Everyday Mom's Meals: December 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Why Didn't I Do This Before?

Sometimes it's so funny how you can do something the same way for years, and then one day you decide to try it a new way, and you say to yourself "Um, why didn't I do this before?" I guess it just takes our inner light bulb going off to make everything come into focus. And it seems to me, 9 times out of 10, when this happens, it is something so simple it kind of makes you feel dense!

This was the case last week, 2 days post Christmas when I was getting ready to roast chicken for supper. It was a recipe I had made too many times to count, taught to me by my mother in law years ago. I went into the kitchen and had to move my new Crock Pot off the counter to prep the chicken. And that's when it happened. That inner light bulb lit up as bright as a Christmas tree and I knew in an instant I was making this recipe a little different this time. I had a ton of stuff around the house to do, and multiple games of Death Star Jenga to play with Monkey, so why not let supper cook itself (for the most part) in the Crock Pot? I have no idea why I had never thought of this before. I'm sure a little piece of it was my inner foodie begging to use that new Crock Pot for a 2nd night in a row. Whatever the reason I finally thought of it, I am so happy I did because it will never be prepared the original way again! This is perfect on a cold day when you want something warm and comforting, but don't want to put forth a lot of effort! The chicken can even be made in the morning, or the night before. Sometimes our best ideas are those that come to us when we least expect it!

Crock Pot Chicken and Biscuits
1 lb. chicken tenders
2 (15 oz) cans mixed veggies, drained
2 (10 3/4 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
2 c. chicken broth
1 (8 ct.) refrigerated biscuits
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. On a large baking sheet, mix chicken tenders, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes until juices run clear. (If preparing ahead, set aside to cool) Cut chicken into small dices. In Crock Pot combine chicken, veggies, soup and broth. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on LOW for 4 hours. About 20 minutes before serving, prepare biscuits according to package directions. Split biscuits and serve chicken mixture "open face" style on top.

Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Jan. 3, 2013
Shared on The Country Cook Jan. 4, 2013

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weekend Company {Guest Blogger Bekki}

Good Morning and welcome to another Saturday. I hope this finds you at the end of an amazing holiday week. Our week is ending just as special as it began. See, today two very special people are getting married. My brother in law, Matt, is marrying his soul mate, Jill. There love story is one for a fairy tale. As some of you will remember, back in May 2011 Matt was diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of leukemia. Then in August Adam was his donor for a stem cell transplant to fight that cancer. Well, about a month after that, during his recovery, he "met" a friend of a friend, Jill. But see, they couldn't really meet at all. Part of recovering from a stem cell transplant is extreme isolation, as to avoid germs. Three months of phone conversations was how they spent the beginning of their relationship. Then on December 23rd they met face to face for the very first time; and according to Matt, he knew in that instant she was "the one". They were engaged in June and now today is the big day. Matt has waited for so long to find the perfect woman to share his life with, and as we all told him many times, the best things come to those who wait. I remember sitting in a hospital room telling him that "I didn't know why he was being tested by God with his illness, but He was going to make sure wonderful things on his horizon." Little did we know, just how wonderful they would be.

Congrats to Matt and Jill~ may God bless your marriage always and love fill your life forever more. 

Please welcome Bekki back for her second week in a row, to share something special for our New Year!

I am married to my wonderful husband Josh, have a beautiful 12 year old step daughter Amy and 2 fur-baby sweethearts Minnie and Shadow. I am a self taught baker/cook. I taught Wilton cake decorating for a while, worked in a grocery store bakery and have even spent time baking wedding/birthday cakes as a hobby on the side. My love for cooking has been since childhood. Spending time with my mother, aunts, and grandmothers. Aiding in their recipes or just being there for the conversation. Its always been a source of calm, peace, and ultimate fulfillment. The idea that you add your love to each recipe and share it with the people you care about is such an amazing blessing to me in more ways then I can ever put on paper. I have decided writing a cookbook was something I could do to share my love of food with family, friends, and whomever else comes my way. I hope your day is blessed with all your favorite things. 

Hello EMM Fans, I hope your Christmas was blissful and full of all your favorite things! 
Can you believe it? We are actually just days away from the New year? Nope, I can't either but its here and we have to celebrate. These recipes are dedicated to The Everyday family who was just blessed with a new member! Congratulations to the happy couple on their blessed day. With this beautiful union I had to match it with something just as decadent and beautiful! A fizzy new years eve punch great for any crowd, even the little ones. Yep, a punch with zero alcohol and my favorite, maraschino cherries. Now that we have a fizzy drink you need a oh so chocolaty dessert too right? Yes! How about a Chocolate Turtle cheesecake? That's right I said it! Now that I have your complete attention lets celebrate this amazing time of year with the ones we love. May God bless you all in the new year and give you His best. 

Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake Adapted from a family Christmas
6 tbs. margarine, melted
2 c. vanilla wafer crumbs 
1 pound caramel candies
3/4c. evaporated milk
1 1/4c. coarsely chopped pecans
2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2c. sugar
2 eggs
4oz. semisweet chocolate melted 
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine margarine and vanilla wafer crumbs and press into the bottom of 9 inch spring form pan. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. 
Place candies and milk in saucepan; melt together. Pour into crust. Sprinkle pecans over top. Set aside. Beat cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix in melted chocolate. Pour over pecans and smooth out. Swirl long toothpick through cream cheese to get desired design.Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 1 to 2 hours Chill 4 to 6 hours. Serves 12 

Garnish with raspberries, if desired.

Photo from A Family Christmas Cookbook
New Year's Eve Celebration Punch Adapted from a family Christmas3c. sugar
3c apple cider or apple juice
6c. grapefruit juice
1 1/2 quarts ginger ale
10 maraschino cherries with stems

Lemonade ice cubes
1 (6 oz) frozen lemonade, thawed and prepared

 In a saucepan, mix the sugar and apple cider. Cook until the sugar is dissolved.
Cool and chill. After chilling add grapefruit juice, orange juice and ginger ale. Pour the
punch into a large deep bowl, or punch bowl.For lemonade ice cubes, pour lemonade into ice cube trays and freeze. Place cups around the punch bowl. Place cherries and ice cubes in each serving of punch. Serves 10

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Menu Plan Dec. 30- Jan 4

*New Recipe
Links to Recipe on Blog
^ New to Blog but not us

Sunday Leftover from last week
Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese Croutons

Happy New Year's Eve
We will be having an entire buffet of appetizers to snack on all night.
Roasted Shrimp Cocktail*
Veggie Pizza*
Bacon Cheddar Appetizers*
Pot Stickers
Pizza Rolls
Egg Rolls
Dried Beef Roll Ups^
Soft Pretzel Cheese Bites
Jalapeno Peppers
Chex Mix
Sparkling Cranberry Juice
Sparkling Grape Juice
Sparkling Water w/ Limes

Tavern Sandwiches*
Southwest Mac and Cheese*
Sliced Pears

Alex will be with my mom. Adam and I will have:
Frozen Pizza

Pork Chops
Candied Carrots

Beer Battered Fish Nuggets*
Steak Fries
Sliced Beets

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Crock Pot

Was Santa good to you this Christmas? Boy, he sure was to our family! In fact, I must have been even better this year than I thought I was because I couldn't have asked for me! Between my wonderful husband, parents, brother,  in-laws, and future sister-in-law, (And near future....Saturday is the big day!) I got some fantastic new "toys" for my kitchen!

From new cook books, to a "Queen" wine glass (for those special Mommy needs a time out moments), to measuring cups, a Twinkie bake set, ceramic skillet and many more, it was a great foodie Christmas! One of my favorites, and something I wished and wished for was a new Crock Pot! My mom outdid her self. It's a beauty and such a improvement over my 1970's version that was nice, but just needed upgraded!

So on the 26th, what better recipe to try out than a new soup for said Crock Pot??? I was like a little kid playing with his new video games, I was so excited. I woke up, knowing I was headed into the kitchen to test out my new toy.

This soup couldn't be easier. Seriously browning meat, chopping some onions and opening a few cans is all it takes to have a piping hot bowl of soup on the table for supper. It's so incredibly filling too! Believe me after the snow storm hit Wednesday we were very happy to be sitting down to this at the end of a cold, blustery day!

Thank you to everyone who helped to make me such a blessed food blogger this Christmas. I thank you. My family thanks you. And all EMM fans everywhere thank you!

Black Bean Taco Soup From Gooseberry Patch
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, undrained
1 ( 15 oz) can chili beans, undrained
1 ( 15 oz) can corn, undrained
1 ( 28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (1 oz) packet taco seasoning
1 ( 1 oz) packet ranch dressing mix
Salt and Pepper to taste
Shredded Cheese, optional for topping
Tortilla Chips, optional for topping

Place all ingredients in slow cooker, except toppings. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Top with tortilla chips and cheese.

