Monday, December 31, 2012

Sort of Hoppin' John

In the south it is a tradition to eat black eyed peas on New Years Day for good luck the rest of the year. We ate ours a day early. I have never had black eyed peas before and always thought they would not be good because I thought they looked funny. I feel like I have been saying that a lot lately! Just means I am getting more adventurous in my eating and cooking. Still no onions or seafood though. All in one week I added split pea soup, black eyed peas and biscuits and gravy to my like list. That's pretty good for me considering only a few short years ago I wouldn't think about trying anything I did not think I could possibly like.

I called this sort of hoppin' john because a traditional hoppin' john has bacon and onion in it. The recipe that I used I got from Plain Chicken. I liked the recipe because it was made in the slow cooker. Also it used ham, which I thought would be nice with the black eyed peas. I did add celery salt and garlic powder to the original recipe to add a touch more flavor. Overall it came out alright. Not my favorite recipe to date. Hopefully, even though we ate it a day early it will bring us some luck in the New Year anyway!

Sort of Hoppin' John
Adapted from Plain Chicken

1 pound dried black eyed peas
8 ounces diced ham
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Rinse black eyed peas and put in crock pot. Add all ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Biscuits and Gravy

Cookbook Recipe #30

One of Phil's all time favorite breakfast foods is biscuits and gravy. Usually when we are back in Iowa he always orders biscuits and gravy. We have a truck stop back home and he thinks biscuits and gravy is the perfect truck stop breakfast. I have never had it before and have always thought that it looks terrible. I thought that it would be a good, but bad for you, breakfast before the new year. Phil was really excited when he came home from work and saw that I was making it. I found the recipe in the Cook's Country cookbook. Just the cookbook name itself says comfort food, so when I saw this recipe in here I figured it would be good. I was a little nervous because you know there is always recipes that you have at restaurants that you just can't seem to replicate and make it as good at home. I thought this was going to be one of those recipes. I was wrong though, Phil said it was awesome and was better then some that he has had in the restaurant. I actually liked it as well. Not something I would want all the time but definitely good. And there is something to making homemade biscuits. Much better then with a mix for sure!

Biscuits and Gravy
Cooks Country


3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Sausage Gravy:

1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 pound pork sausage
3 cups whole milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor pulse flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter and shortening until it resembles course meal. Then mix in a medium bowl with buttermilk.

On a lightly floured surface knead dough until smooth. Pat dough into a 9 inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick.

Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut 8 biscuits and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 400 degrees and bake an additional 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile brown sausage in large skillet until no longer pink.

Mix flour, ground fennel, ground sage and pepper in a small bowl. Once meat is browned add in the flour mixture and mix constantly until combined.

Slowly stir in milk and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip

My inlaws and I went in together and got Phil a smoker for christmas this year. We got him a 30 inch Masterbuilt smoker. I actually got up on Black Friday to go get it because it was a flash deal from 6am until 11am and it saved me $150 dollars. Apparently other wives were doing the same thing because there were several of them there when I was there staring at the ad trying to figure out if it was the same one that was in the ad. I ended up snagging one and Phil was super excited about it. He has gotten really into grilling this year so I thought a smoker would be something new and fun for him to try.

We had some of our friends over tonight, Ryan and Sarah and their son Collin, so Phil figured it would be good night to test out his smoker. He found this recipe for Santa Maria Style Tri Tip. He had a hard time finding the tri tip today and had to go to 3 different butchers before snagging one. It is probably a good idea to call ahead to see if they carry it before going because it is not a common cut of meat that butchers have apparently. The tri tip came out awesome! You could taste the smokieness of the wood chips. It was very tender. He smoked it in the garage with the door open and needless to say the house still smells amazing. We are now even more excited about the smoker, by how good the tri tip came out. Can't wait to try more recipes!

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 (3-4 pound) tri tip roast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon savory
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cayanne
Mesquite wood chips

Mix all ingredients and rub on tri tip. Let sit at room temperature for one hour.

Preheat smoker to 225-250 degrees.

Smoke tri tip until desired least 145 degrees for medium.

Preheat grill to medium high heat.

Sear tri tip for 4 minutes a side.

Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

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This Recipe is linked on: Foodie Friday, Kitchen Fun with my 3 Sons ,Full Plate Thursday

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Cookbook Recipe #29

With the money that Phil and I got for Christmas I wanted to get a large bookshelf to put in our kitchen for all my cookbooks. Now all of them did not fit on there, but most of them did. I absolutely love it! I think I have a thing for bookshelves because I have a very large bookcase for movies and books upstairs in our house. Something about them makes me feel very homey for some reason. I like having all my cookbooks in one spot as well.

Here is how it looks:

While I was organizing my cookbooks Phil made the soup. I got this Soup Bible cookbook from my friend Nicole. She knows how much I LOVE soup. So it was the perfect gift.  This book has so many soups that I want to try. This split pea and ham soup recipe was not originally one of those recipes. I have always thought split pea soup sounded and looked horrible. Never thought I would want to make it by any means. But my Mom gave me the leftover ham bone from our Christmas brunch, so I figured I would give it a whirl. Because I was too excited about the bookshelf to wait to put my cookbooks on it, Phil made dinner. The soup was soooo delicious. It really does not taste like peas at all. And there is something about using the ham bone in the soup that gives such a rich flavor. I really liked how pureeing some of the soup, gave it a nice thick texture. It was very hearty. We will definitely be making this one again! The picture does not do the soup justice by any means. It tastes worlds better than it looks.

Split Pea and Ham Soup
Adapted from The Soup Bible

1 cup green split peas
1 cup yellow split peas
2 cups diced ham
7 cups water
2 celery ribs and leaves, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 leftover ham bone, or ham hocks

Rinse peas in a colander under cold water and discard any debris.

In a large dutch oven combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour and 15 minutes.

Stir frequently near the end of cooking to keep soup from scorching.

Transfer ham bone to cutting board and cut off any ham that is left on the bone. Discard bone and set aside ham.

Remove 3 cups of soup and place in blender. Blend until smooth. Add back to soup and add ham from bone.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ham and Egg Bake

 Christmas morning we went to my mom's house. She makes a big brunch on Christmas. Always a big spiral ham, my favorite, and this ham and egg bake. This year she also made a baked french toast that was really good that I will most likely be posting one of these days. My mom always makes the egg bake on Christmas. I never liked it growing up. I had a thing with soggy bread. But I have been making baked french toasts, which are similar and I like those now, so now I like the egg bake. I asked her to write down the ingredients and steps for me as she made it so I could post it on the blog. I really like the breakfast dishes that can be made the night before. They are great for when you are having a lot of people over. The morning does not leave for a lot of time when having brunch, so being able to assemble the main dish the night before really saves time. This is a nice savory version of a baked french toast.

I also requested to take a family picture with my mom as well. Here is how it turned out:

Ham and Egg Bake

12 slices white bread, cubed
3 cups diced ham
12 eggs
3 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/3 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl combine, eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Cover bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with half of cubed bread.

Top with half of diced ham and cheese.

Top with the rest of sliced bread, then the rest of ham and cheese.

Pour milk mixture over sliced bread.

Let stand in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake uncovered for one hour.

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This Recipe is linked on: Foodie FridayShow and Tell SaturdayStrut Your Stuff SaturdayFoodie FridayKitchen Fun with my 3 SonsWeekend Potluck Church SupperCream of the CropSundae Scoop 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Meatlovers Scramble

Phil and I made the trip to Iowa for Christmas on Saturday. And what a trip that was. Iowa just had a blizzard 2 days before and the roads where still a mess. We counted 196 cars in the ditch, all on I-80. 2 hours longer then normal, we made it safe and sound.

We had the Miller family Christmas tonight. We always take a family photo every year. My aunt Kathy has a really fancy camera so she gets it all set up on the tri-pod and sets the timer and runs to get into the picture. I got to partake this year because I have my new camera. I was really excited to be able to take a family picture for the first time. This is how it came out:

Last night my dad picked up a huge prime rib for dinner with my dad's side of the family. It was awesome! There was some left over so we decided to add it to eggs in the morning. I am not a big scrambled egg fan, but anything that has prime rib, I have got to try. It was really good. Phil threw in ham and bacon as well, so it was full of yummy goodness. We have prime rib occasionally so now I know what to do with the leftovers next time.

Meatlovers Scramble

1 cup leftover cooked prime rib, cubed
1 cup leftover cooked ham, cubed
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon
6 eggs
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl whisk milk and eggs together thouroghly.

