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January 27, 2009

Quick Apple Crisp

This was very yummy. This is another Pampered Chef recipe. It is indeed quick. My 11 yr. old helped me make it & it took us about 15 min. to prepare while our dinner was baking. That was from start to finish, peeling the apples to it being ready to go in the oven. This time I didn't use the nuts & I think I liked it better without them.

Quick Apple Crisp

5 Granny Smith apples

1 package (9 oz.) yellow cake mix

2 Tbs. sugar

1 T. ground cinnamon

1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted

1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Vanilla ice cream or thawed, frozen whipped topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Peel, core and slice apples using Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer. Cut apples in half with a sharp knife. (I cut mine into quarters). Place apples in deep dish baker (or a pie pan or 8x8 pan).

Combine cake mix, sugar, cinnamon, butter & nuts in a bowl (I used walnuts, but pecans would be good too). Mix until crumbly then sprinkle evenly over apples.

Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.

For the greatest Pampered Chef consultant in the Phoenix Metro Area contact Kelly!

Spaghetti Sauce Casserole

This is a very yummy casserole that most of my family loves. I got this recipe from my sil, Kristi.
Spaghetti Sauce Casserole
1 lb. hamburger
1 pkg. Spaghetti Sauce Mix
2 eight oz. cans tomato sauce
3/4 pint sour cream
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Tb. butter
mozerella cheese
parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°. Cook hamburger. Mix in Spaghetti Sauce mix & tomato sauce. Pour mixture in bottom of a deep dish baker (or pie pan). Spread sour cream on top. Spread cheese over, then lay out raw crescent rolls flat on top (do not roll them just lay them flat), putting the wide end of the rolls at the outside. The points of the rolls will overlap a little in the middle but that's alright. Melt butter & drizzle on top, then sprinkle parmesan cheese all over the top.
Bake at 375° for 18-25 min.

January 26, 2009

Darin's Super Scrumptious Spaghetti

Darin made this spaghetti for me on our second date & I joke with him that I fell in love with him for his spaghetti. (which of course isn't true - I love the man and the sketti)


1 - 16 oz package Spaghetti
1 - can Spaghetti sauce any flavor
1 - can Italian diced tomatoes
1 - green bell pepper (diced)
1 -red bell pepper (diced)
1 - med. onion (diced) - I prefer a sweet onions or the purple kind
1 lb Mild Italian Sausage (you can use hamburger if you prefer)

Brown Sausage in a skillet.

In a separate skillet grill the onion and peppers till slightly caramelized.

Add them to Sausage after it is fully cooked.

Add Sauce and Tomatoes. Mix Well. Let simmer while you boil spaghetti
I usually add a little salt to the water and 1 tsp E.V.O.O. while spaghetti cooks.

Drain but don't rinse (helps the pasta absorb more of the sauce).  You can either add spaghetti directly to sauce or put back into pot with 1 tsp of E.V.O.O. mixed in and serve separately.  I was cooking for a large group when taking these photos so I missed getting the pasta (maybe I'll add later) - that is also why it appears to be more in skillet then what recipe calls for.

Arizona's Beauty

After seeing Rachelles beautiful sunset photos, I thought I'ld add this one
I recently shot while going out to my Sister Bridgette's home.

Baked Mac-n-Cheese

My hubby hates the boxed Mac-n-Cheese, but he loves it when I make my baked version.

3 - boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (I like the Rotini style)
1 - 8 oz bag of Shredded Cheese
1 - 11 oz bag of Potato Chips (I like the Wavy Lays for this dish)
1 - pkg bacon (optional)
Butter & Milk (I don't measure so you'll have to eyeball it)

Preheat Oven
Boil Pasta - Turn off burner, then drain (don't rinse - a little tip I learned from Alton Brown - this will help the sauce cling to the pasta), let pasta sit in strainer. Rinse out sauce pot, place back on warmed burner and add about 2 Tablespoons of butter - once melted add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk. Stir in all three cheese packets. Whisk until smooth. Pour Pasta back into pot and stir cheese sauce with pasta until well blended. Spray Pam into 9x13 casserole dish. Pour 1/2 pasta into dish and spread evenly in dish.

