And a Happy Frigid Friday to you, too!



Woke up to a ‘balmy’ minus 4 degrees today – sun is shining – let me go check the weather temps NOW (12:30 p.m.) it’s now 13 degrees F. with wind chills of minus 2 degrees – glad I don’t really have any ‘outdoor’ trips for today!

Well, friends, as you know LIFE changes all the time and yesterday was a ‘new’ adventure for us: we got a call asking if we would ‘house’ our nephew for a little over a week. He’s from Minnesota but going to college in Michigan; his school does something I really think is WRONG! When they have a school break (ie: Christmas, Easter, SPRING BREAK) they make all the kids leave the school EVEN IF they are from out of state! This happened a few months ago and my sister-in-law was suddenly pressed to find a place to house him for 3 days with almost no notice! (He ended up staying with a cousin here in Mich. but this time it’s a longer stay). You guessed it – now that our middle son has moved out, she asked US. This might sound very strange but I have NEVER actually MET this boy! (He’s 18, they’ve lived in Florida and Minnesota, so we’ve never really ‘connected’). This will be an ‘experience’ for ALL of us! I’ve been making lists of things I need to get done before he comes (buy an extra blanket for the bed/maybe an extra pillow, clean the house A LOT!, etc.) My mind is constantly rushing to things like: what does he like to eat? What will he DO for over a week here? (it’s not like we’re ‘company prepared’! We don’t go anywhere!) I presented the option to my husband of (maybe) taking him to see the new aquarium at our local mall – it just opened last month and is supposed to be really spectacular (I was shocked at the prices: $23.50 per person, so you know it’s not going to be a cheap adventure – we’ll see.) I would say he could ‘hang out’ with my boys BUT youngest is never home, middle lives away & works, oldest works & when he isn’t working he’s with his son – so that might not happen. I might ask if he snowboards or skis – oldest son loves going snowboarding/skiing – we’ll see. Yes, I’m a HERMIT! I’m NOT used to ANY company (even IF he is family!) – I just keep trying to convince myself: it’s a new ADVENTURE! It’s ONLY a little over a week! You’ll live through it!

Since we are experiencing such cold temperatures, I thought SOUP/STEW recipes might be just the ticket!


Creamy Italian Chicken/
Tomato Soup

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (full fat)
1 C. chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 T. Italian seasoning
1 T. dried basil
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Mix onions, garlic, coconut milk, chicken
broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes &
seasonings to crockpot. Add chicken. Cover
& cook on Low 7-9 hours or High 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken from crockpot; shred &
return to crockpot. Stir well & keep warm
until ready to serve. Serves 6-8.
(make sure chicken is cooked before serving)

Crockpot Chicken Vegetable

4 C. chicken broth
2-3 C. cubed, cooked chicken breast
1 C. frozen broccoli florets
1 C. canned white beans (rinsed/drained)
2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 C. sliced carrots
1/2 C. sliced mushrooms
1/2 C. red bell pepper, diced
1 C. potato, peeled/cut into 1/2 ” cubes
1 T. sugar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 6-8 hours or
until vegetables are tender. Remove
bay leaves before serving. Serves 8


Dollar Store Soup

12 oz. dry pinto beans, soaked
overnight in 3 C. water
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (27 oz) can chopped spinach
1 (15 oz) can sliced beets, rinsed
& chopped
1 (8.3 oz) jar sliced banana peppers
1 (10 oz) jar mushroom pieces & stems
1 (5 oz) bag roasted sunflower seeds
3 T. dried chopped onion
2 T. garlic powder
3 T. Italian seasoning herb blend
2 T. paprika
black pepper, to taste
hot sauce, to taste
3 1/2 C. beef broth

Once beans have finished soaking,
thoroughly drain & rinse then add
to crockpot. Add all other ingredients;
stir to distribute evenly. Cover & cook
on High 5-7 hours. Be sure beans are
completely cooked before serving.
Serves 8


All-Day Cabbage Soup

4 C. rough chopped cabbage
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. water
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
3 C. tomato sauce
4 C. diced tomatoes
1 C. rice, uncooked

Add onion, garlic Wors. sauce,
paprika, ground beef & salt to a

skillet on medium heat. Cook
until ground beef is browned,
about 7-10 minutes. In crockpot
add cabbage, oregano, basil,
tomato sauce, diced tomatoes,
water & ground beef mixture;
stir to combine. Cover & cook
on Low 8-10 hours. During last
half hour of cooking cook rice
according to pkg. directions.
Add cooked rice to crockpot &
stir to combine. Serves 8


Hearty Beef Stew
(cooks in a skillet=30 minutes!)

