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I am a retired nurse and currently enjoying being a stay-at-home Mom and Wife.  I am the blessed mother of two and the proud grandmother of two. Cooking for me has always been a Love/Hate relationship.  I used to HATE to cook and anything to do with the kitchen yet I LOVED to eat good food.  A few years ago I got hooked on the Food Network channel.  The only thing that was wrong with that was, that I'd see all this amazing food and I can't cook like that.  My repertoire consisted of stuff like Sloppy Joe's and Hamburger Helper.  Well, one day, I had a crazy moment and decided I'd try one of the easy recipes from that Southern Queen of the kitchen, Paula Deen.  Now, to be honest, my first few forays into the unexplored territory of completely homemade recipes didn't always turn out as planned but most of them tasted pretty good.  As time went on, I got a little braver and started tweaking recipes to make them my own.  Sometimes they turned out beautifully and well, sometimes they didn't.  Sometimes I just had to shake my head and laugh...it was either that or cry (as a nurse, I can attest to the fact that laughter is the best medicine.)  Anyway, my Momma didn't raise a quitter so I keep trying and I even amaze myself sometimes when whatever I've cooked comes out amazing (like my Skillet Apple Pie).  Since my kitchen is not like the Food Network where you can have multiple "do overs" (and yours probably isn't either) I decided to share the fun on this blog.  I hope you enjoy sharing the journey with me, in the beauties that turn out, the blunders that don't and the bloopers that are just funny.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crock Pot Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

Hello blog world friends.  This recipe was submitted by my precious daughter-in-law, Silka.  She and my son are both full-time college students and take care of a busy 2 year old and they are both FABULOUS cooks.  They manage to take whatever is in the pantry and turn it into something amazing.  I though I would share this with you for those days when you want to enjoy a wonderful meal and not spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Serve with a salad and some garlic bread.   YUM!  Hope you enjoy! 

Guest Blogger: Silka Manfredi
My husband and I are both full-time college students with a 2 yr. old, so time is extremely valuable to us. This often poses a problem when it comes to dinner time. Both of us love to cook, but with our schedules, there are a hundred more important things to do. I stumbled upon this crock pot recipe and thought it was just a great idea! It probably takes about 15 minutes of prep and about 10 minutes to brown the meatballs. Then, the rest of the work the crockpot takes care of!  (By the way, the recipe calls for fresh herbs, but I used dried because that was what I had on hand and it was GREAT!)

Crock Pot Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (*may use only ground beef if you want)
1 lb. ground pork
4 grated parmesan cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, divided into 12 pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
2 jars of your favorite red (Spaghetti/Marinara) sauce
2 pounds spaghetti, cooked al dente
*May substitute dried herbs and spices for fresh.

Directions:
1)  In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, ground pork, parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, basil, parsley and dried oregano.
2)   Add bread crumbs 1/2 cup at a time until mixture is not too wet and can be formed into balls easily.
3)  Form mixture into 12 balls using your thumb to press a hole in the center. Insert a piece of the fresh mozzarella into the hole and close the hole by pushing the meatball mixture around it to secure the mozzarella inside each ball. 
4)  Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and drizzle olive oil into it. Add meatballs and cook until just browned.
5)  Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs into a slow cooker.   Pour red sauce over the meatballs and cook on LOW for approximately 5 hours. Serve the stuffed meatballs and sauce over spaghetti.
Servings: 6 (2 meatballs per person)
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 5 hours

Sunday, October 27, 2013

SCOTCH STEW - I think this may be sinful...but, oh so worth it!

As a new feature going into my second year of blogging, I will be featuring other amazing cooks from my family and friends. My first guest recipe contributor is my brother-in-law, Ron Hertz. He's an accomplished cook, hunter, husband, father and proud member of our military. I can vouch for his food, (as I've eaten it) and his German Pancakes are to DIE for!!! That recipe is also listed on this blog if you happen to want to make something amazing for breakfast.   Hope you enjoy his recipe!



By: Ron Hertz
This is a recipe I made up after watching a segment of the Today Show featuring Beef Burgundy. The Meat is wild game (usually elk) but sometimes I put lamb in it, depending on the individuals eating. The first time I made it, I didn't get a chance to try it, because the kids ate it all. When I went to get some, all that was left was the smell. So, the next weekend I made more and ate it all myself, (over a couple days of course).

