Everyday Mom's Meals: March 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Have A Winner

Using random.org to generate a random number and correlating that to the number of each contestant, the winner of the cook book and 10 recipes of your choice from the blog is........Emily!!!! Congrats! I hope you like the cook book and enjoy many recipes out of it for years to come!

50 Cent Investment

One of my favorite places to stop, stroll and basically kill some time is our local Half Price Books. They have the best selection of used books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, records, comic books, etc. It's one of those places all 3 of us can go and get lost for hours. And one of my favorite things to buy while visiting is old issues of Taste of Home magazine. I don't care if the recipes are a month, or even a year old, they are new to me, and for $.50 each, who can beat it! The last issues I purchased was from January/February 2009 and it provided me w/ a great breakfast or brunch idea. I like getting up on Sunday mornings and fixing something special for my boys, pancakes or cinnamon rolls, but I enjoy sleeping in just as much! So how great is it that I could get up, whip this together and then lay back down while the oven does all the work, and I take all the glory!!

Baked Blueberry Pancakes

2 c. pancake mix
1 1/2 c. fat-free milk
1 egg
1 TBS canola oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

In a large bowl, combine the pancake mix, mil, egg, oil and cinnamon just until blended. (Batter will be lumpy). Fold in blueberries. Spread into a greased 10 x 5 baking pan. Bake @ 400º for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

*Note* If using frozen berries, do not thaw to avoid discoloration of batter

Blueberry on FoodistaBlueberry

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm Still Here

But it seems likes I haven't blogged in days. Oh, that's right, I haven't. And I'm here to tell you there is no meal plan for next week either. Why? B/c most of our meals from this week weren't used and will be next week. Due to an extra Tae Kwon Do class, and Mommy being flat on her back for 2 days w/ food poisoning, there wasn't much cooking in this house after Tuesday. I'm feeling a tiny bit better, but no where near ready to cook a full meal. So thankfully, the boys have been surviving on leftovers while crackers have been sustaining me. Oh well, I guess sometimes the best laid plans just aren't meant to be.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Almost That Time

Unfortunately, the time has almost come to put the crock pot away for the season. Wait....that's not unfortunate--spring is coming--temps are rising---WOO HOO!!!! And actually, I don't totally shelf mine for the warmer months. I will bust it out for certain dishes even on those oh so warm summer nights......ahhhh.....sorry, I got lost in my daydream there for a minute. This came to me out of All You magazine (one of my favorites) and I've had it stashed away (ok, I misplaced it) and decided this week it was time for it to debut. Bolognese sauce is a meat based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy; and no it doesn't have bologna in it--much to my child's dismay. I'm had some outstanding ones in restaurants, but the only one I've tried at home was a stove top version that cooked for 2 hours; and at the end of it I wasn't that impressed. So I figure why not try the crock pot version and see what happens. I'm serving it over rigatoni, but it goes well w/ fettuccine, linguine or even gnocchi.

Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce

1 TBS unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 lb. lean ground beef
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 c. whole milk
1 c. white wine (I will be substituting chicken broth)
2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot, saute 5 mintues. Turn heat to high, add beef and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season w/ salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour in milk and wine; bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook at a lively simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to slow cooker, stir in tomatoes, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Stir, then cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes longer. (I will be cooking it for 4.5 hours on high b/c of time constraints)

*Note* For a whole milk substitute, measure 1/2 TBS heavy cream and add 2% milk until reaches 1 cup.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

A Childhood Favorite

No, not another one of mine. This one is from Adam's past. Since we've been married ( 8 years this May) there have been a few dishes Adam asked me to make b/c he loved them as a kid: beef stroganoff, goulash, raspberry pie, but this was the first. He enjoyed this so much as a child, and I know his sister did too, so apparently, it was a Marshall house staple. For me, I don't really remember having it as a kid, I'm not saying I didn't, I just don't recall it w/ such enthusiasm as he does. When I went looking for a recipe that would suit him, I tried to find one w/ as many flavors as he could remember. I believe I found this in a Taste of Home magazine not long after we were married. The addition of bread crumbs is something Adam never had on his "classic" version, so most of the time I omit them- especially if there are going to be leftovers, b/c they tend to get a little soggy. So tonight Adam gets to relive a little piece of his formative years, in a casserole of course.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 c. milk
2 c. frozen peas
2 (12 oz.) cans tuna in water- drained
1 lb. egg noodles, cooked and drained

Stir soup, milk, peas, tuna and noodles together. Add to casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 400º.

