Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chewy Vanilla Bars

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Sometimes you just need dessert.  Sometimes it's a cookie or a thick slab of cake, last night for me it was vanilla bars.  These were so easy to make with just basic ingredients and they are so very delicious.  Moist and chewy with a rich vanilla flavor.  This would go great with some coffee and a friend.  :) 



Chewy Vanilla Bars

Ingredients:
Bars -
1/2 cup butter
10 ounce bag white vanilla baking chips (about 2 cups)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
Icing -
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Chocolate Drizzle -
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon Crisco

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 11x7 pan.  I used glass.  In a small saucepan heat butter and baking chips over low heat stirring frequently until just melted and mostly smooth.  It may have a chunky appearance but that's ok.  Cool a little bit.
In a large bowl stir remaining bar ingredients.  Add the melted mixture and blend well.  Spread evenly in pan.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean and cool completely before frosting.
To prepare icing: 
In a medium bowl mix all icing ingredients until smooth and spreadable and spread over bars. 
To prepare chocolate drizzle:
In a small bowl combine chocolate chips and Crisco and melt in microwave in 30 second increments stirring in between each session until smooth.  Pour into a Ziploc bag and move to one corner and cut a bit of the corner off and pipe the chocolate drizzle over top in whatever design you would like.  If you want more chocolate drizzle, just double the ingredients.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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In my humble opinion, it's hard to find a good broccoli cheese soup recipe.  Some are too runny, some are too thick, some are flavorless, some are too salty, some are even too chunky!  Whatever the reason I haven't found a recipe I would re-make until now.  It has a very mellow flavor and is loaded with broccoli and carrots so it has great servings of vegetables.  It is quite easy to make, but does dirty up a few different pots while making.  After I cooked up the soup mix and the vegetables (they are cooked separately in the beginning) I threw it in my crockpot on low for a few hours until it was all cooked through and the flavors well blended and turned the crockpot to the warm setting so it would be the perfect temperature in time for supper.  This does make quite a bit of soup - I would say about 8 to 10 servings, so feel free to cut it in half if you don't need that much.  Be sure to pre-measure out your half and half and water/chicken base so you can just pour them right in.


Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 cups half and half
4 cups water*
4 teaspoons chicken base*
1 pound fresh broccoli
2 cups petite baby carrots
salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions:
Saute onion in 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet.  In another large pot melt 1/2 cup butter then whisk in flour until well blended.  Whisk constantly and slowly add half and half, water and chicken base.  Simmer about 20 minutes.  Add broccoli, carrots and onion.  Cover and cook on low heat until veggies are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Add salt and pepper and the mixture should have thickened by now. 
Carefully transfer mixture to blender and puree.  Return soup to pot (or crockpot) over low heat.  Add cheese and stir until well blended.  Add nutmeg right before serving.

*If you don't use chicken base just use 4 cups of chicken broth.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chocolate Quicky Sticky Bread

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This came out of Ava's Cooking For Kids cookbook and it was really quite simple to make although it did have quite a few steps to it.  The kids liked the surprise bite of chocolate inside and the gooey-ness of the outside.  I need to get a bundt cake pan that doesn't come apart.  The one I used has the inside tube and bottom part that come out of the sides and even though there is a lip on the bottom to hold in thicker mixes, most of the caramel sauce leaked out.  Thankfully I had the foresight to put it on my big cookie sheet so it didn't spill all over the oven.  I will definitely make it again.


Chocolate Quicky Sticky Bread

Ingredients:
2 loaves (16 ounces each) frozen bread dough
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Hershey's cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted & divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 bag Hershey's Mini Kisses semi-sweet or milk chocolate baking pieces (I used milk chocolate)

Instructions:
Thaw loaves as directed on package; let rise until doubled.
Stir together granulated sugar, cocoa and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  In a microwave safe bowl stir together 1/4 cup butter, brown sugar & water.  Microwave 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth when stirred.  Pour into fluted tube or bundt cake pan.
Heat oven to 350.  Pinch off pieces of bread dough big enough to hold 3 pieces of mini kisses.  Seal dough around kisses, dip each ball into the remaining 1/4 melted butter; roll in cocoa-sugar mixture and place balls into pan. 
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 20 minutes in pan then invert onto serving plate.  Store in an airtight container.

Chicken Divan

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Lately I have made quite a few crock pot meals with chicken.  I love how it just cuts like butter with a fork and is so tender to eat.  This meal is no exception.  The chicken gets put in the crock pot straight from the freezer and comes out very tasty!  The original recipe calls for 2 cups of mayo - I used Miracle Whip Light and I would definitely cut that in half.  So I will list the recipe as such.  It was really good, but it was just slightly to 'tangy' and could do with a little less Miracle Whip Light.  This could be your next go-to meal!  Only 4 ingredients plus some rice!

