Friday, April 6, 2018

French / Western Salad Dressing

1/3 C. sugar
1/3 C. Olive Oil
2/3 C. Ketchup
3 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T. Honey
1 tesp Worchestershire Sauce
1 tesp Garlic Powder
1 tesp Onion Powder
1/2 tesp Paprika
1/2 tesp Salt

Whisk all ingredients until smooth. Store in fridge.
This is SO good - much better than store bought in my opinion- and my family loves it. You can also add a dash of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper if you like it zesty.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Natural Facial Toner

In a glass spray bottle, combine...

1.5 oz. witch hazel
1/2 oz. apple cider vinegar (organic, with the mother)
1/4 tesp glycerine
10 drops grapefruit seed extract
4 drops lavender e.o.
4 drops grapefruit e.o.
4 drops cedarwood e.o.
4 drops frankincense e.o.

Alternately, I use 10 drops Age Defy blend e.o. (Eden's Garden) + 3 drops carrot seed + 3 drops geranium

Sunburn Relief Spray

In a 2 oz spray bottle, combine...

1 oz. witch hazel
1 tesp pure aloe vera gel
10 drops each: lavender and peppermint essential oil
5 drops each: fir needle and copaiba essential oil

Spray liberally onto burned skin. It's even better if you can store it in the fridge. Works like a charm!

Sugar Scrub

1/2 C white sugar
1/4 C coconut oil
Whip with hand mixer until fluffy
Add in 30 drops essential oil until well combined

For invigorating sugar scrub use 5 drops each:
- grapefruit
- lemon
- orange
- peppermint
- rosemary
- basil (or eucalyptus)

For calming sugar scrub use 5 drops each:
- lavender
- cedarwood
- fir needle
- marjoram
- tangerine, mandarin, bergamot, or sweet orange
- chamomile or frankinsense
And the leaves from 1 bag of chamomile tea

Calming Bath Salts

1 C. Epsom Salts
1/4 C. Baking Soda
20 drops essential oil (such as lavender, cedarwood, chamomile, bergamot, fir needle, sweet marjoram)

Combine well and store in an air tight jar. Use about 1/4 for a bath.

Linen Mist

In a 2 oz. glass spray bottle, combine...

1.5 oz. vodka or everclear
15-20 drops essential oil (I like lavender + cedarwood or lavender + fir needle + tangerine)
top off with distilled water to the shoulder. Shake well, spray onto pillows & sheets 15 minutes before bed.

This ratio can also be used for air freshener, although a 1:1 ratio of water to vodka is fine for air freshener.

Natural Bug Repellent

In a 2 oz. spray bottle, combine...
1 oz. vodka or everclear
1 oz. distilled water
20 drops Pest Defy essential oil (Eden's Garden blend containing: cedarwood, citronella, lemongrass, and geranium)

Shake well, spray onto clothing or skin as needed.

Fridge Deodorizer

Mix 1/2 C baking soda + 10-15 drops of any essential oil (my favorite is grapefruit). Place in a small mason jar, cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth or lace, then screw the ring over the cloth to hold it in place. Place in the back of your fridge and it will keep things smelling fresh for 6 months.

Natural Febreeze - Fabric/Closet Freshener

In a 16 oz. glass spray bottle, combine

1.5 C. vodka or everclear
1 Tbs baking soda
30 drops essential oil of your choice (I like light fresh scents like lemon, tea tree, and eucalyptus for this)
top off with distilled water

Shake well, spray whatever needs freshening. This also works great as a shoe spray for stinky cleats and husband's work shoes!

Multi Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner (2)

I use this recipe for more greasy messes like around the stove or kitchen table. It's also great to clean the bathtub.

In a 16 oz. glass spray bottle combine...
1 oz. Dr. Bronner's liquid castille soap
1 tesp. vodka or everclear
20 drops grapefruit seed extract
20 drops essential oil
top off slowly with distilled water
Shake before use, spray on surface, wipe with damp cloth.

Essential Oils I like for this recipe:
- lemon
- orange
- grapefruit
- tea tree
- lemongrass
- peppermint
- eucalyptus
- fighting five (Eden's Garden blend)

DIY Granite Cleaner

In a 16 oz. glass spray bottle, combine...
1/3 C. rubbing alcohol
5 drops liquid castille soap or Dawn
10 drops of non-citrus essential oil
fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water, shake well, spray surface, wipe with dry cloth

Essential Oils I like for this recipe are:
- eucalyptus
- tea tree
- peppermint
- fighting five (Eden's Garden blend)
- Cinnamon
- Clove

Natural Multi-Purpose Cleaner

In a 16 oz glass spray bottle, combine
1 C. white vinegar
1 C. distilled water
1/2 tesp grapefruit seed extract
20 drops essential oil - any combination *optional
Shake well, spray surface, allow to sit for 30 seconds, wipe dry.

Essential Oils I like to use for cleaning:
- lemon
- orange
- grapefruit
- peppermint
- eucalyptus
- pine
- lemongrass
- fighting five (Eden's Garden blend)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Buttery Ranch Snack Mix

1 bottle of Orville Redenbacher's popping and topping oil (this is found in the popcorn section of the grocery)
4.5 Tbsp Ranch dressing mix powder
12 oz Crispix cereal
10 oz Cheez-Its
9.5 oz Triscuits
9 oz Pretzels
9 oz Ritz Chips
1/2 bag Bugles
(other assorted crackers, cereals, or pretzels may be substituted)

Place cereal, crackers, and pretzels in a turkey cooking bag. Mix oil & ranch powder together and pour over top. Tie bag shut and shake. Let mixture sit overnight, or at least for several hours, turning and shaking every so often. Store in air tight containers. Keeps for at lest a week.

Baked Almond Chicken

Another recipe I got from Keri's cookbook. Sounds yummy.

Chicken breasts or tenderloin pieces, thawed
1/2 C melted butter
Honey Bunches of Oats cereal - crushed

Dip chicken in melted butter, then in crushed cereal. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350.

I think I'd add a little extra seasoning to the cereal mix, maybe season salt, ranch mix, or garlic salt.

Olive Spread

This recipe came from a cookbook my friend let me borrow. She's the best cook around and had this flagged as a winner, so I think its worth at try.

6 oz. cream cheese
1 C chopped green olives
1/2 C mayo
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/2 C shredded cheddar

Soften cream cheese. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill. Serve with crackers or on bread. (I've seen Pioneer Woman make this on french bread and bake it until the cheese is gooey and a little brown on top.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Italian Chicken + Veggies

This is a yummy recipe I got from a friend and tried last week. It's picky-eater pleasing and I plan to make it frequently now that I know how easy, fast, and delicious it is! The boys scarfed it up!

(The photo shown here isn't mine. I made a few changes to the original version.)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 16 oz package of frozen green beans
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold or red potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into pats
  • 1 package of Italian dressing mix (I used the Aldi brand)
I also added
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, kept whole
* You could substitute any veggies you have. I'm going to try zucchini and yellow squash next.

In a 9x13 baking dish (or larger if you have it) lay out chicken breasts in the middle, then potatoes on one side, and beans on the other. Lay the pats of butter on top of everything. Then sprinkle Italian dressing powder over the whole thing.
Bake @350 uncovered for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender.

I added the asparagus about 20 minutes before the end because I know they cook fast. If I were using zucchini or yellow squash, I'd put them in 30 minutes before the end because you don't want them overcooked. Seriously, this is one of the easiest meals to prepare! It took me less than 10 minutes to get it in the oven. And cleanup was a snap!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Refreshing Cherry Limeade {SO GOOD!}

I make this refreshing drink all the time, but I find it especially appealing when I'm pregnant and crave sour things. It's so good, so easy, and reminds me of my childhood when we lived in Texas and my mom would treat us to a Braum's Limeade.

What you need:
1 can frozen limeade concentrate (I use Wal-mart brand)
1 L bottle of Tonic Water (or Seltzer Water if you hate tonic)
1 jar maraschino cherries

To Make it:
Mix the frozen concentrate with 2 cans worth of water and the whole bottle of Tonic Water.
Add ice to a glass, pour a few tablespoons of cherry juice (or more if you like more), fill the rest with limeade mixture, top with 1-2 cherries.