RON'S SCOTCH STEW




Ingredients:
2 Lbs Beef, Lamb, or Goat (cut into cubes) 4 Medium Potatoes (cubed) 2 Stalks Celery ½ Cup Onion (chopped) ¾ Cup Carrot (chopped) 3 Cups Milk ½ Cup Flour Salt and Pepper ¼ Cup Olive Oil 2 Cups Scotch ½ Tbsp Each of Thyme, Basil and Coriander 1 Tbsp Season Salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put Flour and salt and pepper in a zip lock bag. Shake to mix. Add ¼ of the meat and shake until meat is covered. Repeat until all the meat is floured. In a soup pot, add the olive oil and bring to medium high heat. Put the meat in the hot oil to sear until lightly browned. Remove meat from soup pot and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add scotch to make a rue, scraping the bottom of the pot until the bottom of the pot is clean. Add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Return meat to mix and stir. Cover stew and cook in oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove stew and let stand for 10 minutes before eating.
Makes 3-4 servings.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Beauties and Blunders: Happy Birthday with L♥VE!

Beauties and Blunders: Happy Birthday with L♥VE!: Today I made a very special birthday cake for the love of my life...my husband.  This very special cake didn't require sifting the flo...

Happy Birthday with L♥VE!


Today I made a very special birthday cake for the love of my life...my husband.  This very special cake didn't require sifting the flour, folding in the flour in thirds, mixing wet ingredients with dry ingredients or 40 others steps....it has a very special ingredient.....LOVE!  You may think that this is not a true ingredient but I beg to differ.  A few years ago, when I actually started "liking" to cook, instead of cooking because we needed to eat, I noticed that my food came out better.  Even things that I had made lots of times the same old way, came out better.  What's the difference...I truly believe that I'm now cooking with LOVE!   This birthday cake is a plain old out of the box cake mix with canned frosting but I KNOW that it's going to taste amazing.  It doesn't have fancy piped frosting (I don't even own a pastry bag) but it does have a heart that I made from a paper cut out.   And you know what...my husband will love it just as much as if I had spent hours and hours in the kitchen.  So, here's to wishing you amazing dishes made with love!


Angela

Friday, September 6, 2013

Love, Marriage and Cap'n Crunch

Well, we have survived the move (barely) and I have actually started cooking again, after almost a month of eating out.  I never thought I would look forward to cooking, but there you have it....I do (at least until I can afford a personal chef).

Since my last post, my husband and I celebrated 22 years of marriage, and since we just celebrated our anniversary, I thought I would share the story of when I first fell in love with him.  It was over a bowl of cereal....yes, you read that right.  Not a romantic candlelight dinner but over a bowl of cereal (Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal, to be exact).   Our story began at church, where we were both members of the same Sunday school class.  Somehow, we always managed to end up sitting next to each other during class and at class functions.  Soon, friendship turned into romantic interest and we started "dating".  I use that term loosely because our "dates" usually were renting a Disney movie and eating frozen pizza.  We also had a built in chaperon, my 4 year old son who loved to sit between the two of us on the couch as we watched the movie.  We had a lot of fun even if wasn't very romantic.  Steve (my husband to be) seemed to know very quickly, that I was the one he would marry and told me so but I wasn't so convinced after having come out of a disastrous marriage a couple of years before.  Anyway, one night, I had a business function that was going to run late and Steve (my husband to be) said that he and my son would just hang out and he could stay the night since I was going to be out so late for work.  My son was so excited about getting to sleep over, that he couldn't wait to get out the door and head to Steve's house.  When I called later that evening to check in with him and make sure everything was alright, my son exclaimed, "they were camping out in the living room, watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and having Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal for supper!"  By the excitement in his voice, you would have thought it was Christmas morning and I knew right then and there, that Steve was the one.  My heart took a tumble and landed at the feet of the man that made my son so happy.  His name is Steve and he is my very own Prince Charming.  And as the story goes.....we have lived happily ever after.

In honor of that very special food...Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal, here is a fun recipe for you to try.

Peanut Butter Cereal Treats 
Credit for Recipe and Photo to "Taste of Home"
Originally published as Peanut Butter Cereal Treats in Simple & Delicious May/June 2007, p56

Ingredients

  • 30 large marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Jif ® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 6 cups Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch
  • 1-1/2 cups milk chocolate M&M's

Directions


  • In a large saucepan, combine the marshmallows, butter and peanut butter. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cereal and M&M's.
  • Pat into a 13-in. x 9-in. pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Breaded Steak Fingers

Well, this will be my last blog post before we move into our new home.  I have been preparing SUPER EASY meals the last few weeks because I am just too tired after packing to mess with a meal that requires too much thought and preparation.  Of course, that is me most of the time, but the packing gives me a real excuse....right?  With that being said, I tried out something new and these were amazing!  They don't require hardly any fuss and cook up in minutes.  I am very fortunate to have an AWESOME meat company (Stone's Meats) close to me where I can call in and order special cuts and it's all ready for me to pick up for dinner.    I ordered some steak that was cubed and pre-cut into strips which saved me from having to do it.  Then, I breaded it and fried it up and served it with some french fries (I will admit that I used frozen fries, but, hey, they're so good!).  Great dinner and so easy!  Here's the recipe!  Enjoy!