Pour into greased skillet over medium heat. Cook stiring often until done about 5 minutes. Add cooked prime rib, ham, bacon, tomatoes, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Double Chocolate Covered Cherries

Cookbook Recipe #28

Every year before Christmas I take part in a Christmas Cookie Exchange with Phil's Mom and Aunts. I can make a lot of things in the kitchen, but cookies is not one of them. It is just not my strong suit. Last year a devil came out of my while trying the make the cookies. I was swearing and tossing the cookie sheets. They just kept burning. I made 3 batches and they all burnt. I was soooooo mad! So, I have realized that cookies are just not my thing, so I make Christmas "treats". I think I will attempt one cookie every year at least. The one I did try to make, did not burn, but they just did not taste very good. Go figure!

So, I made the chocolate covered cherries, cookie balls, and almond bark covered pretzels. All no bake! I made these cherries last year and they came out really good. My mom really likes chocolate covered cherries so I like to make them for her as well. They do have a few steps so there is a waiting period, but overall they are pretty easy. Also, Phil helped me out because he knows how stressed I get about this. He was my savior! I did like 6 dozen of the cherries so with his help it went by so much faster.

Double Chocolate Covered Cherries
From Pillsbury Christmas

1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries with stems
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar 
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons milk
1 bag (12oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening

Place cherries on several paper towels and gently press out excess moisture. Let stand at least 1 hour to drain.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer beat butter, corn syrup, one ounce chocolate and milk on medium speed until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar. Mixture will be dry and crumbly. 

Turn fondant out onto counter and knead until smooth. Divide fondant into 24 pieces and shape around cherries. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.

In the microwave melt chocolate chips with shortening in 30 second increments until melted.

Dip cherries in chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden.

Store in an airtight container.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pesto Crusted Rack of Lamb

Phil is going to be out of town the next couple of days and then we are going to Iowa for Christmas so I wanted to make a nice dinner for our last night alone before the holidays. I have been wanting to make a rack of lamb for a while now. I have seen several recipes for herb crusted rack of lamb and they all looked so good. I found this recipe from the newest Fine Cooking magazine. I really like this magazine because it has a lot of fancier recipes, but they are easy to make. I found a small rack of lamb at our local grocery store and the bones were already frenched. I think that is makes them look so much fancier when the bones are bare. The lamb came out amazing. Very tender and flavorful. I was really worried I would either way under cook or way over cook it. We have an oven thermometer that stays inside while it is cooking and alerts us when the meat reaches our desired doneness. The thermometer has been some of the best money we have spent because every cut of meat we have made with it has come out perfect. I would definitely suggest getting one, especially if you like to roast meats.

Pesto Crusted Rack of Lamb
Adapted from Fine Cooking

1 8-or-9 bone frenched lamb rack
Olive oil
1 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat until hot. Rub the lamb rack with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear all sides, about one minute per side. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a food processor add parsley, 6 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, and salt and pulse until paste forms.

In a small bowl combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

After rack has rested 20 minutes rub with pesto and then top with breadcrumbs.

Roast in oven for 40 minutes for medium.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Taco Pizza

Pizza number two this week! I make this recipe aaaalllllll the time. It is one of my favorites. It is super easy and really fast. I make this pizza usually towards the end of the work week when I am ready for the weekend and do not feel like cooking. Or if we are looking for a quick easy dinner before we have to head out somewhere.

I use ground turkey and refried beans for the filling but you could always get rid of the beans if they are not your thing and just do meat. I just really like the flavor that the beans give the meat. It also makes it seem much more filling to me as well.

When you look at the picture, can you pick out what half of the pizza is mine?! haha I do not like lettuce and tomato so I leave that off of my half. I do not like a lot of hoopla on my pizza, but I do enjoy the Doritos on top!

Taco Pizza
Adapted from Taste of Home

1 can crescent rolls
Shredded lettuce
1 Pound ground turkey
1/2 packet of taco seasoning
1 Can refried beans
Shredded cheddar cheese
Tomato, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll crescrent rolls and form together to make a crust. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until done.

Meanwhile, brown ground turkey, with seasoning packet, over medium heat in a medium skillet.

Once crust is done, pour meat mixture and spread evenly on crust. Top with cheese.

Place back in oven for about 5 more minutes until cheese is melted.