Sprinkle 1/3 of cheese over pasta. Spoon remainder of pasta over cheese and spread in dish. Sprinkle the last 2/3 of cheese evenly over pasta. Use about 3/4 of the Potato chips and crumble them over all the cheese. Bake at 350' for 25 minutes - Cheese should be melted and chips slightly browned.

Extra: My hubby likes his with Bacon. I prefer mine without.
I cook bacon in the oven to help take some of the grease away from it. Use a cooling rack ontop of a cookie sheet - lay bacon across cooling rack. Bake at 350' for about 20-30 minutes. Keep an eye on it - it wont take much for it to burn. Take it out when it looks browned and crispy. Once bacon is done and cooled down. Blot with Paper towels, then crumble about 8 slices over 1/2 of the casserole before baking.


Fry Bread/Navajo Taco's

This is another of my family's favorite recipes! I love it when the kids come & ask me what I'm making for dinner & when I tell them they get excited. So here's the recipe for this yummy dinner/dessert! I got this recipe from a recipe book that several ladies from church put together. This one comes from my friend Nalene Dobbins.
Fry bread
4 c. flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1 T. shortening
1 T. (or 1 pkg.) yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1-1/2 c. scalded milk
Scald milk, then allow it to cool to lukewarm. Combine water, sugar and yeast. Set aside. Combine milk, shortening, salt, baking powder and 1/2 of the flour. Add the yeast mixture and mix well. Add the remaining flour. Knead 20 times. Let dough rest for 10 min. Roll dough 1/4 in. thick and cut into squares. Fry in a hot oil at 365°. This recipe makes about 12-15 small to medium size pieces.
I scald my milk in the microwave. Measure the correct amount, then put it in the microwave for 3 min. Then I put it in the freezer to cool to lukewarm. While I'm waiting for the milk to cool, I begin to mix the other ingredients as the recipe says to do. I periodically check on the milk so it doesn't get too cool. This is the way I've done this many times & it works for me so hopefully it will for everyone else as well.
I don't roll my dough out this way, I seperate them into balls & roll them out individually. The size just depends on how large of a piece you want. I generally make mine a little smaller since I have some small children that don't eat much. Then the older kids can have 2 or 3 if they want more.
Also, we eat this for dinner with beans, cheese, lettuce & tomatos. You can add salsa & any other toppings you may like. You can also eat it plain with just butter or as a dessert with butter & powdered sugar or honey. Yum Yum, enjoy!
Rachelle S.

January 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it's a new week & that means a new menu! Here's mine for this week! We almost always have veggies so I don't add those to the list (we don't have them with pizza or breakfast though).

Monday: Spaghetti Sauce Casserole & homemade tortilla chips

Tuesday: Cheesy Tortellini Bake & garlic bread

Wednesday: Fried Chicken (easy, out of the box from Banquet) & french fries

Thursday: Chicken & Rice Casserole (we were going to have this last week but didn't)

Friday: Pepperoni Pizza Twist

Saturday: Breakfast (scrambled eggs, fried potatoes & bacon)

Sunday: Our turn for extended family dinner~~Cheesy Potato Soup & homemade rolls

January 20, 2009

Bow Tie Alfredo

This is a very simple recipe. I'll tell you right up front that I don't make my alfredo sauce from scratch.
12 oz. bow tie pasta
15 oz. bottle of Bertoli Garlic Alfredo sauce
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper
Boil pasta. Warm Alfredo sauce. The sauce is a little bland so I add a little bit of garlic powder, salt & pepper. The sauce I buy does say garlic alfredo but I still add more. It would probably be better to add a clove of fresh garlic pressed. I'll have to try that next time. Once pasta is done, drain it & pour it back in pot. Add sauce to pasta & your done. Most of my family loves this one, especially my 7 yr. old.

