Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gooey Caramel Popcorn

I LOVE caramel popcorn... nearly to the point of addiction when it sits in a big bowl in front of me. I could inhale it, and it's not a pretty sight. I think it is because when we were young, my mom made a huge batch of popcorn every weekend, but no matter how big the batch was, it was just never enough. It was like a race to get through the popcorn, and I have noticed that with each of my brothers and sisters now, it is still the same, it is like we think we won't get any if we don't hurry through. Well, this is a great caramel popcorn recipe, and whether you are an addict or not, you might just end up inhaling this one! :)

Caramel Popcorn
1 cube butter
1 cup karo syrup
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 can sweet condensed milk

Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Remove from heat when it reaches soft ball stage. Pour over the popcorn. (Two big bowls looks like the picture, and one big bowl makes it super caramelly covered.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chicken and New Potatoes Skillet Dinner

This one here just got added to my list of stand-by's! It was just absolutely delicious comfort food! It made such a yummy dinner that didn't take long, but tasted like it must have been simmering all day! This was another one my mother-in-law found on the Prepared Pantry site.

Chicken and New Potatoes Skillet Dinner

This is our all-time favorite chicken skillet dinner—chicken and new potatoes slathered in sour cream. We’ve been making it for years, ever since we lived in Alaska where we grew scads of potatoes. (Yes, veggies grow well in The Land of the Midnight Sun—at least the cool weather crops.) Anyway, try this while there are still some of those good little red potatoes available.

Chicken and New Potatoes Skillet Dinner Recipe

It’s hard to go wrong with chicken, new potatoes, and sour cream. This recipe mixes the three in a stovetop, skillet dinner that is easy and almost foolproof. It only has a few ingredients and you don’t have to slave over a five course meal. Best of all, your family will love this dinner.


a cut-up fryer or thighs or drumsticks
salt and pepper to taste
new potatoes—as many as you choose to fill out the pan
4-6 green onions
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
1 pound frozen or fresh green peas
1 tsp crushed thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


1. Place the chicken in a 12 inch skillet. Salt and pepper the pieces. Brown the chicken over medium heat.
2. Partially peel the new potatoes. (They just look better with some of the red skins remaining.) Add the potatoes to the skillet. Cook the chicken and the potatoes until both are tender.
3. Remove the chicken and potatoes to a platter. Skim off the excess fat remaining in the pan.
4. Snip the green onions into the pan. Add the sour cream and water and heat the mixture until it starts to bubble, stirring frequently with a spatula.
5. Add the peas, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir. Add the chicken and potatoes
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I have made an awesome recent discovery! I have found The Prepared Pantry. My mother in law has been talking about it for a while now. She made this delicious breakfast using some of a prepared mix she bought there. It was so much fun though. I went to a class last night where they showed us how to make Italian Nachos (which were delicious) and I just thought I better add a link to their fun site! They have a ton of cool kitchen things- I could have spent hours browsing. They also had a bunch of really cool mixes and jams and syrups. It was pretty fun!

Here is a link for the Pannekoeken:
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pesto Pork and Veggies

This made a yummy Sunday dinner. The pesto gives it a fun different flavor and it is so easy to throw in the crockpot!

Pesto Pork and Veggies
5-6 pork loins
1 dry pesto packet
2 cloves minced garlic
4-5 carrots, cut and sliced
4-5 potatoes, cubes
1 onion, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

In a large crockpot, line the bottom with pork, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with about half of the pesto packet and garlic. Cover with veggies and sprinkle with remaining pesto and salt and pepper. Cook in crockpot on high about 5-6 hours.
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Beef Stir Fry

I am of the opinion that the more yummy veggies you add to stir fry, the better it gets! I'm just gong to give you a good list of ingredients and you can use as much as you need. I made a big old batch and added just about everything I could think of- it was quite tasty! I found a good deal on a chuck roast at Winco, and it was already actually cut in to strips. I just did a little bit more cutting, and it made great stir fry beef!

Beef Stir Fry
beef, cut into strips
teriyaki sauce
soy sauce
salt and pepper
ground ginger

peppers (red, yellow, and orange)
bean sprouts (SO GOOD in stir fry!)
water chestnuts

sesame seeds
cooked rice

In large frying pan, cook meat up in seasonings listed. In a separate frying pan, fry up veggies in a little olive oil. Put the lid over it the steam them a little bit and then add the meat, but keep the veggies crisp. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top and serve over rice.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Very Berry Syrup

I found a good deal on some Angel Food Cake (After making it from scratch, just about any price seems worth it! :) and came up with this easy way to really dress it up. It was delicious! It would also be yummy over pound cake or fresh pancakes.

Very Berry Syrup
1 12-16 oz. package frozen mixed berries, thawed and do not drain
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp. corn starch

In a large sauce pan, stir all the ingredients together except the cornstarch. Turn to medium head. Dissolve cornstarch in a few Tbsp. of water and pour into sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Removed from heat when it has thickened. Serve over cake or fresh pan cakes.

