Chicken Taco Soup

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This is a family favorite and so easy and versatile. You can tweak the recipe to accommodate what you have on hand in the pantry. It freezes great too! Here is the base.

What you need:

4-5 cups cooked chicken

1 -16oz can black beans or kidney beans

2 -10oz cans chopped tomatoes with green chilies

2 cups frozen corn

1 1/2 T cumin

1 1/2 T coriander

2T chili powder

ground red pepper (optional to taste)

salt & pepper to taste

6 cups chicken stock

2T vegetable oil

masa or corn flour mixed with water to make a smooth paste

How To:

Pour the oil into a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the chicken and spices. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add the beans, tomatoes, corn and stock. Stir until it comes to a gentle boil. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Combine the masa or corn flour and water until it is a smooth paste. Stir into the soup stirring until the broth thickens a little. Ladle into bowls, and top with your choice of garnish. E.g. sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado or guacamole and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips for scooping!

Cherry Coffee Cake

I usually save this yummy coffee cake for the holiday season, however for some reason I didn’t make it this past Christmas. It is a perfect weekend breakfast or brunch treat. This recipe divides perfectly into 2 8×8 foil pans that can be given away as gifts! Just a thought 🙂

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What you need:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

2/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can fruit pie filling, such as cherry, apple, strawberry, peach, or blueberry

Glaze – 1/2 Cup powdered sugar, a drop of vanilla, splash of milk

How To:

  • Grease and flour a 9×13 pan; set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine flour and granulated sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup mixture for topping.
  • Stir baking powder, soda, nutmeg, and salt into remaining crumb mixture. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl combine egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to nutmeg mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Set aside 1 cup batter.
  • Spread remaining batter onto bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan or dish.
  • Carefully spread the desired pie filling on top.
  • Spoon reserved batter into small mounds on top of filling.
  • Sprinkle with topping.
  • Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 30 minutes or until slightly browned and your knife comes out clean.
  • Let cool. Mix up glaze ingredients and drizzle over cake. Enjoy!

Easy Peasy Baked Spaghetti

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So being a mom of four and having to make my food budget stretch, I love it when I can make simple, easy, cheap AND nutritious meals for my family. Winner, winner, spaghetti dinner!

Ingredients:

1 pound spaghetti thin or regular

1 pound Italian sausage or ground beef

1 jar of spaghetti sauce

4oz cream cheese softened

3-4 cups mozzarella cheese

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the noodles.

While the water boils and the noodles cook, brown the meat in a pan. Drain the fat.

When the meat is cooked add the sauce and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta just short of al dente, as it will cook a little more when you bake it.

Return the noodles to the pan and add the meat mixture and the cream cheese. Stir until well combined.

Pour into a 9×13 pan, top with mozzarella and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until the top is melty and golden. Serve with a salad or steamed veggies. Enjoy!

Ham & Egg Scramble

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I am always looking for great ways to use all of those leftover meats that hang out in the fridge after the holidays. Here is a great, quick and easy breakfast!

Ingredients:

Ham diced into small pieces

Eggs (2 per person)

Splash of half & half or milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese (optional)

How to:

In a small pan add a little butter and sauté the ham dices on medium low until slightly browned.

While ham browns whisk together the eggs, milk, salt & pepper.

When ham is browned add the egg mixture and let it set for a few seconds. Slowly fold the eggs until they reach your desired consistency. Sprinkle cheese and give one last fold.

Enjoy!

Saltine Toffee

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One of the easiest, most delicious treat recipes ever!!! Perfect for movie night treat, family get together or last minute gift!! BEWARE!! They are addicting!

37 saltines cracker squares
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Chopped nuts, sprinkles, any topping of your choice

How To!

Place crackers in a single layer in a foil-lined 15-in. x -10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.
In a large saucepan, bring butter and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved.
Spread over crackers.
Bake at 350° for 7-8 minutes or until bubbly.
Sprinkle with chips.
Bake 3-5 minutes longer or until chips begin to melt; spread chocolate evenly over top.
Sprinkle with your desired toppings
Chill for 30 minutes or until set; break into pieces.

Homemade Bagels

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I made these for the first time this week, and my kids said they were the best bagels EVER!! Got the recipe from Laura in the Kitchen  (Laura has a ton of awesome recipes by the way!) So, it looks like my relationship with Lenders and Thomas’s is over for good! Super simple, and cheap to make!

Ingredients:
2-1/4 tsp of Active Dry Yeast
1-1/2 cups of Warm Water, needs to be around 115 degrees
2 Tbsp of Granulated Sugar plus 1 teaspoon
3-1/2 cups of Bread Flour
2 tsp of Salt

For the water bath:
12 cups of Water
1/3 cup of Honey

1 egg white beaten with a splash of water to make an egg wash

How To:

1) In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, 1 teaspoon of sugar and yeast, set aside for a few minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the flour, salt, remaining sugar and yeast and water mixture, attach a dough hook and mix for about 8 minutes on medium-low speed until your dough is smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and (flip it over to coat the whole thing with a bit of the oil) cover and allow it to rest for about an hour and a half.

3) Once the dough has risen (won’t be doubled in size but will be pretty risen by then) flip it over onto a very lightly floured surface, deflate it gently and then divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

4) Form each piece into a ball by rolling it between the palm of your hand and your work surface, then dip your two pointer fingers in some flour, using one finger poke a hole (go all the way through) in the center of each ball and using both pointer fingers, poke them through the center hole and rotate your fingers to about a 2” hole (check out video for better and more clear instructions on this).

5) Place the bagels on a parchment paper lined baking sheet cover with a damp, lint free towel and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.

6) Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and place one of your oven racks on the top 2/3 of the oven. In a large, wide pot (I used my dutch oven for this) add your water and honey and bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to simmer, add 4 bagels at a time and cook them for 1 minute on each side and then transfer them on the same baking sheet (make sure you flip them back to top-side-up) repeat with all the bagels.

7) Brush the tops and sides of each one with the beaten egg white wash and bake them for about 20 minutes or until deeply golden brown all around (rotate your pan halfway through).

8) Allow them to cool for a few minutes on your baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Crispy Pork Chops

This recipe has become a family favorite around here! In fact it’s on the menu for tonight! They are easy, quick and delicious. Serve with mashed potatoes or potato wedges! Thank you Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) for your delightful recipe. I love you!

pork chops

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 8 pork breakfast chops
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter

How To:

  • Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.
  • Combine the flour and some cayenne, salt and black pepper. Dredge each side of the pork chops in the flour mixture, and then set aside on a plate.
  • Heat the vegetable oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the butter. When the butter is melted and the butter/oil mixture is hot, cook 3 pork chops at a time, 2 to 3 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook until the chops are golden brown on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes (make sure no pink juices remain). Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork chops.