Alternatively, you can make it by the glass by just scooping out about 1 oz of frozen limeade into your glass, adding 2 oz of water, then mixing in tonic water and cherry juice to taste.

But once you've tried it, you'll want to make the whole batch because it's so yummy and perfect for Summer time!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Honey Vinaigrette

This is a variation on the Sweet Tarragon Vinaigrette I've made for years and lately we've been loving this one with a salad of dark leafy greens, mandarin oranges, olives, purple onion sliced very thin, almonds or walnuts, cranberries, feta cheese, (sometimes grilled chicken).

1/3 C honey
1/3 C olive oil
1/3 C red wine vinegar (I really like the Pompeian pomegranate infused)
1/8 tesp salt (or to taste)
1/8 tesp almond extract
1/2 tesp dry tarragon (optional)

You can whisk or blend it, but I like to put everything in a jar and shake it like crazy until it comes together.

It takes less than 5 minutes to throw together and is SO yummy!

Monday, June 9, 2014

{Copycat} Starbucks Bottled Frappuccino Drink

Edit: To clarify, when I say "Frappuccino Drink", this is not the icy, blended, milkshake type drink with whipped cream on top that you buy at a Starbucks store. This recipe is like those cute little bottled drinks that come in 4-packs at the grocery. They are actually called "Frappuccino Drink", hence the name of this recipe.

I tried this recipe myself last night and I'm so crazy about it I have to share. I got it from my friend Shelley, who famously always brings it when we have a pitch-in at church. So, because I think everyone needs to know about this, here you go!

10 cups of very strongly brewed coffee (Cafe Du Monde)**
14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
gallon pitcher
several small glass jars w/lids for storage (Mason jars are perfect.)

Brew coffee, pour in pitcher, add sweetened condensed milk, stir well. Let cool to room temp. Stir well again. Pour into small jars, store in fridge. Serve over ice, or straight up if you please. I don't know how long it will keep in the fridge, but I can't imagine you'd ever have it in there long enough for it to spoil because it's so yummy.

** Note: I really think the success of this recipe depends upon using this brand of coffee because it's blended with chicory (which isn't coffee at all, but lends to the yummy flavor).

Also, I had a heck of a time finding this particular brand of coffee. It turns out, they have it at the Chinese Market here in town. But apparently I'm not the best at following directions because it took me 3 tries to find the market. So, if you can't find your Chinese Market, just order it off Amazon. I kind of wish I'd saved myself the trouble. :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

DIY Larabars

I'm kind of proud of myself for making these. Not that they were difficult - actually they were kind of stupidly easy. But because they are a healthy, "real food" alternative to one of our go-to snacks. In stead of tossing the kids a granola bar on the way out the door (becasue we're running late... again) and feeling guilty for giving them junk, I can feel good about this. Plus, both the boys and my husband love them. Easy-peasey breakfast or on-the-go snack while we're running round.

I found a variety of recipes for homemade larabars on Pinterest and finally settled on making my own variation based on flavors I like. I made two kinds. Total time spent, including clean-up = 20 minutes. See? Super easy.

These are the two I tried...

"Cherry Pie"
1/2 C natural almonds (not roasted or salted)
1/2 C pitted whole dates
1 tesp cinnamon
1/8 tesp salt
1 T coconut oil
1 T warm water
1/4 C dried cherries

Pulverize the almonds and dates in the food processor until it gets all crumbly. Add the cinnamon, salt, oil, and water. Mix together on "pulse" mode until it comes together and kind of looks like a dough ball. Then add cherries and pulse a few more times. I wanted bigger chunks of cherries so I added them at the end. I guess you could add them in the beginning if you wanted them all mushed up. If the mixture is too dry just add another Tbsp or so of warm water. It will be kind of sticky, but more dry than cookie dough. Then take all the mixture together in your hands and squeeze it tight - really pack it together like a snowball. Place in a small square pan or loaf pan lined in plastic wrap. Press down and get it all level, however thick you like your bars. Then wrap up in plastic and put in the fridge for a few hours until it gets nice and firm. Remove from the pan, cut into bars, wrap each bar in plastic wrap, store in the fridge.

"Double Chocolate"
1/2 C natural almonds
1/2 C pitted whole dates
1/8 tesp salt
1 T coconut oil
1 T unsweet cocoa powder
1 T warm water
a handfull of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pulverize the almonds and dates in the food processor until it gets all crumbly. Add salt, oil, cocoa, and water. Pulse until it comes together like a dough ball. Add a little more warm water if mixture is too dry. Take mixture out and smash it together in your hands nice and tight like a snowball. Then place in a plastic lined small square pan or loaf pan. Press down until it's all level and smooth, sprinkle a handfull of chocolate chips on top and press them down so they stick. Refrigerate a few hours until it gets firm. Remove from pan, cut into bars, wrap each bar in plastic wrap, store in the fridge.

A few notes:
I hate dates. Really, I think they are way too sweet and gross. But in these recipes you honestly cannot taste them. They provide the sweetness and texture to hold the bars together. So if you hate dates like I do, don't be afraid of making these. Also, coconut oil, if you're not familiar, is a solid when the temp is cool (which it is now), so I don't know how it would act in the summertime, but I think it would be fine.

Also, the possibilities of flavor combos are really endless. I'm looking forward to trying the Key Lime variety on my next batch.

Now that I've made these a few times, I'm finding that my family prefers the more simple recipe. {almonds, dates, salt, coconut oil, water} Then I divide the base "dough" in half and put dried cherries & dark chocolate chips in one half and dried cranberries in the other. My boys don't care much for the cocoa or cinnamon kinds.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Freezer Meals

Fall is an insanely busy time for our family. Although my 3 guys would never tire of pizza and fried chicken, I'm longing for budget-friendly home cooking that I can manage within my hectic schedule. So in mid-October, after being inspired by Pinterest and The Pioneer Woman, I decided to prepare 3 months worth of make-ahead freezer/Crockpot meals. I'll be honest; I spent a lot of time planning and list-making because this was my first time doing serious freezer meal prep. But I think the effort will be well worth the time it saves me on weeknights. And really, I didn't mind the preparation because I enjoy list-making and organization. So this was right up my alley.

This was my game plan...

1) Scour the internet and cookbooks for recipe ideas.
2) Made a list of meals and ingredients needed. (I tried to use as much as possible from my pantry)
3) Shopped (this took 2 days and 4 shopping trips because I kept forgetting things - poor planning on my part)
4) Enlisted the help of my Mom and Grandma for a big day of cooking.
5) Cooked for pretty much an entire Saturday.
6) Stocked my freezer and felt a nice sense of accomplishment. Woohoo!

Since my family is small and the boys don't eat much, I made the casseroles in 8x8 disposable foil pans (instead of 9x13). This means that a double recipe = 3 dinners for us. So, with a typical meal, we end up with enough for left-overs for the next day's lunch too.

The Menu:
3 Lasagnas
3 Chicken N Stuffing Casseroles
2 Baked Ravioli
3 Sausage Egg Potato Casseroles
3 Chicken Pot Pies
3 Sour Cream Noodle Bake (Pioneer Woman)
3 Rotel King Ranch Chicken Casseroles
5 Meatloaf
4 meals worth of Chili
4 meals worth of Taco Soup
2 meals worth of Veggie Soup
1 Chicken Fajitas - Crockpot
1 Pineapple Pepper Chicken - Crockpot
1 Curry Chicken - Crockpot
1 Honey Sesame Chicken - Crockpot
1 Lime Salsa Beef - Crockpot
1 giant pork roast prepared as Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork (Pioneer Woman) - in the Crockpot - divided meat into 4 freezer bags for later use as bbq pork sandwiches, carnitas, and empanadas
2 large beef roasts – Crockpot – shredded and divided into 4 freezer bags for later use in flautas, Italian beef sandwiches, Beef N Gravy over mashed potatoes, etc.
2 pounds of beef stew meat – Crockpot – ready to use in stew, soup, or Bush-Whacker Steak
1 pound of cooked black beans - divided into 1 cup portions
1 pound of cooked pinto beans - divided into 1 cup portions
1 pound of white beans - for later use in white chili
1 pound of cooked Jimmy Dean sausage - great to have on hand
Enough Chicken Pot Pie filling to make Chicken A'La King over biscuits

(I actually had all the ingredients to make 4 more crockpot meals ahead to freeze, but I ran out of chicken so that had to be saved for another day.)

