Friday, February 27, 2009

Rainbow Jello

Yep, this was the layered Jello salad that I made to go along with the Tater Tot Casserole. My little boy loves this Jello salad - he would eat huge piece after huge piece if you let him.

Rainbow Jello

small box lime jello
small box lemon jello
small box orange jello
small box strawberry jello
small box cherry jello
small box black cherry jello
1 1/2 lb container sour cream

Okay this is the order that they are going to go into the 9x13 baking dish: lime, lemon, orange, strawberry, cherry, black cherry.

Starting with lime: combine lime jello packet with 1 1/4 cups boiling water. Stir for about 2 minutes. Pour 3/4 cup into a measuring cup and set aside. Add 1/3 cup sour cream to the 1st half of the mixture and stir until smooth, use a wire whisk, but don't make it too foamy. Pour the sour cream mixture into the bottom of a 9x13. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Combine the reserved 3/4 cup liquid jello with 3 tablespoons of cold water and pour this over the 1st layer. Repeat with remaining boxes of jello. Refrigerate till ready to serve and serve with a dollop of Cool Whip or whipped cream.

*I always start making this one the night before because all in all it takes about 6 hours to make.

Tater Tot Casserole

You know what, I think I'm just in some weird "molly" mood lately, because the other night I actually cooked this Tater Tot Casserole with a layered Jello salad for a side. Too bad it wasn't green Jello with carrots, eh?!

Tater Tot Casserole

1 pound hamburger, browned and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mixture of sharp cheddar and mozzarella)
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
32 oz bag frozen tater tots

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cheese to top the casserole. Stir in 2-3 cups tater tots to mixture. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with remaining tater tots. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved cheese and bake for another 3 minutes.

Potato Wedges and Fry Sauce

Potatoe Wedges
My kids want to call these "Bakies" and I want to call them "Wedgies" (because that just makes me giggle in a very childish sort of way), but I'll let you call them what you want because they are just your basic baked potato wedges. Very yummy tho. We had them the other night with Crispy Parmesan Chicken Strips.

1/4 cup butter, melted
6 potatoes, well scrubbed
salt and pepper
seasoned salt

Cut unpeeled potatoes into quarters lenghtwise. Cut each quarter in half lenghtwise again. Place on a GREASED baking sheet (if you don't grease the baking sheet the potatoes stick really bad). Brush top sides with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper and seasoned salt. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn potatoes* and brush tops with butter and seasonings as before. Bake for another 20 minutes. Serve with fry sauce or ketchup.

*I admit that this is not as easy as it sounds, but I turn the potatoes with my fingers - man they are hot, but it takes forever to turn each one over with a spatula or fork. I am heard saying "Freaking A!!" a lot as I turn the potatoes, but have thus far never sustained a substantial injury.

Fry Sauce
My kids hate this stuff and I could take it or leave it, but my husband is a fry sauce junkie so I make it for him.

1 cup miracle whip
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Combine all ingredients.

Chicken a la King

Okay, so this meal is quite cliche and everything, but I think it's yummy and so does my whole family. It traditionally has green pepper instead of the peas, but my family hates green pepper (I don't, but have succumbed to pressure and taken it out). It's a great freezer meal as it reheats beautifully. Honestly, I don't know where this recipe came from... maybe the internet years ago or a cookbook or maybe it's just been in our collective consciousnesses since the '50's and I never really had a recipe to begin with... Wow, that was quite existential for a recipe blog.:)

Chicken a la King

1, 4.5 oz can mushrooms, drained with juices reserved
1 green pepper, chopped (optional and we opt out)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules, or 2 cubed (crushed)
1, 12 oz can evaporated milk (or 1 1/2 cups milk for a thinner sauce)
1 can chicken broth
4 cups cooked and cubed chicken (or the good meat from a rotisserie chicken, cubed)
1, 4 oz jar pimentos, drained
1 cup frozen peas

Cook and stir drained mushrooms and green pepper (if desired) in butter over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Blend in flour, salt, pepper and cook over low heat stirring constantly until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in bouillon, milk, chicken broth, and reserved mushroom juices. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, pimentos, and peas. Heat through. Serve over rice, noodles, baked crescent rolls, or in baked puff pastry shells.

Freezer Meal Directions:
Cook as it says above. Let cool and then put into freezer bags. I always make one recipe and freeze half of it for another night.

Thaw. Dump into a pot and heat to boiling. Heat for another few minutes and add milk or chicken broth if sauce need to be thinned a bit.

Crockpot 15 Bean Soup

This is a very basic bean soup recipe and it's actually the recipe from the back of the Hurst 15 Bean Soup mix, so I can't take any credit. I like this recipe though because the soup is hearty and healthy and my kids like it. If I can get my kids to eat beans and like it I call it good.

