Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins...

Autumn is just starting to make itself seen in our neck of the woods.  I ADORE Fall and all things Fall related!!!  Time for apple and pumpkin recipes to make appearances in our home!!!

I recently tried a new muffin recipe- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  These are SO delicious! (Almost dangerous for a sweets lover like me!!!) They were a hit with our entire family.  

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 eggs, well beaten
3/4 c oil
2  c sugar
1 (15 oz) can of 100% pumpkin (pumpkin only)
2 1/2 c  all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 package of mini chocolate chips to mixture

Mix together the first four ingredients.  Then add in remaining ingredients (yes, you read that right.  Add them all in at the same time.  I see no need for an extra mixing bowl.)  Spoon into prepared muffin tins (either sprayed with nonstick spray or line with muffin liners) and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes (depends on how hot your oven runs).  They are finished baking when they are lightly golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean. These make 18-24 regular sized muffins (depends on how much you spoon into each muffin tin).  Plenty to enjoy that morning AND to freeze for another day!!!

Your home will smell so delicious when these are baking!! Your family will be happy to be welcoming in the new season with these yummy breakfast treats!

Happy Homemaking!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Chicken Chili Stew...

This, my friends, is my momma's Chicken Chili Stew.  She's made it for years and I still LOVE IT!!!!!  It's so good that it was chosen to be in the town newspaper once when we lived in Augusta.  YUM!!!!!!!  I always keep the ingredients around so that I can make this any time we need a savory, warm meal. 

This is excellent as it is, but I really like adding shredded cheddar and sour cream to mine.  Feel free to add avocado or green onion, too, if you like!!

Chicken Chili Stew

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T oil
2 (15 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 cup of your favorite salsa (cheap store brand works well in this!!!)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oil in dutch oven and cook chicken, onion, and green pepper until chicken is no longer pink.  Add garlic and stir until it's fragrant.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and add toppings as desired..

Makes 6-8 servings.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Time Saver breakfast!!!! Baked Oatmeal...

Wednesdays are typically our "oatmeal for breakfast" day around here.  Not sure when or why that even started, but it stuck years ago and I haven't changed it since.  

When I say "oatmeal for breakfast", I mean any breakfast recipe that uses oats.  So for us that is either oatmeal pancakes, granola, regular old fashioned oatmeal (with butter, cream and brown sugar! YUMMM!!!) or this recipe I'm sharing today- Baked Oatmeal!!!

This list of ingredients needed is not fancy- butter, sugar, oats, eggs, oil, salt.  Simple.  

But wait.... why did I say this is a TIME SAVER breakfast???  Oh dear friends!  You make this THE NIGHT BEFORE!!!  It takes mere minutes to mix together,  then cover with plastic wrap, stick in the fridge overnight, and then next morning you just take off the plastic wrap and let it bake while you finish getting dressed.  As soon as the timer of your oven goes off, everyone can sit down at the table to eat.  Happy well-fed family and happy mother for extra minutes to get yourself and your children ready for the day.

Baked Oatmeal
1/2 cup oil of choice
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Mix all your ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Pour in a buttered 8x8 pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge overnight.  The next morning, take plastic wrap off your pan and bake for 45-50 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  
This makes 6 good sized servings.  

We prefer to serve this with heavy cream drizzled on top.  Super tasty.  Super easy.   

Monday, April 30, 2018

Garlic Cream Cheese Spread...

That's not just any old piece of bread sitting on the side of that dish.  No way!!  That's bread covered in Garlic Cream Cheese Spread!!!

We have been making this DEEEEELICIOUS cream cheese spread for at least 15 years, if not more!!! It's perfect on bagels, spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise, and even as a dip for veggies!!!  But our FAVORITE way to eat it is slathered on French bread.  OOOOOOOOH MY STARS!!  Sure you can use butter or even garlic butter on top of your bread, BUT Y'ALL!!  This takes bread to a whole new level of tasty!!!  Be sure and try it soon and let me know how you and your family like it.

Garlic Cream Cheese Spread

1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, softened
2-3 cloves of freshly minced garlic
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (I use the green can)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 T parsley

In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, garlic, parmesan, and mayonnaise until thoroughly combined.  Stir in Italian seasoning and parsley and mix well.  This tastes great right away, but it's best after it's been chilled in the refrigerator about 4 hours.  

So don't just stand there, get mixing!!  Y'all will SOOOOO enjoy this!!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Make Ahead Pancakes for an Easy Morning...

PANCAKES!!!  Who doesn't love 'em???  I love all flavors and always think I can eat about 20 of them. Then I start eating and by the middle of number 2, I am pretty sure I'll never make it to 20.  Does anyone else do that, too?

My favorite memory of pancakes will always, always be my dad making them for our family each Sunday morning as we were growing up.  Yep, we were THAT family- the family that always smelled like syrup in the middle of the sermon.  But what a scrumptious way to start a Sunday morning!! 

While I DO love eating pancakes, I DO NOT enjoy cooking them for just one meal.  I much prefer tripling or quadrupling a pancake recipe and freezing all the extras!!  It SURELY makes for easier mornings when all you have to do is put one or two on a plate and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes and then drown them in maple syrup (and butter if you like!!).  Oh yum!!!

In the top picture above, you can see I was in the middle of making up a bunch of pancakes.  I have my assembly line all set up- batter, griddle, cookie sheet to cool finished pancakes on AND to freeze them on.

Here's the pancakes all piled up and ready for the freezer.  I put the cookie sheet with the pancakes stacked up like this right in the freezer.  In a few hours, they're frozen solid. Then I'll separate them and store in a huge zip loc bag.  

