Saturday, December 3, 2011

Funeral Potatoes


One of my favorite dishes. I don’t know why I’ve never tried making it before. I’ve actually found myself wondering the same thing about a lot of other foods recently.

I absolutely love these potatoes. The idea to try these with freeze-dried ingredients actually came from my good friend Rose (Thank you for the inspiration!) They turned out perfect!!! It was so easy and I love the fact that my potatoes/hashbrowns don’t have to be taking up space in my freezer.

1/4 cup of freeze dried onion, reconstituted
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
2 cups of powdered sour cream, reconstituted (2 cups of powder, one of water)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups of grated freeze dried cheese, reconstituted
6 cups of freeze dried potato shreds, reconstituted (or 2lb bag of frozen hash browns)
3/4 c cornflakes, crushed and firmly packed
4 Tbsp butter, melted (optional)

1. Combine your onions, soup, sour cream, salt, and cheese. Stir in potatoes. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan.

2. *Combine crushed cornflakes and melted butter.

3. Sprinkle cornflakes over the top of your potatoes.


4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Makes 12 servings

*If you are interested in more onion flavor feel free to add more. The original recipe calls for 1 medium onion, chopped and cooked in 1/2 cup of butter until soft.

It’s delicious and can be served with all sorts of meats and other entrees.


Yes-a Yes-a Taco

Okay, this is kind of a family joke. It is the come back to “Nada Nada Enchilada”. That’s probably as much as you need to know.


We were having a dinner-time dilemma the other night. I had been called into work and hadn’t planned dinner accordingly. I had pulled some beef out in preparation for something, but hadn’t quite decided what. When I got home my husband had browned that beef (thank you!), but didn’t really know what to do after that (my fault since I didn’t have a plan).

So here is where the impromptu, it’s late and we’re hungry, taco night came into play. We didn’t really have all of the stuff fresh and ready that we usually like, so we decided to try out the freeze dried food we had.


So here you go, pretty much everything on this taco (minus the beef, the tortilla, and a little salsa that I added) can come from the dry food storage. It was all good too.

Ground Beef, cooked and drained (I did ad some of my favorite seasonings to mine. Pampered Chef Southwestern Seasoning and Chipolte Lime Rub)
Cheese, reconstituted
Onions, reconstituted or thrown in while the beef is cooking. We used about 1/4 cup
Green Bell Peppers, reconstituted
Sour Cream, reconstituted (2 parts powder, 1 part water)
Tomato Cubes, reconstituted

You could also include olives, beans, or any other topping that you’d like. I just appreciated the fact that we could hurry and eat something without having to have had it fresh


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Orange-Spiced Sweet Potatoes


I am a HUGE fan of candied yams and the like. Especially around Thanksgiving. In fact that’s generally the only time of the year that I eat them. It’s kind of sad now that I think about it. If there is something that you enjoy so much, why don’t you eat it more often? Maybe it’s just part of the tradition that makes it so good.

Anyway, this year I volunteered myself to bring them to Thanksgiving dinner. We had made a plan to do as much in Crockpots as possible though. That is where my journey started. I was just trying to look for some basic instructions for cooking yams in a crockpot when I fell about this one. I couldn’t resist trying it. It turned out perfectly! I loved it, the family loved it, and even people who generally don’t eat the candied yams tried it and liked it. So anyway, thank you CDKitchen. If you’d like to check out more of their recipes you can go to their website

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (It was about 5 potatoes for me)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 medium orange, juiced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
toasted chopped pecans


1. Place your sweet potatoes in the bottom of your slow cooker. Mix your spices together in your orange juice. Pour over the top of your sweet potatoes and stir to coat.

2. Sprinkle your brown sugar over the top of your sweet potatoes and stir it in.

3. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours or on LOW for 4 hours.

4. Before serving stir in your toasted pecans (or set on the side for those that want them and those that don’t).

*Tip: To juice and orange (or any other citrus fruit) I have found that if you roll it around with a little pressure before you cut it it is easier to get more juice out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Parmesan Fries


A friend of mine mentioned these on Facebook and I pretty much immediately asked for the recipe. They are delicious!!!! Thanks Heather! :)

I’ve always been a fan of potato wedges, or things like them. I am usually pretty boring about them though. I could get daring and through some different spices on them, but I haven’t. For some people playing around with recipes, or even just ideas and flavors, is a little scary. Here is a recipe that you can just stick to.

