Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Green Beans with Sweet Mustard Sauce

These were good. They are a bit tart, so adjust the sugar to your liking.
Green Beans with Sweet Mustard Sauce
Gustavus Inn, Gustavus, Alaska from The American Country Inn and Bed and Breakfast Cookbook

2 T prepared mustard
2 T sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
3 T cider Vinegar
2 T lemon juice
2 1 pound cans green beans, drained

Combine all ingredients in a pan and heat well until warmed.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ranch Cauliflower Bites

I was a bit worried about getting these out of the muffin tins.  Some came out nice, others, not so nice.  While this tasted good, I would make it in a 2 qt baking dish next time.

Ranch Cauliflower Bites

1 head of cauliflower
2 large eggs 
1 packet ranch seasoning mix
1 1/4 shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided into 1 c and 1/4 c
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tsp. chives, plus more for topping

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it forms large crumbs.

3. Place cauliflower in paper towels or cheesecloth and wring out any excess water. Pour cauliflower crumbles into a large bowl.

4. Add eggs, 1 c cheese, ranch seasoning, about 3/4s of the bacon, and chives.

5. Spritz a muffin tin with cooking spray, then fill each one about 2/3s full. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and crumbled bacon. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until lightly golden. Garnish with additional chives before serving.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Smoked Pork Chops

I made these for my folks and Don's mom.  The girls don't care for pork chops and were still at the beach.  They turned out great----even if I forgot to ad woodchips to the smoker!

Smoked Pork Chops


Package of Pork Chops
All Purpose Rub
Dark Brown Sugar Beth did not do this since I had brown sugar in my rub
Pork Brine or Italian Dressing

Use a Pork Brine, or some cheap Italian Dressing. Let the chops marinate for at least 30 minutes, or several hours.

Remove from Brine/Marinade and place on a tray. Pat dry
Dust both sides with All Purpose Rub. Sprinkle a bit of dark brown sugar on the exposed side for sugary glaze if you like.

Set up your grill for indirect cooking and throw on some fruit wood. Beth used an electric smoker at 225 for 2. 5 hours.

Place the pork chops far away from the heat. You'll want to smoke these at 225-250 for 1.5 - 2 hours.  Add woodchips to the smoker, if using. 

If you want to achieve a good smoke ring, make sure smoke is billowing the entire time.

You'll need to add coals after probably an hour or so to keep your temp above 225.

When they are somewhat firm (internal temp of at least 160), they are done. Your pork chops should NOT be hard. I stop smoking them a little early and sear them above direct heat for a couple minutes. Seals the juices and I like grill marks.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lemon Meringue Bars

My parents came for Easter and my dad loves anything lemon.  These were AWESOME!  We took them to the beach(4 hour drive) and they transported well!

Lemon Meringue Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
3/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into chunks

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp baking powder

4 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350F.
To make the crust, combine flour, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor (or a large mixing bowl, if you prefer to work by hand). Pulse in butter (or rub in with fingertips) until butter is well distributed and the mixture resembles moist sand. Pour into a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread evenly. Press down to create a firm, even layer.
Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

While crust is cooking, prepare the filling. Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth (can also be done in a food processor). When crust is done, pour filling into hot pan and return to oven.
Bake for about 17-20 minutes, until filling is set. Edges may be lightly browned, depending on the pan.

While filling is baking and getting close to finished, prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites to soft peaks in a large, clean mixing bowl, adding the sugar and salt in gradually while beating, beginning when the egg whites are foamy. Spread evenly onto hot, cooked filling and return pan to oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned at the peaks.

Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Use a slightly damp knife to cut through the meringue cleanly when ready to cut into bars.

Makes 24 bars.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Milky Way Brownies

I made these to have while my parents and sister were here at Easter.  We tasted them before they came......YUMMY!

Milky Way Brownies

Brownie layer adapted from Hershey's

½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
½ cup cream
1 cup flour Beth used gluten free flour
⅔ cup cocoa, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
2 cups sugar Beth used splenda
2 teaspoons vanilla

Chocolate Fluff Layer

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups Marshmallow Creme (I used a 7 ounce jar)
3 tablespoons cream

Caramel Layer

1 pound caramels, unwrapped I used a 13 oz bag
3 tablespoons cream

Chocolate Topping

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 9 x 13 pan with nonstick foil and set aside.

Stir together butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, eggs, cream and vanilla in large bowl; beat till all combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely.

Make fluff layer by melting chocolate chips in microwave with cream. Zap for about a minute, stir, then continue microwaving and stirring at 15-30 second increments till chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in marshmallow creme till well combined. Spread over cooled brownies.

Make caramel layer by melting caramels with cream in the same manner as for chocolate chips. It will take a little longer to melt the caramels. Drizzle over fluff layer, then spread into an even layer.

Make chocolate topping by melting chocolate chips with oil in microwave till smooth. Pour over caramel and spread with an offset spatula. Chill at least 2 hours before cutting (use a knife dipped in very hot water, then dried to cut). Chill until ready to serve.

