Thursday, December 20, 2007

More Kisses!

This is my newest favorite Christmas cookie:

Peanut Butter Blossoms

48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Cocoa Kiss Cookies

1 cups butter - softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 2/3 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 bag (9 oz) Hershey's Kisses - milk chocolate
Powdered Sugar

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Stir together flour and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Add pecans; beat until well blended. Refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to hangle. Heat over to 375 degrees. Remove wrappers from Kisses. Mold scant tablespoon of dough around each chocolate piece, covering completely. Shape into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool slightly, about one minute. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Roll into powdered sugar.

Yeild: 4 1/2 dozen cookies

Friday, December 7, 2007

Monster Cookies

4 eggs
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cups melted butter
2 cups peanut butter
6 cups oats
8 oz bag chocolate chips
8 oz bag M&Ms (red and green for Christmastime)
1/4 cups chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup all purpose flour

Combine melted butter and sugars in a large bowl. Mix in eggs and other ingredients. To make the cookies "monster" size, scoop out with an ice cream scoop. Bake 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Brined Turkey- Extremely Moist

A few years ago I made a turkey and used the technique of brining. It is very easy and absolutely delicious.

First make a brine (example below):

1 gallon water
1/2 ounce ground cloves
1/2 ounce ground ginger
4 ounces cracked black peppercorns
12 bay leaves
1 pound kosher salt

You can add your favorite spices.

Add all to a stockpot and bring to a boil. Let cool to room temperature. Once cool add rinsed and cleaned turkey making sure the turkey is fully immersed. You may need to add a weight of some sort to the top to keep the turkey down. Marinate for at least 4 hours (I did it over night).

Once finished marinating take turkey out of brine and place in your roasting pan. Cook as directed on package. Enjoy!


(Brine recipe inspired by the Food Network)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Easy Apple Dip

This recipe is an easy crowd pleaser to take to the Care Group or office Christmas party if you get assigned a sweet. Plus, having sliced apples makes it feel like not such a no-no with all the other holiday sweets!

8 0z bar of cream cheese (I use light)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 T vanilla
1/2 bag toffee chips

Mix all together and serve with tart (green seem the best) apples.

Note: This makes a lot of dip, so if you are going to a smaller party, or are serving it to your family as a treat, I would definitely only make 1/2. It refridgerates, but tastes better fresh when the toffee chips are still crunchy.

Corn Casserole

1 can corn (drained)
1 can creamed corn
1 cup sour cream
1 stick of butter ( I only use a couple of tablespoons )
1 box of Jiffy Mix

Combine all ingredients above, pout into greased dish then bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

VERY YUMMY! It's a Paula Deen recipe, hence the stick of butter!

Pumpkin Crunch

This is a huge favorite in my family! Enjoy!

1 package Moist Deluxe Yellow Cake Mix
1 can (16oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted
whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9x13x2 inch pan
Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice andsalt in large bowl. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenlyover pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter.Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden. Cool completely

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

I got this recipe from All Recipes. My family loves it! (even my 14 month old!) I usully half it and make it for 2 fillets. If your going to do more than that, I would do the entire recipe. I like a lot of cheese! Enjoy!

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Streusel-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Streusel-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

I got this recipe from a friend about 9 years ago. I made it many times since. It's a great alternative to Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole.

6 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 3 lbs.)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tbls. all-purpose flour
2 tbls. butter or margarine, softened

1. Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water to cover 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Let cool to touch; peel and mash potatoes.
2. Combine mashed sweet potatos, sugar, and next six ingredients in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
3. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole.
4. Combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients; sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Yields 8 to 10 servings.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Onion Souffle`

Easy Onion Dip
OK, this is so easy, it's pitiful. And everyone LOVES it. When we moved to Memphis it was at EVERY party we went to. I soon found out it was in the Memphis Junior League cookbook. It's as easy as 3,2,1,1/2:

3 8-oz blocks of cream cheese
2 cups parmesan cheese (grated or shredded work, but shredded is better)
1 onion (chopped)
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Combine and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (depending on how brown you like the crust on top). It can be made in a pie plate or a small casserole dish. I usually serve it with Fritos, but goes well with melba toast or other crackers also.You can use frozen onions, but you HAVE to make sure that they are completely thawed and that you've gotten all of the excess water out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Potato Corn Chowder

Now that fall's here-the soup's on at our house. I have combined many different recipes to come up with this one. Make it with or without the chicken. (To save on time, you can buy bacon and chicken that is pre-cooked.)

2 cups "Pioneer biscuit mix", prepared according to package directions
17 oz can whole kernal corn, undrained
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
2 cups cooked, diced chicken
4 slices bacon
2 medium potatoes, diced

Saute celery and onion in a bit of butter until tender. Boil potatoes until tender and drain. Cook bacon and crumble. Mix all ingredients and heat thoroughly.

