Friday, September 30, 2011

Slow Cooked Stroganoff

For the last 2 months, I've been busier than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Now that the books have closed for 2011, I have considerably more time to get things done. Or do I?

By my calculations I'll be available to relax in late February of 2012. This weekend is our kickoff to fall. You know how much soccer season means to us....we have 3 games....two the next day. As if that weren't enough, I have another 2011 Wedding that I am fortunate and excited to photograph.....I'm not just excited about the open bar, either. My crock needs to work a double shift this weekend just to keep up with my schedule. I'm pretty sure I need to ask for a back up crock for Christmas this year in the case that mine decides she's had enough of me. Gear up for some fall crock recipes and Pumpkin month begins tomorrow. Happy October Eve!!

I've heard this is the *best ever* recipe for Crock Beef Stroganoff. You can decide for yourself.

2 cans Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup
1 large onion diced
2-3-4 tabls of Worcestershire (a staple in my house)
1/2 water
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp of Hot Paprika
2 pounds cubed stew meat
8 oz of cream cheese

In the slow cooker stir all of the ingredients together, except the meat AND the Cream Cheese. Once combined add the meat and mix together.

Cook on Low for 8 hours.

Cut up the cream cheese into cubes just before serving and turn crockpot on high. Stir the cream cheese in until all combined. You might have to put the lid back on and leave for 10 minutes.

Serve over egg noodles or hot cooked rice.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lentil Soup and Painted Skies

We have been the gracious recipients of these incredible rainshowers lately! Downpour, flooding-the-road kind of rainshowers that leave behind these amazing sunset skies. Even as I type, a lingering storm is roaring it's boisterous thunder and flecks of lightning are popping through the tall windows of my sunroom.

My spectacular friend Kristin Mauer took this shot of a remarkable rainbow after one of our recent rainy days. She lives close to the water and boy oh boy it's undeniably be-yoo-ti-ful!

The rhythm of the rain always paints a dance across the sky. Thank you Kristin for having that camera ready!

A bowl of Lentil Soup fills my tummy with as much joy as the promise of this rainbow fills my soul!! Enjoy!

For you vegetarians, omit the ham and it's just as good. :)

1 cup dried lentils
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
32 ounces chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes

In a slow cooker combine the lentils, celery, carrots, onion, garlic and ham.
Season with basil, thyme, oregano, the bay leaf and pepper.
Stir in the chicken broth, water and tomatoes.
Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours.
Discard the bay leaf before serving.
For a kick, add a splash of hot sauce to each serving! Delish!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Smoky Potato Soup

Our last two weekends have been filled with soggy rainy Eeyore kind of days. The kind of weather where you just want to curl up with a blanket.

Since it's almost October, I had to get a jumpstart on my decorating and I've started my Scarefest a little early this year. I've been watching all of these great spooky movies.

I bought a smallish pumpkin and did a little paintsy number on it with some acrylics. So much easier than carving and much less smelly and it's so much fun!! This might be the way to go from now on.

I also made this adorable spooky sign to frame.
If you click on it, you'll get the full size photo, so you can print your own.
You're welcome.

See how cute it is on display?

One of our fall favorites is a bowl of smoky potato soup.

4cups potatoes, washed and cut into chunks (peeled if desired)
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 cups water
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon rosemary
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup shredded hickory smoked gouda cheese
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup sour cream

Add potatoes, onion, water, butter, garlic, pepper, rosemary, liquid smoke and salt to crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Add half and half and stir. Add to individual serving bowls and top with cheeses, bacon and sour cream.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

There is a light at the end of the tunnel

And it hasn't been turned off just yet!! I've been busy working and settling back into the rhythm of the school year, the kitchen fairy has taken over, a.k.a. my slow cooker.

This week I tried out a couple of new recipes and they weren't exactly perfect, so some tweaks need to be made. We did have a very hearty beef stew one evening, that I must say was dang good and because we are in the midst of weather changes here, it was a perfect fit!!

I've also spent a fair amount of time on the ever popular site I must warn you it's highly addictive and possible that you'll enter a time warp and forget you even have children when you visit the site. AMAZING ideas and I am a huge fan. Follow me. The food ideas alone excite me to no end.

I found this recipe for beef stew. Delicious.

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped

Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.

Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homemade Crescent Rolls

You want to impress someone with a delicious bread treat? Try these flaky delicious crescent rolls!