Yield: approximately 60 depending on size

Total time: 4 hours

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rosemary Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad

I needed a quick salad for dinner just before Easter.  I had all the ingredients.  This was simple, yet tasted great!
Rosemary Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad

Yield: serves 2

4 slices thick-cut bacon
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
6 cups spring greens and/or butter lettuce
1 bunch watercress Beth didn't use
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large avocado, thinly sliced

Rosemary Vinaigrette 

2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Cook until it's crispy and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel to drain any excess grease.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cover with the rosemary. In the same skillet, over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook until golden and crisp on both sides, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and let sit for a moment while you assemble the salad, then slice it.

Toss the greens with the watercress and the tomatoes. Top with the sliced chicken, the bacon and the avocado. Drizzle with the rosemary vinaigrette!

rosemary vinaigrette

Whisk together the mustard, oil and vinegar. Whisk in the rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cheesy Snack Mix

Ii had made a sweet mix for the beach trip, so wanted a savory mix.  This fit the bill.  I adapted the recipe to what I had on hand.  It is very good.

Cheesy Snack Mix
adapted greatly from http://www.thecreativebite.com

11 c Chex cereal
2 c peanuts
2 c pretzels
12 oz box cheezits
1 c butter, melted
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
2/3 c parmesan cheese
2 T Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Mix Chex, peanuts, pretzels and cheezits in a roaster.

Mix melted butter, ranch, parmesan cheese and worchestershire together.  Pour over the cereal mixture. 

Bake for 45 minute, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool on  wax paper.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Homemade Beef Jerky

Don loves beef jerky.  I made this for the week after Easter when he would be off work.  We all liked it.

Homemade Beef Jerky
adapted from http://www.joyelick.com

2 pounds lean ground sirloin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed firm
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

garlic salt to sprinkle before drying

Mix all the seasonings together and pour over the beef.  Mix well and put on trays. Sprinkle with garlic salt.

 I have a jerky gun and it goes together quickly. 

Set your dehydrator for the meat setting and the meat should be dry in 4-5 hours.  Yum!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Bunny Tail Chex

I made this to take to the beach for our Easter trip.  Very good!

Easter Bunny Tail Chex Mix

7 cups Rice Chex
1 cup Cheerios
1 cup crushed pretzels
1 12-ounce bag Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Pastel Eggs Candy OR pastel peanut M&M's Beth used Cadbury malted eggs
1 12-ounce bag vanilla flavored candy melts/wafers, pink preferred
1 cup mini marshmallows
Spring-colored sprinkles

In a large bowl combine Rice Chex, Cheerios, crushed pretzels, marshmallows and candy.

In a heat-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power according to directions on package. Stir and repeat until the chips are completely melted.
Pour the melted white chocolate over the cereal mixture.

Stir carefully to combine, as to not crush the Rice Chex.  Stir until the mixture is completely coated with the white chocolate.

Pour mixture onto wax paper or parchment paper to dry and spread it out.

Allow to set/cool until white chocolate has hardened (about 30 minutes) and then break up into pieces.

Store in an air-tight container or devour right away

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Paleo Dipping Chips

I wanted a low carb chip for guacamole.  These were easy to make and remind me of wheat things.  I really liked them.  Next time I will double the recipe.
Paleo Dipping Chips

Dipping Chips:

3/4 Cup Almond flour
2 tbsp Flax Meal * can omit if needed
1 Egg white
1 Tsp Lime Juice
1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tsp Cumin
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
2 Tsp to 3 Olive Oil for baking


1/4 Tsp Chili Powder
1/4 Tsp Cumin
1/4 Tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Add : Almond Flour, Flax Meal, Egg White, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 Tsp Chili powder, 1/2 tsp Cumin, and Lime Juice to a large Mixing bowl.

Mix until sticky dough forms.

Place dough on a sheet of Parchment Paper and put another sheet of parchment paper over the top of dough.

Use a rolling pin to spread dough out very thin, then peel off top paper.

Use a knife or pizza cutter to score dough on paper into triangle or square shapes.

Mix all the seasoning toppings in a small bowl.

Place parchment paper, with dough on it, on a baking sheet.

Use a mister to spritz Olive Oil over tops of chips, or can brush oil over chips with a brush (a pastry brush would work).

Take seasoning mixture and sprinkle over chips.

Put in oven and bake for 10 minutes, then check to see if edges of chips are slightly browned.

If not slightly browned, continue to bake and watch.

May take a few more minutes, but watch carefully, they burn fast.

Remove from oven, cool & serve.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Brownie Cookies

Kathleen made these quick the other night.  They were a very tasty soft cookie.

Brownie Cookies

PRIN8 oz dark chocolate, chopped*
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour We used gluten free flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar lightly packed

Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot with simmering water or in the microwave. Cool to room temperature (approx 15 mins).

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs. Add to chocolate and mix until well combined. Add flour and baking powder and mix until combined.

Chill in the fridge for approx. 20-30mins, until batter is slightly thickened.

Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Using a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 Tbsp), scoop batter onto cookie sheet and place 6 to a sheet. Batter will be fairly thin.

Bake for approximately 11 mins, until cookies are cooked on the edges but still soft in the center. Cool completely on baking sheets.


* Any good quality dark chocolate will do. Do NOT use Baker's Chocolate.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Chicken Pesto Pizza

We had a bunch of fresh basil in the garden so Kathleen made this pesto.  We made this regular pizza crust and also this almond crust.
Chicken Pesto Pizza

cooked chicken
mozzarella cheese
asiago cheese
sundried tomatoes
Pizza crust

Cook or grill chicken.  Dice.  Prepare a pizza crust and spread with pesto.  Add mozzarella cheese and then chicken.  Top with sun dried tomatoes.  Sprinkle with asiago cheese.

Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sweet BBQ Chicken Kabobs

We made these last week again.  I first made these years ago when Kraft first came out with their Food and Family magazine--and it was free.  I think it was in their first issue, in fact.  See our changes in bold.  We LOVE these.

Sweet BBQ Chicken Kabobs

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (1-1/2 inch)    Beth used canned                                                                                  
1 each red and green pepper, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce
3 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed Beth used fresh squeezed
onion pieces

Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Thread chicken alternately with pineapple, onions and peppers onto 8 long wooden skewers, using 2 skewers placed side-by-side for each kabob.
Mix barbecue sauce and juice concentrate; brush half evenly onto kabobs.
Grill 8 to 10 min. or until chicken is done, turning and brushing occasionally with remaining sauce.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Casserole

This was quick and easy to make and tasted great.

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Casserole

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
2 pound cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 cup chopped marinated artichokes, drained
4 oz fresh spinach (2 big handfuls)
10 slices provolone cheese, divided (about 7.5 oz) (or use shredded)

1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. In a large mixing bowl stir together the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and seasonings until smooth. Mix in the chicken, artichokes, and spinach. Cut 4 of the slices of provolone into pieces and stir those in. Spread in the bottom of a large 10 x 13 inch casserole dish. Top with the additional 6 slices of cheese.

3. Bake for 25 - 35 minutes until golden, hot, and bubbly. Serve with green veggies or a salad.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Almond Cream Cheese Pancakes

These are delicious pancakes for a low carb breakfast!

Almond Cream Cheese Pancakes

Yields: 8 waffles - 4 portions

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. almond flour
1/2 cup full fat cream cheese
4 eggs
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp erythritol (optional) Beth used Splenda
butter, for frying

Mix all ingredients in a blender.

Fry pancakes in melted butter in a non-stick pan. Turn over once the center begins to bubble. The pancakes should be smallish,  10-12 cm in diameter. About the right size to fit them in the toaster the next day should you be so lucky to have any leftovers.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Brownie Marshmallow Crunch Bars

I made these for some friends and took most of them to school for the teachers. They are very good. See my notes in bold---I used what I had in my pantry.

Brownie Marshmallow Crunch Bars

1 (18.4 ounce) package Brownie Mix
ingredients to make brownies
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 (12 ounce) container Pillsbury™ Vanilla Marshmallow Fluffy Frost™Beth used vanilla frosting and blended it with 7 0z marshmallow fluff
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal

1. Follow package directions and combine brownie mix with oil, water, and eggs. Bake in a 13" x 9" pan, as directed. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about an hour.

2. Top brownie layer with the frosting, smoothing out evenly.

3. For topping, combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate chips have completely melted and mixture is well combined. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in crisp rice cereal. Immediately spoon the mixture over the top of the frosting layer and gently spread out evenly. Chill until set.

4. Allow to sit out for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars are delicious served cold or at room temperature.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Baked Enchilada Chicken

This was a quick and easy recipe to make. I really liked it! Serve it with a salad.

Baked Enchilada Chicken

2-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can of green chili enchilada sauce
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
1/2 – 1 cup of shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese

1. Spray a 9×13 Pan with non stick spray.

2. Place chicken in the bottom.

3. Season with garlic salt and chili powder.

4. Pour the can of Green chili enchilada sauce over the chicken.

5. Baked at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

6. Top with the shredded cheese and broil for a minute until cheese is melted.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Orange Cookies

My friend Jayne sent me this recipe last week.  I made them---some with a small cookie scoop and some dropped from a teaspoon.  I took these to the school I used to teach at and they were quite the hit with students and teachers!

Orange Cookies
Jayne Lancour

1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
3 eggs
1 cup sour milk (I used 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the rest of the cup was milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda in milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
3-1/2 cups flour
1 orange and rind

Powdered sugar
1 orange and rind

Mix sugar and shortening.  Add eggs and milk/baking soda mixture and mix.  Add flour and baking powder.  Grate rind of orange and squeeze juice out of orange and add to mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  

Frost with frosting and again grate the rind of the orange and squeeze the orange for juice--the amount of powdered sugar depends on how bid and juicy your orange is

Friday, April 7, 2017


I had pinned this recipe and then my mom said she made it and served it with cool whip.  She said whipped cream would be better.  I made it and really liked it.  The possibilities are endless! 

3 large eggs
1 box cake mix (any flavor) Beth used Butter Pecan
1 can pie filling (any flavor)Beth used Apple

Put the three ingredients into a bowl, mix them well, and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Magic Turtle Bars

If you love turtles, you will LOVE these!  I made them for a small get together and took the extras to a Ladies Bible study.
Magic Turtle Bars

2 cups crushed vanilla cookies Beth used I whole box, and crushed with food processor
1/2 cup butter melted (1 stick)
2 11 oz bags semi sweet chocolate chips
1 bag Kraft Caramel Bits
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cans sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray or grease a 9 x 13 pan.

Combine crushed cookies and butter till combined and cookie crumbs are moist. Spread evenly in bottom of pan, pressing down to form a crust.

