Monday, March 12, 2018

Crock Pot Provincial Chicken...

Hey y'all!!!  Today I'm sharing one of my family's all time favorite recipes.  My husband LOVES all the flavors and I LOOOOVE that it is made in the crock pot.  

I'll be honest, I shared this recipe eons ago in the very beginning stages of my blog (yea, I've been having fun here in this space for a looooong while).  The recipe is so yummy and we're STILL enjoying it, so I figured it was worth sharing all over again!!! Plus, the Lord has given us our two sweet girls since I first shared the recipe and both of them love this, too!!  WIN WIN!!!!

Just a tiny few tweaks have happened since then, but it's basically the same- delicious! 

Happy eating!!!  

Crock Pot Provincial Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 10¾-ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
8 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
Cooked pasta

Combine all ingredients except the cheese and sour cream in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove the chicken, cut into bite-size pieces and return to the slow cooker. Stir in the cheese and sour cream and cook 15 minutes more. Spoon over the pasta before serving.  Oh, and Mr. U ALWAYS pours more balsamic vinegar over his before he eats.  He says he loves all the extra flavor. :)

Makes 6 serving.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Effortless Apple Dip...

This apple dip is tasty!!  Every single time I take it somewhere, it is always ALWAYS completely gone by the time I've headed home.  I've taken this to Bible studies, playgroups, homeschool group, made this for friends coming over, even made this for picky children who would NOT touch apples.  (And at a Valentine's Day party this was DEVOURED while the chocolate goodies just sat there!!) The recipe is always requested and people are surprised by how truly effortless it is!!!

Apple Dip

8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together and serve with apple slices.  That's it!!!

My 7 year old, Caroline, mixed together for this blog post.  

And the same 7 year old insisted on taste testing it "just in case it's bad or something". Hmmmm... I wonder where she learned that trick?  :)

Monday, February 26, 2018

How to Cook Ground Beef in the Slow Cooker

I just may be the last person on the planet to get this great bit of news, but in case I am not, I wanted to share it with y'all.  It's WONDERFUL!!!  I just learned you can cook plain old ground beef in bulk in the slow cooker!!!  IT WORKS!!!!!

I was reading about it on Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and thought "NO WAY does that really work.  NO WAY!!!"  So I had to try it out and see.

In the photo above, you can see where I plopped the 2 pounds of ground beef in the slow cooker (sprayed it first with cooking spray).  I sprinkled salt, pepper, dried onions, and garlic powder on top.  That's it.  Dumped the meat in, seasoned it, then I put the lid on. I cooked it on high for 2 1/2 hours and when I opened up the slow cooker, this is what I saw...

It was cooked and looked like one weird shaped hamburger patty.  LOL  So I got out my potato masher and broke up all the meat.  

IT WORKED!!!  It broke apart easily AND it was cooked through AND tasted really good with the seasonings!!!!!  See?  It just looks like cooked ground beef!!  YAY!!  So now I'm going to put it in freezer bags in one pound measurements and save for future meals!!  Taco soup?  Tacos?  Sloppy Joes?  A casserole?  Spaghetti sauce?  Pizza?  Tons more recipes this can be used for.  

HOORAY for a great idea!!!!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The BEST Snickerdoodle Cookies...

I LOVE cookies.  I love making them AND eating them.  These Snickerdoodles from Smitten Kitchen NEVER EVER disappoint. They come out perfect every time and always make me and everyone else that eats them very very  happy.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs

In one bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Using a mixer or hand mixer, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine. At this point, I chilled the dough for an hour (or you can overnight) before scooping it, because I otherwise found it too difficult to scoop into balls and roll but the original recipe doesn’t find this step neccessary.
Once dough has chilled, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small ice-cream scoop* to form balls of the dough, and roll Bake at 400 degrees until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about five minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. In theory, they can be stored in an airtight container up to one week, but I say good luck wtih that.

Happy baking!!!!!

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Only Pizza Dough Recipe You'll Ever Make Again...

Mr. U and I have been married for 19 years.  And over the course of these wonderful 19 years, I've probably made at least 12 different pizza dough recipes.  I have been searching for THE recipe- you know, the one that makes you want to make homemade more than you want to call up Domino's or Little Caesar's. 


I said last year I'd share the recipe after we made it several times and we were all positive it was "the one".  Well,  IT IS!!!!  So I'm finally sharing it,  It's so good and really easy- so easy that my 11 year old is now the official pizza crust maker.  

So STOP TALKING and get to the recipe, right??

