Posts Tagged With: easy recipe

Random February Friday Five

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 Random thoughts from my corner of the world!

1.  On a regular basis I wake up in the night with at least 600 things running through my head.  Think I could remember them now?  Nope, not a one.

three am

2. Friday is to the week like bread is to butter.  Speaking of, made Hubbs his favorite casserole earlier this week:  “Poor Man’s Chop Suey” – he had plate after plate of it, with a side of bread and butter, and a big ole smile plastered across his face.  As much as he watches what he eats, when a meal like this “magically” appears, he plows in like he’s been clearing a forest all day with his bare hands. And the comments of appreciation thrown my way make my hair curl ~ somethings really are that easy.

Poor Man's Chop Suey

Poor Man’s Chop Suey

3.  Heading out on a road trip today – yay!  The weather is cold and clear, there’s no snow in my future and I predict random song singing all the way to my meeting place. 🙂

amen to that! google.images.com

amen to that! google.images.com

4.  Hubbs and I were invited out for dinner tonight.  There’s something very nice about being on the receiving end of an invite.  Even if you don’t go, it’s just nice to be asked, you know?  But we’re going and I’m glad.  Whee!

5. There are many heart-wrenching causes out there in the “GoFundMe” world —  and, as much of a softie as I can be, I’ve yet to contribute to one. Guy Wolfe is a blogger I follow because of his sincere faith and beautiful writing -he’s served as an inspiration to me more than once when my world felt less than inspired.  He recently wrote of a tragic turn of events in his world – and the HOPE {Hold On Pain Ends} he’s experienced since.  I felt compelled to ask how could I help?    He told me and I did.  Would you?  More info here.

5893-instead-of-giving-myself-reasons-why-i-cant-i-give-myself

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”

And how was your week? Do you wake with a “to-do” list at 3:00 a.m. that magically disappears in the morning?  Is there a favorite dish your spouse or loved ones just love?  Do you say yes to road trips as often as you can? Have you ever given money to someone’s “GoFundMe” site?   Are you the inviter or the invitee in social situations?

Categories: Beauty, Charity, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, music, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Share | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The “Un-Christmas” Christmas cookie

*originally published December 6, 2011.

Years of Christmas baking has taught me one thing: make what they eat.

There’s no point spending the money .. and the time .. to bake something pretty if no one’s eating it up.

So, every year, I make what my boys (hubbs included) call, the “Un-Christmas” Christmas cookie:  Chocolate chip-butterscotch chip-macadamia nut cookies (otherwise known as “Mondo” cookies).

There’s no jam, ginger or molasses in sight.

These are the ones my guys go back to time and again and that’s why I bother.  Plus, I rarely make this treat the rest of the year so, in our house, they’ve become a “Christmas” cookie in their own right.

Here’s the recipe for MJ’s Mondo Cookies:

  • 3/4 sticks of Crisco Butter flavored shortening  (no substitutions) (1 1/2)
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar (2 1/2)
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (4)
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla (2)
  • 1 large egg (2)
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (3 1/2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (2)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda (1 1/2)
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips (2)
  • 1 cup of butterscotch chips (2)
  • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts (2)

(The numbers in brackets are the quantities if you wish to double the recipe; I usually do).

Who says I’m not a Christmas cookie?

Directions:

Pre-Heat oven to 375 F.

Using an electric mixer, beat shortening, brown sugar, milk, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy.

Add salt and baking soda, mix in well. Stir in flour slowly until blended then stir in chips and nuts. Stir well until all ingredients are blended, especially any remaining flour. *The dough may feel a bit stiff, just take your time and work in the flour.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto cookie sheets (a single batch makes about 2 cookie sheets full; double batch makes 4).  Bake 12 min. (I usually cook these 6 min per pan then switch pan locations and cook another 6 min).  Set pans and cookies on top of stove for 2-3 minutes before removing cookies from cookie sheet.  Transfer to cooling rack and enjoy!

Recipe makes 3-6 dozen cookies. These freeze well and travel beautifully, rarely falling apart in shipping.   The best part?  Santa loves ’em!