Now start layering the rest of the ingredients. 1 bag chocolate chips, caramel bits, pecans (save out about 1/4 cup for the top), second bag of chocolate chips, remaining pecans.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over the entire pan, make sure to cover all the nooks and crannies.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, just until milk begins to turn golden. Let cool completely before cutting.

Store in airtight container. If you choose to refrigerate these bars, bring them back to room temperature before eating.

    Wednesday, April 5, 2017

    Sugar Free Barbecue Sauce Recipe

    I made this BBQ sauce and then put it over chicken and pork chops and baked them at 400 degrees for 1 hour.  YUM!  If you are afraid of the tabasco, just add to taste.

    Sugar Free Barbecue Sauce Recipe

    1 tablespoon oil
    1 cup onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup beef broth
    18 ounces tomato paste
    1 cup Splenda
    3/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
    3/4 cup Dijon mustard
    3 Tablespoons liquid smoke
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
    1 Tablespoon Tabasco

    Saute onion and garlic in oil.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 25 to 30 minutes.

    TIP:  I always make 3 time this recipe so I can have 2 recipes in the freezer

    Tuesday, April 4, 2017

    Mini Quinoa Pizza Bites

    Kathleen made these for quick lunches.  They were very good.

    Mini Quinoa Pizza Bites

    Cooking spray
    1 cup cooked quinoa
    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 cup of your favorite pizza toppings, chopped (pepperoni, olives, peppers, onions, spinach, ham, etc.)
    ¼ cup tomatoes, chopped
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    Pizza sauce, for dipping

    Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 24-count mini muffin pan with cooking spray (or make 2 batches in a 12-count pan).

    In a large bowl, add all ingredients except pizza sauce. Stir until all ingredients are mixed well.
    Scoop mixture into each mini muffin cup; fill to the top of each.

    Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.

    Pack pizza sauce in a separate container in a lunch box for dipping.

      Monday, April 3, 2017


      This was a great low carb recipe that can be shredded and eaten on buns or just eaten by itself.


      3 pound boneless chuck roast
      1 small onion, coarsely chopped, 2 1/2 ounces
      1 clove garlic, chopped
      8 ounce can tomato sauce
      1/4 cup granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda
      2 tablespoons vinegar
      1 teaspoon yellow mustard
      1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
      2 teaspoon salt
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional

      Brown the roast in hot oil in a large skillet; place in a slow cooker. Sauté the onion and garlic in the pan drippings; add to the slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients; pour over the roast. Cook on LOW 6 hours.

      Makes about 8 servings
      Can be frozen

      Per Serving: 371 Calories; 27g Fat; 27g Protein; 3.5g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 3.5g Net Carbs

      Sunday, April 2, 2017

      Homemade Itch Relief for Dogs

      Our mini Schnauzer has a few 'itchy' spots that she won't stop licking.  We have spent a lot of money on sprays to get her to stop.  This seems to work as well as expensive sprays.

      Homemade Itch Relief for Dogs

      1/2 c apple cider vinegar
      1/2 c green tea cooled
      1 c distilled water
      spray bottle

      Mix all ingredients and put into a spray bottle.  Spray on the spot that bothers your dog.

      Saturday, April 1, 2017

      Skinny Broccoli Salad

      I had a large head of broccoli and half a head of cauliflower in the fridge that I needed to use up.  I 'eyeballed' the amounts of this recipe to fit what I had.  I really liked this.

      Skinny Broccoli Salad
      adapted from http://womanista.com

      2 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
      1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
      1 red bell pepper, diced
      1 green bell pepper, diced
      ½ small red onion, diced
      ¾ cup reduced-salt green olives
      2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
      1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
      1 cup Bolthouse Farms® Classic Ranch Yogurt DressingBeth used Hidden Valley Ranch

      In a large bowl combine the broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, onion, olives, tomatoes, cheddar, and dressing and gently toss.
      Serve chilled.

      Friday, March 31, 2017

      Easy Cake Pop Recipe

      Kathleen made Don cupcakes for his birthday. We found out the hard way that cupcakes baked in silicone pans crumble. I used those crumbles and leftover decorator icing to make these. This was my first attempt at cake balls and I need MUCH practice on the dipping part. Think my chocolate was too thick. They tasted great. The cake popes turned out purple since I had blue and pink frosting left over!

      Easy Cake Pop Recipe
      adapted greatly from http://karaspartyideas.com

      1 box cake mix and ingredients to bake the cake
      Sprinkles or nonpareils
      24 oz candy coating (like Wilton Candy Melts)
      3/4 can frosting
      40 lollipop sticks
      Cake Pop Stand optional

      Bake cake in 9×13 pan as directed on package and let cool.

      Once cake is cooled crumble cake into large bowl.

      Soften your frosting and stir. When frosting is soft and smooth, pour into crumbled cake and mix.

      Form ping-pong sized balls with your clean hands, making sure the cake sticks together well without cracking. If there’s cracking add more frosting.

      Place balls on cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes.

      Melt the candy coating in microwave in 30 second increments. When smooth and melted, dip the ends of a lollipop sticks into the coating and press into cake balls until balls are secure on end of sticks.

      Starting with the first pop you completed, dip the pops into the melted coating, making sure to coat the whole pop…letting the excess drip back into the pan.

      Roll in sprinkles, etc as desired then put the cake pop into the cake pop stand and let set. Continue with remaining cake pops.