Cake Mix Cookies

This is the easiest way to make cookies. A friend used to make these and told me how. They are very rich, so plan to share:). Any cake mix will do. You can also add chocolate chips, nuts or even dried fruit. Some of our favorites are:
1. chocolate cake mix with semi sweet morsels and dried cherries (these almost taste like the "devil's delight" cookies from Tomato Head)
or 2. chocolate cake mix with butterscotch morsels

1 box cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil

Mix all ingredients and bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Warm Beef Salad with Blue Cheese

I believe I got this recipe from Cooking Light, however, I've changed it a lot. For those avoiding meat and red meat in particular, you can substitute portobello mushrooms-it's good that way, too! For the beef, I've used everything from high quality lunchmeat to leftover steak.These proportions serve two-so feed the kids a sandwich and tuck them in bed. And while it calls for lots of ingredients, I think you'll find it to be worth it. (Since it call for beef that is already cooked you can cook it as well as chop vegetables ahead of time).

3-4 cups fresh spinach, washed well
1 cup fresh mushrooms (omit if substituting portobellos for beef)
1 cup sliced celery
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
1/2 can garbanzo beans
6 oz beef, cooked
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 small tub gorgonzola (or other blue cheese)

Divide spinach between two large salad plates. Mix all veggies except red onion together in a seperate bowl and set aside. Put red onion slices, olive oil, red wine vinegar, worchestershire sause, basil, and oregano in medium sized pan and cook about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Toss beef and garbanzo beans into pan and cook just until heated. On each of the two salad plates, top spinach with 1/2 veggie mixture, 1/2 beef & bean mixture and all juice from the pan. Top each with 1/2 gorgonzola.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

San Francsico Pork Chops

I got this recipe from the mail. It is a favorite of ours. I usually have to make my kids stop eating this - they would probably eat until they were sick if I let them:)

4 pork chops (I use the medium cut ones)
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons oil
4 tablespoons dry sherry or broth (I use cooking sherry)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less as you like)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Heat oil in skillet. Brown both sides of chops. Remove the chops and add more oil if needed. Saute garlic for a minute, careful not to burn it. In a separate bowl, combine oil, sherry or broth, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper. Place chops back into skillet and pour mixture over the chops. Cover and let them simmer on low heat until chops are tender and cooked through. About 30 minutes. (I have noticed that it does not always take the 30 minutes - just make sure that they are done.) Add water if sauce starts to cook down to much. Remove chops from the pan. Mix the cornstarch and water then add it to the pan. Stir until thickened. Pour sauce over chops - but we do not - instead we cook up some pasta and then pour all of the sauce over the pasta and serve it like that instead.

Crockpot Red Beans, Sausage and Rice

This is a family favorite. It is adapted from a recipe from Southern Living.

2 lb. smoked beef sausage, sliced
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 (15 oz.) cans red beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 2/3 cups water
3 tbsp. sweet pepper sauce
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice

Cook sausage in a pan over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring until sausage is brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Add all ingredients except rice to a crockpot. Stir in sausage and cook on low or for about 4 hours.

Prepare rice according to package. Serve red beans and sausage over rice.

For the sweet pepper sauce I use Tiger sauce. For the rice I use Jasmine rice. You may substitute the beef for hot hickory-smoked sausage.

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic

If you like fresh garlic, this one's for you!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/8 to 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I used 1/4)
3/4 to 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon butter

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).
Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.

Although my 10 and 11 year old loved this, I'm not sure it will pass the toddler taste test. You could remove a piece of the chicken after browning, before balsamic goes in. Also, I recently learned this garlic tip. When sauteing garlic, it's a temptation to immediately stir it around, like chopped onion. But it needs to heat up for 30 seconds or so before it will spread properly. Amazing!

Monday, October 8, 2007

BBQ Pork

I got this recipe off of

1 pork loin roast
1 can beef broth
1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce (we really like Sweet Baby Rays Original)

Place the pork and the beef broth in a crock pot and cook until done. Once it is done remove it from the broth and shred it. Place this into a greased 9x13 pan and mix in the BBQ sauce. Bake this at 325 for approximately 30 minutes.

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a recipe that my Mom has given to me.

3 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
2 small packages of precooked chicken (I use the chunks)
your favorite pasta

Combine the first three things and heat it up. While that is heating cook pasta. (there is not a predetermined amount of pasta use your own discretion). Once pasta is done drain it and add it to your soup. My family really likes to have this with grilled cheese.

Peanut Butter Balls

The mother of my college roommate used to make these and mail them to us from West Tennessee! Three ingredients-no baking!