And that's it!!  This saves us so much time in the mornings!!  Happy homemaking, y'all!!!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Penne With Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes With Balsamic Vinaigrette

This yummy recipe is from an older issue of Southern Living magazine. This was quick and tasty! Even Mr. U loved this!!

Penne With Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes With Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 (14.5-ounce) box BARILLA PLUS Penne
1 pound skinned and boned chicken breasts, diced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups (3 ounces) firmly packed fresh spinach, chopped
2 1/2 cups seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper

1. Sauté chicken in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil in a medium skillet 5 to 6 minutes or until done.
2. Whisk together vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 6 tablespoons olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Spread pasta in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Let cool 10 minutes.
4. Toss together pasta, chicken, vinegar mixture, spinach, and remaining 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or, if desired, cover and chill 1 hour before serving.

Makes 6 servings

Southern Living Cooking School, AUGUST 2008

Monday, April 09, 2018

Strawberry Shortcake...

HOOORAY!!!! Strawberry season is here!!! And it's time to share a wonderful Strawberry Shortcake recipe that I recently made.

I'm sure lots of y'all follow Rhoda at Southern Hospitality.  She's gorgeous. She can make a home BEAUTIFUL.  She's just seems like such a sweetheart!!!  I love her blog but I LOVE her instagram!!  She shares of lots instastories and my favorites BY FAR are when she shares her weekly meals with her adorable parents.  Her dad seems like such gentleman. And her mom!! Oh the food that she puts on the table each week!!!

This recipe comes from Rhoda's mother!!!  She found it in Parade magazine from April 19, 2009.  Y'all, it is GOOD!!  The PERFECT cake for Strawberry Shortcake- tastes like a simple pound cake!!!!  The link is for the original recipe, but I listed below the way I made it.

Simple Loaf Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flavorless oil (I used light olive oil)

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and oil.  Gently measure out on top of that the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk together until it is smooth.  Pour into a prepared loaf pan (8x4x2). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn out on cooling rack to cool.

Once you're ready to serve....

Strawberry Shortcake

Prepared Loaf Cake (see above)
3 pints strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
Cool Whip, Redi Whip, or homemade sweetened whipped cream

In a small bowl, place strawberries and toss with sugar.  Let sit for an hour in the fridge.  

When ready to serve, slice the cake, top with strawberries, and a dollop of your choice of whipped cream.  So SO good!!

Monday, April 02, 2018

How to Use Leftover Ham...

This time of year, Easter time, lots of grocery stores have had hams on sale and lots of people enjoy ham on their Easter table.  That's wonderful and all, but any one else have the issue of always having leftover ham?  You can only eat so many ham sandwiches before tiring of it- am I right?  You can go to the search bar here on my blog and search "ham" and find lots of recipes I've shared here using ham, but this one... this one is MY FAVE!!!!  

The recipe is super simple and one you've had a million times, just with ham added. Macaroni and Cheese with chopped up pieces of ham.  SO SO good!!  I remember my mom doing that a few times for us growing up and I LOVED IT (thanks, Mom!!!!).  This is how Mr. U and the girls now prefer their mac and cheese- with ham.  

So here's how I make ours. Oh, and the sauce is based on another recipe I shared before using cauliflower.  This recipe would SOOOOO work with cauliflower, too!!!!

Mac and Cheese with Ham

-1 pound of pasta (choose the shape of pasta your family loves)
-1 1/2 cups milk
-4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
-3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (I use extra sharp cheddar, white cheddar, Monterrey Jack, and Parmesan)
-Leftover ham, chopped into bite size pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain. Set aside.  While pasta is cooking, add milk to a large pot (I used my 6 qt stock pot) and heat just until it starts bubbling around the edge of the pan.  Then add the cream cheese and whisk until it is all melted and dissolved.  Then whisk in the dijon mustard, pepper, and garlic.  Then add in the cheese and slowly stir until it is all melted and combined.  Finally add the cooked pasta and chopped ham to the pot and mix it all together.  Pour into a prepared 9x13 and bake at 375 degrees 20 minutes.  

Monday, March 19, 2018

Oatmeal Snack Cake...

I am sadly aware that there are many people in this world that do not love (or even like!!!) oatmeal.  I can't understand why.  I mean there's oatmeal cookies, granola, baked oatmeal, chocolattes, strawberry oatmeal bars, oatmeal pancakes, many different flavored oatmeals and MORE!!!!  (and I just SADLY discovered I NEED TO GET SOME OF THESE RECIPES ON MY BLOG!!!!!).  Oats, in all different forms, are DELICIOUS to me!!!!

So, when I discovered I could use leftover oatmeal in a cake, I WAS EXCITED!!!!!! Have y'all ever made a potful of old fashioned oats for breakfast only to realize you made too much?  Well, I found a use for them in case you have ever done that.  Allow me to introduce Oatmeal Snack Cake!!!!!

It's moist because I use oil, but mostly because of the cooked oatmeal in it.  Slightly sweet, easy to mix together, and really, really good with a cup of coffee morning, noon, night, late at night... you get the picture.

So grab your ingredients and get baking!!

Oatmeal Snack Cake

  • ½ cup oil 
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cooked, plain oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and oatmeal. (Oatmeal can be kind of lumpy mixing it together, but keep at it!!  It all comes together.) Then gently stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix well.  Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 cake pan and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  

Good luck keeping this around long.  This is DELICIOUS and disappears quickly!!!

Happy cooking!!

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!!


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