Monday, August 31, 2009

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen Tortilla Soup mix in a jar


Soup mixes are a great gift idea! This recipe includes some canned ingred. so it will have to be added to a gift basket or Gift bag from the dollar store.

Tortilla Soup Mix in a Jar

Ingredients for Jar:
1 cup converted long grain rice
2 to 2-1/2 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips

Ingred. to add in the basket or gift bag
1 (5 oz.) can chicken
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 sm. can diced green chilies

Seasonings: Mix the following and place in a thin zipper sandwich bag.
2 T. chicken bouillon granules
2 t. lemonade powder with sugar
1 t. lemon pepper
1 t. dried cilantro leaves
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup dried minced onions

Size of jar: Quart
Place ingredients in jar in this order:

1. Place rice in jar first.
2. Place seasoning packet into jar next. Gently flatten bag so it is visible from all sides of jar.
3. Fill jar with tortilla chips.
4. Put lid on jar.
5. Decorate jar.
6. Attach the following recipe to jar.

Tortilla Soup
1. Carefully empty tortilla chips from jar into a dish. Set aside.
2. Remove seasoning packet. Set aside.
3. Place rice in large pan. Add 10 cups water and 1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies and seasonings from packet.
4. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
5. Add tortilla chips. Cover and simmer 5 more minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 12 cups soup.

Basket: Add the Jar mix, can of chicken, can of diced tomatoes & can of green chilies.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen Mocha Brandy Nut Balls


These are a No-Bake recipe & kept in an airtight jar in the fridge & use within a week. So if you are taking these to a Holiday party as a "thank you"... make these a day or 2 ahead. But They ARE irresistable!

Mocha-Brandy Nut Balls

1 c. crushed vanilla wafers (appx 22)
3/4 c finely chopped nuts

3/4 c powdered sugar

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp instant coffee powder (instant espresso powder is the best)

2 Tbsp brandy (or water)

1 Tbsp corn syrup

Granulated sugar or additional finely chopped nuts

In medium bowl, combine wafer crumbs, 3/4 c nuts, podered sugar & cocoa. Disolve the coffee in brandy or water, add with corn syrup to dry ingred. Mix well.

With wet hands, shape into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar or extra nuts. Soter in airtight container in a cool place up to a week. Makes 3 dozen.

Package these in colorful bon bon papers or mini cupcake papers. OR put in a airtight decorative jar from the dollar store.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen Sugar & Spiced Nuts

If these make it out as a gift before everyone eats them... it will be a miracle!
The smell of these baking will have the whole family drooling!!!

Sugar & Spice Nuts are a great gift OR Holiday party snack!
Sugar N Spice Nuts
3 cups mixed unsalted nuts
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon orange juice (or water)
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 275 degrees F. In large bowl, place nuts & set aside. In a small bowl, beat egg whites & orange juice (or water) until frothy. Add sugar, orange rind, spices & salt & mix well.
Pour over nuts, stirring to coat.
On a greased cookie sheet (with sides) or shallow roasting pan, spread nuts as a single layer & try to separate the nuts as much as you can. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until light brown & crisp. 45 - 55 min. Cool & store in airtight container up to 1 month.
** Holiday Packaging tips: Place in ziploc bags & add in a Holiday Tin.
If you sew or find holiday bags.... put in ziploc first & put in homemade cloth bag.
Find fancy airtight jars at the dollar store or use mason jars with lids & decorate the tops.
*** add to a "Men's" Gift basket with Hot sauces.... other snack items, apron etc.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen Chocolate Zucchini Bread

During this downtime in the economy, homemade Christmas gifts are "all the rage" this year.

Homemade gifts from your kitchen is ALWAYS appreciated & welcomed! They are inexpensive & you can make large batches to give to the Mail Person, neighbors, "secret santa" gifts, co-workers or take to a Holiday party as a "thank you".

This recipe is PERFECT for these Mini Loaf pans! They fit 8 at a time!

So for the next few days... will be bringing you some great Holiday gift recipes & ideas.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
1 large egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup shredded zucchini (squeeze out liquid & pat out excess liquid between paper towel)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate is the "yummiest")
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 325°F. Beat egg, oil, sugar and vanilla. Stir in zucchini. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to zucchini mixture and mix well. Pour into Mini loaf pans sprayed with non-stick spray (Pam) and bake at 325° for 50-55 minutes .