2 c peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 c sweetened condensed milk (translation: "sugar-high-in-a-can")
1 bag semi-sweet morsels

Mix peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk until well blended. Stir in morsels until evenly distributed. Roll into small balls and let set on wax paper for an hour. They will firm up.

Greek Turkey Pitas

I originally got this idea from Pampered Chef, but found it needed adjusting. It's very healthy, quick, easy, and good. I am not an exacting cook. I've tried to put amounts down-but basically most of it is to taste. Really important to get plain yogurt (not vanilla). Also, this can all be prepared ahead and just heat the meat when serving.

Ingredients for the burgers:
1 lb ground turkey meat
1/4 yellow or white onion chopped
1 T garlic
1 T oregano
1 pkg wheat pita bread
red onion-cut into thin rings
cucumber-peeled and sliced thinly

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 cup plain fat free yogurt
1/2 cup feta cheese-crumbled
1/4 cup red onion-finely diced
1 tsp lemon juice
mint (I rarely have it on hand)
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix together and brown the turkey, white onion, garlic and oregano. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, feta, and red onion dices. Put 1/2 cup of meat mixture in each pita. Stuff with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and red onion rings. Top with the sauce.

Easy Peppermint-Cream Chesse Frosting

My mom loves red velvet cake and when I saw this recipe in Southern Living I knew I had to make it for her birthday. I just made the icing and wanted to hurry up and get it to you. It's delicious! I'll probably be making it several times over the holidays.

1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 (2lb.) package powdered sugar (that's right- 2 packages of powdered sugar!)
2 tsp. peppermint extract (vanilla extract may be substituted)

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at low speed until smooth. Add peppermint extract, beating until blended.

Southern Living used this icing on top of a three layer red velvet cake. I used it on a red velvet sheet cake and did not use all of the icing. I do intend to take a spoon and finish the icing off- I'm kidding.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Crock pot baked potatoes

When my husband has to go out of town, the children and I have "baked potato bar" for dinner. I think my six year old is getting wise to my shortcut because the last time we had them the first thing he said to his dad when he saw him was "We had just baked potatoes for dinner & that was it!" I just discovered by happy accident that you can cook them in the crockpot. I think they cooked 2-3 hours at high, but that might vary by each crock pot and the size of the potatoes. You just wash them and put them in and put your lid on. No need to pierce, wrap or anything! When they are done, just serve with bacon bits, butter, sour cream, cheese or anything else you like. I am actually considering getting a second small crock pot to do side dishes like this while my main dish cooks in the larger one.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1-(10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach - thawed
1-(6 ounce) package artichoke hearts drained and chopped
1-(8 ounce)package softened light cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1. Thaw a box of frozen spinach. Drain (real important to drain all the juice. I put in in a strainer and try to get all the water out by squeezing it near the holes)

2. Preheat oven to 350

3. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, and a little of its juice, 1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 (8 ounce) package of light cream cheese that has been softened, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon juice.

4. Mix well, and spoon mixture into a 1 quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until hot, bubbly, and browned a little on top. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pasta Skillet

A friend of mine named Lesli gave me this recipe when I first got married. A bunch of my close friends compiled all these recipes for me when I was engaged. They were so helpful!

3/4 pound lean ground beef
3 cups penne pasta uncooked
28 ounces spaghetti sauce
7 ounces mozzarella cheese divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Brown meat in large skillet; drain. Add 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in pasta. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.

2. Stir in spaghetti sauce and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; cover. Cook 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

~ 4 servings

Ice Cream Pie

I got this from Girl Talk. Very easy and yummy.

1 cup of chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups rice krispies
1 quart (green) mint chip ice cream (I like Mayfield's ice cream) Make sure it is green mint chip ice cream
Chocolate Syrup

Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave. Mix in rice krispies. Press into 9-inch pie pan and cool in refrigerator (be sure to press evenly otherwise it can be hard to cut the pie up later because the crust will be thick). Soften ice cream then add to chocolate crust. Top with chocolate syrup. Then freeze. To serve, thaw for 10-15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chicken Parisienne

I just tried this recipe-it's an older recipe from a cookbook from the 80's. I changed it ever so slightly. It was very good, easy, and you might have all the ingredients on hand now. Don't skip the sherry, although you might substitute white cooking wine. Light sour cream and mushroom soup would work fine.

4 chicken breasts (and actually this sauce could really support 5-6 chicken breasts)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 30z can mushrooms and liquid
1 c sour cream
1/2 c cooking sherry
cooked rice

Place chicken breasts in casserole dish. Combine soup, mushrooms and liquid, sour cream, and sherry. Pour mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 1 hour & 15 minutes. While it's cooking you can cook the rice. Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tender Baked Chicken

I found this in Taste of Home Simple and Delicious magazine. It sure was simple and delicious! The breading is moist and makes the chicken so tender...
Besides being yummy I loved it because it was so EASY!

