Thursday, August 18, 2016

Salisbury Steak Meatballs

I found this recipe on Pinterest. A friend suggested some things she had changed and then I made a couple more. I apologize in advance that there are no pictures. (See original recipe for pics of the deliciousness!) My family gobbled it all up so fast, I didn't have a chance to take any pictures. I'll remedy that later & update the post. Take my word for it, this recipe is delicious! Here's the recipe with my changes:

*indicates my changes

For meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used the plain ones I had on hand)
1 egg
*2 large cloves garlic, pressed 
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup coarse grain mustard (I used dijon mustard I had on hand and did just under 1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp olive oil (for frying)

For gravy:
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped fine and set aside
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
*1 can Campbell's beef consommé
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 Tbsp ketchup
Parsley for garnish (optional)

*Mashed Potatoes:
4 large russet potatoes 
1 cube butter
1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Note: I prefer to make the meatballs ahead earlier in the day. It makes the balancing of cooking the meatballs, dicing potatoes for mashed potatoes, turning the meatballs, and all that so much easier! Before I start cooking the meatballs, I also premeasure the gravy ingredients and set aside for quick adding.

In a bowl, mix everything for meatballs together except for the olive oil. Roll into 1" balls. Should make close to 40 meatballs. (I think got just under 40.)

In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add meatballs, about 20 at a time -depending on the size of your pan. (Mine was a 12" pan.) Don't overcrowd the meatballs. You want plenty of space to be able to turn them over. The original recipes suggests leaving 1/2" buffer zone around the meatballs to avoid meatballs falling apart. Cook the meatballs well on all sides (you want them completely cooked on the inside). Take cooked meatballs out and set aside. I put mine on a plate with foil over them. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

For the gravy, once the meatballs are all done cooking, add the butter and onions to the pan. Using a rubber, heat resistant spatula, stir the butter and onions around. You'll pick up all that yummy goodness left behind by the meatballs. It will add excellent flavor to your sauce. In a bowl, add the cornstarch to the consommé and whisk well to get rid of any lumps. Keep stirring the onions around until they are softened and translucent. Add in the consommé/cornstarch mixture as well as the other gravy ingredients. Mix well with spatula and allow to thicken. This will take about 3-5 minutes. I like to lower the temperature to low after it thickens and add the meatballs at this point. I cover the pan while I finish mashing the potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes directions: 
Peel and dice potatoes. Boil until tender. Drain and pour potatoes into bowl for mixing or into bosch mixer. With mixer or in bosch (with whisk attachment), beat potatoes with butter, cream, and salt and pepper. Add small dashes of extra cream if needed. These mix up fast. Don’t over mix. Taste test for fluffiness as well for taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve meatballs over mashed potatoes and enjoy! Absolutely delicious!!!

Adapted from Jo Cooks.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The BEST Lemon Bars

from Eve Waite
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour

Knead together with pastry cutter. Will be crumbly. Press into 9x13 people and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

4 beaten eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder

Mix and pour over crust. Return to oven for 25 min. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and allow to cool. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Note: Someday I will get a picture of these! They always disappear too fast!

Nutella Krispie Treats

from Pioneer Woman
(with my changes)

6 Tablespoons Salted Butter, divided
10 ounces, weight Large Marshmallows
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Nutella
5 cups Rice Krispies
1-1/2 cup Miniature Marshmallows
1 cup Pecans, Finely Chopped
2 to 2 1/2 ounces, weight Semi Sweet Chocolate Melted (use bar, not choc chips)
(I like Ghiradella baking bar best. It always melts down nicely and looks good on top when it hardens) 

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-low/low heat. I like low best for my stove just so I don't overheat the marshmallow mixture.(If you over heat the marshmallow mixture, it's hard to mix with the cereal and you'll have really chewy treats.) 

Add marshmallows and salt and stir until melted. Halfway through the melting process, add Nutella. When Nutella and marshmallows are melted, add additional 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until smooth.

Meanwhile, melt semi-sweet chocolate in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes at 50% power. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

Add Rice Krispies to a large bowl and fold in the Nutella mixture. When it's almost all combined, add mini-marshmallows to the bowl, then continue folding until everything's combined.

Immediately press mixture into a thoroughly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with half (or all) the pecans, pushing them into the sticky treat just a little. Drizzle semi-sweet chocolate in zig-zags all over the top of the treats. Sprinkle the other half of the pecans on top if you didn't use them all before. Put pan into freezer long enough to set chocolate, then cut into squares. Chocolate will harden again as it sets up. Serve. If there is any leftover, keep in air tight container.

