Entries for the ‘in my kitchen’ Category

Super Easy- Beef Stew

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Winter is in full force across most of the US, but here in the desert it is starting to peter out.  Wanting to squeeze Winter to the very last itty bitty squeezable drop, I made a thick and rich beef stew for dinner last night.  As we ate, I kept remarking to my husband that this was the best pot of beef stew I think I have ever made!  Funny thing is, I didn’t follow a recipe this time, I just started dumping things into the crock pot and hoping it all worked out.

Since it was so good I decided I had to write down what I did in hopes that I (and you!) can recreate its creamy, beefy goodness!

1.5-2lbs of cubed beef
salt & pepper
4 diced red potatoes
3 diced carrots
14oz can of diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1t dried oregano
1t dried basil
1/2t garlic powder
2c beef stock
1/2c water
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Heat a skillet up on high heat, sprinkle meat with salt and pepper and then brown in skillet (be sure to use some olive oil or butter, so your meat doesn’t stick to the pan).  You don’t want to thoroughly cook the meat, you just want to make sure that you brown all sides of the meat- this helps to keep the meat moist while it’s cooking.  Once the meat is done add it to the crock pot with all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the Cream of Mushroom Soup.

Cook on high for 3 hours (my crock pot is really hot and cooks fast, you may have to adjust the time for your crock pot).  About 10min before serving mix in the cream of mushroom soup.  That’s the trick for making the stew nice and thick with a hint of mushroom flavor.

I suggest serving it with a nice Cesar Salad, Crusty Bread and finished off by a nice bowl of Apple Crisp and Vanilla ice-cream!

Every Year

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Every year I get the email about participating in the cookies exchange, and I think to myself,  “oh fun!  I can bake holiday cookies, decorate them up pretty and then share them with others (I’m so altruistic like that).”  But as the day of the cookie exchange gets closer and closer I find myself avoiding the kitchen and the thought of cookies with the same intensity as I used to avoid those asinine English papers dissecting long forgotten tales of whoa.

The day of the cookie exchange arrives and I pour over my cookbooks and click my way through pinterest looking for cookie recipes that are both super easy but look like they took a lot of time and effort and present well.  Then I realize there is no such thing and I start wondering if it would be lame to show up with chocolate chip cookies (because it doesn’t get much easier than that).  This morning I decided that chocolate crinkles cookies would work (but- Oh the hand rolling of every blasted cookie!).  I find myself once again….hours before the event quickly baking and preparing for a trip to Wal Mart because where else can you find cute cookie containers on short notice?  Let’s face it, the cookies that look the nicest get eaten instead of left to dry out on the counter.  And, by golly, if I took days to procrastinate and hours to actually bake the dang cookie, somebody better eat them!

I think a cookie recipe exchange would be better, I’ll bring six copies of a yummy looking cookie recipe (no baking involved)….but oh then I’d have to design up a cute recipe card and remember to have them professionally printed DAYS in advance.  That to seems like too much work. sigh.  Wonder if anyone will invite me to participate in their cookie exchange next year….and what the heck am I going to do with 2+ dozen cookies this weekend? Gain 10lbs is what!

Mad Hungry

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I first heard about Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys on Erin’s blog…ages ago.  I have hungry men and boys at my house I thought, so I added the recipe book to my Amazon wish list and mostly forgot about it.

I ventured to the Downtown (ie big main branch) Library over the weekend and guess what I found on an end cap?  I promptly checked it out, went home and poured over it!  I pulled out about 3 recipes to try this week, tonight we had Savory Chicken Pocket Pies.  Stars Above! How did I live this long without knowing the joys of CREAM CHEESE added to pastry dough?!  I will never go back!

Savory Chicken Pockets

Lucinda Scala Quinn (the author) does fancy pants food stuff over there for Ms. Martha Stewart…who was kind enough to republish the recipe.  You don’t have to take my word for it -that these are delish- you can make them yourselves!  I tinkered a little bit with the recipe- I used half the onion, added 3 cloves of garlic and used ground chicken instead of boiled chicken.

