Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Slow Cooker Monday

Slow-cooker Salsa Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa
1 package reduced sodium taco seasonings
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Add chicken to slow cooker, sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken, pour salsa and soup over chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Serve with rice.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Recipes of the Non-Edible Kind


Air Freshener:

Dampen cotton balls with oil of winterfreen and place out of sight, but where air will touch them.

Disinfectant/Mildew Remover:

Dilute 3/4 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gallon water.  Apply to tile and grout and scrub; wipe shower stall and curtain; rinse thoroughly.


to clean stainless steel, chrome, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain or enamel fixtures, dissolve 2 tbsp. baking soda in 1 quart water.


For vinyl floors, damp mop with a solution of 2 tbsp. white vinegar to 1 quart water.  For wood floors with a Swedish or polyurethane finish, use 2 tbsp. white vinegar per gallon of water.

Furniture Oil:

1 cup olive oil
1 tsp. lemon essential oil

Mix well.  Apply with a soft rag.  Wipe & buff well to a gleaming shine.

Kitchen Cleaner:

Just use baking soda on non-scratch surfaces and a vinegar & water mixture on other surfaces.

Rust Stain & Hard Water Deposit Remover:

Apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice & let stand until spot disappears, then rinse.  Repeat if necessary.

Soap Scum:

Apply baking soda dry, or as a thick paste.  Rub vigorously with a wet sponge, then rinse.

Window Cleaner:

Put 3 tbsp. vinegar per 1 quart of water in a spray bottle.

Shoe Polish:

Use a little olive oil.

Spotless Dishwasher Rinse:

1 cup white vinegar

Add the vinegar to the rinse compartment of your automatic dishwasher.  Be careful not to overfill.  Wash dishes as usual.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

April Fool's Day Surprise

I've never been a big prankster.  In my dreams I am - in real life not so much.  What I would give to pull off a great prank on the whole family!  The faces, the laughter, the shock...probably not going to happen.  That's what happens when you've got a curious 3 year old in your face all day and two 1 year olds climbing your pants.  I barely get bathroom time. (thank goodness for locked doors!)

My mom did pull of a great joke one year, giving me mashed potatoes and gravy disguised as vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.  It worked really well.  Either she's a great cook (which she is) or I am more gullible than I'd like to admit...she's a great cook, we'll leave it at that!

That said I think I'm actually going to try to pull something off this year.  I really am.  I found a plethera ("do you think I have a plethera?") of ideas here at Family Fun.  They always have good ideas.

Try one of the ideas on your family and let me know how it goes...I'll report back later. 

Oh, and for the more adventurous of you, my dear readers...here's one that is sure to shock people.  Take some ice cubes, dip them in chocolate, just like you would if you were making chocolates.  The chocolate will immediately harden around the frozen ice, a water-tight seal for the water.   Allow the chocolates to sit until the ice cubes have had a chance to melt, then serve.  

Trust me on this one, I know it works as a great joke... :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Meatless Monday

I've mentioned Sparkpeople.com in my last posting.  I think I'm a little addicted.  It's got some amazing articles and blog postings on there.  Seriously.  Try this one for today's meatless Monday idea.

Tofu is a great way to cook meat-free.  I've used it in the past as a substitute for chicken and it worked great.  I've made tofu parmesan and teriyaki tofu, and the family had no idea it wasn't the regular chicken recipe. 

The Sparkpeople article gives a lot of ideas on how to integrate tofu into your diet without feeling like you're giving up meat or sacrificing taste (or texture).  It describes the difference between soft and firm tofu, and gives recipes for both types.

The article states you're either a tofu lover or hater...which are you?


1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
10 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
4 tsp. dried oregano, divided
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 (12 oz) package, firm tofu
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 4 tbsp. parmesan cheese, 2 tsp. oregano, salt and black pepper. 

2. Slice tofu into 1/4" slices and place in bowl of cold water.  Individually press tofu slices into crumb mixture, coating all sides. 

3. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook tofu slices until crisp on one side.  Drizzle with more oil, turn and brown on other side.

4. Combine tomato sauce, garlic, basil and remaining oregano.  Place a thin layer of sauce in a 9x13-in. baking pan.  Spoon remaining sauce over tofu.  Top with shredded mozzarella and remaining 6 tbsp. parmesan cheese. 

5. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.  Makes 8 servings. 


1 tbsp. canola oil
1 (12 oz) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 tbsp. seasoned salt
1 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10 oz) can coconut milk
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tofu cubes, season with seasoned salt and fry until golden on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.  Remove to paper towers and set aside.

Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until tender.  Stir in coconut milk, curry powder, salt, pepper and cilantro.  Return the tofu to the skillet and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Slow Cooker Saturday

So sorry for the lack of postings this week.  We've had company and I've been extra busy with a birthday.  Yay for kids and for Mother-in-laws that purchase the cake.  I'll be making his cake for the birthday party, but for the family dinner I was all for the store-bought ice cream cake....mmmmm.

For today's slow cooker recipes I'm heading to sparkpeople.com's recipe file.  SparkPeople is a great, free website that allows you to track your food intake, your exercise and fitness goals.  It's a great forum for weight loss and general health improvement.  They have a recipe file of user-submitted recipes.  I haven't made either of these recipes, but they look good, and I'm planning on making them this week.  I'll try to remember to post pictures when I've got them done!

Also, I've got company coming on Monday, and I've got to get a menu that's perfect....I don't want to disappoint.  I'll keep you updated on what I come up with.


4 cups apples, chopped
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Chop apples into 1 inch pieces, removing the core.  Cut off peel and slice into small pieces.  Place apples in crockpot.  Add lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar.  Stir to coat apples.  Turn crockpot to low and cook overnight.  Can be cooked on high for 4 hours or overnight on low for at least 8 hours.
Makes about 8, 1/2 cup servings. 

**I think I will reduce the sugar a little, and I'm planning on using Fuji or Gala apples, my kids like unsweetened applesauce***


1 pack angel hair pasta
half of a large block of Velveeta cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups of chicken broth
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups of cooked chopped chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients in large crockpot and cook on high for about an hour.  Mixture will melt together and when liquid is almost gone it should be done.  Stir as needed.

**I think this looks good, it should be a thick pasta dish.**

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Patrick's Dinner

St. Patty's Day has come and gone and we managed to get everyone dressed in green yesterday so no one got attacked by the pinch-eager children.  We also managed to have our traditional "Green Eggs and Ham" dinner.  I also requested the kids come up with anything else green that they wanted...zucchini and green jello (I mean, hello, we're from Utah).

I bought some great Black Forest ham, cut in nice, thick slices.  I popped it in my crockpot on low for the afternoon and it was perfect by dinner.  

The ham accompanied the nice, green deviled eggs.  I don't use a recipe for these, but the kids love them with Miracle Whip and dill pickle relish.  I just add a few drops of food coloring for the green effect.

The zucchini was sauted with a little butter and Lawry's Season Salt.  I cook it until it just starts to become opaque, still crispy.

The jello was a great ending to the meal. The kids love it with "stuff" in it, so I just added fruit cocktail when I put it in the fridge.

We had limeade to wash it all down.  I didn't get a picture of it, sorry!  It was so good we drank it all before I thought about it, but if it helps we're having Strawberry Limeade tonight... maybe I'll take a picture of that, or not!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Slow Cooker Sunday


2 lbs. chicken tenders
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda
2-3 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. black pepper

Place chicken in crock.  Mix together all remaining ingredients and pour over chicken pieces.  Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.  Serve over rice.


St. Patty's Day is Tuesday, Yay!  We have made a tradition of skipping the Corned Beef Hash and going straight for either an all green meal or Green Eggs and Ham.  Pictures to come...

Also upcoming, I'm thinking (seriously) about introducing either guest contributors, or a second full-time contributor to make this blog more diverse.  We'll see who's up for the task! :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Report Card: Sweet Pork Burritos...A+

The sweet pork recipe definitely deserved an A+ grade.  It was so good and so easy.  In fact, we loved it so much I prepared a second batch and took it to Shane's office to share for lunch.   Coupled with cilantro-lime rice and black beans in flour tortillas, it was awesome!  I prepared some pico de gallo, guacamole and some cilantro-ranch dressing (not pictured) to accompany the burritos.  We finished off the meal with tres leches cake topped with Danish Dessert, mmmmmmm.

Prior to preparing the pork I did a little comparing of similar recipes and decided to prepare it without the taco and fajita seasonings.  I am glad that I did.  I am not a huge fan of chili seasoning and both taco and fajita seasonings have it in them.  I decided to use Dr. Pepper for the cola in the recipe.  It worked out wonderfully!


1 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter
2 cloves, garlic (minced)
1 tsp. lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro

In a medium saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  While rice is cooking, combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  When rice is done, remove from heat and pour mixture over rice while fluffing.


1 package Ranch dressing mix
3 tomatillos, chopped
1 cup mayonaise
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cilantro, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. green Tabasco sauce
juice from 1 lime

Blend all ingredients together.


I prefer to cook my own beans, rather than using canned or bottled.  However, if you prefer to use canned it works just as well.  When I cook my own, I season them with garlic powder and onion salt.  Just season to taste with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper.  I added 1/2 chopped cilantro to 3 cups of cooked black beans. 