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Cheddar and Scallion Bread

It truly doesn't get much better than this!!! We were watching Giada whip this up and Catherine made such a yummy batch to go with our spaghetti last night. If you don't have a food processor, I'm not sure how you would make it, but it was heavenly- it would make it worth buying one! :) Catherine actually spread it on French Bread. It worked really well. I'm sure you could use any bread really.

Cheddar and Scallion Bread


  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or coarsely grated
  • 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine the cheese and butter. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add the scallions and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread the cheese mixture on the cut sides of the bread. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.

Using a serrated knife, cut the bread into 1-inch thick slices and serve.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stove Top Chicken

This was Doug's favorite dinner his mom made growing up. It makes a good week night meal! It is pretty simple and very delicious!

Quick and Easy Stove Top Chicken
3-4 chicken breast, cut into strips
1 can cream of chicken
1/2 tub sour cream
1 box stove top dressing, prepared according to package directions

Lay thawed chicken in 9x13 casserole dish. Combine cream of chicken and 1/2 tub of sour cream together and pour over the top of chicken. Top with prepared stove top. Bake in 325 oven for about 1 hour.
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Meat Lasagna

I came across a totally amazing lasagna recipe! Don't be intimidated by how long the instructions are- it is pretty detailed, step-by-step, but it really didn't take too long to prepare. If you are going to go to all the trouble of making lasagna, you might was well make it awesome... so here is the recipe! It had a great flavor! I actually added a little bit of cinnamon to the sauce and I think it enhanced it.

Meat Lasagna
Preheat oven to 375°F

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
28 oz. puree tomatoes (Or jar of marinara sauce)
28 oz. diced tomatoes, drained
15 oz. ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese)
1-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
12 oven ready lasagna pasta (Or regular noodles boiled.)
16 oz. mozzarella cheese


15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta cheese, 16 oz. mozzarella, 1-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 large egg, and on 8 oz. package of oven ready (no-boil) lasagna pasta. The egg should be lightly beated with a fork.

For the layers, put the ricotta cheese, a cup of parmesan (reserving 1/4 cup for use later), the chopped basil, beaten egg, and some salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each works well) into a medium bowl for mixing. Mix the ricotta and flavorings together with a fork, spoon or spatula until it's relatively smooth. Set aside.

Meat Sauce

First, heat a very large pan or pot (a dutch oven works well) over medium flame. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the heated pan. After it begins to shimmer, put the finely chopped onions into the pan. Cook for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. We want the onions to soften but not brown.

Add garlic at this point and cook for another two minutes - stirring occasionally. Try not to brown the garlic.

Once the garlic is fragrant, add the ground beef and italian sausage and increase heat to medium-high. Break up any large clumps of meat while stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the meat loses it's pink color, but not start to brown (about three to four minutes). Now stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream to help hold the meats together a bit. Allow the mixture to simmer and thicken until most of the water in the cream has evaporated.

Now, add a can of pureed tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes (drained). Stir the mixture until evenly distributed and bring to a simmer. After bubbles begin to form, lower the heat to low and cook for a few more minutes. The sauce is now done and we can set this aside to work on the layers.


Assembling the lasagna is easy, but pay attention to the amount of sauce you have and how many layers there will be. Prepare a 13x9 in. baking pan by applying a thin layer of meat sauce to the bottom, using just enough sauce to coat.

Distribute the ricotta cheese onto the lasagna noodles (about 2 tablespoons per noodle). Cover with mozzarella cheese, then meat sauce. Repeat until layers are completed. The top layer needs to have the ricotta put on before placing it in the pan, then place it upside down (ricotta facing downwards). Make sure to put sauce on the top or the top layer of the lasagna will dry out and be super crunchy.

I put more mozzarella and Parmesan on top (pretty liberally) but it depends on how much cheese you like (I LOVE cheese!).

Before baking, cover the top with aluminum foil. To help prevent cheese from sticking to the aluminum foil, brush or spray some oil onto the foil. Place the lasagna onto the middle rack in a preheated 375F oven for 15 minutes. I like to place the pan in a baking sheet in case any bubble over occurs. After fifteen minutes have passed, remove the foil and continue baking for 25 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the lasagna to cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.
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Chicken Carbonara

I tried this recipe out and was really pleased with the results! I watched Giada make it on Food Network, and it looksed so good I had to give it a try.