With Veggies

My kids really liked them, enough that they said I could send one to school tomorrow in their lunch boxes (gasp!!).   I think they’d be good with a sauce too…a cucumber yogurt sauce maybe??  The accompanying vegetables though?  Hmmm, not so much.  The downside to making these is they take just shy of forever…or maybe it just felt like that to me because Aaron was working late and I had to help with homework,  an almost 2 year old  tugging at my pant leg asking me to read to her and cook dinner!  I should have started making the pastry BEFORE the kids got home from school, but instead I spent 3 hours on the computer working on stuff for the school fundraiser next week.

Anyhoo, all I’m really trying to say is THESE ARE GOOD, YOU SHOULD MAKE THEM TOO.

My Girls

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Are forever doing things that make me laugh.  My son is much more serious, he is always making me think.  But, my girls?  The make me laugh!

I am always sticking notes on the fridge with a list of dinners so I have an idea of what to make each week.  Notice the spelling and handwriting change at the bottom?

My 6 yo loves Hawaiian Haystacks (without the pineapple!), which we call “chicken, cheese and rice”.  It cracks me up that she went to the trouble to use the same marker I did to make it appear like it was meant to be on the list this week.  I think I’ll surprise her and make it tonight!

If you are wondering, the spaghetti is an old recipe from 1953 (complete with canned tomato soup), called Irish Italian Spaghetti, I make it a few times a year…its not bad.

While cleaning the house today, my youngest daughter was messing in my ribbon drawer (which is now a DISASTER!).

My Ribbon Drawer

I found her with it draped all over her walking around the house- dragging the ends and spool behind her.

My girls, they just make me smile!

Perfection- in a jar

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

My Aunt Sherrie makes the BEST raspberry freezer jam. ever. period, end of story!  Every time I went to visit her as a child (and, eh-hem as an adult) I would coyly (sometimes not so coyly) ask her if she had any in her freezer that I could eat.  I remember once Aunt Sherrie covertly gave me (and only me!) a special jar of her jam.  I don’t think it lasted longer than a few days.

When I noticed that raspberries were on sale this week I decided to try my hand at freezer jam (using Aunt Sherries recipe, of course!).


I made a double batch (so you can half this for a smaller batch).

8c smashed berries
2pkg’s of pectin
8c white granulated sugar
1/2c lemon juice
2c corn syrup


Smash the berries using a potato masher or a food grinder (but you want a few berry chunks).  Add the lemon juice (I juiced 3 medium sized lemons to get a 1/2c) and then slowly add the pectin- make sure you stir it in really well. Let the whole mixture sit for 30 min.  Add the berry mixture to an 8qt  sauce pan, set heat to low and then add the sugar.  I debated how to tell you about the sugar, 8c sounded better than telling you 4lbs of sugar, but that’s what 8 cups is…just sayin’.  Slowly stir over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved (taste it to make sure there are no granules left).  Remove from heat and stir in 2cups of corn syrup.  Ladle into canning jars, or plastic (freezable) tupperware (I used both).  If you are freezing it in jars, after you fill them (leave an inch in head space) invert them for 5 min.  When jars are cool you can freeze or refrigerate them.  They are good for about 30 days after opening.

Freezer Jam

Think I may have to make some homemade bread to put this one!!  Oh- it’s great on waffles and pancakes and ice cream too!

Fish Taco Love

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Have I told you how much I heart pinterest?!  My holy heck do I love wasting away the hours on pinterest- do you have an account yet, because what.are.you.waiting.for?!!!  This morning I pinned this recipe for fish tacos (something I frequently order, but never make), it looked easy and super tasty (it was!).

Source: carascravings.com via Heather on Pinterest

Although I omitted the peach salsa and substituted a creamy sauce (like what you get at Rubios).  Here is the recipe.

