Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

So, I love soup.  Rarely do I make it from scratch, but I really do like it.  This week, I got a hankering for some broccoli cheddar soup.  Like the kind at Panera Bread restaurants.

Instantly, I turned to the Internet to look up just such a recipe and found this link.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup @ CD Kitchen

This recipe was so good, and really not hard to do.  The link lets you change the serving amount and automatically changes the recipe for that serving.  I changed mine down to two servings, and didn’t let the roux simmer for 20 minutes like it said.  I let it simmer like 10 minutes before adding the vegetables.  Also, I didn’t julienne the carrots as I just chopped into small thin bites.  As for the blender, I didn’t do that either since the amount was so small.  I just cooked it and then added two small batches in my Handy Chopper and poured it back into the pan.  Fantastic!  Panera serves theirs in a bread bowl, but I just ate mine with sandwich bread which was fine too.

Great for a rainy day – by the way we’ve had plenty of those lately.

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Recently I’ve stumbled on a couple of quick tips which I thought I’d pass on to those who read the blog.  Many of you have probably already figured these things out, but just heading into my second year of domestication (staying home full time), I’m still learning.

Tip #1: If you’re using store bought pizza crust, forget pressing it down.  Go ahead and use a rolling pin.  It makes it MUCH easier and it isn’t as messy.

Tip #2: Hamburger and Sausage can sometimes fry up in bigger chunks.  I typically like mine in smaller pieces whether it be used in a casserole, for tacos, for chili, etc.  My brother tipped us off this weekend, that if you fry it, then grind it in an electric Handy Chopper it produces a lot smaller pieces, and works great!

Tip #3: I wanted to jazz up a brownie mix this week, and when I looked online and googled “Jazz Up Brownie Mix” I was shocked and concerned to find all kinds of tips on utilizing a Brownie Mix with a certain green illegal “weed”.  I honestly just wanted to dress up a Brownie Mix.  So I stumbled on this awesome quick frosting method (that doesn’t involve cannabis).  When you take your brownies out of the oven just sprinkle on milk chocolate chips all over the top and let them melt for a few minutes on the hot brownies.  Then use a frosting knife to spread it around.  TaDa!  Easy fast frosting, that you don’t have to wait for the brownies to cool to put on.

Enjoy.  Feel free to share any great tips you’ve discovered recently in the comments section.

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With three very picky eaters in our family (including myself – I won’t lie), I’m always looking for something different to fix, and something that won’t take hours to prepare.

This past weekend on our way up to the first Purdue football home game of the season, I was looking through “Parents” magazine, and stumbled on a PORK – the Other White Meat – advertisement for Perfect Pulled Pork.  The recipe was intriguing, as I had all of the ingredients, and the fact that all it took was a crock pot.

I have to share the link for this Perfect Pulled Pork recipe, as my husband raved about it, asked that I fix it again frequently, and agreed to actually eat it left over tonight (leftovers aren’t something that are usually eaten in our home).  He even said there was no need for the barbecue sauce on the side.  I had to pull the bowl away from him so there would actually be some left over…

If you get a chance, it will be the perfect dinner one night soon for your family too!

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So, this week is Vacation Bible School at our church and I’m helping with registration.  The boy is loving his class thus far, and loves seeing kids every evening!

VBS week makes dinner a bit crazier though, with needing to leave the house by 5:20 or so, and trying to give the boy a bath before we go!

I don’t know where I found this idea, but I know I read it in a magazine or online.  I wish I could give credit where credit is due.

Last night, I made Grilled Cheese Lollipops thinking the boy would love them.  All they are are Grilled Ham & Cheese sandwiches cut into small circles, and stuck on a small pretzel stick.  My crazy eater however, decided all he wanted was the pretzel sticks, so I was left with a bowl of grilled ham and cheese sandwich circles.  I still think it’s a fun idea, and wonder if it might work with peanut butter too.  Despite the lack of his eating these, I think I’ll try them again sometime soon.  They were easy and cute.  Here’s how mine turned out:

Grilled Cheese Lollipops

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Last night for dinner (and then again tonight for leftovers) we had Italian Beef Sandwiches.  Delicious as always, yesterday I created my own recipe combined from three or four others to try something different.  It turned out great, and even better than before when I used a recipe.  While I’m neither Italian, or a huge fan of beef, I don’t think I did too bad.