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic
4-6 potatoes

1. Scrub your potatoes really well and then pat dry. Cut them into 8 wedges (or maybe more if they are really big). Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Melt your butter and mix in your seasonings and cheese. I use Italian seasoning quite often. You can buy the dry packets used for making salad dressing or there are lots of other seasonings out there that you could use. Just pick your favorite one. After everything is mixed dip your wedges into the butter and coat them.

3. Cover your cookie sheet with aluminum foil (It makes the clean up sooooo nice). If you’re using a stone don’t worry about the foil. This is also a good recipe to use if you’re trying to season said stone. Place your coated wedges on the pan and bake for 30 minutes.

*Tip: Don’t use the powdered parmesan (and not just on this recipe, always!). The fresh stuff is really worth it. It lasts forever in your fridge and adds such a great flavor.

Spaghetti (Freeze Dried Sauce)

I am amazed with this tomato powder. It is really so simple. The spectrum of things you can do with it is so broad. I decided that my first experiment I would try was a basic spaghetti sauce.

One great thing about using the freeze dried tomato powder is that you get to choose how thick or thin you want the sauce. I opted for a thicker sauce.


Tomato powder
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Oregano Leaves

1 lb Ground Beef
1/4 cup Freeze Dried Onions
1 cup Freeze Dried Green Bell Pepper dices
1 cup Freeze Dried tomatoes cubed
1 can Olives

1. My sauce was made of about 1 cup of Tomato Powder and 6 cups of water. Add more water until you get the consistency that you’d like.

2. Mix in your favorite spices. I wanted to go for sauce with a ‘kick’. I probably could have added more kick though. Season and taste until you get it where you want it. Start with a teaspoon of each and then adjust from there. Here is my suggestion according to my taste buds:

1 Tbs Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Oregano Leaves
1 tsp Salt

3. Brown your beef. As you reach the end of the browning process through your onions right in. They will reconstitute in the grease drained off of your beef.


4. Pour your tomatoes and green bell peppers in bowl then cover in water. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then drain.

5. Combine everything in your pan that you browned your beef in. Let it heat to your liking. Serve with noodles.

This made enough sauce to go over an entire bad of spaghetti noodles. Probably made at least 10 servings.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beef Stroganoff


This has to be the BEST Stroganoff I have EVER tasted. Wow! I absolutely love it! The Hubby has been getting free lunch from his company this week, so guess who gets to eat most of the leftovers? ME!!! and I totally don’t care because it is so delicious. I’m kind of glad that I don’t have to share. :0)

I’m sure I’ll be using this one a lot in the future. Having the powdered sour cream makes it so easy to have everything on hand too. I normally would have to plan on making something like this because I don’t often keep sour cream without already having planned something for it. Anyway, without further ado, here you go.

1 lb ground beef, cooked
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup dehydrated sour cream, reconstituted
1 soup can of milk
Egg noodles (I used about 2/3 of a bag. So around 10 oz.)
1 can of Mushrooms, drained

1. In a medium pot, boil water for your noodles. Most egg noodles will probably need about 10 minutes in boiling water to cook.


(Side note: I have heard that if you place a wooden spoon over a pot of boiling water it won’t boil over. My pot didn’t boil enough to show me if it worked, but I’ll keep testing it.)

2. Meanwhile, reconstitute your sour cream. 1 cup of powder + 1/2 cup of water. Whip well and stick in your fridge.

3. In the same pan that you cook your beef in (or a large skillet), mix in your cans of soup and the one can of milk. Let it heat on medium-low stirring frequently. Once your sauce starts to bubble add your mushrooms and sour cream. Mix in well and keep heating.


4. Drain your cooked noodles and add to your sauce. Stir well and serve.


I thought about adding some spices (like garlic) to it for fun, but when I tasted it it was perfect. I didn’t even add any salt or pepper. Make sure to taste test it and see what you think before you play around with more flavors.

I think I may need to go reheat me a bowl right now. Just typing this up and looking at the pictures has made me hungry. That’s another good thing about this dish. It’s been just as delicious for leftovers.

*You could easily use freeze dried mushrooms as well as powdered milk. If you use powdered milk it will be one cup of powdered milk and one cup of water mixed well. You could also just as easily use fresh mushrooms and sour cream.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cordon Bleu Casserole


One of my favorite things to order when I go to a nice restaurant is Chicken Cordon Bleu. There are many different kinds, and yet they are all delicious. There have been a few times that I’ve been tempted to try it myself at home, but it seems like there are too many steps. Maybe I just need to toughen up and actually try it… I’ll think about it.