      Let harden and enjoy!

      Thursday, March 30, 2017

      Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

      I had bought some salted caramel chips and wanted to try them in a cookie. Was so glad to find this recipe. They are delicious!

      Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

      3/4 cup butter, softened
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      1/2 cup sugar
      1 egg
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      2 Tablespoons milk
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1 Tablespoon cornstarch
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      1 teaspoon cinnamon
      2 cups flour
      2 cups quick oats
      1 cup salted caramel baking chips
      1 cup dark chocolate chips  Beth used semi sweet
      Morton coarse sea salt, for garnish

      Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

      Beat the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk and beat again.
      Stir together the salt, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, flour, and oats. Slowly beat into the butter mixture until everything is mixed in.

      Stir in the chips. Roll into 36 dough balls. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes. Beth needed to add almost 5 more minutes---Don likes crunchy cookies!

      Remove from the oven and immediately tap the tops of the cookies with a flat spatula. Let the cookies sit for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove them and place on parchment paper.

      Sprinkle with coarse sea salt right away. Let cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container.

      Wednesday, March 29, 2017

      Cajun Stuffed Chicken Breast

      I was looking for a quick chicken recipe. This was perfect. I made two different batches of filling--one with mushrooms and one without because 2 of us like mushrooms and two don't. I used the extra filling in an omelet the next morning! We really liked this!

      Cajun Stuffed Chicken Breast


      4 large chicken breasts
      1 tablespoons olive oil
      4 large white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
      ½ red bell pepper, diced
      ½ green bell pepper, diced
      ¼ white onion, diced
      ½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
       4 teaspoons cajun seasoning Beth found this was too much
       4 tablespoons butter

      Use a meat tenderizer to pound out the chicken breasts until about ¼-inch thick.

      Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms, bell pepper, and onions for 5 minutes, until par-cooked.

      Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

      Place a pinch of cheese in the center of each chicken breast. Place a large spoonful of mushroom and bell pepper mixture on top. Finish off with another pinch of cheese.

      Carefully roll up the chicken so stuffing is completely inside. Secure the chicken with toothpicks. Place in the prepared pan. Season generously with cajun seasoning. Place a tablespoon of butter on top of each chicken breast.

      Bake in the preheated oven until chicken is cooked through, to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 30 to 40 minutes.

      Remove toothpicks before serving. You can serve the chicken whole, or slice in half, or in 1-inch slices.

      Tuesday, March 28, 2017

      Cajun seasoning

      I needed this seasoning for a chicken recipe.  It was easy to put together and makes more than enough for a single recipe.
      Cajun seasoning

      2 tsp onion powder
      2 tsp garlic powder
      2 tsp oregano
      2 tsp basil
      1 tsp thyme
      1 tsp black pepper
      1 tsp white pepper (if you don’t have it, just substitute black pepper) 1 tsp cayenne pepper
      4 1/2 tsp paprika
      2 1/2 tsp salt

      Mix all ingredients together.  Store in air tight container.

      Monday, March 27, 2017

      Shortcut Reese Oreo Chocolate Chip Brownies

      I was looking for a quick and easy dessert to put together.  I put a few different recipes together to come up with this.  IT was a hit!
      Shortcut Reese Oreo Chocolate Chip Brownies

      1 roll refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
      1 pkg Oreos
      1 pkg Reese peanut butter cup(Beth used Valentine shaped ones)
      1 9 x 13 brownie mix and all ingredients to make brownies.

      In a greased 9"x13" pan, layer cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and Oreo cookies. Make the brownies and pour over the rest of the ingredients.

      Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick between Oreos come out clean.

      Sunday, March 26, 2017

      Cookie Jar Nut Cookies

      While these have great flavor, they spread out and all ran together on the pan.  I also used a cookie scoop, so my cookies were very large.  The recipe DOES say to drop by TEASPOONfuls, so do try that!

      Cookie Jar Nut Cookies
      Taste of Home Cookie Cookbook

      1 cup butter, softened
      2 cups packed brown sugar
      2 eggs
      1/4 cup milk
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      3 cups all-purpose flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      1 cup chopped walnuts

      1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in walnuts.

      2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

      Saturday, March 25, 2017

      The Best Birthday Cake

      I made this recipe for our Financial Peace party a few weeks ago.  The cake got rave reviews! 

      The BEST Birthday Cake

      For the cake:
      2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
      2 teaspoons baking powder
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      4 large eggs, separated
      1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
      1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      1 cup sour cream --You can substitute yogurt or buttermilk

      For the buttercream:
      1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
      6-8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      Pinch salt
      Food coloring in your desired colors
      Milk or cream, to thin (if needed)

      To garnish (optional):
      Birthday candles

      Step 1:

      Make the cake. Adjust an oven rack in the middle position; preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease, flour and line the bottoms of two 8-inch(or 9 inch is what Beth used) cake pans with circles of parchment paper.

      Step 2:

      In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set to the side.

      Step 3:

      In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Transfer the mixture to a bowl for the moment, and set to the side.

      Step 4:

      Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a rotary beater. In the bowl (it's fine to use the same bowl you just used for the egg whites; no need to wash), cream the butter until fluffy and light, 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.

      Step 5:

      Add the sugar(s), and mix until combined and smooth, about another 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. Stir in the vanilla.

