Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Menu Plan for 1/03-1/07

Well he did lose his job so now we are on a tight budget. I'm hoping to spend only $100 a week for groceries, pet food, and supplies. We go through about a gallon of milk a day so that takes up a nice portion of my budget. This week's grocery list is quite small for actual food so this week I'm thinking I should come in under $100 which would leave wiggle room for future weeks. Again if I don't mention sides its because I plan on using something we have in stock in the house. I'm not planning lunches or breakfasts, yet, because we have plenty of things from food storage to use for those meals.

Meal #1
easy beef barley soup
Boston creme pie

Meal #2
chicken salad bake
fresh broccoli salad

Meal #3
satisfying cremini barley
bacon apple cider biscuits

Meal #4
fully loaded chili

Meal #5
marinated pork loin
homemade noodles
roasted veggies

Meal #6
Greek chicken sandwiches

Meal #7
turkey spaghetti casserole

Grocery Totals:
7 reduced deli items for 45 cents each, regular price $1.99 each, not on my list but a great option for the kids for lunch
green onions 2 bunches for $1
18 eggs $1.88
2.07 lbs gala apples $1.41, 68 cents a lb
1.70 lbs granny smith apples, 68 cents a lb
5 lb bag potatoes $1.99
3 packages frozen veggies 77 cents each
2 gallons milk $1.99 each
Total Spent: $17.39

2 green peppers $1.38, 69 cents each
2 haas avocados $1.47, 49 cents each
6 oz. spinach $1.99
3 packages frozen veggies $2.37, 79 cents each
6 lbs ground beef $8.07, 1.39 lb
1.20 lbs fresh broccoli $1.19, 99 cents lb (could have picked it up for 79 cents at another store way out of my way)
6 lemons $1
1.65 lb cauliflower $1.63, 99 cents lb
3.89 lbs bananas $1.91, 49 cents lb
cremini mushrooms $2.69
fresh mushrooms $1.99
mustard $1.39
instant pudding 50 cents
chocolate milk $1.50 (not on my list but my child really wanted it and he did sit still for his hearing test so I let him get it)
apricot preserves $2
applesauce $2.15
2.13 lbs pears $2.11, 99 cents lb
romaine lettuce 99 cents
2 cucumbers $1.38, 69 cents each
12 limes $2
1 lb dry garbanzo beans $1.35 (cheaper than canned and I'll freeze what I don't use after cooking)
1 lb dry northern beans $1.33 (same as garbanzo beans)
green lettuce 99 cents
1.98 lbs red grapes $1.37, 69 cents lb
grand total $46.05

Day old bread store
texas toast
english muffins
treats for the kids

1 lb pearl barley $1.29
tortilla chips $1.25
picnic roast $5.85, $2.12 a lb
quick cooking barley $1.99
5 frozen juices $5, $1 each
pita bread $2.29
4.19 lbs boneless skinless chicken $5.41, $1.29 lb
2 containers juice $2.50, $1.49 each
.66 lbs roma tomatoes $1.12, $1.69 lb
3 gallons milk $6, $2 each
feta cheese $1.99
ceasar dressing $1.99 (make all salad dressing from scratch except for this kind)
14 cans cat food 33 cents to 35 cents each
cat food $2.49
candy 79 cents
grand total $47.88

Total for the week: $124.52
We should not need anything except maybe milk at the store this week. Hopefully I can cut back on milk usage in the house.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Italian Pasta Casserole

This recipe turned out really good. The flavors blended well together and it was fairly easy to make. I had almost everything needed for this recipe in the pantry and freezer. I think most would have the items needed on hand. I did leave out the turkey pepperoni for two reasons. One we did not have pepperoni on hand and second I did not think it would really need the pepperoni. I was right. You don't need the pepperoni in the dish. I also subbed sweet Italian sausage for the sausage links. This recipe was found in the Taste of Home Healthy Cooking November 2008 issue.

2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cans (14 1/2 oz each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, crumble beef and sausage into a large skillet; add onion and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomatoes; tomato paste and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered 5 minutes.

Drain pasta; stir in meat mixture and pepperoni. Transfer half of pasta mixture to a 2-qt baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half cheese; repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

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Holiday Lettuce Salad

Once again a recipe for Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking November 2008 issue. The salad sounded good to me although I have never liked or made a "green" salad with fruit. However I really liked the salad as did Don and the kids. All the flavors blended together well to make a great tasting dish.

10 cups torn romaine
2 medium red apples, cubed
2 medium pears, cubed
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons grated onion
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped lightly salted cashews

In a salad bowl, combine the first five ingredients.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, corn syrup, onion, mustard, and salt. Pour over romaine mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cashews. Serve immediately.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Black Bean Soup

This was a pretty great tasting soup. Not too spicy, for me, and with some spice for Don. The kids would not try it but I really did not think they would. Its a pretty simple recipe and takes about 15 minutes prep with another 20-30 minutes for the cooking. So much better than a canned black bean soup. I found the recipe in the Taste of Home Healthy Cooking November 2008 issue. I did cook my beans from dried, I used 2 cups cooked beans for each can of beans. I also used chicken broth from the freezer.

3 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounce) diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions, undrained
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped green onions

In a small bowl, mash one can black beans; set aside. In a dutch oven, saute the celery, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, hot sauce, pepper, bay leaf, remaining beans, and reserved mashed beans.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in lime juice. Garnish each with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 1/2 teaspoons green onion.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Orange Bizcochitos

First off sorry about the picture. I could not get a picture that was not blurry. I guess I need to get working with the new camera as mine officially appears to be dying. Any way on to the cookies. I found the recipe in the Cooking Light November 2007 magazine. They were very easy to make and very tasty too. I was worried the kids would not like them but they could not get enough of them. Don kept going back for seconds and thirds and so forth. I guess everyone in the house really liked them. The had a light taste of orange and just a hint of the anise seed. There was no over powering taste and the flavors blended together very well. They were not the normal type of cookies I make or that we eat in this house but I see us making them often.