In the meantime, this recipe was extremely easy and quick and tasted just as good! It might not be as pretty or as impressive, but sometimes that doesn’t need to matter.

4 cups of turkey or chicken, chopped or shredded
3 cups of ham, cubed
1 cup freeze dried shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped freeze dried onion (I think I will omit the onion next time)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups cream or half-and-half
1 tsp dillweed
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp dillweed
1/4 cup freeze dried shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup walnut (I didn’t use)

1. Reconstitute your cheese and onions by pouring water over the top and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine your meat and cheese. Set aside.


3. In a saucepan, sauté your onion in butter until tender. Add your flour and stir until it is coated. Add your cream, stir and bring to a boil until it thickens. Add your spices then remove from heat.


4. Pour over your meat mixture, mix well, spoon into a 9x13 pan.005

5. In another bowl combine your bread crumbs, butter and dillweed. Stir in your cheese and walnuts.

6. Sprinkle over the top of your casserole and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.


*Tip*: One way to save money on bread crumbs is to save the heels of your bread (no one likes to eat them anyway). Have a plastic bag set aside that you keep in your freezer for just this sort of occasion. I would crumble the bread before putting it in the bag. That way it is all prepared and ready for you when you need it in a pinch.

The 1 cup of onions was a little much for me. Next time I think I will probably cut it to at least 1/2 cup, maybe 1/4. I will also be trying some broccoli in there. Despite my problem with the onions it was still amazingly good. If you really like onions then you would probably like it with the measurement listed originally.

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Do you ever find yourself an hour away from dinner (or closer) and you still have no clue as to what you should make? I know that occurs way to often at my house. This recipe went together very smoothly. Not only was it easy, but it was good. The left-overs didn’t stick around for very long.


2 cups of chicken (I used canned)
1/4 cup chopped freeze dried onion
4 cups freeze dried shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup dehydrated sour cream
8 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups chopped freeze dried tomatoes
1 can black olives


1. Reconstitute your sour cream by mixing 1 cup of the powder with 1/2 cup of water. Whip together until everything is mixed in. Stick in the refrigerator to help it set up a little more.

2. Reconstitute you onions, cheese, and tomatoes by covering in water and letting sit for 5 minutes. Slice your olives.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

4. In a medium bowl, mix your chicken, onion, 1 cup cheddar cheese, half of your olives, and 3/4 cup sour cream.

5. Spread mixture onto your tortillas. Roll into enchiladas, arrange in a 9x13 baking dish.

6. Pour your remaining 3 cups of cheese and the rest of your sour cream into a saucepan. Melt the cheese/sour cream over low heat.

*I skipped the melting step with mine. I spread the remainder of the sour cream over my enchiladas and then sprinkled the cheese evenly over the top

7. Top with tomatoes and the rest of your olives.


8. Bake 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


The next time I make this I will probably try melting the cheese and see how it turns out. If I don’t have time for that I would probably double the amount of sour cream that I use and cut at least one cup of cheese out. It did turn out really well though. It would be easy to tweak a little here and there, but is good how it’s written too. Think about adding some more vegetables. Corn would be very good in it or on the side along with some rice.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Raisin Pudding


Growing up I always knew that anytime we had a meal that included rice there was a high likelihood that we would be having some rice pudding soon after. It’s one of my mothers childhood memories, and therefore it became one of mine.

Recently I was over visiting my parents when they offered me some pudding. My mom mentioned that she was trying a new recipe out. Then she told me that she has forever been on a quest to find just the right rice pudding. She has not yet been able to find it. This made me think that maybe I was ready to join in the hunt for her.


Here is my take on a Rice Pudding recipe with a twist of freeze-dried mixed in.

2 cups cooked rice, cooled
1 1/3 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp softened butter (I completely melted mine in the microwave)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup Freeze Dried Raisins
1 cup Freeze Dried Apples (mine were with cinnamon)
Sprinkle of nutmeg

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Put your apples and raisins in a bowl covered in water to reconstitute.

2. Grease a 2 quart glass baking dish with butter. In the baking dish mix the rice, milk, salt, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, and lemon juice.

3. Once that is mixed thoroughly, drain the water off of your raisins and apples and add to your baking dish and combine. Sprinkle with the nutmeg and place in your oven.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until set.


Rice pudding is great by itself or you can pour a little milk over the top of it. I ended up sprinkling a little more sugar on top of mine. So add it to taste. You could also serve with a little ice cream on top.

