Friday, May 31, 2013

Crock Pot Cheeseburgers

Three cheers for another easy crock pot recipe!
Adapted from here.

While making dinner one night, I browned the hamburger for this meal. What is one more dish when I already have multiple going?

Got everything together, tossed it into the crock pot and set it in the fridge for the next day. In the am, before leaving for work, I turned it on and away I went.

When I got home, I could smell this as soon as I opened the door. It was cheesy, tangy, and comforting.
One good stir and we were ready to eat.
(I also used a crock pot liner, so there was next to no clean up)

Making it the night before, and having the liner meant for a night with no clean up. I am sure you all feel and share my joy!

2 Lbs ground beef
¼ Tsp ground black pepper
2 oz Velveeta, cubed
2 Tbsp milk
2-3 Tbsp pickle relish
2 Tbsp prepared mustard
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 Green bell pepper, chopped
1 Small onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, pressed
Sandwich buns

1. In large skillet, over medium heat, brown ground beef with green pepper, onion, and black pepper until beef is cooked through.
2. Drain meat and transfer to a crock pot
3. Add all other ingredients (except buns)
4. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours


Just realized that the Velveeta box sort of blends in behind the mustard. Whoops!

Hubby says it's like a cheeseburger sloppy joe.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Creamy Parmesan Potato

This recipe came from my "saved over the years" pile. I hand wrote it, so I am not sure where it originally came from.
A quick Google search provided more responses than I cared to go through.

I went looking for the ingredients at my local grocery. I couldn't find sour cream and onion scalloped potato, but I did find parmesan ones. Sounds like it would work just fine to me, and it did.

As you dump the tiny potato slices in the pan, you might look at it and wonder why in the heck you need such a large pan for such a small amount of food. Just go with it, and see what happens!

I also decided to skip the salt this calls for as I figured the potato seasonings would have enough sodium. This was a personal choice, and I didn't miss can decide for yourself.

1 Box sour cream and chive scalloped potato
2 Cups very warm water
1 Cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
½-1 Tsp salt
½ Tsp garlic powder
¼ Tsp white pepper
¼ Tsp onion powder
¼ Tsp nutmeg
6 Large eggs
2 Tbsp grated parmesan for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Spray bottom of 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray
3. Place potato slices in dish
4. Combine remaining ingredients (minus the parmesan for garnish) with the seasoning packet from the potato.
5. Wisk until smooth, pour over potato slices.
6. Sprinkle with garnish
7. Bake 40 minutes


I liked both the Parmesan and the Sour Cream and Onion flavor potato, can't go wrong!

The picture just doesn't convey the yum!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Baked Beans

I love this baked bean recipe. It's easy enough to make for weeknight dinners as it only takes a couple of hours.

Hubby always loves them, but every now and again I get "these are good, but I do really like my mother's". I called her the other day to find out how she makes hers...if he wants them, I will make them (eventually).

We compared recipes, and there is only slight differences. Once I try hers, I will post that as well.

Hubby truly feels that the difference really is in the fact that she uses a bean pot. Since I don't have one, I will have to borrow hers when I make them.

40 oz can of kidney beans, drained
Onion, chopped
½ Cup brown sugar
1 Cup molasses
1 Tbsp dry mustard
6 Cups water

1. Mix all ingredients
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer until water is reduced


Simple ingredients, love when everything is already on hand

Sweet and delicious!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chocolate Marble Cake

I have a friend at work and we are both magazine junkies.
We both get different ones and save them up for a month, and then trade off for the other to read.
She handed me the Feb issue of All You and inside I found this recipe.

I have been on a sweets kick, so it just made sense to have it made and on hand just in case someone had a sweet tooth.

This cake is dense, moist and delicious.
I immediately made another one to bring to my Nana. It would be rude to not fill her sweet tooth too!

We had some rainbow sprinkles on hand....but I opted to leave it just with the glaze. It is certainly sweet enough without the addition.

1 ¾ Cup cake flour
2 Tsp baking powder
¼ Tsp salt
⅔ Cup plain, whole milk yogurt
2 Tbsp whole milk
½ Tsp vanilla extract
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ Cup sugar
3 Large eggs, at room temperature
¼ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tsp instant coffee powder
¼ Cup heavy cream
½ Cup semisweet chocolate chips
Sprinkles (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325
2. Coat a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray
3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a separate small bowl, whisk yogurt, milk, and vanilla
5. In a large bowl mix butter with sugar (electric mixer, med-high speed) until light and fluffy
6. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
7. Reduce speed to low, add half of flour mixture, then yogurt mixture, then remaining flour mixture.
8. Remove ⅓ of batter, about 1 cup, to a medium bowl.
9. Pour ¼ cup boiling water into a small bowl. Whisk in cocoa and coffee powder until smooth. Let cool slightly.
10. Add to batter in medium bowl, stir to combine
11. Alternate spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batters in loaf pan.
12. Draw a knife through batters for a marbled effect.
13. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
14. Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
15. Place cream in a microwavable cup or bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds.
16. Add chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
17. Drizzle icing over cake, letting it drip down sides.
18. Top with sprinkles if desired.
19. Let stand until icing has set.



Sugar! I totally spaced and it wasn't in the original picture. Whoops!

As I got cutting further in the cake, the marbling looks better. Take my word for it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Macadamia Nut Tart

Recipe adapted from here

I don't have a food processor. This is not something I am OK with, but it is what it is.
When it came to making this tart (and other items) I just keep working the ingredients with a fork over and over until the dough is formed.

One would think I would have ripped arms. Sadly, no.

I put this tart together, and baked it. When I pulled it out of the oven I got a little panicky. The entire middle of the tart was still so incredibly liquid.

Hubby talked me into letting it cool and just "see what happens". So glad I listened to him (mark the calendar!) and didn't put it back in the oven. Once the tart was cooled, the inside gelled to just the right consistency.

We had this at a party. One person suggested that it looked like a baked bean pie (new idea? Hmmm) Everyone who tried it compared it to a twisted pecan pie.

1 Cup all purpose flour
½ Cup butter, cubed
3 oz cream cheese, cubed
⅛ Tsp salt
1 ¾ Cup sugar
¾ Cup water
½ Tsp lemon juice
⅓ Cup heavy whipping cream
¾ Cup butter
1 Cup dry roasted macadamia nuts (coarsely chopped)
Whipped Cream (optional)

1. Process first 4 ingredients in a food processor until dough forms a ball.
2. Roll into a 12 inch circle.
3. Place dough in 10 inch tart pan, trim edges, leaving a 1 inch overhang.
4. Fold overhang inside pan, and press against sides, forming a thick edge.
5. Line pastry with aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans.
6. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes. Remove from oven, and place on a wire rack to cool.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 350
8. Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.
9. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes or until mixture turns a dark amber color.
10.Remove from heat and carefully stir in cream and butter until smooth.
11. Place nuts in bottom of tart shell.
12. Place tart on a baking sheet.
13. Pour caramel mixture over nuts.
14. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
15. Remove tart from oven and place on a wire rack.
16. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.


I guess it kind of does look like a "baked bean pie"!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Greek Dip Platter

My bunch of friends love to try new things.
Considering this recipe had everything we all was worth a try.

Recipe adapted from here.

My daughter was drooling watching me make this. I think if she could manage to live off olives and hummus, she would.
Hubby and I, on the other hand, were a little stand off-ish due to the hummus.

Let me tell you, the combination of flavors is amazing! Both of us ate it with no trace of "hummus, yuck".

Friends were spooning this dip into their mouths, very pleased that it was "healthy"! We brought pita chips, but someone else had brought whole wheat crackers and they were a great match up.
I think people even preferred the crackers so they could have a mega scoop of dip.

6 oz plain Greek yogurt
8-10 oz Roasted red pepper hummus
Minced red onion
Chopped cucumber
Chopped tomato
Chopped kalamata olives
Feta cheese

1. Spread Greek yogurt on the bottom of a platter
2. Spread hummus evenly on top
3. Sprinkle with chopped veggies and feta cheese
4. Top with parsley
5. Serve with pita chips, carrots, and celery

Monday, May 20, 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are delicious. I love, love, love them.

When I moved out on my own (and before the internet was so easily available) I decided I wanted to make them. The problem was, I had no idea HOW.

I did what I thought seemed good, and it worked for me! I have tried different recipes over the years, but keep coming back to my original. It's like a little reminder that sometimes the simplest foods are the yummiest.

Starting with whole mushrooms, pull out the stems.
Dice them up fine and toss them in a bowl.
Add about 4 tbsp melted butter.
Add about 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs.
Season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

Mix together and stuff your mushrooms.

Bake at 350 until visibly cooked through.

This time I decided to top them with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese

Here they are ready to be cooked. I brought them to my host's house and cooked them there. Neglected to take my camera though! By the time I thought to use my phone (duh) they were all gone.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Every year come Halloween, part of our tradition is to pull all those sticky, stringy guts out of the pumpkin and gather all the seeds.

We carefully wash them, getting all the pumpkin "yuck" off and dry them for roasting.

Walking thru the grocery store the other day, I happened to notice a package of raw pumpkin seeds on the shelf.
Hm...let's see if it this works as well.

Preheat the oven to 350
Spray a pan with cooking spray
Spread seeds in a single layer
Cook until brown and crispy, stirring occasionally.
When cooked, sprinkle liberally with seasoned salt.
Enjoy, repeat!

I am happy to report that the store bought seeds were almost as good as fresh!

Funny story though, I am one of those annoying people who watch the scanner at the grocery store and hold up the line with any small discrepancy.

These pumpkin seeds were labeled $1.79 on the package. The sign in front of the display read $2.50. I put them at the end of the order in order to watch the price. Sure enough, they rang up at the $2.50 price. I ended up paying only the $1.79, they honored their sticker.

Next time I am at that store, it will be interesting to see if they change the sticker on all the packages.

Our favorite crunchy snack!

This recipe was shared at Mom's Test Kitchen, Gooseberry Patch, Future ExPat, and Cookies and Cups

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Balsamic and Basil Dipping Oil

I am one of those people who is very happy with a loaf of fresh Italian bread, some oil, and cheese as a meal.
Luckily, darling daughter inherited the same love.
I can't even count the amount of meals that have been made up of just that.

I love this dipping oil from Tastefully Simple. It's tangy and tasty.
The perfect accompaniment for the fresh bread...I have also used it as an extra layer of flavor in beef stew!

Just sharing the love!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Garlic Knots

These are a favorite! I get asked to bring these to every party.
Me: "Hi host, thank you for inviting us, what would you like me to bring"
Host: "um (insert "you are so stupid" look) eggs and garlic knots, duh"

OK, maybe I exaggerate...they don't say "duh".

I made these the other day and tried really hard to keep track of any possible measuring. I might have failed.
This is one of those dishes that is never the same twice, and you really can't mess up
(well, there was one time the store was out of breadstick dough, so I used pizza dough. Everyone was really nice about it...but, yeah, don't make the same mistake. It's too heavy that way)

Depending on how much you like garlic really depends on how much you put in. Some may just want to flavor the oil, others, like me, will want gobs of it to smoosh the bread into and have stinky breath all night!
Remember kids: If everyone eats a garlic knot, we all have matching bad breath and therefore, cannot offend!

1 Tube breadstick dough
Olive Oil
Minced Garlic
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning
Balsamic VInegar

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Unroll dough, cut into ½ or ⅓ rds
3. Sprinkle dough with garlic powder and Italian seasoning
4. Tie dough pieces into knots and place on baking sheet
5. Bake according to package directions.
6. In dish big enough to hold all bread pieces, mix together about ¼ cup olive oil, 2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic, a good amount of garlic powder, a good amount of Italian seasoning, and about 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Stir.
7. When bread is done, place in dish and stir into mixture.
8. Add more olive oil if needed


Breadstick dough I use, it's just a store brand

No ingredients picture this time. I was rushing and realized "hey, I need pictures", so it is what it is! This lumpy looking mess is the breadstick dough unrolled, sprinkled with seasoning and cut in half. 

The completed beauties!
Hint: when all the knots are gone, save the leftover oil/garlic mixture for some pasta! Yum!

Picture updated 2018

This recipe was shared on: Future ExPat

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Happy Mother's Day to all!

My lovely mother was just up for a visit, it was fantastic to see her, to hug her, and just to be with her!
While she was here, she made a batch of her brownies, oh the yumminess!

We were in the kitchen working together, making food for another function. We don't get to do this very often anymore, and I enjoyed every minute.
(Well, I didn't enjoy the mess we made, I was cleaning chocolate from places I didn't even know existed!)

I am sitting here on this rainy morning looking at sleeping hubby to my left. Sleeping daughter on the love seat, and even sleeping Lennon the cat hanging on the back of the couch.
My breakfast is a cold, leftover piece of chicken teriyaki.
My plans are ZERO.

I am OK with this though. I got up, took a LONG, HOT shower, I have been putzing on the laptop all morning, and as soon as I hit "publish" on this page, I am curling up with a book I have been trying to finish.

I am content and full of love.
The person who calls me "mom" is by my side.

There is no more perfect way to spend my Mother's Day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bandito Chili Dogs

While surfing I came across this recipe. With a name like Bandito Chili Dogs I just KNEW it had to be made.

I threw everything in the crock pot the night before. Hubby dearest happened to be coming home from work on lunch, so I had him get the crock out of the fridge and turn it on for me.
Otherwise it's more of a weekend food...or game day food!

Hubby and the girl both managed to finish 2 each. They were so rich, I only managed one.
I also didn't bother chopping up the corn chips. I liked the way they looked sitting on top, whole, it was like we had rogue chips on our Bandito dogs!
(I know, I am silly...but that is ok)

1 (1 lb) package hot dogs
2 (15 oz) cans chili without beans
1 (10 ¾ oz) can cheddar cheese soup
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies, drained
Hot dog buns
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cups corn chips (coarsely chopped)
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Place hot dogs in slow cooker
2. In bowl, combine chili, soup, and chilies. Pour over hot dogs.
3. Cook on low for 4-5 hours
4. Serve hot dogs in buns.
5. Top with chili mixture, onion, corn chips, and cheese



With our "wild and crazy" chips hanging out on top

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Crock Pot Hungarian Goulash

I picked up some stew beef on sale the other day, it has been sitting in my freezer waiting to be used ever since.

I know, at any point, I could have whipped up a quick beef stew, but I just knew that meat was destined for greatness!

I had seen this recipe on and it spoke to me.
It said "use the is time"

When recipes start talking, I need to listen (or maybe not have that last glass of whatever)

2 Lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Large onion (sliced)
1 Clove garlic (minced)
½ Cup ketchup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tsp salt
2 Tsp paprika
½ Tsp dry mustard
1 Cup water
¼ Cup flour

1. Place meat in crockpot and cover with sliced onion.
2. Combine garlic, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, paprika, and mustard. Stir in water, mix well and pour over meat.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
4. Dissolve flour in a small amount of cold water and stir into meat mixture.
5. Cook on high for 10-15 minutes or until thickened
6. Serve over noodles or rice


Ingredients: Forgive my still partially frozen stew beef! 

It's wicked good served over mashed potato too!