Saturday, December 27, 2008

Amish Haystacks

feeds 12-14 people

4 C steamed rice
2 sleeves saltines, crushed
1 bag Doritos, crushed
1 head lettuce, chopped
3 lbs ground beef
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 cans condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 soup can milk
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 small cans sliced black olives, drained
2 medium onions, chopped

Cook rice, place in warming dish. Crush crackers and chips and place in separate serving bowls. Tear lettuce and place in big serving bowl. For meat, brown meat in large skillet. Add spaghetti sauce and heat thru. Place meat in warming dish. Cook cheese soup and milk in pan over medium heat. (Or can place in crockpot a few hours ahead of time.) Keep warm in crockpot. Dice remaining veggies and place in serving bowls.
Set ingredients out on serving table in order listed. Let guests serve themselves buffet style, layering all ingredients (omitting the stuff they don't care for). Enjoy!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cream Cheese Choclate Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
eggs, oil & water according to mix directions
1 egg
1/3 C sugar
1 - 8oz pkg cream cheese softened
1 C milk chocolate chips
Chocolate Frosting - click here for recipe

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into prepared 9x13 pan; set aside. In small mixing bowl beat egg with sugar. Add cream cheese and beat till smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread over chocolate cake mix; swirl with knife. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 min, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cake cool slightly. Microwave chocolate frosting about 10 seconds. Stir well. Pour warmed frosting over warm cake. Spread frosting slowly over cake. Let cool before cutting.

Very moist! Very good!!!

Chocolate Frosting

1 Stick Butter (1/2 C)
2 C powdered sugar
4 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Whip butter till smooth and creamy. Add sugar a little at a time. Add cocoa, milk and vanilla. Beat till creamy. Frost on cooled cake. Can refrigerate for later use. Let sit at room temperature before frosting.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Apple Cream Pie (No-Bake)

This is a favorite No-Bake pie of mine and my kids. The combination of the cream cheese with apples gives this pie a light refreshing flavor! It is so simple anyone can do it, promise!

1 graham cracker pie crust
4-5 medium apples
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice (I just squeezed the juice from half of a good sized lemon)
1/4 C Butter (1/2 stick)
1 - 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 C milk
1 pkg (3.5 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
1/4 C raspberry or strawberry preserves

Core, peel and slice apples into thin slices; set aside. In skillet melt margarine with sugar and lemon juice over MED heat; stir often to dissolve sugar. Place slices in pan, and stir often. Cook apples till tender, about 10-15 min. Let cool. In mixing bowl beat cream cheese till fluffy. Gradually add milk 1/2 C at a time and continue beating till smooth. Try to get as many lumps out as possible. Add in pudding mix and beat well. Pour cream mixture into pie crust. Then starting on the outside edge of the pie, arrange apple slices. I like to overlap the apples, making a pretty pinwheel design as you get closer to the center. Melt the preserves in the microwave and brush entire top of pie. Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Note: The original recipe called for apricot preserves, which will work just fine. We prefer the flavor or the berry, plus it is so much prettier for the holidays. Oh, and if you don't have a graham cracker pie crust, you can use a pre-baked regular pie shell too.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tater Tot Casserole

This is a Favorite Dish around our house. One that my boys ask for frequently.

1 lb ground beef

seasonings (salt, pepper, onion powder, minced garlic, etc.)

2 C shredded cheese (cheddar, Colby jack, etc)

frozen tater tots (small bag)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/4 C milk

8 oz sour cream

salt and pepper, to taste

3 C corn flakes

1/4 C butter, melted

Brown ground beef and add salt, pepper, chopped onions, minced garlic or other desired seasonings. Drain fat and spread meat on bottom of 9x13 pan. Sprinkle cheese over warm meat. Make a bed of tater tots on top of cheese. In small mixing bowl combine soup, milk and sour cream. Pour sauce over tater tots. Add salt and pepper to taste (or I use seasoned salt). Place corn flakes in Ziploc freezer bag and crush with rolling pin. Pour melted butter in bag and reseal. Work bag to mix melted butter with flakes. Sprinkle flakes on top of casserole. Bake @ 350 for about 45 minutes.