Easy Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies are a deli-style sugar cookie. More like what you'd get from subway or someplace like that. They're not a Valentine or Christmas cookie style sugar cookie. These are great when you've got a craving for sugar cookies because they whip up fast and they make about 2 dozen perfectly every time. I can't remember where I got the recipe years ago, but it is quick and easy and they always turn out great and soft!
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, rooom temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. I like to push down just slightly on the top of the dough ball with my palm so they cook flatter for speading frosting later.

3. Bake 8-9. Don't overcook! Let stand on cookie sheet 2 minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. Cool completely and frost as desired.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Stuffed Pepper Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced (as fine as you prefer)
2 cloves finely minced
2 cups cooked long grain rice (not instant)
4 cups beef broth (I like Pacific beef broth in the box)
2 cans Campbell’s Beef Consommé
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 green bell peppers, chopped (I like mine cut small)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper 
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Cook long grain rice according to package directions. In a large pot (at least 3.5 qt size), brown hamburger with onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink. Drain any grease from hamburger mixture. Add beef broth, beef consommé, tomatoes, green peppers, brown sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and rice. Turn heat up to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and simmer for 35-45 minutes.

Serve with saltine crackers. This soup gets even better the next day and makes great leftovers.
 Variation: When serving, sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with breadsticks.

Recipe adapted quite a bit from

Changes made:
8 cups beef broth—I use 4 cups plus 2 beef consommé (much better flavor!)
2 lbs ground beef—1 lb was plenty

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Baked Beans

from Corliss Whitehead

1 lb ground beef, finely browned and all grease dabbed off
1 lb bacon, fried well and cut up small
2 medium-sized onion,s finely diced
1 large can Bush's baked beans
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed well
1 can kidney beans
1 can small red beans
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (or your favorite bbq sauce)
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp mustard
2 tsp vinegar
Dash of salt, pepper, & garlic powder

Mix all together and put in crockpot on high for 1 hour, then turn to low for 4-5 hours. Beans should be soft and onions translucent. Serve with your favorite main dish! We like to serve it with babyback ribs or bbq chicken. Great for a group!

Note: If you prefer your beans not to have hamburger, go ahead and leave it out, but don't skimp on the bacon! It adds GREAT flavor! I didn't use hamburger this time (see picture) and it still tasted great. I have never been a baked bean fan until I had these baked beans at a community get together. I am always on the hunt for a tried & true recipe so I asked for it. Thankfully the recipe is easy and delicious! This recipe makes plenty for my family of 6 with leftovers. However, I asked my friend about doubling the recipe and she said when she doubles it, she ONLY doubles the beans and leaves the rest the same with great flavor. :) 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Chili

1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded
15 oz can white navy beans
14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup buffalo chicken wing sauce (Frank's Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce)
1 pkg dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup frozen corn kernels (we like super sweet white frozen corn)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp freeze dried cilantro (I've used finely chopped fresh with success as well)
1/4 tsp (optional to add at end if needed)
4oz to 8oz of cream cheese, softened to room temperature (do not use low fat, result is a grainy soup)
Bleu cheese crumbles, optional

1. Cook chicken
2. Simmer all ingredients except cream cheese for 30 minutes. Or 4-6 hours on low in crockpot.
3. Remove from heat and add cream cheese in small chunks.
4. Whisk carefully until smooth and serve with bleu cheese crumbles

More in depth instructions:
I like to use my crockpot to cook my chicken with a little chicken broth. I put all remaning ingredients, except cream cheese, in a bowl to combine with chicken later. I just keep it in the fridge until I'm ready. Makes it fast and easy! However, this is originally all done in the crockpot & you can do it that way as well. Your chicken just needs to be cooked first. A word of caution, if you don't like the "heat" from the buffalo sauce, start with 2 tbsp and then add in 1 tsp increments at the end to your desired heat. I've found 1/4 cup is just right for me and my family. The recipe originally called for 1/2 cup and that is a hold-onto-your-seat level of hot for our family. So, test it out and see what works best for you.

Once my chicken is cooked and shredded, I pour the ingredients from the bowl into a 3.5 quart pot and add the chicken. I bring it to a boil over medium high heat, then turn temperature to low and simmer for 30 minutes. (Note: if you do this in the crockpot, you can cook it on low for 4-6 hours.) Remove from heat and add the cream cheese in small clumps using a fork. Allow cream cheese to warm up in soup, then carefully whisk until the cream cheese is melted down and smooth. I used to use an entire package of cream cheese, but I've since found that about 6 oz is right. Perfect amount of creamy and buffalo heat. If you're trying to cut calories, just use 4 oz. However, the cream cheese tempers the buffalo sauce "heat." If some of your family likes it hotter than others, simply place the bottle of hot sauce on the table to add additional "heat."

