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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Thanksgiving table

Well, I woke up this morning at 5:30 and couldn't go back to sleep! That just made me so unhappy as I will probably be very tired come early evening. Maybe I'll catch a second wind. :). We don't eat until 6:00 pm so there is no need to get up early and start cooking. Yesterday I got the house all cleaned and last night I set the table. I also set out the dishes I would be using in the cooking process, and put the non-perishable ingredients in those dishes along with the recipe so it's all ready to go. ANOTHER TIP: This is one of my all-time favorite tips for making a large meal. Mash your potatoes early in the day. Yes, hours before you need them. Take out your handy-dandy crockpot and rub the bottom and sides (inside the crockpot, not outside ;) ) with butter. Put your mashed potatoes inside the buttered crockpot and set it on low and leave it alone. Your potatoes will be nice and hot and no worries about trying to get them mashed at the last minute! You can do this with sweet potatoes, too. I'm all about getting it done early so you can avoid the stress of trying to pull everything together at the last minute.

Okay, now for the dish I have made for today. It's a new recipe from BHG and I haven't tried it yet since it is still chilling, but I'll let you know how it went over when it's all said and done. I'm actually making a couple of other new side dishes as well, and I will share those as well.


1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, undrained (juice pack)
2 TBSP sugar
1 3 oz package orange-flavor gelatin
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened and cut up
1 medium apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 of an 8 oz carton frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
Orange sections and green grapes (optional)

In a medium saucepan, combine undrained pineappleand sugar; heat to boiling. Stir in gelatin until dissolved. Stir in cream cheese until melted and well combined. Remove from heat. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Chill about 1 hour or until meixture is slightly thickened. Stir in chopped apple and nuts. Fold in dessert topping. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish or 1 1/2 quart bowl or mold. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. To serve, cut into squares, or unmold onto serving plate. If desired, garnish individual servings with orange sections and grapes. Makes 9-12 side-dish servings.

Ok, here is what I did different: Along with the apple and walnuts, I added half of a large can of mandarin oranges (drained). I will use the other half to garnish when it's ready to serve. I also quartered large green grapes and threw them in there as well. As always, I will let you know how it turns out. I will also try to remember to take pictures and upload them as well. *******This was VERY yummy! Everyone really liked it and was so easy to make!****** Looks like I forgot to take photos :( Sorry :(

I hope everyone out there has a warm, safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. I'd love it if you would drop me a line and let me know how yours turned out!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some tips

Ok...I'm feeling chatty tonight and happy to be blogging again, so I thought I'd throw out some helpful hints. Eating out is expensive and fast food is bad for you. I know cooking a meal at home can be time consuming, so I thought I'd pass along some helpful tips.

USE YOUR CROCKPOT!! There are SO many recipes that can be made in the crockpot that are tasty and easy to make. Most of the meats, especially red meats, benefit from being browned before going into the crockpot. SOOOOOOOOO I do this the night before and put it in the fridge. In the morning it's ready to go. I also chop the veggies up the night before and put it in a baggy in the fridge. Also, if there are any other ingredients that can be measured out, do so the night before. It is really so much easier. Put the crockpot out the night before, and any utensils you will need. In the morning, gather your ingredients and layer them in the crockpot. Make sure to remember to turn the crock pot on and you are set! It is such a good feeling to be at work or the gym or shopping or scrapping and know that your dinner is handled. Also, if you have time, wash up before you leave. If you don't have time, at least rinse them off.

If you use onions a lot in your cooking, chop up several at a time and seal tightly and refrigerate. This also works for carrots and celery.

Like fresh berries in your smoothies? When they are in season place them single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them. When they are frozen, place them in a large, plastic freezer bag and put back in the freezer. Grab a handful when you need them.

How about bananas? Freeze them when they are beginning to get overripe. They can be used later in smoothies or banana bread.

Frozen grapes make an AWESOME snack...try them sometime. Kids LOVE them, too!

