Craft Update

Since I keep referring to my various knit projects, thought I’d share a few photos (so you kind of know what I’m talking about):

The Mint Green baby blanket (might give it to our Pastor’s wife, who’s due in mid-May) (almost done)

Salmon pink & white ‘needy’ scarf (done)

Gray men’s/boys ‘needy’ scarf (almost done)

Most recently started Teal & White baby blanket

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

Strawberry Cream Cheese
Icebox Cake

2 lb. strawberries, washed/hulled/
sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 sleeves graham crackers
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room
temp.
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
milk
2 (3.4 oz, ea) pkgs. instant cheesecake
flavored pudding mix
3 C. milk
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed/
divided

Spray bottom of 9 X 13″ baking pan
with nonstick cooking spray & line
bottom with graham crackers. In a
bowl combine cream cheese & sweetened
condensed milk – beat using elec. mixer
until smooth & creamy. Add pudding mixes
and milk – mix on Low 4-5 minutes until
mixture starts to thicken. Fold in 2 C.
Cool Whip until smooth. Pour half of
cream cheese mixture over graham
crackers & smooth evenly. Arrange a
single layer of sliced strawberries over
cream cheese mixture. Top strawberries
with another layer of graham crackers/
cover with remaining cream cheese
mixture. Top with another layer of
strawberries. Cover & refrigerate
6-8 hours. When serving, top with
remaining Cool Whip. Crush remaining
graham crackers & sprinkle crumbs over
the top.

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

Tomato Balsamic Chicken
(Crockpot)

2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 C. thinly sliced shallots
2 lb. bone-in skinless chicken thighs
1 T. flour
1/2 C. chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes,
undrained
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Hot cooked orzo (rice) or your
choice of cooked rices to serve 6
=
Place carrots & shallots in crockpot
& top with chicken. In a bowl whisk
flour & broth until smooth. Stir in
tomatoes, vinegar, oil, garlic &
seasonings – pour over chicken. Cover
& cook on Low until chicken & carrots
are tender, 6-8 hours. Remove chicken
from bones, shred slightly using 2 forks;
return to crockpot & heat through.
Serve with your choice of cooked rices.

Freezer Option:
Freeze cooked chicken mixture in
freezer containers. To use: partially
thaw in fridge overnight. Heat through
in saucepan, stirring occasionally.
Serve with cooked rice.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
——————————-

Crispy Fried Parmesan Turkey
Cutlets

1 1/2 lb. turkey cutlets (4)
2/3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 egg
1 T. water
1 C. Panko bread crumbs
2/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large plate (or pie plate) mix
flour, salt, poultry seasoning &
pepper. In another plate beat egg
& water. In third large plate mix
Panko & Parmesan cheese.
Bread turkey in this order:
Dip in egg, then flour, again egg,
then Panko. Press flour & bread
crumbs on really well & set aside
while heating skillet. In large cast
iron or heavy skillet heat butter &
oil over medium heat until butter
is totally melted & bubbling. Add
breaded cutlet (2 at a time) to
skillet & cook 3-4 minutes per
side until golden. Transfer to a
cookie sheet & cook rest. When
they are all browned, transfer to
oven 10 minutes to finish cooking.
If your cutlets are very thin (less
than 1/2 inch) you may be able to
cook them through in the skillet
without need for the oven.
(Internal temp. of meat should
read 160 degrees F. when done).
Makes 4 – serve warm.

(recipe: iwashyoudry.com)
——————————–

Hot & Sour Soup

2 tsp. brown sugar
1 T. chili sauce or sriracha
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 inch piece ginger, grated
(about 2 tsp)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. firm tofu, pressed until
drained & chopped into strips
1 C. shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 C. cooked chicken, shredded
1 (8 oz) can bamboo shoots, drained/
finely chopped
6 C. chicken broth or stock (or veg. broth)
2 T. cornstarch
4 T. cold water
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Garnish:
2 tsp. toasted sesame seed oil
black or white pepper, to taste
4 green onions, finely chopped

In large pot heat chicken broth over
medium-high heat & add cooked
chicken, mushrooms, bamboo shoots,
tofu, garlic, ginger, vinegars, chili sauce,
soy sauce & sugar – bring to boil. Reduce
heat & simmer 5 minutes. In small bowl
whisk cornstarch & 4 T. cold water until
smooth – gradually stir into soup. Cook
4-7 minutes until soup thickens. Slowly
pour beaten eggs in a thin stream while
stirring soup – cook 25 seconds.
Garnish: In small bowl mix oil, pepper &
onions. Ladle soup into bowls & garnish
with sesame mix. Serve hot. Serves 4
(2 C. servings)

(recipe: allfood.recipes.com)
———————————–

Winter Black Bean Salsa

1 (16 oz) can black beans,
drained/rinsed
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen whole
kernel corn, thawed
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 C. chopped red onion
1/4 C. fresh lime juice
1 envelope (Good Seasons)
Garlic & Herb salad dressing mix
2 T. chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. minced fresh jalapeno
pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Tortilla chips – for dipping

Mix all ingredients in large bowl
until well blended; cover &
refrigerate at least 15 minutes
before serving. Store leftover
salsa in airtight container in
fridge. Makes 32 (2 T. each)
servings.

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com
—————————

Grandma’s Deviled Eggs

18 eggs
1/3 C. mayonnaise
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Place eggs in a soup pot & add
just enough water to cover eggs;
heat to boiling. When water is
boiling, remove pan from heat.
Cover & let stand 20 minutes.
Drain water & run cold water over
eggs. Add some ice cubes to water &
let cool 5-10 minutes. Peel eggs, slice
in half length-wise. Remove yolks to
a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise,
mustard, celery salt, salt & pepper;
mix well. Fill each egg half with
yolk mixture. Serve immediately or
cover & refrigerate until ready to
serve. Makes 36

(recipe: mrfood.com)
——————————-

Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

6 oz. pkg. butterscotch chips
1/3 C. butter
2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1 C. chopped pecans
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt butterscotch chips & butter
in a saucepan over medium-low
heat; stir in cracker crumbs &
nuts. Press half of mixture onto
bottom of an ungreased 9 X 13″
baking dish. In another bowl
beat cream cheese until fluffy.
Stir in condensed milk; mix in
vanilla & egg – pour over
crumb mixture. Top with remaining
crumb mixture. Bake 25-30
minutes. Chill until firm then cut
into bars. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

(recipe: gooseberrypatch.com)

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

Have a great day!

Hugs;

Pammie

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and then there’s today –

Yes, folks, we have exactly the above today. (I’m just grateful that most of the snow we had on the ground melted yesterday!). How do you know when you’re loved? When your dear, sweet husband drives you in his Jeep to you 9:30 a.m. eye doctor appointment IN A SNOWSTORM! It was snowy, slippery (truck in front of us almost did a 360 spinout turning a corner) and very dangerous – thank heavens I have a husband who is a GOOD DRIVER! Not only was he very safely driving – we actually got there exactly on time! Oh, and he also ordered my favorite pizza: Veggie Deep Dish from Jet’s, so I don’t have to cook, since my eyes are dialated! The snow has slowed down some, roads are still nasty – SO glad I don’t have anywhere to go tonight or tomorrow. (Just guessing, I’d say we got about 1 1/2 inches); temperature is now 17 degrees F. (with a wind chill of -2 degrees F. – BRrrrrrrr!). (So glad I have my knitting to keep me busy!)

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

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1 C. sugar
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
4 T. butter, melted
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1 C. boiling water

vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray an 8 X 8″ square baking pan
with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk
1/2 C. sugar with 1/4 C. cocoa powder.
In another large bowl whisk flour,
remaining 1/2 C. sugar, remaining 1/4 C.
cocoa, baking powder & salt. Whisk milk,
butter, egg yolk & vanilla in another medium
bowl until smooth. Stir milk mixture into
flour mixture until just combined; fold in
chocolate chips (batter will be stiff). Using
a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared
pan & spread into corners. Sprinkle reserved
cocoa & sugar mixture evenly over top then
gently pour boiling water over cocoa – DO
NOT STIR. Bake until top of cake is cracked,
sauce is bubbling & a toothpick inserted
into cakey area comes out mostly clean,
about 22-24 minutes. Cool on rack for at
least 10 minutes. Serve warm (with vanilla
ice cream, if desired.)

(recipe: americantimesfood.com)
——————————–

Crockpot White Bean Chicken Chili  

3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cut into 1 1/4″ pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded/
chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 (15 oz, ea) cans cannellini
beans (white beans) drained/
rinsed – divided
2 1/2 C. chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Optional toppings:
sliced avocado
quartered cherry tomatoes
chopped cilantro

In large skillet heat 1 T. oil over
medium-high heat. Sprinkle
chicken with salt/pepper & saute
until browned – place in crockpot.
In same skillet heat remaining oil
& saute onion until tender. Add
jalapeno, garlic, oregano & cumin-
cook & stir 2 minutes & add to
crockpot. In a bowl mash 1 C. of
beans & stir in 1/2 C. broth; add
mashed bean mixture & rest of
beans to crockpot. Cover & cook
on Low until chicken is tender,
3 to 3 1/2 hours. Stir before
serving. Serve as is or with
desired toppings. Serves 6

NOTE: This chili can also be
frozen. Cool chili first & place
in freezer containers. To use:
partially thaw in refrigerator
overnight. Heat through in a
saucepan, stirring occasionally
& adding a little broth or water
if necessary.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
————————————

Crescent Breakfast Tart

1 tube crescent roll dough
6 eggs
2/3 C. shredded Monterey
Jack cheese
4 sliced cooked bacon
kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 T. chopped chives (garnish)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a medium baking dish with
parchment paper. Place dough on
sheet & pinch seams together. Fold
edges of dough in to create a crust.
Crack eggs onto dough & sprinkle
with cheese. Place bacon on top &
season with salt/pepper. Carefully
transfer sheet to oven & bake until
crust is golden and egg whites are
set – 10-15 minutes. Garnish top
with chives & slice into squares.
Serve warm. Serves 4-6

(recipe: delish.com)
——————————

French Onion Soup Casserole

2-3 T. butter or margarine
3 large sweet onions (or 4 medium
white or yellow), sliced
2 C. shredded Swiss cheese (8 oz)
black pepper, to taste
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted*
2/3 C. milk
1 tsp. soy sauce
8 + slices French bread

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in a saute pan over
medium heat; add onions & brown
until clear. In shallow 2 qt. casserole
dish, layer onions, 2/3 of cheese & pepper,
to taste. In a sauce pan, heat soup, milk
& soy sauce, stirring to blend. Pour mixture
into casserole & stir gently to mix. Top with
bread slices & bake 15 minutes (uncovered).
After that baking time bread should be toasted.
Push bread slices under the sauce & top with
remaining cheese. Place back in oven & bake
15 minutes more.

(recipe: americantimesfood.com)
——————————–
Crockpot Banana Bread
(for crockpots with removable
insert ONLY)

1 1/2 C. mashed, very ripe bananas
(about 4)
3/4 C. sugar
1/3 C. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 2/3 C. Bisquick (baking mix)

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick cooking spray. Line
bottom of crockpot with cooking
parchment paper & spray again.
In large bowl mix bananas, sugar,
melted butter, vanilla & eggs until well
blended; stir in Bisquick until
well blended – pour into crockpot.
Place a folded, clean dish towel
over the top of the crockpot then
place lid on crockpot. (this prevents
condensation from dripping onto
bread.) Cook on High 1 hour.
Carefully remove crockpot insert,
leaving the cover on – rotate the
insert 180 degrees & replace in
crockpot & continue cooking on
High 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours until a
toothpick inserted into center of
bread comes out with moist
crumbs. Remove crockpot insert
to a cooling rack; uncover & let
stand 15 minutes. Remove bread
from insert to cooling rack.
Peel off parchment paper & cool
completely – about 1 hour.

(recipe: lifemadedelicious.ca)
————————–

Ham & Tater Tot Casserole

4 C. cooked, chopped ham
4 eggs
3 T. milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese (or
your choice)
1/2 C. chopped green onions (or
regular)
Tater tots (about one half of a
32 oz. bag – or enough to cover
top of dish)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 9″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. Spread
ham on bottom of dish. In a
bowl whisk eggs, milk, garlic
powder, black pepper & salt –
pour over ham. Sprinkle top
with cheese & gr. onions. Layer
tater tots on top & bake 35
minutes or until tots are brown.
Serves 6

Note: you can also sprinkle extra
cheese on top the last 5 minutes
of baking time.

(recipe: thesouthernladycooks.com)
———————————–

1-Pot Sausage Penne Pasta

1 lb. Italian sausage, cut into
bite-sized pieces
1 lb. penne pasta
2 C. chicken broth
1 (24 oz) jar tomato basil
spaghetti sauce
1 C. milk
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella
cheese
fresh basil, optional garnish

In large pan over medium-high
heat cook sausage until browned,
stirring often. Add broth, spag.
sauce & milk; stir to combine.
Add pasta & stir – bring to boil &
cook, stirring often, 6-8 minutes
until pasta is al dente. Remove from
heat & stir in cheese until melted.
Garnish with basil, if desired.
Serve immediately.

(recipe: leaderrecipes.com)
—————————–

Caramel Apple Muffins

2 C. flour
3/4 C. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. milk
1/4 C. butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. apple, cored/peeled/
finely diced
12 caramels, unwrapped/diced

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 12 muffin tins with paper
liners. Combine flour, sugar,
cinnamon, baking powder &
salt in large bowl. In another
large bowl mix milk, butter, egg &
vanilla. Add flour mixture to
wet mixture & stir just until
blended. Stir in apples & caramels;
divide batter evenly between
muffin cups. Bake 25 minutes
until tops spring back when
lightly pressed. Serve warm;
makes 12

(recipe: gooseberrypatch.com)

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

Ended up ordering new frames & lens today (the
ones I’m wearing are 3 years old); had the discussion
(because of my age) of having cataract surgery (I’ve
been stalling this one for a good 3 years now) – my
doctor said: “Don’t worry – you’ll let me know when
you’re ready.” For now, I’d rather still wear my glasses,
thank you. (grin) Bottom line: even WITH the surgery,
I would still have to wear glasses to see up close – sigh.

Stay warm & healthy, my friends – SPRING is coming
(maybe not soon, but it’s coming!)

Hugs;

Pammie

and now for a quick WARMING trend!

Even if it’s only a ‘brief’ warm up, I’ll take it! We ended up canceling my special needs group last night because it was getting slippery driving and VERY foggy! This morning it’s lovely: bright sun shine and 54 degrees F. So strange – we went from almost zero temps last week to this! (Hey, I’m not complaining!). Today I’m taking as my ‘catch up’ day- organized my knitting bags/projects and did a little more ‘work/knitting’ on each one. Currently I have 4 projects going: the ‘forever- it seems’ mint green baby blanket (about 3/4 ths done – will probably be the baby blanket for our pastor’s wife who’s due in mid May); a gray simple knit scarf for the needy, more baby hats and a new baby blanket: teal blue & white. Each pattern is pretty simple, but it’s just getting the ‘desire’ (so to speak) to finish the mint green one (been working on it for months!). Yesterday’s Library knit group sort of jump-started me: several ladies were interested in my knit baby hat pattern (turns out one of the librarians volunteers at the same hospital I knit the hats for & she said she would deliver any hats for us – saves me a trip!). The librarian who sort of ‘assisted’ our group mentioned various charity knit projects, which I thought was interesting; we’ll see where that goes.

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

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

1/2 C. butter, softened
3/4 C. sugar
1 egg
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. chopped strawberries
3 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray muffin cups with nonstick
cooking spray (or use paper liners).
In bowl cream butter & sugar; add
egg – mix well. Sift flour, baking
powder & salt in small bowl. Add
flour mixture & milk, alternately,
to butter mixture. Add vanilla &
gently stir in strawberries – spoon
into prepared muffin tin. In a small
bowl combine sugar & cinnamon –
sprinkle on top of muffins.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Makes 12

(recipe: Facebook -Mike Suddaby)
———————————

Chicken Zucchini Stir Fry

3 chicken breasts, cut into
bite-sized pieces
4 T. olive oil
salt/pepper
2 small zucchini cut into 1/4″
slices
2 small yellow (Crookneck) summer
squash cut into 1/4″ slices
1 medium onion sliced into
1/4″ rings

Sauce:
3/4 C. sweet chili sauce*
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. honey
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. cold water

Cooked white or brown
rice to serve 6
=
Heat large, deep skillet over
medium-high heat; add chicken
& sprinkle with salt/pepper. Cook,
stirring occasionally, until outsides
are golden brown. Remove chicken
to a plate; cover. Add 2 T. more oil
to chicken pan; heat & add veggies.
Cook over medium-high heat until
crisp-tender. In small saucepan add
sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, rice wine
vinegar, honey, cornstarch & water-
whisk to combine. Heat until thick
& bubbly. When veggies are done,
add chicken back into pan & pour
sauce over top – stir to combine.
Serve immediately over rice.
Serves 6

*You can find this in the grocery
store Asian aisle.

(recipe: jamiecooksitup.net)


Crockpot Polish Sausage/Sauerkraut &
Potatoes

1 1/2 lb. new red potatoes (about 18),
halved, if large
2 C. sauerkraut – RINSED & drained
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. dry white wine (or water)
1 tsp. caraway seeds
kosher salt/black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 lb. Polish sausage, cut into
2 inch pieces

Place potatoes, sausage, onion, broth,
wine, caraway seeds, 1/2 tsp. salt,
1/4 tsp. pepper in crockpot. Cover &
cook on Low 7-8 hours or High 4-5
hours until potatoes are tender.

(recipe: tasty recipes – Facebook)
———————–

Oven-baked Cabbage Rolls

12 cabbage leaves
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. cooked rice
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 C. milk

Sauce:

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
undrained
3 T. sugar
2 T. vinegar
1/2 C. water
2 T. cornstarch mixed with
1/4 C. cold water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray large baking dish with
nonstick spray.
In large pot salted/boiling water
drop cabbage leaves. Cover &
cook 3 minutes. Remove &
drain well. Combine ground
beef, rice, onion, egg, salt/pepper
& milk – mix well & divided into
12 portions. Place one portion
into center of each cooked cabbage
leaf. Roll leaf around filling & fasten
with a toothpick. Place rolls in
prepared dish.

Sauce:

Combine tomato sauce, tomatoes,
sugar, vinegar & 1/2 C. water – pour
over rolls in dish. Bake 40-45
minutes. Remove rolls from pan &
discard toothpicks. Place pan
over medium heat & stir cornstarch/
water mixture into juices in pan.
Bring to a boil & cook/whisking
until sauce thickens. Place rolls back
in pan & spoon sauce over rolls (OR
serve sauce on the side).

(recipe: Mike Suddaby-Facebook)
—————————

Sour Cream Pork Chops
(crockpot)

6 pork chops
salt/pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
1/2 C. flour
1 large onion, sliced 1/4″
thick
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 C. boiling water
2 T. flour
1 (8 oz) tub sour cream

Season chops with salt/pepper
& garlic powder; dredge in flour.
In a skillet over medium heat, lightly
brown chops in small amount of oil.
Place chops in crockpot & top with
onion slices. Dissolve bouillon cubes
in boiling water & pour over chops.
Cover & cook on Low 7-8 hours.

Preheat oven 200 degrees F.
After chops have cooked, transfer
chops to oven to keep warm. Be
careful, chops are very tender –
they will fall apart. In small bowl
blend 2 T. flour with sour cream;
mix into meat juices  in crockpot.
Turn crockpot to High 15-30
minutes until sauce is slightly
thickened. Serve sauce over chops

(recipe: allrecipes.com)
—————————————-
Greek Mashed Potatoes

6 medium red potatoes, quartered
1 (6 oz) pkg. fresh baby spinach
1/4 C. milk
1 T. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 C. crumbled feta cheese

Place potatoes in large saucepan;
cover with water & bring to boil.
Reduce heat; cover & cook 15-20
minutes until tender. In another large
saucepan, bring 1/2 inch of water to a
boil. Add spinach; cover & boil 3-5
minutes until wilted. Drain & coarsely
chop (keep warm). Drain potatoes &
return to saucepan. Add milk, butter,
salt/pepper & mash until smooth.
Fold in cheese & spinach. Serves 6

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
———————————

Grandma’s Chocolate Pie

1 pre-baked pie shell
1/2 C. cocoa
1/4 C. cornstarch
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan heat milk on
medium-high heat.
In large bowl mix cocoa, cornstarch,
beaten egg yolks, sugar, salt &
vanilla. Gradually add to heated
milk, stirring. Cook until thick,
beating until smooth. Pour into
pre-baked pie shell & refrigerate
to chill.

(recipe: cookandbliss.com)

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

Hope you’re having a GREAT Day!

Hugs;

Pammie

“““““““““““

Time to add an addendum to this post:
thanks to my good friend Mary/Momma’s
post, I looked at our weather forecast for the
rest of the week – OH, NO! is how I would
title it: Tonight RAIN mixed with snow &
FREEZING rain, Friday: (have an eye Dr.
appmt at 9:30) Snow, freezing rain & SLEET,
becoming ALL SNOW after 9 a.m., temps
falling to 19 degrees by 5 p.m. New snow
accumulation of 2 inches. Friday evening:
wind chill -4, wind guests 23 MPH! OH,
GOODY…what an enlightening forecast –
NOT!

Interesting/Jumbled up Day!

Today started out with me going to the FIRST Knit Group in our local library (10 a.m. -12 p.m.); very interesting – 9 ladies came and we chatted up a storm! Turns out two of the ladies live on the street behind my house (talk about small world), one of them used to foster children through the agency I used to foster for; one of them used to belong to my knit group (for a very brief time a good 6 years+ ago (I didn’t recognize her because her hair used to be black).  We’re all excited because this group meets EVERY week (as opposed to my group which meets bi-weekly). I’d say about 5 of the ladies are planning on coming to my group on Tuesday. One of the Librarians asked for information on my group because they sometimes get people asking if they know of any EVENING knitting/crochet groups – SCORE!!! I ended up handing out all the business cards I had on me (didn’t think of that before I went) – this looks to be a FUN experience!

After that meeting I went to Kroger – first thing: I almost got hit in my front quarter panel by a Senior Citizen who was backing out of a Handicap parking spot – I hit my horn and they just kept coming! Pretty scary stuff (I couldn’t back up because there was someone directly behind me!) – end result, I’d guess there was (MAYBE) 4 inches between their rear bumper and my car when they finally stopped! WHEW! Got through that and the person parked right next to them tried to do the SAME thing! PEOPLE – LOOK IN YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR BEFORE BACKING UP!!!  I almost reconsidered just going home, but didn’t. Upon checking out, the cashier seemed a bit flustered – I looked on the screen – for some reason the scanner wasn’t reading my hot dogs correctly and the cashier was beside herself. The screen read $49.50 for one package of Koegel’s Vienna franks! WOW! The more she worked at it, the worse it got – soon we had TWO billed at $49.50 each! She called the store manager who did her ‘thing’ – she ended up totally frustrated when the machine scanned ONE package at $490.50  . . . man, those must be SOME good hot dogs, right? They ended up canceling out the entire order and then had to un-bag the groceries & re-ring them; I wasn’t upset but I felt bad for them AND the bagger who had to do it all over again! CRAZY, eh?  I’m home now enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee and writing to you . . . (sigh of comfort!).

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

Ultimate Chocolate Pudding
Dump Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small box chocolate instant
pudding
1 3/4 C. milk
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips*

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In bowl mix pudding mix with
milk; stir in chocolate cake mix
(dry). Batter will be very thick.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray & spread
batter into dish. Scatter chocolate
chips on top. Bake 25 minutes or
until edges start pulling away from
sides of pan.

*Poster used semi-sweet chips
NOTE: You can also change by
using different flavors of cake mix &
pudding and different chips.

(recipe: makinitmobetta.com)
—————————

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled/halved/sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
1/3 C. flour
4 C. chicken broth
2 C. cooked, shredded chicken
1 1/2 C. cooked wild rice
3/4 C. heavy cream
salt/pepper, to taste
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Heat large pot over medium-high heat;
add bacon & cook 4-5 minutes, stirring
occasionally until crisp & browned. Remove
from pot to paper towels. Add onion,
carrots & celery to bacon fat in pot &
cook 5-6 minutes until just tender; season
with salt/pepper. Add flour, stirring to coat
veggies evenly – cook 1 minute. Slowly add
chicken broth, whisking until smooth –
bring to a simmer. Add chicken & rice, simmer
4-5 minutes. Taste & adjust seasonings; stir
in parsley. Serve immediately, topped with bacon.
Serves 4

(recipe: dinneratthezoo.com)
————————————

Ham, Cheese & Tomato Quiche

1 (9 inch) pie crust, uncooked*
2 T. flour
1 C. evaporated milk
3 eggs
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 C. onion, chopped
1 C. cooked ham, chopped
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Pierce unbaked pie shell several
times with a fork. Add ham,
tomato, cheese & onion to shell
Whisk flour, eggs, milk, salt/pepper
& spices in a bowl until smooth as
you can get it – pour over ingredients
in pie shell. Bake 50-55 minutes.
Serves 6-8

*poster used a Pillsbury frozen crust)

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

Tomato Balsamic Chicken
(Crockpot)

2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 C. thinly sliced shallots
2 lb. bone-in skinless chicken thighs
1 T. flour
1/2 C. chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes,
undrained
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Hot cooked orzo (rice) or your
choice of cooked rices to serve 6
=
Place carrots & shallots in crockpot
& top with chicken. In a bowl whisk
flour & broth until smooth. Stir in
tomatoes, vinegar, oil, garlic &
seasonings – pour over chicken. Cover
& cook on Low until chicken & carrots
are tender, 6-8 hours. Remove chicken
from bones, shred slightly using 2 forks;
return to crockpot & heat through.
Serve with your choice of cooked rices.

Freezer Option:
Freeze cooked chicken mixture in
freezer containers. To use: partially
thaw in fridge overnight. Heat through
in saucepan, stirring occasionally.
Serve with cooked rice.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
————————————

Bacon-wrapped Brussels Sprouts
with Maple-Dijon Glaze

10 slices maple/brown sugar extra
thick-cut bacon
30 Brussels Sprouts, cleaned/stems
trimmed (cut large ones in half)
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. maple syrup
2 T. Dijon mustard

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with foil
then place a metal cooking
rack on top of foil. Cut bacon
into thirds (to roll around sprouts)
Wrap each B. sprout with bacon,
placing the seam sides down on pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes depending on how
crispy you want your bacon. (if desired,
turn pieces the last 10 minutes of cooking).
In small saucepan over medium heat
combine brown sugar, syrup & mustard;
whisk just until it begins to boil & is well
combined, 2-3 minutes. Insert toothpicks
into each ‘sprout bundle’ and brush with
glaze. Serve immediately. Makes about
30 sprout bundles.

(recipe: dearcrissy.com)
———————————–

Chicken Tortilla Bake

3 C. shredded, cooked chicken
2 (4 oz. ea) cans chopped green
chilies
1 C. chicken broth
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of
mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of
chicken soup, undiluted
1 small onion, finely chopped
12 corn tortillas, warmed
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine chicken,
chilies, broth, soups & onion.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. Layer
half of tortillas in dish, cutting
to fit pan if desired. Top with
half of chicken mixture & half
of cheese; repeat layers. Bake,
uncovered, 30 minutes until
heated through. Serves 6-8

Freezer option:
Prepare casserole, cover & freeze.
To use:
Partially thaw in fridge overnight.
Remove from fridge 30 minutes
before baking. Preheat oven 350
degrees F. Bake casserole as directed
above, increasing time as necessary
to heat through & for a thermometer
inserted in center to read 165 degrees F.

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

Crockpot Coconut Rice Pudding

1 C. uncooked long grain rice
5 C. coconut milk, divided
2 T. coconut oil
1 C. sugar
1 C. dried cranberries
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash salt

toasted sweetened shredded
coconut/additional coconut milk,
optional

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick cooking spray. Place
rice in 3-4 qt. crockpot & pour
in 4 C. coconut milk. Add coconut
oil & distribute evenly over top.
Add next 5 ingredients. Cover &
cook on Low 4-5 hours, adding
enough remaining coconut milk
to reach desired consistency. Let
stand, uncovered, 10  minutes.
Serve warm, with toasted coconut
& additional coconut milk, if desired.
Serves 12

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
——————————-

Cheeseburger & Fries Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
salt/pepper
garlic powder
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C. chopped dill pickle
3 eggs
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/2 C. Half & Half
8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 bag frozen french fries,
any style

Optional toppings:
shredded lettuce
diced tomatoes
Thousand Island salad dressing
ketchup
mustard

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 2 or 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish
with nonstick cooking spray. In
skillet brown ground beef with onion,
garlic, salt/pepper – drain grease. Add
chopped pickles into mixture & spoon
into prepared dish. In small bowl whisk
eggs, mayonnaise and Half & Half – pour
mixture over ground beef in pan. Sprinkle
1 C. shredded cheese on top & season
again with salt/pepper. Top with frozen
french fries – season fries with salt/pepper
& a sprinkling of garlic powder (if desired).
Bake 35 minutes until fries are cooked &
crispy. Place dish under broiler for a few
minutes if you want your fries a bit more
crispy. Top with remaining cup of shredded
cheese – return to oven until cheese melts.
Slice & serve with your choice of toppings.

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

Sour Cream Chip Muffins

1 1/2 C. flour
2/3 C. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 C. (8 oz) sour cream
5 T. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. mint or semi-sweet
chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick
cooking spray – or use paper liners.
In large bowl combine flour, sugar,
baking powder, baking soda & salt.
Combine egg, sour cream, butter &
vanilla – stir into dry ingredients just
until moistened. Fold in choc. chips.
Fill muffin cups 3/4ths full of batter.
Bake 18-20 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into center of muffin comes
out clean. Cool 5 minutes before
removing from pan to wire rack.
Makes 12 muffins.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

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

I’ve been a little busy lately with babysitting
my 10 mo. old grandson – he’s at a fun stage.
Our weather has been all over the place with
the ‘deep freeze’ last week, then some snow
(about 2 inches) and now it’s almost 40 degrees F.
and lightly misting/raining – go figure! It’s a bit
foggy out, also, so I’m concerned about the
driving conditions later when I have to go to
my special needs group. That, in itself, is going
to be a bit ‘crazy’ – due to all the weather
changes, our group hasn’t met since the first
week in DECEMBER! I still have all the Christmas
presents to drag with me tonight plus a bunch
more things (I can envision a good 2-3 trips
from car to church). It’s also Music/Birthday
night so the kids will be a bit hyped up due to
that (it’s their favorite night – we sing lots of
simple Christian songs). We’re STILL awaiting
an actual DATE to re-schedule the Christmas
Party for the group (I know – crazy, eh?) I’m
SO over even thinking about doing that, let
alone practicing/playing “O, Holy Night’ one
more time…oh well, it’s my ‘job’, right? I do
get to deliver tonight “THE lovey/blanket” to the
young man who’s mom asked me to re-create
his old one so I’ll let ya know his reaction.

Stay healthy (& warm!);

Hugs;

Pammie

Into the deep freeze we go!

We’ve started off this new year with a (FROZEN) bang! This week’s temperatures have been hovering around ZERO – I’ve stayed home for the past 2 days but need to venture out later on. A startling surprise greeted me upon waking – our water pipes were frozen! I’m VERY blessed to have a handy/creative husband who knew just what to do: grab the hair dryer & apply gentle heat to said pipes. After working at it a good 12-15 minutes we finally have water – YAY! Reading our weather update, it’s about 5 BELOW ZERO right now at  9 a.m. Factoring in the Wind Chill, it feels like about -24!!! Remembering my childhood, guess it’s a good thing we didn’t know about Wind Chill – we just thought “It’s cold – BOY, is it COLD!” So glad I really don’t have to go out until later (and, believe me, I’d stay home another day BUT – I have a baby shower to go to at 11 a.m. tomorrow and need a fancy bag to put gift in) – the dollar store is really close so it will be a very quick trip. SO glad for dollar stores that sell nice gift bags for a reasonable price (being the Scots person I am, I hate spending $5-7 dollars for a paper bag when you can get a nice one for $1-2 at the dollar store!).

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

Apple Walnut Spice Cake

4 Granny Smith apples, chopped
2 C. sugar
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vnailla
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
1 C. walnuts, roughly chopped
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
frosting, room temp.
1/4 C. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. (golden) brown sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour a 9 X 13″ baking
dish. Combine apples & sugar
in large bowl; add in oil, eggs
& vanilla -stir to combine. In
separate bowl combine flour,
baking powder, baking soda,
cinnamon, nutmeg & salt; add
this mixture to apple mixture.
Add milk & stir to combine – mix
in walnuts. Spread batter into
prepared dish. Bake 30 minutes
until a toothpick inserted into
center comes out clean.
-While waiting for cake to cool-
Prepare Frosting:
Beat cream cheese until smooth,
adding in a little butter while
continuing to beat. Mix in vanilla
& brown sugar – continue to beat
until sugar has dissolved & frosting
is light & fluffy. When cake has
completely cooled, frost with
frosting.

Optional: Sprinkle additional
chopped walnuts on top for garnish
Refrigerate once frosted.
Serves 12

(recipe: 12tomatoes.com)
——————————–

Crockpot Creamy Chicken

6 chicken breast halves (about 2-3 lb)
1/4 C. butter
1 (.7 oz) pkg. dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 (13.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese

Cooked rice or noodles to serve 8

Place chicken, butter, dry Ital. dressing mix
& soup in crockpot. Cover Y cook on Low
2-6 hours*. Remove lid & stir; break up
chicken using a fork or knife (or leave in
large pieces if you like). Cut cream cheese
into cubes & stir into crockpot. Let cream
cheese melt about 10 minutes then stir
again until it’s creamy. Serve over cooked
rice or cooked noodles. Serves 8

*NOTE: If you have a large crockpot with
hardly any chicken in it, it will cook in
2 hours – if you have a crockpot filled to
the brim, it will take 6 hours.

(recipe: 365daysofcrockpot.com)
————————————–

Crockpot Mexican Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt/pepper
1 tsp. taco seasoning mix
1 C. uncooked quinoa
2 (10 oz, ea) cans red enchilada
sauce (mild or medium)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained/
rinsed
2 (15 oz, ea) cans fire-roasted diced
tomatoes (undrained)
1 C. whole kernel corn, frozen or canned
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 C. Cheddar-Jack cheese, shredded

Optional Toppings:
chopped cilantro
chopped tomatoes
chopped green onions
chopped avocado

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat;
add ground beef, onion & garlic – season
generously with salt/pepper & taco
seasoning. Cook until beef is browned &
onions are translucent. Spray 3-4 qt
crockpot insides with nonstick cooking
spray. Add cooked mixture & all other
ingredients (except cheese & toppings).
Stir, cover & cook on Low 5-6 hours (OR)
on High 3-4 hours. When quinoa is soft
& liquid has been absorbed, stir & top
with cheese. Cover & cook 10-15 minutes
more until cheese melts. Top with optional
toppings & serve.
Makes 8 generous servings

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

Country Cabbage Soup

2 lb. ground beef
2 (28 oz, ea) cans stewed tomatoes
1 medium head cabbage, shredded
2 large onions, chopped
6 ribs celery, chopped
salt/pepper, to taste

In large saucepan, cook beef over
medium heat until no longer pink;
drain. Add tomatoes, cabbage,
onions & celery – bring to boil.
Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered,
25 minutes until veggies are tender.
Stir in salt/pepper. Serves 12-14
(makes 3 1/4 qts)

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
————————–

Olive Garden Minestrone
(copycat)

1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. sliced carrots
1 medium zucchini, sliced, then
cut slices in half
1 meidum yellow squash, sliced,
then cut slices in half
2 T. minced fresh parsley
1/4 C. celery, sliced
3 T. olive oil
2 (15 oz, ca) cans cannellini beans,
drained/rinsed
2 (15 oz, ea) cans red kidney beans,
drained/rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced
tomatoes, drained
4 C. vegetable stock
2 C. water
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 C. small pasta shells (or ditilini)
4 C. fresh baby spinach
1/4 C. Parmesan or Romano cheese,
grated

In large (8-10 qt) stock pot heat oil
over medium heat; add onion, garlic,
carrots, zucchini, yellow squash,
parsley & celery. Cook over medium
heat 5 minutes until onion becomes
translucent. Add veg. stock, water,
cannellini beans, kidney beans, diced
tomatoes, herbs & salt/pepper. Bring
to boil, reduce heat to Low; cover &
simmer 30 minutes. Add pasta & baby
spinach -stir. Cover & simmer 20-30
minutes more. Stir in grated cheese &
serve immediately. Serves 8

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

Crockpot Cream Soda
Poke Cake

1 box white cake – batter
prepared but not baked
1 (12 oz) can cream soda (or
Big Red)
1 small box strawberry Jell-O
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 small box instant vanilla pudding

LIghtly spray insides of crockpot.
Pour prepared cake batter into
crockpot. Place 3-4 paper towels under
lid of crockpot; cover & cook on High
1-2 hours. Test to see if cake is done
using ‘toothpick method’ (insert a
toothpick into center of cake – if it
comes out dry/with no liquid batter,
it’s done). Remove crock from crockpot
& let cool. When cake is cooled, poke
holes all over top of cake using a
toothpick. Mix cream soda with dry
Jell-O & evenly pour mixture over cake.
In a different bowl, mix Cool Whip &
dry pudding mix – spread evenly over
cake. Serves 8

NOTE: You can serve this right after
making it, but it is also tasty chilled.

(recipe: recipesthatcrock.com)
=================

Hope you are able to stay HEALTHY, WARM
and able to enjoy some of the blessings of
these winter months. I’m not a fan of cold,
but have to admit the beautiful BLUE skies,
frost on the trees/bushes, etc. and the
crispness of the air refreshes me.

Hugs;

Pammie

and here comes the C-O-L-D!

Here in Michigan it’s hit the REALLY cold temperatures (getting close to or under ZERO) with wind chills of -11 degrees F. ; we’ve canceled my special needs group for the night because of it (we have students in wheelchairs and using walkers and with it that cold, it’s really miserable just getting from the parking lot to the building). Spent the greater part of the day babysitting my (now) 10 month old grandson – we had fun (he’s working on growling at the moment, so we did a LOT of that). We had a small amount of snowfall in the past few days making the side roads a bit slippery – SO glad I’m staying IN tonight! Last night was my Knit group and I got to Panera Bread at around 6 p.m. only to see a notice on the door: “This evening we will be closing at 7 p.m. for an employee food tasting of our new menu items.” Great . . . being it’s really cold, I didn’t expect many ladies (there were around 8 who came in & out); I stayed, chatting, until 7:05 (there were still LOTS of people in the place – not my job to worry about how they were going to gently get them all to leave!).

Now that we’re past the holidays (AND the holiday foods) I thought I’d start posting some winter foods – enjoy!

==========

2-ingredient Chocolate Coke Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 (12 oz) can Coca-Cola

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine cake mix
& Coke using elec. mixer until
smooth. LIne a 9 X 13″ baking
dish with parchment paper &
pour batter into pan. Bake 35
minutes until a knife inserted into
center comes out clean. Cool
before cutting – use a sharp knife
to cut.

(recipe: kirbiecravings.com)
——————————

Mexican Chicken & Corn Chowder

3 T. butter or olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless
chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 lb. potatoes, cut into bite-sized
pieces
1 (14.75 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes &
green chilies
1 (12 oz) bag frozen corn
hot sauce, to taste (optional)
1 (32 oz or 4 C.) chicken broth
2 C. heavy cream
2 C. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
fresh cilantro, chopped (optional garnish)

In Dutch oven or soup pot melt butter over
medium-high heat. Add hcicken, onion,
carrots & garlic – cook, stirring occasionally,
until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in chili
powder, cumin, salt, paprika, potatoes,
cream-style corn, tomatoes, frozen corn,
hot sauce (if using), & chicken broth – bring
to boil then reduce heat to medium-low.
Cover & cook 10 minutes. Stir in cream &
cook over Low heat 7-10 minutes until
chowder is slightly thickened & potatoes
are fork-tender. Stir in cheese, stirring
frequently, until cheese melts. Serve,
garnished with cilantro, if desired.
Serves 8-10

(recipe: lovebakesgoodcakes.com)
———————————–
Crockpot Beefy Nacho Soup

1 lb. ground beef
2 T. taco seasoning
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced
tomatoes
2 1/2 C. milk
8 oz. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
(or mild), plus more for topping

crushed tortilla chips (garnish)

Brown ground beef in skillet over
medium-high heat; drain. Add taco
seasoning, tomatoes, cheese & milk.
Cover & cook on High 2-3 hours or Low
4-6 hours. Remove lid & stir well until
cheese is melted & combined. Top with
additional cheese & crushed chips, if
desired, when serving. Serves 6

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

Stuffed Chicken with Gravy

1 boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
1 (6 oz) box chicken stuffing mix
1 (12 oz) jar chicken gravy, heated
salt/pepper/garlic powder – to taste

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. Prepare stuffing
mix accordg. to pkg. directions; cover &
set aside. Season chicken with salt/pepper
& garlic powder. Place about 1/4 C. stuffing
on each piece of chicken & wrap sides around
to create a little bundle – place in prepared dish.
Spoon remaining stuffing around chicken
bundles. Cover with foil & bake 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, remove foil & continue
cooking, uncovered, 15-20 minutes longer
until chicken is fully cooked. Pour gravy
over chicken & stuffing when ready to serve.

*can substitute chicken breast cutlets for thighs

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

Creamy Veggie Gnocchi

1 bunch asparagus, ends
trimmed & chopped into 1″
pieces
1 C. frozen peas, thawed
1 (16 oz) pkg. gnocchi
1 T. olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 C. Half & Half
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt/pepper, to taste
(optional) red pepper flakes,
garnish

Bring large pot of water to boil; add
gnocchi & cook accordg. to pkg.
directions. Drain. In a skillet on
medium-high, heat olive oil & onion.
Season with salt/pepper & saute
until translucent. Add garlic, stirring
until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add
chopped asparagus & saute 5-7
minutes until tender. Add peas &
gnocchi – cook 2 minutes. Pour
Half & Half and Parmesan cheese into
skillet & stir carefully to coat with
cream sauce. Sauce is done when
cheese has melted & cream sauce
has thickened. Add lemon juice &
toss before serving.
Serves 4-6

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

Cheesy Salsa Mini Meatloaves

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
1 egg
12 saltine crackers, finely
crushed (about 1/2 C.)
1 1/2 C. Mexican-style (Kraft)
finely shredded Four Cheese,
divided
1 C. thick salsa, divided

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In bowl mix first 4 ingredients
with 1 C. cheese & 1/2 C. salsa.
Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick
cooking spray & press mixture
into cups – use the back of a spoon
to make an indentation in center
of each. Cover a baking sheet
with foil & place muffin tin on sheet.
Bake 20-25 minutes until meatloaves
are done (160 degrees F.) Top with
remaining salsa & cheese – bake
3  minutes more until cheese is
melted.
Makes 12

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)
——————————–

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

1 (6 oz) mini loaf French bread,
cubed
6 large eggs
1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand Sweetened
Condensed milk
3/4 C. dark corn syrup
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 C. coarsely chopped pecans,
divided

Optional:
vanilla ice cream
maple syrup
caramel ice cream topping

Spread bread cubes in a single
layer in 15 X 10″ baking pan.
Bake, stirring occasionally, 10
minutes until cubes are toasted.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. Beat eggs
in large bowl using elec. mixer on
medium speed until fluffy. Blend
in Eagle Brand milk, dark corn
syrup, brown sugar, butter & vanilla.
Stir in toasted bread cubes & 1 C. pecans
until evenly moistened – pour into
prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining
pecans & allow to stand 30 minutes.
=
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bake 40-45 minutes until golden
brown around edges. Cool 5
minutes. Serve warm or cooled
with any options listed above,
as desired. Serves 9

(recipe: allrecipes.com)

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

Since I now have a ‘free week’ until next
special needs group (next Weds.) I started
another ‘needy’ men’s scarf (had more
various gray yarn, so thought it seemed
like a good idea.) I was all happy I didn’t
have to go out until Sunday then
remembered I have a (church) baby
shower Saturday (yes, I knit a baby
blanket, hat & booties for it plus a few
more items to add to the bag). Oh well,
maybe by then it will be warmer & clear
on Saturday…(naw, who am I kidding!?)

Stay healthy (if you can), stay warm &
try to find something to amuse yourself
during the beginning of this New Year!

Hugs;

Pammie

Savings and Searchings

Yesterday I ventured out to KMart and our local drug store (CVS); needed to go both places (and because they also had some great sales!). Found men’s gloves on sale (for youngest 2 sons), snow scrapers with brushes (also for 2 sons), husband needed new pillows (on sale) and it just kept going. Got to the register and the cashier asked if I had any bonus points (not that I knew of) so he checked – turns out I had $15.00 in bonus points! Kept going with the sale; by the time he was done I not only saved $$$ but also got a coupon for another $10.00 off (good the next week) – can ya say “SCORE!”? Went to CVS and it was another repeat; I used a $5.00 ‘CVS Extra Bucks” at the register and the cashier & manager were both saying: “We’ve never seen THIS before!” Turns out I got back another 2 coupons: one for $2.00 off and another for $8.00 off! YES! Shopping coupons and sales is a GREAT thing! Yes, I was HAPPY I went shopping!

Sometimes, when knitting, I kind of get bored with the patterns I’ve used a lot so I go looking for new ones. I have a large (probably 2 foot tall) pile of knitting books, booklets, etc. so I started going through those. That brought me to a pattern I had a photo of, but no pattern – that, in turn, started a search. (yes, you guessed it – THAT started ANOTHER search!). I ran across a pattern I’d done a good 5 years ago for a baby afghan. To shorten this story, that pattern was pretty complicated (got it from a lady at church who said: “Oh, it’s EASY!” – yeah, right…). Her comment challenged me to figure it out (which took a few hours) – finally boiled it down to something I COULD do and I made that blanket. Seeing a photo of the COMPLETE pattern spurred me on to “WHERE is that little booklet I originally had in which I’d broken down that pattern into something I could knit?” Much searching, (also finding about 8-10 other patterns I want to experiment with) finally found it! (I had been thinking the booklet cover was PINK – turns out the color of the blanket is PINK, not the booklet, but now I found it!) After looking it over, NO – I don’t think I want to tackle that one any time soon… As you can guess, I’ll be trying out those ‘found’ patterns a little later today. (Grin)

Since we’re getting close to New Year’s Eve (and probably parties) – here’s more PARTY recipes for ya:

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Pineapple Lush Dessert Dip

1 (3.4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant
pudding mix
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
in juice, undrained
1 C. Cool Whip, thawed

Suggested dippers:
vanilla wafers

In medium bowl add dry pudding
mix to pineapple – whisk 2 minutes.
Stir in Cool Whip. Makes 26 (2 T.each)
servings.

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)
——————————
Chicken Parmesan Snackers
(appetizer)

2 oz (one fourth of an 8 oz pkg)
mozzarella cheese
1 cooked, small boneless/skinless
chicken breast half, cut into 16
thin slices
1/4 C. pasta sauce
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
16 cracked pepper & olive oil
wheat crackers (or just wheat
crackers)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut cheese into 8 slices, then
cut each slice in half. Place
chicken in small bowl & toss
with pasta sauce. Place crackers
in single layer on a baking sheet;
top with chicken mixture, cheese
& oregano. Bake 5-6 minutes
until cheese melts.
Makes 8 servings (2 crackers each)

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)
——————————–
Hawaiian Pineapple Spread

2 (5 oz, ea) jars Kraft Pineapple
spread
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
6 slices cooked ham, finely chopped
1 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 green onions, sliced

Dippers:
Assorted crackers and/or
fresh cut up veggies

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients until blended;
spread on bottom of a 9-inch
pie plate sprayed with nonstick
cooking spray. Bake 20-25 minutes
until heated through.
Makes 28 (2 T. each) servings.

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)
————————–
Lasagna Bites
(appetizers)

6 lasagna noodles
kosher salt
2 C. ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 T. chopped parsley,
plus more for garnish
ground black pepper
1 C. marinara sauce
1 C. shredded mozzarella
cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray large baking sheet with
nonstick cooking spray. In large
pot boiling, salted water, cook
noodles to al dente. Drain &
lie flat on baking sheet. In
medium bowl combine ricotta
cheese, egg & 1 T. parsley; mix
until well combined then season
with salt/pepper. Cut lasagna
noodles in half crosswise. Spread
a thin layer of ricotta onto each
noodle then roll up; cut rolled
noodle in half, crosswise. Place
‘bites’ on same greased baking
sheet & spoon marinara onto each
bite then sprinkle with mozzarella.
Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese
has melted & bites are warmed
through. Garnish with more parsley
& serve warm. Serves 8

(recipe: delish.com)
———————————
Crispy Dry Rub Chicken Wings

12 chicken wings/drums
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. garlic salt

(dipping sauce recipe to follow)

Preheat oven 250 degrees F.
In a bowl combine wings, baking
powder & garlic salt – toss to coat.
Lay wings in a single layer on a rack
over foil-lined sheet pan. Bake 30
minutes; turn heat up to 450 degrees F
& bake an additional 35-45 minutes
until golden brown & crispy. Serves 6
=
Honey Dipping Sauce:

1 C. honey
2 T. water
2 tsp. red pepper flakes

In small saucepan, combine
ingredients & simmer 2-3
minutes, being careful not
to let it boil over. Remove
from heat & let stand 30
minutes. Pour into bowl
& serve with wings.

(recipe: perdue.com)
———————————-

2-ingredient Lemon Bars

1 box lemon cake mix
1 (15.75 oz) can Lemon Pie filling

(optional toppings:)
powdered sugar
whipped cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. In large
bowl mix cake mix & pie filling
until moist & well blended –
do not over stir. Pour batter into
pan & bake 20-23 minutes until
golden brown on top. Sprinkle top
with powdered sugar (optional)
and/or whipped cream.

(recipe: thesisterscafe.com)
——————————–

Bacon-Pierogi Bites

14 slices bacon, cut in half
1 (12 oz) pkg. mini potato &
Cheddar pierogies*, thawed
1/4 C. light brown sugar

sour cream – for dipping

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray a rimmed baking sheet
with nonstick cooking spray.
Wrap bacon around center of
each pierogi & place on prepared
sheet; sprinkle tops evenly with
brown sugar. Bake 18-20 minutes
until bacon is crisp. Serve with
sour cream, for dipping.
Serves 4

*sold in frozen foods – usually
by frozen potatoes/hashbrowns

(recipe: mrfood.com)
——————————
Cheesy Crab Poppers

1 (8 1/2 oz) pkg. corn muffin mix
1 C. Panko bread crumbs
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar
cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 C. milk
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (10 oz) container lump crab
meat, drained well
2 C. vegetable oil

In large bowl combine corn
muffin mix, bread crumbs,
Cheddar cheese, cream cheese,
butter, egg, milk, scallions, salt
& cayenne pepper – mix well.
Gently stir in crab meat until
combined; form mixture into
1 1/2 inch balls.
In a deep skillet or soup pot, heat
vegetable oil over medium-high
heat until hot. Place several crab
balls in oil, making sure not to
overcrowd. Cook 4-5 minutes until
golden brown, stirring occasionally-
remove to paper towel-lined plate
to drain. Repeat with remaining
balls. Serve warm. Makes 30

(recipe: mrfood.com)
—————————–
Bread Bowl Fondue

1 ( 1 to 1 1/2 lb) loaf plain
rye bread, unsliced
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar
cheese
1 (16 oz) tub sour cream
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 C. sliced scallions (7-8)
3 oz. bacon bits
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. caraway seeds (optional)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cut top off bread loaf, about
1/3 of the way down (set top
aside). Hollow out inside of bread,
leaving about 1 inch bread around
edges (like a wall). Cut bread that
was removed from insides into
1-inch cubes; spread cubes on a
baking sheet. In large bowl, mix
remaining ingredients until well
blended. Spoon mixture into
hollowed-out bread loaf & replace
top on bread. Wrap bread bowl
in double layer of foil. Bake
60-70 minutes. Place bread cubes
in oven during last 15 minutes of
baking, until crisp. Carefully remove
foil from bread bowl & place on
a serving plate. Serve with toasted
cubes, for dipping. Makes 5 1/2 C.

(recipe: mrfood.com)

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

I still have more appetizer recipes
so I’ll probably post them (you could
always tuck them away for later!).

Our weather is cold but not unbearable-
snowed a tiny bit last night (maybe an
inch?). Living in Michigan all my life, I’ve
gotten used to our winters (except when
we get dumped with tons of snow OR
have a ‘Deep Freeze’ with temps at or
below zero – then I complain!

Stay warm, take a little time for yourself
to relax, re-coup, and get on with your day.

Hugs;

Pammie

and a WONDERFUL TIME was had by all!

The image is a little dark, but we got (almost) the entire family! From left: My husband, next to him our oldest son, in front of him is baby’s Grandma #2, behind her is me, in front of me is oldest grandson’s Grandma & her husband, then oldest grandson (11 1/2), seated is other (baby) grandpa #2 and the baby’s Momma (baby was sleeping). Our middle son & his girlfriend were working, youngest son wasn’t feeling well – but we got ALMOST everyone in the photo!

We had food galore! Oldest son (the chef) also made a boatload of Lobster Mac & cheese (first time I’ve had that) plus lots of other foods too numerous to mention/list. Let’s just say no one went home hungry!

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

Apple Cobbler Shortbread Squares

Crust:
1 stick butter
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Filling:
3 large apples, peeled/cored/
thinly sliced
3 T. granulated sugar
2 T. flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Topping:
1 C. light brown sugar
3/4 C. flour
6 T. butter, softened

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Spray 8 X 8″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. In medium
bowl beat 1 stick butter, 1/4 C. sugar
& vanilla until creamy. Add 1 C. flour,
1/4 tsp. salt – mix well. Press mixture
evenly into baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.

Filling:
In large bowl combine filling ingredients;
mix until apples are evenly coated.

Topping:
Mix ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle
half over crust.

Increase oven temperature
to 350 degrees.

Place apple mixture in even layer over
crust; sprinkle with remaining topping.
Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick
inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool 2 hours then refrigerate 2 hours.
Cut into bars – serves 12

(recipe: mrfood.com)
———————————

Leftovers – Egg Rolls

6 egg roll wrappers*
1 C. leftover cooked turkey,
shredded
1 C. leftover mashed potatoes
1 C. leftover cranberries
1 C. leftover stuffing
vegetable oil
1/2 C. leftover gravy (for dipping)

Place an egg roll wrapper on a clean
surface – lay it out so that it forms
a triangle in front of you.  Spread a
thin layer of cranberries on, then
add a few T. mashed potatoes, stuffing
& turkey. Fold up bottom point &
tightly fold in sides. Gently roll, then
seal fold using a few drops of water
on edges; repeat with remaining
leftovers.
In large skillet over medium heat,
heat oil (it should reach 1 inch up
sides of pan) until it starts to bubble.
Add egg rolls & fry until golden,
1 minute per side. Transfer to a
paper towel-lined plate to cool
slightly. Serve with heated gravy.
Makes 6

*can find them in the produce
section of grocery store

(recipe: Facebook)
—————————–
Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

3 t. olive oil
3/4 C. diced onion
1 1/4 C. diced carrots
3/4 C. sliced celery
3 T. flour
3 C. chicken broth
2 1/2 C. chopped, cooked turkey
1 1/4 C. frozen peas
salt/pepper, to taste

Topping:
1 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/3 C. milk

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In large pot over medium heat
heat oil until shimmering. Saute
onion, carrots, celery until
softened. Stir in flour until no
lumps remain. Add about 1/4 C.
broth & stir until a thick sauce
forms. Add remaining broth &
bring to boil. Reduce heat to a
simmer & allow to simmer until
thickened, about 10 minutes.
Turn off heat & stir in turkey/peas;
season with salt/pepper. In separate
small bowl beat egg & milk – pour into
flour & stir to combine. (it should be
a sticky dough). Drop dough, 2-3
T. each, on top of turkey mixture.
Bake 17-19 minutes until topping
is golden brown.

(recipe: iamhomesteader.com)
————————————-
Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing
Casserole

3 large carrots, peeled/sliced
1 (12 oz) bag frozen broccoli florets
(about 4 C.)
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
thighs or breasts
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of mushroom
soup
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/4 C. water
3 1/2 C. (about 7.5 oz) dry herb-seasoned
stuffing mix
1/3 C. butter, melted

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
cooking spray. Place carrots & broccoli
on bottom. Season chicken with salt/
pepper & place on top of vegetables.
In medium bowl whisk soups & water –
pour over chicken. Sprinkle dry stuffing
mix on top of chicken & drizzle with
melted butter. Cover & cook on Low
6-8 hours (or High 3-4 hours).
Serves 8

(recipe: theseasonedmom.com)
———————————–

Tropical Fruit Salad

4 kiwis, peeled/sliced
3 navel oranges, peeled/sliced &
cut in half
2 mangos, peeled/cubed
1 pineapple, cut into bite-sized
chunks
2 C. seedless red grapes
1/2 C. sour cream
2 T. honey
1 tsp. orange zest

Combine fruits in a large bowl &
spoon onto a serving platter. Mix
remaining ingredients until blended;
drizzle mixture over fruit just before
serving. Serves 10 (1 C. each)

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)
————————————

Double-Pork Hash

5 slices bacon, (thick-cut)
1 (8 oz) boneless ham steak,
cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 C. red bell pepper, seeded/
diced (1/2 inch)
1 (20 oz) bag refrigerated hash
brown potatoes
salt/black pepper, to taste

IN large skillet over medium heat
cook bacon, turning once, until
crisp (about 8 minutes). Transfer
to paper towels to cool/crumble.
Pour fat from skillet into a small
bowl (you should have about 5 T. ;
add vegetable oil, if needed to achieve
5 T. Return 3 T. bacon fat to skillet –
over medium heat add ham & cook,
stirring occasionally, until beginning to
brown, about 2 minutes. Add onion &
red pepper, cook, stirring occasionally,
until onion is golden, about 7 minutes.
Add hash brown potatoes; cook until
underside is mostly golden, about 7
minutes. Drizzle remaining 2 T. bacon
fat over hash. Using a metal spatula,
turn hash over in sections. Continue
cooking, stirring occasionally, until
hash is completely golden brown, about
5 minutes. Sprinkle with crumbled
bacon & season with salt/pepper.
Serve hot. Serves 6

(recipe: Smithfield)
—————————-

Sweet Potato Turkey Patties

1 lb. ground turkey
1 clove garlic
1 T. maple syrup
1/4 C. chopped chives
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
salt/pepper – to taste
2 C. grated sweet potato
2 T. olive oil

In food processor add turkey, garlic,
maple syrup, chives, red pepper flakes,
poultry seasoning, salt/pepper – process
until combined then transfer to large
bowl. Add grated sweet potato to bowl
& fold into turkey mixture until well
combined. In large skillet heat olive
oil over medium-high heat. Once hot,
form mixture into patties & place in
skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes per side. Add
a splash of water to skillet, cover &
cook another 5 minutes to help cook
thoroughly without burning outside of
patties. Remove cover, let liquid cook off;
transfer patties to a paper towel-lined plate
to drain.

(recipe: runningtothekitchen.com)
———————————–
Turkey Tetrazzini

half of (16 oz) box spaghetti noodles
3 T. butter, divided
2 C. cooked turkey, chopped
1 C. mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
salt/pepper
1 (10 oz) can cream of mushroom
soup
1 C. milk
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1 C. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 T. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp. dried parsley

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook spaghetti noodles accordg.
to pkg directions; drain & place in
a 3 quart casserole dish that has
been sprayed with nonstick
cooking spray (OR you can use a
7 X 11″ pan). Add 1 T. butter to
noodles & toss to melt butter.
Heat a large skillet & melt 2 T.
butter in skillet; once melted,
add mushrooms & onion (salt &
pepper a bit). Saute over medium
high heat until onions are translucent.
Add soup & milk – whisk to combine.
Add poultry seasoning & dry mustard –
stir to combine. Add 1 C. Cheddar
cheese & stir in – once melted, remove
pan from heat. Sprinkle chopped turkey
over noodles in dish. Pour soup mixture
over turkey, sprinkle with 1 C. mozzarella
cheese & 1 T. Parm. cheese on top of
sauce. Sprinkle dried parsley on top &
bake 30 minutes until cheese is melted &
sides are bubbly. Serves 6

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

Crockpot Double Chocolate Cake

1 (2 layer) chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 oz) pkg. chocolate instant
pudding mix
1 C. sour cream
1 C. water
2/3 C. oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 pkgs. (4 oz, ea) semi-sweet
chocolate (6 oz) chopped
1 C. Cool Whip, thawed

Mix dry cake mix & pudding mix
in a large bowl using whisk until
blended. Add next 4 ingredients;
mix well & stir in chopped chocolate.
Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray & pour mixture in.
Cover & cook on Low 4-5 hours
(or High 3 – 3 1/2 hours) until top
surface of cake has no wet spots
& cake begins to pull away from
sides of crockpot. Serve warm
with Cool Whip topping. Serves 16

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

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

Yesterday was a day filled with LOTS of action:
husband & I struggled for HOURS getting the
foods prepared to take to oldest son’s house –
Christmas Eve my (wonderful – NOT!) back went
‘out’ again, so standing was very painful but we
managed to work around it: I sat while cutting
up potatoes (husband peeled – for mashed pots).
We did our best to make oldest son’s sudden change
in ‘eating time’ from 2 p.m. to 1 p.m. but several
small disasters lost us some time, so we didn’t get there
until around 1:30 – oh well . . . Green Bean casserole
decided to overflow all over inside of microwave
(where I’d put it to speed up the cooking time), corn
casserole took longer to cook than usual – stuff like
that. Oh – and then there was the WEATHER! The
temps were hovering at 19 degrees F. and it began
to snow MORE! Driving was very slow and treacherous-
his street was almost impassable, but we made it!
It snowed while we were there, probably another 1-2
inches – it’s supposed to be VERY cold all week (right
now NOAH National weather service is saying it’s
2 degrees F. outside with wind chill making it feel
like -13 degrees F! (the HIGHEST temp this week is
Friday at 16 degrees F. so not to thrilled with that,
but HEY! What can ya do?  I’m babysitting tomorrow,
hopefully only 10:15 – 3:30, but we’ll see. Baby got
TONS of toys so I’m sure he will be very amused while
playing with all of them.

Wanted to share with you my most precious presents;
Oldest son & his girlfriend had these photos blown up
& framed on canvas (each is about 1 1/2 feet square):

Bottom photo was Thanksgiving, 2017 (I didn’t know my son was taking the photo!)

To sum it all up – we had a WONDERFUL Christmas!

Hoping you were able to enjoy your
holiday. It’s not the presents under
the tree that counts – it’s who’s
IN YOUR HEART!

Hugs;

Pammie

Christmas Eve, 2017

And so it’s Christmas Eve – this day started out with church & singing in the choir. Our choir director and his lovely wife (who is also our accompanist) are in another state for the holidays SOooooooo we did something we have never done before – we sang to a CD of the music. I must say – it took a bit of work as most are not used to that idea, but after practicing, we actually nailed it in the final performance so I was happy (as, I’m sure, was our assistant director!). During church I got a text from middle son asking if he & his girlfriend could take my husband & I out for lunch (as their Christmas gift to us) – so we went to a nearby Middle Eastern restaurant (girlfriend is Vegan & son is getting there). This was my second try at that type of food and I did my best NOT to let them know I really didn’t like ANYTHING I’d ordered – I DID try, though! Not my idea of a good idea; I had Garlic Almond Ghallaba with chicken: “Assorted sautéed vegetables and your choice of meat blended together with rice, almonds & garlic”; it also came with more roasted (BIG CHUNKS) veggies: green pepper, carrots, zucchini, onion. If nothing else, it was filling (I told my husband he gets ALL of my ‘takeout/leftovers’ – I’m really not interested). BUT…it’s the thought that counts, right? (son & girlfriend were really enjoying their foods).

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

(A few last minute recipes – just in case you might need them)

Caramelized Onion Dip

2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. olive oil
3 lb. yellow onions, cut in
half lengthwise & crosswise
into 1/4″ slices
2 T. brown sugar
salt/black pepper
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
3 dashes hot sauce (optional)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. (8 oz) sour cream

chopped chives – garnish (optional)

Heat butter & oil in heavy medium
saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add onions & sugar – cook, stirring
constantly, until soft & golden, about
15-20 minutes. Season with salt/pepper.
Stir in vinegar & simmer until mixture is
dry. Add hot sauce (if using). Remove from
heat & allow to cool slightly.
Mix cream cheese until smooth in large
bowl. Fold in sour cream & caramelized
onions – season with salt/pepper. Garnish
with chives, if using.
Can be eaten warm or chilled.
Makes 2 Cups

(recipe: foodnetwork.com)
————————–
Pretzel-ring Beer Cheese Dip

1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese,
plus more for sprinkling
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 T. chopped chives (more for
garnish)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. beer (suggested: Guinness)
ground black pepper
2 T. baking soda
1 can Pillsbury Grands! biscuits
egg wash (1 egg + 1 T. water, mixed)
coarse salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Dip:
In large bowl combine cheeses,
cream cheese, mustard, chives,
garlic powder & beer- season with
salt/pepper.

Pretzels:
In small saucepan bring 2 C. water
& baking soda to a boil. Reduce to
a simmer. Cut each biscuit in half &
roll into a ball then cut an X slice
across top of each ball. Drop into
simmering water & cook 1 minute.
Remove using a slotted spoon –
transfer to a cast-iron skillet
forming a ring around skillet. Brush
biscuits with egg wash & sprinkle
tops with coarse salt. Transfer
cheese dip to center of skillet &
smooth top. Sprinkle top of dip
with more Cheddar cheese. Bake
until biscuits are golden & dip
is warmed through, 33-35 minutes.
Garnish with chopped chives & serve.
Serves 6

(recipe: delish.com)
——————————————-
Cheesy Cauliflower/Bacon Dip

4 C. small cauliflower florets
(about 1/2 large head)
1/2 C. water
4 slices bacon
1/2 C. finely chopped yellow onions
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, cubed
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
3/4 C. mayonnaise
1 (8 oz) pkg. (Kraft) shredded Italian
5-cheese blend, divided
1 T. sliced green onions

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In food processor, process cauliflower
until pea-sized pieces. Place in large
microwaveable bowl & stir in water.
Microwave on High 3 minutes; stir.
(goal is crisp-tender). If necessary,
continue microwaving 2 minutes until
any larger cauliflower pieces are crisp-
tender; drain. Cook bacon in medium
skillet on medium heat until crisp;
remove to paper towel-lined plate.
Discard all but 1 T. drippings. Add
onions to drippings; cook 3-4 minutes
until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.
Add cream cheese & hot sauce; cook &
stir 2-3 minutes until cream cheese is
completely melted & well blended. Stir
in cauliflower, mayo & 1 1/2 C. cheese;
smooth top. Crumble bacon; sprinkle
over dip & top with remaining shredded
cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes until dip
is heated through & top is brown;
sprinkle top with green onions &
serve. Makes 32 (2 T. each) servings.

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)
——————————

Crockpot Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 lb. red potatoes, peeled/cut
into chunks
3 cloves garlic
salt/pepper
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 C. water
8 T. butter, divided
1/3 C. sour cream
1/2 C. milk

Place garlic cloves in a small square of
foil; wrap foil up like a Hershey kiss
candy. Place peeled/chopped potatoes
into crockpot & season well with salt/
pepper. Place foil/garlic packet into
potatoes. Place chicken bouillon granules
into a large 2-Cup measuring cup & stir in
1 C. warm water until dissolved – pour over
potatoes. Cut 4 T. butter into small pieces
& place in random spots over potatoes.
Cover & cook on High 4 hours or Low
7-8 (depending on how fast your crockpot
cooks).
When potatoes are fork-tender, remove foil
packet; open it – smash garlic with a fork &
add half of it back into crockpot. (If you want
more garlic taste, add more after everything
is mixed together – best to start with a little).
Pour 1/2 C. milk, 4 T. butter & 1/3 C. sour
cream into crockpot & mix, using elec. mixer
until all is smooth. You can add more milk
if they are too thick. Taste & add more salt/
pepper/garlic, if needed. Serves 10-12

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

Cranberry-Orange Cake

1 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. sour cream
1 C. granulated sugar
3 large eggs
zest of 1 orange – (about 1 T.)
juice of an orange
1/2 C. butter
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 C. fresh cranberries

Icing:
1 C. powdered sugar
2-3 T. milk/water or orange
juice

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick
cooking spray. Sprinkle 2 T. sugar in
bottom of sprayed pan. Sprinkle
1/4 C. cranberries on top of sugar.
Cream butter & sugar until sugar
turns a lemon color, about 4-5
minutes. Add eggs, one at a time,
mix until incorporated. Add orange
juice & zest, then sour cream. When
fully incorporated, add flour, salt &
baking powder – mix well. Stir in
remaining 1 1/4 C. cranberries; pour
into prepared pan & bake 50-55
minutes until a toothpick inserted
near center comes out clean. Let
stand 5 minutes after removing
from oven. Invert cake onto a wire
rack to cool.
Mix glaze ingredients & spread on
top & sides of cake. Serve.

(recipe: allrecipes.com)
———————————

Chocolate Churro Dip

1 tube refrigerated biscuit dough
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 C. cinnamon sugar
2 C. Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut
spread)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray an oven-safe 10″ skillet
with nonstick cooking spray. Cut
each biscuit in half & roll into
balls. Dunk each ball in melted
butter then roll in cinnamon-sugar.
Place around the perimeter of the
skillet to form a ring. Biscuit
pieces should be touching. Pour/
scoop Nutella into center of skillet
& bake 25 minutes until biscuits
are golden & cooked through. Let
stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serve warm. Serves 6

(recipe: delish.com)
———————————
Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

Caramel Sauce:
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. water
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4 C. heavy cream
3 T. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Crumble:
1 C. flour
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. granulated sugar
6 T. softened butter
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled/
cored/sliced
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. butter
1/4 tsp. salt

Caramel Sauce:
Heat sugar & water in small
saucepan on medium heat to
melt sugar. Continue cooking &
swirling sugar until it turns an
amber color. Whisk in sea salt &
heavy cream (mixture will bubble
up violently, briefly). Continue
whisking until sauce is smooth.
Stir in butter & vanilla.

Crumble:
Combine all crumble ingredients using
an elec. mixer. Mixture will be crumbly
but stay together when squeezed. Place
sliced apples in a bowl with lemon juice.
Cook apples in a large cast iron skillet
over medium-low heat in butter to draw
out moisture. Sprinkle with salt to draw
out all moisture possible. Drain & place
back in skillet. (about 5-7 minutes cooking
time). Pour 3/4 of prepared caramel
sauce into apples & gently stir. Top with
crumble topping & bake 20 minutes.
Serve with remaining caramel sauce.
Serves 6

(recipe: yummly.com)
==================

Weather-wise, our temps. dropped severely –
it’s now 19 degrees and snowing. We’re supposed
to get 1-3 inches; while we were at the restaurant
it was coming down a LOT. Going home was pretty
slippery  – SO glad we only live about 7 minutes
away AND don’t have to go out again today/tonight!

All I have left to ‘do’ is wrap presents and (maybe)
put together the 2 casseroles together & refrigerate
overnight (easy day!).

Stay warm, SAFE and remember to relax a bit in
between ‘adventures’!

Hugs;

Pammie

Getting Closer . . .

Got a few more decorations up yesterday (not many) and still no tree – it will come. Hope you are getting the last minute things done you hoped you would/could. Still struggling with lack of energy and tomorrow I babysit – really hoping it’s ONLY 10:15 a.m. – 3:30! Learned yesterday that youngest son is going to be able to join us for Christmas dinner – YAY! In going over all the various canned/boxed foods I bought for the various dishes for Christmas dinner I discovered I missed a good 5-7 cans green beans for the Green Bean Casserole! Got to thinking about it (after searching all over and in my car) – I remembered getting into a good 15 minute conversation with one of the older men that works at one of the grocery stores I frequent – and, said conversation was just when I was trying to decide how many cans of green beans to buy. Guess the ‘conversation/distraction’ was enough to cause me to totally forget to buy them! UGH! Well, I ‘was’ kind of planning on going out for a short trip to the drug store (I’m searching for something I SHOULD have bought a few weeks ago when I saw them) – wanted to buy one of those really big Hershey’s Kisses for the baby’s Mom (just a little something ‘extra’, but it seems they are sold out in places I go). Have fully decided I’m NOT going to WalMart, KMart or Meijers, even IF they have them – too tired, still, to battle crowds – might just ‘go without.’ These past few days of realizing I’m NOT as healthy as I’d hoped brings back a saying my good friend Mary (Momma) shared with me:

What I have   –          is enough
What I am      –          is enough
What I do       –          is enough
What I’ve achieved – is enough

I’ve notice, through the years, that EVERY Christmas I do the same thing: buy presents that I think are nice/heartfelt/something the person receiving them will enjoy THEN, when it comes REALLY CLOSE to the actual day-I begin to doubt if it’s ENOUGH. That’s NOT a good thing – hence, why Mary’s saying really hits home. I just have to re-read the saying and APPLY IT! (Have you ever had that situation?)

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

Pie Crust Pinwheel Cinnamon
Cookies

2 pie crusts (store bought or homemade)
2/3 C. sugar (option: mix half white & half
brown)
1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 to 2 1/2 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment
paper. In small bowl combine sugar(s)
& cinnamon. Roll pie crusts on on a clean,
lightly floured surface & roll each out into
a large rectangle. Brush melted butter over
dough, then evenly sprinkle cinnamon/sugar
mixture on top. Starting with long end, roll
dough over itself to create a long log. Cut
log into 1-inch rounds then transfer to sheets.
Bake 8-10 minutes until cookies are light
golden. Remove from oven & let cool 2 minutes
before transferring to a wire rack to cool
completely. Makes approx. 2 dozen

(recipe: 12tomatoes.com)
———————————-

Chicken Cordon Bleu Crescent Rolls
(appetizer)

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
8 slices Swiss cheese
8 slices deli ham
2 chicken breasts, cooked/sliced thinly
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 T. honey
2 T. Dijon mustard

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a pie pan (or 9″ baking pan) with
nonstick cooking spray. Remove rolls
from pkg; lay out in long rectangle –
pinch seams together well. Sprinkle
Italian seasoning on. Layer: Swiss
cheese, then ham then chicken breast.
Roll up like a cinnamon roll & cut into
8-10 rolls/rounds. Place rolls on pie pan
& bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
Mix honey & Dijon & serve in a small
bowl as a dip. Makes 4 servings

(recipe: momontimeout.com)
————————————-
Sausage Cream Cheese Crescents

16 oz. bulk sausage, cooked/crumbled
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large bowl combine cooked
sausage, cream cheese & Cheddar
cheese. Separate rolls into triangles;
cut each triangle in half, lengthwise.
Scoop a heaping tablespoon meat
mixture onto each roll & roll up.
Place on cookie sheets & bake about
15 minutes until golden brown.

(recipe: easyrecipesly.com)
—————————————-
Ham & Swiss Rolls (appetizer)

1/4 C. Dijon mustard
1 onion, minced
1 C. butter, melted
4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
2 T. poppy seeds
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
4 pkgs. small dinner rolls
1 lb. shaved deli ham

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Combine mustard, onion, butter,
cheese, poppy seeds & Worc.
sauce in small bowl. Using a
serrated knife, slice an entire
pkg. of rolls in half horizontally.
Spread bottom half of rolls with
1/4 of mustard mixture, top with
1/4 lb. ham & replace top bun.
Place rolls on a sheet pan lined
with foil – repeat with remaining
rolls & ingredients. Bake 20-30
minutes until thoroughly heated.

(recipe: gooseberrypatch.com)
—————————
Artichoke/Garlic/Herb Cream
Cheese Spread

1 (6 oz) jar marinated artichokes,
drained/chopped*
8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 tsp. dried garlic
1/2 tsp. chopped chives
1/2 tsp. chopped dill weed
1/2 tsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. dried red & green pepper
flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. white pepper

Chop artichokes in blender or food
processor. Combine all ingredients
in medium bowl & chill several hours.
Serve with toasted bread, pita chips
or crackers. Makes 1 1/2 C.

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

Creamy Broccoli-Bacon Bake

6 C. small broccoli florets
2 carrots, sliced
1 (8 oz) tub (Kraft) Philadelphia
cream cheese spread
2 T. milk
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 green onions, sliced
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked/chopped

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
In large saucepan filled with
boiling water add broccoli &
carrots – cook 2-3 minutes until
crisp-tender. Drain, reserving
1/4 C. cooking water. Mix next
3 ingredients in a bowl until
blended. Return cooked vegs.
to saucepan; add cream cheese
spread & onion – stir until
veggies are evenly coated with
sauce, adding reserved cooking
water, if necessary, for desired
consistency. Spray a 2-qt.
casserole dish with nonstick
cooking spray & spoon mixture
into dish. Top with shredded
cheese & bacon – cover with foil.
Bake 25 minutes until heated
through – uncover for last 5
minutes of cooking time.
Serves 8 (1/2 C. each)

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)
————————-

Crockpot Taco Casserole

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
2 T. taco seasoning
1 (13.75 oz) can cream of chicken
soup
1 (10.5 oz) can Ro*Tel tomatoes
(diced tomatoes w/green chilies)
1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained/
rinsed
1 C. frozen corn
1 1/2 C. shredded cheese (poster
uses sharp Cheddar & mozzarella,
mixed)

Toppings:
Tortilla chips
sour cream
cilantro
sliced avocado

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick cooking spray. In a
large skillet brown meat; drain
& add taco seasoning. Add
soup, Ro*Tel, beans & corn –
stir well & pour into crockpot.
Sprinkle top with cheese. Cover
& cook on Low 2-3 hours.
Serve with desired toppings.
Serves 4-6

NOTE: This recipe can also be
made in the oven:
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix ingredients together (after
cooking meat) & pour into
prepared dish. Bake 30 minutes.

(recipe: 365daysofcrockpot.com)
——————————-

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled/grated
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled/chopped
2-3 T. olive oil
1 rotisserie chicken plus 1 C.
reserved broth from bottom of container
7 C. water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
1 (16 oz) pkg. Potato Gnocchi
(Gnocchi are Italian dumplings &
can usually be found in grocery stores
by the dried pastas – might also be
found in the frozen sections)
4 C. Half & Half
1 1/2/ C. spinach, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. sugar
1/4 C. cold water
5 T. cornstarch
salt/pepper
2 T. butter

Heat a large soup pot over medium-
high heat & heat oil. When oil is hot,
add chopped veggies – cook over
medium-high heat, stirring occasionally
5-8 minutes until onions are translucent.
Remove skin from chicken & meat from
bones – chop meat. Pour broth from
chicken container & 7 C. hot water into
pot; add chicken bouillon cubes & stir;
add chopped chicken & bring to boil.
Pour gnocchi into boiling pot & return
to boil. Cook 3-4 minutes – gnocchi will
be cooked through when they float to
top of broth. Add spinach, Half & Half,
thyme, nutmeg, sugar & 2 T. butter to
pot, stir & bring to boil.
In small bowl combine 1/4 C. cold water
& 5 T. cornstarch – mix well & pour into
pot. Bring soup to boil while stirring – it
will thicken as it reaches a boil. Season
with salt/pepper & serve. Serves 12

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

Strawberry/Banana Cheesecake
Salad

1 (8 oz)  pkg. cream cheese, softened
16 oz. vanilla yogurt
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (3.5 oz) pkg. cheesecake-flavored
instant pudding or pie filling mix
1/2 bag miniature marshmallows
3 pints strawberries, cleaned/sliced
4 bananas, sliced
1 container raspberries (optional)

In large bowl mix cream cheese, yogurt,
pudding mix & Cool Whip until creamy.
Stir in marshmallows/fold in fruit.
Garnish top of bowl with additional
fruit, if desired. Refrigerate 1 hour.

(recipe: americantimesfood.com)
——————————————-
Fudge Pie

2/3 C. evaporated milk
1/2 of a 12 oz. pkg. semisweet
chocolate morsels
2 T. butter
1 C. sugar
2 T. flour
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. salt
1 C. chopped pecans

1 (unbaked) pie crust

fresh whipped cream, for
serving
=
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Place first 3 ingredients in a
microwave-safe bowl & heat
on High 1 to 1 1/2 minutes
until melted & smooth, whisking
at 30 second intervals. Whisk
sugar & flour into chocolate
mixture; add eggs, 1 at a time,
whisking just until blended after
each addition. Whisk in vanilla &
salt; stir in pecans. Pour mixture
into pie shell & bake 35-40 minutes
until set. Cool 10 minutes before
serving.
Serve with fresh whipped cream.

(recipe: americantimesfood.com)

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

Have a great day – and TRY to stay healthy!

Hugs;

Pammie