  I remember being in the kitchen most of the day preparing everything so it was just right when he came  home from work.  I was so nervous and wanted everything to be just perfect for him.  This chicken recipe was nice because after it is assembled it cooks in the crockpot and you can prepare other dishes.  I remember it smelled wonderful and it tasted even better.  It is one of those dishes that is simple, yet it tastes elegant.  Our first Valentine's dinner turned out perfect and he seemed very impressed.  But, about 5 years later when I made this dish again and I reminded him how it was our first Valentines dinner, he didn't seem to remember....oh well.....that is a man for ya!  I have learned over the years not to take it personal when stuff like that happens! Men and women just don't see things the same....period!
Chicken Cordon Bleu-crockpot
4-6chicken breasts(pounded)
thin slices of ham, one per chicken
slices of swiss cheese, one per chicken
1/4C flour, with salt, pepper, cayenne mixed in
mushrooms, sliced
1/2C chicken broth
1/4C parmesan cheese
2cans cream of mushroom soup
After the chicken is pounded, put a slice of ham and cheese on each chicken breast and roll up.  Secure with a toothpick and roll in the flour mixture.  Put mushrooms and broth in bottom of the crockpot.  Then place the chicken on top and pour the soups over the chicken and top with parmesan cheese.  Cook in crockpot on low for 6-7 hours or on high 3-4hours.  Serve with rice and place the chicken rolls on top and cover with the soup mixture sauce.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Punch

This is quick and very yummy! If you don't like cranberry juice, switch it up with a juice you prefer. Very refreshing on a hot summer day!
Summer Punch
1 frozen can cranberry juice(partially thaw)
1 can full(from the frozen cranberry juice can) of OJ
1 can full(from the frozen cranberry juice can) of sprite
Mix together in pitcher and serve right away

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

I love no cook recipes during the summer and this one is fast and easy and kids love to help make it!  You will have to plan on eating this whole pie in the same day you make it, or the bananas will be black by the next day and not so tasty...so I give you permission to eat a lot of this pie.....or, if you don't have a big family, you will need to share it with someone!   I like my grandma's homemade banana pudding pie MUCH better, but this is a quick version and still very tasty.
Quick Banana Cream Pie
1 graham cracker crust
5 bananas
1 tub cool whip, light
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
milk
Follow the pie directions on the pudding package.  Slice a layer of bananas on the bottom of the crust and mix the rest of the banana slices into the pudding mix, reserving a few slices for the topping.  Pour mixture into crust and spread cool whip on top.  Garnish top of pie with a few slices of banana.  Chill atleast a couple hours before eating.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fresh Green Bean Pasta Salad

This recipe comes from Kraft foods, but I switched it up a bit.  Use those garden fresh green beans and tomatoes! Nothing better than that!  This is so simple to throw together and light and full of flavor and the colors are beautiful too!
Fresh Green Bean Pasta Salad
1C penne pasta, uncooked
1/2pound fresh green beans, cut into 1inch pieces
1medium tomato, chopped
1/4C zesty italian dressing
1/4C parmesan cheese
cubed cheese
Cook pasta and add beans to the pasta cooking water for the last two minutes.  Drain; rinse with cold water.  Place in medium serving bowl.  Add rest of the ingredients and mix lightly.  Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate.  If refrigerating, add more italian dressing before serving because the pasta tends to soak up the dressing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Corn and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce

This is another recipe for the crockpot....I'm all about keeping the heat out of the house while I'm cooking during the summer.  Kids will eat their broccoli with this dish because it has velveeta on it! This recipe comes from a Healthy Cooking magazine.
Corn and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce
1(16oz) pkg frozen corn
1(16oz)pkg frozen broccoli florets
4oz reduced fat velveeta, cubed
1/2C shredded cheddar cheese
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1/4C milk
In a 4qt slow cooker, combine the corn, broccoli and cheeses.  In a small bowl, combine soup and milk;  pour over veggie mixture.  Cover and cook on low for 3-4hours.  Stir before serving.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Crockpot Lasagna