Also, feel free to omit the raisins or the apples. It’s your rice pudding.

*It would be very easy to substitute powdered eggs, butter, and milk in this recipe. Just reconstitute as instructed.
For the powdered eggs: 6 Tbsp powder + 12 Tbsp (or 3/4 cup) of water.
For the powdered butter: 1 Tbsp of powder + 1 Tbsp of water. If you want a little more butter flavor then use oil instead.
For the powdered milk: 7 Tbsp and 2 tsp of powder + 1 1/3 cup water


The pudding on the plate is straight out of the pan with a little sugar sprinkled on top. The pudding in the bowl has a little milk poured over it, is mixed, and has a little cinnamon/sugar sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


This is one of the easiest recipes that I have found for these cookies and they are SOOOO good! Love them!

1 can of Pumpkin
2 boxes of Spice Cake mix
6 eggs
1 package of Chocolate Chip Cookies

1. Mix everything together really well.

2. Spoon onto your cookie sheet.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

If you are planning to store them make sure to let them cool completely before sealing them up. Otherwise they sweat and get pretty sticky. If this happens you can let them sit out for a bit when you are ready to eat them and they will go back to normal. This recipe makes 5-6 dozen depending on the size of your cookie scoop.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fruit Medley Snack


I have the HARDEST time getting my three year old boy to eat anything that is ‘good’ for him. He even balks at all of the normal foods that most kids like. As I’ve been embarking on this Freeze Dried food journey he has seemed a little interested in it all. He’s even loved trying a lot of the foods *gasp*!

I’ve heard a lot of people mention how freeze dried fruits and veggies make great snacks. I’ve done some additional research and actually learned quite a lot that makes me feel even better about them. All of the nutrients are still there. There are NO added things like preservatives. It’s a super smart way to add to your food storage and to incorporate more healthy options into your child’s, and your, diet.

When you eat the food without reconstituting (rehydrating) it has a crisp and sometimes crunchy texture. They aren’t moist or sticky (Hooray for easier clean-up!). It’s an all natural choice.

I decided that I would take most of the freeze dried fruit that I could get and create a snack mix with it. I’ll probably be doing the same with the veggies. I chopped some of them into smaller bites, mixed together, and divided it into little air-tight bags.

Apple Chunks
Peach Slices

The apple chunks have a little cinnamon on them. The peaches were freeze dried in syrup. An interesting and unexpected texture comes from the freeze dried raisins. They are crunchy, but taste exactly the same! Everything is delicious! And guess what… My little boy loves them all. They are also the perfect snack for my 1 year old girl. Little bite size pieces that reconstitute in her mouth and mush down easily.


Anyway, it’s a great way to get a little added nutrition in without having to go to extremes. Sometimes the best way to get your kids to eat something is to give it to them in as close to their natural form as possible.

The Freeze Drying process is pretty easy to understand. Here is a quote from the website Feel free to check out the website for more info on freeze dried food.

“During the freeze-drying process, fresh or cooked foods are first flash frozen when the food tastes its best. Moisture is then removed in a vacuum chamber, where a low-level heat is applied to evaporate the ice without returning it to a liquid form. Since the product remains frozen during the process, the product’s cell structures do not change, which helps retain the freshness, vitamins, nutrients, colors, and aromas of the fresh foods while offering you the shelf-stable convenience of long-term storage. This freeze-drying process allows for quick re-hydration of the product, making freeze-dried foods ideal for your food storage. Freeze-dried products are light; they typically weigh up to 90 percent less than the product’s original weight. Just add water and they are ready to use!”

Freeze Dried Foods

I have been given the opportunity to write recipes/articles for a local company that sells freeze dried foods and other food storage options. I'm really excited about this new adventure! I will be including most if not all of these recipes here also. Once they have their site up and running I would highly recommend that you go and check it out. Freeze dried foods are becoming more and more popular as an option for food storage.

Anyway, enjoy the posts and feel free to try some new food storage options out. As always, I gladly welcome any suggestions or questions that you might have! We are all learning together.

Potato Broccoli Chowder


Being a newbie at cooking with dehydrated foods can be a little intimidating. All of us have to start somewhere though! This recipe was my first ‘official’ try. I had to make a second batch. Let me explain. The first batch was good, but I knew I could make it better. I learned my lesson. I need to follow the instructions pretty closely until I am a little more comfortable with my media. All in all, it was still extremely easy and convenient.

Let’s start with some basics.