Fish Taco Sauce
3T Plain Yogurt (I used Plain Greek)
3T Mayo
1/4t cumin
1/4t dill
dash (or more to taste) cayenne pepper
1T lime juice
pinch of Kosher salt

Mix together and serve over tacos.  This was INCREDIBLY easy.  I cooked the whole meal on the griddle- which means I didn’t have to heat up the house.  Everyone but the 6yo liked it.

Doing Hard Things

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Brownie Sundae

On Sunday my daughter gave a talk in primary (the children’s portion of church).  She has done it before and despite her ability to read just fine she typically melts into a ball and refuses to read or speak.  Previously I would whisper the words in her ear and then she would mumble them into the microphone.  Not this time I decided!

We talked about how sometimes it is scary to speak in front of other people, but when we do hard (or scary) things, we become stronger.  I told her if she could give her talk without any help (reading it all by herself with no one standing next to her) that I would make her a Sundae.  She did it!  The Sundae’s were so good.  I have always used this brownie recipe and LOVE it.

1/2c butter
6T cocoa powder
2T canola oil
2 eggs
1c sugar
1t vanilla
3/4c flour

melt butter add cocoa & oil and mix until smooth. mix in everything else in. Bake at 350 for 30 min in an 8x8x2 pan. Frost with chocolate frosting if desired.

The Best Pork You’ll Ever Make

Monday, August 8th, 2011

notice I didn’t say the best pork you’ll ever eat…this recipe is good but it will not compare to super awesome BBQ or smoked pork is all I am saying.  But, when you serve it, people will ask for the recipe!


2lb boneless pork roast (almost any cut will do)
7-oz can of Herdez Verde Salsa
1t ground cumin
2T white vinegar
1t kosher (or sea) salt
1/2t pepper
1/2c water

Pour everything into your crock pot, seriously with no rhyme or reason just toss it in.  I’m not a measurer with this recipe I just eyeball it, so don’t fret if your measurements are off.  Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for longer.  When  done just use a fork and shred it.  You can use it for pulled pork sandwiches or we like it in burritos.  Add some beans, salsa, avocado, cheese and sour cream-delish!

Cinco de Mayo

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Coke-a-Cola Sheet Cake

Coca Cola cake (recipe from the local newspaper)

1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
1 small box of instant chocolate pudding (3-4oz)
4 eggs
1/2c canola oil
10 oz Coke (not diet)
Directions: Slowly mix ingredients in order.  Beat all ingredients on med. high for a min or 2 before pouring into a greased 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-35min.
Cool for 10min then invert onto cookie sheet.  When completely cool, slice horizontally into two equal layers.  Spread frosting between layers and then cover entire cake.

1/2c (1 stick) of softened butter
16oz of powdered sugar
2 T cocoa powder
1 1/2t vanilla
2oz Coke
1/2t salt (I would reduce to 1/4, and I recommend sea salt)

Beat butter on low slowly adding all of the powdered sugar, then add remaining ingredients.  Mix until smooth enough to frost.

Peeps Cake

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

peeps cake

Coconut Layer cake with 7-minute frosting and Peeps.  It didn’t fetch all that much at last nights auction, but my girlfriend and I bought it back for a little over $20.  After the auction we went home together and let the kids feast on the marshmallow-y goodness.  It was really good and the cake was very moist.  Here is my recipe if you are interested.

Coconut Cake
2c all purpose flour
2t baking powder
1/2c butter
1c sugar
3 eggs
3/4c coconut milk
1t vanilla
1/4c sweetened flaked coconut

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating for a FULL minute before adding the next egg.  Add flour and coconut milk to batter alternatively a small amount at a time.  Add vanilla and beat on med-high for 2-3 minutes, slowly adding coconut.

Bake at 350 for 50 min in two 8″ (or 9″) round pans- that have been greased and floured.

bunny goodness

For frosting I used this recipe for Seven-Minute frosting, it is more than enough for the tops and sides of both layers.  To form the peaks on top of the cake I used a chopstick.  I swirled it in the frosting and then quickly pulled it straight up- forming the peak.  Place Peeps on the side of the cake, and you’re done!