Crock Pot at Very Good Recipes
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Quick Breakfast With Better Oats

Do you struggle to get breakfast into your little ones' tummies every morning? Are you constantly looking for new and simple things to fuel the rest of their day? Well, our friends at Better Oats are making it even easier!

Better Oats oatmeal comes in 23 delicious varieties  including Raw Pure & Simple, Pomegranate  Blueberry Muffin and Apple & Cinnamon. Kids love it because it's fun and yummy; parents love it because it is nutritious and convenient. Better Oats uses 35% less packaging than other instant oatmeal brands, so more room on your pantry shelf, and the pouch doubles as a measuring cup!

Made with 100% whole grain oats and flax seeds, this complete line offers a simple and healthy option when it comes to instant oatmeal. But it's not only a great breakfast (or lunch... or snack...) but also a better ingredient to spice up a cookie or other baked goods.

 Their thick and hearty oatmeal is also a good source of fiber and omega-3, so it's better than good, it's good for you. Start your day off right with the indulgent taste of real muffin flavor in every bite...mmm.

Better Oats

So when I was given the opportunity to use Better Oats oatmeal in a new recipe, I immediately thought of granola! It's one of my favorites, and my son's too. Put it in individual bags for simple after school snacks, or even quick on-the-go- breakfasts. Perfect for taking with you to the gym in the morning, or in the car for the kids. Eat it as is, or my choice, with a little milk poured over the top. However you serve it, this granola is so easy to make, and absolutely delicious to eat!

Blueberry Nut Granola
5 packets Better Oats Blueberry Muffin Instant Oatmeal
3 packets Better Oats Bare Instant Oatmeal
1/2 c. honey
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. walnuts pieces
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl whisk together oil and honey. In a large bowl combine oatmeal and all nuts. Pour oil mixture over. Stir well until coated. Spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan. When cool, break up. Store in an airtight container.

Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Dec. 27, 2012

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Penzey's Treat

Have you ever heard of Penzey's Spices? To be completely honest I never had until a few years ago when my dear friend was raving about them to me. She swears by all of those herbs, spices, spice mixes...all of their products. While I was very intrigued, I was never able to try them for myself, until now! Why? Because she is such a sweetheart she treated me to a few of their things for Christmas! It was the perfect gift for a foodie, and I was so excited to start experimenting. The first one I wanted to try was the Shallot Pepper Seasoning. A pepper based seasoning with the flavors of shallots and tarragon, it was listed as being great on fish among other things. So it got me thinking about what I could do with fish seasoned with it. I've been wanting to try my hand at fish tacos for a while now, and this was the perfect opportunity. If you are a lime lover, you will love these too because it's in the fish and the sauce! These are light, yet bursting with flavor and the crunch of the cabbage marries so well with the fish. They remind me of something I would eat in New Smyrna Beach, FL every summer when we vacation, but I can enjoy them in my warm kitchen watching the snow flakes fall in the middle of an Indian winter! Thank you my dear friend for treating me to such a wonderful, thoughtful, and absolutely delicious gift!

Fish Tacos with Lime Caper Sauce
1 lb. cod fillets
Olive Oil
1 tsp. lime zest
1 tsp. Shallot Pepper Seasoning
Salt to taste
1/2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 c. mayo
1 TBS capers, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1 lime, juiced
1 (12 oz) package coleslaw mix
Flour Tortillas

In a medium bowl combine fish, olive oil, lime zest and Shallot Pepper seasoning. Allow to marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a small bowl combine yogurt, mayo, capers, oregano, dill weed and lime juice. Stir well. Chill until ready to use. In a large skillet cook fish, about 4 minutes per side until meat flakes with a fork. Remove and chop into bite sized pieces. Place about 1/4 c. fish into each tortilla. Top with cabbage mix and caper sauce.

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Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid post, and not endorsed by Penzey's at all. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas !!!

Good Morning and many Merry Christmas wishes to you and yours this most wonderful of holidays! Even thought I won't be by the computer much today, I wanted to be sure to post a little something for my EMM family since we all can't be together.

Let me start by telling you all how incredibly lucky I am to be blessed with yet another year of what I love doing the most, being a Mommy and being a food blogger. I would have never guessed how this small "hobby" (as it began over 2 years ago) would not only turn into a career, but enrich my life in ways I didn't even know were possible. It's because of my EMM family I can do something I enjoy doing so so much, while providing for my family, and for that, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart for the incredible gift you have given not only me, but Adam and Alex also.