2-3 pounds Chuck Roast (depending on how many you want to feed – a 2lb roast will feed two adults for several meals)

1 can beef broth

2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules

1 cup water

3-4 teaspoons italian seasoning

1-2 teaspoons peppers sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine everything in a crockpot.  Cook for 7 hours, or until able to shred with fork.  Shred.  Put the shredded meat back in the crockpot for 1 hour.

We eat ours on hoagie buns with sliced mozzarella (this time I asked the deli for mozzarella but they gave me monterey jack – it still tasted good.  Provolone is good on it too).


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How fast? M&M FAST!

So after this morning, I have developed a new phrase to express how fast our 20 month old son is.  How fast?  M&M fast.

This past weekend, my mom made me a birthday cake with m&ms on the top.  The bag remained on the counter after her departure, and our boy quickly discovered how much he LOVES m&ms.

Today, I was baking a vanilla mousse cheesecake and the boy saw the bag, instantly snatched it up and proceeded to pour the m&ms out on the counter and floor.

How fast did he move to get as many as he could in his mouth before mom could pick them up?  M&M fast!  Let me tell you – it’s faster than a race car driver during a big race.  Faster than a snake about to strike.  FAST.

I think he managed to get about 15 in his mouth.  The rest went into the trash.  I think there are still a few between the refrigerator and the cabinets to which he told me — “stuck”  one of his favorite words this week.

Above all, I discovered just how m&m fast this little guy can move!

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I got this recipe off Campbells.com as I was coming close to 4p and still hadn’t started dinner.  This recipe turned out great and was a hit with both of my guys:  the boy and his daddy.  For those who don’t do beef, I think you could probably use ground turkey for the same effect.

Another side note to the recipe below:  I didn’t use the enchilada sauce or onions as we don’t eat either.  Didn’t use the rice either, but would probably be really good with it!

Easy Beef Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef
1 package (about 1 ounce) taco seasoning mix  or burrito seasoning mix OR burrito seasoning mix
1 can (about 16 ounces) refried beans
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup cooked regular long-grain white rice  (optional)
12 flour tortillas (10-inch), warmed
1 1/2 cup prepared enchilada sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat the oven to 350°F.  Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring often to separate meat.  Pour off any fat.  Stir the seasoning mix, beans, soup, onion and rice, if desired, in the skillet.

Divide the beef mixture among the tortillas. Roll up the tortillas and place seam-side down into a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce over the filled tortillas and sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling.

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I am so excited that the Winter Olympics begin today!  It is always so interesting to hear the stories behind the athletes, and to admire their athleticism.

This morning, the boy became infatuated with a box of Berry Blue Jello that he found in the cabinet that he shouldn’t have been in to begin with.  While I’ve never made Knox Blocks, I remembered them fondly from my own childhood, and thus the search for the recipe began.

All of the recipes online seemed to call for 3 boxes of Jello, and I only had one box of the Berry Blue.  Thus we modified to enable usage of the ingredients on hand:

Small Batch of Knox Blocks

1 Box Jello any flavor

1 and 1/3 package Knox gelatin

1 and 1/3 cup boiling water

Pour all the ingredients in a bowl, stir well and allow for the gelatin and Jello to dissolve.  Pour into an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan (I greased mine with Pam first).  Then put into fridge to cool before cutting them out with a cookie cutter or knife.

Our Berry Blue Snowflake Winter Olympic Knox Blocks

In honor of the 2010 Winter Olympics we made ours snowflakes so that they could become Winter Olympics Knox Blocks.  The Berry Blue color was beautiful and lent itself well to this!

The boy has discovered he LOVES Berry Blue Knox Blocks!  He even turned my head as I was cutting them out, said “Kiss” and planted a great big baby kiss right on my face.  My heart is still warm from the amazing love for this child.

I will say, they look a lot like flowers but I assure you it was a snowflake cookie cutter:)

Here’s to a great 2 weeks of the 2010 Winter Olympics!

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"I'm just trying to figure out what I should get into next. Hope Santa isn't watching..."

The look the boy is giving in this picture is pure mischief, as has been his behavior the past couple of days.  WILD is the word.