Crockpot 15 Bean Soup

20 oz package Hurst's 15 Bean Soup mix (with flavor packet)
2 quarts water
1 lb smoked sausage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1, 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon chili powder
juice of one lemon (about 4 teaspoons if using bottled lemon juice)
2 cloves garlic, minced

Night before:
Place beans in a pot and cover with water so that water is at least 2 inches over beans. Soak overnight or at least 8 hours.

Day of:
Drain water out of bean and rinse them. Add beans back to pot with 2 quarts of water and sausage. Bring to a boil and simmer uncover for 1 1/2 hours. Pour into a crockpot and add onions, tomatoes, chili powder, lemon juice and garlic. Cover and set to high, cook for about 6 hours. Add flavor packet from the package of beans and set to low for another half hour or so. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Frozen Chocolate Bar Pie

Now this was OH SO GOOD!! Serious. I want this dessert on my birthday. Forget a cake, I'll just have piece after piece of this pie till I get sick and then I'll have some more... Maybe that wasn't the best imagery for telling you just how yummy this is, sorry... But trust me, make this and you will thank me, or actually you should thank Real Mom Kitchen because I got the recipe from that fabulous site. The original recipe is called Symphony Pie because it uses a king size Symphony bar, but I made it with a couple German chocolate bars cause that's how I roll.:)

Frozen Chocolate Bar Pie

2, 3.5 oz German or Swiss chocolate bars (I used Ritter Sport milk chocolate bars)
1/4 cup water (I wonder what would happen if you used milk here - I will experiment next time)
1, 8 oz container Cool Whip, thawed
shortbread cookie crust

Break up the chocolate bars into a large microwave safe bowl. Add water. Microwave for 45 seconds. With a whisk stir the chocolate well so that all of the chocolate is melted, may need to put back in microwave for another 20 seconds. Add a scoop of Cool Whip to the chocolate and mix it in well. Then add the rest of the Cool Whip and fold it all in until all the chocolate is incorporated. Pour chocolate mixture into the shortbread cookie crust and spread evenly. Cover and freeze for 3 hours.* Serve with whipped cream on top.

*Will keep in the freezer for weeks.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

I got this recipe over at Mennonite Girls Can Cook (I love that recipe blog!). It was super good and very hearty. 2 of the 3 kids liked it (visible vegetables and all) as well as me and the hubby. Nice.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb hamburger
5 small red potatoes, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet
1 large can (46 oz) tomato juice
1, 10.5 oz can condensed beef broth
1/2 cup pearled barley or miniature pasta (like alphabet or mini stars)
1 can corn, undrained

In a large stock pot heat oil, add onions and cook stirring for about 4 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add hamburger and cook, breaking up until browned. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, parsley, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, salt, Kitchen Bouquet, tomato juice, and beef broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Add barley or pasta and the can of corn (undrained). Bring to a boil again and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Amazing Shredded Pork Burritos with Cilantro Sauce and Cafe Rio-alike Rice

This recipe is fabulous and from my friend Corinne (though the Cafe Rio Rice is something I found somewhere on the web a year or so ago). The pulled pork is so moist and the sauce is awesome. I usually have it as a burrito bowl (skip the tortilla), but my hubby and kids love it burrito style. Really, give this meal a try it does not disappoint.

Shredded Pork:

pork shoulder butt roast (I used about a 5 lb roast)
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/3 cup brown sugar

Place pork in crockpot. Mix together salsa and brown sugar and pour over pork roast. Cook all day on low, turn on high the last hour (makes it easier to shred). Take pork out of crockpot, shred and put back in crockpot, mixing it up well to incorporate all the flavors.

*Another way to cook this to make it SUPER moist is to put the pork roast in the crockpot the night before with enough beef or chicken broth to go half way up the roast. Set to low and cook all night for 10-12 hours. In the morning pour out the broth, mix the salsa and brown sugar together and pour it over the roast, then cook for about 6 hours on low and shred as described above.

Cilantro Sauce:

3 tomatillos (paper skins removed, washed and quartered)
1 packet buttermilk ranch salad dressing mix (the dry mix)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup cilantro
1 cup mayo
1 clove garlic

Put all this in a blender and blend until very smooth.

Cafe Rio-alike Rice
(I've never been to Cafe Rio so I have no idea if this really tastes like their rice, but I do think it's yummy.)

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can green chilies
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 an onion, chopped

Blend all ingredients together in a blender, then put in a pan and add 6 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Add 3 cups of regular long grain rice and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Possible toppings for burritos/salads:

shredded jack or cheddar cheese
black beans
pico de gallo
cilantro rice
shredded lettuce
sour cream
cilantro sauce
diced tomatoes

Put some of the cilantro sauce on a tortilla, top with shredded pork and any desired toppings. So darn good!