Breaded Steak Fingers
Ingredients
1 lb of cubed steak cut into strips
1 cup of flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional - if you don't like pepper, then just omit this)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bowl of water to dip strips in

Directions

  1. Heat cooking oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a skillet or use a deep fryer (I use a deep fryer).
  2. Mix all dry ingredients well in a dish.
  3. Dip steak in water to moisten and then dip into flour mixture making sure it's coated really well.
  4. Fry until golden brown, which is about 4-5 minutes.  Remove and place on plate lined with paper towel to drain any extra grease.  Serve immediately.  Horseradish dipping sauce is wonderful with this and of course the old standby, Ranch dressing is good too!
  5. Add some fries, mashed potatoes or rice and you have a great dinner!




Thursday, July 25, 2013

Frozen Lemonade Pie - Blooper Alert!

You know the old saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," well, I decided to make Lemonade Pie.  As I have been packing every day for what seems like forever, I have been sorting through things to keep, sell or give away.  I had the sad job of downsizing my cookbook collection. Realistically, I don't use all of them, but it's sure hard to let them go.  I am hoping they find a new home and will bring their new owner much joy.  Anyway, I digress.  I found this recipe for a Lemonade Pie in one of my trusty recipe books that is sort of my "no fail" recipe book when I am looking for something new to make.   It seemed easy and sounded good (my top two requirements in a recipe).  So, I bought the ingredients for the pie, and then promptly forgot all about them (until AFTER I packed my trusty recipe book).  I don't know what I was thinking.  Obviously, I wasn't, thinking that is.  As I opened my freezer a couple of days ago, looking for something to make for dinner, I noticed the Lemonade and Cool Whip and remembered that I wanted to make that pie.  Since I had packed my trusty recipe book, I decided to try a recipe off the internet and got down to it.  The recipe was called "No Fail Freezer Lemonade Pie."   Guess what!  It failed, sort of.  The pie tasted good but it never froze.  It kind of had the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  Not sure what happened....I followed the recipe exactly but I have to admit that I made a blooper this time. Hey! Maybe I can blame it on the freezer.  Sounds good to me!   Until next time.....if life gives me lemons, maybe I'll stick with plain old lemonade.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cheesy Crescent Rolls - YUM!!!


My life is a little chaotic at the moment.  Alright, who am I kidding?  It's EXTREMELY chaotic right now.  We are in the process of moving to a smaller house after living in our current home for 14 years.  I cannot believe how much "stuff" we've accumulated.  Now, it's the time for sorting and packing up the things we're keeping (and will fit in our smaller home) and donating the things that we no longer need.  This is not always an easy process, especially for my husband who is a PACK RAT!  I admit that I save sentimental things but he has stuff from his college days like shirts he wore two sizes and twenty years ago.  We have shared a lot of laughter and the occasional tears, sometimes both at the same time as we get ready to start a new chapter in our lives.  Anyway, in the midst of all this chaos and boxes, we still need to eat.  So the next few weeks I will be posting about quick and super easy RECIPES that don't require a lot of fuss and preparation but you and your family will still enjoy.

These crescent rolls are amazing and oh so easy (my favorite kind of recipe)!  The best part is that these rolls are very versatile.  They're great for breakfast with just the cheese, you can also add a thin slice of turkey or ham along with the cheese and it's a great lunch to take on the run.  Another way to serve them is to cut the triangles in half and you've got a great appetizer. If you're feeling a little decadent, you can put a little piece of chocolate (hershey's kiss or a small spoonful of Nutella) in the middle and roll up.  It's like sin on a plate.  So many ways to enjoy them!

Cheesy Crescent Rolls
1 package of refrigerated crescent rolls
Approximately 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Unroll crescent roll and separate into individual triangles. Place on baking sheet. Put 1 tablespoon of shredded cheddar cheese on each crescent roll and roll up.  Bake according to directions on can.  It's that easy.


*Variations - You can add a thin single slice of turkey or ham (like the deli sliced lunch meat) that has been cut to fit the crescent roll (about 1 inch X 2 1/4 inches).  I do not suggest putting more than one slice of meat along with the cheese.  The rolls tend to come out gooey and don't cook evenly.  I have made them with the one slice of meat and cheese and they're great.  My daughter loves to take them for lunches or even a quick breakfast to go.



