Eric (20), Ben (25) Kris 31 & his son, our grandson (8)
We were very blessed to have Ben home and out of the hospital; we picked him up Tuesday and he’s doing VERY well – he lost 20 lbs. during his 2 1/2 week stay, but he’s doing his best to catch up on the lost eating! (Eric – our ‘rebel’, is wearing some of his Christmas ‘attire’ – he loves the band Avenge Seven Fold so his t-shirt & hoodie are both ‘band attire’). It was a quiet Christmas; we all slept in until around 10:45 a.m. We each spent most of the day just relaxing, watching TV, reading, etc. until dinner time & Kris & his son arrived. He brought a cheese, summer sausage, cheeses & fruit tray. Dinner was glazed ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn casserole, cranberry stuffing, gravy, veggie tray & rolls. We were all too stuffed to even begin to think about the “Happy Birthday, Jesus’ chocolate cake or pumpkin pie! (and lots of cookies). This year I received a 1-cup Keurig coffee maker – oldest son said he’s tired of me drinking ‘instant’ coffee – he’s searching for the Tim Horton’s K-cups, since husband & I love Tim’s coffee. Great gift (except I don’t have any counter space to put it!) – will have to do some MAJOR cupboards arranging to fit it! Not much going on lately; I still have to write out Thank You cards for my gifts from some of my special needs group students. I thought the ham I bought for Christmas (9.66 lb) was a nice, big one but after one big meal, sending some home with oldest son, I was shocked to find it was mostly a HUGE bone! There was enough left over for 2 omelets and now maybe enough for Navy Bean soup, if I’m so inclined. The guys raved over it so I’m thinking of getting another ham soon; they did that, also, with the turkey! Right now Ben’s ready to eat ANYTHING I’ll prepare for him! I, of course, am lovin’ it – I love to cook for someone who loves to eat! Tonight dinner will be homemade turkey pot pie (using up the last of the extra turkey I cooked last week) – it’s another of Ben’s favorites.
I have lots of recipes to pour through for the New Year’s appetizers, but just haven’t done so yet. Today it’s mostly ‘regular’ recipes but I’ll make a good attempt at getting out those others soon. I just realized that I still have to do the special needs group’s newsletter soon – we go back Jan 7th so I do have a ‘little’ time, but if I stall any I’m sure to get a few harried phone calls: “Pam! Did you send the newsletter yet???” They DO count on getting them, even though the calendar is pretty much the same thing every month.
Crockpot Creamy Chicken
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
5 medium carrots, peeled/choppced
(1 3/4 C.)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
(1 1/2 C.)
4 stalks celery, chopped (1 1/4 C.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
6 C. chicken broth (3 15 oz ea cans)
1 C. water
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp. celery seed, finely crushed*
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper, to taste
2 C. uncooked wide egg noodles
3 1/2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. fresh lemon juice
saltine crackers or Parmesan cheese,
for serving (optional)
Add uncut chicken, diced carrots, onion,
celery & garlic to crockpot. Drizzle oil
over top then add chicken broth, water,
thyme, rosemary, celery seed, bay leaves &
salt/pepper to taste. Cover & cook on Low
Remove cooked chicken & allow to rest 10
minutes, then dice into bite-sized pieces.
Add egg noodles & parsley to crockpot.
Turn up temp. to High; cover & cook
10 minutes longer (or until noodles are
tender). Stir in lemon juice; toss in cooked
chicken. Serve warm with saltines and/or
top with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4-5
*poster noted she crushed the rosemary
in the palm of her hand. Celery seed she
placed in a ziplock bag & crushed with the
side of a meat mallet.
White Bean & Ham Soup
2 T. margarine
1 C. sliced carrots
1/2 C. diced celery
1 C. chopped fully cooked ham
2 (15 oz, ea) cans Great Northern
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
with basil, garlic & oregano, undrained
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 1/2 C. water
Melt margarine in large saucepan or
Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add
carrots & celery; cook 8 minutes or until
vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Add remaining ingredients & heat to
boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low,
simmer 5 minutes. Serves 6 (1 1/4 C. ea)
Chocolate Toffee Cheesecake
1/3 C. melted butter
4 (8 oz, ea) pkg. cream cheese,
1 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. sour cream
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz) bag Heath Toffee pieces
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place Oreos in small food processor
& grind; place crumbs in small bowl.