Total time: 30 min/ 2 servings

1/3 Cup mayo
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs ( I didn't have this, so instead I smashed up some bagel chips I had. Worked great!)
1/8 teaspoon onion pawder ( I used garlic powder instead)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Combine mayo and milk. In another bowl combine bread crumbs and onion powder. Dip chicken in mayo mixture then roll in the crumb mixture. Place in a greased baking pan, uncovered, bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Turn over, bake another 10-15 minutes or until juices are clear.

Note: you can really change up what you put in the crumb mixture to give it different tastes. One night I added 2 tablespoons of parmesan chesse to the crumb mixture and laid it over pasta and spaghetti sauce for a parmesean chicken dish. Ryan loved it.
My next time to make it I am going to add some hot seasonings, paprika or maybe some curry powder and see how it turns out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Asian Beef and Broccoli Slaw Wraps

This is a flavorful, easy, quick, and healthy meal! Five ingredients and 10 minutes is all you need. Originally I found this in a magazine, but made a few changes.

Tortillas (we like the whole wheat ones)
1 lb ground beef (I'm sure you could substitute ground turkey)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 cups broccoli slaw mix (you can also use regular slaw mix)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (also might say "peanut sauce" on the bottle)
I like to add a can of drained mandarine oranges
salt/pepper to taste

Brown ground beef and chopped onion. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Add slaw mix and hoisin sauce and heat through. Place about 1 cup of mixture into each burrito and top with mandarine oranges. It's a little messy, but good!

BBQ Pork Quesadilla Torta

This is a recipe from Southern Living Magazine, Sept. 2007 issue. It sounds more complicated than it is. I used chicken instead of pork. It was a hit at our home!

Makes 4 to 6 servings
prep: 10 min, bake: 20 min

1/2 (about 2 cups) chopped barbecued pork.
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
4 (10-inch) burrito-size flour tortillas
1 cup seeded, diced plum tomatoes (about 2 large)
2 green onions, finely chopped (I just used the onions that were in my house)
2 cups (8oz) shredded Mexican-style cheese blend
Toppings suggestion: sour cream, barbecue sauce, cilantro, guacamole

1. Stir together barbecued pork, black beans, and barbecue sauce in a medium bowl.

2. Place 1 tortilla in a lightly greased 10-inch spring form pan, and spread with one-third barbecued pork mixture. Sprinkle with one-third each of diced tomatoes, chopped green onions, and cheese. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining tortilla and gently press. Cover pan with aluminum foil.

3. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove sides of pan, and cut into wedges. Serve with toppings.

BBQ Beef or Chicken- substitute with 2 cups of beef or chicken

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weight Watchers Potato Soup

Shelley H. made this for me a few years ago. I am impressed with how easy it is. Easy is important to me-can you tell? Also, it involves only 3 non-perishable ingredients (ie you always have them on hand).

1 pkg. Ore Ida Hash Browns O'Brien
2 cans chicken broth
1 pkg fat-free Pioneer Country Gravy mix

Put hash browns and broth in a stock pot-simmer for 20-25 minutes. Mix gravy with water (1.5 cups) and add to soup. Stir until thickened.


Need a quick snack for care group? This is the quick, easy, and tasty.

3 oz bacon bits
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonaise
3 roma tomatoes-diced
parsley flakes

Mix bacon bits, mayo and sour cream. Top with tomatoes and parsley and serve with crackers.

Yummy Soup

Laurie Robarge gave me this recipe and brought all the ingredients to me one day. It is super easy-and "yummy". Brown the beef, chop the onions and dump everything else in without draining-every busy mom's dream.

1 can black beans
1 can french cut green beans
3 cans minestrone soup
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans rotel tomatoes
1 can corn
1 cup chopped onion
1 lb ground beef (browned and drained)

Cook on LOW in crockpot several hours or on stovetop at medium until onions are tender.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Veggie Chili (Crockpot Method)

I must be on a bean kick. It seems I only post bean recipes. Anyway, somebody has to do it. This recipe uses tvp (texturized vegetable protein) which is soy based. I like using Morningstar Farms "Grillers recipe crumbles" found in the freezer aisle of the grocery. There is a lot of controversy right now over whether or not soy is healthy. I tend to fall on the "moderation" side of things. The problem is that there is so much soy in everything. I have limited the soy in our diet to the occasional tofu or tvp dishes, but have eliminated soy milk and other soy products. However, if you want to go meatless, this is the recipe to try.