All of this plus the 1/4 cow we already had filled up my deep freezer to the point where I can't fit anything else in. What a great problem to have!

I'd love to give a review on how each meal has turned out, but we're about 1 month in and we haven't tried everything yet.

So far I've found the things that freeze and do really well are:
chili, taco soup, veggie soup, meatloaf, pre-cooked beans, pre-cooked shredded beef and pork, chicken pot pie, lasagana, baked ravioli, sausage-egg-potato casserole, rotel king ranch chicken, and chicken N stuffing casserole.

The shredded beef roast made some of the best tacos we've ever tasted.

The Crockpot chicken fajitas tasted really yummy, but I should have put the bell peppers and onions in 1 hour before serving, rather than at the beginning. They got way too soft.

The honey sesame chicken also had a great flavor. I'd make this recipe again.

Several of the casseroles needed quite a bit longer to bake than the normal recipes call for. I'm sure this has to do with them being partially frozen and/or very cold when they go in the oven. I ended up adding 40 extra minutes of baking to the rotel king ranch chicken and 30 extra minutes to the chicken n stuffing casserole.

I'm finding the best thing to do most of the time is to take the meal out of the freezer at supper time the night before, leave it on the counter until bed time, put it in the fridge overnight, get it out the next morning again, then leave it out until it's ready to go in the oven or crockpot. To inhibit bacteria growth, food should not stay between 40 and 140 degrees for more than 2 hours. Obviously, you keep an eye on it and if it gets to room temp too soon (maybe in the Summer months this could happen), you'd put it in the fridge again or go ahead and cook it. The soups don't need to do this because as long is the frozen block of soup will plop out of the plastic bowl and into the crockpot, it's fine. Pre-cooked meats and beans take very little time to thaw, so I've just been getting those out an hour before I want to make supper.

The one meal we didn't care for was (surprisingly) the Pioneer Woman's sour cream noodle bake. The egg noodles became too soft and it had a very wet consistency which we didn't like. It just didn't meld together well after being frozen. I won't be repeating this one.

So, my review of doing a 3-month freezer meal plan... I LOVE IT! It's totally worth 4 days of planning and Saturday of cooking. Expecially if you have help from your Mom and Grandma! We've really enjoyed the variety and I've been able to spend so much less time figuring out what to fix on a daily basis. There have been so many nights we've remarked that if we weren't able to just pop a casserole in the oven, we would have been eating peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches becasue our schedules are crazy and we just don't want to put the effort into it. And bonus - the clean-up is easy! Foil pans are the best invention!

I will definately be doing this again! Busy Moms, I highly recommend it!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Honey Sesame Chicken {Freezer to Crockpot}

1 lb chicken tenders
3 T olive oil
1 cup honey
2 T sesame seeds
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 t. pepper
1 package frozen broccoli
1 can pineapple chunks

Place all ingredients except broccoli and pineapple in freezer bag, toss to coat and freeze.
To thaw, move from freezer to fridge overnight. Place in crockpot and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Steam the broccoli for just a few minutes. Remove chicken & cut into chunks, then return to sauce along with drained pineapple and broccoli. Toss to coat, serve over cooked rice.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crockpot Curry Chicken


• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

• 1, 6oz can of tomato paste

• 1, 13.5oz can of coconut milk

• 1 small onion, chopped (about one cup)

• 2 cups of frozen peas

• 1, 14.5oz can of tomato sauce (about 1 3/4 cup)

• 2 large cloves of garlic, minced

• 3 tablespoons honey

• 2 tablespoons curry powder

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. In a bowl, combine tomato sauce, garlic, honey, and seasonings. Set aside.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to your slow cooker. Cover with the tomato sauce/seasoning mixture.
3. Cook on low 4 hours.
4. Serve over rice.

Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a freezer bag, freeze. Remove from freezer and place in fridge the night before to thaw. Cook on low 4 hours.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mongolian Beef

Serves: 5-6

• 1 1/2 lbs flank steak
• 1/4 c corn starch
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 tsp minced ginger
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• 3/4 c low sodium soy sauce
• 3/4 c water
• 3/4 c brown sugar
• 1/2 c shredded carrots
• 3 medium green onions, chopped


Cut the steak into 2-inch-wide strips with the grain, then slice across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices. (You can use skirt, hanger, or flatiron steaks as a substitute for flank. I have also used top round.)
Coat steak pieces in cornstarch.
Add remainder of ingredients to slow cooker and stir well to combine.
Place coated flank steak into the slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.
Serve over rice or noodles, if desired.

To Freeze: Combine ingredients and place in freezer bag. Add coated steak to bag, keep in seperate layer. Label and freeze.

To serve: Thaw. Cook in crockpot on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lime Salsa Chicken {freezer to crockpot}


Juice from one lime

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

a 1.25-oz. package taco seasoning

2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (optional)

3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or thighs

1 chopped red pepper

1/2 onion chopped

TO COOK- In a slow cooker, mix together the contents of the bag and one 24-ounce jar of salsa
Cook on high for 3-4 hours.

TO SERVE- Serve in tortillas with rice and/or beans

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Flourless Fudge Cookies

{Photo & Recipe credit:}
I'll be honest, I didn't think these would taste as good as they did when I read the recipe.  I was pleasantly surprised. This is something I'll definitely be making again.

Preheat oven to 350.
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 2/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 to 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C 60% cacao chocolate chips
Combine dry ingredients. Mix in the vanilla and 2 egg whites.  You're looking for brownie batter consistency. If more liquid is needed, add a 3rd egg white and mix well, add the 4th if necessary.  {I only ended up needing 3 egg whites.}

Fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop spoonfulls of batter onto a very well greased cookie sheet.
Bake 12 minutes. Remove carefully after letting them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet.

Mine didn't turn out nearly as pretty as the photo above, but they were chewy and fudgy and somehow at the same time light and crispy. A very satisfying chocolate dessert!

Homemade Dryer Sheets

I only use my dryer when its raining or too cold to hang laundry outside, so these DIY dryer sheets will probably last me for a LONG time!

What you need:
1/4 C fabric softener
3/4 C hot tap water
a few drops of bleach (to hinder growth of mold)
an old receiving blanket or other flannel fabric cut into squares
an old baby wipes or other air tight container

Cut blanket into dryer sheet sized squares, mine made 12 pieces. Mix fabric softener, hot water, and few drops of bleach. Pour mixture over fabric in the container, make sure they all get good and wet. And done!

When you need one, just squeeze it out a little bit and toss in with the wet clothes.  Then put it back in the container to get wet again and reuse as needed.  I'm finding that the mixture is lasting much longer than I thought.

They really do work as well as regular dryer sheets.  Really!

The Cost:
37 cents per "batch" of 48 sheets
Bounce dryer sheets = $6.84/ 160 count

What I purchased:
56 oz bottle Suavatel fabric softener = $2.97

DIY Window Cleaner {as good as Windex}

Seriously, I'm starting to find it amazing how I've been paying such a huge mark-up on products that I can very easily make myself!  Windex is another example.  I made my own in under 3 minutes and saved a bundle.  Here's how...

What you need:
1/8 C White Ammonia
1/4 C Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
1 drop of dish detergent

Mix ingredients, pour into empty spray bottle, fill the rest of the way up with water. And done!

The Cost:
20 cents per bottle
Windex = $2.87 per bottle

What I purchased:
ammonia $1
rubbing alcohol $1
dish detergent; on hand

Homemade Hand Soap

Making your own hand soap is super cheap and easy! You should definately try it!

I had to look a bit for the glycerine and ended up finding it at CVS, but I think you can buy it online too.

What you need:
1 bar of soap
1 T of glycerine
10 cups of water
5-10 drops of teatree oil for antibacterial purposes (optional)

Heat water and grated soap in a large pot on low, just until it combines. Turn off the heat, add the glycerine and essential oil and mix really well, but don't make a lather.  Let it cool completely, then pour into bottles.