Very Creamy. Very Good!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sticky Halloween Crunch

Yesterday I remembered that tonight is our neighborhood recipe group. This month the theme is "Fall Favorites". I was like - "Crap! (yes - it's one of my fav words) What do I have on hand that I can whip up???" Viola! My "Sticky Halloween Crunch".'s Verrrrrry Sticky!!! You may need to wash it down with some Ghoul-Aid......hahaha! (ok - bad joke)

1 box Corn Chex cereal
1 Box Corn Pops cereal
2 bags candy corn
1 C coconut
1 C nuts (optional)
2 C Sugar
2 C Karo light corn syrup
3 Tbsp Butter

In large stock pot or paper grocery sack, combine cereal, candy, coconut and nuts; set aside. In saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and butter. Bring to boil, turn heat down to med-low and continue to boil 5 minutes stirring frequently. Pour over cereal mixture and toss well (if using paper sack, roll shut and shake vigorously). Spread on waxed paper to cool. Break apart into pieces. Store in airtight container.

*can also substitutes M&Ms or raisins for the candy corn or coconut or nuts.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chili Verde Nachos

So, this was another one of those "Crap! What do I have on hand that I can turn into dinner?" moments. I decided that Nachos were acceptable for dinner if they had meat in them. So, this is what I came up with:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 C (more or less) Chili Verde salsa
2 cans condensed cheddar cheese soup
refried beans
sour cream
tortilla chips (we made our own by frying quartered corn tortillas)

Brown chicken in skillet. Add salsa and mix well. Add both cans of condensed cheese soup. Mix well and heat through. Turn heat to low. Cover and simmer until ready to eat. Fill plate with nachos. Top with Chili Verde Nacho sauce, Refried beans, sour cream, and anything else you might have, i.e., salsa, onions, black olives, etc. Ole!

*The only complaint that we had at our house was that I couldn't keep the chip basket filled; the kids were eating them as fast as I was making them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Succulent Short Ribs

I LOVE this recipe - and my middle child requests this ALL the time! Again it's one I received from someone in the neighborhood, but simplified and tweaked it to fit my kids' tastes. I like to buy the boneless short ribs with the fat already trimmed. The only place I seem to find that around here is Costco. The Emeril's seasonings are also hard to find sometimes but Wal-Mart Super Center carries it.

3-5 lbs Short ribs
Emerils "Original Essence" seasonings
2 cans Beef Consomme

Use seasoning as a Rub and rub onto all sides of meat. In frying pan brown all side of meat in a little oil. (I like to use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and I like to use my Pampered Chef Grill pan for this.) Places meat in crock pot. Cover with consomme. Cook on HIGH about 3-4 hrs or on LOW 6-8 hrs. Very tender. Very Moist. Verrrrry Good.

*If you like onions, then you may consider sauteing some while browning the meat and then adding them to the crock pot as well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Perfect for a summer day (or for a Fall day, in which you are still trying to hang on to summer!)

1 lemon cake mix
eggs, according to pkg directions
oil, according to pkg directions
water, according to pkg directions
1 small box Strawberry Jell-O
1 container Cool Whip, thawed

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into 9x13 pan. Bake according to pkg directions. Let cake cool at least 30 minutes. With long skewer, or handle of wooden spoon, poke random holes into cake. Make Jell-O according to package directions. Pour Jell-O over cooled caked. Refrigerate cake over night or at least 6 hours. Top with Cool Whip. Garnish with Fresh Strawberries, if you happen to have any on hand. Oh and you can also a few drops of lemon flavoring to the Cool Whip first.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Skillet Enchiladas

I originally got this recipe from RedHead in my neighborhood. However, I have since simplified and tweaked it a little to fit my family's taste. Give it a try...see what you think.