2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
1 1/2 teaspoons aniseed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add egg; beat 1 minute or until well blended. Add rind, aniseed, and vanilla; beat until well blended. Beating at low speed, gradually add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time; beat just until a soft dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Shape dough into a 10-inch log. Cut log crosswise into 4 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover and keep remaining portions in refrigerator), divide dough into 10 equal pieces on a lightly floured surface. Roll each dough piece into a ball; place dough balls 1 1/2 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Dip bottom of a glass in powdered sugar; flatten 1 dough ball with bottom of glass into a 2-inch circle. Repeat procedure with powdered sugar and remaining 9 dough balls.

Combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 10 dough circles evenly with 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon mixture. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned around edges. Cool on pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat procedure 3 times with remaining dough, powdered sugar, and cinnamon mixture.

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Teriyaki Veggie Wraps

This is a very fast and easy light dinner or lunch. I was leery if I would like it but I ended up really liking it. Even the kids ate the wrap, which is quite a feat in this house. One thing I would do different next time is leave the cheese out. I didn't think the cheese added anything to the wrap. I found this recipe in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Oct/Nov 2008 issue.

1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons reduced sodium teriyaki sauce
2 flour tortillas (8 inches) warmed
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend

In a small nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute the green pepper, onion and garlic in oil for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook 3 minutes longer. Stir in teriyaki sauce; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Spoon vegetable mixture down the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese; roll up tightly.

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Tangy Spinach Salad

I love spinach salad and this one is no exception. The flavors blended together well and I even ate some of the hard boiled egg. Even the kids liked the salad. The dressing is sort of a sweet and sour mixture. The chow mein noodles didn't do much for the salad so if your missing that ingredient I'd go ahead and make the salad without them. Very simple salad and salad dressing to make. If your looking for something easy and good this is a great recipe to try. I found this recipe in the Taste of Home Simple and Delicious October 2008 magazine.

3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried onion
1 package (5 ounces) fresh baby spinach
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/3 cup chow mein noodles
1/3 cup real bacon bits

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the first six ingredients; shake well.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, eggs, chow mein, and bacon. Drizzle with dressing. Refrigerate leftovers. 6 servings.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dijon Crusted Chicken Breasts

This recipe came from Taste of Home's healthy cooking magazine November 2008 issue. I forgot to take a picture until most of the chicken was eaten so its not a great picture, sorry. I really liked the flavors from this chicken but I had a few problems. One being the crusted portion stuck to the pan. The second is I used chicken breasts that were a little on the thick side. If your going to use a piece of meat that is thicker the crust burns while your waiting for it to cook. Next time I'd use smaller pieces of chicken breasts or pound the breast into a smaller size. Overall though I think this was a very easy dish to make and was really good.

1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 ounces each)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter

1. Place the first four ingredients in a shallow bowl. Brush chicken with mustard; roll in crumb mixture.

2. In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil and butter over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until juices run clear.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Menu Plan 12/26-1/01

I've never been a person who really likes to plan out meals. I usually stick to a simple rotation system, which I think I've posted about on this blog in the past, but its usually a rough time line that allowed me to change it according to my cravings or desire that day. Well things have to change as my husband may be losing his job and the fact our house is being overwhelmed by cooking magazines and cookbooks. So I've sat down and plotted out the next week's menu and we will see how things go for us. I've decided not to do a breakfast menu for the time being and lunches will only be planned for my husband's days off from work as those are our weakest times for eating out. My goal is to shop once for the week with the possibility of needing to run out for a few items that are perishable. So here goes the plan for the next week, I won't be shopping until Saturday so Friday's menu is still sort of up in the air for sides:

12/26 Dijon crusted chicken breasts

12/27 Lunch- out while running errands
Dinner Teriyaki veggie wraps, tangy spinach salad

12/28 Lunch Annabelle's American Hero Sub
Dinner Black bean soup, rustic dinner rolls, and orange cookies

12/29 Italian pasta casserole, holiday lettuce salad

12/30 pork cutlets with capers, savory brussel sprouts

12/31 beef red pepper pasta, artichoke bread

1/01 Lunch creamy fettuccine, zucchini parmesan
dinner hot dogs with sauerkraut (my family's New Year's Eve tradition)

I'll be posting pictures and recipes for all dishes we really liked. If I don't post and your interested in the dish let me know and I will get the recipe for you. I know everyone's tastes are different.

Update: I spent $160 at the store today. Not too bad considering my produce stand is closed until after the first of the year and the fact I needed a few things that were not for the above menus. My goal was to spend about $150 but I came in at around $100 for the items needed for the menu plan and $60 for the other stuff.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Sweet Chili

I noticed this recipe on Laura's blog, , a few weeks ago and wanted to give it a try. Don is so picky about his chili that I purposely waited until I was making navajo tacos to make this recipe. Don ended up liking the chili on the tacos but says he would not eat it plain. Overall the recipe was really good. I really liked the dish. I changed a few things:
I used tomato sauce instead of tomato soup.
I added two cloves of minced garlic to the meat and onions.
I used 2 cans of chili beans with sauce instead of five cans of beans.
I also did not use the tomato paste.
I also simmered it for several hours.

The original recipe-
In a soup pot:
Brown 1 1/2 pounds ground beef and one medium onion. Drain off grease.

The add:
5 (15 oz) cans of kidney beans, undrained
2 (6oz) cans of tomato paste
2 cans tomato soup
4 tsp chili powder
3/4 cup brown sugar

Simmer for one hour.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brown Sugar Crackle Glazed Turkey

I've fallen in love with the brown sugar turkey deli meat in the local deli. So imagine my delight to stumble across a recipe for brown sugar glazed turkey in the November 2008 issue of Sunset magazine. I used a turkey breast instead of the whole turkey. Mainly because we really only eat the white meat of the turkey and because I had several sitting in the freezer thanks to a misprint on labels at the local grocery store. I picked up several organic turkey breasts for 49 cents a lb because of the misprint on the labels. Anyway this recipe do not disappoint. It was really really good. I can't wait to make it again. For some reason the glazed burned on the bottom of my pan so I suggest using something under the turkey like foil. I used half of the following recipe for the turkey breast since the recipe was for a 18-24 lb turkey.