Back on Dec 1st our family made a very special adoption. We welcomed Winslow the Elf Scout into our home. For those of you who don't know the tradition, you can read more about Elf on the Shelf here.

We realized early on our cute little elf had a sneaky side, and each morning since Alex has been delighted to find him all over the house, and it's brought a whole new aspect to the magic of Santa in our home, giving us yet another holiday tradition to enjoy.

Winslow said goodbye last night, returning to the North Pole with Santa, but we look forward to seeing him again next year! So I thought it would be fun to have a "Winslow Flashback" today on the blog. Many of you saw these pictures as I posted them to Facebook, but for those who missed any, the entire collection is here to share. Plus, maybe you can find some inspiration for your little elf next holiday season.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and joyous New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Today we will be heading to my in laws for the annual Christmas Eve blowout! Lots of gifts, food, laughs, games, laughs, alcohol, laughs, and memories being made. We are lucky because we get family on both days of Christmas, Adam's being Christmas Eve and mine on Christmas Day. It makes for a full 48 hours of holiday celebrations that we look forward to each and every year. Last year we actually hosted the bash, so this year I'm looking forward to being a "guest" instead of "hostess".

When I shared my Pheasant Noodle Soup with you I explained that an annual autumn hunting trip leads to our Christmas Eve meal, so there is no surprise we will be feasting on those birds today. I'm actually marinating them in a lemon, rosemary garlic mixture, and Mr. Everyday will be grilling them come dinner time. I think they will taste fantastic coming off the open flame, and when I was coming up with dishes to take with us, I thought Cranberry Orange Sauce would be perfect! The flavors of cranberry and poultry always go so well together and I knew the hint of orange would marry well with the rosemary on the birds. Now, I will fully admit usually when I do cranberry sauce, it comes from a can, and if my boys have their way, it's in the shape of the can when put on the table....ha ha. But for this special meal, and delicate meat, I wanted to try my hand at making fresh; and I'm so happy I did! It was incredibly easy and turned out perfectly and gorgeous!

I hope however you are spending this special day, and to me, the most holy night of the year, you are surrounded by those you love most in the world and enjoying every single minute of blessings from above.

Orange Cranberry Sauce From Rachael Ray
2 ( 12 oz) bags fresh cranberries, rinsed
Juice and Zest of 2 oranges
1 c. sugar
2 pinches salt
1 c. water

In a large pot over medium high heat combine water, orange juice, salt, orange zest and sugar. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Stir in cranberries. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently until sauce thickens slightly. While cooking, use a potato masher to break up cranberries a little. Using a ladle transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool before serving. Will thicken as it cools.

Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Dec. 27, 2012
Cranberry at Very Good Recipes
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weekend Company {Guest Blogger Bekki}

Whew...3 days people! We are down to the wire! Are you ready for Christmas? Are the cookies baked, presents wrapped? Are the kids bouncing off the walls yet? Monkey is so excited for the 2 week vacation from school and the holidays, he can barely contain himself. I can't say I blame him though! Today I'm happy to have a returning guest, and loyal friend to EMM, Bekki back in the kitchen with me. She is such a sweet gal, because she stepped up when I needed this holiday guest blogger, and then she agreed to do next week's too! So, be sure to come back then to see what other yummy thing she is sharing, but for now, here she is with not one, but two holiday treats!

I am married to my wonderful husband Josh, have a beautiful 12 year old step daughter Amy and 2 furbaby sweethearts Minnie and Shadow. I am a self taught baker/cook. I taught Wilton cake decorating for a while, worked in a grocery store bakery and have even spent time baking wedding/birthday cakes as a hobby on the side. My love for cooking has been since childhood. Spending time with my mother, aunts, and grandmothers. Aiding in their recipes or just being there for the conversation. Its always been a source of calm, peace, and ultimate fulfillment. The idea that you add your love to each recipe and share it with the people you care about is such an amazing blessing to me in more ways then I can ever put on paper. I have decided writing a cookbook was something I could do to share my love of food with family, friends, and whomever else comes my way. I hope your day is blessed with all your favorite things.