Chicken Divan

Ingredients:
15 ounce bag of frozen broccoli (or around that size - more would be fine also)
5 to 6 frozen chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayo (I used Miracle Whip Light - you can use your favorite mayo)

Instructions:
Spray 4 quart crock pot with cooking spray.  Empty the whole bag of broccoli into the crock pot and top with chicken breasts (yes you can take them straight from the freezer).  Sprinkle with a bit of pepper.  In a large bowl combine cream of chicken soup and mayo then pour over top of chicken.  Cook on low about 8 to 9 hours.

*We served our chicken & broccoli over rice.  Ava said she would like some cheese on it next time.  Maybe a sprinkling of cheddar cheese over top of each serving or substitute one of the cream of chicken soups for a cheddar cheese soup.  Another thing to note is that everyone in my family said that broccoli came out really good.

Monster Cookies

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Chewy, peanut buttery, chocolaty & oat-mealy.  The kids enjoyed them after they got off the bus warm out of the oven.  Chris told me they were 'the best cookies ever' and 'the bomb'.  I think I'll have to make another batch (or double) so that we actually have some in the freezer!  It's so nice to have cookies on hand.  Enjoy & share with with your kids or a friend!!



Monster Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups peanut butter
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups regular oats, uncooked
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup m&ms
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:
Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars beating well.  Add peanut butter, eggs, corn syrup & vanilla and beat well.  Mix in oats, soda & salt.  Then stir in chocolate chips & m&ms.  Dough will be stiff.
Use a large cookie scoop (or a 1/4 cup measuring cup) and drop dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets about 4 inches apart.  Lightly press each cookie with fingertips into a 3 1/2 inch circle.
Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes, centers of cookies will still be slightly soft.  Let cook slightly on cookie sheets before removing to wire racks.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

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I had a hard time getting a decent picture of this since it was already pitch black outside, but hopefully this one looks okay!  The recipe calls for a pre-made crust, but you can make your own.  I bought a 2-pack of crusts and also made a hamburger/pepperoni pizza.  Usually I make my own pizza crust, but I bought it earlier in the week which was just fine because I was feeling rather lazy last night when I made it so not in the mood for making the homemade crust. 


Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Ingredients:
3/4 pounds hamburger
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons mustard
1 prebaked pizza crust (or your own homemade version)
dill pickle slices
cheddar cheese, shredded
mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 to 6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

Instructions:
Brown hamburger with minced onion.  In a small bowl mix ketchup and mustard then spread over top of crust for your sauce.  After hamburger is browned sprinkle over top of sauce mixture.  Layer pickles, bacon and cheeses then bake at 350 until cheese is melted and crust is all browned.  Some pre-made crusts aren't fully baked so they bake while you are baking the whole pizza.  Just keep an eye on it.  When I made the pizzas last night I had two pizzas in the oven at the same time and it took a good half hour to bake, but I didn't have my convection bake on, otherwise it probably wouldn't have taken so long.  If it's just one pizza it's probably going to be 10 to 15 minutes.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hot Butterbeer

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Halloween is almost here (hence my little haunted house in my background photo) and the chilly weather has finally hit.  The kids spent the afternoon outside and came in asking for something warm to drink.  We already finished the mix for the Hot Buttered Rum and Ava has been asking me to try this recipe for a long time so I finally decided to make it today.  Let me tell you - this stuff is GREAT!  This completely takes the cake over hot cocoa any day.  I'm actually tempted to make a big batch of this to keep in the fridge and just heat up in the microwave on a whim!  It was so good I didn't even wait to blog it.  I wanted to share it with you all so you can try for yourselves!!  The two mugs on the right show with the whipped topping and butterscotch topping and the ones on the left are without.


Hot Butterbeer

This makes a single serving, so if you want to make more than one mug-full then just measure up the ingredients according.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream*
2 tablespoons powdered sugar*
1 teaspoon vanilla butter and nut flavoring**
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
butterscotch ice cream topping

Instructions:
Whip cream and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar until stiff and set aside.  Add flavoring to mug and set aside.  Heat milk, honey, 1/4 cup powdered sugar & cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, just until boiling.  Remove from heat and pour into mug(s).  Top with whipped cream and drizzle with butterscotch topping.