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Fried Green Tomatoes...
put on your Apron & we will get started.
This time of year is perfect to get Green Tomatoes.

About this time of year in many gardens, an excellent vegetable hangs on the vine, ready to be picked -- but it often is forgotten. I'm talking about green tomatoes. Unripe green tomatoes left at the end of the season frustrates many gardeners.

This is a WONDERFUL side for any meal or as an appetizer at your next party!
My kids even love them as their "veggie"!

Slice your firm Green Tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick.

Bowl #1: PANKO breading if you can't find Panko, use dry bread crumbs. But panko will make it alot crispier.

Bowl #2: Flour with a little salt & a little onion powder

Bowl #3: beaten eggs

either deep fry with Vegetable or canola oil OR pan fry in 1/2 inch oil.

Dredge your tomato sliced ... first in flour... then in egg ... then in panko or bread crumbs.

Deep fry or pan fry till golden brown. If pan fry, turn slices.

sprinkle with salt & serve warm & crispy with Ranch Dressing!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hide those Vegetables in your Kid's Food! Tomato soup

Tomato Soup!
Day 4 of getting veggies into your kid's Diet!

This is the Easiest recipe! 1 can of tomato soup, milk & 1/4 c V8 low sodium juice!

Make your soup as directed & add V8 juice! Loaded with vitamins!

Hide those Vegetables in your Kid's Food! Country Gravy

Day 3 of how to get those veggies in your kids!

Yummy... biscuits & gravy or Chicken fried steak with country gravy!

Make your own white sauce or packaged white country gravy. Add pureed cooked cauliflower.

For saugage gravy... add cooked breakfast sausage & serve over biscuits
Or leave plain for Chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes..
& REMEMBER some cauliflower in the mashed potatoes with your chicken fried steak!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hide those Vegetables in your Kid's Food! Mash Potatoes & Gravy

This is day 2 of recipes & tricks to hide vegetables in your kid's food!

See day 1 about pureeing cooked veggies.

Hamburger Gravy & Mashed Potatoes

Fry hamburger with onions & FINELY chopped Mushrooms.
Make a BROWN gravy with a mix, jar or your homemade.
Puree cooked green beans till smooth & add to gravy.

Homemade or instant Mashed Potatoes.

Make potatoes as normal or as instructed on the box. For instant... add more flakes.
Puree cooked Cauliflower & mix in to potaoes. Add a Tbsp or so of sour cream & extra butter.
Serve with "gravy".

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hide those Vegetables in your Kid's Food! Spaghetti

There are alot of tips on how to get your kids to eat vegetables. but the "pour cheese sauce on everything" was not the answer to my daughter! If she spotted even a SPECK of vegetable on her plate, the fight would start to get her to eat. So for the next few days, I will post my Tricks that even my husband didn't know just how many veggies HE was even eating!

Just about every kid loves spaghetti! This recipe can hide sooooo many veggies!
1 jar of Ragu, can of sauce OR your homemade sauce.

Fry hamburger rather than meatballs because you can hide more in the sauce. FINELY chop or food process fresh mushrooms or canned & add to the hamburger.
Now get out the food processer or blender because you want the veggies to be a smooth puree.

Cooked or steamed carrots ... cooked squash or V8 juice or all... will add all those vitamins!

Add to your sauce & they will NEVER know!

Come Back tomorrow & check out another great tip!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ranch Dressing... how versatile

I LOVE Ranch! Dressing AND Dry packets!
As Emeril would say "put it on a car bumper & it will taste good"

Well here are a few reasons I ALWAYS keep ranch dressing in my fridge & season packets in the cupboard!

* Marinade or dry rub
Chicken, beef, ribs & pork!!! Marinade in dressing or dry rub overnight before roasting or grilling. Try marinating CHICKEN WINGS with the bottled Ranch dressing!!!

* Mix dry packet with softened butter & use on your corn on the cob!

* Mix dry packet with sour cream & top your baked Potatoes

* Mix some dry in your Mashed potatoes. Add to instant potatoes to make them taste GREAT!

* Sprinkle Dry packet on sliced veggies & put on the grill!

* Slice Mixed Veggies in a foil packet & shake in some dry ranch. Cook in the fire or grill.