In a small bowl, mix 2 cups packed light brown sugar, 5 tbsp dijon mustard, and 2 tsp coarsely and freshly ground black pepper. When turkey has about 45 minutes left to cook (breast temperature at the bone will be about 135 degrees for birds up to 18 lbs, and about 145 for larger ones), spread with half the glaze. Cook 20 minutes. Brush with remaining glaze and cook, sliding folded strips of foil between bird and grate if edges of turkey begin to get too dark, and draping any other dark areas with foil, until thermometer registers 160 degrees. Makes enough to glaze a 12-24 lb turkey.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mostaccioli Beef Casserole

I've been working on cleaning out the huge pile of magazines in the house and cleaning out the freezers and cupboards. This recipe, taken from a magazine in the pile, took items from both places. It turned out pretty tasty. A bonus being quick and easy. Don went back for thirds and for him to go back three times means it must be pretty good. I found the recipe in the March/April 2008 issue of Simple and Delicious. I didn't have mostaccioli pasta so I subbed elbow macaroni. I also through in a minced clove of garlic because well I just love garlic.

8 ounces uncooked mostaccioli

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 cup chopped green pepper

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce

1 jar (4 1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

3 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Cook the mostaccioli according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in the tomato suace, mushrooms, chili powder, sugar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Drain mostaccioli; toss with butter. Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce into a greased 2 1/2 qt baking dish. Top with half of the mostaccioli, meat sauce, and cheese. Repeat layers.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.

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Gingerbread Men

I'll admit the kids and I have no talent for decorating cookies however these cookies were very good despite the awful decorating. I did discover that the kids do not like gingerbread cookies. Don and I really liked them. I was leery at first because the recipe called for fresh ginger which I've never used in a cookie before but you can't tell at all that you used fresh ginger. The smell from the cookies cooking made the house smell good and we had several neighbors stop and ask about them. I found the recipe in the Marth Stewart Baking handbook.
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1/4 teapoon ground cloves
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 large egg
1/4 unsulfured molasses
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, both sugars, and fresh ginger on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in egg and molasses to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixer, beating until just incorporated. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and shape into flattened disks; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets wtih parchment paper; set aside. Remove dough from the refrigerator, and let stand until slightly softened. (This will help keep the dough from cracking when rolled.) On a large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. To prevent sticking while rolling, occasionally run a large offset spatula under the dough, and add more flour. Place parchment paper and dough on another baking sheet; freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.
Remove dough from freezer; working quickly, cut out with large cookie cutters. (If dough begins to soften too much, return to the freezer for a few minutes.) Using a wide metal spatula, tansfer cutouts to prepared baking sheets; chill until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are crisp but not darkened, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Marshmallow Wreaths

This was a fun idea for the holidays. Bonus being it was quick and easy to make. I found the idea in a book titled Reindeer Crunch and other holiday recipes. It suggested using ribbon to make them look more like wreaths but these barely lasted long enough to cool to the touch in our house. The recipe called for them to be cooked in the microwae but I don't have one so I'm posting the recipe as I did it on the stovetop.

4 tablespoons butter
1 10.5 ounce bag mini marshmallows
3-4 drops green food coloring
3 cups corn flakes
1 cup crisped rice cereal
1/2 cup mini cinnamon candies

Melt butter in a large pot. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Add food coloring to the marshmallows (I forgot to do this here and added it after I added some cereal so it works both ways) and stir. Add cornflakes and rice cereal to marshmallow mixture and stir until mixture is mixed throughly.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Pour the entire mixture onto the baking sheet. Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the cereal mixture into 6-8 equal parts. Shape each part into individual ring shapes. The mixture will be hot.

Press cinnamon candies on top of wreaths.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lion House Rolls

I made these rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. They sounded almost too complicated to make but I'm glad I did as they were quite tasty. I ended up making them again on Sunday just because I really liked them. Dh thought they were pretty good too. They were soft and fluffy. I'm sure these will be made often in out house. I found the recipe in the Lion House Christmas cookbook.

2 cups warm water
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (instant or non-instant)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
5 to 5 1/2 cups flour
In large bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine water and milk powder; stir until milk dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are moistened, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 2 cups flour; mix on low speed until ingredients are moistened, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. (Dough will be getting stiff, and remaining flour may need to be mixed in by hand.) Add about 1/2 cup flour and mix again, by hand or mixer. Dough will be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff. (It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour.)
Scrape dough off sides of bowl and pour about one tablespoon vegetable oil all around the sides of the bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so it is covered with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until double in size, about 45 minutes.
Scrape dough out onto floured board. Turn dough over so it is floured on both sides, gently flatten to about 1 inch thick. With rolling pin, roll out to a rectangle about 18 inches long, 8 inches wide, and 1/4 inch thick. Brush with melted butter. With pizza crust or very sharp knife, cut dough in half to make two strips about 4 inches wide. Make cuts through strips of dough every two inches, making about 18 pieces of dough.
Starting with the short end, roll up one piece of dough, with butter on the inside. Place roll on parchment lined pan with other short end down on the paper. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Be sure all rolls face the same direction on baking pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light to medium golden brown. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lion House Chicken and Wild Rice

This recipe came from the Lion House Christmas recipe cookbook. Dh and I really liked the dish. The kids not so much. I will admit it was a little spicy but only because I had a cold and couldn't taste it so I kept adding spices to the sauce. Dh loved the fact it was spicy. I did not use the lemon juice as I don't really like lemon flavoring with my chicken, weird I know, so I subbed 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar. Overall its a recipe that will be used often in our house but I think I will be tinkering with the recipe some to cater it to our tastes. If your not familiar with the Lion House its a local resturant in Utah that is a popular place to eat.

6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 cups flour
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
4 cups milk
2 cups oil
1 recipe sauce, see below
1 recipe wild rice, see below

Divide the flour in half and put in two separate bowls. In the first bowl add chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Place raw chicken into the other bowl and coat evenly with flour, making sure to remove any excess flour. Pour milk into a third bowl. Place chicken from flour into milk, one at a time. Remove and put each breast into seasoned flour to coat. Heat a large frying pan with oil on medium high heat. Place each piece of meat in oil and cook approximately 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. When browned, place chicken on a baking sheet in a 365 degree oven. Cook until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees on meat thermometer.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups diced onion
3/4 cup flour
8 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and saute onions until translucent. Add flour and stir until smooth. Let cook until slightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add milk, cayenne, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco Sauce. Simmer over medium heat until thickened. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over baked chicken just before serving.