The Cost:
1 batch yielded 14 bottles = $1.41
or 8 cents per bottle
Softsoap brand hand soap = $1.00 per bottle

What I Purchased:
1 bar of Yardley soap at the dollar store = $1
a 6 oz bottle of glycerine = $4.99 (will make 12 batches of handsoap)

If you're good at couponing you can get bar soap for much less. Ivory is about 45 cents per bar at Wal-Mart.
*Note: do not use Dove or Caress types of soap as they do not lather at all in handsoap form.

Citrus Vinegar Enzyme Cleaner

I have two small children and pets. They all like to eat things off the floors and lick inappropriate surfaces.  So when I came across this recipe for homemade kid-friendly citrus cleaner I gave it a try.  Now I love it and use it to clean practically everything in my home!  The vinegar disinfects and the citrus cuts through grease and dirt and it smells great.  And I don't have to worry about using chemicals near my little ones.
Here's how to make it...

What you need:
1 gallon jar or container with a tight lid (I used an old glass pickle jar.)
1/2 gallon of white vinegar
various citrus peels - be very careful to use only the rind, not the white pith

Put vinegar & peels in the jar and shake up once a day for 3 weeks.  I added more peels as we ate more oranges during that 3 week time.  You can use any citrus fruit you have on hand. I happened to use oranges, grapefruit, and lemon.

After 3 weeks, strain out all the peels and gunk. Return to the jar and dilute to half potency with water.

It can be used as an all purpose cleaning spray for just about anything.  Dilute it by half again with hot water and use to mop hardwood, vinyl, or tile floors to get them shining like new again.

The Cost:
57 cents per bottle
Mr. Clean citrus cleaner = $2.27 per bottle

What I Purchased:
1/2 gallon white vinegar = $1.15
citrus peels; on hand

Frugal Febreze

As with any home remedy, at first I had my doubts as to the effectiveness of this homemade Febr3ze.  But making it was so inexpensive, I decided I didn't have anything to lose by trying.  I'm so glad I did!  Because it works just as well {if not better} than the store bought type, and is about $3.00 less per bottle.

What you need: 
1/8 C (1 ounce) liquid fabric softener {any brand}
1 T baking soda
2-3 drops of essential oil (optional)
hot tap water
an empty spray bottle

Pour fabric softener, baking soda, and oil into the bottle, fill it (almost) the rest of the way up with hot tap water.  Give it a good shake and spritz away.

The first time I made this I sprayed every fabric surface of my home! That may have been overkill.

The cost:
about 19 cents per bottle to make
Febreze = $3.32 per bottle to buy

What I purchased:
56 oz bottle Suavatel fabric softener = $2.97
4 lb. box Arm&Hammer baking soda = $2.12 (I buy big boxes because I use it like crazy!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Keri's taco topping

One pound ground beef - browned, drained
One pack taco seasoning
Half cup shredded cheddar
Half cup heavy cream
One cup salsa

Cook meat. Drain. Return to pan.
add all other ingredients. Heat until melted together. Keep warm until served.

Use either as taco meat on tortillas or layer with chips, lettuce, avocado, sour cream, tomato and cheese for nachos.

Very easy and delish!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Comeback Sauce

by Jackie Garvin at

This is similar to the sauce that’s served by the steak house chain made famous by the onions that bloom.

Here’s Jackie's version that makes a pint jar full.

1 cup real mayonnaise
1/4 cup Heinz ketchup
1/4 cup chili sauce ( I prefer Heinz. DO NOT substitute Thai Chili Sauce)
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup light olive oil
juice of one lemon

Mix all ingredients well and store in refrigerator overnight. It needs to sit to let the flavors become “acquainted”. They shouldn’t rush into marriage.

Chances are you’ve had it on a burger or sandwich at a new age sandwich shop. It’s a versatile sauce that also makes a great salad dressing. The origins are debated, but most attribute the sauce to a Greek immigrant who settled in Mississippi after WWII. Most recipes agree on the proportions of mayonnaise to ketchup to chili sauce and heavy on the black pepper. After that, the amounts of all the other ingredients are up for grabs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Homemade Samoas

Homemade Samoas

1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (it’s possible you might not need to add milk at all). The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky.

Roll the dough (working in two or three batches) out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or slightly less) and use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat with remaining dough. Alternatively, use scant tablespoons of dough and press into an even layer in a mini donut pan to form the rounds.

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. If using a mini donut pan, bake for only about 10 minutes, until edges are light gold.
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 tsp per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it gets too firm to work with.

While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes about 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies.

Note: These cookies are fairly time consuming to make, but if you take your time and have fun with them, the results will be worth it. That said, if you want something a little bit quicker, try baking a batch of Samoas Bars instead, which require no rolling and cutting of the dough!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Bush-Wacker" Steak

Prep time: at least 1 hour
Servings: 4
  • 1 - 2 lb. round steak, cut into cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into cubes
  • 1 small onion, cut into cubes
  • 2 (16 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can water
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pkg. french onion soup mix powder
  • 3 Tbsp A1 steak sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bag egg noodles or cooked rice
Cut meat into cubes, brown in veg. oil in large skillet. Add chopped veggies. Cook until soft. Add tomatoes (with juice) to deglaize pan. Then add water, vinegar, A1, garlic, soup mix, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium-low heat at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover if it starts to get too thick. The longer it cooks the better! Serve over noodles or rice. If you want the sauce a little thicker, add a slurry of 1 T. cornstarch with 1/4 C. water, and cook until just thickened.

This super yummy tummy warmer came originally from Michelle Gearhardt when we lived in Grace House. The meat gets so tender and delish! It's great with a crusty french bread and green salad.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • 4 C. blackberries, washed (you could use a combination of raspberries or fresh peaches too)

Bring to boil:

  • 3/4 - 1 C. sugar (depending on the tartness of the berries)
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tesp. salt
  • 2. C. water

Turn off heat and add in berries. Pour mixture into baking dish.

For the topping mix together:

  • 3 C. dry Bisquick
  • 1/2 C. melted butter
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1/4 C. milk

Spoon onto hot berries to cover the top. Bake 40 minutes at 400 degrees, or until golden. Eat some while it's warm!

My Mom's garden produces loads of blackberries and raspberries in the summertime so we have this at least once a week! We love to enjoy it warm out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream while sitting on the back porch in the evening.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Mix together in microwave safe bowl:

  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tesp. salt
  • 2 C. milk
  • 2 egg yolks; slightly beaten

Zap mixture in 2 minute increments, whisking in between, until thickened.

Whisk in 2 T. butter and 2 tesp. vanilla. Let cool.

Line the bottom of a bowl with graham crackers. Layer on sliced bananas and pudding. Crumble graham crackers on top.

(This is SOOOOO delicious! I love it when it's still warm. We always make a double batch because it goes so quick!)

Old Mill's Corn Chowder

  • 1 T. butter
  • 2 C. water
  • 1 C. clam juice
  • 2 C. chicken broth or stock
  • 2 C. half & half
  • 3 C. diced potatoes (peeled)
  • 3 C. diced onions
  • 2 C. frozen corn
  • 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, chopped and sauteed
  • 3/4 C. crumbled oyster crackers
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 1/2 tesp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tesp. onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a stock pot melt butter, stir in other liquids (except half & half). Add potatoes & onions. Cook until potatoes are done.

Saute bell peppers in a little butter with garlic and onion powder. Add to pot, mix well.

Mix together the cracker crumbs, flour, salt & pepper. Add to pot, mix well. Bring to boil.

Add corn and half & half. Simmer 20 minutes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicken Carbonara

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Servings: 4

1 package (7 ounces) spaghetti
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream

Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
While spaghetti is cooking, cook bacon in 3-quart saucepan over low heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp. Remove bacon, place on paper towel. Drain fat from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon in pan.
Cook onion and garlic in bacon fat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Stir in spaghetti, chicken, cheese and whipping cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Toss with bacon.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yummy Strawberry Bars

Preheat oven: 350 degrees

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 & 1/4 C. flour
  • 1/4 C. powdered sugar

Combine and press into greased 9 x 13 pan, bake 10-15 minutes.
Cool crust. Top with 1 pint fresh sliced strawberries.