This is a great dish from the wonderful cookbook collection, Gooseberry Patch.  It is great during the summer heat because it is made in the crockpot and doesn't heat up your kitchen.
Crockpot Lasagna
1-2pounds cooked ground beef
26oz jar spaghetti sauce
8oz pkg bowtie pasta-cooked(I use egg noodles)
12oz cottage cheese(I use the full 24oz container)
16oz pkg mozzarella cheese
Mix beef and sauce.  In crockpot, layer 1/2 beef mix, 1/2 pasta, 1/2 cottage cheese, 1/2 cheese.  Repeat. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.  Serves 8
I added pepperoni and mushrooms
When I made this in my 6qt crockpot it came clear to the top and it cooked on high it took 3-4hours


This recipe linked to:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Salsa Rice

This is a super simple side dish and very good.  It comes together very quick and perfect results every time.  It's very good served next to some enchiladas!
Salsa Rice
11/2C water
11/2C salsa
2C instant rice, uncooked
1C shredded cheese
Bring water and salsa to a boil.  Stir in rice.  Remove from heat and cover.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in cheese, cover and let sit for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dreamsicle Salad

This is a lot like my Orange Fluff Jello that I have on this blog, but this is even quicker to make.  You can use any combo of fruit and jello. I got this quick recipe from a very cute blog, One Crazy Cookie.  Tiffanee has some wonderful recipes on her blog and she is so nice!
Dreamsicle Salad
1large box, or 2small boxes, instant vanilla pudding
1small box strawberry jello
13/4C water
2C strawberries, cut up
8oz cool whip light
Boil the water. In a large bowl add pudding and jello mixes and stir to combine.  Add boiling water and mix well.  Add fruit and stir and then cool a bit.  Add cool whip and stir well and refrigerate.
You can use raspberries with raspberry jello, mandarin oranges with orange jello, etc etc
I think this is my worst picture yet! LOL We had bad lighting and I just couldn't get a good one...sorry!
It tastes MUCH better than this looks! I'm hoping someone will feel sorry enough for me for the camera that I own
and send me a nice one!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tortellini Pasta Salad

I love tortellini in pasta salads, yummy! This is refreshing and cool and colorful, perfect for a summer dish! And healthy to boot!
Tortellini Pasta Salad-Taste of Home(adapted)
1pkg(9oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1pkg(16oz) frozen corn
2C cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
1/4C finely chopped green onions
1/4C finely chopped fresh basil
2T grated parmesan cheese-use fresh
4tsp olive oil
1/4tsp garlic powder
1/8tsp pepper
Cook tortellini according to package directions and add the corn to cook the last five minutes, drain and rinse under cold water.  In a large bowl,  combine the tortellini mixture and the remaining ingredients and toss to coat and refrigerate.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vanilla Pound Cake

This is a beautiful pound cake from the wonderful blog, Mommy's Kitchen.  I sliced up tons of strawberries today for our bbq tomorrow and I plan to serve this pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream!
Pound Cake
1C butter, softened(leave out about 30minutes)
21/2C sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
3C sifted CAKE flour
2tsp vanilla
1C whipping cream
Beat the butter until creamy gradually adding sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each.  Add flour and whipping cream alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Add 2tsp of vanilla and mix. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15minutes. Cool in pan for a bit and then let cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Best Baked Beans

We thankfully made it through many rounds of storms the last couple of weeks.  We had lots of wind and  rain, but thankfully no large hail and tornadoes like so many other places.  Living in Kansas you somewhat expect this weather this time of year, but nothing ever quite prepares you for a tornado. I've seen several over the years and they are some kind of amazing force! Our prayers are with those that lost loved ones and homes.  There are many small towns that had damage and even deaths, but no media coverage, because bigger towns had more damage and more deaths.  So remember those towns that are so small that no one hears about because they still need help as well.  It is awesome to watch how a community comes together, and even complete strangers, to help one another through these terrible trajedies.  I remember when I was young there was a huge tornado that killed many people and demolished miles of houses and we didn't live that far away from it, and my parents got my brother and I in the car and we spent many hours helping to clean and go through wreckage that the tornado left.  That was one of the first times when I was a kid that I learned that you put others first, especially in times of need.  I saw what devastation those poor people had gone through and they literally had nothing left, not even a pair of shoes or a toothbrush.  I remember finding old pictures and old love letters that a married couple had written one another during the war and I made it my mission that day to track down who they belonged to and I finally found the old lady they belonged to and she just cried and cried and thanked me.  I'm so thankful that my parents always found ways to get my brother and I involved in helping others, it really helped open my eyes that there is a huge world of people in need and there is so much more to life than being selfish and only focusing on what I want.  We each can make a huge difference in people's lives if we just take the time to look and listen to others.  One of the best things we can teach our children is to do for others, this helps them to be thankful and thoughtful and to really see how blessed they are.

