Topsy-turvy Day –

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Ever have one of those days where you just can’t seem to get a handle on it? You HAD things planned you wanted to get done but somehow, things just keep getting more complicated? That’s my day, today. Got up with every intention of doing several ‘business-type’ things, straightening out middle son’s insurance issues (ie: getting him signed up on Obamacare), working at other little ‘things’ – every time I turned around, things got all goofy! Told my husband that I almost feel like I’m procrastinating (something I rarely do) just because I was afraid of which ‘shoe would hit the floor next’! Crazy – I ‘think’ I got most of it done – not entirely sure. Went grocery shopping – think I got everything I intended, but again – not exactly sure. UGH! Not liking that feeling, for sure! (I’m more of a ‘make a list, make sure everything is in order & checked off’ type of person, so chaos is NOT my friend!)

==============

Baked Potato Casserole

8 medium potatoes (about 2 1/2 – 3 lb),
peeled, cut into 1″ chunks
1 C. evaporated milk
1/2 C. sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese,
divided
6 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled,
divided
sliced green onions, garnish (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place cut potatoes in large saucepan;
cover with water; bring to boil. Cook
over medium-high heat 15-20 minutes
until tender; drain. Spray a 2 1/2 – 3 Qt.
casserole dish with nonstick spray. Return
potatoes to saucepan; add evap. milk, sour
cream, salt/pepper; beat with elec. mixer
until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 C. cheese &
half of bacon. Spoon mixture into prepared
dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until heated
through. Top with remaining 1/2 C. cheese,
remaining bacon & green onions. Bake an
additional 3 minutes until cheese is melted.

(recipe: coupon flyer)
————————————

Baked Ziti with Homemade Sauce

Sauce:
1 T. olive oil
1 C. chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 C. red wine (or chicken/vegetable
stock)
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 T. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Baked Ziti:
12 oz. rigatoni, penne, or ziti pasta
3 T. olive oil
3 spicy Italian sausages, casings
removed
1/2 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded/diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 C. marinara
1 C. mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
salt/pepper to taste

Pour oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add
chopped onion, saute 5-10 minutes; once
translucent, add garlic & cook 1 minute. Add
wine or stock, turn heat to High, making sure
to scrape brown pieces from bottom of pan.
Cook until nearly all liquid evaporates, about
3 minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley, salt/pepper;
stir well. Cover & simmer
on Low 15 minutes;
set sauce aside for baked ziti.
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Fill large pot with salted water & bring to a boil.
Add pasta; boil 7-10 minutes (until al dente).
Drain & toss with 1 tsp. olive oil before pouring
into a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 T. olive oil in
large pan over medium-high heat to cook
sausage. Add sausage & cook until evenly
browned, breaking apart with spatula or spoon
about 5 minutes; drain/ add to pasta mixture.
Discard grease from pan; add rest of oil & saute
onion, bell peppers, garlic, salt/pepper 3-4
minutes then add to sausage/pasta mixture –
toss everything together. Add marinara sauce,
1/2 C. mozzarella & 1/4 C. Parmesan cheese;
fold everything together. Season to taste, then
pour mixture into lightly greased 8″ X 8″ baking
dish. Top mixture with rest of cheese & bake
20-25 minutes or until cheese is brown &
bubbly. Serves 6-8

(recipe: 12tomatoes.com)
—————————————–

5-Ingredient Pot Roast
(crockpot)

3 lb. beef chuck roast
1 packet Ranch dressing mix (dry)
1 (dry) Au Jus seasoning packet
6 T. unsalted butter
1/4 C. water

Pour water into crockpot; place
meat on top. Sprinkle meat with
Ranch & Au Jus packets, placing
butter on top. Cover & cook on
Low 8 hours, shredding into the
sauce after 7 1/2 hours. Serves 6-8

NOTE: The drippings can be made
into gravy by heating them in
saucepan with a little extra water.
Once boiling, add 1 T. cornstarch
that has been mixed with 1 T. cold
water. Whisk mixture into pan until
it boils again & turn down heat to
simmer until thickened.

(recipe: ohsweetbasil.com)
————————————-
Raspberry Cream Pie

Crust:
1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust

Filling:
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
softened
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
3 C. Cool Whip, thawed

Topping:
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 C. sugar
1 (6 oz) pkg. frozen raspberries
(OR) 1 heaping cup fresh
1 1/2 tsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 T. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven according to
temperatures listed on pie crust.
Prick bottom & sides of pie crust
with a fork & bake crust accordg.
to pkg. directions; cool completely.
Pour 1 T. cornstarch & 1/4 C. sugar
into medium saucepan; stir. Add
frozen raspberries (or fresh), 1 1/2
tsp. water & lemon juice; stir. Over
medium-high heat, bring mixture
to boil, stirring constantly. Let boil
a few minutes until desired
consistency is reached (should be
just a little thinner than pudding).
Remove from heat; add 1 T butter,
1/2 tsp. vanilla & dash salt. Let
butter melt a little, then stir in.
Let mixture cool completely (if you
are in a hurry, you can pour it into
a bowl & refrigerate). Place softened
cream cheese in stand mixer or
medium-sized bowl; beat until smooth.
Add 1 C. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla,
dash salt; mix 2 minutes. Add 1/2 C.
sour cream & 3 C. thawed Cool Whip;
mix until well combined, 2 minutes.
Pour filling into cooled crush (might
have a bit leftover, depending on
how deep the pie crust is). Once
topping has cooled, pour over filling.
Refrigerate 1 hour, then serve.