Shared on Gooseberry Patch Nov. 9, 2011
Casseroles at Very Good Recipes
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Not So Secret

 One of my favorite shows on Food Network is Secrets of a Restaurant Chef w/ Anne Burrell. I think she is amazingly talented and can tell why Mario Batali always wanted her w/ him on Iron Chef America. She makes the most complicated dishes look easy for the home cook, and shows dishes you never thought could be made at home totally accessible. During an episode last week, in which I can't even tell you what the main dish was, b/c I was too taken w/ the veggie, she made these amazing green beans that I am trying tonight. For our family, anything is better w/ bacon. I'm sorry, pig fat rules!!! That I'm sure that is evident to all of you by now. A lot of times when we dine out, green beans have either bacon or ham in them, but here at home I just never think to do....until now:) Chef Anne has inspired me to make those restaurant quality beans here at home---so don't tell her, but her secret is out:)

Bacon Braised String Beans

Olive oil
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into lardons (small strips)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. button mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
kosher salt
1 lb. string beans, stems removed
1 c. chicken stock

Coat a large straight sided skillet lightly w/ olive oil. (I will use my large stock). Add the bacon, garlic and red pepper flakes & bring to a medium heat. Cook until the bacon is brown & crispy. When the garlic becomes golden brown & very aromatic, remove and discard. Add the mushrooms, season w/ salt and cook until they become soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the beans & chicken stock, cover & cook over medium low heat for 40-45 minutes. If the liquid reduces too much during cooking time, add water to make up the difference. Remove the lid & cook until almost all of the liquid is reduced. When done, beans should be VERY tender, almost falling apart & very flavorful.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Perfect Spring Cake

I love cake. There I said it. But I guess I really should say I love frosting. For years my motto has been "the cake is just a vessel to get the frosting in my mouth". I'm the girl who eats all the frosting, and most of the cake, but 9 times out of 10 there will be "dry" cake left on my plate when I'm done. For my birthday last month my mom made me a strawberry cake w/ strawberry frosting; and I discovered something. If the cake is moist, and has little bits of fruit in it, I can devour it just as quick as the frosting. It's like the tiny pieces of fruit inside the cake give it just enough "pow" in my mouth that I find myself enjoying it as much as the creamy butter cream richness of the frosting. So when I saw this on Mommy's Kitchen I immediately wanted to try it (yes, I  wanted to bake--that tells you just how yummy it looked) The only change I made was making it a 9x13 instead of a round cake; and b/c of this the cooking time was a little longer. But the answer to the question is "yes, it tasted just as good as it looked". OMGosh, it's so moist and packed full of refreshing flavors. It will definitely be one this "non-baker" will make many times in the future!

Mandarin Orange Cake

1- 18.25 oz. butter recipe cake mix
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 15 oz can mandarin oranges, undrained & separated
3 eggs

Add the cake mix, oil, eggs and oranges to a large mixing bowl. Put about 8 of the oranges aside for garnish. Mix together using an electric mixer (will have tiny lumps) and pour into a greased and floured 9x13 cake pan. Bake @ 350º for 30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean (mine took about 45 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.


1 8oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 3.4 oz box French vanilla instant pudding mix
13 oz. Cool Whip (I bought 16 oz tub and used all but 3/4 c.)- thawed

Mix the pudding mix (in powder form) w/ the pineapple. Fold in Cool Whip until well blended. Frost cooled cake and add oranges to top for garnish. This cake sets best, and tastes better cold, so store in the refrigerator.

Mandarin on FoodistaMandarin

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pie For Breakfast

Yep, I said it. And I'm not talking about you w/ the last piece of pie in the pan hiding in the closet hoping nobody sees you and feeling guilty afterwards:) I'm talking about something that you make you feel that satisfied but w/ none of the worry! This recipe comes from my dear friend Erin, who like me, loves to cook for her family and is always coming up w/ inventive ways to broaden their menu. I think this would be one the whole family, adults and kids both, would stand up and clap for! I'm thinking about trying raspberries w/ it too since I have so many frozen from last summer! Go, have some pie for breakfast and feel great about doing so!