Here we are, ready and waiting for parties with our families, long time traditions and warm evenings by the fire with a Christmas Story. Here’s a spin on milk and cookies for Santa. How about something warm with a little kick to keep him going. These candy cane cookies mix the idea of a powdered donut, a candy cane and a cookie all in one! Who wouldn't love to share that? These cookies along with a little grown up hot chocolate, add the flavor of coffee but nothing that will have you or your little ones flying through the house all through the night. I hope you all have a joyous Christmas, blessed to God’s fullest. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Candy Cane Crispers  Adapted by A Family Christmas
1c. butter, room temperature
1 1/4c. confectioners' sugar plus additional for coating
1 1/2tsp. vanilla
1 1/3c. flour
1c. rolled oats
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 coarsley crushed candy canes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a baking sheet.
In a large bowl beat together butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla.
In another another bowl, stir together flour, rolled oats and salt; blend with butter mixture. Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls; roll in confectioners' sugar to coat. Place about 2 inches apart on prepare baking sheet. Flatten cookies with a fork, making a crisscross pattern with the fork tines. Sprinkle each with about 1/2tsp. crushed candy canes. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until edges are lighty browned. Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.
Photo from A Family Christmas Cookbook

Fiesta Mexican Hot Chocolate Adapted from A family Christmas
2 c. hot milk
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbs. instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
 Place hot milk, chocolate chips, coffee granules, vanilla and cinnamon
in a blender. Cover; mix thoroughly until chocolate chips are incorporated.
Beat with mixer until light and frothy. Makes 2 cups. 

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Meal Plan Dec. 23-29

* New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog
^ New to Blog but not us

Sunday Leftover from last week
Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese

Monday (Christmas Eve)
We celebrate with Adam's family.
I will be taking:
Deviled Eggs
Veggie Tray with Dip
Cranberry Sauce*

Tuesday (Merry Christmas)
We spend the day with my parents.
I will be taking:
Green Bean Casserole

Black Bean Taco Soup*
Garlic Toast

Quick Chicken Pot Pie
Sliced Peaches

We will be at my brother in law's rehearsal dinner

Wedding Day! My brother in law is getting married!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grateful With A Heavy Heart

One week ago today evil found a small town in Connecticut. One week ago small children were taken from this earth much too soon; and adults gave their lives trying to protect them. One week ago parents in that small town got the news that no parent should ever have to hear~ their babies would not be coming home. Like many of you, I sat in horror watching the images on the television not able to comprehend or wrap my mind around how someone could take the lives of innocent children with no regard to basic human emotions. I literally sat in my living room staring out the window with tears rolling down my face.

What was I staring at? My son's school. We are blessed to live only 5 doors from his elementary school, and I can see his classroom window from my front porch. I will be honest and say part of me wanted to rush up to the school, take him out early and bring him home. Not because I thought this could happen here too, but because I just needed to see his face, hold him close and tell him I love him. That he is the most precious gift I've ever received and I would never let anything or anyone harm him. I'm sure many parents out there felt the same exact thing. However, I knew disrupting his day would only be selfish on my part, and frightening him wasn't the answer.

But let's face it, there are no answers. There are so many questions surrounding this massacre, and most will always go left unanswered. So how do we as a nation, which when something like this happens, gets very small, begin to heal? For my family it means prayer. We lift those affected up in prayer and ask God to place them in His loving arms of peace and love, showing them the light of tomorrow. We pray for the families who were left behind because we know there will always be an empty chair at the dinner table and an empty bed at night. We pray for too many families who on Christmas morning will be left with so many unwrapped presents under their tree. We pray for the children who were taken from their loved ones, knowing they are safe and loved in Heaven above, resting in the arms of their Father.

And we also look at our lives. We take a minute to realize how very blessed we are. I don't think I have ever been so happy to pick my son up from school, as I was last Friday. I looked into his eyes and said a silent prayer for all those Mommies who no longer could do so with their babies. I decided right there and then that the plans I had with Monkey for that evening would continue as planned. As I said on my Facebook page, "Baking cookies will never mean more. Something so trivial is so precious." I got up, put one foot in front of the other, attempted to get my head out of the fog of despair, and I spent the evening with my child loving him, laughing with him, enjoying him. Not because I could forget what was happening in that small New England town, but because I could not. None of us will ever forget; but if we stop living, evil wins. I knew I needed that special time with my son to help my broken heart, and to show God "I know just how blessed I am, how precious he is, and I will be thankful each second I am with him."