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fudge Brownie Pie also known as Ireland's Killarney Pie

When I was in college (waaaayyyyy back in the dark ages) back in Nashville, Tennessee, my friends and I would occasionally get a chance to eat out at a little restaurant called Ireland's.  Supposedly Ireland's served Irish pub food, hence the name Ireland's.  Since I've never been to Ireland, I can't attest to that fact.  I can, however, say that their food was simple and delicious and even a poor college student could afford it occasionally.  My two favorite things from their menu were the steak and biscuits and their Killarney Pie.  I have tried many times over the years to come up with the recipe for their steak and biscuits.  The biscuits were airy and light and the steak melted in your mouth like butter.  I haven't succeeded as of yet, but I'm not giving up.   If I succeed, that will be a future post.   As for the Killarney Pie (which should've been named "Sin On A Plate", because it's that good), this recipe tastes exactly the same as what I had way back when, in the good 'ole college days.  Of course, that was, never mind how many years ago, but my taste buds remember a good thing.  Hope you love it as much as I did!  

Killarney Pie
Ingredients:
6 Tablespoons Cocoa
½ cup of Self-Rising Flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 stick of melted butter
½ cup of chopped pecans OR walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray pie dish with non-stick cooking spray . Mix all ingredients (except nuts) together in bowl, until smooth, add in nuts and stir just until mixed.  Pour into pie dish and bake for about 30 minutes.   Knife inserted into center should come out clean.    This pie is best served warm with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup (like Hershey’s).

  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Parmesan Ranch Chicken

I was born and raised in the South and have been surrounded by AMAZING cooks all of my life.  My mom was an amazing cook.  My grandmother was better than my mom and that's saying a lot!  All of my Aunts are amazing cooks, my sisters are phenomenal in the kitchen and then there's me.   They all made cooking seem effortless.  My mom NEVER had "bloopers or blunders."   She worked all day, then would have a fantastic meal on the table and she never seemed to think too much about it.   Now, my Mom grew up during the depression and was married and cooking for a family in the 1940's.   Food during WWII, was not always plentiful and certain items like sugar and flour was even rationed.   Maybe that's how she got to be so creative in the kitchen.  It's like that old saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention."  Anyway, the one thing that I remember most about my mom's cooking, is that she was never afraid to try something new in the kitchen.  She would just "throw" stuff together and it would turn out like something from a 5 star restaurant.  As I have started being more adventurous with recipes, I am learning to take more chances.  This recipe is something that I came up with based on a garlic bread recipe that I make that is melt in your mouth delicious.  So, I decided to take a walk on the wild side and my family said it was THE BEST chicken they had ever eaten.  Since I have a VERY PICKY teenage daughter, that was the highest praise.  It is very flavorful and very moist, which can be a problem with boneless/skinless breasts.  It's sure to be a winner in your family too!  Hope you enjoy it!

Parmesan Ranch Chicken



Parmesan Ranch Chicken
*This recipe will make enough for 4 chicken breasts

Ingredients:
Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breasts 
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon dry Ranch dressing mix (If you are using bottled ranch dressing, decrease mayonnaise to 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup bottled ranch dressing)
Grated Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle on top of mayonnaise mixture (about 2 Tablespoons)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place chicken breasts in baking dish.  (I lined mine with aluminum foil for easy clean up).   Mix mayonnaise and ranch dressing together.  Brush on chicken breast with pastry brush coating really  well.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken breasts).  Cook until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork or if using a meat/poultry thermometer (like the one below), until internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.








Friday, May 31, 2013

Sweet Summer Strawberry Sorbet

Summer temperatures are here!  Of course, in Florida we can have summer temperatures in winter but that's beside the point.  Summer brings sunny skies, lazy days by the pool (or in our case redneck water slides) and foods that don't require lots of preparation time (WOO HOO!)  I don't cook nearly as much in the summer because I HATE to be hot!  Anyway, we tend to eat a lot more fresh fruit, vegetables and salads in the summertime because everything tastes better when it's in season.  This recipe is AMAZING and the best part is that it's super simple.  Hope you enjoy!

Strawberry Sorbet

Ingredients:
1 pound of Fresh or Frozen Strawberries (If using fresh, make sure to wash and hull)
1/2 cup of sugar (you can use a little more if you like, taste after blending)
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

Put all ingredients in blender and pulse until liquefied.   Do a taste test at this point, you can add a little sugar if you would like it sweeter.  Pour mixture into ice cream freezer (like the one below), turn on and let the freezer do all the work.  Takes approximately 30-45 minutes to freeze.  When ready, pour into dish and place in freezer to completely set (about 2 hours).  Makes approximately 6 servings.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Freedom Isn't Free

Most of us spend Memorial Day by getting together with friends, grilling and watching parades.  The high school band playing patriotic tunes while young children wave their flags.  Young men in uniform and older veterans, both marching proud and tall, snap their salutes to the crowds as they go by.  As the living march to pay tribute to their fallen comrades, we must remember that this day is to pay honor to all of our servicemen and women who have given their all to preserve the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.