Wild Rice
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup white rice
1/2 cup wild rice
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in saucepan. Add white and wild rice and stir over medium heat until white rice begins to brown. Add water and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Serve with chicken.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crockpot Creamy Ranch Chicken

This is one of my standby recipes. I can get everyone in the house to eat it and its an easy meal to make. You can serve it with rice or noodles, whichever your in the mood for that day.

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast (boneless and skinless) or tenders
8 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons italian salad dressing mix, from a package or your own mix
1 package ranch dressing mix or 1/4 cup of your own mix
Brown chicken on stove and then place in crockpot. Add about 2 tablespoons water and sprinkle the italian salad dressing over the top and the butter. Cook for 3-5 hours on high or 7-9 hours on low. One hour before serving shred the chicken and put back in the crock pot with the juices. Add the cream cheese and mix. Add the ranch dressing and cook for another hour. Serve warm over rice or noodles.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Twice Baked Potatoes

I was watching Cook's Country on PBS the other day and they made twice baked potatoes. Now I didn't follow their recipe but I did take a few things they did to make my potatoes. These were really tasty and loved my everyone who ate them. I wish I had some roquefort cheese to add because it would have made these potatoes the best I've ever eaten.
5 potatoes, russets are best but I used red
Bake them until tender. Allow to cool. Turn on side and cut off the top 1/4 of the potato. Reserve the cut off section.
Scrape the insides of the potato but not all the way to the edge. Save some potato near the skin so the potato won't collapes. On the fifth potato no need just scrape out all of the potato.
Add all the scraped out potato plus scrape the potato off the sections you cut off. Place in bowl and add about 3 tablespoons butter. Mix together with a mixer. Add about 1/3 cup half and half or until the potatoes reach the consistency you prefer. Add one garlic clove minced. Salt and pepper to your taste.
Optional- add 4 slices of cooked bacon chopped
Add 3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives. You can sub dried chives if you want but don't add as much. Mix everything together then add about 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese.
Take the potato shells and spread melted butter on them. Place in 475 degree oven for 15 minutes to crisp the shells. Remove from oven and
add the potato mixture to the shells. Top with some fresh chopped chives and sprinkle with cheese. Cook at 475 for 15 minutes or until it starts to brown.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Winner of the contest

Louise!! Email me at with your address and I'll get those in the mail to you next week.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Diner Style Pork Chops and Gravy and A Contest

First the contest, just respond to this post with your all time favorite dish to make for Thanksgiving (post the recipe if you want) and on Friday I'll draw a name to win a package of Ziploc Zip n' Steam bags. There are 7 large bags in the package.
Second the pork chops. I found the recipe in the 30 minute section of December's Cooks Country magazine . I looked at the picture and knew my husband would love the recipe. I was surprised myself when I liked the dish. The kids ate everything put in front of them although I didn't give them gravy. The flavors melded together well and this recipe will be a favorite pork chop recipe of mine. I had never had never used fennel before when cooking gravy so it was a new twist and one that I liked.
8 slices bacon, chopped
4 bone in rib or center cut pork chops about 1 inch thick
salt and pepper
1 onion halved and sliced thin
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel
1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1. Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until crisp; about 5 minutes, transfer to paper towel lined plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from skillet. Pat chops dry and season with salt and pepper. Cook chops in skillet until well browned and meat registers 145 degrees, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to serving platter and tent with foil.
2. Add onion to fat in skillet and cook, uncovered, until softened and browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in flour, fennel, sage, and cook until flour is absorbed, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth and milk, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in reserved bacon and any accumulated pork juices and season with salt and pepper. Pour gravy over chops. Serve.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Ranch Style Chili

I've been looking at this recipe in my Cook's Country magazine for at least a year now and I finally decided to make it. I'll admit I wasn't too into this chili. The flavors just seemed "weird" to me. However my dh and father loved the chili.

I did make a few changes to the original recipe. I used pork stew meat in place of the Boston Butt roast, mainly because I had it on hand and I am trying to use things up from my freezer. I also used dried pinto beans that I cooked before adding them to the chili. Again because I didn't have any canned pinto or kidney beans in the house.

3 1/2 lbs boneless Boston Butt roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper
8 slices of bacon, chopped fine
1 large onion, minced
3 large jalapeno chilies (about 2 1/2 inches long), seeded and minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 cups water
2 16 ounce red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1. Toss pork cubes with salt and pepper; set aside. Fry bacon in large, heavy soup kettle or dutch oven over medium heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to plate lined with paper towels; pour all but 2 teaspoons into small bowl; set aside.

2. Increase heat to medium high, add half of meat to now empty pot and cook until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer browned meat to bowl. Brown remaining meat, adding another 2 teaspoons of bacon fat to pot if neccessary. Transfer second batch of meat to bowl.

3. Reduce heat to medium low and add 3 tablespoons bacon fat to now empty pot. Add onion, jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, and oregano; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are beginning to turn brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and brown sugar; cook until just fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add diced tomatoes and scrape pot bottom to loosen browned bits. Add reserved bacon, browned pork, and water; bring to a simmer. Continue to cook, uncovered, at slow simmer until meat is tender and juices are dark and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.

4. Add beans, reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and serve with condiments.

Some good choices for condiments:
diced fresh tomatoes, lime wedges, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, sour cream, and shredded Montrey Jack or cheddar cheese.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scoop and Bake Rolls

Easy to make rolls that taste pretty good too. I don't remember where I found the recipe but I've had it for awhile now.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 cup water , heated to 110 degrees
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Maintain temperature for 10 minutes, then turn off oven. Grease muffin tin.

2. Whisk 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in large bowl. Whisk in water, butter, and egg until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add remaining flour and mix with rubber spatula until just combined. Cover bowl with greased plastic wrap and place in warm oven until batter has doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

3. Remove batter from oven and heat oven to 375 degrees. Punch dough down. Scoop batter evenly into muffin tin. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until batter nearly reaches rims of muffin cups, about 15 minutes. Remove plastic and bake until rolls are golden, 14 to 18 minutes. Serve. (Rolls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.)Make Ahead: After being covered with greased plastic wrap in step 3, the batter can be refrigerated in the muffin tin for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, let the batter sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fun contest

A friend of mine is having a fun contest over on her blog. Enter her contest and check out her great blog.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Night Dinner

"Eyeballs over ants"


I decided to try something different and fun for dinner on Halloween. I settled on meatballs with rice and breadsticks. The dinner turned out cute and I had fun making it even if I ended up making the breadsticks from canned dough (ran out of time).