This recipe is wonderful and I like to make it ahead a couple days so it can sit and mingle flavors together.  You can cook it in the oven or the crockpot.
The Best Baked Beans
6cans pork-n-beans, or 3 large Bush's baked beans
1 chopped onion, optional
2T mustard
1C ketchup
1/3C brown sugar
1pd cooked and crumbled bacon
I love to add around 2-3T liquid smoke, but this is optional
I also save around 2T bacon grease and throw it in
Combine all of the ingredients and bake at 350 for one hour, or place in a crockpot on low for a few hours to heat through.

Irma's Macaroni Pasta Salad

Irma is a dear elderly neighbor, who over the last four years I have become good friends with.  My daughter and I always go visit her and we have wonderful talks.  Since I had to move away from my own grandparents, Irma has been a blessing to me in adjusting to not visiting my own grandparents 3-5 times a week like I use to.  I miss them SO much!    Irma had this pasta salad last summer and sent some home with me and my son and I went crazy over it and I had to have the recipe! My daughter and husband do not like it, they think it is too sweet, but my son and I think it is perfect. On a hot day it is refreshing and cool. It makes a huge amount, so it is great for potlucks and picnics.
Irma's Macaroni Pasta Salad
1pd shell or elbow macaroni, cook and drain and cool
1medium onion, grated
4 carrots, grated
1C shredded cheddar cheese
*instead of the carrot and onion, I just buy a bag of prepared coleslaw
Mix 11/2C mayo, 1/2C vinegar, 1small can sweetened condensed milk.  Blend with the cooked macaroni, carrot, onion and cheese. Refrigerate for one hour.
I also like to add 2-3 green onion and 2 celery to the bag of coleslaw...green pepper would be great too

