Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tortilla Soup ~ by Sarah

I found this recipe on Pinterest after wanting to find a good soup to take to Mom's for Christmas Eve.  It was definitely delicious!  I did all the prep work that morning, so putting it together was really easy.  It smelled wonderful while it was cooking and tasted even better!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
¼ cup diced green bell pepper
¼ cup red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (10 oz. can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
32 ounces, fluid low sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups hot water
2 cans (15 oz. can) black beans, drained
3 tablespoons cornmeal or masa
5 whole corn tortillas, cut into uniform strips around 2 to 3 inches

sour cream
diced avocado
diced red onion
salsa or pico de gallo
grated Monterey Jack cheese
fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir. Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed---add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips. Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese. (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

(Not my picture...)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bourbon or Rum Pecan Pie ~ by D'Lynn

1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 to 2 cups pecan halves
2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon or rum
1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie shell, unbaked

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar and melted butter. Add the corn syrup, eggs, pecans, and bourbon (I used Capt Morgan's Rum), and stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie shell (I used premade, frozen, Marie Callendar's) and place on a heavy-duty cookie sheet. Place a guard over the pastry edges, or use foil to prevent them from overcooking. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes, uncover the pastry edges and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Congo Bars ~ by Sarah

Aunt Janet made these for a family reunion last weekend and they were amazing!  Kind of like a chocolate chip cookie, but in a bar form.  She used chocolate chips and mint green chips, but I couldn't find any, so I used butterscotch with the chocolate.  Still delicious!

2 3/4 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. butter-flavored Crisco, melted
2 1/3 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 bag chocolate chips
1/2 bag peanut butter, butterscotch, or mint chips

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.  Set aside.  In large bowl, cream melted Crisco and brown sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add in chips and stir gently.  Bake in a 9x13-inch pan at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting.

Tips: These will dry out quickly, so don't make them too far in advance and don't cut them until it's time to serve them.  Also, watch them carefully as they bake--you don't want them overdone!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mom's Meatloaf ~ by Sarah

Wes and I had a hankering for meatloaf, so I called Mom and she gave me the rundown on how she makes her delicious version.  Very easy and very delicious!

2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs
1 c. oatmeal
5 or so butter crackers, crumbled
1 can cream of mushroom soup
a few dashes of Worcester sauce
a long squirt of ketchup
salt, pepper, seasoned salt, garlic salt
1 packet dry onion soup
barbecue sauce

Combine all of the above ingredients except the barbecue sauce and mix well.  Pat into a 8x8 or 9x9-inch baking dish.  Top with barbecue sauce in a pretty design.  (The barbecue sauce was my idea.  Mom tops hers with ketchup, but Granddad tops his with barbecue sauce and I like that topping better!)  Bake at 350 degrees for a good hour.  Delish!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Parmesan Zucchini Crisps~by Kelsey

My new addiction.

a couple zucchinis or yellow squash
about 1/3 cup bread crumbs
about 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
a little olive oil

Slice the zucchini/squash.  I make them pretty thin so they will cook quickly.  Put them in a bowl with a little olive oil to coat them.  Mix the bread crumbs and cheese.  Mix in to squash.  Line a cookie sheet with foil for easy clean-up.  Line the squash up on the sheet.  Sprinkle whatever crumbs are left in the bowl on top of the squash.  Bake at 350 degrees until cooked as desired.  You can also broil them if you cut them thin enough, or bake first, then end with a little broiling.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cooked Corn~by Kelsey

Easy, different, and good.