Pour melted butter over crumbs & mix
to combine well. Using a 10″ springform
pan, press crumbs on bottom and up
1″ of sides of pan. (Note; it works well
to use the bottom of a small measuring
cup to press crust into pan).
Beat cream cheese in stand mixer 2
minutes, until smooth. Add sugar &
vanilla; mix until well combined. Add
eggs, one-at-a-time, mixing well between
each egg. Stir sour cream into mixture,
just until incorporated. Place a 9 X 13
pan of water on lower rack of oven. Pour
cheesecake filling over chocolate crumb
crust. Bake cheesecake 60-70 minutes.
Remove from oven when a toothpick
inserted into middle comes out clean.
Cool completely on wire rack then
refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Place all topping ingredients (except
toffee chips) in microwavesafe bowl.
Heat 30 seconds, then stir. Keep
heating in 30 second increments until
chocolate melts & can easily be
incorporated into cream. Whisk
together well. Set chocolate topping
on counter & let it set up 15 minutes
until it begins to thicken.
NOTE: If you pour it over the cheesecake
when it’s too thin, it will be a mess. It
needs to be thick enough so that once
you pour it over the cheesecake you can
gently PUSH it over the side of the cake
and it will set nicely. The longer you
let it set, the thicker it will become.
When topping is right consistency, pour
it on top of cheesecake. Gently push
it over sides in several areas with a
spoon, so that it runs down sides of
cake just a little. Cover top with toffee
chips & refrigerate until ready to serve.
Chicken-Chile Stew with Beans
1 lb. dry navy beans
6 chicken thighs (2 1/4 lb)
2 thick slices salt pork (about 4 oz)
8 C. chicken stock or water
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 large Anaheim or poblano peppers,
seeded/ribs removed/cut into 1/3″ dice
1 small serrano or jalapeno peppers,
1 T. chopped garlic
1 T. paprika
1 T. chili powder
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. honey
2 C. peeled/cubed pumpkin or winter
squash (1 inch cube)
Hot, cooked rice
chopped cilantro, slivered red onion,
thin slices jalapeno or serrano peppers,
Rinse beans & remove any stones or
damaged beans; place in 6 qt. Dutch
oven. Add 8 C. water; cover & soak
Drain & rinse beans; return to pan & set
aside. In large, nonstick skillet slowly
cook salt pork until lightly browned; add
to beans along with 8 C. stock/water. Add
a big pinch salt; bring to a simmer. Skim
‘scum’ as needed. Simmer, partially covered,
1 1/2 hours.
In skillet used to cook salt pork, slowly cook
chicken, skin side down first, until very well
browned, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken
from skillet; set aside. Pour off all but 2 T.
fat from pan. Add onions & a dash kosher
salt; stir well, scraping up any browned bits
from bottom of pan. Add peppers & garlic;
stir well. Cook, slowly 5-10 minutes, stirring
often. Sprinkle with paprika, chili powder &
cocoa; stir well. Stir in tomato paste & honey;
cook another 3-5 minutes. If liquid level is
below the beans, add more stock or water.
Ladle a cup of bean liquid into the onion/
pepper mixture; bring to a simmer, carefully
transfer to Dutch oven with beans. Taste for
seasonings & adjust as needed. Add chicken
thighs & cook, partially covered, on a low
simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add pumpkin &
cook until chicken is tender & pumpkin is cooked
through but not collapsing, about 15 minutes.
Remove & discard salt pork. Serve over rice,
with toppings. Serves 6
Lemon Refrigerator Bites
1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
garnish suggestions: lemon zest,
fresh blueberries or fresh fruit
Spray an 8 X 8 baking dish with nonstick
spray. In medium bowl, combine graham
cracker crumbs, sugar & butter; mix well.