When rehydrating the foods you are going to cook with I found that it was easiest to measure out the amount you need (because of the freeze drying process they stay the same size that they were and will become when they are rehydrated) and then cover with warm water. You may need to stir them a little to make sure that everything has a chance to hydrate. Let them sit for 5 minutes and then drain off your excess water.

Milk can be a little tricky if you don’t think about it (this was my downfall my first time through). When rehydrating something that will stay in a liquid form (or has to have a specific amount of water added to it) remember to work out the proportions. I will try to be pretty clear with my recipes on how much dry ingredient to use, but other recipes might not do that. For example, this recipe calls for 3 cups of dehydrated milk. My first try I dumped 3 cups of dehydrated milk in. It turned out super thick because I didn’t have enough liquid to mix in all of that powder. On my second try I converted my 3 cups of dehydrated milk to mean 3 cups of milk. Your conversion for milk is usually around 3 tablespoons of powder and 8 oz, or 1 cup, of water.

Okay, that’s probably enough for today’s recipe.

5 small potatoes (Could use Freeze Dried*)
1/4 cup chopped onion (Freeze Dried)
3 Tablespoons (Tbsp) Butter
2 cloves of Garlic, minced (or 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder)
3 Tbsp Flour
3 cups of Milk (9 Tbsp powder and 3 cups of water)
1 cup Shredded Cheddar cheese (Freeze Dried)
2 cups of Broccoli (Freeze Dried)

Optional Toppings:
Green Onions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to heat wash and slice your potatoes. The thinner you slice them the faster they will cook, but you don’t want them too thin. You need something to bite into. Once your water is heated and your potatoes are sliced add them to the water and let them cook until tender (easily pierced with a fork). Drain, but reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.


2. While your potatoes are cooking go ahead and hydrate your other ingredients. Measure out your broccoli, cheese, and onions, cover in warm water, stir a little, then set aside. For your milk measure out 3 cups of hot water, then add your 9 tablespoons of dehydrated milk powder. Stir it well with a whisk to incorporate some air. Let it sit.

3. Drain your broccoli, cheese, and onions.


4. Melt your butter in a frying pan over medium heat; cook onion in butter until translucent and tender. Add your garlic and let it cook for one minute. Add flour to mixture and stir until smooth. Cook for 1 additional minute.

5. Add your onion mixture to your drained potatoes. Return to heat and gradually ad your cooking liquid and milk. Stir well.

6. Add your cheese and broccoli.

7. Simmer you soup over low heat, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes.


The second time around was really an amazing batch. Don’t let freeze dried foods intimidate you. They are really simple to work with. Not to mention that it takes out all of your washing and chopping time!

This recipe would also be very easy to alter. You could add ham, take out the broccoli, etc. Corn might be good in it, or peas. Lots of variations and choices to pick from. You can’t go wrong!

*If you decide to try and use freeze dried potatoes you probably won’t need to reconstitute first. Add them to your boiling water just like you would your raw potatoes. I’m not sure on the cooking time for them yet, but it will also vary depending on their cut size.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Delicious Crockpot Ribs

October 4 020

I bought some Boneless Pork Ribs the other night on a whim. It was the first time I have ever bought them and planned on doing something with them myself. I wanted to try something new and a little out of the ordinary. I did a bunch of searching online and finally came across a recipe that I felt would turn out good, but had interesting flavors that I was interested in experiencing.

I found the recipe on I believe it was called “Garlic Honey Ribs” or something like that. I did a little tweaking when it came to the cooking style, but I used all of the same ingredients for my sauce. I think it turned out pretty good. Those that tried it told me it was a keeper.

Boneless Pork Ribs (I think I had about 4lbs)
1 c honey
1 c brown sugar
1/3 c soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mustard

1. Mix together all of your sauce ingredients well. Use as a marinade for your pork overnight. Make sure that your ribs are coated well and turn a couple of times (or when you think of it).

2. Pour your ribs and your sauce into a crockpot and let it do all of the work. Heat your crockpot for 1 hour on HIGH (so that everything can get to the correct temp. quickly), then turn to LOW for 4-6 hours. You may need to adjust your cooking time depending on your crockpot.

This pork tastes great on it’s own with a couple of sides, or would work great over rice. It is easily shredded and tastes great as a sandwich, or could work over a salad.

October 4 036

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cranberry-Orange Chicken Salad

October 4 005

Wonderful recipe from “Our Best Bites”!

If you are looking for a great Chicken Salad recipe, or you want something with a nice bright flavor, this is it! The cranberries and orange work wonders together.

