"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

I have had this recipe in my e-mails from a friend since February. Yesterday I knew it was going to be a wild busy day filled with morning and afternoon R.S. Society commitments and meetings. Not to mention it was going to be a good hot day of summer-that is motivation in and of itself for me to crock pot lately. I decided I would take Ang up on her recommendation. It was a big hit with my kids, husband, as well as my sister- and brother-in-law and all their kids. (This was my trade for her watching my kids while I went to my afternoon meetings and then when Jack and I snuck in a date-that rarely happens for us-that evening.) This will be a keeper for us for sure! Because of the nature of day I didn't get a photo snapped of it. Maybe next time!

The best part of this recipe is that I usually have all its ingredients on hand and it was tossed together in a jiffy. I am excited to have another use for my stew meat in addition to beef stews.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

2 lb cubed stew meat (I took time to cut mine into smaller pieces)

2 (10.75oz) can condensed golden mushroom soup or regular cream of mushroom soup

1 chopped onion (I always use my favorite-sweet onions)

1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 c. water

1 packet Lipton Onion soup mix

Spray cooker with non stick spray

Combine all above ingredients in slow cooker

Ingredients added at the END (each of these you can add more or less of)

8 oz cream cheese (I like to used reduced fat)

1/2 to 1 cup sour cream (low fat or fat free is my choice here too)

fresh mushrooms


Cook on low 8 hours or on high 5 hours

Just before serving stir in 8 oz cream cheese and 1/2 to 1 c. sour cream

I also sauté mushrooms in butter and add those at the end

We serve over Wide Egg Noodles or Rice with a baked squash or other season vegetable favorites. Salad would be a great crunch side to add some nice texture to the meal.

Hope you don't wait as long as I did to take Angela H. up on here great recommendation! ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cinnamon-Apple Chex Mix

A couple of years ago a semi-truck tipped over near Billings, MT and was loaded full of dried diced apples. The company was fully insured and decided it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to salvage the products on the truck so they gave them away for free. Instant food storage items for those of us that were able to get in on the deal. I got several 50 lb boxes of dried diced apples. Then I went on a hunt for recipes that I could use them for in addition to just snacking on them by themselves. This was one of those favorite recipes I discovered in the process (11/3/08), all this time I thought I had already stored it here on the blog. Give it a try, It is a great little snack and tasty too.

Cinnamon-Apple Chex Mix

5 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup lightly salted whole almonds (I use raw)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped dried apples
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt-covered raisins (I have used chocolate covered raisins or omitted the raisins all together)

In large microwavable bowl, mix cereal and almonds.

In a 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and cinnamon uncovered on High about 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until mixture is boiling; stir. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Microwave uncovered on High 3 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after ever minute. Stir in apples; microwave on High about 2 minutes or until apples just begin to brown on edges. (I found that 1 minute in my microwave is long enough. Any longer and I burn the apples!)

Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool, about 5 minutes. Place in serving bowl; stir in raisins. Store in airtight container.

Chewy Chex Mix Treat

I made this treat to take to girls camp. I have loved this recipe since I was young, but don't make it to often because it is one of those treats I eat and eat and eat once I take my first handful--not such a good thing. This yummy treat is great for camping, traveling, or partying!

Chewy Chex Mix Treat

4 cups Rice Chex
4 cups Corn Chex
1/2 box Golden Grahams
2 cups Coconut
2 cups Sliverd Almonds (I have also used peanuts)

1 cup white Karo Syrup
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup margarine

Boil syrup, sugar and margarine for 2 minutes. Stir. Pour over mixture. Spread out on cookie sheets to cool if desired (I think this helps it not become one solid mass as the syrup cools.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes and Asparagus

I tried this recipe to help me use up the wild asparagus we picked last week. I needed a salad or a dessert to take to the local Search and Rescue picnic so this is what we took and I was grateful not to have to heat up the kitchen on a hot day!

Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes and Asparagus
2 Tablespoon olive oil
11-12 oz think asparagus
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 large plum tomatoes, diced (or two large slicing tomatoes-what's on hand!)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons Instant Chicken Bouillon
1 lb linguine cooked according to package
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large skillet. Add asparagus; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add garlic; cook until tender. Stir water and bouillon; bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and remove from the heat.

Prepare past according to package directions. Toss with asparagus mixture. Let cool slightly and toss with Parmesan Cheese. (If the noodles are to hot the cheese seems to clump and melt together leaving lumps of cheese--not to appealing to the eye). Season with ground black pepper if desired.

Quick and Easy Bread Sticks

I got this recipe from Lynda Nelson while living in Montana. It is always amazing to me how I forget about simple recipes like this that are a hit with my family. Why I don't make them more often. I made these for a simple dinner with soup when I had my nieces and nephews for the day. They loved them so much and asked for the recipe to take home to their mom. Then she asked me to make them for our Father's Day meal assignment and so we had them twice in one week. Guess I should be prepared to make them more often this fall.

Bread Sticks
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour

Mix together and knead in mixer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile melt 1/2 cup butter or margarine in a cake pan in the oven. (I always use half the amount of butter and use a cookie sheet). Be careful not to scorch the butter. When dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle similar in size to your pan. Cut into 1 inch strips. Place in pan, turning so all sides are coated with melted butter. Sprinkle with garlic salt and Parmesan Cheese Let rise about 15 minutes. Bake 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees.

Voldemort Cake

Some people have titled this cake "Better than Sex Cake" but that isn't a very good name and often embarrasses people if you actually call it that! My sister-in-law and her kids are big fans of Harry Potter books and movies and they have renamed the cake "Voldemort Cake". I have to admit that I have never read the series so I had to be educated on why they gave it that name. Voldemort is suppose to be an unmentionable word if I remember their reason. I like using that title more than the other so it is going to be known as Voldemort Cake at our house too.

Voldemort Cake

1 (8 oz) package devils food cake mix

1/2 (14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

6 oz caramel ice cream topping

3 or 4 (1.4 oz) bars Heath or Skor candy bars crushed

1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Bake cake according to package directions for a 9 x 13-inch pan; cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Make slits across top of cake (or poke with a fork all over) make sure not to go through to the bottom.

In a saucepan on low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk, topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly pour mixture over warm cake, letting it sink into slits/pokes. Then sprinkle crushed candy over cake.

Let cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping, crushed candy and swirls of caramel. Refrigerate.

Salted Peanut Chews

These are one of Jack's favorite bar cookies--I haven't made them in a couple of years. Again they were made for the thank you plates to add variety, but we had to keep half of them because Jack and the boys love them. Jack wishes I would make them more often. I agree they are pretty darn good. So give them a try for your next pot-luck gathering.
Salted Peanut Chews
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
3 cups mini marshmallows

2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (10 oz) package peanut butter chips
2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all crust ingredients except marshmallows at low speed until crumbly. Press firmly into bottom of ungreased 9 x 13 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with marshmallows. Return to oven and bake an additional 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows just begin to puff. Cool while preparing topping.

In a large saucepan, combine all topping ingredients except cereal and peanuts. Heat just until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cereal and peanuts. immediately spoon warm topping over marshmallows: spread to cover. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars.

Congo Bars

These Congo bars are something I remember Lynnette making for various functions when we lived in Connecticut. Thee are simple and come together quickly. I made these to also put on our thank you plates to those who had helped on the cement project on our new house. I love bar cookies because they are done all at one time instead of watching several batches.

Congo Bars

From Lynnette Strobel's kitchen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (11.25 ounces if you use a scale)

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter (5 3/8 ounces) at room temperature

3 eggs at room temperature

2 ¼ cups light brown sugar (18.5 ounces if you use a scale)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 12-ounce package chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. (Or you could sift the ingredients, if you are that type of baker. I’m not.) Set aside.

In a mixing bowl cream brown sugar and butter together until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Add vanilla and beat until mixture is smooth and no lumps of sugar remain. Don’t get carried away mixing here. If you beat until everything is light and fluffy the Congo bars will be too cake-like.

Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chips and mix again until chips are evenly dispersed.

Spray a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Spread dough evenly on pan – much easier imagined than accomplished – and bake for 18 minutes, or until congo bars resemble the picture above.

Remove pan from oven, place on cooling rack and cool until firm enough to cut.

Fudge Nut Bars-Family Favorite

These wonderfully rich bar cookies have been made in my home for as long as I can remember. They always seem to show up on special gatherings and disappear as quickly as they arrive. They are what we always took to missionaries-homecomings and farewells of family and friends a like. They have been a cookie that Jack has fallen in love with! When you marry into my family you marry into a sweet tooth group and are bound to catch the bug after too long! So I made some of these famous bars to take to friends who have been so generous in helping us with their time or resources with the construction of our new home. It is the only safe way for me to make this recipe or I would end up eating the entire jelly-roll sized cookie sheet by myself. (Not exactly the best thing for weight gaining during pregnancy! ;-0)

Fudge Nut Bars
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups quick oatmeal

Cream butters and sugars together. Add the eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Cover a prepared cookie sheet with dough-saving some dough to crumble over the top of the chocolate filling.

1 (12 oz) package chocolate chips (my family loves milk chocolate, but I've made it with semi-sweet because Jack likes those best in his choco-chip cookies so that's what I keep on hand. The semi-sweet seems to make them richer because the chocolate is darker.)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
Chopped pecans (optional)

Put all ingredients together in a sauce pan and stir until chocolate is melted. Spread over the top of the prepared dough in cookie sheet. Crumble reserved dough on top. Bake at 350 degrees until edges are lightly browned about 20-25 minutes. ***Do not over bake or the oatmeal crust will be and taste dry.***

Quick and Simple Pizza

We like pizza. We like tortilla's; so we combined the to for a quick and easy lunch or snack. It is a new family favorite, but I try not to do it to often so that it is still fun when I need a super quick meal for us to eat. I love the new mini pepperoni's they have out now. I am not a huge fan of pepperoni, but the little one's for me seem to be so much better than the big spicy ones and they're easier to eat.

1 Tortilla
1 teaspoon of Pizza sauce (we use homemade pasta sauce)
Mini Pepperoni's or other favorite pizzas toppings

In a small fry pan place tortilla and warm the first side. Flip the tortilla to second side and load with toppings. They will melt and get heated as the second side is warming. We like to leave the second side a little longer until it toast a little bit making it more crunchy like a crust. Slide out of pan onto a plate and slice. Enjoy

Crock-Pot Enchiladas

These were not anything fantastic, but it was good and keep us all happily fed. I always enjoy a good crock pot recipe that takes care of itself while I am busy doing other things and it doesn't heat up our house. We served it with a fresh green salad.

Crock-pot Enchiladas
1 lb. Hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion (I always use the whole onion)
1 can chopped green chilies
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
5-6 Tortilla
1 can Enchilada sauce
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
3 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I use Colby Jack because its always on hand-Cheddar might have made it taste better!)

Brown the hamburger, onions, green chilies. Drain and add taco seasoning according to package directions. Mix the enchilada sauce and soup together in a a bowl. Layer in crock-pot: 1 tortilla, meat, cheese, soup mixture. Repeat layers. Cook on low for approximately 4 hours. Top with favorite toppings-sour cream, avocado's, diced tomatoes, lettuce, etc.

In Need of Some Quick and Simple Summer Recipes!

I am finding this summer being pregnant that the 80-81 degree house demotivates me to do much cooking period. I haven't been cooking or trying many new recipes lately. If I do try one I haven't posted anything in a super long time for multiple reasons-- the HOUSE construction is the BIGGEST reason, and preparing for girls camp, and keeping my current home and yard nice and tidy, so that Jack doesn't have any more "to do's" on his list--building the house is preoccupying him completely. So today I will probably be doing a few post seeing that Hugh allowed me very little sleep last night and I am completely wiped out today with little motivation to do anything!
Today is one of those days I wonder what does everybody else prepared for their summer meals! I am begging for ideas and recipes if you are willing to share!!!!