For glaze, mix and boil for 1 minute:

  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. water
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Cool glaze until just warm and whisk in 1 small package strawberry jello. Pour glaze over strawberries. Cool to room temp before refrigerating.

Brownie Mix Cookies

Preheat oven: 350 degrees
Yield: aprox. 18 cookies
  • 1 (15.8 oz.) pkg brownie mix
  • 1/3 c. crisco, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • chopped nuts, optional
  • frosting, optional

Mix brownie mix, melted crisco, egg and nuts together. Scoop balls onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350. Frost after cooling.

Lemon Squares

Preheat oven: 350 degrees

  • 1 C. butter
  • 1/2 C. powered sugar
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1/8 tesp. salt

Combine 1st 4 ingredients, pat into a 9 x 13 pan, bake 10 minutes at 350.

Meanwhile, beat together:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest

Pour mixture over baked crust, bake for 25 minutes uncovered. Test with sharp knife for doneness. Should be slightly sticky, but firm.

Sift powdered sugar on top of cooled bars for garnish.

Chocolate Chip toffee Bars

Preheat oven: 350 degrees
Bake time: 25 minutes
  • 2 and 1/3 C. flour
  • 2/3 C. brown sugar
  • 3/4 C. butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 C. chocolate chips
  • 1 C. chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 14 oz. can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 and 1/2 C. toffee bits

Stir together 1st 3 ingredients. Add in 1 egg; slightly beaten. Mix well.

Combine: chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Stir half into mixture, save half for topping.

Press crumb mixture into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Pour sweetened condensed milk over crust. Top with reserved chip/nut mixture and toffee bits. Return to oven, bake until golden brown. Cool completely, cut into bars.

Chocolate Pie - a family FAVORITE!

  • 1 and 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 tesp. salt
  • 2 and 1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 C. milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten (you can save the whites to make meringue if you want)
  • 1/4 C. butter
  • 1/2 tesp. vanilla
  • baked pie crust or graham cracker crust
  • cool whip for topping (optional)

Mix sugar, salt, corn starch, flour and cocoa together in a large sauce pan. Beat together the egg yolks and milk. Place pan over medium-high heat then whisk wet ingredients in with dry ingredients.

Bring to simmer and whisk continually until it thickens. (Don't walk away or it will burn!) It's done when it reaches the consistency of thick pudding. Do not overcook or the cornstarch will turn back to liquid.

Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Cool completely before pouring into pie crust. Yes, you must wait until its completely cool.

*You can just bake a ready made store bought pie crust. I think they're just as good as homemade.

Peanut butter Pie (Mom's)

  • 1 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 C. peanut butter
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (12 oz.) container cool whip
  • 1 chocolate graham cracker pie crust
  • 2 Reeses peanut butter cups, chopped up for garnish

Use an electric or stand mixer to combine powered sugar, peanut butter, cream cheese and cool whip. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Top with chopped peanut butter cups. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cream Puff Cake

Servings: 15
Prep time: 25 min
Bake: 25 min. + chilling

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs


  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 3 packages (3.3 ounces each) instant white chocolate or vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until smooth and shiny. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Bake at 400° for 22-26 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For filling: in a large bowl beat the cream cheese, milk and pudding mixes until smooth. Spread over the crust; refrigerate for 20 minutes. Spread with whipped topping. Chill until serving.

IHOP Harvest Grain Pancakes

Another good recipe from Jane Merle at church. We use this for the men's breakfast and it's a big hit!
  • 3/4 C. Quaker oats
  • 3/4 C. whole wheat flour
  • 2 tesp. baking soda
  • 1 tesp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tesp. salt
  • 1 and 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 C. veg. oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped walnuts

Use a blender or food processor to grind the oats until fine like flour. Combine oat flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

In another bowl combine the wet ingredients with granulated sugar - beat with hand mixer until smooth.

Add dry mixture to wet ingredients, whisking slowly until combined. Add nuts and mix well with mixer.

Use 1/3 C. of batter per pancake and cook 2-4 minutes per side on hot, greased griddle.

Yield: 8 pancakes

*You can mix up a larger batch the dry ingredients ahead of time and store them in a air-tight container.

Sky-High Brunch Bake

This comes from a dear lady at church, Jane Merle. She's an amazing cook!

  • 1 pkg (17.3 oz.) frozen puff pastry - 2 sheets - thawed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 2 pkg (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained very well
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 C. chopped red bell pepper

Preheat oven: 400 degrees

Unfold pastry sheet & roll out one sheet to about 11 inch square and one to 12 inch square. Line bottom and side of greased 9 inch spring form pan with the 12 inch pastry sheet.

Beat eggs with whisk. Reserve about 1 Tbsp. of eggs and set aside. Add Ricotta cheese, pepper sauce & spinach to remaining eggs; mix well until combined. Layer half each of the bacon, cheese, spinach mixture & red peppers in pastry line pan. Repeat layers.

Place remaining pastry sheet over mixture; fold and tuck pastry edges in pan. Pinch edges to seal. Brush top with reserved egg. Cut 5-6 slits in top crust with tip of sharp knife to allow steam to escape.

Bake 45-50 minutes at 400, or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around edges of pan before removing rim.

To make ahead: Assemble and bake ass directed. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, uncover and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until heated through.

World's Best Butter Cookies

Oven temp: 325 degrees
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yields: 48 cookies

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Beat the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla together until smooth and creamy.
Mix in the egg yolk until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.
Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.

Scrape onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times, just until the dough smooths out.
Turn onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, wrap up and refrigerate for several hours or freeze.

Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F.
Line your baking sheets with parchment.
Slice the dough into slices about 1/8" thick and place them on the sheets about an inch apart(they won't be spreading very much, but they need air room around each cookie).

Bake until JUST beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 16-18 minutes. You can top with icing or jam, dip in chocolate or drizzle with a lemon glaze. Or just enjoy them as is.

The Bomb Burgers

Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins

For burgers:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (fine)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 3 teaspoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced gingerroot
  • 1 egg

For glaze:

  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
In a bowl combine beef, bread crumbs, green onions, cilantro, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger and egg. Mix well.

Make 5 burgers patties. Poke a hole thru the middle of each.

For the glaze whisk together: water, hoisin, and sesame oil.

Place burgers on a hot grill and brush the top with the glaze mixture.
Flip after 7 min or so and baste the other side. Continue cooking until desired doneness.

Peanut Chicken Stir-Fry (TOH)


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Hot cooked rice or noodles

In a small bowl combine until smooth and set aside:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • peanut butter
  • soy sauce
  • brown sugar

In a skillet or wok, stir-fry garlic in oil for 30 seconds. Add the chicken; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Add the broccoli; stir-fry for 5 minutes.
Stir in the peanut butter mixture; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until sauce is smooth and broccoli is crisp-tender.

Combine cornstarch and remaining water until smooth; gradually add to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Serve with rice or noodles.

Lisa's Thumbelina Cookies

Preheat oven: 350 degrees
  • 1 stick room temp butter
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 egg - separated
  • 1 tesp. vanilla
  • 1 C. flour
  • 1/2 tesp. salt
  • very finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tub cream cheese frosting
  • food coloring to dye frosting if desired
Cream together: butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla.
Slowly add in flour and salt.

Shape dough into walnut size balls. Dip into egg whites, roll in finely chopped walnuts.

Place on cookie sheets and dent the center of each cookie in with your thumb.

Bake 5 minutes @ 350. Take out of oven and very carefully dent each cookie with your thumb again. Return to oven and bake 10-15 minutes longer.

Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

These came from my friend Lisa Bachynsky who has been making them since she was a little girl. They are SOOO good!

Mom's Pizza Pie

Preheat oven: 350 degrees
  • 1 lb. ground beef; browned and drained
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tesp. dry oregano
  • 1/4 tesp. dry parsley
  • 1/4 tesp. dry basil
  • 1/8 tesp. pepper
  • 1/2 tesp. salt
  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 slices of mozzarella cheese
Brown and drain the ground beef, add in tomato sauce and seasonings. Bring to simmer and reduce a little.

Beat 1 egg + 1 egg white together. Save the other yolk in another bowl.