* Mix into Hamburger for REALLY good burgers. OR add to meatballs & make a sour cream gravy as appetizers.

* Make a white sauce & add either dry or bottled ranch... pour over egg noodles with some cooked chicken strips.

* Sprinkle dry mix into bread crumbs or panko breading & use for a breading for chicken, fish or deep fried veggies.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Semi-Homemade Recipes ... shrimp or crab spread

Cocktail Shrimp or Crab Spread
This is Sooo easy, you may think it can't taste good.
I have made this for parties so many times & every time it's a hit!

1 block of cream cheese
1 can of crab meat or tiny salad shrimp... drained
1 bottle of Cocktail sauce
ritz type crackers

Put the block of cream cheese on a plate.... pour about 1/4 to 1/2 bottle of cocktail sauce over it. Dump on crab meat or shrimp. That's it! Put crackers around on a plate & let guests spread with a little spread knife onto crackers. it's really colorful during the Holidays.
brought to you by

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Semi-Homemade Recipes ... Chicken Dip


Great Crockpot recipe! This is sooo good, my kids eat it like nachos for dinner!

Spicy Chicken Dip

1/2 rotisserie chicken from the grocery store OR leftover roasted chicken (2 or 3 cups chopped)
1 block cream cheese
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 can OR fresh roasted green chilies
Tortilla chips

Chop up the chicken.... clean chilies if your are using fresh roasted.
put cheese & soups in crock pot & slo cook till mixed & creamy. Stirring once in a while.
Add chicken & chilies... slo cook for about an hr or so.
Serve warm with Tortilla chips.

Perfect Party Dip!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Semi-Homemade Recipes ... Pound Cake dessert

Pineapple pound cake....

Try to resist saying "WOW" when you take a bite of this Dessert!!!
1 Sara Lee Pound cake
1 larger can of crushed pineapple
about 1 cup pineapple juice or you can use coconut milk for a "pina colada" taste
1 container of Cool whip
1/4 cup rum (optional with adults) omit if you have kids enjoying this dessert.

combine the juice from can of pineapple, extra pineapple juice (or coconut milk)
& rum. pour in a pan that fits the pound cake. Set the pound cake on top of juice mix... spoon a little over the top & let sit in fridge for about an hr or till the juice is soaked up into the bottom of the pound cake.

Mix the pineapple with the cool whip. When pound cake is ready... "frost" your cake with the pineapple cool whip. Cool i bit in fridge. Slice & serve!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Semi-Homemade Recipes ... Stuffing

Fast & tasty stuffing for your roasted chicken, turkey or cornish hens.... We love this recipe. Remember your apron & let's get cooking.

1/2 lb breakfast sausage
1/4 chopped onion
1 small can (or fresh) mushrooms Chopped
some poultry seasoning
2 boxes of StoveTop stuffing... chicken or turkey flavor.

brown the sausage & onions. add in the chopped mushrooms & a sprinkle of poultry seasoning, stir & cook for a couple min.

In a large pot... cook the stovetop as instructed EXCEPT... add the sausage mixture to the boiling water with butter part of the instructions. Then add the seasoned stuffing mixture.
after I let it sit covered.... then I stuff my turkey or chicken OR put in covered baking dish & put in the oven during the last 1/2 hr while the chicken or turkey is roasting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Semi-Homemade Recipes ... Baked Beans

brought to you by
Open a can & add some great ingredients & you have the perfect Semi homemade Baked Beans.

I have always had these baked beans. There is no better. I never order baked beans at a restaurant because they are always a soupy BBQ sausey yukky mess.
Take this to your next BBQ or Potluck & EVERYONE will want your "secret recipe"
1 lb Hamburger
1/2 an onion chopped
1/2 lb bacon
brown sugar

Brown your hamburger, onions & chopped bacon till fully cooked.
add beans, about 1 tblsp brown sugar & a couple Tbsp Ketchup. Mix.
Pour in a baking dish with a cover. Bake at 350 degrees till heated thru.
Serve as a side at your next BBQ!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Semi-Homemade Recipes ... Clam Chowder


This is the best clam chowder! With a few ingredients & opening a few cans, you will have a YUMMY Clam Chowder.

2 cans of Campbells Condensed Cream of Potato soup
1 can of chopped Clams
2 "cans of milk OR 1/2 & 1/2"
about 1/4 of an onion chopped

1/2 LB bacon.