To those who have paid the ultimate price, by laying down their life, words will never be enough to say thank you.   For the gift of our freedom, we honor our dead by celebrating, living free from tyranny, bought with another's sweat, tears and blood.
No, Freedom Isn't Free
©Copyright 1981 by CDR Kelly Strong, USCG (Ret).

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Creamy Chicken Casserole



This casserole is super easy and blunder free (which is ALWAYS a plus in my cookbook).  I happened to make this particular casserole last Friday for our "Family Fun" night.  I had some leftovers I needed to use and I didn't really feel like cooking another big meal.  I wanted to concentrate on the all important task of relaxing.   Hope you enjoy this recipe and a night of relaxing too!

Ingredients:
1 can Cream of Celery/Mushroom/Chicken Soup
1 cooked chicken breast (shredded)
1 8 oz container sour cream
3/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. of cooked noodles (whichever you prefer)  I had leftover spaghetti noodles and that's what I used but any kind of noodle works (Ziti, Spaghetti, Fettuccine, etc.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Place cooked noodles in layer In a large bowls mix soup, sour cream and milk.  Mix well.  Add in shredded chicken.  Stir well and pour mixture over noodles.  Bake for 25 minutes until heated and bubbling.  Top with shredded cheese and cook for another 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Blessings

As I sit here and ponder on the joys of motherhood, I wanted to share a little about what being a Mom means to me.  

I have held many job titles over the course of my life, but I can honestly say that being a Mom is by far and away the most important job I've ever held.  As a nurse, I was responsible for caring for the life of others and even though I have dressed many wounds in my nursing career, none meant more to me than taking care of the scraped knee of my child and kissing that scraped knee to make it all better.  I have taken care of a young man dying with AIDS and sat holding his hand because his friends were to scared to sit with him.  I've comforted the family who was left behind when a beloved Grandmother passed away.  I have performed CPR on a victim of a heart attack and shed tears and gave a prayer of thanks to my Lord above when he started breathing.  I cannot count the numbers of patients who have touched my life in some special way.  Yet, all of that pales in comparison to being a Mom.  My proudest moments were when two precious children were entrusted to me to love and care for.  My son, (oh, how I love saying those words) is 27 years old and working hard on earning his Bachelors degree.  He is a wonderful father to my only grandchild and a loving husband and is the best son that a Mother could ask for.  My 17 year old daughter is my second blessing and brings much laughter and joy into our home.  She is a dancer and a theatre student, which is very appropriate, since she has been a drama queen from the time she was born.   Even though they're too old for me to kiss their "boo-boo's",  or need me to hold their hand, they will hold my heart forever.

It is traditional to give a special gift of recognition on Mother's Day to show appreciation.  I can honestly say that out of all the gifts I have ever received or hope to receive in the future, that the most amazing one is being a Mom.  I hope all of the Moms out there have a blessed and joyous Mother's Day.   Treasure the time with your children, love them and teach them to fly.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Veggie Pizza - YUM!!!!


This week my husband and I were invited over to my niece's house to play cards.  We love to get together and play cards with our friends especially when the good guys win (that would be me and whoever my partner is for the game).   Unfortunately, that was not the case a few days ago.  We got soundly beat.  I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm blaming it on my niece.  That's what family is for....Right?  
Anyway, for our little get together, she wanted me to bring something.  She wouldn't tell me what she wanted me to bring, just to bring something that goes with everything.  I thought and thought and thunk some more (yes, I know that's not a real word but I like it...it's fun to say) and decided on a veggie pizza.  This pizza is soooo good and it works as an appetizer (just cut it into smaller pieces) or as a meal.  You don't even need a salad because all the veggies are already on it.  It's a real winner, unlike my niece and I playing cards the other night. Enjoy:)

Veggie Pizza
Ingredients:
2 packages of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese OR  Neufchatel cheese softened  to room temperature (*the Neufchatel cheese has 1/3 less fat and tastes just as good),
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder        
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups of shredded cheese (I prefer a mix of cheddar and mozzarella, but you can use whatever you like)
2  cups assorted fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, green or red bell pepper, tomato, green onions, mushrooms, carrot, zucchini or yellow summer squash

Directions:
1)      Preheat oven to 350°F. Unroll crescent dough onto a large baking sheet and seal seams (doesn’t have to be perfect).   Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.
2)      In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt and dill weed.   Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust.
3)      Prepare your assorted vegetables.  (I used red bell pepper, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, yellow squash and broccoli). Sprinkle vegetables over pizza.   Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and return to oven just long enough for cheese to melt (about 5-8 minutes).  Let cool slightly before serving.  This dish is wonderful served at room temperature also which makes it great for parties.  Enjoy!