My heart still aches for those mommies and daddies in Newtown. With Christmas around the corner, I know the time of year only magnifies what they are feeling  and will continue to feel every Christmas in the future. May God somehow begin to heal their hearts, souls and minds. May they know His love and peace, remembering we all grieve with them. And may they know their little ones now fly with the angels, and watch over them every single day.

So, here is what Alex and I made last Friday~ made together, with love and gratitude .

Gingerbread Cookies
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3 1/4 c. sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp salt                                                                                   
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. water
Cinnamon Candies if desired
Icing if desired

Cream shortening and sugar. Sift flour with salt, soda and spices. Blend flour mixture into creamed mixture alternately with molasses and water. Chill at least 1 hour.Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters of your choice. Lift onto lightly greased cookie sheet (Or Silpat or Parchment paper) with spatula. Add candies if desired. Bake above oven center for about 12 minutes or until cookies spring back lightly in center. Do not overcook, they won't stay soft. Remove from sheets. Cool on wire racks. 

Rolling out the dough

Adding buttons

So proud of his baking skills!

The official taste test complete with Egg Nog!

Shared on The Country Cook Dec. 21, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

By This Time Next Week

Yesterday when I shared my new Baked Mushroom Chicken with you, I said I would also be revealing the perfect side dish to go alongside it today. Well, here it is. Ironically enough, it came from the same source as the chicken, and even though they were not published together, these were meant to star together. And I'm guessing that even if you didn't see that chicken recipe, like me you are always in the need of another great side dish. And I'm also guessing by this time next week, you are going to be ready for something different than the normal holiday flare we've been enjoying since Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong, I adore all the yummy things that served over and over this time of year, but by the time new year hits, we are ready to see other delicious items on our table. This recipe is great because it reminds me of those boxed mixes we've all used, and is truly just as easy. It has great flavor, but would also take flavor well too. Meaning you could serve this with almost anything, and it would taste great. By this time next week (for many of us anyway) the presents will all be unwrapped, the Advent calendars will be empty, and another Christmas will be behind us. But that doesn't mean we can't have scrumptious things to look forward to coming out of our kitchens!

Noodle Rice Pilaf From Taste of Home
1 c. uncooked long grain rice
1/2 c. fine egg noodles, broken (I like Inn Maid)
2 3/4 c. chicken broth
4 TBS butter
2 tsp dried parsley

In a large saucepan on medium heat melt butter. Add rice and pasta. Cook and stir until slightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20-25 minutes, covered until liquid absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in parsley.

Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Dec. 20, 2012
Shared on The Country Cook Dec. 21, 2012
Rice at Very Good Recipes

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chicken? Again? Yes!

As far as I'm concerned nobody can have enough chicken recipes. From the restaurant chef to the home cook, we all turn to the most versatile protein whenever we are stumped as to what to make for dinner. But I think most of us consider it a "go to" when we want to experiment, or try something new. It takes on flavor so well, and can be cooked a hundred different ways, it's a great spring board for creating new dishes. I think a lot of moms think "If it's chicken I know they will eat it." So they are more open to playing around with it.  This recipe was inspired by one I found at Taste of Home, one of my favorite sources for new yummy dishes! Nine times out of ten, I know if the recipe comes from them, even if I adapt it a little, change a few things, and stray from the original a bit, it will be successful and something my family will enjoy. Plus, this includes mushrooms, which only enhances the likability factor for us! This would make a great dish to fix with all the family that might be descending on your home over the next week! You could easily double the recipe, make two pans, and have them cooking at the same time. And if you are in need of a simple new side to serve along with it, be sure to come back tomorrow because I have the perfect one! In fact, I can guarantee each time I make this, the other will be on the plate next to it every single time!

Baked Mushroom Chicken Adapted from Taste of Home
1 package (8-9 pieces) chicken tenders
1/4 c. flour
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 TBS butter, divided
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. In a large plastic storage bag, place flour and season with salt and pepper. Place chicken in bag, a few pieces at a time and shake until coated. In a large skillet, melt 2 TBS butter. Brown chicken on both sides. Remove and place in a greased 11x15 baking dish. In the same skillet, add 1 TBS butter, mushrooms and garlic powder. Cook until mushrooms are brown, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until about 1/2 c. liquid remains. Spoon over chicken. Baked uncovered for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with cheese and onions. Bake for an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Shared on Lady Behind The Curtain Dec. 19, 2012
Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Dec. 20, 2012
Shared on The Country Cook Dec. 21, 2012