1 large onion (chopped)
1 large bell pepper (chopped)
1 package "Grillers" (or comparable brand)
1 large jar garden style spaghetti sauce (or 15 oz can tomato paste)
2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (or 1 can each or diced tomatoes and rotel (tomatoes with green chilis)
2 15 oz cans kidney beans
2 15 oz cans black beans
1 TBSP ground cumin (or more to taste)
1 TBSP chili powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste

Throw everything in the crock pot as is (no draining). Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Turn on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Serve with corn chips and cheese.

Salted Roasted Almonds

I don't remember where I got this recipe but I have tried it and it's pretty yummy if you like almonds and extremely easy.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes

NOTES: If making up to 2 days ahead, store airtight at room temperature.

MAKES: About 2 cups; 8 servings

2 cups blanched almonds (3/4 lb.)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/4 teaspoon kosher or regular salt

1. In a 9- by 13-inch pan, mix almonds with oil.
2. Bake in a 350° regular or convection oven until nuts are golden, 12 to 14 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Add salt to taste. Let cool completely.

Per serving: 264 cal., 82% (216 cal.) from fat; 8.7 g protein; 24 g fat (2.4 g sat.); 7.9 g carbo (4.8 g fiber); 49 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Site Counter

Hello Everyone! I put a site counter on this blog just to see how many hits it was getting. Much to my surprise, we're at almost 400 in a week!

We'd love to know who is reading this blog! Please make a comment below. Also, if you are someone we know personally or a friend of a friend and you'd like to contribute, just comment below, too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Crockpot Oatmeal

I recently came across this recipe on and changed it a little to suit us. I wanted to serve steel cut oats to my family for breakfast, but did not want to stand at the stove for 30 minutes in the morning. (If you are not familiar with steel cut oats they are very unprocessed and therefore very healthy and filling, but time consuming to cook. They are the oat groat that has been choppped. *Do not try this with regular oatmeal! Look for "Irish oatmeal" or "steel cut oats". For Knoxvillians: Nature's Pantry & Three Rivers Market sells them in bulk ie: cheap). You will wake up to a steaming hot pot of oatmeal-like your (imaginary) chef made breakfast while you slept...

1cup steel cut oats*
1cup dried fruit of choice (raisins, cranberries, apricots etc)
4 cups water
1/2 cup half & half

toppings to add before serving:
butter, sugar, honey, splenda, cinnamon, nuts or anything else you like!

Spray inside of crock pot with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cover. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. Stir well, top and enjoy.

Black Beans & Yellow Rice

This is a simple, tasty, inexpensive, and visually appealing meal. The bright yellow safflower rice, black beans, and red tomatoes make a dramatic combination!


Medium package of Mahatma Yellow Rice

Two cans black beans


large tomato-diced

sour cream

shredded cheddar cheese


Cook yellow rice according to package directions. Rinse black beans and warm them in microwave (about 3 minutes). To plate: place a heap of rice, top with serving of black beans, spoonful of tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cheese to taste.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

This is a favorite recipe of mine that I got from a roommate years ago. It is also in the CCK cookbook on pg. 87 if you don't want to copy it from here. I use the low fat version of the soups, sour cream, and crackers, and it still tastes great!

3-4 cooked chicken breast (or 2 cans cooked chicken)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 1/3 cup uncooked minute rice
1 cup water
1 roll of Ritz Crackers
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 - 1/3 cup water OR melted butter

Line 9x13 casserole dish with uncooked rice and pour 1 cup water over rice. Stir rice and water. Combine chicken, soups, sour cream, poppy seeds, and onions in a bowl. Pour soup mixture over rice and top with grated cheddar cheese. Crush crackers and moisten with water (or melted butter). Put crackers on top of casserole. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes.

Side note: Because this dish has poppy seeds in it, a person could test positive of opium since opium is made from poppies. I know that sounds like a myth....but it happened to some dinner guests of mine.

Hurry up Chicken Pot Pie

I have never been one to make, think or desire chicken pot pie. It just sounds so blah to me when I think about it. I have had this recipe for years now and in need of a quick meal I made this last night because it was so quick and I had everything on hand. I was so suprised at how yummy it was! The Bisquick topping was the best part!
Ryan even high fived me at the dinner table and said it was a winner. So I will be making it again!

Serves 2-3 (2 if you are hungry!)

2 cups chpped cooked chicken breasts ( I boil my chicken in water, keeps it tender.)
2 hard bolied eggs
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup chicken broth ( the sauce was really soupy, I would suggest doing 1/2 Cup of the chicken broth to make it more saucey/soupy)
1 10 ounce can of cream of chicken soup
I cup of Bisquick
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, melter ( I did half a stick of butter and it turned out great!)
salt and pepper

In a greased 2 quart casserole baking dish, layer the chicken, eggs, carrots and peas. Mix the broth with the soup and sesaon with salt and pepper. Pour over the layers-stir all togther well. Stir together the Bisquick and milk and pour over the top of the casserole. Drizzle melted butter on top and bake at 350 until topping is golden brown, 30-40 minutes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wonderful Banana Cake

Ok, technically this is not a meal . . . but it is so easy and yummy that I could not resist sharing it with you.