Bag of frozen corn (around 14-16 oz)
2 tablespoons of butter
Parmesan Cheese (around 1/3 cup)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Add the frozen corn.  Stir and cook for about 6-7 minutes.  Add the seasonings.  Mix.  Add the cheese, stir to melt a little.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Roasted Veggie Sticks ~ by Sarah

This is a Pinterest recipe and Wes and I are addicted!  I wish the kids loved them as much as we do, but it doesn't stop me from making them.  I eat these sticks like candy!  I'm copying and pasting the recipe exactly as the Pinterest person wrote it.  But I always use seasoning salt, freshly cracked pepper, sea salt, and smoked paprika.  Don't be stingy with the seasonings!  They absorb!

carrots (not peeled)

1. Preheat oven to 425 F
2. Cut your veggies into 3-inch sticks, making sure they are even in thickness.
3. Line a baking tray with baking paper (I don't do this) and a light layer of olive oil.
4. SEASON – go with the usual salt and pepper and branch out to one or two of the following (Choose Your Own Adventure-style): paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage – really, whatever takes your fancy and suits your meal. Using premixed spice blends is a great option too – Italian, Mexican, Old Bay – you know, just not all at once. Lightly toss your vegetable batons with a tablespoon or so of olive oil (not too much) and the herbs and spices.
5. Spread your seasoned veggies over your lined tray and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.

**She mentions that any veggies will work with this method...

Make sure you let them cook until they start to caramelize.  You will not be disappointed!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pulled Pork~by Kelsey

I found this recipe in a magazine.  It really tenderizes the meat fast, I cooked a couple-pound pork loin that was still frozen for about 5-6 hours on a combination of low and high and it was almost over-tenderized.

2 pound pork tenderloin (or really any cut would work)
12 oz root beer

All you do is put the meat in there, and then dump in the root beer.  After it cooked, I took the meat out of the root beer and I shredded it and mixed in bbq sauce and served it on hoagies or hamburger buns with coleslaw.  An easy way to feed a crowd!

Monday, May 13, 2013

M&M Cookie Cake ~ by Sarah

I found this on Pinterest and it is SO good!  Very easy and very, very good.  I recommend adding the butterscotch chips like I did.  They totally make it!

1 c. + 1 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 c. M&M's (I did 1/2 cup and a 1/2 cup butterscotch chips--SO good!)

Preheat oven to 325.  Cream butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla and blend. Then combine flour and baking soda--mix until completely incorporated. Fold in the M&M's. Dump into a greased 9.5″ pie pan and bake for 25-30 mins.  Cool, cut into cookie pie slices, and enjoy!

(Not my picture.)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicken and Cheese Lasagna Roll-Ups ~ by Sarah

This is a Pinterest recipe I came across, but I modified it some.  Very easy and very delicious!  I definitely recommend!
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I boiled three chicken breasts and chopped them up)
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon white pepper (I used black)
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups marinara sauce (I think Barilla is the best...)

My additions:
fresh basil, chopped
mozzarella, shredded

In medium bowl, combine chicken, cheeses, milk, and pepper. Spread 1/2 cup mixture on each lasagna noodle; roll jelly-roll fashion. In a 13x9-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce. Arrange lasagna rolls, seam-side down in sauce in baking dish. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce. Cover. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until hot.

My modifications:
I warmed up the marinara sauce in a pan and added the fresh basil and let it simmer for a few minutes to get the herb's flavors.

I also baked it (covered) for about 25 minutes, then took off the foil, added the mozzarella, then cooked it until the cheese was bubbly.

Not my picture and not the picture from the website where I got the recipe, but it looks very similar!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tator Tot Bake ~ by Sarah

A Facebook friend shared this recipe on my news feed and I thought it looked good, so I made it the next day.  It is delicious!  And even better the next day!  Easy, too!

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion (diced) (I used green onions, instead.)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 small can black olives (sliced)
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen corn
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies (diced and drained)
1 (12 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 (16 ounce) bag shredded Mexican cheese blend (I shredded my own jack and cheddar because I think bagged cheese is just not as good.)
1 (16 ounce) package frozen tater tots
1 (10.5 ounce fluid ounce) can enchilada sauce
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add ground beef, garlic, and onion and cook while breaking the meat apart with a spoon or spatula until the ground beef is completely browned. Drain off any excess fat. Add taco seasoning mix, green chilies, frozen corn, and black beans to the ground beef. Cook until heated through.
Step 2: In a large bowl combine ground beef mixture, ¾ of the Mexican cheese blend, and all of the tater tots. Stir well to combine.
Step 3: Pour about 1/3 of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add the tater tot mixture to the baking dish and lightly pat the mixture down into a solid, even layer. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tater tots.
Step 4: Place into the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. During the last few minutes of baking, top the casserole with the remaining Mexican cheese blend and the sliced black olives. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

(Not my picture...)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein~by Kelsey

Pinterest strikes again.

