Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cookies for Santa...

The girls and I felt a little adventurous this year and decided to make some sugar cookie cut outs for Santa. I usually don't like doing these and instead we just do some kinda drop cookie. But, I think I've found the perfect recipe! We used Tina's over at Mommy's Kitchen and it was soooo yummy! I've been such a boring mom all these past years and didn't feel like making a mess with all the decorations and stuff but I'm so glad I gave in and did it this year. The girls thoroughly enjoyed them selves. And they were so proud to leave them out for Santa. This will be such a great memory. Thanks Tina for the inspiration to starting a wonderful, new tradition in our house!!

Frosted Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
1/3 - cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 - cup shortening
1 - cup granulated sugar
1 - tsp baking powder
dash salt
1 - egg
1 - tsp vanilla extract
2 - cups all purpose flour
1 - recipe colored icing, below

In a medium size bowl beat shortening and butter together with a electric mixer. Add sugar, vanilla extract and egg. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together then add to the creamed mixture. Mix together scraping the sides of the bowl. I used my kitchen aid mixer to mix everything until it came away from the bowl and started to form into a ball. Try and mix enough of the flour mixture in using mixer, stir in any remaining flour with wooden spoon. Place dough inside a large zip lock bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove dough and let sit on the counter at least 30 minutes. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick. I like thick cookies they seem to be softer. Cut with desired cookie cutters and place on a un-greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes or until edges are firm and start to get golden brown. The bottom of the cookies should be light brown as well. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Remove and place on a baking rack to cool completely. Frost with colored icing.

Colored Icing Recipe:

1 - cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1 - tablespoon softened butter or margarine
2 - tablespoons milk
1 - tsp vanilla extract
food coloring

I used 3 separate bowls to mix the icing. So one recipe for each bowl, mix all ingredients together with fork. If too dry, add a little more milk. Once mixed, add a few drops of food coloring. We did red, green and yellow.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Treats for all the neighbors...

I always like to make yummy treats to hand out for Christmas to all my neighbors. So, this year I chose to make Mini Old Fashioned Eggnog Bundt cakes. Tina over at Mommy's Kitchen has several, awesome recipes that can be made right from cake mixes. These were really cute and packed up perfectly to deliver to all my neighbors. I got a lot of compliments on them. My kiddos even enjoyed a few of them!
Hope your Christmas was wonderful!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen...

I've seen this called Pretzel Turtles used with Rolo candy and a pecan on top, but this is our favorite way of making an old favorite! The kids love to get in the kitchen and do this themselves and give them to their teachers before the Christmas break!
Candy Cane Christmas Treats

30 Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
30 Pretzels, I prefer the waffle shape
30 M-n-M's

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place one Kiss on each pretzel. Bake for 3 minutes. While the candy is warm, press an m-n-m onto each candy covered pretzel. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner!!!

I have seen this recipe all over the blog world and finally decided if it was that popular maybe I should give it a try! I'm so glad I did!!! This is total comfort food!!! It really reminds me of chicken noodle soup - perfect for our rainy weather we've been having lately.

I first made it for my MIL, while hubby was in Uganda awhile back. She is so picky and doesn't like to try anything new. She went back for seconds, which is really saying something because not only is she picky - but the skinny lady hardly eats. ;) I was on cloud nine!!! She took the leftovers home and even asked for the recipe!!! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!! lol... Give it a try - I know you'll love it too!!!

Chicken Pasta

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg. Good Seasonings Italian dressing mix
2 Tbs. butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 large pkg. egg noodles or your favorite pasta

Place chicken in a crockpot (can be frozen or thawed). Cut the butter into tiny squares and sprinkle it around on the chicken. Then sprinkle half the dry dressing mix on top. Cook on low for 2-3 hours until chicken is done, tender and falls apart easily. Shred chicken while in crockpot. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When draining pasta, reserve the hot pasta water in case you need it to thin the sauce. To the warm crockpot, add the cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Pour in the rest of the dry Italian dressing mix. Stir well. If the sauce still seems thick, you can thin it further with the hot water from the pasta that you have reserved. Heat and stir until bubbly and hot. Serve over your favorite pasta.

* I've seen this recipe a dozen times, with a dozen different names. The one I'm using here came from Gather Round Our Table. No reason really, except that's when I finally caved and decided to give it a try!!! ;) lol...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Perfect for a Snow-day!!!

I know I'm a little late in posting this, but we actually got snow the beginning of this month!!! Now if only we could get snow for Christmas - but that never happens down here in Houston!!! Which reminds me of my favorite Christmas song...

Anyway, this was our meal for that snowy night. We loved it!!! Thanks Sandra for a great idea!

Green Chili Stew

2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
1 cup water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt, optional
1/4 tsp pepper
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, optional

In a large skillet, brown beef and onions in oil; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker.
Combine the beans, tomatoes, chilies, water, bouillon, garlic, sugar, salt if desired and pepper; pour over beef. cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until beef is tender. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

* I wasn't ready first thing in the morning to do this - so I just did it on the stove-top! Worked just fine and didn't have to cook all day!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I know you wanna kiss my grits!!!! :-*

I've never liked grits until the last couple of years. If you're not big on grits either - then you have to give this recipe a try! You will become a grit-lover too!!! I promise!!!

Grits-n-Sausage Casserole

3 cups water
1 cup quick-cooking grits
3/4 tsp salt, divided
2 lbs. bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a large bowl, combine grits, sausage and 1-1/2 cups cheese. Beat the eggs and milk; stir into grits mixture. Add the butter, pepper and remaining salt. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
10-12 servings

* we halved this recipe and used 2 eggs and it turned out great!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This cold weather has me in the mood for chili!!!

This recipe comes from my favorite Aunt Linda. She used to make this all time, but she used to call it Rice Enchilada Casserole. I have no idea why?! Last time I checked - there is no ranch style beans in enchiladas?! Well, whatever you call it - I call it mmm-mmm good!!!

My husband did not grow up in Texas, so he had never had Wolf Brand Chili before. He assumed it must taste like all other canned chili he'd had, dog-food as he described it once! Well, he couldn't be farther from the truth!!! The first time I made this, I made it for him and his brother! ;) Of course I did not tell them what was in it. Both of those guys went back 3 times!!! Finally, I couldn't hold it in any longer - I told them what was in it and they about spit their bite out!!! Funniest thing ever!!! After the shock wore off, they didn't care and kept on eating!!!

It is also a favorite of Cindy's husband!!! He asks for it all the time!!! I love it because it's so easy!!!! If you give it a try - I know you'll love it too!

Texas Chili Casserole

1 lb. Hamburger meat
1 cn. Ranch Style Beans
1 cn. Wolf Brand Chili
1-2 cups Cooked Rice
2 cups Cheddar Cheese

Cook your rice and set aside. Cook your meat and drain. Add your beans and chili to your meat and heat on medium for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add your rice a little at a time until mixed well. Put in a casserole dish and add your cheese on top. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Goes well on a rainy day with saltine crackers! Enjoy :O)

*You could even add toppings if you want, like green onions and sour cream. The possibilities are endless.