Hubbs’ idea of heaven ..

There’s one more treat I’ll make for my chocolate-loving fiends and that’s some Chocolate covered peanut clusters.

"I could quit smoking before I could quit eating these" - Mr Hubbs

“I could quit smoking before I could quit eating these” –  Hubbs

Yep – like last year – I have decided to stop watering the weeds.

* * *

How have your Christmas traditions evolved over the years? What’s your family’s “must have” Holiday treat?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Opinion, Personal, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Vegorama Pizza

 ‘Tis the season again!  The Fall/Holiday potlucks have begun.  🙂

In a quest to eat a bit healthier, I made this dish recently.  For my office-mates.  You know, the team who rarely touch vegetables.

Yep, at our office we have four important food categories:  cheese, bbq sauce, cool whip and chocolate.

If a pot-luck dish doesn’t contain one of those four items (and lots of it), it’s out like a fat kid in dodge-ball.

photo from Allrecipes.com

photo from Allrecipes.com

Make no mistake, this shouldn’t be considered health food.  The base of crescent dough, cream cheese and sour cream is enough to slow a few arteries down.  But the crunchy fresh veggies on top counteract the richness of the base resulting in a creamy/crunchy and tasty appetizer.

Here’s how to make your very own Vegorama Pizza:

You’ll need:

  • 2 – 8 oz packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened (I used Jalapeno flavored)
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (don’t skip this!)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 package of dry ranch dressing mix  (I use 1/2)

Toppings

  • 1 green onion, chopped with greens
  • 3-4 radishes, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large bunch of broccoli (about 1 cup), chopped
  • Shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Remove crescent dough from the fridge and let it sit on the counter while you pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Coat a large cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Roll out the crescent roll and press it into the pan; you’ll want to “connect-the-dots” as in pieces so you end up with one solid piece of dough.  Pierce the dough with a fork and then let stand for about 5 minutes.
  4. Next, bake for 11 minutes; remove from oven and let cool 20 minutes.
  5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese, dill, garlic and ranch dip mix.
  6. Spread this mixture all over the cooled crust.
  7. Top with onion, carrot, broccoli, radish, bell pepper and broccoli  and then sprinkle shredded cheese across the top.
  8. Cover and let chill about an hour.
  9. Once chilled, cut it into squares and serve.  (I made this the night before a pot-luck and simply cut into squares, layered with waxed paper, covered and served the next day.. Results?  Zip. Bang.  Gone!)

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”  ― Ernest Hemingway.

My little blog recently passed 130,000 beautiful readers.  Thank you for riding along with me!

Categories: Blogging, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Poor Man’s

So, anyone whose followed me for awhile knows I like to cook.  Actually, I kinda love it.

But I love it when I have time for it, when I can put my tunes on and Juke and Jive to some Motown, 70s Rock or  Vintage Elvis.  I love it when I have time to putz and taste and simmer and stir and have everyone come in and out and ask … “just what is that, man that smells sooo good!”

During the week, I’d say I’m a functional cook.  I get in – get it done – and get out.

Working full time as I do, I’ve always had my list of “go-to” meals.  My preference is to cook up a bunch of chicken and a few sides and fix a big, hearty salad. Yep, I can eat a salad and chicken all week long. Hubbs, well let’s just say he’s a man and he needs some soul-filling foods.  You know, meat, potatoes, a bit of green thrown in for good measure.  And brownies. Or cookies, too.

So, many moons ago, when we met and fell in love, my list of “go-to” meals was considerably different.  Why? Well, at that time, it was me & a five year old.  Chicken, mac & cheese, soup, sandwiches, a bit of a roast here & there and we were good.

Not so with Mr. Man.

Being a Midwesterner, he came to the marriage with a hearty share of experience in the casserole department.  A list as long as his arm.   And, over time, he kept talking about this one dish his Mom used to make and his eyes would get all deep and dreamy and stuff and I remember thinking, “I just have to know what’s behind that look.”