Top with lettuce, tomato and Doritos.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Florentine Frying Pan Pizza

Cookbook Recipe #27

This is one of my favorite Rachael Ray Cookbooks. Because it has pictures! It also has pictures of all the steps, which is nice sometimes because then you know it looks like it is supposed to as your going along. I was looking through this book recently and came across this recipe for Individual Frying Pan Pizza. The original recipe called to use 6 inch cast iron skillets to make individual pizzas. I decided to use my 12 inch cast iron skillet to make one large pizza for Phil and I. Plus I do not have several different sizes of cast iron skillets. So, I just increased the recipe a little bit and it came out great. I would definitely eat this pizza with a knife and fork because it came out soooo hot that when you bite into it, the spinach and cheese ooze out a little bit and burnt my chin. And for sure let it cool off a bit before cutting into it!

Florentine Frying Pan Pizza
Adapted from Rachael Ray's Look + Cook

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1 pound package fresh spinach
1 pound store bought pizza dough
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until brown.

Meanwhile cook spinach in a large skillet until wilted.

Lower the heat and add butter to the pan and melt. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and salt and pepper. Stir in cooked spinach. Remove from heat.

Pour remaining one tablespoon of olive oil into cast iron skillet and coat the sides with a pastry brush.

Roll out pizza dough to fit skillet. Form pizza dough to skillet.

Pour spinach mixture into skillet. Top with cheeses.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I have a really good recipe that I make for Phil and I for breakfast all the time called Blueberry Baked Oatmeal, which I have posted previously on here. As much as I love that recipe I have wanted to try a different version for a while. When I found this recipe for Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal I thought it would be a perfect new version to try. It has a sugary, buttery crumble topping on it that just completes the dish. It is pretty sweet though. Phil said it tasted more like a dessert than breakfast. But nonetheless it was really good!

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Adapted from Jamie Cooks it up

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups milk

Crumble Topping:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Into a large mixing bowl combine oats, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt. Mix well.

Add vanilla, butter, canned pumpkin and milk. Mix well. 

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Spread mixture evenly into the pan. 

Bake for 12 minutes.

While the oatmeal is baking make the topping. 

Mix all topping ingredients together with a pasty blender. 

After 12 minutes top oatmeal with crumble topping.

Bake another 10 minutes. 

Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ham and Swiss Sliders

I told you I was going to post some recipes from our holiday party so here goes it. I had these ham and cheese sliders at a bridal shower recently and I thought the presentation on them was really pretty. I am not a big fan or deli ham, mayonnaise or miracle whip, but all together they are really good! I think the icing on the cake for these sandwiches was the sauce that goes over top. The sauce did call for onions so I made 40 total sandwiches, half with onions and half without onions.

The only thing that I had a hard time with this recipe was getting all 24 rolls to fit in the 9 x 13 dish. I do not see how it is possible. I got 20 into the dish but that was all I could fit. I wish I could have gotten all the sandwiches in because they sandwiches were gone in no time. I got so many compliments on them. They are definitely an easy and presentable dish for a party!

Ham and Swiss Sliders
Recipe from Chef in Training

24 King's Hawaiian Rolls
24 slices honey ham
24 small slices swiss cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup miracle whip

Poppy Seed Sauce

1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut rolls in half.

In a small bowl mix mayonnaise and miracle whip. Spread mixture on both halves of rolls.

Top one half of roll with a ham slice and a cheese slice. Place other half of roll on top.

Place rolls close together in a greased 9 x 13 pan until completely full. Sandwiches will be smashed together.

Mix together ingredients for the poppy seed sauce. Pour evenly over top of rolls.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Roasted Squash Wedges

Cookbook Recipe #26

I don't know about you but I get sick of the same old side dishes over and over again. I am trying to make side dishes based on what is in season. Right now its squash. I knew we were going to have roast chicken so I was looking for something to go with it. I found this recipe for roasted squash wedges in the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. I feel like having a Martha Stewart cookbook is essential, just like having a Julia Child cookbook. This cookbook has elevated versions of classic recipes. Recipes using the ingredients that are in the stores now that were not as ready available in stores years ago. I always think it is interesting to look at cookbooks then and now, they are the same but so different.

Back to the squash....I had never made acorn squash before, so I was excited to try something knew. Those suckers are hard to cut open, let me tell you. Phil and to slice them for me into the wedges. They came out very good.  I would maybe add a little brown sugar next time to make them a little bit sweeter.