      Step 6:

      Add the sour cream and flour mixtures alternately, in 2-3 additions each. Mix until the batter is smooth and lump-free, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. The batter will be fairly thick.

      Step 7:

      By hand, fold the egg whites into the batter, stirring gently and only until no streaks of white remain.

      Step 8:

      Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating at the 20 minute mark. To test doneness, insert a cake tester or toothpick in the center of the cake. It should come out mostly clean.

      Step 9:

      Remove the cakes from the oven, and let cool for 5 minutes. Then, run a sharp knife around the perimeter of each pan, to loosen the edges. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks, gently peel off the parchment paper, and let cool completely. Once cooled, level the cakes if necessary.

      Step 10:

      Make the buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until very smooth. Add 2 cups of the confectioners' sugar and the salt, and stir to combine, first on low then on a higher speed as the sugar is absorbed. Continue adding the sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the buttercream has attained your desired spreading consistency. Stir in the vanilla and any colorings you'd like to add. If at any point the buttercream becomes too thick, add milk or cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the consistency has thinned out to your desired consistency.

      Step 11:

      To assemble, stack one of the cake layers on a platter, and apply a generous amount of buttercream on top, spreading it evenly all the way to the edges of the cake surface. Place the second cake layer on top; if you have leveled the cake, place the cut side down so that the flattest surface is facing up.

      Step 12:

      Apply a crumb coat (a thin coat of buttercream that is meant to contain crumbs and doesn't have to look pretty), and let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Once the crumb coat has set, use the remaining buttercream to ice the top and sides of the cake. You can pipe designs or take any liberties with cake decorating that you like! Garnish with sprinkles and birthday candles.

      Recipe notes:
      This cake will keep for 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container; it can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Refrigeration is not suggested. Beth DID refrigerate it over night

        Friday, March 24, 2017

        Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies

        Kathleen had gotten some Bob's Mill Gluten free flour. I needed to make a quick dessert and these fit the bill. We all liked them.

        Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies


        1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (*Note, my flour blend has xanthan gum included. If yours doesn't, add 1 teaspoon.)
        3/4 cup almond flour
        2 teaspoons baking powder
        1/8 teaspoon salt
        1 cup cocoa powder
        1 cup sugar
        1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons melted butter
        2 teaspoons vanilla
        3 large eggs
        1/2 cup Andes Chocolate baking pieces
        powdered sugar for rolling the dough balls.
        1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
        2. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
        3. In a small bowl, add all wet ingredients and whisk to blend.
        4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix.
        5. Add Andes Chocolate pieces and mix.
        6. Scoop a little dough and roll with your hands into a ball shape.
        7. Roll the ball in powdered sugar and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
        8. When all of the dough is made into these balls, flatten them to 1/2 inch thickness with your hand.
        9. Bake 8-10 minutes.
        10. Remove onto a cooling rack.

          Thursday, March 23, 2017

          One-Hour Dinner Rolls

          I was in a baking mood and hadn't made yeast rolls in a while.  These were simple and delicious!

          One-Hour Dinner Rolls

          3 3/4 - 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
          1/4 cup granulated sugar
          1 Tbsp rapid rise yeast
          1 1/2 tsp salt
          3/4 cup cool water
          2/3 cup milk
          4 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces, plus more for tops
          1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

          Preheat oven to 180 degrees. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whisk together 4 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt.

          To a medium bowl add water, milk and butter and heat in microwave on HIGH power until it reaches 115 degrees on a thermometer, about 1 minute 15 seconds. Stir to partially melt butter (you just want to make sure it's softened through).

          Pour milk mixture into dry mixture in bowl of electric stand mixer along with lemon juice. Set mixer with a hook attachment then set mixer on low speed and gradually increase to medium-low, knead about 3 - 4 minutes until smooth and elastic while adding additional flour as necessary (dough should be lightly sticky but manageable).

          Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

          Drop dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into an evenly level square, about 9 by 9-inches. Cut into 16 equal portions (don't have to be exact). Shape dough into 15 balls, while using excess dough from the 16th portion to add to smaller rounds as needed, and place shaped dough portions into prepared baking dish.

          Dampen hands with water and brush tops of dough with the water (just so they don't dry while rising in oven). Transfer to oven, close oven and turn oven off, allow rolls to rise 20 minutes (don't open oven door). Remove from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees (this should take about 5 minutes, so just allow rolls to rest on counter while oven preheats).

          Bake in preheated oven 14 - 16 minutes until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and run the top of a stick of butter along tops of rolls just to coat. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container (I recommend rewarming cool rolls in microwave for best results.
          Recipe source: Cooking Classy


          Wednesday, March 22, 2017

          Whole 30 Homemade Ranch Mix

          We have been making this since Kathleen has been trying to eat gluten free.  We like this!
          Whole 30 Homemade Ranch Mix

          2 tsp salt
          4 tbsp parsley
          3 tsp dill weed
          2 tsp dried chives
          4 tsp garlic powder
          4 tsp onion powder
          4 tsp dried onion flakes

          Mix all ingredients together and store in a ½ pint mason jar or other air tight container.

          2 tbsp = 1 package

          Tuesday, March 21, 2017

          Low Carb Crock Pot Pizza Soup

          I had wanted to try this and then had Don's mom stay for dinner on the spur of the minute. I made this on the cooktop and it turned out great. Next time I will use 1 can of mushrooms since 2 of my family members do not like them.