Line a 9 inch round pie pan with 1/2 the can of crescent rolls, pressing seams together.
Cover dough with 1/2 of egg mixture.
Layer the beef mixture on top, then cover with 6 slices of cheese.
Pour other 1/2 of egg mixture over top.
Top with other 1/2 can of crescent rolls. Brush beaten egg yolk on top.

Bake 1 hour at 350. If crust becomes too brown, cover with foil (shiny side out).

Mom's Chicken Curry

Mix together:
  • 8 and 1/2 tesp. curry powder
  • 1 tesp. salt

Cut up 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts into bite size pieces and toss in the above.

Heat a few Tbsp. peanut or veg. oil in large non-stick skillet, cook chicken in it until brown. Remove, set aside. Turn heat to low.

Add to pan and cook on low for 8-10 min. until softened and brown:

  • 2 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 large minced garlic clove
  • 3 mediums onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cardamon pods

Add to pan:

  • 4 C. whole tomatoes; peeled and seeded with juice
  • 1 and 1/2 C. chicken broth
  • cooked chicken

Raise heat to medium and cook until liquid is reduced (about 15 min). Reduce heat to low.

Stir in:

  • 1/4 C. plain yogurt
  • 3/4 c. golden raisins

Serve over jasmine or brown rice.

Happy Holly Ham Glaze

Bake 1 half ham as package directs.

  • 1 16 oz. can cranberry sauce
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. orange juice
  • 1/2 tesp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tesp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tesp. allspice

Combine and heat slowly in sauce pan until smooth, whisking often. Glaze ham 15 minutes before done. Serve extra glaze with ham.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mom's Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Preheat oven: 350 degrees
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 C. chicken broth
  • 1 C. chopped green chilies
  • 2 C. chopped cooked chicken
  • corn tortillas
  • shredded cheddar or jack cheese
Cook chopped onion in the butter until translucent. Add in cream of chicken soup, green chilies, cooked chicken - stir until combined well and heated.

In a large baking dish, place a layer of corn tortillas, layer of soup mixture, then layer of cheese. Repeat until dish is filled making sure cheese is on top.

Bake 25-30 minutes uncovered

Lauralee's Rotel King Ranch Chicken

1 stick butter
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel tomatoes (undrained)
2 C. chopped cooked chicken breast
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas; torn into bite size
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion, cook and stir about 5 minutes, until tender. Stir in soup, tomatoes, and chicken - blend well.

Spray 9 x 13 pan, layer 1/3 of the tortillas, chicken mixture, top with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat 2 more times.

Bake 40 minutes, uncovered.

Asian Peanut Chicken and Noodles

Place into a large bowl:

  • 1 lb. cooked linguine noodles; drain and rinse
  • 2 bunches sliced green onion
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro (or more if you like)
  • 1 jalapeno; seeded/deveined, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. sugar snap peas
  • 3 grilled chicken breasts, cut into bite size

In a blender, mix together: (don't substitute any ingredients!)

  • 1/2 C. soy sauce
  • 1/4 C. peanut butter
  • 1/4 C. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 C. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

Toss dressing over salad. Serve warm or chilled.

Stephanie Frey's Chicken Pot Pie

Preheat oven: 425 degrees
  • 3 or 4 bone-in chicken breasts
  • 1/3 C. butter
  • 1/3 C. chopped onion
  • 1/2 tesp. salt
  • 1/2 tesp. pepper
  • 1/3 C. flour
  • 2/3 C. milk
  • 10 oz. package mixed veggies or California blend
  • 9 inch ready pie crust (the rolled up kind)

Boil chicken breasts in enough water to cover until cooked through. Save broth. Remove meat from bone, dice into small bite size pieces. (5 cups worth)

For the gravy:
In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Add chopped onion, salt and pepper, and cook until translucent. Add in flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in the reserved chicken broth and milk. Let it all cook together until it thickens like gravy.

Place diced chicken in bottom of 9 x 13 pan or similar casserole dish. Add package of frozen mixed veggies on top of chicken. Pour on gravy. Roll out pie crust, cut a few slits on top, place on top of casserole.

Bake 35-40 minutes @ 425 until golden.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mary's Overnight Crunch Coffee Cake

Preheat oven: 350 degrees
Servings: 16

Sift together:
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 tesp. baking powder
  • 1 tesp. baking soda
  • 1 tesp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tesp. salt

Cream together until light and fluffy:

  • 2/3 C. butter
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (1 at a time, beat well after each)
  • alternate dry ingredients with 1 C. buttermilk into cream mixture
Spread batter into floured 9 x 13 pan.

For Crunch topping, combine:
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tesp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tesp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 C. chopped nuts
Sprinkle over batter.
Refrigerate over night, or 8 hours.
Bake at 350 degrees, 35 - 40 minutes.
Serve warm.

BLT Pasta Salad

  • 1 pkg. rotini pasta; cooked and drained
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 C. green onion; sliced
  • 4 C. lettuce, chopped
  • 1 C. mayo
  • 1/4 C. lemon juice
  • 2 tesp. sugar
  • 2 tesp. chicken bullion granules
Combine mayo, lemon juice, sugar, and bullion for the dressing.
Combine all remaining ingredients, pour dressing over top and toss just before serving.
*This doesn't keep well since the lettuce wilts, so if you aren't going to use it all for one meal, you'd want to only put lettuce in the portions you'll eat right away.

Broccoli Grape Salad

  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut bite size
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 C. grapes, halved (or raisins)
  • 1/3 C. sunflower kernels or chopped pecans


  • 1 C. mayo
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 1/2 tesp. salt

Toss, sprinkle 3 oz. bacon bits on top, refrigerate until serving.

Waldorf Salad (from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel)

  • 3 medium apples; cut into bite size (unpeeled)
  • 1/2 C. chopped celery
  • 1/2 C. grapes; halved
  • 1 C. pineapple chunks; drained
  • 1/2 C. pecans
  • 1/2 C. mini marshmallows


  • 1 C. mayo
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1/2 tesp. salt

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, mix well, cover and refrigerate.

Fumi Salad (Ramen Slaw)

  • 1 pkg. slaw mix
  • 1/2 C. slivered almonds
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 C. sesame seeds
  • 1 pkg. ramen noodles; uncooked and broken into small pieces

Dressing - whisk together:

  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 C. oil
  • season pkg. from ramen noodles
  • 6 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Brown almonds and sesame seeds in a small amount of butter. Combine slaw mix, onions, and dressing. Just before serving, stir in noodles, almonds, and sesame seeds.

Holiday Cranberry Orange Relish

In a food processor - until finely chopped:
  • 2 pkg. fresh cranberries
  • 3 oranges; cut into wedges, half the peel removed

Then add 1 C. sugar and 1/2 tesp. salt and pulse until mixed well. Adjust to taste. Refrigerate at least overnight. (The longer, the better it tastes.)

Add chopped pecans before serving if desired.

Spring Spinach Strawberry Salad

  • 1 package spinach
  • 1 pint strawberries quartered
  • 2 oz. sugar toasted almond slivers (toast almonds with 4 tesp. sugar in a dry pan until golden)

Dressing - blend together:

  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 tesp. grated onion
  • 1/4 tesp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tesp. paprika
  • 1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2. C. oil

Mexican Layer Casserole

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese
  • chopped tomato
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped black olives
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • salsa

Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Drain meat, then stir in taco seasoning. Place meat in bottom of square baking dish. Let cool for at least 8 minutes.

Spread softened cream cheese over the top of the meat. Make sure to spread it out evenly. Add shredded cheese on top next. Then layer tomatoes, lettuce, and olives. Top with salsa when serving.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • 3 cooked chicken breasts; shredded
  • 12 oz. Franks's buffalo red hot sauce
  • 1 C. ranch dressing
  • 2 C. shredded cheese
  • 16 oz. cream cheese; softened
  • celery sticks and chips for dipping

Combine all ingredients and bake in 9 x 13 dish at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with celery sticks and chips.

Perfect for game day!

Seven Layer Dip

  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef; browned and cooled to room temp.
  • 1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
  • 3 C. shredded cheddar-Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 C. guacamole
  • 1 C. salsa
  • 1 can (6 oz.) black olives; chopped
  • 1/2 C. chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 C. chopped green onions

Layer all ingredients on a serving tray: Beans, half of cheese, beef, sour cream, guacamole, other half of cheese, black olives, tomatoes, then green onion.

