Sunday, October 18, 2009

Potato Soup in the Crockpot

8 potatoes peeled and chopped

1 med. white onion chopped

2 carrots, chopped small

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 can (2 C.) chicken broth

2 TBL. dried parsley

1 1/2 tsp.salt

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1 C. milk

1/2 C. Flour

green onions, chopped
bacon, fried and chopped
grated cheddar cheese

**Put all ingredients down to pepper into crock pot. Add water to within 1 inch of the top of the crock pot. Cook on high for 8 hrs. 1 hour before serving, put milk into container w/lid. Put flour in milk, and shake. Stir in milk/flour mixture into soup. Serve soup topped with green onions, bacon, and cheese as desired.

This is a very easy soup (I'm all about the easy). It is VERY good and my kids love it. Then of course my kids fight over who gets the last piece of broccoli, and eat artichokes. However, this is a good soup for kids because there's nothing "weird" in it, everything is chopped and diced small, and it's creamy. Also, you can serve it in a bread bowl like chowder and they think that's really cool.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crockpot Beef Stew

I apologize now for this recipe. You see, like many of my recipes they are in my head and not from a book. So, there are no "exact" measurements. When you read my recipes think of the Pirates of the Caribbean....they're not rules, more like guidelines. So here goes...


1-2 lbs stew meat

small bag baby carrots (I chop once in half to make easier bites for the little ones)

1 small onion (I use white), chopped

4 med-large potatoes, cubed

2-3 stalks of celery, chopped

2-3 gloves garlic, chopped (I use fresh, but you can stuff in jar)

2-4 C. beef broth

salt and pepper

*** Okay all I am going to give you my secret. Actually it's not a secret. My mother is Hispanic and she would laugh (and agree) and so would my Grandma when I say that any person of Mexican heritage knows that the meat always tastes better when it has been browned in bacon fat before going into any soup or stew. It's not exactly low fat, but hey "The fat is what gives it the flavor" words spoken verbatim by my Grandma. Anyway, I try not to use A LOT of bacon fat in my cooking, but I can't help myself (it's the Mexican in me). So, here's what I do.....

I buy the stew meat already cubed. I season it with salt and pepper. Warm a skillet with only 1-2 TBL of bacon fat on med-high because you want to brown the meat, not cook it. The juices in the meat will come out however once those steam off is when you'll get the good browning. Don't stir and fuss with the meat so much let it get a good brown coat on all sides. Chop onion and garlic while meat is browning. When meat is about halfway done browning, throw garlic and onion in pan. Stir around until everything has nice brown color. Turn off heat, sprinkle about 1 TBL flour on top of meat, stir. Meanwhile, sometimes it can take a while for the juices to steam off and that's when I get everything else (potatoes, carrots, and celery) chopped and cubed and into crock pot. Then I pour meat into crock pot, give it a good mix and pour in beef broth. A mistake many people make with the crock pot is putting in too much liquid. This is a stew and should be thick, so I only start with 2 C. of beef broth. I cook on low. If you are gone all day, don't worry the stew won't dry out, just add more broth if needed when you get home. If you're home, check it about midway through to see if it needs more liquid. My family likes it really thick so I wait until the end to add more liquid. The vegetables seem to soak in more of the juices and flavors this way.

Well, I think that is it. I hope I didn't forget anything. This is a great meal for these cold days. I serve it with biscuits and green salad. AND, no I'm not Betty Crocker. Pillsbury has really good ready to make frozen biscuits (my family prefers Southern Style) that you just pop in the oven. Honestly, I do make homemade biscuits from time to time (about as often as a Bigfoot sighting, but anyway) and I can't make them any better than these ready-made babies. So, I say why mess up the kitchen?

Lady Di

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Super Easy French Dips

This is so easy and so so yummy. I love it because it works great when we have company. You can do it for lunch or dinner. I usually have all this stuff in the cupboard and the freezer ready to go for those nights I just want something easy and fast.

1 package French Rolls
1 bottle Johnny's French Dip Sauce
Roast Beef from your local Deli
1 onion
Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
package Swiss Cheese

Make the Au Jus according to package add Roast Beef until the meat is hot. Saute Mushrooms and onion in a bit of olive oil (i add a little sugar as well) until brown and delicious. Pile meat, onions and mushrooms on hot broiled rolls. Top with slice of cheese and voila. Pure yumminess. The OP loves this - minus the onions and mushrooms of course! Be sure to serve with the au jus!

Whip up some coleslaw or tater tots or both and voila - you've got a meal.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ladies...Start Your Ovens

Well, Summer is turning into Fall (my favorite time of year). Time for brisk, blustery days, warm sweaters, crunchy,crackling leaves under your feet, and the smell of yummy comfort food being cooked or baked. Oh my, I feel my thighs and butt getting bigger already. Did I just go up one pant size? Oh well, I love comfort food. While it cooks, it fills the house with it's luscious aroma and the oven warms the kitchen. It's wonderful to be nice and cozy inside your home while something delicious is baking in the oven.