          Low Carb Crock Pot Pizza Soup

          1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (can use stewed or whole)
          2 (16 ounce) cans beef broth(can sub bouillon)
          2 (16 ounce) cans mushrooms (can use fresh if desired)
          1 medium green pepper, diced
          1 small onion, diced
          1 lb Italian sausage
          1⁄2 lb pepperoni, thinly sliced
          1 teaspoon garlic powder
          2 teaspoons dried oregano
          2 teaspoons italian seasoning
          1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
          1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese

          Saute the sausage until brown.  Drain, and place in the crockpot.  Add all other ingredients but the cheeses.  Cook for 6-8 hours.  Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

          Beth's notes:  If doing on cooktop, saute the onions and peppers with the sausage.  Add all ingredients but cheeses.  Bring to a boil and then turn to low and simmer for 30-60 minutes. 

            Monday, March 20, 2017

            Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

            I had taken a picture of this recipe from a magazine during a doctor visit! I made this for one of our Financial Peace classes. I put nuts on half. Next time I will bake it for a little while longer.

            Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

            Southern Living

            1 1/2 cups spicy, fruity cola soft drink (such as Dr Pepper) Beth used Coke Zero
            1 cup vegetable or canola oil
            1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
            2 cups all-purpose flour
            1 cup granulated sugar
            1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
            1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
            1/2 teaspoon table salt
            1/2 cup buttermilk
            2 large eggs, lightly beaten
            2 teaspoons vanilla extract

            Vegetable cooking spray
            Fudge Icing
            1 1/4 cups chopped toasted pecans

            Preheat oven to 350°. Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often. Remove from heat.

            Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add soft drink mixture, and whisk until blended. Whisk in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour batter into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 17 1/2- x 12 1/2-inch sheet pan.

            Bake at 350° for 18 to 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

            Prepare Fudge Icing, and pour over warm cake. Sprinkle with pecans. Cool completely in pan (about 1 hour)

            Fudge Icing

            1/2 cup butter
            1/2 (4-oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking bar, chopped
            3 tablespoons milk
            3 tablespoons spicy, fruity cola soft drink (such as Dr Pepper)
            4 cups powdered sugar
            1 teaspoon vanilla extract

            Cook butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking often, until melted and smooth.

            Remove from heat, and whisk in milk and soft drink until blended. Gradually sift in powdered sugar, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla. Use immediately.

            Sunday, March 19, 2017

            30 Minute Gluten Free Meatballs

            We were looking for meatballs that didn't have breadcrumbs in them. Turns out, you don't need them! Parmesan cheese does the trick--try these! We've made them twice in a week.

            30 Minute Gluten Free Meatballs

            1 pound lean ground beef
            1 large egg
            1/2 cup onion, finely chopped (optional)
            1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
            3 cloves garlic, minced
            1 teaspoon dried oregano
            1 teaspoon salt
            1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

            1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
            2. Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix together using your hands until well combined.
            3. Roll into 1" balls. You should have a total of 24 or 25 meatballs. Place meatballs onto a baking sheet with raised sides.
            4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until center is no longer pink.
            5. Serve warm.
              To freeze: After cooking, let meatballs cool then place into a zip top freezer bag. When you're ready to eat them remove the number you need and place into sauce pan with pasta sauce. Let simmer until meatballs are heated through.

              Saturday, March 18, 2017

              Maple Bacon Rice Krispies Treats

              Since I still have a few boxes of Patriotic Rice Krispies, I decided to try this recipe.  I took them to our Dave Ramsey class and they were well liked. 

              Maple Bacon Rice Krispies Treats
              about 20 servings

              2 tablespoons butter
              10 ounces mini marshmallows
              3 tablespoons maple syrup
              6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon, divided
              6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

              1. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
              2. Melt butter and marshmallows over medium heat. Once melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in maple syrup and half of the bacon. Add cereal and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread to the sides. Sprinkle with remaining bacon.

              Friday, March 17, 2017

              Easiest Banana Bread 

              I doubled this recipe and sent it to work with Jenna.  I added walnuts.  It was well liked.

              Easiest Banana Bread http://www.simplyrecipes.com

              2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
              1/3 cup melted butter
              1 teaspoon baking soda
              Pinch of salt
              3/4 cup sugar (1/2 cup if you would like it less sweet, 1 cup if more sweet)
              1 large egg, beaten
              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
              1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
              walnuts--Beth's addition

              1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan.

              2 In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.

              3 Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour and nuts.

              4 Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 350°F (175°C), or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

              5 Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack. Remove the banana bread from the pan. Slice and serve. (A bread knife helps to make slices that aren't crumbly.)

              Thursday, March 16, 2017

              Baked Garlic Butter Chicken

              This was quick and easy to put together.  I did not put the cheese on at the end and it was very tasty.

              Baked Garlic Butter Chicken

              Yields Serves 4

              4 (16-ounces) boneless skinless chicken breasts
              salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
              1 stick (1/2-cup) butter*
              6 cloves garlic, minced
              1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
              1/2 cup Shredded Reduced Fat 4-Cheese Italian
              get ingredients

              Preheat oven to 375F.

              Lightly grease a baking dish with a pat of butter.

              Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper; arrange chicken in a single layer in prepared baking dish and set aside.