*I had cool whip in my fridge, so I used that instead and didn't make the homemade version.
**I didn't have this but am determined to find it.  I'm not sure who will have it, but my first check will be SuperTarget in Grand Forks (if I can't find it at the Farmer's Store in Hallock).  I did google and found that McCormick has the product so it can't be too hard to find.  Instead of this ingredient I used the Pampered Chef Madagascar Vanilla.

The kids very excitedly drinking their Butterbeer and watching Harry Potter too. 

Tomato Meatballs

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Mmmmmm good.  This has really got to be one of the easiest meals yet.  Basically 3 ingredients (if you don't count the minced onion and italian seasoning) and then just cook up some noodles and bake some garlic toast.  This was the first time I had made this recipe I got from a friend and I have a feeling it will be another family favorite that I will make often!  I had a meeting when Chris & the kids ate supper and got home later, so I asked Chris to take the photos for me.  He did okay for a first timer, although I'm no pro myself... but I am getting better I'd like to think!!

Tomato Meatballs

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef (I would think you could even use 3 and just make the meatballs bigger)
1-2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
2 cans tomato soup
2 cans tomato sauce

Instructions:
Combine ground beef, onion and italian seasoning in a large bowl and mix well to combine.  Shape into meatballs about 2 - 3 inches around depending on how much meat you use.  Place in a greased 9x13 pan (as you can see in the photo below I used glass).  In another large bowl combine the tomato soup and tomato sauce then pour overtop of meatballs.  Bake at 350 for an hour uncovered.  Serve over noodles.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

French Apple Pie

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Yesterday Chris made a comment about how I haven't made apple pie in a long time.  It's one of his favorite desserts, right next to blueberry crumble pie (which I will blog some day) and homemade pumpkin pie.  I figured I'd whip one up since I always have ready made pie crusts in my freezer (thanks to Sam's Club) and usually have apples in the fridge.  This is really our favorite way to eat apple pie.  With the nice crumb crust on the top that adds so much flavor to each bite.  Plus it's so easy you could make it blindfolded.  The easiest way to cut up the apples for pie is by using an Apple Peeler.  It makes short work of the apples.  Be sure to use a deep dish pie plate otherwise it gets quite heaping full.

French Apple Pie

Ingredients:
1 prepared pie crust
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
6 to 7 cups peeled and sliced apple pieces (about 5 apples)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour

Instructions:
Place pie crust into a deep dish pie plate.  In a large bowl combine sugar, cinnamon and the 2 tablespoons of flour.  Add your cut up apples to this mixture and combine well.  Pour into crust.  In another smaller bowl cream butter and brown sugar then cut in the flour with a pastry blender.  Spoon the crumbled topping evenly over the apples.  Bake at 375 for 45 to 50 minutes.  I place my pie plate on top of a pizza sheet so in case any bubbles over it doesn't spill on the stove.  You can foil the edges of the crust towards the end of baking if you have an overhang of crust.

Hot Buttered Rum


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Once the weather starts getting cold my kids start begging for things like hot cocoa, Hot Butterbeer (yes, we are avid Harry Potter fans) and hot buttered rum.  It's usually a daily thing after they get off the bus from school during the cold months to have a cup of hot something-or-other to warm up with.  Most Saturday mornings they enjoy it also.  So it was no surprise that Ava asked me this morning when they could have some hot buttered rum.  I decided what the heck.  I always have the ingredients on hand and if it keeps them out of my hair for a half hour while they drink it and watch Harry Potter or some such thing, then I'm all for it.  This stuff is really delicious and you can enjoy it with or without the rum.  I even put it in my coffee this morning and boy, was that delicious. 


Hot Buttered Rum

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
rum
boiling water

Instructions:
In a medium saucepan combine sugars and butter and stir over low heat until butter is melted and it's all combined.  Remove from heat and add ice cream and whisk until melted then add cinnamon and nutmeg.  Here's what it will look like in the pan.

You can store the mixture in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to use. 
When serving fill your mug about 1/4 full with the buttered mixture and (if you want) add 1 ounce of whatever rum you prefer.  I have tried it with Captain Morgan which adds a nice bit of 'spicy' flavor.  Then add the rest of the 3/4 mug full with boiling water and stir.  Add some whipped cream to the top and serve!  I have served this many times when we have had company over for a winter get together instead of serving coffee.  It's nice to serve something different than coffee.  I really hope you enjoy this as much as we do!!









Here's a pic of the kids enjoying some from this morning when I made it.  (10-20-2011)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Macaroni Hot Dog Dish

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This recipe came from a box of macaroni and cheese when I was growing up.  Mom made it one day and it instantly because a family favorite for a quick dinner.  I often make it on a weekend for the kids at lunchtime and they request it often.  It is most definitely one of their favorites and it's still a favorite of mine and my whole family.  I also like to make it when my kids have friends over because almost every kid likes hot dogs and you only have to have a taste to be hooked on its deliciousness.  I've shared this recipe many times and hope you will too!