So I asked her.  GM Jan, as we called her (she’d been a seamstress for General Motors; she was feisty and fun, a skinny smoker with a beehive and a closet full of shoes, but I digress.)

Pleased as punch, she shared her recipe with me.

Me.

The only in-law who, so far, wasn’t an out-law. And I made it, and adapted it, and well, here we are.

I made it last night for Hubbs and you would’ve thought I gave him the keys to the kingdom. His eyes lit up like a kids the night before the fair comes to town.  Rubbing his hands together he excitedly checked the bread and butter supply before announcing gleefully, “That’s perfect! I’ll have that for lunch tomorrow and maybe for dinner, too!”

And with that, my friends, I give you Poor Man’s:  Poor Man’s Chop Suey.

Who knows the calorie or fat content? Who cares?  All I know is this: every time I make it, the twinkle in his eye grows to a gleam and I might just as well be a star on “Top Chef.”

** MJ’s (and Jan’s)  Poor Man’s Chop Suey **

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Soy sauce
  • 2 cans cream soup – I used 1 cream of mushroom and 1 cream of celery
  • 1 can of water (just over a cup)
  • 1 cup of “Shredds” (shredded vegetables – carrots, broccoli, cabbage – found in the produce department)
  • 1 cup (or so) of cooked rice, any kind
  • Seasonings to taste
  • Optional: add slivered celery, mushrooms, water chestnuts, onion or almonds.

Directions

Brown beef, drain off fat and season liberally with Mrs. Dash, dried Onion, Rosemary and Pepper.  Pour in 1/4 cup of Soya Sauce (or more, to taste).  In a separate bowl, mix soups & water then pour into beef mixture.  Add veggie shreds and rice, mix well, tumble the whole hearty mixture into a 13×9 pan and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until bubbly.  The rice will absorb the sauce as it stands.   Should serve 4 people but, in my house, this serves one grinning and delighted man for oh – 1-2 days :).

Poor Man's Chop Suey

Poor Man’s Chop Suey

Were you raised on casseroles?  Is there a dish you make for others but don’t crave yourself? Is there one you love but everyone else thinks is weird? (Mine is “Holpchi,” better known as cabbage rolls).

*This dish was Frankie’s favorite leftover; it’s been a month now and I miss that old grey-faced dog, especially when I cook.

To visit my Recipe vault, just click on the links below:

Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Food, Grief, Home, Joy, Life, Men, Recipes, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Easy-Peasy Caramel Chex Mix

Going to a Holiday party and don’t know what to bring? Want to make a home-made treat to give away to friends?  Try my Easy-Peasy Caramel Chex Mix.

Sweet and buttery, nutty and delicious, it’s a simple treat that’s ready in 30 minutes. And at this busy time of year, simple and good just can’t be beat.

Here’s what you need to make it:

  • 1 Small Box Chex Wheat & Rice Cereal
  • 2 cups of chopped nuts – pecans or walnuts
  • 2 sticks of butter, not margarine, butter. Oh Yeah!
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven 325 degrees.

Coat an cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and then pour cereal and nuts into the pan and set aside.

In a deep sauce pan melt butter and then stir in brown sugar. Over medium heat stir butter and brown sugar steadily to prevent burning; bring to a boil for one minute. Once boiling,  slowly add vanilla; mixture will foam (and may splatter) cook one to two more minutes.

bubbling goodness

bubbling goodness

Pour butter/sugar/vanilla mixture evenly over cereal and nuts, coating well.

Pop the pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Stir. Bake another 10 minutes and remove from oven, stir again to coat evenly.

When just about cool, remove from pan into an airtight container and enjoy!

crunchy, carmelly deliciousness!

crunchy, carmelly deliciousness!

December 1st signifies the start of the Christmas baking season at my house.  You?

.. let the baking begin!

.. let the baking begin!

Categories: Food, Holidays, Home, Recipes, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Salads & Cake

A week’s work of business travel and, boy, was I happy to get home again.  Home to my own bed, my own kitchen and my own crew.