Mini Sausage Appetizers

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage
  • 1 lb. Velveeta
  • 1 1/2 tesp. oregano
  • 1/2 tesp. garlic powder
  • 2 loaves baby rye cocktail bread

Brown beef and sausage, drain. Return to pan, add cheese and spices, stir until melted through.

Spread onto slices of bread on baking sheet. Broil 5-7 minutes until bubbly.

Creamy Bacon Dip

  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 3 oz. bacon bits (the real kind)
  • 2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. cream cheese - softened
  • 1 C. chopped green onions

Combine all ingredients. Place in 1 qt. baking dish, cover, bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with chips or veggie dippers.

Apple Streusel Muffins

Preheat oven: 375 degrees

  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 tesp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tesp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tesp. salt
  • 1/2 tesp. cinnamon

In another bowl, whisk together:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C. melted butter
  • 1 1/4 tesp. vanilla

Stir wet ingredients into dry. Batter will be stiff

Fold in 1 1/2 C. tart peeled and chopped apples.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

For Streusel topping, cut together:

  • 1/3 C. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/8 tesp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. cold butter

Sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for glaze topping mix together:

  • 1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tesp. milk

Let muffins cool, drizzle glaze over top.

Cherry Coffee Cake

Preheat oven: 350 degrees

For batter:
  • 1 1/2 C. dry yellow cake mix
  • 1 C. flour
  • 1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) yeast
  • 2/3 C. warm water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten - STIR IN

For crumb topping:

  • 1/3 C. cold butter
  • remaining dry cake mix

For icing:

  • 1 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. kayro syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsp. water

Mix batter until smooth. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan.

Spoon on top of batter: 1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling.

Cut cold butter in with remaining dry cake mix to make crumble topping. Sprinkle on top of cherry layer.

Bake 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together ingredients for icing. When cake has cooled slightly, drizzle icing on top.

White Chili

Bring to a boil in a large pot:
  • 1 pound white beans (great northern, pre-soaked overnight)
  • 6 C. chicken broth
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped

Reduce heat and simmer until beans soften, about 2 hours. Add more broth as needed.

In a skillet, sautee 1 medium chopped onion in a little oil.

Add to the pot:

  • two 4 oz. cans mild chopped green chilies
  • 2 tesp. ground cumin
  • 1.5 tesp. oregano
  • 1/4 tesp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tesp. cayenne pepper

Mix thoroughly. Add 4 cups diced cooked chicken, simmer 1 hour.

Serve topped with shredded Monterrey-jack cheese, salsa, and sour cream.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spanish "Sopa" rice

  • 1.5 cup white rice
  • 2 and 3/4 cup water or broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes; undrained
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated chicken bullion
  • diced cooked chicken (optional)
Preheat 2 Tbsp. oil in a dutch oven over medium-high, saute diced carrots and onions for 2 minutes. Add rice and cook until it browns and onions become translucent; stirring continuously.
Stir in water, tomatoes with juice, garlic, and bullion. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

To make sure you don't overcook, check it about half-way through and stir. Add chicken at the end if you'd like. Fluff with a fork and serve with your favorite Mexican dish.

Manny's sister taught me how to make this once when she visited from CA. I think it's almost as good as Los Bravos.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've started making my own laundry detergent since I've been using cloth diapers for Ezekiel. I had read that its better for the wear and tear on the diapers. Plus its much cheaper! And as it turns out, its really easy to make. You can buy everything you need at Rural King. And if they don't have a Rural King where you live, try Wal-Mart. Only I'm not sure if Wal-Mart has Fels-Naptha soap.

1 bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap 1 Cup Borax laundry powder
1 Cup Arm & Hammer powder laundry soda
1 Cup OxyClean powder
1/4 ounce scented oil (optional)
Clean 5 gallon bucket with lid
Several empty bottles for storage (plastic milk cartons or old laundry soap bottles work great)
A funnel

Heat a soup pot full of water to almost boiling. Meanwhile grate the bar of soap. Remove pot from heat, add grated soap, whisk until completely dissolved. Whisk in 1 cup each of dry ingredients. (The OxyClean may be omitted, but detergent will have better results if you use it.)

Pour mixture into clean 5 gallon bucket. Fill bucket the rest of the way up (stop about 2 inches from the top) with hot water; stirring well. Whisk in scented oil if desired.
(FYI, tea tree oil and grapefruit oil have disinfectant qualities and smell great. However, this step is not necessary becuase the bar-soap already has a fresh scent.)

Let the bucket sit overnight (or until you get back to it). The next day the mixture will have turned into goo. Give it a really vigorious stir. Then funnel into storage containers.

Use 1 cup per load
*Shake very well before each use.

Aproximate Cost:
76 oz. Borax (12 batches) = $5
55 oz. Arm & Hammer (9 batches) = $3
56 oz. OxyClean (9 batches) = $9
9 bars Fels-Naptha (9 batches) = $1.29 each; $11.61 for all

total spent: $28.61 (or $3.18 per batch)
for 45 gallons of detergent (80 loads per 5 gallon batch)
Compare to Tide 100 oz. (60 loads)= $11.99

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

I normally don't like anything cooked in the microwave, but this saves quite a bit of prep. time and this is the way the recipe was given to me so I go with it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Zap on high for 2-3 minutes until tender:
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 tesp. garlic powder
  • 1 T. olive oil
Stir in:
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tesp. chili powder
  • 1 tesp. cumin (if you like it)
Zap on high 4 minutes or until heated thru.

Add in: 4 ounces cream cheese. Stir well until melted.

Spoon: 1/3 cup mixture onto each of 6 flour tortillas. Roll up and place seam side down into baking dish.

Zap on high for 2-3 minutes or until melted:
  • 1/4 pound Velveeta
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes (Rotel) -- reserve 1/4 cup tomatoes for topping
Pour sauce over the enchiladas. Add reserved tomatoes to top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Preheat oven to: 350 degrees
Bake time: 1 hour

Melt: 1 stick of butter in a 9 x 9 cake pan
Smooth in: 1 cup brown sugar into melted butter in bottom of pan.
Cover with: 1 large can of drained crushed pineapple

Mix until creamy:
  • 1/4 cup Crisco
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 tesp of the pineapple juice (or vinegar)
Add to above mixture:
  • 1.2 tesp. salt
  • 1.5 cup flour
  • 2 tesp. baking powder
Spread batter over pineapple.
Bake 1 hour. Remove from pan while still warm. Invert onto platter.

Double the recipe for a 9x13 pan.

Mom's Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to: 350 degrees
Bake time: 12-15 minutes

Cream together:
  • 3/4 cup Crisco
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tesp. vanilla
  • 1 tesp. cinnamon
Add: (mix well)
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tesp. salt
  • 1/2 tesp. baking soda
optional: add 1 cup of raisins or dried cranberries at the end.

Make sure batter is slightly tacky. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes. Do not overbake.

Makes aprox. 5 dozen.

Mom's Peanutbutter Cookies

Preheat oven to: 375 degrees
Bake time: 12-14 minutes

Cream together:
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 cup real butter (2 sticks); softened to room temp.
  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
Add in:
  • 2.5 cups flour (slowly)
  • 1.5 tesp. baking soda
  • 1 tesp. baking powder
  • 1.2 tesp. salt
Use an ice cream scoop to scoop onto greased cookie sheet. Press down with sugared fork before baking. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Do not overbake!

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies (the BEST)

Toll House (Adapted)
Preheat oven: 350 degrees
Bake time: 10-14 minutes

To make a double batch (and why would you make a single, when you can make a double?)
Cream together:
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks); softened to room temp.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tesp. vanilla
  • 1 tesp. baking soda
  • 1.5 tesp. salt
  • 4 cups flour (slowly)
Once mixed together, dough should be tacky, not stiff.
Stir in chocolate chips (aprox. 1 bag), nuts, toffee bits, etc at the end.

Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-14 minutes.
If you have extra dough, you can scoop it into balls, and place in the freezer in a zip-top bag. Then bake a few whenever you need a sweet fix. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken (adapted)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4-5 hungry adults

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small can mandarin oranges; drained
1 tsp. minced ginger root (or 1/2 tsp. dry ginger)
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. garlic powder) or more if you like
1 large red pepper; julienned (or green pepper)
1 cup sugar snap peas
2 medium carrots; julienned
1 small onion; cut into strips

Zest of 1 large navel orange
1/2 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce (you can substitute all soy sauce or all teriyaki sauce if you don't have both)
4 Tbsp. sugar
about 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Cook chicken in a few Tbsp. olive oil in nonstick skillet over high heat until done, stirring frequently. Add ginger and garlic; cook over medium-high heat about 2 min. Add veggies, cook about 5 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Transfer to bowl; cover to keep warm.

While chicken cooks, grate the zest from the orange and whisk together ingredients for sauce. Using a small sharp knife, cut remaining peel and white pith from orange. Remove membranes and cut orange into bite-size pieces and set aside.

After chicken and veggies are cooked and transferred to a bowl, add sauce mixture to skillet; cook for 3-4 min. until thickened, stirring constantly. Add chicken mixture back into skillet; cook and stir 2 min. or until heated through. Stir in orange pieces before serving.

Serve over brown rice.

(adaptation from Kraft Foods)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Creamy Baked Ziti

Prep time: 30 min. (or less)
Bake time: 20 min.
Servings: 6

4 cups ziti pasta, uncooked - something similar like penne is fine too
1/2 pound ground beef
1 jar (26 oz.) Ragu sauce
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
6 oz. (3/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, cubed
3/4 cup Sour Cream
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

oven to 375ºF.
COOK pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt. Remove from pan; drain. Brown the ground beef, drain. Meanwhile, add marinara sauce, tomatoes and cream cheese to same pan; cook on medium heat 5 min. or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently. Return pasta and ground beef to pan with sauce; mix well.

LAYER half the pasta/meat/sauce mixture in 13x9-inch baking dish; cover with layers of sour cream, 1 cup mozzarella and remaining pasta/meat/sauce mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. (just like making a lasagna)

BAKE covered for 20 min. or until heated through. Remove lid and bake for 5 more min. until cheese is melty and delicious!

This one was adapted from It's yummy with garlic bread and steamed broccoli on the side.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Menu Ideas

I'm trying to be more organized about meals. So I'm working off of a menu and hoping this helps me stay on track... and on budget. Some of the meals are already posted here (I'm adding links for them) and I'll be adding some more later. For now, here are some of my menu ideas.

Crispy Chicken
Mac & Cheese
Steamed Broccoli

Chicken Stuffing Casserole
Green Salad

Smoked Sausage
Pan-fried red potatoes & carrots
Homemade Applesauce

Pork roast
Mashed potatoes & gravy
Baked Broccoli & Cheese

Ranchero Salad

Salisbury steak
Mashed potatoes & brown gravy
Green beans

Chicken Stir-fry
Brown Rice

Chicken N Noodles Casserole
Green beans
French bread

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
Mandarin orange salad
Fruity Brown Rice

Chicken Enchiladas
corn chips & guacamole
Mexican rice (sopa)

Smothered pork chops & Stuffing
Green beans
Fried apples

Beef roast & brown gravy

Ravioli Lasagna
Green Salad
French Bread

Oven fries
Corn on the cob
Sliced tomatoes

Homemade pizza

Grilled Beef Fajitas

Asian Chicken Ka-bobs
Brown Rice
Easy Asian Slaw


Bush Whacker beef
Egg noodles
Crescent rolls

Roast Turkey Breast
Mashed potatoes & gravy
Stovetop Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce

Avocado, Sour Cream, Cheese, Tomato, Olives, Beans

Barbecue Chicken
Pasta salad
Baked beans

Spaghetti & Meatballs
Garlic Bread
Steamed broccoli

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Twice-Baked potato casserole

Red White & Blue slaw

Stuffed Chicken – baked
Linguine & Alfredo sauce
Steamed broccoli

Satay Chicken Pasta Salad

Kickin’ Crockpot Chicken
Cowboy Caviar
Mexican Rice

Beef Stroganoff
Egg noodles
Green beans
Crescent rolls

All-day Crockpot beef
White Rice
Green beans

Acapulco Chicken
Fiesta Corn
Mexican Rice

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Black and White

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4, maybe more

2 - 3 cups of cooked black beans; drained (you could use canned)
2 - 3 cups of cooked brown rice (or white)
1/2 a package of kielbasa sausage (about 1/2 pound); cubed, browned in a skillet, and drained

Heat the beans and rice in a pot, add the meat once it's browned and drained. You probably won't need to add salt because the sausage is salty.

Serve with cornbread if you're of a southern persuasion like us. :)
I'm a big fan of rice and beans together so I like to make this when I have left-overs. The measurements vary each time. It doesn't need to be exact, just a close 1 to 1 ratio works. Or you could make everything specifically for this dish if you wanted.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sea Salt Caramel Brownies

Sea Salt Caramel

(adapted from Baked Cookbook)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream

In a small saucepan, combine the cream and the salt. Simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved. set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and corn syrup carefully. They will not combine well until the sugar begins to melt. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes. Without a thermometer, just pull the sugar off the heat when it is a medium goldish brown – it will continue to cook in the heat of the pan. Better to pull it too early than too late. Remove from the heat and let cool for one minute.

Add the cream mixture and the vanilla to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temp, then follow the brownie instructions.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate any leftover caramel. It makes a great ice cream topping or tastes great straight out of the jar.


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
pinch salt
1/4 cup Chocolate Syrup
half of the above caramel recipe

Preheat oven to 325F.

Melt Chocolate and butter in small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.
Add flour, salt, chocolate syrup and chocolate mixture and blend well.

In a greased 8×8 pan, pour a little over half of the brownie batter and bake for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and pour in the caramel. On top of the caramel, add the rest of your brownie batter. If it doesn’t pour smoothly, just plop it in a swirl it around a little bit. Return to oven and bake for another 18-22 minutes. Brownies will still appear a little shaky, due to the caramel, but they will firm up once cooled. Do not overbake.

Serve a warm with a tall glass of milk -- or ice cream. :)

Recipe taken from CuisineNie.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Breakfast Pizza

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20 - 25 minutes
Servings: 4

2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 pound Jimmy Dean sausage; browned & drained
1 cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
4 tablespoons diced sweet red pepper
4 tablespoons diced green pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
pepper to taste

Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles; arrange into a rectangle on an ungreased baking dish. Build up edges slightly to create a crust; seal perforations.

Cook sausage until no longer pink; drain. Sprinkle over crust. Top with potatoes, peppers and cheddar cheese.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and pepper. Pour over pizza; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are completely set and top is golden brown.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Real "Pot" Roast

  • 1.5 pounds of beef chuck roast or arm roast
  • 2 T. oil
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 celery stalk (optional), cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pkg. onion soup mix
  • A pot (I use a 6.5 quart Le Cruset cast iron enamel dutch oven but you can use anything of similar size. I just love the cast iron because it brazes so nicely.)

Preheat your pot on the stove over medium-high, add oil, and brown the meat on both sides until you get a nice color. Then turn the heat to medium-low.

Then add the seasonings and onion soup mix. Cover the roast to half-way up the side of the meat with water. Put the lid on and let it simmer. Check the water level every 1/2 hour or so to make sure there's still enough. Add more as needed. Cooking time will depend on the size of the roast. A meat thermometer will read 180 when it's well done. But over-cooking won't hurt it... it will just get more tender the longer it cooks.

When the meat is about 10 - 20 minutes from being done you can add the veggies around the sides and on top of the meat. I like to make sure they are all about the same size so they cook evenly.

After the meat and veggies are done, take them all out of the pot and use the juice to make a YUMMY gravy to top everything off.

This is how my grandma makes it and I always love how hers turn out. So she taught me how and now I may never go back to crockpot roast again. Yummy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Libby's Creamy Grape Salad

• 4 pounds seedless green & red grapes, halved

• 4 ounces chopped pecans

• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
• 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar & vanilla. Then stir in the grapes & nuts, coating well. Refrigerate until chilled through before serving.

Libby got it from but I'm giving her credit anyway because it reminds me of her.