Roasted Squash Wedges
Adapted from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics

2 acorn squash
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut squash in half through the stem. Remove seeds. Then cut each half into 3 wedges.

Place in a large roasting pan.

In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Brush onto squash wedges.

Cook for 35 to 45 minutes until tender.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Oriental Slaw

I think this slaw recipe is a staple at a lot of parties and I always really like it. I love the crunch that the ramen noodles give the salad too. I bought these Asian beef skewers at Super Target the other day and I was trying to figure out something to go with them. I thought the Oriental slaw would be a good side dish that would pair well with the beef skewers.

I changed a couple of things to the original recipe. I added sesame oil, soy sauce and sunflower seeds. I really love the flavor of sesame oil. The only thing I would change would be to put in a little less vinegar. I thought the vinegar flavor was a little too strong in the dish. Other than than Phil and I really enjoyed the slaw.

Oriental Slaw
Adapted from

1 Cup olive oil
1/2 Cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Packages seasoning from ramen noodles
1 Pound coleslaw
2 Packages Oriental ramen noodles
1 Cup sunflower seeds

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour but better if overnight.

This recipe is linked on: Mix it Up MondaysMelt in your Mouth MondaysOn the Menu Monday,  Makin You Crave MondayOr So she SaysRecipe Sharing Monday

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dessert Shooters

We had our holiday party this weekend. I did a really cool, well I thought was really cool, dessert bar. I had a candy bar, and I did the Chai Latte Cupcakes that I posted previously and dessert shooters. I saw on Pinterest, the idea for a Christmas Candy bar. I already had some nice jars so I thought I would give it a whirl. It needed some sprucing up though so my friend Jane, also a Pinterest fan, saw some ideas for nice candy bar displays. Jane helped me make some really nice signs for the candy. I think it turned out really nice. Everyone thought it was really cool. The kids especially liked it.

Here is how it turned out:

I also got the idea for the dessert shooters on pinterest as well. I saw a few I liked but wasn't able to find many recipes for them so I kinda winged it. They came out soooo good! I did a s'mores dessert shooter and a strawberry shortcake dessert shooter. I think that throughout the week I am going to post some other good recipes that I made for the party. But for now here are the dessert shooter recipes.

S'more Dessert Shooter

Graham cracker crumbs
Marshmallow creme
Hershey's chocolate syrup
Whipped cream
Mini chocolate chips

Microwave the marshmallow creme until it is thinner, about 1 minute.

In a shot glass or dessert shooter, layer graham cracker crumbs, marshmallow creme, and chocolate syrup.

Top with whipped cream, then a few mini chocolate chips.

Strawberry Shortcake Dessert Shooter

Strawberries, diced
Whipped cream
Pound cake

Layer the strawberries, pound cake and whipped creme in a shot glass or dessert shooter. Top with whipped cream.

These recipes are linked on::Foodie FridayShow and Tell SaturdayStrut Your Stuff SaturdayFoodie FridayKitchen Fun with my 3 SonsWeekend Potluck Think Pink SundayChurch SupperCream of the CropSundae ScoopSugar and Slice Sunday Link Party Mix it Up MondaysMelt in your Mouth MondaysOn the Menu Monday,  Makin You Crave MondayOr So she SaysRecipe Sharing Monday

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Cookbook Recipe #25

Do you have cookbooks that all the pages are stuck together? That is how this cookbook is. I have cooked a couple of recipes in this book so many times that all the pages are so full of crud grime. I like it though! My mom gave me a bunch of cookbooks awhile ago and this was one of them. It has the wonton soup recipe in it that I absolutely love. But I wanted to make a new recipe out of here so I decided to make the chicken and wild rice soup. I have made chicken and wild rice soup before and it did not turn out very well. This one came out much better because I stuck to the recipe a little more then I did last least with the liquid measurements. I like a lot of rice in my soup so I did a little more then the recipe called for. Phil really liked this one a lot. It did not make that much though, so if you want leftovers you would want to double the soup for sure.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Betty Crocker's Soups and Stews Cookbook

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup cooked chicken
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup white wine

Wash wild rice in wire strainer.

Heat chicken broth and rice to boiling in a dutch oven. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes, until rice is tender.

Meanwhile cook mushrooms, butter and garlic in a skillet for about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir to combine.

