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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