Blueberry Pie Oatmeal

For each serving....
1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. water
few drops vanilla extract
1/4 c. blueberries, heaping
1/2 TBS sugar
1 TBS graham cracker crumbs

Add all ingredients but cracker crumbs (reserve a few berries for garnish) to a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until oatmeal is cooked. Spoon into serving dish and top w/ graham cracker crumbs and a few berries.

Blueberry on FoodistaBlueberry

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Frugal and Yummy

When I find a new helpful website or blog, I become a woman possessed. I find myself going to it over and over b/c I can't get enough info from it. I feel like I have a little secret weapon, but not one I want to hide away. I want to share it everyone I know and shout "read this"!!!! That is exactly how I felt the day I first heard about Frugal Fort Wayne on the news. I found myself immediately typing the URL into my browser to see what is was all about and if there was anything I could share.....and did I stumble upon a gold mine! This blog was created by 2 sisters here in Fort Wayne who like to save money as much as I do and are great at doing so! Each day they share a tip, or sometimes several, of things we can do around the city on a budget, tricks to save money at home, coupons, etc. These ladies are a wealth of information! And wouldn't you know, they even had a recipe that I couldn't wait to post here, and were kind enough to allow me to do so. Microwave popcorn can get pretty pricey, especially when you're having as many movie nights as we do!! This version is cost effective and I'm guessing will taste just as good, if not better b/c it's "homemade". So for your next movie night, grab a brown paper bag and see what fun you can have!

Microwave Popcorn

Measure 1/4 c. popcorn kernels into a brown lunch bag. If desired, add 1 tsp butter. Tightly roll down the top of the sack just enough to close the bag. Put it in the microwave, folded side up, for 2.5 minutes. Salt (if wanted) and enjoy!!

Meal Plan March 20-25

*New Recipe
** New for you only
(Where to find on blog)

Sloppy Joes
Hashbrown Cakes
Braised Green Beans*

Tuna Noodle Casserole**
Fruit Cocktail

Gnocchi w/ Bolognese*

Scalloped Potatoes
Butter Beans

Thursday- Alex's Spring Musical
Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese

"Lobster" Rolls*
Seasoned Fries
Candied Carrots

Baked or Swiss, That is the Question

Okay, so it's not one of the pressing questions of life, like "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" but I certainly got an education upon looking for the answer. When I was growing up, my Dad made Swiss steak and it's the only version of it I've ever known. Well, when I decided I was going to try and I searched the internet for a recipe (since Dad's was a little of this, a little of that, and all in his head) I discovered what Dad had been making all those years was "technically" baked steak. Huh???? I had no idea. Almost every recipe I found for Swiss steak included some sort of tomato product--and that was NO where near what I was looking for. Next step? Add the word "baked" and see what came up. While the final recipe I decided on isn't identical to what Dad used to do, it's the closest I could find and the addition of mushrooms is great b/c we love them! I found the answer to this troubling question (lol) at ehow.com, so the next time you have one of life's nagging questions on your mind--maybe you can turn there too!

Baked Steak

1 large round steak, cut into portions and tenderized
2 c. flour
garlic powder
onion powder
salt and pepper
vegetable oil
sliced onions and mushrooms (optional)- I am omitting the onions

Place the flour in a large bowl and add dashes of seasonings. In a large skillet over medium heat, place a few TBS vegetable oil and heat through. Dip each steak portion in flour, making sure to evenly coat each side and place in hot oil. Let brown for a minute, flip, and then transfer to crock pot or oven safe dish. After all steaks are browned, add about a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil to skillet, turn down to low, and stir up the bits of browned flour and steak drippings. Add a little of the flour mixture at a time, stirring frequently, until you have a nice brown gravy. Pour over steak. Top w/ onions and mushrooms. Cook in crock pot on low for 6 hours, or in oven, covered @ 275º for 2-3 hours.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We're Pretending

It's cloudy, cold and kind of dismal outside today. But inside? Well, we are going to act like it's 80º, sunny, the pool is open and the grill is on! And the best way I know to do this is w/ a summer time meal that gives us the illusion of warm nights and outdoor picnics. I'm actually combining a former recipe (July 4, 2010) w/ a new technique for tonight's dinner. We love port-a-pit chicken, but the best way to do that is on the outdoor grill, and while Adam will grill in the dead of winter, I prefer not to freeze while cooking:) So the compromise is using the same sauce I would but doing it from the comfort of my warm kitchen, which will be even warmer b/c of the use of the oven! Once again I turned to the Internet and found a technique I believe will work perfectly on howtocookmeat.com. Along w/ our favorite pasta salad and baked beans....spread out the blankets....get the bug spray.....pour the lemonade.....we're doing it summer style tonight!