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fiesta Pasta Salad

This recipe makes a bunch and I am planning on making it this weekend while family is in town for Memorial Day.  This is a tough Memorial Day having lost my brother and sister-n-law this year, but with family gathered together this weekend, we will share memories and celebrate their lives.  And of course, pray for those in the military and also ponder and thank those whom lost their lives while fighting for our freedoms.  What an amazing nation we live in. Freedom is never free and Memorial weekend is a special time to remember the enormous sacrifices our military men and women, and their families, make for each one of us.  I am so proud of my ancestors who fought so long ago for my freedoms and I am so proud of my sister-n-law who is an officer in the Navy and my brother who was a sargeant in the Marines and my friend Scott who is now on his fourth tour in Iraq right now.  I have watched the sacrifices these people make with their families, so that they can defend our country and work many long hours and be gone for months at a time and it is just amazing to me.  It isn't just the person in the military making the sacrifice, but their families as well. Their spouse and their children are just as much to thank for our freedoms.  Our present government is not one I agree upon, but it is still our nation and I am blessed to live in this beautiful land.  This nation was founded upon Christian principles and the more God gets pushed to the side, the more chaos we will see. 
On to the recipe!
Fiesta Pasta Salad-adapted from allrecipes
1(16oz)pkg rotini pasta
11/2C salsa
1C mayo
1/2C sour cream, I use light
1can black beans, rinsed and drained(or use chili beans)
1can corn, drained(I use frozen)
1/2C chopped red bell pepper(optional)
2 green onions, sliced thin
1small can sliced olives, drained
1/2tsp each garlic powder, cumin, cilantro (I use fresh cilantro...big difference!)
1tsp salt
pepper to taste
Cook rotini and drain under cold water, set aside. Mix the rest of the ingredients together well and add cooked pasta and mix. Refrigerate atleast 2 hours, or overnight, before serving.
To make this a main meal, add fajita chicken, or cooked ground beef!
Next time I am going to add cubed cheese and grilled chicken!
This recipe is linked to Potluck Sunday at the blog Mommy's Kitchen, come join the fun!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I love these sandwiches! I started eating them back when Arby's came out with them a few years ago and just make my own version at home.  You don't have to heat up the house and they are quick and versatile, I just throw in whatever ingredients I happen to have. 
The base is cooked chicken. Use your own that you've precooked, use rotiserrie, or use canned.  This time I used one can of chicken and shredded it good. Then I added around 1/2C mayo. I used 1 green onion, finely chopped and 1 celery stalk, finely chopped.  Add in as many grapes as you like and cut them in halves, I used around 1C of grapes. If you don't want grapes, you could use craisins or raisins.  I diced up an apple and threw it in. I like walnuts on my sandwich, but no one else does, so I throw some walnuts on mine at the end.  Mix everything well and spread onto a croissant, or bread, or a tortilla.
Easy! and very Good!
The kids loved these wrapped in tortillas! I wrapped them in foil and they were perfect for our picnic!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever looked on a package of dried cranberries and seen this cookie recipe? I did a few years ago and they sounded wonderful so I made them and they are AWESOME! I didn't have white chocolate chips, so I used chocolate.  I love anything oatmeal and then you add cranberries and white or chocolate chips and that is just yummy in my tummy! I'm sure you could sub raisins for the cranberries, but you should try the cranberries, they are so good.
Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies-OceanSpray
2/3C butter, softened(lay out for about 30minutes)
2/3C brown sugar
2 large eggs
11/2C old-fashioned oats
11/2C flour
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
11/4C Craisins
2/3C white or chocolate chips, or chunks
Preheat oven to 375. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate mixing bowl.  Add to the butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each.  Stir in dried craisins and white or chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.  Makes around 21/2 dozen cookies
These are so soft and chewy and delicate!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Chicken Poppyseed Pasta Salad

I LOVE pasta salads! They are perfect for hot weather and summer picnics and potlucks and quick suppers! And when the garden is in full bloom it is so fun to go pick half the ingredients and throw them in a bowl and make pasta!  I got this recipe off of allrecipes.com, but like all other recipes,  I change it up a bit to fit what I have in the fridge(or garden) and what our family prefers.  Have fun with it!
Chicken Poppyseed Pasta Salad
1pkg(16oz) penne pasta
11/2C cooked cut up chicken(I use rotisserie, or grilled, or fajita chicken)
2 stalks celery, finely cut up
1C dried cranberries
4 green onions, finely cut up
11/2C creamy poppyseed dressing
2tsp lemon juice(I omit this)
crushed walnuts(optional)
Cook pasta until al dente, about 8-10minutes and drain and cool under cold water and drain very well. Place the pasta, chicken, celery, green onion, cranberries into a large bowl and pour in the dressing and lemon juice and stir evenly. Stir in walnuts if desired. YUMMO!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roasted Asparagus

So far my Spring favorites have not gone on sale at the store...strawberries and asparagus. Spring is quickly passing by and I'm tired of waiting for those bargains and I am craving both of these foods! So tonight I made some roasted asparagus and fixed one craving...oh it was SO good! You can season asparagus many ways and in my book they are all good!  I only got three lonely asparagus in my garden, maybe next year I will get 6 and that will be enough for one serving! This is the first year for it, so I'm sure I will get more next Spring.  If you are one of those people,(or you have kids that are) who won't eat asparagus because it looks like a weed, or it looks gross and weird(which it does!), trust me...you have to atleast try it, I bet you will like it.  Don't try the canned stuff first, it tastes totally different than fresh....kinda like canned spinach tastes way different than fresh.
Roasted Asparagus
One bunch of asparagus
olive oil
sea salt
fresh pepper
fresh parmesan cheese
garlic, minced ( I didn't have any so I sprinkled it with garlic powder)
Place asparagus(after you snap the ends) on a plate and drizzle with just a bit of olive oil and move the weeds, uh, I mean asparagus, around to coat them.  Then season with salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and garlic and toss around again to coat evenly.  Bake at 425 for around 15 minutes. I don't use one whole bunch of asparagus at one sitting, so my asparagus cooks quicker.  You can just check it at half the time and stir it around and take one out to check and see if it slices easily with a knife.  The parmesan cheese tends to cook fast and can burn if you don't toss them around while they cook. I also line my baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.
This recipe is linked to Potluck Sunday over at the blog Mommy's Kitchen