Dijon Beef Stroganoff

I got this recipe from Prudence Pennywise and it was great. I love dijon mustard and mushrooms and so does my hubby. My kids are not huge fans of stroganoff (read mushrooms), but only the picky 5 year old refused to eat it (he just had the noodles), the 2 and 9 year olds ate it up. Overall a good stroganoff that we will have again.

Dijon Beef Stroganoff

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, chopped (I used 2 cups frozen diced onions)
1 lb stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini - aka baby bellas)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups beef broth
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon dijon mustard (it tastes very mustardy - cut down to 1 tablespoon for a less zippy taste)
rice or noodles, for serving

In a large skillet with a lid heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add beef and sprinkle with flour. Cook, stirring until browned. Add garlic, mushrooms, and thyme. Saute for 2 minutes. Stir in beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. (The mixture can be transferred to a crockpot and cooked on low for 4 - 6 hours.) Just before serving stir in sour cream and dijon. Do not boil. Warm through and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over rice or noodles.

Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwiches

I got this recipe from my friend Cami and I think this is probably the yummiest sandwich I've ever had! Yes, it really is that good and super easy to make too. (Again my picture really doesn't do this sandwich justice) Thanks for this awesome recipe Cami!!

Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwiches

sour dough bread, sliced
shredded chicken* (I use a good ol' Costco rotisserie chicken)
mustard - dijon or spicy
thin sliced ham (my favorite packaged ham is Oscar Meyer thin sliced Virginia ham)
sliced cheese - Swiss or cheddar or jack... what ever you like
a bit of fresh ground pepper

Layer on each slice of bread: mayo, shredded chicken, mustard, ham, cheese, and a little ground pepper. Place on a cookie sheet and broil till cheese melts. You can have the sandwiches open faced or top with another slice of toasted bread (I like 'em open faced).

*When my friend Cami doesn't have a rotisserie chicken to shred she baked chicken breast in her stoneware loaf pans with a pizza stone on top at 350 for about 40 minutes. It makes them nice and moist and ready to shred.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Soft Sugar Cookies

These were very happily received as our FHE treat tonight. We all decorated our own cookies and the kids had tons of fun frosting and sprinkling away. I love this recipe because the cookies turn out so soft and yummy. Make sure to not roll out the cookies too thin, the thicker the better as far as softness.

Soft Sugar Cookies

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
2 3/4 cups flour (+ 1/4 cup for high altitude)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla until creamy. Mix in sour cream. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet mixture and blend well. Roll out dough on floured surface (the thicker the cookie, the softer it is) and cut with cookie cutter. Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes (don't let them brown). Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes, then remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. Let cool completely before frosting. Makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending on how big your cookie cutter is.

The frosting recipes below are all very nice. I used the fluffy buttercream frosting tonight and it was yum-o!

Classic Sugar Cookie Frosting:

6 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (may need a bit more)
red food coloring (to make the frosting pink)

Beat butter until creamy. Add vanilla and mix in. Gradually add the powdered sugar until frosting is smooth and creamy. Add a few drops of red food coloring and mix till frosting is evenly pink.

Fluffy Buttercream Frosting:

1 lb box powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, softened
red food coloring

Beat with an electric mixer 2 minutes, scraping bowl often. For a thinner consistency add more milk or cream a little at a time. Mix in food coloring till frosting is evenly colored.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 - 1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar (enough for desired thickness)
red food coloring

Beat together cream cheese and butter. Add milk and vanilla and powdered sugar a little at a time till frosting reaches desired consistency. Add red food coloring and mix until frosting is evenly colored.

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

This is another allrecipes recipe and it turned out so well. I topped the individual bowls of soup with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese and everyone (even the picky 5 year old) had seconds. One thing too, it made the perfect amount for my family (a family of 5 with 1 little little kid) so if you're family is bigger you may want to double it.

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes (for me that was 3 potatoes)
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules (I used Herbox low sodium granulated bouillon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper, to taste (I used about 1/4 teaspoon)
5 tablespoons butter
5 level tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
crumbled bacon
shredded cheese

Combine potatoes, celery, onion, ham, and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Stir in chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.

In a separate saucepan (or skillet - I like to make my white sauces in skillets for some unknown reason) melt the butter over medium low heat. Whisk in flour and cook stirring constantly for 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Continue stirring for about 4 minutes or until it is thick. Stir this mixture into the stockpot and cook soup until heated through. At this point I mashed up the potato lumps with a potato masher because my kids like smooth soups, but it'd be completely fine as is. Sprinkle individual bowl with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Creamy Chicken and Noodles

I love this recipe. It's from my friend Deborah and well it's just yummy. The original recipe didn't have exact amounts, so today I took the time to measure out just how much chicken broth and milk I put in and I also added a cup of peas. I served it with Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls.