Southwest Taco Pie

This is a Pampered Chef recipe for Southwest Taco Pie! Most of my family liked it (I'm not a big red meat eater so that much hamburger was a little too much for me).
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbs. cornmeal, divided
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. milk
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 c. chunky salsa
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded colby-jack cheese
1 c. shredded lettuce
1/2 c. chopped tomato
1/4 c. sliced, pitted ripe olives
sour cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 450. Lightly spray 9" stoneware pie plate with vegetable oil. Sprinkle 1 tbsp cornmeal evenly on bottom and sides on pie plate. Combine the remaining cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and oil, stir with fork until mixture forms a ball. Roll out to create crust, shape into pie plate. For filling, brown ground beef, drain. Stir in salsa. Spoon beef mixture into pie crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown & cheese is melted. Top pie with lettuce, tomato and olives. Garnish with sour cream & additional salsa, if you'd like.
For the greatest Pamered Chef consultant in the Phoenix Metro Area contact Kelly!

January 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here's our menu for this week...

Monday~Southwest Taco Pie (this is a Pampered Chef recipe)

Tuesday~bowtie alfredo

Wednesday~mock tacos (these are so easy) I completely forgot to take a picture of these, so next time!

Thursday~chicken & rice casserole (this didn't happen, we had leftovers)

Friday~family style calzones (this didn't happen either, we had pot pies instead)

Saturday~Navajo tacos

Sunday~ Extended family potluck (homemade pizza)

Pictures & recipes to come throughout the week!

Tuna Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole

2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 sm. or 1 lg. can tuna
1-16 oz. bag of egg noodles
1 c. miracle whip ( or mayo)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
more cheese for topping
Preheat oven to 450°
Boil noodles until they are soft. While they are boiling, mix soup & milk in a microwaveable bowl & microwave for 1-1/2 minutes then add 1 c. cheese to mixture & microwave another 1-1/2 minutes. Mix tuna & miracle whip in an extra large mixing bowl. Add soup/milk mixture to tuna mixture & mix well. When noodles are finished boiling add them to this mixture & mix well. Then pour half of mixture in a 9x13 baker & sprinkle cheese on top. Add the rest of the mixture & sprinkle a lot of cheese on top. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes.
I don't add any seasonings in the casserole, but I do like to salt & pepper it after. This is one of my families favorite recipes, it is the creamiest recipe I've ever had. I also like to make homemade rolls to go with this. My sisters like to add slivered nuts to the top, so that's an option if you like those.

January 13, 2009

Grandma's Enchilada's & homemade chips

sorry for the color, my camera was being weird & we have terrible lighting in the kitchen.
I learned this recipe from my mom, who learned it from her mom!
Grandma's Easy Enchilada's
(I add the "easy" part in, because there's no rolling involved here)
There's no actual written recipe here, so I'm just guesstimating as I go ;)
3 lg. cans (15 oz.) or 6 sm. (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1/2 sm. can El Pato Sauce
1 lb. hamburger
2 c. water
1/2 c. salsa
corn tortillas
Mrs. Dash (or any other hamburger seasoning)
Preheat oven to 450°. Add tomato sauce, el pato sauce (which can be found near the refried beans & other enchilada sauces), water & salsa into a large pot & bring to a simmer. Let this simmer while you cook the hamburger, season to taste. Then add to sauce. Once the sauce has been simmering for at least 30 min. total you can start putting the casserole together. In a 9x13 baking dish layer tortilla's (cut into 1/4), sauce, then cheese & continue this until the dish is almost full (leave about 3/4" from the top). Bake for 20 min. at 450°.
While my enchilada's are baking I make Homemade tortilla chips's to go with them. My family loves these! These are so simple, but just take a little time!
Cut tortilla's into quarters. Heat oil in a skillet on med. high. When the oil is hot place the tortilla pieces in the hot oil & cook them until they are crispy. I place mine in a large bowl with paper towels in the bottom to soak up the grease. As soon as you add more tortilla's in the pan salt the ones you just took out! You can also make these in a deep fryer, but don't ask me how because I don't own one & have never used one, but I know my sisters have made them this way before. I like to make some of the chips a little crispier & some not as much because different family members like them different ways & it's easy to accommodate! Enjoy!

January 11, 2009

A few beautiful things...

Yesterday when we were at my mom & dad's house the kids found a butterfly that wasn't flying away, so I was able to get some beautiful pictures of it. I figured that it must have been hurt since they said that they picked it up, usually they fly away too fast to be able to catch them. I saw after taking these close-up shots that the poor butterfly's wing had a piece torn off. Not only is the butterfly beautiful, but so are my dad's flowers!
This one is my favorite!
This is one of the many beauties of Arizona! We have some really beautiful sunsets. I was trying to take pictures while we were driving out to my brother's house tonight, most didn't turn out good since were were actually in driving mode. But I was able to get these shots when we stopped at the light, unfortunately the only shot had to have the electric wires in it! It's still beautiful IMO!