Monday, April 29, 2013

GREAT IDEA!!! HOMEMADE COFFEE CREAMER

Collin @ Hip2Save.com
Hi all!  I wanted to share this great idea that I came across today on one of my favorite websites, Hip2Save.com  Collin shares great tips and savings ideas for everything from coupons to online deals and everything in between.   This video shows how to make homemade creamer and takes only two ingredients, yes, you read that right, two.  Even I can't mess that up!   (The Hallelujah Chorus should be playing right now).  The best thing is that you can make your very own specialized creamers once you have the base.  I can think of seasonal creamers (like Autumn spice made with pumpkin pie spice and caramel topping or maybe Peppermint at Christmas).  The possibilities are endless!  Hope you guys love this idea as much as I did!     Let me hear from you if you decide to try this.  I would love to know what your favorite combinations are!

A very special thank you to Collin at Hip2Save.com for allowing me to share her brilliant idea and "how to" video!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Do NOT try this at home! BLUNDER ALERT!

Well, I knew it was too good to be true.  I haven't had any blunders for quite a while and I went and opened my big mouth and said the same to my husband the other day.  Sure enough, I made a doozy!  I was craving a cheeseburger and therefore decided to try and modify a quiche recipe that I have made DOZENS of time into a cheeseburger quiche.  I was so excited when I took it out of the oven because it looked and smelled amazing.  Suffice it to say, you can't judge a book by its cover or in this case the taste by the look.  After letting it cool for a little bit, I took a nice big bite.  Let me just say.....eeeewwwww.....GROSS!!!!  My beautiful quiche experiment ended up down the garbage disposal.  Not sure what went wrong except for the fact that I will absolutely, under no circumstances, be saying that I haven't had any blunders recently.  Obviously, that's a sure-fire way for me to have one.  Oh well, hope you all get to enjoy the laugh with me :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

State Fair Funnel Cakes (at home) Oh yeah!

State Fair Funnel Cakes - YUM!!!!
Do you ever get cravings for a certain food?  And you eat and eat and eat and still aren't satisfied because you didn't get what you were craving.  Yeah, me too!  So, guess what I was craving today?  Funnel cakes.  You know the kind that you get at the fairgrounds, I believe it's deep fried sin on a plate.    There's not much better than a great funnel cake unless maybe it's a really great candied apple.  That may be in my near future.  I was really skeptical about making these because, well, sometimes my creations don't come out as planned.  I have to say that when that happens it is REALLY frustrating, but my Momma didn't raise a quitter (a procastrinator, maybe, but not a quitter).   So, I decided to try my hand at funnel cakes and I am proud to say that they were AMAZING!!!  Crispy on the outside and light and chewy on the inside and they were pretty easy to make.  I made them in my little Cuisinart Deep Fryer (that I lucked up on at a Garage Sale a few weeks ago) and they turned out just as good as any State Fair Funnel Cake I've ever had.  Now, all I need is a turn on the Ferris Wheel and I've got it made.  Hope you like this recipe and if you try it, let me know what you think.

State Fair Funnel Cakes
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar

*Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar to sprinkle on top

Note:  If you have a deep fryer, I recommend using this, if not you can still make these in a deep skillet but use a thermometer to heat the oil to the right temperature.  If you don't, they won't cook properly.  If the oil is too low, they'll be soggy and if it's too high, they will burn.  I also used a squeeze bottle with the tip cut down to make a larger whole.  

Directions:   Preheat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  While oil is heating mix together ingredients and pour into a squeeze bottle. When oil is heated, drizzle batter into hot oil.  Cook until lightly browned on one side (approximately 90 seconds) and flip over to let other side cook to light brown.  Remove and place on paper towel, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Save Money - Make your own mixes!

Who doesn't like to save money out there?  As for me, I'm all about saving money.  Whether you are frugal because you have to be, or just because you want to be, or if you just want to be able to know what's in your food without all the added chemicals and fillers, then this post is for you!  I recently attended a class that focused on making your own convenience foods which is not only economical but it's kind of fun.  The class was provided through the University of Florida's local IFAS extension office.
Their website is http://washington.ifas.ufl.edu and they provide all kinds of educational classes (i.e. canning classes, food preparation, etc.).  I am posting three of my favorites from the class.  The brownie mix is a must have for our house.  I don't know if any of you have children like mine, but inevitably, I get the notice that she needs a dessert for something at school the next day.  This notice is usually given at night AFTER I have already cleaned up the dishes from supper and sat down to relax.  Needless to say, I DO NOT want to get up and go to the store to get the stuff to make cookies or brownies.  With this mix, I can make plenty to have on hand and it costs about .30 cents per batch compared to $1.25-1.50 per box (depending on where you live).  The ranch dressing is a HUGE moneysaver.  The little packets of dry ranch dressing mix that you buy at the store are around $1.13 per individual packet.  Making them yourself, costs .09 cents per pack.  HELLO, that's a HUGE SAVINGS!  I don't know about you, but I would much rather have that money than give it to the grocery store.  So, I hope you love these as much as I do!!!  