  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces sirloin tips, cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  1. Stir the spaghetti into a pot of lightly salted boiling water and cook it according to the package directions. Drain the noodles well, then return them to the pot and toss them with the sesame oil.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and onion and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue stirring while the mixture cooks for another 30 seconds. Add the sirloin and cook it, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until it is no longer pink.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, and oyster sauce. Add the soy sauce mixture and the pasta to the skillet and continue cooking, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes or until everything is heated through. Serve the lo mein hot. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole~by Kelsey

Another Pinterest find.  Even the kids like it!

One 10 oz can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup (or mushroom)
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I will try Greek yogurt next time.)
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc)
1/2 teaspoon Splenda/sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups cooked broccoli
1 1/2 cups  COOKED quinoa (see note)
Feshly grated Parmesan cheese
To cook quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

 Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear.  In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible.  Fluff with a fork.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, Splenda, pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli.
Spoon mixture into prepared casserole.  Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden.  Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

Homemade Cream Cheese Mints~by Kelsey

I found this on Pinterest.  Very quick and easy and good!  I made them plain, but there are all sorts of variations.


1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure peppermint or mint extract
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
(Optional) Food coloring
(Optional) Rainbow-colored sugar crystals

Line baking sheets with waxed paper. 

In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer beat together softened cream cheese and peppermint extract.  This is a good time to add the food coloring if you want.
Add powdered sugar gradually and beat until smooth, kneading in the last of the powdered sugar with hands or a heavy spoon.
 Lightly dust the wax paper-lined baking sheets with sifted powdered sugar.
Using a 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon, form mixture into balls the size of a cherry.
 Place two rows of dough balls 1/2-inch or so apart, then flatten with a pretty stamp or a fork, like I do.  If you'll lay out a couple rows first, by the time you're ready to roll out the third row, the tops of the dough balls are dry enough to flatten easily without having to dip and re-dip the fork in powdered sugar.
 Let the mints stand overnight.  Every several hours, gently turn them over.
Follow the link I posted to see all the different variations.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chicken Divan ~ by Sarah

Years ago, Wes went elk hunting over in Prairie City where his grandparents and aunt and uncle live.  He came home with this recipe from Aunt Vonna and it got lost in the depths of my recipe drawer.  Then Dad got the three of us girls a cookbook for Christmas and I saw this exact recipe, so I dug the original out of the drawer and compared them.  They are the same except for one thing: Aunt Vonna's recipe calls for crackers on the top.  Frankly, I can't imagine this recipe without them!  It is so delicious and really easy!

1 1/2 to 2 c. fresh or frozen broccoli, chopped
2 c. cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1/2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. lemon juice
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
buttered cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread broccoli evenly on the bottom of a 9x9-inch pan.  Cover with chicken pieces. Mix soup, mayo, lemon juice, curry, and cheese.  Pour mixture over chicken and smooth out.  Top with cracker crumbs.  Bake 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Molasses Cookies ~ by Sarah

At Christmas, Cody's girlfriend Sarabeth gave us all a bowl of these delicious cookies as part of our gifts.  They are amazing and addictive!  She told me that they contain quite a bit of butter.  My favorite!  No wonder they're so good!

1 egg
3/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. molasses
1 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon

Mix butter, molasses, egg, and sugar, then add dry ingredients. Roll into balls, then drop in a bowl of sugar. Bake 350 for 8 minutes.

*Note from Sarabeth: The trick I have found is that sometimes even 8 mins is too long (unless you like them crunchy, more like a ginger snap then a soft cookie). I sometimes watch the first batch, then set the timer to when they are just barely baked and still rising - once they fall in the oven they become the crunchy kind. Enjoy!