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Strawberry Bars

I am STILL waiting for strawberries to go on sale...I'm getting nervous that it's not gonna happen! It is almost the end of May and where I live they have not had any "good" sales on this sweet red fruit! Usually by now I have some in the freezer and I have my freezer jam made and fruit salads ate and yummy pies and cakes made, but...I'm still waiting for the sales. I want my strawberry short cake!!!
I went to Louanne's cute blog and found this Strawberry Bar recipe...I've seen this many times before, but with raspberry, but I'm sure it would be good with any fruit preserves. Once I get my strawberries I will make this out of my freezer jam, YUM!
Strawberry Bars
3C flour
1/2C quick cooking oats
1/2C shredded coconut(optional)
1tsp vanilla
3/4tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3C strawberry preserves
Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, oats, coconut, vanilla and baking soda.  Cut in softened butter until mixture clumps between your fingers.  Reserve two cups of mixture and press the rest in an ungreased 13x9 dish. Bake crust for 18minutes and let cool for 15minutes.  Don't turn off oven.  Spread preserves onto cooled crust and sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Return to oven and bake for 30-35minutes.  Let cool and cut into bars. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Malibu Chicken

Wind Wind Go Away, don't ever come back another day! I know this is Kansas, and at that, it's Western Kansas....but, I seriously did not know the wind could blow so strong for so long! WOW! I literally can not even walk in a straight line outside and I know if I put my 5 yr old daughter outside she would blow to Texas!  I guess that means no grilling tonight, ugh! This is a very simple and kid friendly supper that I found over at the cute and yummy blog One Crazy Cookie.  It's a great idea and so tasty! If you don't want to use breaded chicken tenderloins, try the fully cooked grilled chicken breasts, those are good.
Malibu Chicken-
fully cooked breaded chicken tenders
slices of swiss cheese
slices of ham lunch meat
fresh baby spinach(my addition, optional)
Cook chicken tenders according to package directions in the oven. Place some ham lunch meat and then a slice of cheese on top. If using fresh spinach add that too, under the cheese.  Put back in the oven long enough to heat through and melt the cheese, VOILA, supper is done!  I am serving these with roasted asparagus and a fruit salad.  Visit One Crazy Cookie to get her yummy mustard dipping sauce.  We use ranch.   Update: Next time I make these I will use the fully cooked grilled chicken breasts, I think that will keep the chicken moist. The breaded chicken tenders tend to be dry and if you don't dip them in a sauce they are too dry.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Easy Strawberry Pie

I would like to start listing some summer recipes for when the kiddos are home. This includes quick and easy recipes! My favorite! If you have a favorite summer recipe that is quick and easy leave me a comment!  The recipe below could be used for any fruit and jello combination!
Easy Strawberry Pie
1 graham cracker crust
1small pkg strawberry jello
4C strawberries, sliced
1/4C sugar
1T cornstarch
1C water
In a saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, and water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 2minutes until thick. Remove from heat and stir in jello pkg and stir until dissolved.  Cool for 15minutes. Place sliced strawberries in graham cracker crust and pour jello mixture over the top and refrigerate for atleast three hours, or until set.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Banana Bread

This is a more classic version of banana bread versus the other one I have on my blog.  Both are great! I got this version from the blog Live.Love.Eat.
Banana Bread
10T butter
2C mashed ripe bananas (4-5)
1/2C sour cream
2 large eggs
11/2tsp vanilla
2C flour
3/4C plus 2T sugar
1tsp baking soda
3/4tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1C chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x5pan. Puree the bananas, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in another bowl.  Add the 10T butter to the banana mixture and mix on med-low for about 30seconds. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture in three batches, scraping the sides of the bowl and mixing on medium speed between each addition. Fold in the nuts. Pour into loaf pan and bake for around 70minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool. May use a bundt pan and bake around 35-38minutes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Potato Salad