Chicken Carbonara


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 cups coarsely shredded chicken (from 1 roasted chicken)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel


Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and garlic and saute until it is brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, yolks, basil, and parsley to blend.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Add the chicken to the pan with the pancetta and stir to combine. Next, add the spaghetti and the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the chicken is heated through and the sauce coats the spaghetti thickly, about 4 minutes (do not boil or you might end up scrambling the eggs). Season the pasta, to taste, with pepper and salt if needed (the pancetta will likely add all the salt you need). Transfer the pasta to a large wide serving bowl. Sprinkle the walnuts and lemon zest over, and serve.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Funeral Potatoes

Why "funeral" potatoes? That seems so rude to designate this delicious dish to JUST funerals. I'm glad my sister-in-law, Catherine didn't. She made this simple recipe the other night and it was pretty yummy!

Catherine's Funeral Potatoes
1 package frozen haskbrowns
3/4 container sour cream
1 can cream of chicken
about 2 cups cheese
Cooked bacon bits
Green onions, chopped (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and spread in a 9x13 casserole dish. Bake 350 until warm and bubbly (about 30 min.).
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Triffle Layered Cake

4th of July Triffle Layered Cake (from Everyday Foods)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1/3 cup sugar

*add 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream prepared.

12 oz. pound cake or yellow cake baked in bread pan (cut into 3/4 slices). Lay-out and brush with a simple sugar (boiled water with sugar dissolved.)
Use a truffle bowl and layer: pound cake, cream mix, blueberries, raspberries, pound cake, cream, blueberries, raspberries.

Press this down. (Peaches or strawberries can be used. Best if put in the fridge for at least two hours, covered.)

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Pulled Pork

My mother-in-law made this amazing pork the other day. It was so tender and yummy. She actually served it on hamburger buns with ranch and salsa. It was really tasty! She originally got the recipe from her niece.

Pulled Pork
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp red pepper
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt

*mix and rub on 4 lb. pork roast (thawed).

1 can coke
1 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped

*place roast in sauce in crockpot and cook all day. Shred pork. (Optional: add 2-3 cup brown sugar.) Cook for another 2-4 hours.

Use in flour tortillas, taco shells, or sandwiches.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pesto-Ham & Turkey Layered Loaf

"Some like it hot, some like it cold..." but either way, this makes a great fresh tasting sandwich! I actually didn't bake mine and it was delicious, but I am including the instructions for cooking it because it is yummy that way too! I made a few changes from a recipe I found, and I was excited to add this one to my collection. It is different then anything I've made. The pesto is strong, but from some reason, it tones down in the sandwich. I also really liked the avocados! Hope you try this one!

Pesto-Ham & Turkey Layered Loaf
1 loaf garlic French bread (or plain)
1 cup prepared pesto
1 lb. thinly sliced deli ham and turkey
1/2 lb. provolone or mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 avocado (or 2 small zucchini's sliced)
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup sprouts

Cut the top half off the bread, and either hollow out center, or firmly press down. Spread pesto on the inside of top and bottom of bread. Set top aside.

In bottom of bread, layer meat, cheese, avocado, tomatoes, and sprouts. Gently press layers together. Replace bread top and wrap tightly in foil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Great American Potato Salad

This is a recipe I got in a Kraft Foods e-mail. I made a few changes and it made a great fresh tasting potato salad. I'm not a big relish fan, so I just cut up pickles and poured a couple tablespoons of pickle juice in. I also used a green onion, and added a bit of bacon. (Bacon makes everything better!) This will be a good one for your 4th of July picnic! :)

Great American Potato Salad
1/2 cup KRAFT Real Mayo Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cups cubed potatoes, cooked
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/3 cup dill pickle relish

MIX first 5 ingredients in large bowl.
ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly.
REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fruit-Glazed Pork Chops

I found this in Simple and Delicious and thought I'd try it out. It was really good. I actually used raspberry preserves and it gave it a good flavor. Don't over-cook the chops!

Fruit-Glazed Pork Chops
1/3 cup hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce
1/2 cup apricot or peach preserves
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
6 bone-in pork loin chops (3/4 in thick and 8 oz. each)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

In a small bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, preserves, corn syrup, mustard and cloves; set aside.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160, basting frequently with sauce mixture.
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Easy Tropical Fruit Salad

I came up with this one yesterday when I was in a hurry and needed a fruit salad. It was quick, easy, and pretty tasty.

Easy Tropical Fruit Salad
1 can tropical fruit cocktail
1 cup cherries, unseeded and halved
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup coconut
1 container cool whip

Stir ingredients together in big serving bowl.

BBQ Beef Cups

Here is a simple recipe for a busy night. My friend gave this to me when we were collecting "Man Meal" recipes. This was a good one for guys!

BBQ Beef Cups
2 Tubes of Ready-to-bake biscuits
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion
about 1 cup BBQ sauce
1-2 cups grated cheese

Brown hamburger and chopped onion together. Place biscuit in the bottom of muffin tin. Top with a scoop of hamburger, a squirt of BBQ sauce, and a sprinkle of cheese. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until done. Makes 20 beef cups.
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