1 package yellow cake mix, prepared
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Prepare yellow cake mix according to package directions.
2. Mash the bananas together with the baking soda and stir into the cake mix batter. Pour batter into one greased and floured 9x13 inch baking pan.
3. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until center toothpick is mostly clean (anything made with bananas rarely gives you a clean toothpick.)
4. Let cake cool thoroughly and then ice with cream cheese frosting, and refrigerate.

I used a mixture of cream cheese and caramel frosting (that I had left over from care group)-which I will do again. And I'm sure that pecans would taste great in the icing as well!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Loveless Cafe Pork Chops

This is the only recipe from Martha Stewart that I have ever tried and it is one of my favorites. Well actually it's not hers. She had the owner of the Loveless Cafe from Nashville on her show one day, and I thought "hmmm, that looks really easy and sounds yummy!". And it is! And the aroma it creates is amazing!

Serves 6
2 tablespoons of canola oil( or whatever oil you prefer)
Six 6-ounce boneless center-cut pork chops, trimmed of any fat (Get the thick chops for more a more tender juicy bite)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire or soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork chops on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together mustard, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic salt with 1/3 cup water. Pour over pork chops. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until tender, about 1 hour.
Transfer pork to a serving platter. Raise heat to medium-high and cook sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over pork chops and enjoy!
We eat this rice and a salad or greens of some kind. On the show it was made with a cucumber slaw that I have yet to try.
If you go to, this recepie is called "Braised Pork Chops" and the slaw recipe is with it.

Curry Chicken

This is actually called "Honey Baked Chicken" but I call it Curry Chicken because it has this delicious hint of curry. It is off the Girltalk blog and we constantly crave this dish! Try it once, I promise it will become a favorite!

4 to 6 chicken skinless chicken pieces (I use chicken breasts)
1/3 cup butter- melted
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder

* Preheat oven to 350
* Arrange four to six skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or your favorite chicken pieces) in a shallow baking dish. (Note: I only used three chicken breasts so I have more sauce!)
* Combine 1/3 cup melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon curry powder.
* Pour over the chicken.
* Bake 20 to 30 minutes (or until chicken is no longer pink in the center). Baste several times while cooking.

Serve with hot white rice and broccoli. Yum I want some right now!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's funny that Sarah (my cousin) mentioned Kraft Foods website . I was just getting ready to post a recipe of something we had tonight from their quarterly publication. You can go to their site to have the magazine mailed to you, or you an just browse the site for archived recipes. It's a great place for fun and easy ideas. I got my Fall issue today.

Bacon, Cheese, and Potato Chowder

3 cups fat-free milk
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of potato soup
2 cups frozen Southern-style hash browns
1 cup 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I used Monterey-Jack.)
2 slices Bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
MIX milk and soup in large saucepan. Stir in hash browns. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 min., stirring frequently.
LADLE into six soup bowls.
TOP evenly with the cheese, bacon and onions.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken in Cream Sauce

This is found on and is one of my favorites


2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 can (14 oz.) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
6 RITZ Crackers, finely crushed
2 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
2 tsp. oil
1/3 cup PHILADELPHIA Chive & Onion Light Cream Cheese Spread


  1. Preheat oven to 400.

  2. Cook rice as directed on package, using 1-1/4 cups of the broth and 1/2 cup water.

  3. Mix cracker crumbs and Parmesan cheese on plate.

  4. Rinse chicken with cold water; gently shake off excess water.

  5. Dip chicken in crumb mixture, turning over to evenly coat both sides of each chicken breast with the crumb mixture.

  6. HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat.

  7. Add chicken; cook 3 to 4 min. on each side or until golden brown on both sides.

  8. Place chicken into greased (with cooking spray) 9 x 13 pan and cook for 20 minutes.

  9. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth and the cream cheese spread to same skillet.

  10. Cook on medium heat until mixture just comes to boil, stirring constantly.

  11. Simmer 3 min. or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently.

  12. Spoon sauce over chicken and rice.

  13. Serve with the rice and vegetable (I use greenbeans mostly).

I like the sauce so much that I usually make double the recipe and serve on chicken and rice. My hubby loves this and my kids actually will eat this one (they are 4 and 2!!)

