Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Corny Chili

From: Here

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (11 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
3/4 cup picante sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, corn, picante sauce, chili powder and garlic powder. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through. Serve with corn chips, sour cream and cheese if desired.

What I did differently from the recipe:
I only used one can of tomatoes, and I used salsa - is that the same thing as picante sauce??

What I'll do differently next time:

Thumbs up!! There was almost nothing left of this meal. It was really delicious. Not too spicy, but just hot enough to keep the chill off from these winter months! Such an easy recipe and so easy to throw together. I'll definitely be making this one again!  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

I was cooking a recipe last night and wanted to substitute cream of chicken soup for cream of mushroom... only to find that I didn't have any in the pantry! Well, I'd been wanting to make my own for some time anyway, so here was my chance.

I took a recipe from here and a recipe from here and put them together. Here is how mine turned out:

1 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
garlic powder (to taste)
onion powder (to taste)
parsley (just a dash)

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When melted, whisk in the flour and continue whisking until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Return to heat and bring to a gentle boil, whisking constantly, until the soup thickens. Add in spices. Makes equal to one can of soup.

Easy peasy!!

Hearty Chicken and Noodle Casserole

From: Good Housekeeping

1 can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Stir soup, milk, black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese, vegetables, chicken and noodles in 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot. Stir. Top with cheddar cheese.

What I did differently from the recipe:
Stephen doesn't like cream of mushroom, so I usually substitute cream of chicken. I didn't actually have cream of chicken soup on hand, so I made some. Also, I didn't cook the noodles before putting them in with everything else. There was enough liquid, I felt, to cook them in the oven instead of doing it first. They did cook all the way through.

Well, I would give this recipe a thumbs down. But Stephen and Brianna (2 years old) gave it a thumbs up. It surprises me because Stephen really doesn't like to stray from foods he knows! I did not like the Parmesan flavor - I felt it was very strong. If it weren't for that I think I would like this recipe, but I have so many similar recipes to this that we do all like, it's not worth trying to figure out how to tweak this recipe. Like I said, half my family did enjoy it, so it still might be something you want to try for your family! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lemon Cake

From: Kraft Food & Family magazine

1 package lemon cake mix
2 packages Jell-O lemon instant pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 tub (8 oz) cool whip

Prepare and bake cake mix as directed on package for 2 round cake layers (either 8 or 9 inch). Cool completely. Beat pudding mixes and milk with whisk for 2 minutes. Immediately spread over tops of cake layers. Stack cake layers. Frost with cool whip. Keep refrigerated.

What I did differently from the recipe:

What I'll do differently next time:

Thumbs up!! You can't get any easier than this, and this cake was delicious! Definitely recommend it!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

French Bread

From: My bread machine manual

9 1/2 oz water (1 cup + 3 Tbsp), 80 degrees
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 tsp active dry yeast OR 1 1/2 tsp fast rise yeast
1 egg white, slightly beaten (optional)
1 tsp water (optional)
poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer (usually liquid first, then dry ingredients, then butter around the sides, and yeast in a well in the middle). Cook on your bread machine's dough cycle. When it's done, pull it out and let it rest on a floured surface for 15 minutes.

Roll dough into a 15x12-inch rectangle. Roll up tightly from long side, seal and taper ends. Place seam side down on greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 45-55 minutes or until nearly double in size. With a sharp knife, make 3 or 4 1/4-inch deep diagonal cuts on top of loaf. Combine egg white with water and brush mixture on top of loaf (or you can use melted butter). Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if desired.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before slicing.

What I did differently from the recipe:
I used butter instead of the egg white and water mixture. I baked it for about 20 minutes, then took it out of the oven and added cheese-garlic spread on top. I also then sliced at the diagonal slices deeper than 1/4-inch and put the spread inside the bread as well. I then baked it about 5-7 more minutes to finish it.

What I'll do differently next time:
I would put more of the cheese spread in between slices of the bread. I only did a few slices like that this time because we had never tried that recipe and didn't know how it would turn out, but we loved it.

Absolutely amazing thumbs up. This was SUCH an easy recipe - time consuming, but easy enough. The crust was crispy, the inside was soft, the cheese-garlic spread added an incredible flavor... I can't say enough about this bread. We will DEFINITELY be making this again in the future!

