Taco Seasoning

If you can buy it at a store you can make it in your home, and it will end up healthier and taste better.  Taco Seasoning is a great thing to make in bulk and store in containers for whenever you need it.  I save my empty spice bottles and the lids so that I can refill them with homemade seasoning ‘packets’.  This bottle is a double batch of this taco seasoning.  The recipe can be found HERE. It’s deliciously awesome!

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Mix it all together and store in an airtight container. Voila!

Enchilada Soup (Freezer Meal)

This soup is delicious!  With four boys six and under I just haven’t been able to find the time to cook as often as I used to.  I’ve resolved to make a bulk meal every couple of weeks so that I can divide it up and freeze the majority of it.  Especially as it gets closer to winter it will be nice to have several meals ready to be put in a crockpot or oven at a days notice.  The original recipe was found at my favorite go to recipe site HERE.  One thing I love about allrecipes is that you can change the serving amount to make a huge batch.  I changed my serving batch to feed 40 so I can have lots of freezer bags full.

Enchilada Soup

5 cups cooked and shredded chicken

2 onions chopped

5 tsp. minced garlic

3 peppers chopped (different colors)

3 carrots peeled and chopped

5 cans chili beans, with liquid

5 cans kidney beans, with liquid

5 cans whole kernel corn, with liquid

5 (8oz) cans tomato sauce

10 cups chicken stock

5 packages taco seasoning

Stick everything in a big pot on medium heat and stir to a boil.  Let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  If freezing, combine all ingredients and then place in freezer bags.  When ready to eat, thaw out and place in pot. Yumm yumm!

Rice Krispie Treats

This is the most simple comfort treat that was one of my favorites when I was young.  It’s so easy to make, yet I make it so infrequently that I always have to look up the recipe.  So, here it is in my box of recipes so I don’t have to forget again.

Rice Krispie Treats

5 cups rice krispies cereal

1 bag large marshmallows (not the ultru large, but the regular large)

1/4 cup butter (NOT margarine)

1 tsp vanilla

(opt. 2/3 cup peanut butter – stirred in with melted butter, m&m’s sprinkled on top after set in pan while still somewhat warm)

On medium heat melt butter in a large pot.  Once butter has melted, add marshmallows and stir continuously until they have all melted.  Do NOT let it heat up too much or it will brown or burn and not set well.  Add vanilla.  Once the marshmallows are mostly melted add the krispies and stir until well immersed.  Pour/scoop into a greased 9×13 pan.  Push down and flatten with a greased spatula.  Let it set for about an hour and then enjoy. . . although I always sneak one while it’s still hot and gooey.  Mmmm.

Chicken-Thyme Pasta Salad

I can’t remember where I got this recipe from originally, so unfortunately I’m not sure who to give credit.  This is a very yummy Italian Pasta that has a nice flavor and nice crunch.  I’ve found that it always tastes best on the second day, so if you’re making it for company make it ahead of time and let it sit fully assembled over night.

Chicken-Thyme Pasta Salad

3 Cups uncooked pasta (My favorite is Penne)

4 cups cubed cooked chicken

3-4 cups red grapes, cut in half (I like a lot of grapes)

2 medium stalks celery, sliced

1/3 cup chopped onion or about 1/4 cup onion flakes

3 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh or 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crumbled

1 1/4 cup mayonnaise or ranch

1 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. coarse-ground mustard

1 tsp. salt

2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted or plain (I’ve also used pecans)

Cook and drain the pasta as directed on the package.  Rinse with cold water; drain.  In big bowl, mix pasta, chicken, grapes, celery, and onion.  In smaller bowl mix oil and 1 Tbsp. (or tsp.) of the thyme.  Pour oil mixture over chicken mixture; toss to coat.  In small bowl, mix mayo, milk, honey, mustard, salt and remaining thyme.  Cover chicken mixture and mayo mixture separately and refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours.  At least 2 hours before serving combine chicken and mayo mixture.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Just before serving, stir in the walnuts.

 

 

Easy Orange Chicken

This little gem has been showing up everywhere on Pinterest, so of course I had to try it out.  The original recipe is from HERE It was very good.  It wasn’t the kind of dish that made me quickly call my mom and sisters to tell them to try it, but still very good.  The picky husband really liked it and actually took it for lunch the next day, so in my book that makes it a definite keeper:)  Plus side is that it’s also very easy!

Easy Orange Chicken

4-5 chicken breasts thawed

1 cup sweet orange marmalade

1 cup Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 cloves minced garlic

Cook the chicken in the crockpot on high for 3 hours, drain juices, add remaining ingredients and cook on high for another 30 minutes. Viola!  Yumm Yumm!

 

Banana Spice Bread

Looking for the easiest sweet bread in the world to make?  Seriously, there are only two ingredients.  I made this as an experiment and it was so good that I ate it. . . all. . . by myself.   Hmmm, that really sounds horrible, but to be fair to myself I had a little bit every day over a week, because the rest of my family doesn’t like the spice cake flavor.  Man, it was good!  :)I think I’ll try this with other combinations of cake mixes.  Possibilities are endless!  Okay here it is:

Banana Spice Bread

Spice Cake powder mix

4 banana’s mashed

(possible add-ins:  nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit bits, etc.)

Stir the ingredients together.  Pour in bread pan that has been oiled.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 50 minutes or until knife poked through comes out clean.  Done.  Woohoo!