The Russell's chicken and dumplins

1-1 1/2 lb frozen chicken breast (skinless & boneless)
2 cans cream of chicken
1 can cream of celery
1 can evaporated milk
1-4pack premade canned biscuits


  1. Place chicken in crockpot and fill with water until chicken is covered.
  2. Let cook on low for around 5 or more hours.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, take out of crockpot and break into small pieces.
  4. Place the chicken back into the crockpot.
  5. Add the cans of cream of chicken, cream of celery and evaporated milk.
  6. Let cook an additional 30 minutes to an hour on low.
  7. Take biscuits out of cans and roll them out flat.
  8. Cut into small "bites" and add biscuits to the crockpot.
  9. Cook for about 1 hour more, stiring occasionally.
  10. Once dumplins are done, you can serve. (you can see dumplins are done if you cut into one and the dough is cooked all the way though)

You can put the chicken on before going to work (if you work) or first thing in the morning and let it cook until it is very tender. It is very easy and minimal prepwork. It's one of Suzanne's favorites!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Spicy-Sweet Glazed Salmon

I got this recipe on All Recipes. I cut it in half and grilled it on tin foil instead of broiling it. It is one of the best things I think I have ever cooked. Definitely a hit! I made it with stir fried veggies and this new cheesy rice from Rice-A-Roni. Below is the full recipe, but it works just fine halved.

You will need:
1 1/2 pounds fresh salmon fillet with skin removed (I used 1/2 pounds or 2 steaks.)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro ( I used parsley instead)
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place salmon in a shallow, flat dish, and set aside.

Combine the vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, water, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, cilantro, and brown sugar in a bowl. (I used a whisk.) Blend until brown sugar dissolves.

Pour the marinade over the salmon to cover evenly. Cover the dish, and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (I marinated for almost 4 hours, turning once.)

Line a broiling pan with foil. Remove salmon from marinade, and place on prepared broiling pan.

Transfer remaining marinade to a saucepan.

Turn on broiler to low.Broil salmon about 6 inches from the heat for 5 minutes; brush with remaining marinade. Broil an additional 5 to 10 minutes, brushing 2 or 3 more times with additional marinade. Salmon is done when fish is no longer bright red and can be flaked with a fork.

**I placed a piece of tin foil on my grill and put the salmon on that and cooked it on the grill. I flipped it at 5 minutes and brushed it with the marinade.**

Meanwhile, cook the remaining marinade over low heat until it thickens and reduces by one-third, 5 to 10 minutes. Use cooked marinade as a dipping sauce or drizzle over salmon just before serving.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Easy Crockpot Beans

I've had so many women tell me that they just cannot cook a pot of beans, that they either burn them or they're too tough, etc. But the truth is, there could be nothing easier or more satisfying than a warm bowl of delicious beans with a side of cornbread, stewed potatoes or a salad. Plus, it is so economical. This recipe is for just about any kind of beans. I usually use pintos or black-eyed peas; but other varieties are fine.


2 lb bag of beans (your choice)
4 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
1 med-lg onion (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp vegetable oil

First, "look" the beans. This is southern for "look them over and take out any small stones or debris". Then, rinse them thoroughly and cover with about two inches of water and allow to soak overnight. 6 hours before your meal, pour out the soak water, place in the crockpot, and add more water until the beans are to 2 inches covered. Add the onion, bouillon cubes, and oil. Cover and set on high for 5-6 hours. With an hour to go, check the beans for tenderness and add salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Herb-Coated Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Mushroom Gravy

I made these steaks the other day for the first time and they were so good!! Because there is only two (Eli doesn't come anywhere near eating a whole steak) of us and four steaks came in the package, I went ahead and coated the other two steaks and made them another day for dinner. Now, I didn't have rosemary (I guess I forgot to check my spices before I went to the grocery) and I didn't use fresh herbs. I usually don't because they are expensive and I never use them all before they go bad. However, not fresh and without rosemary, they still tasted great!

1t salt
1t chopped fresh thyme
1t chopped fresh rosemary
1/2t black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 (4-oz) beef tenderloin steaks
Cooking spray

1t olive oil
1/2t fresh thyme
1 (8-oz) package presliced cremini mushrooms (or any mushrooms)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1T water
1t cornstarch

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients. Coat both sides of steaks with cooking spray; rub steaks evenly with thyme mixture. Place steaks on rack of a broiler or roasting pan coated with cooking spray; bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from oven; keep warm.
3. To prepare gravy, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon thyme, mushrooms, and 4 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add broth and wine; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 4 minutes).
4. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Serve with steaks.

This recipe came from Cooking Light Magazine and they gave a game plan for fixing the meal and the side dishes (baked potatoes and green peas with leeks).