1 lb ground beef
1 can green Chile enchilada sauce (we use mild, which is spicy enough for the kids)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
10 white corn tortillas
2 1/2 -3 C shredded cheese (Colby Jack, Cheddar, etc.)
Sour Cream, optional

In large skillet, brown ground beef. Stir in enchilada sauce and both cans of condensed soup. Mix well. Turn heat down to low and let simmer. In microwave heat tortillas about 2 minutes. Place handful of cheese in each tortilla, roll up and place in skillet, spooning sauce over tops. Cover and let simmer another 5-10 minutes, until cheese inside is melted. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saucy Chicken Roll Ups

Whenever one of the local grocers has their big 10 for $10 sales that includes things like Cream Cheese and refrigerated Crescent Rolls, I love to stock up. I make ALL KINDS of main dishes and desserts with these handy items. Here is one my kids LOVE.

1 (1/2 C) stick butter, divided
1- 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp minced onions
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 box stovetop stuffing
2 cans cream of chicken
1/2 C chicken broth or water

Grease jelly roll pan. Melt 1/4 C butter. Add in cream cheese and mix on high until well blended. Add in garlic powder, onions, and chicken; mix well. Set Aside. Melt remaining butter in microwave bowl. Pour stuffing mix in second pan or bowl. Unroll crescent rolls. Press two crescent "triangles" together to make rectangle. On each rectangle, place spoonful of cream cheese mixture. Roll up, and tuck ends under. Roll in butter and then generously coat all sides in stuffing mix. Place on jelly roll pan. Bake @ 350 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Mix 2 cans soup, thinned with water or broth. Heat in microwave 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Pour over roll-ups. Serve warm. Yum!

*This is one of those recipes that you can substitute what you don't have with what you do. For example, if I don't have minced onion, I use onion powder. I have also used half regular cream cheese and half chives & onion flavored cream cheese, and omitted the spices. I have also used canned chicken (drained) and it taste just fine. Instead of 2 cans of cream of chicken, the sauce is also good with 1 can being the cream of chicken and the other 1 can being either cream of celery or cream of mushroom. Give it a go and see if your family enjoys it as much as we do!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ranch Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Mix

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, set aside. Melt butter in frying pan, add chicken. Add desired amount salt and pepper. Once chicken bites are cooked, add entire packet of dressing mix. Toss well in pan to coat evenly. Turn heat to low and let simmer a few minutes more.

I ate mine with buttered mashed potatoes. But this would also be good with noodles (tossed in a little EVOO) or served over steamed rice. Quick and easy...MMMMMMM.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ding-Dong Dessert

ok - my kids HATE that I call this "Ding-Dong Dessert" - but whatcha gonna do??? It is what it is.

This was the recipe I entered last month in our recipe swap. It is SOOOOO simple. AND if you don't happen to have any half & half on hand, that is fine. Just use Milk, reducing it to 1 1/2 C instead of the 2 C the side of the box calls for.

1 Box Ding-Dongs (or ho-hos, or swiss cake rolls)
1 Large container Cool Whip, divided
Hershey’s Chocolate syrup
1 Box Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
1 C Half-and-Half
1 C milk
1 Hershey’s chocolate bar (optional)

Chop snack cakes into bite-size pieces, set aside. Mix HALF of the Cool Whip with some Chocolate Syrup (to desired taste), chill until ready to assemble. Whisk pudding mix into 1 C half & half and 1 C milk. Let refrigerate 5 min or until set. Layer in trifle bowl in following order: Cake bites, pudding, Cool Whip. Repeat. Top with remaining Cool Whip and garnish with chocolate bar shavings.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Peach-Berry Salad

1 lg can peaches
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries, more or less

Drain peach juice into small mixing bowl; set aside. Place peaches in salad bowl for later. Add pudding mix to peach juice, whisking gently to stir. Refrigerate 10 minutes, or until pudding is set. Pour pudding over peaches and mix well. Fold blueberries into peaches. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yum! Also try with slices strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Quick, easy & cheap! For "fluffier" salad, you can also fold in 1/2 container Cool Whip. When we do this at our house, it's called "Peach-Berry Fluff" and it's more like a refreshing dessert.

Russian Chicken

Ok - so this one is courtesy of BIG-D (see HERE for Full Story ).

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 bottle Russian Dressing (salad dressing)

Spray bottom of 9x13 pan lightly with cooking spray. Lay chicken in pan. Pour entire bottle of dressing over top. Bake @ 350 30-40 minutes, or until chicken tests done.