Crescent Wrapped Asparagus

I’m really not a healthy eater, but I wish I were.  I go through spurts where I try and do better.  I think I would eat healthy all the time and love it if someone else would cook it for me.  I guess I just don’t want to spend the time it takes to cook healthy when I’m pretty certain that I’ll be the only one who eats it.  I guess for now I will attempt to make healthy things unhealthy enough to still be yummy for the rest of the family.  Here’s my attempt at yummy asparagus:

Crescent Wrapped Asparagus

8 asparagus

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls dough

1/3 cup butter (melted)

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup bacon bits

1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut off the ends of the asparagus.  Stir the garlic into the melted butter in a small bowl, set aside.  Combine cheese, bacon bits, italian seasoning, and salt on a plate, set aside.

Unwrap the crescent rolls and cut each triangle in half, lengthwise.  Take one piece of the dough, dip into butter mixture, lay both sides into the crumb mixture, wrap around the asparagus from the bottom, till half way up.  Grab another half piece of dough dip, lay, and wrap around the other half of the asparagus.  Repeat with each asparagus.  Lay on baking sheet.  Bake for apx. 15 minutes, until the dough is golden brown on top.

 

 

Frog Eye Salad

This is one of my favorite salads of all time.  I’m not sure that it’s fair to call it a salad though, since it’s so naughty.  My mom made this every fourth of July and other special occasions.  When I got older I was baffled to find out that some people don’t like it.  So, if you’ve never had it before, make a small batch to make sure you can handle the goodness.    I guess the texture of the acine de pepe pasta is not for everyone.  My hubby and boys won’t eat it, so when I have an opportunity to make the salad for a party or event I jump at the chance.  Taking home the leftovers is my favorite part:)  So, this post is for those awesome people who love this sweet bit of goodness like me.  I looked online at a few different recipes to see if I could find one that looked the best.  This recipe I have here was on allrecipes.com, so I copy and pasted it with a few changes.  It ended up to be almost identical to my moms original concoction.  Yummm!

Frog Eye Salad

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons salt (divided)

1 3/4 cups drained juice from the canned fruit

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 quarts water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 (16 ounce) package acini di pepe pasta

2 cans mixed fruit, drained and saved

1 can pineapple tidbits, drained and saved

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup shredded coconut

In a sauce pan, combine sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pineapple juice and eggs. Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat; add lemon juice and cool to room temperature.

Bring water to a boil, add oil, remaining salt and cook pasta until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, egg mixture, fruit and whipped topping. Mix well and refrigerate overnight or until chilled. Before serving add marshmallows and coconut. Toss and serve.

Easter Rolls

I love Easter and it’s so nice to find a way to make it more meaningful.  I want our boys to know what Easter is all about.  I want them to understand the Passover and that because of a perfect mans willing sacrifice of his own life,  death will only be a sting in the eternal journey of a continued life.  He concurred death so that we can too defeat the grave and be free.  I started searching online for something I could cook up with an analogy.  This was the best thing I could find for explaining the resurrection to a 4 and 5 year old.  It went well and the boys really seemed to understand and grasp onto the meaning.  Not to mention they were delicious and made the house smell TANTALIZING!

I copied the recipe from here:  http://growinggourmets.blogspot.com/2011/04/resurrection-rolls-resurrection-cookies.html

She has some great pictures of the whole process too.  However, when I made them I used crescent rolls.

Easter Rolls

1 can of refrigerated biscuits (crescents)
1 package of large marshmallows, (must be fresh; stale ones won’t work)
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Melt butter in a microwavable bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

 Have the children each take a marshmallow.  Jesus was pure and sinless which is represented by the white marshmallow.

Now have the children roll the marshmallow in the butter.  After Jesus died on the cross, they anointed his body with oil.

Next, roll the marshmallow in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  This represents the spices that were put on Jesus’ body before they placed him in the tomb.

Take one biscuit and flatten it with your fingers. Wrap the biscuit around the marshmallow and seal it very carefully.  Make sure it completely sealed.  Jesus was placed in the tomb and they rolled a large stone in front of it to seal it.

Roll the ball of dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place it on the cookie sheet.  Be sure and place them, seal side down, so the marshmallow doesn’t expand and puff out the top.

Bake the biscuit tombs in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until browned on the outside.  Remind the children that Jesus was sealed up in the tomb for three days.

Finally, remove the biscuits from the oven.  Let cool slightly and encourage them to break open the tomb.  Where is Jesus?  He has risen!  The rolls taste sweet. Easter is a sweet time because Christ died for us and then three days after the cross, he arose so that we also can have a new life in Him!

No-Bake Cookies

Thanks for hanging in here with me!  I know my posts have been few and far between lately.  Let’s just say, as sickening as it is to admit this, we’ve been eating a lot of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and sandwiches.  I love this little kicking boy inside me, but man he really throws off our diet and my relationship with the kitchen.  I mustered up enough energy to make some of the easiest cookies around to appease the boys begging. I was shocked to see that I hadn’t posted our favorite no-bake cookies on here!  So, for your chocolate enjoyment here is some goodness that never gets old.  Oh, and my boys really thought it was hilarious when I told them that some people call them Gorilla Poop cookies.  Enjoy and happy baking!   . . . Oh, and it goes great with a scoop of rainbow sherbet ice cream, mmmm.

No Bake Cookies

Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly:

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup margarine

Add:

1 cup peanut butter

5 Tbsp. Cocoa

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup shredded coconut (opt)

Then add and stir until blended:

3 cups rolled oats

Cool slightly.  Drop onto wax paper in blobs.  Let cool in refrigerator.