1 T. cooking oil
1 lb. boneless beef sirlois steak,
cut into 1″ pieces
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
2 (.87 oz, ea) pkgs. brown gravy mix
2 C. cold water
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes,
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 (20 oz) pkg. frozen vegetables
for stew, thawed

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Sprinkle steak with pepper;
place in skillet & cook until steak is
browned, stirring occasionally. Remove
from skillet; cover to keep warm. Add
gravy mix & water to skillet; stir until
blended. Add undrained tomatoes, Wors.
sauce & vegetables; mix well. Bring to
boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in steak;
reduce heat to Low. Cover skillet &
cook 10 minutes until vegetables are tender,
stirring occasionally. Serves 4 (1 1/2 C. ea.)

(recipe: readyseteat!)
Italian Sausage Stew

1 1/4 lb. mild Italian pork sausage
links, cut into 1″ pieces
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen Italian-style
vegetable blend
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 (24 oz) can (Hunt’s) Four Cheese
Pasta sauce
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Cook sausage in large skillet over
medium-high heat until cooked through
& no longer pink; drain. Combine sausage
& all remaining ingredients in crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 8-10 hours or High
4-6 hours. Stir before serving. Serves 8
(1 C. each)

(recipe: readyseteat!)

Chicken Minestrone Soup

2 C. water
2 C. frozen Italian-style vegetable
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes
with basil, garlic & oregano, undrained
6 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts,
cut into bite-sized pieces
1 C. dry rotini pasta, uncooked
1 (.7 oz) envelope dry Italian salad
dressing mix
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients (except cheese) in
large pot to boil, stirring occasionally.
Simmer on medium-low 10 minutes or
until chicken is cooked & pasta is tender,
stirring occasionally. Serve topped with
grated Parm. cheese. Serves 8 (1 C. each)

(recipe: readyseteat!)

Crockpot Broccoli/Cheddar Soup

1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled/
2 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tsp. oil
2 green onions, diced (green & white
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 oz. extra sharp Cheddar cheese,
1/2 C. Half & Half

Combine diced onion, oil, green onions,
garlic & thyme in a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave on High 5 minutes, stirring
every 90 seconds; add mixture to crockpot.
Add diced potatoes to crockpot; add salt/
pepper – cover & cook on Low 5-6 hours or
High 3-4 hours; potatoes should be very
tender. Carefully pour contents of crockpot
into a blender, in batches; puree until
smooth. Pour in 3/4 pkg. frozen broccoli;
pulse 3-4 times until you get soup to your
desired consistency. Pour contents of
blender back in to crockpot; add cheese,
half & half & rest of broccoli florets. Check
seasoning, adding more salt/pepper if
desired. Turn heat to High, stir & heat
a few minutes, then serve. Serves 5


Frosted Banana Bars

1/2 C. butter, softened
2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. mashed ripe bananas,
(about 3 medium)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
dash salt

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/2 C. butter, softened
4 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl cream butter & sugar
until light & fluffy. Beat in eggs,
banana & vanilla. Combine flour,
baking soda & salt; stir in creamed
mixture just until blended. Pour
batter into a greased 15 X 10 X
1 inch baking pan. Bake 20-25
minutes until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool
in pan on wire rack.
In small bowl, beat cream cheese &
butter until fluffy. Add powdered
sugar & vanilla; beat until smooth
then frost cooled bars. Makes 3 dozen.


Enjoy your day!



Published in: on February 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. He might be into computer games and entertain himself all week. Not to worry he will find something to do.

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