Mrs. Lanham presenting the Make-A-Mix Class

Judy Corbus - IFAS Extension Agent talking with one of the class attendees




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Resurrection Rolls

Resurrection Rolls
I wish that I could take credit for this but unfortunately, my mind is just not genius that way.   Anyway, this recipe was posted by a friend of mine on Facebook and I thought it was too wonderful not to share it.    It was posted by Robyn Long on "The Recipe Corner."  (Thank you Robyn for giving me permission to publish this).   What a great way to share the story of Easter with children!  

Resurrection Rolls

Ingredients
One can of crescent roll dough
8 large marshmallows (or one for each roll you’ll be making)
3-4 Tablespoons of melted butter
Cinnamon sugar


Directions
Read John 19 while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unroll the crescent rolls and place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Explain that this is like the cloth they wrapped Jesus in.

Give your child a marshmallow and explain that it represents Jesus,
all white and pure because He was without sin.

Roll the marshmallows in the melted butter.  
This symbolizes the embalming oils.


Roll the marshmallows in the cinnamon sugar.  This is like the spices used to prepare his body for burial.

Wrap the marshmallow in the crescent roll cloth, making sure to pinch the dough together securely. (If you don't pinch the edges securely, the marshmallow will leak out.)  This represents how they wrapped Jesus’ body.  
Put the rolls in the oven and shut the door (symbolizing the tomb) and bake for 12 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, read John 20:1-18.

Open the oven (tomb) and remove the rolls. When they’re cool enough to handle, break one open and discover what happened to the marshmallow.  The marshmallow has disappeared signifying that 
JESUS IS RISEN!

Wishing all my readers a Blessed and Joyous Easter! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Strawberry Crepes Delight

Well, I've gone and done it now!  I don't know what in the world I was thinking (obviously, I wasn't) but I purchased a whole flat of strawberries (that's 12 pints)!  The high school seniors were selling these flats of strawberries to raise money for Project Graduation and I am a softie when it comes to kids selling stuff.   Anyway, I have all these strawberries and now I have to do something with them.  Soooooo, after hours of thought, I decided to try my hand at making strawberry crepes.  I found a basic crepe recipe that didn't seem too difficult and got started.  I will admit that I had to throw away the first three because they were PITIFUL, but my perseverance paid off and I got 4 beautiful crepes.   Thankfully, I only needed three, so that worked out all right.  Once I got the hang of it, the rest went smoothly, but those first couple....well, they were just sad.  The filling is a breeze to make and once it's all put together, it looks fancy, smancy.  I know that smancy is not a real word, but it's FUN to say.   I still have 10 pints of strawberries left and I am going to attempt to make strawberry jam out of those but that post will be upcoming or not....I may chicken out.  We'll see.   Here's the Strawberry Crepes Delight recipe - hope you enjoy!
What was I thinking?


Basic Crepes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons of melted butter

Directions
1.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs.  Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter;  whisk until smooth.
2.  Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat (I used butter).   Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
3.  Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side.   Serve warm.
(Makes 7- 8 crepes)

Filling for Crepes
1 8 ounce package of strawberry cream cheese
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Cream all three ingredients together until smooth.  Spoon down center of crepe and cover with sliced strawberries, fold edges of crepe over and place seam side down.  Top with whipped cream and whole strawberries.



Monday, February 25, 2013

Stormy Sloppy Joe's

I am sitting here listening to the thunder rattle my house and looking at a mini Niagara Falls off my back porch.    My back yard has two lakes in it that weren't there a few days ago and we have more rain in the forecast.  In case you didn't know, I live in the sunny state of Florida, which for the last few days, has not been living up to its name. .   I really love the rain and even thunderstorms (except when lightning is popping close to my house) but I'm starting to feel a little like Noah's wife and wondering if I should get my husband started on a boat or at least head to Walmart and buy a blow-up float.

Since it's so yucky outside, I've decided to make some good ol' comfort food to chase away the rainy day "blahs".  These Sloppy Joe's are finger lickin' good and super easy to make.  Serve with your favorite side dish (french fries, potato salad, tater tots, etc.) and you've got a great tasting meal that really hits the spot.  Hope you enjoy 'em!