Press mixture firmly into prepared pan;
refrigerate until ready to fill.
In large bowl beat cream cheese &
condensed milk until smooth. Beat in
lemon juice & zest; stir in Cool Whip just
until mixed; pour into graham crust.
Refrigerate 6 hours or until filling is firm.
Garnish with your choice of suggested items.
Slice into 2 inch squares & serve.
Makes 20 squares.
Egg Drop Soup
3 1/4 C. chicken broth plus 3/4 C.,
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
2 T. chives, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 egg yolk
Pour 3 1/4 C. chicken broth into a
large saucepan. Stir in salt, ginger &
chives; bring to a boil. In a cup or
small bowl stir together remaining
broth & cornstarch until smooth;
set aside. In small bowl whisk eggs &
egg yolk together using a fork. Drizzle
egg, a little at a time, from fork into
boiling broth mixture; egg should
cook immediately. Once eggs have
been dropped, stir in cornstarch
mixture gradually until soup is the
desired consistency. Serves 4
1 box bow tie pasta
1 lb. sausage, mild
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 large onion, chopped
2 (26 oz,ea) jars spaghetti
1/2 C. cubed cooked ham
1/2 to 1 lb. sliced pepperoni
3 (8 oz, ea) bags shredded
6 T. grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta until al dente in
boiling water. Cook sausage,
garlic powder & oregano with
onions until juices run clear.
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan; pour
a small amount of spaghetti
sauce in bottom to lightly coat.
Layer ingredients in this order:
1/3 of pasta
1/3 remaining sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
2 T. Parmesan cheese
Sausage & onions
1/2 of remaining pasta
1/2 remaining sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
2 T. Parmesan cheese
all remaining pasta
all remaining sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
2 T. Parm. cheese
all pepperoni, completely
covering entire top of dish
Bake 40 minutes. Let set
5 minutes before serving.
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 C. chopped onion
1 (6 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. ketchup
1/2 C. cooked/chopped bacon
1 C. shredded Sharp Cheddar
1 tsp. salt
sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook onion & ground beef in medium
skillet until beef is cooked completely;
drain & set aside. In medium bowl
combine cream cheese, mayonnaise,
ketchup, bacon, Cheese & salt; stir
until well combined – stir in ground
beef mixturue. Pour into a 8″ X 8″
pan, smooth out. Bake 20-25 minutes
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top before
serving (gives a cheeseburger ‘bun’
1/4 C. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
2 1/2 C. water
2 (3 oz, ea) pkgs. lemon Jell-0
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 C. miniature marshmallows
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. sour cream
1 T. graham cracker crumbs
Mix sugar & cornstarch in medium saucepan.
Gradually stir in water until blended. Bring to
boil on medium heat; cook 8 minutes, stirring
constantly. Remove from heat & add dry
Jell-0 mixes & zest; stir 2 minutes until Jello
is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour or
until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Microwave marshmallows & milk in medium
microwaveable bowl on High 1 minute or until
marshmallows are puffed. Stir until marshmallows
are completely melted & mixture is well blended.
Stir in vanilla; cool 5 minutes. Blend in sour cream.
Pour into 9 inch square pan* sprayed with non-stick
spray. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Spoon Jello mixture gently over marshmallow layer
in pan. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Sprinkle with
graham cracker crumbs. Unmold dessert onto serving
plate just before serving. Serves 12
*Can use 8″ square pan or 8-9″ round pan sprayed
with nonstick spray
(recipe: Kraft foods)
Our weather is still holding – right now it’s 42
degrees F and cloudy. Looking at the next few
days we’re having steadily dropping temps,
but no snow in the forecast (at least through
Weds!) That’s GREAT!
Hope you’re enjoying your ‘days after Christmas’;
remember to take some time for yourself – maybe
a quick nap or put your feet up/ have something
tasty to drink (hot chocolate/tea/coffee/or a
pop?), remember to eat every once in awhile
(that’s something I tend to forget). It’s the
holidays – indulge a little (not a lot, but Hey!
like I’ve said before: “life’s short – eat dessert