This has got to be one of my new favorites! I think I pretty much ate the whole batch. I was nice enough to share a sandwich or two with my sister and husband (they had to taste how wonderful it was), but I ate the left-overs for pretty much every meal until it was gone. Seriously, so good!

1 lb chicken, marinated (I used italian dressing), grilled and cubed
1 c. celery, chopped
1/3 c. green onions, chopped
Zest of 1 medium orange
1/2 c. Craisins (I may have added more)
1/2 c mayonnaise (make sure to use mayo, Miracle Whip might add a weird zing)
1 tsp mustard
1/2 c. pecans, chopped

1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, celery, green onions, orange zest, and Craisins.

2. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together your mayonnaise and mustard (also any salt and pepper you may want to add). Add to the chicken mixture and toss to fully combine. This salad is best if refrigerated for several hours before serving.

3. just before serving, add the toasted pecans. Serve on a croissant or roll with a crisp leaf of lettuce.

The original recipe also suggests adding 2 Tbs of jellied cranberry sauce along with your mayo and mustard. I didn’t try it, but I’m sure it would be great.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mozzarella Chicken


This recipe comes from the Worldwide Ward Cookbook. It originates in Tennessee. The picture isn’t the most beautiful, but it is delicious!

I got home from grocery shopping without much time to think about what was for dinner. I’m sure that sounds familiar to many out there. I had bought a large amount of fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts. I split what I had into three portions. Two of the portions I put in zip-lock bags with different dressings (Catalina and Italian) so they could marinate for later meals.

Then I was still left with the decision of what I should make for that night. After a hard day I was in need of something super easy that would pretty much cook itself. I flipped through my mental cookbook, then browsed a couple on my real shelf. That’s when I came across this one. It’s a keeper.

4-6 chicken breasts
2  - 10.75 oz cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 – 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cups bread crumbs (I used crushed Club crackers)
3 Tbsp. butter (optional, I didn’t use it)

1. Arrange your chicken in a 9x13 pan. Spread your soup directly over the top of the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the soup, and then sprinkle the bread crumbs over the cheese.

2. (Optional) Chop the butter in little pieces and dot it around the bread crumbs. You can also melt the better and pour it over the bread crumbs.

3. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Make sure to check your temperature though. The recipe said you could start with frozen chicken, but I don’t know how much I trust that. It’s easy enough to thaw your meat. If you want to try it you can though.

Would be good with rice, mashed potatoes, toast, or noodles.

Looking back I wish I had pounded my chicken out a little. Mine were extremely thick and probably would have cooked faster/more evenly if I had. I’ll look into that some more.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Thank you Mom for sharing your pickle recipe. Love you!

There is NOTHING like a homemade pickle. Store-bought pickles just don’t cut it. I ran out of my stored homemade pickles a couple of months ago, but didn’t think I would have the chance to bottle more this summer. Luckily someone from town had some extra that they were willing to share.


Freshly picked Cucumbers (6 lbs)
3 quarts vinegar
3/4 cup canning salt
3/4 tsp alum

1. Prepare your clean jars by putting some of your dill in each. You need a couple of sticks along with a good amount of seeds (probably about a tsp).

2. Prepare your cucumbers by washing and scrubbing them to get the dirt and prickles off. Then put them into your jars. Once your jars are full you can put one or two cloves of garlic in each.

3. Boil your water along with the vinegar, salt (Canning salt helps your pickles stay crisp), and alum. Pour over the top of your cucumbers. Wipe the lips of your jars and put your prepared lids on.

4. Process for 20 minutes.

Pickles need to sit for 6-8 weeks so they can absorb the flavor. It will be worth the wait!

*Prepare your lids by washing. Then put them in a pot of water that never quite reaches boiling. They need to be in there long enough to get hot to the touch. 3-5 minutes should do it.

You will probably also need to make extra water.You could cut it into 3rds pretty easily. You will need at least one batch of water for about 7 quarts of pickles. It will depend on how well you pack your cucumbers in there.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Café Rio Chicken

Cafe Rio Chicken

I hate to say that I’ve never actually had Café Rio chicken, but I haven’t. Because of that I can’t tell you how true the name of the chicken is to the original. Someone with that knowledge will have to let me know.

This really was a great recipe though. I am always up for an easy recipe (especially crockpot). Thanks to my friend Katelyn for passing this one on to me!