How To Roast (Bake) Chicken Legs

1. Dry the chicken w/ paper towels. Trim any yellow foot skin off. Drying the meat allows any sauce or seasonings to adhere to meat.

2. Apply seasonings- B/c of the sauce, I will only be using salt and pepper

3. Heat oven to 450º. Put the chicken in a roasting pan, w/ space between each drumstick

4. Brush on sauce, coating evenly.

5. Roast until chicken reaches 160º internal temperature. I'm going to guess this will take about 20-25 minutes, maybe longer b/c of basting every 10 minutes w/ sauce.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Contest #2

Because of you--my faithful and wonderful readers-- I've hit 3000 "hits" on here!! I love doing this so much and every time I get a comment, new follower or feedback I get so excited. So as a HUGE thank you, it's time for another giveaway. This time there are 3 different ways to enter and the prize is a copy of "Faster! I'm Starving! 100 dishes in 25 minutes or less" by Kevin and Nancy Mills PLUS you get to choose your 10 favorite recipes off the blog and I will send you handwritten recipe cards w/ them so you can always have them on hand when you need them! This book has some great recipes and I'm so excited to try some of them myself!!

1. If you are on Facebook, mention the blog address in your status. Then leave a comment here telling me you did so. ( Facebook comments telling me WILL NOT count)

2. If you have a blog yourself, mention it there, and again leave a comment here telling me you've done so.

3. If neither of those are options for you, email my blog address to your friends telling them to check it out; and forward me the email as well.

Only one entry per person (so choose the option that is best for you). Contest ends March 30, 2011!!!

As you can tell, I'm trying to spread the word as much as possible. I love getting new readers and not only will someone win a prize, but I will be forever grateful for any referrals I get!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Meal Plan March 13- 18

*New Recipe
(Where to find on blog)

Meatloaf (October 29, 2010)
Mashed Potatoes/Gravy (February 2, 2011)

Roasted Drumsticks Port a Pit Style* (For Sauce, July 4, 2010)
Spaghetti Salad (August 3, 2010)
Baked Beans

Tuesday- Left over from last week
Pork Chops
Green Bean Casserole (December 7, 2010)

Swiss Steak*
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Sauteed Corn (June 27. 2010)

Cabbage Roll Casserole (January 23, 2011)

Garlic Bread

New For You

But not so much for our family. This is a Rachael Ray recipe I got probably 3 years ago from her talk show. I have adapted it a little bit from the original recipe and sometimes I even make it will thinly sliced steak, but the method is always the same. The creamy texture and the deep flavors are amazing it's hard to believe it can be ready in about 30 minutes. It's also one of those meals that while a side dish might be nice, it's not really necessary. It is so filling and satisfying as the "one pot meal" it is, we're always full w/o anything else :)

Buttered Chive Egg Noodles with Chicken & Mushrooms

3-4 chicken breasts
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS butter, divided
2 TBS olive oil, plus more for roasting chicken
20 chives, chopped
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 TBS flour
1 lb egg noodles
salt and pepper

Rub chicken breasts w/ olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast in a 400º oven for about 30 minutes, cool and diced into bite sized pieces.

Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet heat 2 TBS olive oil on medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Put mushrooms to side of skillet and melt 1 TBS butter in center. Add flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth and cream. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes until slightly thickened. W/ about 5 minutes left of simmering, add in chicken and heat through. Drain egg noodles and return to hot pan. Add 2 TBS butter, chives, and mix well. Mix chicken and mushroom sauce w/ egg noodles carefully.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Much Harder in My Head

I find it so funny when I am convinced I could never make something b/c it's too complicated, involved, or down right difficult. And I have to admit the more I cook the more I find myself saying "if you can make this, you can make____, fill in the blank. ( I mean 8 years ago when we were first married, I would have never attempted a potato galette!) Plus, I am very lucky that I have 2 "boys" in my house that are willing to eat my experiments, and are very quick to tell me how good they are, even when I know they are being kind. So when I was thinking of "new" things to make, I did what I do a lot of times, I thought back to when I was growing up and things I loved to eat, but haven't had in many years. One of those such meals was stuffed peppers. My Grammy used to make them for us every time they visited and I loved them. And the only ones I've had since have been out of the frozen food section, which weren't bad per say, but they weren't homemade. So while I had always thought they were so involved, and would be too time consuming, I was surprised to find out just how easy they are. I'm sure there are ones out there, that are indeed a little more involved, but the recipe I found on The Food Channel website look exactly as I remember and only took about 15 minutes out of my life! So next time you think a recipe is too hard for you, remember me and my peppers!!!