Add mushrooms to soup and stir well until flour is not lumpy.

Add chicken, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Heat to boiling.

Add cream and wine. Heat until just hot.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Italian Country Style Ribs and Tomatoes

If you are looking for a good stick to your ribs comfort  food recipe this is it. This is one of those better the next day recipes as well. Phil cooked the Italian country style ribs and tomatoes tonight because it takes 2 and a half hours to make. Which makes the ribs tender and juicy as they cook in the sauce. We really like this dish, can you tell?! This is the recipe that Phil burnt the crap out of his hand when taking the dutch oven out of the oven. It was the first time he ever used it. He grabbed the pot lid right after he took it out of the stove with his bare hand. Which I can see how you could do it because it looks like a pot that you would normally grab the lid bare handed. He learned his lesson though and had a pot holder in his hand the whole time. The dish came out great, and I know it will be awesome for lunch tomorrow!

Italian Style Country Style Ribs with Tomatoes
Adapted from Blue Kitchen

1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds boneless country style ribs
1 28oz can Italian Plum tomatoes with puree or juices, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pat ribs dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven. Brown ribs well on both sides, turning them a couple times about 10 minutes.

Transfer ribs to a plate and reduce heat to medium.

Add carrot and celery to pot and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in garlic, rosemary, and paprika and cook an additional minute. Add wine and scrape up any brown bits on bottom of pan. Cook for about 3 minutes until wine is almost evaporated.

Return ribs to pot and pour tomatoes on top. Cover pot and transfer to oven.

Braise ribs until very tender 2 - 2 1/2 hours, carefully turning them about halfway through.

Serve with pasta.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Turkey Shepards Pie

I know people are always looking for ways to use up leftovers from Thanksgiving so I thought this recipe for turkey shepards pie with sweet potatoes would be a good one for now. This is a good way to use up alreay made sweet potatoes. Then you just have to make the filling. You could also use regular potatoes and/or leftover turkey instead of ground turkey to use up other leftovers. Or if you have any leftover vegetables, you could use in place of the frozen vegetables. The possibilities are endless!
This is one of those recipes that I feel like I am running all over the kitchen while making because there is a lot of components. So using premade potatoes would help with that. I, today, did not have leftover potatoes. Sometimes it is more fun when its a little crazy. I really like shepards pie though so it is worth it to me. This is a healthier twist on the classic version as well as it is made with sweet potatoes and ground turkey. We did like how this came out but I would have to say it is hard to beat regular shepards pie.
Sweet Potato Turkey Shepards Pie
Adapted from Skinny Taste
For the Potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
For the filling:
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 oz mushrooms
10 oz frozen mixed vegetables
2 tablspoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons tomato paste
Boil sweet potatoes in a pot until cooked and soft 15-20 minutes. Drain and mash with chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large saute pan brown turkey until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. When cooked set aside.
Add butter to pan. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook 4 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and mix well. Add vegetables, chicken broth, tomato paste, cooked turkey and poultry seasoning. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes on low.
In a large oven proof casserole dish pour filling. Then top with mashed sweet potatoes.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chicken Marsala in the Slow Cooker

Phil and I have are having a holiday party next weekend so this weekend I am decorating the house for the holidays. I love decorating for Christmas, especially now that we have a house. My mom's best friend Kristy has a bed and breakfast and decorates her house so extravagant and really pretty. So my mom and I now try to emulate that in our own houses. Kristy has a large tree in every room in her house and they all match the decorations that are in the rooms. It is very beautiful. So I decided I wanted to have a tree in every room in my house as well. They are not all large trees though. We have our large main Christmas tree in our family room and all the others are of varying sizes but are mostly smaller. Even though my house does not look near as extravagant as Kristy's it does still take me all day to decorate. It does look very pretty! I always get excited to see what people think of it too.

Because I have been decorating like crazy I knew I would want a dinner that would be ready for me when I was ready. So I figured the slow cooker would fit the bill. Chicken Marsala is one of my favorites so when I found this recipe for it in the slow cooker I knew I had to make it. The only thing I would change about this is that I would probably not cook it as long because the chicken gets a little on the dry side. The sauce is good to put on it to make it taste juicier, but I think if I cooked it maybe an hour less it would be better. 