1 cup Italian dressing
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
4 chicken breasts, thawed

1. Pour your Italian dressing into your crockpot. Stir in your spices and garlic. Make sure everything is mixed well. Add your chicken and turn over a couple of times to ensure that everything is coated well.
2. Cook 6-7 hours on low. Make sure to check the temperature of your meat!

I’ve been looking into some different food safety and cooking tips when it comes to using a Crockpot. I found a couple of good articles that are very worth checking out. I learned a few important tips and was reminded of things that I had forgotten.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sorry for the Break

I hope you'll forgive me for being absent. It was a crazy week/weekend! I did a bunch of canning/bottling on Tuesday and Wednesday, my son got sick Wed. night, we were cleaning and organizing our house for possible sale, and then everyone else got sick Friday night. We all had to kind of veg out for the rest of the weekend. We are all feeling much better now and I should now be able to kick it into gear again. Enjoy the two gems below! :)

Bottling Chunky Salsa

I am a huge salsa fan! It is sad to admit, but I could sit down and eat a whole bottle of Pace salsa by myself in one sitting. I try and control myself, but sometimes I can't help it. Now you know my Achilles Heel. Growing up my mom would bottle salsa every couple of years. Some years were great batches, others were a little funky... Since I've moved out of the house I haven't really had much of the homemade bottled stuff. We'll play around with fresh a few times each summer, but I think the last batch of funky salsa made my mom give up on pleasing us.

Last year my sister in law made some awesome salsa. I've had the pleasure of trying it a few times while I've been over at her house. It is delicious! This year I asked her if I could get her recipe for it. She gladly shared. Thanks Laura! :) (This is a modified recipe from

*Note - This recipe makes about 1 quart. It is easily multiplied and can be used to make a huge batch. You can estimate how many times you want to multiply it by how many tomatoes you have, or jars you want to make. You can also adjust the heat by adding (or subtracting) jalapenos. This recipe is mild.

3 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I like to chop them in advance and put them in the fridge, then drain the juice off in order to make the salsa more chunky)
3/4 cup white onion, chopped (I used my Food Chopper)
3-4 jalapenos (or 3-4 Tbsp. chopped jalapenos) (I used my Manual Food Processor).
* WEAR GLOVES when handling jalapenos! Also, do NOT touch your face at all. Be careful!
3 cloves garlic, minced (or 3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt (you can use canning salt if you want your color to stay extra bright)
1/3 cup vinegar

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Put into hot jars and process in water bath canner or steam canner for 20 minutes.

Tips: Pretty much everything can be chopped in advance. That way it's easy to start and stop as you need to.

Caramels (No Fail)

This recipe was found in "Our Best Bites". It is awesome!!!

Anyone who knows my family really well knows that we enjoy making candy. We have a few old family recipes that are pretty popular in our small town. There is nothing like a taffy pull to get you in the mood for Halloween. One thing that has always evaded us, well me at least, is a good caramel recipe. I have always been secretly (or not so secretly) looking for a good one. My last attempt at making them didn't turn out so hot. In fact it was pretty much a failure. That was about 6 years ago. Don't get me wrong, they tasted GREAT!, but my roommates and I ate the caramel by scooping it out of the pan with a spoon. It would then slowly, but fast enough you could see, mush back together to make it look like there had never been a scoop taken out. I either haven't been brave enough to try again, or I just didn't think I had the right recipe yet.

As I was looking through this cookbook the words 'so easy and forgiving' stood out to me. I decided it was worth a try. :)

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
2 cups of heavy whipping cream, divided
2 tsp vanilla

1. Combine butter, sugar, corn syrup, and 2 cup whipping cream in a large, heavy stockpot (Go big, I thought my pot was big enough and ended up needing to transfer it into another. Give yourself plenty of space. The candy boils up quite a ways).Cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently, until sugar dissolves.

2. Turn heat to medium and cook until candy thermometer reaches 224 degrees, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining 1 cup whipping cream. Continue to cook over medium heat until thermometer registers 245 degrees (soft ball stage). Add vanilla.

3. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. Cool overnight and then cut into squares. Wrap individually in wax paper.

To be able to get that candy out of the pan more easily you can layer two pieces of wax paper in the pan before you pour the caramel in. Then after it is cooled you can simply lift the caramels out and cut them more easily.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Taco Soup!

I had a hankering for some Taco soup the other day. It was probably the big thunderstorm and the buckets of rain. Or it could be that I'm just super excited for Fall to be here! I love cold weather and I especially love all of the foods that are directly related and linked to the season!