(recipe: jamiecooksitup.net)
—————————————-

Pizza Nachos

Garlic Cream Sauce

1 1/2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. milk
pinch salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

Nachos:
your favorite crispy tortilla chips
garlic cream sauce (above)
1/4 C. diced onion
1/2 C. sliced pepperoni, cut into
bite sizes
1 to 1 1/2 C. Colby-Jack cheese,
shredded
(optional toppings):
1/2 C. sliced black olives
1/2 whole green bell pepper, chopped
sliced mushrooms or any other pizza
toppings you may like

Sauce:
Melt butter & olive oil on medium to low
heat; once melted, toss in garlic; stir.
Raise heat to medium or medium-high;
add cream & milk; stir – continue stirring
until it comes to a boil. Add salt, pepper &
chili flakes, Parm. cheese; continue
stirring (sauce will thicken quickly, keep
stirring). Once thickened, remove from heat
& set aside.
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Using an oven-proof dish sprayed with
nonstick spray, add chips to bottom of dish;
drizzle garlic sauce over chips. Top with
onions & pepperoni and other toppings
of your choice.Top with shredded cheese; cook
until cheese is bubbly & veggies are warmed
through, about 7 minutes.

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)
—————————-

Chicken Stuffed Crescent Rolls

Rolls:
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
softened
2 (12 oz, ea) cans chicken; drained
1/3 C. green onions, chopped
salt & pepper
2 (12 oz, ea) pkgs. Big & Flaky
crescent rolls
4 T. melted butter
2 C. crushed corn flake crumbs

Sauce:
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
3 T. sour cream
2 T. butter
1 T. milk

Place cream cheese in large mixing
bowl or stand mixer. Add chicken, green
onions, salt & pepper – using 2 forks,
mix all together (or mix on Low 2 minutes
until all ingredients are combined, if using
stand mixer).Spray 2 large cooking sheets
with nonstick spray.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Open roll pkgs. Gently pull
one triangle of dough from roll; spray a
rolling pin with some nonstick spray &
roll triangle out just a bit. Scoop about
3 T. chicken mixture into center of dough,
roll from bottom up to top making a ball,
pressing corners in & making sure all
filling is securely inside dough. Place
corn flakes in food processor; pulse until
they resemble coarse crumbs; pour into
a loaf pan. Flatten stuffed dough ball a
little & gently dunk into 4 T. melted butter.
Dip buttered roll into corn flake crumbs,
making sure both sides are coated well.
Place roll onto prepared pan making sure
there is about an inch space between each
roll. Bake 20 minutes until dough is cooked
& a bit crispy & chicken mixture is heated
through.
In medium saucepan combine chicken soup,
3 T. sour cream, 2 T. butter & 1 T. milk; whisk
ingredients together. Heat sauce over medium-
high heat, stirring occasionally. Pour sauce over
baked rolls. Makes 16 rolls

NOTE: recipe can be made ahead & frozen:
assemble & bake rolls as instructed. Allow
to cool then carefully place in freezer-safe
ziplock bags. When ready to use, remove
from bag & microwave 2-3 minutes or place
in 350 degrees F. oven 10 minutes until
heated through.
Sauce does NOT hold up to freezing well –
best made fresh when ready to serve

(recipe: jamiecooksitup.net)
——————————————–

Crab Guacamole

2 diced avocados, coarsely
mashed
1/4 C. diced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded/minced
2 T. fresh cilantro
3 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 oz. canned lump crabmeat, drained
& flaked

baked chips, crackers, tortilla chips,
etc. for serving

Mix all ingredients together;
refrigerate, if desired, before serving
Makes 2 C. (or 6 servings – 1/3 C. per
serving).

(recipe: bhg.com)
——————————-

Texas TNT Dip

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom
soup
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter
2 lb. Velveeta, cut into cubes
1 C. salsa
2 T. chili powder

In saucepan over medium heat, cook
ground beef about 8 minutes until
browned; drain. Add remaining
ingredients; reduce heat to Low,
cook until cheese is melted & mixture
is warmed through, stirring
occasionally. Makes 8 C.