Sloppy Joe’s
Sloppy Joe's
1 pound lean ground beef or ground chuck
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar

Hamburger Buns

Toppings (Optional)
Cheese
French Fried Onion Rings
Pickles

Directions
1)In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the onions, green pepper and ground beef together in the skillet and cook mixture until ground beef is cooked through (no longer pink); drain off grease
2)Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer on low for 30 minutes.    (Makes 6 servings)
3)Serve on hamburger buns or your favorite rolls.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homemade Ice Cream - YUM.....NOT!

This little story happened over the summer but I thought I would share it since everybody needs a good laugh now and then.  Let me set the stage for you........It was a hot, humid, summer day here in the sunny state of Florida.  It was too hot to do anything outside, even going from the house to the car, I felt like I was going to melt into a pile of Crisco.  That also meant it was too hot to cook.  Our supper menu would consist of the gastronomic delight of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cold lemonade.  Anyway, I got this brilliant idea to make homemade ice cream in my new ice cream maker that doesn't require ice and rock salt (no mess).  So, I pulled out my trusty ice cream recipe that I've used for 20 years and got everything together.  We measured everything out, stirred it all together and poured it into my handy dandy ice cream maker.  I pushed the magic button and eagerly started anticipating some yummy homemade ice cream.  Well, about an hour later, the ice cream machine signaled that the ice cream was ready.  We got our bowls out and filled them up.  My husband was the first one to taste his and he kind of got this funny look on his face but didn't say anything, I took a bite, expecting heavenly taste sensations but was I in for a surprise.  The ice cream tasted like vanilla salt.  YUCK! and DOUBLE YUCK!   Somehow, we added too much salt.  (How do you do something like that?)  I mean the salt is in this tiny little canister with a pour spout and the sugar is in a big canister with a measuring cup.  Anyway, I'm still not sure what happened or how we managed to put too much salt, but that ice cream went down the drain.  I never did get my ice cream that day.  My husband and I still can't eat homemade ice cream without laughing a little over that mishap.  That's the beauty of blunders and bloopers, they make great memories.  

Enjoy life's beauties and laugh at the blunders!  Until next time, Angela.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Easy Cheesy Chicken Braid

Do you ever have a time where you want to impress people with your culinary skills but are either too tired or (in my case) just feeling too lazy to make a big mess in the kitchen?  If so, this recipe is for you.  It never fails to impress and it tastes amazing, and the best part.....it's EASY!  I love recipes that make me look like I know what I'm doing in the kitchen and this is one of them.  **For shortcut tip, see below.  Hope you enjoy this recipe and enjoy being awesome in the kitchen!
Easy Cheesy Chicken Braid
Ingredients:
Serves:  8-10
1              cup (250 mL) chopped broccoli florets defrosted                       
2              cups (500 mL) shredded cooked chicken breasts
1/2          cup (125 mL) diced red bell pepper
1              cup (250 mL) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2          cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
1              tsp garlic powder
1/4          tsp (1 mL) salt
2              pkg (8 oz or 235 g) refrigerated crescent dough

Smaller Version - Serves:  4-5
1/2          cup (250 mL) chopped broccoli florets defrosted                       
1              cup (500 mL) shredded cooked chicken breasts
1/4          cup (125 mL) diced red bell pepper
1/2          cup (250 mL) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4          cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
1/2          tsp garlic powder
1/8          tsp (1 mL) salt
1              pkg (8 oz or 235 g) refrigerated crescent dough

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Combine broccoli, chicken, bell pepper, cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder and salt in bowl and mix well.
Unroll one package of the crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange longest sides of dough across width of Baking sheet.   Repeat with remaining package of dough.  Pinch seams together to seal perforations.  Spread filling evenly down the middle of dough (long ways).  On longest sides of dough, cut dough into strips.  To braid, lift dough strips across filling to meet in center, twisting each strip one turn. Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Bake 25-28 minutes or until golden brown.


Step 1 - Mix ingredients together
in bowl
Step 2 - Unroll crescents and
 pinch seams together
Step 3 - Place mixture down middle of dough and cut strips on sides

Step 4 - Sprinkle shredded cheese over top of mixture


Step 5 -  Bring ends together, pinch and flip over
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes until golden brown
 **Shortcut Tip:  This recipe can also be made using Rotisserie Chicken that you buy from the grocery store.  Another one of my shortcuts is that I boil chicken breasts and shred them up into quart size ziploc bags (equals about 1 1/2 - 2 cups) and then freeze them.  It makes casseroles even easier.  I also do this with ground beef/ground chuck.  I brown about 10 pounds at a time, divide it into 1 lb bags and freeze them.  Makes life so much easier when you want to make Sloppy Joes, Spaghetti, Chili, etc.  Anything that requires cooked hamburger, just pull a bag out of the freezer, defrost and you're ready to go.