Breadsticks, I saw this in a magazine but not sure which one probably Family Fun
1 can of refrigerator breadsticks
3 tablespoons butter
seasonings of your choice
Unroll breadsticks, cut in half. Take each half and cut up about 1/4 of the way on both sides. Roll the cut edges into knobs so they look like bones. Cook according to package directions. After cooked spread melted butter over the bones and add the seasonings of your choice.

Meatballs adapted from The Lion House Christmas cookbook
3 slices bread (white or wheat)
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten well
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcehstire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, soak bread slices in milk until soft. Add eggs, ground beef, onion, and seasonings; mix until well blended. Shape mixture into 3/4 inch or 1 inch balls, place meatballs on shallow baking sheets and bake 10 to 15 minutes.

2 cups ketchup
1 cup grape jelly
Mix well.

Add meatballs to crockpot and pour ketchup mixture over the top and cook on high for about 2 hours. Serve over rice.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe in the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and it has become the only sugar cookie recipe I use anymore. I've frosted them with different kinds of frosting over the years. Martha suggests a royal icing, which is good but not a favorite of mine. My favorite frosting on these sugar cookies has been a cream cheese frosting. This year I was lazy and asked my sister for the leftover frosting she had from Cutler's for my cookies. These cookies are really good without frosting too. These cookies do take time to make but they are so worth it. Much better than any sugar cookie mix or the refrigerator cookies.

4 sticks (1 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt; mix on medium high speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour in two batches, mixing just until incorporated.

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and pat into flattened rectangles; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

Preheat the oven to 350 F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one rectangle of dough to a scant 1/4 inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Using a small offset spatula, transfer shapes to prepared sheets, placing about 2 inches apart. Chill in freezer or refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes. Set scraps aside. Repeat process with remaining rectangle of dough. Gather all scraps, and roll out again. Chill 15 minutes; cut out more shapes, and place on sheets.

Decorate cookies with sanding sugar or sprinkles, if using, before baking. Bake, rotate sheets halfway through, until cookies are golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with frosting, if using. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed or parchment paper, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Family Pleasin’ Shepherd's Pie

I saw this recipe on a blog and just had to make it that night for dinner. It was very good. I really liked the mashed potatoes on top. The mashed potatoes were done a little different then any other recipe I've tried on the top of shepard's pie and its for sure the way I'd make the potatoes for shepard's pie in the future. I did leave the cumin out because its not really a flavor I like. Everyone but the kids like the dish.
I found the recipe here:
Mashed Potato Topping
4 lbs peeled cubed potatoes
½ Cup butter, 1 stick
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ teaspoon cumin
¾ Cup warm milk
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon garlic salt, Lawry’s
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Meat and Vegetable Layer
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic salt, Lawry’s
1 15 oz can green beans, drained
1 15 oz can mixed veggis, drained
26 oz can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes, pureed in food processor or blender
2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Place potatoes in a large pot of water and boil for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain then place into a stand or electric mixer. Beat until well mashed then add remaining potato ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef, salt, pepper and garlic salt; cook until browned and crumbled. Stir in beans, vegetables and pureed tomatoes. Pour meat mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish or individual size baking dishes. Top with mashed potatoes then sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted. For crispy cheese topping bake uncovered, for oozing cheese, cover with foil after 15 minutes of baking. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lemon Raspberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Sorry the picture is really bad on this one. I tried over 30 pictures of these muffins and couldn't get a decent picture. I would have tried again in the morning but every muffin was gone by morning. This muffin was very good. I'll be making it again soon. The lemon and raspberry flavors together were tasty and the topping really helped to make the muffin. I found the recipe here:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup of milk
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Zest from 1 lemon, chopped finely
8 oz fresh raspberries (frozen would work too)

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup of white sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cold butter, chopped into pieces
Combine all ingredients with fingers until flaky and crumbly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; blend well. In another bowl, combine melted butter, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and eggs; mix thoroughly. Slowly stir egg mixture into the flour mixture until well blended. Add the raspberries and mix slowly and carefully. Spoon batter evenly into greased muffin tins. Top each muffin with streusel topping. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until lightly browned (don't over bake).

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love these cookies. I discovered the recipe last year after receiving about 3 pie pumpkins from our csa. These cookies are not the bright orange color as you see at the store but they taste so much better. I found the recipe here:
The recipe mentions keeping the cookies cold. While it might not be necessary I find they taste better when cold. However others in my family do not agree. I use 1 cup fresh roasted pie pumpkin for the canned pumpkin.
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Beef with noodles and gravy

This is a made up as I went recipe that ended up being so good. Seriously, even my pickest eater went back for thirds on this dish. Sadly I didn't make alot of it and there was no leftovers. Things I would do differently, I think I'd add some sliced onions to the meat when it is thrown into the crockpot and maybe some mushrooms too. And as usual garlic. I love garlic and why I didn't think of adding any I don't know. This was simple and so easy.
2 lbs tenderized round steak, cut into 2 inch pieces
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
Mix the flour and seasonings. Coat the steak pieces with the flour. Cook in a hot pan with a swirl of oil until brown. Place the steak in a crockpot with about 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Add 2 packets of gravy mix (or you can use homemade gravy), brown, onion, mushroom, or beef flavored.
Add the water for the gravy mix.
Stir into crockpot and cook until thick.
Meanwhile, cook some noodles. I used Country Pasta noodle but the frozen Grandmother kind would be great too. Or even homemade egg noodles. I didn't measure how much noodles I cooked so just decide how much your family may eat.
Now you can serve in one of two ways:
1. Place noodles on plate and add the gravy and meat to the top.
2. Mix the noodles with the gravy and meat. The serve on the plate.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pumpkin Pie

Another fall and that means more pie pumpkins from my CSA. Canned pumpkin does not match the taste of fresh roasted pumpkin. Roasting the pumpkin doesn't take much time and I promise you the taste is much better than the canned squash they pass off as pumpkin in the cans. I did change on thing in the recipe, I used one can of sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. The pies my mom made when I was growing up were made with the sweetened condensed milk and I don't like pies made anyother way. I found the recipe here, this is a different recipe than I posted last year:

1 sugar pumpkin
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
2 eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Cool until just warm. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel. Either mash, or puree in small batches in a blender. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C.)
In a large bowl, slightly beat eggs. Add brown sugar, flour, salt, 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and evaporated milk. Stir well after each addition.
Pour mixture into the unbaked pastry shell. Place a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust to prevent over browning.
Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the strip of foil about 20 minutes before the pie is done so that the edge of the crust will be a light golden brown. Cool pie, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes

My sister decided that she had to have the red velvet cake I made for the 4th of July at our family activity this past week. However instead of cake she wanted cupcakes. Honestly, although I only tried one since she swiped all the cupcakes, I think I prefer the cupcakes over the cake. These would be really fun for Halloween if you decorated it for the holiday but I'm thinking they would make a fun dessert for Christmas.
Here's the link to the cake recipe. I followed it exactly except I cooked the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, you will need to start checking them at around 15 minutes, please don't take the time it took mine to cook as a set in stone cooking time. The cake recipe made 24 cupcakes and I halfed the frosting recipe.

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Lima Bean and Ham Soup

This is another one of those recipes that somewhere I probably had a recipe for but over the years I've just adapted it to our family and tastes. Its simple and easy to make and can even be done in the crockpot if you want. Even the kids will eat this. The longer you let it simmer the more flavor the soup gets.
1 lb dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight and drained
4 carrots chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 ham hock, I prefer ham hocks but you can do this with ham pieces
seasonings to taste, I use salt, pepper, bay leaves, and tabasco sauce
Place all ingredient, except water and seasonings in a large stock pot (or crock pot), add water to cover (use a little less if using the crockpot). Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 2 hours keeping an eye on the water, add more if needed. Also add 2 bay leaves. If your doing this in a crockpot place on high for 6 hours. After the two hours remove the ham hock (if using) and shred. Return meat to soup. Taste and adjust seasonings. Simmer until thick or to the consistency you prefer. Add more water as necessary. Serve
I do not add salt and pepper until near the end. Salt seems to make my beans tough so I prefer to have them soft before I add any salt. Also if your using ham or ham hocks it does add some sodium to the soup so always taste before adding the salt.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Butternut Squash Cake

Sorry the picture isn't great however I can't get another picture because all the cake is gone. I had my doubts if the kids would eat it but they ate one piece and kept coming back for more. This cake smelled delicious cooking and was simple and easy to make. Overall it was a winner in this house. I also think making a cream cheese frosting would be a great way to serve this cake. I found the recipe in the Land O Lakes harvest baking magazine.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup peeled shredded butternut squash
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ginger puree or finely grated fresh gingerroot (or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 8 inch square baking pan, set aside. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Combine squash, brown sugar, butter, egg, ginger, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Beat until well mixed.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 23 to 27 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken #2

I love sweet and sour chicken. I have to force myself not to make it and eat it on a regular basis. I few months back I posted a sweet and sour chicken wing recipe that I've eaten all my life. My mom received the recipe from a family friend in New Mexico and its a favorite in our family. Back when we were growing up we made it with the wings all the time because wings were cheap meat back then but now that chicken wings have become a favorite they are a little pricey. Yet I still have cravings for the dish so I've come up with a great way to enjoy the food without the price of chicken wings. I use breaded uncooked chicken tenders, which I can usually find at a local store called Winegar's mismarked for $1.49 for a 20 lb box. Here's the originial recipe calling for wings but without a picture:

For the dish I made tonight I just fry the breaded chicken on the stove top just until crispy and brown. Then I make the sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons ketchup
Mix sauce, heating until sugar dissolves.
I then place the chicken tenders on a cookie sheet and cover them with sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until cooked, turning chicken over every five minutes.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Black Forest Brussels Sprouts

I like brussels sprouts. No one else in my family does but I really like them. Over the weekend I bought a huge bag of fresh brussels sprouts at Costco and was going to steam them and add butter and garlic like usual. Lucky for me the November issue of Rachel Ray's magazine arrived in the mailbox. I have to say I loved this recipe. The sprouts lost a little of their bitter flavor and turned a not really sweet but different flavor. I tried my hardest to get others in the family to try them but no takers. They really don't know what they missed out on.

3 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
12 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the brussels sprouts for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes; drain, reserving the bacon fat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet, then stir in the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add the brussels sprouts and cook, tossing, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the onions and half the bacon; season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining bacon.

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Taco Pasta Bowl

I noticed this recipe in the local newspaper, the Standard Examiner, and thought it was something we'd like. I guess its suppose to be like the bowls that Taco Bell is selling only a healthy take on it. Overall it was pretty good and given the fact the kids actually ate some makes it a winner in my book. I changed a few things from the original recipe. I added onions and garlic to the ground beef while it was cooking. I also, by mistake as I usually don't buy canned enchilada sauce, added way too much sauce. Next time I'd for sure add alot less enchilada sauce, probably the amount called for, and make my own sauce the next time. I find canned enchilada sauce to be bitter. I also served the dish with fresh cut onion on top because I just really like onions. This was a quick and easy meal to make.
1/2 lb ground round or turkey or chicken
15 1/2 ounce can chili beans (do not drain)
10 ounce can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 ounces chopped green chilies
10 ounce can enchilada sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups cooked pasta shells
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Cook ground round in a large skillet over medium high heat, stirring to crumble; drain. Stir in chili beans, tomatoes, green chilies, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Add pasta to mixture and heat 3 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted and well blended. Serve in bowls. Serves 6.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

CrockPot Country Style Ribs

So I had some boneless country style pork ribs that needed to be cooked. I also wanted to cook them in the crock pot instead of via any of my normal ways. I ended up making up a recipe by combining several recipes into one.
I had 1 1/2 lbs boneless ribs and I browned them in a skillet with some oil.
I then placed them in the crock pot and cooked on low heat for 6 hours.
I drained the liquid from the ribs and mixed the following items together and added it to the crock pot and the ribs:
1 cup ketchup
1 cup bbq sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped onion
4 dashes of Tabasco
2 Tbsp. Prepared mustard
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
I then cooked the ribs for another 2 hours on low heat and served them over rice.