Macaroni Hot Dog Dish

Ingredients:
1 box Kraft macaroni and cheese (or your favorite mac & cheese)
4 hot dogs cut into slices (we prefer Ball Park)
1 15-ounce can Hormel chili with beans
1/4 to 1/2 cup ketchup

Instructions:
Prepare noodles from mac & cheese and drain.  No need to add the milk and butter, but add the cheese packet and the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes until hot dogs are cooked through and the hot dish is bubbly.

Tuna Hotdish

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Whenever I make this recipe Chris tells me it tastes just like his mom's.... when she used to cook.  HAHA  It's a favorite of his and I have had to make a double batch when I make this recipe because a regular sized batch just isn't enough for the five of us.  I'm going to post the double of the recipe, but if you don't want as much make half and bake it in an 8x8 container for35 to 40 minutes.


Tuna Hotdish

Ingredients:
2 cups dry elbow mac or shells
2 cans tuna, drained
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 cup miracle whip
Velveeta cheese to taste cut into small cubes

Instructions:
Boil macaroni and drain.  While macaroni is boiling mix all other ingredients in a large bowl.  You can put as much or as little Velveeta in this as you want.  I used probably 2 or 3 ounces and cut into small pieces so it melts nicely among the rest of the ingredients.  After macaroni is cooked and drained add to tuna mixture and mix well.  Pour into a greased 11x7 pan.  Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes.  Stir once or twice while baking and stir before serving.  I usually let it sit for about 5 minutes after removing from the oven before serving so it thickens up just a bit.

Barbecues

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I'm under the assumption that almost everyone has a favorite barbecue recipe.  This one comes from my Grandma Carrie and it's a favorite throughout the family.  It's something we tend to have for birthday dinners to feed a big crowd.  It's so easy to make.  I like to put some mustard over top of mine and sometimes layer a few potato chips inside. 



Barbecues

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 can tomato soup
1/3 tomato soup can of water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard (I tend to put more in because we love mustard)
1/4 to 1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Instructions:
Brown hamburger with onion and a sprinkling of pepper.  Drain off grease and add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer 20 minutes and serve on buns.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crescent Taco Bake


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Yet another family favorite.  The kids really love it.  I like to top mine with lettuce, jalapenos, some taco sauce and a bit of ranch dressing, but you can top yours however you like.  It's got black beans in it so it has a good amount of fiber and if you have kids that complain about eating beans, here's a good way to 'trick' the kids into eating them!  You don't actually need 1 1/2 pounds of the hamburger listed in the recipe, I think that's a lot of hamburger to spread on top, but I make it all anyways and only use half of it on the taco bake and then put the rest in the fridge for tacos the next night.  If you'd rather spread all the hamburger on top - go right on ahead - it's your supper!



Crescent Taco Bake

Ingredients:
1 8-ounce tube crescent rolls
2 cups crushed corn chips, divided
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn (or you can use canned whole kernel corn)

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:
Unroll crescent dough into a greased 9x13 (I like to use glass) dish.  Press down and seal seams.  Sprinkle with 1 cup of chips, black beans and corn and set aside.  Brown hamburger with a bit of minced onion then add tomato sauce and taco seasoning.  Simmer 5 minutes then spread half of taco meat on top of crescent roll layer and reserve the other half of the taco meat for supper the next night..  Top with our cream spreading out and remaining chips.  Sprinkle cheese over top and bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned crusts.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Waikiki Meatballs

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I have been making this recipe since I was in high school.  If I remember correctly I found it in my mom's really big red hardcover Betty Crocker cookbook.... or at least I think it was Betty Crocker.  I cooked a lot (at least that's how I remember it) when I was in high school.  As soon as I learned how, I made meals quite often.  I have always loved to try new things and this was one of them.  It always goes over really well and there isn't much for leftovers. 




Waikiki Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup cracker crumbs (I used saltine crackers and used about 20)
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 16-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and syrup reserved*
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 green pepper, seeded & chopped

Instructions:
Mix hamburger, cracker crumbs, onion, egg, ginger & milk and shape into 1-inch balls.  I use my cookie scoop.  Fry in a large covered skillet in a little bit of oil flipping over once.
In a smaller saucepan combine cornstarch & brown sugar.  Drain syrup from canned pineapple and pour into saucepan along with cider vinegar & soy sauce.  Heat until boiling and boil for 1 minute until thickened.
Add sauce, peppers & pineapple (I only ever put the can of pineapple into the mixture, just depends on how much pineapple you want to eat) to skillet and cover & simmer 20 minutes.  Serve over rice.  I made 4 servings of brown rice and it wasn't quite enough, just depends on how much meatballs/sauce you put on top of your rice and how much rice you like with your meal.


