Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mini Mousse Cakes

These are SOOO simple and look ADORABLE and taste YUMMO!!!

I have a mini muffin pan, so I thought what better than to make a bunch of these mini mousse cakes for the neighbors for Christmas?

1 chocolate cake mix
Eggs, oil, water - according to mix
1 box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 C cold milk
sprinkles, optional

Mix cake batter according to package directions. Fill lined mini muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake 7-10 minutes at 350 or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely. Mix pudding mix with 1 1/2 C milk. (This is less milk than the pudding normally calls for, which is what you want, as you want more of a thick mousse.) Let stand 5 minutes in the refrigerator. Place a dollop of the chocolate mousse on each mini cupcake and top with holiday sprinkles if desired. Chill until ready to eat!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cheesy Tuna Bake

I know you don't usually think of tuna as "comfort food", but this casserole is awesome, and the tuna isn't overpowering. Way simple too! My kids love this... but I don't tell my boys there is any tuna in it, tee hee!

1/2 lb uncooked pasta
1 can tuna, drained
1 C chopped broccoli, fresh or thawed & drained
minced onion, optional
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C sour cream*
1/4 C milk
2 C shredded cheese, divided

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cook pasta in pot over stove; drain and pour into 2 qt casserole dish. Add tuna, broccoli and onion (if desired). Toss well. Fold in soup, sour cream and milk, one at a time. Add in HALF the cheese. Stir well and spread evenly in pan. Bake about 25 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

*you may also omit sour cream and increase milk to 1/2 C.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pineapple Trifle

This is sooo easy, for real! I like this because it is light-tasting and refreshing!

1 20 oz can crushed pinapple
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 angel food cake, baked and cut into bite sized chunks
1 tub Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 Graham Cracker Crumbs, optional

In small mixing bowl drain pineapple juices from can. Add pudding mix whisk till lumps are gone (or most of them, anyway). Refrigerate 5 minutes and then fold in crushed pineapple. In clear bowl of trifle dish start with layer of cake pieces, followed by layer of pineapple pudding, and then Cool Whip. Repeat until cake is gone. Top with additional whip cream, and sprinkle on some graham cracker crumbs, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

I almost forgot to get a picture until it was on my plate at the work potluck party! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Beef Stew

2 tbsp oil (I prefer olive or canola)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 lbs beef chunks
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
4-5 medium red potatoes
4 tsp soup base
4 C hot water
2 C Cold Water
2 packets brown gravy mix
salt and pepper to taste

In large stock pot saute onions in oil over Med-Hi heat. Add meat chunks and Worcestershire. Stir-fry meat with the onions until the meat is browned and onion is tender. Add remaining veggies and continue to stir-fry. In separate small bowl mix soup base (or bullion cubes) with hot water. Slowly add to pot. In small bowl whisk together 2 C cold water with both gravy packets. Slowly pour into pot; stir. Bring to boil and then turn heat to low. Let simmer till meat is tender 2-3 hours (depending on thickness of meat).

*I used left over sirloin from dinner the night before. Since it was already cooked, I simply cut it up and added it to the stir-fry AFTER adding all of my veggies.

TIPS: I usually make this the night before and only let it simmer about an hour and stick it in the fridge. Then, the next morning, before going to work, I toss it in the crock pot, adding a little more water or broth is necessary, and cook on LOW all day. It also goes from freezer to crock pot well, but you will definitely want to add a little more water or broth for that. My kids LOVE eating this with Ritz Crackers or Hot out-of-the-oven corn bread.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Taco Chili

A bunch of the ladies in the hood assembled some chili gift jars a few weeks ago. I decided to make one for myself, and altered the recipe just slightly. It was soooo good! This is a fairly mild chili and my kids enjoyed it, even the one that "doesn't like chili" loved this.

2 - 2 1/2 C chili beans*
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, if desired
1 packet taco seasonings
1 small can tomato sauce
1 - 14 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 - 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, with juices
4 - 4 1/2 C Water
1 1/2 C crushed tortilla chips
shredded taco cheese (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
tortilla chips or crackers

Place beans in large stock pot and cover with water. Bring water to boil and let boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with lid. Let stand one hour. Drain water. Rinse beans and return to pot. In separate skillet, brown ground beef with onion, then drain fat. Add meat to beans in pot. Sprinkle entire packet of taco seasonings over meat and beans. Then add tomato sauce and both cans of diced tomatoes in juices. Stir to mix well. Add 4 1/2 C water and place pot on stove over HIGH heat. Bring to boil and let boil for two minutes. Turn heat down to low, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender. Add crushed tortilla chips and cook over med-high heat to thicken. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and more tortillas or crackers if desired.

*I like to use 1/2 C kidney beans, 1/2 C white chili beans, 1/2 C pinto beans and 1/2 C black beans.

For hotter chili, add 1 or 2 hot peppers to mixture before simmering.