Recipe adapted from My changes include: chicken broth reduced from 4 cups to 2 cups, not draining the beans or tomatoes, reduced cream cheese, and optional salt.

This recipe makes about 12 cups. Nutritional facts per serving: Calories-163, Fat (g) 5.1, Carbs (g) 12.3, Protein (g) 15.6.

I could not get a picture of this because we would always forget! My family loves it. I barely remembered to get a picture until the bowl was almost gone. It isn't a flattering picture but I promise the picture doesn't do it justice. The chili/soup is delicious and I always get rave reviews when I share it with family and friends! Hope you enjoy!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Adapted from Point of Grace
3T olive oil
2 good sized garlic cloves, finely minced (I use a garlic press)
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
5 oz pkg frozen spinach (I used pict sweet)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
Just under 2 cans water
32 oz chicken broth
1 to 3 tsp chicken bouillon (add to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Family size package (3lbs) of cheese or chicken tortellini, half cooked (we used the four cheese tortellini from Costco)
2 lbs chicken, cooked and diced (I cook mine in the oven or crockpot with some chicken broth and pepper)

Put olive oil in the bottom of a large soup/stock pan. Over medium heat, saute garlic, celery, carrots and onions until tender. (I used freezer carrots from the garden. They were perfect and so good!)

Add the half package of frozen spinach. Break up blocks of spinach as you cook. Continue to saute until spinach thaws, then heats up. Add cream of chicken soup and water (I use the leftover chicken juices from cooking and one tsp of chicken bouillon). Add chicken broth and bring to a low broil. Add chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper to taste. Don't over do it because all the flavors will merry nicely when the noodles and chicken are added, but you don't want it too bland either.

In separate pot, bring 6 quarts of water and some salt to a low boil. Throw in noodles for about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, remove noodles and put into soup mixture. Add chicken and stir. Remove from stove and allow to sit and warm up for a few minutes. It will warm up on its own if you had it at a nice low boil before you added the noodles. Don't leave it on the unit or you'll overcook the noodles. Serve and enjoy!

Note: I was actually surprised this recipe had cream of chicken soup as an ingredient. It is not an overriding flavor in the soup as it has plenty of liquids to dilute it. If you like gnocchi, this would be a fun soup to try with it instead of the tortellini.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Candy Bar Madness Chocolate Chip Cookies

AKA: Halloween Leftover Cookies

Every Halloween we have LOTS of candy that I prefer my kids not eat and rather not drag it out for a long time either... So one year I decided to sneak into their stash and get all the candy bars that I could find and create some cookies to use them up. :) They weren't too happy with me for stealing their candy without asking, but when they tried the cookies all was soon FORGIVEN! ;)
Now they go through and give me as much as they can part with to repeat the cookies every year.

Here is the basic recipe that I follow
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (no margarine)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3-4 cups of cut up candy bar mixture and some chocolate chips too :)
       **I put in m&ms, snickers, crunch bars, Hershey's chocolate bars, almond joy (all bars are cut up into small chunks).... the choice of what candy is yours :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine sugars. Add in butter and cream together with the sugar. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix together.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt (I combine all of this in the sifter and then sift them). Add to the creamed mixture.
Mix well (the dough will be stiff). Add the chocolate chip, candy bar mixture. Mix well to make sure enough dough surrounds the added goodness!

Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take a spoon full of dough and put it on the cookie sheet.
You should fit about 12 per sheet. (I roll mine into a ball then sort of squish it down a little but you could probably just put the spoon full directly on parchment)

Bake 10-12 minutes. Be sure not to over cook them or they will end up being hard discs LOL... they should look a little under done and almost getting golden on top  (but they will be golden on the bottoms)
Remove from oven and let set for a minute or two then remove the cookies and place on wire racks to cool . Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is an update from an older post. Each time I made this, I found I was making the same adjustments. It was time to update the blog to reflect that. I love this recipe and always have lots of compliments when I've taken it to people.

2 lbs chicken, cooked & cut up
I prefer to cook my chicken in the crockpot with 1 cup water & 2 tsp chicken bouillon & sprinkle with pepper.

Once chicken is cooked, in a large pot combine:
2 quarts chicken broth, I use Pacific organic chicken broth
1 quart water
1+ cup chicken juices leftover from crockpot (I usually use all that is leftover)
1/4 cup chicken soup base
1 large family size cream of chicken soup (26oz)
1 regular can cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 oz)
2 tsp dried minced onion
3+ carrots, grated
pinch of dried minced garlic
Dash of pepper
Very small dash of celery salt (my kids won't eat celery!)

1 24oz bag Reames frozen noodles (or use your own homemade noodles)
Start cooking the noodles in their own pot of water.Important: I usually sprinkle just a little bit of chicken bouillon in it to give them some flavor. Cook noodles until half done. These noodles take a bit to cook but I've fooled many people into thinking they're homemade... so it's worth the time to let them cook. (I've never mastered the whole homemade noodle thing, so I leave the work to Reames. However, my sister makes my mom's homemade noodle recipe all the time. Click here if you want authentic homemade noodles.) 

Meanwhile, put water, chicken bouillon granules, chicken soup base, cream of chicken soup, minced onion, and pinch of minced garlic in a large pot.I prefer to cook it on medium to help start the flavors to mix together. I use a whisk to make sure the soup mixes into the broth well. Once it is slightly boiling, grate carrots into the pot. These add great flavor and texture. And my kids eat the soup better if they are grated and not chopped. Plus, they cook faster that way. Allow the soup to continue a medium boil.

Once the noodles are almost done, throw them in the broth and let them finish cooking and absorb the flavor. The broth will also thicken from the starch of the noodles. Keep the soup at a rolling boil, being sure to stir often so the noodles aren't sticking to the bottom.Finally, add chicken. Add a dash of pepper for taste. I usually taste test along the way just to be sure it doesn't need a little more chicken soup base or bouillon. The cream of chicken soup usually does a great job of adding great flavor while still keeping the broth very chicken-noodle-like. I let it cook just a couple minutes past the noodles being done to be sure the chicken has absorbed lots of flavor from the broth.
After the noodles are done and it has passed a couple of taste tests, serve up with your favorite roll, breadsticks, or just a simple side salad! I promise you won't be disappointed. It's hard to mess this soup up.
It makes a big batch. Perfect for making some for your family & taking some to the neighbors or someone who just needs homemade chicken noodle soup in their life! :) This soup is also amazing served over homemade mashed potatoes! Oh heaven!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

EASY & FLAKY Pie Crust

A friend told me she used her Bosch instead of a pastry cutter for the flour/shortening/butter mixture. OH MY GOSH! LOVE THIS! Used it today and made 6 crusts in less than 15 minutes. I love my pastry cutter. I'll save it for other recipes, but when I make pie crust, I make a ton so that I have them in the freezer for recipes to come. So, here's what you do: Simply put your shortening and/or butter in your mixer. Add your sifted (important) dry ingredients into the mixer. Using your whisk attachment, pulse the mixture briefly until you get the pea size chunks desired. Boom, you're done. Pour it into a bowl and add your wet ingredients, stir just until they're wet and you're all done. SUPER easy! You can get a lot of pie crust made doing it this way. I did a triple recipe and probably could have done a 4x recipe. It was so fast and easy!! Making my holiday pie making faster and easier. And into the freezer they go. Did you know cold pie crust is the best way to make pie? Your crust will be flakier & it's easier to work with and roll out. Good luck with all your pie making this Thanksgiving week!

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add in the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter, gradually work the butter and shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles. This step should take 3 or 4 minutes.

Lightly beat the egg with a fork, and then add it to the mixture. Next, add in the cold water and vinegar. Stir the mixture together until it's just combined, and then remove half the dough from the bowl. Yield: dough for 2 crusts. I usually make 3x or 4x batches at a time!

If making a regular recipe, divide the dough into 2 parts. Put each ball into a freezer bag and seal tightly. Press down on the dough, keeping it about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place in freezer. If using soon, keep the pie crust in the freezer for at least 30 min before using. Remove and roll out quickly and get it into the oven with your pie!

If you are making a large batch, divide the dough into  equal parts. A quadruple batch would make 8 crusts, a triple would make 6. Follow the same instructions as above. When ready to use, remove the crusts and place them on the counter for 20-30 min before you need them. DO NOT thaw in the microwave! Roll out as usual for any crust needs!

For rolling out, use a small amount of flour for dusting on each side. Roll out to desired thick/thin-ness. Tip, roll your dough up around your pin and then unroll onto your pie dish to avoid cracking or tearing when transferring!

Bake according to the instructions for your specific recipe: pot pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie... etc. If baking shell first for a chocolate or cream pie, bake at 375* for 15-20 min until golden brown. For any recipe, you may need to put foil around the edges to avoid over browning.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Baked Ziti

From Becki
I received this recipe from a friend and neighbor in my community. It looked different and delicious!
1 lb Italian sausage, browned and drained
1 jar pasta sauce
3/4 cup water
1 box penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
8 slices frozen garlic bread
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix cooked sausage, cooked pasta, pasta sauce, water, garlic powder, pepper, basil and parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Toss lightly. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Place garlic bread slices on top of mixture. Cover with shredded mozzarella. Dip 8 slices of Roma tomatoes in olive oil, and place one slice on each bread slice. Bake uncovered in 400 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Let set for 10 mins before serving.