1. While oven preheats:
-microwave potatoes at high for 6 minutes
-rub spices on steaks
-wash and slice leeks
2. While steaks cook:
-put potatoes in oven to bake (at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until done)
-cook leeks
-saute mushrooms and garlic for gravy
3. While steaks rest:
-add cornstarch mixture to thicken gravy
-add peas to leeks

I don't really know what leeks are so we just stick with plain peas. But, I thought I would still mention the leeks in case anyone reading this likes them. Let me know how you like it!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


If anyone knows how to put the catagories on the side bar, let me know.

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

I love to cook in the crock pot! The reason I love it is because it is really easy and requires very little effort. Here is a very easy recipe that Travis and I like to eat often. He introduced me to pork tenderloin when we got married. It's very tender and yummy!

You will need:
1 pork tenderloin (they come in a package of 2. I did not know this at first and didn't want to buy it because I thought it was too expensive, but it's not too bad since you get 2)
Potatoes (I use 2 red potatoes. Add as many as you want.)
Carrots (I use the baby carrots. I just throw how many you think you may want.)
Dales Marinade

To Prepare:
Put the tenderloin in the crock pot. Fill the pot with water until the tenderloin is covered. Pour Dales Marinade into the pot. I use about a 1/3 of the bottle I think. Don't use just a little, it won't be very flavorful. Cut the potatoes and carrots and put them in the pot. Cook on high for about 4-6 hours. SO EASY!! I usually cook cornbread with it.

Cornbread Recipe ( I got this from my grandmother.)

You will need:
1 egg
3/4 cup Buttermilk (I use regular milk most of the time b/c I don't usually have buttermilk.)
2 tbsp oil
1 cup Self-Rising Cornmeal Mix (I use Martha White Yellow Mix.)

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In medium bowl combine egg (beaten), milk, and oil. Stir in cornmeal. Stir until smooth. Pour into greased 6" iron skillet. (I usually pour some oil into the skillet and put it into the oven for 5 minutes. I then pour the mixture into the hot oil. This helps keep the cornbread from sticking to the skillet.) Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Yum!


Chicken Pot Pie


You will need:
2 frozen Pillsbury (or Kroger brand) Deep Dish Pie Crusts (red box in egg/cheesesection of grocery)
3 breasts of chicken, cooked and chopped. OR 2 cans of chopped cooked chicken
1 large can Veg All (I use Kroger brand mixed veggies in can)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (can also substitute Velveeta)
1 can Cream of chicken soup1 stick of margarine or butter (I used 3 tbsp to be healthier)
½ cup of chicken broth (either use canned or save ½ cup from boiling chicken)

To prepare:
Cook and chop chicken. I typically cook it by boiling it, but you can also bake it in the oven. Save ½ cup broth. *Remember you can just use canned chicken, I have found it inexpensive and easier!*

Boiling chicken – I put the chicken in water in pot. Cook on high to boiling state. Then turn down heat to medium or medium low for 20 + minutes. You will need more than 20 minutes if chicken is frozen. It will be closer to 20 minutes if chicken is not frozen.

Take pie crusts out of refrigerator and put on counter to thaw. You need to thaw them 15 minutes before putting the pie together.

In a big pot on the stove, melt butter. Add can of Cream of chicken soup, stir. Add broth, stir. Add cheese, stir. Take the pot off the stove.

Drain Veg All can. Add Veg All and chopped chicken to pot and stir.

Add pepper to taste.

Unroll (1) pie crust and press it into the bottom of pie pan. Poke with fork.Pour entire mixture into pie pan.

Unroll (1) pie crust and put on top of pie. Press edges together and poke holes with fork.

Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour or until crust is golden brown. ( I only had to cook it for 45 minutes.)

I made this in the afternoon, put it in the fridge, then cooked it at dinner time. Very yummy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chicken Soft Tacos

1 lb chicken breast
2 cups water
1 cup salsa
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
2 cups uncooked minute rice
8-12 flour tortillas

Boil chicken until no longer pink. Shread or cut into chunks. Add chicken, water, salsa, and taco seasoning. Heat to a boil. Stir in rice; cover. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Spoon mixture onto tortillas. Top with cheddar cheese and sour cream. Makes 4-6 servings. Goes great with corn, refried beans, black beans.

(I modified this recipe from one I got off a box of minute rice.)


Welcome to Easy Meals for Busy Moms! The goal of this blog is pretty simple - Moms helping moms! We all know what it's like. Your baby is ready to be nursed, your toddler has dumped the cereal all over the living room floor, and your 5 year-old found a stray cat in the backyard that's covered in mud. The phone rings, and it's your husband on his way home! You look at the clock to see that it's almost 5:00, and you have NO idea what to make for dinner.

Hopefully, as we build a database of delicious, but simple meals, we will all help each other.