*The original recipe called for a 13-ounce can and I guess I have always gotten the larger can, not sure if they still even have 13-ounce cans - it also said pineapple tidbits, which you can use, but I prefer the crushed pineapple so you're not biting into chunks when eating

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cake

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This cake is so good.  Warm out of the crockpot with some vanilla ice cream, it's the perfect ending to a meal.  I am not even going to waste time talking about it, I'll just give you the recipe so you can try it for yourself!




Triple Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
1 18-ounce box devil's food cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup light sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 3-ounce package chocolate pudding (doesn't matter if it's instant or cook and serve)
1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand in a 2 quart mixing bowl.  It's important to mix by hand, not with a mixer.  Pour batter into a greased 3 or 4 quart slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours until done in center.  Sides will start pulling away from the slow cooker when it's done.  Be sure to turn the slow cooker to warm or off after it's done or you will burn the edge of the cake.  Do not cook this recipe on high heat.  Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crockpot Lasagna

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I've had lasagna on my weekly menu for a week or two now and just haven't had the motivation to create it.  Not sure why, but just haven't.  So this week I decided to do the next best thing... throw it in the crockpot.  I took a picture of it with a art project Hogan did in school today.  I thought it complemented the food well and even though it doesn't feel like it, it is that time of the year.  Plus - this is the time of year when I like to start crocking!  :)  With this recipe you really have two options with the noodles.  You can cook them all day long in the crockpot or add them about 30 minutes before you serve the dish.  I added egg noodles tonight 30 minutes before we ate.  Chris seems to think that when the noodles sit in the crockpot all day they get 'gummy' tasting.  I disagree, but it's not something I choose to argue about.  They taste just as good to me either way. 


Crockpot Lasagna:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 16-ounce cans tomato sauce
12 ounces cottage or ricotta cheese
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces egg noodles or 1 10-ounce package lasagna noodles, broken into bite sized pieces

Instructions:
Brown hamburger with onion and garlic.  Then combine with everything else except noodles in a greased 4 quart slow cooker.  Cover & cook on low 7 to 8 hours and add noodles during last half hour of cooking.  High 3-5 hours.  You can certainly let the crockpot go over the times listed, I have yet to burn a dish in my crockpot!  :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meatloaf

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This is one of my kids favorite meals.  Meatloaf.  Basic, everyday, normal, run-of-the-mill meatloaf.  I have even made it for family birthday meals as requested by Hogan.  It's so easy and don't be afraid to get in there and mix up the meat with your hands.  It mixes up much better with your hands than a spoon.  I like to push the middle down a little bit after I get it all smoothed out once it's in the casserole dish.  Since the edges tend to shrink it comes out a bit more even if the middle is 'dented'.


Meatloaf

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 large egg
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
ketchup

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients except ketchup and spread mixture into a 8x8 or 9x9 pan or meatloaf pan.  Pour ketchup over top and spread evening with a spoon.  Bake uncovered 1 to 1 1/4 hours until thermometer reads 160.  Let stand 5 minutes then serve.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

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The other day I had a few bananas that Vayle told me were 'mushy and squishy' because she had tried to eat one.  I was going to put the last 3 in the freezer for later use in making banana bread and decided I would just make some right then.  Then I remembered that I had been wanting to make pumpkin bread so I decided to find a recipe to combine the two.  My kitchen smelled so wonderful.  The recipe made two nice sized loaves.  Perfect to have one for eating right now and one for the freezer!  I decreased fat and calories by using applesauce instead of oil. 


Pumpkin Banana Bread

Ingredients:
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup bananas, mashed (I used 3 bananas)
3/4 cup cinnamon applesauce*

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  In a larger bowl combine pumpkin, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, bananas and cinnamon applesauce and beat until smooth.  Gradually beat in flour mixture and spoon evenly into loaf pans.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks and cool completely.

*If you don't have cinnamon applesauce, use plain applesauce and increase cinnamon to 4 teaspoons

Nutrition per slice, measuring about 12 slices per loaf:  Calories - 159, Fat - 1.1g, Cholesterol - 31mg, Sodium - 169mg, Carbs - 34.6g, Fiber - 1.5g, Sugars - 16.4g, Protein - 3.4g

I get my nutritional info from: Calorie Counter