              Add butter to a skillet and melt over medium heat.

              Stir in garlic and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring very frequently. DO NOT burn the garlic.

              Stir in the rosemary and remove from heat.  Pour the prepared garlic butter over the chicken breasts.
              Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, or until chicken's internal temperature is 165F.

              Sprinkle with cheese and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and let stand a couple minutes.

              Transfer chicken to serving plates; spoon a little bit of the garlic butter sauce over the chicken and serve.


              *Though we're using an entire stick of butter for the sauce, we're only ingesting about 1/2-tablespoon of the butter per serving.

              WW SmartPoints: 7

              Wednesday, March 15, 2017

              Lemon Blondies

              I made these to take to a ladies' Bible Study.  They were very goo.
              Lemon Blondies


              1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
              1 cup brown sugar
              1/2 cup granulated sugar
              2 large eggs
              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
              1 tablespoon lemon juice
              Zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
              1 teaspoon baking powder
              1/2 teaspoon salt
              2 cups all purpose flour


              1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
              1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
              1/4 teaspoon salt
              1 tablespoon lemon juice

              Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

              Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until combined. Add lemon zest, baking powder, salt, and flour and mix.

              Press into prepared pan (dough is sticky, spray your hands with cooking spray to avoid it sticking to your hands).

              Bake for about 16-20 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook – the center will still be jiggly when you take these out of the oven and they will finish cooking and firming up as they cool.) Cool completely before frosting.

              To make frosting: cream butter with a hand mixer until smooth. Slowly mix in the the powdered sugar and salt, then add lemon juice and mix until smooth, adding more as needed for desired consistency. Frost the cooled bars, then cut into squares.

              Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze in a single layer for up to 1 month.

              Tuesday, March 14, 2017

              Crock Pot No-Bean Beef Chili

              I had stew meat in the freezer so I tried this recipe.  I liked it a lot.
              Crock Pot No-Bean Beef Chili

              2 pounds lean ground beef or cubed lean stew beef Beth used stew meat
              1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
              1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
              1 (14.5 ounces) can stewed tomatoes, optional Beth used diced with roasted garlic
              2 tablespoons chili powder
              1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste
              1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
              1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

              In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, stirring to break it up. Beth added onions,bell peppers, and jalapeno, too

              When the meat is no longer pink, drain it and spoon it into the slow cooker. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, if using, and the chili powder.

              Mix well and add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Beth added the additional seasonings suggested below.

              Add hot sauce, such as Texas Pete's or Tabasco, if desired.

              Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

              Serves 4 to 6.

              Tips and Variations:

              Top with shredded mozzarella, cheddar or a Mexican-style cheese.

              If you like beans in your chili, add a can of drained pinto beans, black beans, or kidney beans about an hour before the chili is done.

              Add 1 cup of chopped onions and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper to the skillet with the ground beef.

              For a little extra flavor and sweetness, add 1 carrot, either finely chopped, shredded, or julienned.

              If you like jalapeno peppers, add a few tablespoons of minced jalapeno to the crock pot.

              Garnish with thinly sliced green onions, crumbled cornbread, oyster crackers, chopped fresh onions, guacamole, chopped cilantro, or diced fresh tomatoes.

              Additional Seasonings - 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove of minced fresh garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crushed red pepper or a dash of cayenne.

              Monday, March 13, 2017

              Gooey Nutty S'mores Crockpot Candy

              I doubled this and made this one Sunday afternoon to take for a Tuesday financial peace class.  It was a hit!
              Gooey Nutty S'mores Crockpot Candy

              1 1/2 cups nuts (I used peanuts)
              3 cups Golden Grahams cereal
              16 ounces almond bark (vanilla or chocolate), broken up
              3 cups chocolate chips
              2 cups mini marshmallows

              Place nuts and cereal in the bottom of a 6-7 quart crockpot. Place almond bark and chocolate chips on top. Cook on high for about 2 hours (check after 1 hour) until all the chocolate is melted.

              Stir to combine the nuts, cereal, and chocolate, then gently stir in the marshmallows.

              Immediately scoop candy clusters onto wax paper lined cookie sheets using two spoons. Chill to set.

              Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

              Sunday, March 12, 2017

              Authentic Carne Asada

              The picture on the website looked so good, I knew I would have to try it.  The flavor was great, but I never have luck with flank or skirt steak being tender after grilling it.  We all had one small serving and then the next day, I put the meat in the crockpot for 5-6 hours.  It was fork tender after being in the crockpot.

              Authentic Carne Asada

              2 limes, juiced
              4 cloves garlic, crushed
              ½ cup orange juice
              1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
              ½ teaspoon salt
              ¼ teaspoon black pepper
              ¼ cup olive oil
              1 jalapeno, minced
              2 tablespoons white vinegar
              1 (2 pound) flank steak

              In a gallon size resealable bag, combine lime juice, crushed garlic, orange juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, olive oil, jalapeno, and vinegar. Squeeze it around to mix it up.

              Put the entire flank steak into the resealable bag. Seal it up tight. Make sure all the meat is exposed to the marinade, squishing the bag around to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
              Heat an outdoor grill to high heat.

              Remove the flank steak from the marinade, and discard excess marinade. Cook on the grill for 7 to 10 minutes per side.

              Once done, remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Slice against the grain, and serve.