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Green Beans similar to Golden Corral

I love the green beans they serve at Golden Corral. I try not to eat at Golden Corral anymore so I've been trying to find the perfect recipe to duplicate their green beans. While this one is not it, it did taste really good. Bonus being my three little boys at the beans. I think if you add some butter after its done cooking and right before you serve it then it would more closely match the Golden Corral green beans.
1 lb green beans, trimmed and snapped into 2 or 3 pieces
1 medium or large onion, chopped
1 ham steak or ham slice, trimmed and cut into very small pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced and made into a paste
about 1 cup of water, although you may need to add more water
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper
Heat the oil and add onion. Cook only until the onion starts to soften. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer until beans are soft and the water evaporates. You will need to use a lid on your pot.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Garlic Chicken Faralle

Okay this was a dish loved by everyone in the house. I'm posting the recipe with the original recipe however when I made it I left the chicken out of the dish. I still served it as a main dish but I left the chicken out. The flavors were good. The chicken probably would have made my husband not like the dish. Very easy to make and it was eaten by everyone. I found the recipe here:

16 oz. Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 c. heavy whipping cream
3-4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed OR garlic salt
1 Tbsp. pepper (I just sprinkle in son pepper 1 Tbsp seemed way to much)
1/2 c. butter
1 lb. bacon, crumbled
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (12 oz) Lawry’s mesquite marinade with lime juice
In the crock pot cool chicken and bottle of marinade on low for 6-8 hours. Pull marinated chicken out of the juices, allow to cool a little bit, and shred (it just falls apart). Set this aside. About a half-hour before serving, boil the pasta. In a small saucepan, melt butter, add garlic, whipping cream, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and crumpled bacon. Whisk together on low heat for 3-4 minutes. In a large bowl, pour over cooked, drained pasta, add chicken and stir through. Sprinkle a little bit more shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blitz Bread

I wanted a bread for the soup I made the other day and didn't have time to make the divine breadsticks I'v posted before. I remember seeing this on another blog I visit so I decided to give it a try. I could not get two kids to eat it at all. One at the bottom but not the top. Dh and I loved the bread and I can't wait to make it again. I used the Johnny's garlic spread for the herbs. I found the recipe here:

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water

3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 cups (14 ¾ ounces) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

3 teaspoons dried herbs

dried herbs for sprinkling

1) Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan ( I used non-stick spray), and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.

2) Combine all of the ingredients, except the dried herbs for sprinkling, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds. (I used my kitchen aid, but didn't use the dough hook. I used the paddle type attachment. The one I use to mix cookie dough)

3) Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it is puffy.

4) While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

5) Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.

6) Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.

7) Bake the bread till it’s golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

8) Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.To make cheese-stuffed bread: Add 1 cup crumbled feta cheese to the dough after it's been kneaded for 60 seconds.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Semi-Minestrone Soup

I started out thinking I wanted to make minestrone soup but I didn't have any canned kidney beans and I forgot to soak the dried ones plus I had some defrosted sausage to use. So I ended up subbing the sausage for the beans and it turned out pretty good. I started with a recipe that I wanted to try but I was out of almost half the ingredients so I guess you can say this is an original recipe. The adults in the house loved the soup. The kids picked the sausage out and ate only that.
1 medium onion, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cube chicken bullion
1 cube beef bullion
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup brown rice
half a head of chopped cabbage
1 pound Italian sausage
5 drops tabasco sauce or less depending on your taste
3 cups water
Cook sausage until brown. Halfway through cooking add onions and celery. Add carrots and garlic. Add water and tomatoes, bullions, and salt/pepper. Bring to a boil and then add cabbage and rice. Bring back to boil then let simmer 3-4 hours. Add tabasco sauce to taste. Serve.

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Monday, September 22, 2008


I made coleslaw from scratch. Totally. I shredded a head of cabbage, some carrots, and green onions. It actually tasted really good. Much better than any other attempt at making coleslaw on my own. Even dh commented on how good this attempt was. So I found this recipe here:
I didn't use the pulled pork recipe they had posted because I really really like my South Carolina pulled pork recipe. I posted the recipe and a picture a few months ago. I'm copying her recipe although I didn't used the bagged stuff. I chopped all of my vegetables, mainly because I had a huge head of cabbage from a CSA pick up.
To cheat and make the chopping go quicker, I used a bag of broccoli slaw and a bag of chopped purple cabbage in addition to the carrots I sliced on the mandoline. The flavor and crunch were great. But if you want to really slice and dice, use ½ head of savoy cabbage and ½ head of purple cabbage. You can also add fresh parsley or green onions. Adjust the recipe to your taste and what you have in your pantry or garden.
1 ½ tablespoon whole-grain mustard or a good quality Dijon mustard
1 cup mayonnaise 

1/4 cup sour cream 

1/2 lemon, juiced 

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

2 teaspoons sugar 

1 bag of broccoli slaw 

1/2 head purple cabbage, finely sliced 

2 carrots, sliced on mandoline or julienned
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the mustard, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar and mix well.
Add the finely sliced cabbage, broccoli slaw, and carrots to the dressing. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow the flavors to marinate.
Serve when you are ready, cold or at room temperature.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Green Bean Soup

This is a pretty simple and easy to make soup. It also doesn't have alot of ingredients or pricey ingredients so you can say its a frugal meal. This is a very basic soup and lends itself to whatever your tastes may be. I'm sure there are endless possibilities for making this soup.

2 lbs fresh green beans with the ends snapped off and snapped into bite size pieces
one onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced (use less if your not a garlic fan because it does taste like garlic)
ham hock, or diced ham, or bacon bits- as much as you like or one ham hock
Place everything in the crockpot and cover with water. Add salt and pepper to your taste. And add about 1 tablespoon paprika. I also like to add about 2-4 drops of tabasco sauce. Cook on high heat for 6 hours or low heat for 8-10 hours. Serve.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jalapeno Poppers

I love these at resturants and hate the frozen ones. As such I seldom eat these, although I guess that's a good thing considering how fattening they are. The other day though I received quite a few jalapenos in my csa box plus not knowing I was getting them in the csa bought about 20 from the farmer's market. So I decided to take the challenge and make my own. I searched all over on the web and found several interesting recipes including a no breading but bacon wrapped popper. I settled on the recipe I found here:

Overall they were very good. I ran out of breadcrumbs so I used about 1/4 cup cornmeal. My only problem with the poppers I made is they were very very spicy. I must have had the hottest jalapeno's in the batch. I even took all the seeds and ribbing out.