Cut up bacon in small chunks.... fry to almost crispy. Add chopped onions & saute till soft.

in a pot.... add soup, milk (or 1/2 & 1/2 for thicker creamier) Mix & heat, Add bacon/onion mix & simmer. add salt & pepper if you like. Feel free to add more or less of any ingred. Make to your taste.

My Grandmother liked this recipe better than any of the restaurants she went to on the east coast!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Semi-Homemade Recipes ... Meat Buns

My mom always said, "a good cook knows what cans & boxes to open". For the next few days I will be posting some great recipes with ingredients that come from "pre packaged" items.

I cook this way alot... making up things & use my kids as "guinea pigs" LOL. Sometimes we have great food that I never remember how I made it the last time or some "clunkers".
But here will be some of the ones my kid's did not spit out & laugh at me.

Come back each day for the next few days & discover how you can make great meals or sides from things you may already have in your pantry, fridge or freezer.
So today's recipe will be "meat buns"

There are several different ones so try the ones you like or try them all!

First.... these all take Rhodes Dinner ROLLS dough.
I get the big bags at Sam's Club ... take out as many as I need & keep the rest in the freezer.
For quick thaw & rise ... put in a greased pan ... cover lightly with foil that has been sprayed with PAM or wiped with a little oil. Put in a 200 degree oven till they rise to double (about 1/2 to 1 hr)
NOW.... for Sloppy Joe Buns:

This has been the only recipe for Sloppy joes my grandmother... mother ... me & now my
daughters use.
2 lbs hamburger
about 1/4 of an onion chopped fine (optional)
1 can Condensed Tomato soup
1 can Condensed (campbells) Chicken Gumbo soup
1 tsp Worch. sauce.

Fry hamburger with onions till cooked well. Dump in soups & worch. sauce. Let cook with a lid PARTWAY open. Just so it won't bubble all over the stove but will cook down some. Let cool for Bun recipe.

OR...If you have leftover pork or beef roast...

Warm up roast & pull apart with 2 forks. Add a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce & simmer down. Let cool for bun recipe.

OR Ham, salami or pastrami & cheese:

Thin sliced deli meat & any cheese you like. Cut in small squares to fit in Bun.

OK.... Now that your rolls have risen... take out 1 roll & stretch into a circle in your hand (about 3 or 4 inches in diameter)

Put about 2 tsp or so of meat mixture (or deli meat & cheese) in the middle of the dough circle.

Fold up sides & seal... making a "bun".

Line up in greased pan or cookie sheet.

Cover with a light towel & put in a warm place & let rise again.

Brush with an egg/water wash & sprinkle with Sesame seeds (optional)

Bake at 350 for 20 min. Carefully separate Buns if they baked together & put back in oven for about 7 more min. If you used a cookie sheet & they stayed separated... just bake for 27 min.
Enjoy your fresh baked "Sandwich"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dutch Oven Cherry Clafouti

I have done alot of desserts in the dutch oven... but this one is fabulous! Share with your camping neighbors! So go get your apron & get ready to impress your friends and family!
Alton Brown's Dutch Oven Cherry Clafouti
 Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008
 Show: Good Eats Episode: Going Dutch 

12 ounces fresh or frozen cherries
 2 large eggs
 1/4 cup sugar
 1/2 cup whole milk
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
Butter, for the Dutch oven
 Directions  Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F or prepare charcoal for cooking outdoors by heating coals in a chimney starter until hot and ashy.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 5-quart Dutch oven. 
If using fresh cherries, rinse, stem and pit the cherries. If using frozen, place the cherries into a colander and allow to thaw completely before using. Discard the juice. Spread the cherries evenly over the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until frothy and lightened in color. Add the milk, vanilla and flour and whisk to combine. Pour the batter over the cherries. 
 Oven baking: Bake on the middle rack, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until golden on top and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle. 
 Outdoor coals: Place 18 to 19 coals on a Dutch oven table. Place a cooling rack, or other wire rack, that is at least 2-inches high, directly over the coals. Place the Dutch oven on the rack directly over the coals. Cover with the lid and place 22 to 23 coals on top. Cook with the lid on for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden on top and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle.  Allow to cool for 30 minutes before removing from the Dutch oven, slicing and serving