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, salt and yeast mixture. Stir in enough flour until dough leaves the sides of bowl and is soft (do not knead). Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into a 12-in. circle; cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up wedges from the wide end and place with pointed end down on greased baking sheets. Curve ends to form crescents. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.

My favorite way to make these babies is to roll up a piece of milk or dark chocolate into the center of the roll. Then bake.

Before baking I brush on a 50/50 mixture of egg to water (egg wash), so the rolls come out a beautiful golden brown with a glossy sheen.

Then drizzle hot melted chocolate over the top and PERFECTION!! These are great for sharing. My office went gaga over these little treats this week!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I've been totally absent from the blogosphere taking some time to experiment and have fun with new recipes all while working, back-to-school, and managing the soccer team. So, apologies to any follower who might have missed out on recipes.
By the end of the Day I look like this guy!!

Now that cooler weather has arrived I intend to fire my oven back up, that is, if it will kindly take me back after blatantly ignoring it for the last 4 months.

I've got a lot of new recipes in the works to share! As well as selling the cookbook! PLEASE PURCHASE A COPY. You'll love it! I'm just sure of it!!

Since October is my pumpkin month, I've been on the hunt for new pumpkin recipes and this year will not disappoint. I've got so many that I have a feeling will spill in to November as well.

Since our forecast this weekend is cold and rainy I have a feeling chili or soup is on the menu. Which fills me to the brim with excitement!! It's going to be perfect!

Although, a hearty Slow Cooker Lasagna would also suffice!!

1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cans (15 ounces each) Italian-style tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 uncooked lasagna noodles

Cook sausage and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, basil and salt.

Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. (Refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks.)

Spoon one-fourth of the sausage mixture into 6-quart slow cooker; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with 5 noodles, remaining cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with remaining 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture.

Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender.

Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into pieces.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Real Life Soccer Mom

We started our Fall Season of U11 soccer! That means games nearly every Saturday for the next two months!!! Soccer is in our blood. We are fortunate to have an awesome soccer family and I couldn't love the girls on our team anymore than if they were my own!

Our game today was almost as exciting as flipping the coin at the Superbowl. The team really worked together and played their hearts out and ended in a huge win of 5 to 2. Way to go Hurricanes!!! Now that's the way to start a season.

It's still hot in our house, but we should have a brand new air unit by mid week, next week. I'm definitely missing the kitchen though. So, I made some Cheesy Broccoli and Chicken with Rice for a quick supper.

I start with cooked chicken. You can have this prepared any way you like, pan fried, baked, or rotisserie.

2 cups cooked chicken
1/4 stick butter
1/8 cup of flour
1 cups milk
1 cups shredded cheese
salt and pepper
Cooked broccoli (steamable microwave broccoli is great for this, fresh or frozen cooked broccoli will work too)
hot cooked rice

For the Cheese sauce:
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour to make a roux. Stir until well blended.
Add milk and stir briskly until roux is thoroughly mixed. Allow to bubble slightly until mixture starts to thicken. Add shredded cheese, stirring until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Layer rice, chicken, broccoli and top with cheese sauce for a delicious quick and easy supper.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Seriously Busy

If you were missing me, I'm so sorry for my absence. It's been one of THOSE weeks.
The air conditioner died this week, which meant I haven't been the most pleasant of people to be around. This being the week we decided to have warmer than normal temps, Dang Virginia Weather!!

Suffice to say, there hasn't been much cookin' happening in my house this week. Unless you count heating Chicken Noodle Soup in the microwave. Which I don't count by the way.

However, it's been a great week of back to school excitement in our house. The kids started their first weeks in College, 10th, 8th, 5th, and 2nd grades. Every year I show appreciation for the elementary teachers and give them a little back to school gift. Teachers work so hard and invest so much I think they deserve a little treat for the school year. So, this year is no different.

We made these very cute jars!!
Tools you need:
Scrapbook paper
Printed "Looking forward to a "sweet" year with you!" Tag
Glue Stick
Jar with locking lid (found these at Michael's Craft Store)

I found these very cute sticky notes and made a special order. Wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied with cute ribbon, and you have an adorable little teacher treat.

A simple gift can really make a memory!!

So, my organization paid off, until the air went out, so all of the crock pot meals I planned for this week will have to wait for next week. Thanks to Subway and the fresh meals at the grocery store, we still ate pretty good this week. Next week, our A/C should be up and running and I'll be able to give you some new suppers that are perfect for busy school days!

Have a great weekend!!