(recipe: mrfood.com)
————————————-
Crockpot Taco Soup

2 lb. ground beef
2 onions, diced
2 (15.5 oz, ea) cans pinto beans
1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed/
drained
1 (15.25 oz) can corn
3 (14.5 oz,ea) cans diced stewed
tomatoes with green chilies (like
Ro*Tel)
2 (4.5 oz,ea) cans diced green chiles
1 (1.25 oz) pkt. taco seasoning mix
1 (1 oz) pkt. Ranch salad dressing mix

Toppings:
tortilla chips
shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
sour cream
guacamole
diced green onion

In skillet brown hamburger with
diced onion; drain & add to crockpot.
Add rest of ingredients (except
toppings) to crockpot; stir to combine.
Cook on Low 6-8 hours or High 3-4.
Serve in bowls with toppings of
choice. Serves 6-8

(recipe: crockpotladies.com)
============================

We have still been very fortunate
with our weather – understand that
New York is due for a real nasty storm
coming this evening. We’re still in a
cold front (averaging 25 degrees each
day – but clear & sunny). With the sun
shining, our accumulated snow & ice
on driveway & roof is almost gone! YAY!
(I know – don’t hold your breath – there’s
always more where that came from and
it’s only the end of January!).

Started reading the Alphabet series of
murder/mysteries by Sue Grafton; they
are so named because she started her
first book with “A is for Alibi” and went
from there: “B is for Burglar”, “C is for
Corpse”  – just finished “C” – not sure if
she ever finished the alphabet, but am
pretty sure she’s close to the end so I’ve
got LOTS of reading ahead of me.

Next month is the last meeting of the other
knit group (the one that does hats/scarves/
mittens/gloves for the four homeless shelters
in our area). I’m not exactly sure if I’ll be with
them next ‘season’, I have a tendency to be
a bit compulsive when it comes to jumping
on the charity bandwagon (I can hear my
friends saying, in jest, “NO! Not YOU, Pammie!”)
and this last ‘season’ I tended to get a bit too
wrapped up in trying to make as many hats &
scarves as I could possibly make – which, in
turn, made me rather cranky and feeling
stressed. (Yep – I’m crazy like that). We’ll see
how I feel about it in the Fall when, I’m
guessing, they take up the mantle of crafting
for the shelters again. I had enough scrap
yarn to probably make another scarf but
had to actually tell myself “NO! STOP!!!
You’ve done ENOUGH for now!” so then I
picked up my bag of knitting for the cancer
center chemo caps. I have one about 1/4th
done – that will keep me busy for awhile.
Some of my ladies in my knit group are
already working on baby blankets for this
September’s Detroit Veteran’s Baby Shower!
One lady told me she already had two made,
another said she’s set her goal at FOUR and
has three already done! Wow! (I haven’t even
STARTED THINKING about making them yet!)

Tomorrow I have the privilege of going out
to lunch with two of my high school friends;
one I rode the bus with in high school and the
other was in Girl’s Choir with me in our junior
year – both are in my Adult Bible Sunday School
class at our church. We like getting together
every couple months just to chat – we’re all
almost the same age; one is a widow, the other
cares for her husband who has some major
medical issues – we all have kids, so we can
relate! Tomorrow we’re going to Big Boy; they
have good food at reasonable prices and none
of us is actually going for the FOOD, anyway!
The location of said restaurant is VERY close
to both JoAnn Fabrics AND Michael’s stores –
both of which sell yarn! I ‘might’ check them
out just to see if I’m ‘inspired’ by some baby
yarn to start my first Vet’s baby blanket –
we’ll see.

One of my members/friends in my knit group
is expecting their first child in June; they’ve
tried for a long time – she & I have spent much
time talking over what it’s like to NOT be able
to become pregnant (we tried for 8 years: many
meds – single & double fertility pills/surgeries,
etc. and ended up adopting, so I understand.)
It is a HUGE blessing that she & her husband
are now expecting in June – they’ve been
through a LOT. Knowing that she loves to knit
and has already made up quite a few hats,
snug sacks, socks, etc. for her baby, I’m NOT
going to be one to knit her a baby blanket. I’ve
decided to knit up a toy bunny (I made one
last year and posted the photo), a set of knit
baby blocks (yep, did that, too & posted) and
then maybe some baby headbands (like the
ones I knit last year for the Vet’s shower). We’ll
see where this takes me – another one of my
ladies & I are planning a baby shower for her
sometime in the beginning of May. Not sure
just what gifts the other members of the knit
group will create for her, that’s why I’m not
doing a blanket. She’s kind of like a little sister
to me and I’m just THRILLED for them – she
just found out last week it’s going to be a
girl! Anyway, we’ll see where tomorrow’s
‘yarn checking out/shopping’ goes!

Hope you’re having a GREAT day! Keep
keeping on – take care of yourself & your
health!

Hugs;

Pammie

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