Creamy Chicken and Noodles

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 a large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
3 - 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 quart or a 32 oz box of chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked and cubed chicken ( I used the good meat from a rotisserie chicken)
8 - 9 oz wide egg noodles
2 can cream of chicken soup
4 1/2 cups milk (I use skim and it turns out great)
1 cup frozen peas (optional)

In a large stockpot melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook onion in butter till soft, add carrots and cook a little longer. Add potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are almost done. Add bouillon cubes and salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken, noodles, milk, and 2 cans of cream of chicken. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until noodles are done. Add peas and cook another few minutes.

*Tends to thicken up upon cooling. You can thin with more milk to get to a desired consistency - we like it pretty thick so I don't usually thin it, but if you add more milk or broth you can make it into a creamy chicken noodle soup.

No Peek Beef

We had this last night and it was yummy. I got the recipe from Mommy's Kitchen, though I did alter it slightly. Everyone was happy with it especially since we had my sister's bread with it (some kind of bread is a great incentive for my children to eat their dinners happily).

No Peek Beef

2 lbs beef eye of round or chuck roast, cut into small cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I think I will add 2 cans next time)
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
small can mushrooms (optional, I didn't add mushrooms this time)

Mix ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours, do not remove foil until it is done. Serve over noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice.

*I bet this would be a great crockpot recipe also.

Julie's White Bread

This is my sister's white bread recipe and I think it's awesome!! Seriously the easiest bread I've ever made and it comes out fluffy and delicious (as all white bread should be:)). Great food storage recipe too as it has no eggs or butter in it (it does have lecithin in it though so I guess you have to be sure to store a big bottle of that). You can buy liquid or powdered lecithin in most natural food markets - I found a large bottle at Sprouts.

Julie's White Bread
-This recipe makes 2 loaves, I make it in my Kitchen Aid, but apparently if you have a Bosch mixer you can double this recipe to make 4 loaves.

5 1/4 - 5 1/2 cups white bread flour*
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 rounded tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons lecithin (or 1/6 cup oil - I've only made it with lecithin)
2 cups hot tap water

Pour ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix for 1 minute with the dough hook. Check consistency and add more flour if too wet and more water if too dry. Mix for 5 minutes. Do not add flour or water after it is through mixing. Spray your counter or a surface with cooking spray. Turn dough onto sprayed surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape each 1/2 into a loaf and place in greased loaf pans. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 25 minutes. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on a rack. Wasn't that easy!:)

*To make with whole wheat flour add 1/2 cup of applesauce as part of the hot tap water and mix for 10 minutes instead of 5.

Monday, February 2, 2009


This is a fun Pampered Chef recipe that I made last night and everyone liked it, especially my hubby. Who can resist a cute little mini cheeseburger?! And even better they were super easy.


1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs 90% lean ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
6 sliced American cheese (each slice cut in quarters to make 24 small squares)
8 hot dog buns
24 dill pickle slices

Preheat oven to 450. Mix together: onion, beef, parsley, garlic, and salt. Press beef evenly over the bottom of the stoneware jelly roll pan or another jelly roll pan/cookie sheet with sides that you have. Bake for 12 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.

While beef is cooking, separate hot dog buns at seams then trim off the ends and cut each bun into 3 equal pieces leaving the top and bottoms together. Set Aside.

When beef is cooked through remove pan from oven and with 2 spatulas remove the beef in one piece from the pan and place on a cutting board. Drain fat from pan and wipe pan clean with a paper towel (obviously be careful, that stoneware gets hot!). Cut beef into 24 equal squares (that 6 rows with 4 squares each) and place squares back onto pan. Place a pickle and piece of cheese on each patty, then put a top bun on each patty followed by the matching bottom bun so its a stack in this order: patty, pickle, cheese, top bun, matching bottom bun. Cover the whole pan with foil and put back in oven for 5 minutes (until cheese is melted). Place bottom buns on the bottom of the patties and you're ready to serve.

Nutrition Info:
Each slider has 110 calories, 5 grams of fat (3 grams sat. fat), 22.5 mg cholesterol, 7.5 g carbs, and 8.5 g protein.

*This would also be a super easy way to make normal hamburgers, just cut the meat into bigger patties when it is cooked through and use normal hamburger buns in the place of the cut up hot dog buns. (Also a couple more pickles on each meat patty.)