Chicken Marsala in the Slow Cooker
Adapted from Pillsbury

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8oz mushrooms
1 cup sweet marsala wine
1/2 cup water
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
Angel hair pasta for serving, if desired

In a slow cooker place garlic and oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Top with mushrooms and wine. 

Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. 

Remove chicken from slow cooker. 

In a small bowl mix cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour into slow cooker. Add beef broth. Increase the temperature to high and cook and additional 10 minutes. 

Add chicken back in and cook an additional 5 minutes. 

Serve over pasta or rice. Top with parsley.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ham and Bean Soup

Cookbook Project #24

Since I had a thanksgiving dinner this last weekend I have sooo many leftovers of course. I never do anything with them, which is really silly because I usually end up throwing so much of it away. I made a ham this weekend so I saved the bone because I like to make ham and bean soup. Ham and bean soup is a great way to use up leftover ham from Thanksgiving. You can use the ham bone to flavor the soup. It does take a little bit longer to make because of this because you want to get a rich flavor for the broth. I cut up a bunch of leftover ham to go in the soup as well. I put my celery in the last 15 minutes because I do not like when it gets mushy, but you could add it in with the carrots if you prefer.

 My mom would always send leftovers home with me in the past after Thanksgiving when I was in college, but this is the first time I have ever turned leftovers into something else.  I know a lot of people get weird about ham and bean soup, but I really like it and think it is really hearty.

Ham and Bean Soup
Portsmouth Iowa St. Mary's Parish Cookbook 2007

4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 15oz cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 ham bone, or ham hock
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Salt, to taste

In a large dutch oven saute carrots until tender.

Add chicken broth, pepper and ham bone. Cook over medium low heat for one hour.

After one hour add beans and cut up ham. Cook for another 45 minutes.

Add celery the last 15 minutes.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Apricot Cranberry Chutney

My dad and my brother came in to town this weekend. I figured because they were in town so close to Thanksgiving that I would make Thanksgiving dinner for them and then I also invited over the in-laws. We had enough food for an army that's for sure. But it would not be my style if I did not have enough food for an army.

Phil's dad brought us over his turkey fryer so we deep fried our first turkey. Phil first injected it with creole butter and rubbed the outside with creole seasoning. We love the creole butter for injecting into roast chickens so we figured it would be really good in the turkey as well.

Here are some shots of the action:

Phil's Dad Dave making sure the fryer will be level
                                                  Phil and Dave lighting the fryer

Phil putting the turkey on the fryer

Phil just messing around,getting prepared case!

Cooking the turkey

Our spread, way too much food!

We had the deep fried turkey, brown sugar and mustard glazed spiral ham, corn, creamy mashed potatoes, apricot cranberry chutney, crescent rolls and pumpkin cake roll for dessert. 

Our chef at my work made the apricot cranberry chutney last year at our Thanksgiving lunch. It was so good that I asked him for the recipe. So I ended up making it for our friends Thanksgiving last year after I had it at work and everyone really liked it. My brother says that it tastes like you would think potpourri would taste like. Which sounds so disgusting but it is a very good comparison because it does have a very sensual taste.
It is a good new twist to cranberry sauce. 

Apricot Cranberry Chutney
Adapted from  

1/3 cup diced dried apricots
1 (12oz) package craisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

In a medium bowl mix together the apricots, cranberries, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves. 

In a saucepan boil the water with the sugar until sugar is dissolved. 

Add in the dried fruit mixture and vinegar, bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and cook for 5 minutes. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PW's Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Cookbook Recipe #23

I would recommend anyone to get the Pioneer Women Cookbooks. I got the first cookbook: The Pioneer Women Cooks last year and I have since signed up for Ree Drummond's blog and have cooked several recipes from both of her cookbooks and her website. Every recipe has been delicious including these mashed potatoes. I have made these potatoes a few times now. The cream cheese just adds a completely new element to the potatoes. You do not even need butter on these potatoes because the flavor is so good. The recipe below is a little different than the one in the cookbook in that the one in the cookbook calls to use 5 pounds of potatoes. I was only feeding 3 people so 5 pounds of potatoes would have been a stretch so below is the recipe for 4 people.

PW's Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from The Pioneer Women Cooks by Ree Drummond

5 large baby red potatoes, skin on
3 tablespoons of butter
2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add potatoes and cook, with the lid on, for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Drain water and mash potatoes with the skin on.

Add the rest of ingredients and mash until well combined and creamy.

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