I did something a little different with my soup today that turned out pretty good (if I do say so myself, and I do). I tried it on my husband. He approved. So I took it to my parents' house and made them and my siblings try it. They also liked it. I have a brother that is a pretty picky eater. He didn't even want to try it, but I twisted his arm (not literally). He had one spoonful and admitted that it was good. His excuse for not eating was that he already had the bread out for the PB&J that he was going to make. Weirdo. It was good. So... statistics say 7 out of 7 like it (but only 6 will eat a bowl).

2 quart bottles of tomatoes (you could also do canned stewed tomatoes)
4 cans of assorted beans (I used red, kidney, black, and pinto)
1 bag of freezer corn (canned would work also), thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced.
1 lb of cooked hamburger
2 cups of water
1 envelope of Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch

1. I started by putting my tomatoes in the crock pot, undrained. Next went the beans. Make sure to drain them into a colander and then rinse them really really well. Then comes the corn, pepper, and your cooked hamburger. When you add your water judge according to your crock pot. I just added the water until I was happy with the height. You don't want it too full. After you get the height you want then add the ranch envelope. Stir everything well to mix it around.

2. Start your crock pot out on high until it gets up to temperature. Once I saw it was bubbling, I went ahead and dropped it down to low. Where everything cooked (or didn't need to be) you are really just needing to warm it and let the flavors simmer around. I did 3 hours on high and then it probably was on low for 2. We did eat a little after the 3 though.

3. Serve with your favorite toppings. We had tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, and olives.

*If you didn't notice I've used this Ranch packet before. It is one of my new favorites. I love the extra kick that it gives to stuff, but in this case I love having that kick with a touch of ranch. It worked out great!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Peach Crisp (or Apple, or whatever)

This is an adjusted recipe from 'The Worldwide Ward Cookbook' (great investment!). I was kind of having a rough day yesterday. Even though I have told myself I am not going to use food as a 'comfort' , I still did/do.

I had some peaches that were kindly given to me by my parents. We live in an area that is VERY famous for it's peaches. Just last week we celebrated 'Peach Days'. We have a restaurant called 'Peach City', and our LDS Temple that is currently being built has peach blossoms in the stone work. Peaches are important to us. :)

Anyway, this is a great recipe that just seems to push your sorrows out of the way and lift your spirits. It is great served warm with a little milk over it, or whipped cream, or ice cream. You could always eat it all by itself too.

I didn't have as many peaches as this calls for. So I ended up picking a smaller pan, and I saved half of the crumble to do something with later. It worked out great. Anyway, on to the recipe!

10-12 medium peaches (or apples, or whatever) peeled and cubed
3 Tbsp. Flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I omitted this because I didn't have any and it was still good)
3 cups of flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted

1. Place the peaches in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the 3 Tbsp. flour, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice until peaches are thoroughly coated. Pour peach mixture into a 9x13-inch pan. Set aside.

2. Stir together the 3 cups of flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is completely incorporated. (I ended up using my hands a little to really get it mixed) Crumble the topping mixture over the peaches.

3. Back at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

I've done this recipe with apples too. Both ways are delicious. While fresh fruit always adds a special flavor and texture, this would be equally delicious with canned/bottled fruit. Give it a try. It's way easy and VERY worth it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Baked Cheesy Macaroni

This recipe was AMAZING!!! Once the smell of the cheeses started wafting through my house I was pretty much dancing around. It smelled so good I couldn't help but brag about it on Facebook... :) We didn't really get a chance to eat it right after it got done because we had someone coming over minutes after it was coming out of the oven (bad timing on my part). Anyway, this really was a good one!

3/4-1lb of pasta (I used macaroni, but a lot of other options would work too), cooked
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup sour cream
6 oz of provolone cheese, grated (mine was in slices so I just tore it up to spread it around)
6 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated (I couldn't find this so I actually used a a mixture of pre-shredded Romano, Parmesan, and Asiago)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You can grease your pan if you are worried about things sticking. I didn't and was fine.

2. In a large bowl, mix together your pasta, spaghetti sauce, and your sour cream. In another bowl mix your cheeses and set aside. Take your 9x13 pan and spread half of your pasta mixture on the bottom of it. Next sprinkle half of the cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Then repeat.

3. Bake for 30 minutes without covering.

Mmm.... so good. Hubby and I decided that it would be good with olives. No matter what you put on it, it would be wonderful! You could easily mix in some veggies and it would still be great. I'm so glad I have leftovers!!!