Fortunately we’ve been able to get outside a ton the last couple of days.  Today we won’t be so lucky with a nice forecast of rain, and while it is only 10:19am, he has been into EVERYTHING.

He hasn’t gotten the concept down just yet, that Santa is watching.  When he went down for a nap a few minutes ago, I took a huge sigh of relief at just a few minutes to take a deep breath.

This has been a relatively stress free Christmas season if there is such a thing for us.  This morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise of deep pinks and oranges that you don’t normally see in winter, let alone Christmas Eve.  We’ve only a few things left to wrap, and I’ve still got one present to finish.

This time last year, I was so frazzled, we didn’t even make it home for Christmas with my family.   That should have been the pure indicator that we needed to look to plan out our lives differently.  Thankfully God was watching, and new when the right time was to help us make the decision for me to stay home with the boy.

While we don’t have a white Christmas, the roads should be safe enough for us to get home to see everyone with the exception of some rain.

I can’t believe it is Christmas Eve, and to shift gears a little bit, as a mother, I can only imagine what was going through Mary’s head as she prepared to give birth to the Christ child.  No nesting for her, unless you count making a place in the hay to lay down.

The Bible doesn’t discuss Jesus’ childhood a ton, but I just have so much trouble imagining him climbing up on every rock and piece of furniture he saw, or getting into every ceramic pot (instead of cabinet), that he wasn’t supposed to be in.

I pray that your Christmas season is full of love and laughter, and that despite the rush, and the bustle that you can take a minute and read the Christmas story.  Take a minute to think about the characters and be empathetic as you imagine what may have been going through their minds.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

P.S.:  In case you’re wondering what to fix for Christmas morning breakfast, here’s what will be served at our house:

Breakfast Burritos

1 lb sausage

6 or more eggs

cheddar cheese

tortilla shells

Toppings as you like

Brown the sausage.  Beat the eggs and make into scrambled eggs.  Combine with the sausage.  Then, let everyone make their own breakfast burrito with the warmed tortilla shells, I like to top mine with sour cream and cheese.  My husband goes with cheese and no sour cream, but tons of hot sauce.

Talk about fast, and you don’t have to miss any of the family time, because you’re stuck in the kitchen.


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We're ready to get baking! This is the before picture - see the kitchen is still kind of clean.

I sure do like those Christmas Cookies Babe….

Okay, It’s some crazy country western song about Christmas Cookies.  I couldn’t resist.

The holidays are here!  Can you feel it?

My mom came down this week for our annual Christmas Cookie baking extravaganza.  I have to give my husband much thanks for keeping the boy occupied while we were in the kitchen.

The boy loves cookies and so do we.  This is always such a fun time and a nice chance to spend time with my mom.  I will say, my cookie decorations get a little crazy the longer we are decorating them.  I usually end up eating some of those myself as I get kind of hand with polka dots, stripes, etc. by the time we’re almost done.

The boy is saying - "Mimi give me that cookie!"

This year I bought some cans of decorator icing with tips that you just pop on.  This was so much fun.  It’s like squeeze cheese only frosting, and a blast.  If you don’t have much time to decorate cookies this is certainly the way.

My mom decided she’d make some cookies that looked like baby Jesus in the swaddling clothes.  I didn’t get a picture of those, and I ended up keeping them myself instead of giving them away, as we couldn’t figure out who would actually want to eat baby Jesus.  Kind of an odd thought.

The finished product!

Anyway, I had to share some pictures and the tip on the decorator frosting.  Not to mention the McCormick’s neon food coloring makes a lime green that is so much fun to use on decorating mitten cookies!

Also, In addition to the sugar cookies I made some easy chocolate cream cheese truffles.  Here’s the recipe:

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese softened.

4 oz Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate, melted

3 1/ 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

Crushed Pecans or Nestle Quick to roll them in.

Beat the cream cheese with the mixer, and add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth.  Then add melted chocolate and beat until completely mixed.  Refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes or more, until consistency is fairly firm.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the mixture out, roll into a ball, and then roll into nuts or Nestle Quick.

Enjoy.  These are awesome.

"Uh Oh... Mom just caught me swiping this cookie from the counter. I like me some cookies!"

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