Menu Plan Monday

Here's my menu for the week! Watch for pictures & recipes through the week!

Monday: Grandma's enchilada's

Tuesday: tuna casserole

Wednesday: frozen pizza

Thurdays: beef & veggie stew

Friday: chicken pot pies

Saturday: chili & cornbread

Sunday: extended family dinner (I get a break!)

January 06, 2009

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the best recipe I've tried for chocolate chip cookies & believe me I've tried many. I've
search far & wide to find one that doesn't look 'cakey' when they are done. I got this recipe from the one, the only Betty Crocker, of course! Check out the recipe here! I actually love the dough more than the cookies, but the cookies are really good too! I'm sure it's because it has so much butter in it! Enjoy!

Chicken Enchilada's

This recipe I got from my sister Bridgette!

My dear, sweet husband Kent made this for us last night which might give those that know him a heart attack because he NEVER makes anything from scratch.  If you can't pull it out of the freezer and stick it in the oven he doesn't make it!

He was such a sweetheart to help me because I was so busy re-writing my essay for my English class that was due yesterday.  I realized as I was ready to start my conclusion that I wrote the whole thing wrong so I had to start over.

In the midst of my cramming to finish my paper I completely forgot to take a picture.  So I will try to remember to take a picture next time I make these and attach it here.  This recipe is very yummy and most of my kids (the ones who don't decide that they don't like it before they've even tried it) loved it!

Easy Chicken Enchilada's

(I finally got that picture taken)
2-3 lbs. cooked & cubed chicken
3-4 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
30 corn tortilla's-approx
1/2 c. salsa
shredded cheese (a lot~you can never have too much cheese!)
1 can olives, optional

Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix soup, sour cream, salsa and olives together until well blended, then add cooked chicken. I cube and cook my chicken in a skillet on the stove, adding my favorite seasoning that has no MSG in it, Mrs. Dash!  This is your sauce!  Layer corn tortilla's in a 9x13 pan (I cut mine into quarters first~I don't really know why that's just how my mom taught me to make enchilada's ~actually they do fit in the pan better this way).  Then layer sauce all over the tortillas, then a thin layer of cheese.  Continue to layer until the pan is 3/4 full!  Make sure to add a good amount of cheese on top.  Bake at 350° for 30 min. or until cheese is melted.

It's best to add your own homemade salsa, but store bought works well too!

January 04, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

There's a great site called I'm an Organizing Junkie that I got this great idea from. Once a week you plan your menu for the week.

I actually plan out a month's worth at a time. This has been a great way to prepare a shopping list & has saved us money shopping for groceries. It helps me not buy a lot of things that we don't need. I've been doing this for a few months & have been posting them on my private family blog, but I thought you all might like to see it here as well.

This is the way that I organize my menu planning. I use Google calendar, & type in at 6pm (which is the time we usually eat dinner) on each day what is on the menu for dinner that night. When I know there is a concert, soccer meet or other event that night then I will schedule it earlier. This helps me know when I need to start dinner to have it ready on time as well. I usually keep my calendar from the previous month, so I can space out how often we have each meal. I do a different type of meal each day of the week (see below). Then I actually go through & do all the menu's for Monday, then all for Tuesday, etc., so I can better keep track of the type's of meals we are having & don't repeat the same thing too often. After I've filled in the whole month I print out my calendar! If you don't want to do a whole month just print a blank calendar out & then you can pencil in each week at a time. I keep my calendar on the side of the fridge!

Our different type's of meals for each day of the week:
Wednesday~something fast & easy (this is our extra busy day, so we do something like chicken nuggets, pot pies--usually frozen & not homemade).
Thursday~chicken (chicken as the main dish)
Friday~pizza (a different type of pizza dish each week: homemade pizza, calzone's, etc.)
Saturday~ "Other" (this will be anything that doesn't fall in the other catagories, like Navajo tacos).