This is a side dish recipe I got from my sister-in-law, who got it from a friend while she lived in Fort Benning, Ga. It is very good. In addition, it is pretty simple and you don't need exact measurements. It all depends on how much cheese and bacon you like on your potatoes. Yes, I know, I just said cheese, bacon, and potatoes in the same sentence so you know you are liking this recipe already (I haven't even mentioned the ranch dressing yet). Oh yeah, they are TOTALLY low fat. If you believe that last sentence I have what my husband in another life George Strait would say "ocean front property in Arizona".

I don't know what the official name for this recipe is so I am going to call them

Cheesy Ranch Potatoes


2lbs potatoes (you can use any kind, but red work the best)

1 ranch packet

1 C. mayo

1 C. milk

1 bag real bacon crumbles or you can cook your own bacon

4-6 C. Colby-Jack Cheese shredded

**Cube potatoes and boil until fork can pierce but potatoes are still firm. While potatoes are boiling mix ranch packet, mayo, and milk. Drain potatoes and put back into pot. Pour half ranch dressing onto potatoes, half of the bacon crumbles, half the cheese, mix well. Spray Pam in a 13X9 inch pan, then put potato mixture in pan. Pour remaining ranch dressing, cheese, and bacon on top of potatoes. Place into a 375 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes until bubbly.



Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound ground beef, lean
1 pound Sweet Basil Italian Sausage, casings removed and crumbled
2 cups grated carrot
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. Parsley
1 Tbsp. dried Oregano
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Olive Oil
salt & pepper
Garlic powder
2 28 ounce cans concentrated crushed tomatoes
1 23 ounce can tomato sauce

Cook hamburger with some garlic powder. Drain and set aside . Cook Italian sausage until almost done and add grated carrot. Cook the rest of the way. Transfer both meats to crock pot. In saucepan, saute onion in a little olive oil. Add garlic, parsley, oregano, salt & pepper until onions are soft. Transfer to crock pot. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and brown sugar and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

***This feeds a lot of people or gives lots of left over sauce to freeze. For picky eaters or young children I put some sauce in a food processor and puree. To make it a little thicker (if you like thick sauce) puree half and add back to sauce.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Recipes I have tried

I recently made this Apple Cider Cake from Brandy at I'm Not Your Average Soccer Mom. So easy and so so delicious.

Also, I made this cake from Paula Deen's Best Desserts Magazine out this month for a little tea party the girls and I had (it was a huge hit) :

Double Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Makes 1 (10inch) fluted cake

1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) box instant chocolate-flavored pudding mix
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 (12 - ounce) bag mini chocolate morsels
Garnish: confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 to 15 cup fluted pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.

In large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, and sugar. Add water, oil and eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in sour cream and chocolate morsels. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Garnish with confectioners' sugar.

So yummy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Visiting Tucson?

This is a must stop for breakfast! Really I am serious.  Really good food.  Homemade bread, crepes of all kinds.  My personal favorite: Homemade Apricot Jam.  Oh it is so yummy! Like my Grandma's ( I wish I had that recipe ).

The Hubs and my girls took me here for Mother's Day.  Yay! I hadn't been in a year or so. It is a bit of a drive for us but we made a weekend trip out of it because my man knows how much I love this place. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yummy Chocolate Cake (Dairy and Egg Free)

My youngest has food allergies and when it comes time for birthdays I feel so bad for her. Well I did until we found this recipe which I have had for awhile but got it just right enough to share.  All the girls have approved as well as the hubs.

3 Cups flour ( I use 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour)
1 1/2 Cups brown sugar
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
2 Cups water
1/4 cup oil
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients then add the wet and mix until smooth.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in a Large Muffin  or 18 for a small muffin pan if making cupcakes and if you are making a cake be sure to check it around 20 minutes.  The key is to not over bake them otherwise they are too dry and these should be very moist. 

I received this recipe from a friend and tweaked it just a little and now my little one can enjoy cake too.  

For dairy free frosting: I use a couple of Tablespoons of Smart Balance Light ( the light doesn't have whey but the other one does ) and powdered sugar.  I don't measure but it was probably like a 1/2 of cup or so of sugar.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Think I Am In Love

I was just smitten but now I am in love:
I hate cooking rice on the stove top - it never comes out right.  Not done or too done, even with a heat deflector.  So I bought this and rice is perfect - every time.  I was smitten when I did white rice but I fell in love when I cooked brown rice.  So easy, and easy to clean with no spill over or mess on the counter.  Fantastic find. Want to check it out, go here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday Treats

Maybe one day I will have the time to do this blog the way I want but for now I will just post when I can and call it a work in progress!  I haven't really been cooking or baking as much as I want to. :(  Just been putting some meals together last minute. That is what happens when you have three young daughters and home school, I guess.  I think that I might actually be the work in progress these days.

Life is crazy! For instance I put on a pot of beans walked over to my computer and forgot about them and voila - burnt beans. Lovely!  

For now just a little treat. If you are ever in the neighborhood of Santa Ysabel, California (just a hop skip and a jump away from Ramona) make sure you stop into one of my favorite bakeries.

or just click on the picture and head on over there now from your current seat and order some yummy bread or their most wonderful Fruit Bars.  I am going to as soon as I am done posting this. TTFN