Yum! Easy! Obviously created by a bachelor!!! hahahahaha!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dang Quesadillas!

Tonight is EASY mexi-night at our house, which means...Quesadillas! (Grandma to Napoleon Dynamite: "Fix yourself a dang quesadilla!")

Easy Bean Quesadillas

Flour tortillas
1 can refried beans
1 container sour cream (8 oz should be plenty)
2 C shredded cheese

Spread refried beans on one-half of the tortilla and sour cream on the other. Cover entire thing with cheese. Fold over and heat in non-stick skillet, lightly browning both sides till cheese is melted.

Also - you can line a baking sheet with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray, and "bake" the quesadillas @ 350 for about 8-10 min, until cheese is melted.

Serve with additional sour cream and salsa, if desired.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fried Rice

This is one of those "toss in what you have" sort of recipes.

I got rice. I got soy sauce. I got eggs. These are the three basic, necessary ingredients to ANY type of fried rice.

If you don't have fresh garlic or onion, minced or powdered form will also work. Also, for the meat, I just look and see what "leftovers" I have on hand. Is it Costco's Rotisserie Chicken? Or maybe there is only one chicken breast left in the bag in the freezer - well, it's going in. I love to throw a little cooked shrimp in too, if I happen to have any. When all else has failed, I have even used bacon or sliced deli meats/lunch meats in my fried rice. The kids always love it. Here goes. As far as the amounts go - you basically add as little or as much as you have or want. Seriously. This is sooo fool-proof.

2 tbsp oil or butter
minced garlic
chopped onion
2 eggs, scrambled
chopped meat
2 C steamed rice
soy sauce, to taste
salt & pepper to taste

Optional veggies include: broccoli, carrots, peppers, baby corn, peas, etc.

Heat about 2 Tbsp oil in large frying pan. Cook onion and garlic. Add eggs and scramble. Add chopped meat and stir-fry until meat is cooked. Add rice and and desired veggies, continuing to stir-fry. Add soy sauce to taste. (Seriously, I add a little and taste, and add more and taste, etc.) Add salt and pepper if desired. YUMMY AND EASY!!! Go ahead, break out the chopsticks tonight.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tostadas & Lemon Cream Cake

I did not have a plan today. And I did not prepare yesterday by going to the store. I had no idea what we would be eating after church. I figured if all else failed, it would be eggs & toast...y'know...breakfast for dinner. Alas, after a quick scour of my fridge & pantry, I decided to make Sunday Dinner with the following ingredients. Oh - and by the way - dinner was ready in under an hour.


4 corn tortilla shells
Cooking Oil
1 lb boneless chicken
4 slices provolone cheese
1/4 C butter
1 packet taco seasonings
2/3 C water
1 can cream of chicken soup

Heat oil in small frying pan. One at a time, place tortilla shells in oil, frying on both sides until crisp. Set aside on paper towel to drain. In large frying pan, melt butter. Cut up chicken, add to pan and brown. Once chicken is browned, add taco seasonings and water; mix well. Tear up slices of cheese and add to chicken, stirring to melt. Once cheese is melted, add can of soup, stirring until heated through. Place as much chicken mixture as desired atop each crisp tortilla.

Now - if I HAD planned ahead, this would also be good with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, sour cream and guacamole all layered on the top. Oh, and If I had refried beans on hand, I would have spread the tostada with the beans BEFORE topping with the remaining ingredients. As it was, the kids loved it and would definitely eat it again.


2 C mini marshmallows
1 lemon cake mix
cooking oil, eggs, water according to package
1 can lemon cream pie filling

Lightly spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Evenly spread mini marshmallows on bottom of pan; set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour over marshmallows. Spoon lemon pie filling over top of cake batter. Bake according to package directions. Cake is done when inserted toothpick comes out clean.

The cool thing about this cake is the marshmallows rise to the top and form a caramelized top coating. The pie filling will sink to the bottom and cook like a cream sauce. This sweet and tangy combination eliminated the need for frosting. My kids are not big cake-eaters unless it is chocolate, but this cake they love!