Thursday, September 29, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Soup

A good friend and I were talking about how much we both like soups. We are both excited for fall to be here, so that we can make soup more often. That conversation stuck in my mind, and when I was planning this current weeks menu, I found myself looking in my recipe book at the soups. This is the one that we are having this week. It has some of my very favorite ingredients; cumin, red and green bell peppers, corn, green chilies and chicken. Yummy!  It is a crock pot recipe, which I love! There is nothing better than coming home after a long day away to a delicious smelling dinner, just waiting to be devoured!

Southwestern Chicken Soup
1 1/4 lb. chicken breasts, roughly chopped (or to save time- use the meat from a deli rotisserie chicken)
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (you would skip this if using the rotisserie chicken)
2 cans chicken broth
1 - 16 oz. package frozen corn
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 can green chilies
1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Cilantro for topping

If using raw chicken, saute in oil until lightly browned. Transfer to crock pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Top with cilantro before serving, if desired.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Breakfast Burritos

This is one of my  favorite cookbooks. I just love it! She has wonderful recipes for things like; Sangria, Pot roast, chicken fried steak, pizza, and jalapeno poppers, to name a few. The recipe that I made was her Breakfast burritos. Before you can make her burritos, you need to make her Basic Breakfast potatoes. They really make the burritos super yummy.

Basic Breakfast Potatoes
4-5  potatoes
1 onion cut into a large dice
Vegetable Oil for frying
Salt and pepper
 Bake the potatoes in a 375° oven for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Carefully cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Heat skillet over medium heat and add some oil. Add your onion. Cook and stir your onion until it starts to get a brown and happy looking. Next, add your potatoes and carefully stir them until they are crispier and brown. Salt and pepper them well. Set aside for use in your breakfast burrito.

Breakfast Burrito
1 lb. breakfast sausage
One batch basic breakfast potatoes
2 red bell pepper, chopped
10 eggs
1 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt
Black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 cups grated Monterrey Jack cheese
12 flour tortillas
Fry the breakfast sausage in the largest skillet you own. Cook until no pink remains, drain grease. Add the potatoes and red bell peppers. Cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk together your eggs, seasoned salt, pepper and half-and-half. Stir in the chives and the cheese. With the heat still on low, pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Gently stir and cook until the eggs are set. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Place a heaping spoonful onto your tortilla, sprinkle on a little extra cheese if you want, fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll it up. Wrap each little burrito in foil. I sometimes keep these warm in my crock pot, or if we are eating them right away, I will throw the extras in the freezer. These guys heat up nicely for a quick breakfast or snack!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Zesty Oven Baked French Fries

I love french fries. They are so yummy! They are so bad for you though! So in an effort to have moderation in the diet of my family, I make these baked not fried fries. This is such a simple recipe, as all the best ones usually are. It is easily adapted to your preferences and how large (or small) of group you are serving. I originally found this recipe here, but I modified it, of course! Enjoy your healthier fries, I know that we will!

Zesty Oven Baked French Fries
5-6 large baking potatoes, cut into slices (I usually use russets and leave the skins on for a more rustic fry)
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. paprika
3/4 tsp. black pepper
Heat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Arrange in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and they look crispy and golden brown enough to you. I also try to give them a stir about half way through.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

Today I took a step of faith. I made my own laundry detergent. It was a big decision for me because I was afraid that it would be a waste of money, wouldn't work, or make my kids into zombies, ok, not that last one, but I was scared to try. So today after seeing the price of laundry detergent go up, yet again, I decided to be brave. I found this recipe on Pinterest : . I found her directions to be clear and easy to follow. All the ingredients were near each other at Walmart. I made my first batch today, which only took about 10 minutes to mix together,  and have done several loads. I have to say that I am relieved and excited that the clothes are coming out clean! Whew! It was also cheaper that the box of detergent that I had on my list! I think that I will try homemade dish detergent next! Stay tuned!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cheesy Potato Soup

We are back in the busy evening season. It seems like three or four nights of the week we are out of the house during the time when I would be preparing dinner. It is so easy to find myself in the drive through lane. I have several things that I do to help me not stop by the local burger joint. Sometimes I will have everything assembled and ready to pop in the oven. Other times, I will make dinner, usually sandwiches and bring them with us to the game or practice. My favorite thing to do on these time shortened evenings is to use my very favorite appliance- the Crock Pot. I love soups, roasts, and other comforting meals that I can just throw in the crock pot in the morning and it is ready for my hungry gang 8 hours later! Here is what is in my crock pot right this very minute, Cheesy Potato Soup. I will serve this with a green leafy salad and some fresh baked bread that I will throw together this afternoon. I hope you will try this soup- it is really filling and so comforting!

Cheesy Potato Soup
1 package frozen cubed hash browns
5 cups water
2 cups diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
4 tsp. or 4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 package bacon, diced and cooked
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups Velveeta cheese- cubed

Combine all ingredients in crock pot except milk and cheese. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Stir in milk and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Last night, we had homemade pizza. I went to the fridge and pulled out all the ingredients, but could not find my pizza sauce (that I know that I had bought at the store last week.) Don't you hate it when that happens? I am certain I bought it, I just wonder where it went between the store and home! We had to have pizza sauce for our pizza! In a fit if desperation~ a lovely garlic pizza sauce is born. I don't think I will buy pizza sauce again!

Homemade Pizza Sauce
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional for those who don't like heat)
2 fresh garlic cloves
Throw all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and combine well.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chicken Asparagus or Sugar Snap Pea Risotto Skillet

My style is very easy going. Relaxed and carefree.  Every once in awhile, I like to be a little fancy. This recipe is both kinda fancy and also pretty easy, it is really tasty! Use whatever vegetable is on sale and in season, my personal favorite is sugar snap peas, but asparagus or broccoli work good as well.

Chicken and Asparagus Risotto Skillet
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 lemon- zested
2 cups milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 lb. fresh asparagus spears cut into 1 1/2 in. pieces
2 cups instant white rice
1/3 cup onion, chopped
Salt and pepper the chicken. Cook in oil over medium high heat until no longer pink. Remove chicken, keep warm. Add milk, soup, asparagus, onion, garlic, cheese, lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp. salt to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in rice, top with chicken. Cover pan; remove from heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Italian Beef Au Jus- a crockpot recipe

Summer is over here. We are a little sad, but to be honest, I am so ready for a scheduled life again! I am also ready for fall and for all the yummy things that can be made in a crock pot. This week we start back into Awana, youth group, soccer practices, and guitar practices. I will be getting out my trusty crock pot and putting it to good use these next months. This is a recipe that I like to make when beef roasts are on sale. It is simple and yummy- just what a busy mom needs on a very busy night!

Italian Beef Au Jus
1 3-5 lb. beef roast
 1 pkg. beef au jus mix
1 pkg. Italian salad dressing mix
1 can beef broth
 half a can of water
Place meat in crock pot. Mix rest of ingredients and pour over beef. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low. Serve on sandwich rolls with the juice on the side as a dip if desired.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Last week it was my turn to bring breakfast for our Sunday school class. I have been craving a really good blueberry muffin. My mother-in-law makes a great muffin, but we are living far from her at the moment, so I had to go and search out a recipe on-line. What I found was really, really yummy! Instead of a muffin, I found a recipe for a Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast cake. This breakfast cake was really simple to make, and it is tasty! The website that I found it at is : , I am going to browse around some more there. It all looks yummy!

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup + 1 T. sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk
 Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.