Easy Beef Stuffed Peppers

1 lb. ground beef
4 medium green, red or yellow bell peppers
3/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. uncooked rice
3 TBS ketchup, divided
1 tsp. oregano, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 14.5 oz. Italian-style stewed tomatoes, drained

Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds and membrane. Combine ground beef, onion, rice, 2 TBS ketchup, 1/2 tsp oregano, salt and pepper. Mix lightly, but well. Spoon equal amount of beef mixture into each pepper. Place in 8--inch square baking dish. Combine tomatoes, remaining ketchup and oregano; pour over stuffed peppers. Cover tightly w/ foil. Bake @ 350º for 1 1/2 hours.

Green Pepper on FoodistaGreen Pepper

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Final Installment

The last recipe I'm sharing from the bridal shower this past weekend is for an appetizer I can never get enough of. In fact, I've been known to make these for myself for a simple, light lunch. I have a few different recipes for various kinds, but I chose this one b/c it seems very "spring like" to me, especially b/c of the addition of the chives. And besides, who doesn't love a little sandwich that can be eaten w/ one hand and is the perfect bite size? They were a big hit Saturday, and I hope they are at your next party too!

Cucumber Sandwiches
1 container whipped cream cheese
4 TBS fresh chives, chopped
Dark and white party bread
2 English cucumbers, sliced w/ skin on (1 if large)

Mix chives into cream cheese. Spread on party bread. Top w/ cucumber slice

*Cut the bread w/ a cookie cutter for fun shapes, if wanted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cocktail Time

Sorry, there isn't alcohol involved here :( What I'm talking about is shrimp cocktail--one of the classic appetizers! And one of my favorites, and I'm pretty certain I'm not alone in that feeling. The shrimp rings you can buy in the store are nice, and convienent, but if I'm serving it for a party I prefer to buy a bag of frozen shrimp, serve it on ice, and make my own cocktail sauce. One, the shrimp are usually larger, and two, the cocktail sauce that comes w/ those rings doesn't have quite the bite I enjoy w/ mine, and the texture is a little too smooth for me. I like to see the horseradish in mine. So, for the shower, we did just that. My mother in law bought the frozen shrimp in a bag, the ingredients for the cocktail sauce and I made it about 2 hours before the party and by the time we ate, it was perfect!

Cocktail Sauce
1/2 c. ketchup
2 TBS horseradish, heaping
1/4 tsp. lemon juice

Mix all and chill for at least 2 hours.

*For the shower I made 4x this amount and it served around 25 people.

Never a Fan

A fan of what you ask? Fruit Dip. All the ones I've tried from the supermarket have never been quite what my palate was looking for. At parties I usually avoid it b/c I'm sure I won't like it. That was until I found this recipe, quite a while back and it's been my "go-to" fruit dip ever since. If I am entertaining or just want a light snack, this is the dip I rely on. I think there are two reasons I enjoy it more than any other I've tried. 1. It is sweeter and 2. it is thicker. I don't like runny dips and this one really holds up well. So when it was time to plan Amanda's shower, I knew a fruit tray w/ this dip was a must! It compliments all fruits really well, but if I am serving it will autumn fruits, (apples, pears, peaches, etc) I do add a little cinnamon. We served it w/ pineapple, grapes, watermelon & strawberries, and it was perfect as usual!