I have a list of all the different meals that fall under each of these catagories (at least all the one's my family will eat). See my list below. I hope this might help you get started! The ones that are highlighted in a different color are linked to the recipe! I'll try to add the recipes for those that need them as I make them!

Mexican: Grandma's enchilada's, taco's, taco salad, quesadilla's, fajita's, spaghetti sauce casserole, chicken enchilada's, chicken taco's, Southwest Taco Pie, tostada's.

Pasta: fettucine alfredo, spaghetti, lazy lasagna, tuna casserole, homemade chicken noodle soup, bow tie alfredo, chicken spaghetti, cheesy chicken tortellini, chicken alfredo, chicken lasagna alfredo.

Fast: chicken nuggets/fish sticks, fried chicken, frozen pizza, chili, pot pies, hot dogs, chicken salad sandwiches.

Chicken: yogurt chicken, grilled chicken, Monday Night Chicken, chicken & rice casserole, chicken enchilada ring, soy sauce marinated chicken.

Pizza: homemade pizza, family style calzone, english muffin pizza, pepperoni pizza twist.

Other: Navajo taco's, grilled cheese sandwiches, beef stew, breakfast (cheesy hashbrown casserole, chili relleno's), potato cheese soup, baked potato bar, mock taco's, chili, hot dogs/hamburgers on the grill.

Sides: veggies, funeral potato's, oven roasted potato's, rice, cornbread, dinner rolls, homemade tortilla chips, garlic bread, french fries, tater tots, roasted potato wedges, cheesy hashbrowns, salad, fried seasoned potatos, cinnamon chips.

So here is my menu for this week:
Monday~~chicken enchilada & homemade tortilla chips
Tuesday~~lazy lasagna & garlic bread
Wednesday~~hot dogs & french fries (easy, no recipe here)
Thursday~~baked potato bar
Friday~~homemade pizza
Saturday~~yogurt chicken & funeral potato's
Sunday~~extended family potluck

If you have any questions please feel free to post a comment here.

January 03, 2009

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

1 (20 oz.) bag of Simply Potato Hashbrowns (or any other thawed hashbrowns)

1 (10-3/4 oz.) can of cream of chicken soup

8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

3/4 c. sour cream

1/4 c. garlic powder

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix in the hashbrowns last. Place in a greased 2 qt. baking dish & sprinkle more cheese all over the top. Bake at 450 for 30 min. Enjoy!

We are having this dish tonight so I'll add the picture later!

Potato Cheese Soup

8 medium sized potato's
1 cup of broth
4 or 5 chopped green onions or 1 med. yellow onion
1 Tbs. parsley
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder or salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1-1/2 c. milk
2 Tbs. bacon (I use the Hormel Real crumbled Bacon Bits)
salt to taste
Peel & cube potato's, then boil until they are soft. Then I put this into my crock pot (on high) & add the rest of the ingredients. You can continue to cook this in a pot but I like to put it in the crock pot so I don't have to stir it as often. If you leave it in a pot on the stove you need to stir every few minutes so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. In the crock pot let it simmer for about an hour until everything is mixed well & it looks creamy. It should start to thicken & smell very yummy. Enjoy! You can add celery to this mix if you like.

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti
(this recipe is from our sis Kristi!)
3-4 chicken breasts (cooked)
1 pkg. spaghetti (cooked)
1 lg. can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
You can substitue any cream soups for the ones listed above. My family doesn't like mushrooms so I just added another small can of cream of chicken to substitute for the mushroom soup.
Boil the spaghetti as directed. Cut the chicken into cubes, cooked them in a pan on the stove & seasoned with Lawry's chicken/poultry seasoning or any of your favorite seasoning. While spaghetti & chicken are cooking, in a large bowl mix all the soups together, add some salt & pepper for more flavoring & about 1/2 cup. of cheddar cheese.

When chicken & spaghetti are finished cooking add them to the soup mixture. Then pour about half of this mixture in a 9x13 pan & sprinkle cheese over, then add the rest of the mixture & sprinkle more cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
I advise you not to do what I did and accidently buy the Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup, instead of the cheddar cheese soup. The nacho taste really didn't appeal to anyone in our family although they have loved this recipe when my sil, Kristi has made it for family dinners, so I'm pretty sure it was that nacho flavor that we didn't like.