These poppers were much better than any frozen ones. I think I still prefer the resturant ones over homemade I'll make these at home anytime I get the craving.

12 - oz. cream cheese, softened
1 - 8 oz. package shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 -2 T. bacon bits
12 - oz. jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved
1 - cup milk
1 - cup all-purpose flour
1 - cup dry bread crumbs
2 - quarts oil for frying

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Spoon this mixture into the jalapeno pepper halves. Put the milk and flour into two separate small bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos first into the milk then into the flour, making sure they are well coated with each. Allow the coated jalapenos to dry for about 10 minutes. Dip the jalapenos in milk again and roll them through the breadcrumbs. Allow them to dry, then repeat to ensure the entire surface of the jalapeno is coated. In a medium skillet or home fryer, heat the oil to 375° F.. Deep fry the coated jalapenos 2 to 3 minutes each, until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

16 Bean Soup

This is a recipe that I make up as I go. Depending on what I have on hand and my mood for the day. The soup was really tasty and everyone, including the kids, ate it all up. We had no leftovers.
1 lb 16 bean soup mix (don't use the packet that comes with it if you bought the mix and didn't make your own), soaked overnight and drained
1 ham hock
1 onion chopped
2 green bell peppers chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
tabasco sauce
salt and pepper
In a stock pot cook onion and peppers in oil until tender. Add garlic, cook until fragrant.
Add can of diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil then add beans and ham hock. Cook 2-3 hours on low or until the beans are tender. Add water to keep the beans and ham hock covered if needed.
After beans are tender, remove bay leaves and ham hock. Shred the meat on the ham hock and return to pot. Taste soup and add tabasco sauce, salt and pepper until it reaches the taste you like.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Spaghetti Salad

This is a favorite of my husband and mine. Actually the kids really enjoy it too. Honestly you could serve this as a main dish, and I have at various times, or you can serve it as a salad or side dish. This recipe lends itself to whatever you have on hand and like. I prefer using a salad dressing that I make but I'm posting this recipe using a packet of Italian salad dressing.
1 lb cooked spaghetti noodles- rinse with cold water and drained
1 packet of Italian salad dressing made according to directions
3-4 different vegetables, I used green bell peppers, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes
I threw in some Kalamata olives but you could use black olives or no olives
about 1 tablespoon Salad Supreme seasoning
grated cheese- of your choice I prefer parmesan reggiano cheese, if desired
Mix everything together and put in the fridge for several hours to let the flavors blend. You can skip the fridge if you want.

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Red Beans and Rice

I just made this one up as I went along. The dish itself turned out really good.

I'd say that this isn't your typical red beans and rice dish but overall it was liked in this house.

1 lb small red beans-soaked overnight

1 ham hock

1 onion chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

6 cups chicken stock

2 bay leaves

hot sauce

salt and pepper

3 cups cooked rice

Cook onion in oil over medium heat until tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the chili powder and stir until combined. Add beans, chicken stock, ham hock, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until beans and ham hock are tender. Add water if needed.

Remove ham hock and pulled meat off. Place the meat back in the pot. Remove bay leaves. Add cooked rice. Add hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cool Cucumber Pasta

This recipe was in the local newspaper on Tuesday, the Standard Examiner who I believe found the recipe at Taste of Home. I love cucumber and onions together and this sounded very similar to a recipe of mine that I posted last year. Mine called for tomatoes instead of pasta and it had alot less dressing but very similar. Overall we liked the recipe. I used bow tie pasta instead of the penne pasta because that's what I had on hand. Next time I make this though I will omit the dried parsley flakes and used dried or fresh oregano and/or basil. I'll also add a garlic paste since I like the taste of garlic.
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. Place pasta in a large bowl; stri in the oil, cucumbers, and onion.
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients; shake well. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Cover and chill for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with a slotted spoon. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 8-10.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch

I noticed these in the lastest Rachael Ray magazine and I had all the ingredients so I decided to make them. They were easy to make and the kids helped make them. They are very tasty but way sweet. The recipe says it makes sixteen pieces but I think it would be more like 32 pieces since they are quite sweet.
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 sticks (8 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
one 16 ounce jar creamy peanut butter
3 cups crispy rice cereal
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, melt half of the chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter over low heat. Remove from the heat; stir in 1 cup peanut butter, then 2 cups rice cereal. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan; refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Wash out the saucepan.
2. In the saucepan, combine the remaining 2 sticks of butter and the salt; melt over medium heat, stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining peanut butter and the confectioner's sugar. Spread half the peanut butter mixture over the cereal layer. Top with the remaining 1 cup cereal.
3. In a small bowl, microwave the remaining chocolate at medium power until melted, 1 1/2 minutes. Stir into the remaining peanut butter mixture. Spread evenly on the cereal topped peanut butter layer; refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes. Cut into 16 pieces.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Pork chops, green beans, and potatoes

I found the recipe for the pork chops in the Taste of Homes Healthy Cooking July 2008 magazine. The pork chops were easy to make and very tasty. They reminded me of the old packaged mixes you bought at the store. I didn't make the gravy that was included in the recipe. I serrved the chops with green beans and baby red potatoes.

Pork chop recipe

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs

3 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced

1 teaspoons fresh tyme, minced

4 bone-in pork loin chops, about 7 ounces each

2 tablespoons butter

In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and milk. Combine the bread crumbs, parsley and thyme in another shallow bowl. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Dip chops in egg mixture, then in crumb mixture.

In a skillet over medium high heat, cook pork chops in butter for 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to an ungreased 13X9X2 inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until a meat thermomter reads 160 degrees.

Green Beans

enough fresh green beans for your family

cover in water and bring to a boil

cook until tender but still with a little bite to them

drain then add 1 tablespoon butter and a sprinkle of garlic salt


about 10-15 baby potatoes (more of less just depends on your family)

add to pressure cooker cover with about a tablespoon of kosher salt

add about 1/4 cup water to pressure cooker

bring cooker to pressure and cook for about 15 minutes

drain potatoes and cut in half

add about 2 tablespoons butter and stir

add about 1/2 teaspoon dill weed and stir

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