6 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 Anaheim peppers, chopped
3 Jalapeno peppers, chopped (I removed the seeds, we wanted a milder salsa)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
garlic salt to taste
salt and pepper to taste

I used Roma tomatoes because they tend to be less juicy than other types of tomatoes.  I wanted a less juicy pico de gallo than I typically make for my fresh salsa.  After dicing the tomatoes I drained the juice off of them before adding them to the bowl, then I added the rest of the ingredients.  The pico is almost better after sitting for awhile to allow the flavors to all blend together.  Remember to keep it in the fridge for freshness!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Slow Cooker Saturday

Because I've never been one to put off tomorrow what can be done today...and because my kitchen is a little out of commission right now, I'm doing Slow Cooker Saturday rather than Sunday.

Because I can.  That's the only way I can guarantee it'll get done.  Smart, eh?

I think I've mentioned my affinity for breakfast food before.  If not, let me mention now that I LOVE BREAKFAST FOOD.   I do.  A LOT.  It's kind of weird because I love cold cereal too.  I think I'd rather eat cold cereal for breakfast and then eat the really good breakfast food for dinner. 

Is that weird? Hmmm.

So here is a great breakfast recipe that you pop in the crock at night, go to bed and wake up to a great, hot breakfast.


1 (32-oz) bag, frozen hashbrown potatoes
1 lb. bacon, cut into pieces, cooked
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3/4 lb. cheddar cheese, diced
1 dozen eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Layer the hashbrowns, bacon, onion, green pepper, and cheese in crock pot.  Beat eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper together.  Pour over mixture and cook on low for 10 hours.  Serves 8.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Easy Spring Dessert

I'm trying to prove that I'm not an idiot and I really can do a post that's not in all CAPS.  I swear my blog was on strike about the Quinoa post, it must not be a vegetarian, because my last two posts could not be edited out of being in CAPS.  Even Shane, the computer expert, looked at them and shook his head...actually, he shook his head at me and indicated it was user error, but we won't go there...his official diagnosis?  Redo the posts.  I refuse.  If my blog is going to be uppity about vegetarian postings, I'm going to make it look bad by refusing to redo the abominable postings.  Sorry.

Anway, here's to hoping this posting looks normal once I push the publish post button.  If it ends up in CAPS I'm giving up and you won't have another posting from me until my computer apologizes, I swear!

Anyway, in order to celebrate the great weather here in Desolate West Texas, and to celebrate the near arrival of Spring to other areas of the country, I'm posting an easy, easy no-bake cheesecake dessert.  YAY!! (No, that was just me being excited, the post is still cooperating)


1 (9-in) graham cracker crust
1 (8-oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (18-oz) can cherry pie filling

In large bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Gradually mix in sweetened condensed milk, until smooth.  Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.  Pour into premade crust.  Chill in fridge for approximately 3 hours, or until set.  Top with cherry pie filling when serving.  Serve cold.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cookin' with Kids

What are your kids favorite foods? Hamburgers? Macaroni 'n cheese? Pizza?

I think if my kids got to pick an evening meal/activity it would be pizza and a movie any night! They love to 'camp out' on our family room floor with some good pizza and a family-friendly movie. We usually order out for the pizza, but here's a fun recipe to try. The greatest thing about pizza is the kids can put whatever they like on it, seriously, ANYTHING!


1/4 pound sliced pepperoni sausage
1 can spaghetti sauce (you may not use all of it)
2 (12 oz) packages refrigerator biscuit dough
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10 oz) can sliced black olives
1 (4.5 oz) can sliced mushrooms
1 can pineapple tidbits
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cups shredded cheese (mix it up with mozzarella, cheddar, pepper jack...)

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a 9x13" baking dish.

2. Cut biscuits into quarters and place in the bottom of the baking dish. Spread sauce evenly over the biscuits. Spread pepperoni over sauce and then sprinkle your favorite toppings over the top.

3. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle top with cheese. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Let stand several minutes before serving.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Slow Cooker Sunday - Upcoming on my menu!

Look what's on our menu this week...Pork burritos! We're craving a little sweet pork wrapped in tortilla goodness. I was given this recipe by a friend, it looks great. We'll let you know!


3 lbs. pork shoulder roast
2 cups salsa
1 (12 oz) can cola flavored soda
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 packet fajita seasoning
2 tbsp. taco seasoning mix
1 (7 oz) can chopped green chilis

Place pork roast in the crock of a slow cooker, add 4 cups water. Cook on High for 5 hours.

Remove pork from the slow cooker and drain liquid. Cut the pork into 4 pieces, and set aside. Puree salsa in blender. Combine the pureed salsa, cola, brown sugar, fajita seasoning, taco seasoning, and green chilis in teh crock of the slow cooker. Add the pork and cook on high for an additional 3 hours.

Remove the pork and shred. Serve wrapped in warm corn tortillas with black or refried beans, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes.