Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ham and Split Pea Soup

I didn't take a picture of this one because I think if I did it would sway you from trying it. It looks gross but tastes so yummy! Promise.

1 lb dried split peas
1 ham hock (I used the ham bone leftover from our spiral ham from Christmas)
1/2 diced medium onion
1/2 C finely chopped carrots
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tsp thyme

After rinsing peas, place them in a large stock pot with the ham hock (or ham bone) and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about an hour. Stir every once and a while so the peas don't stick and burn on the bottom of the pan.

Remove ham hock (or bone) and cut off remaining meat. I usually have enough ham on the bone to salvage quite a bit. If you don't have enough meat to save I would suggest adding some cubed ham (or leftover Christmas ham).

Add remaining ham, diced onions, and carrots. Stir for about 2 minutes. Then add salt, pepper, pepper flakes, bay leaf, and thyme. Let simmer and cook until vegetables cooked through. It took mine an additional half hour or so.

Remove bay leaf and serve!

•If soup is too thick or dry feel free to add more water.

Cheesy Potatoes

This is the classic side dish we ALWAYS have with ham or with Christmas dinner. We eat it so fast sometimes I double it. :)

1 bag frozen hashbrowns
2 C shredded cheese
1/3 C diced green onions
3/4 STICK butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
16 oz sour cream

Melt butter in saucepan then add soup, sour cream, and onions. Stir constantly while letting come to slow boil. Remove from heat and add cheese, stir until melted.
Put hash browns in greased casserole dish and pour sauce over top. Stir together until nicely blended.
Top with more cheese and crushed cornflakes.

*If sauce is too thick to properly stir with hash browns add a little milk to thin it out.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cooking goals this week:

With school being out ALL week next week, I am trying to come up with some good ideas to keep the girls occupied and me sane so here are my goals for the week:
- Sugar Cookie Santa's (complete with coconut beards)
- Play dough cookies (not really Christmas - y, but way cool)
- Gingerbread houses (can't decide if we are going graham cracker or the real deal)
- A new roll recipe

I already did the chocolate crinkles and chocolate-y sweets (see below). What else can I cram in there? Any ideas?

Chocolaty Sweets / Crunchy Kisses

I asked Madison, my 5 year old, what we should name these treats and she came up with Chocolaty Sweets, so if she asks that is the name, but for the record I named them Crunchy Kisses. Ha ha.

Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and arrange pretzels on there. Then put a kiss on top of the pretzels.
Bake at 350 for 3 minutes. Take out of oven and before the kisses harden push a M&M into the chocolate.My kids were all over this one. Between the 3 of them they had a whole assembly line going. It was awesome.

(Recipe courtesy of Christina H.)

* there is also an awesome variation for more of a turtle candy, use rolos, pecans, and M&M's , I got that idea from Tiff H.

Chocolate Crinkles

3/4 C melted butter
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C chocolate chips

In mixing bowl, mix melted butter, cocoa, and sugar. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix dry ingredients with the wet, then stir in choc. chips.
Let dough chill 2 hours or overnight. (or not, I didn't and they were still fine)
Preheat oven to 350. Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in powdered sugar.
Bake for 12 minutes.

Instead of powdered sugar we crushed up peppermints and dipped the tops in instead. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crock pot Pot Roast

This one is one of those meals that I have no recipe for and I do differently almost all the time. I am sure that it is pretty basic too, but hey - I had to ask how my first time around and here is how I did it this time:

I rubbed the beef roast with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Then I lightly seared the sides of the beef in a pot with olive oil in the bottom. When sides are lightly browned (about 2-3 minutes per side) transfer the roast to the crock pot.

Here is where you can add variety. With the roast I added 3 beef bouillon cubes and filled the crock pot with water halfway up the roast. I also added 1 onion, roughly chopped into 4ths. You could substitute the water with Au Jus also.

Put the crockpot on low and let cook at least 4 hours or until meat has reached internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Then I added potatoes, cut in 4ths, and baby carrots. Then let cook an additional 3 hours on high.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Daddy's Homemade Mac n' Cheese

This dinner is one of the girls favorites and they are always requesting it. One day I made it and spiced it up with Gouda, breadcrumbs, and cayenne pepper and nobody liked it! From that day on it has been known as DADDY's homemade, because Mommy can't seem to get it right. :)

Because I am not the master of this recipe and Bryan doesn't measure I HOPE that I am getting all the amounts right. You might have to play around with it.
2 C elbow macaroni
3/4 stick of butter
1 C flour
milk (no idea how much)
salt, pepper
3 T onion powder
1 1/2 C + shredded cheddar cheese

While your macaroni is boiling, in medium saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. When butter is completely melted, add flour. Stir together until it's nice and creamy, kind of like the consistency of peanut butter. Then very slowly add milk. Just add a little at first, about 1 C until your flour mixture has blended in with your milk. (You are making a white sauce btw)

When the sauce is nice and smooth, add more milk. When Bryan makes it he usually fills the pan about 3/4 full. Then continue stirring. If it isn't thickening up, add more flour. Then add your spices to taste. "Daddy's homemade" has a very onion powdery taste (obviously from the 3 T) but that is what the girls love and what makes his so special.

Then add your cheese, stirring constantly until melted.

Drain noodles and add sauce. Serve with salt and pepper and hot dogs. Enjoy.
Another reason why the girls like this recipe so much is the fact that this is NOT baked. They like it saucy. :)

Panko Crusted Chicken w/Fettuccine

This recipe doesn't have any pictures, FYI. It is also very ghetto, fast, and easy, which I love.

5-6 chicken tenders
2 eggs
1 C panko breadcrumbs, or just regular breadcrumbs
1 box fettuccine
1 jar your favorite Alfredo sauce

Start boiling fettuccine in salted water. Meanwhile whisk eggs together until nicely scrambled. Then dredge chicken in egg and then in breadcrumbs. Put olive oil in fry pan and fry chicken about 4 minutes each side or until chicken is cooked through.

When noodles are done, drain, cover with favorite Alfredo sauce and voila - yummy dinner for family of 5!

You could either leave chicken whole or dice up and put on top of noodles. We left it whole.

Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Roasted Red Pepper Italian Red Potatoes

Say that 3 times fast :)

All I did for these bad boys was quarter red potatoes, toss in olive oil and Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing. I placed them on a foil lined AND greased cookie sheet and finally sprinkled with kosher salt.

I then baked it for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. I am not sure on the time though because I forgot to set a timer. Just poke them and if they are tender and a little toasty they are done.
Soooo yummy and very easy too. I love recipes like this.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Swag Bucks

Some of you might notice the little swag bucks box on the side. Check it out, you can earn swag bucks if you use their search engine and then you can trade in the bucks for gift cards and prizes. No strings attached!!!

Check it out and if you want to do it shoot me an email so I can refer you and earn even more swag bucks. :)


Pistachio Salad

I know that this looks like a big green blob of goo, but it is really yummy! A great side to any meal. :)

1 can crushed pineapple
2 pistachio instant jello packets
1 small container of cool whip (thawed)

Mix the pineapple and jello together first. Make sure it is mixed well or there will be chunks of dry pudding in your salad. Then mix with cool whip. Refrigerate until served.

Crockpot Chili

2 cans kidney or chili beans
1 lb ground hamburger
2 tsp garlic salt
2 bay leaves
1 minced onion
1/2 C diced green pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can diced tomatoes (not drained)
3/4 C ketchup
1 packet chili seasoning
2 T worts sauce
1 T brown sugar
1 can of your favorite chili
1 C water +*

Brown hamburger with onions and peppers, then season with salt and pepper. Add hamburger to crockpot. Then add all remaining ingredients. Give it a good stir and cook on low for at least 3 hours.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, and green onions.

*you can add more or less water depending on your desired consistancy