Cheese Garlic Bread Spread

From: http://recipestoliveby.blogspot.com

1/2-1 cup margarine
3 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Microwave margarine in medium bowl for about 40 seconds or until about halfway melted. Mix in all ingredients using a fork. Spread mixture over bread. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees, until top is golden brown.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings

From: Here

3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 (10 oz) cans crescent rolls
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon (for sprinkling)
1 (12 oz) can of Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 dish and set it aside. Peel, core and slice apples. Unroll crescent rolls. Take one crescent roll and place one piece of apple at the bottom of the triangle. Roll up, enclosing the sides. Make sure the apple is completely sealed and enclosed. Continue doing this - if your apple slices are small, put a couple in. If your slices are too large you can cut them to size. Place dumplings in your pan. Make your sauce by combining butter, sugars, and vanilla in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring to a slight boil. Pour sauce over dumplings. Add Mountain Dew to the sides. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.

What I did differently about this recipe:
I ended up only needing about 1 1/2 apples - I don't know if they were just really large or if my crescent rolls were on the small side because they were the Walmart brand. Also, I only used about half a can of Mountain Dew in the end because it seemed like there was a lot of liquid.

What I'll do differently next time:
Just the same things I did this time.

BIG thumbs up! We have a friend at church that makes apple dumplings all the time and his are the absolute best. So for me to say that I think these outshine his recipe is huge. Although there seemed to be a lot of liquid the dumplings were just crisp enough and not soggy, which is what I was afraid of. Not too sweet so I was able to have three and never heard any complaints from my sensitive teeth. :) I will definitely be making these again in the future!!

Glazed BBQ Meatballs

From: ??

1/2 cup Barbecue sauce
1/2 cup grape jelly
36 frozen meatballs, unthawed

Combine barbecue sauce and jelly in large saucepan. Heat until jelly melts.

Stir in meatballs. Simmer, covered, about 5 minutes until meatballs are heated through.

What I did differently from the recipe:
I have made these with all kinds of barbecue sauce - original, honey, tangy, etc. but I have never used anything other than plain grape jelly. I almost stepped out and used muscadine grape jelly tonight when I made them but I was scared what flavor it would be. Also, it always takes my meatballs closer to 10 minutes to really heat all the way through. I just use the plain frozen meatballs.

Thumbs up! This is such an easy, go-to favorite of mine! I've been making this recipe for years and can't believe I didn't have it on this blog. It's the type of recipe that you can make at the last minute and you pretty much always have at least the BBQ sauce and jelly on hand anyway. Definitely recommend this one for parties and appetizers!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Black Bean Soup

From: Good Housekeeping


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups water
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chicken broth
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

In a saucepot, heat oil on medium until hot. Add carrots, garlic, onion, and pepper; cook 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Add cumin, crushed red pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt; cook 1 minute. Stir in water, beans, and broth; heat to boiling on medium-high. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes to blend flavors. Ladle 3 cups soup into blender and blend until pureed. Stir puree into soup in saucepot, heat through on medium. Stir in cilantro and lime juice.

What I Did Differently From the Recipe:
I didn't have any cilantro or lime juice so I totally omitted them which was probably a huge mistake.

What I'll do differently next time:
I would add the cilantro and lime juice, and maybe some salsa or something as well.

Neutral. I didn't think this was a great recipe. This isn't something I would normally make, but my mom makes black bean soup all the time and I love hers. She did say adding salsa would help this flavor.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blackberry Freezer Jam

From: Sure-Jell box

3 cups crushed blackberries, about 6 cups whole blackberries
5 1/4 cups sugar
1 box Sure-Jell
3/4 cup water

Mash berries with a potato masher one cup at a time. Add sugar to crushed fruit. Stir and allow to sit for ten minutes. Put pectin and 3/4 C water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Boil for one minute. Add mixture to berries and stir for about three minutes until sugar is dissolved. Pour into containers. Allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours to set. Keeps in the refrigerator for about three weeks or up to a year in the freezer.

I was cleaning out our freezer and came across all these blackberries that we picked with my parents last year. I thawed them out yesterday and decided I had enough to make jam. I've never made freezer jam before, only "pantry" jam, so we'll see how this turns out. It certainly looks yummy! And how easy was that!

Penne Pasta Skillet

From: Here

1 lb. (450 g) extra-lean ground beef
1 jar (700 mL) pasta sauce
2 cups water
3 cups penne pasta, uncooked
1 cup Kraft Part Skim Mozzarella Shredded Cheese

Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add pasta sauce and water; mix well. Stir in pasta. Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on medium heat 16-18 minutes or until pasta is tender; stir. Top with mozzarella; cook, covered, 1 minute or until melted.

What I did differently from the recipe:
Nothing, other than substituting venison for the beef.

What I'll do differently next time:

Thumbs up! What an easy, straight-forward recipe with ingredients that everyone in my family likes! Even my hubby who isn't a fan of tomato sauce liked this recipe and even ate leftovers. :) I highly recommend this to someone who needs a quick dinner or doesn't want to have to think about dinner!