Chicken at Very Good Recipes
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two Pot Wonder

When I find something in my freezer that I didn't even know was there (okay, maybe I knew and forgot) sometimes I look as it as an opportunity, Sure, I could go ahead and make whatever I had originally planned with it, but most times when I this happens, it's something that leftover or "extra" from another recipe. For example, this came about because I found an extra package of smoked sausage, after buying three when I only needed two. So yes, I could have went ahead and bought one more package and fixed the same meal I had the previous time, but instead I went looking for something new. And what I found is not only delicious and easy, it's a great recipe to feed a crowd. The way it is written here, I would say it would feed 4-5 comfortably. But it could simply be doubled (If you do, use two separate pans for more even cooking) to feed a group much bigger! Plus it has your protein, starch and veggies all in one place! Technically I can't call it a one dish wonder, because you do have to prepare the potatoes in a separate pan, but if you're like me, that one can be washed, dried and put away by the time the oven timer chimes, and you are left with only one to clean after supper! If you are planning on a full house at some point over the next couple weeks, and want to serve more than just one big meal with leftovers for days, this is would be a great solution! Remember to check that freezer now and again too. You never know what inspiration you might find.

Sausage, Potato and Pepper Bake From Hillshire Farm
1 (1 lb.) package turkey smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4" pieces
6 cups red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 green peppers, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. chicken broth
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain well. In a 9x13 pan, combine potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and sausage. In a small bowl combine chicken broth, oil and seasonings. Mix well. Pour oil mixture over sausage mixture. Gently stir well to combine and coat. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes until veggies are tender and potatoes are browned around edges.

Shared on Mandy's Recipe Box Dec. 18, 2012
Shared on Lady Behind The Curtain Dec. 19, 2012
Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Dec. 20, 2012
Shared on The Country Cook Dec. 21, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Small Stick Big Flavor

I have learned many things in my almost 32 years here on earth. And one that is tried and true, every single time...anything tastes better on a stick~ no matter the size of said stick. It can be a very long one, like on a foot long corndog at the fair, or something small on the end of a toothpick at a party. Either way, 9 times out of 10 it's going to be a huge hit, and most everyone will find it delicious! With that, you have been warned! If you set out a big platter of these at your holiday, New Year's or football party this year, they will disappear quicker than you can make more, and they will probably be one of the most popular things you make! Plus, they are super easy! And don't get me wrong, they are tasty themselves, but what is going to suck everyone is the sauce! Oh, the sauce! I remember the first time I took these to family party and our aunt declared "I like them, but I could drink the sauce with a straw!" Yep, it's that good! I first had these a few years ago at Thanksgiving when my Grammy made them. Adam and I were eating them so fast she couldn't keep them on the buffet! And now anytime we are at her house for a holiday and I see bacon in the fridge, I hope she's making them again. Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, there is bacon involved too. You're pretty much done reading now aren't you? You just want to eat? Okay then, here is the recipe for one of the tastiest little bites on a stick you will ever have!

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
2 (8 oz) cans water chestnuts, drained
1 lb. bacon, sliced into thirds
1 c. ketchup
1 c. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. In a small saucepan, combine ketchup and brown sugar. Cook on low, stirring often,  until brown sugar is melted and sauce is well combined. Wrap each water chestnuts with 1/3 piece of bacon. Place in 8x8 pan, seam side down. Pour sauce over. Cover. Bake for 45 minutes until bacon is cooked through and sauce is thickened slightly.

Shared on Make Ahead Meals Dec. 17, 2012
Shared on Mandy's Recipe Box Dec. 18, 2012
Shared on Lady Behind The Curtain Dec. 19, 2012
Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Dec. 20, 2012
Shared on The Country Cook Dec. 21, 2012

Appetizers at Very Good Recipes
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Church Supper #68

Good Morning and welcome to another Sunday! I hope this finds you enjoying your weekend and ready to share in some good fellowship and great food!

As a side note, this will be our last gathering of 2012. With next weekend leading up to Christmas and the next being a the one before the New Year, plus a very special family wedding, I'm going to take a 2 week hiatus. But don't be sad, Church Supper will return that first Sunday in 2013, January 6th!

Thanks for stopping by today. I truly appreciate you sharing with our foodie family!
Please link up your favorite recipes from the week. And remember I wish you God's blessings all week long!
 " Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4)

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Turtle Bark

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Now, let's eat!


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