Fruit Dip

1 package instant vanilla pudding
16 oz. vanilla yogurt
1 container Cool Whip

Mix all together until combined well. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve w/ assorted fruits.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Meal Plan March 6- 11

 *New Recipe
(Where to find on blog)
**New Recipe For Blog, but not me

Lasagna Hamburger Helper
Asparagus (January 31, 2010)
-Left over from last week, due to scheduling conflicts

Chicken w/ Egg Noodles**

Chips/Cheese Sauce
Refried Beans
Sliced Pears

Stuffed Peppers*

Chili (September 26, 2010)

Pork Chops
Green Bean Casserole (December 7, 2010)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Here Comes The Bride

And no, it's not me...lol. Adam and I are good:) Today was my sister in law, Amanda's, bridal shower. I hosted it along w/ my mother in law, Jeryl and sister in law, Charla.  We had such a nice day, and everyone enjoyed themselves through and through. But most of all, Amanda had such a special day, which in the end was the most important part! This was the first bridal shower I have ever planned, and I have to say I had so much fun doing it. There were games, prizes, lots and lots of fun, and food galore!!! We had an appetizer party, and we made a meal out of them! So, for the next few days I'm dedicating each post to a recipe from the shower. We used recipes of mine that were for cucumber sandwiches, cocktail sauce, and fruit dip--so look for those in coming days. But today's is actually a real treat from the bride herself. Amanda makes the greatest bruschetta and we just had to serve it! In fact, it's so good that each person walked away w/ the recipe as one of her favors---we love it so much, we just had to share:) Amanda--I'm so happy you had a great day, and I'm honored to have been a part of it----I love you!

Amanda's Bruschetta

8 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tsp finely minced garlic
1/2 c. coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 TBS lemon juice
1/2 TBS olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 baguettes, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (we always get the already sliced from Kroger bakery)

Mix all together, except bread. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside at room temp, for 3 hours. Heat oven to 350º. Toast bread on a baking sheet. Top w/ tomato mixture.

Tomato on FoodistaTomato

Freebie Saturday

As I was reading all of my regular blogs this morning, I came upon a very cool free download and of course wanted to share w/ all of you. I found it on Real Mom's Kitchen as one of her Saturday "Fab Five". (Five things she suggests we all would love.) Then I headed on over to Eat At Home Cooks where you can download and print her free menu planner. I have a magnetic tablet on my fridge I got at Micahels but this one is super cute too, and I will be saving it to print when I need a new one. So, click on the link, download and print, all for FREE!!! Happy Saturday!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm Not Waiting For a Party

The title of this was going to be "Great Party Food" and I thought to myself, "no". This looks too good and I refuse to wait :) If I were entertaining on a regular basis, maybe I could commit to that time frame, but since I don't, I refuse to deny myself this amazing concoction until I do:) I found this on the A Year Of Slow Cooking blog and couldn't believe it when I did b/c Thin Mints were my favorite Girl Scout Cookie growing up; and I know Alex will flip for this! How much fun can a huge pot of chocolate w/ "dippers" on the side! We can enjoy it and just call it a party- without all the planning and stressing!

Chocolate Mint Fondue

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. mint exract
marshmallows, cookies, or fruit for dipping

Put the chocolate chips into a 2 quart slow cooker. Add the cream and extract. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. 

Chocolate Chips on FoodistaChocolate Chips

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Are You Kidding Me??

I heard someone say recently, "my crock pot is evil". So naturally I assumed she meant it was old, broken, not working right and ruining her food. Nope. It was in perfect working order. She just didn't like any of the food that was coming out of it. Really??? I have a lot of friends in this world, but I have to admit that my trusty crock pot is top 5 at least. LOL It's funny b/c my crock pot is older than I am, and I purchased it at a garage sale for 25 cents almost 7 years ago, but it's perfect for me! So I'm on a mission---I have to convince her it's not the crock pot, it's the user. I'm sorry, I know that's harsh, but it's best to just rip the band aid off. User error isn't something to be ashamed of, we've all been there. That new gadget appliance that doesn't work the way it's supposed to and we think "well, that was false advertising", in reality maybe outside factors are contributing. Maybe the recipe isn't the best one, or maybe something wasn't executed in the best way. So I directed her to the website for Family Crock Pot Recipes - it has anything under the sun you can cook in a slow cooker, from the very easy to the more complicated. I thought it was a great place for her to start, get inspiration and give that crock pot another chance. While looking through recipes w/ her I came upon one that I had to try. I love soup. I love broccoli and cheese soup. This called out to me and I'm happy to welcome it into our home tonight!

Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 10 oz cans cream of chicken soup
2 10 oz packages frozen chopped broccoli
1 small onion chopped
1 qt. half and half
1 lb. Velveeta, cubed

Combine the soup, broccoli and onion in crock pot, mix well. Add the half and half and cheese; stir to mix. Cook for 4 hours on high.

Shared on Crock Pot Exchange July 29, 2011
Shared on Gooseberry Patch Sept. 14, 2011