Stir fry dishes are another fast meal. Again, having sliced veggies done ahead of time really help. You can slice them and they will keep for several days. Just be sure to seal them tightly. If they are starting to wilt, use them in a stew or soup before they go bad.

That's all I have for now. More later. Promise. I've missed this blog!

Chili Verde

For tonight's dinner I made Chili Verde in the crockpot. It was another new recipe that I also got from BHG.


1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1" pieces
Nonstick cooking spray
1 TBPS olive oil
1 lb fresh tomatillos, husks removed and chopped (about 4 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
3 tsp finely shredded lime peel, divided
2 TBSP lime juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow or red sweet pepper, chopped
12 6" corn tortillas
2 TBSP snipped fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, combine cumin, salt, and pepper; set aside. Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 1" pieces. Sprinkle cumin mixture over meat. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook half of the meat in a hot skillet over medium heat until brown. Remove meat from skillet. Add oil to skillet. Brown remaining meat in hot oil. Drain off fat. Place meat in a 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker. Add tomatillos, onion, 1 tsp of the lime peel, lime juice and garlic. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 - 8 hrs or on high-heat setting for 3 - 4 hrs. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting at end of the cooking time and add the swett pepper to cooker. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more. Fill corn tortillas with the meat mixture; sprinkle with cilantro and remaining lime peel. If desired, serve with green salsa (store bought or premade). Makes 6 servings.

I warmed up the corn tortillas in my cast iron skillet under medium-high heat. I then put hot, cooked rice on the bottom of the tortilla and then the pork mixture on top and ate it like a soft taco. SO yummy!!

Hot & Spicy Braised Peanut Chicken

Hello hello hello! Last nights' dinner was cooked in the crockpot. I got the recipe from BHG. It was pretty tasty but not hot at all. With no further ado, here is the recipe:


2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges (I only used one)
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots (3 medium)
1 small red sweet pepper, cut into bite-size strips
2 lbs skinless, boneless thighs, cut into 1" pieces
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 TBSP creamy peanut butter (I porbably used closer to 4 TBSP)
1/2 tsp finely shredded lime peel
2 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP quick-cooking tapioca
1 TBSP grate4d fresh ginger
2 - 3 tsp red curry paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas
Hot cooked rice
Chopped peanuts (optional) (I used this)
Snipped fresh cilatro (Optional) (I used this - I LOVE cilantro)

In a 3 1/2 or 4-quart slow cooker, place onions, carrots, and sweet pepper. Top with chicken. In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, peanut butter, lime peel, lime juice, soy sauce, tapioca, ginger, curry paste, and garlic until smooth. Pour over all in cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. Stir in coconut milk and peas. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve chicken mixture over hot cooked rice If desired, sprinkle each serving with chopped peanuts and cilantro. (I really recommend this - it made the dish POP). Makes 6 servings.

Now, this was very tasty but not spicy at all. Next time I will add more curry paste and maybe even red pepper flakes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cinnamon Crispas

I know, I know. I have SO many recipes I have been wanting to share and no time to do it in. I'm hoping to get several recipes out to you this week.

Do you remember when Taco Bell carried Cinnamon Crispas? Goodness I LOVED those things. This was probably in the early 80s. Anyway, they replaced them with the cinnamon crisps which were never as good, in my opinion. Anyway, I came across this recipe tonight and I thought I would share it with my readers.

Cinnamon Crispas

Tortillas cut in 4-8 pieces, depending on how big you want the crispas. Canola oil Cinnamon sugar

Heat approximately 2-3 inches of oil in a skillet or use deep fat fryer per instructions.When hot, carefully place 3-4 pieces of tortillas, being careful not to crowd the wedges. Fry till slightly brown. Carefully remove to paper towels to absorb oil. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over wedges while still warm. Best eaten while warm, but delicious anytime!

Submitted to MckLinky by:
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