This is a yummy recipe from the wonderful blog Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  This is a wonderful site full of great recipes! The version below serves 10, but visit their site for another version that serves 50!
Potato Salad
7-8C potatoes, peeled, cooked, cubed(I used 8medium yukon gold and boiled them whole for 13-15min)
10hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2C celery, finely chopped(I used 4stalks)
1/3C green onions, finely chopped(I used 3)
11/2C Miracle Whip
1T prepared mustard
1/2T salt
1/4tsp pepper
1T vinegar
Combine potatoes, eggs, celery, and green onions in a large mixing bowl.  Mix rest of the ingredients together well and pour over potato mixture, stir until combined.  Cover and chill until serving.
Cloudy day+ old camera= Bad picture!



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sausage Skillet

This recipe is adapted from the blog Mommy! I'm Hungry and I believe she got it from the Hillshire Farm recipes.  I adjusted this recipe to make it easier and healthier.  Very simple and quick! 
Sausage Skillet
1pkg kielbasa sausage, (links)fully cooked,cut up(I use turkey sausage..it is SO good and very low fat)
2pkgs(4oz each) Knorr-Lipton Pasta Sides, use any flavor, I use butter herb
1pkg shredded coleslaw
Make pasta according to package directions. Cut up sausage.  Place fully cooked sausage chunks into pan and lightly brown and then add the package of coleslaw. It will seem like a lot of coleslaw, but it cooks down. Let the coleslaw simmer for a bit, around 5-7minutes, until it softens, stir every so often. Add the cooked noodles and mix. YUM!


I am a VERY blessed and Happy Mommy!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Spinach Bacon Cheese Quiche

I love Paula Deen's down home cookn, it is true comfort food(and truly fattening!).  I just take her recipes and adjust the ingredients to low fat and I rarely notice any difference in taste(probably because I feel MUCH better about cutting down the fat!).  It was hot today and I did not want to turn on my oven and heat up the house, but I wanted this quiche and had the ingredients for it that needed to be used before they spoiled.  SO, I got out my new toaster oven.  I had an old one that we got when we married, but it is too small to fit most dishes so I went and got me an extra large toaster oven and it's perfect.  I love to use this kitchen appliance during the summer months so that I don't heat up the house, I even move it out to the garage during the real hot days.  This quiche fits perfectly in this toaster oven and I didn't have any hot flashes while it cooked!  I try to grill and use my crockpot a lot during the summer to keep the house cool.  I hope you all had a terrific Mother's Day! We went to church and out to my MIL to have pizza and dessert(not so healthy, but a very yummy treat) and then I came home to study most of the day, UGH! I have a huge essay due and lots of work to go on it.   I want to wish my mom a Happy Mother's Day(since I didn't post yesterday) and thank her for being so fun and I am thinking of you extra today as you experience your first Mother's day after the loss of your son(my brother), I know it's a tough day for you as you reflect on his life and being his mom for 36 years.  I also am thinking extra of my MIL as she also celebrates her first Mother's day after the loss of her daughter a few weeks ago. As you both reflect on their lives and your time as their mother, may you find comfort in the memories and God's love for you.  Day by Day God will help us all to press on and press through this tough time.  You are both wonderful mother's and I am so blessed to have each of you in my life.
Spinach Bacon Cheese Quiche-Paula Deen
1pd bacon, cooked and crumbled(I use the new Farmland brand that is All Natural and does not contain nitrogens, preservatives, hormones,etc)
6 large eggs, beaten
11/2C heavy cream(I have not yet tried my 2% to see if that will work)
salt and pepper
2C fresh baby spinach, chopped
1C shredded cheese(I use freshly grated sharp cheese)
1 pie crust, I use Pillsbury
Preheat oven to 375. Combine eggs, salt and pepper and cream in a blender. Layer the bacon, cheese, spinach,(and I add in fresh mushrooms)in the bottom of the pie crust and then pour the cream mixture over the top. Bake 35-45minutes, or until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges.
This recipe is linked to Potluck Sunday at Mommy's Kitchen


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