Back in the office Monday, I immediately noticed the sign-up sheet for our next office potluck.  This time a salad bar was suggested.  In keeping with our company’s increased attention to our health and many people’s efforts to trim their waistlines, the salad bar sounded like a great idea … on paper.

You see, we’ve been down this path before.

Yep, this ain’t our first rodeo.

Hold on a minute .. did you say potluck?? (the great Sam Elliott in Tombstone)

Office potlucks are, for some, a delightful opportunity to pound the communal drum, for others, the bane of their office existence.

Here are a few simple guidelines that I’ve found work for me; I’m sharing them here so we can all navigate easily through the political landscape of the office potluck:

  • Contribute on some level. Can’t cook? Stop by the local deli and buy something to share. Limited budget?   Bring a (new) roll of plastic wrap or tinfoil – the cooks in the crowd will admire your creativity (and you can save $$ by buying at the dollar store).  Having said that, showing up with a half eaten bag of Lay’s potato chips does not make you a hero, it makes you a putz.
  • No showing off. Love to cook? Go for it! We love that you orchestrated a seven layered Tiramisu for us but if you get all Braggerty McBraggert about it we’ll nibble it down with a spoonful of resentment. And when we’re annoyed with you, we’re less likely give compliments. And admit it, that’s why you stayed up till midnight anyways.
  • Take part.  I have a few food sensitivities but that doesn’t mean I can’t participate. I bring my lunch and I can always find something to comment on and sample.  And, I make it a point to join the crowd and eat with the group – the communal setting lends itself to getting to know each other a little bit better.
  • Mind your manners.  If you have a comment about what another person brought or made, please make sure it’s kind.  Even better if its within earshot.  Remember your parents saying,  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  Announcing that you hate garlic, going into gastric detail about how it affects you and that you don’t understand why anyone in their right mind would even use garlic just makes makes me want to bring garlic bread next time. 🙂
  • When in doubt, admire the effort.  Not willing to try chain smoker Carl’s brownies?  Avoiding cat lady’s cheese ball?  Doesn’t mean you can’t give them something to go on, “Wow! That must have taken you a lot of time to put together!”  Trust me: people will love that you noticed.  Warning: don’t say this unless you’re already holding a full plate.  Otherwise you could end up with a heaping helping of the delectable you’re trying to dodge.

So, back to our salad bar potluck today; here’s the hard, cold truth of the matter –the fruits and veggie tray, the lettuce and toppings – they will be left largely untouched and dishes containing these three food staples – cheese, Cool Whip or BBQ sauce –  will disappear faster than you can make room for pie.

Me?

I’m packing my lunch and bringing a cake! (recipe below)

Yep, a cake mix cake topped with, you got it, Cool Whip, pineapple, Jell-O pudding and cream cheese.  Fantastic with a salad!

MJ’s Pineapple Delight Cake:

  • 1 box yellow or white cake mix
  • 1 small (1 oz.) pkg. vanilla or lemon instant pudding
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. whipped cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, SAVE the juice*
  • 1 12 oz. container of Cool Whip
  • 2 c. milk

Directions — Make cake according to box instructions except substitute the pineapple juice for any water the cake mix calls for.  Bake in a 9 x 13 pan and let cool completely.

For the topping, pour the cream cheese, instant pudding and milk into a mixing bowl and blend well with an electric mixer (about 2-3 min or until it starts to set).

Spread the cream cheese/pudding/milk gloriousness over the cooled cake. Next, cover that goodness with the crushed pineapple and top with a hearty layer of Cool Whip (or real whipped cream if you’re feeling ambitious).  Top with nuts if you like – or not – it’s delicious either way.

Refrigerate overnight and, before serving, take a slab for yourself  ’cause there’s no way any of it is coming home with you!

see the layers? Double click on image for a drool-worthy closeup.

* * *

How about your office? 

Do people go for the green or sprint to the cheese & Cool Whip?

Categories: Determination, Food, Fun, Life, Personal, Recipes, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

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Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine; For your light has come!

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...