"The One"... Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
1 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 T olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Combine water, sugar, and yeast and gently stir.  Let it sit for a few minutes.  When the yeast "blooms" (see video below to see what blooming looks like) stir in oil and salt and gradually add in flour.  Knead until combined and smooth- 5-10 minutes.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled (about 45 minutes).  Punch down dough and roll into pizza.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. (But remember all ovens are different so pay attention that it doesn't burn!!)

This can also be made ahead and frozen!!!  Knead the dough and instead of letting it rise, place it in a zip loc freezer bag and close it tightly.  When you are going to use it, take out of the freezer and out of the bag and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Let it thaw and then rise- anywhere between 4-6 hours based on how cool or warm your kitchen is.  When risen, roll out and bake as directed above. 

We've also made this in the morning when we knew we were going to be gone all day!!  When you put it in the lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.  When you get home and ready to cook dinner, take it out and see how it's doubled!!  It's all ready to be rolled out into a pizza shape for dinner and baked like the recipe says!!  

Y'all,  it's SO SO SO good to finally have "the one" after all these years of my attempts!!

Monday, February 05, 2018

My Southern Sour Cream Poundcake...

There are a few recipes that seem to be just so Southern and pound cake is one of them. I've been holding back on sharing this recipe for a long while.  It is my FAVORITE pound cake recipe in the universe!!  Why have I been holding back?  Well, selfishness, I suppose.  It's just SO SO SO good.  Mr. U says he likes it best with a glass of sweet tea.  Me?  I just like it period!! 

See how the individual slice looks?  Look at the crust toward the bottom of the photo- now THAT is good crust!!!  Kind of doughy looking, but not doughy at all- just dense and full of flavor!!!

Here's what you need for this recipe.  Not a lot of ingredients and there's a really good chance you've already got all you need waiting for you in your kitchen.

Let's get baking!!!!

Sour Cream Pound Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
3 cups all purpose flour
8 ounces sour cream (NOT fat free)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla

Heat oven to 315 degrees.  

Prepare a bundt pan by wiping it throughly all inside with butter or shortening and then dusting with flour and pour out any extra flour remaining in pan.  (You can use Pam and spray the pan, too, if you'd rather).  

In one bowl, sift flour and baking soda together and set aside.  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar well; add vanilla and then eggs- one yolk at a time.  Add 1/3 of the flour/baking soda mixture and mix well.  Then add 1/2 the sour cream and mix well.  Then add another 1/3 of the flour/baking soda mixture and mix well.  Then add the rest of the sour cream and mix well.  Finally add the rest of the flour/baking soda mixture and mix well.  In a third bowl, add salt to the egg whites and beat with mixer until fluffy.  Then gently fold egg whites into the batter.  Carefully pour into your prepared bundt pan and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes until done.  There should be no jiggle left and a toothpick inserted will come out clean.  Cool 5 minutes in pan and then turn onto a plate to cool completely.  

(Note about photo below: see this crust on top?  It's going to be on the bottom as soon as you turn this out onto a plate or platter.  At least that's the way my mom has always done and I'll do it the same way until the day I die.  Why?  Because if my mom does it that way, then it's the right way.  <smile>)

This is how pretty it looks after being turned out of the bundt pan. See how sweetly they are already kind of sectioned off?  Like it's just asking to be cut into smaller and larger pieces?  Yes, I prefer the larger pieces, but I bet you already knew that. :)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Sausage Lentil Soup...

How's the weather where y'all are?  It's been such a crazy winter here in Atlanta.  A snow before Christmas and then another snow two weeks ago.  NOT typical for our state at all!!!  

These cold days call for something warm and tasty to fill our families' bellies.  Eons ago, I shared a lentil soup recipe we really enjoy and it cooks up in the crock pot.  SIMPLE!!!  Today, I'm sharing yet another lentil soup recipe and this time it features hot Italian sausage- so SO good!!!

Sausage Lentil Soup

1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tsp salt
2 cups dry lentils
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp basil 
1 tsp oregano 
1 T parsley
1/4 tsp thyme

Using a dutch oven or stock pot, brown sausage.  Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat cover.  Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.  Serve each bowl with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  This makes 8 hearty servings. 

OH!!  And if you want something super tasty to serve with your soup, buy or make some french bread and serve it with this DEEEELICIOUS dipping sauce!!  Have you been to Carrabba's? They serve something very similar with their bread.  A change from garlic bread, but really really good!!!

Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/8 dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients except oil and lemon juice in a small food processor or coffee bean grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Chop until all ingredients are about the same size. Stir in oil and lemon juice. To serve, combine about 1 1/2 teaspoons spice blend to 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil on a small dish. Dip sliced bread in mixture. 

Y'all be sure and let me know if you try these out!!  Recipes on my blog are recipes that I REALLY make for my family. These are all meant to be made by YOU in YOUR kitchen for the people you love.  


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